Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Lonely Hope -- Scene 6

Scarlet Vampire

A Lonely Hope

Scene 6

In the last post, Hanson was suddenly ambushed. Her attacker was a man with burning tattoos, whose flames could have ended her. She triumphed, but is still left with more questions than answers. Her best lead at this point is the tattoos themselves—they are certainly unusual, and may even be unique. The prompt for the next scene is:

Convince an Actor ally of the foe to betray them. On a failure, face a Fight.

As of now, Hanson doesn’t know who is behind the events that have been plaguing Dona and her the past few nights. I decided that whomever she goes to for information next will be the ally, and that, no matter what happens as a result of the scene, she will discover who the foe is. Which raises the immediate question of “to whom does Hanson go regarding the tattoos?”  There’s no defined NPC in the game yet who would be the logical source, so I instead turn to +Zach Best's Universal NPC Emulator.

The Universal NPC Emulator (U.N.E.) is a wonderful series of tables for coming up with unique and different NPC’s for games. I’ve used it in a number of previous games to help round out settings, and is a tool that ever GM should have in their arsenal. It does have one, slight, downside, however. Like many such tools, it has a slight “fantasy” bent, and as such I occasionally need to interpret the results to better fit the exact game I’m running. Since this is the first time using the U.N.E. in this story, though, I’m going to go through it step by step for creating this character.

Step 1 is to figure out who the NPC in question is. This is two tables, one to provide a noun and the other a modifier. Rolling on them, I get the following:

Modifier 94 Passionate
Noun 86 Lord

For a result of Passionate Lord. “Lord” could mean a number of things, from a literal entitled noble, a vampire “ruler” (Prince, Primogen, etc), a wealthy and well-connected businessman, to a merely “prominent” individual.

Step 2 is to determine their power. There’s a number of categories available for this, and I decide to go with “Chaos”—it’s the most likely to give a wide range of results.

Power 11 Much Weaker.

With these result, I decide that the Ally will be a mortal, rather than a vampire or some other supernatural.

Step 3 is to determine what it is that the NPC’s wants, their motivation. Each gets three different motivations, in order to help form a more dynamic and engaging character. Like in step 1, this contains two tables. One for a verb (what they want to do) and a noun (what they want to do it to). Rolling, I get the following results.


So, this Passionate Lord wants to Operate Ghosts, Follow Force, and Take Laziness.

Taking all this together, I decide on the following for the NPC. Her name is Brittany Owens, and she is the self-styled leader of a group of New Age Occultists. She is the only one to have any real gifts, and is unwilling to make the effort to truly teach any of the others.  Between the “church” she leads and her willingness to abuse her gifts, she has a comfortable lifestyle (Take Laziness). She is also semi-plugged in to the darker world, and is more than willing to help out those more powerful than her, provided the payment is right (Follow Force). Her magical gifts, such as they are, are focused on the spirits of the dead (Operate Ghosts).

I don’t bother making a full sheet for her, as I doubt it will be necessary.

Hanson sped through the streets, her mind sorting through possibilities. Who was the tattooed man, and how could he have possibly received those markings? What did this have to do with Dona? How did he know where she would be? Was she even the target? Samuel was unusually reticent with her—was he the actual target? There was too much she still didn’t know. But she did know about the tattoos.

She didn’t know what they meant, of course. But she did know someone who might. Brittany Owens, who of course went by Sophia, was a charlatan and a grifter she had busted more than once. But the girl did have some power. Even as a mortal, she had sensed it, and as a vampire she had known it. Everyone knew she would work for whoever could pay her, or promise her some secret or make her life easier in some way. Hanson figured she could “help” her by keeping the Prince happy, or maybe cracking a few skulls for her. If not, well, she was sure that Brittany would pay well to not have her skull cracked.

She pulled up into the “New Light Thought Center” parking lot. The place had been a market of some sort years ago, before the little cult had taken it over. She drove to the back, where a far nicer house stood—the members gave what they could, and Brittany definitely benefitted from it. Most of the house was dark, but a light from the rear let Hanson know that she was home, and awake.

it only took a handful of harsh knocks to get the door to open, just a crack at first, but then wider when Hanson explained she needed help and confirmed it wasn’t the police.  The entire place was a chaotic mess of second hand-furniture, top-notch stereos, overflowing ash trays, and a floor that seemed to be more empty pizza boxes and liquor bottles than carpet. Brittany waved Hanson through the mess, keeping the lit joint just even enough, and guided her to the study.

If the living room was a dorm roof gone wild, the study was a professor’s wet dream. The place was immaculate, with thick carpets, leather chairs and oaken furniture—desk, side tables, and bookshelves. Granted, most of the books were pop-culture “New Age” nonsense, but Hanson was sure she had some real knowledge here. Or if not here, then safely secured in an even more private place.

