Friday, 8 March 2019

Vampire the Masquerade V5 - Session Twenty - Becoming Baron (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.
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.
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...
'Infiltrate LA' Chronicle
Welcome to L.A. - Introductory Session
Story One - 'Three Murders' - Part OneTwo, ThreeFour and Five
Interlude Session - One
Story Two - 'The Pasadena Problem' - Part OneTwoThree, and Four
Solo Session - 'The Neillson Library'
Story Two Continued- 'The Pasadena Problem' - Part FiveSixSeven and Eight
Story Three - 'Becoming Baron' - Part OneTwoThreeFour and Five
Solo Session - 'The Gather'
Story Three Continued - 'Becoming Baron' - Part Six

The PC's

Phil as Michael Tomassio - Toreador
and Hope Romero - Gangrel
Tom as Johnny 'Roach' West - Malkavian
and Marie - Clan Carna
Matt as Dr Daniel Matthews - Banu Haqim
Dave as Vincent 'Vin' Ghast - Brujah

The player characters stats and backgrounds can be found HERE should any-one be interested. There's also some minor 'house-rules' HERE that have occurred as we went along.

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...

Storytellers Note - This was another substantial session so this write-up is quite long. You might want to make yourself a nice cup of tea before you start reading...

The price that Gary of the Nosferatu has given for his support of Michael's ascension to Baron is the elimination of a horror stalking the sewers left over from the Sabbat invasion back in two thousand and four. This abandoned creation of the Tzimisce has been a plague upon the Nosferatu preventing their access to important areas of the Warrens containing several hubs containing remnants of their Shrecknet computer network.

They are accompanied by a Nosferatu Elder named Alonzo who wishes to contact his clan after a century of absence and Gary has given him the same task as proof of his renewed commitment to those he wishes to re-join.

Their task has been made more complicated by the revelation that the creature is either far more intelligent than they suspected or alternatively is not alone.

Scene Twenty Five - Shrecknet
With Alonzo taking the lead you journey through a mass of side passages, sewer tunnels, store-rooms that zig-zag through the underground and other than a few pauses while he "Has a quick think..." he seems confident of his direction. "According to 'Gary' the closest Hub of whatever this Schrecknet thing he's lost is down here..." He indicates a ladder leading down a shaft to a chamber some thirty feet below.

With the maps at their disposal showing no other route without a lot of backtracking and Marie's recently cast ritual indicating that the creature they hunted was somewhere ahead the group made their way into the lower chamber figuring that as they had to go this way regardless they might as well try to retrieve the items to fulfil the second part of their agreement with Gary. Vin carried Hope's famulus wolf down the ladder over one shoulder.

The square room has a metal door on the left that is protruding halfway in the frame. A single piston which seems to part of the opening system can be seen through claw marks score the door. The walls are also scored deeply. Through the slight gap in the open door you can see a number of computers screens, large cabinets filled with electronics and other similar bits of technology. Even from here you can see that it's suffered considerable damage.

Something about the door reminded Daniel that his sire had once rigged a door like this to compress an unfortunate Toreador to the entrance-way of his panic room. In that case he had rigged the door sensor to one of the pistons. He claimed he'd got the idea from a kindred he'd met many years ago.

Hope Romero - Gangrel
"What Now?!?!?"
As Hope moved to towards the door Daniel called out to her to stop. "Why exactly?" she asked obviously annoyed at having orders barked at her. The Banu Haqim explained his suspicions about the door based on the extra wires coming from the sensor and the fact that the damage to the door seemed to allow access to the pistons but the rest of the destruction was cosmetic at most.

Hope who had learned about IED's and similar traps in the army checked the area herself and came to the same conclusion as Daniel. If she had poked her head around the door as she'd been planning to there was a very good chance that the door would have decapitated her. Grunting a begrudging " looks like you just saved my unlife..." to Daniel she disabled the trap and carefully entered the room alert for any other surprises.

Inside the room the hard drives had been removed from several locations and the rest of the electronics within seemed to have been systematically destroyed rather than suffering the frenzied attack that seemed to have been directed towards the door.

Nosferatu - Feral Whispers
As you move further into the abandoned sections the story is the same. Each hub location has been stripped of vital electronics and then systematically destroyed with the damage seemingly done fairly recently and several pit traps have been created which now you're aware of them have been fairly easy to avoid. It seems unusual to you that with over a decade passing between the Sabbat incursion and now that whoever is responsible has only just started to strip the area of components. At the last location your Nosferatu companion indicates that he needs a moment to "See if any-one can help with a little local knowledge..." After a few moments several rats emerge from the shadows and almost casually stroll up to the awaiting Alonzo. He seems to be whispering to the creatures though no actual language appears to be spoken as some squeaks and scratching from the rats appear to be their replies. After a moment the Nosferatu straightens up and the rats scatter back the way they came...

