Blades in the Dark Campaign Season 1 RecapGame Summaries ·
Last Time, on Ghost Bones…
We have been playing Blades in the Dark for nearly a year! I stopped writing session summaries as it was taking too long, but we recently took a winter break and are going to start up again. After 12 sessions, we feel like “Season One” of the campaign has finished. I’ll post a quick recap of what’s happened so far to prepare us for what’s next.
Session 3: The Coalridge Massacre
After sinking The Fog Hound steamer in session 2, the gang took in some new members:
- The Forbergs: the Skovlan refugee family rescued from the cage on the boat
- Starolf: father, hard-working but terrified
- Halla: mother, pragmatic and protective
- Asdis: daughter, about 11, inquisitive and independent, bookish, principled
- Magnus: son, about 6, up for anything, confident
- The Rovers (quality 0): the hired hand laborers who were working the job, but survived the sinking.
- Cantor (rough, gruff, tough) is the leader
- Skannon (beefy, sensitive)
- added later with upgrade to quality I:
- Nehi (Iruvian, old, lazy)
- Akilah (Dagger Isles, snarky, muscular)
Grimey had found the entrance to the Fog Hounds lair in Session 2, so the gang was able to claim it as a second hideout (+ turf) after the score. They decided to let the Forbergs and Rovers live there as part of the gang. The Forbergs were a bit hesitant about being part of a criminal operation, but Skannon and Cantor were happy as long as they got their share of the earnings.
Grimey was contacted by handsome Vond the railjack, who let him know that Sister Thorn was back from the Deathlands with some fresh loot she needed moved. The gang met her for tea in her lush train car on the tracks at Gaddoc Station. Sister Thorn is beautiful, with icy blue eyes and dark black hair with subtle streaks of blue. Dick embarrassed himself trying to act knowledgable about the Deathlands artifacts, but Sister Thorn just found him amusing. She showed the gang a sanguinary compass she recovered from her expedition. This strange mechanism was a dark wooden box carved with Dagger Isles carvings of whales and sharks. Oddly, it pointed out to sea, not north, and they could see the needle twitching slightly. There was a small well in the needle’s axis filled with a dark black liquid that had the pearlescent sheen of leviathan blood. Thorn informed them this compass would track the being whose blood it contained. She had a client at the Iruvian Consulate who had purchased it and wanted the Ghost Bones to do a dead drop on a bench in the gardens outside the building.
The gang accepted and loaded up their bikes for smuggling the contraband from the Station, through Coalridge to Charterhall, and over to the Iruvian Consulate.
With a 1 on their engagement roll, they only made it to the bridge over to Coalridge before running into trouble. The crowd of soot-covered laborers using the bridge parted to reveal a group of mercenaries wielding glowing sparkcraft weaponry. The leader, Karth Orris, announced he represented the Hive and the Ghost Bones were moving contraband against the Hive’s order.
Thankfully Vey has some brains and flashed back to sending little Magnus Forberg on his own route from the Station to Charterhall. After realizing he was a quality zero gang member, Weaver made a smart play and decided to plant the artifact on him so he didn’t even need to roll. He trundle off, evading attention due to his small size. While the rest of the gang fought for their lives, Vey picked Magnus up, and they enjoyed a nice bike ride through the city, eventually dropping the package.
However, J decided flashbacks were way too subtle. Cuffs did what Cuffs does, yelling insults at Karth, telling all of Coalridge how he killed Bear the Fog Hound, and then he shot the leader point blank. Then he threw back a vial of rage essence and started attacking the rest of the group. To be fair, it was a very clear play for his new trauma XP. He and Weaver were both gravely injured, but with help from Grimey’s grenades and Weaver’s pistols, they eventually subdued the mercenaries.
In the aftermath of the bridge carnage, Grimey tended to the wounded Skovlanders caught in the blast of the grenade and exploding sparkcraft generators. Visions of his traumatic expereinces during the Unity War clouded his mind, but he persisted, trying to salvage his reputation among fellow Skovlanders.
The entanglement was Reprisals: Salia the gossip-broker told Weaver that the Hive was circulating plans to exterminate the Ghost Bones for their actions. The gang decided to pay them off instead: -4 rep and coin to avoid their immediate wrath.
