Saturday, November 17, 2018

The End One Deserves (Finale Session)

• Doskvol burning in a slow motion spirit fire as the pair of raging Ghost Torrents slowly shred the Veil all along the waterfront, forcing the authorities to close much of it down to protect the public.

• The still growing mass of wraiths and spirits beyond the eastern lightening barrier cause growing panic in Doskvol. Many with the means begin to evacuate the city by ship and train. Fear grips the populace as those without realize they have nowhere to go and nowhere to hide.

• The city balances on the edge of a knife as somehow, instinctually, everyone senses the inexorable approach of a great doom.


• Parva became increasingly uncertain about his compatriots among the Queer and began to seriously question their motivations - and his own safety. And the poltergeist that had been plaguing him has become bolder, more problematic and even dangerous, getting Parva in trouble when out in the city.

• SBD has become a rising star at what the broadsheets have been calling "A Crisis of Wraiths" - the fight against the rising tide of angry spirits along the eastern lighting barrier. Under his new name, Lazarus Ghost-Killer, he has perhaps found redemption and new purpose.

• Flews, when tortured by the Bluecoats at Iron Hook prison, was unable to contain her rage and took on demonic form. In the process of breaking out of the prison she killed over a dozen Bluecoats and is now the most wanted murderer in the city. 

• Gyr appears to have become a most devoted son and only needs to acquire a barrel of tainted Leviathan oil to fulfill his vampire father's obsession for revenge. 

• Cricket, in a cold attempt to secure his own survival, sold out the Queer to Bowmore, telling the greedy old lord about the vampire Haig, the plan to sabotage the lightening barrier and the fact that Gyr is the mastermind behind it all.


• Parva went to an old friend known publicly as "The Head Librarian." In reality an aged and knowledgable vampire, he hoped that she could help rid him of the poltergeist. The ritual they conducted however, was complex and demanding and in the end they botched the attempt, leaving the old demon woman possessed by the errant spirit - almost catatonic as she struggled to fight off the take over.

• Cricket, Flews and Gyr spent more than a week arguing about whether they should finish Haig's job, sell him out, or simply abandon the task and hope he would leave them alone. In the end they reached an uneasy detente, deciding to go ahead with what they assumed was the sabotaging of the lightening barrier. They planned however, to sabotage the sabotage attempt at the very last moment, as it seemed that deep in their self-serving hearts, even these cold bastards could not bring themselves to murder everyone in the city.

In truth, it seemed that each of the characters (or at least the players) kept their own secret councils, and had their own secret plans.

• During what seemed a nightmare at first, a swarm of vermin - as if every foul creature in the city joined the mass - delivered one of the yellow, tainted Leviathan oil barrels to Gyr. Haig also appeared to his apparent heir, threatening him and the rest of the Queer with "horrors unknown" should they "fail to complete the task a second time."

• The crew infiltrated lightning tower #17 with the help of the ancient storm drain network and Cricket's ghost veil ability. Cricket chased out the technicians manning the oil feeding system with the use of a pair of fake but convincing bombs.

• Flews facilitated the crews infiltration by the simple, brute force distraction of attacking the camp. She walked into the mess tent, ready to pull her pistols and started firing. As fate would have it, SBD/Lazarus was having breakfast and as Flews walked in they locked gazes. SBD realized what she was about and as she pulled her weapons SBD hit her with a blowgun dart of trance powder - which Flews successfully resisted. Flews pulled her pistols and started firing as she worked her way towards SBD. Flews intention all along had been to be forced into demon form by the inevitable counter attacks and that did not take long.

Luckily for him, SBD had warned the spirit wardens and rail jacks that an attack by the notorious Queer was likely, and as SBD fled the tent their ranks converged on Flews. 

• Meanwhile, in the now abandoned tower #17, Parva and the rest of the crew successfully installed the tainted barrel in the tower feed queue, jury-rigging the system to cut off the flow after only 20% of the barrel was used. As soon as the tainted oil began powering this section of the barrier the energy wall itself become an growing amalgam of spirt energy. It began pulling all the converging spirits from the Deathlands into it's swelling mass, and those it did not absorb flooded through the compromised barrier and attacked the camp. 

