Tag Archives: story hour

Blades In The Dark – Session 9

Ninth Session – We go to do some light home invasion that involves possessing a man with the spirit of a parrot, and we get counter-ambushed by Hulls (steampunk zombies) and the ghost of Smelly Pete! Then we go make an alliance with the smuggling gang the Foghounds.

We’ve been looking around for some other not-too-powerful faction to victimize to gain turf, and the Dimmer Sisters, some kind of witchy women, draw the short straw. Reis knows his enemy Flint works with them so we go to bust in and mess with him, which goes fine.  But then a whole mess of very butch bad guys beset us – Hulls, ghosts, et cetera.  For the first time but certainly not the last we use the Random Ghost Generator to determine what kind of rando ghost is near an area Reis can talk to.

Then we go to make new allies and most of the group ends up partying a little (a lot) too hard. That is a bit of a pun since Kraid is introduced to some new drug you spread on your weiner. “Of course!” he says.

Blades In The Dark – Session 8

Eighth Session – Our longtime foes are some old ladies that run an opposing orphanage, the Weeping Ladies.  They keep causing social trouble for us, so we go to get some leverage from uncovering whatever their member Father Yorin is doing to squeeze orphans for their juices.

This starts with us finding out some nine year old kid in our orphanage was a plant sent to spy on us.  Being nine, he happily tells us all about it. The Weeping Ladies are really getting on our nerves but they’re just like some ladies that run an orphanage, we don’t feel right about using our usual kick murder squad kind of techniques on them.

We do some research and find out their #2 guy, Father Yorin, may be doing questionable alchemical research on the kids by extracting substances from them. We try to go talk to the other Weeping Ladies but he is there and we don’t have any proof.  Luckily we also have an element snooping through his stuff to find proof. They determine he’s extracting happiness from the kids and selling it, as in a fit of bad timing the other group ends up coming into the office they’re burgling. A lot of arguing is cut short by Father Yorick flipping out and trying to spray acid on the head lady Mother Naria. We beat him up as a third element appears with cops in tow.  Finally it’s all over but the downtime and XP as we make a good relationship with the Weeping Ladies (except for Father Yorick, who goes to the pen).

Blades In The Dark – Session 7

Seventh Session – We figure out a member of another local crew, the Wraiths, has been dumping ritually carved Hollow bodies around the city.  We decide to mess with them.  We find out too late that they are a group of PCs themselves. A standoff on a neon-lit boardwalk ensues!

So we go hunting for whoever’s been dumping ritually defiled soulless bodies around the city for probable demon worship related reasons, like you do, and gathered intel points at Carriless Firm, from some gang called the Wraiths.  Other members include the Whisper named Rune, who we hear is a lotus-head and can summon a demonic dog, “The Lesson,” an enforcer, and their leader is some mysterious Spider woman.

We decide the best chink in the armor is the lotus-head, so we find a local lotus den she frequents and set up an ambush. We’re down two PCs due to absence but figure the three of us can take one NPC, though in this world anything demonic is super tough. We and 10 goons bust in and catch her smoking it up.  Her demon-dog is no joke and comes pretty close to eviscerating us but Reis manages to get a gun to her head and capture her; the dog teleports out through the shadows.  The plan had been to just kill her but Reis called an audible when he realized she was hot (that’s how he makes a lot of his decisions), and I convince the others based on “we can get intel” and “she’s a bargaining chip” and other retroactive justifications.

But her demon dog can teleport through shadows and got away so we anticipate rapid payback.  We take her out to some abandoned entertainment pier that had a lot of electroplasmic lights so we can keep her in total light, tied to a chair. Reis spends a lot of time trying to turn her, arguing that her group doesn’t care about her and they’re doing crazy demon worship and she doesn’t need that.  But she doesn’t break.

And then the Wraiths attack!  Carriless Firm, a little guy, and The Lesson, a huge guy, show up and carve their way quickly through our gang members out front – Carriless is deflecting bullets with his cane and The Lesson sends people flying when he hits them. They are both ultra bad ass to a concerning degree. Hasten Doom tries to go after Firm and they both end up going over the edge of the pier into the dark waters below, and here in demon-haunted Duskvol that’s a lot worse than just falling into water normally.  Doom drags Firm under the water with him and drowns.

