The Porcelain Dolls Session 24: July 13 2016

Note: Originally posted to the Blades in the Dark Google+ Community in July 2016.

The Job – The Rich Kid Rid & Bid:

The group splits up for two simultaneous linked jobs. One team will handle the kidnapping of Ellsworth Dunne’s children, while the other will take advantage of the chaos and rob the house itself.

Part 1 – Team Kidnap:

  • Constance
  • Gloves
  • Shade
  • Based on the info Gloves got from the noteboard in the house, the children are always taken by their nanny to piano lessons in the afternoon on certain days of the week. This is taking place in Brightstone, which I decide automatically counts as hostile territory for purposes of calculating Heat due to the frequent Bluecoat patrols (btw, John, thanks VERY much for the neighborhood preview, I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of them).

    The group crits on their Engagement roll. Constance and Shade lurk in an alley adjacent to their quarry’s normal route, while Gloves approaches the nanny and the kids in a frantic state, with a story about a lost dog. With a dramatic flourish of his handkerchief, he blows trance powder in all their faces, and it’s enough to make them woozy and distracted. Constance and Shade quickly scoop up the kids and disappear back into the alley. Gloves runs off, calling for his imaginary dog.

    Constance and Shade quickly place the nigh-unconscious kids into large burlap sacks, and nonchalantly make their way north to the Docks. Shade engages in some working-class chatter (which he has picked up from the refugees), and Constance makes a passing comment about Skovlan Shrieking Potatoes (“They just keep screaming until you boil them”), but fortunately, the kids do not make a sound, and a contingent of Bluecoats guarding the foot of the large bridge to Whitecrown don’t even bat an eye when the two of them pass by carrying their sacks of “potatoes”.

    They make it to the Docks, and stash the kids in the office of a disused warehouse (owned by a small shipping company currently in receivership). Constance does her best to make the kids comfortable, as she has no intention of hurting or mistreating them. For their part, the kids are more than a bit na├»ve, and blissfully unaware of the potential danger they’re in. They’re both a bit excited by the prospect of having an adventure, and they’ve decided that Constance and Shade are pirates, based on the hoods they wear to conceal their faces, and the fact that there’s nautical trappings all over the office. They both agree that this is a lot more fun and exciting than boring old piano lessons.

    Part 2 – Team Burlgary:

  • Kamali
  • Gears
  • Boots
  • In a flashback, a ransom note was carefully crafted by Boots and Kamali. They include a particular detail in the ransom note that is intended to appear as an amateurish mistake that implicates someone in the household staff, so the Bluecoats will round them up for questioning.

    The successful kidnapping nets them an extra die on the Engagement roll, and this time they get a 5. The note is delivered to the house, and Boots watches from a nearby rooftop. He sees the Bluecoats arrive, march the staff off for questioning, and then escort Dunne and his wife to a safe location. However, a trio of Bluecoats remain behind to guard the house, making regular patrols around the perimeter.

    Kamali goes in via the chimney, and unlocks the side door for Gears. He heads inside and goes straight to the basement. After some searching, aided by the copy he made of the plans for the house, he finds a hidden door behind a bookshelf. The door is locked, and there is an alarm wired up. He manages to disarm the alarm and open the lock, and finds Dunne’s secret office. In a strongbox on the desk is 1 Coin, but Gears’ interest is taken by the large filing cabinet in the corner. All five drawers are stuffed full of files on dozens of notable citizens around the city, including some of the other City Councilors; Dunne’s blackmail material.

    Meanwhile, Kamali makes her way upstairs to the master bedroom, and opens the wall safe (after the Turner 302, it’s almost disappointing). Inside, she finds 4 Coin in cash and jewelry. Going through the rest of the house, she manages to pick up another 2 Coin in random valuables. She heads back downstairs to find Gears emptying the contents of the filing cabinet into his cart.

    Boots sees them exit the side entrance just as one of the Bluecoats is rounding the corner to patrol the side and back of the house. Boots fires a shot into the air, both as a distraction and as a signal to the others that it’s time to get the hell out of there. In both cases, it has its intended effect. The Bluecoats all hear the shot and take off running down the street, and Kamali and Gears hightail it in the other direction.

