Blades in the Dark Session 18 Recap

We had our first in-person Blades in the Dark game after playing a campaign over the pandemic. Picking up where we left off, in session 18 the Ghost Bones gang faced threats on a number of fronts:

The gang smartly decided that the war was their main concern since the mechanical effects of being at war were causing significant problems. So, they decided they wanted to take further steps to reduce The Hive’s tier, continuing their goal from the last session. J suggested they try to target the production of the sparkcraft bees that act as The Hive’s spies. Eventually, this emerged as an Occult score by the gang’s urchins to transport the demon Setarra to the water tower on the roof of the formidable Coalridge factory where the bees are produced.

The gang prepared by indulging their vices, training for the big score, and, in Asdis’ case, harvesting electroplasm to appease her demonic patron. Stev the Slide used his social manipulation to get a factory tour and cased the joint. While he was there he noted that most of the workers were poor Skolvan workers from the neighborhood, the same group the gang had been courting, many of whom were loyal to Ulf Ironborn. With the urchins all having a Skovlan background, they were eager to help out the oppressed laborers. Stev scrawled some revolutionary slogans on the lavatory wall before he left.

The engagement roll with the Tier I gang against the Tier IV Hive didn’t go well, so they started in a Desperate position. Stev was back for another tour, playing the nerdy kid interested in learning more about the machinery. However, he saw a Hive foreman boot an upstart worker off a catwalk down several stories into the water below. The factory was at a crucial moment, and it looked as if the Skovlan workers might riot.

In the meantime, Clave tried to reconnoiter the factory through the eyes of his pet skrat, Flea. Flea snuck into the factory successfully, but when a Hive guard got a bit suspicious Flea decided to distract him and led him off into the bowels of the industrial complex. Poor Clave hasn’t quite got the hang of working with Flea yet and became very distraught when Flea disappeared, gaining a new Trauma: Obsessed with Flea’s safety.

Asdis strolled into the factory on official Sprit Warden business, investigating some of the recent deaths of Skovlan workers. Magnus grabbed his lunchbox and blended in with the masses of Skovlan workers trudging into the plant. The gang was in position, but instead of intervening in the potential rebellion, they hung back. The Skovlan workers decided this was their moment, remembering the inspiring slogan over the pisser: “Skovlanders Unite and Fight!” They grabbed their wrenches and attacked the Hive overseers, with a few pulling out Molotov cocktails and chucking them at the overseers’ office.

In the ensuing violence, Stev continued to play the poor nerd and had a Hive guard stuff him in the cab of an industrial crane to hide. While he maneuvered it to lift Asdis to the roof, Magnus revealed his lunchbox was full of grenades, which he strategically placed around the factory to sow further chaos and cover their score. Asdis flew up on the crane and dashed out a door to the roof. Stev decided to seal her up there for her safety, using the crane to bash the catwalk, removing the only entrance to the roof.

Poor Clave had been rushing around looking for Flea, completely ignoring the score in progress. In his pursuit of Flea up an air duct, he eventually emerged out a vent onto the roof. Thankfully this worked out, as the players established in a flashback that the stout little Clave had brought most of Asdis’ supplies for the summoning ritual. He and Asdis got to work, with Asdis Compelling a ghost to extinguish itself into electroplasm in the water tank as she mixed it with water from Setarra’s ritual pool in the Sanctorium of the Ecstasy of the Flesh.

Asdis is getting the hang of this Whisper stuff; her player took a Devil’s Bargain that the ritual would work “too well,” and with an Assist from Clave, she summoned Setarra in one roll. The water in the tower boiled to life as giant ghostly tentacles flew out and burrowed their way into the factory. More tentacles came up from the canal access at the bottom of the factory, and the foul demon sought out all the members of the Hive, using her tentacles to suck the electroplasm right out of their bodies.

The ritual succeeded, but we found out in the Entanglements that it worked too well. The Skovlander workers and their gang boss, Ulf Ironborn, now work at the factory for Setarra. It’s unclear what they will be producing at this point; perhaps Setarra will continue to manufacture bees to spread her influence throughout the city, or maybe she has other plans…

Although they didn’t end up owning the factory as they might have wished, the gang did score a significant hit against The Hive’s infrastructure, plus they gained a big stack of Coin from looting the factory. The hit against such a powerful faction propelled them back into Tier II. If they can finish this war, they will be Tier III. With the Hive down in Tier, a peace treaty or showdown might be within their grasp soon.