Friday, 23 July 2021

Cyberpunk Red - Session Six - "Grand Theft Auto"

A roleplay session in the world of Cyberpunk Red
This session was written up by our Gamesmaster Matt and formatted for my blog by me.


'The Outfit'
The Players
Our players were all started at Rank 4
Garreth as Avery Hicks, Exec 5, Fixer 1
Phil as 'Holliday' Nomad 5, Solo 1
Martyn as 'Klink', Medtech 5

and Exec Crewmembers 
'Jasmine' - Netrunner
'Lizza' - Technician

Gamesmaster
Matt as everyone else.

Scene introductions and 'speaking to the players' bits are written in Blue to distinguish them from the roleplayed parts of the scenes.

Session Six: "Grand Theft Auto"
Foreword
This session began a three-parter that introduced a new story arc. It has a few twists and turns and marked a new less forgiving playstyle. I was far more stringent on availability of resources and made it clear the players would be dealing with tougher more able adversaries. This write up itself is a long one, so maybe grab a drink before you start.

Introduction
After the events in the Marina District a couple of nights before, the edgerunners had been considering their next moves within the city. The Raffen Shiv were dangerous savages operating from a unique mobile base that was likely to require careful planning and precision to counter. It would almost certainly need significant investment in resources to pull off and those wouldn't come cheap. 

There were a number of prospective gigs in the city but one in particular had caught their eye. The news of Mizutani's missing prototype racer presented a significant opportunity that must have been occupying the minds of edgerunners all over Night City.

Mr Dallister
Dom Silverman - Exec.
Budget Arms - Acquisitions Dept.
Keen to beat all rivals to the punch, Avery had been preparing a pitch to present to the Senior Acquisitions Exec, Dom Silverman. Having received the pitch, Silverman had scheduled a meeting later in the day with Avery and any relevant team members to discuss proceeding with the project. 

The three men gathered in Avery’s office to plot their strategy.

I have a pitch to present to Mr Silverman in regards to the Mizutani theft.” Said Avery. “In short, If we are the ones who recover the missing vehicle it will be a boost to our personal reputation but it will also look good to Budget Arms and we might be able to create a partnership that will supply cars to the Corporation and lifts it’s reputation too.

Sounds promising.” Said Holliday.

We’re going to need prep for this job. I’ve suggested a budget of 7500e. That’s 2000eb each plus expenses.” Continued Avery. “He’s going to slash that budget down for sure.” Said Holliday.

What about medical supplies?” Asked Klink.

The budget is for everything we might need. Considering your most recent negotiations, I’ve decided to take this meeting alone. No offence, but I don’t think Silverman needs to hear about exploding groin implants.

Anya Metallik - Exec. P.A.
Budget Arms
But what if there ARE exploding groin implants!” Said Klink. Avery ignored him.

Anya Metallik, Avery’s assistant, entered the office. "I have a Mr Nano Dallister in the lobby. He says he has a proposition for you."
 
Thank you my dear, please show him in.” Said Avery.

Mr Dallister is an immaculately dressed man of average height and build. His dark hair is neatly perfectly styled framing a healthily tanned face and an effortlessly charming smile. “Good morning Mr Dallister.” Said Avery gesturing for the new arrival to take a seat. “What can Budget Arms do for you?

"Good morning Mr Hicks and gentlemen. I am here representing Mizutani Automotive and I have a job that I hope I can interest you in."

You have my attention.” Said Avery

"As you are, I am sure, aware, Mizutani has sponsored Eito Stewart in the XRR Championship. Eito is a unique talent in road racing with years of experience. Although he has been absent for the last couple of sessions, his edge hasn't diminished and in his first outing he completely dominated as per Mizutani's expectation. Sadly, celebrations were marred by the theft of the car he drove to victory."

I read about that in the screamsheets. It seems very unfortunate.

Nano Dallister - New Client
"You have gained something of a reputation for recovering corporate property. In fact, your services were recommended by another client who has remained anonymous." Said Dallister.  The edgerunners recalled the job they had completed for Kiroshi Opticals. “We have tried to be efficient.” Said Avery.

"Indeed.” Said Dallister. “The gig is to recover the stolen vehicle. At present, Eito Stewart's race team is still at located in the Glen. They have a garage that they rent for race meetings. They set up their workshop there. The racing teams use an old bus depot as a paddock and set up their campus around it."

Do you have any suspicions about the thieves? Do you have any rivals? Competition?” Asked Avery.

The street racing industry is built on gambling. I suspect that bookmaking fixers are more likely culprits than rival manufacturers.” Said Dallister. “In saying that, there are several rival teams in the paddock who might be protecting their interests.

Well Mr Dallister, I think we can help with this. Will the team know we are coming?” Said Avery.
Dallister handed him three passes. “These passes will get you into the paddock and the garage. I’m sure the team will be more than accommodating.

Obviously we have to talk about our fee.” Said Avery.

I can pay you each 2000eb plus some expenses.” Said Dallister.

That is acceptable.” Said Avery, surprised by the high pay. “What about an advance to buy prep gear for the job?

Eurodollars
I cannot authorise that I’m afraid.” Said Dallister, standing to leave. “Will that be all gentlemen?

I believe so.” Said Avery. He buzzed for Anya to come to the office. “Have a good day Mr Dallister, my assistant will see you out.

Once the three had the office to themselves, Klink piped up “Could we just by-pass them and take it for ourselves?

I’m not sure what we could do with a prototype car. It’s not very discrete.” Said Avery. “Returning the car however could give us some more oblique benefits. Perhaps not only for Budget Arms but perhaps furnishing us with some upgrades for our own vehicles.

Good point about it not being discrete.” Said Klink. ”What if the thieves are stripping it and moving it in bits?

I doubt whoever took it would damage it.” Said Holliday. “Anyway, word on the street is there’s a night market in South Night City tonight. If we want gear.

Excellent.” Said Avery “We can head over after I have pitched the job to Silverman.” Messaging Lizza and Jasmine to be ready for a job, he headed for the elevator.

Acquisitions
Riker Blue - Exec. P.A.
Budget Arms
Dom Silverman's office was a floor above Avery's. Here, the offices were more spacious and more importantly luxurious. The various heads of department met here for joint projects. There were numerous meeting rooms and a classy internal restaurant.
 
Silverman's assistant Riker Blue met Avery at the elevator. He was a smart attentive man with a polite but direct manor. 

"Mr Silverman is in conference room one." He said.

Silverman had booked a conference room and was waiting for the meeting. Avery knew that Silverman was well respected within the corporation, having worked his way up on his words and a great deal of success. It was commonly predicted that he was destined for the board of directors.
 
He stood as Avery entered. He was taller than Avery but not quite as tall as Holliday. His features were aquiline, handsome if severe and he watched the junior exec enter with absolute focus. His suit was perfectly tailored in deep green with red trim. Though Avery was almost certainly he had a skinwatch, he also wore a Girard Perregaux on his wrist.