She slouched behind her desk, took a puff, and crushed the joint out in a clean ash tray. “What do you want, Hanson?”

“Well, Brittany, I have some photo..”

“Sophia,” she interrupted, clearly enunciating each syllable.

“Uh huh. Anyway, I have these photographs…”

Much like her discussion with Samuel, Hanson will have three tries to convince “Sophia” to aid her. The base difficultly will be 6 for appropriate skill checks, 8 for inappropriate ones. She needs to accumulate 10 total successes.  Of course, Sophia is a secret ally of the foe, and will attempt to dissimulate, rambling on about obscure mystical oddities (which may or may not be entirely made up), and trying to throw her off.

Therefore, the first question is “Can Hanson see through the bullshit?” This is a key roll, and Hanson will spend a Willpower point for this.

Perception[2]+Occult[0] 9,2 + 1 Willpower. 2 Total.

Now that she knows something is up, she tries to get Sophia to talk.

Manipulation[3]+Investigation[4] 7,2,9,2,7,2,7 4 Total.

She has 6 successes already, but Sophia still isn’t telling her what she needs to know. Hanson decides to get rough.

Strength[4]+Intimidate[2] 5,1,6,6,8,7 4 successes, but the 1 subtracts a success. Fortunately, Hanson has Potence, and her supernatural strength allows her to add 1 to the total. 10 total!

Hanson was officially done with her bullshit. In a flash she reached over the table and grabbed Brittany by the throat. She dragged Brittany over the table, then threw her into her pretentious bookshelves. She slammed into them with a crash, and fell to the floor as an avalanche of “forbidden” best sellers fell on top of her.

“You don’t understand,” she tried to gasp out, “what they’ll do to me.”

“What about me?” Hanson asked, as her fangs slowly extended. “Worry about what I’m going to do.”

It’s probably not the best way to “convince an ally to betray them,” but if it works, it works.
All right, time for some answers. As I don’t have solid ideas, I turn to Mythic and decide to treat this as a “complex question.”

Who is behind the harassment of Dona? (03) Neglect of (21) Messages.

Well, that’s an odd answer. I at first think of rerolling, but then I think back to the original setup.

A Target aspires to advance their business or status but an Antagonist opposes them.

For all the blood and violence, this isn’t a war. This is two people fighting over who gets to be the most popular. I decide off the top of my head that the person behind this a fellow spiritual seeker, like Dona. Only their method is a bit darker, more “realistic” and never took off like Dona’s has. They originally wanted to be a “mentor” to Dona, but when she rejected their path, they took it very, very personally.

I turn back to the U.N.E to flesh out the character, and come up with the following:

Cultured Judge who is comparable to Hanson and who desires to Associate with Modesty, Take Freedom, and Obtain Dissonance.

He is Adrian Clark. Scion of a wealthy family, he found his tastes drove him to the bizarre and mystical. He explored various alternative faiths, and indulged in the way that only the spoiled children of the elite can afford to.  In his embrace, though, he rediscovered the conservative Catholic faith of his parents, and threw himself into it with a passion. He believes that “freedom” is exactly what is wrong with the kindred, and seeks to convert others in the city to his own “fire and brimstone” path. Unsurprisingly, Dona’s more positive and hopeful message gained the audience he never could.  Rolling on my Random Vampire tables, I end up with a Toreador, so there is perhaps some “family rivalry” with Blaine as well.

I go ahead and give him a full write up, as I’m sure he’s going to be an ongoing issue.

And with that, the scene concludes. Hanson has gained 2 victory points, bringing her to a total of 4. It was an Action scene, however, so the Foe, or Adrian, now gets to roll against the current count. He gets a 1, increasing his total to 4 as well.  And now I determine what the next prompt with be. I figure Hanson will attempt to reduce Adrian’s total with a Conflict scene. Plus, I haven’t played around with those yet. I roll a 7 and get:

Suffer betrayal by an Actor; face a fight as a you try to escape or avenge yourself.

Victory Points
Investigation & Action Scene Count
Willpower (max 6)
Blood Pool (Max 11)
Health (Max 7)
Scene Number
Tail an Actor who might have a Clue. On a check failure, face a Fight.
Failed to Tail, succeed on Fight
Face the foe's best warrior
Hanson hunts, feeds, and heals
Trick an Actor into revealing a Clue.
Waylaid by hostile Actor
Convince an ally of the foe to betray them
Suffer betrayal by an Actor.

Rules and Mechanics
Not familiar with Vampire? Check out the Primer
Story StructureScarlet Vampire

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