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Monday, 19th March, 2012, 02:45 PM #41
The SACK event had top-notch security. Metal detectors, motion sensors, even bug sweeps. SACK didn't mess around ((The agents ridiculously high Digital Intrusion score made this a non-issue, but it was nice to see them take an interest)).
Anna, being press, arrived early, snapping dozens of photos. She would have about an hour or so before the rest of the team arrived, and she elected to use this time to recon the whole building. She took photos of all the entrances and exits she could find, and uploaded the information to Mace, who, the team found out, was red-flagged by SACK for reasons unknown.
Even trying to hack together [Digital Intrusion, Forgery] an invitation or get his name on the guest list threw up huge red flags digitally. Twice when Alice tried to tag any of Mace's Cover IDs, there was an immediate check on his financials, address, tax returns and back story. Someone didn't want Mace Hunter at this party. He contented himself with staying at Headquarters, and orchestrating the job.
Of note were three people: two guests of honor came up on on two separate terror watch lists. The third wasn't on any watch lists, but did come up as being connected to one of the churches on this list Mace recovered after his capture.
Imran Juda al-Salah is the seventh most wanted man globally, wanted for the slaughter of three hundred of his family members after his daughter was married. He is an active terrorist with numerous anti-West interests.
Iskandar Hamid, relatively speaking is less known globally, but is wanted all the same for the destruction of grain shipments in Africa and the taking of hostages on European cruises circumnavigating the globe.
Aaron Laston is a member on the Board of Trustees for The Sisters of the Sacred Tree, a donor to several youth organizations one each coast and is a celebrated mountain climber, who just recently raised three million dollars while free-climbing Machu Picchu.
Larston glad-handed nearly everyone he could and frequently asked for his photo to be taken. Anna was happy to oblige. Hamid and al-Salah avoided most cameras and sat with their backs to the wall, in a corner, the furthest from people's notice.
The team needed to make an entrance. Rossini had a contact [2 point Network spend] who loaned him a helicopter, so he was able to fly the team in and get everyone to rappel down to the patio...everyone except Desdemona. The Baroness of Furvusstajd doesn't rappel anywhere, so she came off the copter with all the ease of royalty. Mike-Smith was particularly intimidating security, insisting on "showing these rookies how it's done".
What really happened was that Mike planted metal tokens in the pockets of the people behind him, [2 point Filch spend] and kicked out one of the plugs for a power-strip.
((Interesting to note here is that the game came to a quiet lull, and when I asked what the delay was, I was told "I'm looking to see what I can spend to unplug something."))
The team came through security and met up with Anna for photographs and debriefing. They all sat together, Desdemona at the head of the table, Nick on her right, Mike-Smith to her left. Rossini came in late, but sat across from her. Anna took a seat two tables over, with a team of German photographers who seemed more interested in the food being served than in snapping shots.
The first dish served was fruit salad served bone china...literally out of bones. Larston laughed this off, saying it was a bit of joke, what with SACK's recent discovery of old tombs in Paraguay. Everyone snickered a little, and ate their melon balls, giving sidelong glances at the kitchen doors to see what was coming next.
What happened next though was not a course of food, but a course of toasts. A table at a time, someone rose up to toast SACK and their foreign guests. Thankfully the team didn't have to go first.
Mace warned Desdemona not to get too flashy.
Nick warned Desdemona not to get too flashy.
Anna told Rossini and Mike-Smith that things might get ugly.
Desdemona rose and delivered a rousing toast and blessing in Arabic, citing three different proverbs as well as a children's poem about herding your camels before the grass is dry. [1 point Languages spend, 2 point Preparedness spend]
Rossini was ready to shoot his way out. Anna was ready to go through the window if she had to. Mace, at Headquarters, poured himself another drink.
The whole room erupted into giant cheers. Desdemona took it too far, and kept toasting, moving from table to table, working the room [4 1 point Filch spends to pick up business cards, billfolds and phones as she moved]. She was greeted by more cheers.
Which was good, because she liked the applause. And it was good for the sniper too, no one heard the gunshots.
