Thursday, 21 October 2021

Vampire the Masquerade - V5 - Session Ninety One - 'Resistance' (Part Two)

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 OneTwoThree and Four
Interlude Session - Recon
Story Twenty Four - 'Resistance' - Part One
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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 infiltration of the construction site thought to be one of the Camarilla bases poised to overthrow the Free States from within was a complete success. Computer data has been obtained as well as a detailed layout of the complex, numbers of personnel and visual confirmation of the operations apparent leader. All that remains now is to decide upon a specific plan of action based on what they have learned.

Scene Seven - Knowing is Half the Battle
Vannevar Thomas - Ventrue
Prince of San Francisco and San Jose
The combined spies of Gary Golden and Marius have confirmed that whatever is being planned by Vannevar is certain to occur within the next two nights. Shipments in, have far outweighed those out and their San Francisco origins are obvious.

Personnel and heavy vehicles have also travelled from other sites to the one near the South Coast docks.

Harvey Caplan has had his people delay any suspect shipments into the docks with their origins in San Francisco, disrupting any reinforcements via sea. 

He is also currently investigating their cargo's covertly to see what can be discovered.

Vannevar's diplomatic assets have been traced to what is presumably their temporary bases.

Peter Kwan - Ventrue, Camarilla

Peter Kwan, who approached Therese Voerman with a promise of a pact of mutual none-interference has been traced to a hotel on the edge of Koreatown. This is bordering, but not within, the area ruled by the kindred terror referred to as 'The Nameless One'. He is protected by at least a dozen mortal guards and at least one kindred. Possibly Nosferatu due to them apparently concealing their face at all times.

Kelvin Wee, the kindred diplomat who spoke to Marius, is based at a hotel in Chinatown. He announced his arrival to Lyko Wu, the kindred who was granted the area of Downtown as feeding ground. However he has his own guards. His security are apparently representatives of the largest Triad gang in San Francisco which has caused Lyko difficulties of both a political and criminal nature.

Acting against him would start a war between mortal gangs that would draw significant attention to the area, attention that no-one wants. Kelvin is also, apparently, an agent of the Camarilla Justicars, and not a direst employee of Vannevar. This makes planning his potential assassination into a political nightmare. Not even the Anarchs murder diplomatic envoys on a whim.

Luna Demian - House Tremere
Regent and Primogen, San Francisco
Luna Demian, Tremere regent and Primogen is currently enjoying the hospitality of the Consolidated Chantry in Downtown. The presence of three different Houses within the chantry apparently intrigued Luna enough for her to ask permission to remain for a few nights to exchange knowledge.

It also seems that despite the reconnaissance operations success, that the South Coast construction site's kindred organisers have become suspicious and security there has tripled. These extra guards have been drawn equally from the other locations so haven't weakened them in any significant manner. 

Meanwhile in San Jose, a number of Marius's packs have launched retaliatory strikes against several of Vannevar's bases, disrupting supply lines in a deliberate and systematic manner. This has been in response to Vannevars scouts making sortie's into the Gangrel baronies in the North West. 

Marius 'The Fixer' Walker - Gangrel
Baron of Downtown
As he has pointed out to the other barons "Not acting against him was beginning to look suspicious...plus the bastard insulted me by sending a fucking Ventrue as messenger when he has a Gangrel fucking Primogen available...

He is also suspected to have killed several mortals suspected of being Camarilla infiltrators within various Downtown operations. Though he possibly has a point, it has raised doubts with other barons about whether Marius can be trusted to cooperate fully with the other members of the so-called 'New Anarch Council'.

Gloria Martinez has suffered a significant setback as a pre-emptive strike by the Unbound ghoul gang known as the Young Bloods against the bike gangs under her influence has crippled their numbers and resulted in the destruction of many of their weapon stockpiles.

The gang were well armed and armoured, struck with precision and being exclusively comprised of ghouls, were more than a match for the few gang members who tried to put up a fight. Gloria and the kindred of her barony have had to fall back to secondary havens as their primary base is now more or less undefended during daylight hours.

Scene Eight - The Asp Hole
Henrique 'Hank' Boyd - Brujah
Baron of The Crypts Sons
It had been agreed by the council that The Crypts Sons required a leader and that therefore it was necessary to revive Baron Hank Boyd from torpor.

He was currently hidden in the Nosferatu Warrens and was under the protection of Gary Golden, de-facto leader of the majority of the cities Nosferatu.

Hank had shown that he only trusted two kindred within the city. One was Gary Golden who was currently guarding his torpid body and the other was,Michael Tomassio, Baron of the North East. It had been decided that Michael would be the one to use his own vitae to, hopefully, restore Hank to activity. 

Baron Fortier had been confident that Hank was strong enough to overcome any lingering bias towards Michael that consuming his vitae might induce via the Blood Bond. The Council had agreed, as they tended to do when Louis Fortier made known his opinion on a matter.

Michael had agreed to meet Gary Golden's guide in the basement of The Asp Hole. The Hollywood club was once owned by the Baron of Hollywood's childe, Ash Rivers. After Ash's disappearance, ownership reverted to Baron Isaac Abram's who subsequently sold it to Marius Walker. The memories it bought back of his lost childe were seemingly too much for Isaac to bear.

The Asp Hole, Hollywood

The Asp Hole had basement access to the sewers below Hollywood and therefore also had convenient access to the Nosferatu's warrens. Marius therefore converted the sub basement into a meeting area where the cities kindred could interact with the cities Nosferatu without having to enter the sewers. This also suited the Nosferatu themselves as it meant that they didn't have to take the usual precautions their hideous appearances usually required of them when venturing above ground.

Barabus - Nosferatu
Spy and Enforcer for Gary Golden
Their guide on this occasion was to be Barabus, Gary's most favoured spy and enforcer.

Michael elected to take Vin and Hope with him on this venture. If there was any trouble in the confined area of the underground then these were the best at dealing with it. Though Daniel was a skilled killer, his expertise was best used when there was time to plan ahead.

Michael had decided upon slightly more practical clothing than was his norm, considering where they were heading. 

Hope always dressed practically so felt no need to change for this particular occasion. She had a short, pump action shotgun with her that had had the trigger guard modified. Her hands now bore permanent claws and so fine manipulation was something of an issue. Vin had his trusty machete strapped across his back and was carrying a canvas bag containing a fully automatic assault shotgun and several drums of ammunition of varying types. One wit had once described Vin, Daniel and Hope as an ice-pick, a scalpel, and a hand-grenade. The description was actually quite appropriate.


