Friday, 27 September 2019

Vampire the Masquerade V5 - Session Forty Seven - Aftermath (Part One)

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. Now with a barony of their own it's time to consolidate their position and then plan their next move.
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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. If you'd prefer a summary of each session rather than read everything then there's a more detailed link page HERE as well as links to the first episode of each story in the blog sidebar.
'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 SixSeven and Eight
'Foothold LA' Chronicle
Solo Session - 'Hostile Takeover'
Story Four - 'Countdown' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Five - 'The Missing Chantry' - Part OneTwoThreeFour and Five
Solo Session - 'The Anaheim Assassination'
Story Six - 'A Meeting of Barons' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Seven - 'The Carmelita Situation' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Eight - 'The Blount Sisters' - Part One and Two
Story Nine - 'Blood Money' - Part OneTwo, Three, Four, Five and Six
Story Ten - 'Anathema' - Part One and Two
Story Eleven - 'Predators and Prey' aka 'The Blount Sisters' - Part Three

The PC's
Player controlled characters
Michael Tomassio - Toreador, Baron of Pasadena
Vincent 'Vin' Ghast - Brujah, Sheriff
Dr Daniel Matthews - Banu Haqim, 'Fixer'
Hope Romero - Gangrel, Scourge
Mr Hertz - Nosferatu, Mob Accountant
The SPC's
Storyteller controlled player allies
Priya Haynes - Gangrel, Hound

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 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. Anything covered via player handouts will also be in blue as they're written in the same style as introductions and the like. Where particular NPC's have a mention in a faction profile you will be able to reach it by clicking on their name beneath their picture.

Pre-Introduction
'Panic' Room - Michael Tomassio's Luxury Home
With a little research, a bribe or two, some infiltrating rodents and a favour pulled in from a Nosferatu from the Hollywood Warrens he got animal blood for as a freebie, Mr Hertz discovered the location of the panic room purchased by Edward Vignes. It was installed in a house on Club Road in South Arroyo within Pasadena and has been your fall-back position after the disastrous events in Glendale.

You have been given the deeds to the $1,998,000 house in South Arroyo, Club road and Mr Hertz has transferred the ownership to Michael's SiP charity. The Panic Room entrance is through a hatch concealed in some book shelving, via a heavily armoured door. Edward Vignes apparently spared no expense when it came to the comforts in his fallback position and the two storey secure rooms are actually more luxurious than the house itself.

Storytellers Note - In case your wandering it's, Haven 3: Luxury Home (Luxurious, Panic Room (as Cell), Security 3). Anything else they want they can add with extra dots as they have them. In mechanical terms it's a straight swap in dots for his now compromised previous home. I let players replace things that they paid xp for but have lost as long as it makes sense in game. If however it was a freebie then it's gone...I'm not quite that nice...

Week One
Introduction
In the wake of the attacks upon you by the Blounts and with your need to defend yourself resulting in the destruction of their home, Marius has instructed you to keep your heads down and out of kindred politics while he fixes the problem as agreed. He has made it clear that this is not an easy fix, he needs to remove the physical evidence and destroy their reputations in both the kindred and kine communities. He expects the first week to be the most treacherous for yourselves as some may attempt retaliation against you before the information about the Blounts crimes can be properly disseminated throughout the kindred of L.A.


Scene One - Reprisals
Hope received a call from Priya, the Gangrel recently recruited by Michael as a Hound. As it was Hope's job to act as Census Taker and Scourge, the new recruit had been made her responsibility. Priya had proven to be very effective in her new role and her less confrontation technique had been working well up to now. Therefore her question caught Hope a little by surprise "So, do we deal with our own disposal or do we have people that do that?" Hope of course asked exactly what had happened.

