Lasers and Feelings and Azathoth

Sometimes I’m just not sure what to do with a Lasers and Feelings game. I’m putting this on my blog so next time I need a quick idea in a hurry (or a couple I can mash together) I’ve got some one-stop-shopping.

Then use Google to do an image search on “azathoth.”

Consult Rafael Chandler’s “Starship from Hell” just for fun, and if you want a deeper treatment of aliens or an alien relic or site, “Dead Names.”

space wallpaper

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The Space Game I Want to Run

So here it is; a mash-up of Star Wars, Firefly, and Cowboy Bebop. The concept is simple.

There’s a light freighter that handles cargo loads and has ties to the rebels in the Star Wars setting. It looks just like a Firefly class ship, right down to the internal layout.

It has two small ship bays, accessible from internal points. One houses a Headhunter, the other a refurbished Eta-2 interceptor. These belong to bounty hunters who provide muscle for the host ship, as well as using it as a base for hyperdrive jumps.

The freighter travels around in a sector I design for play. Missions may be based in bounties, cargo runs, rebel plots, or a combination of those elements. Complications rise from tight budgets, friends/enemies/frenemies, treasonous activity, and criminal activity.

Eta-2_Interceptor Z95headhunter_negvv e86b_firefly_serenity_giant_wall_decal

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The Devil, John Moulton (Part Two)

Prevdevil-johniously, on “The Devil, John Moulton,” they found a town with signs the warlock had been through, and got a sense of the lay of the land. You can read all about it here.

Let’s Play

Bower and Manly headed for “Shark” Nelson’s saloon, Manly limping because of the snake bite and Bower’s hand itching and burning from the spilled venom that marked him somehow.

They strolled past the deputy on guard at the back, and headed into a plush poker room with a felt-topped table and a bar and drapes on the walls, all the comforts you would want in a friendly game.

Nelson welcomed them, and had the Doc in to play. Miss West, the veterinarian, incongruously came in to help herself to some whiskey, and no one seemed to mind. The Texan also joined them, hurled down the stairs and followed by some deputies. They were supposed to shoot him and bury him shallow, but they had a problem; Nelson whispered with them about it as the Texan asked them for a gun, but no one seemed willing to help him out.

To keep it interesting, they played for stakes in the mine, and all that entailed. The Texan was not dealt in, because Nelson casually explained he was dead no matter what. Bower won the first round handily, showing off his preternatural cool as he was gaining a number of shares in the mine.

Screams in the Dark

They heard a scream outside. A deputy came flying in, bemurked in the filth from the water tower creature; he was hurt, but perhaps even more panicked than injured.

As the other deputies went out to investigate, Nelson shot the Texan in the head and deputized everyone else to deal with this. He opened the gun cabinet, and gave everyone guns if they wanted them (and a derringer to Manly.) He sent Manly out to investigate. Bold, Manley stepped out to notice there was a peculiar effect of darkness close to the building, and silhouettes of the skyline. He followed the dropped shotgun and discarded boot of a missing deputy around to the front, where the slime monster from the water tower attacked.

The massive blow sent him flying, but he managed to scramble to his feet and escape back into the poker cellar. The world was tightening around this spot, no one could escape; it became clear that Miss West was trapping everyone here, and she was a witch. She didn’t care if Nelson lived or died; he was a necessary evil, someone had to run the show.

Bower invoked his demonic miracle and summoned demons to drag her off to Hell. Since she was tightly constraining what could come or go, there was the thinnest chance their clashing miracles would deflect from one another; indeed, there was a lock-up in the supernatural action as Moulton himself strolled in unimpeded. He offered to play Bower poker to see whose miracle would work.

Bower wasn’t having any of that. He insisted any miracle worth his soul should work as advertised. Moulton consulted his impossibly large ledger, its pages scabbed with close-packed script in blood, and ruled in Bower’s favor. The witch veterinarian shrieked as she was dragged to Hell, and Moulton tipped his hat and left.