They were led into a particularly precarious area, deep below the warrens and the journey took quite some time. Eventually they came to an area protected by a heavy wooden door, held together by bands of iron. despite the dank environment the door seemed to be well preserved. Barabus unlocked the door with an unusually shaped iron key. Ahead were a selection of prison cells built into the rocky walls. Some cells were open, others had doors that were rusted shut. "What the fuck do the Nosferatu have this place for?" asked Vin.

"We inherited it from the Tzimisce that your coterie removed from the sewers a few years ago, though it seems to be far older than that. We believe it may have once been part of the Labyrinth." replied Barabus.

"The what?" enquired Vin.

As they continued on, Barabus began to explain

Interlude - The Labyrinth
Abandoned 'Superstation' to Nowhere
"Many years ago a number of cities decided to construct what they called 'superstations' for a series of underground and overland train networks which were then subsequently never built. These stations around the country all had one distinguishing feature, each leads to a series of tunnels that are in various stages of disrepair, since construction on them was halted. The series of connected stations and places they lead to is known colloquially among Kindred as “The Labyrinth.” There's one in Chicago, this one in L.A. and a few more scattered around the US and possibly even the world."

"Its outer layers consist in part of sewers, disused drains, cellars, storage facilities, and utility maintenance tunnels. As one penetrates toward its centre, things get much weirder. Much of it is smooth stone construction, making it very difficult to say how old it is. There are yawning pits, false doors, pivoting floors; impossible angles, endless stairs, metal catwalks, weird intersections. It is tangled, gloomy, endless and quite bewildering in all honesty."

'The Labyrinth'
"There are various lairs and hideouts within the Labyrinths, but they are chaotic places that are difficult for the various cities rulers to police. It’s said there’s all manner of Kindred and other things down there, and sometimes when Kindred head down into the Labyrinth they never return. Others however, have come back with everything from useful knowledge to new allies. If you believe the stories then some have entered a Labyrinth in one city and inexplicably emerged from one in a completely different part of the city, perhaps even a different city altogether."

Michael was surprised that he detected no humour in Barabus's voice. It seemed that the Nosferatu believed that there was some fact to these outlandish and improbable tales. It was also obvious that Barabus was uncomfortable with the conversation. Perhaps there was more to this 'Labyrinth' than the Nosferatu spy was willing to share. It might be a subject to raise with Dillan Fitzgerald, Marius's Malkavian architect who seemed to have somewhat of a labyrinth fetish himself.

Scene Nine - A Wake-Up Call
'Deacon' - Brujah
Emissary of The Crypts Sons
The room in which Hank lay had simple stone walls and a floor made from heavy dark tiles, also stone. Four Brujah, last survivors of The Crypts Sons, guarded their fallen Baron. A pile of dead, drained rats in one corner indicated their diet while protecting their master.

Michael scanned those present, attempting to ascertain the emotional state of those present. The guards were edgy and several still bore wounds that their vermin diet hadn't provided enough blood for them to heal. Deacon was apprehensive, but hopeful. Michael could tell that he wished Hank to revive, it seems that Deacon saw his role as leader as temporary and was eager to hand it back to Hank.

"I need each of you to grab a limb." requested Michael of Hank's guardians. "If he awakes frenzied, I'm going to be the first thing he see's..." Vin joined the Crypts sons and placed his hand on Hank's chest, before nodding to Michael that they were ready. Vincent Ghast's strength was prodigious. He was easily the strongest kindred of his generation that Michael had ever encountered, only surpassed by those elders who defied the physical limitations of others. Hope moved to stand behind Michael, ready to pull her Baron away from danger at a moments notice.

Neither Vin nor Hope were particularly subtle and so Michael had ensured that they were both well fed before embarking on this mission. One potentially frenzied kindred was more than enough to deal with.

Vin handed Michael a surprisingly ornamental folding knife from a pocket of his jacket. Michael decided against asking it's origin. Vin had an extensive collection of weapons and nearly all of them were taken from fallen enemies.

Michael wiped the blade, just in case, and then sliced open his own wrist and let the vitae drip into Hank's mouth and down his throat. After a few moments Hank's body began to change. The wounds in his chest and head began to heal but there was no sign that he was about to awaken. Michael looked over at Deacon who nodded back encouragingly. 

Michael continued to pour his own vitae into Hank's open mouth. More of Hank's wounds began to heal and Hank himself was beginning to show signs of movement. 

Then without warning Hank's eyes flicked open and he began to  fight against those holding him down. Michael could see that he was on the verge of frenzy. "Hold his head still." Michael commanded. Vin grabbed Hank's head and forced it back onto the slab as the others struggled to hold their leader down. Michael wasn't sure how much longer he could keep this up. Hank had consumed a great deal of Michael's vitae and he had little left to give without risking frenzy himself.

As quickly as the struggling had began, it ceased. "I'm fine now." said Hank. "You can all let go now."

The Crypts Sons released their Baron though Vin still held Hank by chest and throat, looking to Michael for his go-ahead to let go. Michael indicated that he should release Hank but he did so in a slow and deliberate manner. The Crypts Sons were tense as they waited for Vin to obey his Barons order but made no attempt to hurry him along. Those who had seen him fight were in no hurry to test themselves against him. "Is this all that remains of The Crypts Sons?" asked Hank.

"I'm afraid so..." replied Deacon.

Steve Booth - Brujah, Destroyed
Former Baron of the South Coast


Michael and the others began to fill Hank in on the events he had missed. Steve Booth's assassination, the attempts upon Nines, Skelter and Damsel, the assault on Gloria's base by the Young Bloods and the other many situations that were a result of the Camarilla's push into the city. They also told him of the construction site's used by Vannevar's forces to infiltrate the city and their own recon of the site they believed was to be used to attack the docks.

Hank was also surprisingly concerned about his mortal followers. Michael assured him that Daniel had saved as many as he could but that the body count had still been horrendously high. Hank thanked him for what his followers had done and his gratitude seemed to be quite genuine.

"A plan is being formulated as we sift through the information obtained during the reconnaissance." continued Michael. "But we need to act as a united free states, not individuals, therefore I must implore you to take no pre-emptive actions of your own. To do so against the forces arrayed against us would be suicide for a small force without a decisive plan of action."

Michael could see that Hank craved revenge but also understood the importance of what Michael was saying. Barabus then interjected. "I can have you and your men escorted to anywhere in the city you wish, via the underground. Just name the place." While the Nosferatu and the Brujah discussed their plans, Caleb, a childe of Gary Golden arrived in order to guide the coterie back to The Asp Hole.

