Friday, 4 January 2019

Vampire the Masquerade V5 - Session Twelve - The Pasadena Problem (Part Seven)

I'm currently running a Vampire the Masquerade chronicle using the 5th Edition rule-set for a small group of fellow role-players. These are the chronicles of their adventures.
Our campaign is set in Los Angeles and features a small group of Camarilla agents sent into the 'Free States' to search for ways to once again bring the Ivory Tower to dominance under the pretence of being disillusioned neonates looking for the freedom of the Anarch way of life. Having made a few allies unsuspecting of their greater goal they have decided that in order to gain influence they need to acquire a barony of their own.
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The now obligatory warning bit - Unlike my other RPG write-ups this one will contain swearing, sexual references and other references that might offend. If you can't tell the difference between real peoples opinions and grown-ups role-playing predators who crave blood then this probably won't be for you. I've also used actual photographs to represent some characters which I'll give acknowledgements to at the end if I've any idea who they are.
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The introduction to this campaign, the first story and all the other parts can be found at the following links and are in chronological order...
Welcome to L.A. - Introductory Session
Story One - 'Three Murders' - Part OneTwo, ThreeFour and Five
Interlude Session - One
Story Two - 'The Pasadena Problem' - Part OneTwoThreeFour
Solo Session - 'The Neillson Library'
Story Two Continued- 'The Pasadena Problem' - Part Five and Six

The Storyteller
Garreth as Everyone else...
The PC's
Phil as Michael Tomassio - Toreador
Matt as Dr Daniel Matthews - Banu Haqim
Dave as Vincent 'Vin' Ghast - Brujah
Work commitments meant we were a kindred down for another session so he became an NPC for a bit as they needed him for something...
Unexpectedly an NPC
Tom as Johnny 'Roach' West - Malkavian
The player characters stats and backgrounds can be found HERE should any-one be interested.
As I have written out introductions and dialogue for certain NPC's and some location descriptions I'll post these more or less as I wrote them so they'll be in a 'reading to the group' style and they'll also be in blue so you can tell them apart from the more traditional write-up sections and occasionally an obscure Malkavian premonition will turn up in purple. If I think something needs a bit of out of character explanation then those will get a storytellers note that will helpfully be in red...

Introduction
With the information gained from their meeting with Baron of Pasadena Edward Vignes at the Galerie Sanguine and with the first hand observation of the entities resting place at the Vignes mansion by the Banu Haqim Daniel the coterie finally has enough information to bring to their guide to the dark world of necromancy, Pisha. Hopefully they can come up with a final strategy and the preparation necessary to eliminate it and claim Pasadena for themselves.

Storytellers Note - The players had all decided their characters were doing various things themselves or via ghouls during the time they had left so I'd prepared some hand-outs for the start of the session. Daniel wished to do some research on other possible kindred in the area, Michael being more used to how the Camarilla worked was looking into if their were any 'rules' for becoming a baron and Vin had his network of street people keeping an eye out for spies. Roach was in his haven being all Malkavian so I didn't need to bother with him ;-)

Interlude Six - Private Investigations
Alonzo Guillen?
Dr Daniel Matthews
As far as your research can detect there are no other kindred making their havens in Pasadena. There's also no-one who seems to have any knowledge of a Nosferatu hidden in the hills though apparently the land still belongs to the Guillen family and has done for several centuries. It's currently held in trust though the land is essentially worthless due to the area being unsuitable for building on and it also has several protection orders placed on it due to various rare examples of plant-life and certain insects.

Vincent Ghast
Now they've been alerted to the possibility your eyes and ears on the street have been keeping a watch out for intruders on your territory. There have been two of note, firstly a fairly generic looking fellow described as "wearing an old suit" and "wrapped in rags" who has been appearing nearby for short periods and then disappearing down alleyways and eluding any pursuit and secondly a number of what your people call 'gang-bangers' have been wandering through the area but not lingering for long. You imagine these are members of other gangs doing basic recon exactly as you would yourself in their place 'sizing up the opposition' so to speak.

