Thursday, March 30, 2017

Night 9 -- Reprieve

Night 9
Reprieve
Sunday, November 15th, 1992

Suzanne and Zoe spend the day pretending that everything is normal, having lunch with Lucas. Zoe does some preliminary research into the information that Trent left them, figuring out for herself who to call and what they need to figure out. Suzanne tries to help, but becomes morbidly fascinated with the potential mysterious deaths associated with vampires. She asks Zoe some vague questions about how such creatures could exist, and how they might have come about. Zoe has little to offer in the way of answers, and Suzanne soon finds herself delving into the folklore section of the university library

Chaos Roll 10—nothing unusual happens.

The coterie finally has an “off night”—they are decently fed, have nowhere to be and really nothing to do but kill time. Trent wants to do some more research, as much as he can, so he heads out to the nearby libraries while they’re still open. He had already done most of what he could have hoped, and becomes bored going over the same material over and over again. Daron and Maya have no desire to be part of that, and head out to walk around town. It’s a bit awkward, both wish to be alone, but neither wants to hurt the others feelings. It takes a while before they’re willing to admit it this, 
though. 

What happens to each this night? Daron: Increase Suffering.

Daron finds himself on Tejon street, surrounded by small crowds of mortals. It’s Sunday night, but there are still people out and enjoying themselves, and Daron watches them, jealously. Jealous that they can drink, and smoke, and socialize, and just be out and be alive. While he’s standing there, he catches the attention of a group of party goers.  In particular, a girl named Shelly. She chats with him, her mild state of inebriation helping her be more outgoing than she normal. And for the first time in over a week, Daron finds himself feeling normal again. They talk, she introduces him to her friends, and he finds himself honestly enjoy himself. He joins the group as they hit a few of the bars in the area, doing his best to blend in and act as if he was just one of the guys. Daron rolls Charisma + Etiquette at a difficulty of 6 (1, 7, 1, 5, 7, 8) -- 1 success. He’s a bit awkward, refusing drinks and occasionally being oddly still, but fortunately the mortals are just drunk enough that they don’t notice, or don’t care. The group shifts and morphs—new friends joins, others leave, until only a few remain. As the bars close around 1, the few decide to head to one of their houses, to keep the party going, and Daron is dragged along.  At the house, they start hanging out in the living room, but when the beer pong is setup, Daron and Shelly find themselves left alone. A week ago, Daron knew exactly what he would do in this situation, but now? Now things were different. He wanted to desire her, but all he felt was an unholy urge. He isn’t starving or driven by desperate hunger, but a constant need to feed, to kill. He is aware of her, vividly aware of her presence. But it’s her heat, her heart, her blood that calls to him.  All thoughts of being “normal” vanish from him, and a bestial hunger begins to rise. Daron makes a Self-Control Roll (Dif 5)—3, 9, 4. He is compelled to reach out to her, and as she pulls herself close to him, offering herself to him, he feels her warmth and her heart beating through him. As he feels his fangs distend, he tears himself away, offering weak and nonsensical excuses and runs away. Cursing himself, he is pissed and angry at everything. Pissed that everything was going so well only to turn to ash in his hands.

Maya: Propose Disruption

Maya wanders the town, avoiding as many people as possible. She is filled her a nervous energy, finally allowing herself to dream that she might be able to wake from the nightmare her life has become. She finds her way to Anathema Books, a metaphysical book store.  She is drawn to the place, curious and hopeful. She spends her night flipping through the various books in the shelves, imagining all the ways to undo what has been done.

Trent: Carelessness competition

Bored and restless after wasting his time in the library, Trent also finds himself among the young mortals of Tejon. He lacks the personal magnetism and good lucks of Daron, and instead wanders alone, imagining himself a wolf among the sheep. He talks to a few, but he has learned the value of patience and taking his time. He doesn’t try to feed off of anyone, instead enjoying the “hunt” for its own sake. He takes a particular pleasure in finding women out with their boyfriends, and trying to seduce and entrance them, as he further hones his vampiric powers.

No random event due to Mythic. And, with finally a bit of a quiet night, the characters can spend XP. Daron focuses on further improving his social skills. Maya improves stealth, combat and animal ken skills. Trent focuses on improving his Presence Discipline. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Night 8 Plans and Alliances

Night 8
Plans and Alliances
Saturday, November 14th, 1992

Zoe and Suzanne can barely sleep. Their worst fears have been confirmed, and now they’ve made a deal with the very creatures that they had been hunting so recently. Both are freaked out and scared, both of what the coterie has done and of what they’ve become. However, both have a reason to follow the plan. Zoe desires to understand what, exactly, they’ve become, and how to use that knowledge. Suzanne wants both answers to what happened in the basement, why they were grabbed, why she was left as bait, and what she wasn’t “chosen.” They spend the day as if in a haze, mindlessly drifting around. Fortunately, it’s a Saturday on campus, and so everyone assumes they’re just hungover.

Both will wait for the night, to see if or when the characters contact them.

However, they did sneak into the Hospital, and are directly involved in the removal of two corpses. Do the cops think that they’re involved? They made a successful escape roll to leave, and were fairly competent about sneaking in, but a Hospital is a fairly secure setting. I set the odds to 50/50 (and the CF to 6 for these two characters)—No. They’re in the clear, for now at least.  Shortly before nightfall, they meet in Zoe’s dorm room, and wait for a phone call.

Night

The coterie awakens in their make shift haven. Now that all have fed and they’re more together (each is slowly regaining their Willpower, and hence focus), they’re able to talk. First, how do they all feel about the deal with Suzanne and Zoe?

Daron: Carry Enemies
Trent: Dominate Possessions
Maya: Create Hope

Daron is still leery of them, and not sure how much he can trust them. He was the one they directed their attack on, and he was sure they were trying to kill them. Trent argues that they can be used to their advantage—they need help, and having mortals who can do some dirty work for them during the day would make their lives so much easier. Maya is quiet, but argues that they couldn’t kill them. The hope for a cure almost compels her to trust anyone who can offer her even the slightest aid. They agree to work with them, but Daron insists that they keep as close an eye on them as is possible.

Each character has been changed by their experiences, and the coterie is growing apart. Maya still clings to a hope she can return to her old life, and she is the only one for whom this might even be a valid option—she’s still legally “missing,” while the other two are dead. Trent is enjoying his new form, and is developing a taste for violence and action. Daron is still torn, and indecisive about what he wants and what his hopes are. The truth is, he just wants to leave, get away from this, and try to rebuild something like a normal life somewhere else. The differences aren’t enough to drive them apart, but the strain is beginning to be felt.

They plan to contact the mortals, and to give them instructions. Trent needs a few hours—he wants to get to a library before it closes, so he can start work on further research into Prestor. He knows that they’ll need to make some inquiries, and it being the weekend means that not much can be done, even less at night. But, he wants to figure out what they need to find, and get some idea where to look, then have Suzanne and Zoe make the necessary phone calls and in person requests on Monday.

Daron wants to talk with them, now, and make sure they haven’t been betrayed. He and Maya will rendezvous with them earlier and set things up, most likely at the isolated theater where they had met one week ago tonight. Once Trent finishes his work, he’ll join them.

Trent

Trent takes Maya’s car to the nearest branch library. It’s not the best resource, but he can’t show his face at the University. His Mythic roll is a 9, so there is no alteration to the scene, and no planned encounter with the vampires of Denver this night.  He just needs to do some basic research and come with a general plan for the next steps into the investigation of Prestor.  This is a bit outside the normal bounds of the investigation of Prestor as presented in the module. I decide to set Trent’s roll to an Intelligence + Investigate roll, at a difficulty of 8. The high difficulty is due to two factors: 1) He’s “planning” on research, not conducting it and 2) he has minimal resources to draw on. Each success will reduce the difficulty for Zoe/Suzanne (or whoever actually does the work) on a 1 for 1 basis. Each “botch” increases by a like amount. He has 6 dice in his poll and rolls: 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 3. Goddamn it, Trent. Ok, so, they have 5 successes they can spend to track down Prestor’s background, his mysterious visitor, and anything else they come up between now and Monday.

Trent is done with what he can and leaves for campus.

