Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Promethean: Chop, Sploosh, Gack, Pow

Anybody ever watch Harper's Island? Horror mini-series, basically a slasher movie played out over 13 episodes, which has the effect of making things really uncomfortable by the last couple because you've come to know the main characters well enough that it's hard to be densensitized to their deaths. Anyway, I mention it because the episode titles were all onomatopoeias, and pretty violent, MUCH LIKE LAST NIGHT'S GAME.

So! Skip heads out to the swamp with Jesse, and we'll learn what happened to them next time (Skip's player was absent). Avalon and Carroll head back towards town, but next a salvage yard there's a loud bang and then the car spins out and crashes. Both are mostly unhurt, but Avalon is worried - that sounded like a gunshot. She gets out of the car and is immediately struck by a blast of acidic blood that melts the flesh from her body...and there stands Red. She rushes forward and uses her knowledge of Alchemicus to turn him to stone, and Carroll's eyes go completely black. The darkness pours out of him and surrounds them, and Carroll and Red both vanish.

Avalon, realizing they're probably screwed without help, pulls Fluffy (Enoch's shabti, whom we haven't seen in a while) out of her backpack and tells him to alert Enoch, and then runs into the dark.

Avalon realizes they're in a maze, but she can, inexplicably, easily find her way through it. In the center of the maze, she sees a huge, monster-ghost thing erupting from Red's petrified body, and facing off against it is some horrible spindly-legged creature, shrouded in darkness. The creature is badly wounded, and the ghost turns the blood-torrent on Avalon again.

Avalon, enraged, switches to the Refinement of Tin and throws lightning at the creature. It cries out in pain, and Avalon gears up to fire again, but then Red de-petrifies and shoots her.

And in a cab, heading towards town, Feather and Enoch feel Avalon die. Grimm and Matt, walking back towards the city, feel it too. The folks in the cab see the boys on the side of the road and stop to get them, and based on what Enoch can see through Fluffy's eyes, finds the salvage yard. Grimm gets out of the car and sees the huge pocket of darkness, and rushes in (completing a milestone and his Daredevil Role for enter a gateway without knowing where it goes). Feather and Matt follow, telling the cab driver to wait.

Enoch, seeing them go, calls out "OK, I've sent them in, now come get me," trying to bait Red. It works - Red appears behind him. Enoch tells him that his quest for vengeance is going to get him killed; the other supernatural beings of New Orleans are looking for him. Red says that all he wants is "all of you at the River." Enoch asks why, and Red tells him "figure it out, you stupid sonofabitch, you killed my boys" and then hits him with an ax.

Enoch changes to barghest form and attacks, but the first hit took too much out of him, and Red blasts him with blood and then finishes him with a second stroke of the ax. Enoch dies, and the others feel it.

Inside the darkness, they find themselves isolated and lost in a maze. Matt and Feather make it to the center, though, and find the spindly creature slinking up in the dark. Feather sees that it has Carroll's eyes...but then those eyes go away and become the black, insect-like eyes of the creature. The maze walls start to collapse, and the Prometheans run. Outside, they find the cab gone and the cab driver dead.

They call DeVries for help, and moments later a car with the mages Sebek, Mort, and a third one named Cassie, arrive. Cassie looks around at all the death and gives an abbreviated version of what happened, but notes that it's like it all happened "in a nightmare." The Prometheans note that Red seems to have a thing for junkyards, and maybe he was holed up there - of course, he's not there now because he took the cab towards New Orleans. The mages decide to investigate the junkyard, and the Prometheans take their car (with the bodies of their friends in the trunk) and head for town. They call Sicky, who's terrified because he felt Avalon and Enoch die, too, and have him meet them at DuMonde.

In the Underworld, Avalon awakens on the shores of the River of Blood. She unleashes her rage in lightning form at the river, screaming in anger, and firmly cements herself as on Stannum, pursuing the Vigilante Role. Enoch appears behind her, and they talk a bit, and then start heading upriver. The river splits, and Avalon remembers that the River of Blood is about violence and passion, so she takes a drink and feels aggression and anger surge. She takes a little blood with her in her shoe. She figures she'll need it.

