Sunday, July 10, 2016

Game Notes: Night's Black Agents

I did the writeup for yesterday's game, and then Michelle and Al and I walked around in the park for a while chasing little cartoon monsters (and there's a fun new people watching game called "is that person also Poke-monning"), and now we're home and I want to take some notes.

I'm gonna share this picture again because it's awesome and because it'll eat some space.

OK, now, on we go. You've been warned. Stay out, players.

So, I have to admit, I'm a little sad they killed off Frank so easily, but it was a good scene and they were very happy. And, as Bender says, we can always make more killbots.

Speaking of that, the puppeteers still active in Europe are:

Gen 1: Nikola Tesla, Vilmos Hajnal, Dierke Essert, Janos Sas.
Gen 2: Ava Kingsilver.

The conspiracy is aware that the agents have some kind of chemical weapon that they're using against the gen 2s, and that it's hellishly effective. As such, word from on high is no more gen 2s until they can figure out how to beat the spread, as it were. Gen 1 vampires have their issues, sure, but they're not going to melt when injected. Kingsilver is going to be wearing body armor and surrounding herself with bodyguards from here on out.

The other important bit is that the characters were tracked from Bucharest. Oh, it'll take some time, but Vilmos is hella connected and has inroads in shipping in Belgrade, so getting info from other shipping yards is possible, if costly and time consuming. So, the agents left from Constanta on a yacht redirected by a known black marketeer. That yacht put in to Istanbul and shortly thereafter, a merchant was asking around about "parasitic tentacles". Finding that that yacht left for Mykonos probably isn't too much of a stretch.

So I kind of want this op to end with the characters getting driven off the island by the conspiracy. They're going to pick the next target, so I still want that happen. I also think that the force that hits the island needs to not have a puppeteer, because the conspiracy has gotten gunshy about sending those out after the agents. Or maybe there's a new gen 1 that they can send?

Well, I mentioned in a long-ago notes post that Tesla hangs out in a small village surrounding by a loyal staff of people who would die to be vampires. Vilmos, meanwhile, obviously has access to a large number of potentials. So I think that they'll pick a Russian mafia-type person to run this op, promising him power and notoriety if he doesn't fuck it up. We'll call him Anatoly Lugunov. They give Lugunov two boats and a smaller squad of mercs with weapons supplied by Ava Kingsilver, so explosives, rifles, etc. The trick, then, should be that the more information that characters spend time getting, the more time the conspiracy has to narrow down the search and find them (let's just say that the conspiracy knows they went sound to Greece, but not which island they're on). If they can get out, fine, no fight. If they get made, they've got a problem.

With all of that in mind, let's think about what kinds of information is available about their potential targets and what they can learn without doing physical investigation.

Dierke Essert: Essert is now a gen 1 puppeteer. The agents know that he's an industrialist and that he's served on the board of the IFEA. They know that he left Geneva from the party a day later than planned and flew into Berlin. This was to give Sas a chance to fly from Budapest to Berlin and meet him, whereupon Sas infected him as a gen 1 puppeteer.

The agents can learn from Greece that Essert has been running his business affairs very much as before, but gave himself a raise and has moved money to offshore accounts since the party (Digital Intrusion followed by Data Recovery, Accounting, or Bureaucracy). Criminology and Law makes it clear that he's done nothing illegal yet, but that his actions would definitely raise eyebrows with the BSI if anyone was looking closely. If the agents dig into his personal life, they can learn that he's cut himself off from most of his interests; he's not attending theater or symphony events anymore (High Society). He maintains a luxury apartment in Berlin and a house in the German Alps; characters can get blueprints and floorplans for either one (Data Recovery, Architecture).

If Essert is spooked, he will go to the Alps house, where Hajnal sends him bodyguards (vampiric and otherwise) and a copter to get away if need be.

Essert's role in the conspiracy is to provide money shelter and laundering, and to provide facilities for testing the collar and its derivatives. The plans and particulars for this, however, would require breaking into EssertTech.

Ava Kingsilver: Ava is a gen 2 puppeteer, and as such, the conspiracy is well aware that the agents have a weapon that will kill her instantly. She's wearing body armor and keeping herself removed from direct exposure, and if she has any warning creates a vampire body double to use as a decoy (a Notice or Diagnosis spend detects something off with her gait and body language).

The agents know that Ava is of Israeli descent and went rogue from the Israeli army to sell weapons on the black market. They know that she deals with the organized crime of various nations, including Italy, Germany, France, England, and Russia. She also knows people in the intelligence community and ex-intelligence community. She will unquestionably be the hardest target to find.

The agents can learn from Greece that she won't flee to Israel or the Middle East; she has too many enemies there (Tradecraft, Criminology, or Streetwise). Gambone has dealt with her in many countries, but isn't aware of where her home base is. If the characters want to find her, Gambone has methods to contact her or could reach out to mutual acquaintances, but that would require a Cover and probably a Network Contact.

Vilmos Hajnal: A gen 1 puppeteer and probably the most feared crime boss in Europe. He has multiple underbosses in many different criminal organizations, but wields influence mostly in Romana, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, and Lithuania. The agents know that he remains constantly on the move, varies his method of transportation, and does not seem to follow a set pattern.

