Friday, October 26, 2018

Blades in the Dark: Let's Steal a Tavern

AAAAAAH THIS HAPPENED MONDAY AND THEN I HAD A BUSY WEEK

Ahem.

The scoundrels had pulled off a pretty big heist that involved going into the Deathlands and stealing the Eye of Kotar from the Deathlands Scavengers, and once again I'm reminded that most gaming talk sounds utterly bananas out of context.

Anyway, this time, seeing as the Spirit Wardens were actively gunning for them, they decided to do a job a little on the lower-key side (so they thought). Looking over the options to expand their turf, they consider doing the "check out the fence" gig for Madame Tesslyn or the "rumble with the Rail Jacks" deal to get more turf, but ultimately settle on the tavern near their gambling den. They go to visit the place, and Copper notes that there's plenty of under-the-table deals going on, but no particular gang seems to claim territory and there are a lot of dirty looks getting shot toward the crew.

Likewise, Cage notes that there are no ghosts in the tavern, no arcane implements, and the place's sparkcraft is running pretty cleanly. There's never that kind of lack of weirdness by accident.

One-Eye and Copper chat with the bartender (who seems to be the most dangerous person here) and try to entice him to give up some info about who runs things here and whether the crew could buy in, but he's pretty stony. The crew falls back and watches the place, and sees a wagon with the emblem of a golden bee on the side pull up and start unloading. Copper, whose family were traders, knows this logo - it's the Hive, a group of merchants who dabble in trade both legal and not.

The crew falls back to the lair and discusses things. The Hive is definitely above their pay grade, so they aren't sure if mixing it up with them is wise right now (they already have some heat on them). Copper goes to find Grull, who she figures would know about this kind of thing, and indeed, he's able to offer some context. The Hive likes to keep their public face clean, meaning that if they're running their illegal operations out of the tavern, the crew might be able to get it shut down or raided in such a way that makes it not worth the Hive's while to hold onto it.

The crew decides to take this job; they're going to try and get the tavern raided, and that means they need evidence. They hijack a carriage coming to the tavern and pull it into an alley, but are unable to stop the driver from blowing a loud whistle. One-Eye hits him with trance powder and the crew cracks open the crates in the back...bottles of leviathan blood.

Smuggling leviathan blood is highly profitable and highly illegal, so they've got some evidence that they can use, but leveraging it is tricky. They take a crate (figuring they can sell it), and get on the boat parked nearby. They pull away as the Bluecoats roll up (responding the whistle), and the cops smack the driver out the stupor...and the driver promptly bribes them, and they leave him alone.

The crew takes the blood back to their hideout, and realizes they're going to need some support from the Bluecoats before they really make this work. The crew is kind of on the outs with the Bluecoats just at the moment, but they figure that handing Vale a major bust would be a good way to repair that relationship, so they do some checking around and find that Vale likes to hang out at the library in Charterhall during her off time. They get Siren dolled up in some respectable clothes and send her to find Vale. Siren puts across the offer - the crew will set it up so that the tavern will have a nice juicy bunch of contraband, if she'll raid it and scare off the Hive.

Vale is amenable, but that's not a rich enough prize for her. She wants the source behind the blood, whichever captain is letting this stuff get smuggled. Siren takes this back to the crew, and One-Eye and the brand new cohort of adepts that the crew picked up get to work analyzing the blood.

Leviathan blood is always refined in a particular way, and different ships use different additives. One-Eye isolates them and then runs it by Siren (a former Leviathan hunter), and Siren recognizes the process - it's the one that Lady Ankhayat uses.

Complication: That's the ship that Siren used to sail on. This leaves the crew in a kind of pickle, which we'll peel next time.