Michael Tomassio
There appears to be no precedent for inheriting or bequeathing a barony that you can find. Basically a barony is an area you can control and the baron is the one controlling it. It is however somewhat traditional for some-one claiming a barony to announce the fact at the next 'Rant' that occurs afterwards. Whether you're shouted down or listened to will entirely depend on your personal power or the support you are perceived to have at the time. Apparently the next rant is less than a month away...

Scene Twenty Two - Sword, Stone and Chain (Part One)
Pisha - Nagaraja
Cannibal and Necromancer
The coterie gathered at the Galleries meeting room where Daniel relayed all the details of his near escape at the Vignes Mansion to the rest including details on the stone prison, strange sword, chains and the unusually excessive illumination. Michael in turn informed the doctor of their confirmation of the theory that the ring was indeed the fetter allowing Edward to focus the creatures power and incidentally that many of his reservations about murdering the baron had been somewhat alleviated by having to deal with him for an entire evening. When they compared notes on the information gathered during the remainder of the evening it seemed that the individual observed by Vin's lookouts may well have been the Nosferatu the Banu Haqim had observed in the cave in the hills as the style of dress was exactly the same.

It soon became apparent based on what they'd learned that taking the fetters to Pisha for destruction was no longer a viable strategy as they'd be obliterated by the entities power long before they got anywhere near the abandoned hospital. Vin also expressed his doubts about the potential consequences of giving a basement dwelling cannibal potential access to that level of power. The Toreador pointed out that up to now she seemed to have been trustworthy enough in their dealings though as Vin pointed out they weren't trading in such powerful artefacts at that point. Daniel also seemed to trust that the Nagaraja would keep to her part of their deal believing her interest was academic rather than an effort to obtain anymore power. Of course Daniel had on occasion showed a certain naive presumption that others possessed the same code of honour as himself.

Interlude Seven - Meat on the Hoof
The rituals required to enter Pisha's domain had now become familiar to the coterie though Roach still refused to go anywhere near the place after his mental probing of it's secrets on a previous visit had rendered him catatonic. On this visit however something unusual was to occur.

About halfway through the labyrinth of corridors, abandoned rooms and blood-stained passages a clear cry for help could be heard from one of the areas visited previously but that this time wasn't indicated on one of the ever changing maps they used to navigate the death trap hospital. The Toreadors newly developed supernatural senses had given him a glimpse of some of what lurkedin those forbidden areas and he now wholeheartedly agreed with Roach's mantra of "Keep to the map...."

As they looked in the direction of the pleading a young man perhaps seventeen or eighteen years of age turned a corner and ran towards him screaming for help. As he made his way perhaps halfway along the passage towards them a storeroom door flew open with such force that hit hurled him to the floor. Now terrified beyond measure the boy scrambled to his feet and continued towards them.

It was possible he may have made his way to the safe route but as he staggered towards the kindred a light fitting swung free from it's mount and the glass cover and bulbs within exploded into fragments piercing his eyes and throat as well as riddling his body with jagged shards. With his ability to see what was unseen to the others Michael observed the translucent forms of spectral creatures watching the now bloody form dragging it's way along the floor. Daniel pointed out that given the injuries the boy had mere minutes to live and then Vin drove his foot down onto the unfortunates neck in what was an act of mercy whether that had been his intention or not.

The Brujah then grabbed the now dead mortal and dragged them along with them because as he pointed out he was either bringing the cannibal a meal or returning one that had got away, either of which couldn't help but ingratiate themselves with her one way or another. Michael reluctantly agreed but did his best to avoid stepping in any of the various fluids the corpse left behind as Vin towed it along behind him.

Scene Twenty Three - Sword , Stone and Chain (Part Two)
Other than a different selection of dismembered bodies in what Vin now referred to as 'the dining room' the area was much the same and they were greeted by Pisha as they entered. Vin handed over the recently deceased young man who Pisha took from him and casually tossed him one handed onto a vacant gurney. "I really need to check the locks in the cell block more often...please follow me..."Once in what was seemingly the necromancers office they relayed the new things they'd learned and awaited her assessment of the overall situation.