"Good morning Mr Hicks. Please take a seat." He said. His voice was calm and faintly lyrical.
Avery tried to look confident and unthreatened. “Thanks for seeing me. I have just had a visit from a representative from Mizutani. I sent you a pitch about this opportunity a few days ago, now it seems that we have been directly approached.

That is a development. Mizutani haven’t contacted Budget Arms about this to my knowledge.

It seems that word has gotten around about previous successes that my outfit have had.


What benefit would this operation have for Budget Arms?” Asked Silverman.

Primarily, it will raise our profile amongst our competition and give us a boost to our public image.” Said Avery. “People like a good story. Additionally, I think we can use it to forge a partnership of sorts. Perhaps an upgrade to our corporate fleet vehicles as a bonus?

"I have reviewed the document you sent to me" Said Silverman. "The Mizutani theft is a significant opportunity. While I broadly agree that it is not entirely Acquisitions remit to find other corporations assets for them however it is our remit to acquire assets for ourselves. The potential to create a relationship with another corporation is very desirable with opportunity for some real perks."


My thoughts exactly.” Said Avery. “This job might necessitate specific gear requirements.

"I understand the need for resources on an operation such as this. I am fully familiar with the range of options you might have open to you." Went on Silverman. "The budget however it's far too open ended. I simply cannot authorise 7500eb for a single project such as this. I would suggest a budget of 4500eb.

EMP Grenades
I foresee the need for EMP devices, ammunitions, palms to be greased and no doubt other obstacles I haven’t yet considered. This is a significant operation. Perhaps 5000 could be acceptable?” Said Avery.

Silverman sat back and looked at him for a moment then loaded a credit chip and passed it across the table. “5000eb. I expect a report of your expenditure of course.

Avery took the chip. “Thank you, I think this will be a boost for the company overall. It might help recover the losses since my move from sales.” He said.

Silverman’s expression hardened for a moment. "I feel you have overstated the impact of your transfer from sales. Mrs Kavanaugh's sales department is performing adequately though your absence is noted. Clearly you had an excellent relationship with your clientele and an excellent sales record but you didn't carry the department on your own.

Avery was slightly abashed at the rebuke but Silverman continued. “Don’t get me wrong, I think you have a promising future within the corporation, but don’t overstate your own worth because it draws the wrong sort of attention to you. Your rivals will like nothing more than to see you take a fall.” Avery nodded in agreement but seethed inside for the criticism. “Thank you Mr Silverman.” He said. “I’ll be on my way.

The Night Market
Eito Stewart - Team Mizutani
As he left to meet the others in front of the tower, he reflected on Silverman’s sentiment. Though the barb stung, perhaps there was some wisdom in it.

Holliday had brought the modified delivery van around to the front of the building. Inside, Klink, Lizza and Jasmine were waiting. Avery got into the front passenger seat of the van and they headed out to South Night City. “What do we know about Stewart?” He said.

Well, he was pretty dominant in the series for a few seasons.” Said Holliday. “We’re talkin’ four years of championship wins. Then he took some time out. Nobody is sure exactly why, there were rumours of course. Injuries, bringing up a family, some people thought he just lost his edge. Personally, I think he just got bored of the constant moving about and the lack of challenge. Anyways, he’s back and has lost nothing of his edge. Seems he dominated his return race just like before.

Could be a rival trying to take him out of the running then I suppose.” Said Avery.

The market itself was in small courtyard in a ruined complex. There were a few customers around the stalls. Klink noticed some looked more bedraggled than others and handed out a few business cards advertising his clinic. Avery and Holliday saw an electronics stand run by a scruffy looking fixer in a woollen hat.

After some haggling, they came away with a techscanner for Klink and a cyberdeck for the netrunner Spydar, who was in hiding out in the Badlands. “It’s a start towards making him useful.” Said Avery.

Mizutani - The Racing Paddock
Unknown Media Journalist
The Mizutani camp was set up in a garage complex in the Glen. The workshop backed on to a hotel called the Troposphere. There was a large courtyard between the garage and the hotel, where the team had evidently set up storage for tyres, fuel refilling and maintenance work. Much of this had been brought with the team in the large transporter vehicle parked down the side of the buildings.

There were various staff members in branded overalls nervously working to break down the camp ready to move on. There was an atmosphere of trepidation and even fear. Among them was a woman seemingly directing the action while talking to a journalist.

We will wait until the media leaves.” Said Avery. “We don’t want to draw attention to ourselves here yet.” The three of them switched to their own encrypted channel on their communicators and waited.

With his enhanced hearing, he could hear the conversation. "I'm sorry, I have nothing more to tell you. Eito is devastated that his comeback had been ruined, we are no closer to finding out what happened and we are behind on teardown. Please, leave us to work. I'm sure if I have anything further for you, I will get in touch."
 
The journalist thanked the woman for her time and walked away but the edgerunners noticed he stayed within the compound.

Akira Kuwata - Exec
Team Mizutani
Though she looked harried and under pressure, the Mizutani Team Exec was still radiant. She was slight, well dressed in a Mizutani branded business suit and carrying herself with the confidence of a woman facing a challenge unbowed.

As the edgerunners approached she looked at them wearily. “Are you more press? I have nothing more to say on the matter.

Avery read the badge on her suit identified her as Akira Kuwata. “Good evening Miss Kuwata, we have been contracted to assist in the investigation into the missing vehicle.

Akira looked at the Mizutani pass pinned to Avery’s jacket. “You’re here to help?” She said. ”That changes things I guess. Who contracted you?

A Mr Nano Dallister.

Dallister? He’s not one I know but this goes beyond the marketing department and the race team I guess.

Could you tell me what happened?” Said Avery.

I don’t know what happened. If I did, we wouldn’t need edgerunners to investigate. We have asked a lot of questions but we’ve had no answers. The broad strokes is everyone was attending the post-race conference and then the after party. The Bishamon was in locked away in the garage. After races, the engineers carry out a full service. It takes hours. By the engineers account, the service was completed without a problem. They left the car locked.

Mizutani - The Workshop
Can we see the workshop?” Said Holliday.

Amaya Marton - Tech
Team Mizutani
Sure, we can arrange that.” She points at the garage across the yard. “It’s over there. The chief engineer is Amaya Marton.

Thank you, we will report back on what we find out.” Said Avery.

Amaya Marton was busy packing up the workshop. She was dressed in heavy duty garage overalls stained with years of hard work working on machinery. The edgerunners noticed several toolboxes of different sizes stacked ready to be loaded onto the transporter. Amaya was busy arranging spare parts as they entered the garage and she looked up as they entered.

Hi there.

Good evening Miss Marton.” Began Avery “We have been employed to assist in recovering the stolen vehicle. Could you tell us about the night the car was stolen?

