Monday, August 7, 2017

Clash of Wills Part Three

This is third and final part of my Solo play through of the Vampire module Clash of Wills.  The Introduction and Characters can be found here. Here are parts one and two.

Scene 8 Night.
The characters awaken, each alone and in darkness. Godfrey casually walks downstairs at the inn, wondering if any others have been around. The innkeeper tearfully tells him the news of what has been happening, and how the entire town is in mourning. Godfrey attempts to convey shock and horror at the events (Manipulation + Acting, Difficulty 6 since he is honestly shocked about the Assessors) and with 4 successes the innkeeper suspects nothing of the noble stranger. Does he wait for the other characters? 50/50: 31—Yes. He’s not sure where the others are, but he knows Johann likes to sleep on his own.

Samuel wakes in the caves beneath the keep. Is he alone? 50/50: 97-- EXCEPTIONAL NO. There is a vigil in place by the monks, as they pray over the Earl’s body. Thanks to his Obfuscate, Samuel is easily able to sneak by them. The module states they are wearing unusual rings, but this is an odd thing to look for, and Samuel lacks the knowledge (Academics) to understand their meaning. I give him a Perception + Alertness roll (4 dice) at a difficulty of 8 to think anything of the monk’s jewelry. He gets 1 success. He thinks it’s odd that they are wearing silver rings, but doesn’t think enough to look more into it. If he sees them again, though, he will look further.

Johann wakes from the earth. He hid within the walls of the castle, and as such is in the center of activity, even as night falls. The first question I have is “is Johann seen as he emerges from the earth?” He’s in a populated and active area, so I say that this is Very Likely: Yes. Someone sees him as he comes out. Who sees him? I roll Mythic, and get “Work Hard/Illness.” One of the peasant workers cleaning the gore from the barracks sees him. Does the worker raise an alarm? Very Likely. I get a Yes, but also a random event: PC positive -- Excitement/Benefits. The peasant rushes to the nearest person of significance, allowing Johann a chance to escape quietly.

He needs to roll a Dexterity + Stealth roll against a difficulty 8 to escape without being seen. He has only 4 dice for this, the blood spent last night no longer being in effect. He gets 1,10,5,10. 1 success, but enough. A few catch a glimpse of a shadowy figure, but none are looking for a creature climbing the walls with speed and ease.

All three of them meet in the inn. None of them offer the others tales of their previous adventures, and none ask the others. They have accomplished their mission for their Lord Joseph, and are ready to leave Galtre.

However, they are not the only players in town. Three other groups are active—the mortals of Galtre, the vampires Karin and Alfred, and Father Julian (and his master, the vampire Remus). All have heard of the events, and all will respond in their own way. What do they do?

Mortals: Neglect Home. The center is gone. Julian is off to his monastery, and DuBois has led what few men who could round up off to the woods to hunt the killers, not realizing they were in the Keep. The rest of the town is just lost.
Karin & Alfred: Arrive Anger. Both went to sleep angry. But when they hear what happened during the day, their rage has no bounds. They set out immediately to confront the coterie. Unlike DuBois, they know exactly who and what they are facing.
Julian & Remus: Change Legal Matters. Julian decides on the easiest solution—they simply forge the Earl’s signature on the will they have, and will challenge the other one in court. They have witnesses that prove the Earl intended to will them his lands, while the PC’s have no one to back them up. In addition, they can easily imply that they killed the Earl, due to the suspicious timing of his death, mere moments after he “signed” the “new will.”

Scene 8
Upon hearing the news of the day, the blood rage comes upon Karin, Alfred, and Lucille. They demand to know where Godfrey is staying, and storm from the castle once they hear the news.  The coterie is at the inn, harnessing their horses, making ready to leave this town.

The characters are in a rough position. Both Samuel and Johann are extremely low on blood, and Godfrey isn’t much of a combatant.  Can the PC’s escape before the confrontation begins? Unlikely: 85 – No

This is a rough scene, but the PC’s have a single Ace up their sleeve—Godfrey is the highest generation vampire in the land, and he has Dominate.

Lucille attacks Samuel. The module fails to give her stats, but her description is of a relatively young, non-combatant Brujah. I use a different NPC (Evelyn from the core) to base her off of. Lucille has a 3 combat pool vs. Samuel’s 7. 3 vs 5 Success. Samuel hits and does 5 levels of damage, of which Lucille soaks 2. A solid hit. Of course, Lucille has Celerity…

Alfred targets Johann. Johann is able to use his claws, as he grew them last night and never retracted them. 7 dice vs 7. 3 success vs 0! Alfred hits and does 5 levels of damage. On top of that, Alfred has Potence, which adds 3 more to the damage, for a total of 8, of which Johann soaks only 3.

Karin, the most powerful of the Nottingham coterie, targets Godfrey. Godfrey will not attack, instead attempting to Dominate the Brujah. These two will have an initiative roll off, Wits + Alertness.  Karin 4 dice vs. Godfreys 3—3 successes vs. 3. They still end up going simultaneously.

