black seven: first session

Saved from G+ meltdown: 17 Nov 2014

One roleplaying game I’ve played recently is Black Seven. Here’s a run down of the fun from the first session.

We played online, me as GM and two players. It was the first time we had played it.

The game focuses only on agents infiltrating an enemy facility. This limit is good, keeping the play tight and focused on situation where the player characters shine as are uber-competent, stealthy assassins. It also ensures the prep is remains relevant and useful.

Before play I designed a mission, Operation Key Octave. The overall concept for the game was framing a Quebec separatist group with attacking the Canadian Parliament. The idea was a biotechnology corporation, Air Médical, was covering up a theft of an experimental aerosolised live-virus vaccine designed to inoculate people against Ebola. Importantly, Air Médical had affiliations with the Quebec separatists. The Agents’ mission would be to extract information about who stole experimental drugs by interrogating an internal investigator of Air Médical. This information would lead them to steal back the experimental vaccine from the Lifesavers, a radical medical group based in Liberia, and then use the vaccine on the Canadian Parliament, making it look like an attack by the Quebec separatists.

So I wrote up three facilities, having 8 resources to use, 4 for each player. The objectives, features, static targets and number of guards for:

1) the home of the Air Médical investigator, as well as the high security gated community that surrounds it, located in the Côte d’Ivoire;

2) the shanty town in Liberia that is the base for the Lifesavers; and

3) the grounds and maintenance areas of the Canadian Parliament.

I found the prep was fun, the steps straightforward, and provided just enough to structure the mission. It stilled required a fair bit of improvising during play, fleshing out situations and characters, but I enjoy that kind of pressure.

We all rolled up characters as we have ambitious plans to take turns GMing missions. Agents Jackal, Gecko and Raptor come alive.

Gecko and Raptor start Operation Key Octave. I wasn’t sure on how much of a low-down they should get, but I gave them most of the information about the mission, including the ultimate aim to frame the Quebec separatists. I didn’t tell them about the second facility because that information was to be earned from completing the first facility.

The Agents glide on wing suits into the compound. They quickly scared one guard out of the facility and knocked out another. They hacked the security network, entering their RFID tags, allowing them to navigate the community without triggering any alarms. They turned off the alarm system of their targets’ house, took out another guard, avoided the other roaming patrol, and successfully vaulted the wall of the house compound. Once inside they took out all the guards, compromised the camera network, tranquilised the guard dogs and leisurely interrogated the target. They escaped using the target’s own vehicle. The information they extracted has led them to the second facility, a shanty town in Liberia and the base of a radical medical group, the Lifesavers.

Formally, they were very successful with this facility. They took out all the static targets, neutralised 4 of the 7 guards in the first area (gated community) and took out all 4 guards around the target’s house. They avoided raising the Threat level, never got noticed though it was close on several occasions, and only one Agent was exposed and only on one occasion. Professionals.

The game did really well to create the atmosphere of this style of video game. There was lots of slips and recoveries. The players worked hard neutralising security systems and creatively tricking and taking down guards. The camera network was particularly gruelling, doubling the number of required positioning rolls. Having a high Sneak rating seemed very advantageous in this scenario, though we were only just coming to grips with the rules, particularly the usefulness of taking out all the guards quickly. The players were rather risk adverse, but it was appropriate and really a credit to the system building tension and providing the toing and froing that comes with sneaking about hostile territory. It does well to do this, particularly given it has to deliver that experience on the first go-through because the players can’t save game, try an approach, fail terribly, and then replay from the saved point.

Next session will focus on the second facility, which is shorter, so with any luck they will also finish the final facility and the mission. Fun times!

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flipping baszo baz

I use two big clocks on a score all the time, where crew races to fill one before the other. Recently though, I tried splitting up the main score clock into a bunch of little clocks and it worked great. I based it on ideas from Rob Donoghue’s long con setup: http://walkingmind.evilhat.com/2017/07/27/the-long-con/

Here’s how it went down: The Assassin’s crew, the Butcher Birds, wanted to flip Baszo Baz. It worked great.

The Friend: Attention clock 4-segments
Baszo was bestie’s with Chance, the Slide, so that filled the first clock for free. That opened up the Interest clock.

