I ran a three-part Blades in the Dark game at TotalCon this past weekend, and I had an absolute blast.

I ran a three-part Blades in the Dark game at TotalCon this past weekend, and I had an absolute blast.

I ran a three-part Blades in the Dark game at TotalCon this past weekend, and I had an absolute blast.

For a long time I have been of the opinion that one-shots are alright, but multi-part games give you a little more breathing room, and allow you to develop more story than a regular one-shot. However, there was always the problem of people not always signing up for multiple parts, even when the game description clearly indicates “Part 1 of 3”, or something similar.

My solution to this was to run three connected, but not strictly consecutive sessions. Session 1 showcased a brand new, up-and-coming gang in one of the lower-class districts of Doskvol. Session 2 was set two years later, when that same gang is now established, and is currently in the process of expanding into a new district. Likewise, Session 3 is also set two years later, and the gang is now a force to be reckoned with in the city, and they’re working on moving into a higher-class neighborhood.

It worked like a dream. I had set the max players at 5, and I had 3 people that signed up for all three sessions. One guy was only able to get into Session 1, so his character got sent to Ironhook after that, and he made a small cameo in Session 3. Another guy was only able to sign up for Sessions 1 and 2, but I was able to squeeze him in for Session 3, and the guy that inadvertently took his place was actually really easy to integrate into the already very established group.

I attribute a lot of the success of the game to the players at the table; no one was a dud, everyone was on point and there was complete buy-in. However, I also like to think that the massive amount of prep-work I put in to my player handouts also contributed in a not-insignificant way. Bottom line, for each session I had picked three Districts, and did up a 1-page summary sheet of each, including a zoomed-in section of the map, a description of the neighborhood, some notable locations, and some notable factions and the conflict they are currently engaged in. I used Crow’s Foot and the Lampblack/Red Sashes/Crows situation as a template.

For Session 1, players had to choose between Charhollow, Coalridge, or the Docks. Each had its own unique situation brewing there, each waiting for a fourth crew to come careening into it like a bowling ball. Session 2 gave the players the choice between Barrowcleft, Silkshore, or Nightmarket, each with its own flavor. Session 3 saw the crew move ever upward and having to choose between Charterhall, Six Towers, or Brightstone. I had an additional page that listed factions that could show up anywhere to cause trouble, like the Bluecoats or Spirit Wardens.

I also limited choice of Crew types to Assassins, Bravos, or Shadows, as the others are a little more specialized. In my game notes, I jotted down the names of notable NPCs in each faction, and possible jobs to offer the crew based on what crew type they chose, and who they were friendly with.

For this run, we ended up with a crew of Shadows called the North Company Sappers, a group of veterans of the Unity War who had been infiltrators and saboteurs. Some highlights from the game:

Starting out in the Docks, the Sappers accepted a job offer from the Fog Hounds to steal a painting with arcane properties from the Gray Cloaks. The crew was also solicited by the Gray Cloaks to steal a shipment of drugs from the Fog Hounds, which the Sappers used as bait to lure the Gray Cloaks away from their hideout.

In Barrowcleft, the Sappers found themselves in the middle of a labor dispute between the Brigade and the Ministry of Provisions, who have brought the Grinders in as scab labor while the strike was going on. The Sappers were hired by the Brigade (many of them fellow veterans) to sabotage the Grinders’ firefighting equipment. Scene of the night was when the Leech dosed two goats with Spark, and they proceeded to stampede into the firehouse, screaming the whole time.

Finally, in Brightstone, the Sappers were approached by the Church of the Ecstacy of the Flesh to assist in investigating a possible incursion by the Reconciled. The Sparkwrights were able to provide assistance in the form of a machine that detected ghosts (like the motion trackers from Aliens). The whole thing culminated in the Church turning out to actually be the agressors, and so the Sappers switched sides and freed a number of trapped ghosts.

For character creation, I gave them some extra Action dots and an additional Special Ability. There was a two-year gap between each session, so I didn’t bother with XP, very heavily abbreviated the downtime mechanics, and gave them a bunch more dots and abilities at the beginning of Sessions 2 and 3. I also gave them Traumas, which they chose the nature of and played to the hilt as the group started to succumb to the stresses of their own success. The crew was getting more powerful, sure, but the characters themselves were getting more and more broken.