Marto tries to shoot The Lesson but their leader, Cattaby, is uber stealthy and gets the drop on him – he escapes being run through by also going down into the drink.  In no time something hideous with black scales brushes by him.

Reis is all that’s left from the Gambler’s Orphans and it’s not looking good.  The demon hound shows up but he sets off a massive flash with the electroplasmic lights rigged to an anti-demon charm and the demon dog is gone!  Then The Lesson comes ripping through the door and… falls through the boards Reis had weakened into the water.  I was working double overtime coming up with schemes upon schemes trying to stay alive.

Finally it’s one on one – Reis with a gun to Rune’s head versus Cattaby, the Wraith leader, with the others possibly returning at any moment.  I just *knew* she was going to betray Rune and shoot her so we couldn’t use her as a bargaining chip, so I had a plan to let that happen but protect Rune, and then certainly Rune would join us… I had the whole reverse-double-cross planned out. But Cattaby actually was trying to ransom her back, and it seemed like they actually were tight with each other. I was mildly flummoxed by this. So Reis ended up negotiating her release for some ransom and a promise to get Carriless to quit the demon shit. The Lesson showed up and carried Rune off and no one killed me.  Reis recovers Hasten Doom, half drowned, from the beach along with our banged up gang members and scrams; Marto came straggling in later.  We spend the rest of the session licking our wounds.

This was a real nail-biter, just the three of us and it turns out this other gang was actually some legit PC group from an actual play Paul follows. That made us even more concerned in retrospect, we didn’t know we were screwing with legit PCs, no wonder they were hardcore.

This is where this game system really shines – we had a really long complicated fight with another group, with combat and negotiation and all sorts of stuff going on, and in the end there weren’t actually any losses on either side but we were 100% sure there were going to be and better than even money was on it being us.  This was the best session of the campaign for sure.

Blades In The Dark – Session 6

Sixth Session – An unusual amount of this session is spent partying at the Demon Corn Inn. Then we do a favor for a pimp because… I guess Kraid told him we would?  Next thing you know we’re fighting “Professor Slice.”  He slices.

The downtime rules for Blades In The Dark require you to go indulge in vices to recover Stress.  Of course sometimes this goes bad and causes even more Stress.  Kraid is trying to date Captain Luckett and Hasten Doom is trying to date the pugilist Marlene. This leads to a bar fight and substance abuse. Fun times.

Then – Kraid somehow ends up owing a pimp named Theodore Lysander a favor, which involves stealing a magical blade. We help him really for no good reason. We deliver a barrel of wine to a warehouse to get the guards sloshed and go in the back.  I try to arrange for an entirely silent burgling, but when Marto and Kraid see some crazy cyborg doctor called “Professor Slice” they decide they just can’t let things go without combat. So Reis and Toad steal things and sneak out while those two fight.  But then it turns out all the guards are amputees with various weird substitute limbs put on by Slice.  The one who ends up being the most of a problem is a guy with mechanical spring legs. We escape in a running battle down the canal. Then it’s all over but the loot inventory.

Blades In The Dark – Session 5

Fifth Session – A lot of different kinds of activity this session, without the frontal assaults that are our bread and butter.  Of course, our attempt to sneak blackmail material into a police inspector’s house to have some dirt on the Bluecoats goes south and there’s some shooting.

Delazia Finchester, of the Circle of Flame (cult), which is an underground subset of the Centralia Club (National Geographic Society style club), has been on Reis’ “get with” list for a while.  (In other words she’s the Emma Frost of the Inner Circle in the Hellfire Club, but less evil). They want some artifacts that sound exactly like the Vecna stuff – the eye of Kotor, the hand of Kotor, the head heart of Kotor… Reis talks everyone else into it, his primary motivation being that Delazia is hot.

So he summons a spirit, the Hand of Sorrow, to get information.  That starts going awry and we end up sacrificing Stinky Pete, our formerly-homeless hanger-on, to it. We are very careful to keep this both from Kraid and his player Tim, who missed the session, as they are both big Stinky Pete fans.

