Started a new game yesterday.
The players originally considered a Cult, but chose Hawkers with a Strange reputation instead. They like the idea of using ghosts in various ways as a product. Through some discussion of possible starting products they chose tattooing people with ghost essence - inspired by the radiant energy description in the book. Since they have a tattoo parlor they chose The Docks as their lair and hunting grounds.
I was not entirely sure who to put in docks. The Leviathan Captains and The Dockers for sure, but they are both too strong as current enemies. So I put the Billhooks and the Grinders there with some influence from the Dimmers sisters. Billhooks and Grinders are not in all out war, but tensions simmers.
In the fiction we have established that they bought a place to turn into tattoo parlor from Billhooks (done in creating crew as picking their hunting ground) and then went and killed their Billhooks contacts for a Hidden lair upgrade. They are supplied the essence from their crew smuggler contact, but it barely covers their needs and as such they need a good score.
Have I given them too much in the creation of a crew? Should the tattoo parlor be a claim they have to sieze in a score?
Are the Billhooks and Grinders good fit for a squabbling pair in the Docks?
First and most important: Blades in the Dark (BitD) is a game made to tell a story. If you gave your players an additional feature to create a good story, don’t care too much about the rules.
Secondly, You did perfectly fine when giving them the tattoo parlor - Claims are roads to advancement (the Lair is just there, Claims don’t have to be near it) that are currently under a faction control (check page 47 in the rulebook). Hunting Ground is somekind of a starting Claim: you “took” it from someone else and it have advanced your crew.
Now, about the Grinders and the Billhooks - why not? Both of them are vicious, the Billhooks are Hawkers, the Grinders want to sieze a warship (and Levaithans Hunters’ ship must be a warship. We are talking about giant demons), and Doskvol is a sandbox with a frame, ordered and made for your imagination.
I think it sounds great!
A tattoo parlor is an awesome thing to start with and I think the Billhooks and the Grinders make for a great pair of rivals. They are both described as vicious or violent so it makes sense that neither would back down from the other.
There are also plenty of other gangs who would reasonably have a presence (big or small) in the docks, so if you need a surprise third party you have lots to choose from.
I would keep it the same either way, because as you say, it was done because it felt as a good fiction. However, I was still curious whether I was doing it by the book to check my understanding of the rules. Thank you for your thoughts