Monday, August 7, 2017

Clash of Wills Part Two

This is second part of my Solo play through of the Vampire module Clash of Wills.  The Introduction and Characters can be found here.  Part one is here.

Scene 5. Sleep
Dawn is coming soon, and the vampires must seek shelter from the sun harmful light. Where do they seek shelter? 1) Rooms in the Keep, 2) In the catacombs beneath, 3) in the inn, 4) at Jills, 5) burying themselves in the ground.  3. The travel to the inn at Redford, the Maiden of the Mist, and take their rooms. Samuel is to remain awake and let Johann know where they are.
Johann has been gone for a while, and I’m not sure if anything has happened while he was away. Has anything happened with Johann? Chaos Roll 5—yes.

Scene 6 Vengeance is Mine
Rolling on the Mythic tables, I get the following result: PC Negative—Judge Opposition. This could be some NPC “judging” Johann, but I decide to interpret it more personally. It’s a judgement Johann both receives, and enacts. It’s negative because his choices put the entire coterie at risk.

The women are terrified. Not only have they been horribly abused, but now they are forced to travel with the grim and silent stranger. Despite being released from the castle, they are certain that they are DuBois intends further humiliations and torture for them, perhaps even their deaths. Johann attempts to comfort them, making a Charisma + Empathy (4) roll, and gets 8,3,10,9. He succeeds. Despite his harsh baring, there is something about him the women know they can trust. They confess their fear that something worse will happen to them. And Johann knows this is true, more so than even the women know. If DuBois does not get his hands on them, then Godfrey certainly will and Johann knows he is powerless to protect them from his deprivations. But he can punish those who have sinned against these women.

He vows to himself and to God that he will punish those men, no matter the cost.  

But, the night grows late, and dawn is near. He is willing to ignore the threat though, and move on to exact retribution when Samuel sees him. Upon seeing his companion, is Johann willing to put off his judgement? Very Unlikely (25% Chance) 88 -- EXCEPTIONAL NO. The sun will not rise so long as men like that are still alive. He briefly tells Samuel what he is about to do. Will Samuel aid him? 
Unlikely (35% Chance): 24 -- Yes     .

They return to the Keep, where the Earls men have just started to fall into a drunken slumber. There are 2d10 Rounds (result: 8) before dawn breaks.  The will need to be quick, and thorough.

In addition, there is a question of morality. Johann follows the Road of Heaven, which is a very Old Testament style of Faith. One of its sins is “Allowing a crime to go unpunished” and he is certainly in his right to extract judgement on these cruel men, against whom mortal justice is incapable of punishing. Samuel, however, follows Humanity, and for him murdering a man in his sleep is a grave sin, no matter how terrible the man is. He needs to roll his Conscience Virtue to actually commit the act his was willing to do. Success, and his morality gets the better of him. Failure, and he indulges in his blood lust.

He rolls a 1, 4—a BOTCH. Not only does he engage in the slaughter willingly, but he immediately loses a point of Conscience, a point of Humanity, AND gains a Derangement. I roll randomly for this, and get “gambler”—not only will he take chances at the gaming tables, but also take great risks with his own life. This can eventually be overcome, but will cost him a total of (2d10) 9 willpower points to suppress it overtime.

Round 1. They both spend blood and increase their Dexterity. They reach the wall.

Round 2. Samuel activates his Obfuscate, and Johann grows his claws.

Round 3. They need to climb the wall. The crude stone walls are of average difficulty (6 for Samuel, 4 for Johann thanks to claws), and are of 40 feet in height. They will each need to make 4 successes on a Dexterity + Athletics roll to scale this. As time is short, they both spend a Willpower Point to gain a single automatic success.
Samuel (7 Dice): 1,2,3,8,8,6,6. 3 Successes (4, with the 1 reducing the total). With his Willpower Point, he makes it to the top.
Johann (6 Dice): 4,1,3,5,9,6. 3 Successes, but the Willpower allows him to make it.

Round 4. They leap down the wall. Both succeed on their Dexterity + Athletics to do so quietly.

