GUMSHOE: Night's Black Agents - Tinker Tailor Vampire Die


First Post

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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First Post
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.



First Post

((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.))


First Post
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.


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.


First Post
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....


First Post
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.


First Post
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)


First Post
((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)).


First Post
My apologies for the lack of updates - My group is currently on vacation. You'd think this would give me a chance to catch up on the FIVE episodes I owe this thread, but work has been particularly busy. I will get one episode up tonight.

@Commited Hero - Yes, I'll get you a copy of the spreadsheet.


First Post
The Aruba Connection, also called "Crossing The ArubaCon"

[Mechanics are in braces]
((GM Comments are in double parentheses))

The Team For This Episode
Mace Hunter
Father John Iago ((brand new character, testing out a new Pool I'm calling "Faith"))

(([Faith, will, if this works, operate similar to Stability, and in the face of the Damned may act as a floating spend-pool to draw upon to turn back the tide of evil. To reduce the mechanical advantage I passed 2 House Rules:

1. Faith will be called upon only in direct confrontation with evil or its consequences - you can't just summon it up when you're in line at the post office
2. Usages of Faith have to be completely acted out, with full descriptions.]))

Desdemona met Father John before he was Father John, when he was pro-golfer John Iago, who was a very strong twelfth-ranked golfer in the world, making a good push for the top ten. However, their love affair ((which I have players trying to produce as a web-comic)) wrecked his swing ((Desdemona was more interested in his....putter)) and he left the circuit to pursue her. He found Faith along the way.

For months now The Man had been telling Mace that a lot of Conspiracy activity was coming through tourist destinations [CORE CLUE], playing a sort of loose three-card monte game with resort properties. Mace did some digging [2 point Research spend] and found the following.

((The following are ALL [CORE CLUES]))

  1. A condo company called Absalom Properties has offered vacations to newlyweds and parents of children born in the last year.
  2. Six couples who took the offer all disappeared within months of each other (first one adult, then the other), and within weeks of taking this vacation.
  3. The children, all under 2 years of age, were sent into foster care programs, and were all adopted within 30 days, a statistical improbability.
The court records are all sealed and Mace did not have the immediate resources to dig deeper, but he could assign a Cloud Agent to the task. Sifting through dossiers, he selected Ezra Corvus, a Czech data analyst (with combat experience, in case field work was needed). Ezra would get briefed shortly ((Look for that update soon)).

But Absalom Properties was offering another vacation package, this time in Aruba, and Mace needed [Drive - Atonement] to stop this from happening again. But he didn't fit the profile, and since he had already been captured, he reasoned it was likely he'd get spotted.

Other agents would have to be put into play. Desdemona was an obvious choice. She'd want to work with Nick, but Nick was unavailable, and as much as he regretted it, Rossini was a better choice. He had Contacts in the area and more familiarity with escapes if things got dicey.

So with a quick bit of work [2 point Forgery and 2 point Digital Intrusion spends], Desdemona and Rossini became Mr and Mrs Julia and Oscar Wild, an engaged couple, looking to get married in Absalom's newest package "The Isle Getaway Extravaganza" -- all he needed was a priest.

The coincidence was delicious. Desdemona would run smack into her past AND help him out along the way. Perfect.

Father John greeted them at the airport, and Rossini even offered to drive so the good Father and Desdemona could talk.

It's hard to talk when Rossini drives. Either because the man is deranged and experiences paranoid delusions or because he's the absolute best driver when you need to get away from a tail.

No one was sure which was the case as they left the airport, but [4 point Driving Spend] Rossini shook 2 tails on the way over to the resort.

Mace, thanks to a phone call to Margie [3 point Network spend], could spend the entire episode on a yacht, suntanning and tracking the field work. Oh, and getting to know Margie.

Father John was equal parts happy and angry with Desdemona, and she was equal parts shocked he remembered her and shocked that she still had feelings for him. At the condo, after an intense discussion ((I should point out that the players BOTH INSISTED on acting it out, even though both players were male and not dating each other)), Desdemona gave Father John the hard news....

((I prepared for a very cagey, slightly comedic lie, but Desdemona's player didn't))

"John, there's something bigger than the both of us going on here. You're a member of the Church now, surely you've heard about it. What's the worst case scenario they prepared for in Seminary? Now the truth is a thousand times worse."

And that's how Father John was told about the Conspiracy. And after a quick phone call to the yacht, how he was quickly brought in as a temporary Agent.

Absalom Properties arranged for a wedding out by one of the resort pools, under a moonlit sky and candle light. The agenda called for everything to happen on Night 2, meaning the team had time to prepare.

