Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Seven ep00 : Vampire the Masquerade

03/22/2014
The Seven
Episode Zero

"Origins"

Vampire the Masquerade
Classic World of Darkness

As a requested game, I ran a Vampire: the Masquerade one shot session for three friends.  Given their character concepts, I realized I could connect this to The Seven, and effectively add some new information to that existing chronicle.

The cast would be as follows:

Jacob Downey, played by JP.
Tzimisce, former mortician
Vicissitude 5, Notable backgrounds include:  Resources 2, Contacts 3 (Medical), Herd 1 (Dead bodies)

Dr. Maggart Victor Bludvan, played by Pepper.
Malkavian, The Good Doctor
Auspex 2, Obfuscate 1, Chimerstry 3, Notable backgrounds include: Resource 3, Ally 1 (City Hall: Public Records), Mentor 1 (Sire), Herd 1 (Nursing Staff)

Lady Catherine/Lisa Smith, played by Che.
Toreador, Former Stripper/Mistress
Auspex 1, Presence 5, Notable backgrounds include: Resources 4, Retainer 1 (Facundo), Herd 1 (Former Clients)

The Malkavian stands in his hospital office.  He is looking out the window and stares at the skyline of New York.  Unlife has been thankfully quiet.  Being part of the Camarila, he has found the benefits of following the Masquerade.  It has given him some level of clout as well thanks to how bodies would be brought here when younger Kindred made mistakes.

He has always known the world is filled with things that were not real, but ever since his embrace, he has learned the need for a more open mind.  What troubled his mind, however, was the thought that there could be other things that stalk the night.  Tales of the Bloody Mary, the man with the hooked hand, were tales that fascinated and frightened humans.  But as hard as it was to consider such things, being a man of science, he has started to wonder if there is any truth in "ghosts" since he seemingly has started to see glimpses of the man he had diablerized.  Voices that he can hear only when alone.    He was unable to talk to anyone of this fear, however, knowing the questions would lead to possibly reveal his secrets.  While he "recalls" his sire telling him to get rid of the Ravnos, when he came upon his sire to inform him the vampire was dealt with, the Sire reacted by saying, "What are you talking about?  What vampire?"  Even until now, Maggie was uncertain if his Sire is pretending not to know... or actually never did ask him to do it.  OR has someone tampered with his memories... and it was someone else who made him do it.



At the city morgue, Jacob Downey is handling work.  Still going through many of the growing/dying pains of the embrace, he has become a key Kindred in the city in helping cover up any breaches of the Masquerade.  He stares at the dead body on the slab, an old woman in her 90s.  He tries not to break out and laugh given her heavily tattooed body.  She must have been quite a rocker during her time.  "This is Spinal Tap" is on one withered boob.  "Megadeath!" is on another.  A man charges into the morgue, demanding to see her.  Security is at the door, calling for help.  Jacob takes him to the old woman's body.  The guy stands over the body, stares at her and sudden draws a gun out from under his jacket and trains it at Jacob. "I'm sorry," the man says and shoots Jacob.

Lady Catherine celebrates in New York's hottest club, drinking champagne and cocktails.  She is not performing, for once, and is just enjoying her immortality and relishing her "life".  She is chatting with her Sire about the events in the city.  He hired her for the night to have time with her.  He likes still "paying for her."  "It is only insulting if you were not a stripper in the first place," he smiles.  She teases him he should have paid him with diamonds or something, but he teases her about how she enjoys being a stripper.  "Money talks and since you are on the job, you have to listen.  Now tell me about Maggie."  He asks if they are still close.  He admits he likes Catherine because he used to be so much like her when he was young.  He stares sharing how the Prince seems to be focused on Maggie.  The Prince is curious of Maggie's activities and it makes it harder for him to manage the Prince given he's Malkavian.   And this interests his curiosity.   Deacon asks Lady Catherine for a small favor.  "Do this for me and I will.. owe you one favor of your choosing."  Catherine responds, "Get me a night with the Prince.  I want to know how good he is in bed."
Deacon is amused at how ambitious Catherine has become, and they head down to the floor to dance.

