Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Seven e01 : Vampire the Masquerade

The Seven
Episode One

"The First Signs"

Vampire the Masquerade
Classic World of Darkness

I will admit, this was a nostalgic joy.  Aldwin requested for a classic Vampire the Masquerade game, one set in the modern nights, and after getting Rocky and Urim to join in, I quickly mapped out an over-all story arc.  Aldwin requested for a specific theme to explore:  The Seven Deadly Sins.

And so, with the Vampire v20 book as our main rulebook, here we are.

The Cast:
Adam Parker, Childe of Rose, was played by Urim.
Tzimisce, Generation 10th
Nature: Visionary Demeanor: Fanatic
Auspex 5, Vicissitude 4, Fortitude 2
Generation 3, Herd 1, Retainer 1, Domain 2, Resources 2, Mistaken Identity 2, Status 2 (Ductus), Rituals 1 (Vaulderie p296, Sermon of Caine p518, Fire Dance p516)
Path of Metamorphosis 6 WP 7
Conviction 3, Self Control 3, Courage 4
Merits:  Language (Enochian, Latin), Acute Sense
Flaws:  Infertile Vitae, Cold Breeze, Touch of Cold

Samantha Fletcher, Childe of Benedict Renders, was played by Aldwin.
Tremere, Generation 10th
Nature: Scientist Demeanor: Conformist
Thaumaturgy (Blood) 4, Dominate 2, Auspex 3
Status 2, Generation 3, Resources 3
Humanity 6 WP 9
Conscience 3, Self Control 3, Courage 4
Merits: Language (Enochian, Latin), Protege, Natural Linguist, Enchanting Voice, Friendly Face
Flaws: Infertile Vitae, Phobia (Heights)

Viktor Smith, Childe of Cherubim, was played by Rocky.
Brujah, Generation 11th
Nature: Survivor Demeanor: Soldier
Celerity 3, Potence 2, Presence 3, Auspex 2
Resources 2, Generation 2, Herd 2, Status 1, Alternate Identity 2 (Detective Victor Steiner)
Humanity 6 WP 4
Conscience 3, Self-Control 3, Courage 4
Merits: Iron Will, Efficient Digestion, Light Sleeper
Flaws: Amnesia, Dark Secret, Mistaken Identity, Eerie Presence, Cast No Reflection

The three characters knew each other back during the Second World War.  Caught in the war that unfolded, the three were forced to rely on each other for survival, and in many cases, shared the vitae they had to protect their precious immortality from the human onslaught.   But between then and now, the modern day, each had gone their separate ways.

Adam Parker was now focused on searching for a means to subvert the weaknesses that taint the Cainite form.    His ties with the Sabbat made him a distant friend as far as Samantha Fletcher was concerned.  But there was no denying the information both were willing to share with one another.  Samantha had found herself enthralled by the research of Aristotle deLaurent, and given the false prophecies of Gehenna (which many claimed was meant to have happened during the medieval era, Samantha was uncertain if the end of all was but something to come.  And finally, Viktor Smith had precious little recollection of his life prior to arriving here at New York City.  But he senses still a trust towards both Samantha and Adam that he keeps his ties to them secret even as he learns the ropes of being a Sherrif from the Malkavian, Madam Faqas.

Their stories once again gather when they first learn, in their own ways, of events transpiring in the city.

A man walks the rooftop of a massive building.  His back strains against the immense weight of hollow blocks that have been wired through his back.  His eyes stare forward, however, as if fear had overwhelmed his heart.  And yet he continues his steps forward, until he stands at the very edge.  A second figure watches him from behind and smiles as the man takes the final step - a short cut to the streets below.  The impact against the road, followed by the pile of blocks, severs the man's limbs and decapitates him.  Witnesses to the atrocity below call for the police.

Adam Parker was watching the news regarding the suicide when he is informed by Dan Numley, his retainer, that a message has been left for him.  As one of the Ducti among the Sabbat, there are days he is required to fulfill his role in the sect: The Sabbat inform him of an upcoming guest who will require his attention.    Given the nature of the supposed visitor, Adam realizes it may be a long absence.  He informs Dan to be ready for his absence, and given the Rehab Center is actually his, tells Dan to handle things in his absence.  He spends some time to try creating sacks within his lungs to store the earth of his homeland - but the attempt goes awry as he realizes doing that inhibits his ability for speech.  He reconsiders using his lungs and explores having the earth be kept somewhere else.

In the Tremere Chantry, Samantha Fletcher also finds a guest.  The young Tremere, Gomorra, arrives to annoy her.  Gomorra shows of her proficiency with the thaumaturgical path, The Movement of the Mind, and the two clearly bare their verbal fangs.  When the Chantry Elder, Vaclav, arrives and talks to them about requiring their assistance.  Vaclav inquires about the term superbia, which Samantha replies is meant to refer to intense self-love or the love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one's neighbour.  Vaclav informs them that the Latin phrase was burnt upon the head of the suicide.   He asks them to do some research for any information they can muster regarding it.  Samantha opts to do some investigation work, claiming, "The Elders wants answers.  The best way to get them is to do the leg work ourselves."  Gomorra isn't too keen on the course of action, but follows nonetheless.  They head out and make their way to the building where the suicide had leapt from:  The Lightbearer.