"Well this is very interesting indeed." she started quite matter of factly "The ring will merely be a focus for the power of the entity and a beacon to draw it to him, it's the other items that are of most interest." Pisha fetched a book from her collection bound in the same pale leather of many of her volumes and turned to a page containing several drawings of sword like artefacts matching Daniels description of the spiral one embedded in the body in the basement sarcophagus.

The doctor indicated the one closest to the item he'd seen. "That type of binding weapon is quite ancient, I've only seen one example before and that belonged to the Boston Necromancer who I mentioned on one of your previous visits. But it was far less intricate than the one you described"

She learned forward in her chair and Michael could clearly see the interest in her eyes "The one you've discovered appears to have been crafted by warping three blades of the Tal'Mahe'Ra (a powerful cult who mainly existed in the underworld domains of ghosts and wraiths) together into a single weapon." "The power amplification must be incredible, though the victim must have been proficient in necromancy or a practitioner of some art related to Oblivion for even that to channel the raw power you've experienced"

It seemed that the coteries theory that the unfortunate had been bound by blood magic in the Vignes previous home of Boston was correct. One of the theories they put forward was that perhaps this necromancer had been defeated using her own tools and was in fact the enslaved entity. Pisha deemed this unlikely as she doubted that an amateur practitioner or a novice could have completed such a complex and innovative process without many years of experience.

With the blade explained she then gathered several more volumes so Daniel could identify the runes he'd seen on the chains with the aid of the talisman she'd provided. Eventually he recognised something very similar in an ancient volume and Pisha spoke once more.

"The chains are merely to prevent the physical body from moving or the spirit trans-locating in any manner. Whoever created must have been concerned that the victim could escape their prison by shifting into the shadow realm and perhaps creating an new physical form for themselves elsewhere or simply using abilities to remove the blade from a distance" It was obvious to all there that the occult expert was very impressed indeed. "Some-one has used three very different necromantic items and combined their effects to create both a prison and a weapon..." "I suppose you'll be waiting to learn how to remove this enslaved being from Edwards service then?" queried Pisha. The assembled vampires indicated that they'd be very interested in her opinion on the matter, the interested in deed in fact.

"The first step is simple, remove the blade from the victims chest which will require little more than the physical strength to do so" "The weapon will I'm afraid still amplify the creatures power somewhat but it's removal from direct contact with it's core essence will reduce this effect considerably" "Destruction of the chains binding it's soul to the physical form will require an alchemical preparation that I will provide for you. You need not necessarily remove them as the imprisonment is somewhat metaphysical in nature. Once they are broken their power of binding is effectively gone and the blade should no longer act as an amplifier." "The mundane illumination surrounding it may also hold some of it's inherent darkness at bay so there destruction is necessary"

"With these three steps complete the bound spirit may simply disperse though given it's power and force of will that seems unlikely. More likely it will be drawn to the single remaining symbol of it's enslavement, namely the ring you spoke of." "Edward may still be able to wield it's power though it should have no more than it possessed in life, of course that may be still be considerable" "A second alchemical preparation will destroy this final fetter though how you separate it from the baron is something I leave to your own imaginations" She paused and the now experienced group braced themselves for the catch. "My fee for the creation of the preparations you require will be the sword itself. A small price to pay for the services I've provided up to now I'm sure you'll agree." The final proclamation was most definitely a statement not a question and they had little choice but to agree.

They were told that the alchemical potions would be prepared in a days time and that they should return then. Once again she took the map they'd used to navigate through the hospital and handed them a different one for their return journey.

On the drive back a number of potential plans were discussed including several ways of removing the mass of lights in the prison room quickly. Vin asked whether there was simply a light switch they could turn off and somewhat embarrassed that he hadn't actually checked Daniel claimed that there wasn't one there at all while making a mental note to check for one next time.

