How did the War in Crow's Foot play out at your table?

I’m curious about how this plays out at different tables! To keep it succinct, I’m specifically curious about:

  • Who the crew sided with
  • Where and what the first score was
  • How it spiralled out from there

I’ve only actually run it once, but for us:

  • They sided with the Lampblacks against the Red Sashes, ignoring the Crows to begin with
  • The first score was stealing the war treasury from Red Sash Manor (a very dangerous first score! I decided that Mylera and her top swordmasters were out for the evening, hence the opportunity)
  • From there the crew basically went Lampblacks-strong, making the LBs allies, warring with the Red Sashes, and trying to keep the Crows on the backfoot without directly antagonising Lyssa.

What are your experiences?

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The Porcelain Dolls very quietly did jobs for both sides, keeping neutral for as long as they could. Eventually they had to choose a side, and Baszo was the one who was letting his personal feelings cloud his judgement (in our game the root of the conflict was a personal grudge, as Baszo blamed Mylera for the death of his wife), so he had to go. The Dolls assassinated Baszo and absorbed the remainder of the Lampblacks as a cohort. The Red Sashes departed Doskvol for Iruvia shortly after, as their exile had just been rescinded. Mylera left the Dolls with some leads on assets that they could take control of if they were quick, but she also took Baszo’s daughter Aliera with her to raise as her own.

– Ben

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Multiple iterations.
First time running it left it a background affair. Rolled to see how it was going and had the Lampblacks deal the Reds a hard blow, leaving a number of them hanging off their eponymous sashes with their swords sheathed down their throats. One of the crew was iruvian and decided that she had connections to the gang and took this affront personally. They robbed Bazso’s safe in one score and later murdered the whole gang in their headquarters and burnt it to the ground. Anytime they wanted to meet another gang leader they did it on the charred remains of the Coalhouse, a message that was always received. Same gang blew up the Crows Tower too.

Later we tried for a less… volotile game. This time they forged ties to the Lampblacks and helped them raid the Sashes Academy but let Baz do the dirty executions. They also killed Lyssa with the use of a hot air balloon and a sniper. Both jobs were purely to help the 'Blacks so they can lend their strength in taking over Charhollow which was their goal.

I’ve also ran a few one off’s for new gamers or old gamers who never tried narrative play and I’d pitch the quickstart as presented in which case they accept the job for Baz and go hit a Sash holding. It’s typically either a private card game for some rich folks, or an inn/brothel.

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My crew sided with the Red Sashes, as they seemed more connected. On their first score they used deception and stealth to get inside the Coal Warehouse and violently assassinated Bazso with poison, ghosts and blades.

Since our lair was in the Docks we mostly took missions for Helker and fought closer to our turf. During NPC downtimes, the GM rolled that Pickett lost the war and Mylera gained a strong foothold. This in turn aggravated The Crows, and the Red Sashes hired us as support in their growing army. We engaged in a bloody battle with Lyssa and Bell, utterly destroying them and seizing their coin. We made a deal that the Red Sashes would become the ward bosses of Crow’s Foot, while we’d claim the Docks.

During one Entanglement the Empty Vessel revived Bazso to seek vengeance, but our Whisper criticaled a Sway to get him on our side; we had him has a contact after that. The disheveled members of the Lamp Blacks also reappeared as hired goons for various other gangs, like the Salamanders.

As we moved up in Tier we went after bigger targets like the Bluecoats and Unseen. Eventually the Unseen took over the Spirit Wardens, and in our final Entanglement the latter convinced Mylera to break our long standing agreement and prepare to advance on the Docks.

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The Crew sided with the Lampblacks against the Red Sashes and eventually ended up at war with the Red Sashes too.

The first score didn’t have anything to do with the war; it just simmered in the background. Here’s a link to an AP post about the first job. Looking back at it, one of the jobs I proposed was about the war but they chose a different path.

Eventually, they brokered peace between the warring parties. I believe we rocked that whole deal as a job, which was really neat.

