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[Vampire: The Requiem 2nd Edition] Nobody Wants You

Craig Oxbrow

Ah, y'know. This guy.
Validated User
Vampire: The Requiem
NOBODY WANTS YOU

For the 2013-4 academic year, I had a chance to run a preview of Blood And Smoke: The Strix Chronicle, aka Vampire: The Requiem 2nd Edition, thanks to Rose Bailey.

I got together a mix of players familiar with both World Of Darkness settings and new players.

We had some early dropouts, so I’ll only detail the PCs who stuck around a while.

Pavel Kowalski (Mekhet, Lancea Et Sanctum) was a former police officer, turned as a “reward” for a decade as a ghoul helping to cover up the crimes of vampires. Over forty, divorced, out of shape. A lapsed Catholic in life, a believer due to what he’s seen after death. Also prone to prophetic dreams.

Arthur Tanner (Daeva, Circle Of The Crone) was a dabbler in the occult who found out a little more than he had wanted. Early thirties, slick and charming, but not as much as he thinks.

Dr. Leonard Barrow (Nosferatu, Ordo Dracul) was a haematologist whose findings were just a bit too interesting. Neat and clean, fastidious about his appearance... prone to bleeding around the nails and from the nose and mouth.

Valia Burns (Daeva, Carthian) was a resident of San Francisco seeking support for her holdings, notably a bar with a back room catering to vampires. Apparently a second-generation hippie, really one of the originals.

Also present:
Nicholas Jones (Ventrue, Invictus) - descendant of the Prince of Carson City with contacts in San Francisco due to his involvement with the Cacophony and keeping the Masquerade online.
Alex Merrison (Gangrel, Carthian) was a student at the wrong place at the wrong time.
And a mortal driver, whose name I have apparently not written down.

The initial setup (which was not the best way to try out systems like Touchstones) was that the city the PCs hailed from had gone dark after an attack by an unknown enemy, and due to a warning they were the last ones out, new arrivals in San Francisco. I stuck semi-closely to the published version, adding a not-quite-Prince to lead the Invictus, a Canon to serve in place of the sleeping Cardinal, a Mother for the Circle, and a few others to the roster of NPCs.

This was mostly a chargen session, and then introductions. Some of them went more smoothly than others...

--

NOBODY WANTS YOU

1: GET OUT


Jones receives a call. Julia, another of his brood.

“Get out. Get out now.”

He stares at the phone for a moment, shuts it off.

--

A blacked out van, dusty from the road. One human being at the wheel. Looking back nervously at the five vampires curled up and hidden under tarpaulins. He looks ahead at San Francisco, down at the address scrawled on a note, and then over at the setting sun.

He stops and calls ahead as they enter the city limits.

“Who is this Alvarez?” Arthur looks at the note.
“Officially, an editor at a small publishing company.” Jones shrugs.
“Doesn’t sound like the usual Princely kind of job.”
“Not a Prince. A... magistrate.”
“So who’s really in charge?”
“Ask Pavel.”
“The Cardinal. He’s been here since before the city was called San Francisco. He’s actually your blood, though.” Pavel nods to Arthur, who wrinkles his nose with distaste.
“So. We go first thing?” Dr. Barrow asks quietly.
“Delaying is asking for trouble.” Arthur half smiles.

--

A small, purposely nondescript building. Home to Davison Farmer, Publishers.

Pavel looks over the building, pauses at the stickers on the glass. A small clear sticker for a security company, marked with a red crown with a V in the centre.

“This is the place.”

Even at this late hour, there’s someone in. An apparently young PA named Karen looks them over with a professional smile. “Go right up. Mr. Alvarez will see you right away.”

The head office is quite sizeable, lined with bookshelves. Titles with Davison Farmer publisher stamps on the spine dominate the shelves at eye level, many of them histories and photography collections for the city over the last century or more. One called “1906: From The Ashes”

A lean man in a dark suit, with a weathered face and slightly sallow complexion, sits behind a writing desk. On the visitors’ side are two chairs.

Nicholas takes one. The others stand.

Leonard peers at the books curiously, and stops himself pulling one off the shelf.

