The Danse Macabre

ACT V

ACT 5

NEW AWAKENINGS
Sabir – you were unable to find a haven in the earth that was safe from the rolling blaze of the consuming fires. Unsure of how fire would effect your slumber, and with less than an hour before the sun would rise, you retreated to the top of an abandoned building made from solid stone and metal. You hid inside the rafters of the building’s now-dead infrastructure, in a room on the 3rd floor: Room 308 – you intentionally avoided 303.

You’re awakened by the sound of footsteps… you identify at least 6 sets of footsteps outside your room. They are treading lightly, obviously trying not to make a sound, and but for all the broken glass outside the room, they might have been successful. You smell smoke… but it’s a different odor than what you experienced yesterday in the streets. This fire doesn’t stem from the uncontrolled emotions of a confused mage, but burns with the assistance of man-made accelerant, and it doesn’t come from the streets, but from outside the door to your solid concrete room… the footsteps stop outside your door, you can hear the sound of glass crunch against the soles of their boots. Then there is only silence.

Alain, Lydia, and Rejric – You wake from another day of unnatural slumber to the ringing sound of Alain’s cellphone. It’s Valerie’s Caller ID.

The dark basement of Corpus Christi is illuminated from the unnatural light of the cellphone as you open it to answer. Alexander’s voice is on the other end, “Vidal has decided to spare your two friends, Valerie and Dmitri. You may pick them up just outside of the Palace. Vidal instructed me to give you one final warning… he wants no more incidents like this to pop up. He will not tolerate any more lies, or “mistakes,” and he advises that you learn to control your Beast, or he will do it for you. I don’t know why I keep covering for you, but I never told him about the incident with the gang at the cemetery. If Vidal knew how weak Valerie is to her Beast, and that she’s lost control of the Beast twice in only a couple days, he might conclude that she’s too much of a liability. Look, all I’m saying is watch yourselves. I know how hard it is the first year as Kindred, and I don’t want to see Vidal diabl… nevermind. Just be careful. I can’t cover for you anymore.”

Together, you manage to push open the concrete slab. Strangely, the fires are gone, without a single ember left glowing – a seemingly impossible accomplishment for mortals to have procured in a single day. Father John must have been successful finding Jessica some help. The complete darkness of night is a welcome return from the constant glow of the firelight, and the thick fog feels reassuring as it envelopes you; however, your sight is limited to merely 30 feet.

You see the faint red light of a video camera-phone, which is being held by a man crouching behind a parked vehicle. He is pointing the phone at you as you rise from the debris of Corpus Christi. He is apparently attempting to be concealed to get voyeuristic footage. He doesn’t seem to realize you spotted him.

The characters charm the man, and discover that there are 6 other hunters like him in the city – they told him to stay here and watch you exit the church. He tells them about his hunter network called Morpheus Coalition. They take the man to the Prince’s Palace since they have to pick up Valerie and Dmitri anyway.

Damna – The taste of sweet blood wakes you from slumber. The last thing you remember was the feeling of your corpse being torn apart by long talons and sharp teeth, after letting one named “Alain” into your haven. You thought you made a new friend who shared some of your unique interests, but at the first sign of danger, you were left to fend for yourself, against a formidable foe. It must have been a setup.

Somehow, however, you are still alive. You recognize one of Vidal’s coterie, Anya, as the one tending to you. You’ve seen her once or twice before, but that was enough to make a lasting impression.

You must be in one of Vidal’s holdings. You feel the drain of blood as you heal the last of your injuries. You watch with morbid amusement as the slashes across your arms fade away, leaving behind flawless skin.

Anya breaks the silence, “Well, about time you woke up. I was afraid I might have needed to hunt for more blood. There’s still a liter left, if you’re hungry – it’s fresh.” She smiles menacingly.

In regards to Damn’s attackers, she explains everything: “They know who you are now, and have learned their lesson. Vidal will not tolerate another blunder on their part. To ensure as much, he is sending you with them to find out who this new group of Hunters are who have been causing problems in Kumanovo and Tetovo, to the North and West of us. He is concerned that if they’re not dealt with, they may start becoming our problem, too, assuming they’re not already our problem. I will inform your coterie that you are being assigned to a different mission for an indeterminable amount of time, and that you will not be joining them in their crusade for expansion. They will need to be successful in our conquest to the East without your help. …and I am here to assist you, when needed. …Any questions?”

“You can meet your new coterie just outside the Palace, where they’ll be waiting for you.”

Valerie & Dmitri – Valerie, you wake up from the sound of Alexander slamming shut the outer gate of Vidal’s Palace. “Vidal will be sending someone with you today. I think you might remember him. Try to play nice.” You’re lying on the other side of the gate, on the sidewalk. Alexander disappears into the thick fog, but you can hear his footsteps continue walking towards the Palace. The fog is especially thick tonight, and you cannot see more than 30 feet in front of you. As you look around, you notice a corpse lying next to you with a stake through its chest, and on the other side of him are your backpack and all your belongings.

A large, black dog materializes from the fog and growls at you from across the street. It bares its fangs as it slowly stalks towards you.

Valerie, befriends the malnourished dog (weighs about 100 pounds, even in his shape), communicating with the dog supernaturally. Tonight, she taught the dog: Sit, Down, Stand, Roll-Over, Shake, Play Dead, Stay, Come, Heel and Fetch. She is in the process of teaching the dog combat prowess.

She has the dog remove the wooden stake with the Fetch command, and Dmitri reflexively gasps from the burst of pain as he re-enters the world consciousness.