Then we go to trade that info to the Centralia Club and get unceremoniously shooed away by the doormen and a backup ghost.

Blades In The Dark – Session 4

Fourth Session – The Red Sashes are no more, and we decide to start a fighting pit and start trouble with the Crows. I just watched Dolemite so I ensured that it ended up in a Dolemite-style club confrontation in the end!

We’re getting the hang of the game, so decide we need to expand our turf with a fighting pit (which will generate revenue for us). Of course you can’t do anything without stepping on some other gang, even though we did find a spot that had been off limits due to haunting but had recently been cleansed. We took it over and came up with a bunch of plans that we eventually decided were too complicated, and just started a fighting pit, invited Lampblack gang leader Bazsho Baz, and waited for the Crows to show up and start trouble.

They did; we played a weird game of brinkmanship with having the audience back our play but not so much they get murderized. There’s ghosts!  Shotguns! In the end we capture a couple of them and, since we’re from a professional mercenary unit, ransom them back to the Crows.

And Kraid continues his very long term plan to turn the homeless people in the turf we own into craftsmen, making nets… None of us can figure out why he’s sinking so much effort into it. His new friend Smelly Pete is proving useful, though.

Blades In The Dark – Session 3

Third Session – The Red Sashes decide to get back at us by coming to take over our homeless-infested mansion. A lot of violence ensues. Then when we go to try to sell off some bank notes we liberated, a captain woman decides she’ll ride Marto like a Harley on a bad piece of road.

The fight against the Red Sashes starts off pretty rough – the dice mechanic is not good in general (“get a 6 on a pool of 2d6, and you will be fine…”) and they are all higher tier which means penalties to that.  But the tide turns dramatically when Toad crits with a alchemist-bomb into a crowd of opposition and next thing you know we’re mopping up retreating survivors.

Of course, then we’re at war! So many rules… Downtime actions and gang stuff and clocks and mandatory stress relief and it all requires rolls that have collateral problems. But we’re getting by.  We get a bunch of ship captains and such to cut in on redeeming our stolen bank notes, and one takes a fancy to Marto the Bear, which entertains all of us except Bruce.

Blades In The Dark – Session 2

Second Session – We continue to maneuver with the other gangs like the Crows, Red Sashes, and Lampblacks.  We decide we need some turf so take over a  homeless camp. Starting small.  But we meet some lady in an Eyes Wide Shut kind of cult so that’s cool.

My guy can summon and semi-control ghosts, but when things go bad it’s a problem.  This session, our NPC gang members get in trouble betting in a fighting club and so I try to summon a ghost to break it up and I end up having a Ghostbusters kind of experience where I get an ancient god like Gozer instead but in a latrine instead of a refrigerator.

Then we decide to do a home invasion of some guy called Lord Skinnister.  I forget why, besides all his prostitute murders. Oh, right, it was to pay off the gambling debts of our hapless NPCs. Kraid murders his way through the house and we get to the Lord and his weird S&M dominatrix friend. She holds a knife to my throat but Kraid kills her anyway.  I banish him to the ghost dimension in an attempt to distract the ancient god that keeps bothering me.

The game system is very… game-y.  Luckily we had a discussion about this after the last game – so many of these newer games are kinda “meta”, with a lot of detailed rules about doing things that tempt you to plan, plan, plan, roll without pausing for actual in-character roleplay.  This game has that tendency, but we as a group determined we needed to put extra effort into counteracting that so it’s going well.

 

Blades In The Dark – Session 1

First Session – Welcome to our Blades In The Dark campaign!  Besides character and gang generation, we go to jack with the Red Sashes gang at the behest of the Lampblacks gang who are both destablizing the previously ascendant Crows gang.

Our gang, the Gambler’s Orphans, was a mercenary company on the losing end of a recent war.  Now our base is an orphanage, the Yaggo’s Home For Miscreant Children, in the Six Towers district.  We seek to build ourselves up into a force to be reckoned with!