"Let's see what the council has come up with then." said Michael

Scene Ten - The Arbiter
Venture Tower - Downtown
The meeting room in Venture tower had been redesigned somewhat since their last visit. Before each seat was a symbol representing the clan of the Baron who sat there and each was placed in a stylised map, representing the barony that they ruled. Within the centre of the table was a large map of the city, also sub-divided by Barony that could be rotated to face in any direction desired.

Michael noted that the symbols and maps were in inserts which were obviously designed to be easily changed. Evidently the designer was expecting changes to these border changes to be frequent.

As the meeting began, several barons started to talk at the same time and it was obvious that all believed their own input to be most important. Some squabbling had been expected but this didn't bode well for the council's future.

Louis Fortier - Ventrue
Baron of West L.A.
"Enough..." said Baron Fortier, his voice raised only slightly yet commanding the attention of the whole table. "...This will not do..." he continued.

"We need an arbiter." stated Marius, in the uncomfortable silence that followed Fortier's statement. "Someone to guide the meeting, and ensure everyone gets time to speak..." he continued. "...I'd nominate myself but as none of you actually trust me, and at least half of you don't even like me, that might not be a popular choice..."

"I nominate Michael..." said Hank. "...though I might be biased as most of the vitae in my veins currently is his..." he smiled grimly after he said this.

Michael and Daniel scanned the table for the barons reactions.

Daniel concluded that Marius would support Michael just because he wouldn't want Baron's Abrams or Fortier to get the role. Michael had come to the same conclusion.

It seemed clear that Gloria Martinez, Baron of El Hermandad wished to object but was keeping her opinion to herself until she could see the mood of the other barons. Allison Maller, Baron of Anaheim had her attention focussed upon Daniel. 

Baron Gloria Martinez - El Hermandad, Baron Allison Maller - Anaheim

Therese Voerman, Baron of Santa Monica on the other hand was showing signs of obvious amusement but why could not be determined.

The following debate went back and forth but it was clear that opinion was gradually turning towards Michael. "Fine..." interrupted Baron Fortier. "...Michael will temporarily be given the task of acting as arbiter of our debate. Now can we get on with discussing the invasion of our city and put the petty politics to one side?"

It didn't go unnoticed that considerable emphasis had been put by Louis on the word 'temporarily'.

Scene Eleven - Information Overload
Storytellers Note - This part of the session went on for a long time so I'm going to summarise most of it.

Nines Rodriguez - Brujah
In his new role as arbiter, Michael pointed out that the absence of Nines from the council was significant and despite not being a Baron, he was an important voice for the opinions and needs of much of the cities population.

Gloria Martinez then informed the council that Nines was currently busy informing new arrivals to the city of the potential dangers that might soon engulf the city and attempting to recruit any that might be willing to fight for the Anarch Free States, and against the Camarilla invasion.

Harvey Caplan, Baron of the South Coast, let it be known that his predecessor Steve Booth's Sweeper and right-hand man had been located. Hector O'Neill had survived the attack upon his Baron but had been severely injured in the explosion. He had taken the pragmatic decision to withdraw and heal himself as hunting down the perpetrators of the attack was impractical in his wounded state. Once healed he had contacted his fellow sweeper Bilal Yang who had filled him in on the current situation. His loyalty had always been to Steve Booth and he had told Bilal that he wished no role under a different Baron. 

Harvey Caplan - Ventrue
Baron of the South Coast
He would however fight for them in any battle against the Camarilla incursion and would hold back from acting until the council had a plan. Harvey has granted Hector a feeding ground in his domain to use as he pleases in return for his assistance and tactical advice on Harvey's new barony. Though the role is unofficial, Harvey has stated that wasting such a valuable resource would be foolish and Hector has agreed with the terms.

Gary Golden then spoke on behalf of the Nosferatu who had been gathering information on the Camarilla representatives who had approached several Barons as well as the individual observed during the recon who seemed to be in charge.

They believed that the individual was Jochen Van Nuys a Ventrue diplomat with his eye on the Princedom of San Francisco. Evidently he saw this incursion as highly favourable to his reputation, should it succeed, especially as there were several highly placed individuals within the Camarilla who considered him to be an unsuitable Prince. Specifically the Toreador Justicar, Diana Iadanza. Despite this he was said to be favoured by the Inner Circle of the Camarilla as a diplomat and keeper of the peace if not as Prince. Given what Gary and the other information dealers had discovered about him it seemed likely that he was currently the most powerful and influential Camarilla kindred hiding within the city.

Jochen Van Nuys - Ventrue
Camarilla
They had also discovered that Peter Kwan, who had approached Baron Voerman to negotiate an arrangement of mutual non-interference, was a childe of Jochen Van Nuys. As you would expect, he is ruthless and ambitious. Van Nuys seemingly considers him to be a pupil and ally, a relationship that could, perhaps be used to the Anarchs advantage.

Kelvin Wei was a different matter entirely. Kelvin was a negotiator for the Justicars first and foremost and so would be certain to be someone looking at the bigger picture. The information brokers amongst the Anarchs had also learned that Kelvin favoured Sara Winder over Jochen Van Nuys. Gary's opinion was that he was either a con artist posing as a negotiator or a negotiator posing as a con artist. Either way, he made deals that always worked in his favour, and the Camarilla’s of course but it was rare that Kelvin came out of a negotiation without something for himself.

Michael had enquired about their Asian heritages considering that the so-called Kindred of the East had recently held a significant amount of territory in San Francisco before apparently being driven out. It was Gary's opinion that these kindred had been recruited due to their knowledge of the cultures with which they were dealing and given their histories it was unlikely that they were agents for an organisation other than the Camarilla.

Eleanor Braun - Gangrel
Childe of Marius, Blood Sorceress
Eleanor Braun, a childe of Marius now tasked with liaising with the Consolidated Chantry of Los Angeles due to her own occult knowledge, spoke of a meeting had with Luna Demian, Tremere Primogen of San Francisco.

She had implied that she could possibly ensure that Vannevar's forces gained no cooperation from the Tremere on the condition that travel between her own chantry in San Francisco and the one in Los Angeles be unimpeded. Access for the residents of each chantry to the other, without interference, was one of her conditions.

Though dubious about allowing any Camarilla representative free access to the city, it was deemed an acceptable compromise if it limited the resources available to Vannevar. It was Eleanor's opinion that Luna's priorities were her mystical researches and that she would keep to her agreement as long as the Anarchs kept theirs. She also made it clear to the council that Luna Demian was a blood sorceress of extremely high potency and that she was clearly an enemy that they should avoid making. Michael made a mental note, that someone needed to turn this from hints of cooperation to an actual agreement.

