Saturday, November 25, 2017

NBA Notes: New Op, Old Locale

Running Night's Black Agents later, and it's been a while both since I've run a game generally and since I've run this particular game. As such, probably it's a good idea if I take some notes. If you're a player (and let's face it, that's a pretty remote possibility) don't read further. If you're not, feel free to take this glimpse into my mind as I plan a game session (or, like, click the "gming" tag and take hundreds of such glimpses; I make these posts a lot).

OK, then. Last session was here.

So, I really want them to find something of great significance in the museum, or nearby it, or something. But it has to be something that Bugarcic didn't know about, because he'd have spilled the beans when they interrogated him. It also needs to be something that hasn't been cleared out since Bugarcic was made (because the conspiracy has to assume that he talked), which means we have to get into Tesla's head a little.

There's a vault in the museum. The vault door was designed in the Cold War, and the tech has been improved by Tesla (so it's not something that the agents can just open easily). Tesla keeps his initial "changing room" there - the place where he turned Hajnal, Sas, and Macan into vampires. There's camera footages of him doing it to Hajnal and Sas (this would have happened in the 80s, I think, which means there was a long gap between Tesla becoming a vampire and figuring out how to make more - deciphering more info from the transmissions, I think, to make sure the transition was smoother). Actually, probably there should be a couple of failed experiments in there.

So, what do I need to know today?


The conspiracy is watching the city closely, though, and they've realized the value of watching libraries and other historical things, so there are snitches looking out for the characters. The heat level starts at 3. 

The Vault

Finding the vault requires Research, History, Architecture, Bureaucracy (in some combination) and access to historical records. That doesn't require a roll, of course, but does require time (or a spend, y'know). That'll reveal that the vault exists and has since the late 60s. It does not reveal the mods that Tesla made to it (which were custom), but some really dedicated Tradcraft work (and maybe a contact who's been in the game a while) will at least reveal the components. 

Getting into the vault requires getting into the museum undetected, and the museum is under guard by Hajnal's folks. The acting head of the museum is a woman named Mina Subotic; she isn't a vampire or a puppeteer, but she's aware of the conspiracy (she's an operative of Hajnal, art thief, contract killer, etc.). She wears a panic button and always goes armed, both blades and guns. The security staff has been switched out for thugs, too, so there's armed threats never far away.

And then the characters need to get into the vault. There's a digital lock first - finding access is a Mechanics roll (difficulty 5). Cracking it is Digital Intrusion (difficulty 8); failure locks it down and sends out an alarm. Opening the safe itself is three separate Infiltration checks (difficulty 7, 8, and 9). Failing the first is no big deal, except that it eats time. Failing the second triggers a silent alarm. Failing the third trips a fire-wall that incinerates everything in the room. 

But then the motherload: Inside the vault is Tesla's first conversion room. Video footage of his failed experiments, his conversion of Hajnal, then Sas, then Macan (a few years apart); in the later ones he's accompanied by Bugarcic. The final video, which depicts them about to convert a now-dead scientist from Romania, has Hajnal saying that they need a better location - Serbia's too hot. He suggests Switzerland, and Sas mentions that there's a clinic there that would work, they just need some leverage on the doctor running it. "Leave that to me," says Hajnal. 

Tesla's notes are here, too, but they're written in a combination of English, Serbian, Russian, and a homemade code. Translating them will take days (and not a little Cryptography), but reveals the process by which he took alien DNA and merged it with human (this causes a Stability check in whoever figures it out). 


Tesla himself has fled to Minsk, figuring that he's more mobile there due to Rus-Bel Air. There's no good way to learn that from the notes, but what the characters can learn is the pattern by which Hajnal is moving (Cryptography, Data Recovery, Human Terrain). Hajnal and Sas both know where Tesla is, as does Utkin. Kingsilver doesn't, but she's taking orders from Hajnal, and she's remaining mobile. If the PCs become visible, she shows up within 6 hours.

Looks good.