Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Simple Plan, Scene 3

A Simple Plan

Scene 3

Mikes car wasn’t anything special. Just a generic sedan, nothing that would look out of place at a typical car rental lot or outside any office building. If you were looking for it, you’d never find it. But, I already had. I knew it was part of a fleet of cars through “Morningside Courier.” I’m not sure what kind of relationship “Mike” had with Morningside. Maybe he was a courier who took a chance at something big. Maybe he was a plant. Maybe the whole thing was a front. The only way I was going to find out is by going there.

But first, I had to get out Vulcan.

Terry snuck in to the quarry in the back of a work truck, so he has no ride out. The simplest thing would be for him to steal one of the workers cars, but what’s “simple” and what is “right” are often at odds. Terry is, fundamentally, a good person, and his Humanity of 7 makes such theft repugnant to him. To see if he carries through with it, he’ll need to roll his Conscience of 4 against a difficulty of 6. On a failure, he’ll attempt to steal one.

Conscience [4] 4,9,3,4 for 1 Success. He considers it, but can’t bring himself to do it.

I now turn to the CRGE

Is Terry able to hop into a conveniently passing truck? 91 Yes, but…

But it takes him pretty far from where he stashed his car. Dawn is coming soon, and he’ll have to rush through the rest of the scene.

I walked out the main gate, still left open to accommodate the late-night staff. Headed down to the nearest stop light and waited. And waited some more. Not a lot of traffic on backroads in the middle of the night. But eventually, a car came by that was what I needed. Actually, a truck came by that was what I needed.

A nice pickup truck, with a mostly empty bed. Seeing it coming, I hit the walkers signal and hid in the shadows. The lights changed and forced the truck to come to a stop, which made it easy for me to jump in the back. The driver saw something out of the corner of his eye, of course, but by the time he was able to twist himself to get a good view of the bed, I was already cloaked in shadows. The driver, my driver now, continued on.

I had left my car at the nearest truck stop, figuring anyone who was out this time of night would go there sooner or later. I was wrong. Guess this guy didn’t need gas, or a hot meal, or anything else. He instead drove off into one of the looping neighborhoods. I suppose he just wanted to get home.

I had to hoof it for a good while before I found another major road, and a semi that was driving down it. Not quite as convenient a ride as the pickup truck, but if carried me to where I needed to be. As if I hadn’t already wasted enough time tonight, my long journey through the outskirts of suburbia made it worse. I should have headed home, did some light feeding, and gone to sleep. But I was frustrated, and annoyed, and I knew I had to get to Morningside while I still could. Maybe the files were there, maybe they were gone. But the more time they had, the more screwed I would be.

So, instead of being smart, I barreled ahead.

The prompt for the next scene is:
Face the foe's best warrior

No matter what happens at Morningside, Terry is going to be faced with a Fight. The Physical Threat for this story is 4, which means that almost all combatants will always be slightly better than him—either due to skill, power, or numbers. We already saw him get trounced by a group of out of shape accountants, so taking him on is pretty easy. But, the prompt is for the foe’s best warrior, not necessarily the best warrior compared to Terry. And their best warrior is probably going to be Jayden. So, let’s stat up Jayden now—again, using the rules from Hunters Hunted.  

Pretty badass, right? At least, compared to Terry.

Morningside Courier was nothing more than a small shop in the middle of a faded strip mall. The entire place was dead at this time of night. The family chain restaurant having closed at a reasonable hour, and the ice cream shop soon thereafter. The only place open was some convenience store, but other than the lights, even that place looked abandoned. This should have been a comfort, but all it did was remind me that soon the early morning commuters would be hitting up that store for their coffee, and the “freshly made” deliveries would be hitting the donut shop. People were already awake, and about to start their day. I had to move fast.

So, again, not smart. Instead of waiting and giving the place a proper watch, I just headed in. I headed to the back—I was at least that careful. The rear seemed to be a completely different structure of random doors and bizarrely placed loading docks. Took me longer than it should have to find the rear to Morningside, but I found it eventually. Just your classic fire door in the back. Maybe they had an alarm, maybe they didn’t. At this point it didn’t matter all that much, I needed to get in there and find out what they knew. I could worry about consequences later.

Two things here. First, the relative moral values of breaking and entering and stealing documents. Given the circumstances of the game, I’m not going to make Terry roll for this Humanity violation—this is different than stealing someone else’s car just to make your life slightly easier.

Secondly, breaking down the door. Vampire handles this through a “Feat of Strength” table. Basically, you add the characters Strength + Potence together and compare it to a chart. If equal to or more, then the character can smash open the door/throw the motorcycle/what have you. If not, then you need to roll Willpower—each success adds to the characters total.

Terry’s Strength + Potence is a 3. The target for ‘Break Open Metal Fire Door” is 5. So, he needs two successes on his Willpower roll to open it. His current Willpower is 4—remember, he spent 2 in the first scene. As the Physical Threat is 4, I up the difficulty of this by 1 to 7.