The discussion then moved to Marius's activities against Vannevar's forces in the San Gabriel mountains. These were being led by the de-facto Gangrel Primogen, Mirko Mirkonen. Marius had this to say about Mirko. 

"He's not of a particularly low generation but he has the potency that comes from a millennium of unlife, mostly spent killing things..." He also shared the following opinion. "The Camarilla offered him the position of Archon, which he refused, he basically spends his time killing whatever is currently in vogue as enemies, waiting for the next war. He doesn't even like Vannevar but if there's a war then he'll be leading from the fucking front.

Vera Vignes - Ventrue
Former Baroness of Pasadena
Marius raised the point that destroying Mirko Mirkonen would seriously impact Vannevar's ability to supply the forces in L.A. as it was he who was keeping the supply lines open through the mountains, via San Jose. Talk of supply lines bought another individual to mind.

Given their own experiences with her, Michael bought up the subject of Vera Vignes. She was formally the Baroness of Pasadena along with her now destroyed husband Edward, but now effectively ran San Francisco's docks after leaving Pasadena.

Given her knowledge of Los Angeles and her influence on the logistics capabilities of Vannevar, Michael was concerned that she might need to be considered in the councils plans. Though the council agreed she may be a problem it was the general consensus that she was a low priority currently.

The Sabbat threat was also considered.

Meredith Lang, who had once infiltrated the Sabbat on behalf off the then Gangrel Justicar Xaviar, briefed the assembled Barons on what was known of the Sabbat likely within the city.

Rumours were spreading that Roman Pendragon was heading towards L.A. and may indeed already be within the city. Roman was a childe of Dark Selina, a Methuselah who had dedicated herself wholeheartedly to the cause of the Sabbat and it was possible that he was there to pave the way for the arrival of his sire. She also mentioned that two Sabbat packs favoured by Roman and his sire were certain to be in the vicinity if the other rumours were true.

Scarlet Carson O'Toole - City Gangrel
Pack Leader of The Misery Lords
Consuela Maria Martinez was the pack leader of The Killing Spree, she was a calculated and deliberate kindred who spread chaos in her wake, yet managed to always remain a safe distance from any fallout. Her pack, Killing Spree, is always eager for bloodletting. Their strategies call for mass Embrace and war parties, while Martinez’s approach demands subtlety and patience. She is therefore likely to be relying on the infiltration capabilities of another notable pack who called themselves the Misery Lords.

The Misery Lords consist entirely of vampires trained in information gathering, and the kindred's tendencies towards politics and rumourmongering is a weakness their leader Scarlet Carson O’Toole and her pack exploit to the best of their abilities. 

Neither have their efforts gone unnoticed by Consuela Maria Martinez. O’Toole knows that if she and The Misery Lords can prove their usefulness to Martinez, they may earn positions of power should the city fall to the Sabbat. 

This, in Meredith's opinion, makes them a highly motivated and therefore dangerous element. The kindred observed monitoring them during the reconnaissance of Jochen Van Nuys's construction site base also matches the description that Meredith has of O'Toole.

Daniel also noticed that Vin was paying a great deal of attention to the briefing on the sabbat. He suspected that he was looking for any clue to the whereabouts of his sister of the blood who had gone missing after infiltrating the Sabbat on the orders of their sire.

Vin had indeed made several mental notes as Sabbat of note were named by Meredith. He was hitting more and more dead ends in his enquiries about the fate of his 'sister' and his sire was beginning to grow impatient. Desdemona Moore was not a kindred you wished to have annoyed at you if you wished your unlife to be long and untroubled.

Michael was paying attention as much to the other barons reaction to this information as the information itself.

'Atarah' - Lasombra
Ally of Baron Louis Fortier
Fortier was deep in thought, no doubt making tactical assessments for both his own defence and that of the Free states. Atarah, a resident of West L.A. and more and more relied upon to provide her Baron with security, definitely knew the name Maria Martinez. This could be a concern as Atarah was a particularly potent member of Clan Lasombra. Isaac Abrams, Baron of Hollywood had reacted noticeably to the mention of Dark Selina. The only other notable reaction was from Gary Golden who seemed annoyed that there was someone in the city with information that he himself hadn't known.

Of most concern to Michael was the fact that he was sure that Meredith was holding back information. several times she had paused as if about to reveal something then changing her mind. Though he couldn't be certain, she was showing some of the signs of a kindred fighting against a blood bond. Who she was bound to would need investigating.

"All this is certainly relevant information but it still leaves us with a decision to make." Interjected Baron Fortier. "Specifically, how we remove this threat, before they have a chance to strike against us in any decisive fashion..."

It was Gary Golden who replied.

"Assessing Van Nuys's likely next move based upon transport into and out of his sites has forced a reassessment of his timeline. It is our belief that he needs more time to prepare than we previously thought, but not much more. I suggest that we can only risk spending another night on reconnaissance and information gathering. After that we will need to act swiftly or allow the Camarilla to take the initiative..."

To Be Continued in 'Resistance' (Part Three)

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...

There's a lot for the players to digest after this session, and I expect my inbox to be full of messages over the next few days.

Let's hope they come up with something good ;-)

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, Vannevar Thomas is Bryan Dechart, Peter Kwan is Steven Yeun, Luna Demian is Andie Macdowell, Marius Walker is Tony Curran, Hank Boyd is Michael Clarke Duncan, 'Deacon' is Michael Ealy, Louis Fortier is Eduardo Verastegui, Gloria Martinez is Ariadne Artiles, Allison Maller is Chloe Grace Moretz, Nines Rodriguez is Luis Carazo, Harvel Caplan is Harvey Keitel, Jochen Van Nuys is Javier Bardem, Eleanor Braun is P.J. Harvey, Helen Mirren is Vera Vignes, Scarelt Carson O'Toole is Natalya Rudakova, Desdemona Moore is Amanda Donohoe and 'Atarah' is Madonna.

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.

Friday, 8 October 2021

Vampire the Masquerade - V5 - Session Ninety - 'Resistance' (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 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 OneTwoThree and Four
Interlude Session - Recon
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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.

Storytellers Note - The majority of this session was conducted with only two players. Daniel was played by his usual player and 'Chick' was taken control of by the other available PC.

Introduction
With the data obtained from Daniel's ghouls external reconnaissance of the Camarilla base, cunningly disguised as a construction site, passed on to the information specialists of the city, all that now remains is for the Barons to meet once more in order to decide on how to use their accumulated knowledge to purge Vannevars Camarilla from the Anarch Free States.