Priya Haynes - Gangrel
Hound of the North East Baronies
"I tracked a pair of poachers, they were easy enough to find, they weren't really even being subtle..." Hope had noticed that thin-bloods and caitiff poaching in other domains was becoming almost an epidemic. It was currently the primary cause of information sharing amongst the LA Gangrel. "...I gave them Michael's 'If you ask permission first' spiel and they told me that soon all LA would be their's and so I should get out of their way, the thin-blood then began a 'we are legion' speech or some shit and went for a gun..." Hope tended to keep violent confrontations from Michael as he tended to presume that there had been a diplomatic option that had been missed. At least in this case it was clearly self defence, so it was less of a concern if he learned of it. "...so I had to go to guns myself. They were clean kills and no witnesses." Priya's methods more closely resembled Daniel's than her own but Hope had to admit that she was proving to be quite efficient. "Daniel can help with disposal if you need assistance, but if you can sort it yourself then all the better." Stated Hope.

Body Disposal Kit
There was a slight delay, before Priya responded. "I can do it myself easily enough...you see...I still have all the..equipment for the job my team was here to do originally." Hope decided that Priya effectively having body disposal gear was another thing Michael didn't need to know about. She could however sense that there was more. She was correct.

"I searched them to remove any ID and they had pictures of me, you, Daniel and Vin on them. Your one had an address on it, Daniel's a list of hospitals, Vin's the address of the two main brothel's, mine was just a picture though. I guess I haven't been here long enough for them to learn anything about me yet. It's basically a hit-list, a badly xeroxed hit-list at that so I doubt they're the only kindred with them."

Hope confirmed that the address was indeed that of her home and that the other locations were correct. Deciding on the spot that now was a great time to move house, she sent a quick message to Michael mentioning a hit list but that apparently didn't include his name then began to ring the others mentioned specifically and let them know. Vin however was already quite aware that they had kindred gunning for them.

Vincent 'Vin' Ghast - Brujah
'The Last Thing the Intruder Ever Saw...'
The occasional troublemaker that needed evicting from the brothel was something that Vin's own security usually dealt with and were more than capable of handling. However when it came to gun-wielding maniacs threatening the girls and demanding to see the manager, well, that was something that he would be dealing with himself.

As soon as he entered the room the gunman aimed the 50 cal Desert Eagle in his direction, however they never got a chance to pull the trigger. Vin covered the distance between them in a fraction of a second and grabbed their gun arm with his left hand and squeezed while punching them in the head with his right. As the one armed, decapitated corpse hit the ground and began to rapidly decompose, Vin's phone rang. "Evening Hope, what's up?" Having ascertained that Vin was both fine and aware of the 'hit-list', she rang Daniel.

Dr Daniel Matthews - Banu Haqim
'Receiving a Warning From Hope'
Having received the warning from Hope, Daniel decided to leave his home by an unusual exit and do some recon to see if he was being observed. As the others were known to have combat skills he wasn't surprised that they had been assaulted directly.

He presumed that as most kindred believed him to merely be Michael's driver and more philosopher than warrior that he would be left tuntil last or perhaps merely monitored in order to get to Michael. The fact that the hospitals at which he worked as a surgeon were also listed was more of a concern.

Leaving via an upper floor window, his supernatural agility making the climb to the ground simple enough, Daniel did a loop of his immediate area looking for observers. There were two. As Daniel left the area at least one of the pair must have had exceptional senses or observation skills as they dropped in behind him and began to follow. A cat and mouse game then ensued as each attempted to outdo the obfuscation skills of the other with their own supernatural senses.

Daniel's 'Tail'
Eventually, Daniel made himself some breathing room and in a moment of distraction slipped down a side alley and quickly circled behind his pursuers via side streets, rooftops and other routes inaccessible to one without supernatural talents. He closed on the smartly dressed man and woman as they were arguing about whose fault exactly it was that 'some Brujah driver' had managed to give them the slip.

After a brief search along the route they had expected Daniel to take they gave up and returned the way they had came. Following from a sensible distance in order to avoid detection, Daniel tailed them to a dark SUV but was unfortunately too far away to ascertain too many details. Committing their appearances to memory, Daniel took a circuitous route back to his home, grabbed his go-bag and essentials and as Hope had also done, decided to move somewhere else for a while.

