Sunday, February 5, 2017

Night's Black Agents, Plus Perhaps Promethean Prep

I alliterate like a mo-fo. Anyway, Night's Black write-up from yesterday and then some game prep. Players, don't read past the picture of Kubo.

Last time, the agents got ambushed and barely made it out alive. This time...was not much better, actually.

They'd fallen back to the villa in Tuscany, and regrouped with Drs. Sedillo and Koltay. From them, they learned that Sedillo could not make any more anti-master serum without another sample; there was something in the biochemistry of a vampire that she couldn't replicate. She did make some darts from the "brute" samples they gave her, but she stressed that she wasn't sure what they'd do to a master. Koltay, likewise, said that with a bit more time and data he might be able to figure out the whole "radiation x-ray collar" thing, and maybe even unlock how to replicate this chemical compound that was confounding Sedillo, but not without a sample.

The agents talked about tracking down Ava, but Sedillo pointed out that since they'd darted her and she'd survived, her chemistry might have changed - Sedillo would have to treat any sample from Ava as a new element. That meant finding a new master. Gambone put his ear to the ground and learned that someone had just hired some muscle in Venice...and had been throwing Vilmos Hajnal's name around, which you don't do unless you actually work for him. Someone knew the agents were in Italy.

Into all of this, Ess got a message from Father Calderon, requesting a face-to-face in Florence, which was outside protocol. The team went with him, and Ess talked to the older priest, and learned that the Vatican was disavowing him; his face was on wanted posters (like, you know, virtual ones) and INTERPOL was looking for him. The Vatican was just as full of people who owe favors to other people as anything else, and Calderon couldn't shield Ess any longer. The best he could do was shield his family in Sweden. The agents would need to clear the villa in a few days.

The agents decided to make that work for them. They sent Sedillo and Koltay (along with all their research) to London, and had Calderon dismiss the guards around the villa. Then they went all A-Team on it; they put bear traps in likely sniper's perches out on the perimeter and outside the doors and windows, rigged the garage door to blow, and put a spike-strip in the driveway. And then they waited.

That night, they got their response. Ess took up a guard position on the patio, Hanover a sniper's perch in the second floor, Gambone watched one window, Parker another, and MacAteer in the kitchen. Ess saw some folks break formation at the trees (they must have found or missed the traps at the perimeter) and fired at them. Hanover and Parker shot at them, dropping one, and they fell back, shooting at the agents.

The bear traps outside the kitchen door and window felled a couple of them invaders, and Gambone traded shots with another. Ess lobbed a grenade and scattered the ones in the trees, and Hanover dropped another. A car rolled up but stopped short of the spike strip, and found people piled out, but Parker and Hanover pinned them down. MacAteer grabbed the one who'd gotten a leg trapped and incapacitated him, but another got into the house through the main door and shot at Gambone's back (and missed). Parker hit him with a brute dart, figuring he might be a brute, and he dropped...but then got back up, sweating and bloody in the eyes, and punched her a couple of times with much more force than he should have been able to.

Hanover, hearing this commotion, rushed downstairs and put a bullet in the dude's head. That worked.

The invaders fell back, and the agents regrouped. They opened the bear trap and dressed the dude's wounds, and then tied him up and interrogated him (without torture, because torture doesn't fucking work, despite what our "president" thinks). He was Italian, and had been hired in Venice for a hit job - to wit, kill everyone in this villa. They'd been hired by a dude named Klobucor (whom the agents recognized as the paymaster who'd hired most of them at one point), and they had a Russian guy with them, spotting from a ways back. The agents figured they'd better take that guy out, so they left the two survivors tied up in the basement and went out into the woods.

They found a dead body with two holds in his chest...the Russian guy was apparently a master. MacAteer and Gambone headed back to the villa to get a car (which MacAteer jacked from the invaders; why use their own car for rough stuff?). The others tracked the surviving thugs and found three dudes getting into a car. They fired on them and one of them jumped in the car bolted, leaving the other two (who ran rather than fight). Hanover and Parker shot out the tires, and Gambone and MacAteer arrived in their car. They gave chase, and found the car abandoned, smashed against a tree. The agents got close, but Parker noticed a red light flashing under the seat just in time.