The wonderful thing about the setup is the replay value. Even after going through three sessions, the players had only seen somewhere between a ninth to a third of the content I had prepared (three out of nine possible Districts, and one of three crew types). I am really looking forward to running this again at the next convention I attend. I’m also working on cleaning up my game notes and packaging them up to put on my site, so stay tuned.

— Ben

I had an absolute blast at Totalcon this past weekend.

I had an absolute blast at Totalcon this past weekend.

I had an absolute blast at Totalcon this past weekend. I ran Blades in the Dark twice. I used the standard intro setup from the book, the Lampblacks and the Red Sashes are about to go to war in Crow’s Foot, and each side wants your new up-and-coming gang to help out against the other. Some highlights:

The first session had three players: a Whisper, a Lurk, and a Hound. They agreed to steal a case of whiskey from the Sashes for Baszo Baz, but they also agreed to steal a painting from the Lampblacks for Mylera. The twist was that they asked Mylera for the whiskey as payment. Once she sussed out that their mysterious buyer was Baszo, she agreed, but poisoned all the bottles. The Whisper used Attune to case both gang’s HQs, and discovered VERY similar wards in each place. When he questioned his BFF Setarra about it, she told him that the grudge was personal, as Baszo held Mylera responsible for the death of his wife Celia, who also just happened to be Mylera’s sister (and the architect of the wards). After getting a critical on their engagement roll for the painting job, their cohort of Rooks managed to distract most of the Lampblacks away from their HQ by setting one of their nearby holdings on fire. The crew managed to get the basement door open, and the Whisper used what he learned from Setarra to poke the alarm wards in the right spot to shut them down (with some help from a silence potion). They crept inside, and got to work on the vault. Once the door swung open, they saw the Harry Potter style portrait of the Weeping Lady occasionally peek at them from behind her hands. They quickly covered up the painting and escaped into the night. They managed to get away with ZERO heat, because they kept it quiet, they didn’t kill anyone, and they didn’t take any bargains that would have upped the heat.

For the second session we had four players: A Whisper, a Lurk, a Slide, and a Hound. The Slide took Baszo Baz as a friend, so it colored the scenario quite a bit. They also agreed to steal the whiskey for Baszo, and later met with Mylera and agreed to steal the painting, though by that time it was pretty much decided that they were going to side with the Lampblacks. The Lurk visited his friend in the hall of records to look up the original blueprints for the house that the Sashes were using as they HQ (originally Tesslyn manor), and identified all the load-bearing walls. Baszo had asked the crew to plant a sealed envelope in place of the whiskey, saying it was his formal declaration of war. The Whisper attuned to it, and found a hex that would give the arcane equivalent of a poke in the eye to whoever opened it. He visited his friend Setarra to see if it could be turned up to 11. Setarra agreed to modify the runes in exchange for one of the Whisper’s childhood memories (the player described a scene from when the character was about 8, when his Leviathan Hunter father came home one night and announced that he’d gotten a promotion at work and wouldn’t have to go to sea anymore). The crew also met with Lyssa, and informed her what they were up to. She offered them a tidy sum of Coin to ensure that the war between the Sashes and the Lampblacks is brought to a swift conclusion (and didn’t much care which side won). The crew worked their way into the Sashes’ basement, but initially ran into some trouble finding good spots to place the explosives they brought with them. The Whisper made short work of locating the whiskey, and he carted it out while the rest of the crew moved some crates around to clear the spots on the walls. They hightailed it out of there, and the low bass rumble of the charges going off was the signal to the Hound standing guard on the rooftop across the street, his pistols and rifle arrayed in front of him for easy access. As the Sashes began fleeing from the now dangerously wobbling house, he began to take aim and started picking them off as the structure slowly collapsed in on itself with a series of loud groans and creaks. The next morning Mylera returned to the house to find it a smoking ruin. Her major domo Aldo retrieved the letter from the back doorstep, and when he opened it, was instantly disintegrated right before Mylera’s eyes. In contrast to the previous group, they ended up with a LOT of heat. I inadvertently agreed to run a Part 2 next year when I gave them a quick synopsis of the progression of the war over the next few days.

In both cases, there were players at the table who had never played before, and at the end asked if the book was available in the dealer’s room (it was, thanks to the fine folks at Modern Myths). Hope to hear tales of their own exploits here sometime soon. 🙂

Just playing around with a new sketching program called Mischief.