Willpower [4] 7,7,8,2 for Three Successes. Even with the higher difficulty, Terry is easily able to smash it open.

Finally, I turn to the CRGE. For this, I’ll be using the “to Conflict” odds and ask:

Does Morningside have an alarm? 36, No.  Well, I guess we can be thankful for small miracles.

It was a nice door, a lot nicer than the rest around here, but it still broke down easily enough. I paused for only a second, checking to see if any sort of alarm was sounding, or any lights were flashing an ominous red. Not at the moment. Either they had no alarm, or the alarm was completely silent. Not that it mattered, I still had a job to do.

So, I rushed in. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking for. Maybe the files were still there? If not, maybe I could find out who “Mike” was and who he was working for. Something had to be there.

And something was. Or, rather, someone was.

I walked into one of the back offices, and was heading straight for the file cabinet when the lights suddenly clicked on. Startled, I turned and saw a man sitting in a chair, a gun pointed at me.

“Hey ‘Mike’” I said.

“Hey freak.” Gotta admit, that stung a bit. Didn’t have much time to think about it though, what with the bullets he began shooting at me.

The fight begins. Jayden has no specific orders to kill Terry, but Terry sure as hell isn’t supposed to be here, so Jayden trying to kill Terry seems reasonable to me. He has a pretty hefty gun, a .45—it has a difficulty of 8 to hit, and does 3 dice of damage. Since we’re dealing with ranged combat, we need to do Initiative, which is the opponents Wits + Alertness against a difficulty of 4.

Terry [4] 9,10,8,4 for four successes.
Jayden [3] 7,8,5 for three successes.

Round 1. Terry spends blood to increase his Stamina. Terry attempts to rush out of the room and into the still dark and shadowy main area of Morningside. Jayden will have to get up and follow him into the hallway, then will attempt to fire a single shot at the fleeing Terry. I rule that to do this, he will need to divide his die pool. He has a Dexterity of 3 and a Firearms of 2, or 5 dice. He spends 2 running and 3 for shooting. NOTE: Terry only has a 2 in his Physical Attributes, so Jayden is pretty much the same distance as he was before the race began.

Jayden [3] 5,4,3 No Successes, and the shots go wild.

Round 2. Terry’s out in the broad main room of Morningside. He had hoped to find a place to hide, but Jayden is right on him. Instead, he’ll spend a blood point to increase his Strength and attempt to Vanish. Jayden is going to split his die pool again, but this time to take two shots at Terry. Once again, Initiative is needed.

Terry [4] 2,8,10,9 for three successes.
Jayden [3] 10,8,5 for three successes. Both will go simultaneously.

Terry will attempt to Vanish. This costs him a point of Willpower and he needs to beat Jayden on an opposed roll.
Terry: Charisma + Stealth [5] 10,1,7,2,4 for one Success
Jayden: Intelligence + Alertness [3] 7,1,10 for one Success. Terry still “blinks out” for one round, but Jayden remembers that he’s there.

Jayden still gets to fire his shot at Terry.
Jayden [3] 10,8,6 for two successes.
Damage [3] 4,5,2 +2 for two Successes.
Soak [3] (diff 7) 6,4,7 for one Success. Terry takes one level of damage. As he was still at Bruised, this drops him to Hurt, and he takes a -1 to all future rolls.

Jayden cannot take his second action, as he has no idea where Terry is. He’ll instead back up against the wall.

“Round” 3 Combat has more or less come to a pause. Terry moved under a desk, and has become practically invisible with the shadows. Jayden is carefully scanning the room for him, but has no hope to find him. Terry’s hope is to find some large and heave he can use as a club to get the better of Jayden. I turn back to the CRGE to fill in the gaps.

Can Terry find a crude weapon? 65, Yes. (+2 to Surge)
Does the “pause” take more than 1 round? 0 (4-4), No, and Unexpectedly…17 Six Degrees (this is supposed to indicate a surprise connection between two NPC’s, but I have no interest in making Blaine his long-lost brother. Instead, I’ll go with that there’s evidence here linking Jayden to Montrell).

Terry spends a blood point to heal himself, going back to Bruised and no penalty.

Round 4 Terry spends a blood point increasing his Strength to 4. He will attack Jayden. As Jayden can’t see him coming, he cannot defend from this attack. Terry has the equivalent to a club now (difficulty 4, Damage: Strength +1)

Terry: Dexterity + Melee [2] 9,10 for two successes
Damage [7] 5,8,1,9,2,7,5 +1 for 3 levels of damage. Jayden, as a mortal, can not soak, and thus takes three levels of damage, dropping him to Injured and a -2 to all further rolls.

Jayden spends Willpower to overcome the penalty. He then splits his die pool to drop the gun and pull out a knife (dif 4, Damage Strength +1) and attacks Terry

Jayden: Dexterity + Melee [3] 1,5,5 for one success.
Damage [5] 10,5,8,7,6 for four Successes.
Soak [3] 2,7,2 for 1 Success. Terry takes three levels of damage, taking him to Wounded and a -3 to his actions.