Well not the first one, anyway.
The priest from the Vatican, a minor official, basically a clerk, took a shot through the chest. He had no idea that mid-clap would be his final moment.
One of the German photographers took a round in the leg and rolled under the table. The applause gave way to screams, and chaos ensued.
But the doors were locked. And the terrorists were nowhere to be found. Wanting to give the team some room to operate, Mace called his friend at the FBI [2 point Network spend] to stall the arrival of officers and police for at long as possible.
He bought his team thirty minutes.
Minute 1 Nick had a plan: Get out of the ballroom-turned-shooting-gallery, and if possible find out what SACK had to do with phone call, and then either launch a counter-offensive or escape. The team liked this plan.
Minute 2 - 5 The team split up. Nick and Desdemona went to the second floor - offices. Rossini and Mike-Smith decided to track the terrorists. Anna was going to get the people out.
Minute 6 Rossini found the cooking staff. Three of them were huddled over by the dishwasher, terrified of the fourth, a tall woman who was sucking on the neck of a server, but not in a fun way. ((I had to specify this)) Mike-Smith ushered the staff out, and tried to keep the kitchen closed.
Minute 7-20 Anna, with the help of Larston, (help as in [2 point Intimidation spend]) found out that there is a series of tunnels that lead to a parking garage a quarter mile away. Anna used the same tunnels to ferry out the rest of the room.
Minute 7-25 Nick and Desdemona found [CORE CLUE] that Dr Karen Elmont ((also in this thread)) was definitely in danger.
Minute 7 - 29 Rossini and Mike-Smith went toe-to-toe [Hand-to-Hand] with a rather gymnastic blonde woman who at one point skittered along the ceiling and slid under the oven to hide from them.
((This fight was entirely one of move and countermove, and while I was pleased with it, I think it frustrated the players, who wanted faster resolution. ))
She did eventually meet a grisly ((greasy?)) end thanks to the Fry-O-lator.
Minute 29 The FBI arrived to a ballroom of empty tables and a pile of dust in the kitchen.
Minute 30 The agents were in the tunnels, arguing with each other about how Anna could let them get 30 minutes away and what they could do about it.
They never saw the trip wire.
And that's where we leave the party for now: concussed, injured, and possibly trapped in an underground tunnel while SACK gets away, and the morning's phone call goes unsolved.
((more later this week))
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Monday, 26th March, 2012, 05:37 PM #42
The MurdER in the ER
((GM Notes are in double parentheses))
[Mechanical notes are in braces]
((Here now is the harrowing tale of Dr Karen Elmont, presented in full detail.))
It started with an email. It came at 2:59, about thirteen minutes after Karen Elmont, the third surgeon of the ER at Sisters of Mercy hospital, had climbed into bed. Twelve minutes of somewhat dark and blissful sleep had gone by, and then the email notification sound chirped up:
She rose, and leaned over the keyboard. She didn't bother with the robe. The email was short and direct.
"I'm watching you right now. Did you enjoy the shower?"
Karen chose this apartment because of the windows. Two long windows in all her favorite rooms (bedroom, kitchen/dining area, living room) But there are no windows in the bathroom. She liked that. She didn't even have a skylight.
She deleted the email, thinking it a prank or really crafty spam, and went back to bed.
She slept through three more "Bwang!" announcements but read them over coffee when she woke up at 11.
"Karen, this isn't a joke."
"You need to buy milk."
The third email was indecipherable gibberish, some strange font that her laptop couldn't make sense of, like maybe Japanese and Chinese had dirty sex with Russian and cuneiform.
But what bothered her was that she did need to buy milk. The empty container was in her trash, and you can't see into the fridge or the trash from the window.
She figured it was a lucky guess. Lots of people probably need milk all the time. Hit the delete key a few times, and head off to work.
The Sisters of Mercy Hospital is a CRAZY place. It sits just past the freeway, and serves both a wealthy suburb and two impoverished parts of the city. The ER is as much a traffic accident-turned-gunfight-cum-bar brawl as the incidents it cleans up. And Karen is at home in the blood and bodies and screaming and needles.