More Death in the Poker Room

Bower wasn’t the only one keeping his cool. While Nelson wibbled and wet himself after viewing that exchange, Doc wryly observed they actually annoyed Moulton, something he hadn’t seen in a hundred years. Manly and Bower wasted no time throwing down on him, but he snapped his fingers and vanished, their bullets slashing through space he previously occupied.

About then the door burst open and the slime monster came for them. Those in the poker room took off, Nelson in the lead, except for Manly and Bower. Manly flung bottles of whiskey at it followed by a hurricane lamp, and it lit up. The monster was consumed by agony, and thrashed against the walls, now sporting glass shard claws and a patina of alcohol-fueled flame. They left, slamming the door and hoping it would be stuck in there long enough to die.

Showdown on Main Street

As they got to the main street, there was a mob of a couple dozen townsfolk wondering what was going on. Doc appeared at the back of the mob and pointed out the newcomers to town were burning it down; they protested that there was a dead witch, and possibly a dead monster, and Doc pointed out they were admitting to murder and arson. The crowd got enthusiastic, but Manly cooled their ardor by blowing Doc’s cover with a pistol full of bullets; Doc snapped his fingers, but maybe caught some lead first.

Driving home the point that they were surrounded by the supernatural, Bower and Manly appealed to the superstitious fear of the crowd, reminding them of the preacher and his fate and of the evidence of their eyes with a vanishing man, and half of them dissipated. The other half didn’t like the look of the shotguns the witches held, and they sloped off too.

The Prison Slum

About then a young man ran into town looking for Doc, or the vet, because one of the kids had something SERIOUSLY wrong with him. Manly claimed medical knowledge, and they followed the teenager to the nearby slum tents where the mine kept their child slave labor.

One of the children was badly desiccated, like a mummy, drained of essence. As Manly listened to the corpse’s chest for a heartbeat, it snapped into action, clutching his head and chewing for brains. Bower whapped it with the Bible and it subsided, some of its bones falling to powder.

They heard a scream from an adjacent tent and raced over to find Doc slurping the life out of another child to heal up and possibly recharge his teleporting miracle. As Manly shot him some more, Bower slapped him with the Bible, so he regurgitated life force into the child as he was destroyed himself. He lay on the ground, curling like a bug as life left him, and he whispered that they could no longer hunt Moulton; now he would hunt THEM.

Escaping the Devil, John Moulton

No sooner had Doc expired but hot winds picked up, and they knew the Devil, John Moulton, was waiting for them outside. They ran for it, gasping for air in the increasing pressure as they pushed through the unfamiliar woods at night, breaching the edge of the woods behind the town and sensing the stark silhouette of Moulton waiting on Main Street. The fire had been sucked out of the tavern, and its skeleton stood glowing and pulsing like a rune made of embers.

Refusing to face their fate on such uneven terms, they sprinted around behind the town, headed for the church. On the way, Manly spotted a dog, and needed to drain its life to heal. The mangy mutt was savage and uncooperative, but Bower helped pin it down; he was shocked when Manly drained it, punching him so he fell in the dirt of the ally, insisting he never be made a part of that sort of sacrifice without his consent again. Manly just laughed; what kind of “next time” was there likely to be at this point? They continued towards the church.

They soon saw it, as all the fire from the tavern was flaring through it; also, snakes poured through the underbrush towards them.

Swinging on low-hanging branches or leaping from boulder to boulder, the pair managed to evade the snakes and burst clear of the treeline in the clearing, staring down the Devil as he stood with his pistol out and the flaming church reflected in his eyes (even though it was behind him.)

The Inevitable Showdown

Bower and Manly cursed the slim warlock, then guns came out and fire blasted. His hand cannon had no exhaust that was visible here, its smoke clouding his true form that was invisible to the eye. The witches scattered to the treeline in vain hope of cover as he blew a couple trees in half. At the ragged end of their lives, they only had one more chance.