Back at the Asylum, Maggie makes his rounds.  After completing all the necessities, he heads out to his usual coffee shop to grab something to unwind.  While there, however, he makes an odd discovery.  The barista who usually serves him coffee does not seem to recall him at all.  Considering Maggie has been going here for months, he finds it puzzled that the barista doesn't recognize him.   He spends some time instead chatting up with the young woman who was in line with him earlier.   She turns out to be quite a religious person and the two share thoughts on life in the city.  Maggie tires of the woman and soon leaves, bothered that he is a total stranger to the people in the cafe.

Meanwhile, at the morgue, Jacob feels the impact of the bullet smash into his chest.  He hits the ground and by all rights should be dead.. had he not been a vampire.   The man then shoots down the security guard as well.  Jacob slinks away to hide and the man realizes Jacob is still alive.  "Damn it grandma, look what you're making me do."  He does not see Jacob slide near the freezers in the morgue.  The man tries to explain that this is something he has to do.  That this isn't anything personal.  Jacob carefully moves to maneuver behind the man.    But he starts hearing a hissing gurgling sound in the room.    It is coming from the gurney.

"Shit, it's starting!" the man rushes to the old woman's body.  He pockets the gun and digs for something else hidden beneath his jacket.  The man draws out a wooden stake and a hammer.  "Listen I know this looks crazy but I have to do this!  You don't understand the things that are out there."  Jacob starts making his hand into a bony protrusion to become a stabbing weapon.  The man stakes the old woman, and her hands shoot up, grabbing the man's stake.  He hammers down a few more times the stake into her chest.  Jacob moves in behind him and stabs him through from behind.  "Mon...ster.." the man mutters before crumbling to the ground.  As the body bleeds on the floor, Jacob looks up to see the old woman on the gurney, gurgling against the stake.  He recalls Maggie telling him about staked vampires.  "Staking is a very dangerous thing.  If it does it enough damage, it throws one into Torpor.  When you encounter another vampire, pretend you are not one of them.  Maintain the Masquerade."

Jacob backs away from the grandmother and focuses instead on cleaning up the mess he made in the morgue.

Outside the club, Catherine and Deacon are walking.  "I need to find out what Maggie is up to.  What trouble he is in.  What shit he is worried about.  That way we can help him."  When Catherine asks what's in it for him, he replies, "He will owe me a favor and that is a chance for the Toreador clan to have someone the Prince worries about oweing us."  "You and your favors," Catherine sneers, "Maggie owes me a lot."  "He doesn't owe you anything, you're friends."  Deacon mentions there are rumors of some Kindred claim to have been seeing ghosts.  Or hearing ghosts.  "There's a Noseferatu who I approached when I needed some information.  He shared his story with me about having overheard voices of two individuals talking about vengeance."

Flashback as the voices argue about one having destroying the other, and how its just a voice in the other's head.   "I'm just a voice in your head?  Then how come the Nosferatu can hear me?"

Deacon shares that the Nosferatu was extremely bothered by that exchange.  But even worse, the Brujah are now avoiding a certain area in the city due to it being haunted.  "All I know is that these bastards are hearing shit.  And we, with our heightened abilities, have not heard a thing.  If Maggie is involved... which one is he, the dead one or the one who killed the other?"

"He can't be dead," Catherine shakes her head.  The two banter a bit when Catherine pulls out her cellphone to call Maggie.  But Deacon takes it away before she can call using his Celerity.  He warns her others can track her phone.  "No phones.  Go see them."

"You're making my life harder."

"Yes, because I'm making sure the Masquerade doesn't get endangered and our clan gets caught in the Malkavian's shit."

