Play Report: Boswitch Bathhouse

Ran Arnold K.'s Boswitch Bathhouse adapted for my urban fantasy 1970s setting inspired by Buckets of Blood. 

Dramatis Personae

Harry Nodens: Alias: Doomguy. Butcher of men. Back from Hell, allegedly. Carries a pump-action and a machete, ingeniously hidden under a nice fuzzy bathrobe. 

Baldy Nodens: Alias: Agent 69. Contract killer. Preferred method of execution: raw fish. Wields a carbine tucked away in a golf bag. 

The Mission: Assassinate the wizard Khazan Khiraj. At the Bathhouse. Today.

Outside the Bathhouse

Harry and Baldy discuss options. They decide that Baldy should case out the joint. Look for alternate entrances. Meanwhile, Harry will go through the front, and get an initial read.

The Foyer

Baldy slips down a back alley. Harry enters the foyer. He investigates a staircase half-hidden behind a curtain. Descends into a steamy cavern. Little of immediate interest. Harry returns upstairs.

Meanwhile, Baldy squeezes himself and his golf bag through an unbarred window. A staff member immediately locks eyes with Baldy and runs away. Baldy chases down the unfortunate spa-worker and offers a perfectly reasonable explanation.

Baldy: "I locked myself out."

Staff: "Who are you?"

Baldy: "The inspector."

Staff: "..."

Baldy: "You got fish in your pipes. Your neighbors, they got fish in their pipes."

Baldy displays his fish, sealing the deal on this flawless escapade. Harry shows up and provides back up.

Harry: "Yea we're here to deal with the fish in the pipes. We're going to need a map of the establishment."

The staff member runs off to talk to "management." Baldy and Harry kick their heels in the hallway. A cop in a bathrobe shows up. In Harry's line of work, you learn to recognize cops in bathrobes on sight. The cop eyes up Harry, in the way you eye up someone who may be concealing both a shotgun and a machete under their own bathrobe.

Cop: "So you're inspectors?"

Baldy: "Yes. There's fish in your pipes."

Harry: "In the neighbor's pipes. We need to check out your pipes. They're contaminated"

Cop: "So you're what.... municipal water inspectors? If I make a call, is someone going to verify you work for them?"

Baldy: "No."

Harry: "We're not with the city."

Cop: "Did you bring tools? You got a toolbox?"

Harry: "No need for tools. We're just inspectors."

Cop: "Do you have a company car?"

Harry: "We live really close by."

Cop: "Can I have a business card?"

Baldy: "We don't have any."

The staff member returns, with the manager in tow. A hefty specimen, the manager. Thick eyebrows. Harry spins to face the newcomers and glues them with his fiercest, deadliest, stare, his "Say nothing or I will turn your guts to confetti," stare.

The manager shoots the cop a thumbs up, mumbles something about "business to attend to" and departs.

Cop: "Do NOT ruin my spa day."

The cop leaves. Harry and Baldy celebrate their unrivaled talent for smooth-talking. No-one suspects a thing. They decide Baldy should resume his sneaking and snooping, while Harry will work on getting a layout of the building. Baldy slips back outside.

The Shop

Harry strolls into the shop. Shelves full of perfumes. A chalkboard menu declares all sort of pleasant, spa-day amusements. An employee asks if they can help Harry with anything. He asks for a layout of the building. He is, after all, an inspector. The employee runs off to get management. Again.

Harry waits. The employee returns, manager in tow. Again. Harry decides he doesn't want to talk to the manager. He ignores them and slips into the front office

Meanwhile, with Baldy

Baldy discovers a back door, which he'd somehow missed before (i.e. the GM forgot to mention it.) He listens at the door. Two employees, making small talk. He peers in through a couple windows, one on either side of the back door. A break room and an office. The two employees from before enter the break room.

Baldy forces open the window to the office. He snoops around and discovers a list of bath recipes, and their corresponding bath tokens. He understands little of what he reads, but commits it to memory anyway. He pilfers two bath tokens of each type.

The Front Office

Harry claps eyes on a guest book, in the care of yet another employee. They ask if they can help Harry with anything. The manager follows Harry into the front office. Harry exits into a hallway and returns to the shop. The manager follows him. Its the world's worst game of ring around the rosy.

Meanwhile, with Baldy

Baldy waits outside the window to the breakroom until its vacant, then he slips in. Discovers little of interest. Tries a few doors. All locked. He exits into the same hallway where he was initially spotted. An employee passes with an armful of towels. Baldy hides in the shadows, until the employee leaves, then tries the first door he comes to.

The Shop

Harry gives up on the calisthenics, and confronts the manager.

Harry: "I need a map of your establishment."

Manager: "To fix my pipes?"