HUNTERS

Sabir, you hear whispers from behind the steel door, “One, two, three!” And with an explosive burst, the doorframe flies across the room as the door slams open. You hear debris pelt the walls. “Neck Biter! We know you’re in here, and we know what you are! We have you surrounded. There is no escape. Come out facing the back wall, with your hands interlocked behind your head. If you resist, we will respond with lethal force, and we will not give your comrades the same opportunity we are offering you. If you comply willingly, the experience will be far more pleasant for everyone, including your comrades.”

(Sabir attempts to surrender, but the men are obviously not interested). A deafening blast echoes against the concrete walls, and the smell of gunpowder fills his nostrils. As the gunshot rings out, you feel something like a hammer blow against your back. Even after all these years, the realization of pain is no less excruciating than when you were a mere mortal. You collapse to the ground, feeling a wrenching snap of vertebrae. You can’t move your legs.

You feel the drain of blood as your injuries begin to heal immediately, and are on your feet just in time to catch another metal slug in the leg. Gunfire rings out again in repeated staccato bursts. More impacts like the pinching of flesh and the stabbing of bone blossom on your torso. In the back of your mind, through all the pain, you recognize the hiss of a flamethrower come to life.

Your body is dead, but your wounds still hurt like hell. You can feel the Blood oozing through your corpse toward the holes in your flesh, your body trying out of habit to bleed, perhaps. Your teeth grind. Your fingers tremble. The Beast has its hands in yours, wearing you like a disguise. It tries to cover your eyes, push you down, and take control. Utter control. It’s never been like this before.

Sabir, are you willing to relax even your faint remaining grip on the Beast to get out of this? Do you let the Beast off its leash at the risk of your Humanity, or hang on as best you can at the risk of your Requiem?

If you shut your eyes, hide inside yourself, and let the Beast take utter control, it will ruin this place, and you will have let it happen. If you don’t, you and the Beast take your chances together, with the usual force of frenzy and whatever odds you think you have here.

Let go of the Beast, and you will survive this scene but have to deal with the aftermath, morally and materially. Rein it in, and the character gets just the normal frenzy effects.

The world seems to move in slow motion during this internal struggle between you and the Beast, when in reality, it is just a second of fleeting correspondence between intellect and instinct… like the mental go-ahead that tells a desperate bladder to go ahead and piss.

LET GO OF THE BEAST
You feel your blood catch on fire, and your mind drifts into semi-consciousness. You are only quasi-aware of what is happening through the red haze of your blurred vision. The Beast destroys your enemies, biting open arteries, standing on throats, stabbing out eyes and slashing open bellies. Most of them bleed out; a few die quicker.

When you resurface in your mind, your nose is clogged with blood. Your eyes are practically stuck shut with a gooey red paste. Your clothes are soaked through; your shirt is stuck to your skin like you’ve been sweating in it. In your hand is a fistful of hair. You’re standing on a corpse with its head facing the wrong way. There’s a long hair caught between your teeth.

The place is thick with running gore, handprints, footprints, and debris. You have totally fucked the Masquerade. So now what do you do?

As you’re leaving, your eyes are drawn to a blinking red light beneath one of the bodies. You find a state-of-the-art camera-phone.

You recognize this particular camera as the one hyped up in recent advertisements. It’s still in Beta testing, and has not yet been released in mass production to the public. It was developed in a joint effort by Apple Computers and World Federation Technologies. Only a true Internet geek would be dropping thousands of dollars on this model, and a geek that has a good reason for wanting it.

You see another flashing light on the Touch Screen – it says “Streaming” as it flashes on and off in Red.

The phone is locked, but the screen saver has a fancy background that reads, “Morpheus Coalition.”

MORPHEUS
The home page looks the same as it did before… lame, with the same picture of “bigfoot” beneath the homepage banner that reads “Morpheus Coalition.” It appears that whoever constructed the homepage was an amateur webpage designer who didn’t spend any more time on it than was necessary.

However, you notice something unusual about this webpage’s design code that indicates there is more to it than meets the eyes. If you could hack into the server that is supporting this page, you may be able to see what the phony webpage is really hiding.

Your screen flashes an electric green, sending neon shadows behind you. And you see a video of someone you think you know… Sabir. The image is blurry, like Sabir is moving too fast to be caught on film. But you’ve known Sabir long enough to recognize him, even in this video.

You see the Beast in his movements, in his posture. It’s not really the Sabir you know. He’s slaughtering a group of men and woman with a level of cruelty and brutality that you have never seen before – and you’ve seen a lot the past couple weeks. The video repulses you. Sabir repulses you. The masquerade is completely fucked. Sabir was caught on video in the act of his frenzy and that video was posted on the Internet for the world to see.

Below the video of Sabir, are blurry pictures of the rest of you, at various times over the past couple days, as well as other kindred you don’t know. You can identify yourselves only by the indicative circumstances pictured in the photo (there are 6 of you, the same heights and sizes, wearing the same colors as your usual outfits, and the pictures were taken at locations you recognize as places you have been). There are also pictures of what appear to be regular mortals, whom the Coalition suspect of being witches or wizards.

Lydia destroys the website, by hacking into the server it was hosted on. She later gets a threatening phone call from its creator, Morpheus, who knows her location and what she did.

Fearing that her identity and location has been given away, Alexander provided her with the means of acquiring a false identity and the funds to purchase a secure, government-type Panasonic Toughbook, which she ordered online from a Internet Beer Bar named “Beer Beer” for overnight delivery.

SLEEP
The characters find haven in the usual Sanatarium. When they wake, they are told by Alexander that 8 Kindred have been murdered – dragged out of their havens and exposed to sunlight while they slumbered during the day. Anya knew many of the murdered Kindred – they were part of her coterie.

They stumble upon Moldanato while investigating the murders, finding him with a strangely dressed man with an ornate gold ring with the roman numerals “VII” on the face. Moldanato tells them to leave, and that he’s the one investigating the murders. He tells them that if they want to be helpful they’ll go to this address, and hands them a piece of paper with the hand-written address on it.