Lady Catherine decides to make her way to Maggie's hangout, the coffee shop where he always goes.  Catherine takes a cab, considering the stilettos she is wearing.  But as she makes her way, she gets distracted by a man playing Wake Me Up with an acoustic guitar.  The Toreador flaw ensares her.  She had been standing there for an hour.  She gets insulted by the security guard who assumes she's some kind of addict for being there that way.  She walks back, slaps him, and tells him, "I am not a prostitute! I can pay you a year of your salary if I wanted to!"  She nearly slips into a Frenzy in anger.  She decides to go to the Asylum instead.

Maggie calls the Prince, but gets instead the Prince's seneschal.  The seneschal informs him that his Sire is preoccupied and meeting with the Primogen of the City.  He sets an appointment for the next night.  He then contacts Jacob and learns of the incident in the morgue.  He tells him he will be there in a bit.   Maggie takes a cab to head there.

At the morgue, the old woman continues to twitch.   Jacob realizes she is a vampire.  She, however, does seem to be blind.  He decides to take off the stake.  He recalls Maggie telling him before to be careful when unstaking vampires.  To be calm, to look out for flailing limbs.  Jacob pries the stake free...  She gasps, now taking deeper breaths, with her hand clamped around his.  "Are you okay?" he asks her.  Her head angles towards his direction, and the hand tightens its grip.  She suddenly seizes up, grabbing Jacob's hand so tight her talons rake against his skin! Realizing the grip becomes painful, Jacob uses his other hand to pry his hand free.  Jacob snaps her finger to free himself and the old woman now starts flailing around, searching for him by sniffing the air.  She flails a bit more, then falls to the floor. She starts sniffing for him more.  Jacob realizes the hole in his chest.. the vitae.. is what is drawing her to him.  Jacob heals the wound with his blood.  With the wound closed, she cannot seem to find him anymore. She turns and crawls instead to another spot.  She ignores the dead mortals, and instead starts licking the floor where Jacob had fallen earlier when he was shot.  The old woman begins licking the droplets of his vitae when he was shot.  The woman hungers for Kindred blood!  Jacob pulls out his cellphone and starts calling for Maggie.  She turns, however, seemingly drawn by the sounds of him dialing on the phone.   He stops!

He carefully moves towards the exit.  She cannot find him.  He slips outside and leaves her in the morgue.

Catherine arrives at the Asylum and they inform him that Maggie has been gone for a few days.  They do not know when he will be back.   She pulls out her cellphone to call him but realizes Deacon had changed her cellphone lock.  She goes to a nearby payphone and tries to call Maggie but she doesn't recall his number.  She then calls Deacon instead.  Deacon teases her about changing her lock.  "What's my PIN?"  She tells him Maggie has been missing and she needs to contact him.  Catherine cuts the call and now unlocks her phone.

Back at the morgue, Maggie arrives and he accompanies Jacob back inside.  They see a crowd has formed at the morgue, clearly they are freaked out by the incident.  Maggie's phone rings that moment.  The nurses were worried about Jacob.  Jacob is unable to answer.  Maggie hears Catherine on the line.  She tells him she needs to go to him and she tells him she is on her way.  Security is happy that Jacob is safe, and they talk about cordoning off the area.  People are anxious about the dead bodies.  Maggie leads Jacob inside.  The head of the hospital arrives and talks to the two.

The grandmother is missing.  Streaks of blood on the floor lead to the rear of the morgue.  Jacob heads to the back and finds an open window.  The grand mother must have left.

Security tries to control the situation, and the head of the hospital forces Maggie to stay in a room for questioning.  Forced to comply, Maggie realizes this can lead to a larger breach unless they deal with it somehow.  Maggie opts to call Jervis again, his Sire's seneschal.

Deacon calls Catherine as she is on the cab heading to the morgue.  She tells her she is headed to Saint Joseph's because Maggie is there.  Deacon learns that Maggie has been missing from his own staff for days and now is at another hospital.  She tells him of Jacob, "his baby," and tells Deacon that there might be some problem.  "The Tzimisce," Deacon mutters.  "Oh so I use safe words on the phone and you just go on and say things!  What happened to the Masquerade?"  Deacon sneers.  He reminds her of Jacob's lineage and of what sect his lineage tends to side with.

