We had a great morning and afternoon session of Blades in the Dark for the game day at the Tabletop Game and Hobby store. We had four players for the morning.
- Void. Sebastian Voss, a Tycherosian Hound with a taste for gambling. (Andy)
- Mortimer was his pet songbird from his homeland that ate carrion, but when upset let out a horrifying screech and vibrated feathers to make a terrifying hologram.
- Magpie. Margaret Drummond, a Skovlander Slide, mudflap breed collector. (Laura)
- Flint. Valeris Vode. An Akorosian Cutter who likes the finer things. (Kelly)
- Knick Knack. Podesto Boulevar, Akorosian Lurk, collector of inner workings. (Will)
They showed up to work a job as a gang for the Crows, choosing to operate as Shadows with the assistance of a gang of rooks, the Aristocrats, led by Rusty. They reported in to Virgil.
THE ASSASSIN HEIST
Kodarius was an assassin captured by the military, kept in a safe house guarded by some elite troops. Initial reports indicated some war goats were stabled there, and there might be other complications. Kodarius worked for the Crows previously, and knows too much; either get him out alive, or make sure he doesn’t talk to anyone.
The gang checked around, getting plans that showed where the thick dungeon walls were closest to the sewer. They also procured some “goat amp” smelling salts that drive the massive Doskvallian goats temporarily murderously insane. They scouted out about a dozen troops on site for the squat former watch tower behind a wall, maybe half in the tower itself at any given point.
As they labored to break through the wall between the sewer and the dungeon foundation, the heavy rains above were feeding into the storm drains and raising the water level uncomfortably fast. After spending some time with experts sussing out weak points to help the big soldier, Flint, in her effort to break through, they were low on time and high on water. After incessant nagging, Magpie pulled out a small explosive she had procured in case of such difficulty. After Knick Knack helped place it, they blew a hole big enough to crawl through, and got into the foundation of the watch tower basement.
A quick scouting pass revealed that the dungeon was empty, but there was a guard at the bottom of the stairs. Magpie headed out to distract him, and she baffled him long enough for him to turn his back to lead her upstairs; she struck him, but didn’t knock him out. The others popped out to intimidate him, but he was a tough veteran, and he grabbed Magpie as a hostage. Void shot him through the head all the same.
One of the guards yelled down to see what was going on, and Magpie did a startlingly good job of mimicking the guard’s voice and saying he shot a rat or something, and the guards figured all was well.
Propping the corpse up, they crept up the stairs and saw a lone guard standing guard at the door on the tower ground floor. Void and Flint pounced across the room and snagged the guard, knocking him out and taking him downstairs to interrogate in a cell, all tied up. He revealed that the assassin was in the top of the tower, but he wasn’t very cooperative; they knocked him out, and headed back upstairs in time to see someone coming down. They promptly pounced and knocked that guard out, and as they held a whispered conference about next moves, another headed down and they got him too.
Flint and Void dressed in the downed soldier uniforms while Magpie barred the door (there was a guard on the other side) and Knick Knack waited in reserve. Flint and Void mounted the stairs, their disguises getting them just close enough to act.
Void shot the military commander before he could react, killing him at once. Flint pounced on the assassin, who was casually playing cards with his “captors.” He managed to avoid her killing blow and shiv her, and they had a moment of sudden death grappling where she broke him where he stood. Knick Knack and Void finished off the other guards.
The shooting in the tower was the cue for the Aristocrats, the rook gang lurking outside. They snuck over the wall and into position, and exposed the war goats to goat amp, so they went berserk and drew the attention of the guards while the Aristocrats escaped, and the gang headed for their secret basement escape.
Magpie insisted everyone who saw them must die, and Flint rolled her eyes and eventually did the killings just so they could get out and stop talking about it. The gang sloshed their way to safety through the strong currents in the storm drains.
THE AFTERNOON SESSION
Another scoundrel joined the gang. The other four returned for more!