“So. Perhaps you could begin by telling me what happened? That you know.”

They do their best to explain.

“My, ah, my sire told me to bring the car around, and when I got back... his bag was there. The door was open. And I couldn’t sense him.” Jones pauses, frowns. “So I drove to the rendezvous. No sign of him.”

Alvarez studies them for a moment. He turns his eyes to Nicholas. “I am told that you are quite capable.” He looks across the others. “Can you say the same?”
“We can only offer what we can do,” Pavel replies.
“And we would be indebted to you,” Arthur adds.
“And do you expect more?”
“Maybe Julia. Henry. That’s probably it.” Jones shrugs.
“And will this come after you?”

They have no answer for that.

“Well, I appreciate your honesty there. I grant you leave to stay for one calendar month. After that time, we shall see. In the meantime, each of you has... relatives or fellow thinkers somewhere in the city. And do instruct your fellows to visit me here once they arrive. Business hours are until nine. The better to have someone here to deal with foreign inquiries. After that, I can be reached through my people. Also, And I shall be attending the symphony next Saturday. Charity function. Feel free to drop by. Best behaviour, of course.”

He rises from his seat, and hands Jones a business card. “My executive assistant, Ms. Davison. Now, don’t go hungry. The Castro is the usual place to dine, Golden Gate Park, or Colma if you can stomach leftovers. And you’ll need somewhere to stay.”

--

“So what now?” Alex asks.
“We can always hide in the sewers...” Dr. Barrow suggests.
“Not exactly ideal.” Arthur brushes imaginary lint off his collar.
“And we need to know what happened back there.” Pavel grimaces. “If not for us... we need to tell Alvarez something.”
“I’ll find us somewhere to stay.” Jones opens up his laptop. “Other than the sewers.”

--

Jones looks up at a student apartment near the park. “It’s not much. But it’s better than tarpaulins in the back of a van.”

Dr. Barrow pockets his smartphone. “Apparently something like this happened in New Mexico. The Order sent a group in to look after six months. They found nothing. Although they didn’t want to sleep in the city.”

Pavel massages his brow. “I woke during the day. Something about... a cave...”

Jones spins the apartment keys around on his finger. “So we agree to work together, at least until we know what happened?”

Alex looks around the apartment, shakes his head and leaves. He steps into a shadow and a lean mongrel dog pads out.

“One down.”

Arthur steps back out. “And I should try to find the Circle and then go... get a bite.”

--

Dr. Barrow opens the manhole in the apartment’s parking lot and climbs down.

He follows a trail of dead rats to a junction in the storm sewers.

“Boo.”

He turns to see a hunched figure behind him. In a grimy dark hoodie and shapeless jogging clothes, only the voice suggests it might be female.

“You’re one of us... but you’re not one of the Mother’s.”
“I came from Carson City.”
“What for?”
“Running away.
“We get that sometimes. Usually from Loss.”
“What have you lost?”
“No, that’s his name. Leave him alone.”
“Oh. I’m Leonard.”
“Sal. How many more?”
“Four. Not like us.”
“Lucky them.”

She steps back into a shadow and vanishes.

Dr. Barrow reconsiders sleeping there that day.

--

Pavel takes a cab to the Mission district, to the old Mission Delores itself. He can feel someone watching. He gets back inside, suspicions confirmed...

--

Arthur pulls a flier off a telegraph pole.

--

Jones receives a message from Julia. “Coming in at midnight. Henry and Kay.”
He leaves a reply. “I’ll make arrangements.” He retrieves a Davison Farmer business card.

--

Moving through a row of clubs not far from Stanford, Arthur finds someone easily impressed in the first, and the third, and more vampires in the fourth. A young couple, on either side of a now rather tired looking young man in a booth. They stop and look up, eyes following him as he passes. He nods to the couple in passing, the male tilts his head, and the female returns to licking the young man’s throat. The male still has an eye on Arthur as he leans over to kiss her, a drop of red falling from her lip onto his chin.

Heading out, Arthur pauses at an alley, sees a pair of eyes reflect the lights of a passing car.