The Hook: Interest clock 4-segments
The crew did a series of linked plans simultaneously to flipping Baszo: forging an alliance between the Lampblacks enemies, assassinating one of the street gang leaders and their gang, the second-in-command of the Lampblacks and their master of coin. That filled 3 of 4 on the interest clock. Baszo knows things are going to shit, Chance just needed to show him that things were going to get even worse… tonight. The crew are Bound in Darkness so they communicated intimate details from each linked plan, so Chance could drop enough to hook Baszo enough to shift the conversation from much-needed camaraderie to the bleakest of business.

All this info obviously roused Baszo’s suspicions. How much was Chance actually involved in fucking over the Lampblacks? 3 tock on the 8-segments on the Suspicion clock. Though they resisted that, bringing the consequence down to 1 tick.

Filling this clock, opened up the next clock.

The Option: Confidence clock 4-segments
Now the conversation shifted about how Chance can help Baszo. Baszo thought Chance was doing little more than daydreaming, that Chance couldn’t actually help Baszo get out of the deep shit he’s in.

So Chance laid out that he wasn’t just a street urchin, but a part of the notorious Butcher Birds, assassins connected to some strange and brutal accidents happened to well-connected Nobles in Brightstone. That filled 2-segments.

Chance knew of Baszo’s commitment to the Empty Vessel cult, so he pushed on, revealing that his crew have the favour of Fortuna, a Forgotten God, who grants them the silence of Bellweather (Crow’s Veil). With a little wrangling, that filled the Confidence clock.

That opened up the final score clock as well as the options trust clock (which could reduce the consequences of the suspicion clock.

The Decision: Ambition clock 4-segments
I shortened this clock to only 4-segments. That meant the crew were racing to fill 9-segments faster than 8-segments of suspicion. It worked out to be a good size. For a longer-term con, yeah this could have easily been 6 or 8 segments, like Rob’s article suggested.

This is basically about Baszo making a decision right now. To walk away from the Lampblacks right now.

Chance plied his ambitions to seek revenge against the Red Sashes, the opportunities that the Butcher Birds have to fill the power vacuum, and the possibility of being a secret hand that can swoop down on the Crows and become ward boss after all. Throwing in a little occult membership, and Baszo was ruthless as ever.

So Baszo flipped.

Trust clock 4-segments
Chance never ticked any of these. He ran out of stress and things got extremely tight. But we’re keeping this open, as the opportunity to settle the suspicions Baszo has and bring him totally on board with the Butcher Birds.

bloodletters audiobooks

I highly recommend watching the Bloodletters Youtube series, GMed by John Harper with a stellar cast of players.

I converted the whole video series into audiobooks so I can listen to them while travelling and doing chores. You can download each session as a separate audio-only file from here:
https://app.box.com/s/gplta5ov08abgzy1lh4liodcqtdtzghf

FYI the playlist of the Bloodletters Youtube videos:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQQW3Ew6DKsN0-Iv7n7144RbqKKRneqHH

Enjoy!

session 5 of the hulls

Notes
The crew seemed to get in their groove a bit more here. This score was a more straightforward burglary, in their hunting ground, so that might have helped. No factions to tip toe around, no grand plans to fret about.

The info gathering was much smoother and cleaner. Good rolls helped, but also I think I pulled back on how many obstacles the crew had to face to actually get to the info roll. That is part of what made the Red Lamp info gathering session so difficult.

I think I set the danger clock with too many segments; if I set it again I’d probably have gone with 4-segments instead of 6. In part, I set it high because I wasn’t sure how the engagement roll might have screwed up the clock. We haven’t finished the score yet so it may still cause problems.

I also think I failed to establish the patrol danger clock properly in the fiction, which I think took away some sense of its urgency.

A tricky bit was coming up with complications that didn’t reflect poorly on the Lurk’s burglary skills but more on happenstance and bad luck. I had to correct myself a few times before I got the tone right.

I’m also not sure about how well I set the position of the rolls. Most of the initial rolls were dominant, but on reflection I may have not emphasised the danger of the patrol enough, either from noticing the break-in or at least the time pressure of the patrol passing by.