Amaya stood up, wiping the sweat from her face. “Yeah, I was doing teardown that night. First time after an actual race. That machine was still more or less pristine. I did the fluid change, filters and ignitors and the brakes. IT took me a couple of hours. I was probably done by about seven pm. All was well, I locked up and left her ready to load on the transport.

Holliday took in the scent of the workshop. He looked around. “What is the security system like here?” He asked.

Jasmine - Netrunner
Avery's Exec Crew Member
The garage security is built on a mobile architecture. We set up cameras that watch for intruders and trigger an alarm.” She pointed at a camera in the corner of the room. “The cameras caught nothing and there was no alarm. Clearly our security system failed.

Do you mind if my tech support checks the system for breaches?” Said Avery gesturing towards Jasmine.
 
Amaya waved at the laptop on her desk. “Be my guest.

While Jasmine worked, Holliday contemplated other options. “Could be someone pick pocketed a pass.” He said. “Were any reported missing?

Not that I know of.” Said Amaya.

What about guards?” Asked Avery.

We have security officers on the books. The man on duty that night was Guy Fonson. He is still here in the camp but has been relieved of duty until we have finished the investigation.

Thank you.” Said Avery. “Is he being held on site?

Amaya pointed across at the hotel. “We have all of our staff on the 4th floor.

You have been most helpful.” Said Avery heading for the door. “Well Holliday, let’s go and speak to Mr Fonson and find out why he’s shit at his job.

A Potential Suspect
Entering the hotel, the three men were directed to a room within The Troposphere. It seemed that the hotel was home to several team’s personnel and they could determine that despite the rivalries, the whole circus travels more or less together between races. Mizutani were all housed on the 4th floor and the room allocated to Fonson was at the southwest side of the building.
 
Guy Fonson - Mizutani Security
Another security guard was sitting situated outside the door. He stepped aside as the edgerunners approached. “I’ve been told you’re coming. You can go right in.

The apartment is a typical hotel affair with a bed and a small sitting area. It’s larger than the cube hotel room that Klink lived in but was smaller than a regular sized apartment.

Fonson was an unremarkable man. He was average height and build with tousled dark hair. He stood in greeting as they entered the room. He looked to be in good health. Even if he was under investigation, it seems that Mizutani hadn’t resorted to torturing him.

Hi there.” Said Fonson, “Who are you guys?

We have been employed to find the car you lost.” Said Avery coldly. “Tell us what happened.

Look, I’ve told our own guys, I wasn’t at the garage when the car was stolen or else I’d have stopped it.” Said Fonson, immediately on the defensive. “There’s cameras in there and an alarm. We don’t just hang around by the garage, we have other stuff to check. The car must have been taken while I was sweeping the perimeter of the camp

Holliday loomed to his full height. Behind him, Klink started to fiddle ominously with a knife. “Now Mr Fonson, it’s awful strange that it disappeared without a trace just like that isn’t it? You surely want the car back, the corp wants the car back. It would be real helpful if we had some leads to follow. Sure you didn’t see anything?

No, I didn’t see or hear anything!” Said Fonson. “Look! There have been a bunch of rumours around the paddock. 

Lydia Martin was the championship leader but she’s had a run of bad luck. Tyre failures mechanical troubles and the like and now our car has gone missing. I can’t be the only one thinking somethings up.

What are you suggesting?” Said Avery.

Lydia Martin - Racer
Tomi Lancaster was a solid driver last year, a steady middle of the pack man. I know drivers improve but he’s gone from that to championship leader in the space of four races. It might be nothing, but he’s the man who benefitted from Lydia’s bad luck and it’s funny that Eito dominates his first race and immediately runs into trouble.

Avery studied the man’s body language. “I am a good judge of character Mr Fonson. I know when someone is withholding information. My associates here are both very capable of finding out what you know, but it will be far less unpleasant if you told us before they had to persuade you to.

GM's Note - Avery’s human perception roll is nova.

Ok, keep it down! The Gidatta sent some of their muscle round the day before the race. They knew about Eito and his good form and were there to disrupt his season by stealing his car. They threatened my family. I have a wife and a daughter and they said they would hurt them if I didn’t tell them how the security worked. They had pictures of them, they’d been stalking them.

Avery noticed Holliday’s demeanour change at the mention of the man’s family. “Go on.” He said.

The cameras don’t record video, they’re monitored by a demon that recognises the ID badges. If you have no badge, the demon triggers an alarm. They took an image snap of my badge to make forgeries then came back in the night to take the car.” He took a deep breath. “They probably did the heist. I wasn’t there when it happened, really. I was told to be somewhere else other than the garage at three am so I patrolled the camp.

What did they do?” Said Holliday calmly.

They pushed the car out and loaded it onto a truck. Obviously they wanted to keep it quiet so they couldn’t start her up. The truck kept out prying eyes.

Who were these men?” Asked Avery.

Security Precautions
There were two of them. They didn’t look much different from any other guys. They were bigger than me, one had EMP threading said his name was Howie, the other guy had the pictures. I think he said his name was Cermet.” Said Fonson. “If they find out I told you about this, I don’t know what they’ll do. They might kill me but it’s my family I care about.

Holliday looked at Avery a moment. “Tell, Mizutani you’re doing something for us.” He said. “Get out of here, get your family and go into hiding till this has gone by.

With a sigh Avery nodded. “We will say you mentioned the truck. You didn’t think it was relevant at the time but talking to us has made you suspicious about it and you gave us that lead. We won’t tell anyone you were involved or that you told us what happened.

Thank you.” Said Fonson. “I won’t forget this.

Let’s go.” Said Avery. “There’s a building across the street with exterior cameras. I can go check that out. I’ll let you talk it over with security.” 

Azure
The building across the street belonged to a corporation called Azure. Avery wasn’t sure what they sold, the sparse furnishings and simple poster art gave no indication of any products only the vague indication that it provided something.

He entered reception and walked up to the front desk to speak to the beautiful receptionist on duty.

'Azure' - Multi-Level Marketing - Receptionist

Hi there, I’m investigating a theft across the street and I’m wondering if I could check your security footage from the camera covering your storefront please?

I’m sorry sir, I can’t give you access to our security room.” she passed him some leaflets. “It would certainly help if you could give these a read and consider making a purchase.

'Azure' MLM Literature
Avery flipped through the leaflet. It played heavily on lines like “Be your own boss!” and he realised that Azure was a multi-level marketing scheme. “I know what this is and I have no interest in it. If I give you a timestamp could you check your camera’s please?” He said.

She seemed serenely happy and positive, almost artificially so, which struck Avery as unsettling but he gave the timestamp and waited patiently. After a while the receptionist returned and cast a few stills to his agent. “This is what our camera’s picked up.” She said.

The pictures showed a large truck but it seemed to have been parked deliberately to obscure the camera.

Thank you.” Said Avery. At least he had some evidence about the methods the thieves used.