- Silvertongue. Daxos Vale, an Akorosian Spider accustomed to the finer things.
THE PAPER LANTERN HEIST
In order to get the goat amp for the previous outing, Void had to promise his dealer friend that the guy stalking the dealer’s daughter would be dissuaded. Void escalated the importance of the task to try and provoke Crow sanction on the action, to get himself some reinforcements.
Because the stalker was Barton Swiftly, a champion of the Red Sash temple, the Crows signed off on it. The gang decided to operate as thugs, keeping Rusty and the Aristocrats, and answering to Utrecht for managing territorial issues.
They found out Barton Swiftly was an amazing swordsman, but a bit off kilter as a worshiper of the Forgotten Gods, especially the Key. This mythical figure controlled access between dimensions, and Barton would go pray to one of the hidden shrines after having difficult dreams. Barton was interested in Dyama, the daughter, because she had a blotchy birth mark on her neck that looked to Barton like the fingerprint of his god. Barton wanted to make a baby in her–Barton as the lock, Dyama as the key, and the baby as the opening gate that could reshape all of reality.
Barton could be eccentric because he was protected. Not just by the Red Sashes; after their losses to the Lampblacks they were reduced to a shell of their former presence, just the temple and some high-end drug dens. The real protection was his uncle, Martin Swiftly, bodyguard to the Chancellor of the City Council.
They did some looking into the constellation of lovers maintained as an open secret by Martin and his wife. They also discovered he had a brace of blades as his prized possessions, for Domastay style fighting. Also, his relationship with Tyvor, the leader of the Red Sashes (now reduced to under 100 in membership total, with maybe 30 good fighters and 3-4 champions) was troubled.
Flint looked into the locations of shrines to the Key, and when she found out, she wrecked one. That granted her plenty of enmity with followers of the Forgotten Gods; a threat to the worship of one was a serious threat to the worship of all.
Some Red Sashes and cultists ambushed her in an alley, but she downed them all with her combat ability and took their equipment, selling some and keeping the rest for a disguise.
They discovered the Feast of Paper Lanterns, an annual event, was coming up. The Red Sashes hired out a nearby stone temple that was normally a street market, sweeping out the vendors and holding duels and dancing and such for a special night.
Both Martin and Barton would be there. If they could shame Barton publicly, they could rob him of Martin’s support and make him vulnerable.
Magpie worked with her tavern owner friend, who bad-mouthed her to the one coordinating entertainment (wh0 didn’t like the tavern owner) so Magpie got hired on as a vendor. She sub-contracted to Knick Knack to help sell her wares. She dropped the coin to custom make some hair pins that dangled a glowing shape that made a reflection on a lady’s neck something like the birthmark on Dyama’s neck, just to throw Barton off. (They ended up being so popular men stuck them through their sashes or belts to draw the eye to the cod piece area.)
Rusty and his Aristocrats couldn’t get hired for security, but they did get hired for catering, so they were at hand. Void set himself up in a shooting position to monitor the situation from the next block over. Silvertongue arranged himself in position to cause mischief outside if events warranted a distraction or something. Flint disguised herself as a Red Sash.
They also procured some rancid trance powder beforehand; the stuff that went wrong in the making that couldn’t be sold to customers, because it would trigger a bad trip.
That Wild Party
As the hairpins sold, and Magpie mingled with Knick Knack and the crowd, one of the Red Sashes observed to Flint that her sash meant in the duels later she wanted to fight to the death; a small but telling detail. She smiled mysteriously and told them it was on purpose. Eventually Barton was out in public, as was his uncle.
In the process of blowing confetti around, Knick Knack blew rancid trance powder, catching Barton and the two people flanking him. The bad trip hit immediately; Magpie had also arranged for some henna tattoos matching the birthmark on some of the prostitutes, so the already off-balance champion was incensed.
Upset by the blasphemy, Barton drew his sword and struck the head off a prostitute, provoking a shocked and violent response from the people around him as he waved his bloody blade around. That should do it; the gang went into escape mode.