He crosses the street, looks back, turns around - sees another vampire standing in his way.

Tall and lean, collar of a black coat pulled up against the wind, dark hair shaved short against his scalp.

“You.”

He grabs Arthur’s collar and effortlessly pulls him into the darkness of the alley...
 

Miss Atomic Bomb

Welcome to your life. There's no turning back.
Staff member
Moderator
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Validated User
I'm glad to see more Vampire AP! I like starting out on probation from the almost-Prince. It looks like you're doing night-to-night drama, which is one of my favorite things.

I'm interested to see what you do with San Francisco... it was a setting seed I'd been sitting on since the clanbooks, and the writer did a good job and came up with the story of the Cardinal. I think we'll see more of the Mission (but probably not the city proper) in Secrets of the Covenants. That part's not written yet, though.
 

Craig Oxbrow

Ah, y'know. This guy.
Validated User
I'm glad to see more Vampire AP! I like starting out on probation from the almost-Prince. It looks like you're doing night-to-night drama, which is one of my favorite things.

I'm interested to see what you do with San Francisco... it was a setting seed I'd been sitting on since the clanbooks, and the writer did a good job and came up with the story of the Cardinal. I think we'll see more of the Mission (but probably not the city proper) in Secrets of the Covenants. That part's not written yet, though.
Thanks!

It's a mix of night-to-night and overarching plot - what happened back home is the main ongoing hook, while trying to stay on their best behaviour affects their nightly activities.

Almost every named NPC from the Blood And Smoke section on the Mission appears at least once, and the Cardinal looms large for someone who's apparently in torpor. I've played a little loose with his backstory, even though the players all agreed (without me asking!) not to read that section until the end of the game. The Cacophony, and the idea from Daeva: Kiss Of The Succubus of the Invictus cranking it up to national usefulness, features here and there as well.
 

Craig Oxbrow

Ah, y'know. This guy.
Validated User
2: WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?

Arthur scouts the clubs, sees two vampires feeding and nods to them, sees a third watching him, crosses the street to avoid him - and is grabbed and pulled into an alley.

“You.”
“I was told it was alright to be here. Free ground. Is that not - ”
“Who told you?”
“Alvarez.”
“When?”
“When I arrived. Last night.”
“From?”
“Carson City.”
“Why?”
“It, ah... something happened to the - ”

The vampire lets go and steps back as Arthur stumbles and regains his balance, looking down to find his footing - looking back up to find himself alone.

Arthur waits for a moment, straightens his collar, and steps quickly out of the alley to hail a cab.

--

Jones shuts his phone. “Julia’s arriving tonight, we should make sure she gets here safely.”
“Anyone else?” Pavel asks.
“Henry and Kay.”
“They might know something.”
“Might.”

They’ve arranged to meet somewhere out of the way.

--

Long haul warehouses at the city limits.

The car they arrive in has a window fixed with duct tape and a long scrape without paint on one side.

Julia and Henry step out.

“Kay split off already, heading for San Diego. I’m meeting her there.”
“What happened?”
“Sideswiped on the way into town. Didn’t see the driver.”
“Here? Not there?”
“One of those little towns that’s basically a gas station - ”

At which point Henry stumbles back as a bullet slams into him.

Pavel was watching a good distance away, he goes to give chase.

Arthur was on a rooftop, he sees a car with a dented bumper rev up. “Here!”

Henry slumps back into the back seat of their car. Julia follows the others.

Pavel pulls out his backup pistol, the only weapon the group have, and cracks off a few shots at the windscreen. The car changes course, going into an empty warehouse.

Approaching cautiously, he finds the car empty.

Except for a bloodless corpse with a wound in his gut and his throat torn open.

“Shit.”

--

The group look at the body. Nobody recognises him.

Pavel looks through his wallet. “Fake ID. Pretty good one. Like you could get from one of our friends.”
“Ghoul?”
“The wound in his stomach was what killed him. Guess they didn’t want to waste any more blood.”

Dr. Barrow steps out of a shadow and sniffs the air. His nose wrinkles, and for a moment it’s a skull’s fleshless socket. “That way.”
Pavel nods. “Good. I hate having to investigate after we clear up the evidence.”