Grim, Moulton parted reality like a curtain and summoned in a hell hound to finish off these pesky witches.

Hating himself for doing it, Manly maneuvered around behind Bower, who was furiously consulting the Bible in hopes of finding a clue. Bower was indeed one of the only things that could stop Moulton’s bullet, and as he flew back torn almost in half and plunging towards Hell, Manly charged the warlock.

Manly’s gun roared at point blank range, tearing through Moulton’s chest; as the warlock fell, the craters in his torso crisped and flared with fire, and he hit the ground as a peal of thunder crackled overhead. Manly was hit from behind by the hell hound, and fell on Moulton–no, THROUGH him, and they took the hound with them as they all toppled towards the hissing lake of fire that waited for them below.

(Seriously, for a game like this, what you see here is about the closest thing you get to a happy ending.)

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One Last Job: Kill Dracula!

We played about 3 hours with 3 players (and me) trying to kill Dracula. The game system is “One Last Job.” This is how it went down.

What Happened in London?

The crew thought they had made peace with Dracula as they were operating in his territory, for that job in London. They thought it all went wrong because heists sometimes do that.

What they did NOT realize is that he bribed their astrologer to put in some funny numbers, so when they thought the stars were right, they were wrong as hell. If that’s not enough, he got Eunice Holmes tipped to their case, and she is just implacable when it comes to seam ripping a well-stitched heist.

To top it off, only Dracula knew their backup rendezvous point where they’d meet if it all went wrong. And that’s where they were mysteriously hit the whole take vanished in the blink of an eye.

Nothing went right after that, and nobody talked to each other. The disaster was too hot, and eventually when it cooled, just too painful.

But Dracula just couldn’t keep his mouth shut. He had to brag. He just HAD to. Then word got out. And once word gets out, it’s going to make it to the Egyptian; he’s eccentric as hell, but he’s got the best intel in both the criminal and supernatural underworlds. When he heard Dracula was behind the London fiasco, he had to act.


The Egyptian went to Douglas “Whipper” Belmont first, to get him on board as the one who would face and kill Dracula. As a Belmont, he was pretty much an expert on finding, battling, and destroying vampires.

Belmont and the Egyptian knew they’d be facing an army of vampire brides; in the age of the internet, Dracula set up pockets of brides all over the world, so he could have whatever ethnicity and cultural flavor he preferred a short plane ride away. Each of his safe houses has bride protection. Nobody gets through brides like Ruthven Byron.

Unprepossessing to mortals perhaps, Byron exudes magnetic charm that supernatural creatures cannot withstand. They caught up to him crooning on a stage in Reno, and his show was interrupted by a werewolf leaping onto the stage. The staff were NOT happy, but the audience was trying to work out whether it was part of the act. Byron just kept singing, her anger evaporated, and by the end of the number she was licking him (presumably again.) By the time Belmont made his pitch, Byron was ready to go.

There was the matter of Dracula’s fortress. They found out he would be in Albuquerque, where he was building a steel tower, mighty and tall, and the top five floors would have state-of-the-art security and an army of guards. To get through all that, they needed a fantastically skilled full frontal infiltrator. The best weren’t available, but they knew their old buddy Monsignor “Spider” Flugel was just the acrobatic ninja priest for the job.

Belmont and Byron headed to California, where Flugel had a peculiar Redwood Zipline Mission; those who agreed to get religion were fired down a zipline, had an ecstatic conversion, then got a stipend to spread the word. Flugel and his niece Martha had a brisk pace of shrieking conversions going when the hunters approached. Flugel wasn’t interested at first, but realized going with them was the only way to get them away from Martha; he didn’t like the way she was eyeing the recruiting scoundrels. He did make them promise if anything happened to him they’d take care of Martha. An easy promise to make, and they were on their way to Albuquerque.

