Thursday, March 29, 2018

Blades in the Dark: Scoundrels on a Train

I actually ran this game Monday night and I really should do write-ups the next day but Tuesday sucked and then Wednesday was worse, but today I feel a little more like myself again, so I suppose I should do some bloggin' before something else kicks me in the fucking teeth.

(I miss Livejournal.)

Anyway! Last time, the scoundrels learned about a score involving stealing "virgin" spirit bottles from a supply train coming into Gaddoc Station. Figuring this seemed like a pretty sweet gig, they got to work doing some intel.

They figured that the biggest payoff would be to hit the train before it hit the station, but that left them with the choice between trying to get to the train outside the spark-wall (which got a collective "fuuuuuuuuck that", and as an aside, I really like it when the setting is defined enough and the players are thinking enough like their characters that they recognize that something is a bad idea, even if it's profitable) and hitting it once it crosses the wall but before it gets to the station. The latter is objectively safer, but it gives them a very small window of space and time in which to act. Clearly they need an angle.

Delving into the particulars, they learn that it's the Ministry of Preservation and the Rail Jacks they're going to have to deal with. The Ministry is pretty tough and has a fleet of ships meant to guard cargo vessels at its disposal, and the Rail Jacks are armed guards on the train. The fleet, though, won't actually be at the river site where the train goes through; they're stationed at the docks. That means a distraction. The most efficient route to the site is past Ironhook Prison.

The scoundrels figure that their best bet to unloading the train is to stop it, but for that they need a sparkwright. Siren goes down to the docks and hires Bell, a sparkwright who worked on a Leviathan Hunter vessel. Bell is a decent enough chap, very dedicated and principled (not interested in killing folks for a few coin), but, like One-Eye, he's also a big fan of intoxicants. He meets up with the scoundrels to plan, and mentions that if there's a riot or an escape at Ironhook, the waters near the prison are closed to all boat traffic, including the Ministry's vessels. If those vessels had to get to Gaddoc and couldn't go through that section of the river, they'd have to go through the city (which they won't, because that would piss off the Gondoliers) or go around the city (which triples their response time because the waterways are narrower). There's the in.

Copper pays a visit to Ulf Ironbeard and talks him into starting a riot in the prison; he's got some boys still inside (Copper made friends with them when she was in last month). It costs her some Coin up front, but he agrees.

The scoundrels synch up their plan. Bell is going to shut off the power to the train just as the train passes through the spark-wall, and the riot at the prison starts. That should give the crew enough time to get onto the train and get the cargo out and onto their boat. Copper goes with Bell as a bodyguard.

We start out the score in kind of a bad situation, though. Bell and Copper enter the spark tower, but there are four guards right there. Copper, fortunately, is a badass, and can take them down - she drops the mechanical lighting apparatus on their heads and electrocutes them (non-fatally!). Unfortunately, doing so without injury stresses her out, and she takes Trauma. She's out for now.

The power goes out and spark-wall flickers, but remains up. The other three scoundrels hit the now-stationary train, as sirens go up in the distance at Ironhook - Ulf is as good as his word. One-Eye opens the hatch on the train as Rail Jacks jump out to see what's happening. She tosses a smoke bomb to cover Siren and Cage, and drops down...right between two Rail Jacks. She darts them with a sleeping drug and gets to work pouring drift oil around on the cargo crates.

Outside, Rail Jacks are pulled out weapons, but Siren flies down out of the smoke and beats two of them unconscious. Cage tries the same thing, but the Jacks are armored, and engage him, calling for backup. Siren strikes one with knives (non-fatally!) and draws her pistol on the other, ordering them to stand down. The train starts to lurch to life, but One-Eye hits the wheels with binding oil, locking it in place.

Cage jumps back on the train to hook up a pulley system to get the now-floating crates down to the boat. The crew gets to work, but there are boats approaching. They get the crates on and take off down the river, but the Ministry vehicles attack. One-Eye manages to lash down the cargo, and Siren tries to steer the ship but they take some hits. They fall back on alchemy again, tossing out a blackout potion to give them some cover. In flashback, we see that they've arrange with Copper's cousin Georg to store the stuff in his warehouse on the waterfront, so the crew pulls the ship in there.

A Ministry ship approaches and asks to see papers, which of course they have (forged, but hey). The Ministry dude isn't quite buying it, though, and starts to call for help. One-Eye hits him with a trance dart and Siren leads him back to his ship, kinda dazed, and the scoundrels fade away.

The downtime on this one is interesting - they come away with a pretty big score (20 Coin!), but they have a lot of people to pay off. They have to compensate Georg, Ulf, and Bell, and they also give a little Coin to the Gondoliers to try and smooth of their somewhat trouble relationship. They also wind up on the Ministry's shit list, and with some bad rep with the Rail Jacks, but for once they didn't kill anyone, so that helps. The Bluecoats pick up Georg for questioning, but he takes their abuse like a stand-up guy and doesn't roll on the crew, so the crew ends up with enough Coin to pursue their various interests, sock a little away for a rainy day, and outfit their boat as a cohort.

And in the background, the wheels of Doskovol keep turning...