• Gyr, Parva and Cricket fled the tower but were cornered by Lord Bowmore and his guards as they exited the storm sewer. Bowmore ordered his mercenaries to shoot them all - including, or perhaps especially, Cricket.

• Cricket immediately turned spectral and was drawn - apparently willingly - up and into the growing spirit golem that was forming out of the lightning barrier. Parva called down a dense fog as Cricket was sucked into the amalgamation, and he and Gyr fled the gunfire. Parva back into the tower and Gyr south along the barrier.

• SBD fled Flew's demon wrath for one of the many boats drawn up on the bank of the canal, and after laying waste to the spirit wardens, Flews took off in pursuit. It looked like SBD would get away, but in her demon form Flews was able to leap far enough to land on and smash the gondola, dragging SBD below the frothing surface. 

Fortunately, SBD was able to resist the otherwise lethal effects, and found himself washed up on the opposite shore while Flews raged off into the city.

• Parva, back in the tower, cut the flow of tainted oil, severing the now massive spirit golem from it's source of spirit energy. In doing so - in keeping the demon form growing any larger - he likely saved Doskvol and its people from complete destruction.

• Unfortunately, cutting the power did not stop the golem entirely and the entity, with Cricket riding along as a semi-willing passenger strode slowing across the canal and into the city. Leaving a wide swath of destroyed buildings and drained dead in its path, the demon rampaged through the city toward the Bowmore estate, seemingly drawn there by some inherent hunger and driven by Cricket's own force of will. The death and destruction in its wake was doubled by the swarm of hungry, mad spirits that had poured in from the Deathlands before Parva resealed the barrier.  

• Not un-coincidentally, the characters individually made their varyingly terrifying ways from the barrier to the Bowmore estate - drawn by the call of the ghostly hunger, seeking Haig or simply trying to rejoin their errant comrades. As everyone converged on the estate several things happened at once:

- Haig revealed himself, jumping down from the mansion's roof, drained corpse and another ghost calling hypodermic device clutched absentmindedly in one hand - the source of the strange call. He simultaneously admonished Gyr for failing to live up to his potential and yet claimed he was proud of his son. Then, unexpectedly attempted to plunge the ghost calling spike into Gyr's chest.

- Cricket, having gained a level of willful control over the action of the spirt golem attempted to absorb the life essence of everyone on the grounds - Flews, Gyr, Haig, even the few Bowmore guards who had not already fled in terror.

- SBD, having already set an alchemical trap on the grounds fired it off, hoping to contain the golem and its train of hungry spirits until the spirit wardens could arrive and mop up the demonic scene. After setting off his bombs, SPD safely snuck off into the city.

- Flews, in an act of utter self-sacrifice, dove between Haig and his intended target, and was stabbed instead with the ghost calling device - saving Gyr by giving his own life.

- At that same fatal instant, Cricket forced the golem to absorb the ancient and powerful vampire spirit inhabiting Haig, and whole world seemed to explode in a demonic flash. 

- An exhausted Parva, having just caught up to the crew at the estate, was witness to the terrifying tableau - to a story no one save perhaps his vampire mentor would ever believe. In a wise act of self-preservation, Parva simply walked away into the darkness, past the spirit wardens and Bluecoats as they converged on the scene.


• A burning city - both spirit fire and mundane flames. Thousands dead, widespread physical destruction and social chaos. Fading ghost torrents, their tainted energy sources finally burning out. Spirit wardens and city watch overburdened, but slowly reestablishing control.

Doskvol once survived worse. Perhaps it will survive this.

Blame is heaped in catastrophic piles on the Bowmore family and the outlaw Queer - both of which fade into infamy, but are never forgotten.


• A quiet funeral, with only a recovering Gyr and a heartbroken Palonia (with her dogs) in attendance. Both dressed in archaic mourning finery, and standing next to a grave in the small family plot on the long neglected grounds of the Haig estate.

• A book-cluttered tower room, with an elderly woman greedily slurping life essence from a wane and tired Parva's proffered arm. Fear and compassion battling across his face. 

• A dark tavern. A large, dark, very drunk man. He hustles drinks with stories of how he single-handedly saved the city from the giant ghost.