Maya and Daron

Maya and Trent get into Suzanne’s car, and drive to campus. On the way, I roll the Chaos Factor and get a 5—Altered Scene, Move Away from Thread (The Investigation), Persecute Nature.

The four meet at the theater, all equally awkward and nervous. Of course, neither Maya nor Daron gives any real sign of their nervousness, instead sitting almost completely still and just looking at Zoe and Suzanne. It’s the mortals who seem to waste their movement, to fidget and nervously look about. Daron finally breaks the awkwardness by asking direct questions—what were they doing at the morgue, what did they hope to accomplish, and why are they here, now? Suzanne and Zoe try to calm him, spinning a story about how they just wanted to know, to understand. About how they were scared, but they always did believe him, and had told no one about what was going on.


The truth is, they were prepared to kill them, and so they need to make a Manipulation + Subterfuge (5) roll opposed by Daron’s Wits + Subterfuge (5).  Suzanne gets 1 success versus Daron’s 0, and so he believes them. But, he has broken the ice, allowing Zoe to ask more about their nature, and for Suzanne to try and figure out how they were made, and to hear their story.  Neither are lying, each is being sincere, so Charisma is the correct roll. Maya is willing to talk, particularly to Zoe. Daron is less certain—will Daron share his story? Very Unlikely. Yes. He doesn’t want to, and he starts hesitantly and vague, but having someone to listen to him and to talk to that isn’t Maya or Trent, is a relief.

Zoe: Charisma + Science: 1 success. She has some ideas, but needs more information. And definitely wants samples.  Charisma + Leadership: 1 success. When she asks, Daron refuses, but Maya gives her a nod letting her know she’ll give her some later.

Suzanne: Charisma + Empathy: failure. Daron and Maya tell their story, but nothing placates Suzanne’s questions, particularly what she’s REALLY asking. Her jealousy, if anything, only increases.

While they are talking, another student creeps up on them, Lucas. He is a friend of Suzanne’s, a fellow Theater major, and is worried about her. When he saw her and Zoe heading off to the woods, he had decided to follow them. When he hears voices up ahead, he decides to sneak and find out what they’re up to.

Daron 5 Success vs. Lucas’ 1. While they’re talking, Daron grows quiet, hearing someone else in the woods. What do they do? Trick Exterior Factors.

He signals to Maya, and the two quietly walk to the woods. He looks to Suzanne and shakes his head. Maya is easily lost among the trees, and Daron gets 2 success on his stealth roll. Lucas, hearing the conversation end, walks forward and makes awkward small talk with them, not realizing just how “awkward” things really are. Suzanne tries to figure out how much he knows (Charisma + Empathy, 4 successes), and tries to get rid of him (Manipulation + Leadership 4 success).  He didn’t really hear much, but they hang out for a bit, talking about where Suzanne is and how she’s doing. After about twenty minutes, Suzanne is subtly able to get him to leave, citing her need to talk with Zoe one on one, but promises him that they’ll get lunch tomorrow. It’s an awkward situation, but Suzanne is quite adept at such things, and he eventually leaves.

Once gone, Maya and Daron reemerge. He’s somewhat more confident that Zoe and Suzanne are capable of keeping things to themselves. Soon, Trent arrives. He’s in something of a manic state, having carefully worked out not only who Zoe and Suzanne need to speak with, but their cover stories, fake contact information, the whole nine yards. He’s convinced that it will work. Daron remains quiet during his spiel, though Trent doesn’t notice. He’s on a roll. He believes he knows their questions, and answers them before they get a chance to be asked.

The crazy son of a bitch even brings handouts.

Once finished, an awkward silence comes over the group. Daron wants to leave, now. Maya concurs, though Trent wants to go over the plan one more time. Suzanne and Zoe assure him that they understand, so the coterie leaves.

Daron is frustrated, and annoyed. They really CAN’T go back to their old lives, can they? They can’t risk anyone who knew them even seeing them again. He wants to get out, and he’s sick and tired of the stupid basement. He just wants to leave, be normal for a while. Trent wants to stay, he has more things he wants to look up, and he’d really like to make Zoe and Suzanne some fake business cards. See, he has this idea, hear him out, and Maya cuts him off. Daron needs to leave, and with only one car, they all go.

Trent finally agrees, finally convinced that there’s really not much they can do until after Zoe and Suzanne do their research, so they might as well get out of town. Can’t have a bunch of corpses walking around. Besides, he can do the research as easily in Colorado Springs as he can in Denver.

As they prepare to leave town, I roll once against the Mythic Chaos Factor to see if anything derails these plans, and get a 2—Interrupt. PC Positive Spy/Good. Nothing really comes to mind, so I decide that they leave town without incident. Away from Denver proper, the effective CF drops to 4—none of the current threads are active in Colorado Springs.

With the stolen cash from the drug dealers and free from the police investigation, the coterie is able to rent a hotel room, an extended stay at Residence Inn. They plan to stay in Colorado Springs till at least Monday night, but book the room through Thursday, just to be safe. It’s only an hour long drive, and once settled in the coterie experiences a sensation they haven’t felt if over a week. 

They’re bored.

None of them are terribly happy, honestly none of them have been since that night Prestor grabbed them. But, they had been so busy dealing with chaos and violence and bloodshed that they haven’t had a moment to do nothing.  They spend some time casually hunting in the ranches further south, then stay up late watching horrible movies. Finally, able to relax away from the chaos of Denver, the characters sleep more peacefully than they ever.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Night 7 In the Land of the Dead

Night 7
In the Land of the Dead
Friday, November 13th, 1992

Maya

Maya awakens, and forces herself out of the shallow grave she had dug for herself.  Is anyone in the ruined house? It’s a ruined husk in the middle of nowhere, so the odds are “No Way.” I roll an Exceptional Yes! Who’s there? Imitate Friendship. She hears voices up ahead, a number of them. She creeps upstairs, quietly. Spending some of her precious remaining blood to heal her remaining wounds. She remains unnoticed as she peers into the remains of the house’s living room.

Inside are three men, two of them acting almost aggressively relaxed. The third is more nervous, with his eyes darting into every shadow and corner. He kept asking when “he” would be there, and why wasn’t he there now. The other two dismiss his concerns, insisting that “he” will be there soon, and offering him beer or cigarettes. The nervous one takes a  cigarette, but declines the beer. At least, he tries to, until it is forced into his hands.

Maya’s hunger has become a palpable thing, gnawing and screaming inside her. She needs to get away, but the men block the only way out. While she knows the shadows can hide her, she does not trust herself to get through the room, particularly with the nervous one jumping at every errant noise. So, she waits. Waits as the two trade jokes and stories about women and scores. Waits while the nervous one makes circuit after circuit around the house until he is finally ordered to sit the fuck down.

They go back to their idle small talk after that, drinking beers, smoking cigarettes and pot. Seeming to be completely content to spend their night in this ruined house in the middle of the woods, with no heat or lights. When the nervous one asks about starting a fire, he is quickly shot down, and told to drink his beer and relax. Maya doesn’t know how long they intend to wait there, but they must have a car she figures. If she needs to wait for them to drink themselves into a stupor, so be it. It’s still faster than walking.

Eventually, one of the men stands up, holding a buzzing pager in his hand. He looks at the nervous one, and reassures him that “he” just sent him a message, and he’ll be here soon. The nervous one eagerly gets up to look out of the paneless windows, desperate for this mysterious arrival. As he does, the other two calmly walk behind, draw their guns, and shoot him in the back.

The sudden and casual violence shocks Maya, but worse is the smell of blood gushing from the man’s wounds. She loses all composure and leaps out of the shadows. The two men turn on her, alarmed by the sudden presence of the screaming, blood thirsty monster. She tears them apart, their weapons firing uselessly throughout the house, and she drinks deeply.