Still, Rat ended this session with eight stress, one shy of trauma, from starting with 2, pushing himself once on entering Hagtrees and then taking 4 stress from avoiding level 1 harm: strain. So there’s pressure enough on the players for what is a pretty small job.

Gameplay
After considering a few options, the players decide they need coin to splash out on Rat’s (the Lurk) long term project to shore up Dust’s (the Slide) fake identity as a Customs Officer. The unquietness of Ashlynn Daava, the war in Crow’s foot, the bigger play against the losers of that war, all got ignored for the simplicity and directness of getting more cash.

For fortune rolled in their favour. A good opportunity for a spot of burglary has appeared in “the Drop” their hunting ground. A Fight Club is setting up tonight and only tonight in Painter’s Court, which has a fair view toward Brightstone in the North. The Fight Club moves around the city, all fights are to the death so disliked by Bluecoats, Spirit Wardens and the like. By the same token, the brutality attracts many, and the betting flows like butter all night.

Which brings us to the score: the Fight Club tries to run a tidy, quiet operation, relatively speaking. Once the fights are over, the money is usually sat in nearby shop or warehouse overnight, then moved during day trade under the cloak of the legitimate business. The crew plan to infiltrate the safe house overnight before the cash is moved. However, there are several artisan supplies and collectibles stores around Painter’s court that could be the safe house. So the crew go gather info to establish necessary the entry point detail for the plan.

During the day, Dust goes shop-to-shop in disguise as a foppish merchant, stirring up the shop attendants and keeping for unusual activity. These goes well (a five), but takes most of the day. This set up move help Talon (the Hound) to track any unusual characters that Dust points out with his Spite, his mind linked fine flying serpent hunting pet that he has a mind link with. This gives them good info about the safe house, though Talon takes a Devil’s Bargain that someone in the Fight Club crew is someone he knows from his past.

The entry point is Hagtrees, named after a desiccated ancient wood that looms over the entrance of this mirror, glass and crystal shop. It has barricaded shopfront, which is no doubt why it was picked, in large part to protect the valuable breakables inside from errant rocks or vagrants. Dust noted a large, obvious wall-mounted safe at the end of the shop.

Three clocks
o Entry into Hagtrees: 4-segments
o Painters Court patrol notices break-in: 6-segments
o Get your hands on the loot: 6-segments

The engagement roll is excellent, so there’s no surprises at the start of the score.

The crew saw the fights, Talon on nearby rooftops, Dust as a beggar in a dirty alley, and Rat mixing with the crowd. They easily follow the money through the various switches and subterfuge, and confirm it’s locked up in Hagtrees.

Hiding with his shadow cloak, in the dead limbs of the hagtree, Rat waits till the Painters Court clears out and calms to a whisper. Using Talon’s rooftop perch and Dust’s slovenly corner to time his entry best against the patrol, Rat cracks the hinges of the narrow venting window above the shop door. 2 ticks down on entering Hagtrees.

Unfortunately a new guard stepped out from a doorway, stretching and yawning after obviously having a nap, directly opposite Hagtrees, putting Rat into a more difficult position. In danger of spotting the Lurk carrying a windowpane or just the missing window, Dust used his beggar disguise to sway the guard into sharing a drink, laced with trance powder, which knocked the guard out and left Dust a slight confusion. Improved position for Rat and 1 harm on Dust.

Rat athletically manoeuvres himself through the long window, sliding the window pane after him since there was nowhere to leave it on the tree. Rat gets stressed out though, (4 stress, bringing him to 8) from the strain of dodging all the crystal and glass, keeping quiet, and carrying the cumbersome pane. But that’s the last two ticks for the Hagtree clock, so they’re in.

Rat moves straight to the wall safe, passing the mirrors covering the left wall and the crystal and glasses shelved on the right. But the big, obvious wall safe is fake, a chunk of welded metal. Not wanting to burn too much time searching by himself, he signals Talon. In swoops Spite, Talon’s mind-linked flying serpent. Leading a survey of the room, Spite and Talon quickly uncover a trapdoor under the Iruvian carpet. Rolling it back, Rat reveals a shining safe with a clip goblin triple wheel lock. Crack goes his knuckles. 2 ticks down on getting hands on the loot.

downtime session 4 for the hulls

Payoff: 0 coin
Heat: +7

Player actions
Dust (the Slide) ended with 7 stress from the info gathering last session. So she indulges her Vice by going to her good friend Nyryx, in nightmarket, and listening to some of the bizarre and controversial secrets of Nyryx’s clients. Dust erases 6 stress.

