OK, I’m still going through the rulebook and I haven’t given the Vigilante rules a thorough read through yet, but I am wondering how to handle a crew the more mercenary types of law enforcement. It should be simple enough to use existing crew types… thief takers being bravos or assassins (kidnap victims being delivered to magistrates ‘dead or alive’ or a smash and grab targeting thieves’ stolen goods), and consulting detectives would simply be a more cerebral crew of shadows (Crow’s Foot Irregulars…).
What I am still working out is how Heat would be handled as at least some the activities of these crews would have legal sanction.
What do you think? How would you handle it?
I think you can still do Heat as normal, but fictionally the consequences would be different (even legally-sanctioned teams will have someone upset at them or willing to put pressure on them)
Edit: Though it might be possible to rename Heat to fit better fictionally (Pressure or Notice? Replace the naming of ‘Wanted Level’?)
“Legal sanction” doesn’t really mean much in a place like Doskvol. The “law” is a weapon the powerful use against the not-so-powerful. Maybe those thieves your crew busted were working for a particular magistrate, and that magistrate doesn’t want them ruining future operations. Maybe the local Bluecoat precinct doesn’t appreciate a bunch of freelancers muscling in on their racket.
For most things, you could run Heat as-is, and assume there’s someone out there with legal power that might be irked by the crew’s activities. If the crew have some truly air-tight permission from “the Man” you might give them a Heat reprieve for a single Score–but, honestly how often is that going to happen? Blades isn’t about being a cop (at the very least, it’s not about being a by-the-book cop).
You could just flip it around - if the characters are on the side of the law, then Heat could represent the likelihood that the criminal establishments are against them - so while faction representation gives specific relationships, Heat represents the more general feel.
E.g. If they go into a criminal bar with Heat 2 or 3, what’s the likelihood that someone in there will tip off their enemies, or even try to collect on a bounty? With high Heat, will criminal contacts - even nominally friendly ones - dry up as a source of information? “Talking you you is just more trouble than it’s worth …”