She pulled Ess back, but they were both in the blast range enough that it injured them and knocked them unconscious. Gambone and Hanover, a little further back, were hurt, but not badly, and MacAteer was in the other car, untouched. As they were dragging the injured back to the car, the Russian came out of nowhere and started for the agents. Gambone shot him with the dart and he stiffened up, but kept going. Gambone shot him again and he fell, seizing. MacAteer then ran him over. That did the job.

The agents grabbed some samples and then got the hell out, retrieving their car and then heading to Florence and finding a street doc and a safe house. They're safe, for the moment, but the noose is tightening and they've lost some support.

And now:

If you must blink, do it now.

Quick Night's Black note: So, the brute-darts, when used on a human, jack them up, make them strong and super-aggressive, but they require medical attention immediately after the effects wear off or they stroke out and die. Used on a G1 puppeteer, it causes seizures and muscles spasms, but that's temporary and doesn't actually hurt them long-term (unless, like, you run them over with a car or something while they're seizing). On a G2, it works much like it does on a human, but without the aftereffects - it just makes them stronger, tougher, and meaner.

The agents are kinda in trouble, here. They're flagged all to hell, and getting across borders is going to be getting harder. They need to take the fight to the conspiracy. Sedillo and Koltay are pretty safe (the conspiracy doesn't know where they are now), but the agents have the weapons they have, the gear they have, the money they have, and the skin on their backs. They're gonna need to start working for the rest.

And now, Promethean. So, I guess the first issue, which really I should have discussed with Matt yesterday, is where the heck Enoch has been. So, for tomorrow:

  • Establish where Enoch has been and what he's been doing. 
  • Get the PCs settled in to that little hovel. I think that Sicky is running a game on them; the rightful owner (just a person) comes back and Sicky is all like "Hey, I need rent" and said rightful owner is like "you fuckers can't stay here, I need to get this place fixed up and I can't do that with all you squatters," and hopefully the PCs (especially Avalon, who's after Craftsman) will be like "yo, we could fix this up for you." Owner: Beth Mortaine, utterly normal human being, getting really sick of Sicky, currently Stage 2 Disquiet. 
  • Charon, for the record, is an Acanthus of the Silver Ladder (Bone Krewe, which is more relevant in New Orleans). He's now "read" the memories (Mind/Time spell) of Matt and Skip, and is a little concerned about what this might mean. 
  • The guy in the black coat with the jangly silver charms...he could be a mage, a demon, a changeling, or a Sin-Eater really easily (any of them might visit the Underworld). Trouble is that Demon is the game I know the best (WRT to 2nd Ed; I seriously need to get more familiar with Mage). Oh, of course, doy, he could also be an "angel", either a qashmal or an actual angel. So let's see how dedicated Skip is to finding this guy. We'll say that when Charon flipped through Skip's mind, he tripped a kind of memory trap and said "yeah, I know him" as a way to keep Skip interested; trouble is that Charon is a mage and that effect will wear off. At that point he'll find Skip and say "hey, I don't actually know this guy, but something made me think I did."
  • Enoch has a milestone related to tracking own (not just finding) a Promethean who lived at the camp. So, who does that leave him? Sicky (whom he'll meet and probably doesn't count). Papillon has been Redeemed and become Parris Mick, a local sculptor. Cassius is dead, burned to death way back during Water of Life and while he might have flared back, he's long gone from New Orleans. Paul DeVries left Orleans after the Firestorm, but he's still a Promethean - he adopted the Hermit Role and has been living it ever since in a remote mansion outside of town. Ogilvy, I'm fairly sure is still there. He's recently mastered Argentum and is now working on creating an Athanor (Pilgrimage Marker). Miranda is gone; she left after the storm. Barbara (Ulgan, tended the garden) was out in the swamps, following the Vigilante Role (presently, she's followed a few others since the storm). She needs to kill the alligator-sublimatus (not the thing in the water, that's just a Pandoran) before she can move on, but every time she gets close something interrupts her.
  • The sculpture garden has a Sanctuary Athanor. Sicky hasn't mentioned it yet because he was never sure of the process and doesn't want to get Papillion in trouble, but Papillion created it before she became human. Red smashed it a few nights ago (how did he know? I'll figure that out later) and thus released the Pandorans therein. 
OK, so, I need to stat up the alligator-thing at some point, but I don't think I need traits for anyone else yet. I'll need traits for Red eventually, but I want to read through some Geist stuff first.

This story is shaping up to be very sandboxy, which is fine, except of course that these players sometimes need a kick in the face. But I can provide that if need be.