The Bad Wine Score

Continuing our Blades in the Dark campaign, the crew have returned to their lair after their ventures into Dunslough and their encounters with the vampire Gerard Ustok. We still had Entanglements to finish, and they now had quite a bit of Heat, so the crew rolled and got another Gang Trouble result.

This time though I was prepared, and have come up with a list of events for handling Gang Trouble, so rolling on that get “Two of the gang members get into a serious fight, and gain an enmity for each other unless you can Discipline the Gang“. Egor and Igor were both fighting over who had seniority amongst the gang members, and Spid dealt with them reasonably successfully. He also decided to spend a Coin later on to throw a party for the crew, calming things down.

Previously, that had sent a letter to Lord Scurlock to warn him that the vampire had returned looking for the artefacts they had sold to Scurlock. Scurlock replied, saying that he was sure the crew could handle things, but there was a vampire hunter in the city named Alfred Urdelath who might be able to help. Alfred was a bit of recluse though, so they’d probably need to be quite persistent if they want to get an audience with him. It would effectively be a Tier 2 score to find him.

Another alternative option I gave was that their old rivals the Fog Hounds were rumoured to be planning a big score, which may grant them the patron they’d been seeking. Here was an opportunity to screw with them by ruining their plans. It would be a Tier 1 score, but needed doing quickly.

So the crew decided that the vampire could wait, and they went after the Fog Hounds. As always, we did the downtime now, and a couple of people ended up over-indulging. Dominus spent way too much Coin on buying new clothes and Skarlett went off partying – and hasn’t returned.

We also enforced the rule that only one person could reduce Heat in a downtime session (since with two characters per player, Heat was repeatably being reset to zero after each score), so Heat got reduced but it is now beginning to increase, which will be interesting to see what comes of it.

Rue has finished building the skeletal framework of her Hull, which is some vaguely humanoid form.

Quite a bit of time was spent in planning this core, though more in the high level what they wanted to achieve rather than in the detail. Dominus had succeeded in getting a lot of information out of his information broker Salia, and discovered that the Fog Hounds had made a deal with some members of the dockers guild to leave some high quality wine out on the quayside, where they would replace it with cheap ale and ship it down to the railway station for shipping out to Whitehollow. That way no-one would realise it had been stolen until later, and even then wouldn’t know who to blame.

The crew decide that screwing over the Fog Hounds is more important than making money, so decide to go in and ruin the wine before the Fog Hounds get to it. When the Fog Hounds come to sell it, they’ll have some very upset customers.

So with a plan in place, they head into the docklands – and get a 2 on their Engagement Roll. This puts them immediately into a Desperate situation, and I decide that they’ve run into a press gang looking for new recruits to intimidate into service. So things start with the crew pretty much surrounded by a bunch of thugs amongst the crates on the docks. The leader demands to know what they’re doing here, and Spid tells him “None of your fucking business” and punches him in the face.

I gave him the option of either using Skirmish or Intimidate, the latter would be more likely to scare the rest into running off, whereas the former would just start a fight. He pushed himself, and got some aid for Dominus, and got a 2.

The thug, who we all decided at that point was called Amos, just smiled at him and said “oh good”. At that point he also became a skilled opponent, so I created two clocks – one for Amos and one for the rest of the thugs.

And so a Desperate fight began, with Amos starting things by swinging his hooked club at Spid, who managed to dodge and strike back, but was knocked to the ground.

Dominus ended up killing one of them (though I decided to be realistic, and rather than have an instant death roll to see how long it would take for the guy to actually expire – I got a 5, so he would stop bleeding out from internal injuries after the fight).

Thurston used his Ghost Veil ability to turn insubstantial and leap up on top of a stack of crates. I figured this would really unsettle the thugs, and switch things from being Desperate to Risky.

Spid and Rue eventually succeeded in taking down Amos, the latter using some of her poisons, and Spid using simple brute force and choking him unconscious. The rest were taken down or fled, but in the end there had only been one death.

They tied up Amos, and arranged things to make it look like they had been fighting amongst themselves (a reference to something I tried recently in another game). I think Amos may end up surfacing again later.

As the death bells rang behind them, and conveniently distracted the rest of the dockhands from looking after the stash of wine, the crew made it to their destination without further incidents, and fowled the casks of wine with Rue’s chemicals. They didn’t get a great wreck result, so caused a bit of damage which may be obvious later, but achieved their goal. Spid had a flashback to where they had arranged for one of their gang members to be ready with a skiff to take them away, so for one Stress that seemed reasonable.

With so many Desperate rolls, quite a bit of experience was gained in this score. For their fight on the docks, they got reputation, but nothing to actually link them (yet) to the disaster that would soon befall the Fog Hounds when they tried to sell their now ruined goods.

Their Heat is now up to 7 though, which is the highest it’s ever been. Rolling on Entanglements, we got an Interrogation result which we’ve never seen before. So Dominus got hauled off by the Bluecoats for some questioning.

The rules state: Either you pay them off with 3 Coin, or they beat you up (level 2 harm) and you tell them what they want to hear (+3 Heat).

This didn’t seem quite right to me, so I switched the and to an or – you either take the beating, or you give up information. Dominus took the beating, rolling a critical on his resist. So he walked out of there with no harm and a reputation for being unbreakable.

For a while, I’ve been thinking about how long I want to continue running Blades in the Dark for. I’d like to see the gang complete the extension of their lair and claim all their territory, but that’s going to take a while and I’d like a break. During the session I had an idea – Blades is freeform enough that it might be an idea to share some of the GMing load.

So I asked if any of the players wanted to run a score, and the reaction was that everyone was interested in giving it a try. Which was better than I’d hoped for, and would help give me the occasional break, and shake things up a bit with different people’s take on running the game. It won’t be an immediate change, but maybe in the next few weeks.

Samuel Penn