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I hadn’t thought about what happened to gangs after they’re destroyed! Makes so much sense that there’d still be remnants about - and where better to seek their fortunes than to try again with another gang with beef with the PCs? Will have to draw on this in future!

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The crew of smugglers I GMed for pretty much immediately threw in with the Lampblacks.

Their first score was to transport some stolen hardware for the Lampblacks, mid-heist. Basically, getting a bunch of spirit stills away from a Red Sash warehouse the Lampblacks were in the process of hitting. This led to a rollicking wagon chase through the streets of Crow’s Foot, eventually ending in the light arson of a barricade the Sashes tried to set up to stop the crew from escaping the area.

From there the crew tried to keep their heads down and avoid going all in on the war, but Baszo offered them some opportunities that were too good to pass up. After discreetly taking a claim or two, the Red Sashes got wise, and the group’s slide, a former Sash, took a Devil’s Bargain that put them on Mylera Klev’s personal shit list.

Things further escalated when the group accidentally invited Ulf Ironborn to take part in the war (he’d previously been sticking to the docks). The group eventually managed to get the Lampblacks, Billhooks, Grinders, Ulf, and the Mourning Stars (a small crew of assassins that split off from the Red Sashes) to cooperate to deal the death blow. The group took the Sashes’ mansion, and the other groups carved up the remaining territory.

We never did do a season 2, but it would have likely centered on the Lampblacks getting increasingly ambitious, Ulf continuing to be dangerously erratic, and Lord Scurlock more assertively going after the crew’s Whisper.

Five different answers between 2 one-shots, 2 short campaigns and one medium length campaign, but I found that players tended to side with the Lampblacks. Maybe because of the way I presented the situation and maybe because the Lampblacks seem more like the underdogs *

More than once, teaming with the Lampblacks led to a situation where one or more gang members would end up doing time in Ironhook Prison and they wouldn’t necessarily be in a hurry to break out because the Lampblacks had connections on the inside. They would use their time in there to make connections that would prove profitable down the road.

And then you get to have a fun prison break session at some point.

Not that the Red Sashes don’t have their own appeals, but another thing that has seemed to direct players towards the Lampblacks is their connection with the intriguing Gondolier faction. The Cabbies and/or the Gondoliers are often getting messed with at some point in the Crow’s Foot war because those are the two factions that both the Sashes and the Crows are directly allied with/against.

I really like the Lampblacks. I describe and play Baszo as “scary Burl Ives” which, in the long campaign, one player wrote down as what looked like “sexy Burl Ives”. Why not both?

Once the crew told both factions to piss off and that was probably the most fun beginning.

*Even though the Lampblacks and The Red Sashes are both Tier II, the Lampblacks are totally the underdogs in this gang war based on their connections to other factions.

Our smugglers got involved in the Red Sashes’ drug business when they were looking for new clients, and their friends at the iruvian consulate pointed them their way. We swiftly had our new player decide their Cutter was a Red Sashes hopeful, learning the Falling Star style being their obligation. In our ‘season 1’, we focused on our starting situation in Coalridge; a union forming, the iruvians supporting this in the shadows. The Crew eliminated a small rival gang of smugglers while quietly replacing their operation, getting the attention of an experienced Ankhayat Prince and Red Sashes Lieutenant. They got their foot in the door by doing a job to smuggle a ‘chemist’ for the Sashes, pissing off the lampblacks on the way, slicing Henner’s throat and killing Bazso Baz’ prized bloodhound.

Now, after a timeskip leading into our season 2, the Red Sashes and Lampblacks ended up at 7/8 to kill each other. The gang war is taking to the streets, coming to a head, and the cutter’s swordmaster tells him in no uncertain terms the Academy will fall if nothing changes. The players decide that they could be convinced by the cutter to get involved in this, and that’s where we left off last week…

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Red, our Slide, chose Bazso as a friend during character creation, so they threw in with the Lampblacks pretty naturally. Bazso tasked them with intercepting the war chest being transported by barge convoy from the Irurvian Consulate (on the canal between Brightstone and 6 Towers) to the Red Sash school. Their stealth robbery went sideways and they ended up sinking the barge, then flashing back to arrange a team-up with the Cuttlefish, a Gondolier salvage vessel (with olde-timey diving suits) to extract the treasure.