Rare is the time she gets a chance to sit at her little desk and have a coffee. But she got a moment today, and went through the roster of potential problems.
In the morgue, five new bodies came in, something about a "battle" at an Embassy downtown.
In the ER, a schoolbus herd of kids had come in for stitches and bandages when the bus stopped short to avoid a collision in a car chase.
And the abortion picketing had started up again, now that the weather was getting warm.
Her phone rang, and she answered it. Through the tremendous static, all she could make out was "milk". Okay, that was weird. She slammed the phone and decided to walk the halls.
She turned the corner out of her office and ran into a doctor, a really good-looking doctor. [Nick, with a 3 point Disguise and 2 point Cover spend] They chatted, and he said he was new, and a little turned around, and could she point him in the direction of the administration offices, he had paperwork to sign or something. She gave him directions, and watched him walk away.
Her walk continued, and she helped an old couple into the elevator [Mace and Desdemona with 2 point Disguise and 1 point Cover spends, tag-teamed] ((Getting them as two old, slightly crotchety characters was hilarious and I hope they use the cover again)).
She came back to her office, and found a stack of paperwork waiting for her. Seems like the mailguy [Rossini with a 1 point Cover spend] dumped two whole shifts of paperwork on her desk. So, she started filling things out.
Name. Birthdate. Medical license number. All the usual bland forms for insurance.
So why did one form ask if she had gotten any unusual emails or phone calls in the last two days?
And why did one form ask her to confirm the number of windows her apartment had?
((This was a rather sharp collaboration between Rossini and Desdemona, with MikeSmith advising)) [That's a 2 point Forgery spend, a 2 point Vampirology spend, and a 1 point Traffic Analysis spend, all tag-teamed]
The cute doctor came back to her office door, how did he find her, and offered her a cup of coffee. [1 point Flirting spend, then 1 point Shrink spend] They talked for at least thirty minutes. And no one seemed to care. It was nice to have the downtime at work. Especially with downtime where a guy actually was into her.
((It was at this point that one of the players actually statted up Karen Elmont as a possible PC for later)).
During the chat, she looked down the hallway and saw...that old couple from the elevator...were they picking a lock? No, couldn't be. That was an old doctor's office, now it was storage.
[1 point Infiltration spend, although Mace wanted to argue that Desdemona's nagging should have been a Stability spend]
The cute doctor offered to help her carry the forms down to the admin office, and she was ready to take off the rest of the day and play doctor with him back at the apartment.
They walked and talked, and they passed the morgue. They took the long way, but it seemed like that cute doctor knew this route pretty well....
When the guy came up off the morgue slab, she spilled the paperwork all over the floor. And the cute doctor started talking to himself.
"Mace. Get down here. Where's Rossini?"
And then he ran into the morgue and fought, yes FOUGHT dead guy.
[2 point Hand-to-Hand spend]
She felt dizzy and nauseous and really confused and wanted to sit down. Good thing that old couple was somehow right behind her, with water and a wheelchair to collapse into. Then they, like the cute doctor, ran into the morgue to fight the corpse.
At least the old lady closed the door. But Karen still heard the spurt of blood wash up against the back of the door. She shuddered, and then the mail guy came back to wheel her "to safety".
Ten minutes later, Karen is sitting in her office telling another doctor she's never seen before (Agent Carter Byers) how crazy and strange the whole day was. He laughed at her jokes, he smiled and he really listened [4 point shrink spend].
Then in came the cute doctor, the mail guy, the old couple and....the church chaplain (MikeSmith, who's been toying with finding Faith again). She didn't know what to make of it.
Monday, 26th March, 2012, 08:57 PM #43
((GM NOTES are in double parentheses))
[Mechanical notes are in braces]
With the team (Mace, Nick, Desdemona, Rossini, MikeSmith, Carter Byers) all in Karen's office, and three of them covered in gore, it was time to explain what was going on.