Back at the Mizutani camp, Avery found Holliday and Klink back at the garage with Amaya.

It occurred to me.” Said Holliday. “These events use a sort of transponder to record lap times and track race telemetry. I thought we could see if any checkpoints were tripped.

Vehicle Transponder - Mizutani
Amaya was hunched over her laptop. “Hell, I didn’t think to check the transponder. It’s not what they’re for obviously. It’s a long shot, but if whoever stole it passed a checkpoint, then it might have registered on the transponder.” 

She tapped on the keyboard bringing up the car’s data. “There was a tracker in the car but it must have been disabled. If it hadn’t have been, we’d have found it already.” She slapped the table and stood up grinning. “You nailed it! There is a ping on the transponder for the checkpoint at the bridge going over to Heywood.

It seems that the car was loaded onto a truck of some kind. The corp across the street caught it on their security camera.” Said Avery. “Do we have an idea where they went?

Amaya turned the screen for them all to see. “It didn’t trigger any more. It does mean we know where the thieves didn’t go.

Holliday checked the map over. “I’d say that almost certainly, our car is somewhere south east of the city.” He said. “Looks like we have to do some old fashioned leg work.
 
Perhaps we can track it with an RFID scanner?” Said Avery.

It’s possible” Said Amaya, “You would need to get close to pick up the signal though.

Perhaps we have some contacts who can narrow down the search.” Said Avery reaching for his agent. The Fixer 'Jet' answered the call. “Mr Hicks is it?

Yes, it is.” Said Avery. “I’m looking for the location of something. It’s possible that there is a link to the Gidatta crime family. I assume you know something of their organisation.

Might be I know a bit about the Gidatta’s business interests.

Avery laid it out. “We have tracked a missing item south east. Does Gidatta have any facilities south of the city?

'Jet' - Fixer and Narcotics Dealer
Jet chuckled. “See, I have some relevant knowledge there, but of course, It will cost you. Let’s say you owe me a favour?

Avery disliked open ended deals like that but couldn’t see any other option. “Agreed. But bear in mind that the last bit of information you gave us wasn't anywhere near equivalent to the 50K in synthcoke we stole for you, so don't expect it to be a big favour...

There’s a quarry out in the Badlands. It hasn’t been used for decades, no industry you see. I’d wager there were more than a few bodies buried out there.

Thank you.” Said Avery and hung up. He turned to the others. “Well, I think we have an address.

On the drive out, Holliday raised some concerns. “Do you think there’s likely a rail head at the quarry? Could be some Raffen involvement maybe?

We can’t rule it out.” Said Avery. “I don’t think it’s likely though.

I might send a message to the Aldecaldos, tell them to be careful just in case.” Said Holliday.

The quarry compound was located a fair way into the Badlands to the southeast of the city. They could see it a long time before they got to it. Turning the lights off, they crept up close enough to scout it out.
There were a few scattered buildings at the top beside a yawning pit that dropped down about sixty feet. The track spiralled down to the bottom of the quarry where you could make out old abandoned construction vehicles and piles of whatever materials were excavated there.
 
Uninvited Guests
The outer fence of the compound was in surprisingly good condition considering the quarry was supposedly abandoned. The buildings themselves were either still connected to grid power, or there was a generator on site because they could see lights in some of the windows. The day was drawing in and it would soon be dark.

Map of The Gidatta Crime Family Quarry

There were a few people on guard. They weren’t patrolling regularly but they were keeping watch from the buildings in case anyone was approaching. There were a couple of cars parked in the compound not unlike the ones the outfit had recently stole from the docks.

What are our options?” Said Avery.

Grenades.” Said Klink. Avery turned to Holliday.

"The 'Klink' Solution..."
We could go in quiet.” Said the Nomad. “There’s going to be a bunch of guards watching the car. Might be easier to get in unseen and out quickly. Other option is to storm it and kill everyone. Take them by surprise.

With grenades.” Said Klink.

I could try and negotiate with them.” Said Avery “Tell them it’s in their best interest to just give the car up.” Though he admitted it wouldn't be his first choice of plan.

We could use that as a distraction maybe but I doubt they will back down and you’d be right in the line of fire when it went south.” Said Holliday. “I think, we sneak in, locate the car quietly and then make a quick exit with the car. The question is, how? I doubt it has three seats.

I’ve got skate feet!” Said Klink “I’ll hang off the back.

We will cross that bridge when we come to it.” Said Avery wearily. “I suggest we use the grapple guns to approach from the quarry pit. It doesn’t look like they are watching that approach.

An 'Acquired' Grapple Gun...
The three of them easily descended the quarry and stealthily made their way across out of the line of sight of the Gidatta guards. Scaling back up the compound was easy and they emerged in the shadow of a large warehouse that looked like it was used for storage while the quarry was in use. The windows were high up and there was a large double door at one end but they couldn’t see any other entrance.

Quietly, Klink grappled up to the window and peered inside. “It’s dark inside, I think it’s unused. There’s no sign of the car here.” Dropping back to the ground he joined the others getting a closer look at the rest of the camp.

There was another building beyond the warehouse that looked to be a workshop, perhaps for carrying out maintenance on tools and vehicles. There were lights on that could be seen through the windows. The last building was larger and seemed to be the control room, workers canteen, management offices and the like. It was also illuminated. The cars they had spotted from the perimeter were parked up outside the entrance.

Looks like tyre tracks.” Whispered Holliday, pointing at the disturbed dust marks by the control room. “Something heavy I reckon. Looks like it rolled up here and turned around.

It’s likely in the control room building then.” Said Avery.

"Taking a Sneaky Look..."
We can scout out the others anyway. It’s better not to assume.” Said Holliday.

The three edgerunners opted to hook around to the left, past the workshop. Klink hummed the theme tune to an old TV show called 'mission impossible' that he was apparently a fan of as he followed the others past the workshop windows. From within they could hear the sound of mechanical clicking and sports programming. Approaching the large double door, Avery stealthily opened the door. Pressing his eyes to the gap, he could make out two figures watching a screen. There was no sign of the car. He signalled to the others to move on.

GM's Note - All the players rolled over 20 for stealth here, they were ghosts.

Together they crept along the northern perimeter until they came to the garage door where the tracks ended. Quietly Avery passed Klink his silenced SMG and gently pushed open the door. Inside he could hear two men speaking.

Avery's Modified SMG
With Stewart out of the race, Lancaster has a clear run at the trophy.

Yeah, won’t people get suspicious that every rival suddenly gets a run of bad luck though?

What does it matter, he doesn’t know anything about it.

As he pushed the door open, their conversation stopped abruptly. Inside Avery saw the Bishamon for the first time. It was sleek and low unlike anything he had seen before, painted in a deep purple and covered in sponsorship decals. Beyond, two men faced him, reaching for their guns.