"Apparently the giant creature has a humanoid friend that now seems to be directing it, unfortunately the rodents can't tell the difference between a kindred and a mortal but it seems likely that there's something down here with a bigger agenda than the occasional visit outside to cause havoc amongst Gary and his followers. They also mentioned a water-bound creature guarding one corridor that they avoid" "It is my intention to attempt to find both these threats and destroy them...I understand completely if you wish to return to the surface as the journey will require moving deeper into areas of the sewers beyond even those that Gary wishes to recover..."

Despite the danger the hunting pack decided to continue with the task that they'd pledged to fulfil.

Scene Twenty Six - Old Guardians
There's a corridor ahead strewn with bones ranging from insect and rodent size through animal scaled ones up to those that are definitely human. It broadens out in the middle into an oval shape before narrowing back into a corridor again. There's a dark pool in the middle of the oval and you can see several water pipes have been blocked off which is presumably why the water is so stagnant looking.

Though Marie could clearly detect the creature they were hunting's trail ahead it didn't seem like it had been along this particular passage recently despite the passage certainly being big enough to contain it. Based on the scattered bones of the dead they were all fairly certain that this was the lair of the water-bound creature spoke of to Alonzo by the summoned vermin but there was currently no movement from the stagnant water.

In an attempt to get some reaction while they were a safe distance away Daniel used one of his silenced handguns to put a few rounds into the sealed water pipe hoping to get some water to flow into the pool but there was little effect other than to cause several fragments of pipe to drop into the water causing dark ripples to spread out from the point of impact. Unsure of whether this was the lair of some Tzimisce creation or some ancient hazard left by the Nosferatu the gathered group discussed options for going around the area despite their maps and sorcery indicating that this was the best way to go. The occupant of the pool however seemingly lacked their patience as dark tentacles began to emerge from the water.

Marie pointed out that dealing with this issue wasn't part of Michael's agreement with Gary and was quite frankly Alonzo's problem if he wished to deal with it. Apparently agreeing with her assessment the Nosferatu accompanying them moved forward to see what could be done and as he moved closer seemed to become more confident.

"I think it's one of 'Boil's' creations, he bred all sorts of things down here decades ago" As he spoke the thrashing tentacles appeared to become calmer and a single one reached out to the approaching Alonzo who ran his hand down it's length in a surprisingly tender manner. "They only grow as big as the body of water they have to live in..." He said as if discussing a goldfish or other aquatic pet " looks like the inhabitants of the warrens used this one as a guard and blocked off the water pipes to stop it expanding outside the area." "I'll keep it occupied while the rest of you get past"

Contact with this reminder of friends amongst the older Nosferatu inhabitants of LA seemed to have brightened his mood considerably and he now moved with renewed vigour as they moved deeper into the most ancient of the tunnels.

Scene Twenty Seven - New Dangers
You pass several side passages that Alonzo assures you lead towards sections filled with now un-used drainage pipes that would be far too narrow to allow anything threatening to pass through, but that ahead there is a section once used by the Nosferatu as a haven long before the warrens where the rest of his clan now reside were in use. You reach a low entrance to a chamber that seems to disappear into the depths below though a set of pipes emerge from the wall beneath you and cross the twenty or so foot to just below a similar entrance on the opposite side. Planks, pallets and pieces of metal sheeting have been placed haphazardly across them to form a sort of bridge.

The coterie were well aware of both Daniel and Hope's athletic abilities and dexterity and so either would be an ideal choice to check the stability of the improvised bridge. Hope volunteered to go first and as she carefully made her way across she kicked away any loose pieces and pointed out any precarious areas so those following her would be able to make the crossing without incident. Marie seemed unwilling to risk the bridge even with the area scouted and so reached into her pouch and drained a potion she had already prepared. Under it's influence she rose from the ground before effortlessly gliding across the gap about six inches above the bridge.

Once every-one was safely on the opposite side Daniel climbed down the shaft a distance to see what was below and discovered bared electrical wires had been channelled through the water to create an electrified area below surrounded by several improvised spikes like those in the pit traps from earlier. With his curiosity satisfied he climbed back up to the top and caught up with the rest.