They find ghosts in the nearby tunnels, and Enoch asks where he might look to find a particular person (specifically he's looking to find Red's family to try and get them to calm him down). The ghost responds that Enoch should look in the Web of Names, and tells him to follow the River of Memory. They find said river (Lethe) and Enoch takes a couple of stones to work into his project back in the world of the living. Note, too, that all of this fulfills the projectio milestone for both Avalon and Enoch: Visit a River of Death.

Back in the world of the living, the Prometheans decide that maybe they should check out a local scrapyard (Sicky tells them that the one that the characters were near earlier has werewolves in it; they call the mages and warn them off. Grimm espouses a theory that every scrapyard has some kind of supernatural creature running it, which is now canon in my Chronicles of Darkness). There's one nearby, though, outside of the city, pretty small - some of it got destroyed by Katrina. The Prometheans decide to go check it out. If they can find Red while he's hurt, maybe they can kill him.

Grimm, meanwhile, adopts Ferrum and the Soldier Role. He also forces himself a little further along on the Pilgrimage, and achieves the fermentatio milestone (use Vitriol to increase Pilgrimage). Enoch uses Vitriol to fix Mutatus Aspiratus and Sanctus Aspiratus, and Matt uses Vitriol to fix Externalize, which is where we'll pick up next time.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Chill: Layin' Old Ghosts to Rest

Yesterday was the end of a Chill case (beginning was here).

The envoys have Darnell come down from Boise, and he brings Dylan (Edward's player was out, so we figured Edward was out in LA doing movie-stuff) along. Dylan is still recovering from his last mission - still a little injured, still a little delicate mentally. They arrive at Stewart's house, and Darnell checks out Jordan. She's badly dehydrated and sick, so he puts a saline bag up and tells her to rest. He checks out Stewart, too, but he's not as bad, so Darnell just tells him to stay hydrated.

The envoys talk a little about what to do, and in a couple hours Jordan is walking again. They think about heading out to the site that evening, but decide it's better if they have everyone (and Jordan isn't really 100%), so they choose to sleep on it and gear up in the morning. Dee dreams of riding in a car with Bryan, the mysterious hitchhiker. The car stops and he follows a light into the woods, and then falls into a crevasse. Dee hears a crack when he lands, and then realizes something else is there with her. It chases her and she falls near the road, scrabbling for a foothold, and then the creature backs off. Before she wakes up, Dee realizes that her hands smell like carrots.

The envoys wake up and realizes that Stewart has gone to work, which is good - at least he's feeling better. Darnell, however, is not well; he's contracted the strange disease. Jordan draws a line of defense around his bed and he starts to feel better, but that of course means he's stuck in the circle.

Dylan realizes that he was going to hit the books last night, but forgot and passed out instead. The envoys get some breakfast at the diner and then make some plans. Dylan does a little research and learns that Unknown-caused diseases tend to be fast and acute, but if you can get through the initial sickness they're usually not fatal. They are, however, sometimes contagious, and often the only way to stop the spread is destroy the creature that caused it. Some ghosts can cause contagion, as can some undead creatures, but without knowing what the envoys are up against they can't really make a plan.

Dee mentions that she woke up craving carrots and that they might be significant. Carrots don't grow wild around her, but Queen Anne's Lace, which is also called a wild carrot (and smells like just carrots) does. The envoys figure that their best bet is to get down into the crevasse and see what they see, so they hit Wal-Mart and buy a rope ladder, some garbage bags, some rope a tarp, and some lights.

They head out to the site and see a man flagging their car down - Bryan. They pick him up and start driving him back to town. They ask him questions, but he's pretty uninformative; Willa realizes that he probably doesn't quite know what's happening and is just recreating a particular scene. She uses Voice of the Dead to channel him, and he reveals that his full name is Bryan Gill. He was visiting his brother in Mountain View, NV and on the way home when he pulled over because he saw a light in the woods. He felt compelled to follow it, and then fell, and then nothing. He asks that the envoys tell his brother what happened to him, and then he fades away, leaving some ectoplasm behind.