Session 4: Treaty at Tangletown
During downtime Weaver started training the Urchins in the way of the street, and Vey got too weird at Singer’s Bathhouse and was forced to find a new one. After nursing their wounds and indulging their vices, the gang received an offer from Lyssa, leader of the Crows. The Crows were barely holding onto their control of the district and knew that if the Hive showed up, the entire district would be in trouble. She asked the Ghost Bones to play the independent arbiter and bring together the Crows, the Read Sashes, and the Lampblacks to negotiate a peace. Divided, they would be easy prey for the Hive. The condition of including the weaker Bones in this arrangement was that they do their best to ensure the Crows came out on top.
The gang accepted and set an evening meeting at Tangletown, the jumble of old boats built on a sunken leviathan hunter in the canal near their base. The shantytown was traditionally neutral ground for the gangs of Crow’s Foot. The leaders of the gangs all showed up with a small contingent of guards. Everyone was on edge, but tradition was respected and weapons were kept drawn.
Vey again employed a smart flashback to copy the threatening letter received from the Hive to make it threaten all gangs of Crow’s Foot. While preparing to start the negotiations, Weaver noticed some strange insects flying around Tangletown and followed one down below decks. They managed to get a good look at one and discovered it was a strange mechanical bee. They deduced it must be some kind of spy mechanism sent by the Hive. Weaver grabbed Grimey and they set to trying to catch and destroy the bees using a large net. One tried to crawl up Weaver’s nose, but they swatted it away and just got a painful stung lip. Grimey helped the effort by spraying unguent around to trap the bees. He returned above decks and gave a smashed bee to Cuffs to add to the evidence the Hive cannot be dealt with alone. Cuffs was surprisingly convincing in negotiating a peace favorable to the Crows with the aid of the forged letter and the smashed bee.
Session 5: Skrat Attack
Having unusually avoided much harm from the last score, the gang spent their downtime training and indulging their vices. Weaver finished scouting out a new smuggling route and discovered some secret canal and sewer routes between Crow’s Foot and Gaddoc Station. Finishing this long-term project unlocked a piece of turf, which the gang decided meant they controlled smuggling in the Brickston neighborhood of Coalridge.
In a brash hit, the Red Sashes violated the truce and raided the Lampblacks headquarters in the old coal warehouse, killing Pickett the lieutenant. Bazso Baz fled to the sewers under Crow’s Foot and has not been seen since. the Lampblacks are seriously depleted by the action and now exist in name only, losing most of their power as a gang. Althought it was a blatant violation of the truce, the Crows are not worried to have one piece of the equation removed, so no retaliation is taken against the Red Sashes yet.
For a score, the gang decided their newly-forged peace was a great excuse to immediately break the cease fire and to strike against the Red Sashes, who were distracted by their jockeying with the Lampblacks. They thought they could pin it on the Hive, which would allow them to continue to fight for position in Crow’s Foot without actively breaking the peace. Through gathering information they decided that Syra Daava, a lieutenant of the Red Sashes, would be a prime target. She was addicted to bloodneedle and often indulged at the Hazelwood drug den in Crow’s Foot. They staked out the establishment to learn her patterns and noticed she would often leave early in the morning with only a few fellow gang members, tired and sluggish after coming down from the stimulant.
On the evening of the hit, Weaver jumped into action by releasing a skrat (a combination skunk and rat) caught by Magnus as part of his training. The skrat caused havoc among the Red Sashes, spraying them with its foul odor as they scattered.
Cuffs was surreptitiously leaning against a nearby lamppost, allowing him to clothesline Syra as she ran away from the skrat. Grimey sabotaged the streetlights to go out, plunging the entire area into darkness. Weaver researched how the Hive sends a message and learned they tend to mutilate their enemy’s bodies and leave threatening notes. Cuffs showed a pretty brutal side as he strangled Syra with his set of manacles. Grimey and Weaver had forged a letter threatening the Red Sashes to not ally with enemies of the Hive. The quality II letter was enough for the Bones to avoid suspicion yet again.
This session ended with the rather disturbing image of the asphyxiated Syra, a crushed Hive bee in her hand and the letter lying on her chest. A new, darker side to the Bones revealed itself. How far would they go in their pursuit of power?
Session 6-7: Tomb in the Deathlands
During downtime the crew rested, Grimey improved his grappling hook gun, and Weaver finished her long-term project to train the urchins by sending them to get beaten up by Skovlander street kids in Coalridge, turning them into a Rook cohort. Vey continued his quest to embarrass Roslyn Kellis in all of Duskvol’s Iruvian high society. He tried to poison her tea at the Consulate, but after a cup mix-up, just caused a stranger to vomit all over the cafeteria. The Hive continued to snoop around Crow’s Foot using their spy bees and agents, but the Rovers successfully opposed their efforts by being absolute louts who did basically nothing and provided no information.
