We were down one player for this Roll20 session of Blades in the Dark, so the crew decided to put off the plan to find the vampire hunter and instead for for something simpler – expanding their territory by claiming the Sanctuary.
The Sanctuary will give the crew a +1d on Command and Sway rolls on site. I’m not sure exactly what is meant by ‘on site’ – is it just within the Sanctuary itself, or across all the crew’s territory? It seems to imply the former, but in which case it seems quite weak, if not pointless.
Anyway, the crew started with some information gathering to determine that the location was now a warehouse that had been built on top of the sacred site. It belonged to the Hive, but was also a subsidiary of that organisation so hopefully taking their claim wouldn’t piss them off too much.
Saya performs a survey of the target. There is what is apparently a false front to the warehouse, a shop selling mushroom soup. The other entrances into the warehouse at the rear seem to have been closed up and not used for a while. There is a possible route in via the roof, but there are observers on the surrounding buildings keeping an eye on the place. During her time watching it, she didn’t notice anyone taking supplies in or out.
Thurston and Dominus ask around and find out that it seems to take in large supplies of Leviathan Blood, and that the Hive do sell some drugs based on that, so this may be a drug processing factory of some kind.
They decide to take a stealthy approach via the roof, and get a 6 on their Engagement roll. So they take out one of the watchers which allows them to get to the roof unseen, and in through a hatch which was locked before Rue got it open.
Inside, there are a number of girls standing at tables, separating seeds out from fruit. They are shocked by the arrival of the crew, who pretend to be checking out a leak in the roof. The girls aren’t entirely convinced, but they are too surprised to raise a fuss.
However, the thugs in the next room hear the commotion and yell through that no talking is allowed. Since the crew continue to make noise pretending to be workers, the thugs come through and aren’t at all convinced by the cover story and advance aggressively.
The players though continue to try to stick to their story, rather than reacting to the fact that the thugs are obviously not convinced (given the circumstances, it was very unlikely that any cover story would work against anyone who cared – a critical success on a sway may have paused them, but the crew didn’t get anything close to that). I think this was a case of the players having a completely different concept of what might work than I did, and though I tried to make it clear events had descended into violence either I wasn’t clear enough or the players were being stubborn about trying to make it work. Maybe it was a bit of both.
Anyway, Rufus got punched in the face and things descended into proper combat. Rue chucks a vial of Drown Powder at one of the thugs, but misses completely, then Rufus calls down his pet hawk, which can now take spirit form, so it swoops down and claws at the other thug’s face. Thurston punches the second one in the throat with the hilt of his dagger, dropping him. The fight was over quickly, but it was never meant to be hard.
The girls are screaming at this point, and there is the sound of shouts and a mechanism being used from the next room, where there is a large lift. A couple more thugs have got into the lift to come up, but Rue tries to disable it. With a 5 I decide the consequence is that she has jammed some of her equipment into it – so she ticks off some burglary tools, but the lift is jammed.
I describe it as one of those old style open cage lifts that you tend to see in American films (I’ve never seen the type in the UK, normally they’re fully enclosed), so Rue is able to throw some more chemicals down there, hitting the two men with Skullfire. As they convulse on the floor with blinding headaches, they reactive the lift so they can tie everyone up.
Down below is an old man (an alchemist) and a couple more girls, as well as some plants being grown under bright lights and drug processing equipment. There is also a small rail track leading down into a tunnel.
The girls try to flee towards the front of the shop, but Thurston chases after them, getting a 6 on his Prowl so easily circumnavigates the plants and slams the door shut to prevent them escaping. The ground floor did also have some Leviathan Blood hanging from the ceiling in ‘water’ proof sacks. If there had been a fight there, then there could have been a chance of bursting sacks and lots of fire, but all the real action happened up on the first floor so the crew managed to avoid that complication.
After some discussion, it is decided to lay claim to the place, but let the previous occupants grab what stuff they can and leave peacefully, so as not to upset the Hive too much. Examining the tracks, they lead down to a nearby dock on a canal, so that is probably where the supplies come in from.
They manage to grab several Coins-worth of material to add to their coffers, and we call it an evening, with another site added to their turf.
Given this belong to the Hive, but I didn’t want it to be a major property of that (much larger, Tier IV, faction), I’ve given the crew only -1 in their faction standing with them. It was really more of a subsidiary gang, which may not event report the loss to their bosses in fear of getting a reprimand.