Mr Hertz despite not apparently being a target returned to Chinatown for a few days where his haven was above a known business of Marius's. This combined with the local Triads keeping an eye on all comings and goings should in his opinion be enough to put off any who bore him malice.

Victoria Anne - Ghoul of Marius
Personal Assistant
Hope rang Victoria hoping she could leverage some of her earlier time in Marius's service for a favour along with whatever else Marius's psychotic PA felt it warranted. "Miss Romero, what can we do for you this evening?" Hope explained that she had found herself on a hit-list and her haven had been compromised, making moving home a priority. Victoria suggested providing a location but Hope wanted to acquire a property herself as to be frank she wanted no-one to know where it was. Rather than be offended Victoria seemed to think this was a good idea.

"Find a place you deem suitable and let me know how much money you need. I'll text you an account number and access code and we can talk about any favours you can do in return at a later date as I'm somewhat busy dealing with the 'Blount'." Slightly suspicious about how easy that was she gave her thanks and checked in with the others once more. Vin was in an excellent mood which told her petty much all she needed to know.

Vin's network of street informants and spies had warned him of two individuals hanging around near to the second of the coterie's brothels and so he'd gone there to intercept. Monitoring them entering through a secured side door by simply ripping the lock off he allowed them to enter before following. Vin had surprising stealth for a man of his size and the kindred at the rear lost his head to a swing from his machete before he realised they had been discovered.

Vincent 'Vin' Ghast - Brujah
'Explaining' His 
Policy on Behaviour 
As the second one turned to throw a swing, Vin blocked it with the edge of his blade, severing their right hand at the wrist and then broke their jaw with his elbow. As they staggered back he drove the blade two-handed through their heart, twisted the blade and ripped it out through their side sending bone fragments and dead internal organs across the wall and floor. The decapitation blow was a formality by that point.

Deciding that a message needed to be sent, Vin had his people take one of the skulls of each of the attackers to the leaders of the three most significant gangs in the Barony of the Angels. Each was accompanied by a note warning the gangs to spread the word that he was very unhappy about people visiting him without an appointment. He also decided not to tell Michael about his preventative action.

Hope decided to take temporary shelter with a group of survivalist 'preppers' she'd become acquainted with in the mountainous areas on the outskirts of Pasadena. They had made a useful if small 'Herd' for her and a recent ability to cloud memories 'learned' from a diablerized Ventrue had made them unaware of her true nature. It was as she neared their camp that she realised that she had some company, three companions to be exact. Evidently they'd learned from their encounter with Vin and had decided to go with increased numbers this time. They had also become a lot more trigger-happy.

Hope Romero - Gangrel Scourge
'Frenzied'
Deciding that subtlety was unnecessary she turned and walked purposely towards them. Taking no chances they promptly opened fire. Relying on her clans notorious resistance to damage she leapt through the gunfire, landing square in front of the foremost of the gunmen. Gripping their neck with one clawed hand and their shoulder with the other she tore skull and spine from torso in one brutal movement.

Turning towards the second she simply stared them in the eye and used her reserves of vitae to heal the wounds their weapons had inflicted. As the third man wisely ran for it, Hope allowed the beast to take control and tore the terrified kindred before her into pieces before forcing the beast back down using sheer willpower.

The fleeing kindred had gotten a significant head-start but it was insufficient against one who could turn into a raven. Hope swooped down in front of them and returned to humanoid form before tearing her fangs deeply into their throat. Once sated she butchered them, noting as she did that their blood tasted thinner and less satisfying than other kindred vitae she'd consumed.

After retrieving the axe from her jeep she attempted to make the wounds seem less like those of an animal and more like a maniac with an axe before continuing to the survivalists base.

They were suitably appalled as the blood-splattered Hope explained how she'd had to defend herself from "The Feds..." who were hunting down the survivalists as "Enemies of the state...". Already paranoid, they agreed to help her hide the bodies, chatting as they did about the many government attempts to destroy democracy and impinge on their basic freedoms...