Word is that it wasn’t the Red Sashes but the Hulls who garrotted a Red Lamp guard. Dust digs up truth that the dead guard actually enjoyed deflowering maidens, Iruvian and otherwise. This, along with bribes for a couple of prostitutes (found with Nyryx’s help) to spread rumours that embellish on those truths, Dust reduces heat on the Hulls by 2.

Talon (the Hound) spends time gathering info on Ashyln Daava, the occult collector and Talon’s last bounty hunt before the Hulls, and why her ghost might be back haunting the Wrecks (the Shipwreck graveyard within which the Hulls have hidden their lair). Talon meets his friend Fitz of Dunslough, who is collector himself. A good details result on the info roll means Fitz finds in his ledgers that, around when Ashyln had a bounty placed on her from stealing from the Hive, there was an item withdrawn from a black auction, the Sexton of Shadows. Fitz guesses if she nabbed it, and stowed it their when on the run, she might have come back to retrieve it. When asked how, Fitz describes how it is know the Sexton can be held by either a body or a spirit.

Talon also reacquires an asset, Vixen the ex-railjack Whisper. In the case of reacquiring the services of someone already known, we agreed the quality determined by the roll would be interpreted as how motivated and interested Vixen would be in continuing to work with the Hulls. The roll in this case shows she’s remained standard quality Whisper.

Rat (the Lurk) decides to starts a long-term project to shore up Dust’s false identity as Officer Strathmill, in part to help the Hulls hold on to the turf they took from the Seaside Dockers. So an 8-segment long-term project clock: Plant records to establish the identity and life of Customs Officer Strathmill. Rat marks a tick off the clock by breaking into the office of a money lender and planting a forged credit history for Officer Strathmill.

Rat also reduces heat on the Hulls concerning the brawling and break-in at the Red Lamp. Rat bribes some nurses at a hospital burn ward, establishing an alibi that Rat was bed-ridden for days after the Red Lamp inferno and certainly in no fit state to strangle a swarthy guard in broad daylight. Heat drops by another 2.

Entanglements
They rolled gang trouble, but they don’t have any gangs or other cohorts so that meant no entanglements.

NPC factions
The war between Lampblacks and Red Sashes. A Red Sashes drug den and manufactory burns down, rumour has it was demon fire. This brings down the ire of the Inspectors, normally allies to the Red Sashes but growing increasingly agitated as the war escalates. 3 ticks toward the Lampblacks destroying the Red Sashes, boosted thanks to the help of the Whisper Twins.

Word has got out that the Lampblacks pulled strings with Ironhook Prison and secured early releases for some of the Lampblacks’ heaviest, including the Bathos Brothers and Melindra Waneheart. This much needed boost to the Lampblack rep came just in time, because they took a heavy blow when their ‘Bitter Talent’ brewery was found tainted after civilians and gang members started losing body parts after drinking the popular performance-enhancing beer.

The Foghounds tick down their Find a patron clock: 6 to 5. The Foghounds have been working on building trust with some of the ship captains the smuggle from, and it’s finally paying dividends. Word has it they got an invite to a party in Whitecrown. No doubt they’ll be spruiking tax avoidance services to the nobles that own man of the Leviathan and merchant ships.

session 4 of the hulls

In contrast with the drawn out, stressful info gathering last session, the score was neat and quick.

Rat (the Lurk) was the bait the unquiet dead Mr Posselthwaite into crossing Brightstone bridge. Then Talon (the Hound) was in position on top of building and, when the ghost finally appeared for a final taunt, dispatched the spirit with a single electro plasmic-charged bullet.