They head back out to the site, make some garlands out of Queen Anne's Lace, and rig the rope ladder to go down. Willa starts descending, and activates Eyes of the Dead. Sure enough, she sees a figure in the bottom of the crevasse, but it isn't approaching her. The bottom of the crevasse is covered in white mushrooms, which makes the envoys nervous - what if the spores cause the illness? Willa hangs on the ladder a minute, but when she goes to descend again she forgets how her hands work and lands on her ass in the shrooms.

She looks around and finds Bryan's body, and calls to the others. Jordan descends as well, and touches Willa, using Disrupt, which gives her back her coordination. Unfortunately, Willa looks off in the distance and sees lights...and wants nothing more than to touch them. She starts walking slowly towards them, but Jordan notices, darts in front of her, and uses Line of Defense to block her path. Willa comes to and sees the figure out in the dark...hovering over another level to the crevasse. They decide to head back, put Bryan's body in the tarp, and rig it so Dylan and Dee can pull it up.

They start to do that (some minor Trauma from Bryan's decomposing body later), and get the body hauled up. And then it starts raining blood. Dylan, a bit freaked out but not terribly, puts up a Sphere of Protection, which blocks the rain from him and Dee.

Willa goes up the ladder to assist, but then Jordan sees the lights. She walks right off the edge and falls into a lower area, but isn't seriously hurt. The others move the ladder, and Willa sees the figure standing directly in front of Jordan, pulling back as if to strike her. Thinking quickly, Willa uses Voice of the Dead and summons the creature into her own body. Dylan draws a Line of Defense around Willa to keep it trapped, and Dee rigs the ladder so Jordan can climb up.

Willa can sense that this creature was once human - a Chinese woman - but that she's been dead for so long that most of her humanity has gone. Jordan looks around in the lower crevasse and finds a skull, a fragment of a spine, and part of a femur - the last remains of the woman. She bags them, and climbs up.

The envoys engage in a bit of pantomime and nonverbal communication with the ghost to try and figure out what she wants, but finally they figure that burying her in a cemetery might do it. She's been dead long enough that the specific tradition doesn't matter anymore, just the recognition would be enough. They load up the bodies (like, 1.2 bodies) into the car and call ahead to Stewart for help. He says he'll meet them with the Reverend at the church, but they'll need to explain it.

The Reverend tells them that they'll need to call the police about Bryan, but allows himself to be convince that the other body could just be buried in the older part of the cemetery. The envoys dig a grave for the bones, and mark it with a stone labeled with the Chinese character for "daughter" (Jordan figures she had to be somebody's daughter, so that's accurate). They see mushrooms sprout in seconds, and then die, and the Unknown presence fades.

The police reprimand them a little for hauling Bryan's body out (this is technically illegal), but they let it go, presumably because they saved the police the trouble. Bryan's brother is notified, and the envoys collect Darnell (now recovered) and head back to Boise.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Character Creation: Synthicide

It's early in the morning, but I can't start doing inventory yet and I gotta take Sephi to the vet and no one else is up, so.

The Game: Synthicide
The Publisher: Will Power Games
Degree of Familiarity: Enough. I ran a session last night in preparation to write a review.
Books Required: Just the one.

So! Synthicide is billed as sci-fi noir, and that's not a bad description. You're playing "sharpers," mercenaries or hired help trying to survive in a universe that really doesn't give a shit what you do, as long as you don't fuck with the Church or its Synthetics.

Oh, this is sad. There's a PC generator here, but there's no way to print the sheet it creates. Boo. Guess I'll have to do this analog.

OK, so, the book has a bunch of random tables that you can roll on to generate an origin story. I enjoy such things, so I'm gonna use 'em. First roll: Birthplace. I was born on a ship. I have no home planet. Sounds OK.

Next roll: Why did I become a sharper? Restlessness. Wanderlust. Search for meaning. I can get behind that.