Scene Two - Expand or Die (Again)
With Roach now either having met his final death or being kidnapped by his sire, the business of running the coteries drug empire has been delegated to the Nosferatu financial expert Mr Hertz.

Reuben Hart - Ghoul
Leader of the Apostles
He has arranged a meeting with the leader of 'The Apostles' gang that Roach had taken control of in order to see what resources they had. He was also positive he could improve on it given a free rein which Michael has effectively okayed. Before that however he still had much of the accounts of the former baron of Pasadena, Edward Vignes to sort through. Hertz decided to concentrate on properties first in anticipation of any future expansions of the gangs enterprises.

Storytellers Note - Way back in session fourteen the coterie got hold of basically everything they needed to take over all of the Vignes resources, properties, businesses and contacts in the form of a number of safety deposit boxes. They skimmed the contents then promptly forgot about them till session thirty eight when Mr Hertz was introduced and casually asked if they had anything for him to do while he was waiting. Luckily I never throw unused material away, though a bit of tweaking was required...

The coteries initial repossession of properties owned by the former baron of Pasadena was in your opinion half-arsed in the extreme though you are somewhat sympathetic as they lacked some-one of your abilities to get it done. Specific skills are required to unravel the shell companies and proxies that he'd used to purchase properties throughout Pasadena, fortunately you have those skills and more.


Zhi Baxter - Ghoul
Mr Hertz's Driver
You have managed to more than double the amount of miscellaneous properties the coterie has access to as well as find deeds of ownership concealed in a previously undiscovered safety deposit box (though you had to get Zhi to fetch it for you). Though none of these are spectacularly valuable they do give the coterie access to a number of places in which to expand your gang activities, house prostitutes or blood dolls or convert into safe houses. You can also see the potential of several locations for an illegal casino or two.

Absorbed as he was in the data, he forced himself to put the puzzle aside as he needed to get back to his own haven before morning. Stopping only to write three post-it notes reminding him to look into buying a breakers yard, funeral home and a laundromat he summoned his driver Zhi who hurried him home to Chinatown.

As Mr Hertz slept the day in his own home, Daniel had spent his on the floor of Alonzo's and Hope was deep in the woods. Michael and Vin were both more fortunate as they had their heavily armoured and well defended safe-houses to fall back to.

Mr Hertz - Nosferatu
The next evening, Reuben was waiting for Mr Hertz at the gallery meeting room. To his credit he didn't immediately turn and run when confronted by the Nosferatu accountant, though by the clan's standards Mr Hertz was fairly presentable looking. Once settled, they began to discuss just what Roach had accomplished with the criminal enterprises of Pasadena.

Reuben admitted that despite his many attempts to broaden their criminal activities, Roach was only interested in the drugs trade. This was why prostitution had been left in Vin's hands and the Apostles had effectively consolidated what they held rather than expand. Mr Hertz however had bigger plans which he laid out to Reuben.

These involved legitimising some of the gangs activities, which he wished Reuben to front and to make the gang's most capable lieutenants each responsible for a particular part of the operation. The gang leader was asked to nominate three of his most trusted people who would effectively be promoted from rank and file to lieutenants themselves.

The Line 20's - Now Known as The Apostles
Reuben's current three Lieutenants were Jevonte Richardson, Kinsey Perez and Madison Lopez all of which had been with him since they were the Line 20's before the Apostles were formed.

Though the gang was currently a combination of the Line 20's and the gangs rendered leaderless by Daniel on Roach's orders, Reuben still used the hundred or so surviving members of his original crew for the most important jobs. The seventy-five or so others were relegated to less important tasks. If Hertz really did want to expand their operations his recommendations for three more were Teo Moreno, Yago Martinez and Madison's sister Carina Lopez. All were loyal and competent. The Nosferatu was also impressed with Reuben as he was in his words "Just on the right side of shifty..." which was apparently a compliment.

A Measure of Vitae
It was also quite obvious that he had been itching to expand but had been held back somewhat by the Malkavian's narrow interests. Mr Hertz believed wholeheartedly in compartmentalisation and motivation through profit sharing and it was his intention to bring these concepts to the coteries criminal enterprises. He was also now sure that Reuben Hart would be an ideal proxy to implement his grand plan.