    The ransom note includes demands for a payout and instructions for the drop, but when Dunne and the authorities get to the location specified, all they find is another note informing them that the children can be picked up at a local church. It will likely take the Bluecoats some time to search all the various churches in the area. When the children are finally found, the priest will only be able to tell them about the mysterious individual who simply dropped them off, saying they found them on the street. The children themselves will go on and on about how they went on a grand adventure with pirates who wore hoods to hide their faces.


    Payoff: After visiting Basran to fence the non-cash items, the crew gets a total of 9 Coin (4 from the safe, 2 from the rest of the house, 1 from the secret room, and 2 from the Luxury Fence claim), one of which has to be paid to the Crows, leaving them with 8.

    Rep: The crew again technically went up against the City Council again, so they earn 5 Rep (which gets applied when they visit Lyssa to pay tribute). Don’t expect it to be anywhere near this easy ever again. This brings them a Tier advance, which they spend on raising their Hold back up to Strong, rather than jump to Tier 2.

    Heat: 1 for Low Exposure, +1 for a high-profile target, +1 for hostile turf, add that to the 1 they already had brings the total to 4.

    Entanglement: Prichard shows up at the Bucket, a look of consternation on his face. He asks to speak with Constance regarding the kidnapping. There’s a tense moment, when Constance considers risking the bartender’s wrath by killing Prichard right there in the tavern, but instead leads him outside to have a stern talk. After a brief confused exchange, it’s clear that Prichard is talking about a completely different kidnapping. After the fire at the coal warehouse, Brock was found dead, a Red Sash’s dagger in his back, and Baszo’s daughter Aleira nowhere to be seen. It comes out that Mylera’s sister Celia was Baszo’s wife, and Baszo blames her for Celia’s death. For her part, Mylera always despised Baszo for how he treated Celia. Aleira’s kidnapping has sent Baszo off the deep end, and he is currently on his way to challenge Mylera himself. Prichard understands that Baszo’s days are numbered, but if he gets himself killed now, there will be nothing to stop the Sashes from wiping out the rest of the Lampblacks, which does not suit Constance’s plan.

    The group accompanies Prichard down to the Temple. They arrive there ahead of Baszo, but only just, and they are spotted by the guards on the front door. Baszo is on his way from the west, it’s clear even from a distance that he is very drunk, and he’s dragging a cannon on wheels (an artifact of the Severosi Civil War about two hundred years ago). Constance and Prichard immediately move off to intercept Baszo, while the rest of the group heads up the walk to deal with the Sashes.

    Gloves and Shade speak to the guards, and Aldo appears at the front door to bring them inside. He leads them upstairs to Mylera’s private office. They inform her of Aleira’s kidnapping, and not only is Gloves able to determine that Mylera had nothing to do with it, but it’s also obvious that she’s visibly concerned for the girl’s safety. She states that she would never condone anything that would hurt her niece (it turns out that she was not aware that the girl had stayed behind at the warehouse when the Sashes attacked), and resolves to investigate the matter herself. If one of the Sashes did it, it was without her permission, and discipline will be meted out. If it was someone else, they will almost certainly pay dearly for exploiting the situation by implicating the Sashes. On the way out, Shade summons Kelyr, who corroborates Prichard’s story regarding the history between Baszo and Mylera. Kelyr warns Shade that his name is getting around in ghost circles, and there’s been some grumbling about the way he’s been throwing his weight around.

    Meanwhile, Constance and Prichard manage to talk Baszo down, pointing out that he is hopelessly outnumbered and will almost certainly die if he attacks the Sashes now, and they promise to help find Aleira and bring her back safe. His resolve gone, he slumps visibly and sits down right in the middle of the street. Constance feels slightly odd comforting a man she fully intends to kill within a few days. Gears and Boots take the opportunity to make off with the cannon.

    Downtime actions will come next session.


    I decided to go with a home-brewed entanglement instead of rolling on the table. Everyone seemed to be fine with this.

    Over the last 20+ sessions, I had thrown a lot of plot threads out there, so I figured it was high time to start bringing some of them back in. Some of this was stuff I decided the nature of as far back as Session 1 (such as the cause of the conflict between the Sashes and the Lampblacks).

    We have made a concerted effort to give all the sheets a once-over at the end of every session to make sure no one gets shorted on XP. I have resolved to be generous with it, as advancements have been fairly slow.