Next, connection to other players: Sworn to secrecy. My character and other sharper share a terrible secret. I get to roll on the mystery table to determine what we're hiding. Sounds good to me! Visions - I get visions of a terrible future...maybe past? Anyway, I start with three doses of Illuminix, which is cool, because that's the drug you need to take if you have psychic powers and I was thinking that'd be fun.

Now I choose a Motivation (there's a list). These are very broad, and help determine how I can regain Resolve in play. I'll say my guy's motivation is Don't Get Mad, Get Even, because I feel like making a character who's a little harder around the edges today. He gets Resolve if he denies an opponent mercy or settles a debt.

Step Three, I select a bioclass, which is basically whether I have or could have any cyber. You don't actually start with any cyber either way (which is kinda weaksauce). I think if I want to have psychic powers, my brain has to be organic. Yep, I can't be a scraphead or a rigfiend. I think I'll be a hardshell - got some work done in the body, but the brain is all meat. That sets my Attributes totals, but I don't fill them in yet because they'll be modified by Aspect. I also start with either Cyber Eyes or Serbs Limbs; I think I'll go with the eyes. I get +1 Awareness. I get 2 cybernetic slots for my body, but those don't matter at chargen.

Next up, Aspect. I already know I want to be a Bulbhead. I get +2 Influence but -1 to another Attribute of my choice. Hmm. I think I'll take it to Toughness; my rigged body was done on the cheap and it's prone to shorting out at bad times. Now I can fill in my Attributes. My Influence and Awareness are both pretty good, but my Toughness and Combat are sucky, so I'll need to rely on my psychic powers, which, speaking of, I get two.

Ooh, these are pretty baller. I'll take Psychic Barrier (I need a way to prevent damage), and...hmm. Do I want a movement power, or do I want a way to do damage? I think given my motivates I should take the latter. I'll take Mind Burst (there's a slot to write these on the back of the sheet, but I don't care that much, so I'll just jot 'em in on the front).

Now I pick a Natural Talent, which is the closest this system gets to skills. There are really only two types, Influence (which, perhaps ironically, let me use my highest Attribute instead of Influence to lie to or otherwise persuade certain types of people or in certain situations) or Operate, which let me use a higher Attribute than Operation to perform certain tasks. Since Influence is one of my highest Attributes, I'll take an Operate one. Since I grew up on a ship, let's make it Operate Vehicles.

And then, an equipment package. I appreciate these; you can just pick one and get stuff you might need without shopping. I'll take the Gutter Psych package; that gives me a gun and a combat vest, but more importantly, it gives me Illuminix, which I need to be all psychic. That means I have 10 doses total.

And that's all the number stuff. Now for a little backstory. Stelo (means "star" in Esperanto) was born on a colony ship bound for...parts unknown (turns out they were bound of Cruxian, which is a planet that doesn't realize that space travel exists - they're kept forcibly ignorant by the Church). Stelo was taken off the ship by his mother during an incident (she never told him about it, but he has visions of explosions and monsters), and she became crew on another transport ship. Stelo grew up in space.

He fell in with a crew of sharpers when he was 14, and on his first mission got caught between two huge cargo crates and crushed. The buyer, who was moderately wealthy, felt bad and paid for some augmentation to keep Stelo alive, but not, like top of the line. Stelo stayed with the crew for a while, though, and then met up his current crew (which would be the PCs). He revealed his occasional visions to another sharper, and they realized they both had similar visions. Stelo is curious about what he's really seeing, but up till now he figured it was just Illuminix side effects. Stelo also took to heart he lesson of the buyer fixing his body - if you wrong someone or are responsible for someone getting hurt, you balance the scales. He's toying with the notion that the reason he's seeing these visions is because something is out of balance, but that hasn't really crystalized yet.

OK, I think that does it!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Movie #424: Home

Home is an animated comedy starring Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Steve Martin, and Matt Jones. It didn't do fantastic at the box office, but it's got a special place in my heart.