A door like the ones to the various schrecknet hubs blocks the way ahead. The controls on this side have been destroyed preventing the doors operation. There's a small gap in one wall where a number of bricks have been removed.

Where the door controls once were there was a large metal plate bolted deeply into the corridor wall covering any remaining working components and several welds had also been added to prevent their removal. The hole in the one wall was quite small and a quick check revealed that of the group only Hope would be able to fit through or more correctly out of Marie and Hope she was the only one willing to make the attempt. Vin had examined the plate on the wall and was convinced he could remove it but it would take some time and expenditure of Vitae. While they were discussing their options Marie walked over to the shield and after slicing her own hand open with an elaborate dagger dripped blood upon it which within moments had melted it to sludge. Unfortunately the controls within had already been removed and the wiring to them sealed off though behind the melted plate there was a now unidentifiable melted set of mechanisms of unknown purpose.

Storytellers Note - Given Vin and Hope's tendencies to tear things apart with hands or claws I had prepared a little surprise for them if they went after the plate using brute force. However my plan was foiled by Marie's players use of the Corrosive Vitae one dot Blood Sorcery ability...

Though the others were now considering the hole in the wall once more the Blood Sorceress put forward another suggestion. Pulling a mirror from her bag she spilt her own blood on it before smashing it and gripping a single shard. As she gripped upon it her form become incorporeal and she stepped through the door that blocked their progress noting as he had done so that their was an unusual creature lurking outside the exit to the passage and she yelled a warning to those still on the other side. Before any other action could be taken Vin angled his shotgun down the gap and emptied a drum of rounds into it tearing the lurking stalker to pieces. Now safe from danger Marie released her grip upon the sliver of glass and as she returned to corporeal form walked over to an intact control panel and pulled the lever in it's centre. As she did so the doors creaked apart allowing the rest to continue...

Scene Twenty Eight - The Hunters Hunted
A strong scent that you all know as that of blood fills the air and you begin to see smears of it along the floor, walls and high ceiling of the spacious area. There seems no rhyme or reason to the directions of the marks though there are a lot of them.

Marie could see hidden within the smears someone had concealed a ritual very similar to a high level aspect of Blood Sorcery that allowed one-way travel between two places and this appeared to have the symbols for the arrival end. Just ahead of the front-most member of the coterie is another set of cunningly concealed runic symbols but their purpose was unknown to her or at least were from this distance. Their was something about the symbols that reminder her of the activation parts of several rituals but before she could vocalise her suspicions Vin stepped onto the closest set.

The air in the corridor began to thicken and blur as the view changed as if the the passage way now connected with somewhere else. A roar could be heard and in the distance a monstrosity some fifteen feet tall could be seen charging down the newly created gateway towards them. Acting on instinct Vin raised his automatic shotgun and emptied the newly replaced drum of rounds into the centre of it's mass as Daniel and Hope added their own shotguns weight of fire to the onslaught.

Hoping that enough of the creature was mortal for the ability known as 'Theft of Vitae' to effect it Marie made a beckoning gesture and was pleased to see several arteries in it's body open as it's blood shot through the air towards her open mouth. Normally any victim of this power would be subdued as if in the throes of the kiss but this was not the case on this occasion and there was far too much blood for her to drain it all. Through the blood she felt several mortal lives end but these were only a small portion of the mortals, ghouls and kindred that had gone into it's creation. Regardless of this the deaths appeased the monstrous hunger within her and for the first time in her unlife she felt the beast sated completely.

Storytellers Note - I took some liberties with rituals and blood sorcery for the purposes of dramatic effect. Rules should facilitate a storyteller not restrain them and in this case I wanted to illustrate that the creature was made up of many creatures both mortal and otherwise.

Quickly reloading their shotguns another torrent of shells was launched in it's direction and despite chunks of flesh being blasted away it's progress wasn't slowing at all and it would soon be through the arcane tunnel and amongst them. Hoping that the trigger that had opened the tunnel could also be used to close it the sorceress once again willed her blood into a corrosive form and scattered it across the magical symbols hidden within the blood smears. As they ate through them and into the floor the tunnel suddenly collapsed in upon itself and with a scream of frustration the gigantic amalgam disappeared as the tunnel ahead returned to it's original form.