Jervis learns of the situation and asks Maggie if he is asking for a favor.  "Assistance means favors.  Nothing comes for free."  Maggie agrees.  "Name the Clan," Jervis asks him.

Jacob is being interrogated by the Head of the Hospital and he tries to explain the events that unfolded.  He tells him of the guy who came in with the gun.  The man notices hand prints on the floor.  "These are fucking bloody hand prints!?"  The man heads to the rear of the morgue to check.  "Whose hand prints are these?"  Jacob tries to distract the man with more details of the story.

Catherine arrives and talks to the front desk to find her way to the morgue.  She gets annoyed at the nurse who responds with delays, preoccupied by the bird game she is playing.   She heads downstairs.

"Venture," Maggie intones.  Jervis tells him he has someone.  She has never turned down a desperate soul.  "Can you connect me to her?" Jervis shakes his head though he cannot see it.  "She's not the type to use such modern comforts.  Do I send her or not?"

The Venture arrives.  Her name is Jadviga Almanov.  She very deftly uses Dominate and Presence to commander the situation, then manipulates things to twist in the opposite direction of the truth.  She compels the Head of the Hospital to kill the security guard present and makes a huge scene for all the other staff outside to be witnesses to the man trying to kill Jacob.  The head is then killed, with all seeing it as an act of self defense.  The kindred gather outside later, with Jadviga satisfied to have done her part.  Maggie, Catherine and Jacob opt to retire to Maggie's Asylum to discuss what had happened.

But the Masquerade remains intact.

*

It is later that night, when events spiral to conclusion.

The old woman, it turns out, had tracked them to the Asylum and attempts to attack the three! She crawls through the air ducts to hunt them and eventually strikes while Catherine is all alone in a room.  The two others rush to help!  Still hungry for Kindred blood, she nearly fatally injures Jacob and Catherine. Her tongues slide into Catherine's wounds, feasting upon her vitae!  Jacob slices off the grandmother's tongue in the heat of the battle.  More tongues erupt, lashing like leeches!  Jacob grabs the head and his hands slide into the meat of the head.  He feels the bone and severs it from the body.  The black like oil of her blood splatters all around.

But as they kill the rabid vampire, Maggie enters a psychotic episode.  He sees the decapitated grand woman turn to face him and it now wears his own face.  "Give me back what is mine, you bastard!"

Catherine and Jacob see the same face... the madness... the psychotic episode has reached them as well.  "What the fuck?" Catherine gasps!  Jacob crushes the skull.  "Why did you kill it, we could have asked questions?!?!" Catherine hisses.

The body crumbles to ashes.

Maggie goes to the nearby medicine cabinet to get some bandages but finds a difference face staring back at him from the reflection.  The face shows someone else.  Some.. Ravnos he had seen before.  He turns back to the two with the bandages.

Catherine and Jacob however realize the man before them is NOT Maggie.  The man shoes a different face.  Catherine pulls out her phone and takes a picture.  She sends the picture to Deacon.  Maggie steps towards her with the kit.  "Maggie?"

"Yeah?"

"You're not you.."

She shows him the picture.Maggie sees the face of the Ravnos he diablerized.  "That's not me..."

Jacob looks the man who was earlier Maggie to find traces of fleshcraft.  But there are none.   The other face, as far as can be told, is the face of the body before them.  "What the hell is going on?" Jacob asks Catherine.

