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Danny Keen
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I got to run my first game of Blades two nights ago, and we had such a blast! Thank you, +John Harper, for this wonderful game. Also, hat tip to Andrew Shields for the Heist Deck, as you may see a couple of familiar elements here.

The recently named River Sharks are an up-and-coming Professional crew of Smugglers. Brance "Bell" Prichard is a Whisper with holes in his memories, and his spirit mask looks suspiciously like a burned and beaten version of what the Spirit Wardens wear; these two things are related. Quint "Curly Q" Quigley is a former harpooneer, haunted by visions after a full-body baptism in raw leviathan blood. These days he's putting his violent skills to work as a Cutter on the streets of Doskvol to make ends meet. Sethla "Hush" Vale is a Severosi Hound, a sharpshooter against Skovland rebels during the Unity War. She met her faithful companion, the hyena Shiver, after a near-death experience in the Deathlands... and she has a notion Shiver isn't altogether natural.

They've manged to strike up an alliance with the Fog Hounds, sticking to the southern parts of Doskvol and specializing in Arcane and Weird cargo. The Fog Hounds even gave them a battered Barge to get started, which they keep tucked away in a Secret Lair, a mostly-forgotten canal tunnel in an abandoned portion of Coalridge Mine. Other than that, they've got some ambitions and their wits.

Our good smugglers receive a tip from their mutual friend Nyelle that a gentleman named Sir Mournseller had some work needed doing of the illicit transportation variety. Upon meeting him in The Sheets, Mournseller has a simple job on offer: Go to his old manor house and retrieve a box of manuscripts for him. It seems he's back in town from several years away, and his abandoned ancestral homestead was condemned in his absence. He's got an old acquaintance named Boghran gathering up books and other valuables from the estate, but he needs someone to transport the goods across town. That might be a bit dicey because some of the books and art are out of modern political fashion. As in seditious. The crew is offered anything else of value at the estate; Mournseller only wants his manuscripts. The man certainly seems eccentric, being very well-mannered and carrying himself as a noble, while dressed as a vagrant with short, unfashionably-styled hair and wild whiskers. Nevertheless, the crew find themselves with few other immediate jobs and a powerful need to eat, so they take Sir Mournseller up on his offer.

The River Sharks pull up by motorized gondola to Mournseller Manor in Six Towers, around the back. As the bells toll that they've been waiting an hour for Boghran to show up, Bell and Hush decide to go onto the estate grounds looking for him, while Curly Q keeps the engine running (his player had a bit of a family emergency that required he drop out of the game for the night). Hush's trained eyes spot Boghran sprawled on the ground some distance on, cargo box a few feet from him. As the scoundrels approach, the prone porter warns them to "keep back from them bushes." It appears that Mournseller's old security systems are still active: some spiral-sculpted topiary buses, animated by five runecarved spirit stones at the base of each. Hush acts as a distraction to get Boghran to safety, getting some bruised ribs by way of a 15-foot plant-tentacle for her trouble. Bell uses some vialed electoplasm like a grenade to disrupt the animating spirit essence, with remarkable success. Supernatural lightning arcs from one shrub to the next, disabling them all. The threat neutralized, Bell collects the stones for future research and possibly re-purposing for the crew's own security measures.

Boghran and the crew get the cargo loaded onto the gondola, first the crate of manuscripts, followed by some silver, antiquities, and framed paintings of questionable taste. As they deliver the tomes to an ecstatic Sir Mournseller, Hush notes that the old man wasn't just shabbily dressed... he was also barefoot. As they walk away, Bell remembers where he'd seen the cheap gray flannel Mournseller was wearing... it's the usual attire assigned to the "guests" at Glenhurst Asylum, which is less a house for treatment and more a place to put embarrassing people so the good folk of Doskvol don't have to think about unpleasantries like dementia or meaningful political dissent.

The crew moves the rest of the cargo back to their Coalridge grotto, and from there peddle it through various fences, making a tidy sum for a night's work. Over the next few days both Bell and Hush give in to their baser desires, Hush letting loose in the seedy dock-side fighting pits under Sergeant Velk's watchful eye, and Bell visiting his friend Father Yorek and giving in to some of the least credible pseudo-scientific inquiry with reckless disregard for personal safety or ethics.

And there we have it, The Mournseller Manuscripts score down and a good time had by all. The River Sharks have a number of opportunities presenting themselves in the coming days, including helping the Fog Hounds get some weapons and supplies to the Lampblacks for their war, and a chance to scoop up the assets (and possibly personnel) of an independent gondolier crew that had enjoyed the Crow's protection until the recent change in leadership left them forgotten. Oh, and there's rumors that some crew called the Grinders are seizing assets wherever they can, with a particular eye toward barges at the moment. Will they make a play to relieve the River Sharks of their main revenue stream? Stay tuned!

+Sean Nittner Question about shipping: standard editions are shipping independently of deluxe copies for us gluttonous souls who got both, right?

I'm camping out by the mailbox, anxiously awaiting my standard editions, and will be mightily disappointed if they're being held up for the printing of the fancypants version.

Sorry if this has already been addressed, I swear I looked before asking.

Will it be possible to get a physical copy of the book if I didn't already pledge for it?

I pledged in the KS at a lower, digital-only tier. Now that I've seen the quality of the product, and I've got my gaming group interested, I'd love to get a physical copy and maybe even the digital source material for remixing, like the Hacker pledge level. Is that an option?

Loving the game, especially now with the other crew types and new playbooks in the latest release. Excellent work, John!
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