Sabir decides that it would be prudent to call Alexander before heading to the location given to them by Maldonato, and letting Alexander know what happened and what they are doing.

The characters follow the address to the docks. There’s a faint smokey smell detected by the dog and Dmitri, which leads to a small building constructed with no windows, no chimney, and only a single front door. Upon further investigation, the characters find a tunnel 8’ in diameter that leads from the bottom of the house, into the water, and back towards the city.

Valerie enters the front door, after Lydia picked the lock. Sabir held his bow at the ready. Dmitri poised himself outside the door. Anya stayed beneath the docks. Damna stood opposite Dmitri.

The door immediately slams shut behind Valerie, but she comes out only seconds later, reporting that there’s nothing to see and that they’re wasting their time here. She returns to the van with Sabir, who notices that her dog is acting strangely – growling and barking at Valerie.

Meanwhile, Lydia, Anya, Damna and Dmitri enter the structure and find the symbol “VII” painted with blood all over the walls, as well as strange symbols the characters don’t recognize. In the middle of the room, is a young soldier dressed in formal uniform attire. His name tag reads, “Sergent McKenzy.” He makes emphatic gestures with his hands, drawing the letter “V” in the air. In apparent frustration, he gives up and blows over Anya as he runs by, making a line for Valerie. Sabir readies a shot at him, but misses, and the soldier ignores Sabir as he runs past him, too. Finally, the soldier reaches the van, and tackles Valerie, with proficiency and skill in martial arts. The dog viciously attacks Valerie, clawing and biting. Dmitri detects their auras, and finds the solider to have that of a vampire, and who appears to be Valerie to have a vibrant bright green color – an aura Dmitri is unfamiliar with.

When the rest of the party catches up – Dmitri, Lydia, Sabir, Damna, and Anya – Valerie takes off at full speed. The dog chases her for about 100 yards, barking as growling, but eventually stops and returns to the group.

Once Valerie is out of sight, the soldier’s form starts morphing until he starts looking a lot like Valerie… in fact, exactly like Valerie, because it is Valerie. She explains what happened in the building, and what she can only guess that thing was – a shapeshifter.

The party re-enters the building, and investigates. They find a trap door that is extremely well concealed, which leads to the pipeline below the house that was 8’ in diameter. The find the tunnel well-worn, like there’s frequent traffic through it. The tunnel seems to go all the way into the heart of the city. They don’t get too far when they all hear voices and footsteps coming towards them in the tunnel. They flee to the docks, waiting to ambush whoever exits the trap door. Damna jumped up into the rafters like a monkey. Sabir aimed his composite bow. Lydia concealed herself. Anya, Dmitri and Valerie positioned themselves outside the door.

The trapdoor opens, and the Prince walk up, with Maldonato on his heels, and 10 of the Prince’s guard. Maldonato cries out, “There they are! They are the culprits who have been committing the murders of our Kindred and brethren. They’ve been using this building and tunnel system to destroy us. You’ve caught them red-handed, Prince Vidal!”

The Prince chains the group easily, despite half-hearted resistance, any of which was obviously futile. Lydia speaks up, telling the Prince that Maldonato was the one who sent them to this location, and they had the hand-written paper to prove it. The rest of the party also remember that Sabir called Alexander.

The Prince asks to see the paper, and as he’s looking at it, he calls Alexander to confirm their story. His face turns red with anger as he turns to Maldonato, who starts backing away. The Prince forces him down the tunnel, and makes Maldonato tell all his sins… unspeakable evils, many of which the characters didn’t even suspect. He was behind the murders, the hunters, and some of the fires. Although Jessica really was out of control, Maldonato saw it as an opportunity to further his own agenda under the guise of a confused mage, and started fires strategically around this city.

The Prince has Maldonato taken away, and apologizes to the group for everything that has happened, especially to Dmitri, who he had tortured by Maldonato for questioning Maldonato’s loyalty to the Prince. So give the apology some weight, Vidal gave the characters Maldonato’s keys to his silver mercedes, and offered them a safe haven at his guest house until they found a place of their own.

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ACT IV

ACT IV

MEMORIES
You wake up from your forced slumber, and the events from last night flood back into your consciousness. You remember making decisions, which seemed virtuous, but in retrospect might have also been a bit masochistic. You remember finding Mary in an abandoned storefront, but choosing to ignore Alexander’s phone calls. You remember turning Mary over to Savoy and lying to Alexander about it. You also remember making the long walk to the sanitarium after finding your van, and the $10,000 it contained, to be missing upon exiting Savoy’s church.

Most dramatically, you suddenly recall the last thing you saw before your unnatural sleep… Maldonato’s silver Mercedes had apparently followed you to the sanitarium, and was forebodingly parked 10 blocks away. The sanitarium that you are using as haven is relegated to the outskirts of the city, where any activity becomes conspicuous. His presence in the area was not mere coincidence.

You stand up and look around, clearing the blur of sleep from your vision, and make a mental note of all your companions’ presence… Dmitri is not in the room, and all your gear and equipment is gone – no cell-phones, no laptops, no knife, no extra clothing, and no backpack.

THE SANITARIUM
The doors do not appear to have been physically breached during the night. The fortifications you built to barricade the entrances are undisturbed, and will take some time to dismantle to get back out.

The halls of the asylum feel sterile and cold, like a prison pretending to be a hospital. There are no windows to be seen – an architectural feature you would normally be thankful for, but today only makes you feel imprisoned. The hospital has a basement, two wings, 2 floors, and an elevator.

1st Floor – WEST WING
ROOM 103
The artificial light from the overhead lights casts shades of yellow across the linoleum floors, which gives stark contrast to the dark blood you see coming from the room on your right. The door marked 103 is locked, but the blood oozes from underneath the frame. You hear movement inside.

