GM note: Blades In The Dark is player-driven. The crew decides what scores to attempt, but the game and the GM can offer assistance:
- Try to capture Turf (the Crew Playbook suggests a score)
- Ask around for jobs from NPCs (the GM suggests a score)
- Do something that’s important to the characters (the players invent a score)
I prepared several scores for the crew to choose from based on the excellent Twitter feed of HumanTheFixer, a Shadowrun role-play account. Lots of creative, inspiring runs for ambitious scoundrels, even if I have to remove the cyberpunk elements and change all the names.
The Goatriders meet to plan their next score in their hidden lair: in a sewer under Junker’s family business.
Moth: I’m down for whatever, but if you don’t do anything, I’m going to go party.
What if the Goatriders had their own party spot? Moth can’t get thrown out of her own party. They ponder how to seize a party spot for their turf. What are the good party spots around here? Moth could ask Telda, who lets Moth crash at her place when she gets tossed out of parties. Junker knows a Blood Dealer who might have some leads. Moth and Junkers are keen to find a brothel susceptible to hostile takeover.
Skellington: Parties mean brothels? Are those the same?
Moth: Tavern is for drinking. Brothel is for lots of things. Like DRUGS!
Everyone is yelling ideas. Somehow owning and operating a brothel seems like a lot of work, so maybe they acquire a brothel and let someone else own it, so long as the Goatriders get to use it whenever they wish. Or maybe they own it, and rent it out.
Junker goes to ask Jul if he knows of any suitable brothels they can lean on. Jul is a shrewd Akorosi man with a wild look.
Junker (+ Skellington aid) Consort fortune 2d 6
Jul has quite a bit of information about a vulnerable vice den, but it’s not quite a brothel. Traven’s Smoke Shop in Coalridge is claimed by Ulf Stormborn, Ulf is a Skovlander who is new to Duskwall and is making quite a name for himself. He picks a lot of fights, so his hold on his turf is weak. Skovlanders are a mistreated underclass in Duskwall, and Ulf won’t tolerate any mistreatment of his people.
Moth: He doesn’t have many friends because he’s from that [actual IRL slur] country!
Moth learned such language from her Dad, who was in the military when Skovlan finally fell to the Empire.
Skellington: Don’t mention your military dad.
The Goatriders decide to make Ulf their friend, and convince him to let them use the smoke shop. That’s almost enough to start a score!
- Target: Traven’s Smoke Shop
- Plan: Social
- Connection: ??
They need an in, someone to introduce them to Ulf on good terms. Moth considers going to party at the smoke shop, and consults her friend Telda, an expert at parties and schmoozing. Moth asks how to party with Skovlandians and make them like her.
Moth Consort fortune 1d 2
Telda: Call them Skovlanders, not Skovlandians. Those mean signs on some buildings says “NO SKOVS” so don’t call them Skovs either.
Telda doesn’t know Ulf or any of his friends. She recommends they go to Coalridge, where many Skovlanders live and work. They find Traven’s Smoke Shop, a narrow storefront jammed between two other shops on a crowded, dirty street. The front windows have two layers of glass, and different kinds of smoke waft up between the panes. This demonstrates the variety of wares the shop offers, and adds a bit of privacy to the store’s customers. Skellington wants to schmooze a worker, and finds Hix, a wiry Skovlander man wearing a smoke shop apron, sitting on a box in the alley behind the smoke shop, turning a pipe over in his hands.
Skellington: Get a new pipe?
Hix: Better, an old one!
Hix is eager to show his new item off. He explains how the shape of the bowl and style of carving gives a good estimate of the pipe’s age. The pipe was well-cared for, indicated by the relative lack of tooth marks. Hix is a collector. He knows his stuff! This pipe was for sale in the shop, and he was able to pick it up with some of his wages, because people didn’t recognize its value. Skellington chats with Hix a bit, just bros broing out over some chewed pipes. Skellington asks when the shop closes.
Skellington Sway controlled standard 2d 4
Hix is suspicious, since that information would be valuable to thieves.
Skellington: I don’t want to overstep. I’m going to go.
Getting a connection with an employee didn’t work. What now. Maybe they go in as customers and snoop about.
Moth: I’m taking the shipping manifest. Do you want anything?
Junker: Something clovy.
Moth Finesse risky standard 2d 6
Moth manages to swipe a delivery schedule while the clerk is dealing with another customer.
The Goatriders have lost track of their plan. Moth’s head is empty. That’s where she hides contraband.