((This is a full list of what they did))

  • Father John dropped a clear lucite rosary into the pool, and blessed it [2 point Faith spend, 1 point Preparedness spend] "I consecrate this pool, that it might be a liquid vessel for His greatness and allow us security against what's coming."
  • Rossini faxed bogus invitations / encoded messages to Mace [1 point Cryptography spend]
  • Desdemona bought a dress and stitched a pocket into it, putting a small vial of holy water inside. [1 point Preparedness spend -- because I couldn't think of what else to call it))]
  • Father John rigged the windows and doorways in the condo with silver bells and crosses [2 point Faith spend] "Beyond this threshold, let only His Grace and Goodness enter, all else be repelled."
All through Night 1, the team stayed indoors, communicating only with Mace on the yacht. They ordered Room Service and waited for problems to happen.

((It occurs to me now that I could have poisoned the food or rigged the cart to blow up or something, but this was NPC with food))

The first problem was around 3am, when Rossini heard something scratching at the condo's patio door. The patio was on the second floor, and overlooked a sheer cliff to the ocean. He threw on the light and found two dozen rats scampering around the patio, and going up the walls. They didn't enter, just roamed the perimeter. Testing it.

The second problem came at 9am, when Desdemona opened the door to pick up her wedding dress, and the hotel attendant tried to claw out her eyes. A Renfield, a bloodmonkey, a human on their way to Corruption. Father John kept the girl in an ice bath for most of Day 2 before realizing there was no saving her. Rossini put a bullet in her and dumped her off the patio just before sunset.

Night 2 came and the wedding began. Desdemona looked great in her dress, Rossini looked...decent in a tux jacket and shorts. But he also had a holster with two machine pistols ready to go. And Father John stuffed a flashbang into his pocket. [2 points Preparedness]

To put it mildly, this was a trap. It was a private ceremony, with several guests of the resort coming out to welcome the new wedding. But it didn't take a genius or even a lot of [Sense Trouble] to realize that for a beach resort, these guests were not tan. At all.

The odds were not in the agents' favor - 2 trained Agents and 1 Priest against 2 dozen Vamps?

((The players at this point began talking of replacement characters))

But Faith is a tricky thing. And just before the first invoking prayer, the attack came. And Father John might as well have been called "Wall John" because Faith kept the creatures back.

(([I treated this as a roll-off, and ticked off the difference in points against John's Faith pool, treating this more like a force field or barrier.]))

And when his Faith waivered in a moment of exhaustion, John pulled one of the creatures into the pool.

The blessed pool.

And then Desdemona and Rossini jumped in, making huge splashes.

From within the center of the pool, they destroyed two-thirds of the "wedding". A few of the more crafty ones realized they couldn't stay in the pool forever.

((The scene is written here as it was delivered))

Vamp: Poor mortals. Are you going to live there? You have to come out some time, and when you do --
Father John: I pray for our souls, and offer the creature a chance to repent --

Rossini: I empty the machine pistol into the Vamp. I'll spend [4 points in Shooting].
Father John looks at him, in disbelief.

Desdemona: If he runs out of bullets, I'll lay down more fire after him [3 points of Shooting worth].

It got messy, Eventually, the Agents outnumbered the Vamps and they could make it back to the Condo for round 2 of the fight.

((Which didn't happen, because the egg timer on the table buzzed, meaning it was sunrise)).

The sun did a far better cleaning up the scene than the Agents ever could.

The agents met Mace on the beach for breakfast and Father John was inducted in as a full-time Agent.

((In our next thrilling episode, learn about what happened to Nick....))

Committed Hero

Father John dropped a clear lucite rosary into the pool, and blessed it [2 point Faith spend, 1 point Preparedness spend] "I consecrate this pool, that it might be a liquid vessel for His greatness and allow us security against what's coming."

Too cool. The synergy of a good GM, compelling ideas and invested players cannot be surpassed in any other media.


First Post
((GM Notes are in double parentheses))
[Mechanical notes are in braces]

Episode: So What Happened To Nick?

((The episode was played out with a smaller-than-usual group, so this is truncated version built around one mechanical conceit - [What if another player was in charge of your spends?]))

Nick is a proud vegan. Not one of those convert-anyone-he-meets-types, but definitely someone not shy about extolling the virtues of good diet and clean living.

[Research 2] He was spending what was more or less a day off doing some digging around a city zoning meeting where the local journalists reported some strange goings-on. The lights flickered, they had a funny sense of time and the recording devices didn't always function properly. So...

[Disguise 1] He went down to the records office to watch the footage. It was static-y, it looked years degraded despite being a brand-new recording. He took notes and made himself a copy of the tape [CLUE].

On the tape, there were two items on the agenda worth noting:

1. There was a vote to re-zone a whole area by the waterfront into an industrial park. [CORE CLUE]
2. When he cranked up the volume to hear the conversations better, he heard a raspy voice speaking just off-camera, whispering his name. His name, Mace's name, and the name of that nice Doctor they rescued from the Hospital. [CLUE] The words were just floated out there, with just that right sense of menace to crawl under your skin and wriggle into your ear.

