Thursday, March 1, 2018

Blades in the Dark: Take Me to Church (So I Can Rob It)

Perhaps we have finally broken the curse and can get back into playing this regularly? WE SHALL SEE.

The city of Doskovol is having problems. The demon-blood shortage is getting worse, and that's causing brownouts and interruptions in power in the poorer quarters of the city. Also, Leviathan Hunter ships are just not coming back as much, meaning that going out to kill sea monsters is getting even more lucrative (but of course you only get paid if you survive). Cage, in chatting with Flint, his spirit trafficker buddy, learns that he (Cage) isn't terribly popular with Lord Penderyn at the moment - apparently his new, vicious outlook isn't making the academics all that thrilled. But, Flint has heard that Lord Penderyn is very interested in the contents of a particular urn beneath the Sanctorium (the main hub of the Church of Ecstasy, the state religion).

The scoundrels meet and discuss their options - they think about expanding their turf a bit, but decide that this "urn" job sounds potentially like it'll pay out well, and besides, they need to do something ambitious. They start looking into the matter. Cage goes to Penderyn's office, hoping to ask him which urn he wants, but the fellow isn't in. Cage breaks in, sneaking past the guards, and searches the office (he winds up talking to a ghost and convincing him he's there under Penderyn's request). He learns that the urn contains the Hand of Kotar (Kotar being a demigod/mythical figure, very important to several religious factions in the city).

The others, meanwhile, start looking for a way in. The Sanctorium is open for service every week, wherein believer destroy rogue spirits using ectoplasm. It's also in Brightstone, where all the rich folks live. The Bluecoats have regular patrols, and the Spirit Wardens oversee the rites. The scoundrels need to be careful and they need to get in and out without being identified. Definitely a stealth job.

Copper figures that they must get the spirits they destroy from somewhere, and asks Cage (a former Spirit Warden). He informs them that the contract with various folks around the city to sell them spirit bottles, but then they get delivered every week. Perfect. Copper borrows a cart from her cousin, and the crew leans on their influence at Ruby to find a Bluecoat with the proper papers. They swap his out for some forgeries that One-Eye creates (she tries to make her own high-quality fakes, but gets a little too stoned while working and burns them).

They've got their in - they'll play like they're delivering ghosts, and then sneak into the church and into the catacombs from there. They figure they'll be able to recognize the urn by the markings of Kotar, and then they just have to get out before they're made.

They arrive and get into the church loading area easily enough (good result on the engagement roll). As they're unloading, Cage breaks a spirit bottle near one of their goats and the ghost possesses it. One-Eye makes a stink about it, causing a diversion, and Cage, Siren, and Copper peel off and sneak into the building, while One-Eye stays behind to "calm the goat down" after a Spirit Warden exorcises it. The others creep about and find a door to the catacombs. Copper breaks the lock and feels a little jolt. Cage recognizes what just happened - a silent alarm, basically. They need to move.

They head down and Siren pulls out a lantern, while Copper pulls out a little arcane implement to help them find what they're looking for. They discover a spoke that's been partially blocked by debris. Copper slips through easily, and Siren follows, while Cage hides, figuring there might be guards coming. Siren finds the urn at the end of the hall and picks it up...and finds herself in a white plain. A man stands in front of her, asking what she's doing; she responds that she's just doing a job. He traces a symbol on her forehead and they wind up back in the crypt. Siren puts the urn in a bag and warns Copper not to touch it.

Copper moves the debris out of the way using the Not to be Trifled With move, and they head out into the catacombs. Cage hears people coming, and the scoundrels hide, avoiding notice. They head up and back toward the loading dock, snagging a robe on the way. Copper puts it on and acts like a priest, trying to bluster her way past the Wardens, but one of them rounds a corner, comes face to face with them, and draws in a breath to yell a warning. Cage flashes his Spirit Warden mask to distract him, but he notices the bag and what it contains. One-Eye hits him with a dart, but the poison kills him. His body falls, but his spirit is still standing there...and then it gets sucked directly into Siren's forehead.

A little horrified, they shuffle his body into a corner and head for the carriage; One-Eye collects the money for delivering the spirit bottles (which is a wash, since she had to bribe a guard to get in; corruption is everywhere!) and they head out. Problem is, alarms were already going in the church, and when they got to the main gate (sealed by sparkcraft), Siren, sitting on the back of the carriage, saw lights flickering (a signal) and caused a diversion by throwing up. The guards, not wanting their nice clean streets sullied, looked away and let them through.

Now outside the Sanctorium, they head to where they stashed their boat, painted to look like a tour boat and with a sign saying "back soon". There are already Bluecoats standing around wondering what to cite them for. One-Eye tries to sweet talk them, but it winds up requiring that they leave Copper there with the carriage while the other three take the boat away. Spirit Wardens arrive from the Sanctorium, but Copper sticks to her story - the goat was possessed, yes, but she had nothing to do with anything else. She winds up getting taken in for questioning, which means this whole thing is going to generate some Heat, but the job itself seems to have done well.

Now, of course, they have to deliver it to Lord Penderyn, who isn't expecting it. And then there's the whole "Siren has a mark" thing.