• Iron Hook prison - the wing were there truly insane are locked away. The fading glow of the ghost torrents from the high, barred window highlighting the gleam in Cricket's mad eye. He slowly, repetitively tugs at the bindings of his straight jacket and whispers to himself - something about the evil men do...

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Picking Sides (Session 8)

• The session opened with some "establishing shots" of the current state of Doskvol. (Here's the accompanying soundtrack.)

An ominous horde of spirits and wraiths swarming out of the Deathlands to the east and piling up against the lightning barrier. Spirit Wardens and off-duty Rail Jacks fighting a defensive action, attempting to break the spectral siege.

A raging, golden maelstrom of demonic energy slowly consuming the waterfront.

Bluecoats and bounty hunters stalking the city, attempting to hunt down a crew of thieves, saboteurs and killers that destroyed a Bowmore ship and attacked a society gala at the Bowmore estate.

All across the city, enemies, rivals, informants, refugees - even starving urchins - have heard of the Queer and are willing to share what they know for a bit of coin or a bit of food. No where a safe refuge in which the crew can hide or a willing ally upon who it can rely.

An enigmatic, benefactor who at best is a cannibal but more likely a demon, seems to have set the crew on a path to destruction - either the city's or their own.

Seems all Doskvol has turned against the Queer, and all that remains to be seen is whether they will turn on each other.   

• The characters conducted a number of downtime activities - the most consequential of which was completing a number of longterm projects:

Cricket pursued information - via his very strained relationship with Petra - about the birth certificate SBD had stolen from the Bowmore Estate - the one for a child named Baby Boy Haig. The mother was Alexandra Bowmore, the estranged and long-deceased younger sister of Lord Bowmore. The father was an unidentified member of the Haig family.

Not coincidentally, Gyre consulted with a lawyer specializing in heraldry and inheritance law to further research the Haig family - the surname on the mausoleum sarcophagus. The family was a one-time, now-mostly-forgotten clan of the Doskvol aristocracy. Purportedly the last heir - Illustrious Haig - was lost to madness in the midst of some old family feud - in the end supposedly committing "self-murder." Gyr discovered that any living heir would have claim to an old shuttered mansion and a small fortune.

Cricket also spent some time establishing an escape plan - an out in case things get too hot. His intent is to use Arianne Bowmore as a cover and for the resources necessary to head south, leaving Duskvol for good. In a further attempt to ingratiate himself, he indulged Arianne with a midnight excursion to "kiss a tombstone" in Six Towers, as the wives' tale claims doing so grants immortality. While in the graveyard, Cricket's ghostly passenger briefly took him over and attempted to use the abundant local spirits to kill him so the possession could be made permanent. He and Arianne escaped, but now she is no longer convinced that Cricket is just a harmless boy toy.

In pursuit of the strange Parva rather casually joined a cult, went missing for a week and turned back up sporting an enigmatic new tattoo.

SBD spent an inordinate about of coin training up some of his skills.

• Not more than two weeks after the last job, the crew's benefactor himself visited Gyr in his apartment in the middle of the night. He offered them another job, the essentials of which were simple enough, even if the execution would be a little complicated. He wanted the crew to steal a full barrel of the tainted Leviathan oil from a Bowmore warehouse, smuggle it across town to Barrier Tower #17 on the eastern side of the city, and substitute it into a specific magazine in the feed queue.

• Gyr, suspicious to the point of certainty about his origins, took the opportunity to question Haig. Still enigmatic, Haig spoke cryptically of revenge and assured Gyr "he would burn them to the ground...every one." Gyr seemed to earnestly, chillingly, agree with the thing he now seemed to assume was his father.

• There was a great deal of debate among the crew members - mostly between Cricket and Gyre - about the job - its intended outcome and their benefactor's purpose. Cricket seemed to want to distance the Queer from Haig, while Gyr seemed to have a strange new trust in - even enthusiasm for - Haig's intentions.

• The heist started out dubiously as the crew discovered the warehouse was well-patrolled by Bowmore guards. As a flashback, SBD spend the afternoon and evening sabotaging the dock pilings to give way. Wearing a guard uniform supplied by Arianne, Cricket used Ghost Veil to phase his way past the outer perimeter and into the warehouse. Parva poled a gondola to the waterside of the pier and Gyr, once again played the part of a night soil collector on the city-side street out front.