Vond got in touch with Grimey again with a new lead from Sister Thorn: there has been an important discovery in the Deathlands, but it’s far too big for her to transport back to Duskvol. It’s a 30 foot by 30 foot cube of solid dark metal, found in the ruins of an ancient pre-Cataclysm tower on the shore near a lighthouse. The players embraced the Blades spirit and hopped on the train without figuring out how they were going to move the massive object, bringing the Rovers along. They trekked outside the protection of the lightning barriers into the wasteland, observing but successfully avoiding the roving spirits that terrorize the landscape.
Eventually they arrived at an excavation site where a gang of scraggly Deathlands scavengers were working to move the massive, heavy cube up a ramp from a pit. They had a pair of oxen tied up to the cube and are rolling it on logs. The gang also noticed two strange cloaked figures observing from the edge of the dig site.
As they surveyed the scene, they decided to hide behind a ridge and at least wait until the scavengers got the cube out of the pit. As the scavengers crested the ramp, the Bones noticed the hooded figures have spotted them and are attuning to the Ghost Field, their eyes glowing blue. Grimes flashbacked to seeing Whispers summon the ghosts of their fallen comrades during the Unity War. Ghosts were summoned from around the pit and bear down on the gang. Vey got choked out by ghost, but it turned out he rather likes it. I gave H a Devil’s Bargain to not resist the harm in order to have a breakthrough and fill Vey’s new vice purveyor clock. H agreed, filling the clock but going unconscious and out of action for the rest of the score.
Cuffs saw Vey get overcome and ran out from behind the ridge, shooting at the hooded figures in anger, taking down both of them. The gang of scavengers cowered behind the cube, now fully out of the pit. The Ghost Bones pointed their guns at the scavengers in a standoff. Their leader Lizette claimed the bounty as they were first to arrive. Cuffs lead a Command action roll to force them to cut them in to the discovery. The group was successful, but there was an interesting consequence: the scavengers were terrified when they mention the name Sister Thorn. We added and ticked a clock: Who is Sister Thorn?
The scavengers helped but wanted nothing to do with Thorn. After negotiating and preparing to move the cube, Cuffs found a tattered sheet of paper in the cloak of one of the hooded figures. It contained a ghost field map to spirit well in Deathlands and an advertisement for a lecture on “Advances in Spectral Philosophy” by Dr. Pratchett M. Tumball at Charterhall University, the Morlan Hall of Unnatural Philosophy. He realized these figures are probably members of the Path of Echoes, seeking information about the inhabitant of the tomb.
On the Beach
Cuffs convinced Lizette to tell him where they planned to take the cube. She revealed their destination was their hideout near the old North port, which was connected via irrigation tunnels to mushroom farms in Duskvol. They were unlikely to survive the dangerous overland journey. Cuffs tries to find out where they are from and who they might be affiliated with, but gets very little. His pestering questions make them annoyed, and they are coming closer and closer to mutiny every time he speaks.
Cuffs and Grimesy begin building a barge from scavenged logs from the decimated forest around them. They are both yelling at scavengers to lash logs together. Grimesy gets a chemical burn from using his alchemical materials in constructing the barge. Weaver stands on the beach and tells Skannon and Cantor to get moving and join in.
With the Rovers and the scavengers working on the barge, Grimesy and Cuffs decided to forage material from some nearby shipwrecks. While pulling up floorboards, Cuffs and Grimesy come upon a skeleton which pops up jack-in-the-box style, and a crew of ghostly sailors float out of the back cabin.
Cuffs evades mortal terror because of his spiritbane charm, and Grimesy uses a new charm that he just made to ward off the ghosts. Weaver hears screaming and runs towards the ship and wards the ghosts off with black salt. A ghost evades Weaver and haunts Vey. At this point the gang took +2 heat as their commotion was spotted by the lighthouse keeper further down the beach.
Grimsey flees into the dunes and consecrates a patch of sand to entice the ghosts away. He is successful, but in the bustle the scavengers decided to mutiny and take the barge for themselves. Cuffs run off to shoot one of the scavengers, as a “command” for them to stop. Some of the scavengers get back in line, but some are committed to the mutiny. The gang loses control and end up routing the scavengers into the dunes, with Grimesy throwing grenades and Weaver chucking throwing knives (one of which hits Cuffs). Lizette and the remaining scavengers flee inland.