Catherine invokes Majesty to enforce calm into the scene.   She turns to the man who was once Maggie and asks, "Are you really Maggie? What are you not telling me?"  He tries to explain he is Maggie.  "What about those phone calls?"  She mentions he has been having phone calls from a total stranger warning him of someone.  But the calls didn't make any sense.  Finally she asks, "Were you in the sewers?!"  He admits he does not know.  He doesn't know what is going on.  The doors slam open as Deacon arrives, having burned Celerity to rush over.  He apologizes upon feeling the Majesty.  She demands answers.  Deacon requests permission to speak and when given the permission, he explains the man before them is the Ravnos that had diablerized Maggie.  Unfortunately, the Ravnos named Alexi did not anticipate that the Malkavian would "take over" the diabolist.  Deacon knew Alexi because he was aware the Prince wanted him destroyed.   Deacon closes his eyes and reaches into 'Maggie's' mind.  Deacon shares to the others the thoughts inside Alexi's mind.

Alexi has indeed been overtaken by Maggie.  And the question now stands, is he Maggie?  Or is he Alexi?  Should the Prince know?  Maggie willingly asks to be put to death for what happened.  Or at least that this body be put to death for murdering the Prince's child.  He also suggests it may be better for the Toreador to report the death of the child, than to be caught covering up.  Jacob realizes he is an easy scapegoat for all this... and using his powers he transforms into vitae and leaves via the nearest drain.

"We report then," Deacon nods.

*


The Prince stares at them all.  The servant, Jervis, nods and stands up. The group had all reported to the prince the events and Deacon confirms them all to be true.  "So you believe you are my child?" the Prince asks "Maggie."  He says yes.

"And you attest to the memories as being true?"

"That's what he saw," Catherine notes and points to Deacon for confirmation, "And that's the personality we recognize."

"And the Tzimisce?"

"Fled."

The Prince commands Jervis to hold the Toreador, and to Lady Catherine's panic she cannot move! She cannot look away from the Seneschal.  The Prince tells Maggie to not worry, and knows Maggie wants to return "home."  The Prince diablerizes Maggie, taking him back to the Madness Network.  Deacon moves to leave, but the Prince warns him if he leaves, his child Lady Catherine will be destroyed.  Deacon begs the Prince to reconsider.  "You two have made me killed my only Childe...  It is only right I make you suffer as well."

"Take me, just let her live!"

The Prince pounces upon Deacon and Catherine cannot turn her head to look.  Her gaze remains locked upon Jervis.  When he returns, ashes fall from his lips. "You took my Childe from me, had me kill him, so I took your Sire.  But I have need for someone as sharp as you.  Someone who notices the little things."  He turns his head and calls to the side, "Jadviga, bring the Tzimisce here."

Jadviga emerges with the Tzimisce Jacob in tow.  "Hello again?  Wondering how I found him?  He found me," she explains as she Summoned him to come to her.  The Prince tells Catherine that for caring for his Childe, he will allow her to serve in secret.  To remain in the City.  But not as Lady Catherine.   The Prince has Jacob transform Catherine into a new character, to serve as the City's new Sheriff.  He transforms the Toreador Catherine to... Faqas.  A bringer of Facts.  He sends the image of her new face to Jacob's mind.

"You will remember yourself as Malkavian from this day on.  And you will serve me.  You will be so well conditioned, you will HATE the Toreador," the Prince smiles.

The Prince stares at Jacob and asks, "Do you wish to stay in the City, but you cannot be what you are.  What Clan will you be from this point on?"

"I just want to be alone," Jacob replies.

"Very well, you will remember yourself as the one Nosferatu I will trust. Shape your face into one and from now on you shall be, "Mister White," and as their Primogen the Nosferatu will have no choice but to trust me."

Madam Faqas shall inform the Nosferatu that a new Primogen has been chosen. The Prince has Jacob diablerize the former Nosferatu Primogen, and then answers a phone call from "the angels" who inform him of what the Brujah are up to.

"Good night," he tells them.

And as the Prince leaves, he takes a few more calls from the "angels" even if no one else seemingly can see him receive any actual calls.  He dismisses everyone.  Jervis walks with him.  "Now that went well," the guy tells the Prince.

"Well, I did tell you things would go smoother so long as others thing I am your servant."

The two smile.




























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