Last night I got run a roleplaying game! Calloo-callay!
(Last few games I've been scheduled to run have been cancelled for unrelated and completely valid reasons, but I was still getting a little twitchy.)
So last time, the scoundrels smuggled a specter surreptitiously...ahem. To the Docks. For the Grinders. Yep.
This time, they're hanging at Ruby and doing business things. Cage talks to them about the encounter he had with a demon - the demon approached him and told him to steal a cloak. One-Eye asks if the demon intends to pay; Cage says this is probably more a "do it or I eat you" kind of arrangement, which thrills no one.
As they're talking, Pickett of the Lampblacks shows up and takes a meeting with the crew. She asks when they're planning on doing that little job they agreed to do for the Lampblacks - you know, killing the leader and intelligence officer of the Red Sashes? The crew reveals that they know Gargoyle's habits and routine, so the plan is in progress, but they don't have a firm timeline. Pickett isn't thrilled about that, but she's shrewd enough to accept that the crew just wants to do the job well and not get killed in the process. The clock is clearly ticking, however.
The scoundrels decide to go to Crow's Foot and gather some intel, see how the land lays. They spend some time in the seedier establishments of the borough (which is most of them) and learn that the Red Sashes and the Lampblacks are on the brink of gang war - the Lampblacks are less influential and more aggressive, while the Sashes are perhaps better dug in and therefore unlikely to start anything. The Lampblacks, therefore, are clearly waiting for something (probably the Widdershins). But of course, the real power in Crow's Foot is the Crows, so the crew decides to try and meet with them.
As they're heading home near "morning," they hear a whistle from above and see a gang of toughs with various weapons pointed at them. The Crows invite them to climb up for a little chat, and they meet with Lyssa, the leader of the gang. She deduces quickly that a) Widdershins are pretty disorganized and b) they're gearing up to kill Mylera Klev and Gargoyle on behalf of the Lampblacks. One-Eye, in turn, suggests that maybe the Crows should take out Mylera while the Widdershins take out Gargoyle; that would leave the Lampblacks to expand their turf, the Crows could absorb some of the Red Sashes' resources, and no one gets caught in a big, loud, gang war. Lyssa says she'll think about it.
The crew heads home, and in the meanwhile, Cage looks at the map burned into his coat and figures out where it is - Spurlock Manor in Six Towers. The crew doesn't know much about the Spurlock family; they're rich and ancient, and supposedly the family estate isn't much in use anymore (Lord Spurlock himself having decamped to a different family holding or died). The place seems largely uninhabited, maybe some ghosts. Copper muses that she misses punching ghosts. The crew doesn't seem to do that kind of thing anymore.
Lyssa shows up the next night and says that she's willing to work with the crew on this, but she has a little job for them first (doesn't everyone?). Turns out she murdered the leader of the Crows to take his place, but lost the body and now his ghost is messing with things in Crow's Foot. The Widdershins had a rep for both violence and handling weird stuff, so perhaps they could find Roric and put him in a bottle, or just destroy him? The crew is into that notion, so they head home to start planning.
And waiting for them is the demon.
It tells them that they can either get the cloak or lose their bone marrow, their choice, and the vanishes in a puff of sea mist. Cage tells them that this is what he was worried about, and the crew decides they can go to ground (losing Rep in the process) or they can do the job. They decide to do the job - it's just a cloak, after all.
They call this a Stealth score (which in light of how it actually went down is funny), and choose the front goddamn door of Spurlock Manor as their infiltration point. The engagement roll...was not a success.
They separate moments after entering. Cage finds himself in a hallway, surrounded by ghosts, some of which are self-aware enough to talk to him. "There's no one here," a ghost tells him, "no one that we can see."
"So who's the guy we've seen walking through the mansion?" Cage asks, but the ghosts don't know what he means.