For some reason, Cuffs murders the oxen. Grimesy isn’t happy about it.
The gang takes +1 heat as we see the lighthouse guy communicating via electroplasmic telegraph with the Ministry of Preservation.
Out to Sea
Grimsey applies all of his negative buoyancy ointment to tomb so they can float it onto the raft. They tie down the unconscious Vey so he doesn’t slide off the cube. They’ve managed to get the cube out to sea, but how will they get it back to Duskvol? Grimesy flashes back to crafting a boat motor. After some careful rolling, the gang acquires a quality III boat motor compact enough to be carried by the gang on their score.
So, the Ghost Bones zoom away, their legs dangling over the cube, arguing over directions. Grimsey tests the capacity of the motor by plank-waterskiing behind them. A quick flashback establishes that they agreed to drop the cube for Thorn’s clients in the Lost District just outside the lightening barrier.
After a successful drop, we saw the gang walk off into the city, but the camera stays on the cube in the Lost District. The runes that cover its surface glow a faint red, and the camera zooms in on a handprint in the center of one side, indicating some kind of mechanism to activate - open? - the tomb. But the Ghost Bones can rest easy knowing they never even thought about checking out what was inside.
The crew makes it back, but the Ministry of Preservation heard far too much for them to evade arrest. Someone has to take the fall. Eckhart, Grimesy’s corpse thief weirdo friend, takes the fall for the affordable price of 2 coins. They hand it over and Eckhart cooks up a crockpot story to take the heat, making up a lie about stealing bodies from the Deathlands. We find out that Eckhart keeps his head down and will serve his several-month sentence without incident. Until then Grimsey is down a contact.
Session 8-9: Crows Nest Down
Note: at some point around here the crew earned enough reputation to rise to Tier I.
During downtime, a ghostly child messenger walks in through the wall at the Ghost Bones hideout, letting the gang know the Dimmer Sisters want us to leave the cube alone. Cuffs headlocks the kid, and give him a noogie, bullying him before pushing him back through the wall. Sister Thorn passes Weaver a letter, which states: “The Scurlock family orders you to forget the events of the 17th of Volnivet. It is in everyone’s best interest.”
Vey and Cuffs put on cool subterfuge outfits and follow Roslyn Kellis. They have a great time forging a friendship on the rooftops spying on their target. Once Roslyn is in a dark alley the two jump down, Cuffs puts her in a headlock and Vey dumps some inebriating poison on her face, then they bike away. Roslyn, now poisoned, attempts to go report the crime to the Bluecoats, but in her drugged-up state, she accidentally ends up in a seedy dive-bar. She throws a “noble lady peyote fit.” Roslyn is unravelling like a ball of yarn, and Vey is the cat playing with her fate.
The Hive are trying to gather information about the Ghost Bones and find the ghost of Roric. Grimesy contested their efforts by luring ghosts into the city to distract them and draw the attention of the Hive’s Whispers. A tied roll means no real progress for either party.
In discussing the next score, someone threw out a great line J recorded in her notes. When a gang member was skeptical they could use social manipulation to get what they want, someone responded, “We’re pretty convincing. Have you seen us shoot people before?” A good summary of the Ghost Bones approach to problem-solving.
Weaver did some information gathering to figure out what happened to the cube, resulting in a major lore dump. Her network reported that the cube was last seen being transported into the sewers off the canal on the east side of Crow’s Foot. Her contacts Salia and Illacile help her determine that the cube is now owned by the Cult of the Empty Vessel. This Cult lives in the sewers and is looking for a Chosen One. This Chosen One will be a powerful and strong candidate to lead their cult to take down modern heretics. They seek to find a human sacrifice to ritually kill and anoint as a ghostly spirit-champion. They congregate under astrologically-significant circumstances at a ruined and overgrown, damp mausoleum full of amphorae and spirit bottles in the Deathlands, where the sacrifice will ultimately be made. They are busy getting prisoners to experiment on. The Chosen One might resist their fate…
Adding that information to the threats they just received, the gang knows that at least five parties are interested in the cube:
- The reclusive and terrifying Lord Scurlock, who is said to be centuries old
- The occult Dimmer Sisters
- Sister Thorne (on behalf of her clients, or for herself?)
- The Path of Echoes
- The Cult of the Empty Vessel
- Whoever the Deathlands scavengers were working for (if they were not just acting solo)
Further investigation reveals that the tomb is likely the burial chamber of Kotar, an ancient wizard. Weaver has heard that various body parts of Kotar are held by powerful people in Duskvol. These body parts grant supernatural powers and are very valuable. The going theory is that the Cult wants the body/parts to be the host for their spirit-champion.