Oh (Parsons) is a member of an alien race called the Boov. They are the self-described "best at running away," and move from planet to planet, fleeing their world-destroying enemies, the Gorg. They find Earth and use their superior, bubble-based technology to move the world's population to Australia, where they arrange everyone in circular neighborhoods with Ask-a-Boov kiosks in the middle (side note: it's never revealed if they arrange people in any particular way, and Boov don't have families the way people understand them, so it's a good thing they took the time to learn all these peoples' names so they can find missing folks!. Further side note: Their relocation always makes me think of this).

Anyway, Oh is kind of a fuckup - he's enthusiastic about being with other Boov (most Boov aren't), and he's hyper enthused about his race and their cowardly leader, Captain Smek (Martin). In his haste to have everyone over for a warming-of-house party, he inadvertently broadcasts the invite to the whole universe...including the Gorg. Now a fugitive, he runs into a young girl named Tip (Rihanna), hiding out in her apartment after the Boov's technology missed her. After some highly amusing initial disagreements ("Can I come into the out now?"), they team up to find Tip's mother (Lopez) and try and clear Oh's name.

This movie is based on a book and diverges wildly, but that's normal. I like Oh's linguistic foibles (what they do with gerunds is fascinating), and I like that one of the main characters is a girl and a POC. I don't know if she's from Barbados in the book, too, but that was also a nice touch - she's assimilating to a new culture, and in the process winds up teaching Oh that he can't just steamroll in and take everything.

I think the fact that the Boov are pretty clear analogs for well-meaning white people could be underlined a little more heavily, but hey, this ain't a Pixar movie and we're not in it for the message. Home is funny and touching at points, and the voice acting is good.

My Grade: B+
Rewatch value: High

Next up: Inglorious Basterds

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Character Creation: Blades in the Dark

I started running this game Monday. I'm really liking it, for a number of reasons. I love the notion of a criminal gang being all sneaky and stuff, I love the kinda Dishonored-ish setting, and I really am looking forward to playing with the system.

But, you know, I like to make characters for games that I run so let's fucking do that! (Woooo.)

The Game: Blades in the Dark
The Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
Degree of Familiarity: I've read it, and it uses a system that's kinda like PbtA.
Books Required: Just the one.

So, first thing I need to do is pick a playbook. It says to play a Lurk if you want to sneak around in the shadows, and boy-howdy, that sounds like fun. I'ma make a Lurk.

Next up, I choose a Heritage. I think I want to be Tycherosi, supposedly part-demon. My character gets a telltale, which in his case I'm gonna say are utterly black, slightly-too-large eyes. Neat! I get to add a detail, so I'll say he was adopted by a blind Iruvian, an old merchant who didn't care about his weird-ass unsettling eyes because he couldn't see them.

Now we choose a Background, which is what he did before becoming a professional scoundrel. I'm gonna go with trade. He was a shopkeeper; he ran a spice stand in Nightmarket. I'll add former spice dealer as the detail (presumably he inherited the shop from his adopted father).

Next, we assign four Action Dots. I already get Finesse and Prowl. I'm gonna take Hunt, Tinker, Sway, and...hmm. I kinda feel like Study might be appropriate, but then, Attune is useful, too, and that would give me two resistance dice in each area (see, it's different when you've played the game before you make the character). I'm gonna go with Study, actually.

Special ability! Ooh, I really like Ghost Field (which lets me become shadowy and insubstantial briefly), but then, Shadow is groovy, too - that would let me perform Kevin-like feats of leaping and silence. I think I'll do that.

Now I get a close friend and a rival. For my friend, I'll take Darmot, the Bluecoat. He was a friend of my adopted father and stopped by the shop every now and then to get a particular smoked salt that he liked. As a rival, I'll take Frake, a locksmith. She takes my skills as a burglar personally.

Choose my vice! My vice is Pleasure. He has very sensitive skin, so he goes to Madame Tesslyn at the Red Lamp (a brothel). He doesn't always indulge in sex, though - more often he pays the girls (or, y'know, whoever) to stroke him with various silks and textured things.

Name, alias, and look. OK, then! His name is Sesereth Karstas, but on the streets he's called Silk. He wears loose silks, soft boots, and pulls a scarf up over the lower half of his face when working. He speaks softly, and has a faint Iruvian accent. His eyes, as mentioned, are just a little too big, and are completely black.