The efficiency of this was definitely in part to the particular skills of the Hound, the canny rolling of the Hound’s player, and a unfamiliarity on my part with how to handle ghosts fictionally and mechanically. Nevertheless, this efficiency was helpful to balance out some of the misgivings from last session, that it was all swings and roundabouts and that the game wasn’t death spiralling away from the big picture—a fear raised because of the feeling the crew was beginning to deal with entanglements within entanglements.

The rule I had missed applying was Stress & the Supernatural (p7):
A close encounter with a spirit or demon is a harrowing experience. By default, the standard effect is to either paralyze a person with fear or panic them into fleeing from its presence. A PC can choose to roll to resist the effect. Characters with lots of exposure to spirits, such as Whispers, Rail Jacks, and occult weirdos become less susceptible and only face fear or panic from exceptionally powerful entities.

This slip had two immediate effects. One, the Hound wasn’t really sure why they had bothered hiring a Whisper; he was the one with the electroplasmic bullets afterall. Two, Rat conversed with the ghost and Talon aimed and shot the ghost, and neither suffered any stress or risk of freezing/fleeing. We’ll definitely be applying that rule in future though.

But we’ve come up with a fictionally satisfying explanation for the rules mishap. How it went down last session is how the Hulls retell it, not how it really went down. The experience was actually nightmarish, so much so the crew only remember fragments, their minds painting over the harrowing details to make themselves look better, and feel better too. Of course, Vixen the NPC Whisper knows the truth of the matter, but it’s unlikely the crew want to hear it.

session 3 of the hulls

Info gathering:  what could’ve been a single attune roll, or even a two roll distract and pickpocket, turned into a eight-roll brawling, murderous, stressful, heat-attracting mess.

Here the players had a few options for their next score. There was a rather ripe burglary in their hunting ground, as a well-appointed household seemed to be leaving the premises unoccupied. They had further ideas for progressing their plan to steal Baszo Bas’s whisky supply and sell it back to him. But the immediate problem that drew their attention most was Rat (the Lurk) being haunted by the ghost of a Duskwall Councillor, killed when Rat overindulged his Vice for stupor and almost destroyed the Red Lamp, and taunting Rat with revenge. Plus they acquired a Whisper for the next score so ghost hunting made the most sense.

They decide on an assault plan, but haven’t any idea on the detail: a point of attack. Mainly because the ghost hasn’t materialised or been spotted. So they decide to go to the Red Lamp to gather info on the ghost, it’s death and other peculiarities like how Rat did not die in the inferno. He was so stupid at the time, he cannot recall.

The Red Lamp is an opulently appointed four-storey circular building with a golden red roof. After the leviathan blood inferno, it is only operating on the top two floors, accessed by external stairs guarded top and bottom. The lower floors are gutted, burnt by the caustic fumes and effervescence of the leviathan blood that infamously flooded its lower basement and crawled uncontrolled over everything up to two floors above ground.

It’s dangerous for the crew around here because the Spirit Wardens are seeking the spirits that escaped this inferno, as well as someone to pin the blame.

To gather info, Vixen, the hired ex-railjack Whisper, tries attuning to the ghost field here, but it’s dirty and hazed grey. She finds prints of the Councillor here and there, matching those on Rat, and clear signs that the Councillor is lost and looking for his way somewhere, but nothing more. A poor roll result meant incomplete info.

Players decide to try another approach, to survey the scene within the basement for more info. Unfortunately, the windows are boarded up and the main doors locked. However, they spot keys on the guard at the foot of the stairs and decide to steal them.

Dust (the Slide) assists Rat’s pick pocketing by distracting the guard by requesting access to the burnt interior as railjack cleanup crew. Or something similar. Rat finesses the key, but the guard doesn’t buy Dust’s shit and calls two guards down to prod the three scoundrels aways away from the premises.

Once those guards eventually return upstairs, and only the single guard remains on street-level, Rat leads a group action to prowl into the alcove where the main doors are in shadow and off the street a little. Unfortunately, it goes poorly, and things get desperate as the lone guard is still alert for their return and comes to investigate “a noise” and Rat is fumbling to find the right key on the ring for the door. Dust quickly flips her cloak and becomes her Red Sashes disguise that she prepared earlier and leaps out to confront the guard, accusing him of deflowering her younger sister. In fact the guard doesn’t seem surprised and rather knocks Dust over with a vicious thrust to her neck. Dust resists a wound and ends that foray with 7 stress.