Junker: The plan is an agile beast. It’s evolving every sprint, but we’re on top of it!
Are they robbing the smoke shop? The delivery schedule would certainly help with that.
Could they get Ulf in trouble with another faction, then support him as an underdog to gain his trust? What factions operate in Coalridge? The Goatriders spend most of their time in Crow’s Foot. The Lost are a Tier I faction, about as much power as Ulf, but they are dedicated to protecting the downtrodden, and the Goatriders support that mission. The major power in Coalridge are the Sparkwrights, who maintain the city’s power generators and the lightning barriers that keep the horrors of the Deathlands out of Duskwall. The Sparkwrights have more influence in the city than the Bluecoats! The Goatriders aren’t definitely not ready to mess with them!
Will they can throw a party and invite Ulf? People like parties, right? Coalridge has lots of big factories and crowded apartment buildings and not many party venues. The rail lines that used to transport coal (the city runs on Leviathan blood now) are disused, and rail cars lie all over in various states of disrepair and neglect. Some of the poorest residents make homes inside them.
Junker: Would it be respectful to throw a party in a boxcar?
Moth: It’s like a house party!
House parties are off-limits for Junker. She lives with her parents. The Goatriders wander the streets of Coalridge. Moth looks for a Skovlander to chat up.
Moth Survey fortune 1d 2
Moth: I’ve been buzzed this whole time. I woke up next to a half-empty bottle of wine.
Skellington: This is the third time we’ve passed this business of, umm, accountants?
Junkers: Accountants and brothels go together!
GM note: Apparently this is a TikTok meme.
Moth: So we’re turning the smoke shop into a brothel?
Junker: That was your plan!
Skellington: We could throw a block party!
Junker: The real score was the plans we made along the way.
Moth: Focus! We need to throw a party! I want to party! We throw a party and Skellington steals the deed to Traven’s Smoke Shop.
Skellington: You should steal the deed.
Moth: I’m not skipping the party.
Junker: I can tinker my way inside.
Skellington: Don’t say racist things to Ulf!
Junker: Don’t mention your dad!
- Target: Traven’s Smoke Shop
- Plan: Deception
- Method; Block Party
Engagement roll 2d 6
The Goatriders set up a block party in the street in front of Traven’s Smoke Shop. People gather around to eat barbeque, play music, dance, and have a good time. Some of the smoke shop employees come out and join the festivities. Ulf arrives from off-site and pushes through the crowd to get to his shop. He seems bemused by the party. Skellington tries to get HIx to convicne Ulf to stay outside and party.
Skellington Sway 2d controlled standard 3
Maybe not Hix. Skellington tries another approach. He greets Ulf himself, and offers to get him a drink.
Skellington Consort 1d risky controlled 2
Ulf insists that he has business to attend to in his shop.
FLASHBACK: Skellington asked around to see how Ulf was crushing on, to make sure that person attended the party.
Skellington Survery (fortune) 1d 3
Ulf seems completely focused on his mission, and has no time for personal entanglements. Skellington considers flirting with Ulf, but instead exploits Ulf’s aggressive reputation. Skellington tells Ulf that there will be a boxing tournament later, and he should sign up!
Skellington Sway risky great 2d 5
Of course Ulf wants to fight! His enthusiasm is infectious and before he knows what’s happening, Skellington has also pledged to fight in the tournament. Hopefully the heist will end before Skellington has to fulfill that foolish promise.
Meanwhile, Junker quietly opens the back door of the shop and peers in from the alley. There are no customers in the shop, and only one clerk half-heartedly manning the counter and looking at the party outside. The office door is off to the clerk’s side, but he’s not likely to look over.
Junker Prowl 1d controlled standard 2
That’s not good! Junker takes a Devil’s Bargain. The clerk was about to look over and spot her as she crept up to the office door, but a customer approaches the front door. It’s Timothe, Junker’s cousin! He takes the clerk’s attention, but he’s been burned by Junker’s lawless ways before. He won’t be happy to see her. There’s also a mirror that Junker didn’t see from that back of the shop that makes the office door more visible from the counter than she thought. Junker tries to pick the lock to the office door with her fine lockpicks.
Junker Tinker risky standard (+push) 3d 5
She pushes herself to work as quickly as possible. Just as she gets the lock open, the clerk glances at the mirror and spots her!
Outside, Moth intercepts Timothe. She knows that Timothe wants to be treated like an adult, since he just turned 18.
Moth: Hey, I feel bad for how you were treated. We owe you another chance. Do you want to join the boxing tournament with the real men?