Just playing around with a new sketching program called Mischief.

Just playing around with a new sketching program called Mischief. So far it seems to work very well with my Surface Pro. Banged out this fine fellow in about half an hour.

Oliver Morley used to be a Professor of Imperial History at the College of Imperial Science at Doskvol Academy, until a scandal forced him out, and he found himself in Ironhook for three months on a trumped up burglary charge. He’s since decided that if society is going to treat him like a criminal, he might as well become one. To that end, he has gathered together several like-minded individuals and founded an up-and-coming gang of Shadows calling themselves The Fourth College.

As a Spider, Morley is the very model of self control (I took Functional Vice as my starting ability). He realizes that he has a lot to learn about leading a life of crime, so he views every new situation as a teaching experience.

OOC, there’s a very deliberate Breaking Bad Season 1 vibe going on.

My old site Burn After Reading Press, has finally been decommissioned.

My old site Burn After Reading Press, has finally been decommissioned.

My old site Burn After Reading Press, has finally been decommissioned. You can find my nifty custom character sheets for Blades in the Dark (and other games) at my new site, ad1066.com.

— Ben


Couldn’t find the original “Show us your books” thread, but it appears I’m not alone in that.

Couldn’t find the original “Show us your books” thread, but it appears I’m not alone in that.

Couldn’t find the original “Show us your books” thread, but it appears I’m not alone in that. So here it is: The New Hotness.

The Porcelain Dolls: Session 65 (May 10 2017)

The Porcelain Dolls: Session 65 (May 10 2017)

The Porcelain Dolls: Session 65 (May 10 2017)

The next night, Moira talks to Shade about helping to find Nyryx, explaining the situation. Shade has had dealings with the Dimmer Sisters before, so he may be able to talk this one out.

Shade finds Kamali in her room reading, and recruits her for the mission. On the way out of the factory, they run into Kobb, and convince him that he should go with them as well.

They take the carriage into Silkshore, and arrive at an antiques shop that belongs to Roslyn Kellis, who caught Kamali trying to rob the place some time ago. She slips off the carriage and disappears into the shadows, and Kobb stays with the cart, while Shade and Moira head inside.

Shade speaks to Roslyn, who speaks to the Sisters by some unknown means in the back room. She says that the sisters don’t have Nyryx, but they might have information on where he is, and offers to set up a meeting at Dimmer Manor in Brightstone. Shade is wary of accepting such an offer, as he is very conscious of all the stories he’s heard about people going into the house and never coming out, and they agree to a compromise: tea in the garden. She says she’ll contact him with a date and time. Shade buys a few knickknacks, and Moira buys a very elegant deck of handpainted Severosi divination cards.

Kamali visits Darmot just as he is about to sit down to eat. She shows him her notes, and she peruses his. He’s been stationed in Dunslough, keeping an eye on the refugees. His higher ups are still worried about Wulfric the Slayer, and she assures him that Wulfric’s job is finished. He asks how she can be sure, and she indicates that she is, in fact, Wulfric. She takes her leave, and gets back to the carriage just as Shade and Moira are exiting the shop. They head back to Crow’s Foot.

Shade brings them to the alley to see the spirit well. After seeing Shade disappear through the illusory wall, they are all able to attune and pass through it (even Kobb, though he only narrowly avoids smacking into the opposite wall as he charges through at speed). Shade explains that Jezelle had developed an addiction to the energy of the well.

Kobb attempts to enter the spirit well. It does not go well (no pun intended). He ends up with frost burns, but also, the last knuckle of his left pinky has gone missing. Not cut off, just… missing. It doesn’t hurt, but he’s disturbed by the occurrence nonetheless.

Kamali and Moira head to Coalridge. There they speak to Theodore, a homeless man that Nyryx possesses, who hangs out in the old railyard. He is very worried about Nyryx, who communicates with him via letters.

Kobb goes to visit the brothel where normally sees Nyryx. There he meets Katie, the woman that Nyryx normally possesses, for the first time. She does her best to answer all his questions, and then suggests that since her time costs the same either way, he might as well enjoy himself.


We learn more about Nyryx, the nicest ghost you’ll ever meet.