As Magpie and Knick Knack flowed out with the crowd, a cultist/Red Sash member recognized Flint as a shrine desecrator and tried to stop her. Void fired a shot to hit something nearby and distract him, and she fought free before others could try and stop her.
The shot did draw the attention of bluecoats on the street, so Void’s escape was no longer straightforward.
Silvertongue felt the situation needed more chaos, so he ignited his coat, used it to set a wagon on fire, and sent it careening down the hill; it crushed a bluecoat before smashing the Red Sash leader’s coach, setting the hindquarters of the two rear goats aflame. All four goats broke loose and began taking out their anxious feelings on anyone nearby.
Magpie, Knick Knack, and Flint made it to the getaway gondola. Silvertongue showed up as they were at the edge of escaping, but Void was having a hard time shaking pursuit and catching up. Using his hunting skill for some cat and mouse, he got some breathing space and managed to rush towards them. An organ grinder had been secured ahead of time to help cover escape for those lagging behind, and as the grinder played, it fired some fireworks that started one of the goats that was liberated from the wagon, who ran out of an alley and almost crushed Void. He escaped by dodging, and the goat fell into the canal and was swarmed by something under the surface. They managed to get away.
Barton never recovered from the bad trance trip. He was imprisoned in an asylum. Also, the surviving Red Sash organization was banished from the Crow’s Foot neighborhood; they were always trouble, but this was too much public endangerment. They limped to Charhallow and tried to rebuild.
THE GRAND CONSPIRACY
The session was low on time, but the gang wanted to do one more heist. This grew into a conspiracy with three big moving parts. Giving up down time and heist actions, we instead zoomed in and out for scale with dizzying speed, managing the various parts of their complex plan.
The overall idea was to make sure Martin Swiftly never connected the fate of his nephew to the Crows, and to do some kingmaking in the process. In their first heist, they discovered the captain who had the assassin was rivals with Captain Lassitax, a brash young officer with his eye on becoming a general. Here is their plan.
The Red Sash Threat
If Captain Lassitax became a general because the Crows helped him, he would have a powerful ally and so would they. So, they researched generals, finding one who was ailing and in his later years, General Borlaine. That’s the one Lassitax could replace. They could make Lassitax a hero if they discovered a threat to national security and let him get the credit for solving it.
To this end, they dug around and found out General Borlaine’s bastard son was in the military, secretly and silently protected by his father’s influence without his knowledge. They attacked the boy and killed him, stringing him up with a Red Sash.
Switching uniforms, they killed Red Sashes and soldiers, fomenting tension. They also spread the rumor that Martin blamed the military for what happened to his nephew.
They then had Magpie be their contact with Captain Lassitax, giving him inside information on Martin’s treason. Lassitax was the one who led the inspectors into action, taking Martin into custody and putting him on trial for his crimes. (Maybe planted evidence?)
That went well enough, but Lassitax contacted them because he was having trouble getting actionable scandal material on General Borlaine. Could they help with that? Or… something?
They slyly agreed, going for the “or something.” They dug around and found that the only gap in his security was he had an escort in a blue dress every Thursday from Lysander’s operation. They waylaid the escort, stealing her dress, and Flint went in as the escort with Void at her side, and the others arranged to have procured a statue of the style the general liked, and had it delivered to the loading bay, with material inside vital to the mission.
They got in, got to the poison and weapons, and Flint got in to see the general. She subdued and suffocated him, and after a suitable interval, they left, barely slipping out as the alarm was raised and the General was found.
For political reasons it was ruled natural causes, and Lassitax ascended to head of an expeditionary force. The Crows had shifted power in the military structure–something their new ally would not quickly forget!
As for this gang of the Crow’s outfit, they looked long and hard at the former high end drug dens abandoned by the Red Sashes in the Crow’s Foot neighborhood. Seems like there could be an opportunity there…