Scene One - The Free States United
Harvey Caplan - Ventrue
Baron of the South Coast
Harvey Caplan, now Baron of the South Coast has quickly and efficiently bought the domain under his control. Those kindred who had began to forge their own empires have been allowed to keep the new feeding grounds under the condition that they protect and maintain them in Harvey's name and obey his dictates when he requires it.

Bilal Yang, Harvey's sweeper has been given the role of Census Taker and has accepted on condition that Steve Booth's right-hand man, Hector O'Neill be offered the role should he be discovered to have survived Baron Booth's destruction.

Only two kindred refused to accept Harvey's rule, neither have been seen since, and have been deemed unfortunate but necessary casualties by the neighbouring baronies given the current need for unity. Of course they may have simply left of their own accord.

Using a combination of shapeshifting and animal observers, the Gangrel under Marius's control have acquired detailed knowledge of the movements both within, and without, Vannevar's construction site bases of operations. Marius has also been allowed to utilise the talents of 'Crow', scout for Ike's Fight Club, whose legendary abilities as spy and infiltrator have been invaluable.

'Gorgeous' Gary Golden - Nosferatu
Leader of the Hollywood Nosferatu
Supplemented by the incredible stealth of Gary's Nosferatu followers, a detailed and precise map of the sites logistics has been compiled. That Vannevar is planning an imminent move is certain and it is suspected that the Anarchs have at most two nights to prepare for or attack or pre-empt it with an assault of their own. 

Several sightings of members of the unbound ghoul gang known as The Young Bloods' has confirmed the rumours that Vannevar has arranged some kind of deal with the vampire hunting ghouls. Though the exact nature of the deal is unknown, it is easy to make some educated guesses.

Those kindred with political connections have gathered information on who in local government has likely been co-opted by outside influences and has put these individuals under observation. This has mainly been coordinated by Baron Fortier and Baron Abrams though Marius's control over Los Angeles Department of Power and Water has also proven useful.

Though much of the damage has already done in the form of issued permits and the like, it is still entirely possible to put legal obstacles in place. The difficult aspect is doing so without it becoming obvious that these co-opted mortals have been uncovered. Fortunately all three of these kindred have agents who specialise in manipulation, blackmail and other methods of gaining leverage.

Isaac Abrams - Toreador
Baron of Hollywood and San Fernando
This sharing of information between the three most politically connected kindred in the city has apparently involved a significant exchange of boons between them. Even in these circumstances, some aspects of kindred affairs never changes.

It is rumoured that Isaac Abram's has gained most from these deals, which has further raised curiosity about what has inspired his new, more proactive attitude to kindred affairs.

It has also emerged that several of the cities Barons had been approached by representatives of Vannevar. This was apparently to sound them out about their reactions should The Camarilla extend their rule from the recently overran San Jose, to Los Angeles.

Therese Voerman had been approached by Peter Kwan, a Camarilla representative and resident of San Francisco.

Peter Kwan was a fairly handsome Asian man with an expensive haircut and even more expensive taste in clothes. He looked like a hip, successful young businessman, and he carried all the expected accoutrements with him: cell phone, PDA, Rolex, etc. Therese got the impression that he was the sort who would defer to his superiors but otherwise took charge in any situation in which he was involved.

Therese Voerman - Malkavian
Baron of Santa Monica
Therese Voerman reveals that she has been assured that her territory would be respected should L.A. be taken by the Camarilla, as long as she returned the courtesy. She also informs the council that she has accepted their offer as she claims that to do otherwise would arouse suspicion given her previous flexibility when the Camarilla temporarily gained control of the city. The council has accepted her reasoning but the fact that Vannevar seems to be already looking for allies means his invasion plan must be very close to fruition.

After Therese's own admission, Marius Walker, Baron of Downtown also admits to being approached. Given Marius's previous association with Prince LaCroix this is also hardly a surprise, though considering his lack of action allowed LaCroix to be assassinated by Smiling Jack, perhaps thinking he'd cooperate with Vannevar was a longshot at best.

Marius was approached by a Camarilla negotiator known as Kelvin Wee. This Ventrue answered directly to the Justicars and therefore his presence meant that the Camarilla were supporting Vannevars invasion at the highest levels of influence.

Kelvin was an amazingly large Chinese man. He stood just over six feet tall and, while not fat, he was without a doubt a man of substance. He dressed in tailored suits and fine apparel, understanding how the eldest of his clan placed such great emphasis on physical appearance and public face.

Marius Walker - Gangrel
Baron of Downtown
Marius, if he is to be believed, told Kelvin in no uncertain terms to fuck off.

"Vannevar has a Gangrel Primogen he could have sent but instead he sends a Ventrue direct from the top floors of the Ivory Tower. Either Vannevar is a poor judge of character or he was intentionally insulting me. That or he thought I might be intimidated by some big fucker in a fancy suit."

It was common knowledge that Marius reacted poorly to threats, either actual or implied, so this did indeed seem like a misstep on Vannevars part. Of course this was based on Marius telling the council the truth and that couldn't be relied on if a lie served him better.

It was also revealed that the Tremere regent of their San Francisco Chantry had met with Ruby, Regent of the Consolidated Chantry of Los Angeles. They had formerly agreed to stay out of the conflict as it's "Interfering with her research..."

Storytellers Note - The coterie have a better than average relationship with Marius 'The Fixer' Walker but rather sensibly don't trust him at all and therefore tend to presume he's up to something at all times. They're usually correct.

Daniel had confirmed with Michael his list of required operatives for the planned infiltration of the construction site and Michael had relayed this list to the council. He had been given permission by their respective Barons for their use in this operation. Baron Fortier also reiterated his previous statement that Daniel Matthews, Baron Tomassio's bodyguard and tactical advisor should be in overall control of the operation due to his successes in similar endeavour's. Louis Fortiers support was all that was necessary to gain the overall approval of The Anarch Council, such was the respect for him within Los Angeles.

Scene Two - A Gathering of Talent
Daniel had decided to keep the actual infiltration team down to a mere two operatives in order to absolutely minimise the chance of detection while also ensuring that he had at least some back-up. He had selected Charlie 'Chick' Abbott, a Banu Haqim in the service of Baron Voerman of Santa Monica as Daniel knew of her skills first hand.


She was also one of the few kindred in the city who knew that Daniel was also Banu Haqim, and not Brujah as he claimed. This would enable him to use the full range of his abilities without raising difficult to answer questions.

Louis Fortier had already offered the services of his own most senior ghoul and best agent to the operation. Daniel had accepted as Jax was both highly skilled and also, as a mortal, could begin preparations for them during the hours of daylight thus saving them valuable preparation time.