The Bridello

A mix of “bride” and “bordello” indeed, the women were dressed in terrible cowboy outfits at a permanent raver party high in the tower adjacent to Dracula’s lair. The hunters blew the door open and came in fighting, using exorcism prayers and kung fu and head butting to cut a swathe through the buxom demonesses.

Byron took out the DJ right away, stealing his ten gallon cowboy hat painted with Cat in the Hat stripes, and swapped out their raver music for his lounge music, arousing the monstrous predators with his violent moves. He tried to break the windows, but it was surprising he failed; that was kind of his thing. Back when they fought the Marquis on his yacht, with his sado-masochistic thugs in powdered wigs, the Monsignor told him that Ophelia was the patron saint of defenestration. Maybe she wasn’t around for this attempt.

After getting kicked around and tossed into a few walls, the Monsignor sprayed the vampire women with holy water from extended beer bottles, then fell back on trying to bless the water in the hot tub to make it holy water, then tip it out to rush across the floor. (His overconfidence may be excused, he pulled off a similar move on the Marquis’s yacht back in the day.) Perhaps there was one too many vampires already in the sauce for it to turn holy so fast.

Finally Belmont confronted their leader, who wore a short short denim skirt and a leather gimp mask under her cowboy hat. After some rousing combat, he chucked her through the window; she turned into a descending comet, only ashes and jewelry reaching the street.

With the brides scattered, they got to work on the next phase of the plan.

Tower Assault

Firing a zip line across to Dracula’s tower, they started on it to get momentum, then cunningly deviated from where security expected them to breach, whipping out patagia on their wing suits and aiming for upper floors!

On the first pass, the only one who could get through the glass was the Monsignor. This was surprising, as back in the day Belmont could have done it for sure; ever since he faced off with Putin in Russia when Putin was just a clerk, he’s been all about the head banging. He was fighting Putin, each move countered, until he headbutted him unconscious in the snow. Ever since then, he tends to start and end fights with his forehead.

Of course, Belmont was just as surprised that Byron couldn’t seem to manage getting through the security glass first try. He was a male nurse at Byron’s birth, and the baby just popped out, had to be caught. (He also mentioned Byron was born with a gold medallion, wearing a shirt open to the navel, but that may be elaboration.)

As the Monsignor fought off the security forces armed with machine guns, he managed to toss a line out the open window to help the others get in; they did, with a vengeance. As Belmont bowled over a line of guards, the Monsignor twirled a brutal ballet through the ranks. However, he soaked up a LOT of gunfire and ended crumpled in a bloody heap.

Byron remembered that the Monsignor used to carry some enchanted blood for healing, and found some in a bullet-creased pocket in the Monsignor’s clothes. He fed it to the Jesuit acrobat ninja, who revived (but did not tell them the effects are temporary at best; he knew the battle with Dracula would be his last fight.)

Meanwhile Belmont rose, woozy from the near misses and head butting. He could tell that something in his brain was bleeding, and it was time to get Dracula or nothing meant anything! He gruffly ordered the hunters upstairs, where the final confrontation waited.

Facing Dracula

They burst in on Dracula in the chapel the evil vampire built to his own ego, complete with stained glass of his finest moments. Since Dracula strives always to assimilate where he lives, he wore an impeccable square dance outfit with a stylish hat, and mocked them in a perfect Texas accent.

The hunters started to make their move, and he laughed as his kung fu master dressed all in red silk with paired kama leaped out to take them on. Fortunately Byron had given Belmont a blessed and enchanted headband with a holy symbol on the forehead, and the monster hunter battered the kung fu master to death with his face.

Byron sailed past him to try and use his stomping boots to take on the master vampire, but he was contemptuously tossed away. On his other flank, the Monsignor closed in and assaulted him with acrobatics, staggering him just enough for Belmont to loom on his other flank and bash him in the face with his blessed forehead.

