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Guttershine Beer Run, Part 3

This entry is part 12 of 15 in the series Adventures in Bastion

When we last left off… our protagonists were on the verge of infiltrating the Witherhall Warehouse to try recover the stolen beer and drive it back to New Guttershine College Campus.

I set up Dynamic Lighting for this adventure, which introduced some challenge and complexity to the exploration. I’m not totally happy with how Dynamic Lighting works: I think it needs some more work in terms of how it represents shadow, especially since there’s no way of setting “height” for any object. Basically, things that cast shadow also block sightlines. It took me some time to understand this. But I got it sorted out with some handy tutorials on Youtube, and then it was pretty easy to set things up. 

I wouldn’t do this on a regular basis—I guess it adds 30–60 minutes of prep time to a map—but for a locale that players will be exploring for multiple sessions, and as a one-off, it’s not bad. It at least adds to the tension, since anything could be lurking in those countless shadows. I will say, however, that Roll20 needs to add a player-facing light source on-off switch, so that the GM doesn’t have to click on tokens and turn player light sources on and off. (I don’t think that exists, anyway. I couldn’t find it.)

But it’s still a neat enough feature, even with its issues.  

We were limited to only two hours for this session, and progress was pretty slow: I think this is the kind of situation that Blades in the Dark was created to address, to accelerate heists to a single evening of play. Not that I’m complaining, mind, but I was surprised that we really only got through one room of the warehouse. 

The characters entered the foyer, and paused to examine the room. They found it decked out in the Bastion equivalent of Norman Rockwell paintings, as if refracted through the mind of William Hogarth: Mockeries working diligently in factors, people cheerfully working dead-end jobs to pay down their debts, doctors attaching weird prosthetics to injured adventurers with eyes full of wonder—essentially kitsch state propaganda for the Bastion status quo. Heihachi had seen such art before, and knew it was painted by either machines (on an assembly line) or by mockeries chained to easels—either way, not worth looting off the walls, garish, and a bit too plentiful on the walls. At the center of the room stood an unoccupied desk that the characters didn’t examine.

They opened the only other door in the room, which revealed a hallway leading north with a door in each wall. Unfortunately for the players, they chose the door in the east wall first, and stumbled into a sort of guards’ break room, in which what looked like a pair of guards were lounging on a pair of couches. The guards mistook the players for members of the Water Street gang, and protesting that the robbery wasn’t scheduled for another week, they rose and scrambled to retrieve their guns, which had been left leaning against the walls. 

Eager to avoid murder, Emmeline and Heihachi rushed the two guards—Emmeline with her sabre, Heihachi with a broken gun. Emmeline managed to take her man hostage, the sword at his throat, and then at his back, while Heihachi got into a scuffle with his guard, and after a bit of each trying to disarm the other, Heihachi ended up with the guard’s rifle while the guard ended up unarmed and at his mercy. 

Unfortunately, a third guard was in the room, lurking in the shadows behind a divider.

He took a shot at Fermi, who stood well-lit in the doorway, and wounded the poor man, a bullet tearing through the bark that had grown over his torso. The Mockery gang charged at him, pummeling him with clubs, but he took another shot at Fermi and killed him before the gang took him down. 

(R.I.P. Fermi!)

The combat seemed to be over, but then an alarm sounded within the warehouse, and all of the lights switched off. The group managed to keep two of the guards from fleeing, but one got away. A few minutes later, a gang of very large Mockeries appeared in the room:

… and asked what was going on. These mockeries were not very bright, and Heihachi and Fermi managed to convince them that they were members of the Water Street gang, that the guards had sold out the warehouse, and that… well, it didn’t make much sense, but the mockeries were not very bright and bought the story. The group tied up and gagged the the guards and left them in the break room, and then hurried up the hallway to the door leading northward, toward what they assumed was the main factory floor.

Pausing at the door, Heihachi heard a kind of mechanical whirring sound, as if coming from multiple machines, behind the door. He paused, nervous, and returned to the west door, but heard a similar sound from behind there, albeit seemingly only from one machine.

Emmeline, now with much of her face like that of a rhinoceros:

This is overkill: most of Emmeline’s head is still human. But it works as a token.

… took a moment to smoke some of her herb (thereby becoming Impaired for a little while) in order to use her powers and listen to the building, to discern who is really the boss around here. She heard three names all at once, the last the loudest of all, and seeping from the ceiling above her:

Heihachi, impatient to get to the main warehouse, decided to return to the northward door, opened it, and then saw the source of the sound: a pair of machines that—as the door opened—stopped moving and turned to face him from the shadows beyond. 

That was where we left off. 


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