'The Pale Lady' - Gangrel
Childe of Marius, Assassin
In the role of 'spotter' and potential sniper cover, Marius had agreed to pay for the services of the so-called 'Pale Lady'. 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, making Marius one of the few kindred in the city who could both easily contact her and afford her services.

He had also acquired the services of Emmanuella's own childe Rebecca. Rebecca was also a skilled killer at range but not in the same league as her sire. Maybe in a century or so, but not yet.

Filling out the team in the area of technical support was Eric Moore, a Nosferatu neonate highly skilled in electronics and computer technology. He had provided several devices that could be used to extract information from any computer systems that the infiltrators might encounter. He had also tapped into various nearby communication networks in order to disrupt in mortal agencies that might be called should the operation become 'loud'.

Eric Moore - Nosferatu, Alessandro Kaye - House Ipsissimus

Alessandro Kaye of House Ipsissimus, one of the fractured groups formed after Clan Tremere's base in Venice was destroyed by the Second Inquisition, had been attached to the group to provide support should the invaders have utilised any blood magic in the defence of their base. He was also there in case they needed any occult advice during the infitration. Daniel and Chick both had some abilities in this area but they were mere beginners compared to Alessandro.

'Velme' - Toreador?
Suspected Daughter of Cacophony
Finally, Daniel had selected two operatives to disrupt any pursuit should they be discovered. These were Hope Romero of his own barony and 'Velme' a strangely seductive individual from Baron Martinez's El Hermandad domain.

Daniel had personally observed Velme turning a hostile enemy completely passive and distracted in a matter of moments, before calmly slitting their throat without them making any attempt to defend themselves. A disturbing talent but quite useful should they need to neutralise a pursuing hostile.

The group met at Huntingdon Logistics, the base of operations of a Gangrel pack known as 'The Hunters' led by one Vinicius Santos. Though not directly involved in the operation, his base had a well equipped operations centre used for his own missions and he had, at Marius's request, allowed the infiltrators team to use it as an initial staging point.

"Thank you for joining us." began Daniel "You have all been personally selected for this important mission based on your respective skillsets. It is fair to say that you are all the best in the city within your own fields and we need that expertise to accomplish this important task."

Audio/Visual Recording Gear
Daniel then laid out his plan to infiltrate the construction site along with 'Chick', map the layout, get an idea of their enemies strength and, if possible, extract information from any unguarded computer systems they could locate. Eric had also provided video and audio systems to enable them to review the infiltrators progress when they returned. This would hopefully give them even more information to work with.

A detailed map of the area surrounding the complex had been pinned to one wall and this was surrounded by pictures taken by Daniel's own ghouls the previous day that emphasised points of interest. Emmanuella indicated on one of the pictures where she would be setting up her sniper post. Daniel could see no fault with her choice and likely would have deferred to her decision even if he had.

Storytellers Note - Daniel's player is understandably concerned about not annoying kindred whose specialties include invisibly killing their enemies with high calibre weaponry from a mile and a half away...

Jean 'Jax' Thomas - Spymaster
Ghoul of Louis Fortier
Eric pointed out to the assembled group that he had obtained the official plans of the site but doubted that the facilities insides would exactly match them. It would be simple for a Ventrue of even moderate talents to manipulate such information or just persuade any inspector that they had seen exactly what the kindred told them they had seen. Jax, who was acting as coordinator of the operation, agreed that the information though not 100% reliable would at the very least give them a place to start.

"How much information will these devices contain?" asked Chick who was unused to having her activities monitored, given their usually dubious nature.

"Eight hours of continuous video footage, plus audio on the camera's." replied Eric. "You can turn them off and on again if you want to conserve capacity for some reason." he continued. "But if this job lasts longer than eight hours then we have a whole different set of problems." he concluded, which got a rare smile out of Chick. He also explained that the portable drives he had supplied would hold several terabyte's of data and had their own internal software which should crack the security of anything less than military grade encryption.

'Rebecca' - Gangrel
Childe of Emmanuella Booth
"And what if you're discovered." asked Rebecca.

Daniel pointed to the map where he had marked out his preferred escape route. Ever paranoid, he had also worked out a secondary and tertiary route should his first choices be unavailable. He also noted that Emmanuella had seemingly already taken this information into account as her selected look-out spot allowed her to cover all three of these exits from the construction area. 

"I don't see a designated fall-back position?" interrupted Hope. "Presumably we'll need a place to meet up if things go to shit?"

Daniel had already taken this into account but mentally chided himself as he hadn't put it on the map or included it in his briefing. He specified the location and then asked if there were any further questions. There were none. It seemed he had selected his team well.

The operatives went to their allocated vehicles and began to move towards their various command centres and areas of operation. Daniel and Chick took a nondescript and subtly armed vehicle provided by Louis Fortier of the type often used by his own ghouls. as prepared as they were ever going to be, they began their most important task.

Scene Three - A Lesson in Obfuscation
The Obfuscation Discipline in Action
The reconnaissance provided by Daniel's ghouls had already given him and Chick a fair idea of where they were going to enter the site and their personal observations gave them no reason to change their minds.

Chick faded from sight almost before Daniel's eyes and despite being prepared for the transition he had difficulty tracking his fellow infiltrator. Chick, conversely had little trouble following the movements of Daniel. Both leapt over the intervening fence, their natural talents confusing both mortal and technological observations of the area as they landed.

Storytellers Note - Both Daniel and Chick have pretty much the full selection of infiltration and stealth related discipline powers. Chick is slightly more talented in some significant areas though.

They avoided several patrolling guards who were checking windows and doors to ensure they were locked. Once these individuals had passed Daniel found a suitable entry point and began to pick the lock on one of the doors while his companion kept watch. Just before he began to open it, Chick grabbed his arm and pointed to the gap between door and frame. Almost undetectable to casual observation was some kind of additional sensor on the door. Unsure of whether bypassing it would alert someone, they searched for another way in.

Daniel pointed towards the buildings second floor. "How good are you at climbing?" he asked with a smile.

Daniel's Lock-picking Set
Neither had any issues with scaling the side of the structure where it seemed that the additional security measures on doors and windows had been deemed unnecessary. Daniel's supernatural senses could hear movement within. He guessed that their was at least one roving team within and possibly up to three other individuals but this was still their best route inside. He quickly picked the lock on the window and both he and his fellow Banu Haqim slipped inside.