Scene Twenty Nine - Boil's Lair
 Nosferatu - Boil's Creations
Alonzo seems to grow more and more confident about your route the further he moves from the modern sewer network and into what are quite obviously much older sections and has become a bit more chatty as he does so... "A Nosferatu named 'Boil' used to live down here, bred rats, some of them were huge buggers, used the big ones like guard dogs, little ones as messengers and sometimes spies...died during MacNeil's big revolution in '44, sided with the Anarchs and picked the wrong Elder to target. I hear he got his arms, legs and head pulled off...anyway...we're nearly at what was his breeding chamber..." You eventually reach a set of double doors completely out of keeping with their surroundings perhaps once adorning a library or museum. "Shall we continue?..."

With Marie assuring them that the blood magic creature they had very nearly been torn apart by was still ahead of them and with Alonzo convinced that this was the best route to take the group opened the door and moved on.

The chamber beyond is filled with cages along both walls of a variety of sizes and shapes and there is a laboratory table in the far corner with glass vials, beakers, tubing and other similar items. The table has none of the dust you'd expect from a decade of abandonment and several of the cages have blood and fluids nearby which are definitely also recent. 

In front of the door on the opposite side are six piles of limbs which begin to move as you enter each unfolding into a tooth filled maw, with a number of eyes ranging from a single staring orb to insect-like clusters. Each is supported by a seemingly random mix of hands, feet and tentacles and are moving in your direction...

Feeling that conserving ammunition might be a good idea Vin stepped forward and with potence enhanced fists punched clean through the first approaching pile of limbs. Hope shot one then leapt onto another a moment before it could attack Marie and used her feral claws to gut it. Misjudging his shot Daniel only managed to blow off a single limb of his target before drawing his karambit blades and finishing it off with little effort. The attack was disorganised and it was obvious to those with combat experience that either these creatures relied on ambush as the one waiting by the security door had been attempting or weight of numbers as they seemed to have little tactical acumen. The experienced fighters soon finished off the remaining few of the scuttling hunters with ease.

Alonzo lifts one of the now deceased creatures from the ground and sinks his fangs deep within and drinks deeply before tossing it aside. "Animal, human and kindred blood went into the creation of these...though they're perfectly sustaining if any of you are hungry..."

Following Alonzo's example Hope took a bite out of one of the fairly intact attackers and it was indeed sustaining if somewhat unpleasant. Also beginning to feel the pangs of hunger Daniel also picked a creature and took a bite and as the blood hit his system immediately realised his mistake. The Nosferatu accompanying them had mentioned that they contained kindred blood and as one of the Banu Haqim Daniel's clan were unusually susceptible to the addictive properties of Vitae immediately desiring more once they had tasted even a sip. With a supreme act of will he managed to resist the urge to leap upon his own comrades to obtain more of the succulent blood. Mentally admonishing himself for his foolish mistake he followed his companions onward.

Storytellers Note - Daniel's player had been spending Willpower rather freely, was quite hungry and has a slightly below average Humanity score so was fortunate to get a success on every die he rolled as a single failure would have had unfortunate consequences for him and his allies.

Scene Thirty - The Ancient Warrens
As the construction of the tunnels becomes ever more archaic the amount of areas that have collapsed or become impassable have increased significantly and now there's only a single navigable route to follow. 

Oil lamps placed at strategic intervals show that at least some-one or some thing that requires light still uses these passages. Alonzo has summoned the various sewer creatures to scout ahead for viable routes at several points but has now indicated that he wishes to save his remaining vitae for dealing with whatever they encounter ahead. This seems like a sensible decision as from all around you the familiar sound of creatures with far too limbs begins to echo around you from all sides...

Daniel and Vin opened fire with their shotguns though by this point the SPAS 20 was dangerously low on ammunition having emptied both his drum magazines and one of his standard ones. Hope refrained from firing her own weapons and leapt into the creatures midst, killing one and wounding another before being joined by the Brujah and Banu Haqim who had emptied their weapons.

Daniel sliced three creatures into pieces with his blades as Vin tore others to pieces with potence enhanced strength.

Marie drew her ornate weapon along her own hand coating it with blood and cut two of the approaching enemies. Despite the wounds being superficial those damaged stiffened and then lay dormant as if paralysed while the sorceress finished them off with the same blade. Hope had been drawing upon the powers of her blood significantly during the recent combat encounters and as the hunger began to gnaw at her the desire to kill overrode her common sense and she charged into the dense mass of flesh monsters clawing this way and that with gleeful abandon.

Storytellers Note - I like bestial failures on Hunger dice to have consequences that have some context within the scene. This seemed to be appropriate.