The Porcelain Dolls: Session 64 (May 03 2017)

The Porcelain Dolls: Session 64 (May 03 2017)

The Porcelain Dolls: Session 64 (May 03 2017)

It’s Thursday night, so Constance is at the Pint and Hound. There’s a bout going on between Sam’s (of Sam’s Place) oldest son Emerson, and a new guy off the docks, a short Skovlander with bright red hair and a big bushy beard. In the middle of all this, Grace the union boss of the Docks waltzes in with two of her toadies, and comes straight up to Constance’s table. She gets right down to it: Constance has been operating a business in her territory, and she’s of the opinion that she’s owed a taste. The Pint and Hound is the Dolls only truly legitimate business venue, so Constance is reluctant to simply kill someone there, even if it is Grace. She tells Grace to name her price. Grace says 25% of the Pint and Hound’s profits, off the top (an obvious insult).

Constance looks at Grace’s two goons, who have taken up positions near the door. She asks which of them is tougher, and Grace calls one of them over, a wall of meat named Marvin. Constance proposes that she fight Marvin one-on-one, and if she loses, she’ll concede to the 25%. However, if she wins, it’s only 10%, and she gets to keep Marvin. Grace agrees.

Constance and Marvin square off. The fight doesn’t take long. She underestimates his speed, and he gets a few good jabs in, but she stomps on his foot and puts him off balance, allowing her to follow up with a brutal swipe to his head. He backs off a bit, and she takes the initiative and attempts to rush at him. However, he’s ready for her and is able to dodge out of the way. He comes in low, attempting to tackle her and get her on the ground, and she counters with a savage elbow to the back of his head.

Constance turns away at that moment and showboats for the crowd a bit, planning to turn back and deliver a roundhouse to Marvin’s head to finish him off. However, this proves disastrous, as she is unable to hear him moving over the shouts of the crowd, and in a flash, he’s on her, with a hand against her throat. He uses his momentum to take her with him as he continues across the ring, and slams her head into one of the wooden posts. He lets go, and her legs give out. Her ears are ringing, blood is streaming down her forehead into her eye, and she’s pretty sure her skull is cracked. She taps out.

After Constance recovers, Grace takes the opportunity to gloat just a bit, and says she’ll stop by at the end of the week for her cut. After she’s gone, Constance discusses the situation with Kobb, Moira, and Boots. Constance doesn’t care about owing money to Grace because she doesn’t plan for Grace to be around much longer.

Meanwhile in Silkshore, Kamali has made the tea, and Kazima pours for them both. She reiterates her warning that the artifact is a bad idea: even being in its presence is incredibly dangerous, and actually attempting to interact with it is playing with fire. Kamali proposes, via writing, a plan to ultimately free Iruvia from the Demon Princes. Kazima asks if she’s heard of the Order of the Hawk, and of course Kamali hasn’t. Kazima retrieves a small book and gives it to Kamali, saying that reading it will reveal a question, and if Kazima sees Kamali again, she will know what Kamali’s answer will be.

Back at the factory, Kamali attempts to get Moira to attune to the scarab. It does not go well. Kamali finds herself in the palace with Tahir, but Moira is nowhere to be seen. Once she’s back out, she sees that Moira is out cold. She managed to resist being trapped in the scarab, but she was knocked unconscious in the process. Kamali does her best to make her comfortable.

Shade is at the Bucket when Angus MacMillan comes to tell him that he’s set up a meeting with Roric. Shade alerts Constance, who says to summon Moira. When Shade finds her, he’s unable to wake her up. He attunes, and can tell that she’s suffered some sort of psychic attack and she’s still struggling with a portion of it. There’s nothing he can do to help, so he leaves her to it.

Angus leads Shade and Constance to Gaddoc station. Constance cannot see Angus, so she’s relying on Shade to communicate between them. They head into an Employees Only area that leads down into the lower levels. In a storage room at the very bottom level of the station, they find Roric, who has possessed the body of an old homeless man. Constance talks to him, and he tells her that Grace killed him, ostensibly as part of a bid to move in on Crow’s Foot, but the war between the Lampblacks and the Red Sashes put a damper on that very quickly. The ironic thing was that Roric’s death was the catalyst for reigniting the conflict in the first place. He asks her to help avenge his death by killing Grace, and Constance says she was going to do that anyway. Roric says that his mind is going, and he’s not always coherent.

