The Nadya Vostik Score

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Continuing our Roll20 based Blades in the Dark game, the crew have successfully got the ear of the vampire hunter Alfred Urdelath, and been asked to go and obtain a certain soul marked blade name from the possession of one of the new rich in Nightmarket named Nadya Vostik.

She is a collector of all sorts of occult antiques, and normally keeps them locked up safely in a secure vault beneath her house. She is planning a party to show off her possessions though, and many of the wealthy and influential in the city are invited.

This was a Tier II score, so one level about the crew’s own, which meant it should be difficult but rewarding if successful. As a GM though, this is where I start having difficulty with the core Blades mechanic, in that for such scores successes should be less effective in nature by default. It’s something I have difficulty wrapping my head around in terms of how to actually apply that constructively during the game, and I tend to err on the side of keeping things easy rather than reducing the effectiveness of actions.

Part of the problem I think is the very lose and free form nature of the game. I’m more willing to be harsh if there are some hard rules to back me up (then I know I’m being harsh but fair). With even a 4/5 result having consequences, also saying they don’t actually achieve the stated task would seem to lead things into disaster pretty quickly, and I still haven’t got to grip with how to do that in a playable fashion.

Anyway, the session started with some information gathering, and they found out that Nadya has recently borrowed some glass display cases from the Academy in order to display her items, though will be mostly using her own staff for security. There will probably be extra hired waiting staff though.

The sword in question is called The Edge of Forever, and is similar to a No Dachi (a large two handed curved sword) in size and style – which means it’s not going to fit under someone’s jacket. It’s a sentient item, with the ability to attune to the ghost field.

I was thinking that it might allow the wielder to walk unseen, which may be a way of getting it out with a good Attune check, and since Tamasi’s player specifically asked about whether it could do anything like that, I let them know this was a known ability.

Much much discussion of how to perform the score, it was finally decided to just try and crash the party, which had been what I was expecting as the easiest way in. After discussion with the players, we decided it was another masked ball, with a theme of animal masks.

On to downtime, in which there was some over indulgence of vices, which caused another Entanglement check, resulting in the gang members stealing some fire hoses for Rue, then getting blamed for preventing a fire from being put out by the Brigade. This caused some reputation loss for the crew, but since they’re at maximum for their current Tier this isn’t really a problem.

Skarlett also used an activity to spend some Coin on some nice ancient jewellery as a git for Nadya, but in the end that never got used (which was a shame, because it could have been a good idea).

They used a two-pronged attack for getting into the party. Dominus, Rue and Skarlett went in the front door, whilst Tamasis went in as serving staff. They got a 6 on their Engagement check, which meant they got inside without any difficulty and were able to start socialising whilst Tamasis went around serving drinks and getting a picture of the layout of the place.

The main hall was where the masked ball was, but some people with special invitations were being taken upstairs for a viewing of the exhibits. Skarlett, barely dressed in peacock feathers, had no difficulty picking up some young gentlemen and getting an escort up to the exhibits. The sword was there, along with various other interesting artifacts.

Tamasis spiked the drinks with hallucinogens, and also began stashing minor items of worth ready for their escape. I started a couple of clocks – one for their level of suspicion, and the other for how well they’d planned a quick way out if they needed it.

Skarlett took Rue upstairs, and having already ‘befriended’ the guards was allowed in again for a look around. Whilst Skarlett distracted two of them, Tamasis distracted the two on the door and Rue tried to obtain the sword.

With a flashback she had obtained just the right key from the university to open the display cabinet without setting off the alarms, and managed a clear Critical (triple 6s) on her attempt. Replacing the sword with a foldout (very bad) replica, she hid it under her Raven wings and made her way out. The disguise wouldn’t hold up to any careful scrutiny, but it was good enough to get downstairs.

By now the party was taking a strange turn, as the hallucinogens were beginning to take effect. The three try to leave the party together, with Skarlett and Dominus acting as distraction. I got them to make a group Sway check, and Rue, who had the least skill, got the 6 which got them outside.

Tamasis stayed around long enough to see the hostess quietly but desperately raising the alarm with the guards, so decided it was time to release a trapped spirit from one of her spirit bottles. As confusion and chaos spread through the ballroom, Tamasis made her exit and got way with her stash – just 2 Coins.

There had been opportunity for them to get more as well as the sword, but they decided to play it safe. They picked up some rep for this, which took them back up to maximum, and a couple of points of Heat (plus two more from an Entanglements result of Questioning).

A successful score, now they just need to figure out what to do with the sword.

Samuel Penn

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