As the battle reaches a turning point and it seems like you'll be overwhelmed a swarm of rats fills the chamber like a dark river flowing over the remaining hybrid creatures and thousands of tiny teeth tear into their flesh. Many of the rodent army is crushed or devoured but as many of your attackers turn to defend themselves from this surprise assault you find yourself with a little space to manoeuvre and soon the tide turns to your favour though every one of your enemies still needs to be destroyed...apparently retreat is not in their nature...

With a mixture of fists, blades, claws and sorcery the rest of the onslaught was beaten back and then with Alonzo and his swarms help overwhelmed and destroyed. Unfortunately the combination of wanton discipline use and the carnage around her caused the Gangrel to frenzy and she tore into the remnants of the creatures draining corpses of fleshcrafted monstrosities and vermin alike of their remaining blood. As she did so her features subtly changed as her ears became ratlike and her hearing became uncomfortably acute.

Storytellers Note - In V5 the Gangrel's clan weakness is the temporary acquisition of animal features if they frenzy. I've house-ruled that above a certain blood potency and bane severity the chance of these becoming permanent increases. This also explains the presence of Gangrel like Nicodemus of the Wilds Pack in my version of the World of Darkness.

As before Alonzo feeds on the flesh of the creatures and a not inconsiderable amount of rats too...

Somewhat embarrassed about her lack of control and now complaining that everyone was talking to loudly, Hope sated the last of her hunger on the corpses of various creatures as did Vin. Daniel on the other hand carefully avoided the partly vampiric horde instead feasting on the occasional rat as he was anxious to avoid the effort of will it took to resist seeking vitae elsewhere once he'd tasted a little. Marie reached into her bag and took out a wine bottle and drank deeply from the contents and the Vitae she had recently bound within it vial blood ritual.

Storytellers Note - As 'Preserved Blood' is mentioned in the V5 core book (p.381 last paragraph) I allowed Marie's player to have a 3 dot ritual that allowed her to create it as we'd already established in character that this was one of the services she provided to her Mawla Marius. I still expect her to explain/role-play where she acquires the blood though.

...this time rather than dismissing the remainder of the horde the Nosferatu beckons them towards him and they begin to scurry into his clothing and somewhat to your surprise many bury themselves within his very flesh, rippling below the skin and into spaces between the internal organs before becoming dormant. Looking considerably bulkier than the emaciated figure that first approached you his flesh occasionally ripples as if living creatures have taken the place of his muscles. He awaits you to ready yourselves. "I thank you once more but feel I should yet again give you the option of withdrawing back to the surface. This area was once the home of a powerful Nosferatu who valued his privacy and left his haven to one of his childer before heading to the east...or maybe it was a grandechilde...anyway...if this foe has taken over his lair he may have turned it's defences to his purpose also we are yet to face whatever monstrosity he has been sending against my clan brothers..."

As before the hunters elected to honour Michael's promise and continue with the mission they'd been sent upon.

The rectangular room ahead has several areas of floor missing leading to traps filled with wooden stakes, the walls on both sides have a number of crossbow bolts embedded in them and several guillotine-like blades are stuck deeply into the ground. The floor is made up of a large grid of alternating black and white tiles. More than enough of the area remains un-activated to pose a threat to any attempting to make the crossing.

Though Marie's potion would allow her to avoid stepping on the tiles it would do little good if some other method activated some of the traps and given the force they seem to have had behind them it seemed unlikely that even Fortitude would save a kindred struck by more than one. While the others were discussing their options Daniel had been mentally calculating the straight line distance between the edge of the grid and the door on the far side. After some consideration he concluded that he could use the supernatural speed granted him by his Celerity discipline to cover the distance before any activated trap caught him.

His only concern was that despite seeming like teleportation to a casual observer he did in fact cover the area he traversed and he noted several spike filled pit traps amongst some of the already activated defences.

In a blink he crossed the gap as crossbow bolts flew past, guillotine blades hurtled down and across at neck and waist height and nets of entangling razor wire fell just behind his path. His natural dexterity allowed him to leap agilely over the two pit traps that opened along the line he had chosen. Breathing an unnecessary sigh of relief he gestured for the rest of the group to follow along the route he'd cleared. Once all were present he opened the door and they entered the double doors as one.

Scene Thirty One - The Lair of the Tzimisce
Clan Tzimisce
Ahead is a vast 'L' shaped chamber containing a deep pit from which howls and screams can be heard. Cages along the right hand wall contain a mere few dozen of what is presumably the remainder of the horde of creatures sent twice against you. A large laboratory filled with archaic but apparently functional equipment is on the left next to several blood stained surgical beds which are currently empty. 