• As the crew made their approach, a large squad of Bluecoats arrived and angrily confronted some of the Bowmore guards. A fancy Bowmore coach arrived almost simultaneously, disgorging Lord Bowmore - who immediately began shouting at everyone - and his daughter Arianne.

• Cricket soon realized that the barrel he needed was in a locked storage room with an armed and wary guard. Despite having forged papers, failed attempts to reassure the guard meant he accompanied Cricket into the storage room. Having been planning to plant a clockwork explosive among the extra tainted barrels, Cricket decided he needed to take out the guard. His attempt to backstab the guard failed, resulting in Cricket himself being stabbed. Desperate, Cricket used his bomb like a grenade, blowing up the guard, the stash of tainted Leviathan oil, the small storage room and a large portion of the warehouse structure, as both the bomb and then the barrels exploded. As he fled, a familiar mass of gold-colored swirling spirit energy began to form a massive, ectoplasmic spout behind him - a second, even larger Ghost Torrent.

• Outside, SBD, Parva and Gyr took the muted shouts from inside the warehouse - the calls for help from the guard Cricket had tried to stab - as the signal to act. SBD set off his demolitions and the wharf planking began to collapse into the water. Parva paddled under the dock, subsequently having to dodge the collapsing wharf and falling Leviathan oil barrels. Gyr tried to enter the warehouse form the back but ran afoul of a Bowmore guard - who they proceeded to drown in the shit piled in their cart. Donning the deadman's uniform, they intended to aggravate the conflict between the guards and Bluecoats, but by then the dock was mostly collapsing and they were more worried about escaping than agitating.

• By comparison their extraction was relatively easy. SBD staggered drunkenly into the arms of a bar fly. Parva dragged Cricket out of the water along with a barrel of Leviathan oil - unfortunately it was a barrel of un-tainted, blue oil. Gyr simply cinched down his watch cap to hide his face and hurried off through the growing crowd of gawkers. Each made their way back to the lair having created another chaotic mess on the waterfront - but this time having failed to achieve their score.

• Word quickly spread about the Queer's latest job and the authorities doubled their efforts to find them (+1 wanted level and +13 heat!)

• Things got so hot for the crew that Flews - who for once had nothing to do with the job - was picked up by the Bluecoats on suspicion of association and taken hauled off for interrogation (results pending next session).

• Several of the crew members undertook significant downtime actions:

SBD acquired a suitable body from a corpse thief he knew and successfully faked his own death (even to the rest of the Queer) and took on a new identity. He has started helping out at the eastern lightning barrier using his Ghost Ward power to help hold off the spirits - becoming known as Lazarus Ghostkiller.

Cricket - in an exceptionally unorthodox way of reducing party heat - asked Arianne Bowmore to make an offer to her father on his behalf. Cricket is willing to become Bowmore's inside man in the Queer and help him take down the "ringleader," Gyr.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Dinner Ghosts (Session 7)

• The session began with downtime activities - predominantly training and the continuation of various long-term projects. Cricket secured his relationship with Arianne Bowmore, Flews continued to ingratiate himself with Polonia Stangford and Cricket now too. SBD completed his alchemical project to incorporate the yellow Leviathan oil into his own bodily secretions - because nothing bad will come of that.

• The Queer followed their invitation to dinner in the abandoned graveyard in Six Towers, arriving fashionably late, though perhaps due more to dithering than a sense of style. The large mausoleum dominating the cemetery was lit within by large silver candelabra - the smell of the tapers implying they were likely made with human tallow. The finest silver settings were arranged on the large sarcophagus as if it were a table, and disk-like slabs of raw, well-marbled meat sat plateless, on the cold surface of the stone coffin, in pools of congealing fluid.

• The Bowler Man stood in one corner like a mute footman attending the meal, and a heavily shadowed figure with a hidden voice and fine but archaic clothing stood at the "head of the table." He spoke is a slow, harsh whisper, welcoming his guests. He described how he had chosen their unknown crew to be his instrument vengeance - the tool by which he intended to bring down House Bowmore. Though cryptic and vague, he mentioned something about "a girl" and an "heir," and obsessed on the ruin he would bring on the Bowmores.