Storytellers Note - At this point I needed to stall a little as they'd need Roach's player available for the grande finale and as I knew the players had discussed military hardware I reached for my side missions folder and mentally inserted a few appropriate NPC's...

Scene Twenty Four - Overkill is Underrated
'Roach' - Malkavian
Not at his Best...
Once they had rejoined Roach at the gallery who seemed to be sulking slightly less than earlier and relayed to him what they'd learned his first reaction was that some firepower should it all go wrong would be in order. Though they were fairly well equipped in the area of handguns and shotguns they only possessed one fully automatic weapon and that was also a shotgun.

Daniel who had sniper training was quite keen on the idea of acquiring a rifle so they could engage Edward at range rather than up close but both Daniel and Vin who had some experience at killing kindred knew that they'd need something with significant power to have any chance of putting him down quickly. There was also the possibility that Edward would have other servants with him and that they may need to engage a lot of targets. Roach and Vin were also both firmly of the opinion that betrayal from Vera and Henry was still a possibility despite Michael's assurance that their feelings for one another were quite genuine.

As their only contact able to acquire weapons 'no questions asked' was Fat Larry they decided to see if his 'friend' Venus could get in touch with him for them. This time Roach tagged along as they made their way to Club Confession to arrange a meeting with 'Fat' Larry...

Venus Dare - Ghoul
Club Confession Manager and Dominatrix
Club Confession contained it's usual eclectic mixture of customers and it's manager Venus Dare was behind the bar making casual conversation with some of the regulars. Michael politely got her attention and asked if it was possible for them to raise something with her in private. Knowing that they were what Marius referred to as 'special customers' she agreed and they followed her to her office past the hulking security man who seemed to habitually guard the staircases upstairs. Michael diplomatically asked if she could get in touch with Larry as they needed some equipment that he might be able to help him with and they knew that he had a tendency to arrive promptly when she asked. "That wont be a problem..." was the confident reply.

Venus's attitude with 'Fat' Larry was unmistakably that of a dominant personality dealing with a submissive one and they were unsurprised when Venus told them that Larry would be around as fast as he could. She also pointed out to Michael that there was no need to skip the word 'Fat' because in her words "He knows he has a weight problem, but he doesn't give a fuck...". They then waited in one of the private rooms for him to arrive.

Storytellers Note - For those of you who don't want to wade through the previous stories, Venus Dare is an experienced dominatrix as well as club owner and 'Fat' Larry is a loyal and regular customer of both her services.

'Fat' Larry
Purveyor of  Quality Merchandise
Larry freely admitted that the weaponry they wanted was not only difficult to get on short notice but was also somewhat out of his league and if they needed an extensive selection of military hardware he'd have to get in touch with the major player in that area of supply. He referred to this contact as "One of Mercurio's people..."

"I can arrange a meeting with one of his agents but after that you're on your own. He's significantly out of my league and I'd like to avoid his attention if I can. You see...we have the same...protection and I know full well which one of us get's found dead in a ditch if it comes to a conflict of interest.He retrieves a phone from the back of his van and makes his call. The conversation is short and to the point and Larry is obviously nervous when making it. "I've explained the situation and that we have some mutual friends...one of his guys will meet you tonight. Be careful. I know you're dangerous in your own way but these bastards are very serious indeed." You're given an address of an office in downtown in a building called the Venture Tower not far from Marius's Hallowbrook building. The contact is some-one called Kyran Cervantes who you are told will be in an office of something called Mercury Security Consultants.

Venture Tower
The Venture Tower was a tall office building with an extensive list of businesses within as well as a number of residential floors and a food court. The Mercury group apparently had a floor of their own with it's own reception area. The sign within the lobby indicated that the floor contained the offices of Mercury Defensive Arms, Mercury Imports and Exports, Mercury Security, Mercury Security Consultants and Mercury Private Military Contractors. The receptionist seemed utterly disinterested in her job though that may have had something to do with being at work halfway through the evening. After the usual platitudes Michael was pointed towards a nearby office where they were apparently expected.