A Tale of Two Duos
For the score, the gang decides its time to take down the Crows. They want to hit their headquarters, the Crow’s Nest, an ancient tower in Crow’s Foot. They decide the best plan is to try to plant a bomb in the Eyrie, the nerve center of the tower where Lyssa lives and holds her meetings. Grimey and Vey attempt to use the grappling gun to hoist themselves up to the top of the tower from a nearby roof, but Orlan undershoots and ends up smashing through a window into the barracks. Vey leads him out the window onto the roof, ripping the alarm out as he goes.
Meanwhile, Cuffs and Weaver are looking for a way in at street level. Weaver drops a smoke bomb to distract a group of guards at a side door, but fails. Taking a different approach through a flashback, Weaver, ever the mastermind, prepares to plant more evidence pinning the assault on the Hive, resulting in quality I forged evidence. After that, Cuffs and Weaver are fighting over a hand telescope to look at fuckup happening on the roof. Cuffs flashbacks to a secondary distraction bomb. He tries to set it off, but he and Weaver are like squabbling siblings and can’t agree on an approach. Cuffs ends up wrestling control and throwing the bomb into a nearby storefront. The bomb goes off, but the resulting explosion is not any bigger than the explosions normally heard at that address, as the storefront turned out to be an alchemist’s shop. So, the guards are still not distracted.
Back up on the roof, Grimey and Vey scramble up to the window of the Eyrie and peek over the windowsill to see Lyssa and her trained crow.
Back down on the street, Cuff comes up with another unique plan: shoot someone. He runs up to the guards, shoots one, and then flees to draw them away from the door. Weaver helps out by pinging another guard from a distance. Citizens of Crow’s Foot are peering out their windows at the violence, +1 heat.
Vey and Grimesy sneak into the roost with the bomb, but Vey accidentally drops his identifying bathhouse loyalty card, resulting in +1 heat. Grimesy throws paralysis powder in Lyssa’s face. Her crow recognizes that it’s the pesky Ghost Bones who are behind this. The crow attempts to fly away, but Vey spears it with a throwing knife.
The Crow’s Nest is a rickety sucker, its various historical uses and crumbling foundation patched together by scaffolding. Cuff’s in the middle of his hit and run and decides to stack another hit and run on top of that. He straight-up punches the scaffolding of the Crow’s nest. J rolls unbelievably well, and Cuffs takes down a section of scaffolding, incapacitating the guards, and he gets away safely. We definitely were picturing a Steamboat Bill, Jr.-style gimmick where the entire scaffolding collapses into a pile, except for right where Cuffs was standing. Grimey uses a flashback to acquire a very nice bomb (quality III). Grimer sets up the bomb under Lyssa’s chair. She’s frozen (paralysis powder), watching it happen. Dark.
I decided to let the rest of the gang attempt setup actions to increase the quality, so with more help from Cuffs and Weaver weakening the scaffolding and Grimey searching for the best spot to plant the bombs in the Eyrie, they ended up with a quality V bomb. After arming the bomb, Vey led the escape by rappelling himself and Grimey down the outside of the tower. They were spotted by more Crows (+1 heat), but that very quickly became irrelevant as the entire tower came crashing down in a successful fortune roll.
The entanglement for this session was also painful, as all of Crow’s Foot saw the Nest come down, and many of the residents were angry with the Ghost Bones for the havok and damage they caused. The Hive retaliated by going after the gang’s turf in Brickston, which they decided to give up rather than fight over.
Session 10: Return to the Black Tree
During downtime, Weaver goes with the Urchins to look into the question of Sister Thorn’s identity. They work together to sneak Weaver into a gathering in a ruined ampitheatre in the Deathlands. There Weaver joins a crowd of robed figures similar to those seen at the dig site of Kotar’s tomb. Spectral forms of ghosts swirled around in the air over the gathering. Weaver discovered Sister Thorn is an initiate in the Path of Echoes. They worship and commune with ghosts. Sister Thorn is voluntarily possessed: she has a spirit living inside of her. This spirit must be driving her to find artifacts of Kotar, including running her business of artifact-hunting to fund the Path’s goals.