As you enter a seven foot tall kindred with the distinctive flesh-crafted alterations common to the Tzimisce clan turns to see you enter. "So you inconvenient..." He pulls on a nearby lever and the cages along the right-hand wall swing open, he then casually begins to walk towards a large wheel attached to a console from which lengths of chain that are channelled through holes in the ground...

In an effort to prevent their enemy from reaching the lever Hope hurtled across the space between her and the Tzimisce and laid into it with feral claws. Black blood flowed from several wounds but she was surprised to find that her claws scraped across bone where none should be as if the fiend had created internal armour as an extension of it's own skeleton. Not as keen as Hope to leap across a pit with a monstrous warghoul in it Vin circled around the outside a moment ahead of the Nosferatu Alonzo where the previously released caged remnants of the skittering horde attempted to intercept them both.

As Marie unsuccessfully attempted to use her powers of Blood Sorcery to extinguish the unlife giving powers of the Tzimisce's own Vitae, Daniel fired his shotgun at the chains leading into the pit hoping to prevent the mechanism from working but despite their age the chains were well forged and did not break.

After her attempt to weaken it via sorcery once again failed Marie instead chose to close on the annoyingly resilient enemy with her blade and so carefully followed in the destructive wake of Vin as the creatures swarmed over him ignoring her in favour of what they perceived as the more dangerous enemy. As she passed the pit containing the previously encountered fifteen feet tall amalgam of body parts she could clearly see the other half of the translocation ritual that had very nearly catapulted it into their midst. Drawing on what was very nearly the last of his available vitae Daniel 'blinked' across the chamber and drove his knives deep into the spine of their foe hoping to slow it's progress but despite the damage it continued it's slow progress to the controls that would raise the giant flesh golem to their level.

Having concluded that it had none of the weak points she was expecting Hope went for quantity over quality and sliced into it over and over again with her claws hoping to overwhelm it's ability to heal. She seemed to be having some success as it's wounds began to seal closed with reduced speed though she had also taken some damage in return as she sacrificed defence for offence.

Alonzo dragged the lesser creatures attempting to overwhelm Vin, tearing them to pieces with his bare hands allowing the Brujah to help his allies. Vin realised that his fellow hunters would be unable to prevent the Tzimisce from reaching the mechanism so instead diverted his course towards it and attempted to rip it from it's housing. Marie meanwhile darted into the melee and sliced her vitae poisoned blade along it's side intending to paralyse it but disappointingly it seemed to be as resilient to poison as it was to her other talents.

The enemies focus on reaching the mechanism had minimised it's ability to fight off the coterie as it seemed to have focused it's efforts on preventing them from getting in it's way rather than attempting to destroy them. This was to change however as the Brujah tore the mechanism, handle and chains from their mount and hurled them away.

Realising it's primary offensive weapon was now out of reach the Tzimisce threw off his attackers and struck Vin a thunderous blow in the back, cracking bone and tearing flesh as he did. While it vent it's frustration on Vin, the feral claws of Hope inflicted a crippling blow forcing it to relent in it's assault as it backed away and it's wounds closed though far more slowly this time. Deciding that his knives were having less effect than they needed Daniel dropped them to the ground and drew his falcata and drove it deeply into the side of their kindred enemy's neck with a measured blow, biting deep into the reinforced bone of it's spine as he did. Staggering to his feet Vin saw the sword protruding from the neck of his attacker and grabbed the handle with one hand and the blade with the other, drove his knee into it's back and ripped the blade through the remnants of it's spinal column, severing head from shoulders. Victory over the Tzimisce was theirs and the bane of the Nosferatu would be a simple matter to dispatch trapped in it's pit as it was.

There's a surprisingly well maintained writing desk in one corner with a notepad on it in which the Tzimisce seems to have been keeping a diary of some kind. A couple of books are open to one side and judging from the yellowing of the pages are quite old. The writing on them seems to be in a variety of languages changing at random so you can only discern the occasional word. Beneath a work bench off to one side is a metal case and stacked neatly in the work area are a selection of hard-drives and circuit boards wired somewhat haphazardly into what a decade ago was probably a state of the art desktop PC, now, not so much.

Marie began a search of the area anxious to learn how such an advanced ritual of translocation had come into the hands of the fiend they'd bough to it's final death but was disappointed that none of the books it possessed seemed to be the source.