Once inside they realised that Eric was correct and that the building plans were only partially accurate. "The stairway is over by the lift." observed Chick. "Which is where most of the bloody patrols are." replied Daniel quietly.

Daniel then reached into his jacket and produced a small container he had prepared earlier containing a spider, along with a small vial. His partner in crime visibly grimaced. "I fucking hate that ritual." she said in a resigned tone. "Fine, wait a minute while I find myself a fucking spider..."

'Clinging of the Insect' - Ritual
Storytellers Note - 'The Clinging of the Insect' is a level 1 Blood Magic ritual that allows you to climb up walls and across ceilings. It does however require the consumption of a vial of your own blood with a live spider crushed into it...

Now moving above the guards the pair of Banu Haqim moved towards the stairwell. The nearby lift shaft was open, the elevator yet to be installed. Hopefully this would give them a way to bypass several of the floors that entering from the upper floor was forcing them to navigate.

The shaft penetrated below the ground floor, revealing that the complex had three sub-levels not visible from their external reconnaissance. The guards on the next level were armed with suppressed submachineguns. The weapons were quite distinctive and both kindred identified them as second generation KRISS Vector SMG's. These particular models appeared to have been chambered in 45ACP and also had red dot sights and other useful features.

"The guards are apparently rather well equipped..."

Though they were both well camouflaged by their vampiric disciplines they were also reasonably happy that the guards were mostly focussing their attentions towards the buildings perimeter rather than areas such as the shaft they were currently traversing. It was also noted that the guards were reporting in every fifteen minutes which meant that eliminating any would cause an alert to be raised very quickly indeed. To make matters worse they noticed a selection of red beams criss-crossing their route ahead.

Apparently someone had pre-empted this as a likely entry point and had taken precautions. Daniel and Charlie exchanged a look and then as one bypassed the guards on the ground floor and made their way carefully to the stairs.

Scene Four - Into the Unknown
Unknown Observer
"We're going to need a distraction to get those guards away from the door." stated Charlie. "Killing them is out of the question as fifteen minutes isn't enough time to get dome what we need to.

Daniel agreed then added an idea of his own. "I wonder if Velme can create a distraction that will make enough of a commotion that some of the guard might go and have a look?" They both decided it was worth a try.

"Give me five minutes..." was Velme's reply. Daniel decided not to ask exactly what she had planned. She also informed him that Rebecca had spotted an outside element that he needed to know about. He sighed unnecessarily and then opened the encrypted channel to Rebecca and Emmanuella's observation post.

"Someone is watching us, watching them." Began Rebecca "They fucking waved at me..." Daniel asked her to elaborate.

"She was a petite woman just over five feet tall. Short red hair and freckles, almost made her seem childlike in that wholesome, all-American way. She moved in a very deliberate and graceful manner though that wave betrays a measure of arrogance too. Emmanuella had some suspicions about her identity..."

Meredith Lang - Gangrel
Pack Leader of Ennoi's Hunters
The Pale Lady however didn't seem inclined to leap to any conclusions. "I need to confer with both my own childe Meredith and Marius before I share my conclusions. Under these circumstances incorrect information can be as dangerous as no information at all. Don't you agree?"

"If they're a threat then eliminate it." said Daniel. "Otherwise leave them alone..."

"Too late anyway." Interjected Rebecca. "They've gone."

He decided to put that into the 'problems for later' column and waited to see what Velme had come up with.

Outside in the street a loud argument had started between two large groups of seemingly ordinary citizens. The debate seemed to be about the talents of a street performer. Half believed her to be the greatest thing ever while others had decided they were utterly terrible. Apparently this performer had created such an impression that several scuffles had broken out de to these radical differences of opinion and now some local police officers had become involved too. As site security began to leave their posts to investigate what exactly was going on, the pair bypassed the lock on the now undefended door and continued onwards.

"A Significant Armoury..."
Within were two guards who Daniel was sure were kindred, possibly Brujah though this latter conclusion was pure guesswork. The two interlopers gave them a wide berth and carefully circled the area to see what exactly was going on in this area.

It was effectively a barracks containing some twenty beds though currently only seven were occupied. Nearby was a rack of assault rifles, submachineguns and handguns. Many were suppressed. If the other construction sites around Los Angeles were similarly equipped then this was less an infiltration by the Camarilla and more likely the full-scale invasion that they had suspected.

Hung carelessly over a chair was a security access card on a lanyard. Chick carefully lifted it and placed it in her jacket in case it might come in useful later. Daniel noticed that an area in one corner had been cordoned off with barriers. On closer inspection it looked like some kind of accident had occurred and the wreckage of a digger could be seen on the lower level. Never one to overlook such a gift, the pair used this improvised entrance to gain access to the next level down without needing to sneak past the guards on the stairway. 

Patrolling Security Guard
This level also had guards but they were far more relaxed than those on the higher levels and seemed content to simply man their posts rather than make any kind of patrols. However, they were still reporting in at regular intervals so the pair couldn't be complacent. They had penetrated almost to the lowest level of the complex now and only one floor remained that could contain the nerve centre they suspected must exist to coordinate such a vast and ambitious operation.

In a moment of distraction Daniel turned the corner to the stairs without checking first and almost walked straight into a well-dressed security guard patrolling from the lower floor. Thinking quickly, Chick covered the area in a 'Blink' and pulled him aside at the last minute. Fortunately the supernatural field of silence that surrounded them prevented the abrupt and improvised action from alerting anyone. Presumably this man was a guard for someone important considering his expensive suit so alerting him would have certainly caused them a serious problem..

Storytellers Note - Daniel's player made a complete mess of a Stealth roll, luckily his fellow player managed to bail him out before anything disastrous resulted from it.

Ahead of them was their goal. Activity could be heard from within, all they needed to do now was work out exactly how to examine the area without alerting the occupants.

Scene Five - Smoke and Mirrors
It soon became clear that sneaking through the door as someone entered or left was quite impractical. No-one had left the room nor entered it for twenty minutes and they didn't have an infinite amount of time.

'Incorporeal Passage' - Ritual
"I have an idea.
" whispered Chick as she reached into her pocket for a piece of mirror within. She sliced open a vein in her forearm and let her vitae spill upon it's surface before breaking it as quietly as possible. Grasping a shard in her hand her form began to become incorporeal and she moved through the door as if it wasn't there.

"That I need to learn." Daniel said to himself with just a hint of jealousy.

The area beyond the door was a hive of activity. despite being a silent, invisible and incorporeal presence, Chick nonetheless still moved as stealthily as possible. This was not a time or place for silly mistakes

The security guards here were on high alert and seemed to be the most senior of the ones on site. She could see an incomplete stairwell to what Daniels ghouls believed to be an underground parking level, though access from here seemed to be via a simple ladder.