Next score, they disguised themselves as Crows and abducted a Red Sash lieutenant and to do a little psy-ops theater before releasing him, framing the Roric loyalist faction for the barge heist. The Red Sashes attacked the Crows and Lyssa had to abandon neutrality to retaliate against them and while struggling internally with the remnants of Roric’s faction.

The plan is that with the Crows weakened by schism and war with the Red Sashes, the Lampblacks will be well-situated to ascend to control over Crow’s Foot. Our (as yet unnamed 2-man) crew intend to support their bid and earn a position as a real gang with Bazso as patron.

I don’t expect it will go that smoothly because uh oh here comes Roric’s ghost and possibly elite Hive agents.

Good times!

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Our group just started!

We decided to side with the Red Sashes, because skilled swordsmen seemed like a more dangerous adversary than some retired Lamplighters. Also, our group of Hawkers saw ourselves as scarping it out for low end street corners, and that’s what it seems like the Lamplighters had.

Our first mission was to Claim Turf from the Lamplighters. We coordinated with the Red Sashes, and just went into the Lamplighter place and muscled / intimidated them out.

Looking forward to the reprisals, and seeing how things spiral from here!

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We did not use it as a starting point at all. In between seasons, because of a long hiatus, I gave each players a little form to let them choose what happened in between with a few benefits and costs (ie “during the big offscreen score, who died ? a) that guy b) half your rooks c) nobody but it costs you all 4 stress”)
One of them said that they hired some muscle from the Lampblacks in exchange for a favor, and another said they stole a laboratory from the Red Sashes. And just like that, they had a stake !
Then they ran a score against the Iruvian consulate, once again they asked the Lampblacks for help, and now they’re at war with the Sashes themselves.
It’s still running and they chose to deal with that thing with the Butcher on the Docks first, so we’ll see !
But even if I did not use it as a first score, I was glad I had it ready to go when I needed to improv some stuff :slight_smile:

The Damned, the first crew I played in, weren’t interested in the drama of Crow’s Foot. We were too wrapped up in a war between the Dimmer Sisters, Setarra, and Lord Scurlock that we were in the middle of. I remember in one Downtime it came up that the Crows were defeated and our collective reaction was — Meh!
Second crew I ran with, Shiny Ducats, tried the Clint Eastwood thing, playing the Lampblacks, Red Sashes, and Crows against each other. Our playing group fell apart before we saw how our machinations turned out.
The crew I serve as GM for isn’t involved with them, however with the destruction of the Lampblacks and Strathmill House conspiring with the Crows to take down the Red Sashes, they are starting to see some new bodies show up in the gangs they’re feuding with — as well as the Bluecoats!

The War in Crow’s Foot ended up playing a big part in our Season One campaign as we have a very ambitious Spider who was aiming to take control of the district. Interestingly within the crew there were different loyalties (two Slides who picked Baszo Baz as a friend and rival respectively, for example). As our first score we did the suggested ‘war chest’ score with the crew raiding the Red Sash Sword Academy but one member also took a job from Mylera to plant a haunted clock in Baszo’s factory.

The twists and turns which followed from there would go way beyond the brief of keeping things succinct! Ultimately, the Crows were destroyed (sabotage to their heating/ventilation systems in the Crow’s Nest) but the Red Sashes continued to impersonate them for a while to fool the Lampblacks into thinking nothing much had changed. Eventually there was an all-out battle in the streets between the Lampblacks, Red Sashes and the forces of law and order, and our crew of course. Mylera was killed during a climactic duel with Baszo, and has now been replaced as the Red Sashes’ leader by her young protégée. Baszo was also killed in the battle (in an explosion) so the Spirit Wardens can’t say for sure that all his body parts have been retrieved…

As we go into Season Two our crew is allied with the Red Sashes and in a pretty secure position - I’m just deciding which of the enemies they made along the way will try and screw that up for them!