Mylera Klev, leader of the Red Sashes, sent a lavish Iruvian carriage to pick up the Ghost Bones the evening after the Crow’s Nest was destroyed. She had Naria and Elynn attend as an act of goodwill and proof of safety. The gangs negotiated over turf now that the Crows were ruined. They agree to split Crow’s Foot, with the Ghost Bones getting the area north of the Crow’s Nest, and the Red Sashes taking the area to the South.
To seal the partnership, Klev asked a favor: to retrieve an important folio of documents from a safe in the basement of the Black Tree. She informs them what has happened to the Black Tree since the gang last saw it in session 2. They planted an artifact lent to them by Bazso Baz of the Lampblacks. After planting it, the entire city block became infested with ghosts. At first, people at the bar were acting funny, getting headaches and nosebleeds, dizzy sick, déjà vu. Later on they started seeing things, including ghosts of deceased family members. Eventually the Red Sashes discovered someone in a private booth had been slashed to pieces. All hell broke lose and spectres (mindless masses of electroplasm) burst through the ghost field and sucked the life force out of everyone. With the energy they gained they began to run rampant. Almost everyone in the drug den was murdered. Naria started a fire to distract the spirits and fled. The spectres grew in power and spread, but eventually the Spirit Wardens arrived to contain them. There are still a lot of ghosts in the area, but the Wardens have established a mini-lightning barrier wall and ghost quarantine/defense system.
We led into the score with a shot of the gang the next day, riding their bone-bikes past the still-smoking rubble of the Crow’s Nest, residents scowling and clearing rubble, carrying off people in stretchers.
Before beginning, the gang does a few gather infomration rolls to set themselves up for success.
- Weaver does their research and learns that this cube is called Ulsud-Mi’s Gate. It creates a spirit well, an opening to the ghost field that attracts ghosts. The longer it stays the larger the gate gets.
- Grimsey does research on destroying the gate, finding out it must be destroyed similar to how the Spirit Wardens destroy ghosts in a physical body: bathing in electroplasm. He thinks learning more about the gate might help him with his goal to understand the causes of the Cataclysm. He also learns it takes about one-and-a-half weeks for the well to fully power-up. Moving it prevents it from accruing power.
- Cuffs cases the joint and learns the gang can get under the Spirit Warden perimeter by using the sewers.
Jumping into the action, the Ghost Bones burst out of a manhole from the sewers, successfully navigating through the sewers to make it under the Warden’s perimeter. Skrats lurk in the ruins, scattering as the gang climbs out. The crew can tell where the Black Tree used to be by the tornado of angry spectres flying around above it.
They begin to trek across the decimated city block. As they do so, they are confronted with ghostly figures and try to protect themselves with spiritbane charms. Cuffs runs into a ghost he knew from the war, and before he can properly process this encounter with past trauma, decides it is safer to punch the ghost.
The group approaches the Black tree and Grimesy flashbacks to crafting a bomb. He also desecrates an area to distract the ghosts away from the Black Tree. With most of the ghosts distracted, Grimesy and Cuffs decide to go after the cube on the ground floor, and Weaver and Vey will try to get into the basement to find the safe.
Weaver has a flashback of sneaking into the office of their rival, Augus the architect, to find blueprints of the area. They find a route into the basement from a neighborhoing building and lead Vey underground to find it. They eventually make there way to a large heavy door leading into the basement. They try to open it, but it feels stuck. They hear a raspy echoing voice from behind the door whisper: “You have no right to our name. You disgrace us.” Vey attempts to attune to get the spectre to let them in, but finds it is actually a horror, an even more terrifying beast from the Ghost Field. Its entire body is comprised of writhing, grasping hands. However, Vey is actually pretty interested in the horror and manages to avoid mortal terror and is able to banish the horror and get into the basement. From there they are able to bust open the safe and grab a large leather folio of documents.
Meanwhile, Grimesy and Cuffs find the area with the gate, but find it hard to approach due to supernatural forces. Grimesy desecrates a circle around the well to reduce its power, setting up bone charms around the bar. Cuffs attunes and dumps black salt into the well, trying to weaken it. However, he’s more experienced in punching ghosts than in dealing with spirit wells, so he fails. He gets drawn into the well and is halfway into it, peering into the terrifying realm of the dead. Grimesy manages to save Cuffs and subtly pocket the gate with a critical success roll.
The entanglement was Cooperation, which would normally be a big problem, but because the Ghost Bones literally have no factions with a positive relationship, they escaped danger. Sometimes it pays to backstab or kill all your potential allies, I guess.