Computer System - Purpose Unknown
There was a duplicate of the barracks area from the higher level here, including the armoury though none of the beds were occupied. There was also a large backup generator on the far side of the room, presumably to provide power to this area in case of an area wide power failure.

Most of interest to her was a computer system in one corner attached to an improvised yet sophisticated looking set of linked drives. Unfortunately her computer skills were to basic to discern it's exact function but any information it might contain was better than none.

The ritual that allowed her to remain incorporeal had some limitations. Specifically it only allowed movement in a single direction without completing the ritual from the beginning which would limit her protection. Fortunately the generator was straight ahead and devoid of activity. This gave her an idea.

Once safely on the opposite side of the generator she took the dangerous act of releasing the shard of glass so she could communicate with Daniel. This was a risk given where she was but she needed to coordinate her plan with her fellow infiltrator.

Backup Generator
"Daniel, I have an idea. There's a generator in here. If I start it up that should create a fucking commotion that will allow you to sneak over to the server and plug in that device of Eric's. Hopefully that will give us enough time to download what we can. There's a way to the lowest level in her too. Might be a better exit strategy than going back the way we came?"

Daniel agreed that it was worth the risk.

The operations centre was suddenly filled with the noise of a generator booming into life. Even Chick was surprised at the sheer volume of the noise it created. "This might actually work..." she thought.

Taking the noise as his cue, Daniel opened the door and moved towards the computer system specified by Chick. As they had hoped, all attention was now drawn to the generator and he slipped around behind the distracted occupants and plugged Eric's device into the first port he could find.

Storytellers Note - I had previously decided that given the difficulties I'd already inflicted upon them that any decent plan would be given a chance of success. Sometimes as Storyteller you need to allow cinematic elements to guide the scene rather than overly concern yourselves with the minor details.

Meanwhile the commotion had drawn the attention of an obviously senior kindred how had seemingly been having a meeting of some kind in an adjacent room.

Leader of the Camarilla Invasion Forces
Identity and Clan Unknown
He was a vaguely handsome man with straw blond hair, pale blue eyes and slightly pointy nose. Unlike some Kindred, he didn't wear his undead pallor well and had a pasty, unhealthy appearance that you imagine must mitigated his otherwise commanding presence. He was dressed well, his suit was obviously expensive though was a bit toward the foppish end of the sartorial spectrum. Daniel doubted that his Toreador Baron would approve of the outfit.

Somewhat out of place was the individual to which the kindred had been speaking. The tattooed and heavily pierced biker had his jacket thrown over one shoulder. Daniel recognised the distinctive blood drop symbol of the unbound ghoul biker gang known as The Young Bloods. What this kindred had offered this group in return for their cooperation certainly wouldn't be good news for the kindred of the city. "The deal is done, stop worrying." said the kindred, evidently irritated with having to make the statement.

All present snapped to attention at their obvious leaders presence. "What's going on here?" he asked. His voice was quiet but contained a level of menace that was easy to discern. He was obviously not a man who liked disruptions to his activities.

"That generator is playing up again." said one of the security guards, though he avoided making eye-contact when he spoke. He continued. "I'm convinced that engineer wired it up backwards or something. It hasn't worked properly since night one..."

"Well turn it off and find out what went wrong, and do so immediately." He stated, then began to look around the room intently. His suspicion was evident and he was far less accepting of a mundane explanation than his underlings were. Deciding that discretion and secrecy were still parament, both spies moved carefully to the incomplete stairwell and dropped silently into the underground garage.

Scene Six - Tactical Withdrawal
The lowest level was indeed a parking garage though there were few vehicles within. Of note were a metallic grey Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 and a Harley Davison 'Fat Boy' motorcycle. The rest were delivery vehicles or related to the construction. Daniel made a careful note of the vehicles license plate numbers, just in case.


"I wonder if those sewer grates lead anywhere useful?" queried Daniel, considering future infiltrations of the facility. "I doubt that anyone who put this much effort into an invasion is going to leave access to the Nosferatu warrens in his basement." replied Chick.

Though conscious about their need to leave, something about the area looked wrong to him. "Don't you think this area should extend further in that corner?" he said, more to himself than to his colleague.

"Have a quick look if you must, but we need to leave." stated Chick, impatient to leave given the suspicious looks the invaders leader had been casting around after they had activated the generator.

Hidden Doorway - Parking Level
Daniel tapped the wall, noting a hollow area where the wall should have been solid. After careful examination he found an almost imperceptible imperfection in the wall that could indicate a door of some kind. His persistence was rewarded as he discovered and then gained entry to the area.

Within was a temporary but well equipped haven, certainly the hidden domain of the leader of this site, possibly the kindred they had seen in the control centre. Most disturbing were the three mortals attached to an apparatus in an alcove. Daniel had enough medical experience to surmise that the three were brain dead, kept alive only by the systems to which they were attached. The catheters at their necks indicated that these unfortunates were undoubtedly their as a food source. All had dark hair and had Hispanic features, perhaps indicating the feeding preferences of the occupant.

Chick's voice on comms interrupted his musing. "You can stay if you like but I'm getting out of hell out of here. The guards outside have been ordered to search the complex and hiding from actively searching kindred is going to be a lot trickier than avoiding mortals..."

Daniel agreed, closed the room leaving it exactly as he found it and the pair beat a hasty retreat before the search parties could investigate their current location.

Now they needed to meet-up with the rest of the team, debrief and then work out what the Anarch Council's next move would be.


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 an interesting session. 'Chick's player hadn't even seen the character sheet until just before the session so I gave them a bit of leeway with decision making as often they had to look up abilities to see what they did. Amusingly, this made the other player immediately try to find ways for their character to gain those abilities for themselves. So that's a solo session that's more or less written itself.

It also gave Daniel's player the chance to use his more covert skills rather than the tactical and offensive ones he'd been making most use of.

Now let's see what they do with all this new information...

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, Harvel Caplan is Harvey Keitel, Isaac Abrams is Gary Oldman, Therese Voerman is Whitney Moore, Marius Walker is Tony Curran, Charlie 'Chick' Abbott is Lena Headey, 'The Pale Lady' is Anastasia E.G., 'Velme' is Ruby Rose, Jean 'Jax' Thomas is Jean-Claude Van Damme, Rebecca is Amy Acker, The Unknown Observer is Natalya Rudakova, Meredith Lang is Jaime Murray and the 'Leader of the Camarilla Forces' is Javier Bardem.

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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