Dracula’s arrogance proved misplaced as the hunters gathered around him, battering at him, and the Monsignor pulled out a stake with a fragment of the True Cross in it, puncturing  his withered heart! As Dracula staggered, Belmont pulled out a machine built by a descendent of Count Rugen that was designed to contain Dracula’s evil essence so this time, THIS TIME he would not be able to rise again!

Victorious, the hunters slumped down. The Monsignor had some poignant last words, and expired. Belmont realized his whole life had only ever had meaning because of Dracula, his entire line and Dracula intertwined in life and death, and he snuggled up to the vampire’s smouldering corpse as he sobbed, then died. Only a very battered Byron was left to celebrate the hunters’ ultimate victory.

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Summary of Blades in the Dark Worldbuilding

BitD Title_01 by James Dudli

I’ve done a bit of world building for Blades in the Dark. Let’s summarize!

Tales of the Unrecommendables (Play Reports)

Tales of the Crow Gangs (Open table play reports)

Various Other Tales (Play Reports)

I am steeped in the Thief games, Dishonored, and Warhammer, so of course that flavors my baseline. I also found “Death of a Necromancer” to be a formative book (by Martha Wells), and it sort of has a mash-up of Sherlock Holmes, corrupted fey, and Victorian seances. Plus I have a Gothic problem. So, that’s the soil my city grows in.

Supernatural stuff is only ever an amplification of realistic concerns writ large. So for me, Duskwall is an empire, so it is by its nature vampiric; it lives off the life force of the leviathans, and it is unsteady in its power. Those who live by stolen energy roil in it upon death, and the city draws in more than it can contain.

Using ghosts means using images of stolen power lingering past death. The grasping continue to grasp, the victims snatch what power they can or find their need and hate filled out in an echo of electroplasm.

Duskwall is a city that is desperately unreflective. It is rooted in the Iron Law of Distribution–them that has, gets. Like all empires, its essence is theft and injustice. If the concept of fairness got a decent hearing, power would be stripped from the powerful and given to those reduced to desperate subsistence or slave work. The living can never allow that, and they fuel their industry on the living; when the living die, then their life force is scrubbed out, or repurposed to continue fueling the empire.

No one wants real justice, because it would destroy the world they know. Instead, they want power to claim a better place in that world. Anyone who does want to restructure the status quo is a profound threat to everyone else, and bitter enemies will close ranks to destroy them.

That is the city stance, its foundation and flavor. Like a martial arts stance, it is about stability and balance, and you can go lots of directions from there. See how it informs how the nobles interact? How the criminal classes know which lines they can cross and which they can’t? How the supernatural ebbs and flows, how to use it, and what sub-plots it may best underscore?

To sum up: everyone in this city is a vampire, feeding from other vampires. The weak and the victims aren’t very good at it. The aristocrats use the law to manage harvesting the life owed them. All energy flows to the center, and when there’s a break in the draw then there is chaos until a new route is established and life again flows to the center.

The wheel goes round, but that only matters to those on the rim.

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Blades in the Dark: Soul Food

BitD Title_01 by James Dudli

Open table, 5 players, 2:30 including making a couple characters. This is my last open table game with the quick start, because the Unrecommendables are in version freeze and I don’t want to try to keep two versions of the game in my head ready to run at once. This episode ran on quickstart version 3f.

Noose, a slide. Spider, a whisper. Shadow, a lurk. Boots, a hound. Oak, a cutter.

They chose to operate as adepts, lairing in the back of a tailor’s shop, working for Virgil. (Gang rules.)


They met with Virgil, who told them things were heating up with the feud involving the Wax Masks. Someone kidnapped the spirifer in charge of the gang, and the spirits are going nuts; either they are stuck in bodies and become vampires, or they go out fighting, or they find another fate. Their future has little hope or longevity, and many are lashing out at the Crows figuring they were involved in the kidnapping because they are at war.