--

Barrow’s sensitivity for blood leads them to a fire exit forced open in another building.

Arthur whispers something, knots a cloth and spits a drop of blood onto it.

Barrow pushes the door open, and a pair of pale hands grab him and pull him inside.

Arthur catches one, and the fingers clench and stiffen.

Barrow pulls himself free, and the vampire stands there, gritting his teeth and glaring at Arthur.

“What have you done? What did you bring?”

--

Behind them, a second vampire observes, staying upwind.

--

The vampire sits, clenching and unclenching his fists, slowly regaining feeling.

“You weren’t the first to come past our post. The Canon wants to know who comes and goes. And we know one car went past and no-one went to the Magistrate.”
“When was this?”
“Four nights ago.”

The vampires from Carson City share a look. They step outside to discuss this away from him.

“So... someone came past the night before the attack...” Pavel states.

Everyone considers this.

“So what was the plan? See what we’d do?” Julia frowns. “See if we did anything weird?”
“Yeah. As plans go, fair enough. What will you do?”
“Not say here. Henry probably has to, for a while at least.”
“He can stay with us while he recovers,” Pavel offers.
“I think I’ll take this as a sign to keep going.”

Pavel goes back at the other vampire. “I have to speak with the Canon at some point. You can explain this to him before you go back.”
“I can do that.”

--

Jones calls Elena.

“Are you going to mention that we might have another local in town?” Arthur asks.

Jones moves out of earshot.

--

Pavel watches the vampire pour gasoline over the ghoul’s body and step back to throw a burning book of matches at it.

The vampire that came with him observes from a distance.

“Jonas will bring the newcomer to you, Eminence.”

--

OOC:

(Dr. Barrow steps out of a shadow and sniffs the air. His nose wrinkles, and for a moment it’s a skulls fleshless socket.)
“What do you look like?”
“Monstrous. But I wear slacks.”

(Arthur whispers something, knots a cloth and spits a drop of blood onto it.)
I should mention that Arthur has Cruac, and used Rigor Mortis. Before we all noticed it’s now a fifteen-minute ritual. So let’s say it was prepared in advance...
 

Craig Oxbrow

Ah, y'know. This guy.
Validated User
3: THIS IS OUR CITY

Jones makes the call.

“Another one?” Elena asks.
“Technically two, for now, but one isn’t staying.”
“Well, if you have time, there’s a bar near the Rack... Just if you have time.”

He gets the message.

--

Valia’s bar is near Stanford, popular with students, a retro hippy style marked out by the heavy wooden shutters that could keep the sun out during the day.

Valia looks up from her seat as Arthur looks in.

“Not seen you around before.”
“Someone recommended it.”
“The family room’s in the back.”
“Been here a while?”
“All my life, give or take.”
“Anyone else here now?”
“Who are you looking for in particular?”
“Circle.”
“I know some. I can make a call.”
“In exchange?”
“Play nice.”

--

Pavel parks his car outside the Mission Dolores, looks up and shivers... looks over at a more modest church in the old building’s shadow.

As he steps in, eight of the thirty or so at the service notice without looking up. One of them, a small and stooped old Mediterranean man in a canon’s robes, sits behind the younger priest conducting the service in Latin, who does not seem to notice Pavel as he enters.

--

Arthur waits, an imported beer untouched in front of him.

“So you know the locals. Do you know a big guy, short cropped dark hair... on the main street, not very neighbourly?”
“Walker. Yeah... he doesn’t come in here. I mean, if it’s him. If there’s another one like that I’m sure we’ll hear about it.”
“Who is he?”
“He’s been around longer than I have.”

--

Pavel sits quietly at the back until the end of the service, when the canon approaches, flanked by a thin man with mixed native and Spanish heritage.

“Good evening, my son. Welcome to our parish.”
“I’m, ah, quite new to town. The publisher mentioned I could find my people here.”
“And I hope he has been proven correct.”

The canon is a small, unassuming man. Except to a vampire’s senses.