• Various party members took a bite or two of their one course meals, trying not to think of what kind of meat it might be. Flews in particular, was unable to keep it down.

• He said he had another task for them - a smuggling trip into the Deathlands. He gave them a strange key and a large case containing several enigmatic devices. He instructed them to meet a Professor Jacob Ibis at the Tea Room the next day and that he would be their guide to the Coven of the Ancient Queen. At the temple, they were to assemble the device following instructions possessed by the scholar and then activate it.

• Gyr, with a suspicious and insightful eye noted that the surname carved among the coat of arms on the sarcophagus was "Haig." The stranger concluded the meeting with more vengeful rambling and a curt dismissal.

• The crew met with Ibis and later that night they used the strange key to infiltrate one of the lightening towers on the eastern bank of the east fork of the River Dosk - opposite Nightmarket. The trip through the tower was an enigmatic tour of arcane machinery, but otherwise uneventful.

• The grey and shadowed landscape on the far side of the Lightening Barrier was bleak, lonely and haunted by remnant wisps of unravelling spirits. The long-crumbling ruins and decay-filled streets of the abandoned, ancient parts of Duskvol were a confusing and frightening maze, made navigable only by a map possessed by professor Ibis. The going was slow given that he had never actually been to the temple before and was picking his way for the first time.

• Eventually the party arrived at the Coven's temple and upon entering realized it contained a spirit well - a tear in the Ghost Veil that allowed for the passage of spirits and other demons into the living world. The Professor's instructions required the crew to assemble the device near the well and as they completed the task Ibis presented them with a sealed folder, saying that he had, "been specifically instructed to give it to the Queer once the device was completed and NOT to read it himself." Lauding his own diligence, Ibis handed the envelope to Gyr who, upon opening it, realized it was the final page of the device's hand-written instruction manual. With crude drawings it instructed the user to stab a human subject in the chest with the large dagger-like hypodermic tube that was part of the machine. Without consulting anyone else, without any hesitation at all, Gyr trance-powdered Ibis and plunged the over-large needle into his chest.

• The machine game to life, glowing, whirring, chugging and immediately countless ghosts began pouring from the spirit well and swarming towards the Queer. Flews drew her pistols and lay down protective fire, giving her comrades the chance to get away. Many ragged spirits also poured in from the wastes outside the temple, blocking the party's retreat. The fray was chaotic, as the Queer scattered and ran for their lives. Flew's gunplay likely saved the day, but even then, despite their Ghost Passage abilities, (and due to a critical failure) Cricket suffered a possessing attack by a uniquely aggressive spirit. Though it does not appear to have any control over him at the moment, Cricket can sense its presence within.

• The flight back to Duskvol and it's protective Lightening Barrier was terrifying and physically brutal, with the crew each taking two kinds of level 1 harm - Terrified and Exhausted. Each also gained 2 stress as a consequence of the nightmare experience.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Very Bad People (Session 6)

• A child with tattoos on his lips and a small bowler hat - a mockery of the frightening Bowler Man - delivered an invitation to a "celebratory dinner" at an address that turned out - when investigated by Parva, Flews and Gyr - to be a dilapidated graveyard in Six Towers. A quiescent graveyard - unoccupied, at least by the living.

• Cricket and SBD were also given an invitation - verbal instructions from a local urchin to attend a meeting at the Tea Shop with Old Man Keel from the oddities stall in Night Market.

• Mr. Keel turned out to be more than the low level fence he'd always appeared. Turns out he is a heavy in Nightmarket - a fixer with a citywide reputation for getting whatever one needs, by whatever means required.

• He let the Queer know that he held them personally responsible for getting his daughter - Petra Keel, the city council clerk they had been tapping for help - pinched by the Bluecoats. He understood that the authorities were just using her to get to him, but he blamed the party for putting her in a compromising position.

• Keel told the characters he expected them to get her out of the jam or else. If they broke her out, he would not have them murdered, but there would still be a major debt to pay. If they managed to get the charges dropped, and her life back, they would earn a very well-connected fence (the party's first Turf expansion).