Round 5 Terry spends blood to increase his Dexterity. Both spend Willpower to ignore wound penalties

Terry: Dexterity + Melee [3] 10,5,6 for 3 successes.
Jayden: Dexterity + Melee [5] 8,5,2,1,3 for one success. Terry wins by two.
Damage [6] 2,5,2,6,2,6 +1 for 3 levels of damage. This drops him to Crippled

Does Jayden keep fighting? 43, No.

I stayed as still and silent as I could under the desk.

I have never been shot before. Never even heard a gunshot, to be honest.  It was loud, louder than I would imagined. But also, wrong. Somehow. Didn’t sound like it was supposed to. But what did I know? Cclosest I had come to a gun was a pellet prop thing I bought one year as part of a Halloween outfit.

So, I stayed still, and I hid. My shoulder was on fire, but the blood was already rushing that way. Rebuilding tissue. Knitting bone. Making me whole again. Assuming you call this…form, “whole.”

He obviously had some idea of what I was, and he wasn’t going to give up. It was going to be me or him. All else being equal, I would prefer it to be him. I grabbed the leg of the chain on front of me, and as soon as his back was turned, I slammed it into him. It sent him sprawling along the floor, and I was sure I had him, but he seemed to bounce back, fast.  Incredibly fast.  With a knife in his hand. I lifted the chair to smash him with it again, and he plunged the cold steel blade right in my heart. If had been wood, I would have been dead.

Still hurt like hell, though.

We circled each other for a few moments, both wounded beasts looking for an opening. I thought I saw one and moved, and so did he. He was fast, and knew what he was doing. But the chair gave me reach, and my vampiric blood gave me a strength I hadn’t felt before. I slammed the chair into his head, and this time, he stayed down. Whimpering, asking me to stop.

The “smart” play here is to just kill Jayden and move on. Maybe score some free blood off of him. But murder is murder, even if the guy was trying to kill you. Terry needs to make a Conscience roll.

Conscience [4] 6,1,1,9. Failure, but not a botch. Terry kills Jayden, and loses a point of Humanity

I didn’t stop. I don’t know if it was fear of this man, the humiliation of his lies to me, or just the frustration of the night. But God help me, I didn’t stop. I slammed the chair into his head again, and again. And again.

Until he stopped.

I tossed the chair to the side, bits of hair and skull and brain flying with it. Liters of blood were seeping into the carpet, and I didn’t care. I drank what little I could get, but otherwise, I just didn’t care.

I had never killed before, except for a few animals those first few nights. I know I’m not supposed to care, that mortals are a species beneath us, and that to care about killing them is as na├»ve as someone at McDonald’s “caring” about the cows. And I’m sure he would have killed me if he had half a chance. But still, a man was dead, and it was my hand. My choice.

The sound of a truck outside snapped me out of my stupor. Donut delivery for a place down the way. The world was waking up, and it was time I got out. Alarm or not, time was not on my side.

I went back to the office, to where Mike, or whatever his name was, had been sitting. On the floor next to the chair, was an empty bankers box, marked “Vulcan.” Whatever he had gotten was gone. I was too late, and I had failed.

As I stood there, wallowing in self-pity, I head a vague sound. A buzzing sound, but harsher. Mechanical. I followed it back to Mike. In his pocket he had a tiny phone, something no bigger than my hand. On it was a message: “Everything ok?” It took me a while to figure out how to use the annoying little thing, smashing numbers multiple times to get letters, but I responded.


“Kewl. Meet 2mor?”

“When where”


Damnit. I needed to know who this person was, and what they knew. And if they knew where Mike would have delivered the files.

“Which one?”

“O’learyes dumbass”

“got something to do. 9?”

“Shit man, that’s early. Was thinking like 12.”

“12 Midnight? I will see you then.”


Well, at least I had a date for Friday night. That was something new.

Terry has won the Action scene, which gives him 2 Victory Points (one for “normal” and one for “action”). Montrell gets to roll against the current count (3) and rolls a 4, so his total does not increase. I now need to roll for the next scene. First things first, though. Terry desperately needs a Rest scene, as he has almost depleted his Willpower and Blood. So, that will be technically scene 4. Which gives Montrell a Victory point anyways. Given that, I decide to go with a Conflict Scene, to try keep both the Count and Montrell’s totals low. I roll and get:

Intimidate or put social pressure on an associate of the foe.

Hrm, Terry’s not much of an intimidator, but he is ugly as sin, and that’s got to count for something. Well, we’ll see if he can pull it off!

Victory Points
Investigation & Action Scene Count
Willpower (6)
Blood Pool (12)
Health (7)
Scene Number
Infiltrate a Location
Stake a Location
Face the foes best warrior
Regain resources
Intimidate associate of foe

Rules and Mechanics
Not familiar with Vampire? Check out the Primer
Story StructureScarlet Vampire a variation of Scarlet Heroes

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