Lyssa, leader of the Crows, came in looking rough. She had four bodyguards–Spider and Oak both realized one of them was spirit-ridden. The possessed guard tried to shoot Spider, but Oak knocked the guns aside and killed the guard, then focused to help Spider capture the escaping spirit with his fine spirit anchor. Obviously the situation is out of hand!

Before the disruption, a shipment of spirits was sent from Iruvia to reinforce the Wax Masks. Currently, it was held at a warehouse that was well guarded. Get in, find the box of spirits, bring it out, and get double pay! (2 Coin.)


Shadow came up with the idea of planting evidence that some of the bluecoats guarding the warehouse were spirit-ridden and untrustworthy. He got Noose to write some incendiary evidence (unfortunately on paper that would be easily traced back to Dan Street Correspondence, but he needed lots of paper in a hurry) then he snuck in and left it in the pigeonhole message area (but was spotted before he could plant more evidence deeper in the warehouse.)

Because of the fresh suspicion, more bluecoats were called in for extensive testing by whispers, reducing the manpower available to guard the warehouse.

Boots cozied up to a drunk guard who was whining about how he was supposed to fix these three or four storm drain covers on the big drain under the warehouse, but there was something scary down there, and he didn’t have the money or the time or the help he needed and deserved. (The bluecoat, Krefler, is certainly going to be fired or imprisoned for letting that slip.)

Oak talked to his boxing friend and arranged for him to bring some lads around and start a fight in the street about the time the mission was to go down, so some of the guards would be distracted and there would be fewer to deal with.

Spider hit the books and studied up on the scant lore on the Iruvian tradition of spirifers, their own spirit manipulators that use mesmerism and peculiar long spindly brass implements to insert and remove souls.

The Heist Begins

Coming out of the drain system behind the three levels of security into the warehouse, they took a moment to be astounded by the sheer volume of space inside. Globes of modest light allowed for basic navigation. They headed out into the warehouse to find the souls.

They all dressed as bluecoats except Noose, who dressed as a Chief Inspector (complete with shiny badge.) Still, they kept a low profile and managed to identify and avoid two roving patrols of bluecoats, four to each patrol.

Oak focused on the bluecoats to see if any of them were possessed, and he detected one in a patrol. However, he also accidentally tuned in to see the supernatural protections on the warehouse, and they unsettled him. The interior was painted in undying leviathan blood runes, iterations of the name of a leviathan. Any spirit not in a physical form (like riding a body or trapped in a crystal) would evaporate in here, vanishing into the endless hunger of the leviathan that corresponded with the name, deep in the Never Sea elsewhere.

The name was painted up like ribs, filling the warehouse with supernatural pressure; maybe this is the air that the leviathan was breathing out in the deeps. The level of collusion with a demon was distressing, as were the implications of the symbols that burned themselves into Oak’s mind.

The Guards

Meanwhile Spider managed to track the energy signature to a secure area at the side of the warehouse, with two iron-hard veteran house guard bluecoats guarding it. The scoundrels formed a plan.

Noose strutted out as Chief Inspector, with Oak as his loyal (and potentially more competent) assistant. He was not very convincing that there were intruders afoot, but Oak sold the bit with the legitimate uneasiness and fear in his eyes. One of the guards reluctantly agreed to go along and check out the spirit-ridden guard. The remaining guard got more paranoid in his stance.

Once they left, Boots helped boost Shadow up in place, to go around on the roof and get the drop on the remaining guard. Shadow saw a skeleton of a great cat wired together and seemingly discarded on the roof of the shack, but steered clear of it.

Spider came out of the shadows pretending to be lost, trying to catch up with the Chief Inspector. The guard didn’t buy his act, but he didn’t need to; the distraction served long enough for Shadow to drop behind him and kill him out of hand. Boots watched from the shadows as Spider and Shadow rifled the guards’ pockets and came up with a ring of seven keys–but which one was the right one?