Kobb goes to visit his niece. He finds her in her office at City Hall. They have a very pleasant conversation, during which Kobb thoroughly lies to her, says that he’s turned his life around, Constance has found him gainful employment, and what’s more, he’s kicked the Blue Cloud habit. He gives her his old syringe kit as proof. She regards it with distaste, and quickly sweeps it into a desk drawer. [thanks to a Bargain, this will cause problems for her later.]

He asks her if there’s anything he can help her or the Council with, and she says that there isn’t anything at the moment, but she is moved by his offer and will keep it in mind.

On his way out, she asks where exactly he’s working, and he mentions the Pint and Hound. She advises him to ensure that the gambling license and other assorted bits of paperwork are in order.

Back at the factory, Kobb confirms with Boots that the gambling license for the Pint and Hound is indeed current. However, they are likely going to owe a bribe to the inspector at the end of the month. [Next roll for Coin will be at -1.]

Moira has very bad dreams. Ixis attempts to convince Moira to serve him by taking her up to the edge of the tallest building in Brightstone. She refuses, so he instead takes her up to the very top of the Governor’s Stronghold in Whitecrown. She attempts to get a look at him, but all she gets is a glimpse of smoke.

She comments that she smells smoke, and he tells her she should look down. Again, she refuses, and instead leans backward. He doesn’t catch her. She falls, and realizes the stronghold is on fire. She crashes through the roof, breaking many bones, and finds herself in a room engulfed in flames. The pain is excruciating, and she blacks out from smoke inhalation, and finds herself in her bed in the factory, intact if a bit shaken.

Kamali has been sitting by the bed, waiting for her to wake up. Moira says that the demon tried to get her to stop messing with the artifact, so they should resolve to not stop messing with it. [And with that, it’s decided that Moira’s Trauma should be Reckless.]


The confrontation with Grace was a long time coming. Once the Pint and Hound was established, there was a countdown clock that ticked every downtime. BTW, I’d just like to reiterate how much I adore the mechanic of faction clocks, to give the GM some concrete guidelines for “this thing has been brewing for a while, it should happen now.” It reminds the PCs that their actions have consequences, and presents the players a living breathing world, with its own ongoing plots and agendas.


The Porcelain Dolls: Session 63 (April 26 2017)

The Porcelain Dolls: Session 63 (April 26 2017)

The Porcelain Dolls: Session 63 (April 26 2017)

The Red Lamp Tramp Clamp (Part 2):

Madame Tesslyn speaks directly to Constance, identifying her as the leader of the robbers. She incorrectly guesses that they are working for Ulf Ironborn. Constance says that he is working for them.

They begin some very tense negotiations. Veiled threats are made. Tesslyn agrees to leave the Skovlan refugees alone, in exchange for her life. For the trouble she’s caused, she’s prepared to let the Dolls have the money in the upstairs safe. In addition, she’s prepared to pay them handsomely for any information on Ulf Ironborn’s whereabouts. Constance asks why he’s so important. Tesslyn is reluctant to speak on it at first, but Constance reminds her who’s holding the weapons. Tesslyn says that Ironborn is in possession of a particular item, the Hand of Kotar, and he’s been unwilling to part with it at any price. Moira has heard the name, but Shade knows a bit more about it. Kotar was a powerful figure in Akorosi myth, long before the cataclysm. There are lots of conflicting stories about what he was and what he could do, but they all tend to agree that the Hand, Eye, and Heart of Kotar are all incredibly powerful artifacts.

Constance is not thrilled about the idea of someone getting hold of something so powerful, so she agrees to assist Tesslyn in acquiring the Hand, but insists that her people be allowed a chance to examine it first. Tesslyn agrees. Constance also states that she wants to buy Penelope, gestures to the sack of money that Kamali has retrieved from the safe, and asks Tesslyn to name her price. Tesslyn retrieves a small coin purse from the bag, hands it to Constance, and tells her to put the rest back. Constance questions Penelope’s value, and Tesslyn assures her that she’s getting a bargain. At this point Kobb indirectly threatens Penelope (suggesting that maybe neither party she have her), Tesslyn reacts instinctively, making an arcane gesture that cuts off Kobb’s air supply, but only for a moment.

