First Adventure. Our session was three hours, with two heists and two downtimes.
SESSION TWO. THE CATFISH CREW
Wolfram Keel and Aldo Nyman answered the call from Casta, Wolfram’s bounty hunter friend. She got beaten up by the bluecoats because they were asking questions about her brother Bertram, and she didn’t like their tone, so she “resisted.” Now the bluecoats suspect her of aiding and abetting him, so she has to get out of sight; their attention on her daily business would be ruinous, because she does some illegal things on a regular basis.
While she hid in their safehouse under Adeleide’s Phrenological Emporium, they investigated her brother’s whereabouts. By day, a mild-mannered clerical worker for the University. By night, he hung around Seven Shallows, a rough neighborhood in Crow’s Foot. He spent lots of time in places he couldn’t afford every night on his pay, so he was likely involved in gang activity of some sort.
Further, they discovered that Inspector Kiva was investigating a ring of plasm smugglers and/or manufacturers operating out of Crows Foot. She was the force behind the heat to find Bertram because he was connected with the plasm smugglers somehow. The bluecoats didn’t care, and many were in the pay of local gangs, but they had to answer to the Inspector.
Wolfram and Aldo went to a tavern called the Catfish Bait in Seven Shallows; Aldo talked to Baz, who knew the bartender, a man named Limp. The night was deep and foggy, but inside, the tavern was glum and violent. They chatted up Limp, who warned them not to get involved with the dangerous Skovlan gang that laired in the place.
Wolfram and Aldo saw the balcony from which the Skovlan thugs surveyed the tavern. Wolfram scouted the outside, seeing where the gang came and went via a drawbridge to the Skovlan fishing warehouse roof next door, and another basement back door. Meanwhile, Aldo watched the knife fights and betting inside. Fights were to first blood, between men tied together at one wrist, with each victory earning more of the betting profits.
Iruvians and Skovlans had an informally racist contest going, and Wolfram entered to set up Aldo for success. Aldo, a wiry Skovlan, incited the Iruvians so racial violence simmered close to the surface as the knife fight started. It came to a desperate clinch, and Aldo toppled back and cracked the unfortunate Iruvian’s skull on the fireplace, killing him.
Violence erupted, the Skovlans and Iruvians at each other’s throats with blades. Wolfram leaped up on a table, egging them on, and drove them back as his armor was cut to ribbons; Aldo prevented the Iruvians from flanking the indomitable whaler as he lay about himself with a deadly hook and a grasping hand. When it was over, the Iruvians were routed, and one of them was on the gently swinging chandelier overhead.
The Skovlans celebrated with pride and drink, taking their newfound friends up to meet the boss, a trim Skovlan named Keenan. They also saw Bertram upstairs, as well as a number of sword women.
Aldo laid it all out for Keenan, honestly explaining about Casta and her brother and the bluecoats and so on, offering to help. Bertram passionately interrupted, complaining his sister was not to be trusted, nor any of her friends. Keenan didn’t kill Aldo and Wolfram, but didn’t trust them either; his men hurled them from the second floor roof, they fell to the cobbled streets.
Wolfram tucked and rolled, but Aldo bounced off a bluecoat paddywagon that was rattling by. (Aldo took 1 trauma, his first.) Barely conscious, he pointed out the thugs to the bluecoats, who waved to the Skovlans and laughed. They were on the payroll. They drove off, leaving Wolfram and Aldo to limp home battered and unsuccessful.
As they healed up and rested for a long weekend, Wolfram’s spies reported that the illegal leviathan blood trade was focused on a sally port somewhere in Seven Shallows. The scoundrels otherwise healed up and prepared to go after Bertram, for whom they now nursed a sullen rage.
Tyrol, a Skovlan thug, led a group that held several of Vincen’s gang hostage. Aldo and Wolfram traded some expensive books to get their adepts back; Tyrol explained it was just business, pointing out the Catfish Crew knew how to reach them.
Asking around, they discovered the only reason Keenan and the Catfish Crew put up with Bertram was because he was the new boy toy for a powerful whisper named Jettilyn. She lived in a boat brought into town, turned upside down, and adapted to be a house. She surrounded her house with a cemetery of dead domestic animals. The tavern across the street always had relaxing Skovlans so if there was a disturbance they could help.
Wolfram and Aldo brought their gang of adepts to conduct a ritual to suppress magical defenses so they could get into the boat house at 3 a.m. Even with the extra-expensive ingredients (special rabbit fetuses and the like) the mist of trap suppression didn’t quite make it to the door. Figuring their special charms would have to carry them the rest of the way, the intrepid scoundrels closed on the house.
As Aldo used the special spirit lock-pick charm they had purchased for the mission, it twisted in his hand and activated the trap on the door. The latch was closed with hair, and the hair grew into his body, through his veins, towards his heart. Meanwhile the gargoyle perched on the tavern shuddered to life and swooped at them.
Wolfram blew the gargoyle away with electroplasmic shot, then turned his guns on the trap; he shot it up and Aldo vomited out the last of the invasive hair. Attracted by the noise, Skovlan toughs poured out of the tavern; however, after discarding a number of risky plans involving their adept gang, Wolfram and Aldo had engaged the services of one of Baz’s super-tough Lampblack gangs. They were to drink with the Skovlans, then distract them when the attack went down. A brawl broke out.
Wolfram and Aldo broke into the boat house, to find that it was bigger on the inside, and possibly out at sea. Jettilyn faced off with them, and Bertram was unwounded but covered in blood and somewhat strung out at her side, terrified to see the scoundrels. Wolfram raced over and snatched him while Aldo held Jettilyn’s attention. She threatened to meet him in his dreams, getting a foothold in his psyche. Then the rogues escaped back into the less-weird world.
They dropped Bertram off at the hotel where Inspector Kiva was known to stay, not trusting him with bluecoats who may return him to the Catfish Crew. Reward found its way to them through Casta and back channels.
Wolfram finally got a break in his investigation of leviathan blood; a crew of limmers were operating out of Seven Shallows. (He has 5 of the 6 segments to complete his project of figuring out part of the illegal leviathan blood trade!)
Aldo used some of his fortune, the adepts, lots of charms and such, and his fine charm to try and break Jettilyn’s hold on his dreams. He succeeded quickly, before she could do much damage.
Melbek, a thug working for the Crows, has an unnatural interest in whispers. Furious at how Aldo and Wolfram disrespected Jettilyn, he made a traitorous bid to push them out of some of their territory. Refusing to give an inch, Wolfram and Aldo will confront the backstabbing Crow–next time.