Friday, February 2, 2018

A Lonely Hope--Scene 13

Scarlet Vampire

A Lonely Hope

Scene 13
In the last scene, Hanson scored a victory and was able to capture one of Adrian’s pawns and bring her to the Prince for questioning. After the raid, though, the city is still on edge…

“What the hell are you doing here?”

Hanson was leaning contemptuously in the doorway. “Funny. I was going to ask you the same thing.”

She brushed past Blaine and walked into the barely furnished apartment. It was a second floor unit in a “garden style” building, out in the middle of the suburbs. Ever since the raid, Blaine had made himself scarce. No one knew where he was hiding, and this little slice of “post-college suburban” life must have been torture to him. At least he had a lovely view of the parking lot.

“No, I mean…SHIT,” he looked out into the hallway, apparently figuring half the vamps in the city were out there, waiting for him. Seeing no one, he closed and locked the door. Double locked, just to be sure. “I mean, what are you doing here? How did you find me?”

Hanson was walking through the combination living room/kitchen, checking drawers and cabinets, finding the nothing she expected to.  “Find you? I never lost
you. Besides, you’re the one who wanted to talk. So, talk.”

Truth is, she hadn’t the slightest clue where he was. At least, until one of his little girlfriends had reached out to her, told her that Blaine need to speak with her. Following her, and figuring out where she was calling, hadn’t proved much of a challenge.

“Ok, right,” he paced uncomfortably, trying to get his bearings. His million- dollar smile was gone, along with the expensive suits and watches and all the trappings of casual wealth which had so defined him. “You know I wouldn’t have bothered you if it wasn’t important. But the truth is, I need your help.”

“Fuck you. After that stunt you pulled at the club, you are officially on my ‘do not help’ list.”

“Meagan, wait…”

“You want my help, fine. Here’s my help. Stop fucking around. The Prince is pissed, and everyone is freaking the hell out. He want’s everyone brought in, to sort this all out once and for all. Marko, Dona, Adrian, everyone. Truth is, no one is looking for you. No one cares, Blaine. You get that, right? No one gives a shit if you’re hiding out in some crappy apartment. You want back to the club? Back to the city? You want a seat at the table? Then stop fucking around, and get Dona and bring her in.”

“You think that’s all I want? A seat at the table?”

“That’s all you ever cared about.”

“And what about you? Still happy cleaning the Prince’s boots.”

Hanson stopped, and stared at him coolly. “Real nice seeing you Blaine. Love the new place,” and she headed for the door.

“Wait, shit. That’s not what I meant! I mean, fuck me, I meant that there’s more that I care about. You know that.”

“Do I? Prove it. Bring in Dona. She’ll be protected. Otherwise, fuck off.”

“I don’t know…” he said, his voice trailing off.

“Yeah, tough decision. Play the last card you have left and take a risk, or leave her out there all alone but be sure you’ll keep your neck. You’re a great friend.”

As Hanson began flipping the locks, she heard him sigh behind her. “I mean…I don’t know. I don’t know where she is.”

She turned “You lost her?”

“No. Someone took her.”

The scene prompt for this scene was

An allied Actor can get you a Clue at personal risk…make a skill check to help them succeed.

The most logical skill for Hanson to be recruited for is Investigation, which is her strongest skill. After that, the Blaine/Dona connection just made the most sense.

So, Hanson and Blaine are teaming to try up and find Dona.

I don’t have any particular ideas for what the Investigation will entail—probably going to her safe house and looking for clues, but that’s about it. As I have a bit of a blank, I turn to Covetous Poet and decide to generate a scene with that:

Event: Something bad happens to the PC.
Action: Protect
Thing: Zealot
Plot: Unwanted Elements
Opposition: Evil Family OR Crazed Loner
Location: Hideout—I rolled again for this to get a better idea of where the Hideout was (since I already knew it was probably a safehouse) and got Docks.

The two head out to the docks area. The times were especially hard in this area, as the shipments went to larger and more profitable ports. A few ships still came each day, but the area around the docks was a dead zone. More homes and businesses sat abandoned or condemned than still had occupants, and it is in one of the abandoned buildings that Dona had taken refuge.

Hanson and Blaine walked through the building, flashlights glancing at every crumbled-up newspaper, discarded piece of clothing, or used needle. The place was a mess, and trying to figure out what was a sign of a struggle vs the throes of a junkie would be difficult. And figuring out which struggle actually mattered would be almost impossible.