In response, Constance attacks and knocks Tesslyn out. She then tells Kobb to take Tesslyn upstairs and stage a suicide by hanging. Shade accompanies him to dress up the secret room to look as though the hanging were part of a summoning ritual gone wrong. He draws a ritual circle, places implements and material components, and a chair in the center, upon which Madame Tesslyn is balanced with a noose around her neck. Once the rope is tied off on the side, Shade kicks the chair out, and she drops, her neck snapping instantly. Kobb vomits into a bucket, while Shade proceeds to rip Tesslyn’s spirit from her body using the lightning hook and promptly bottle her.

Constance informs Penelope that she will be working for the Dolls now. In return, Penelope asks that Constance leave the brothel to Margaret. Constance has Kamali draw up a forged bill of sale from Madame Tesslyn to Margaret (Kamali is not happy with her work, but they’re pressed for time). Constance addresses the gathered employees of the brothel, including Margaret. She gives them the official cover story, that Madame Tesslyn signed the establishment over to Margaret, packed a bag, and left the city for parts unknown. She makes sure they understand.


Rep: 3.

Coin: 8.

Heat: 5 total (2 base, +1 for well connected, +2 for killing).

Entanglement: Interrogation. Keel comes to Constance and says that the Bluecoats have picked up Drav along with a slew of other business owners in the Docks, and are questioning them in relation to some suspicious figures hanging about in the Docks, shortly before the business with the food poisoning. Constance spends 3 coin to get him released.


Constance reduces Heat (by 2), Heals the quicksilver poisoning, and reduces Stress (giving out 1 Coin to the folks of Nightmarket).

Kobb reduces Heat (to 0), reduces Stress (down to 4), and works on the Marian project, completing it. He takes her out to dinner at a lavish restaurant, followed by an attendance of a play. When he escorts her home, they have a moment on the front step, where she confesses that she trusts him, and kisses him on the cheek.

Kamali trains Insight (gaining her an advance in Study), and works on the Kazima project (completing it). She shows Kazima her research notes, and Kazima tells her they have much to discuss. She also works on a better forgery of the bill of sale for the Red Lamp (2 of 4).

Shade reduces his stress, trains resolve (raising his Attune to 3), and heals.

Gears works on projects (the Big Idea, and the Eye/Mind Device). He also gets 2 free project slices, which he divides between the Big Idea, and the Eye/Mind Device.

Moira begins investigating what happened to Nyryx (completing it). She discovers that Nyryx, as a member of the Reconciled, was attempting to help Jezelle when he got nabbed, reportedly by the Dimmer Sisters.

The Moon’s Daughter and the Pint and Hound earn a total of 10 Coin.

Constance pays 3 Coin to Lyssa as tribute. Lyssa warns Constance about the dangers in crossing the Circle of Flame.


Things were going so well, and one errant comment knocks the whole enterprise off balance (no pun intended).


The Porcelain Dolls: Session 62 (April 19 2017)

The Porcelain Dolls: Session 62 (April 19 2017)

The Porcelain Dolls: Session 62 (April 19 2017)

The Red Lamp Tramp Clamp (Part 1):

The plan has changed. Carrying out an assassination quietly and discreetly would require more legwork than one day will allow. Instead they will stage a robbery while Madame Tesslyn is there, pretend to bungle the job, and kill her in the process. They plan to hit the place hard and fast, a nice simple stickup job. They discuss how to deal with Madame Tesslyn, and Constance assigns the task itself to Kobb. He is not thrilled with the prospect.

Gears will cover the sewer entrance with some of the Lampblacks. Shade and Moira will cover the back door with the rest of the Lampblacks, and everyone else will go right in the front door.

Engagement roll is 5, so default Position is Risky. The crew surrounds the place, and on the agreed-upon signal, Constance, Kobb, Boots, and Gloves enter via the front and Constance makes their intentions clear. They gather everyone from all the rooms and congregate them in one of the sitting rooms off of the front entryway. The madam, Margaret, sees what’s happening, and quietly asks everyone to cooperate. The Complication is that Madame Tesslyn herself has not yet arrived.

Constance has Margaret lead her and Kamali into the office, where Kamali makes a show of attempting to open the safe. Constance and Margaret leave her to it.

Shade, Moira, and Flint are by the back door when some of the wards go off inside, and four ghosts swarm out and attack the group. Shade compels one of the ghosts, and commands it to attack one of the others, while Moira manages to get a lightning hook around the neck of another one.