"So Mr Hart, I understand that nearly a month has passed by since you have been 'fed'? Allow me to rectify that for you..." Understanding that the gang leader might be reticent to drink blood from his admittedly unpleasant looking flesh he instead opened a vein into a glass. One drink later and Reuben Hart was now the ghoul of Mr Hertz.

Daniel meanwhile had informed Hope that he was 'going dark' and was staying out of the way until the situation was resolved. He then began to investigate the Barony of the Angels from where both he and Vin suspected the attacks had originated. His ghouls were also called in to investigate though first he had them dead drop him some weapons. Just in case.

Michael had been on a diplomatic offensive and had been explaining and defending his actions to the kindred of note who he thought he could convince. Though it hadn't been easy he had just about persuaded the most influential to at least give him some time to prove the coterie's innocence. Michael was also taking his own security precautions. Conscious of a potential attack on the gallery he had ensured that all the significant valuables were placed in the safe every night. Also all the important members of staff were checked in with every night.

Heather Taylor - Ghoul
Favoured Blood Doll of Marius
The only exception was Heather who was being picked up by an armoured car of Marius's along with four heavily armed members of Yukio's private security teams. Michael was just grateful that the Blounts had got the blame for endangering her and not him. The 'Fixer' was notoriously protective of his favourite blood doll.

He had also sold the creepy statues that Roach had insisted on keeping and was sure that the atmosphere within the gallery lightened the moment they left with their new owner. They had been purchased by Elizabeth 'Etain' Brooker, a House Tremere blood mage from the so-called Consolidated Chantry in Downtown so he felt reasonably sure that she was aware of their dubious history.

Dion had offered to assist with the security precautions and as usual had turned out to be both professional and efficient and had been keeping guard over Michael's favourite Ghoul, Lisa while she performed various duties for the baron. She had been told to buy a property in as unsubtle a way as possible so as to draw attention away from his actual home.

With as much done as he could he hoped this would be sufficient to whether the attacks upon them until Marius had the problem properly fixed. Hope had meanwhile found an abandoned hotel near to the border of Pasadena and Glendale which due to some unfavourable zoning regulations had failed as a business site multiple times.

Getting the property cheap with funds transferred to her by Victoria, she had made her home in the basement. Most of the windows were already boarded up and a fence surrounded the abandoned site so it was reasonably off-putting to visitors anyway. She had also added heavy chains and sturdy locks to many of the doors and had found a heavy catering fridge which would make a sturdy and unlikely place for her to sleep. It still needed a lot of work but at least it was a haven whose location was known only to her.

Even with each member of the coterie taking their own precautions and them being aware of the dangers facing them they were all surprised to have survived the first week of the Blounts aftermath without casualties.

Week Two
Introduction
The kindred community has one topic of conversation currently and that is the Blounts. Information has gradually leaked from Marius's camp via some of the more chatty of the various baronies Gangrel census takers and scourges that the Blounts mansion was an elaborate death-trap from top to bottom and that even Marius's skills were being stretched attempting to cover up what is apparently (according to rumours at least) a three figure body-count of kine alone and remains of at least thirty kindred. There is talk of mass graves both beneath the house and within it's grounds and a shed within it's borders that still had bodies piled four deep within, and not just mortals either.


Scene Three - Opportunities and Opportunists
Daniel had been a 'house' guest of Alonzo in the Hollywood Warrens for over a week and given it's position near the border of the Barony of the Angels had been using as a staging point to spy on the comings and goings from there.

The North-East Baronies
Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena
Though the kindred gangs changed almost nightly what was clear was that poaching had become endemic. The three baronies now under Michael's 'protection' were particular targets as the kindred population was well aware that his resources were stretched thin.

Fortunately his reconnaissance had the added benefit of allowing him to liaise with Hope and let her know where best to station herself and Priya to intercept as many as possible.