First, Karin resolves her attack, which is unopposed. Rolling 8 dice to attack, she accrues 6 successes and inflicts only 2 levels of damage (Seriously: 1,4,4,4,3,10,2,2,3,9,3,10,4), which Godfrey easily soaks.

Locking eyes with his attacker, he attempts to Command her to “Cease this struggle and stop you companions!” He needs to roll Manipulation + Leadership, against a difficulty of Karin’s Willpower (4). This is a key roll, so he will spend a Willpower point to guarantee at least 1 success. He rolls 9,9,5,8,8,10,1. Even with the single 1, it’s more than enough to guarantee her complete obedience.
Each of the three attackers have Celerity, meaning they can attack multiple times in a round. Karin uses her action to call the others off. As Lucille is Blood Bonded to Karin, she obeys immediately. What about Alfred? He loves and respects Karin, but these people have stolen his birthright from under him. In addition, his Nature is Rebel, and is thus unlikely to follow anyone’s orders when he does not wish to. I peg the odds of him obeying to be Very Unlikely. 83 – No. He’ll keep pounding on Johann.

Johann cannot defend him this turn (he already used his single action this round), and so Alfred attacks unopposed with his 7 dice pool. This turn, though, he only scores 2 successes. Of course, he still does 7 levels of damage, up to 10 with his Potence (3). Johann can only soak 3, and so falls to the ground, in torpor.

On the next Celerity action, Karin tackles Alfred. Her nature, Judge, does not make her terribly happy when people directly disobey her. If she had been an Autocrat, she probably would have attacked him.

Godfrey is now properly upset, and demands their obedience, Commanding both Alfred and Karin to stand still and listen to him. He ignores Lucille, rightfully dismissing her as Karin’s peon. He then launches into a full on rant and lecture.

“How DARE you strike down a servant of Our Dark Father, Joseph, he who carried the very Blood of the Savior to these shores! How dare you raise your arms against his servants! How dare you CHALLENGE his servants! How dare you question his eternal WISDOM! You! Boy! You cry and fit about your “birthright” yet you refuse to see the evidence of your body, your own blood. YOU ARE UNBORN. This is no longer your land, any claim to it expired when you passed from the mortal death. And YOU, charlatan, you claim that Nottingham is better ‘suited’ to oversee these lands. They are not for NOTTINGHAM. They are not for any of our kind. The Dark Father has decreed that these lands are to pass away from our kind and into the hands of the mortal King. And who are you, who are any of us, to question the eternal and divinely granted wisdom of Joseph. Did YOU speak with the Savior? Did you wash his body when he lay dead? Did you partake of his eternal blood when he awoke? Are you the one choosen to oversee the world until his return? Nay, you are but a servant of the one who has been placed over us, and to defy him is to defy G-d himself!

“Here is what shall happen next. You, Alfred, once child of Galtre, will return to the Keep. You will end the chaos, and you will publicly acknowledge that your mortal father has deeded the lands to the crown. Then you will leave the land of Galtre. (Command, and again a Willpower point is added to the roll. Godfrey is pushing what Dominate is capable here, but with 5 successes, I’ll say it works). You, Karin, childe of Nottingham. You will take your servant and leave these lands this very moment. You will travel to your Master, where you will make a full report of what happens to those who dare defy the Dark Father, or his chosen servants. You will inform him that the lands have been willed to those the Dark Father has so decided, and that his decisions are not to be challenges, by anyone. Ever. “(Again, he’s pushing things here. Karin may SAY these things, but it doesn’t mean that she believes them or won’t immediately say what she DOES think. In any cases, Godfrey got 7 successes against her Willpower, so she’s at least getting out of the county.)

Having expanded a huge amount of Willpower commanding the older vampires, Godfrey is exhausted (down to 3 out of 8 Willpower), and is ready to leave. Before he does, he visits one of the ladies that Johann rescued the other night, and drinks her dry. While upset that anyone would strike “his” servant, he is quite glad not to have the judgmental Gangrel around for a change. A few hours from the village, he orders Samuel to find a suitable cave and they deposit Johann deep with in, to survive or not as G-d wills it.
Nicholas is far from happy with the results. The characters were to block the Toreador, and through them the Church, from laying claim to these lands. Instead, there is a protracted legal battle to worry about, with Alfred either recanting or reaffirming his initial claims that the PC’s will is legitimate based on what he thinks he can get out of it. But that story is one for lawyers and clerks.
The characters have succeeded enough. Godfrey is recognized as a “proper” Ventrue, though he did not cover himself in glory. Johann is treated a bit better, as he did his duty well in defending Godfrey, and is provided the means to leave the land. Samuel returns to his position of servitude.
Each character receives 5 experience points for the adventure. Had they done better at securing the land and eliminating the Toreador threat, they might have received more.

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