And at the crime scene, Viktor Smith investigates the suicide.  While the mortals know him as Detective Victor Steiner, Viktor investigates the scene on behalf of the Malkavian Sheriff Madame Faqas.   He notices the head of the deceased and quickly notes the Latin phrase on the forehead.  Another Detective, named Glass, investigates the area as well and welcomes Steiner's assistance in the matter.  Steiner realizes the body might be Cainite and if it is, a breach may occur unless he covers it up somehow.  Madame Faqas calls on the phone and reminds him to be in touch with the city Medical Examiner to deal with the body if need be.  "Are you in need of the Six?"  Viktor sees them spread out in the scene, the six Malkavian deputies that were extremely loyal to Madame Faqas.  Two men, two women, an old man and a young girl.  One motions towards the side, and Viktor finds two mortal school girls who accidentally recorded the suicide on their cellphone.  Viktor gently takes it from them and learns Madame Faqas needs to meet with him.  He boards the coroner's van and finds the Six already waiting for him inside to drive him to her.

Adam makes his way to the Sabbat Sanctuary, hoping to speak to the Bishop to gain a better understanding of who the guest is.  He arrives at the abandoned apartment complex, and walks past the recently tilled earth where the new Creation Rites are being performed.  He  walks past the second floor where iconoclastic Sabbat are fighting against each other, throwing punches and curses, and piercing their undead skin with red hot hooks and needles.   As he reaches the third level, he ignores the various Cainites obssessing over noddist lore.  He hears them intoning the words of the Mother and the Crone. He hears them reflecting on the writings of Caine himself.  Adam recalls the suicide, jumping from a building called the Lightbearer.  He finds it apt.  Almost symbolic.

But the fourth level is where Adam stops.  The walls and ceiling writhe with shadows.  The sense of a greater predator is in the air.  He does not like the feeling.

Samantha arrives at the crime scene and with Gomorra, convince the security guard to let them in with the use of Dominate.  Gomorra questions Samantha's use of the Discipline, reminding her that the man will remember.  "And then what?  He will admit to letting two young women into the building at the cost of his job?"  They slide into the elevators, only to hear the other one open.  Hiding inside, they see the mortal Detective Glass walks by, having inspected the crime scene above.  They head up once he is gone.

The two quickly survey the roof deck and find signs that show the man did not struggle at any point against the second person who was up there.  There were no fingerprints to find, which Samantha worriedly felt meant both the victim and the second person were Kindred.   The use of Auspex granted more clues, revealing the victim was a Gangrel named Silas, and he was in utter terror as he stepped to the edge.  Dominate might have been used, but it should have failed the moment the command was contrary to the target's Nature.  The wires were bored into the skin around the bones.  A fleshcrafter would have had a much more... subtle handiwork.

The two then received a message from Vaclav, who used a Ritual to contact them.  As it turns out, Vaclav did not expect them to step out and do this.  He merely wanted them to research more instances when the term Superbia was used.  The two decide to make their way back to the Chantry.   Samantha wonders if the killings are just the beginning given they seem inspired by the Seven Deadly Sins.

Viktor arrives at the destination:  The City Morgue.    As he contacts the retainers there, and methodologically tears down a corpse's body to mimic the victim, he exchanges the mortal chunks of meat with the remains of the kindred suicide.   Satisfied the Masquerade is kept intact, the deputy realizes there is another presence in the room.  Sister Nikolai, Primogen of the Nosferatu, emerges from Obfuscate to speak with the deputy.  She reveals that Silas, the Gangrel, is but the second victim.  The first was a Nosferatu who was found to have committed suicide as well in the Warrens.  Imogus, the Nosferatu, had removed his own fangs, face and heart.  The walls of Imogus' Haven were covered with images of his Sire's mortal line.  The word Ira was burned into his forehead as well.  Viktor quickly called Vaclav once more for an update on the information and Vaclav admitted that the Tremere are still looking into the matter.  He did share that Ira is the latin word for Wrath.  And that suicide may be seen as "a self-hatred of anger pointed inwardly."  Vaclav also shared that in Dante's Inferno, those who sinned the sin of Pride were forced to walk with stone slabs bearing down on their backs to induce feelings of humility.

The Nosferatu thanked Viktor or his time and hoped they could find the perpetrator before it was too late.  Madame Faqas then stepped into the scene and admitted to Viktor that the Nosferatu is wrong.  Imogus was not the first.  He was the second.

Adam steps through the shadowed stairwell and emerges from the darkness to find Corbin Sydney, the Lasombra Bishop of New York, entertaining an audience.  Adam realizes very quickly that the visitor has decided to come early.  Corbin smiles as he introduces Adam to the guest, the Archbishop himself, Ambrosio Luis Moncada.  The terrifyingly powerful Lasombra admits he recognizes Adam from the past and asks a question that stuns the Tzimisce:  "I recall you and your coterie of misfits.  Where is the young Brujah I used to mentor?"

Adam realizes he means Viktor Smith.

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