  • Bruce is Marto “the Bear”, a Hound (murderer type 1).
  • Tim is Kraid Naben, a Cutter (murderer type 2).
  • Patrick is Thaddeus “Toad” Todd, a Leech (doctor/alchemist).
  • Chris is Hasten Doom, a Lurk (thief).
  • Ernest (I) am Reis, a Whisper (ghost wrangler).
  • And Paul is our GM.

We learn how to exercise the rules and plan and execute jobs. The job goes well and we take the Red Sash war treasury.  This is one of those mechanics where you need a 6 on d6 to succeed and succeeding with some major blowback is largely indistinguishable from failure, and you can usually boost up a pure fail into that fail-with-much-pain region.  I had played a one-shot of this game at Chupacabracon and had realized that it’s not much good as a one-shot because so much of the mechanic is about long term clocked goals and incurring wounds and stress and stuff that penalize you in subsequent sessions.

We also learn about their use of the hip new mechanic called “clocks”, which is making a pie-chart kind of circle and using it as a counter towards some goal.

New Campaign – Spire

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Spire

Our newest campaign is based on the Spire RPG.  This is a cool high-concept game – we are all drow living in the Spire, which is a China Mieville-esque super weird giant tower where each level is a whole neighborhood.

But the elves have conquered it and keep us down as an oppressed underclass (along with their human lackeys).  Therefore, we foment rebellion! It’s like Vornheim meets Bas-Lag meets Menzoberranzan meets the Black Panthers and the IRA. Good stuff!

I recently read Melvin Van Peebles’ book Panther and racial politics are a big deal nowadays, so it’s interesting to explore it as a batch of privileged white guys.

Here’s our characters:

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    Firebrand

    Abu Al-Nisr (Paul), a carrion priest and clutch mate to Tamar and Tariq. He has a hyena to help devour the dead, as is only proper.

  • Tariq Al-Nisr (Me), a firebrand and clutch mate to Abu and Tamar.  He brought Slav into the revolution the old fashioned way, sexing her into radicalization.
  • “Fortunate” Tamar Al-Nisr (Bruce), a Bound and clutch mate to Abu and Tariq.  He rescued Lyddia Jath when she fell from the Perch.
  • Lyddia Jath (Chris), a Vermissian sage. She knows Abu’s secret, which is that he was captured by the gnolls and joined them in fighting the drow army.
  • Theratrix (Matt), a midwife. She saved Abu’s life during the war, not realizing he was fighting alongside the gnolls.
  • Slav (Patrick), a blood witch. She has tasted Lyddia’s blood and believes she’s fated to kill Tariq.
  • Krieth (Kat), a human emissary. Appeared briefly and was gone just as fast.  For the best, humans aren’t trustworthy.

The game system is pretty Apocalypse-y.  Our initial direction for liberating the Spire is to compromise the Hive, the big ass prison blocks, and use that to recruit people to overthrow the hated high elves!  Word of our adventures will come…

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The Spire (Aboveground)

Reavers on the Seas of Fate, Season Five, Fourteenth Session

waterspoutFourteenth Session (9 page pdf) – “Escape the Eye” – The shore team returns to the Araska, counts their loot, and sets their course for the Shackles. But a giant waterspout intervenes.

It’s just some giant lizard fighting and then they get back to the Araska with their prize.  But navigating the Eye of Abendego is no picnic, another waterspout bangs up the Araska.  I keep rolling hot on the random weather table.

Then they pass the Bloody Vengeance on its way to the Green Blood on Black Rock local monster fighting festivities! They seem interested so I’ll have more on that next time.

But then, another random weather roll…  How many 00’s can one set of dice hold?  It’s the largest waterspout possible, F5 style. Eek!

Reavers on the Seas of Fate, Season Five, Thirteenth Session

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The Wendifa

Thirteenth Session (12 page pdf) – “The Key To War Machine, Part III” – An epic fight with juju zombies and a Wendifa (female witch doctor) has lasting effects as they scour the tomb for the amulet of the Terraken.

Bonus: Jitikai the Wendifa’s Character Sheet (pdf)

More dungeoneering, and then a fight with a Juju oracle! Voodoo all over the place; juju zombies, she zombifies and mind-controls party members.  Fun!  They even leave her alive… Kinda.