Kamali decides that the safe is noticeably below par in comparison to the rest of the defenses, so she suspects it’s a decoy, and starts prowling around the place to look for valuables. After not too long, she finds a secret room on the second floor that contains a much more elaborate safe.

Constance is keeping everyone together, but other than that she allows them to make themselves comfortable.

Kobb makes a show of being more nervous and jumpy than he really is, but ends up overselling it, and Margaret picks up on it. She attempts to convince Constance that they’ve taken on more than they can handle, and they should simply leave, and everyone will forget all about the incident. Constance is having none of it, and threatens Margaret, who promptly faints.

Shade is able to hook one of the ghosts as it takes a swipe at Flint. The ghost Shade compelled attacks the other free one. Moira wrestles with the ghost on the end of her lightning hook, and it manages to break free, yanking the pole out of her hands. He promptly takes off running, presumably to alert reinforcements.

Kamali deftly opens the safe, and finds lots of cash inside. She makes a quick sketch of the upstairs, denoting the location of the safe, and heads back downstairs.

Constance sends Kobb into the other room to retrieve a replacement for Margaret at the front desk. A dark-haired Severosi girl named Penelope volunteers. She reveals that she used to work at a bank, and this is not the first time she’s been in this situation. He brings her to the front to man the desk and turn away anyone that shows up looking for services. Kamali returns from upstairs and delivers her sketch to Constance.

The compelled ghost has managed to subdue the fourth one, and Flint makes short work of it, forcing it into a spirit bottle. Shade commands the compelled ghost to pursue the fleeing one. He then manages to bottle the ghost he had on the hook. Moira and Flint both take off after the two remaining ghosts.

The bell chimes as the front door opens, and two off-duty Bluecoats enter, obviously quite inebriated. One of them launches into a barely coherent story about how his buddy just got promoted, so they’re there to celebrate. Penelope gives them a story about how the establishment is currently undergoing renovations and thus closed for business, and in any case the two of them are clearly far too drunk to properly enjoy their services properly anyway. She recommends an inn nearby where they can sleep it off in comfort. Boots accompanies her as she leads to two men outside.

Constance notices Kobb drinking from a flask, and they discuss his anxiety regarding carrying out her instructions and shooting Madame Tesslyn in the head when she arrives. It is apparent that Kobb has never killed anyone (and possibly never even raised a hand to anyone). She tells him he doesn’t have to shoot her, as there is another way. When Penelope and Boots return from outside (without the two drunk Bluecoats), Constance asks her to fetch a sleeping pill.

Moira has spent 9 years with the Eels, and if there’s one thing you learn living with street urchins, it’s how to run faster than anyone else. She manages to get a hold of her errant spirit hook and give the pole a good yank, which brings the fleeing ghost up short. Flint tosses her a bottle as the compelled ghost begins to come to his senses, just in time to get hooked by Flint. Together they bring both ghosts down into the bottles, which are kicking and smoking as they clamp the lids shut.

There’s another 20 or so very tense minutes, during which Penelope is able to turn away several potential customers (all of which were thankfully less enthusiastic than the Bluecoats).

Finally, the door opens, and a severely dressed woman with pale skin and auburn hair walks in. Penelope immediately rises to her feet. Constance brings everyone into the front room, and Madame Tesslyn sees the weapons, just as the door opens and her two bodyguards enter.

Kobb draws his pistol and fires at one of the guards, but unfortunately misses by a mile. The man charges forward in response, but Constance interposes herself and unleashes Glorious Visage. The guard that Kobb shot at is rooted to the spot, completely transfixed by Constance. The other guard scrambles madly for the door behind him. Kobb, who managed to shield his eyes, attempts to intercept the second guard, but he’s too far gone, and even a pistol placed against the side of his head won’t deter him from attempting to flee.

The rest of the room is in a similar state. Penelope, the other girls, and the erstwhile clients are all backing away, cowering in terror, or attempting to retreat. In fact, the only one who seems unaffected by all this is Madame Tesslyn herself, who stands quite still with a somewhat amused expression on her face.

“Impressive. My turn.”


An assassination morphed into an armed robbery, which then morphed into a hostage situation. Can’t wait to see what it morphs into next.