“What brings you to our Mission?”

Pavel takes the question literally.

“Something attacked the elders in my city. Some of us escaped. And... some left the night before.”
“I see. Troubling. Have you informed our mutual friend?”
“One of my fellow travellers said that he would.”
“And you seek aid in finding them?”
“I would like to know more, if you can offer aid. Speak to your congregation?”
“I can do this. This is our city. Little eludes us.”

The thin man steps back, letting Pavel pass unchallenged. The canon watches him leave, his expression thoughtful.

--

Arthur looks up as what appears to be a trust fund rebel with auburn dreadlocks and a small number of piercings enters. Valia nods to her and she steps over to meet Arthur.

“Sister C.”
“C for...?”
“Secret.” She smirks. “So, what brings you to town?” She makes a point of picking up Arthur’s untouched beer and sipping it, makes a face as she swallows.
“Heard anything about Carson City?”
“Is that where Johnny Carson comes from?”
“No.”
“Then I guess not.”
“It... went dark.”

C considers this for a moment, and hands him a card for a bookshop.

“Corner of Page Street and Masonic Avenue.”
Really?
“I know, right? How could we not?” She smiles for a moment. “Mother Surnow might know something. She’s seen this place turn upside down. But if she doesn’t, there aren’t many of us. We’re one officially tolerated cult among many but this is the other team’s town. They were here first. As in before the town was a town.”

--

Jones looks for somewhere to stay, thinks for a moment, then starts looking at recent rents and purchases. He calls Pavel, one the way out of the church.

“Might be our friends from back home.”
“Watch for a while. I can find someone to keep an eye on it during the day...”

Pavel stops as he finds a flyer on the windshield of his car.

REJECT THE LIE. LOOK UP AND KNOW THE TRUTH.

A photocopy of words and letters assembled from a newspaper, and a mockingbird from a book cover under it.

He looks around. None of the other cars in the church’s parking lot have been flyered.

He looks under his car for bombs before getting in, throwing the crumpled flyer onto the passenger seat before driving off.

--

OOC:

A short session, down a couple players and bringing a new character up to speed. Valia is a local rather than a refugee, and created to be willing to help the new arrivals and have an investment in the city.

Weird trivia: I used Canadian actor Laurence Leboeuf as a visual reference for C after seeing her in various guises in Being Erica, which I was watching because co-star Tyron Leitso was likewise cast as London in Never Let Go. (And this includes an appearance in the Vampire LARP episode, although sadly not in vampire costume.)
 

Craig Oxbrow

Ah, y'know. This guy.
Validated User
4: GET OUT

Dr. Barrow has been making himself at home, in one way. His room in the Golden Gate Park shared... lair now has an ironing board and trouser press.

Arthur looks over it and shakes his head. “You monster.”
“Well, I’m not actually sleeping here...”

--

Down the manhole, two turns to the left, he has found a storage closet. And further along, downhill... a fatberg.

He takes photos. Adjusts a running light to shine on it and through some of the thinner areas. Takes more.

--

Henry calls Jones. “There’s someone at that house you found. It’s... a human.”
“I see...”

--

Pavel takes over surveillance. Coffee and donuts for the sake of appearances.

He also asks Valia who the Kindred know in the police.

“There’s the coroner, of course... the best person to ask is Leonetti.”
“Detective?”
“Alvarez’s... man on the inside.”

Leonetti looks like he was a detective in life, and hasn’t quite stopped.

“I could find you someone to watch the place during the day. Who’s in there?”
“We don’t know yet. But it might be someone else from back home. Who hasn’t introduced himself.”
“That’s not very neighbourly.”

They pause as a woman looks out. Pavel moves closer, and takes a photo.

“Anyone you know?”
“Not from home.”
“I’ll run her face through ID. Get a print off the door handle once she goes out, maybe...”

--

The result comes back as Diane Kelman, 26, local resident with priors for minor possession. No clear way she could afford a place like this.

--

The next evening, Pavel meets Arthur, Henry and Dr. Barrow.