That's it!

Movie #423: Heat

Heat is a crime drama directed by Michael Mann and starring (deeeeep breath) Robert de Niro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, Danny Trejo, Tom Sizemore, Ashley Judd, Dennis Haysbert, Jon Voight, Diane Venora, Amy Brenneman, Wes Studi, Ted Levine, Mykelti Williamson, and Natalie Portman, plus a bunch of other fairly famous people.

There are a bunch of storylines going on, here, but the main thing is: Neil (de Niro) runs a crew of highly skilled thieves. On a job sticking up an armored car, new recruit Waingro (Kevin Gage) gets squirrely and shoots a guard, prompting the others to shoot the rest. Neil is pissed - they don't need any heat, and killing people brings that. He goes to shoot Waingro, but he manages to escape. File that away for now.

They start working on their next job, but Detective Hannah (Pacino) and his crew are in pursuit. They play a bunch of cat and mouse, and Hannah and Neil meet and express respect for each other. Neil, meanwhile, meets a woman (Brenneman) and falls in love, and when the last score goes south he looks to take her with him out of the country. At the last minute, he goes off plan to kill Waingro, and winds up getting pursued, and shot, by Hannah.

Into this mix, there are at least a half-dozen subplots. Chris (Kilmer) has a gambling problem that's pushing his wife Charlene (Judd) to canoodle with a Las Vegas bookie (Hank Azaria). Waingro is actually a serial killer knocking off prostitutes, which is something I missed the first time I saw this, somehow. Hannah's wife Justine (Venora) is deeply unhappy in their marriage, and her daughter (Portman) ultimately attempts suicide because of depression brought on in part by her own absentee father. Breedan (Haysbert) is just out of jail and trying to make ends meet, and winds up in the crew when Trejo (Danny Trejo) has to back out because he can't shake the cops, and winds up getting shot for his trouble.

Michael Mann sure knows how to put this kind of movie together, though, I'll tell you what. The characters each have strong motivations, and they're professional and competent, and the chemistry between the crews is great. The criminals are utterly ruthless - they're the bad guys, and they're not afraid to gun down cops and civilians to show it. There's no question about morality, here, it's a question of motivation and what someone is willing to risk - or abandon - for one's own interests. Hannah is absent from his family and it costs him his marriage very nearly his stepdaughter. Neil risks and loses for the chance for revenge after he loses his crew. They're very similar characters, and casting Pacino and de Niro just underlines that.

My Grade: A-
Rewatch value: Medium-low (long but well paced)

Next up: Home

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Blades in the Dark: Widdershins

Monday night was our first session of our new game (replacing Feng Shui): Blades in the Dark!

We talked about playing Unhallowed Metropolis and...something else vaguely Victorian and scary (can't remember now), but landed on Blades because it sounded intriguing to all of us and since it's PbtA based, it's meant to be low-prep. So, without further ado, the characters!

  • Una Daava, aka "One Eye," played by Megan. One Eye is the Leech of the group, and is also a physicker (medic). She's an orphaned refugee; her parents died in the Unity War. She's from Skovlan, but has worked diligently to lose her Skovic accent. She's an enthusiastic user of all drugs and intoxicants.
  • Zamira Obedin, aka "Copper," played by Michelle. Copper is the Cutter, and specializes in punching ghosts as well as people. She's a pugilist and spirit guard for hire, and her family were mercenaries. She's from Severos, and enjoys betting on hound races. 
  • Vond Helker, aka "Cage," played by Toasty. Cage is the Whisper, and is Tycherosi - he has onyx scales on his body. He used to be a Spirit Warden, but left the organization for reasons yet unrevealed. He kept the mask, though. 
  • Cyrene Daava, aka "Siren," played by Amanda. Siren grew up on a leviathan hunter boat, and would stand on the bow and sing. The crew believes this led the beasts to them, hence the nickname. She's from Akoros, and is a practiced marksman. 
The crew is called Widdershins, and they're a group of Smugglers with their own boat. They have a reputation for being strange, and taking spirit and supernatural-related smuggling jobs in and around their home turf of Nightmarket. Tonight would be no different.

