The Porcelain Dolls: Session 51 (January 25 2017)

Note: Originally posted to the Blades in the Dark Google+ Community on February 8 2017.

The New Guy Try-Before-You-Buy:

Gloves heads back to speak with Dacio in the morning. He reports back to Constance that he informed Dacio that his patron is considering the price of 10 Coin, but is looking to negotiate. He was also able to get a look at the bird, and confirms it is in excellent working condition.

Team Pretend to Buy Something consists of Gloves and Kobb, who is in disguise. He’s wearing clothes that are much finer than he’s used to, he’s had a shave and a haircut, and Gloves has applied a healthy layer of face powder to help him look the part of a wealthy merchant. For the meet with Dacio and the buyer, Gloves has selected a Severosi restaurant called Carmelo’s which is only about 3 blocks away from Dacio’s home. It has a suitable atmosphere in which to discuss business, and the subdued lighting should assist in ensuring that Dacio does not recognize Kobb. Constance and Shade will hang out in the small cafe across the street in case things go south.

Kobb and Gloves get to Carmelo’s a few minutes early, and have just ordered drinks when Dacio shows up with his bodyguard, who he introduces as Sireno. Gloves introduces Kobb as his employer, Oliver Dolan. Kobb’s disguise works exactly as expected. They sit and drinks are served. Kobb does well in the first round of making small talk and stalling for time. They order dinner before getting down to business. Kobb very nearly gives himself away by mentioning Charhollow, but manages to pull out of it when he explains that his wife is involved with the Ladies of the Open Hand, and he recently made a sizable donation.

Dinner arrives, and it’s very good. Even Gloves, who usually finds anything non-Iruvian to be bland and tasteless, has to concede that the chef has outdone himself. More small talk, and as the plates are being cleared away, the conversation finally turns to business. There’s some haggling back and forth on the price. In the process, Kobb is subjected to a lecture from Dacio on who exactly Benedict Lyness was, which he finds inwardly amusing. Dacio also has some choice words for Benedict’s son, whom he regards as a wastrel who he was glad to swindle, as he obviously had no idea of the true value of his father’s work. Kobb takes it all in stride. In the end, they settle on a price, with the stipulation that Kobb is to produce the money right away, and then accompany Dacio back to his place to retrieve the piece. Gloves excuses himself to retrieve the rest of the cash, and goes to make his report to Constance, telling her that Kobb is doing quite well, and even managed to talk Dacio down to 9 Coin. When Gloves returns with the Coin, they agree to all take a walk down to Dacio’s apartment.

Team Rob the Place Blind consists of Kamali and Boots, who are up on the rooftop across from Dacio’s apartment. Gears is down in the alley below with his cart and a couple of the Lampblacks. The Eels’ distraction is right on time, but comes in an unexpected form: Kobb didn’t go into specifics as far as what they wanted, so the Eels did the easiest thing they could think of, which was to set the building on fire. Smoke is emanating from the windows on the first floor, and people are already running to evacuate. It’s only a matter of time before the fire brigade shows up (and possibly the Bluecoats).

Kamali crosses the gap up above, and attaches to the window frame the pulley assembly that Gears had put together, sending the weighted end down to the street below. It’s a small matter for her to lever the window open and climb inside. She immediately gets to work opening the first of four strongboxes, finding valuables worth a total of 3 Coin inside. She slips them into a sack and sends it down the rope to the cart below.

Gears heads in the front of the building as the inhabitants are running out. He claims to be from the fire brigade and they offer no resistance, happy for the unusually quick response time. As he heads upstairs, he comes across Dacio’s two guards on the way down, and one of them is carrying something wrapped in a cloth. He tries to fast talk them, ordering them to form up outside to help with the bucket chain, deftly taking the package from them in the process. They get about two steps past him down the stairs when they realize what’s happened, and immediately turn to confront him. He doubles down on the ruse, barking some further orders at them, telling them that they’re wasting time before turning to run up the stairs. He gets to the second-floor landing when one of them clamps a hand on his shoulder and demands the package. He turns and blows a handful of Drown Powder in their faces, and they go down hard, coughing and choking.

He makes it to the top floor to find that the goons had left the apartment door open in their haste to evacuate. Kamali nearly has a heart attack when she hears someone enter the apartment, and Gears finds himself briefly staring down Kamali’s crossbow as he enters the back room. Removing the cloth, the package turns out to be a small wooden box with a delicate latch. Opening it reveals the clockwork bird on a velvet cushion. He quickly wraps it up again and sends it down to the cart while Kamali works on the second strongbox, which yields 2 Coin.