Session 11: Carnage on the Canal
During downtime the crew upgraded their grotto hideout, adding lair security enhancements and living quarters. Grimey lives in his workshop on an hold Skovlander military cot. Everyone else sleeps on hammocks, with Cuffs insisting on the top hammock. Grimesy spends some time improving the gang’s relationship with Ulf Ironborn in Coalridge, trying to repair the damage they did during the massacre on the bridge.
Vey took a peek inside the folio before delivering it and found:
- Alchemical research formulae written by Rai
- Deeds to several Red Sashes buildings
- Iruvian diplomatic documents
He decided to copy and hold all of them as potential blackmail before handing them back to the Red Sashes.
Grimesy also studied Ulsud-Mi’s Gate in secret, devising a way to keep it from activating while learning more about it. He decided not to destroy it yet…
There is buzz on the streets about a Djera Maha, pirate queen leader of the Hive, and the ghost of her former lover and leader of the Crows, Roric, reuniting. This news has the entire underworld on edge. The Hive are already formidable, but a ghostly ally could make them even more powerful. The Red Sashes are currying favor with the Crow’s Foot locals, handing out aid and helping rebuild on their side of the Crow’s Nest ruins. The other side is rather obviously lacking such attention. Inspectors and Bluecoats have been seen questioning citizens about the tower collapse.
The gang gets a tip from their contact in the Dockers, Ellyn, that there is an incoming shipment of banned art from Severos. It’s all on a barge in the Docks, waiting to travel to warehouse in Brickston. She hears the Hive are going to be moving the cargo, and the gang wants to try to knock them down a peg.
The gang plants their crooked cop Darmot the bluecoat in a boat to divert the Hive barge so it travels on the canals near the Hounds’ Den. Cuffs places himself on the shore of the canal and tries to copy the Hive semaphore waggle dance to tell them it’s safe to go into the sewer, but they catch on and start to get suspicious. Cuffs takes 2 stress to beat up a Hive member and learn the dance, but he still gets a 1-1-1 failure and is shot by an unknown sniper. He resists the damage by spending his armor.
Grimes looks for the sniper and sees a flash in a tower from the old lightning barrier in Charterhall. Vey sneakily boards the barge with Weaver, hanging down a rope from a bridge. They landed in some oily sails and hide. Cuffs tries to shoot his flare gun to blind the sniper, but fails and gets +2 heat for this obvious maneuver. Grimesy charges the tower to apply standstill poison to the sniper. He botches the application and it goes everywhere, but he resists it with his ability Fortitude.
Back on the barge, Weaver releases a skrat in another successful wildlife-based diversion. They use the chaos to sneak into the barge’s cabin and demand that the captain surrender. This confrontation goes poorly and the captain is ready to ring the alarm bell.
Back on shore, with a hole in his armor and partly blinded, Cuffs grabs a random citizen and throws them onto the boat, distracting mercenaries already dealing with the skrat. They take another +1 heat from Cuff’s brash actions. Vey and Weaver skirmish with the captain, 2 on 1. Vey resists a stab wound and they manage to take him down. Cuffs does his thing, pops a rage essence, and dives onto the boat and punches mercenaries. Weaver and Vey join the fight and direct the barge into the sewers towards their hideout after taking control from the captain. Grimesy tries to take a shot from the tower, but misses. Eventually with the help of the Rovers they take out all the mercenaries, but Skannon and Cantor both sustain injuries. Unfortunately Cuffs was not able to resist the blind rage of his drug, so he ends up killing the civilian he used as distraction.
Somewhat ironically after all the heat Cuffs accumulated during this score, it was Vey who turned himself in when the Bluecoats came looking for the barge thieves. So, Vey headed off to Ironhook Prison. We aren’t sure if we’ll be seeing him again any time soon…
Session 12: Ghost Bones Kidz: The Searchin’ Urchins
Other title ideas:
- Ghost Bones: The Next Generation
- Ghostie Bonies
- Lil’ Bone Gang
- The Tiny Terrifying Tibias
- Be Child Do Crimes
For the last session of the season, we thought we’d do something different. Most of the main PCs were pretty seriously injured, and many were accumulating significant traumas. So we thought it would be fun to upgrade the Urchins into full-fledged PCs for a “children do crime” episode.
For this session the PCs were:
- Asdis Forberg, 13, Whisper, played by JM. She broke into Grimey’s workshop and he begrudgingly took her on as his protege. She literally sees the dead. Her vice is something to do with her faith, perhaps broken or going against the traditional Skovlander teaching of her parents. She has a relationship with Nyryx, a ghost who is trying to possess her. Her rival is Setarra, a demon or terror. She is capable of calling on the power of storms when her brother is in danger.