“I can’t believe you left her here.”

“It wasn’t my choice. I wanted her to come with me. But her damn martyr complex kicked in, said she couldn’t risk anyone else. I only even new about this place second hand.”

“You didn’t have anyone with her? Or at least keeping an eye out for her.”

“Jesus, what do you think I am? I’m just a rich kid, ok. Sure, I have money, but that only goes so far, you know. It’s not like I have a network or anything. I couldn’t risk hiring anyone. I mean, yeah, a couple of her friends would keep an eye out, but everything I heard was that she was ok. At least for a couple of nights. Then, suddenly, she was gone.”

“Gone? Maybe she just got the hell out of here. Even a martyr can only put up with so much.”

“No. Can’t you feel it? Something happened here. I know.”

“Great. You keep feeling yourself. I’m going to go downstairs. That’s where she’d have been sleeping.”

Hanson crept downstairs, her flashlight focused ahead of her, scanning the cluttered basement. Nothing seemed out of place, but in one of the closets she did see a somewhat new, or at least clean, sleeping bag, and some boards. Someone had installed new hooks in the doorframe, allowing the closet to be barricaded from the inside. Dona’s nest? Her musings were interrupted by a voice, high up, calling out her name. She turned to the stairs and yelled up, asking what he wanted, when she suddenly felt cold steel slide into her back.

This is the Something Bad that happens to Hanson. One of Adrian’s cultists was keeping an eye on the place. Blaine “sensed” (thanks to his Auspex) that something was amiss. Alarmed, he called out to Hanson, which inadvertently set her up for the attack.

I decide the cultist is a ghoul (thus giving him a Potence
of 1 and the ability to Soak damage), with a die pool equal to the Physical Threat of 7. He’s attacking Hanson with a Knife (diff 4, damage Str +1).

Attack [7] 1,8,2,10,8,6,4 4 Successes
Damage [8] 1,4,6,4,8,8,4,6 +1 for 4 Successes
Soak (dif 8) [3] 7,8,5 for 2 Successes. Hanson takes 2 levels of damage, reducing her to Hurt and a -1 to all rolls in the future.

Round 1 Hanson spends blood to activate her Celerity. The ghoul will spend blood to boost his Strength by 1, up to 4. Hanson will also spend a point of Willpower to ignore the wound penalties.

No initiative, as this is strictly a melee battle. Hanson can’t get to her handy collapsible baton. But, does she have a police-style “tactical” flashlight, which can double as a club? She is a cop, so I set the odds to 50/50 50%-- 11, Yes. So, the Ghoul is using a Knife, Hanson is using her flashlight, and each is rolling against 4.

1st Action
Hanson [6] 6,9,7,2,6,5 for 5 Successes
Ghoul [7] 10,1,2,3,9,10,7 for 3 Successes. Hanson wins with 2.
Damage [7] 7,6,1,9,1,10,2 +1 for 3 Successes.
Soak [3] 6,7,7 The ghoul takes no damage.

2nd Action The ghoul does not get to act in this action, thanks to Hanson’s Celerity. Maybe he should have split his die pools. Ah well, too late now. Rather than hit him with her club, Hanson will take this opportunity to try and Throw him. The difficulty for this is 7.
Hanson [6] 9,3,3,9,2,9 for 3 Successes.
Damage [7] 9,3,8,5,6,9,4 +1 for 5 Successes
Soak [3] 8,4,10, the Ghoul takes 3 levels of damage. In addition, he is Stunned for the next round, and incapable of rolling more dice than equal to his Stamina (3). He is also Injured and is taking a -1 to all future rolls.

Does he drop his knife? He is a trained combatant, so this is Unlikely 35%-- 97 ABSOLUTELY NOT. Dude has a death grip on the thing.
Will he split his actions? He knows she’s fast, but he hasn’t even hit her win one, so Unlikely—35% 16, Yes. The Ghoul will attempt a lucky break by splitting his pool in half. So, for each Action, he will have 3 dice.

Round 2 The ghoul will spend blood to increase his Stamina and spend Willpower to shake off being Stunned. He is still at -1. Hanson will spend blood on Celerity and a Willpower to ignore her would penalties.

1st Action
Hanson [6] 9,4,3,10,10,4 for 5 Successes
Ghoul [3] 6,10,10 for 3 Successes. Hanson beats him by 2.
Damage [7] 1,10,7,7,10,8,2 +1 for 5 Successes.
Soak [4] 8,8,4,9 for 3 Successes. Ghouls takes 2 levels of damage, reducing him to Mauled and at -2. (Note: this only translates to a -1 on his next attack, since he already lost one from the beginning of the round).