Round 5. The men are passed out in the barracks. Samuel goes to the back to secretly open a window. Johann waits for him.

Round 6. Samuel makes a Dexterity + Legerdemain roll at 8 to open the window quietly (would be higher, but the guards are passed out).   With 9 dice in his pool, Samuel takes the autosuccess—so long as the character has a die pool equal to or higher than the difficulty of the task, he can succeed automatically as if he had rolled 1 success.

Round 7. They enter. They both spend blood to increase their Strength. Johann rolls Dexterity + Stealth (result 1,9,7,6,2), and they are unnoticed by the men. Johann arms himself with Assessor’s swords. The vampires get free attacks on the slumbering men.  They each make Dexterity + Melee rolls against a difficulty of 2, due to the men sleeping.

Johann: 4,8,4,6,5—5 Successes. Damage (14 dice) 2,5,5,2,9,8,6,4,9,5,8,3,8,6—7 health levels are inflicted.
Samuel: 4,4,6,2,9,3,5,9—8 Successes: Damage (16 dice) 1,8,9,1,6,6,8,8,8,9,8,2,7,10,4,4—9 health levels are inflicted.

Since I’m using a variant of 1st Ed rules, where mortals don’t get to soak, and these men aren’t wearing armor, they die from the wounds received. But, do they cry out in fear and pain as their lives are taken from them? Likely: 18 – Yes. Their screams awaken their comrades, who grab their nearest blades to defend themselves.

Round 8 (Dawn breaks). Each vampire must make a Road roll to stay awake. They both spend Willpower to get at least one success.  Both get 3 successes (rolled 2 + Willpower) and can function 3 rounds before needing to roll again. They are now limited to their Road rating for most of their dice pools (damage and soak are not affected). They also both spend Blood to increase their strength further.

Johann (5 dice) vs. Guard (4 Dice)—2 Success vs. 2 Success. The two battle to no effect.
Samuel (7 dice) vs. Guard (4 Dice)—3 Success vs. 3 Success. No effect.

Round 9. Time is running short.  Johann spends blood to increase his Dexterity. Both spend Willpower to get an automatic success on their attacks.

Johann (6 dice) vs Guard (4 Dice)—2 success (with willpower) vs. 3. The guard hits, but Johann is able to soak any damage that gets through.
Samuel (7 dice) vs. Guard (4 Dice)—2 successes (with willpower) vs. 1. Samuel hits! 5 Success. The guard is Mauled (-2 dice pool) but still functioning.

Round 10. They both again spend Willpower.

Johann (6 dice) vs Guard (4 Dice)—4 Successes (with willpower) vs. 3. Johann hits! 7 levels of damage, the guard dies
Samuel (7 dice) vs. Guard (2 Dice)—3 Successes (with willpower) vs 1. Samuel hits. More than enough to finish the mortal.

They stand in a slaughterhouse, covered in blood. Dawn is upon them, and not only are the barracks too poorly constructed to keep out the sun, but others will be here soon. They need to find a place to hide, and to sleep. They both make Road Checks—Samuel gets two successes, while Johann gets 5. Johann is no longer concerned with making further checks, while Samuel gets two rounds of acting under his own will.

The inn is too far away, and so Samuel runs for the safety of the catacombs. He is careful enough to activate his Obfuscate, so that none can see him making his mad run. He lacks Fortitude, and so cannot soak the damage causes by the sun. As it is just now dawn, and the walls provide a deep shadow, he only takes 1 level of damage a round. It takes him two rounds to make the safety of the catacombs, where he loses himself to the Beast and finds the deepest, darkest hole to fall asleep in.
Johann watches his coterie mate leave, and listens for the screams of pain if he is caught. Not hearing anything, he turns to his own needs. The mortals are coming. Is the floor of the barracks dirt? It’s Unlikely (60 – No), and so not the case. And he lacks the time to break the floor open. Instead, he heads out the window Samuel came in, exposing himself to the sun, and just trying to get far enough away. He makes a Dexterity + Stealth roll (7 dice: 1,4,10,9,7,1,8,) and is able to avoid the mortals coming to investigate the barracks. He runs for 1 round, and attempts to soak the suns damage (Stamina + Fortitude, 4 dice) and gets 1 success. He is not severely burned this round. Once far enough away, he spends a round to Inter with the Earth and again successfully soaks the damage. Once complete, he disappears with the ground, safe from the sun’s rays.
And the party sleeps, divided.