Alonzo has a brief look at one of the older books. "So it's true Dexter's personal diaries do exist...I'm surprised he had anything left to write about after six centuries..." "...He was a true polyglot you know, spoke dozens of languages. I'm going to see if there's any more of these, who knows he might have known something of use..." The modern electronic devices obviously mean nothing to Alonzo and he ignores them completely as he moves past them and around the corner presumably to search for more of the diaries.

Ambrus Maropis - Nosferatu
Computer Expert
Upon investigation they discovered that the suitcase contained several circuit boards carefully wrapped in anti-static bags, a similarly protected hard drive and a number of computer discs with carefully printed labels such as Decryption, Encryption, System Reboot, etc. Undoubtedly this is the case Mitnick was looking for, there is also a note within.

Storytellers Note - Both the note and the diary mentioned in a moment were done as hand-outs during the session. I reproduced them here as text for your convenience.

These devices and programs should update your encryption and core systems enough to prevent the intrusions you suffered at the hands of those who hunt our kind and I consider them fair payment for the location information on those hidden server farms that you identified for me. I have used the usual encryption system to prevent them being used by any but the authorised recipient as normal. Make sure you look after my envoy, he's a particularly useful fellow and will be difficult to replace.
Yours Sincerely,

The searchers also found what appeared to be a diary or log that the Tzimisce had kept for his own purposes.

Interlude - The Tzimisce's Diary
*The earliest entries date from around 2004*
 - "I told them that warehouse base was a terrible idea after the preemptive strike at their new Princes little get together drew attention to us and now one of LaCroixs agents has blown it up. "I told you so" seems redundant at this point. I'm dealing with children."

 - "Either we have a spy in our midst or LaCroix is much better at this than we thought. Two more bases destroyed and the plague cult we created exterminated, this is what happens when you let Gangrel and Brujah into planning meetings."

 - "I know the plan was for me to continue to harass the Nosferatu but that seemed far to dangerous to myself now the Sabbat invasion has apparently been stalled. The two of my clan who accompanied me here have led all our war ghouls into the sewers to cripple the Nosferatu and drive them deeper into their lair.

Marius Walker - Gangrel
Prince LaCroix's 'Cleaner' circa 2004
  - Only Marik has returned with tales that seem exaggerated in order to cover his failure. I've drained his soul, he was too stupid to use it properly anyway."

 - "I possibly owe Marik an apology. I'll withdraw till LaCroix's new toy has finished butchering everything."

 - "Well that fucking hurt though my Vicissitude modifications saved me from being cut in two at least, Having a nine foot tall war ghoul fall on your eviscerated body would have been amusing if it happened to some-one else but it hid me at least. 'Playing dead' was an embarrassing but necessary ploy. Also, if you're reading this yes I know I'm already dead...pedant..."

- "Too weak..."

*There's a significant gap in the timeline. The diary appears to resume in 2014*

 - "Apparently I've been in torpor for a decade. Let's see how fucked I am..."

 - "One of the more cunning 'War ghouls' survived and it seems like the sewer rats have abandoned this area long ago as it's been eating them...well...eating everything to be fair. I could definitely use it as a basis for something more...impressive... 

 - It's burrowed into an old section we didn't know existed a decade ago, may make a decent haven."

 - "A laboratory and some kind of breeding pits are here and relatively intact."

 - "I've transplanted some dormant tentacled thing from the breeding pit to one of the side tunnels and awakened it with my own vitae. It's not a bad effort considering some sewer rat created it with a fish tank and guesswork."

 - "The Sabbat abandoned me so fuck them. I'll use this place, build my own army and then we'll see if we can find that bastard who cut me in fucking half."

*The 2015-2018 entries are mainly a catalogue of his gradual acquisition of resources and raw materials for his army. It begins to get interesting around 2019*

 - "Found some thin-blood shovel-head from the Sabbat searching the old lair. Wants access to the old Shrecknet hubs drives for his three fellow Sabbat who have took over some farm in the hills. I'm going to humour them and gather what they asked for, play along then use the bastards and him for raw materials. LA is mine, fuck them all..."

 - "The thin-blood was marginally smarter than I thought and followed me into the ancient tunnels and realised I had no intentions on helping them. Even if he escapes his bastard kindred masters will punish him for failing, either way he's going to have a short unlife."

 - "He left an explosive device here, Not active so he's either an idiot or it's not meant for me. I'll leave it alone for now just in case there's a trigger I've missed."