“We have one suspect, in a situation where we can secure her and ask her what we need to know. Dr. Barrow, you can get closest, go around the back. Arthur, cover this side, Henry the other, I’ll... ring the doorbell.”

They are aware that between them they still only have one gun. Pavel has it so he takes the front door.

No answer to the bell. He clutches the handle, pushes some stolen blood into his muscles, and forces it open.

Silence inside.

Arthur covers the back and one side, Henry the front and other, and Dr. Barrow follows Pavel in.

He finds a scent soon enough, follows it to a bedroom door... where... “It stops in the doorway.”
Pavel looks at the doorway. “But... where...?”

Arthur joins them inside, looking at the door. “Ghosts?”
“Ghosts?” Dr. Barrow scoffs.
“You’re a vampire.”
“... Hm.”
“We should get out.”
“Do ghosts have a smell?”
“I suppose they can...”

Pavel puts a hand through the doorway. Nothing unusual happens.

Arthur bites his thumb and flicks blood through it.

Nothing unusual happens.

--

Valia nods. “Ghosts? Yeah, I know someone who can tell you a bit more about them.”
“Great. And...” Pavel pauses.

“We got to get a door repaired.”
“Should I ask?”
“Following a lead. Didn’t pan out. Technically trespassing. A human disappeared.”
“Tell me you didn’t make them disappear.”
“No. One minute on the house, the next... not.”
“You mean actually disappeared. In a puff of smoke?”
“We didn’t see it. But there weren’t any secret doors or anything.”

She takes the picture of the girl, and goes to make a Missing poster.

--

Jones receives an email from another escapee, now in Reno.

--

Dr. Barrow looks up the Stanford laboratory for blood diseases. His ID from his human life might get him inside... or his ability to move without being unseen might.

After twenty minutes looking around the facility, and checking the whole blood refrigerator to find it sadly lacking, he senses another vampire. A rather weary man whose ID says Professor Rothman.

“Dr. Barrow, is it? I believe you’re related to one of my colleagues.”
“Ah... a former colleague, sadly.”
“So I gather. Same thing as Las Cruces. And possibly Odessa, Texas...”

Barrow looks... concerned.
 

Craig Oxbrow

Ah, y'know. This guy.
Validated User
5: YOU ARE NOT WELCOME

Valia does indeed know someone who knows about ghosts. Which is how Arthur, Pavel and Dr. Barrow find themselves joining her on the 11 p.m. boat to Alcatraz for the midnight ghost tour presented by her friend Carrie Figtree.

When the vampires see the apparently young woman in a vintage guard’s cap and skull makeup, they can all tell that she might know more than she tells most of the tourists - she’s one of them...

“Visitors, welcome... Step onto the Rock, and step carefully.”
“What can we expect to see tonight?” Dr. Barrow asks, trying not to sound too eager.
“I can’t promise we’ll see anything. The inmates don’t run to a strict schedule any more.”

In fifty minutes, she discusses some of the legends, some of the claims of ghost sightings since the prison closed in 1963, and enough to impress the human visitors.

“I ride back with the staff, you can too. That gives us an extra hour to talk... maybe see a little more.”
“So there really are ghosts here?” Dr. Barrow asks doubtfully.
“Yes. They remain anchored to the place they died.”
“Can you see them?”
“No... generally no, anyway. But sometimes I hear them, sometimes they can pass messages other ways.” She holds up a notebook and charcoal pencil. “And there are less than when I started... maybe they worked out what they needed to move on... or maybe they ran out of time.”
“You are very creepy.” Arthur half smiles.
“Force of habit.”

They follow her through dark and silent corridors, further into the former prison.

“Can ghosts... teleport?” Arthur actually cringes as he suggests this.
“If they can appear, they can probably disappear as well. Move without trace.”
“That would work.”
“Why? What have you seen?”
“We thought she was human, maybe a ghoul, but... a ghoul shouldn’t be able to vanish like one of us. Even her scent disappeared.”
“Where?”
“In a doorway.”
“Ah, well, portals have power. That’s why some vampires can’t enter a house uninvited.”
“So, what... magic?”

She shrugs. Dr. Barrow scoffs again.

