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Bradley Nakamura
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We just finished our sixth session and the first all together since ruleset 3. In summary, most of the rules worked great and I felt like I finally got a strong grip on presenting and resolving clocks. Warning, long report ahead.

After dealing the Lampblacks a devastating blow for the Red Sashes in their first session, and eventually destroying them entirely, the Red Sashes were at war with the Crows for supremacy in the district. After a number of setbacks, Lyssa of the Crows was backed into a corner politically and agreed to duel Mylera after obtaining some sort of secret weapon. The night was to be the climactic showdown of many sessions' play. Expecting foul tricks, the group had previously combined the efforts of their elite shadows, and their own investigations to determine that Lyssa had: 
1. Stationed sharpshooters to kill Mylera in the event that the duel went poorly.
2. Set explosives in shipping containers to destroy the Red Sashes either way.
3. Obtained a weapon, a bloody soaked giant cleaver, that manifested a malevolent and powerful spiritual presence.
4. Abducted a bunch of drugged out hobos and had them imprisoned somewhere nearby. 
I started an eight segment clock called Lyssa's preparations to serve as a "scoreboard" for the players and to show how much progress they were making and two eight segment clocks for Lysaa and Mylera's duel which were advanced when time appropriate and as a complication for low rolls. Additionally I made an Alarm clock as they went in stealthily which would have made all their efforts harder if filled.
Preparations 1, 2, and 4 above got their own 4 segment clocks which the crew tackled together at first and then split to cover more ground according to their skillset. Because the group was responsible for the state of the drugged out prisoners (long story) and seemed really interested in the malevolent spirit I gave it more power, and allowed the crew to assist Mylera by distracting its attention and depriving it of its soul sacrifices (the drugged prisoners). The crew worked their way through the clocks just in the nick of time as tension escalated and banished the malevolent spirit. Mylera chopped of Lyssa's head and the Crows were routed.

Using the clocks as generic descriptors of obstacles to be tackled, (Snipers, Explosives, the Imprisoned) gave the players enough direction to see what opportunities were there for taking, and let them have the fun of deciding how best to tackle them. It was long and involved, but then this was the showdown they've been working towards for months. The duel and alarm clocks really ratcheted the tension, and I saw the players constantly discussing what level of risk to take and how fast they had to move as we reached the conclusion. The whisper took it upon herself to distract the spirit and nearly died, but it was a high point for her player to contend with such a dangerous spirit and hold it down long enough for the rest of the crew to come out on top. There was waaaay more action than we were used to, but I think it was fictionally appropriate and the players enjoyed it. The only negatives out of the session were that after the emotional roller coaster no one wanted to deal with the entanglements, and with half the group suffering level 2 or higher harm and plenty of stress the recovery rules seem to lead to trying at least 2 scores with harm on the tracker. I'm going to use this as an opportunity to begin introducing new factions who want a slice of that sweet Crow's foot pie, but I might let them take a few easy scores while I give them signs of an approaching threat. It was a great session! 

Last Saturday I ran my first game of Blades for my group of five. It's rare we can ever all be there so we wanted to play Blades as a drop-in drop-out from week to week but for the beginning we all wanted to be there. None of us have played anything other than 3.5 and Dark Heresy. Warning: a bit long winded.

The crew had a blast with character and crew creation and though I expected the heritage to be glossed over it turned into a great time as this was the first game where we really felt encouraged to paint the world ourselves (never played any --World games). Skovlan turned very Skyrimesque and our Slide, who's never read or seen Dune, came up with Sand Leviathans that haunt the deserts of Iruvia and have important minerals growing in their bodies. I encouraged the group to learn more through play and it was on.

We started in Bazso's office as suggested in the QS and immediately hit a snag. Baz is one of the friends listed on the Slide's sheet, but the crew chose the Red Sashes as the faction that had helped them set up in Crow's Feet. There was confusion as the group wasn't sure what to do and had to make a hard choice.

We flashed back to the crew getting two invites, one from each boss and the crew went to the Red Sashes first. They agreed to plant a box of unknown purpose inside the Lampblack HQ and then went to the Lampblacks to gather information while talking to Baszo. He asked them to rob the Red Sash treasury.  He'd heard they met with the red sashes but the slide was on point and overcame with deceive--with the Trust Me special ability she passed perfectly and they returned to the Red Sashes under cover of night.

They met up with Mylera (sp) and asked her to pretend to be robbed and give them some items to make it look like the Red Sash had genuinely been robbed. They offered her 1 coin from the Lampblack vault without prompting and supplied half the supplies from their "Packrat" lair: one of the PC's decrepit ancient family home. With that offer it didn't seem necessary to make any action roll: agreeing to those terms seemed natural for her so I just let them succeed. Next they asked her to create a ruckus in the morning, and they took the "loot", mystery box in tow, back to the Lampblacks. The lurk led the group in slipping the bags past the search checkpoint without the box being discovered and took a couple stress covering for the others. In the end they planted the box in the vault, swiped a bit of coin without being seen to pay Mylera and were out scot free.

All in all, I know the group had a ton of fun. I explained to them that early on, with their notoriety being so low and the scales of the jobs relatively small, that smart plans may let them ease through with minimal stress, but things should get more difficult in the future which everyone seemed excited about. They were good about playing into what the NPCs were trying to achieve and focused on the party's strengths (mask and cloak skills) so they didn't take much stress or even have to roll very often. They marveled at how much we got done even though it took us four hours to do characters, crew and 1 score. One thing I would really like to see in the future though is option rules for advancing the fiction around the players through the other factions. Anyway, a ton of fun. Will play again next week.
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