Maya failed her Conscience check to resist Frenzy, so she just what into Fight mode. The fight started a bit rough for her, but she was able to overcomes them.  With two victims, Maya is able to heal all her accumulated wounds and still end up full and content. She has once again brutally murdered mortals, despite her repeated vows to not kill. But, she is able to retain her humanity, her guilt and remorse at her act eased with the knowledge that they were cold blooded murders.
She slashes the throats of her victims, hoping to confuse anyone who finds the bodies before the animals can dispose of them. She takes whatever cash she can they have, as well as the car keys. A curious glance at the pager shows only the number “7” listed—a code of some sort, she figures. Shrugging, she leaves the house and sees a beat up old pickup truck parked in the rear.  The key fits it, and it starts easily, obviously well maintained despite its decrepit appearance. Full and with a ride, she drives off to Denver, hoping she’s in time to save Daron and Trent.

Daron

Random Event roll 8. No event.

Daron awakens, still confined in his body bag and stuck in the refrigerator. His bones and skin ached and scream in pain, pain he had thought he would never feel again. He was hungry, in pain, and wondering where the hell is Maya? She should have been there last night, but as the hours ticked by and he and Trent had to remain as still as, well, as corpses, the realization that she wasn’t coming dawned on them. They were forced to allow themselves to fall to sleep, hoping that there would be no need for an autopsy. Apparently, there wasn’t. A small miracle, he thinks mirthlessly.

He knows they should have left town when he had wanted to. Just get in his car and drive the fuck away. A car that fucking worked, that could have gotten away from the cops. A car he would still have, if it wasn’t for them having to put it up as “collateral” to Trent’s useless ass friend. Why the hell had he allowed Trent and Maya to convince him to stick around? Fuck it, he thinks. He’s here now. He needs to focus on what to do. What does he do? Trust Legal Matters. Stick to the plan, he tells himself. The door to the refrigerator is locked, and in his broken state he doubts he has the strength to break through it. He forces himself to wait, to be patient. To wait for Maya.

Maya

Maya drives the pickup into Denver, stopping at a gas station to look up where the Coroner’s Office was. She had hoped that it was in some convenient, out of the way building. But, no, it’s located at Denver General Hospital. The very place they were afraid to go to together, and now she needs to sneak and steal two bodies without anyone noticing. Two, hopefully, mobile bodies, granted.  But still, an official building full of doctors and security is the last place she wants to be.

She drives to Walmart and picks up some clothes for the boys, figuring they’ll need it. Walking amidst the harsh fluorescent lights while surrounded by mortals is almost physically painful for her. She does her best to keep anyone from looking at her, but the clerk as she checks out catches a glimpse of her terrifying face, and is left staring in horror as Maya quickly exits the store (Manipulation + Etiquette, failure).

She parks the pickup near on the Hospitals secondary entrances. And tries to enter, hoping it was still visitor’s hours. Is it? 50/50—100 EXCEPTIONAL NO. The hospital is closed to all save patients and staff, and this provokes a roll on the Random Encounters. NPC Action (Zoe & Suzanne) Procrastinate Tension.

She walks to the front doors, hoping to be let in, but sees that they are locked, and that visiting hours are over. She looks in, trying to get the guards attention so he can at least buzz her into the building. And then, walking through the hospital far in the back she sees someone. A merest glimpse really, but she clearly recognizes Suzanne, and someone who is with her. Someone she knew. (Int check, 1 success). Zoe.

Suzanne was one thing. Suzanne, she could see being at the hospital—for a follow up or something. But Zoe? Zoe had no business being the Hospital. Didn’t Daron say he spoke with her? What the hell did he say to her? Why were they here? She needs to hurry.

She bangs on the door, until the security guard looks up from his desk. A click on the intercom comes on “Yes?” It asks.

What does Maya tell him? “My daughter!” She says. “My daughter is up in Pediatrics, and I need to see her. I’m supposed to sit with her tonight.” Maya knows that visiting hours don’t apply to immediate family, particularly those with children.

“Name?”

Maya has no idea, so she attempts to just baffle him, confuse him just enough to get him to open the damn door. Manipulation + Subterfuge (3 dice) against a difficulty of 8 (someone lying to get into the hospital for nefarious reasons is exactly why this guy has a job, after all), and gets 1 success. Just enough for the guard to buzz the door open so he can talk to her in person, and confirm with Pediatrics.

As soon as she’s through the door, she focuses on the guard and hopes that he will forget about her. 3 Successes, and not only does she seem to vanish from his view, but he forgets ever interacting with her at all. As he sits there, looking blankly at the door with glazed eyes, she quickly heads deeper into the hospital, feeling again the exhaustion and despair that overwhelmed her last night. (Obfuscate 2 requires a Willpower point, a resource she is rapidly running out of).

She can’t ask for help, but she needs to find out where the morgue is, and fast. She must get there before Suzanne and Zoe do, assuming that’s where they’re going. Wits + Bureaucracy, and she botches. The winding hallways and indistinct sitting rooms all blend together, and by the time she gets to the morgue…

Zoe & Suzanne

Zoe flips through the papers on the desk, while Suzanne nervously looks back down the hallway. “Relax,” Zoe says. “The attendant won’t be back for at least 45 minutes. We have time.”

“This just seems wrong,” Suzanne says. “I mean, we were wrong, weren’t we? What I saw, what Daron told you? It’s just…wrong, right?”

“No,” Zoe says, stopping her search and looking at Suzanne. “It’s the only thing that makes sense. What happened to you in that basement, what I saw Daron do. What happened to Mavis and Vince. Hell, it even explains the recent cattle mutilations.”

“But they’re dead. They’re down here, and they’re dead, and they aren’t supposed to be.”

Zoe doesn’t answer, turning her attention back to the files. She’s silent, until she finds the list she was looking for. She holds it up for Suzanne to see “Look, I don’t know how all this works.  All I know is that they’re here, and we’re here. And we’re going to get some real answers.” And she heads back towards the refrigerators.

Suzanne rushes after her, grabbing her arm. “Ok, ok, but what if they’re…what if it’s true. Is the middle of the night really the best time to be doing this? I mean, shouldn’t we wait until, like, noon. Or something?”

Zoe calmly removes her hand from her and says “It’ll be ok. We’ve gone over this, we have to do it now, because now, in the middle of the night, is the only time we can. The place is too populated during the day. And we have all the protection we could need. We just need to check the rigor of the bodies, see what they look like, and get a few samples. Then we’re gone. Ok?”

Suzanne calms down, and acquiesces, but she is far from “ok” with this. Being in a subterranean room full of corpses was hard enough for her to handle.  But worse was finding out the truth. Ever since the basement, she had been poked and prodded and made to feel like she had lost her mind. Zoe had been a reprieve, a strong anchor telling her that, no, she was fine. She was right. And the horrors she had seen had been real, not just a “childish fantasy.”

But now they were about to find out. Would Daron and Trent leap from the dead like the movies said? Have they become “unholy creatures of the night?” Or were they just dead, and everyone else was right. That she was broken, that she was crazy, that she needed to be locked up. She isn’t sure which answer would terrify her more.

Zoe finds the correct units. She draws her stake, and signals to Suzanne, who pulls out the crucifix and the super soaker they had loaded with holy water and crushed garlic. Do they open Trent or Daron’s first? (Trent even, Daron odd—5, Daron). Suzanne covers her, as Zoe unlocks the refrigerator. With one final look and nod at each other, she opens the door and rolls out the rack, keeping an eye on the body bag.

They pause for a second, but seeing no movement, Zoe decides to proceed. Fingers trembling, she unzips the bag, revealing the still corpse of Daron beneath.

“Took you long enough,” he says, opening his eyes.

Both girls scream. Daron screams. Everyone is screaming.  Zoe and Suzanne thought they were ready for this, but thinking and reality are two different things. They both need to make Self-Control checks to proceed, difficulty is only 6 since they were somewhat prepared. Zoe fails, and stumbles backwards, knocking over a tray full of instruments. Suzanne, however, has been waiting for this, and steps up, looks Daron in the eye, and tells him to go fuck himself before firing her super soaker in his face.

Daron recoils at the unexpected soaking, out of fear and shock rather than any actual pain. “What the shit?!” He calls out. Then, his eyes narrowing as Suzanne’s widen, he says. “Drop it.”

She does.

Zoe, regaining herself, takes this opportunity to rush at Daron, the stake held high. She is just about to strike him when a thunder clap fills the room and a nearby beaker explodes on to her.