Holliday barrelled past into the first man beating him savagely and leaping out of the line of fire. He felt the wind of the passing bullets whistling past him as Klink opened fire on the wounded man and then went back on the attack, punching hard with his augmented strength.

Very Heavy Pistol - Suppressed
Avery gunned down the second man with precise accurate aim. The second man, wounded and bleeding snap fired a shot at Holliday plinking off his body armour. Avery put a bullet in him finishing him off. “Get the car!” He shouted to Holliday “We are leaving!

Avery gave him covering fire with his assault rifle while Holliday tried to start the car. Drawn by the sound of the scuffle, two more Gidatta henchmen charged down the corridor towards the garage. The exec raised his rifle and fired the underslung grenade launcher into the corridor killing one and causing the second to take cover.

Klink skated past heading for the front gate to cause a distraction. At the guard post ahead, two more guards emerged taking pot shots at him. He felt a couple of rounds bite through his armour and spinning away from the incoming fire, launched an incendiary grenade into the two parked cars by control room, setting them both alight. Grinning in the firelight, he turned his launchers on the guard hut.

"A Mysterious and Well Equipped Visitor..."

Back in the garage, Avery could hear the distant sound of an approaching AV. “Holliday, we have an AC incoming and they are coming in fast.” He said.

I’m away!” Shouted Holliday. The Bishamon roared into life. The nomad had never driven a machine like it. The power was immediate as the car screeched away into the night. The acceleration was exhilarating and he felt his heart beating faster as he effortlessly drifted around the skating medtech and past the guard hut as it exploded, then and out into the dessert. In the sky he could see a light approaching and gritting his teeth, he shifted into another gear, getting ever faster.

The Mizutani ' Bishamon' Prototype - Interior...

The AV trailed blue fire as it sped up to catch the thoroughbred race car. ‘NOS’ thought Holliday, there was no way an AV-4 could keep up with him at this speed, even on loose surface. The side door on the AV was open and a figure waved at Holliday indicating for him to slow down. “I don’t think so.” Said Holliday pulling the handbrake and cutting under the AV trying to out-manoeuvre it. The sudden turn caught the pilot off guard and he hurried to change course to follow. “He’s good.” Said Holliday to himself, throwing the car into another tight turn. The AV struggled to match the jinking car, for a second Holliday thought he could see an escape. If he could just keep this up until the AV rand out of NOS he could get away.

Holliday's Revolver
It seemed that the crew had the same thought. The figure in the doorway swung a mounted weapon to bear and opened fire. The car skidded to a halt as an EMP grenade hit it squarely on the engine bay. Holliday fought against the locked controls, willing it to come back to life but to no effect. 

He reached for his revolver and then stopped as dark figures dropped in on fast descent ropes. The AV continued to hover menacingly above he could make out the shape of someone manning a machine gun mounted in the open side hatch.

As the dust and debris began to settle, he noticed that each of the new arrivals were kitted out in paramilitary clothing with body armour and helmets. Their weapons were tactically selected for close quarter, room to room firefights. There were several Heavy SMG’s and a couple of shotguns. He reasoned that the plan may had been to seize the car while it was still in the compound.

Mercenaries of 'The Widow'
Their clothing was completely black and unadorned with any identifying markings other than their masks. Each was wearing a stylized kabuki mask in ivory as part of their headgear.

The last man to descend was a giant. He stood at least seven feet tall, like his team, he wore all black but his mask was deep crimson with horns sprouting from the temples. Holliday felt the impact through the floor as he hit the ground. He had an assault rifle slung over his shoulder and an SMG on his hip.

The mercenaries surrounded the car, covering every angle with military precision and clearly well drilled discipline.

We will take it from here.” Said the Giant. “The Widow thanks you for your cooperation but this is our haul.” He spoke into a radio “We have secured the area and have taken possession of the target.” He turned back to Holliday. “It’s time to leave.

Back at the compound Avery finished off the remaining mafia henchman in the garage and walked out into the night. He could see Klink executing two burning men by the guard hut. At the front of the building two cars burned, illuminating the darkened compound with a warm orange blow. Satisfied, he looked out into the dessert and his blood froze. The AV hovered over the car, Holliday with his hands raised walked back across the sand while black armoured mercenaries secured a lifting harness to their prize.

Angry, confused, frustrated and with a sinking feeling in his chest, he watched as the AV lifted the Bishamon into the night. Paralysed with anger that another was benefitting from his work he stood in the burning compound unsure of what do do.

Then, his agent began to ring "This had better be good fucking news..." thought Avery.

To Be Continued...

GM's Roundup
This session was really hard to write and run. The first story arc had been a success but it hadn’t been a challenge. I was determined to create a decent overarching villain and I had been building up the Widow in the screamsheets for weeks. This session was designed to be the big reveal.

I wasn’t sure how well it would go down. It was, in my opinion necessary but it crossed the line into railroading. Believe me, it was a really difficult plot to run.

The players quite felt like I had pulled the rug from under their feet and initially were pretty annoyed about it. From a GM point of view, I obviously want everyone to have fun. I certainly didn’t want to upset anyone but I did want them to feel angry towards the Widow. 

They had been set up and had victory stolen from them in the dying seconds of the game. Interestingly, Klink’s player, out of character had been suspicious of Nano Dallister’s offer at the start of the session. My only response was “well he has given you some garage passes” and they let it go without any further debate. That might become relevant next session.

I’m still getting to grips with GMing and this session was a valuable lesson for me. In saying that, it was also an illuminating look at the setting and how duplicitous and backstabbing it can be.

The next session will pick up directly from where this one ended. The fun is only just beginning.

Acknowledgement's
I've used pictures of real people to represent some of the characters and art for others so in no particular order Avery Hicks is Tom Ellis, 'Holliday' is Wes Chatham, 'Klink' is Mackenzie Crook, Jasmine is Dichen Lachman, Lizza is Eiza Gonzalez, Dom Silverman is George Clooney, Anya Metalik is Gillian Anderson, Nano Dallister is John Krasinki, Riker Blue is Matt Smith, Eito Stewart is Ryuichi Kiyonari, Unknown Media Journalist is Tom Cruise, Akira Kuwata is Florence Faivre, Amaya Marton is Dominique Tipper, Guy Fonson is Sam Rockwell, Lydia Marten is Jenny Tinmouth, Azure's Receptionist is Shannon Lucio and 'Jet' is Mark Sheppard.