• On their way back to the lair, Parva, Flews and Gyr were followed, and Parva, assuming it was the Bowler Man, allowed their pursuers to track them to the sewer hideout. As it played out, the thugs were in the employ of Lord Bowmore and had a message to deliver - paraphrased, the message was, " you fucked with the wrong rich bastard, and now he's having you killed." The resulting fight was fast and bloody and even involved a grenade. Flews was so badly hurt she was able to take only limited part in the subsequent job.

• The party decided to frame one of Petra's co-workers - a man by the name Orlan - for her petty crimes, by the expedient of forcing him to confess. They fatefully decided to use his three children as leverage.

• The Queer broke into Orlan's house, terrorized he and his wife, then drugged and kidnapped their children. They told Orlan that a lawyer would come in the morning to take him someplace, and once there he would have to swear out a statement of confession, and that if he did not cooperate, they would kill his children. The screaming mother was heartbreaking and the frightened father pathetic. (It was one of the darkest scenes I have ever GMed.)

• Gyr and Cricket took the tranced children and hid them under a tarp at the bottom of a night soil wagon to smuggle them out of the neighborhood. They were reckless however, and one of the children suffocated under the pile of wet shit.

• The next morning, Parva, deeply shaken and guilt ridden from the group's actions of the night before, came to the house posing as the lawyer. He took Orlan to the Bluecoats and witnessed his confession for crimes he did not commit, to save his children - one of whom was already dead.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Black Tie Affair (Session 5)

(Unfortunately, I appear to have recycled the paper on which I made notes during this session and so there are likely some unintentional mistakes or omission in this record. Apologies...)

As you read this recap, might I suggest that you listen to this. It is a rather perfect soundtrack for this campaign.

• The session began with the completion of some downtime activities left over from the previous episode. Most notably, Cricket learned from the old Skovlander that the yellow Leviathan oil is a concentrated version of the residue that remains when the raw demon blood is refined for use - as if the blood was clarified for its most dangerous properties rather than its most useful. It is an incredibly potent and corrupt spirit energy, as the disposal of even the normal residue is what made the Skovland refinery cities the contaminated wastes they have become.

• The crew discovered another bag of coins in the entrance pipe to their lair and despite their evident preference to no longer be involved with the Bowler Man, when Gyr revealed the details of yet another job from their mysterious benefactor, they felt obliged to complete it.

• Gyr related the "instructions" from the benefactor which seemed straightforward enough. The crew was told to infiltrate a masquerade ball at the Bowmore mansion, celebrating the hosts' anniversary as well as the birthday of their daughter Ariane. It is curious to note that the Bowmore family owns the oil freighter from which the party stole the yellow Leviathan extract and over which the Ghost Spout still rages.

Once there, they were to replace a set of official papers with forgeries. The complication however, was that the deal was being brokered by Lord Bowmore, but the two other parties - the originator and the recipient of the papers were unknowns. Accordingly, the crew had to identify at least the originator and then make the switch before Bowmore passed the documents to the recipient.

• To gain access to the party, Cricket approached Lady Polonia Stangford,  a elderly dame of a withered branch of the otherwise influential Stangford family, and a one-time "client" of some of Cricket's more tender services. Polonia is a lonely old woman with a dusty old mansion, three yapping dogs (Tibbles, Tumbles, Tun Tun), strong opinions about her proper standing, and an increasingly less discrete wild side. Cricket was able to convince her to use her fading social clout to acquire invitations for the Queer. The complication was of course, that Cricket would have to accompany Polonia as her escort.

• Getting into the soiree turned out to be as easy as showing the invite and walking in the front door. It was just after that however, when things quickly went south:

– It did not take the crew long to identify Lord Helker - a member of the City Council - as the likely source of the documents, though the recipient, and just who was carrying the papers, remained unknown.

– Cricket managed to catch the eye of Ariane Bowmore and in an attempt to create a useful distraction Cricket invited her to dance. Given the sensuous nature of the resulting turn they might as well have had sex. The dance caused more a social stir and prompted her father to publicly scold Ariane and caused her to take an unhealthy interest in Cricket.

– SBD snuck off to raid first the library and then the wine cellar where he stole quite a bit of coin, a vial of yellow Leviathan oil and a folio of important-looking papers that included a brith certificate in Gyr's real name.

– Flews was somehow put in charge of an increasingly drunk and feisty Polonia, eventually threatening a waiter - in who she was showing a lascivious interest - that he "better show the Lady a nice time or else."