Never one to miss an opportunity he was also keeping notes of those he detected entering other baronies as possible blackmail targets later. He had also become aware that no-one seemed to be targeting downtown, possibly as it's disputed nature meant that travelling there meant facing the wrath of both Fortier and Marius. Neither of which was a particularly great idea to make an enemy of. The one thing that was really annoying him though was that he was yet to identify the two kindred that had been observing his home.

Charlie 'Chick' Abbott - Banu Haqim
Scourge - Therese's Commando's
He had even visited Charlie 'Chick' Abbott of Therese's commando coterie to see if she knew of them but unfortunately she did not. Extrapolating from this it seemed unlikely that they were of the Santa Monica Pier thin-bloods as if they were, Chick would be aware of them.

Hope had been utilising the intelligence coming from Daniel and his ghouls quite effectively. Priya had been dispatched to waylay those she thought might be open to reason or could be deterred by a warning shot, Hope was dealing with the less flexible interlopers. Having discussed with Vin his particular tactic for putting off uninvited guests to his businesses she decided that a message of her own might be called for. She was it seems correct as after the fifth poacher was thrown across the border with their fangs pulled out with pliers the trespasses did begin to slow down.

Mr Hertz had been concentrating on his new role as business manager and gang leader for the coterie and had to admit was enjoying himself thoroughly. His investigations into properties owned by the Vignes had led him naturally into looking at their businesses.

To a mortal observer the businesses that Vignes had purchased might seem random but to your kindred eye you can see purpose to most of them. Two stand out however. He had invested in a local refuse collection firm which though not significantly profitable did have access to a recycling plant with a furnace. 

He also was the majority shareholder in a real-estate agency and property developer which seems to have been only barely profitable mainly due to it selling luxurious homes at suspiciously cheap rates to officials, senior police officers and other elected officials.

The Nosferatu had also been busy utilising the piles of cash that the coterie had been stockpiling from drug deals but had previously been unable to adequately utilise due to inadequate businesses through which to launder it. With Mr Hertz's knowledge of finances and how to slip investments through the cracks he had taken over a number of cash businesses. Amongst their legitimate holdings were now a small laundromat company, a breakers yard, a car dealership and a funeral home.

Storytellers Note - Mr Hertz's player has grasped his character concept tightly and ran with it, lol. I am going along with it as I had a lot of stuff written relating to the safety deposit boxes which I never used which I can now dig back out.

His reorganisation of their criminal enterprises was also going well. He had put one of Reuben's Lieutenants in charge of the three crack-houses and had began to allocate the others specific tasks. They reported to Reuben and Reuben reported to Hertz and each Lieutenant had a very specific incentive scheme to ensure their very best efforts. As they had expanded into areas previously ignored by them, Daniel had been engaged to remove a few more impediments to their progress. Mr Hertz had identified eight such obstacles, all mortals and all unlikely to be the joining type. The Banu Haqim had become a little bored of recon now Hope and Priya had reduced the poaching from a flood to a trickle so he approached the task with some vigour.

Over the next week Pasadena's criminal community seemed to be plagued with odd accidents. One fell out of a window onto an ornate spiked railing, one was crushed while working on his car when the jack inexplicably failed, another was stabbed in an apparent mugging gone wrong. The fact that one simply died in his sleep, another hung himself and a third was crushed by collapsing scaffolding were barely noticeable when compared to the notorious hijacker killed by the gas bottle explosion. Of course the hit and run was a suspected gang assassination but it did occur in a notorious accident black-spot so perhaps it was just bad luck.

Happy that his list of problems had gone from eight to none, Mr Hertz proceeded with his plans. However his trip home to Chinatown was slightly more eventful than normal.

Scene Four - The Blood Dragons
Lyko Wu - Ventrue
Dragon Head of the Blood Dragons
The Triad presence grew denser as Mr Hertz got nearer to his Haven. It was almost as if every gang member in Chinatown was in the slaughterhouse district this evening.