Friday, 9 July 2021

Vampire the Masquerade - V5 - Session Eighty Nine - 'The War Council' (Part Four)

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 chronicle is set in Los Angeles and features a small group of Camarilla agents sent into the 'Free States' to bring them back under Camarilla control. Over a year of plotting allowed the coterie to gain control of two North-Eastern Baronies and a large part of a third. Now they are moving on to the final stage of their campaign and have their eyes on taking over the entire city, either directly or by proxy.
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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.
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Chronicle One - 'Infiltrate L.A.' 
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
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Chronicle Two - 'Foothold L.A.' 
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 OneTwoThreeFour, Five and Six
Story Ten - 'Anathema' - Part One and Two
Story Eleven - 'Predators and Prey' aka 'The Blount Sisters' - Part Three
Story Twelve - 'Aftermath' - Part One and Two
Story Thirteen - 'The Messiah Complex' - Part OneTwoThree and Four
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Chronicle Three - 'Incursion L.A.'
Story Fourteen - 'The Rant'
Story Fifteen - 'Ties of Blood' - Part One and Two
Solo Session - 'A Gathering of Roses'
Story Sixteen - 'The Southern Solution' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Seventeen - 'The Baker Disappearance' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Eighteen - 'Inevitable Betrayals' - Part OneTwoThreeFour and Five
Story Nineteen - 'The Marius Contracts' - Part One and Two
Story Twenty - 'The MacNeil Protocols' - Part OneTwoThreeFourFive
Story Twenty - 'The MacNeil Protocols' - Part SixSevenEightNine and Ten
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Interlude Session One - After Griffith Park
Interlude Session Two - Divide and Conquer
Interlude Session Three - On the Brink of War
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Chronicle Four - 'Conquest L.A.'
Story Twenty One - 'Veni, Vidi, Victor' - Part OneTwoThreeFourFive
Story Twenty One - 'Veni, Vidi, Victor' - Part Six, and Epilogue
Story Twenty Two - 'The Unbound' - Part OneTwoThree and Four
Story Twenty Three - 'The War Council' - Part OneTwo and Three
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The PC's
Michael Tomassio - Toreador, 'Baron of the North East'
Vincent 'Vin' Ghast - Brujah, 'Constable'
Dr Daniel Matthews - Banu Haqim, 'Fixer'
Hope Romero - Gangrel, 'Census Taker'
Mr Hertz - Nosferatu, 'Seneschal'

The Storyteller
Garreth - Everyone else...

The player characters stats and backgrounds can be found HERE should any-one be interested, but be warned that the page is usually several stories ahead of the most recent write-up and may contain some spoilers. 

There's also some minor 'house-rules' HERE that have occurred as we went along.

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. Where particular NPC's have a mention in a faction profile you will be able to reach it by clicking on their name or faction beneath their picture.

Introduction
The meeting of the Barons 'War Council' has made even more progress. It has been agreed that Harvey Caplan will take over the absent position of Baron of the South Coast and that baron Boyd of the Crypts Sons must be revived from torpor in order to lead the fractured remnants of his gang. Meanwhile, Gary Golden, leader of the Hollywood Nosferatu, has agreed to consult with Bertram Tung to discover exactly how such a thorough infiltration of Los Angeles was undertaken.

Scene Twelve - Questions of Loyalty
Therese Voerman - Malkavian
Baron of Santa Monica
Therese Voerman, Baron of Santa Monica raised the status's of the several nominally independent groups of kindred who operated within the city. Of specific concern was the United Chantry of Los Angeles which contained a number of blood sorcerers who were, at least in theory, still loyal to the Camarilla. Also of concern was Ike's Brujah Fight Club, The Bahari and the Circulatory System. The latter of which was generally regarded as an organisation that was primarily associated with the Ventrue of the Camarilla despite it's claims of autonomy.

Michael agreed that at the very least these organisations should be approached by whichever Baron controlled the territories that these organisations were based in.

The usually taciturn Vin chose to speak on Ike's behalf. "Those Brujah who attend the 'so-called' Fight Club are mainly Anarch Brujah. Outside guests are rare but carefully vetted and monitored. Now that my clan is, for the most part, separated from the influence of the Camarilla the membership of the club is Anarch, if not in name, then certainly in outlook." He paused briefly, knowing that Michael and Daniel would be observing the reactions of the assembled kindred. After a moment he continued. "To cast doubt upon the integrity of it's members would be a slur upon all Brujah. something I'm sure no-one here would consider..."

Isaac 'Ike' Griffith - Brujah
Founder of the 'Fight Clubs'
Michael and Daniel could see that the Brujah present all agreed with Vin. It seemed unlikely to either of them that Ike would be a threat to the Free States. Despite him also operating in Camarilla held cities, his status as apolitical was well known and respected.

The chantry's status was more complicated. The Tremere clan was now split into at least four houses though only three had any significant power. House Tremere and House Carna were still part of the Camarilla. The status of House Goratrix was more complicated as it was still broadly considered to have some influence within the Sabbat.

A fourth faction called House Ipsissimus could be found amongst the Anarchs but as far as anyone was aware it had only a single member resident in Los Angeles. Alessandro Kaye was an advisor to Gloria Martinez and his loyalty to her was without question. As the chantry was located in Downtown, all eyes turned to Marius.

"My childe Eleanor has acted as my liaison with the chantry since her arrival in the city. In her opinion they are still respecting their agreement to keep out of Anarch politics and limit themselves to their researches and experiments. There has been no sign of their influence in Vannevar's invasion and their movements outside of their Chantry are carefully monitored."

Eleanor Braun - Gangrel
Childe of Marius, Blood Sorceress
"All visitors have announced themselves upon arrival within my domain. I see nothing to be gained by antagonising a group who have honoured their word. In fact questioning it may well push them into the very direction that some here suspect them of."

No-one truly trusted Marius. He was notoriously unpredictable, constantly plotting and spread his influence and personal agendas at any opportunity. In this matter however he seemed sincere in his belief that interference in the chantry's activities would cause more harm than good. Though not exactly vouching for it's inhabitants, this was the closest Marius ever got to taking actual responsibility for something.

"...and the Bahari?" prompted Michael. He knew much about the Bahari of the city, but their darker impulses caused him considerably concern.

Vampire adherents of the Path of Lilith, otherwise known as the Lilin, Lilitu, or Bahari, revered the progenitor vampire. They believed Lilith was the first, usurped vampire, the mother who births the vitae, and that all Kindred are her children.

The Bahari sought enlightenment through pain and conflict, turning these masochistic urges into the strength to endure and overcome. As Lilith rebelled against God’s commands and fought against her curse, her followers defeat the weaknesses and curses upon them to become something else. Some Bahari led other Kindred to enlightenment, others become perfected predators. 

'Mary' - Bahari Gangrel
'Mother' of the Chosen of Ennoia
Bahari deprecated compassion in favour of fleshly pleasure, transient love, and strict parenthood over Kindred they deemed to be 'lesser'.

The Bahari believed it was their duty to fulfil the roles of torturer, student, teacher, or lover to other Kindred. Bahari theology was largely built around the idea that pain leads to revelation and that chaos is a creative force. It is these beliefs that have resulted in their less than savoury reputation amongst other kindred. That and a tendency to diablerise their own childer...