Between the two of them, they make short work of the remaining two strongboxes, and they find a total of 3 Coin in them. They finish sending it all down to the cart just as the fire brigade arrives on the scene. Kamali goes out the window and rides the rope down to the cart, while Gears grabs a bottle of whatever alcohol Dacio favors, takes a long swig, and douses himself with the rest, and pretends to be drunk on his way down the stairs.

He is almost undone as he exits the apartment to find Dacio’s two thugs, who have recovered enough to be able to stand, if a bit wobbly, and attempt to tackle him, roaring unintelligibly as they do so. Fortunately for him, three members of the fire brigade have made it to the top of the stairs, and physically restrain them before escorting Gears down the stairs, his ruse to pretend to be a harmless drunk working perfectly. By the time they get to the bottom and out the front door, the fire is in full swing, and ceiling beams are starting to crumble under the strain. The thugs take one last swipe at him out in front of the building before being tackled by the rest of the firemen. He quickly makes his escape, meeting up with Kamali and the Lampblacks coming out of the alley around the corner. They all head back to rendezvous at the Bucket.

Gloves and Kobb are still carrying the money as they’re following Dacio and Sireno to the apartment. About halfway there, Dacio sees the smoke and immediately takes off running towards the building. Sireno growls something at Kobb and breaks into a jog after his boss. Gloves and Kobb exchange a look and decide that they really don’t need to be there anymore, so they simply leave, Coin in hand.

Constance and Shade follow Dacio to the apartment, where they see him berating his other two guards, while the street around them is a flurry of activity as the fire brigade struggles to put out the fire. In the end, there are no casualties, but the building is significantly damaged.

Boots stashes the Coin and stays behind to guard it, but everyone else meets at the Bucket to debrief. Constance declares the job successful, though she is not happy about the level of exposure that the fire generated. She reminds everyone that they were very lucky no one was injured or killed. She congratulates Kobb on a job well done, and charges him to accompany Gears to deliver the bird to Sabine, after which she will have a serious conversation with him.

Gears and Kobb go to Sabine’s townhouse in Charterhall, which used to be Benedict’s house (and thus where Kobb grew up). They are met at the door by Sabine’s doorman Martin, who is surprised to see Kobb, but ushers them inside and informs Sabine. She is pleasantly surprised to see Kobb has cleaned himself up, and is awed when Gears presents the bird. She thanks them profusely, and demands to know who much she owes them for it, assuming they had purchased it on her behalf. When Gears said she doesn’t owe anything, she’s suspicious for a moment. They manage to convince her that the piece was not obtained through illegal means; it is simply a gift, to show that Kobb has truly seen the error of his ways, and wishes to make amends.

Kobb’s good mood is spoiled somewhat by Constance’s gruff manner when he and Gears return. She bids him to accompany her while she goes to speak with the Eels. Along the way, they stop in Charhollow (as it’s one of the most convenient places to dispose of a body), and she explains to him the graveness of using her name without her leave. She warns him that if he does anything like that again, she will kill him. He indicates his understanding of the situation and promises it will never happen again.

They make their way to Cable Street in Coalridge and find one of the Eels’ lookouts begging on the corner. The girl immediately recognizes Constance, and leads her to an alley where Lillie Thomas is playing a dice game with several other children for peanuts. Constance speaks with Lillie, saying that the fire, while an effective distraction, was a bit more destructive than she had been hoping for. For the favor that Kobb promised her, Lillie asks that Constance take on one of the Eels who is growing older, and is no longer as effective as a member of a children’s gang. Constance agrees. Lillie mentions that Merrill has promised to send her to school when she tires of running the gang, and Constance advises her to take him up on it, as well as to stash away Coin for her eventual retirement.

On their way back, Constance tells Kobb to take her to see Bryl. She buys Kobb’s debt from the man, and instructs him to never sell drugs to Kobb again. Bryl is happy to be rid of him.

Upon returning to the Bucket, there’s a party for Kobb, and later on Constance gives him a tour of the factory and the upper floors.

Notes:

Kobb’s first job. It went pretty well. His engagement roll came up a 6, so everything went exactly according to plan. He had two opposed clocks, one for stalling Dacio for long enough to rob his house, and the other was for Dacio’s suspicion level. Successfully completing the stalling clock gave an extra die on the engagement roll for the burglary.

For the robbery, there was only one clock, a countdown for when the fire brigade would arrive. Kamali and Gears essentially had 8 turns to do stuff until the extra attention would make things awkward. Also, even with the extra dice, their engagement was a 4, so everything they did in the vicinity of the building on fire was Risky by default.

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