You enter a spacious office with a desk at one end, several file cabinets and a number of chairs as well as a settee and coffee table in one corner next to a well stocked bar. Along one wall is a display board with newspaper cuttings and articles from a number of newspapers and military magazines detailing the many accomplishments of Mercury Security.

Two men are within the room, an obvious military veteran and another who likes more like a traditional business man though is wearing a somewhat loud shirt. The more business like of the two indicates that the other should leave. "This ones a 'special' Kyran, I'll deal with this one myself" The most businesslike of the two sits down behind the desk and indicates that you should take a seat yourselves."My name is Mercurio, I understand you have some particular requirements?"

Mercurio - Ghoul
Arms Dealer and Security Consultant
Seemingly sensing some reticence on their part, the mysterious Mercurio decided to allay some of their worries though inspired a few more questions while doing so "You may speak freely, I have dealt with the kindred of Los Angeles for quite some time. There's little I haven't heard before." Michael confirmed that they required a number of weapons of a military nature and then deferred to Vin who had complied a considerable mental list of equipment including a .50 cal sniper rifle (which Mercurio pointed out was ideal for removing important bits of nominally bullet-proof creatures of the night), a 7.62 SAW machine gun, four assault rifles and two blocks of C4 explosive, as well as ammunition.

As Michael watched the arms dealers fingers moving across a calculator on his desk he quickly realised that they'd need to pretty much bankrupt themselves and the gallery to pay for this lot. His empathetic talents also told him that the man in front of them both knew this was the case and didn't seem to care so he had a fair idea that he had something in mind. "This is quite an extensive shopping list and may be somewhat out of your price range...Perhaps we can come to some arrangement?" Michael began to wonder if any-one in Los Angeles ever did anything without attempting to screw him or his coterie over in some way. "May I ask a personal question?"

The personal question turned out to be an enquiry about what clans they belonged to and though Michael and Vin were honest in admitting to be Toreador and Brujah respectively, Daniel continued with his claim to also be Brujah. "So it would be fair to say that between you, convincing people to do what you ask and beating the shit out of them if they don't are well within your capabilities?" It was obvious that Mercurio knew the answer already but as they needed items that only he could supply Michael played along and agreed that this was indeed the case.

"I need some documents detailing a particular bid on a legitimate military contract held in the office of an up and coming rival of mine named Apex Solutions. Without this contract he'll go under and I'll be able to purchase what's left of his assets

"If you could accomplish this for me this evening I'd of course be grateful to the tune of an amount of money which is coincidentally exactly the same as that of your shopping list." "The office of my rival is protected by the usual precautions though I have access to some plans of the building. It's guarded of course but feel free to break a few heads if you need to or do that mind-control thing you lot have access to I just want the documentation, how it comes to me is irrelevant."

The coterie were provided with a reference number for the discussed contract they were to obtain, the address of their main office where it would be kept and a plan of their offices which Mercurio admitted was probably out of date as it was a preliminary document obtained by less than legitimate means. Quite keen on any job that had 'feel free to break a few heads' in the description Vin expressed his desire to just get it done and the others agreed though they decided to fetch Roach first as his peculiar but occasionally insightful observations may well come in useful.

Scene Twenty Five - Apex Solutions
After having found the Malkavian in a much improved mood he decided to join them but by the halfway point of their drive to Santa Clarita he'd gone from a high to a low and it was obvious that he'd be little use to them during the rest of the night. On their arrival Daniel parked close enough to observe the office but far enough away to minimise any suspicion as they discussed their options while making a tactical assessment of the situation. The one thing they all noticed was that the place was both open, inhabited and guarded despite the lateness of the hour.