You open the door just in time to see Dmitri fall to the floor, apparently losing consciousness. As he lies on his back, you see that his right hand holds Sterling’s knife, and his forearms have been sliced open, from wrist to elbow. The skin is pulled back, hanging in bloody flaps, and the muscles and tendons have been pushed aside, tearing through nerves and blood vessels, leaving the yellow-white of bone exposed.

A man in a white doctor’s jacket is strapped to a table in the back of the room. His nametag reads, “Dr. Sacci.” He is badly injured. His heart rate is below 30, and each beat is softer than the last, almost indiscernible, even to you.

Dmitri, apparently from his own stolen blood, wrote a message on the wall.

The wall reads, in blood - HELP ME -

Dmitri has all the group’s possessions with him in the room. He must feed on the doctor to survive and heal, but it will cost the doctor his life.

The group, interestingly, and prudently, decided to spare the doctor’s life istead. They find, on his person, a wallet with a security key card, a driver’s license with his local address, and various credit cards. The characters were forced to subdue Dmitri, to keep him from going into frenzy and consume the doctor’s life. While Dmitri was unconscious, the group went out of there way to find Dmitri an alternative food source – a pizza delivery boy. They attempted to bring the Dr. back to consciousness, but even with Joe’s medical skills, nothing seemed to work.

1st Floor – EAST WING
ROOM 102.
The artificial lighting in this wing flickers, sporadically casting you into darkness. The lights flicker out again, but this time the lights don’t come back on. You hear slow, deliberate footsteps walking away from your position. A door moans against its hinges as it opens, and the lights turn back on as you hear the door slam shut.

The door is marked with the numbers 102. The room is padded from floor to ceiling in pure white fabric. Hundreds of tears in the fabric form the numbers 303 in various sizes all over the room. In the center of the white, padded room is a rag doll, with black buttons for eyes, and long red yarn for hair. A flower-print dress hangs from the dolls shoulders, but is stained with droplets of blood. The mouth is violently held shut with 4 metal fishing hooks.

2nd Floor – WEST WING
ROOM 203
You hear a telephone ringing from down the hall. You follow the sound to Room 203 – the door is open.

An old-fashioned dial-up telephone sits in the center of a large file-room on top of a child’s jump rope.

You pick up the receiver, and hear a young girl’s voice on the other end of the telephone, “two plus one equals 303.” Lydia notices, as the receiver is picked up, that the cord isn’t plugged in.

Room 203 is filed with files. Some files contain history of the sanitarium, detailing the revocation of the government funding it relied upon.

Lydia had critical success investigating the fileroom, and found the following:
• The patient files contain one particularly curious file of a young girl named Amanda, who was brought in by a Doctor Sacci as one of his first patients over 20 years ago. Dr. Sacci reported that he found her abandoned at a local orphanage. He reported that she clearly exhibited the usual signs of schizophrenia and dementia, even at her young age. The report details sessions Dr. Sacci took with Amanda, where Amanda claimed to see dead people, spirits, ghosts. The next session between Dr. Sacci and Amanda was cancelled – Dr. Sacci claimed Amanda ran away. Amanda was never seen again.
• Another record of Amanda details a pattern of delusions she suffered. Amanda insistently talked about a 3rd Floor in the hospital, just before her disappearance, despite there obviously not being more than two. The elevator has only two buttons – a 1 and 2. These delusions served as affirmation that Amanda truly was insane.
• Dr. Sacci was written up numerous times for inappropriate behavior with his patients, over his 20 years at the hospital. He was accused by another doctor to be using his position of authority and apparent power to take advantage of some of the younger woman at the sanitarium. Some patients reported inappropriate touching, but no action was taken, because nothing could be proven.
• When the sanitarium shut down, security had difficulty removing Dr. Sacci from the premises. The report states that he continuously attempted to gain entrance every night, screaming the name “Amanda” as he was dragged away each time. Eventually, after about 4 days, he stopped returning.

2nd Floor – EAST WING
The elevator door is stuck open. A children’s book lies in the center of the elevator. The book is an illustrated version of Rapunzel, which tells the story of a young girl who is held captive by an evil witch inside a tower with no apparent entrance.

The elevator has only 2 buttons:
• One key is printed with the number “1”
• Another reads “2”

Room 303
You pressed both buttons 1 & 2 simultaneously, and the elevator suddenly lurches as it actually moves UP from the 2nd Floor. The numbers above the door change from the number 2, to a hand-drawn number 3, written with black pencil on lined school paper.

The elevator opens to a large room. The ceiling is so low that you have to hunch down to fit inside. The floor and walls are unfinished. Each step you take feels precarious – the floor feels like it might crumble beneath your weight, but so far it holds.

A single room has been crudely constructed in the center of the expansive floor. It looks like the room is made of left-over dry-wall and parts of the floor that had been removed.

A strong odor hits you as you approach the room. You recognize this smell as the stench of death and decay.

The elevator doors slam shut behind you…

The door to the isolated, solitary room is constructed of cardboard, and leans against the side of the room. As you look inside, you see what used to be a woman, probably around the age of 26, but now is a rotten corpse laying in a pool of liquid flesh from months of decay, but preserved from the usual scavengers that feed upon the dead.

A Polaroid picture of the woman is attached to the front, makeshift wall, labeled “Amanda.” The photo was taken in this same room, showing her naked and chained to the floor. There are minor abrasions on her breasts and legs that look like scratches from a large hand. The woman was once truly beautiful.

There are more pictures along the wall, too. …you suddenly realize how long Amanda was held captive up here. The photos date back almost 20 years. It appears that each year a photo was taken… each year, for 20 years in this same room.