“Drop the stick, Zoe,” Maya says from the doorway, a smoking 9mm in her hand.

What do Zoe and Suzanne do? Communicate Jealousy.

“Damnit,” Zoe says, dropping the stake on the ground. “Should’ve figured you would be around too. Where have you been, anyway?”

Ignoring her, Maya gestures with her gun for them to move to the opposite side of the room. “Ok, girls. Listen up, we’ve been really doing our best to avoid killing people, but don’t make us make an exception. You ok. Daron?”

“Yeah. I’m fine,” he says, examining his broken limbs for the first time, marveling at how they hang from his body and shaking the water from his head. “What was this? Garlic water?”

“Holy Water, with garlic.” Suzanne answered, angrily.  Pissed at Daron, pissed at Zoe, and pissed at every one who refused to believe her.

“Huh, well. That answers that question, I guess,” Maya says. “Ok, you wanna tell us what you’re doing visiting your old friends with a holy water gun?”

“What do you think?” Suzanne glares at her. She is about to continue, when a thumping begins to come from the other refrigerator unit. They all turn to look at it—it’s rhythmic, and constant, but with a clear sense of menace. And rage.

 “Trent.” Zoe says quietly.

“Maya, let him out.” Daron says. “I got my eye on these two.”

Keeping the gun trained on the would-be hunters, Maya slides over to Trent’s unit. “Trent?” She asks quietly. “Trent? You ok?”

The angry moaning sound is not the response she wanted. “I think…I think we just leave him in there for a few minutes.”

Zoe and Suzanne share a look, the absolute danger they’re in just beginning to dawn on them.

Maya and Daron also glance at each other, completely at a loss of what to do now.  Where does everyone go from here?

Maya: Stop Balance.
Daron: Betray Anger.
Zoe: Attainment Exterior Factors.
Suzanne: Haggle Masses.

“We can’t let them go,” Maya says, aiming the gun cleanly at Zoe's head.

“Don’t waste the bullet,” Daron says, standing up, exposing a naked, shattered body that moves with an unnatural gait. “We don’t want to spill anything.”

“Wait!” Suzanne cries.

“Did you wait?!?” Daron demands, glaring at her.

“We can help!” Zoe exclaims.

“Zoe, please don’t make this any harder.” Maya asks, sadly.

Maya is ready to kill Zoe and Suzanne. Daron is as well, but he wants to use them to feed himself, and possibly Trent.  Zoe is ready to offer her help to them, to find a cure. Suzanne as well, both to spare herself and for another, darker reason she’s not yet ready to admit to herself. She’s angry and hurt, yes. At the kidnapping and the murder of her friends. But more, she’s hurt that she wasn’t “chosen”—that she was left to die, to be a victim, and not to be one of them (the “Jealousy” element from earlier).

Since Zoe and Suzanne are the ones whose lives are on the line, I decide that they need to plead their case. They’ll both need to make their argument with a Charisma + Leadership rolls, at difficulty of 8, due to Daron’s current blood pool--he’s at 2 right now, and ready to snap. I don’t have stats for these two, so I decide that Suzanne, as a theater major, has a Charisma of 3 and a Leadership of 2. Zoe has a Charisma of 2, and a Leadership of 1. They’ll need 5 successes to force Daron to make a Self-Control, 10 to completely convince the vampires to let them live. They both, naturally, spend a Willpower point. Zoe—8,9,4. 2 Successes. Suzanne—10, 1, 8, 2, 9. 2 Successes. For a total of 6, all together. Maya is convinced in their sincerity to understand what is going on, and to help them. Particularly the hope that Zoe can undo whatever was done to them.  Daron’s desperate hunger for blood is urging him to rip their throats out—but he tries to push it back. Killing anyone revolts him, but killing a friend is a line he never wants to cross again. Daron rolls his Self-Control and gets a 7,1,7. With 1 success, he tears his gaze from them.

“Fine!” He says. “But we need to get Trent out of here. And then we ALL leave.”

They unlock Trent, whose broken and sunken visage is even more terrifying than Daron’s. Suzanne and Zoe are spared his frenzy, only thanks to the presence of Daron and Maya. Neither Daron nor Trent are in any shape to walk out, but they dress themselves in the clothes Maya brought, and have Suzanne and Zoe fetch wheelchairs from the hospital. The two girls will push them out to the cars, with Maya keeping her gun ready for any sudden betrayals.

Escaping the hospital is relatively easy (Manipulation + Subterfuge, 3 successes), as the security is in place to keep people out, at least at this level. Trent is barely conscious, and Daron offers to take him out, to try hunting on the ranches again. Maya will take the others back to campus.

Mythic Roll 10. No random event.

The night is growing late, and Daron and Trent only have two hours to hunt (2d10/hour). While the module says the difficulty for hunting is only a 4, I increase it to 5. The recent spate of dead cattle has the farmers and ranchers increasingly worried about their herds. They are both able to kill enough to sate their hunger and heal their wounds, though many cows die at their hands. Their barely controlled hunger is so great that they don’t even pretend to practice self-control, instead feeding and drinking with a savage abandon. The gross attack, ensures that even more ranchers will be worried, and future hunting rolls among the cattle will be at a 7.

Maya leaves Zoe and Suzanne on the edge of campus, but tells them to be at Zoe’s dorm tomorrow night. They’ll be contacting them, and they expect an answer. She also points just how lucky they were tonight, and there won’t be a second chance (Manipulation + Intimidate at difficult of 4) 2 Successes. They damn well believe her.

The coterie retreats to their haven, too exhausted from their adventures to even begin processing what has happened, let alone speak of it.


And the Chaos Factor increases to 8.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Night 6, Part II Things Fall Apart

Night 6 Part II
Things Fall Apart

“Fuck me,” says Maya, sliding deeper into the back seat.

“What the ever-living shit?” Daron asks, looking desperately around, hoping that maybe, just maybe, the cop just wants them out of his way.

“This is bad. This is bad. This is very, very, very bad,” Trent mumbles.

“Is this car hot? You said it was cool! You said it was fine! What did you get us into?” Daron yells at Trent.

Trent snaps at Daron, “The car is fine! Sean’s dad buys them at auction, for fucks sake. It’s clean, this is a goddamn, fucking, clean, ass car!” He slams the dash for emphasis. “What? Were you speeding? Were you speeding?”

“I wasn’t speeding! I was going like 35! That’s not speeding.”

“Speed limit is 25” Maya says quietly from the back.

“Oh, for fucks sake, no one ever goes 25,” Daron responds.

“Whatever! What are we going to do?” She demands.

They’re on a rural backroad in the middle of the night. A cop is behind them, his lights flashing. The characters have stolen drug money, stolen guns, and are covered in blood that is not their own. Do they pull over and try to “explain” things? Do they slam the pedal and run? Do they start shooting? 

Mythic Roll: Separate Fears
Fuck this, they rabbit.
Chase system
Each vehicle in the system has three rating: Safe Speed, Max Speed, and Maneuverability. Maneuverability is the maximum number of dice that can be rolled, no matter what.  So, if the car has a Maneuverability of 5, and the driver has a Dexterity + Drive pool of 10, the driver still only gets to roll 5 dice. The “lead” car can try various maneuvers, with a Difficulty based on how hard that maneuver is to perform. The Difficulty is also modified by the speed of the vehicles. Up to Safe Speed, no modifier. For every 10 MPH over the Safe Speed, difficulty increases by 1. Max Speed is just that, the fastest that car can possibly go. I decide that the characters need to accumulate a total of 10 successes to get away from the Police. They begin with 1.
The Fairlane is a Sedan, which normally has a maneuverability of 5, with a Safe Speed of 70 and a Max of 120. Given its rough condition, though, I drop the Maneuverability to 4 (not that it matters, as Daron only had a die pool of 4 in any case), and the speeds by 20. The Police Cruiser I assign the value of a Mustang: Maneuverability of 7, Speeds of 100 and 140.  Their car is built to be inconspicuous. The Cruiser is built for exactly this situation.
Round 1. Daron attempts to just go as fast as he can, to get any kind of distance between them and the cop. He slams the speed up to the Safe Speed, a very simple “maneuver.” Difficulty is only a 2 for both. Daron rolls his 4 dices vs the officers (actually, he’s a Deputy, but the distinction is lost on the characters) 5 dice. 4 Success vs 2. He succeeds and Daron has put 3 Successes between them and the Police.