Scene 7 Day
Chaos envelops the town and Keep. The Earl is dead, and his four Assessors have been found brutally murdered. During the chaos, no one has time for Jill and her story and strange visitors who drank her blood. None except for Stephen, the smith. He had lost his son to such a predator not too long ago, and while the rest of the community is focused on the Keep, the two of them head into the tavern, armed with stakes and crosses.

Is anyone else at the inn? Unlikely--Yes. The tavern keeper is there, cleaning and prepping his establishment. The two need to get to the room where Godfrey sleeps.  They attempt to sneak by him, and are barely successful in their efforts.  They ascend the stairs, and find the door barred. Stephen sets to work knocking the door down, but the ruckus might awaken Godfrey.

Godfrey has never slept well, even as a mortal. A habit that he carried into his new life. He has the Light Sleeper merit, which allows him to awaken at the first sign of danger, and ignore Road rating during the day. As soon as Stephen slams his frame into the door, Godfrey is awake.

They barge in, and are surprised to see the vampire standing in the room, waiting for them.

What does he do? Malice Tension.

He bids them enter, and inquires what is they wish with him. Stephen and Jill begin to rant about demons and the undead, but Godfrey keeps things calm until they enter. Looking deep at Stephen, he uses his Discipline of Dominate to Command him to enter and take a seat. He is concerned at how Jill was able to leave her farm, but he attempts to Command her as well, and naturally fails due to her True Faith. Does she obey? Unlikely – No. She proclaims herself free of the will of Satan! He then tries to Entrance her, using the Discipline of Presence. He only scores 1 success, but it’s enough to secure her devoted loyalty to Godfrey for at least an hour.

He needs these two to leave, and has no desire to attract any more attention than they already have. But, there is also time to speak with them. He has them tell him why they are there. Stephen refuses to say more than he is compelled too, but Jill eagerly fills Godfrey in on what they wanted.

Godfrey is both amused and outraged at the behavior of the would-be hunters. He feels they need to be punished, and a simple clean death is too much of a luxury for those who sought him harm. He has Jill stand in front of the smith, while he runs his hands over her body, taunting the smith and his inability to protect anyone, his son or this girl.  Finally, he asks the smith “Is this what you so feared for her” and again drinks from the girl. Succeeds on Self-Control, and takes only a few points from her. He then Commands Stephen to step outside and wait for the girl.

Once alone, he tells Jill that Stephen wishes him dead, and that he needs her to help protect him. She is shocked, and believes that Godfrey should be more than able to handle the smith. Alas, Godfrey tells her, it’s not that simple, and he needs her to do it. She is so besotted by his vampiric powers that she will obey anything the vampire says. He bids her to take Stephen back to his smithy, and then to kill him.

As they leave, he Commands Stephen to follow Jill back to his smithy, and then returns to his slumber, a smile on his lips.

His Presence will wear off soon, but still time for the conflict to begin. Not that Stephen understands what is happening. In a direct fight, Stephen would easily best the poor girl, but she does have the advantage of surprise. As such, I assume a 50% chance that she kills Stephen before he can effectively fight back. 81—No. She stabs the smith, viciously, but not enough to kill him. Does he kill her? He does not want to, but he is in shock and hurt and afraid. Worse, he has no idea how vulnerable Jill is, due to blood that has already been taken from her. Does he kill Jill? Likely—yes. The girl dies in his arms, free in her last moments from the vampires control. She begs his forgiveness, though she is still confused as to what caused her to do such an act.

The smith desires proper vengeance on the vampire, and wishes to burn the inn to the ground. But a crowd has gathered, and a few hear her last words “Stephen…why…why did…” and the grieving father is taken away to face judgement.

What can I say, Presence 3 is a freaking game killer.

The tale concludes with Part Three

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