London: Seat of the Empire - City of Thieves - Myth-Weavers

London: Seat of the Empire - City of Thieves

Old Nov 13 '18, 12:20am
Elise de la Plage's Avatar
Elise de la Plage Elise de la Plage is offline
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London: Seat of the Empire - City of Thieves

A Winter in London - Forum
Blades in the Dark

The Eighth of October 1904. The Russo-Japanese War is exactly eight months old, which is not all that long, considering the size of Russia and the Chinese battlefield, and pales in comparison to the four decades of intermittent fighting and uneasy ceasefires known as the American Civil War. Still, Britain is uneasy. Japan is a junior partner and while military advisers in the Far East are confident that there is a genuine possibility for Russia to be forced to accept favourable terms, it is still a war between one of the great European powers and a nation that was an isolated, feudal realm half a century ago. Industrialisation takes time and adapting to civilised standards and the art of modern warfare possibly even longer.

On the continent Austria-Hungary and France are squabbling over Italy's allegiance. Sweden-Norway worries about what will happen once Russia wins the war and turns its attention back to Europe. Prussia is quiet, biding its time and waiting for an opportunity to repay the Austrians for Sadová.

Winter came early this year. The third day in a row snow fell over night, only to be turned into grey sludge as temperatures rise and the drifting flakes become pouring rain. Horses and men slip, carriages and carts get stuck just like the automobiles and trucks, the aerodromes are closed to avoid accidents. Only the Thames, the Underground, the tram- and railways stay as busy as ever, grow even more crowded. The city is slowing down, reorienting itself, adjusting to unusual circumstances. And then it carries on. The heart of the Empire keeps beating, no matter what.

At Westminster School the future elites of the realm continue to study mathematics, philosophy, Latin, and the arcane arts. At the Victualling Yards warships continue to take on stores before they set out to sail the seven seas, not to return until months have passed. At the docks tea clippers continue to arrive, are carefully manoeuvred through the basins, and unloaded by thousands of dockers.

In the Gentlemen's Clubs the men continue to determine the fate of the world as they always did, only here and there disrupted by construction if a new telephone line is run into the building. In the townhouses of the nobility servants still come and go, quietly accepting that the sludge will necessitate extra cleaning. In the East End crime continues to run rampant, the Metropolitan Police struggling to keep it from spilling too far and wide.

This is an ad for a game set in a world very similar to our own, but not quite the same. Many of the themes that defined the lives and experiences of our ancestors at the turn of the century, when the long 19th century slowly drew to a close, exist in our game world, too, but not all of them. At the same time events that never impacted our own history have shaped the perceptions and livelihoods of player characters, antagonists, and extras alike.

The system is John Harper's Blades in the Dark, a game that encourages an emphasis on collaborative storytelling over a GM vs. players sentiment and endless planning to avoid failure. Success and failure matters less than what actually happens in the world and for a price the player characters are always allowed to enter a flashback scene, detailing how they prepared for a tricky situation in advance. The rules are available for free on John Harper's website. The fluff is missing, but as we are using a world of our own that poses little trouble.

A better lot in life, that is what the player characters are after. Maybe they were better off at some point in the past, maybe they always were poor. Whatever their background, whatever the reason, they have come to the conclusion that a life of crime is the solution. Maybe that decision came easy and with glee, maybe it came slow and does not sit well. What matters in the end is that they banded together with others in a similar predicament. Other thieves and burglars and con artists. Together they will finally (re-)claim the place that ought to be theirs.
If you would like to apply to this game, please head to the Applications sub-forum. There you will find a thread with playbook templates, graciously supplied by @Lonewalker. Copy the one for the character type you would like to play and make a new thread for your application. Paste the template into your thread and fill out the relevant info. Even if you are new to the game it should not take all that long, Blades in the Dark has lots of potential, but it is easy to get started with.

The crew or gang the players are part of will be a slightly adapted variant of the Shadows playbook from the standard game. They are a little less focused on pure sneak-thievery and have gotten additional potential for social approaches to scores, to con and scam their way to riches in addition to cutting purses and scaling walls. Please keep this in mind when you create your character. A singular focus on fighting prowess with little or nothing to contribute while sneaking, finesse, or social graces are required would likely be a bad idea, but having someone who knows his or her way around a blade or a pistol will certainly be useful at times.

Likewise, keep in mind that the game is built in a way that allows for other player characters to help you sneak around if your character is bad at it and you can always take risks to get a decent dice pool for a roll.

Applications will be open until the Twenty-third of November.

Lonewalker is getting a guaranteed spot in the game, both because he has allowed me to use the countless templates from his games and because he is GMing numerous games of Blades in the Dark. I feel like that warrants an opportunity to actually play a character of his own for a change.

In addition to him, I plan to take on two to four additional players, although the exact number chosen will depend on interest, application quality, and how well the characters seem to fit together.

Please feel free to direct any and all questions to the OOC thread. There you can get help, from me and others, with character creation, ask me for information about specific parts of the city or the world at the time of our game, chat with other prospective lawbreakers, and so on.

If you would like to do me a favour, post in this thread that you plan to apply before heading to the game forum, to ensure that the advertisement stays afloat and does not get buried under another dozen games of Dungeons & Dragons.


Last edited by Elise de la Plage; Nov 13 '18 at 12:37am..
Well, I'll be making an application for this, but I assume you meant that the deadline was November 23rd, not October 23rd?

That's exactly what I meant, yes. I think I threw myself for a loop by thinking about the October of the game world a little too much. I'll fix that!

This looks really good. Quick question: do you know what playbook Lonewalker is planning to play? No point in anyone posting an app with that one...

Doubling up is actually not a big issue, as two characters with the same playbook can go in very different directions playstyle-wise. Plus you can pick up veteran advances (a bit of a misnomer, really, as you can take one as your starting ability) from just about every playbook. So you can start out as a Spider with the Leader ability from the Cutter playbook or something like that. Just because two characters supposedly are Leeches or Lurks or whatever doesn't mean they play very alike.

That said, I don't know what LW is in the market for, no. Still, I would encourage you to just do what you like best. I'll gladly pick multiple characters with the same playbook if the characters are fun.

I'm honored by the invite - thank you kindly. I'll do my best not to disappoint.

I concur that the same Playbooks can be made with very different by selecting specific abilities and action dots. Couple that with an intriguing personality and a pair of Lurks or Cutters can feel extremely different!

Originally Posted by Southernskies View Post
Lace & Steel meets Dystopian Wars...
I am impressed that someone remembers Lace and Steel! (Still have mine...)

Originally Posted by taurelin View Post
I am impressed that someone remembers Lace and Steel! (Still have mine...)
First and second edition. I have met the author a few times (he lives in Western Australia) and have some of his signed comic books (Tank Vixens)


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