The Deputy was taken by surprise by the beat-up clunker even trying this. Sighing, he turns his siren on, and radios in. Each “round” of the chase, there’s a 10% cumulative chance of backup arriving for the Deputy. Each “backup” doubles the number in pursuit (1 to 2, 2 to 4, 4 to 8, etc.).

Round 2. Daron attempts to take a sudden turn at speed. This is still a simple Maneuver, but the roads are a bit slick from the recent snowfall. Difficulty 5. 2 Successes vs 3. The Deputy is gaining on them.

Back up: 1 in 10 chance, roll of 3.

Round 3. Daron increases his speed to Max (100 mph). Difficulty for Daron is now a 7 (+5 for 50MPH over Safe Speed), but only a 2 for the Deputy, as his safe speed is 100. 2 success vs 5. Cop is on top of them.  At this point, he could use a PIT maneuver or the like, but the high speeds make that a bad (and, I believe, illegal) idea. There’s no other cars out, so he just stays with them.

Backup: 2 in 10 chance, roll of 3.

Round 4. They’ve failed completely to outrun the police. Trent offers to lean out the window, fire his gun, and try to drive their pursuer away. Do they agree? NO. “We’re not shooting at cops, you stupid psycho!” Maya corrects him.

Daron looks for a tight turn he can make to shake the cop, and when one comes up, he makes a desperate sudden turn. Base difficulty of 4 (9 for Daron/4 for Cop): Both fail, and the cars start to spin wildly in the snow and dirt. Seeing their best chance, Daron hits the car into as much speed as possible, but the cop keeps with them.

Backup:  3 in 10 chance, roll of 3.  A second Deputy joins the pursuit.

Round 5. They come to an intersection, do they stick to the paved road or follow a dirt road? They choose the dirt road, hoping the rough terrain will allow them some opportunity to shake the cops just enough that they can dive out and run for it.  Their speed is reduced, but the difficulty remains at +5. 
Unlike the Police Cruiser, their car has no business travelling at any speed on these roads.

Backup: 1 in 10 chance, roll of 6.

Round 6. Daron tries the trickiest thing he can think of, a fishtail turn over rough terrain at max speed next to steep ravine—Dif 10. The Deputies are at 5 (I roll just once for both). Daron gets 1 success vs 2. The police are still on them.

The coterie is officially out of ideas. They have got to shake them, and the cops are so close that 
“ditch the car and run” is doomed to failure. They won’t shoot at them. So, what do they do? I roll Mythic and get “Travel Prison.”

“Maya?” Daron asks

“Yeah?”

“How confident are you that you cannot be seen if you don’t want to? Like, even if they’re really looking for you?”

“Um pretty confident, I guess. Why?” She looks around, not seeing any place she could hope to hide.

Daron looks at Trent. “You buckled in?”

Trent rolls his eyes “You cannot be fucking serious? We do this, it’s over, right? Like, we are truly dead. No parents, no school, never going back to our lives. We’ll be on the run. Forever.”

“Look around, dumbass,” Daron says, hurriedly. “We are truly, utterly fucked now. Unless we want to go all gangsta, this is our only way out.”

“WHAT IS?!?!” Maya shots, afraid she already knows the answer.

“Thelma & Louis,” Trent answers. “Daron wants us to crash, and leave him and me for ‘dead.’ The cops will find us, declare us dead, stop looking for us, and then…and they what, exactly?”

“Maya springs us from the morgue.” Daron answers, squinting his eyes, trying to find the right spot.

“Holy shit, how? And won’t they wonder why 2 corpses walk out? Won’t they be looking for a…body snatcher, or something.”

“Guys, we’ll burn that bridge when we come to it. We need to do this NOW. Does anyone have a better idea? Hm? Anyone? No, I didn’t think so. Ok, everyone buckle up. And pray. As if it will do a damn bit of good.”

Daron kills the lights, trusting on his enhanced vampiric senses to see better without them. All three spend 2 blood points to increase their Stamina. Once Daron sees a good spot, he guns it, making a Manipulation + Drive roll to make it appear as an accident. This is where his Maneuverability penalty kicks in, as he can still only roll 4 dice. We spends a Willpower for a guaranteed success, and rolls 3 success, for a total of 4. It looks like a tragic accident, as the car spins wildly out of control and careens down a ravine. Due to their speed and plan, I rule that each takes 7 levels of damage, enough to kill any mortal. Daron soaks 2, and so only takes 5. Trent only soaks 1, and so takes 6. Maya is able to soak 3, and thus only takes 4.

The Fairlane crashes through trees and smashes on the rocks. When it finally comes to a stop, Maya looks at her friends—they appear to have been smashed to pieces, broken bones sticking out and their necks at unnatural angles. She asks, quietly, “Daron? Are you alive?” Daron is barely able to spit out a quiet “go.” Maya grabs one of the guns and the cash, and rushes out of the car, avoiding the probing lights of the police and seeking the safety of the forest.

Does Maya cover her tracks? Wits + Survival, dif 8—1 success.  It’s something, but won’t stand up to a thorough search. She crawls away and hides in a copse of trees, allowing the shadows to conceal her.

It takes a while, due to the rough terrain, for the police to get to the crash site.  While she waits, Maya spends some of her blood to heal most of her wounds. Eventually, the response arrives. A helicopter floats overhead, numerous Deputies and Officers from Denver secure and patrol the area, investigators and forensics comb through the wreckage--the whole lot. Trent and Daron remain as still as they can, and are quickly pronounced dead, though their death only raises more questions for the investigators. Where have they been? Whose car is this? What were they doing out here, and why did they run?

Chaos Roll 8 – no event.

It takes a few hours before the bodies are released to the Coroner. Unsure what else to do, Maya attempts to sneak into the van. This is extremely difficult, and will require a Dexterity + Stealth at a difficulty of 10, and 3 net success.  She spends a Willpower to gain an automatic success, and a blood point to increase her Dexterity.  She rolls no successes, and with only the 1 from her Willpower, she’s not able to get in the van. But, I rule, as part of the “partial success” she backs down before exposing herself too much to the investigators, and is forced to watch helplessly as the Coroners van rumbles off into the night.

She looks around, desperate for any other option to get out. Is there a way for her too? There’s plenty of vehicles, but mainly government investigators, and these vehicles are secure. Very Unlikely, Yes. The car is being towed away, and its smashed doors and windows give her a chance to sneak in. Dexterity + Stealth, difficulty 8.  She botches (2 1’s, no successes).

I’m curious as to what the result of the botch might entail, so I roll Mythic and get Befriend Death. As she darts out of the trees for the truck, she is suddenly struck by one of the few remaining police cruisers. She takes 4 levels of damage, and is knocked back into the trees. She balls herself up and hides, and the officer believes that he struck an animal. Soon, all the vehicles are gone, and Maya is left alone in the forest.

They struck the gang early, soon thereafter were involved in the chase. The investigation took a few hours, so it’s currently roughly 1 in the morning. Maya has no idea where she is, and is unwilling to climb the steep ravine to get back to where they were. Worse, unlike Daron or Trent, she lacks the discipline of Auspex, and so can see no better than a human in the night. But, the emergency vehicles have left an obvious and easy path, and she decides to follow them out. The cold doesn’t bother her, but plenty of other things do.

How the hell did things go so wrong, so quickly? They had finally figured out what they were doing, and how to survive, and how to work together. They were starting to unravel who Prestor was, and what they were going to do next. A few hours ago, Maya had dared to allow herself to believe that things might just work out. And now…now she almost had to laugh at how bad everything had gotten.

She is exhausted. Not physically, no. Her dead body could walk forever, probably. She was exhausted mentally, spiritually. All she wanted to do was curl up in the snow and sleep, and let this horrible night be over.  But she trudges on, blindly unaware of any other option she might have.
Maya is down to a Willpower of 1.
Random Event: PC Negative Betray Joy.  Maya is hours away from Denver. She needs to feed, she needs to either find a ride or a place to hole up for the night. As she trudges through the woods, she eventually comes to main road, and can at least see which way the majority of the emergency vehicles has gone, as so she keeps with them, walking along the road. The few times a car drives past, she ducks into the trees, allowing the shadows to conceal her until it passes.  She finds no hope of an easy escape.