The 'Mother' of the Bahari within Los Angeles was another childe of Marius known as Mary and she had established a cult of kindred and mortal followers around her. Though her sect appeared to be still relatively small, her followers were fanatically loyal to her and eager to show their devotion too.

The Bahari within the so-called 'Temple of Enlightenment' are often referred to as The Children of the Wolf as they are exclusively Gangrel though they more often refer to themselves as the Children of Ennoia or sometimes the 'Chosen of Ennoia'. This indicated to Michael's research that they were not simply Bahari, but also ancestor worshippers who venerated the Gangrel Antediluvian.

Michael's musing was interrupted by Marius's reply.

Marius Walker - Gangrel
Baron of Downtown
"Mary is mistress of her own affairs and answers to no-one but herself..." Began Marius. Michael and Daniel could clearly see that Louis Fortier, Isaac Abrams and Therese Voerman doubted this statement though other Barons seemed to accept Marius's word. "...that being said, she is still my childe and may accept my guidance on this matter if the concerns of this council are put to her diplomatically."

The coterie had, over the last two years, discovered a considerable number of Bahari within the city. Many of these were childer, grandechilder or followers of Marius. Despite the Bahari being traditionally matriarchal, the coterie was convinced that Marius was the driving force behind those within Los Angeles who devoted themselves to Lilith, the Dark Mother. They were also certain that he himself was an ancestor worshipper of Ennoia.

The only chink in the relationship between Marius and Mary seemed to be that he pledged himself to Ennoia first and Lilith second, whereas Mary's first loyalty was undoubtedly to Lilith rather than the antediluvian. The coterie had also witnessed first hand that Baron Walker had a hold over his kindred descendants that went beyond blood bonds or mere loyalty. Though they had never discovered it's source, his ability to impose his will over childer, grandechilder and beyond was without doubt.

Marius continued "However, I'm certain that the Bahari have no more desire to see a Prince rule over this city than any kindred within this room." His phrasing seemed slightly odd as if he was implying that there were those at the council who actually might welcome the presence of a Prince. Further conjecture was however interrupted by Gary's return.

Scene Thirteen - Under Construction
Gary Golden has returned from his consultation with Bertram Tung and is clutching a handful of documents and what appears to be a large rolled up map.

Gary Golden and Bertram Tung - Nosferatu Information Brokers

"You are to be complemented on your computer systems and Bertram's considerable collection of databases." began Gary. "I believe that between us we have located the base of operation of Vannevar's forces. Or should I say, the twelve bases of operations we suspect we have discovered so far..."

Between Gary's explanations and several pertinent questions put forward by various of the present kindred the following information was revealed.

Vannevar Thomas - Prince of San Francisco and San Jose

A company called Harper Construction, based in San Francisco, had been responsible for a number of building projects around Los Angeles. Gary and Bertram had traced this corporation to several businesses under Camarilla control that Vannevar had heavily invested in. Broadly speaking there was at least one of these projects in each of the Anarch baronies within the city. These sites had allowed Vannevar to transport whatever he wished into the city without raising suspicion. They had also discovered that the logistics wing of Harper Construction, Harper Logistics, currently had a container ship in Los Angeles docks.

Los Angeles Docks at Night - South Coast Barony

This information had created some dissent amongst the kindred present as each suspected that such an operation could not have been implemented without the cooperation of traitorous elements amongst the Anarchs. Seeing that the delicate alliance created could easily begin to unravel, Michael rose from his chair and spoke.

Louis Fortier - Ventrue
Baron of West Los Angeles
"It is natural for us to think of our personal interests in light of such a discovery but let me remind you what we have already accomplished through cooperation rather than competition. Vannevar's plan was clever and innovative but together we have discovered it and are now in a position to counter it as one. Now is not the time for petty infighting...now is the time to plan a decisive blow against our mutual foe."

Storytellers Note - Michael's player rolled spectacularly well to persuade the assembled kindred to put away their differences. Normally I would have simply let the fact that his speech was well roleplayed be enough but with thirteen Barons to persuade I figured some dice were necessary too.

Baron Fortier also rose and added his weight to Michael's opinion. "Michael is correct. Mr Golden, please continue with your briefing..."

"This is where it becomes more concerning." stated Gary, as if there being multiple enemy bases in the city wasn't concern enough. "This particular company is licensed to use explosives and has a permit on record for their use within Los Angeles. I doubt they intend them for the recommended purpose..."

"What about other weapons?" interrupted Daniel. "Do these companies have any military or security connections?"

"Unfortunately, Yes." replied Gary "So we can expect the infiltrators to be heavily armed. Especially as they have had over a year to gradually bring in whatever equipment they may require, via Harper Logistics." He then rolled out a detailed map of the city upon which he had marked the known locations of Harper Construction sites and depots. There were indeed, at least one per Barony. The corners were weighed down by bottles and glasses as the barons perused their own domains to see exactly where the threats to each of them were located.

'Rosa' - Duskborn Visionary
"They'll have a leader for the offensive aspects of the invasion, either a Nosferatu or a Brujah if they have any who stayed loyal to them. And another overall leader, probably a Ventrue." Stated Vin, looking at the map and noting that the base bear to Pasadena was actually to the North and closer to the mountains than to any area of importance to them. "We just need to work out which of these locations is their primary base..."

A surprisingly powerful yet cheerful voice cut through the noise. "It's that one..." said Rosa gesturing to one corner of the map. Though clearly insane, the duskborns talents as a seer were well known. the information she provided was as random as her own thoughts but she rarely made a proclamation that was less than 100% correct. She skipped over to the table and planted her finger firmly on a location in the barony formerly ruled by Steve Booth, and now the domain of Harvey Caplan.

"Are you sure?" asked Allison Maller, concerned that the specified location was also close to her own border.

"She's sure." answered Therese Voerman. None questioned the proclamation. Therese never made definitive statements unless she knew she was right. Therese and Rosa exchanged a brief but knowing glance. Evidently there was some connection there that none present had been aware of previously.

Fortier also took Rosa's statement at face value though in his case he had experienced the accuracy of her fortune telling in the past so had some personal experience of her periodic bouts of reliability. He then took control of the meeting to lay out some ideas of his own.

'The Circle' - Gangrel
Downtown's Sweepers
"Firstly we need to monitor any further comings and goings into the city to these locations and any contact between them. As Marius already passes information between our baronies via the Gangrel 'Oratory', I suggest that he be given...temporary...control of our various domains own sweepers in order to ensure that we know exactly what's been transported across our city."

Storytellers Note - As most of the cities sweepers are Gangrel and their method of passing on information is generally verbal, the other kindred of Los Angeles have taken to calling this 'The Oratory' and the name has stuck.

Michael was surprised to note that Marius didn't seem as keen on the responsibility as he would have imagined. "I'll get it arranged." he replied, before turning to his ghoul assistant Victoria. "Tell 'The Circle' that I need to meet them immediately after this meeting. I have some work for them..."