Mace had the unenviable task of explaining how they found her. And what was up with the corpses in the morgue, and just how big a deal this all was.
He explained everything, like this:
((Taken verbatim from play))
"Karen, we are not doctors, patients or clerks. He (MikeSmith) is actually sort of a chaplain, but that's not important right now. What matters is that we're here because you're in danger. I don't want to alarm you, but those corpses in the morgue were sent after you. Why would anyone want to hurt you?"
Karen drew a long stare at the floor and shrugged a lot, before spouting denials. So, Nick got her more coffee and while she sat there and looked confused, the team searched her office.
[tag-teamed Infiltration, Digital Infiltration, Research and Shrink spends. all between 1 and 3 points] ((I forgot to write down the values))
What the team turned up was [CORE CLUE] that Karen sits on several committees having to do with organ donation, transplantation and community outreach programs like blood donation, immunizations and distribution of drugs to shut-ins and the poor.
The committees liaise with the local churches to house meetings and coordinate distribution, and Karen's seat on these committees, although obligatory for her, is critical in decision making regarding who gets what organ, blood, drugs or assistance.
Naturally, the Conspiracy wants sway over that seat.
Combined with the previous [CORE CLUE] of the material to duplicate her ID, and Karen Elmont becomes a very valuable asset. And a very high profile target.
She was in the middle of making arrangements to leave work for the day, citing an immediate family emergency (hence why she'd be talking to the chaplain), but when she went to call someone to say so, the phone was dead. Then her computer went out.
The team threw some salt down as they locked up. She'd have to go AWOL.
When the team reached the hallway, the lights were flickering. She'd have to go out through the ER.
Through the crowded, busy, packed-with-potential-victims, ER.
The good news is that the ER was pretty quiet. A couple stitches, a broken arm. Everyone was able to make it to the lobby.
Oh, the lobby. Feet from the front door, that's when all hell broke loose. Six stretchers of injured people, the results of a massive car crash. All hands on deck. Karen couldn't leave these people unaided. Carter Byers offered to stay behind with her to help and keep an eye on her.
And then even more hell broke loose.
The injured? Not injured. Stage blood. Really convincing special effects. All courtesy the bad guys.
The first wave of attack took hostages. And Mace was decisive. When in doubt, send the insane in to fight. Rossini lit a bathroom stall on fire, and in the confusion, people ran out, under the torrent of sprinklers.
MikeSmith began blessing the sprinklers as they kicked on. ((I've been toying with Faith as a ruleset, treating it as ammo for weapons or free-spends as combat rolls)), the damage was slight and temporary, but at least it got the hostages out.
Byers hid Karen in the church chapel, arming himself with a hold out pistol, a flare gun and one flashbang.
Nick and Desdemona tried to put barricades and obstacles in the way. Not like a gurney means a lot to a creature who drinks blood by the gallon, but every second counts in a fight.
Mace and MikeSmith just started opening fire, "John Woo style".
There's a lot of fragile things in a hospital. Glass jars, windows, shelves, various tanks of oxygen and machinery...lots of bullet-soaking objects.
The fight was messy and the hospital was wrecked. But in the end, the body count was this:
Dead were two vampires and four servitors, blood-fueled crazies that were basically extensions of the vampires' will and strength ((meat puppets!)). Ruined were several thousands of dollars in property.
The good news is that Mace could leave a business card and let the clean-up be The Man's issue.
Rather than deal with securing Karen's apartment, they arranged for her to stay with Desdemona across town.
((Karen Elmont being alive represents a significant blow to the Conspiracy's immediate plans - it will be interesting Wednesday to see how the Conspiracy responds, or if Karen becomes a team member.))
Wednesday, 28th March, 2012, 07:36 PM #44
A pause here for an announcement --
After a challenge from one of the players, I've been asked to take Night's Black Agents and see if we can do it in different time periods.