Instead of using the distraction to continue the unlocking, Rat ambushes and garrottes the guard, dragging him into the alcove. They get extra heat, as a baker putting out old bread locks eyes with Rat as the Bell Tower rings the guard’s death.

They now enter the ground floor of the gutted and burnt Red Lamp, hiding the dead guard, and survey the place. They find a ledger, with pages hastily torn out. With a bit of charcoal rubbing, they identify the patronage of Nigel Postlethwaite, hailing from Brightstone. Rat recalls the name and they settle on the Brightstone bridge, north of Crow’s foot, as (the plan detail) where they will jump the unquiet ghost.

Phew.

Next session, the execution of the plan is dramatically more straightforward, thanks to the appearance of the Hound, and they recover from this info gathering in a much-needed downtime.

downtime session 2 for the hulls

Payoff: 2 coin, mainly from loose cargo they found tidying up the warehouse.
Heat: +2

Entanglements
Usual Suspects: One of the Rat’s (the Lurk) friends in the nobility, Roslyn Kellis, gets picked up by the Bluecoats after she’s caught on a gondolier, loaded with contraband. Rat pays of the Bluecoats to get Roslyn off before they question her too hard.

Extra entanglement from Devil’s bargain
Unquiet dead: The ghost of Ashyln Daava, who as an occult collector and Talon’s last bounty and the one around which the Hulls formed, has been sighted amongst the ship’s graveyard the crew now calls home, searching for something.

Rat overindulges his Vice Stupor, through imbibing refined leviathan blood procured at the Red Lamp in Silkshore. Rat becomes a little unhinged, somehow getting to the distillery area underneath the Red lamp and opening up the still of leviathan blood, burning the first two floors of the Red Lamp and incinerating the body and spirit of an unknown number of patrons and workers in electroplasmic inferno.

Extra Entanglement from Rat’s overindulgence
Unquiet dead: The spirt of Nigel Posselthwaite, Duskwall Councillor and blood addict, escaped the Red Lamp inferno and has been trying to find his way home to Brightstone. In the meantime, he has been haunting Rat, taunting him that he knows the truth about Red Lamp, whispering the names of those he killed, and he will find a way to have him punished for his crimes.

Because of these hauntings, Rat Acquires an Asset: Vixen, an ex-railjack Whisper, to help them handle the ghosts themselves.

Dust Reduces Heat back to zero. Something to do with quelling the rumours about the Hulls stealing turf from the Seaside Dockers.

And finally, Dust Gathers Info through his friend Nyrx about rumours Baszo’s Whisky supply. Turns out, the Foghounds are going out to ships, particularly Skovlan merchant and refugee ships, before they reach the safety of Duskwall’s harbour, to unload contraband and bring it ashore and avoid customs. How do they protect themselves outside the fence? Anyhow, the Seaside Dockers won’t much like this when they find out.

NPC factions
Seaside Dockers have 4 segment clock: Take back North Dock turf.

The Foghounds seize turf from the Canal Dockers, friends of the Hulls, after failing to get North Dock. It’s an old Ink Manufactory on the South side of Crow’s Foot.’ And they have a 6 segment clock: Find a patron.

The war between Lampblacks and Red Sashes swings heavily toward the Red Sashes. Calling in a favour from the Seaside Dockers, the Red Sashes raid a Lampblack’s brothel, disappearing all who worked there and leaving a trail of damage. 2 ticks toward the Red Sashes destroying the Lampblacks.

Under increasing pressure, Dust hears word Baszo Baz is doubling down on favours. Soon he’ll realise her soothing words ain’t winning him the war. So another tick on the clock toward Baszo Baz demanding an answer to whether the Hulls with him or against him?

Furthermore, the Lampblacks Acquire an Asset: the well-known Whisper twins “Kain and Tory”, who are said to have been passengers on an electric train who took down a demon that had overcome the trains Railjacks.

There was an extra Action by one of these Factions from a Devil’s Bargain, but the crew haven’t discovered info about that yet.

session 2 of the hulls

I’m running an online game of Blades in the Dark using the Quick Start rules with three players, though often only two can attend.