Moth Consort risky standard 1d 3
Timothe brushes her off and goes into the smoke shop, because that’s for grown-ups too. Inside, Junkers has the office door open, but the clerk is coming for her!
Junker Prowl controlled standard 1d 6
She slams the door behind her and locks it before the clerk can get there. He pounds on the door, but he can’t open it immediately. Inside the office there’s a desk with some papers on the top, drawers on one side, and a small safe built into the other side. Junker lays into the safe with her drill and crowbar.
Junker Wreck risky standard 1d 5
She pries the safe open. Inside she finds:
- A stack of official documents
- A stack of signs or various sizes and materials that all say some variation of “NO SKOVS”
- A collection of signet rings and lockets. Nice jewelry, but all tied to a particular person’s identity
Junker determines that Ulf finds racists who put sup “NO SKOVS” signs, kills them, and keeps these trinkets as proof. Yikes! Also, these very personalized trinkets would be hard to fence, so she leaves them and takes only the official documents.
GM note: Instead of “No, you can’t fence these” I should have said “You can take 1 Coin for 1 Heat, but to 4.” because letting scoundrels make trouble for themselves is thematically appropriate!
The clerk stops pounding on the door and goes to fetch Ulf.
GM note: This clerk have become important. Let’s define him some more.
Wester is a plain-looking Skovlander man. He likes teamwork, but is dishonest, and also a member of a secret society. He rushes out the door of the shop and is intercepted by Moth. She tries to hide behind him and says that some creeper is following her around, and can he block for her?
Moth Consort risky standard 1d 3
Wester advises her to be upfront and just tell the man that she’s not interested.
GM note: This is the WORST advice. Do not do this to anyone!
After brushing Moth off, Wester approaches Ulf. Skellington has to act fast to prevent Wester from alerting Ulf to the robbery in progress! He shoves Wester and tries to start a fight right then, claiming the boxing tournament has started.
Skellington Command desperate standard 1d 5
Wester is distracted from his mission, but Skellington attacked Wester without warning, and Ulf cannot tolerate poor sportsmanship. As Skellington leans forward to jab Wester, Ulf grabs the end of Skellington’s belt and yanks it out, spinning Skellington in the air like a top. Skellington’s about to take a nasty wreck on the cobblestone street!
Skellington Resist Level 3 Harm (Broken Ribs) Prowess 1d 4 stress
Skellington manages get his arms around his head, and roll on impact, avoiding injury.
GM note: We workshopped a few ways Ulf would inflict Level 3 Harm, and I only thought of the cool way after the session. Downward chop to the neck as Skellington leans forward. Faceplant onto the street and take Level 3 Harm (Fractured Skull).
Skellington grovels and Ulf picks him up and sets him on his feet. All will be forgiven if Skellington competes honorably in the ring.
Back in the office, Junker is escaping through the window.
Junker Wreck controlled great 1d 6
She pries the entire pane of glass cleanly out of the frame, sets it neatly on the desk, and wipes her fingerprints off the edges. She hops out the window into the alley and walks away. Now to signal the others that the heist is complete.
FLASHBACK: The Goatriders decide on a signal.
Junker leans on the wall of a nearby building and casually squawks.
Moth hears the signal and goes to extricate Skellington. She tells Ulf that she has to redo the bracket to separate Skellington and Wester and also that she will scold Skellington for his terrible breach of protocol.
Moth Sway (+aid Skellington) risky standard 2d 5
That seems plausible to Ulf, and she takes Skellingont and drags him out of the party and around a corner. They meet up with Junker. They’ve done it! They can slip away before anyone can stop them. Skellington wants to do one more thing first.
Skellington Compel risky standard 2d 5
Skellington summons the ghost of a worker killed in a coal mining accident decades ago, and tells it to walk up to Ulf and says “The Crows did this!” The ghost moves to obey in the most direct way possible, right through the corner of the building they are hiding behind. The Goatriders exit the scene, with screams and the sounds of panic echoing behind them as the crowded party is interrupted by a terrifying ghost!
Junker did grab the deed to Traven’s Smoke Shop, and the Goatrider’s deliver it to the Red Sashes. They aren’t very clear on what they get in return. It’s up to the Red Sashes to take Traven’s Smoke Shop from Ulf, either with their superior numbers, or with the help of the law. With the deed, they are the legal owners.
We skipped the downtime phase, since most activities in downtime are preparation for future events, and this is the last session with this crew. They have no future.