What does she find along her journey? Delay Home.

She walks for hours, alone and miserable. She thinks vaguely of hunting, of grabbing some wild creature of the woods to slake her thirst. But the beasts seem to sense her, and flee from her presence. She could pursue, she knew, but even that effort seemed to be too much for her. She thought of hailing on of the rare cars that drove past, perhaps hoping for a ride. Could she bribe them with the money she had? Or, would they become terrified at her visage. That would mean a fight. A fight would mean she could feed, but it all seemed like too much for her to even contemplate.

Eventually, she sees a half-ruined house, set back from the trees. With the night slowly giving way to dawn, she decides to investigate it, as this is the best shelter she’s seen for miles. What’s there? Ruin Elements. The place might have been used by vagabonds or users, but for now it is empty, a cold, ruined husk that perfectly matches her spirit.  She wanders it for a few moments, trying to convince herself she is doing what is necessary and ensuring that it is empty. The truth is, she has no idea what to do next. As the stars begin to fade, and she feels her body starting to give way to the paralyzing sleep, she makes her way to the basement and digs for herself a shallow grave in the dirt floor, and allows herself to rest.


The Chaos Factor Increases to 7. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Night 6 Stealing from the Thieves

Night 6
Stealing from the Thieves
Thursday, November 12th, 1992

As the 6th night begins, the Chaos Factor is set to 6. No random event (Roll 7), and no planned encounter with local vampires (1-10 chance, rolled an 8.)

Daron, Maya, and Trent awaken in their makeshift basement haven, having safely survived another day. They’re all mildly hungry, but after feeding heavily on cattle the previous night, the hunger isn’t overwhelming. They all decide to wait until later that night, particularly since they’ve found a safer way to feed. Instead, they discuss what they want to do now. They are following two major plans.  The first is the investigation into Prestor, his origins, and his mysterious visitor. The second is Maya’s still vague idea to rob the dealers. Given that, what does each character want to do?

Daron: Antagonize Evil
Maya:  Kill Pleasures
Trent: Passion Attention

A strange madness seems to come over the characters, and they are all too eager to go after the dealers, tonight. Now. Perhaps it’s the realization that they need they have a need for the cash, that their resources are not up to their needs. Perhaps it’s their latent predatory nature. Perhaps they just feel the need to DO something after the relative peace and inaction of the past few days. Or, perhaps they’re just bored.

It doesn’t really matter, they’re eager for action, and choose to hit them earlier, rather than later. Yes, they know it’ll be more difficult earlier, but they’re feeling down right cocky, and they figure there’s more cash earlier in the evening. They need the money, and they’re ready to bust loose. They’ve been cooped up to long, and a lust for violence overcomes them.
NOTE: I really figured Maya’s plan would be a multi-night thing, as they slowly figure out where the money is going and the best place to hit it. But, nope, they’re going after it.
They don’t have weapons, and have neither the time nor the cash to get any. So, what’s the coterie’s plan? Overthrow Joy. Daron and Trent will disguise themselves as buyers, while Maya sneaks into position, as close as she can to the stash. Daron and Trent will cause a commotion to draw attention, and Maya will grab the cash.

How much does Maya know of the crew? I have her roll Int + Streetwise, and she gets no successes.  She’s not actually sure how many there were, or how each filled which roll—unfortunately, she didn’t have the best vantage point. No matter, they’ll just need to improvise.

They leave their haven, successfully avoiding the notice of their neighbors. They decide to drive together, and all pile into the Ford. They drive near the dealers, allowing Maya to hop out of the car and creep into position, then drive a few blocks away and park. They give her about 10 minutes before they’ll show up to make the “deal.”

With Maya moving into position, I roll Mythic, and get “Altered Scene: NPC Action (Bothwell) Extravagance Masses.”  As Maya sneaks up, she’s surprised to see a white man talking with crew, seeming to give them orders. Does she recognize him from Trent’s Description? 50/50. No. How well does she hide? With Bothwell present, the difficulty goes back up to 8 for her Wits + Stealth roll, and she gets 2 Successes. Can she overhear what Bothwell is saying? She’s deliberately hanging to the flank, hoping to avoid attention. Perception + Alertness, dif 8. 1 success. She hears…something about “keeping your eyes open” or the like. But she’s not sure what that means. She hides, and waits for the boys, who should be walking up soon.

Is Bothwell gone by then? Likely. Yes. Maya is hidden, Daron and Trent walk up, trying to blend in. Cha + Streetwise rolls, and both Succeed. They seem like normal buyers, even if clearly not from the neighborhood. The “negotiator” walks up to them, bragging about their product. Does he recognize them? He just heard their description, but the odds of them walking up 10 mins later is so bizarre, he might not notice. 50/50 Yes, he does.

He tenses. Daron and Trent sense something is off, but they don’t know what, or why.  Stick to the plan? 50/50, No. They attack immediately, figuring the plan is blown anyway.

This is the first “real” combat of the game, so I’m going to go round by round.  The core book doesn’t include a generic “gang member” stats, so I base them on a Police Officer (Physical Stats of 3, all others at 2), but drop their Firearms to only 2.  I’m not sure how many there are in this crew, so I roll a d10 and get 6. There’s probably a few others, mainly look outs, who won’t get involved in any direct confrontation.

Both Daron and Trent roll Wit’s + Brawl to attempt a “surprise” hit on the “negotiator,” who is somewhat shocked to even see these guys here. They fail.

Round 1.  In 1st Ed Vampire, combat is handled a bit differently than in later versions. Each attack is handled with opposed Dexterity + Brawl (or melee) rolls, with only the character with the most successes actually dealing damage. Damage and Soaking also have variable difficulties, but I won’t bother going that deep. However, only Vampires can soak in this system. I’d probably allow mortals to soak vs. mortals, but will keep this rule for Vampire on Mortal battles.

Daron and Trent will attack the negotiator (now dubbed G1), while G1 focuses on Daron. Both G1 and Daron get 4 successes. They tie, so neither deals noticeable damage. Trent lands a weak blow, to no noticeable effect.

The rest of the gang see the commotion, but are initially more amused than alarmed.

Round 2.  Daron and Trent both spend 1 BB each, increasing their Strength, and spend a Willpower point to accomplish this. G1 still focuses on Daron and succeeds, but Daron Soaks the damage. Trent successfully hits for 4 damage.

Seeing the turn of the fight, the rest of the gang moves in, intending to beat the ever-living shit out of the characters.

As they move, Maya leaps from the shadow to attack one. She succeeds, and thanks to her Potence, she deals 7 damage—he’s out, broken and bleeding. He’ll need to get to an ER, but he should live. Do the others notice? No. 4 members left, not counting the Negotiatior/G1.

Round 3. Everyone is involved. Daron and Maya spend 1 Blood Point each to increase their Dexterity (and spend the necessary Willpower), while Trent spends 1 to activate his Celerity (no Willpower needed). The 4 new combatants divide up—1 (G2) goes to help G1 take on Daron. The other three focus on Trent. Maya moves up behind this group.

Daron ignores the wounded G1, and focuses on the new threat. G2 and Daron each get 3 successes, while G1 lands a lucky blow, which Daron Soaks.

Trent has enough Celerity to take on all three of his new foes (G3, G4, and G5).  With his inhuman speed, Trent is able to keep them off of him, and deal some minor damage. They are unprepared for the whirlwind they find in front of them. G3 1 success to hit vs. Trent’s 2: no damage (bad rolls), G4 1 success to hit vs Trent’s 2: 1 damage, and G5 2 success to hit vs Trent’s 3, 1 damage.

Maya picks G3, who is both unaware of her and out of dice. She hits, deals 7 damage, and he crumbles to the ground, a moaning pile of broken bones and torn, bleeding skin.