In the wine cellar, Copper picks up a bottle and decides maybe she'd take it, when she hears a voice asking what she's doing. She talks with the unseen presence, and finally it asks her about Button (who is huddled up against her legs, afraid). "Did you train that animal?"
"Yes," she replies.
"Do you love it?"
"Does it love you?"
"Yes...I think so it. He's loyal."
"Let's find out how loyal." And Button snarls, froths, and launches himself at Copper's throat. Copper, reacting instinctively, punches Button, knocking him down and injuring him. The presence is gone, and Copper takes Button upstairs.
One-Eye is in a study upstairs, and finds a book on a chair by the fireplace (said fireplace has not been used in many months, and there are no sources of light evident). She lights a lantern and looks at the book; it's written in Tycherosi and seems to have some nautical maps, but she can't make out what it's about.
A man appears in the doorway, but One-Eye can't quite focus on him; her vision keeps sliding off. He asks her what she's doing here, and she makes it clear she's basically here to rob him. He identifies her as Skovic, and she denies she still has an accent. He tells her he can smell Lockport on her breath, and asks which of the crew, in her opinion, he should keep her with him to feed on. She refuses to answer that, so he summons a horde of rats from the chimney to swarm her, and then vanishes.
One-Eye runs from the room and tosses a handful of skullfire poison on the rat-swarm, and heads back down to see the others.
Siren is in the dining room, which is set for a feast (place settings, anyway), but covered in dust and unused for years. The presence finds her, too, and speaks not only to her, but the presence in her head. It seems to recognize Kotar, and agrees not to kill Siren out of respect for him. He flows out of the room, and Siren notices he isn't wearing a cloak.
Siren, One-Eye, and Copper meet up in the foyer, and Siren recommends they get the hell out. Copper is in support; Button is injured and she's freaked out. They don't have Cage, of course...
...Cage is in that hallway, and decides to Attune to try and find the cloak. He realizes that the cloak probably has some demonic element to it, given who wants it, so he cuts his arm and focuses on his Tycherosi heritage, and feels the cloak. Just then, though, the master of the house appears, staring at the cut on his arm, and revealing his fangs. Lord Spurlock is a vampire.
Cage, wisely, runs. Lord Spurlock chases him, letting out an unholy wail of hunger. The other scoundrels hear this, and give chase, arriving at a t-junction just as Cage is running toward them, the vampire in tow.
Copper, figuring it might not be a ghost but it's still worth punching, goes low and Cage goes high, jumping over her to keep running. Copper pops up and slashes the vampire with a knife, and then ducks so that Siren can shoot it. One-Eye follows Cage, and they come to a locked door. Cage kicks it and gets blow backwards by an arcane trap. One-Eye just picks the lock, and they find the vampire's lair...and the cloak. Cage grabs it and stuffs it in a bag, and they head back out.
Meanwhile, the battle rages. The vampire slashes Siren a bit with its claws, but she tosses a vial of electroplasm and shoots it, dousing Spurlock and stunning him. Copper slashes his throat, and then One-Eye and Cage emerge. One-Eye tosses a lantern, setting the hallways ablaze, and Spurlock vanishes into a puff of ash. The scoundrels flee.
They get back to their boat and find the demon standing on it, demanding the cloak. One-Eye produces a vial of fire-oil, but the demon just smirks (he's standing on their boat, after all). Cage hands over the cloak and the demon rips it in half and drops it. The scoundrels ask what all that was about, and the demon simply says "My mistress thanks you."
"Who's your mistress?" asks Cage.
"You'll know soon," says the demon, and jumps into the water.
"That," says Cage, "was exactly was I didn't want to have happen."
They find a bunch of money on board the ship; at least the demon paid. The crew heads back to Nightmarket and finds Vale and the Bluecoats waiting. They wind up paying out most of what they got from the demon to Vale to avoid getting arrested, because going to jail right now would not be good, but they wind up with a lot of Heat, a bad relationship with Spurlock, a damaged relationship with the Bluecoats, and a whole lot of questions.