The agents can learn from Greece that sightings of Vilmos have included: Minsk, Budapest, Bucharest, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Berlin, Vilinus, Belgrade, Gyor, Sarajevo, and Paris (in no particular order; Streetwise, Criminology, or Research). A Streetwise spend reveals that the organizations that he's known to influence have become more violent and aggressive of late, pulling off heists for cash more often than usual and dipping into drugs, smuggling, and human trafficking to a greater degree. This push started just after Renate Bauer died. Most, but not all, of the cities he is known to travel to have flight service through Rus-Bel Air (Research).

Davor Klobucar: Klobucar is a "paymaster;" he handles booking and money for the conspiracy. He is human (for the moment). The agents know that he hired Fuchs, Parker, Benbow, and Gambone to find Hanover, and that he initially hired Hanover, Smith, Rousseau, Lockwood, and David to steal the laptop from Lennart. They know he traveled to Beirut, but returned to Germany to meet the new group in Berlin, and double crossed them. He hasn't been seen since.

The agents can learn from Greece that Klobucar has been recruiting in Germany and France for a new team of agents, but sticking to criminals this time (Streetwise). This is unrelated to the agents; he's been looking to rebuild the human trafficking connection from Eastern Europe to France, at Hajnal's insistence. With a Contact or a Cover, the characters could set up a meet.

Nikita Utkin: The head and official owner of Rus-Bel Air. He's human (again, for the moment, though Tesla is considering his options). The agents know comparatively little about him; they know he owns the airline and he lives in Minsk.

From Greece, they can learn that Utkin's family has connections to the Russian mafia going back a couple of generations (Streetwise, Research). Utkin came up through the ranks as a legbreaker, but also earned a degree in business and physics. He is married (Helena Utkin) and has three children (Nikolai, 18; Roman, 15; and Darya, 13). His family lives in Minsk. Utkin was incarcerated in the 1980 (1987-1989) in Russia at the same time as Anton Dedopovic (Criminology, Streetwise, Data Recovery).

Utkin is very much aware of the conspiracy's nature, and doesn't much care, but he doesn't want to become a vampire himself. Utkin is aware of the whole "rose" thing (he and Anton kept in touch).

Janos Sas: He is a gen 1 puppeteer. The agents know that he lives in Budapest and is the prison doctor for Budapest prison. They know that he makes deposits into accounts belonging to prisoners, which tend to close when the prisoners die or get released. They know he has attended IFEA functions in the past.

The agents can learn from Greece that Sas traveled to Berlin a day after the party (Digital Intrusion followed by Data Recovery). They can learn that he lives alone (Data Recovery) and divorced in 1999 (just after being turned). His wife is dead; she was killed in a drive-by shooting in 2000 (she wouldn't leave it alone and Hajnal had her killed). Her killer (Mark Fejes) is still in the prison (Data Recovery, Research). They have been multiple deaths at the prison since the party (Research, Streetwise), attributed to an outbreak of e coli combined with ongoing problems with other diseases (Data Recovery obtains some records, Diagnosis reveals that they are fabricated).

Sas takes tissue and blood samples from inmates, and occasionally turns one into a vampire to test blood supplements. Of late the conspiracy has him trying to figure out the blood thickener and how to counteract it, which is causing waves since it means killing more people.

Sas doesn't live at the prison, but at the first sign of trouble he retreats to his office there. He is capable of staying in his office indefinitely, and would rather do that than remain outside and rely on bodyguards.

Obrad Bugarcic: A human member of the conspiracy. The agents know that he is among the first members of the IFEA, and was present in Belgrade when the vampire problem seems to have started. They know that he knows of their involvement, and that he curates the Tesla Museum in Belgrade. They know he flew out of Belgrade and went to Bucharest, but they do not know where he went from there.

From Greece, they can learn that his phone numbers, financials, and so forth have been scrubbed. With a Digital Intrusion roll (difficulty 9) and Data Recovery, they know he flew to Wardenclyffe (Tesla wanted him to find some papers still at the site) two years ago.

Bugarcic is on the Isle of Man, where the conspiracy maintains a small holding and safe house intended for Tesla. He travels to Dublin or to Blackpool every few days to make contact with the Museum for work purposes. He traveled to England using an assumed name, though, and his transmissions are heavily encoded. That said, if the characters think to go back to the museum, they can find out where he is easily enough.

Other: Tasse Medical has pretty much passed out of the conspiracy's hands and into the board of directors. They're still funneling money from some hidden accounts (Digital Intrusion to get in, then Accounting, Bureaucracy) and a lot of their research has been destroyed (courtesy of Luc Lemarque, who still doesn't quite know what he's getting into but is very well paid; Data Recovery will get back to him).

Hy-Klass is officially wrecked as a legit business, but most of the infrastructure is still intact. Lazlo Orosz, the former "CEO" of Hy-Klass is dead, and Abel Bartos, the fall guy who was promoted just before the hammer fell, is in Budapest Prison. He would be a superb person to talk to; he knows what Sas is doing and he knows what Klobucar is looking for.