Solo Skald |||

Blades in the Dark Solo - The Pincers - Part 3

Setting a goal up front: we’ll end this campaign (or at least season”) if and when we reach Tier 2.

Pending Questions

  • What are the drivers in Wicker’s relationship with Flint?
  • Who is that masked vampire, and what’s their relationship with the Reconciled?
  • Will the Iruvian Consulate become a problem?
  • Who’s the crew contact?
  • Is this opera house an interesting thread to pursue?

Score: Full Service

I know I said I’d focus on the core book, but bringing in some other material to drive a score feels interesting. I already have Hour of Silk, a collection of 10 unofficial Blades in the Dark scores”. One of them is called Full Service”:

The tolling of the bells rings through Brightstone as the Hour of Silk approaches. A high holy night draws a crowd of the wealthy and powerful, and those lucky enough to receive invitations drawn by lot from the city’s faithful, to the Sanctorium, the grand cathedral of the Church of the Ecstacy of the Flesh. The throngs file under the massive baroque façade of grey marble and silver. In the shadow of the towering buttresses and spires, Bluecoat squads check invitations under the watchful eye of a handful of Spirit Wardens in impassive bronze masks.

Somewhere in that sprawling bastion of the Empire’s state religion lies your target. If you’re a religious sort, Scoundrel, now might be the time to say a prayer.

Each score provides a choice of patrons, paydays, and problems, plus some clocks, question prompts, and other background material.

☞ The Patron

Preceptor Dunvil, an arcane researcher

While a luminary in the Church already, protocol keeps Dunvil from answering certain questions about the object of tonight’s score. Dunvil needs unfettered access, and you’re going to help.

He’s also a member of the Path of Echoes cult, connected to the Reconciled, so there’s that for us.

☞ The Payday

The Hollow Vault

A shallow vessel of meteoric iron, constantly filled with a blue-white mist, used in the high rites of the church and indispensable for Hollowing.

Perhaps this vampire has struck some accord with the Reconciled? After all, vampires are formed in Blades in the Dark by possessing a specially-prepared Hollow.

☞ The Problem

Hollow Security

The only thing between you and your prize is a legion of faithful hollows. They cannot be bribed, reasoned with, or even spoken to. What sign or token protects the faithful from the Hollows?

Wards on their flesh prevent them from accosting anyone with the Church’s holy symbols - which we don’t have.

☞ Engagement

So what’s the plan? We don’t know where the Hollow Vault actually is. In fact, how big (transportable) even is this shallow vessel of meteoric iron”? Can a single person carry it? We make a fortune roll, 2d (uncertain) => 5, yes but it’s big and obvious when you do.

The size of the big obstacle clock will depend on our engagement roll.

The Cathedral is in Brightstone, which is our hunting grounds but still gives us -1d to Engagement.

Spirit Wardens aren’t present inside, but they are guarding the public entrances with the Bluecoats.

Talitha consorts with the crew contact, Laroze (himself a Bluecoat) to get a sense of what the security specifics are. 3d => 6,6, critical!

This means we get EVERY BIT of detail on exterior security: patrols, doors, other portals. Let’s count this as +1d to the engagement roll and confirm a stealth approach.

What details do we have for the street? 2-6 Hidden passages

With hidden passages plus our maps and passkeys, we have our entry point.

Engagement roll: 2d => 6, controlled.

☞ Score

View of the west front of the Milan Cathedral and the square, busy with pedestrians, horses and carriages.

As the pair approach from beneath, they find an old cell, inhabited by an ancient monk among utilitarian furnishings. To sneak past him requires a group prowl at Controlled / Standard.

  • Talitha: 2d => 5
  • Wicker: 2d => 5

No stress, minor consequence.

The old man stirs in his sleep and checks to see if anyone’s there. The crew makes it forward, but we’ll start a new danger clock.

  • Patrols, starved & maddened: 1/6

This is one of the clocks from the supplement.

Inside the cathedral, Wicker attunes to the ghost field to gather information, trying to locate the artifact. We’re still at Controlled, but this will have limited effect. At the same time, we’re in our hunting grounds and it’s information about the supernatural (he has Ghost Mind), so it’s a total of 4d => 6, great information. We know right where it is, in a low cramped space under a balcony. (This came from more rolls on the building details table in the core Blades in the Dark book.)

To get there, Talitha will need to use her light climbing gear. This would be Desperate, as she’s avoiding detection, so Wicker will try to set her up first by surveying for any immediate threats. They’re not detected yet, so his roll will be Controlled / Standard. 1d => 2, failure. In order to get a better vantage point, he needs to reposition and try again from a Risky spot. The hollows are hunting, that is, and he doesn’t have the right trinket. 1d => 1, fail. Two more ticks!

  • Patrols, starved & maddened: 3/6

Talitha won’t get the benefit from the setup. She will still try to prowl past the patrols, the gargoyles, the crowds… at Desperate / Standard, so 3d (push) => 6, done! She has the vessel, although it’s going to count for 2 Load and slow her down.

Now for them to escape, but let’s roll a twist. Rogue spirits possess some of the people involved - the congregants! Wicker recognizes this immediately. He’ll use his spiritbane charm to increase the effect of his attune to ward them off. Again, we’re in Desperate territory, but with that charm, it’s Great effect. 4d (push and an assist) => 6, success. They don’t come for us.

Time for a final group prowl out of here, but the patrols are hunting, so we remain at Desperate / Standard.

  • Talitha: 2d => 6
  • Wicker: 2d => 5

Success on the exfiltration!

Payoff, etc

The Church is tier IV and we’re still starting out, so that’s 6 Rep. And this was a big score, so 8 Coin (-1 to the Unseen), 4 to Talitha, and 3 to Wicker.

Heat will build up, as we’ll start at a baseline of 2 (Contained), +1 for Brightstone, +1 for a high-profile target, so that’s 4 Heat. With a Wanted level of 1, we get a new Entanglement: 1d => 2, Questioning. This is a big deal, so even Laroze isn’t above suspicious. He’s a Bluecoat, though, so he might do okay in questioning: 3d => 4, +1 Heat. They’ll be keeping their eyes on him…

We’ll do downtime later. But for XP, the crew takes Second Story” (+1d to the Engagement roll for clandestine infiltrations). Wicker also takes a dot in Wreck.

Up next Blades in the Dark Solo - The Pincers - Part 2 Blades in the Dark Solo - The Pincers - Part 4
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