Noose and Oak convinced the guard to take them to the patrol, describing the appearance of the spirit-ridden guard. Along the way, the guard’s natural suspicion rose again, and this time he demanded papers; Noose distracted him with a sheaf of papers long enough for Oak to jump on him, taking a blade on his armor, and choke him out to unconsciousness.

They had dropped coins along the way, so as not to be lost in the trackless warehouse. They returned to the secured subsection of the warehouse just in time to witness the attack.

Raiding the Secure Storage

Bickering over keys, Spider checked them studiously for wear and sympathetic use while Shadow checked them to see what he thought would be the right build for the lock type. They tried the wrong key before finding the right one. As Spider went down the rows looking for the Iruvian cargo, the bones on the roof above animated. Boots spotted them and warned Shadow right before they came at him.

Shadow feinted with his shadow cloak and dispatched the pouncing cat-thing with one swipe. Meanwhile Spider came wobbling out with the heavy crate of souls. Oak hefted the box, and together the rogues made their getaway, barely reaching the exit point as the shutters started rolling down. They escaped into the fog.

Meeting back at the tailor shop’s back room, they briefly discussed alternatives to selling the souls to the Crows, but decided to do what they were hired to do. The souls went to the Crows, and the gang pulled off another successful heist.

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Blades in the Dark: Unrecommendables: Piece of Cake

BitD Title_01 by James Dudli

As it turns out, Wolfram bumped into a former shipmate, and realized he was being summoned by the Forgotten Gods to go on a pilgrimage to the Dagger Isles. He boarded a ship, but the protothought Tsothoggua in his head resonated poorly with the Dreamer under the Never Sea, and he had a high fever. He was isolated on the voyage, and kicked out on the Dagger Isles, where he recovered enough to crawl aboard and stow away on a ship headed back to Duskwall. He slept in fever dreams that traveled distant lands the whole trip, and upon awaking was buried in over 200 furry corpses of rats that were drawn to the smell of another world and slain by the thirst that reached through Wolfram’s body and into theirs.

Wolfram staggered back to the Emporium to find a nattily dressed Aldo having a reflective moment over coffee. As they were catching up on past events, Duster returned from the “family business” he had been handling in Carrow. No one asked him any questions of what THAT was about.

First Down Time

The crew had a heart-to-heart with Lysander, who was NOT happy that they did not have the title to the theater or his favorite dozen stolen employees rescued yet. While Wolfram acted woozy and dug bits of dead rat out of his outfit, Aldo was forced into a stammering explanation of the difficulties he faced recently; they eventually relocated the conversation to the Emporium for more frank conversation and catching up. Time to act!

Wolfram supervised Harmony’s gang as they set roles for themselves and approached the city bureaucracy as buyers for the Worldstage Theater, rivals of Aldo. They cycled the 4 Coin needed to buy the theater through various forms assisted by Amancio the Fence, and over the course of the entire down time they managed to secure the title! To celebrate they ate caviar out of a wooden clog with tiny silver spoons (except Wolfram, who got a bigger spoon to enjoy it properly.)

Meanwhile Aldo refreshed himself and also made the rounds to cool down the heat the crew had attracted; his confidence was damaged, and he had to spend money to avoid disaster while chatting up bluecoats.

Duster rested to recover from his time in Carrow, then started looming over employees at Tenpenny Court to make sure they knew who the new bosses were.

Second Down Time

Aldo managed to put together a big party and spent the coin to give the Tenpenny Court the night off, dinner, and a recital from Lysander. Everyone was won over, and the enterprise was now firmly in the control of the Unrecommendables.

Wolfram talked with the others, and they came to an accord that it was time to see what the Dimmer Sisters knew about the Wax Masks; that seemed safer than probing the Lampblacks or the Crows for more information, or going after it firsthand.