2nd Action
Hanson [6] 5,1,10,9,9,2 for 3 Successes.
Ghoul [2] 10,5 for 1 Success. Hanson beats him by 2.
Damage [7] 10,9,6,8,9,2,7 +1 for 7 Successes.
Soak [4] 3,1,10,2 for No Successes.

The ghoul is reduced to below Incapacitated and the fight is over.

The steel pierced her, but it was the voice that chilled her bones.

“The Light will always come after the Darkness. And you will not stop the Darkness that is to come.”

Adrian left me a present. How thoughtful.

She stepped forward, feeling the blade slide out of her back, and swung the flashlight. She moved fast, with speed and power, but the babbling crazy man fought better than he looked, and moved to block her. Seeing her opening, Hanson grabbed him with her free hand and threw him across the room, sending him crashing into the rotten shelves that lined the wall.

He bounced back up with a speed that surprised her, but he was limping. He twirled the knife in his hand, inviting her in. But there was something like a panic in his eyes, and he was going defensive. Hanson took his invitation, and charged at him, with the flashlight held high.

In the end, it didn’t matter how tough the ghoul thought he was. Hanson was faster, and tougher. Too bad about her flashlight, though. The damn thing shattered as her blow brought her through the bastard’s head and onto the concrete. Military grade, my ass she thought, leaving the shattered remnants among the scattered bits of brain and blood of the man who had attacked her.

Now it’s time for the actual meat of the scene. Hanson is looking for a Clue to help them find Dona. The difficulty for this is based off of the Mental Threat of 3, so the difficulty is 8.

Perception + Investigate [6] 4,1,7,10,5,4 for 1 Success. Technically it’s enough, so I’ll give Hanson the win. But just enough to lead her to the next Scene. Had she rolled better, she might have been better prepared for whatever is coming next.  

The man didn’t have anything useful on him. A few crumbled dollars, a battered wallet and ID, and a pair of car keys.

“I mean, don’t get me wrong Meagan, I’m glad you’re ok, but did you have to kill the guy?”

“Not like he gave me a lot of choice.”

“Well, yeah, I suppose. I mean, I wasn’t here. And I did try to warn you that something was off. But, what are we going to do now? I mean, this place is a complete mess. Do you think we can, um, what’s the term ‘canvas the neighborhood?’”

Hanson dangled the keys in front of Blaine, till he batted them out his eyes. “Yes, shiny. I mean, maybe I can ask around, see if anyone at the club knows the area…”

Hanson headed up the stairs. “Where are you going?”

She didn’t stop, or look back at him. “He drove, dumbass. His car is nearby.”

She found it a few minutes later, and was slightly chagrined she hadn’t noticed it when they first arrived. It was a piece of crap, sure, but no one who lived here would have parked it in such an obvious spot. Not that it mattered much; she’d leave the keys inside and let the locals do with it as they wished.

Inside wasn’t any prettier than the outside. Trash from fast food joints and convenience stores littered the place, as well as empty cigarette boxes and an overflowing ashtray. Clearly, Adrian’s wasn’t one of those “healthy living” type of cults. As Hanson carefully went through the car, Blaine sulked outside.

“Find anything useful? Maybe an old French fry?”

“Found these,” she handed him a couple of receipts. All from within the past week.

Quick Shop Stop? This supposed to be mean anything to me?”

“No. But it means something to me. I know where Dona is.”

Hanson, technically, won the scene, and so gains a Victory Point and a Clue. As this was an Investigation scene, her Opponent, Adrian, gets to roll against the current Count (8) and gets a 10, which is a failure, and so he does not gain a Victory Point. Hanson is down 2 Willpower points, and spends  one blood point to heal herself to Bruised (no penalty). Between healing herself and the blood spent in combat, she is down to a Bloodpool of 4. The next scene prompt is:

Plunder resources necessary to the foe's plan. Either make a check at +2 difficulty or face a Fight instead of a check.

We’ll see if she can rescue Dona from the clutches of Adrian’s thugs next time!

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.
Rest and Recover
Hunt down an Actor to provide a Clue
Sabotage a tool, etc., to betray the foes use
Steal foes possessions
Eliminate Outside Actor
Work with Allied Actor to get a Clue.
Plunder resources necessary to the foe’s plan.

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

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