No matter how far removed you are from the humanity you once had in life; you feel intense sorrow at what this woman must have endured. And incalculable hatred for the monster who did this to her. The monster who you hold unconscious, Dr. Sacci.

The characters, wanting to avenge Amanda’s tormented soul, try to think of a way to revive the Dr. and make him pay for his sins – death is not good enough for him – but nothing seems to work. Lydia thinks that maybe if she feeds the Dr. her blood, it would wake him… and it does wake him… into the undead life of a vampire.

When Lydia realizes what she’s done, she stakes him in the heart, pulls him into the elevator, and commits diablerie, consuming Sacci’s soul, and destroying him utterly – a pain that no mortal is able to ever feel, let alone understand. The rest of the coterie find her in the elevator, sitting in a pile of ash. She tells them, believably, that she ripped of his head to kill him.

The characters take all Amanda’s belongings, and her corpse, to a secluded area in a local park, and give her a proper burial.

THE CITY

FIRESTARTER
As you exit the sanitarium, you hear the whine of sirens in the distance. The horizon is ablaze with fires all across the city. The smell of smoke and soot become stronger and more potent each minute. Lydia checks the news on her laptop, and finds an Emergency Alert News Broadcast through a streaming video feed on Channel 5’s website. “We’ve just learned that another church, Corpus Christi, is also up in flames. As firefighters rush to yet another fiery scene, many citizens are wondering whether or not they’ll live through this tragic night…”

The characters, wanting to avoid the fiery scene, decide to find dinner at their local goth bar. Tonight, however, a folk-metal band is playing, and the crowd at the bar love it. The band has everyone’s attention. Joe notices that the base-player’s aura is that of a vampire’s… in fact, Joe thinks this is the same vampire they came across at this bar a few days ago. Marcus, spots the band’s groupies behind the stage – obviously the most beautiful woman in the bar. He attempts to charm them, only to suddenly find a tall, patently handsome man standing in front of him… the base player. He introduces himself to Marcus as Damna, and after some witty banter between the two, Damna challenges Marcus to play the lute, and puts him on the spot while announcing his special performance to the whole crowd. Marcus surprised everyone with one of the best performances anyone has ever heard, and after such a great performance, Damna invited Marcus to his trailer, welcoming such sophisticated company, and offering to share his beautiful groupies with Marcus for dinner. Lydia follows Marcus into Damna’s trailer, while invisible to their untrained and unsuspecting eyes. While watching Marcus indulge himself with the blood of these beautiful woman, Lydia feels extreme jealousy – the women possess a beauty that Lydia once knew, and now can only see in others. She wants their beauty, but most of all, she doesn’t want Marcus to have them. As the woman start to undress before Marcus and Damna, Lydia loses control, comes out of concealment, and rips off her mask, sending Marcus, Damna and the women into an uncontrolled state of fear frenzy.

The woman ran out of the trailer, covered in blood. Jonathan rounds them up, not understanding what happened, but knowing the importance of keeping whatever it is quiet. Valerie saw Marcus and Damna enter the trailer with the women, and assumes that Marcus must have lost control while feeding, probably killing one of the groupies he was feeding on. She unleashes her claws, and bars her fangs as she barrels into the trailer. Upon hearing Valerie approaching, Lydia concealed herself once more, and fled the scene. Valerie enters frenzy when she enters the trailer, going into an uncontrolled rage, focused on Marcus. Unfortunately for Damna, Marcus bails, running past Valerie and leaving Damna to fend for himself against this formidable foe. Valerie tears into him, sending blood spraying everywhere.

Jonathan, Joe and Dmitri are now, seemingly, left alone. Marcus has ran off alone somewhere, Valerie has disappeared, and no one knows what happened to Lydia. In an attempt to at least find Valerie, Joe calls her cell phone. A deep, resounding voice answers, asking who is there, and obviously angry. Joe passes the phone to Jonathan, and Vidal immediately recognizes Jonathan’s voice. Vidal gives the group 10 minutes to get to his palace, or they may not see Valerie alive again, and may not survive the night themselves.

Jonathan calls Marcus, tells him about his conversation with Vidal, and tells him to haul ass to Vidal’s palace.

Alexander is waiting for them in the driveway. He declares that he never told Vidal about Mary, but after what has happened was forced to come clean. He is offended that the group lied to him, at least twice now, and will not tolerate any more of their insolence. He might have been willing to speak on their behalf one last time to Vidal, but after Marcus attempted to lie to him again, you don’t think he will do you any more favors after the way you have treated him.

Alexander does warn you of Vidal’s wrath. He believes the characters are responsible for the fires in the city. He also explains that the Prince is now aware of what they did with Mary. And the Prince is obviously aware that some of them have been breaking the masquerade – showing their true nature to humans.

During the conversation, Dmitri suddenly questions Maldonato’s loyalty to Vidal. Vidal responds angrily, asking who he is to question Maldonato’s loyalty. The Prince snaps his fingers and has Dmitri thrown into his interrogation room – the dungeon, where Dmitri finds Valerie… and Maldonato. Maldonato’s ire towards Valerie is instead taken out on Dmitri, who is tortured through the night with a wooden stake through the heart, over and over, and eventually abandoned in the dark with the wooden stake left in his body.

After a lengthy discussion with the rest of the group, the Prince offers the coterie one last chance to come into his favor – find whoever is starting the fires, and end it, for good. If this can be done, the Prince promises to return Valerie and Dmitri in reasonable condition.

As you make your way back to your haven, you attempt to avoid the heat of the fires you are forced to pass… That old apartment complex on Seventieth Street. A grocery store. Some hospital. You follow the trail of burning flesh and glowing embers straight to a single girl who’s looking right at you with a confused look in her eye.

You stumble past her, and a small apartment complex suddenly bursts into flames. The fires crackle and spit so loudly that they barely cover up the screams of the people trapped inside.

