Actual Moments in Tabletop Roleplaying - The Involuntary Trance

Actual Moments in Tabletop Roleplaying - The Involuntary Trance

Game: Blades in the Dark

Featured Players: the Game Master, Kristov the Slide, Holtz the Cutter


GM: You're in the living room now.  It's nicely appointed, actually a tad feminine, with doilies on the arms of the couch, yellow painted walls, a framed painting of a pastoral scene over the fireplace.  The quality of everything looks good, but not as ostentatious as you might have expected.

Holtz: Is there anyone here?  Is this where the singing is coming from?

GM: The singing is coming from farther off.  This rooms opens into another room, a dining room, with a table and chairs set up.  You can see it from where you are.  The table is currently bare.  The singing is coming from beyond that room, off where you can't see.

Kristov: What does the singing sound like?  Is it a man singing?

GM: It's a woman's voice.  She's singing a ditty.  Kristov you recognize that it's a song popular with the serving classes in Crow's Foot and Charhollow.  And the singer isn't belting it out or anything.  Her voice is soft.  She's humming some of the lines, like she's just singing it to herself.

Holtz: Can we hear anything else?

GM: You can still hear some commotion from the parade outside.  People shouting.  Firecrackers popping.  It's pretty muted in here, though.  The parade sounds like it's getting far away now, down to the end of the block, maybe.  You can hear the woman singing clearly enough, so that gives a sense of how much of the outside noise is coming in... And along with her singing, you can hear sounds of water gently sloshing, dishes clacking and clattering.

Kristov: Like she's washing dishes?

GM: Yeah, like that.

Kristov: I want to get closer.  Is the floor carpeted?  I want to be quiet.

GM: There are thick rugs in here.  There's a rug in the dining room too, under the table.

Kristov: I want to make my way into the dining room, trying to be quiet, trying to keep the woman from knowing I'm there.  How risky would that be?

GM: Not too risky.  The woman's singing to herself and making some noise, and there's still some noise coming from the street that'll provide some cover.  She doesn't have any reason to be on alert.

Kristov: Okay.  I'm going to signal to Holtz to stay here and be quiet, and then I'll make my way into the dining room.  What can I see?

GM: Let's say you've come to the corner of the table.  From there you can see that the back wall of the room is an open doorway that leads to the kitchen.

Kristov: Can I see the woman from where I am?

GM: No.  You can see through to a big wooden table with a knife and some vegetables on it, but you can't see the woman from where you are.

Kristov: I'm going to get closer.  I want to go right up to the doorway, but leaning up against the wall beside it.  And then I want to crouch down and look around the corner.

GM: As you look around, you can see the woman standing at a sink.  She's washing dishes.  Her back is to you.

Kristov: What else can I see?

GM: There's a stove off to her right.  There's a rack over the stove with some pans hanging from it.  To her left is a small table and chair near a window looking out to the backyard.

Kristov: Like a breakfast nook.

Holtz: Can I see Kristov from where I am?

GM: Yes.

Kristov: I'm going to look back at Holtz and signal him to come in too.  Quietly.  I want him to post up on the opposite side of the door.

GM: Holtz, is that what you want to do?

Holtz: Yeah.

GM: Okay.  You can get there without too much trouble.  You're now both standing on either side of the door into the kitchen.

Kristov: Here's what I want to do.  I've got my trance powder, right?  It's one of the basic Slide items.

GM: Okay.

Kristov: I'm going to open my packet of trance powder and pour it into a handkerchief in my hand, close my hand to keep the powder from coming out.  I'm going to sprint in there and grab her from behind, and I'm going to cover her nose and mouth with the handkerchief, so that when she gasps in air to scream, she'll inhale the powder.

GM: Sounds risky.  What action do you want to use?

Kristov: Skirmish?

GM: Prowl might be better.  Or hunt.

Kristov: Doesn't prowl entail using the environment to hide?  At this point I'm already in place.  Speed is the key here, and getting and maintaining physical control once I've crossed a pretty short distance.  I'm thinking skirmish because what's most important is that I get a good hold of her and get the handkerchief over her face.  It doesn't matter if she hears something in the fraction of a second that it takes me to barrel into her.

GM: Okay.  Skirmish then.

Kristov: I've only got one pip in skirmish, but of course I'm going to push myself and take two stress, in order to get a second die.

Holtz: I can help.

GM: How?

Holtz: I'll throw something to distract her.  I'll try to hit one of those hanging pans over the stove at her side.  Then she'll turn toward that and she won't be focused on Kristov coming up from behind.

GM: That'll work.  So that's three dice, Kristov.  Roll 'em.

Kristov: A three and two sixes!

GM: Critical success!  So it works out just like you planned.  You start sprinting toward the woman and at the same time Holtz throws something and hits the pan with a loud clang.  The woman jerks her hands back, water splashes out of the sink and onto the floor, and Kristov is on her.  You've got one arm across her chest, pining her arms down, the other hand clamping the handkerchief over her nose and mouth.  She gasps in a breath, and suddenly all the tension in her body just drops out of her, and she lets out a long, groaning sigh.  She goes limp.

Kristov: I'll get her to the breakfast nook table, lower her down into the chair.  As soon as she's sitting I'm going to get around in front of her, look her in the eyes.

GM: Her eyes are barely open, glazed looking, pupils dilated.  There's a little drool gathering at the corner of her mouth, but she's got a little smile going.

Kristov: I'm going to get right up in her face, and I'm going to ask her "Where is the prism?"

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