Marius then addressed the gathering once more. "This will have to be done carefully. Vannevar has undoubtedly prepared his forces with counters to kindred methods of observation. Countering his countermeasures may take a little time but I'm sure it can be done."

Vin leaned down and whispered something to Michael. "It's getting Marius's claws out of them when the Barons want their own sweepers back that's going to be the real problem." Michael nodded noncommittedly. The thought had occurred to him and no doubt also to many of the other Barons present. Still, under the circumstances, it was a sound plan. Marius was a skilled war leader and strategist and had a talent for organisation and creative problem solving. Getting him to relinquish control once the battle was done was a problem for another night.

Harvey Caplan - Ventrue
Baron of the South Coast
Marius however hadn't finished. "I suggest that Vinicius and 'The Hunters' be allocated to Harvey Caplan to help with his consolidation of the South Coast. They are conveniently located, have experience with coastal operations and have their own resources so would require no support from Harvey other than mission parameters."

Harvey nodded his thanks. The Hunters would make his job of bringing the South Coast to some semblance of order significantly simpler. His own followers were competent enough but only two were formidable enough to bring rogue kindred into line. Vinicius's pack would add considerably to his offensive options.

Harvey also assured the gathered Barons that now he was aware of the Harper Logistics vessel within his dock that he would ensure that it was monitored carefully. If necessary he could use his influence to cause it any number of difficulties in loading and unloading any cargo that might be a threat to the councils actions against Vannevar.

Some other minor issues were discussed, including using mortal influence to assist with their surveillance and to create problems for Vannevar's legitimate operations within the city as well as which Barons would take on what responsibilities.

"It's obvious that we need to prioritise reconnaissance of the site indicated by Rosa." interjected Michael once the conversation had settled down once more. "Daniel has shown considerable skill in that area and I suggest him for the task.

Scene Fourteen - The 'K' Team
Jean 'Jax' Thomas - Elder Ghoul
Ghoul of Louis Fortier
"It seems a lot for a single kindred to accomplish, especially under these circumstances." said Baron Fortier. "If he is to undertake this task then he will need a team of operatives with complimentary skills to ensure it's success. I suggest my own ghoul 'Jax' for a start. As a mortal he can perform tasks at times that would be out of the question for kindred."

It was very obvious that Louis's support for the idea, hinged upon the inclusion of his specified operative. "He sounds perfect." said Daniel diplomatically. Daniel had actually met Jax before and had briefly been forced to engage him in combat. 

As neither he, nor Jax were meant to be where they had fought there should be no recriminations if Jax recognized Daniel. They had in fact both failed in their task as another Baron's operative had already removed the hard drive they were both seeking.

Storytellers Note - The encounter occurred in this session HERE.

"I'd also like to add 'Chick' from Baron Voerman's commando coterie to assist with any required infiltration of the facility itself. her skills in this area are well known, if she can be spared that is?

Charlie 'Chick' Abbott - Banu Haqim
Santa Monica 'Commando Coterie'
Therese Voerman raised no objections. Charlie 'Chick' Abbott was a Banu Haqim and one of the few kindred in L.A. who knew that Daniel was also of that clan and not Brujah as he claimed.

"I'll also need skilled spotters who are also able to give covering fire should it become necessary." he turned to Marius. "Does the budget for this operation extent to acquiring the services of the Pale Lady?"

'The Pale Lady', or Emmanuella Booth to use her given name was one of the foremost kindred assassins in the world. She was known for removing targets at range but was equally as deadly in close quarters. 

Her main rival for the title of premier killer amongst the kindred assassins was Fatima Al-Faqadi and they had been competitors for some time. Daniel knew that she was of Marius's bloodline and that he could access her services if he so desired. He also knew that she didn't give discounts, even to family.

"I presume you'll also require Rebecca?" asked Marius. Daniel confirmed that this was indeed the case. Rebecca was also an accomplished sniper though not in the league of her sire Emmanuella. 

Emmanuella 'The Pale Lady' Booth and her childe 'Rebecca'

She was also notorious for getting herself into trouble that Marius or her sire then had to extract her from. Hopefully she could be relied upon in this operation given the stakes involved should they fail. Daniel suspected that she gained a perverse enjoyment from inconveniencing her sire and grandesire in such a manner and that they in return were less annoyed by her activities than they actually pretended to be.

"I'll also need support of a both technical and sorcerous nature." He continued. "Bertram's protégé Eric will be ideal for the technical aspects and and Baron Martinez's House Ipsissimus advisor, Alessandro Kaye should be of assistance should we encounter defences of an occult nature."

Alessandro Kaye - House Ipsissimus, Eric Moore - Nosferatu

Daniel was understandably reluctant to ask assistance of any blood mage associated with the Camarilla so his options were somewhat limited in this area. Alessandro had served Gloria well over the last few years and so should be able to fulfil the role required of him.

Velme - Toreador
Suspected Daughter of Cacophony
"I'd also like to take Hope Romero from our own Barony of Pasadena as back-up should we need someone to engage any potential pursuers on the ground." Michael of course had no objection. 

"Perhaps Baron Martinez would also be willing to lend me the services of Velme? They seemed very capable during our last joint venture and had some interesting talents for distracting guards..."

"Not taking Vin?" asked Marius conversationally.

"No..." replied Daniel. "I'll be busy protecting our own Barony." responded Vin

"I think that concludes our business for the night." concluded Fortier. "Daniel. You have a day to undertake any reconnaissance you deem necessary via your own agents. This council will expect your operation against Vannevar's South Coast facility to begin the following night. Agreed?"

Daniel nodded though in his own head he was hoping he hadn't bitten off more than he could chew.

To Be Continued in 'Resistance' (Part One)

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...

Well the players got what they wanted and managed to keep any of the meetings kindred from declaring war on one another so that's not bad going. Now they just have to keep the alliance together long enough to purge Vannevar's Camarilla from Los Angeles.

And not get themselves destroyed during the process of course...

Acknowledgements
Portions of the materials are the copyrights and trademarks of White Wolf Entertainment AB, and are used with permission. All rights reserved.

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 Matt Bomer, 'Vin' is Scott Adkins, Dr Matthews is Mads Mikkelsen, Hope is Deborah Ann Woll, Mr Hertz is Charles Dance, Therese Voerman is Whitney Moore, Isaac 'Ike' Griffith is Jason Statham, Eleanor Braun is P.J. Harvey, Marius Walker is Tony Curran, Vannevar Thomas is Bryan Dechart, Louis Fortier is Eduardo Verastegui, Rosa is Mahafsoun, Harvel Caplan is Harvey Keitel, Jean 'Jax' Thomas is Jean-Claude Van Damme, Charlie 'Chick' Abbott is Lena Headey, 'The Pale Lady' is Anastasia E.G., Rebecca is Amy Acker and Velme is Ruby Rose

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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