He had to do something. But what? Mace had gone down to Aruba. He'd have to go back to his apartment and put together a plan.

[Driving 1] He took side streets and short cuts.
[Traffic Analysis, Streetwise 1] He made it to his apartment parking garage in record time.

2 things happened.

First, the explosion. ((This was the largest dice roll I've made in the game to-date)), The blast was huge, the pillar of fire tremendous. The building shook and shuddered. Gone were the top 3 floors. ((That's a 31d6 explosives roll if you're mechanically curious...that's Explosive Devices + Enemy MOS + gas lines + Preparedness + demolitions training + high quality explosives))

Second, the tazer. It caught Nick just above the kidney, and he barely felt the black silk bag slip over his head....

Next episode - NICK, KIDNAPPED.


First Post
((GM Notes are in parentheses)
[Mechanical Notes are in braces]

((NOTE - This is our Season 1 TTVD Finale episode, after this session, we'll be switching things up for a few weeks with a different game (Call of Cthulhu) and a different GM))

Nick was in an out of consciousness for the better part of the four hours. He didn't know if they drugged him, but he wouldn't be surprised. In one of the longer stretches of semi-wakefulness, he took stock of his situation.

He was somewhere at sea, and the window of the room he was in was either on a boat or a shoreline. He could hear waves. But the room didn't sway or rock, so this couldn't be a boat, could it?

No one answered any of his calls, screams, or rude statements about people's mothers. In fact, he didn't hear any sound past that of the ocean and his own voice.

And he still had most of this things with him. He was dressed. He had his wallet. He had his watch. His shoes had shoelaces. His belt was still fastened. Gone was his phone (he expected that) and gone was the twenty dollar bill he had in his back pocket. (Not expected, but reasonable).

Two hours passed, his cell was large, and the sink and toilet were in working order. He walked the space, counting twelve by sixteen tiles on the floor. And he waited. At some point, a rubber ball was tossed into his cell from a slot in the door. Yes, he checked the door. It was heavy, likely magnetized and he didn't have the strength to loose it.

But he had a ball. And he knew a variety of games. Like catch-with-your-left-hand, and catch-with-your-right.

He took off his watch. Later, well not really later, more like at some point in the future, he'd smash it with his shoe and try to start escaping.

There wasn't a bed in the room, but he had taken to stretching out in the far corner under the window. If he turned his head, he could see out the window in the door, and he could, if he stayed awake, figure out who guarded him and what their schedule was.

Interrupting this plan was the door sliding open and two people joining him. Desdemona and Rossini were tossed into the room. The first thing Nick noticed was that Rossini was missing a finger. The second thing Nick noticed was the Desdemona was barely breathing.

Rossini explained that he heard from another agent (Chip Chesterton IV, now dead) that Nick was gone, and it was only thanks to Carter Byers' [3-point Preparedness spend] expert surgery that every Agent has a GPS stashed into their hip. Mace, who was also missing now, sent Desdemona and Rossini to retrieve Nick.

And they found him, on an abandoned off-shore oil drilling platform, owned by a subsidiary of MertCo Oil and Gas [CORE CLUE], a major financial backer of the Absalom Properties [previous CORE CLUE]. And they were surrounded just by ocean in every direction for about 30 miles. Rossini "borrowed" [2 point Network spend] a small boat from a fishing buddy and Desdemona was quick to sign on. The rescue mission was supposed to be this - find Nick, escape, keep the fighting to a minimum.

Well, they found Nick alright. They found him about four hours into Nick's captivity, but someone else also found them.

The boat reached platform pretty easily, the rock of the waves drew it right in. But no sooner had they moored that someone joined them on the boat.

This someone they recognized from Aruba. One of the hotel staff, a young guy, Ted or something. He still had on his uniform. It was stained pink with blood, and Ted looked pretty pale right now, but Ted still had on his uniform.

Rossini wasn't fast enough. Even with a neat tuck and roll [2 point Athletics spend], Ted was faster. And Desdemona didn't stand a chance. Ted bit her.

Ted then did something odd. He hocked a big fat lugie at Rossini. Hit him square in the arm. And everything got sort of fuzzy, Rossini swears. Fuzzy like he just chugged a bottle of vodka. Fuzzy like he was looking at the world through goggles filled with sea water.

((Although Ted still wasn't a full-on vamp he was 2/3rds the way through his transformation. He couldn't yet turn others, but his saliva was most certainly narcotic -- see Vampire Spreadsheet))

Rossini fainted [1 point Stability loss] and he came too with a searing hot pain in his hand. An older man, someone practically desiccated, lopped off Rossini's ring finger with red hot pruning shears, then cauterized the wound with a Zippo and a piece of metal. Rossini, in pain, was strapped down to a tilt-table and got to watch two things:

1. This old man shuffling around the room
2. Desdemona being bled out through a weird machine that he was sure he'd seen on TV.