- Clave, 10?, Lurk, played by JD. Clave is dumb as a rock, but talkative. He’s got a kind of rural Canadian, Minnesota accent for some reason. He’s an orphaned noble whose parents literally just forgot him at an event. Telda the beggar is his rival and Frakes the locksmith is a “friend” who teaches him how to break into buildings for him. His vice is eating sweets until he’s sick.
- Magnus Forberg, 6, Leech, played by H. He’s a cute little boy with chubby cheeks. He wears a small adorable sailor boy outfit, but he’s conniving as shit. He is Asdis’ younger brother. His vice is luxury: stealing shiny things, medals, badges, etc. His friend Eckerd gives him trinkets from the dead when he’s not in jail. His rival is Malista, as she’s never liked him after he stole from her.
- Stev, a.k.a. “Skid”, 8, Slide, played by JS. He is another orphan, this time with a Skovlander background. He grew up as an urchin in Duskvol. He worships the Ghost Bones and Cuffs in particular. He is trying to become a mini Cuffs, basically. His vice is obligation: he does anything Cuffs asks him to, even though he is a terrible role model. His friend is a fellow street kid named Harker. His rival is Brill the drug dealer.
The youngest Urchins were all hanging out in the workshop bothering Grimsey until he caved and gave them a job to get them out of his hair. Everyone else in the gang is asleep or recovering from their injuries and trauma. The kids don’t really take the job and continue to bother him until Asdis shows up and takes charge. Grimesy tells them to go rob his rival Rai’s shop. Rai is an alchemist allied with the Red Sashes, and Orlan wants them to steal some of his ground tusk powder from the Dagger Isles, an aphrodisiac and useful alchemical agent. He also maybe just wants to fuck with Rai.
To learn a bit more about the shop, Stev visits during business hours and talks up Rai to distract him, but fails to case the joint and find a weakness. A gang of Red Sashes cadets are on the lookout, and their little leader Iskra spots Stev looking suspicious, but she doesn’t get a great look.
Asdis cases the joint with her possessor ghost friend, Nyryx. Nyryx finds a hatch on the roof with broken latch, telling Asdis they could use that to get into the shop. Later that night after the shop closes, Stev keeps watch on the street while the other three climb in through the roof.
Confronted with a cabient full of curious objects and alchemical ingredients, the kids are overwhelmed with options. Asdis picks out a spirit bottle, and it turns out it contains a friendly ghost (nicknamed Casper). She tries to attune to learn more about it. She learns it is a Seeker, a helpful navigation and item-finding spirit sold commercially. A seeker is basically an echo spirit looking for a lost item, but Whispers can attune to influence the item of need and use it for their own ends.
Iskra and the gang of Red Sash cadets come over to bother Stev, but he sways them to leave him alone with a coin from the famous Dick Sinclair. They take their loot and leave him alone.
Magnus steals shiny beetle brooch from a bottle of poison, narrowly avoiding spilling it.
Asdis and Clave fight. Asdis is trying to stop Clave from drinking a candy cane-striped potion. Asdis’ big sister energy wins and stops him with a harsh whisper. Clave pockets it for later.
After looting through the shopfront, the Urchins hear a creaking in the stairs as Rai comes down from his home above the store to do some work in his workshop, which is through a locked door behind the counter. Asdis does a flashback to use Nyryx to distract Rai, taking 1 stress and +1 Heat when Red Sash Academy guards spot it. But, the distraction is successful and Rai wanders back upstairs to investigate the noise he heard. JM took a great Devil’s Bargain on this one: Nyryx is trying to groom and eventually possess Asdis.
Clave picks the lock to the workshop using Frakes’ tools. Inside the group finds a safe with a fancy alchemist lock. They can see this must be where he keeps the good stuff, so after some careful experimentation, they combined liquid mercury and gold in carved mouths of the east and west wind to open it. Inside is petty cash and the aphrodisiac Grimesy requested.
On the way out Clave uses his silent potion to let Asdis grab a Screamer, a ghost in a spirit bottle that causes noise.
For the Entanglement, the Bluecoats come to Frakes, so he gets mad at Clave for getting him involved. Clave the dimwitted child thief pays him off with most of the score cash, asking him to bribe the fuzz to keep them from nosing around.
What a wild ride over the past year! So many scores and characters. We’ve built up quite a world. I’m looking forward to finding out what the Ghost Bones get up to in season two.