The Retribution Score
In our previous session of Blades in the Dark we decided to try doing Downtime before a score, rather than after. Technically it’s the same thing, but if the crew decide on the score they’re going to do next before Downtime commences, then they can use some of their downtime actions to prepare for the upcoming score. One problem we’ve been having is figuring out how to use abilities that need downtime to prep for them, so maybe this will solve that.
We start by doing Entanglements, and get Gang Trouble/Questioning again. I am finding these results pretty boring, and had meant to come up with a more detailed list. Maybe it’s because I’m having difficulty coming up with something unique each time so they end up feeling so mechanical in nature, and really just there to screw over the players. I’ve taken to ticking up a clock for Gang Trouble, and I’ll figure out what happens when it gets filled.
Which did remind me that their Cult should probably have grown in size when they went up a Tier… so we added a couple more members to their gang. They now have Igor, Renfield, Egor and Muttley.
For the upcoming score, as well as the options for expanding their Sacred Sites, I gave them a list of three possible targets:
- Shrine of Retribution, a Tier 0 score (one below their current level) where a new cult has setup their lair in Six Towers and is said to have a large collection of secret texts ripe for the stealing.
- Dunslough Ghetto, a Tier 1 score where an ex-Leviathan hunter is said to have stashed their loot somewhere in Dunslough Ghetto.
- The Silver Stag Casino, a Tier 2 score to rob the casino whilst its proprietor Helene is throwing a lavish birthday party. There could be others using the opportunity to do the same as well.
The group decide to go for something simple, and rob the Shrine. The crew do a bit of information gathering on the place, discovering that it is located at the top of a rundown apartment tower, with lots of rickety ladders and walkways the only way to get to it. There are four priestesses, plus their leader, Amelia, who is also a whisper and has a couple of spirits bound to the place which act as guards. All the priestesses are well trained in the martial arts. Their god is one of retribution and blood, and their holy works mostly consist of the prayers (and details) of revenge by their followers. It should be a good set of secrets for this crew to sacrifice up to their goddess.
So we went into Downtime and did the usual reducing of heat and stress, as well as healing. Tamasis finished learning a new ritual (to summon up the spirits of the relatives of people – I need to work out the details, but this will probably summon up spirits that look and act like the relatives, rather than always being the actual relatives). She finished learning this ritual with a Critical.
Ready for the score, Tamasis activates her other ritual which she prepared earlier, summoning a ghost to oversee their target and feed back information. With it she is able to give everyone guidance on how to avoid the guards (especially the spirits), so I give them a bonus Engagement die. They go for a stealth approach, and get a 6.
So we begin the action with them atop the apartment block undetected in a Controlled situation. The spirits are elsewhere, and there is just one priestess of the cult on guard, but keeping warm by a brazier which has ruined her night vision. So Saya sneaks across the rooftop to take her out, and gets a 1, 1, 2 on her dice. Fortunately, it’s a Controlled situation so she is able to fall back into cover when the guard notices a noise. With the guard more alert, Saya tries again and pushes herself, plus some aid from Rufus, and on five dice gets 1, 2, 2, 3… and a 6. She garrotes the guard, choking her until she passes out and they gag her and tie her up out of sight.
They get across the rooftop without any further trouble and into the inner sanctum of the lair, where there is a pool of water, some statuettes of the god and scores of sheets of paper nailed to the walls on which are written the secret revenge fantasies dedicated to the god. With a quick and successful Prowl by the crew to gather up the papers quietly, they sneak back out and head back home after a successful score.
Given that Tamasis’ ritual to spy on the place cost 5 stress, I figured to be worth it I would allow them to skip a lot of action checks I would have otherwise made them make. This made it a lot easier, but it was also a score below their tier to start with. As one of the players pointed out, if the Whitehollow Express Score had been the extreme end of the fucked up spectrum, then this had been the opposite.
Since they had been so subtle, they got no heat and also no reputation. Since they had restricted their theft to only the documents, they also got no Coin, but I allowed them to treat the holy texts as a suitable sacrifice they could each use to power their Conviction special ability. This is such a powerful ability, I only allow special sacrifices to be used to power it.
Since the score fitted in with their crew focus, I dropped their Gang Trouble marker by a couple of ticks and the got a couple of crew experience.
This had been quite a quick session, but I took the opportunity for an early night rather than start another score. They’ve decided that they’ll go looking for the gold hidden in Dunslough Ghetto next time, which gives me some time to prep. The Silver Stag score is off the list now as well, since it was an event that happened at a particular time. Some opportunities need to be taken quickly.