As we open, the crew has been arrested. Occasionally the Bluecoats just round up the usual suspects, as it were, and throw them in a carriage (pulled by immense goats) and cart them around. Once they've been taken in circles for a while, the carriage stops, and they find themselves face to face with Captain Vale. 

Vale tells them to look off yonder, and they see a Gondolier boat - the Gondoliers are pulling a body out of the water. As they watch, the body twitches and spits up water. A hollow, then. Vale informs them that the Gondoliers have been pulling these bodies out of the canals for a while now, but they aren't involving the Bluecoats and the Spirit Wardens are staying well away. If someone were to bring Vale one of these bodies, they would be rewarded. 

One Eye haggles a bit, and manages to get some cash up front out of Vale, but Vale clearly makes a mental note to remember these folks (bringing some Heat). The scoundrels start looking for intel. 

Copper follows the Gondoliers back to their hideout, and watches as the corpse is taken into a closed building. She isn't sure what happens then, but sees Griggs, a high-ranking Gondolier and a whisper, talking to another member. Griggs glances over and Copper realizes there's a ghost present, but manages to dodge it before she's made.

One Eye hits the Veil, a nightclub where she partakes of all the drugs. Nyelle, a spirit trafficker known to the crew, hangs out there, and lo, she is there, drinking a very sweet new drug. One Eye stays and learns a few things - the bodies are indeed being pulled out of the canals in a particular pattern, and the pattern forms a rune across Doskovol, but Nyelle isn't familiar with what the rune means. She also tells One Eye that the Gondoliers were once the go-to folks for helping normal people out with spirit issues, but the Spirit Wardens have been assuming that role, and the Gondoliers aren't happy about it. Nyelle isn't sure what, if anything, the Spirit Wardens know about all this, but so far they're steering clear. One Eye stays and gets very drunk on all this. 

Siren, meanwhile, decides that meeting with Eliese, the leader of the Gondoliers, would be worthwhile. She arranges a messenger and sends him out, bearing a special invitation (on which she spends the advance money the crew was given). The messenger returns, possessed, and informs Siren that Eliese doesn't have time to meet with her right now. The ghost leaves the messenger, who of course remembers nothing. 

One Eye returns to the lair and shares what she knows with the group, drawing the rune from memory...and it explodes in her face, frazzling her a bit. Cage tries to decipher it, but can't (it's an old symbol, not one he's seen before). The crew does know, however, where the next corpse should appear, so they head into Crow's Foot to scope out the location. 

They note that this is right near the orphanage, and there are a bunch of scamps watching out for weirdness (not uncommon to use these kids as lookouts). They find the place that the body went in, and then plan out their escape route. And then it's time to begin the score. 

We open on that as they're pulling the body out, and it's fighting them. Copper punches the ghost in the body into submission and One Eye ties it up, while Cage gets the boat moving. Gondoliers are en route - the kids are blowing little whistles and summoning them. Cage summons a bunch of scary ghosts to drive the kids away, and the scoundrels pull away from Crow's Foot, into the canal between Coalridge and Charterhall. They see a bunch of Gondolier boats, as well as Spirit Wardens and Bluecoats, but they try and fade into the background. 

They get stopped in a bit by a Gondolier boat that asks what they're transporting, and Siren gives us a brief flashback to when she got some manifest documents from Rolan, the proprietor of the Veil. She got them, but they're old (Rolan didn't have another use for them), so the Gondolier calls them out. One Eye hits him with a trance dart, making him stoned, but his co-boater sends up a flare, summoning the other Gondoliers. Copper splashes him in the face with rage essences, driving him berserk, and throws him overboard to slow down the Gondoliers, and the scoundrels take off. 

Realizing that they're still being pursued, though, they slip under a bridge and work together to blow it up. The bridge crashes down and the scoundrels escape into Nightmarket's canals...and next time, we'll finish up the score and have some downtime.