We played Blades in the Dark online, with two new players. We made characters and the crew and played two heists in 3 hours.
The crew had two members. Wolfram Keel was a weathered, angry Hound who used to be a whaler. His people hail from the Dagger Isles. His refuge was his faith in the Forgotten Gods. His best friend was Casta, a bounty hunter.
Aldo Nyman was a trim, cleanshaven, guileless Skovlan. As a Slide, he came from a background of a bluecoat family, but he is drawn to find relief in luxuries. His best friend was Bazso Baz, leader of the Lampblack Crew.
They lair in the basement of an occult bookshop, Adelaide’s Phrenological Emporium. They are friends with the owner, Adelaide Phroaig, a noble who owns the bookshop just to annoy his parents. They have a gang of adepts led by Vincen, who hang out in the Emporium and also do odd jobs for the crew. They have a secure room hidden in the basement with their own library and vault, that has a secret door connecting to the underground sewer channels.
They are known for their daring, and their uncanny ability to duck the consequences for their constant overreaching and escalating. Part of their success can be traced to their relationship with Amancio, the heavily perfumed and effeminate fence who takes the heat off their loot and give them coin in exchange.
They are all-in allies with the Lampblacks, and bitter enemies of the Red Sashes. They also have a weird side relationship with the Dimmer Sisters, Ashley and Kay. Aldo hung on to some of his bluecoat contacts from back in the day, but he has enemies among the inspectors. Also, at some point they got crosswise to the Path of Echoes.
Heist One: Bring ‘Er Back Alive
In case anyone doubted the utter daring of this pair, they decided to step up to Baz’s challenge and get Klev, leader of the Red Sashes–ALIVE.
While the Red Sashes normally guard Klev as she circulates between the Larch Street drug den and the Vigor Lane drug den, Aldo investigated and found out she always gets drunk once a year on the anniversary of her first child’s death. The hospital where the child was treated is now a bar, and she closes the place out to drink herself senseless.
The crew basically bought the place out for one night, replacing the wait staff with their gang of adepts. Aldo prepared to impersonate Klev’s lead bodyguard, Withers, who he somewhat resembled. Wolfram lay in wait, and the adepts put goblin moss in Withers’ drink, so he had to go to the bathroom. Wolfram ambushed him and tore his throat open with a gaff hook, and Aldo smeared the blood on him.
Then the theatrics started. Wolfram, a known enemy of the Red Sashes, dragged “Withers” out and hurled him at the bodyguards, opening fire on Klev. The adepts were ready, and triggered a magical effect of disorientation and shadow deepening, so the bodyguards were slowed as they pounced at Wolfram.
The chase spilled out in the street, and they almost caught Wolfram before he barreled through a fence and sprinted into the alleyways where they dared not follow.
Meanwhile, Aldo imitated Withers and dragged the drunk and suffering Klev out the back way, increasing his forcefulness as she struggled to walk. She vomited and hallucinated, but he got her into the gondola and used his trance powder to put her out until they turned her over to Baz.
The rewards were rich, and the Red Sashes took a major hit. Aldo smoothed things over with the bluecoats and spread around misdirection about their role in the affair. Meanwhile Wolfram started an investigation into how illegal leviathan oil was shipped into the city, with an eye to cutting into the trade.
Heist Two: The Hog’s Head
Meanwhile, the Dimmer Sisters (Ashley and Kay) contacted the crew with a job. They wanted a birthday present, an actual head of a hog, packed with some very special gunpowder they could not buy. It was held by Captain Slevin Cree, of the leviathan hunter Lumberous. The rogues agreed at once, oddly eager to please the weird sisters.
Wolfram had the advantage of his time served on a whaling ship, and Aldo had the advantage of an excellent disguise kit and a supply of rancid grease to make him smell like he fit in. Together they boarded the ship, threading down into its guts to approach the captain’s quarters. They almost arrived when they met someone Wolfram once knew, on a former whaling post.
Her name was Shandra, and she served as the lead harpooner. A leviathan had claimed her arm years before, and she had a carved bone prosthetic covered in glyphs that she had activated by thrusting it into a living leviathan’s eye. She was surprised and curious to see Wolfram, but Aldo asserted himself, trying to distract her with charm. She was bored with him immediately, for he did not have the cloud of the clamoring dead woven through his shadow; he was an unimpressive killer.
Aldo upped his game, reading her as he did other people, but what he saw when he looked into her eyes unsettled him deeply. That pleased her, and she accepted his gift of awe and terror and respect. The unsteady rogues entered the captain’s quarters, eager to toss the place and be off before he returned.
The interior was decorated with a queen size bed with curtains, the walls done up in whalebone.
Flashback. Aldo and Wolfram got their adept leader Vincen to make a charm to help them find the hogshead. He started simple, with a hog tooth and leather and a bit of electroplasm. That didn’t work, so he upgraded to Second Death hogs; a forbidden practice where before the walls of electroplasm they used to stuff spirits into hogs and kill them. That didn’t work either, so they escalated to dark and unexplained means, but advised the rogues to toss the charm in the ocean and under no circumstances to bring it back to land.
Using the charm and Wolfram’s knowledge of whaler secrets, they found the hog head hidden above the bed. They stuffed the horrible thing in a bag and escaped with it. They left the unstable glass bottle charm on the captain’s pillow, not sure they could carry it with the hog head without it bursting.
The Dimmer Sisters cooed over their treat, and withdrew to enjoy it; the flesh was already tightening and cracking as soon as the head left the ship. Aldo retreated to the bath houses for a week or so of scrubbing and cleansing, and Wolfram stalked sailors, drawing ever closer to figuring out the illicit leviathan oil trade.
Then Wolfram’s best friend, the bounty hunter Casta, showed up. She was limping, using a crutch, and she needed help…