She leads them to a cell block the tour did not visit. “The most active residents are around here... vampires might draw them out.”

As they approach a specific cell, something unseen strikes at its door. Again. Again. The door starts to slide open. The room grows colder.

And something pushes Pavel.

“It’s singled you out. Why?”
“He was a cop?” Arthur suggests.
“I was a deputy.”

Another door starts to open.

“We should get out. You’re not welcome.” Carrie opens the guardhouse door.

Pavel feels the gun in his shoulder holster move, hears it click through like someone taking off the safety.

He runs.

Carrie waves her hat through the cold air as Valia gets out, last of all, then closes the door firmly after passing through.

“They shouldn’t come past the door. Not for any physical reason, but the anchor holds them close to their cells...”

Arthur nods.

“Okay. Portals. What else does that?”
“The Circle might know.”

Pavel frowns as Arthur nods again.

“I can spend a few hours on the mainland, look things up. If there’s something new in the underworld, I want to know about it as well. Although I’d sooner stay here. If it comes down to it, it’s not a bad place to hold up. As you’ve seen, they don’t like intruders.”

Dr. Barrow looks back at the cell block.

“I would love a chance to analyse this effect. I may not believe in ghosts, but obviously something is going on in here.”

Carrie gives him a look. He doesn’t really notice.

Valia helps her with her hat as they make their way to the waiting ferry.

“Thanks.”
“No, no, thank you. Quite a show.”
“One of my better ones this season. Oh, what are you doing for Halloween...?”

--

OOC:

Carrie is the first character from the book to make an appearance, although not the first to make their presence known. Valia’s a local and a vampire since the 60s, so even though she has no occult contacts it seemed reasonable to know her.

The ghosts’ reaction to Pavel occurred to me at the time, as it seemed to fit. When I started planning the chronicle I did not intend to make other supernatural beings a major feature, but the ghosts crept in... and you’ll see something else next time.

(Weird trivia: the TV series Alcatraz was running on a free TV channel for the first time while he game was going on. I managed to stop myself doing a crossover.)
 

Craig Oxbrow

Ah, y'know. This guy.
Validated User
6: IT’S AFTER YOU

Leonetti flashes a badge and pulls up a Crime Scene tape cordon to walk over to a body. He shuts his mouth tight as he smells the blood, taking a moment to compose himself before speaking.

“So, what do we have?”
“Animal attack maybe.” The CSI shrugs. “Or... hopefully.”

Leonetti nods, pauses, and looks across the street. Grimacing, he walks over to a particular house and knocks on a particular door.

Jones answers.

“Uh... hello?”

--

The group return from Alcatraz, without Valia, to find Leonetti waiting for them in the front room.

“Something you need to see.”

--

A dead body being loaded into a coroner’s van, less than two hundred feet from their door.

Four deep jagged cuts on the victim’s throat, almost enough to take his head off.

Like claw marks.

“So, who has an alibi?” Jones asks. “Because I don’t. We could all end up taking the fall.”

Arthur looks at him like he’s reading that as a threat.

Dr. Barrow sniffs the air. “Smells like... wet dog. What could that mean...?”

Arthur and Pavel share a look and blanch.

“What?”

--

Leonetti returns with a photo of the victim’s ID.

“Nobody I know,” Pavel confirms. The others shake their heads.

--

Behind him, Dr. Barrow retrieves some blood with his fingertip, tastes it, spits it out.

“Tastes... dusty.”

--

Arthur makes a call.

“You didn’t mention this before, but... this city have a werewolf problem?”

Valia raises her eyebrows.

“As far as I know, we have a werewolf. And he only lives here over winter.”
“Oh. Uh... we may need to talk to him.”
“Ask C. He’s... less unfriendly with the Circle than most.”

--

Dr. Barrow takes the news of a werewolf visiting as a sign to find more boltholes, stashing sealed garment bags of clean clothes in out of the way places around the storm drains.

He also takes the time to string some lights around the fatberg.

A splash behind him.

“I didn’t hear you come in.”
“Thank you.”

Sal stops closer.

“What do you know about werewolves?”

