After I’ve already sat down to design the PCs’ base of operations (the village of Bleymouth: a completely fictional half-abandoned seaside town in Scarborough), someone has pointed me towards the existence of Ravenscar (a real life half-abandoned seaside town in Scarborough). Ravenscar is maybe 10km south of where I was imagining Bleymouth to be, and also has a name which sounds much more like something which was blatantly made up by someone writing a roleplaying game. In addition, it’s built on a chain of ancient Roman signalling stations, and is the site of a disused dyeing works, a hotel where King George III is said to have been treated for madness, and a set of abandoned sewer tunnels. So I’m totally stealing all this for the game. The Institute’s HQ is now officially set in the World of Darkness version of Ravenscar (which, like the World of Darkness versions of everything, is like the real thing except more unpleasant and with somewhat more in the way of occult conspiracies manipulating local politics).
While Jeeves and Rupert P. Haversham headed off to the beach to follow the ash trail (OC: the player was otherwise occupied), William headed to the opposite end of the ash trail, which led to the alleyway behind the Drunken Duck. A successful roll to interpret the trail revealed that it had been made by a vampire who had been killed with their back to the pub wall, then had slumped down to the ground and been left behind the bins for a bit (vampires turn to ash when they’re dead, but for neonates the process can take several hours- presumably the assailants waited until this vampire was unrecognisable before they decided to try to dispose of the remains). There were also footprints which looked like they belonged to two people: one with large feet (probably a man) and one with small feet and high heels.
Searching the pub’s bins, William found some crumpled up travel Kleenex which had been used to wipe quite a lot of blood off something. Within the tissue was also what appeared to be a piece of fake nail.
William decided to head off to the local doctor’s office to see if anyone had been injured badly enough to require medical treatment recently. First of all, he decided to disguise himself so that the doctor wouldn’t recognise him. Thus the normally rather dapper William presented himself at the doctor’s office as an untidy and beer-soaked guy who’d gotten beaten up at the Drunken Duck (also spending a point of Vitae to appear somewhat healthier and more mortal-looking). Like everything in WoD-Ravenscar, vampiric machinations ensure that the doctor’s office is open surprisingly late at night, so William was given a walk-in appointment to see Dr Randeep Krishnamurthy- a registrar from Bradford who had decided to do his GP training in a peaceful rural setting. William recalled that some of The Institute members had expressed an interest in recruiting Dr Randeep, probably as a ghoul- he struck some of them as being the sort of inquiring mind who could be useful to the Ordo. He also struck some of them as being someone likely to know Ancient Mystic Secrets of the East; but that’s the kind of logical tangent you get when your secret society is run by people who were born back in the days when that particular flavour of racial stereotyping was more blatant than it currently is.
William successfully persuaded Dr Randeep that he was a non-local who had been punched in the nose by a rowdy drunk and wanted to check if anything was broken. He was less successful, however, at persuading Dr Randeep to tell him if he’d had any patients recently who looked like they’d lost a lot of blood. Apparently the good doctor is conscientious enough that he refuses to divulge confidential patient information to strangers who walk in off the street and claim to be a friend of an unspecified woman who might or might not have been injured recently.
Fortunately, that’s what Dominate is for. Five minutes and some use of Mesmerise later, William learned that Dr Randeep had treated a few cases of possible blood loss in the last two weeks:
- an American tourist who presented seeming somewhat anaemic
- an old lady who’d been bitten by one of the dogs in Emilia Winthrop‘s stable yard but seemed oddly reluctant to press charges
- a small boy who’d been injured playing football
- a woman who’d come in with several bruises on her face and a cut that needed a couple of stitches. Her husband had bruising on his knuckles and a small faint bruise on his chin. Dr Randeep strongly suspected domestic abuse, and tried his best to discreetly question the woman when her husband was out of the room. Sadly, he hasn’t yet acquired much skill at this sort of delicate conversation, and so he just got an earful of abuse about how her husband is a perfect angel who has made a lot of sacrifices on her behalf. Still, he’s heard from village gossip that the two argue a lot, so he’s fairly sure he was on the right track.
With some useful information gained, William leaves the doctor’s surgery and heads off to drain another cow in order to gain back some spent Vitae.