I've started with the Victorian Era, and it doesn't take many changes to get there:
1. Skills (X -> Y)
BS Detector --- Lie Detector
Criminology --- Forensics (a more early-tech version)
Cryptography --- Ciphers (removing the tech)
Data Recovery --- Data Composition (it's still analytical, but smaller scale)
Electronic Surveilance -- Telegraphy (It's not technically surveillance, but it is useful)
Pharmacy -- Apothecary (there are few drugs on the market)
Piloting -- Navigating (fewer vehicles)
2. Remove the Following Outright
Digital Intrusion -- There's nothing to hack
Backgrounds as stated in-game - ((for now)) What I will likely do is incorporate material from Cthulhu by Gaslight into more period Backgrounds, but essentially, the characters are most often Inquiry Agents or Consulting Detectives and Specialists.
It needs more work, and I do need to flesh it out, but there's enough meat left on the bones for the game to operate (within similar plot frames of Conspiracy and intrigue and danger), just re-skinning the skills and equipment.
Thursday, 29th March, 2012, 03:34 AM #45
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
- Boston, MA
ø Ignore Piratecat
I might dump telegraphy entirely. Other than that, it seems like an easy hack. Interestingly, you can keep shooting the same but require a much longer reload time. That makes hand-to-hand and weapons much more important.
It's shocking how excited I am about the idea of a Victorian NBA.
Thursday, 29th March, 2012, 03:49 AM #46
After giving it a rough test tonight, yes, I'm dumping telegraphy entirely, it didn't come up nearly as much as I thought.
Shooting didn't occur as much as I thought it would either, I guess because people had the understanding it would be a longer action.
This hack was pretty successful, which I take as a sign I can push it further.
Later in the week I'll update the TTVD thread with the events of tonight....
Tuesday, 3rd April, 2012, 06:53 PM #47
This is a long-awaited update.
I want to take a moment, before I talk about last week's adventure to describe some of the other things the TTVD campaign offers:
1. Cloud Agents - To help develop the Conspiracy, and offer something for my out-of-town players (I have players deployed overseas, and others living in different cities who want to contribute), I created the role of Cloud Agent...someone who takes orders from the spymaster (Mace Hunter), and who operates solo (usually via e-mail) to do more of the narrative hunting-and-uncovering, not so much the action set-pieces.
2. The email-only action break - Sometimes my group doesn't meet on a consistent schedule, either because of work or scheduling or because we can't get a whole group together. When this happens, I go straight to email and pose a problem to the whole group and give them a deadline to tell me what they're going to do. (Usually the end of the respective week). This frees them up to do something with the character but not on-the-spot.
I like these additions to play in the campaign, it gives them a sense of immersion that I think makes the world more intense.
Tuesday, 3rd April, 2012, 07:24 PM #48
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
- Boston, MA
ø Ignore Piratecat
How much have you had Stability figure into your game? I tend to think I don't use it enough.
Tuesday, 3rd April, 2012, 07:30 PM #49
Stability hasn't yet so run down that my players are basketcases, but it's been a factor tangentially, that the players are hesitant to take too many risks when dealing with the supernatural.
Later today, when I post the week's update, there's a good example of this. Stability is proving to be the element of game play and mechanics that breaks my players of their D&D-kill-the-monsters-we're-stronger-than-they-are mentality.
I'm not making it paramount though to play, preferring to keep the players moving into the Conspiracy and plot, but at the later (higher) levels, their sanity will no doubt be tested when they run into the next tier of awesome/awful that awaits them. (Three words: dream-invading rottweilers)
Monday, 9th April, 2012, 04:54 PM #50
((GM Notes in double parentheses))
[Mechanical notes in braces]
This is the adventure of the 'C' team, a set of characters made to test out the 'Dust' style of play. The players (usual players) were looking for a change and didn't want to up-end the main campaign plot, we spent two sessions exploring this side avenue.
The C Team
Dr Albert von Schluss [The Shrink]
Cornelius Jackson [The Gun]
Ai Hao [The Hand To Hand]
Diego Forte [The Academic]
Notice the lack of [Infiltration], [Digital Intrusion] or [Explosives]: The party just didn't allocate the points into them, and the story was happy to make them pay for it.