The Banu Haqim's main interest was the security systems and he was intrigued to note that the corner of the building slightly obscured the view from one of the cameras covering the doorway which created a very narrow angle of approach though it was unfortunately across fairly open ground. The Brujah who still very much had breaking heads on his mind observed the exterior patrolmen and though they moved like professionals their situational awareness was quite poor. He imagined that they felt fairly safe and considered this 'easy duty'. Despite heists being somewhat out of his area of expertise, people were not and even from a distance it was easy for him to see that the exterior guards were fairly relaxed and didn't appear to be anticipating trouble. Roach's only input was "They're definitely not ghouls or supernatural in any way and there's no creepy blood magic or ghosts that creep into your brain about, now leave me alone..."

After considering their options they decided that as Mercurio was interested in the company that it probably wasn't entirely upstanding and that hopefully that meant that clients turning up in the middle of the night wasn't unusual, which was an idea somewhat justified by the simple fact that the office was indeed still open. Both Vin and Daniel who had some experience in these areas were reasonably sure that if this was the case then the exterior security cameras feeds were probably stored at the location rather than being linked to any mortal authorities who might ask difficult questions.

Michael Tomassio (Toreador) and Vincent Ghast (Brujah)
Infiltrating 'Apex Solutions'

The plan was therefore that Michael would pretend to be a prospective client with Vin as his 'bodyguard' and just walk right up to the front door and meanwhile Daniel would attempt to utilise his abilities of stealth and disguise to get into the building if the Toreador and Brujah had no opportunity to make a search. Deciding that Roach might be more a liability than an asset while in his current mood they left him in the car.

Security Guard - Apex Solutions
The front entrance was locked but had a button next to an intercom that was answered by a female voice who after speaking to Michael opened the door and invited him and his guard in. The woman was obviously from a military background based on her bearing and Michael explained that though he didn't have an appointment he'd like to discuss arranging some private security for a shipment he was planning on making soon.

The pair were shown to a meeting room near the entrance and asked to wait while she fetched a representative who could help with their needs. Michael commented on the well ordered and clean office and the lady told him they had a cleaner come in most nights but that today they were late for some reason. Once they were alone in the office, Michael let Daniel know that they were expecting a member of cleaning staff but that currently they were late as the doctor had earlier pointed out that he could mimic some-one generic using his disciplines if he had a rough idea of an illusion to use.

Storytellers Note - This was the first time the player had used the third dot Obfuscate ability 'Mask of a Thousand Faces' so I had to do a quick double check about how exactly the power worked. Apparently what he was attempting was well within the purview of the power so off he went with my blessing...kinda...

Daniel approached the building via the security camera blindspot he'd noted earlier as his abilities of Obfuscate didn't work against electronic surveillance. They did however work very well against mere mortals, a fact that was confirmed as the Apex receptionist greeted the apparent cleaner as he arrived, berating them slightly for being tardy and then ushered him towards the storage cupboard that he presumed was where the cleaning products were stored. As he moved across the office space he noted several people in a rear canteen, his allies in the meeting room and a stairway that wasn't on the plan they had been given.

Michael and Vin saw the cleaner arrive though only the Toreador had the abilities to see through the disguise as the Banu Haqim in the guise of a somewhat bland and generic cleaner made his way upstairs, mop in hand to investigate what he suspected was the server room and file storage area. Meanwhile the receptionist had fetched a sales representative who shook his hand slightly too hard and listened as Michael laid out his need for some private security to guard a transport of a valuable item. Michael also tested the waters about the honesty of the firm by pointed out that the item was of dubious heritage and the new owner wished to avoid certain restrictions on transport of items to his own country. It was no surprise to Michael that the idea of guarding a stolen item on it's way to a third world dictator didn't phase the man at at all and he merely asked them to wait while he checked on availability of personnel and the prices of the various levels of security on offer.

The upstairs level did indeed contain several file rooms but after picking the fairly simple locks they turned out to be archive rooms containing older documents and Daniel concluded that the files he sought must be elsewhere in the building perhaps in a downstairs office as they definitely weren't here.

He did however decide that he might as well deal with the server room which was also on this level so as to delete any security footage that might implicate him and his fellow kindred's mortal identities in the theft. The lock on this room was however considerably more complicated than those on those he'd previously bypassed.