Harry: "Yes. There may be fish in your pipes."'

Manager: "I take you to pipe room."

Harry: "No, no, no. I need a map."

Manager: "Okay lets go to pipe room."

Harry: "Is there a map there?"

Manager: "..."

Harry: "..."

Manager: "Yes."

Harry rejoices. The manager leads him down the half-hidden steps, into the caverns below the spa.

Meanwhile, with Baldy

Baldy's discovered the staff changing room. Cubbies, unattended uniforms. He rummages through them and finds a set of keys. He backtracks and tries one of the locked doors from before. 

Appointments and itineraries plaster a corkboard. A desk, potentially rich with information, atop a thick blue rug. Baldy inspects the itineraries. The wizard's location is marked, in detail, until he's set to leave the spa at 1pm. Its currently 11:30am. Baldy considers sharing this vital information with Harry. But first, a little more snooping. He throws the rug aside, revealing--as his instincts foretold--a secret trap door. Baldy descends.

Beneath the Spa

The manager leads Harry through twisting caverns, into a dust-ridden storeroom. The manager opens a door for Harry. Inside: darkness. No pipes in sight. Harry thanks the manager and enters the "pipe room." The manager locks the door behind him. 

Something's in there with Harry. A man covered in interlocking metal sheets. Fleshy-eye holes promise soft organs inside. Harry realizes he might of been duped. He realizes this probably isn't a pipe room at all. 

Harry parts his bathrobe, grips his shotgun and blasts the metal man. Unperturbed, the metal man suplexes Harry with all the gusto of a polar bear on acid. Harry scrambles to his feet and fires again, blasting away half of the metal man's face. 

The metal man didn't need that half of his face. He grabs Harry by the leg and swings him around. Harry and his leg part ways. The metal man looms over Harry. With the last of his strength, Harry plunges his machete into the metal-man's exposed brain, killing him. 

Harry will bleed out within the hour.

Meanwhile, with Baldy

Baldy fumbles around in the dark. He finds a conveniently placed set of candles and matches. He lights one and creeps into the next room. Four trapdoors, and a thick rope around the rim of the chamber, dotted with silver evil-eyes.

Baldy takes a peek under the trapdoors. Empty, empty, empty (except for a bucket) and finally, a slouching corpse. Baldy reasons that "magic's afoot." He contemplates stealing an evil-eye, but thinks better of it.

Baldy hears gunshots. Usually, gunshots mean Harry. Baldy races into the next room, ignores the suspicious tarp-veiled furniture, and crosses into the passage beyond. Dead end. 

Baldy checks his watch. 12:40. In twenty minutes, their mark will leave the building. Which would be fine, but they're specifically supposed to kill him in the bath house. Today.

The Vault

Harry crawls around in the dark and discovers a bullet-ridden door. He chops the rest of it down, and enters a room full of riches. Hefty safe. A goatskin spell book. He ignores these and steals a ring made of gears and a phoenix-print kimono. 

Feeling marginally better, but still dying, Harry leaves through the "not-so-pipe room," back into the dust-filled storage. Rapid footsteps. Harry hides behind a brass amphorae. 

Three spa-patrons in bathrobes and biker moustaches arrive on the scene, lead by the manager. He demands they find the "Pipe Inspector." The spa-bikers have guns under their bathrobes, just like a certain someone. A certain someone who's left behind a fresh trail of blood, like a really gross snail.

Meanwhile, with Baldy

Baldy returns up top. He checks the wizard's schedule. He's in a room marked "Out of Order" for the rest of his stay. Baldy sneaks into an adjacent office, where he finds a fire-escape-plan map. 

Baldy unzips his golf bag. He checks his carbine. Then, he runs for "Out of Order" and kicks down the door.

Khazan Khiraj sits mostly naked by the side of a broad, scum-ridden pool. The wizard has a metal eye and a strangely rubbery arm.

Baldy fires twice, and splatters the wizard's wizard-brains all over the wall. Baldy takes a moment to steal the dead wizard's metal eye, then runs down the halls, and jumps out a window.

Underground Storage

Harry plays dead. A spa-biker finds him and bends down to check his pulse. Harry springs to life, and fires his shotgun. He misses. 

The spa-bikers riddle him with bullets. Harry returns screaming, back to Hell.


Baldy stalks the mean streets, congratulating himself on a job well done. Losing partners isn't the best, but that's part of the job. 

Baldy passes a garbage can. A familiar, hirsute arm sticks out. It belongs to Harry Nodens, and the rest of him is there too. Mostly. Naked, one-legged, but more or less alive. Baldy rejoices and drags his partner out of the trash can. They reason the phoenix kimono, likely being magical and all, saved Harry's life.

Then they lived happily ever after.

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