Whipping Up a Heist in Duskwall

So I released this deck for Blades in the Dark.

Duskwall heist deck nameplate

The idea here is that you could need a heist in short order, and generate one with the cards. You draw two important people, figuring one will hire you to hit the other one. Then you draw a treasure card; the heist has something to do with that. Finally, draw three special obstacles to add to the sort of obstacles you’d already expect.

Synthesize it all together, and you’ve got some inspiration for the heist location, and some ideas for how it all fits together. You can either do it fast, on the spot, or some time ahead and give your back-brain time to simmer over it and refine the ideas.

Anyway, here is a smash-’em-out quick heist I did with the deck.

Tempest in a Teacup

Minister Fourteen calls the crew in. He’s a blind Skovlander who holds court on the docks, usually in a grungy basement. He sent his messenger Throk to get the crew, and now he’s talking things over with them.

Turns out he’s got a line on a teacup. Not just any teacup–it’s from the Kasavaraya Tea Set, a famous bit of tableware. When the Immortal Emperor first came to Akoros 400 years ago, he used the tea set with the patriarch of the Kasavaraya family. The family still has the whole set, which is a major prestige piece-except for one cup, and one saucer.

Minister Fourteen has heard that Serlevica the Brander, a spy Whisper, may have found the teacup. She is served by a small army of rats. She brands them, and then can see through their eyes to scout and explore and so on.

She recently dropped out of sight, muttering something about having found something big. Minister Fourteen used his not inconsiderable spy network to try and figure out what she might be hiding, and he thinks he knows.

Anyway, he can’t move against her directly. So, plausible deniability, etc. that comes with hiring the crew to do this all quiet-like. He recommends they bring the cup to him, as he’ll pay them handsomely for it, and it’s a difficult thing to monetize (but he’s got the right contacts to use it for proper leverage.)

Serlevica is hiding out in the Sandwall Point, an abandoned ruin of a lighthouse. Word on the street is that she has enchanted the busted lanterns around the place so they light up bright if they detect life force, so she will be difficult to surprise.

She has also been offering food and drugs to the nearby destitute, so there is a veritable pack of crazy beggars squatting around the only easy entry point by land. Getting in or out that way will be a problem, and they’ll be alert to light from the lanterns.

Finally, Minister Fourteen caught wind that she had something to protect when she hit a locksmith’s store and cleaned out all his padlocks. She’s likely secured herself in the labyrinthene tunnels under the lighthouse, with her rats to keep an eye out for her, and her maniac beggars, and her magic lanterns. That’s why he’s paying them so well–if it was easy, anyone could do it.

Now the players start thinking about ways around those defenses, and the GM can start rounding out the heist with further twists and turns! But that’s enough to kick things off and let the glorious improvisation ramp up.

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