Round 4. Trent again spends blood on Celerity, Daron and Maya again increase their Dexterity value.
G2 and G1 keep up on Daron, and he’s finally able to land a solid blow on G2, for 5 damage. Trent easily handles G3 and G4, and is able to deal 6 damage to G3, whom Maya quickly finishes off.

Round 5 Things are bad for the crew. This has gone from a “kick those punks’ asses” to a real, dangerous fight.  Do they draw their guns? Likely—yes. They draw, deciding to end this shit, now.

G1, G2, and G4 all draw their light automatics (9mm), back up, and begin firing at the coterie. I decide to make them but need to “split” their die pools, figuring the “draw and back up from the fight” takes half their dice for the round.

Trent spends 1 Blood Point on Celerity, the others do not spend Blood this round.

G4 fires at Maya, who dodges out the way.  G4 gets no successes, and the shot goes wild.

G1 aims at Daron, but misses. G2 aims at Trent (who attempts to dodge, but fails), hits and deals 1 
damage after Soak.  With his two remaining actions, Trent is able to hit and drop the G1 and G2.

Only one member (G4) of the crew is left, holding his gun. Daron looks at him—“Drop it.” He does, then runs for his life.  Trent and Daron pick up the weapons, and hold the broken and bleeding gang members at gunpoint while Maya grabs the cash. Once secure, she approaches the crew and asks “who was talking to you earlier?”  They refuse to say anything, so Daron sticks his gun in the face of the most lucid seeming one and attempts to intimidated him Manipulation + Intimidate, dif 6. 2 Successes.

“Bothwell,” he spits. “Said to keep an eye out for you fucks. What the shit, man?!?” They all look at each other.  Fuck, this ain’t good. Rolling Perception + Alertness, Trent hears running in the distance, gradually getting louder. “We need to go, there’s more coming.”

The coterie run away from the scene. The chaos of the scene seems to imply that something might happen, so I roll Mythic. With a result of 10, nothing unexpected happens. But, are they pursued? Unlikely, with a result of YES.  Other members of the gang or at least people “friendly” to the gang are coming after them.  I have each side roll Opposed Manipulation + Firearms rolls—neither is going for a “kill shot” as much as trying to pin the other side down. I use Trent's pool—no PC has the firearms skill, and with his Dexterity he has the best chance.  He will also spend a Willpower point to guarantee at least 1 success. Players get 2 net vs 1 success. There’s a running gun fight, but the players are able to get to the Ford and speed off.

After all the shooting, I decide each gun only has half its normal number of rounds left. (27 total rounds left, if it comes up)

How much cash did they get? I first roll Mythic, and get Separate Rumor. That doesn’t help me or inspire me, so I toss the result and reframe the question as an “odds” one. Did they get a lot? 50/50 Yes. I assume it’s equal to a “liquidated” value for Resources of 1--$1,000.

A helluva of a lot of blood and carnage for such a sum.

The coterie drive for a bit, making Perception + Drive rolls to make sure they’re not being followed.  Once they feel they’re in the clear, the tension seems to lift from the car.  It was bloody, it was rough, but they succeeded, laughing and congratulating each other, proud of themselves, and their abilities. But, they are also very hungry, and need to feed. They peel off into the country, looking for some fresh, easy blood.

Chaos Roll 6. Move toward thread (The Investigation), Failure Possessions.

Suddenly, the car is bathed in flashing blue and red lights, and the coterie looks back in fear.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Night 5 -- Retaliation

Night 5
Wednesday, November 11th, 1992

Duke

Duke
Duke strides into the Broadstreet, the trendy jazz club that serves as the center of the regime. While most nights, even during the week, the place would be packed with mortals, tonight it was empty. Edward, his lord, had used the forced downtime to make some improvements to the place, and the ladders and drop clothes of the workers still dominated the stage and bar area.

Up on stage, Edward thoughtlessly tunes a guitar, while Don Alonzo speaks quietly to him, too quiet for even Duke to make out. Probably trying to convince him of this or that course of action. Alonzo had his fingers throughout the mortal realm, and they danced to his tune. But like Duke, he follows Edward. The three were referred to as “The Council”—a gathering of equals, but Edward was the Prince. And the Prince, no matter what else, was the Prince.

Duke’s presence is acknowledged with a quick look from both vampires, before they resume their discussion. “Yes, things have calmed down, but we’re far from out of the woods, Edward.” Alonzo was saying, trying to get him to focus on what felt was the more important situation. “I’m not saying we need to go on the warpath, but….”

“Warpath?” Duke interjects. Force was his domain. Alonzo’s job was to provide the money and the cover with the mortals, and to stay out of Duke’s way.

Alonzo
“The missing childer. The ones you failed to take care of.” Alonzo says disdainfully.  “A failure which has caused this mess, I might add. We can’t just let things go unanswered. We’ll look weak, and weakness is one thing our Kind cannot abide. Remember the chaos of the 50’s, when we didn’t…”

Edward cuts him off, quietly. “I understand, Alonzo. We need to resolve this mess.” Taking his gaze away from the guitar, he asks Duke. “And what happened? Why is this even happening?”

Duke sighs. “As I said sir, it was a bad situation. When we got to Prestor’s house, the place was a mess. If I had to guess, I would say that someone had already ransacked the place. Perhaps Prestor, himself, for some reason. Perhaps someone else, we don’t know.  He was almost in a Frenzy when we arrived, and attacked us practically immediately. We didn’t have a chance to do it right. We couldn’t interrogate him, not in that state. And the fight, well, we put him down. But he didn’t go down quietly. Per your orders, we took him out and torched the place and left. We didn’t examine the house.”

“And why not?” asks Alonzo, accusingly. “I mean, how does one miss a frat party in the basement?”

“Per my orders,” Duke says evenly. “We had no reason to assume he had grabbed anyone, and we didn’t want even rumors of what he was up to getting out. Prestor was just further along than we could have known.”

“The past is past,” Edward sighs, returning to his guitar strings. “What are we going to do about it now? Do we have anything to worry about with the mortals? What about this survivor they have.”

“The cops are in line,” Alonzo says proudly. “They attribute all the deaths to Prestor, labeling him as a deranged killer. As for the girl, the psychiatrist has convinced everyone that her story isn’t to be believed, the result of stress and smoke inhalation and the 'drugs' that Prestor fed them. Even she is doubting her own sanity. We have nothing to fear on that front.”

“And the missing ones?” They both look at Duke.

“We don’t know. We think we know their names, based on what the police have told us. But we don’t know much else, unfortunately. We think Bothwell ran into one, but his description doesn’t match any of the missing students. I have my guys looking into them now.”

“But we’re sure they’ve been turned, yes?” Edward asks the two of them. Neither responds. “So, Prestor has created a brood. Perhaps to ensure his vengeance would take place after his demise? Or to carry out whatever insane scheme he was plotting. They must be found, and they must be destroyed. Prestor’s rebellion ends. Now.” Edwards eyes flash angrily at both of them.

“Edward, if I may,” Duke says, hesitatingly. Edward glares at him, but Duke takes his silence as permission to continue. “We don’t know exactly what they’re up to. Our timeline suggest that Prestor grabbed them on Friday, and turned them either late that evening or early, very early, on Saturday. That doesn’t leave him a lot of time to ensure their loyalty, or to give them any sort of instructions or plans. It’s possible that they just don’t know what they’re doing. They might not even know exactly what they are.”

Alonzo laughs harshly. “Don’t know? Please. If they didn’t know, why haven’t they come forward? If they had come anywhere near the police or the hospitals, we could have snatched them up, smoothed things over.”

“Perhaps they ran out of fear, striking out on their own,” Duke suggests.

“On their own?” Alonzo mockingly replies. “Have you seen the degenerate youth of today? They are cowards and helpless lambs. They would run to their parents, or their teachers, or anyone with authority and cling to their legs, crying for help. Or, they would rush to the nearest camera, hoping to get on the MTV, desperately eager for attention and fame. No, they ran for a reason.”

“We don’t know…” Duke attempts to stay.

“We do!” Alonzo says, triumphantly. “If they didn’t know, where are the bodies, as their uncontrolled hunger drives them to kill? No, instead they rob a Blood Center. A Blood Center! We all know there are only two reasons any of us would ever consume such blood. Either they’re leaving town and need it for the journey, in which case they are no longer our concern. Or,” he adds, with emphasis. “they are going underground, hiding out, waiting for us to let our guard down.”