--

“Oh, fuck.”

C has half her head shaved, the other half of her hair dyed blue, and is dressed to go skateboarding.

“His name is Hughes. Apparently this is an old joke. He’s not local. He says there used to be more of his people on the coast but they left before the cities. There are still some up country, but he’s the only one who sticks around. And no, I don’t know why. He likes his territory to be clearly understood. But he doesn’t make a habit of killing people. Or even vampires. If he did, he probably had a good reason. Or what he thought was a good reason.”
“So he doesn’t eat people?”
“We all say we don’t eat people.”
“Good point.”

--

“How best to approach a werewolf?” Dr. Barrow asks. “Do you... bring him a gift? Meat? Roadkill?”
“Mother would say get someone else to.” Sal shrugs, and her bones click as she does. “But if you have to... get downwind, let him know you’re coming, unarmed...”

--

Following Sal’s directions, they reach the edge of Glen Canyon Park.

It doesn’t take long for Hughes to find them.

Tall, heavy-set, with premature silver in his dark hair and shaggy beard. Lumberjack shirt, faded jeans, well-used walking boots.

Hughes breathes deep, low and loud. He’d steam up a window if he was indoors.

“What brings you to my place?”

Arthur steps forward.

“A killing near our... residence.”
“You were going to say territory but you can’t make that claim.” Hughes half smiles, showing a glint of more sharp teeth than even a vampire.
“It looked like it might have been...”
“One of mine? Haven’t been down that way a while. Haven’t had need to. But. Maybe one of mine passed by. Not there any more. I can maybe get them to talk to you.”
“There was something wrong with this person,” Dr. Barrow says, stepping closer.
“Like we can talk.” Hughes shrugs. “What?”
“A... dusty taste to his blood.”

Hughes considers this.

“Let you know come Monday. Let yourselves out.”

--

This leaves them a night to wait, to pursue other lines of inquiry, and to try and keep busy.

--

Dr. Barrow looks at a blood sample from the victim in the haematology lab.

“Like he’d been dead a week...”

Then he goes to the blood fridge, finds it empty apart from one pint. Leaves a passive-aggressive note about sharing resources. Then takes the pint and drinks it.

--

Pavel and Henry attend midnight mass at the church near the Mission.

Alvarez does as well. He and the Canon talk at some length as the congregation file out.

--

Jones meets with Elena Davison, who introduces him to local businesspeople. Who are actually people.

--

Monday night, and they find a message on their answering service. An address. An owner-operated gas station in the hills halfway to Fresno.

Henry makes an excuse about his injury not quite being healed from the last time he went on the highway.

--

They travel together, Pavel driving one car with Dr. Barrow at his side, Jones and Arthur in a second.

--

“Why a gas station?”
“Real easy to start a fire.”

A young man, rail thin, in threadbare jeans and a sleeveless old shirt.

Another boy, faded T-shirt and cargo pants.

A middle-aged woman with a shock of auburn hair, wearing a man’s shirt too big for her and a cotton skirt down to her ankles.

All three barefoot.

Dr. Barrow looks at the roadkill he collected before thinking better of it. Maybe it wouldn’t be insulting after all.

“We’re here about the body outside our house.”

The woman leans against her car, wolf eyes watching the vampires.

“Yeah, we saw ’em. Smelt wrong.”
“Wrong? Wrong how?” Dr. Barrow asks.
“Like you. Worse. Kind of... dusty.” She shrugs.
“Dusty...” Barrow echoes with a slight nod.
“Sick. Kind of sickness can spread.”

She looks up.

“And it’s after you.”

--

OOC:

(Barrow sniffs the air. “Smells like... wet dog. What could that mean...?”
Arthur and Pavel share a look and blanch.)

Arthur and Pavel’s players share a look and blanch. The reaction to the hint of a werewolf clearly divided those familiar with the Classic World Of Darkness from those not. Mostly because the former were swearing and running away.
 

Tonbo_Karasu

Registered User
Validated User
You know, I don't recall ever actually finding out how she disappeared. What happened? Or do you want to wait until it's not a spoiler?

Pavel
 
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