We start our story in Baghdad, as all tales of horror could, with the Team receiving a message from Mace Hunter, who was busy off the Aruba coast working on his tan. (And chasing down a lead for next week's game)
"Check out Midnight Securities in Baghdad, Investigate and Stop if possible"
Now Dr von Schluss had an old family friend back home [4 point Network spend] who pulled some strings to get the team a tour and an interview, all the team had to do was stay out of trouble once inside.
The team was introduced to Lieutenant Colonel Stewart ((I wanted him to be a Brigadier, but didn't have time to promote him)) who the intrepid doctor realized was under some great duress [2 point Shrink spend] and with a little persuading ((Initially they were going to shoot him in the knee to make him talk, but decided on just closing the door and being patient)), Stewart revealed that within the company there was a problem, and they could discuss it later that night, if they met him at a bar downtown. The team agreed and went off on their tour.
During the tour, the team took notice [Sense Trouble] that the guards on the second floor ((the offices) were official and military while the heavily armed men walking the warehouse floor were not - and in fact they resembled convicts, criminals and thugs.
Cornelius Jackson, Man of Action ((no seriously, that's what he introduced himself as)), talked shop [Gun gibberish] with one of the guards, while Ai Hao did her best "investigation walk" around the room.
In one corner, away from the other supplies but near the trucks, some local Iraqis were hired and paid cash to load unlabeled cargo onto and off of trucks. [CORE CLUE] They were pleased to be working, and told they always received cash from their manager, a man named Mohammed.
Mohammed was a local contractor hired by Midnight to liaise and retain native people for simple and domestic work, so as to avoid the idea that another crazy company was coming into Iraq and taking over. Mohammed got his orders from the Lt Colonel [CORE CLUE] but didn't want to talk about where he got the cash to pay for things.
The team then decided to investigate the trucks, and by investigate, they meant "steal after neutralizing a few guards" They were able to find one of the trucks, and see that the crates were antiquities, and the trucks were coming in from dig sites all around Baghdad and coming to Midnight for either transport or fencing. [CORE CLUE]
Mohammed was only slightly freaked out by the team taking an interest in their activities and offered to cut them into the deal so long as he wasn't fired or killed or "left to fend for himself".
He agreed to tell the team everything, if they went back to his house with him, because it wasn't safe anywhere else.
So the team did so, and along the way ran into their first sign of trouble. Ol' Mohammed was getting tailed 24/7 and whoever was tailing him wasn't afraid to get their hands dirty, say by trying to kill Mohammed or anyone with them.
The car chase ((which is AWESOME to do when no one has any points in Driving)) was a slow crawl in evening rush hour to Mohammed's small house. The party entered and immediately took note of the religious iconography, satellite maps and old books [Research, Military Science, and Occult Studies spends].
Mohammed has been ordered by the Lt Colonel to dig up the desert for a particular hiding spot for a particular book. The problem is, that the desert is huge and this book, a personal diary of a monk from the 13th century, is small. [CORE CLUE]
It was at this moment the team noticed [Traffic Analysis] the tail from before coming back...and in force. Eight men, six of them armed were surrounding the building.
Diego encouraged Mohammed to talk more ((Again, first wanting to dangle him out a window) but instead suggested that if the team knew more they could help. Mohammed revealed that he had a lead on the book, and did for many weeks, he was just afraid that revealing the lead would end the flow of cash and more possibly, his life ((The players I guess felt sorry for Mohammed here, and gave him a gun)).
The team left the apartment to meet the tail, and the fight was short and decisive. The team dumped the bodies into a dumpster down the block and took one of the tail-cars to the address Mohammed gave them about the lead.
The address was an old storage facility, with a unit loaded floor to ceiling with papers and receipts and tax forms and all kinds of customs-forgery props [CORE CLUE].
But the team was not alone. The creature had tracked them from all the way back at Midnight and was after the book. Killing them would just be a bonus.