So, Wolfram went to a baker and ordered him to make a fantastic black cake with off-white frosting as a gift for the Dimmer Sisters. The baker did not make the cake black enough, so Wolfram beat him up and dragged him to another bakery, so his failure would be instructive. The second baker did a fantastic job, now the top of the list for all Wolfram’s baking needs.

They went to dinner the following night, meeting Marcy once more as they passed the guardian hellhounds. The sisters were dressed one black one white, and greeted them warmly in an intimate dining environment. A dolphin was put on the table with flaps cut in the side with their portions of fantastically cooked dinner in compartments in the body. After a hearty meal, they enjoyed the cake, which oozed red filling that was just delicious with a hint of copper in the “cherry” flavor.

Duster also noticed that they were tied into one another’s life force, so if one died the other could pull the essence of electroplasm and personality (basically life) into another body, and they could continue together. But they were both burned where the third one had been torn from them long ago. Their life force fueled many electroplasmic defenses and other oddities in the house that were ancient and beyond his ken, but he did realize they were centuries old.

Retiring to the study, they found out the Dimmer Sisters thought the boy Isaac was the most important development in the city; they whispered to Aldo that the boy was a splinter or seed of the Outsider, connected to Aldo’s life force, present in this time for a purpose. He should not be freed from flesh. Aldo agreed.

Questioned about the Wax Mask, they found out it was Iruvians in Duskwall looking to steal leviathan blood because it makes the best lightning oil. The Wax Mask was a spirifer, who could steal souls out of bodies with great skill, and the Dimmer Sisters had questions for him about technique and such; they didn’t sound like they’d be gentle in the asking.

After a fine night of dining and creepy conversation, they took their leave and decided to make a rapid hit on the Wax Masks.

Snatching the Wax Mask

First Aldo asked around and found out where hollows with Wax Mask spirits could be regularly found. Then Duster led the thugs and adepts in a kidnapping; one thug was killed, another fried by canal spirits, but they succeeded and Duster branded the body so the spirit could not escape.

Wolfram worked with the rook gang to question the hostage, promising to set him free so he would no longer have to serve the Iruvians and he would be beyond their reach; Duster agreed to help with that, so the hollow gave up the location of the Wax Mask’s operation. When Duster proved good as his word, the ghost gave him a camo patina so he would appear to be a hollow and could penetrate the defenses.

Wasting no time, they settled on an occult plan and used Duster’s patina and whisper skills as the supernatural power. They marched up to the sewer grating underground, and easily fooled the hollows that these were good candidates to hollow out for spirits.

Once inside, they found “the Bin” which was a barge moored for quick getaway (relatively) with almost 200 coma patients aboard, ready for spirit use. Duster got into some banter with the locals, who grew suspicious; they followed one who led them right to the Wax Mask.

Aldo teleported right up behind the Wax Mask with a blade to his (her?) throat, saying they just wanted to talk. He took a chance and backed off, impressing the Wax Mask, who was open to parlay. They talked about the leviathan blood trade, and tried to coax the Wax Mask to come personally inspect the supply. In an effort to sway the Wax Mask Duster even gave up details on Carrow’s location and trade.

The Wax Mask balked, and violence ensued; Wolfram swiftly dispatched one murderous Hollow while Aldo surprisingly wiped his out as well. As Duster struggled before dispatching his foe, the others piled on to the Wax Mask. Wolfram resisted a spirit attack, then Aldo used trance powder and knocked the spirifer out cold.

They retreated a different way than they came in, with Duster suppressing the alarms and the others cutting through the gratings locked in the way. Wolfram led them out once they got to major intersections.

Once clear, Wolfram commissioned a coffin-shaped black cake to deliver the Wax Mask to the Dimmer Sisters, as well as some questions they wanted answered during the Q&A the Sisters would host. (They were handsomely paid 4 Coin for the effort.) The operation attracted no heat.

The session lasted about 3:20 with 3 players, 2 down time sessions, and 1 heist.

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