The young woman you passed, cowers in the street, crying at the flames.
She can be heard saying, “Maybe the devil is doing this to me. Maybe I didn’t go to church enough or I didn’t pray enough…”

Flames suddenly burst from her hands, seeming to react to her guilt in a deadly dance.

She sees you standing there, watching her, and asks, “Do you know what it’s like to watch your sister die? I do, because I did it. I’m the one that started the fire, and I’m damned for it.” … “Your guilt is nothing compared to mine. I must be in hell. I’ve lost control of the fire.”

The characters ask her if they can help, and she mentions the name “Father John.” Luckily, they have his phone number, and give him a call. Father John tells them that he has been looking for Jessica, and asks them not to hurt her, and to be careful as they bring her to him. He knows a mage who can help her gain control of her new-found powers.

Father John takes the girl in haste – due to only having an hour before sunrise. He offers the basement to his burned-down church as a haven for the characters.

Jonathan finds his own haven, away from the rest of the party, sealing them inside the basement of the church with a heavy concrete slab.

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ACT III

ACT III

MEETING FATHER JOHN
Father John Marrow is out hunting when the characters run across the partygoers. While they feed, he waits to see what kind of Kindred they are. When they have finished feeding, he approaches them. He quickly realizes that they are young and unschooled.

He is dressed in black and wears a priest’s collar. Casey and Katherine realize that they have heard of this priest – Father John Marrow is the pastor at Corpus Christi Church, and Casey also remembers that Father John performs midnight Masses. (A different priest performs the day services.)

Father John is willing to answer questions, but not out in public. He suggests that the group of them retreat to his church.

CORPUS CHRISTI
Corpus Christi Church is a small Catholic church. Unlike the buildings surrounding it, it is clean of graffiti and litter, but needs a lot of repair and upkeep.

The sign out front says: THE SHEEP WHO KNOWS GOD NEED NOT FEAR THE WOLFMATT. 10:16. Father John leads the characters around to the back of the church and ushers them inside.

Father John answers all the questions the characters ask of him. He knows that they have only a limited time, so he tries to give them information that will aid them in surviving their meeting with Prince Vidal.

He tells the characters the following:
o A stake through the heart merely immobilizes a vampire.
o Garlic has no effect on the Kindred.
o We must sleep by day, and few forces can rouse us.
o We can subsist on the blood of animals as well as mortals.
o Crosses and other objects of the Christian faith repel us, unless we keep our souls pure of sin.

o All of us can bolster our strength and speed with the blood we steal from the living. Some of us can see or hear with perfect clarity, to the point of reading minds. Others can disappear from view entirely. I have even heard tales of Kindred becoming as mist or swaying their direst enemies to their sides with a glance.

When asked about other vampires or leaders among vampires, Father John states:
o Every city has a Prince, the eldest and most powerful Kindred in that city. Our Prince is a Spaniard called Vidal, and I expect you’ll be meeting him soon. If you are Catholic, keep to your faith. If you are not, I recommend you consider conversion.

The clock strikes one, and Father John pauses in mid-sentence. He quietly tells the players to not resist, and although they might be able to fight their way free, “they” will simply call you to them. Before the characters can ask him what he means, a loud knock sounds at the door. John opens the door and moves out of the way to allow another man into the room. The man is wearing leather pants and a white shirt, as well as a gold cross and saint’s medal around his neck. His head is completely shaved. He looks perhaps 20 years old, but he, too, is one of the Kindred. He could conceivably be much older. The flare of fear they felt when they first met John returns, but this time it is much, much stronger. The characters come to know this vampire as Alexander

ASHES
Alexander motions the characters into his car, from Corpus Christi Church. If they resist, he assures them that they are in far greater danger if they refuse than if they accompany him.

On the way, Alexander doesn’t say much. He replies to the character’s question by telling them that they are going to meet Prince Vidal, who has some questions for them. Alexander drives the characters to an upscale residential area, and pulls into the driveway of a mansion. He steps out of the car and curses. A silver Mercedes sits in the driveway in front of his car. He mutters the word “Maldonato,” then turns to face the characters with a look of pity and resignation, and leads them up the driveway.

Alexander opens a cellar door in the back of the house and leads the characters downstairs. He opens a door at the bottom of the stairs, gestures you through it, then shuts it behind you. The room is pitch dark, but people can be heard moving in the blackness and there is a smell of wood smoke and incense. The characters fight back the fear telling them to flee, knowing that fleeing would only make things worse. After a moment, a deep, resonant voice tells the characters, “Kneel, and prepare to receive the mark of penitence.”

The characters smell ashes and feel fingers smearing something on their forehead. They are told to wear these ashes for the remainder of the night and for the entirety of the day to come, and warned that if they remove this mark and disobey the word of a Sanctified priest, they will feel the pain of fire.

CONFESSION
As Vidal turns to face the group, each character feels their Beast cry out in sheer terror at the deadly opponent, who is the Prince. The man is a tall Spaniard, with Mediterranean features and broad shoulders. His slick, black hair appears wet, and he wears a neatly trimmed moustache and beard. He is dressed in a crisp black suit and meticulously polished leather shoes.

He asks for the character’s confessions.

PENANCE
The Prince listens carefully to each character’s confessions and blesses each of them in turn, stating that God forgives them even in their Damned state. He then suggests that the characters undertake an investigation on his behalf. And suggests that, perhaps, once they’ve shown their value on this simple mission, a more challenging, and rewarding, endeavor may be presented to them.

FROM THE GRAVE
Alexander waits outside to drive the characters. Before they leave, however, the characters are given money for supplies and go out into the city to get a change of clothes, a backpack two laptop computers and 3 cellphones. Katherine also pickpockets a wallet and uses the credit cards to activate wireless access on her newly stolen laptop. When they are finished acquiring supplies, they return to the mansion where Alexander waits to take them to their destination.