*The ink on the final entry isn't even dry yet...*

 - "More intruders for fucks sake. How's a kindred meant to plot the destruction of a city with these constant interruptions..."

Scene Thirty Two - The Vault
Alonzo is investigating a large dented vault door with deep scratches within the surface and a number of corroded areas presumably attacked by some form of acid. The door is however broadly speaking intact despite the damage and judging by Alonzo's cursing, still very much sealed. "It looks like Dexter's Library has survived the attentions of the Fiend but I could do with some assistance straightening this handle and wheel before I attempt to decipher the combination."

Despite their injuries the combined strength of the kindred present was more than sufficient to straighten the handle and wheel mechanism's of the door and it took Alonzo less then five minutes to work out the combination based upon what he knew of his long forgotten friend. A moment of interest from Marie quickly faded when she realised that as this vault hadn't been penetrated by the Sabbat interloper, it was unlikely to be the source of the ritual she sought out.

Storytellers Note - If Marie's player thought I was going to leave a 5 Dot ritual lying around for her to learn for free they were going to be disappointed, lol. There is a sub-plot to come from this though so I wasn't just being cruel.

Within the vault are rows upon rows of journals on shelves of varying shapes and sizes. Many are scattered upon the floor and are sitting in a thin layer of stagnant water that probably hasn't done those on the ground much good. Nonetheless Alonzo seems to find them fascinating.

"With the threats eliminated you can report our success to Gary." "Tell him there's no need to provide me with quarters in his warrens as I'll make my home down here so I can peruse the journals of my old friend Dexter." "Should I discover any information still relevant to current events I'll inform you immediately, it's the least I can do." "Perhaps I'll also inform Gary, once I've forgiven him for trying to get us to weaken this threat for him so he could finish it off and be the hero...are all kindred ploys so transparent in this modern age or am I just getting cynical?"

Presuming the question was rhetorical, no-one replied and they left Alonzo to work his way through the vast horde of knowledge and returned to Gary with the hard drives for him, the suitcase for Mitnick and hopefully a pledge of support in return. The former Nosferatu primogen's surprise at seeing them return intact and successful was obvious and confirmed Alonzo's theory about his plan but he did promise to keep his side of the agreement as they assured him that their enemy had met it's final death and handed over the hard drives. The other case had been given to Mitnick by Hope making the whole mission a complete success.

With the final piece of support in place it just remained for them to await the next gathering of Los Angeles kindred known as 'The Rant' to announce Michael's claim to the barony of Pasadena

To Be Continued in 'Becoming Baron' - 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...

I'm not convinced that 'dog-pile the Tzimisce' will go down in history as one of the greatest strategic plans of all time though 'chop off the Tzimisce's head after the Gangrel has done most of the damage and the Banu Haqim has half chopped it off already' might rank as one of the greatest kill steals...

The session went very roughly how I expected but I will have to take into account that they now have an ally (Tom's other character Marie) who can fly, walk through walls and paralyse enemies with her blood, lol.

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, Hope is Deborah Ann Woll, Marie is Eva Greene. 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.


  1. This was a great session, well worth the wait!! I was a little confused by the portal thing though, what was that ritual that was used? Also, I was a little unclear on why the creature was trapped in a pit, was that because it was dangerous so it was only allowed to enter the sewers by the portal system or was there some other reason that I missed? In addition I was wondering if you could provide some insight into how the whole sewer thing with the sabbat went down, I wasnt entirely clear on how the guy they killed was related to the whole scheme and how it all came together. Thanks for another great session!!!

    1. The portal ritual was 'escape to true sanctuary' which i adapted a bit. It's a 5 dot V5 Blood Sorcery one.

      The reason it was in the pit was more for the story so they had a sense of urgency in trying to defeat the Tzimisce before the creature could be bought to bear.

      In the Bloodlines game the Tzimisce flooded the sewers with monsters to drive the Nosferatu deeper underground to neutralise their information network. I just extrapolated upon that.

    2. Thank you for the details. I love this story so I'm interested in some of the ways you have adapted the game (which I havent played) into your chronicle.

  2. Hey, do you think you might release your notes for this Chronicle?

    1. Is there a specific aspect you're interested in? Most of the overall metaplot is in my head but I have the initial notes for some of the sessions still around.

    2. Mostly the NPC write up.

    3. There's links to some faction write-ups at the top of the write-up compilation page...I'm trying to add one every couple of weeks but I'm horrendously behind currently.


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