As you return to your haven, the Enforcer and Gang Leader you know only as Chen is waiting for you. "Evening Mr Hertz, our honoured leader, Lyko Wu the Dragon Head of the Blood Dragons, wished to meet the individual who has been such help to my financial interests over the last few months. He is awaiting your attendance..."

Knowing enough of etiquette to be sure that refusal was not an option he entered his own home. He was also glad that he kept his front room presentable, the rest would have raised some interesting questions.

A muscular, handsome Chinese gentlemen, who you would imagine from his features has some western ancestry is waiting in your room. He has a particularly nasty scar along the right hand side of his face just missing the eye and has an expensive cigar in his hand. The four enforcers who are also in the room and your contact Chen, leave the room after a mere look from their leader, leaving the two of you alone. "Mr Hertz, I presume?"

"I am indeed. You honour my home with your visit Mr Wu." Replied Mr Hertz in perfect Mandarin before tipping his hat as he normally did. "How may I be of service?" Lyko Wu hid his surprise at being addressed in his native tongue quite well before replying. "I like to put faces to the names with which I and my Blood Dragons have dealings. I feel that I should mention that there is no need to hide your kindred status with me. We may not share a clan but we do share an origin."

Los Angeles - Chinatown at Night
As Lyko had mentioned clan first, the Nosferatu felt safe to ask which clan he was from. The reply wasn't particularly surprising. "I was embraced into the Ventrue Clan almost a century ago. My sire wished to use my mixed heritage to build a bridge into the Chinese community. He met his final death soon after. I will not speak his name, he was without honour." Knowing not to push his luck he returned the conversation to financial matters asking if there was any further way he could assist. "Recent dealings with some unusual creatures from our homeland have depleted our resources somewhat. I am attempting to rebuild our humble group to their former glory and that must take priority. However in the future I shall certainly take your offer under consideration."

Lyko then made enquiries about the adequacy of the accommodation in which the Nosferatu was currently living. It was obvious that he found it distasteful but was politely avoiding commenting on it. Mr Hertz assured him that it suited his needs. The Nosferatu was curious about how this kindred and Marius dealt with having interests in the same area. Deciding that polite phrasing was going to be the key he asked the question.

Ming Xiao - Kuei-Jin, The Kindred of the East
"The owner of this part of Chinatown, Marius Walker has an arrangement with us regarding his properties and club. A pact of mutual none-interference you might call it." That explained it of course but he didn't interrupt as the Ventrue continued. "It was he who drove our competitors from Chinatown but as he did so for his own needs, he has our gratitude rather than us being in his debt. A subtle distinction but one of importance when debt and honour are concerned. I'm sure you understand?" Mr Hertz acknowledged that he did indeed understand. "That is not to say that we are ungrateful, which is reflected in the compensation we request for our protection."

Marius Walker - Gangrel
'Fixer'
Mr Hertz had some doubts about whether Marius needed any protection. It seemed however that despite remaining silent that his reaction had betrayed his thoughts. "As you have no doubt perceived he doesn't need our protection but he does us the courtesy of giving the impression that he does, a matter of face, which we appreciate. He has a deep understanding of our culture though his own philosophies differ considerably."

As the guards reentered the room, the leader of the Blood Dragons Triad gang joined them and left with a slight bow that the Nosferatu reciprocated. Once he was sure he was alone he contacted Michael to inform him that there was another player in Los Angeles that he had yet to encounter.

To be Continued in 'Aftermath' - Part Two

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...

This was to be one of two very free-form sessions. Things had gotten a bit tense over the last few weeks so I had a few set-pieces prepared and the rest of the time was for the players to explore anything they wished. The write-up itself I must admit is slightly re-ordered to make narrative sense as it meandered quite a bit during the actual play.

Given the fact that I had to wing 95% of it I think it went quite well.

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, 'Vin' is the actor Scott Adkins, Dr Matthews is Mads Mikkelsen, Hope is Deborah Ann Woll, Mr Hertz is Charles Dance, Priya Haynes is Gabrielle Union, Victoria is Lilith May, Heather Taylor is Liz Vicious, Charlie 'Chick' Abbott is Lena Headey. 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...

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