Now that I have my basic idea for the first adventure—a “Bug Hunt”—it’s time to work out some details. Years ago one of my friends played a really interesting character based on The Metamorphosis. The basic concept was a man turned by a Nosferatu who just could not deal with the change and ended up going a bit nutty. In the game we played, two of the other characters had befriended him and were trying to help him come to grips with the change and restore his Humanity. Taking that idea, I decide to twist it and turn him into the villain of the piece.
So, the background is that Gregory Samsa (yes, I am a hack when it comes to names) was an average salesman, working at the Greenline Paper Company. He was laid off two years ago, and the company went under soon thereafter. Unable to find a new job, he began drinking heavily and sank into depression. One night, while he stumbled home, he was attacked by a vampire and turned. He struggled home and hid.
The next few nights were torture for him and his family, as he locked himself into the master bedroom of their apartment. He survived the first few nights on their own and neighbors pets, but finally snapped and attacked his own daughter. She barely survived the attack, and remains in a coma at the local hospital.
Horrified at what he had done, Gregory fled to the abandoned Greenline warehouse, where he now makes his haven. He has lost almost all his Humanity, and has proclaimed himself the “Lord of Vermin.” He has blood bond a number of rats and street dogs, sending them on an insane crusade against others of their kind. His own attacks on humans have become increasingly brazen.
The game begins when the players find a drained corpse at a location they care about (their own club or bar, for example, it will depend on what they create). The goal is simple, find the killer. They will have a difficult time finding allies, as many will shrug it off as either not their problem, or blame the characters themselves for the actions of Gregory.
Because it is a “hunt” I do want to give the players a “hunting area.” I decide as part of this Story to develop a small section of the city for it to take place, with a number of other NPC’s and potential stories happening. I’m going to start them off in North Charleston, as it is the wildest and least claimed area, perfect for players struggling on their own.
In addition to Gregory, there are two other major conflicts. The first is a looming gang war between the Latin Kings and the new Brotherhood of Struggle. The Latin Kings run this area, and are under the control of Damien, one the Prince’s most trusted advisers. The BoS is a new gang, controlled by the Anarch Haywire, and threatening to ignite a war. Neither of these have vampires in the area, but the Latin King chief is a competent and dangerous man, while the BoS is led by Freak, a woman who has been promised “the gift” if she proves herself by taking over the neighborhood. Additionally, there is a serial killer at work, a Doctor Feller. He works at the hospital, but also volunteers his time at the local free clinic, and has been preying on the local prostitutes.
Complicating matters further, there are two investigators on the scene. One is Detective Wilson. She was the primary on the Samsa assault, but is also investigating the disappearance of a local prostitute. Her contact, “Honey” believes it is a serial killer, but Wilson isn’t quite sure yet. The other investigator is Jesse Bowman, a reporter for the Post & Courier who is looking into the strange deaths and actions of the local animals. His job is currently at risk, and he is looking for a good story to go “viral.”
There are two local vampires. One is Tobias, a male stripper and the local “lord.” He was once a favorite of his sire Annabelle, and was shuttered out into North Charleston to prove himself. He officially answers to Livinia. He is something of a vain idiot, and has no idea what he needs to do. He will most likely blame everything on the players if things go wrong, and the PC’s will need to play him to get any help at all. Finally, there is Conrad—a veteran of the anarch cause, he has given up on politics, and now seeks just to get by without drawing any attention to himself. He is a fence and runs a local pawnshop; he is unlikely to get involved in any case, but will most likely be an excellent source of information for the players, and someone who can give them solid advice, so long as they do not cross him.
Given all that, I need to come up with a couple of key locations for the area/story. Here is what I have so far:
Adonis (male strip club)
Trident Medical Center
Conrads Pawn Shop
Local Police Station
BoS fortified town home
Silva’s Mexican Restaurant
Domino Lounge local bar and watering hole
Each of these locations will need a basic write up, maybe even a map. Each of the NPC’s listed above will need their write up based on my standard NPC sheets, and at this level they will need to be fully “statted” up—while it is unlikely the players will get into a fight with Tobias, they might, and they certainly will with Gregory. In general, my go to site for sheets is Mr. Gones. He does amazing work.
Since I have a number of locations, it helps to put them all on a map. I’m going to use one of the districts provided with the Damnation City District Maps. I’ll probably have one for the players, and one for me.
Finally, I think a little about rewards. Whereas in other games players can get rewards besides XP in the form of money or cool items, such rewards are rare in Vampire. Instead, I like to place avenues to increase or get new backgrounds, as these are the key currency of the game. Obvious potential allies/contacts/herd are Dt. Wilson, Bowman, and Honey. Here’s a rough idea for the XP the players can get
3 Stopping Gregory
1 Finding out Gregory’s past
2 Pinning the deaths on Dr. Feller
1 Bringing Feller to justice
2 Making Dt. Wilson an ally
1 Making Bowman or Honey a friend