My home table is giving Blades in the Dark another try, Rules as Written.
- Ashes. (Kristy) An Akorosian Spider, bffs with Salia (an information broker) and frenemy with Jerren (a bluecoat archivist.)
- Echo. (Iris) An Akorosian Whisper, bffs with Gellen (a witch) and frenemy with Sattara (a demon.)
- Needles. (Matthew) An Iruvian Cutter, bffs with Marlene (a pugalist) and frenemy with Mercy (a cold killer.)
- Pledge. (Elizabeth) An Akorosizan Slide, bffs with Baz (leader of the Lampblacks) and frenemy with Nyrx (a prostitute.)
- Zero. (Simon) An Iruvian Hound, bffs with Valeris (a spy) and frenemy with Casta (a bounty hunter.) Pet is Ishtera, a shape-shifting puma who can be a kitten or a great hunting cat.
- Deadlock. (Shaun) A Dagger Islander Lurk, bffs with Darmot (a bluecoat) and frenemy with Frake (a locksmith.)
This savvy crew of shadows has a lair in the clocktower over a pub (cleverly named “The Clocktower.”) Their hunting ground is everywhere the clocktower light touches. They inherited the lair from the Gondoliers (+1) who left it packed with stuff (packrats).
They have retained the services of a doctor who frequents the pub, named Doctor Albus Feelgood. He used to be on call for the Cyphers, looking after their endless stables of prostitutes, but he wanted out of that work and the crew gave him protection so he could leave (Cyphers -1). The doctor is grateful to them, and effective enough when he’s sober (loyal, unreliable.)
They are good friends with Amancio, the deal broker. He has contacts with the Iruvian Consulate (+1) and there’s bad blood between him and the Grinders (-1) who lack finesse and resent his refusal to send work their way.
The crew has paid off the Crows, who will look the other way as long as they don’t get too rowdy. Now it’s time to make a name for themselves in Crow’s Foot.
The Sea Witch’s Ghost
Amancio had tea with Ashes and her crewmates, and told them about a ghost on the canal that was frightening people. He heard that it was offering people a job, and he though that this fledgeling crew might be interested.
Ashes and Echo went to talk to the ghost, and found her restless as she appeared to them on the canal walkway. She told them if they could get Wulf Ironborn (son of Ulf Ironborn, apparently the family adds a letter to the first name every generation) to go to the tower overhanging the canal, they could get a treasure that only he would have access to. What would the treasure do? The ghost whispered that answer into Echo’s ear, and sealed it so Echo would remember when the time was right.
The ghost of the sea witch also told them her corpse was rotting above, in the basement of the overhanging tower. And, if they brought her Wulf alive so she could destroy him, she would reward them.
Riding the Wulf
They did their due diligence, then made their move on a night when the Skovlander refugees were celebrating and there was a big party in the public house that Wulf frequented, a few blocks from the guard tower.
(Ulf Ironborn acts as a goon, as a regulator; if the oppression of the Skovlanders gets too bad, he and his tough warriors strike back brutally, so there are some lines that the dominant culture is reluctant to cross in treading on the Skovlander refugee community.)
They found out Wulf liked to hire exclusive escorts from the Dusky Rose service, so Needles dressed herself provocatively with Zero as her bodyguard. Ashes helped them navigate their way past the doorkeeping woman who guarded access to the upstairs, where Wulf and half a dozen massive Skovlanders were enjoying their own little party.
They persuaded all the men to leave (except Goff, a massive stupid man who was determined to guard his boss.) Then Needles persuaded him to take her to the tower, which was apparently a secret treasure stash where Ulf kept unique valuables for the refugee community beneath the notice of the greedy government.
The guards reluctantly opened the door for Wulf, who dismissed them, leaving Goff to guard downstairs while he went upstairs with Needles. Meanwhile, Deadlock had climbed up to the top of the tower, with a block and tackle ready to lower loot down to a waiting gondola on the canal.
Deadlock climbed down and entered the tower’s upper level, as Needles distracted Wulf with her feminine charms. The two of them knocked Wulf senseless, and Needles sent Goff to go get something to drink; the two guards sullenly returned as Goff left. They were summarily disabled by Needles and Deadlock, who opened the way for the rest of the crew.
Pledge and Echo dragged Wulf’s senseless body around to the stairs and down, but ran into two bluecoats who casually moved to apprehend them. Zero fired his gun and ran off, but didn’t quite rate a response from the bluecoats who smelled more money on those dragging a Skovlander down the stairs.
They changed their tune when the sea witch’s ghost showed up. The sea witch’s ghost dragged Wulf down into the canal, and offered up in exchange an iron Skovlander combt dagger that Wulf had been carrying, now infused with ghost energy so it could wound the incorporeal.
Goff came back to check on things and found his master being stolen and Needles betraying them. He fought her, and she managed to fend him off, but his brutality drove her away down the street, and her crewmates could not find her afterwards. (Trauma’d out!)
Meanwhile they looted the tower of its understated yet gaudy riches. One of the boxes was well locked, secured far beyond the others, and radiating energy into the ghost field. They loaded all the loot up and made their getaway with the gondola.
The Blade in the Box
Back in the clocktower, they took their time and jimmied the box open. It contained a finely crafted iron sword. Upon seeing it, Echo remembered what the sea witch told her; that blade contained Ulf Ironborn’s life force. So long as it was unbroken, he would survive, but should it shatter, so too would he.
They killed his son, and now they held his life in their hands.