Session 2 of #theHulls

The players immediately launched into long-term strategising to play factions against factions. Given they dodged Baszo’s question, they make their own work and decide to steal turf. This ends up being a disused dock of the Seaside Dockers, that’s been largely disused since a leviathan ship wrecked at the pier end.

Deception plan, they’re dropped off in a fog on the North Dock dressed as Customs Officers from the Ministry of Transport. The hope is the Seaside Dockers have the place not well guarded, on account that word as they’re busy helping the Red Sashes out.

A poor engagement result means, unfortunately, the Foghounds have the same idea and they spot four short shallow hulled dinghy hidden under the dock.

I setup three clocks
– Convincing the Dockers, Clock: 6 segments
– The Docker calls reinforcements, Clock: 4 segments
– Foghounds start shooting, Clock: 4 segments

Rat and Dust hear a loud conversation in the warehouse at the head of the dock. Rat (the Lurk) gets on the roof, but only because Dust (the Slide) creates a distraction by loudly banging the door open in full Customs Officer disguise.

Inside there is one swarthy, huge Docker (Clave) sitting at little card table playing cards and largely ignoring the four well-armed Foghounds confronting him.

The Foghounds leader (Moon) sends one of Foghound to dismiss the intruder. Dust (aka Officer Strathmill) begins convincing them he’s an official representing the Strathmill’s, the noble house that owns the shipwrecked Leviathan Hunting Ship sunk at the end of North Dock. She casts an appraising eye on the opposition, and summarily shouts “Stand down men!”, glancing at the roof. There’s shuffling and answers in return thanks to Rat’s acrobatic skill, adding +effect to convincing the Docker (and by corrollary the Foghounds) that Dust has significant backup. 3 ticks toward Convincing the Dockers. The Docker stops playing cards.

The Foghounds look trigger happy, trying to decide whether to start shooting or back out. 1 tick toward the Foghounds start shooting.

Rat has a flashback about reaching out to his connections with the Inspectors and asking for a couple of Inspectors to take a short detour on their patrol past North Dock at this time. A complication from the flashback roll made most sense as another tick toward the Foghounds start shooting.

Anyhow, back in the present, two Inspectors walk past, stopping asking the Custom Officer still in the doorway if he’s having any trouble. Inspector Booker takes a particular interest in Dust’s (fake) family name and a case she is working on. Accepted Devil’s Bargain: Inspector Booker wants Customs Officer Strathmill (Dust in disguise) to drop by her office in White Chapel to discuss a case.

Anyway, with a Critical Success, Dust fills out the clock Convinces the Docker (and the Foghounds by corollary) that she’s the real deal and has a legit claim on North Dock.

The Foghounds were close to shooting the place up, but the Docker stands up and gentleman-like escorts the Foghounds off the premises. The Docker agrees to relay terms to allow a small outfit “The Hulls” use of the premises as they working as agents for the Strathmills.

session 1 of the hulls

I’m running an online game of Blades in the Dark using the Quick Start rules with three players, though often only two can attend.

Session 1 of #theHulls

The Hulls have a hidden boathouse lair in an overturned hull in a shipwreck graveyard, in the canal North of Crow’s Foot.

The Hulls formed when Talon, the Severosi Hound, followed the bounty he was hunting, his last bounty as it turns out, to the ship graveyard where Rat and Dust were holed up. Their first job was taking down this bounty together.
Before the Hulls, Rat and Dust, the Akorosi Lurk and Iruvian Slide, worked together as picker and fence.

First scene straight from the QuickStart. Dust knows Bazso, so she’s brought a good whisky she says she obtained from an Iruvian smuggling whisky into Duskwall. She manages to convince Bazso that the Hulls will be more useful as a neutral party in his war with the Red Sashes. Lured by the promise of whisky, Bazso grudgingly puts his question on hold.

But I start the 4-segment clock: Are the Hulls with him or against him?

Also the Slide took the Devil’s Bargain: You are a pawn in a bigger play. Next downtime an NPC faction takes an extra downtime action and extra advances to their project clocks.

See the various clocks, questions, bargains, etc. on our virtual table here: https://pinitto.me/n/thehulls#