– Parva, as a back-up distraction, linked a poltergeist to the champagne fountain and waited for his moment. Accepting a devil's bargain however, the poltergeist is now linked to Parva and likely to complicate his life going forward. 

– Realizing that the papers could only be in Lady Helker's "seashell" clutch Cricket attempted to make the switch but was caught in the act. Parva and Flews, realizing things were going badly both went into action. Flews stepped across the dance floor and as Lord Bowmore chastised his daughter hauled off and punched him. In the same moment, Parva released the spirit and the champagne fountain exploded in a dangerous shower of glass and bubbly wine. Pushing to power her punch, Flews lost control, transformed into a strange demonic form - a transparent skinned, black-spined beast - that raged across the ballroom, through the kitchens and out into the night.

• In the extended chaos that resulted, Cricket was able to turn the confrontation with Lady Helker's body guard into a bait and switch using the fake documents, and the crew members were able to blend in with the panicking crowd and escape the mansion.

• As notable downtime actions, Cricket completed his Ghose Veil training, Flews began so build a relationship with Polonia, and most significantly, SBD used his stolen vile of yellow oil as the source poison for the production of his own venom. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that...

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Side Trip (Session 4)

(This session was a side quest generally unrelated to the main story. A gaming friend from out of town was visiting and wanted to play Blades, so I ran a one-shot with some of the campaign characters, but set it up so that the regulars didn't miss anything relevant.)

• An Iruvian fixer named Imo introduced the party to a foreign stranger looking for smugglers - an Iruvian bodyguard by the name of Mithos. He needed help smuggling a large crate out of Duskvol and into Iruvia via train.

• As it turned out, the crate was actually the coffin of a young Iruvian boy who had died of the "Spirit Plague" that has begun spreading around the city since the advent of the "Ghost Torrent" the party unleashed over the waterfront.

• The boy was a member of a wealthy Iruvian family on an extended visit to the city to attend to clan business interests. His distraught mother was returning home with the body to allow for a proper Iruvian burial rites - rites that require the body and spirit remain intact. This is in direct opposition to the mandate of the Imperial Spirt Wardens - hence the need for smugglers.

• When it looked as if the child would not recover from his illness, the family managed to acquire an Iruvian "needle for the dead" - an artifact that binds the body and spirit together as long as the needle is not removed. Accordingly, the wardens were - for the moment anyway - unaware the child had died.

• The first task was to camouflage the crate with a triple bottom - meaning one layer of obviously fake goods, a second layer of actual, but minor contraband (un-taxed liquid spirits) and a third layer hiding the body.

• After some coercing and bribery Flews and Mithos opted to stand guard over the crate where it rode in the baggage car while SBD and Cricket rode in their own small compartment in one of the cheaper passenger cars. In truth, SBD and Cricket ended up spending most of their time in the bar car where SBD stole drinks and got blackout drunk while Cricket ran interference.

• While keeping SBD out of trouble, Cricket met a suspiciously engaging and observant old couple who, in the end, turned out to be much more than they seemed. The old woman introduced herself as "Granny."

• Once the train was underway, Mithos and Flews were content to leave Pocket Mouse - one of Mitho's guards - to watch over the crate, and they joined the rest of the crew in the passenger cars.

• Two of the three day trip passed, and only a hundred miles shy of the Iruvian border the train stalled, went dark and coasted to a stop when the power was apparently cut. Several things then happened all at once.

- Flews ran off for the cargo car and engaged in a fight between guards and bandits that was already underway.

- Mithos and Cricket were visited by the ghost of Obo - the little boy they were transporting. He was confused about how he had gotten on a train and wanted to see his mother. Someone had apparently removed the needle pinning his spirit to his body.

- SBD headed outside to create a distraction, but thought better of it when he found the rail bulls, in their electroplasmic armor, fighting off the waves of hungry spirits that were attacking the train.

• In the climax the crew found itself fighting a band of train robbers in the cargo car - a band lead by Granny. After some bloodshed, Cricket negotiated an deal with Granny - if they would return the needle, the crew would not interfere with Granny's team's escape. The bandits gave up the artifact and fled the train - apparently into the Deathlands.