The old man hovered over Desdemona, watching her blood filter out, watching her basically die, and then would take a sharp thing (scissors, a file, a coat hanger, whatever was handy) and jab it into Rossini.

((By this time, each was down to about half their [Health] and half their [Stability].))

Rossini was only asked two questions:
1. Why doesn't he just surrender?
2. Where is Mace Hunter?

He didn't have answers for either, and eventually they were dragged up a flight of stairs and into Nick's cell.

Nick took off his shirt and did what he could for Desdemona [1 point Medic spend], but for the most part, she was a goner. But once Rossini better described the machine, Nick knew what had happened.

She was turned. Her blood pumped out, new blood, vamp serum, pumped in. He also knew [2 point Vampirology spend] that in order to make the changes stick, Desdemona would have to feed. And who better to snack on than the two guys she's held captive with?


Mace had just returned to New York, and was eager to activate as many agents as possible and really put the squeeze on everything.

Just as he was pouring the first afternoon Bloody Mary, his phone rang. MikeSmith on the other end said he was downstairs, and that he had just returned home to find his home in flames and his family dead [Solace lost, Security Lost], and he needed a place to go. Also, there were fifteen packages being dropped off.

Packages? Mace wasn't expecting anything. But he and MikeSmith worked to bring them all upstairs and eventually, after some tears and some drinks, opened them. Each box was addressed differently, to a different cover ID either for Mace, Nick or some other team member.

Inside each box was a head.

Some were Agents. Chip Chesterton IV, Samuel Foster, Ashywa Tarwilligar. Some were Nick's cousins. Mary and Judith.
One was even the girl Mace had a crush on in the eighth grade, Karen.

There was also a smaller package, an envelope, and inside a leather strap with what looked like a smartphone holstered to it. The note was addressed to Mace, from "your biggest fan", and written by someone who's handwriting duplicated Mace's exactly.

((Note - this is the link between this campaign and our Ashen Stars campaign, one of the things we'll be doing in the near future. This is Mace's "out", because I want to keep the character running through all our stories))

Under Karen's head (she didn't age well, Mace noted), was an mp3 player.

It had one track on it. Mace played it. The Voice was not The Man's.

"Good afternoon Mister Hunter. Hopefully with this message you've received our little gifts to you. Perhaps in the future, you'll be more thorough with your background checks of the cleaning company you hire to do your floors. It's a very nice office you have there, but tell me, do all the ladies know the truth? Which Mace Hunter do they know? The suave charmer? Or the haunted spy? It's not fair that you have the ability to pick and choose who you are when people like us have only the one face to show the world....albeit at night. So, Mister Hunter..."

Here the Voice transformed into the Man's.

"...we're going to make you choose. This message is ninety seconds long, leaving you about....twenty seconds to escape. Nineteen. Eighteen."

Mace and MikeSmith ran for the elevator, but not before Mace grabbed the Blue Notebook.

Seventeen. The elevator wasn't coming.
Sixteen. To the stairs they ran.
Fifteen. Mace left his phone upstairs.
Fourteen. All Mike could remember was the way his house burned.
Thirteen. Down the stairs, faster, faster.
Twelve. MikeSmith tapped out a quick 911 text to all Agents.
Eleven. Why the hell did Mace have to live so high up?
Ten. Where the hell was Nick?
Nine. Carter called Mike, saying he was being fired from the Hospital.
Seven. Mace didn't even finish his drink.
Six. Mike couldn't get the stink of gasoline out of his nose.
Five. Poor Karen. Her eyes glazed over.
Four. The first floor, finally.
Three. Screaming through the lobby, "Everyone get out!"
Two. Street level.
One. Mace looked skyward as the sun began to set.


Night fell slower than the building did. The explosion was huge, and shook the entire block. The building didn't collapse, it was built American strong, but the top crumbled and spit out across the street below in every direction.

All Mace had was whatever was on him and the blue notebook. Damn the Man. Where was the team?


Nick looked out the window at the last licks of sunlight, and then back to Desdemona, she was moaning now, these oddly seductive moans that were at once arousing and frightening. She didn't speak much, but when she did she only said,


((This concludes Season 1 of Tinker Tailor Vampire Die...we'll be switching to Ashen Stars (another great Pelgrane product) and Call of Cthulhu for a few weeks (I'm running Ashen Stars, Craig (who played MikeSmith) is running Cthulhu))

((I should also point out that if you like this thread, and like this game, you should come out to DexCon this July and participate in the $1,000 Night's Black Agents tournament, which I'm very excited to have a role in.))

((Season 2 will begin in June, more or less. I have some work to do throughout May, which is why I'm playing rather than running as busy a schedule))

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