As the characters ride through the city, Alexander explains that he is taking them to a cemetery – a 18th Century graveyard, and that it means something to the Prince. People he knows are buried there, and someone has been doing voodoo inside the graveyard.

THE UNNAMED GRAVEYARD
The characters find blood on one of the tombs.
• Investigation of the monuments reveals tiny droplets of blood.
• Dimitri, now being a vampire, decided to taste the blood to gain information. This blood tasted good to him, but also flat and uninteresting. It conferred no Vitae and certainly not the quasi-erotic pleasure that the partygoers’ did. (Blood “spoils” very quickly for vampiric purposes.)
• The characters interrogate a local gangbanger, after a brief encounter with his friends, and find out that a woman comes here at night to “do voodoo crap,” which involves pouring blood onto the ground. He can’t describe this woman, however. He has never gotten a good enough look at her, and he actually seems to be afraid of her. He did see her stashing something in one of the monuments, however.

THE CASKET
The characters move the great stone lid of the casket covered in fresh blood. Inside this stone casket, is a wooden coffin. Also, there are several plastic garbage bags, apparently containing clothes. The clothes are woman’s fashions, ranging from bargain basement to extremely expensive. Some of the cheaper clothes have blood and white powder on them. Sakura realizes that flour is often used to draw symbols in vodoun rituals, and chicken’s blood is also sometimes used in these ceremonies.

Alexander comes to pick the characters up, helps them clean up the mess they made of the gangbangers, gives them a phone number to contact him and leaves them to their own devices. He suggests they find a haven and keep their noses clean, reminding them of the need to remain hidden from mortals.

SANITARIUM
The characters find haven in an abandoned sanitarium for the day. Dimitri is awakened by something while the sun was still up. He sees a flash of movement behind him, but couldn’t tell what it was. As he approached its direction, he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turns around in fear, but there is nothing there. He tries to wake up his fellow kindred who are still asleep, but they will not rise. He kicks Casey, and he stirs, apparently waking up to Dimitri’s kick. But as Casey turns around, Dimitri doesn’t see the face of his friend, but a hideous monster that makes even Katherine look human. It lunges at him and bites his neck.

Dimitri wakes up when the sun goes down, along with everyone else, unsure whether the episode was real or dream. As they’re leaving the sanitarium, however, he spots a small child’s body laying face down in the corner. He investigates and finds that the child is dead. He calls the group over, but no one else sees anything. As Dimitri looks back at the body in exasperation, he too finds that he sees nothing…

DIVINE WRATH
After Alexander listens to the characters’ story the night before, he contacts Maldonato, who asks to speak with the characters in person. The next day, after the characters wake from their slumber in the sanitarium, Alexander drives the characters to the front of a church, and tells them Maldonato is waiting for them inside. A silver Mercedes sits out front. Alexander says that Maldonato assumes many responsibilities, including hearing the characters’ report.

After the characters tell Maldonato everything they learned, he turns to the group, calling the voodoun woman the worst sort of blasphemer, and probably a follower of Savoy as well. He explains that Savoy is nothing more than a pretender, an usurper with a few followers who will be crushed in due time.

He asks the characters to find this voodoun woman defiling the cemetary, explaining that it would garner favor with the Prince.

Maldonato hands the characters a small ivory-colored card with a phone number printed on it. He gives the characters the keys to a fully loaded black van, large enough to transport all of them, which waits just outside the church. The van also contains about $10,000 in cash – a reward for their service to the Prince so far.

INVESTIGATION
Newsgroups: Katherine researches on her computer, finding:
1. The graveyard has been featured on several “haunted places” documentaries and websites. Stories speak of the ghost of a widow who goes to the graveyard to pray.
2. A fire in the District last year claimed the lives of 10 people. The fire department ruled the blaze arson, but no arrests were ever made. Witnesses saw a silver Mercedes speeding away. (Maldonato disposing of their handiwork after destroying the vodoun-practicing Kindred.)
3. Researching similar fires turns up a psychic reader’s store that burned about six months ago.

MEETING SAVOY
Corpus Christi seems small and dingy after your visit to Maldanado’s church, but also safer somehow. Father Marrow introduces the character to Savoy.

Savoy explains that Vidal is a bigot — he dislikes blacks, the vodoun culture, and anyone who is different from Vidal. Savoy states that while he might not practice vodoun himself, it is an offshoot of his own faith and he respects it. He believes that Vidal is on his way out and will soon sink into a death-like sleep. (According to Savoy, this happens to most elder vampires.) He intends to take the reins of the city when Vidal sleeps, and he feels that allowing Maldonato to do so would be a disaster of Biblical proportions.

When told about the job given to them by Vidal, Savoy shakes his head, and tells the characters that the Prince is using them. He will help them find the woman they search for, but tells them if they turn her over to the Prince and his lackeys, she will be burned even as she screams for mercy, and if they want her to survive, they cannot tell the Prince her name or anything about her. He also says that if the Prince executes her, he’s doing so only because she follows a faith other than his.

MARY’S PRAYER
Savoy gives the characters an address to a storefront, where he sometimes sees Mary.

The store is one large room. The floor is covered with soot and bloodstains, and the walls are decorated with strange symbols drawn in flour. At the front of the room, is a semicircle of candles and pictures of the Virgin Mary. Kneeling in front of those pictures is the woman the characters have come to find.

Mary is a black woman, possibly in her late 20s, but the disfiguration of her face makes her true age indeterminable. She wears a short skirt and a halter-top, and she has short black hair. She stares straight ahead at a large painting of the Virgin Mary, never even acknowledging the characters, her lips moving in prayer.