• Mithos replaced the needle in Obo's body.

• Once the train had gotten underway again and reached the border crossing the crew was able to pass itself off as at least the foils - if not the actual heroes - of the bandit attack and so were not arrested outright for their involvement in smuggling Obo's body.

• Given the proximity to the border, the local influence of Iruvian culture and the sway of a few bribes, Mithos and his employer were able to get the body out of Akoros despite the complications, and were satisfied enough with the work of the Queer to pay the agreed upon fee.

• The party hung around the boarder town of Southport until they could catch a northbound train and returned to Duskvol.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Blood Sample (Session 3)

• While the stevedores were distracted trying to rescue the drover and his cargo from the water below the collapsed dock, Parva made his way to help SBD. Using his forearm-mounted, air-powered mini-harpoon gun, Parva stuck the drover, giving SBD that chance to douse him in fire oil. Unfortunately, he also doused much of the tar-soaked dock with the combustable liquid and set the waterfront ablaze.

• Parva and SBD used the distraction of the chaos they had caused - storm, collapse and fire - to slip away into the crowd.

• Cricket and Flews made their way into the ship's main hold, and after some searching found what appeared to be a warded vault door. After bypassing the lock using a special skeleton key Cricket had bought from the cantankerous locksmith Frake, they discovered a small, secure hold containing a dozen Leviathan oil casks that glowed a strange yellow rather than the typical actinic blue.

• Back on deck, Gyr dealt with another of the ships guards by impersonating the man he had just drown, passing off his dereliction of duty as a midnight assignation.

• Cricket used an axillary valve he brought for the purpose to carefully extract a sample of the strange oil. He also filled a second, secret container, double the size of the sample they had planned to take. Despite Cricket's every effort to do so clandestinely, Flew cottoned to what he was doing.

• As Cricket extracted the oil, both he and Flews noticed the tell-tale signs of a ghost manifestation as some form of bound spirit guardian formed in the vault and attacked. With great speed but little foresight, Flews blasted the spirit with electroplasmic ammo, dispersing it's essence in an explosion that shattered the local ghost field and compromised several of the volatile, yellow barrels.

• Several kegs began to leak, spraying pressurized Leviathan oil across the room. Though Cricket dodged out of the hold unscathed, Flews was not so lucky, with some of the oil landing across the nape of her neck.

• As the two of them fled the hold, they ran afoul of two gun-toting guards. In a dramatic turn, a watchful Gyr had come aboard and, impersonating a member of the Bowermore family, he was able to order the guards to join the fire brigade on the dock. The trio hastened over the side and paddled off in their getaway gondola - Cricket and Flews arguing all the way.

• As they fled and the docks burned, a massive glowing vortex of ghost field energy began to form hight over the ship, seemingly born of a baleful, yellow light that poured from every porthole and hatch cover. 

• When they bumped into the body Gyr had recently made - and he decided to steal the dead man's clothes - Flews took out her emotional trauma by beating the corpse to a pulp with her bare hands. As they came ashore, frustrated with Cricket and distraught over events, Flew disappeared into the dark city streets.

• Gyr and Cricket delivered the sample to a ruined wall tower in the worst part of Charhollow. After inspecting the goods with an enigmatic stare, Bowler Man climbed silently out the window and  vanished over the wall. 

• Cricket delivered half of his secret oil sample to a maimed old timer in the Skovlander ghetto in hopes that he knew something about the yellow oil and could maybe sell it to help the refugees. The oldster seemed to recognize the substance and quickly hid it from prying eyes. He told Cricket he would ask around and let him know what he learned.

• Some days later, Flews accosted Cricket in the lair, threatening him with grave bodily harm if he crossed the crew again.

• A weeks later, the glowing malstrom still engulfs the ship, turning and twisting above the Duskwall waterfront like a tornado-sized spirit well. Claims from, "It will soon burn itself out," to "The end of the world is nigh," are shouted by broad sheet headlines and street-corner doomsayers respectively. The northwest docks have been quarantined and blockaded, and the Bluecoats are hunting those responsible.   

• Flews discovered a bag of coin sitting in the end of their drainpipe entrance. At the same moment, halfway across town, while sleeping off his latest beating in the pleasure pits, Gyr began to dream.