My son was sick yesterday with a stomach virus, so I stayed home from work and during the time when he was asleep, I wrote up this
On Sunday evening, my buddies and I got into an impromptu Ghostlines session. We had Nick and Oliver playing two rookie line-bulls trying to make ends meet in Lockport, Skovlan. Nick played a tough, towering Sevoran brute named Brance (Badge Name: Slane). Oliver played Brance's distant cousin, the wirey but sharp Phin (Badge Name: Templeton), a minor member of Akoronian nobility. The two them had just earned their badges and were set loose into the city to find work.
Nick describes Slane to look a bit like Mickey Rourke in Sin City
, face all scarred from a life of brutal crime. Oliver describes Templeton as the spitting image of William Fichtner
. Slane is all Force and Steel. Templeton is all Finesse and Insight. I'll talk about it a little more at the end, but I basically used the rules as shown on the PDF mixed with some World of Dungeons "When you do something risky..." style rolling, because it felt a little smoother when I did that.
One of the first things they asked was "What the heck is a badge name?". I turned it around and asked them what they thought. We went back and forth for a bit and decided that the Badge Names were mostly used to give out to people so bulls could stay anonymous, for whatever reason. Maybe to protect their love-ones or whatever. Made sense. Also, since they wore badges, that insinuates they have some kind of authority. We decided that they don't have much legal authority, but they are licensed to carry potentially destructive equipment like lightning-hooks and lightning-web throwers, and have legal clearance to engage ghosts and spirits. Also, they can't be sued for incidental damages during the pursuit of a ghost.
We opened with them working a side job. I had them choose. Templeton decided to take a night job repairing the docks to earn him two Chits. Slane chose a different path, taking part in a B&E job with a shady partner named Booker. I had them each roll on the side-jobs table.
Oliver rolls a 4 for Templeton - while working on the docks fixing the beams that hold up the piers, he hears one of the other workers talking about a woman he met at a pub the other night. (We roll on the rumors table) She was talking about an island off of the coast of Skovlan where people lived without the protection of an electro-barrier.
They were curious about this so we did an idea exchange and decided together that there are outcasts that live outside of the protection of the cities; unregistered citizens not welcome in Imperial cities. We dubbed people that live outside of the Imperial Cities are called "The Stranded" (ala Gears of War). They are lone survival towns that eek out an existence completely vulnerable to ghosts and evil spirits, yet outside of the oppressive rule of the Imperials. One them suggested that these Stranded Enclaves usually hire mercenary line-bulls to protect them from ghosts and evil spirits.
So Templeton sticks his nose in and asks this other pier worker for more information about this woman. The guy says he met her, a pale and skinny lady, at the The Puck and Pendulum, a rough and tumble whiskey-bar near of the warehouse district and factory lane. She was looking to a hire a couple of bulls for some kind of job. Bingo, they got a lead.
For Slane's breaking and entering gig, Nick rolls a 1 on the side-job results, getting a complication. Long story short, while robbing an electronic parts store in the commercial district, the coppers show up and Slane abandons Booker to get arrested while he makes a break out of the back door. Slane makes no money off of the gig, and Booker is most definitely an enemy after that betrayal, but at least Slane doesn't end up taking a vacation to the Imperial penal colonies.
So after their side-jobs, the two of them convene at their favorite local eatery and make their way over to The Puck and Pendulum to investigate this possible gig. Both of them did their side-jobs at night, so we said it's about four in the morning now. When they get to the pub, they have a few drinks and ask the bar tender about the woman. At this juncture, they're both wearing their casual clothes, having left their gear back at their shared flat nearby.
The bartender asks if they're bulls, and they show their badges. The bartender inspects the badges carefully to ensure authenticity, then explains that there's a woman named Maryweather that's been staying at the motel next door and putting the word out that she's looking to hire some muscle, preferably line-bulls. They ask the bartender to set up a meeting for them. He asks the PC's to come back around 1800 hours and he'll arrange a meeting.
On their way back from the pub, heading to their flat in the warehouse district, three thugs emerge from the shadows of a small alley off of the lonely, dark road. They demand all the money the bulls have. Slane and Templeton warn them against fucking around, but the gangers push their luck and whip out some weapons. Slane tries the shove the alpha aside and the mugger takes that as in invitation to lunge forward with his pig sticker.
Slane grabs the dude's wrist and wrenches the knife from his grip while simultaneously throwing him into another one of the attackers, knocking them both down. However, he leaves himself open and the other thug whacks the back of Slane's legs with a lead pipe. At that point, Templeton grabs a nearby trash can and chucks it at the pipe-wielding thug, pegging the thug in the chin with the corner of the can. This leaves the thug open for Slane to grab the bat dropped by the second thug, only to spin around and slam the guy in the face, knocking his teeth out. The alpha thug is up again at his point, making a wild leap at Templeton with his knife. Templeton skillfully redirects the knife attack and the thug ends up impaling himself on his blade, right into the stomach. He keels over and a pool of blood forms around him. The two bulls take off into the night, leaving the thugs bloodied and bleeding.
Later that day, after getting a few hours of rest, the two bulls suit up and make their way over to the pub to meet with Maryweather about this job. When they get there, they find the thin, angular, pale face of their contact, hidden behind a black veil. She introduces herself as Mary and explains that she's looking for a couple of hired-hooks to travel to a nearby island off the eastern coast of Skovlan where a Stranded Enclave is located. She left there many years ago, but her father stubbornly remains. She needs someone to go there and convince her father to come to Lockport. His name is Clermont - she offers them a faded photograph of him so they know what he looks like. She plans to smuggle him into the city after they retrieve him. For payment, she's offering two Chits apiece (a nice bit of pay for rookie bulls!).
Templeton takes the lead on the negotiations. He asks "What if he refuses to come with us?". Maryweather pushes an envelope across the table. "Haiver-cerulian blackout powder. Powerful, but not overly dangerous. Slip this into his drink and he should be out for a few hours."
They agree, but demand more money. Maryweather explains she can't afford any more, so Templeton decides to Impose His Will on her, using his Akaronian Nobility for the bonus. "We might be rookies, but we don't do merc-work for chump change." He succeeds and convinces Maryweather to boost the pay to 3 Chits each.