The characters question her, and she states that she didn’t know that the graveyard was special to the Prince and swears to remove her possessions and never return. The characters take Mary to Savoy, ignoring the phone calls from Alexader first, and later lying to him about finding Mary. Savoy vows to look after and protect Mary from Vidal, and he commends the characters for their bravery and charity. He recommends that they not offend the Prince, however, as Vidal is a dangerous enemy. Savoy, in return for protecting Mary, does ask for a favor – he would be grateful to have a set of eyes in the Prince’s circles.

FALLOUT
Upon exiting Corpus Christi church, the characters find their van missing, and suspect that Alexander took it back when he discovered the characters gave the Prince’s prey to Savoy. They call Alexander to tell him their van has been stolen, and he offers to replace it if they would like to come to Vidal’s mansion. His voice sounds knowing to Sterling, and his tone is unsettling. Alexander also offers the characters a place to stay the night, but the characters, in fear of their lives at the realization that they’ve betrayed Vidal, and Alexander seems to know, decline all offers.

The characters seek safe haven (by foot) in an abandoned sanitarium, just outside the city. Dmitri is again haunted by the small, monstrous child that only he can see, but his fellow kindred wake him from his delusions.

With less than an hour before the sun rises, Sterling spots a silver Mercedes parked about 10 blocks away from the sanitarium. He recognizes this as Maldonato’s Mercedes. Without time to find another place to rest before the sun comes up, the characters attempt to fortify the sanitarium as much as possible. Before they can finish fortifications, sleep takes them, one by one, as the day comes.

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ACT II

After surrendering to the Founders, the characters were brought to and held inside the barn, across the way from the Inn they all met at the day before. Tonight, however, it contained some new furniture – the wall was lined with some creative torture devices.

It quickly became obvious to the characters that torture was imminent, no matter what they said, or explained.

One of the captives is tied down, and has a reverse clamp shoved into her mouth, placed firmly against her upper and lower teeth. As it cranked, the device expands, becoming increasingly wider and wider, until it dislocates the jaw from the skull, audibly tearing it from the skin, muscle and cartilage that held it.

Another captive’s head was placed in a vice that slowly constricts, first fracturing the skull, then audibly cracking it, until it collapses completely beneath the force.

While being tortured, Jonathan (one of the few surviving ranks of the Conspirators) suddenly appears with a small cohort, who rescue the captives, in hopes of finding other survivors from the manse.

Unfortunately, he discovers that the Conspirators numbers were devastated from the attack on the Manse, and all that’s left is Jonathan’s cohort… and the recently Embraced entrées… numbers he will need to escape, and potentially depend on for long-term survival.

After the dramatic battle, where the characters discovered their new powers, the players retreat to a safe haven, where the last surviving Elder of the Conspirators awaits their return.

The safe haven is hidden through a small entrance into a deep cave that leads to a “bottomless pit” contained beneath the dark waters of an underground lake. In that lake, hundreds of yards beneath the water’s surface, chambers for torpor have been developed. Waiting at the lake’s edge, was the only Elder left of the Conspirators, who explains the necessity of escaping into the future to avoid the imminent vampiric genocide, and assists the party in entering Torpor and through the Fog of Ages.

[This was a plot train to get the characters into modern day – a time period preferred by vote]

One by one, the characters wake from torpor 566 years into the future. The year is 2010. The cave is not as it was in 1444. There are handrails, and man-made paths. A plaque hangs on the wall, detailing the history of the cave.

People and music can be heard from the distance. The vast wilderness that was left behind was replaced by a bustling cityscape.

Something inside the characters screamed for sustenance on a deeper level than they have ever known, and yet no food imaginable sounded at all appetizing. As they struggle with this feeling, 8 people could be heard approaching. The inexperienced vampires attacked the group with savagery, sating their appetites for the first time with the blood of young, college students.

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ACT I

The campaign begins with a tightly controlled destiny of the players, casting them into the role of desperate victims in the hands of powerful, malevolent creatures who trifle with lesser beings for their debauched amusement.

The date is April 4, 1444. It is a time of chaos and death. Act I (our first sitting) began with the characters preparing for a banquet given by the powerful and feared nobleman, Lord Giovanni. Each character received an exclusive invitation to a lavish dinner far above their station, and they assemble at a nearby inn to await a carriage to the Giovanni manse. The chosen later met their hosts, who were actually the elders of the vampire clans and conspirators against Giovanni’s elder brother, Cappadocius. Each elder took a personal interest in one of the members of the dinner party, and got to know their human meals. The players’ experiences were not pleasant ones for their characters. Their delightful time turned ugly as their initially genteel and polite hosts quickly became vicious. After a harrowing and traumatic experience, the characters were told (in lurid detail) they were to be sacrificed to the unwholesome appetites of their hosts – They were selected for having blood of exquisite taste and quality.

But before the characters were completely drained and killed, in a particularly dramatic fashion, the Giovanni manse is attacked by the Founders (a large number of Kindred who seek to unify the clans, and exterminate conspirators like the ones gathered at the Giovanni manse). To defend themselves, Giovanni and his coterie Embraced the sacrificial lambs, leaving the players to stave off the attack and buy the coterie more time to flee from the Founder’s army. After the Founders breached the manse, the characters surrendered to their mercy, and were brought to their castle for interrogation.

Act II (next week’s game) will briefly start right where we left off – a brutal interrogation that forces the characters to justify their continued existence to the Founders, who are eager to destroy them. If they survive, we have already preemptively determined as a group, that the characters will enter a state of torpor (a coma like state that Kindred have named for slumber/hibernation) for approximately 566 years, and awaken in the year 2010.

Act II gives the players much more control over their character’s actions and how they proceed through the nWoD. See you all next week! If you couldn’t make it to the game this week, you’re still more than welcome to jump into the game next Sunday!

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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