((The team did not fare well against the creature. A lot of [Stability] was lost and the injuries were high. It didn't kill anyone, but it certainly knocked the stuffing out of them))
The doctor decided to use the car against the creature and damn near killed himself in that wreck. But the party delighted in beheading the beastie and celebrating finding Mohammed's lead just before the unit caught fire ((caused by errant use of a flare gun)).
Mohammed's lead [CORE CLUE] brought them a cell phone number that when dialed, the person on the other end would only respond with a single word "Green", and then would hang up if the party said anything. Clearly, a codeword.
After some hounding of Diego's contacts [3 point Network spend], the team made their way to a hotel bar where a lot of illegal trafficking went down ((mostly kids and drugs)), and found that the cell phone number rang the phone behind the bar.
By way of a little discussion [Intimidation] with the bartender ((where the party did get to break his hand)), they found out that a buyer of antiquities was going to be at the Museum tonight to receive a shipment [CORE CLUE]- and that intercepting that deal would be a good idea.
Problem #1 was that the team lacked an Infiltrator. Problem #2 was that they lacked any Hacker or Surveillance people. Problem #3 was that all they had was guns.
The team raced to the museum, finding it fairly locked up and somewhat secure (dogs and security personnel) but the parking lot was interesting.
In the lot, actually right next to where they parked was the Lt Colonel's car. [CORE CLUE]. Of course, it was under a lamppost in an otherwise empty lot.
((There was a moment here where the players didn't realize that it was now near midnight, and they were in the open, under a light....))
The museum guards opened fire and the volleys were ferocious.
((I thought here I lost the whole party. They were totally near death, and absolutely wounded badly, and unconscious.))
The party came to somewhere bright. And hot. And hours later.
They awoke to find themselves in a cemetery, being dragged in front of a tomb under renovation. They had been given somewhat passable medical attention....from the medical staff at Midnight [CORE CLUE] because when they all came around, the Lt Colonel was ordering them at gun point into the tomb.
Mohammed's dead body was tossed at their feet, and suddenly it all became clear -- the Colonel wasn't under duress, he was the mastermind of the whole event, and now the book would be his...if the team went into the tomb and retrieved it, because the locals who excavated it wouldn't go near it [CORE CLUE]
So, into the tomb they went. And Cornelius was happy to point out the explosives wired into the lighting system [CORE CLUE].
The team penetrated deep beneath the Baghdad city structure, all the way down to a crypt of an unknown age ((Every player failed their respective rolls at Archaeology, Occult Studies, and History)).
At the end of ths tour, where they were marched in and had the tomb locked behind them, they found the book.
It was a pillow for a sleeping creature. Pale, nearly alabaster, and dessicated, it slumbered pretty deeply. That is until Ai Hao crossed the threshold of its room.
The creature at first just studied the team, and the team kept its distance. It moved left, they went right. All the way around the circle until the creature blocked the door, but the team had the book.
It occurred to Diego and the doctor that the only thing to do now was to sacrifice an agent to escape....and Cornelius had flipped through the book and started reading [2 point Occult Studies spend]....and oddly enough the rather interesting ritual required a human sacrifice.
((The tension here was delicious. The party knew they weren't getting out alive, but didn't want to devolve into killing each other. Great moment))
Eventually, the creature went to attack Cornelius, since he had the book. As the beast ran, he started reading and then ((did something that absolutely amazed me as a GM))...killed himself so that the blood stained the pages.
The rest of the team ran for the door, while the ritual gained power fueled by Cornelius' sacrifice.
Up from the graves arose quite a few half-dead things, things in all stages of rot, an arm here, half a woman there....and while the team ran away from the creature and the tomb, the risen remnants descended upon the Midnight staff.
The team reached ground level just as the Lt Colonel was being torn apart by ghouls.
The only thing to do was to blow up the tomb. They did, sinking the whole cemetery infrastructure down about 3 meters and causing a citywide panic, but the book was destroyed ((or was it?)) and Cornelius didn't entirely die in vain ((or did he?)).
((This was one of the more fun adventures I ran....later this week, I'm going to test out the Victorian setting)).