Daniel who took considerable pride in his abilities at infiltration was becoming increasingly frustrated at his inability to bypass the lock on the server room door. With each failed attempt he could feel the beast that most sane kindred attempted to keep in check attempting to take control and suddenly he snapped and kicked the door as hard as he could taking it off it's hinges and propelling it several meters into the previously sealed room. In the downstairs meeting room both kindred clearly heard the crash from upstairs and as Vin stepped out to investigate one of the Apex Solutions staff put a hand out and asked him to return to where he'd come from. Not wishing to start any trouble just yet he did as he was asked.

With stealth temporarily out of the question Daniel smashed the hard drives within the room and thinking quickly smashed open the lock on a window to the outside to make it look like his escape route and swung it open before abandoning his supernatural disguise and instead utilised another aspect of his powers and disappeared from view before the scene was investigated. Under the cloak of 'Unseen Passage' he slipped from the room and made his way back downstairs where a confused woman was demanding a man in a cleaners outfits identification as in her words "The cleaner is already here so who the hell are you?"

With the majority of the staff upstairs Daniel stealthily made his way back to the lower floor where currently only a surprised cleaner, a perplexed receptionist and the two fake customers were. As based on the noise from upstairs Michael was expecting Daniel to appear, his own powers of observation penetrated those of concealment and playing a hunch be indicated that he should head to the corner office where he'd seen the negotiator go to obtain files on available staff hoping other important information was also held there.

Knowing that time was of the essence he did as he was bid, prised open several locked draws with his knife and was fortunate to find the file number he was looking for. Attempting to minimise any specifics about the exact information he'd been looking for he grabbed several other pending contracts as well before considering just how the hell he was going to get out.

The man they'd been dealing with returned to the office with an excuse about a fire in their server room and asked them if they could return the following day before handing him a business card and ushering them out of the door. Unknown to him three people left rather than the two of which he was aware. As it was obvious from the commotion that the job had not gone completely to plan the cheery "So how did it go then?" from Roach when they returned to the car was dripping with sarcasm and Daniel's reply of "Oh, fuck off Roach..." told him all he needed to know.

As it was a mere couple of hours till daylight the coterie returned to Mercurio with all due haste and were this time directed to an impressive corner office that was apparently his. He flicked through the presented files in no particular hurry though Michael could easily detect that he was very pleased indeed and also was interested in the other files as well. "So we have a deal then? which includes ammunition?" Mercurio seemed amused at the last question but agreed that he would supply the complete list of requirements and ammunition for them to any address in the city they required. With the means to deal with the majority of mundane threats soon to be in their hands they quickly returned to the galley to slumber until the following night.

To Be Continued in 'The Pasadena Problem' - Part Eight

In Conclusion
I like to do a round-up of how the session went in these features but if you couldn't give a shit what I think then feel free to skip this bit...

Some of this session was admittedly to fill a gap between two aspects of the story for which I needed one of the players who was unavailable. I don't mind NPCing PC's during some events but I'd rather not do it during any pivotal scenes.

The heist was quite amusing as I'd simply drawn a plan, listed what NPC's were there and just let them get on with it however they pleased. Unfortunately for Daniel's player two Bestial Failures in a row on Hunger dice ruined his attempts at stealth but he and the others adapted well so I didn't punish them too much. All in all it was another enjoyable session where the players made me think on my feet which is part of the fun.

Acknowledgements
I've used pictures of real people to represent some of the characters and art for others so in no particular order Michael Tomassio is represented by the actor Matt Bomer, Johnny 'Roach' West is quite obviously Kurt Cobain, 'Vin' is the actor Scott Adkins, Dr Matthews is Mads Mikkelsen, and Venus Dare is a 'glamour' model called Sophie Howard. Everything else is from vampire related folders and searches and is as far as I know is all of the 'fair use' variety. If there's something that you feel should be attributed to some-one then feel free to let me know and I'll happily add an acknowledgement...

Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.

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