“There was the one woman,” Edwards notes, thoughtfully.

“But that only proves my point,” says Alonzo. “One victim, stolen right out from under one of us. A clearer declaration cannot be imagined. They wanted us to know they were there, that they were here to take the city from us, and they wanted to rub our noses in it.”

“It’s also entirely possible that they just don’t like Bothwell,” Duke adds, which brought about the desired laugh from Edward. “In any case, we don’t know what their intentions are or what they’re trying to accomplish. Not with what little we information we have.”

Edward, Prince of Denver
Edward raises his hands, bringing the conversation to an end. “It doesn’t matter what their intentions are. Their very existence as uncontrolled Kindred is a threat to all of us. Agree?” The two others nod. “If they are gone, so be it. If not, we must find them. Alonzo, pull your strings. If they are in hiding, where are they? Check their accounts, and their parents accounts, and their girlfriends accounts, and her parents and anyone they may know. Have they rented a cabin or an apartment recently? Where are they laying low? Find out where their money is being spent. If they intend war, they will certainly turn more—find out if anyone else is missing, particularly fellow students from their university. It is our nature to strike closest to our hearts, after all. Duke, you will scour the city. Find any victims they may be leaving behind, any potential victim they are grooming, any rats nest they might be sleeping in. Turn the city over, and find them.

And I want this done now.”

Dukes gets up to leave, ready to enforce Edwards will. He pauses to add one thing “That’s a lot of ground to cover. And if we’re running around, our friends will start asking questions. Things might be easier if we make this public.”

“Fine,” Edward says dismissively. “Spread the word among us. Prestor’s brood are to be found at all cost. I want them brought in alive, is possible. If not, well, there are limits to even what we can do accomplish. “

As the initial heat and attention over the fire and kidnapping dies down, the threats to the players increase. The vampires of Denver are after them now, officially. Per the module, there is a 1 in 10 chance per night of them having an encounter. I keep this rule, but also add them to the Mythic NPC list. I also change the Chaos Factor—the past few nights, the players have been working well, and accomplishing their goals. As of Wednesday night, this changes. The CF had dropped to 4, but I unilaterally increase it to 5. And until the characters resolve the challenge with Edward and his Court, it can never decrease, only increase. Also, I wasn’t sure what the NPC’s were going to do, so I rolled “Recruit/Intrigues“—the above is my interpretation of that.

Maya

While curious as to what Trent and Daron find out, Maya is still focused on practicalities. She’s not convinced their make shift haven is viable for long, and she knows they need money. They can’t risk using their savings or writing checks, as she assumes that the police must be monitoring them. And she doesn’t want to turn to her family, even her Uncle Diego. She can’t bear the thought of having to lie to them anymore than she must.

So, they can’t use their savings, or get a job, and they can’t borrow or beg—therefore, they must steal it. But she’s not going to rob houses or mug somebody or knock over a liquor store.  However, stealing from other criminals is something different. She knows enough to have sympathy for those forced into the drug trade, knows that most of them are struggling and barely able to survive. Despite what the music videos show and the news reports say, the majority of street dealers are among the most exploited workers in America.  Taking them from their bosses, though, would be a form of justice.

She heads to the Five Points neighborhood, the most drug and crime ridden part of Denver. She had only been here a few times, as part of social outreach project. But that was during the day. Even then, a palpable sense of despair and menace hung over the area. And at night, it was even more acute.

She parks her Uncle's car in a lot, figuring the few dollars well spent to secure it. She walks the rest of the way, looking, waiting for the right target. With her hood pulled up, none can see her face, but she seems to radiate an aura that keeps the few other pedestrians away from her.  She rolls Perception (2) + Streetwise (1) to find dealers. With 1 success, she finds a small crew dealing out of a park. She then seeks a spot she can watch them unobserved. Normally, this would be almost impossible, as the crew's various watchers, some hidden and some obvious, keep a look out for anything unusual. But, her Obfuscate comes in useful once again, and she gets to roll her Dexterity + Stealth. With 2 successes, she finds a decent location.

She watches for a few hours, and sees where they keep both the cash and the drug stash. Around 9, a classic white Cadillac Coup de Ville pulls up, and the apparent leader of this crew gives it something. Due to its size and the fact that its being handled by him directly, she figures it must be the cash. Around 1, they come back again. By then, business had dropped off significantly, and the darkness, cold, and snow drives the crew indoors.

She believes she has seen enough, and heads back to the lot, then drives to the gas station to meet Trent and Daron.

Daron and Trent

Trent and Daron, masquerading as interns with San Jose Mercury News (Daron is from LA), head out to Prestors neighborhood, doing “follow ups.” Most of the neighbors want nothing to do with them, having grown tired of the media and the police over the past few days. They spend hours knocking on doors, asking the same questions, hoping for any new information they can find.

Daron is the one talking, Trent keeping himself in the back and being the “photographer.” Daron rolls his Manipulation + Subterfuge at a difficult of 6. The module says that a “good idea” should be at a difficulty of 5, but I bump it back up to 6 due to the general fatigue the neighbors have. He still manages to get 4 successes.

Naturally, they get the get the routine “quiet, nice gentleman, moved in two years ago, kept to himself” answers, and other tidbits they already knew. But, one particular dog walker has something new. Prestor apparently had a regular visitor, a blonde man who drove a yellow Jaguar with the vanity plate SC13NC3. Do the cops know this information? I assume that this is Very Likely, but the result is No. When they inquire why the dog walked didn’t tell the police, he says “Well, they didn’t ask, honestly? Hmm…do you think it’s important? Maybe I should call them.” They try to talk him down, emphasizing that this information is already known and of no particular significance. Manipulation + Leadership (dif 8, as their initial excitement might have betrayed its importance) , and 1 success. The dog walked isn’t sure, but won’t call the police. At least not tonight.

As the night grows late, Trent and Daron stop their inquiries. They feel they’ve learned what they can for now, and no one is likely to welcome them knocking at such an hour. They drive to the gas station early, and discuss future possible avenues to investigate. They want to know where Prestor came from, and that means tracking his money. Also, they need to find some way to track down his visitor. Neither has any Contacts that they think will prove useful, so they plan for a number of phone calls tomorrow night. Then, they wait for Maya.

With the scene change, a Random Even occurs. Remote Event: Extract Wounds. I decide that this refers to Zoe. She and Suzanne have teamed up. While she would like nothing than to forget that horrible night in the basement, the fact that someone, anyone actually believes her is enough to tie the two together. They have managed to read a copy of the autopsy notes, Suzanne distracting the attendant while Zoe quickly reads the forms. They discover that both Vince and Mavis were found exsanguinated, but that this information didn’t make it to the final results. Instead, their deaths are listed as being from “unknown causes.” Zoe feels that Daron’s story has been confirmed, and Suzanne feels, finally, vindicated. The two begin looking for more answers…

Once they all meet up, they all get in Maya’s car, then drive to a better location, as she explains her plan. Daron and Trent are somewhat skeptical, but anything is better than having to murder someone, so they’re at least willing to try it.

Each rolls Manipulation + Stealth to sneak up and get a cow. Trent gets 3 successes, and Daron 2, enough with Maya’s guidance. They both are able to feed. While they find the blood disgusting and unsatisfying, they are forced to admit that it might be possible for them to survive in such a fashion.  They spend the rest of the night hunting and feeding off of various cows in the and around the area, careful never to kill too many from any given heard. They also begin practicing on NOT killing their prey.

Maya is now able, with a Self-Control roll, to only feed a little off of her prey. Daron and Trent need significantly more practice.  Despite the poor quality of blood, they all feel quite satisfied with their night. They’ve learned some information on their captor, found a safe way to satiate their hunger, and are starting to learn how to feed without killing.

In a better mood than they’ve been in a while, they drive back to their new home, laughing and singing along to pop songs on the radio. And the Chaos Factor increases to 6.

The Vampire Primer

Vampire is a role-playing game in which the players take on the role of vampires in the modern world (Masquerade) or the medieval one (Dar...