Dracula Rising

Session 5
a sudden car chase, and a leap of faith

William was taking a drink from Mrs Higgins when Jack came in looking rather worried.

It seems Jack had nipped outside for a quick conversation with some birds (Animalism, gotta love it). Birds don’t have a terrific grasp of human technology and social conventions, so it was hard to be certain, but from their description of the loud noise emanating from the bottom of Cobblestone Lane… it sounded like Libby was in the process of stealing someone’s car.

There are a limited number of roads leading out of Ravenscar, so there was a scramble to man all available exits. William found himself on the A-Road that runs north from the village- you know, the one that leads past Lilla’s Cross straight into the Whitby Exclusion Zone. People who go past Lilla’s Cross without Lancea Sanctum authorisation (even a few feet, even as a joke) have a tendency to vanish abruptly and not be seen again. Fortunately, he had a good 25 minutes or so of driving through empty moorland before he hit that particular landmark- and up ahead were the lights of Libby’s stolen car.

Libby did her best to ram the bike off the road, but fortunately the nippier motorbike was able to dodge. William proceeded to leap from the bike onto the roof of the car. The driver’s side window was already smashed (by Libby as she was breaking in), so as Libby desperately tried to shake the vampire off, William managed to reach in, open the door, and leap down onto the road pulling Libby after him.

They survived- just. Libby just about managed to avoid death, William was driven into torpor. He was woken up a few hours later by Jeeves, who was carrying a transplant cooler containing something that looked quite unpleasant but did at least contain enough Potent blood to wake William up fairly swiftly. William was bundled into the boot of a Rolls Royce and driven back to The Institute.

Next session: the interrogation of Libby begins…

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Session 4
in which a damsel in distress is rescued, and another is targeted

While hiding in a bush at the bottom of the hill, William heard an ambulance arriving. He remembered that the closest hospital is Whitby General, within the Whitby Exclusion Zone. Realising that all the attention was going to be focused on Kevin for the time being, he snuck back up the hill AGAIN and succeeded in getting around to the rear of the house unseen. He then broke in through the back window and headed down to the basement, on the basis that he’d heard sobbing coming from underground.

He found Petra Ellington under a tarp, with numerous cuts and some cigarette burns on her arms. She seemed to be partly in shock, but with his help (and almost her last bit of Vitae, and some lucky rolls) she was able to break her bonds and escape with him back out through the window. On her way up, she grabbed a nearby woman’s jacket to cover her injuries.

They successfully snuck back down the hill as the ambulance left with Kevin, getting away just in time to hear Libby’s scream as she found Petra missing.

William took Petra straight to the herd to fuel up on blood- sadly Petra was hungry enough to frenzy and kill one of the (rather expensive) rarebreed cows. Sir Alan Richmont is probably not going to be happy about that.

They headed back to The Institute, and were met by Jack Carter, who was glad to see Petra alive but very concerned by her story of Libby feeding on her. Libby clearly knew a bit about the Kindred, but less than you’d expect from a ghoul with a regnant keeping an eye on her. At this point, Petra found something in the pocket of the jacket she was wearing. It was an envelope, addressed to Libby, and written on a crumpled and filthy piece of paper. One side had a letter to Libby, rather condescnendingly offering help in dealing with her “condition”, and making references to the return of “OUR LORD AND MASTER”. It was signed only as ‘R’. On the other side were some scribbed tallies in columns.

This note seemed to seriously worry Jack, who made the unprecedented suggestion that William should go down to the basement to find Dr Culebre and ask him to call a meeting. The Kogaion generally doesn’t respond well to being disturbed, but Jack seemed to feel this was a special situation.

Culebre was sitting (rather dishevelled) in a completely pitch black basement, and as predicted was not very happy about being disturbed. However, the letter seemed to get his attention, and so the whole of The Institute was soon meeting to discuss the situation.

It emerged that the chapter was seriously rattled by the fact that the letter seemed to have been written by Renfield- said to be Dracula’s only known ghoul. Mentioned in That Book, the Ordo scholars had widely agreed that Renfield was merely a fictional character, but the letter did seem to bear several identifying marks associated with him (including the tally on the back, which looked like one of Renfield’s infamous charts of the small animals he kept alive and fed to each other, in order to ‘concentrate’ their blood and so grant some sort of occult power. The first few columns on the tally were initialled as F, S, B and C, corresponding to Renfield’s known habit of collecting flies, spiders, birds and cats, gradually working his way up the food chain. Somewhat ominously, the last two columns in the tally were H (for human) and V (for… well, you can guess why that made the vampires nervous).

After a brief discussion, it was concluded that the whereabouts of someone claiming to be Renfield is the sort of thing the Ordo Dracul would be VERY interested and knowing. So the decision was made to go find Libby (thus killing two birds with one stone: both finding how she got in touch with her new penpal, and also eliminating the threat she posed to the Masquerade).

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Session 3

William then followed the ash-trail in the other direction, towards the beach. On the way there, passing one of High Bleymouth’s many abandoned buildings, he heard a sound like a pebble falling down a flight of stairs. He went to investigate, but managed to accidentally break one of the rotten wooden stairboards. He heard a noise like someone dropping a LOT of pebbles, then a smashing of glass.

He ran up the stairs in time to find someone in an anorak and tweed skirt climbing out of the window. Unable to use Dominate due to the lack of eye contact, he drew his gun on her. As she turned around slowly with her hands in the air, he recognised Old Maud, one of his superiors in the Ordo. Strangely, she seemed disinclined to challenge the young whippersnapper who had pointed a gun at her- her face looked almost guilty. She was also rather reluctant to be drawn into conversation on why she was scattering sea pebbles and bits of sea glass across a geometric design chalked onto the floor. A quick glance showed William that the diagram was very similar to ones he had seen in Ordo Dracul textbooks on methods of finding Dragon’s Nests.

Maud did suggest that maybe William might like to come to tea one day and discuss it further. William decided not to press the issue.

Continuing out towards the beach, William saw that the trail lead towards an old wrought iron pier stretching out into the sea. Despite it being very windy and rather late at night, there was a couple standing on the far end of the pier and having a heated argument. Using his superior vampire strength, William managed to sneak up to the end of the pier and then climb up along the underside until he was close enough underneath them to hear what they were saying. The woman (who the man called Libby) was apparently proposing that they bundle some woman into a car and drive off with her. The man (who the woman called Kevin) thought that was a terrible idea but couldn’t seem to think of any better suggestions.

They were clearly likely to be here for a while, so William snuck off, back to The Institute. It was very quiet there- he ran into Rev. Paul Wilhurst in the Ordo chapel. The Reverend assured him that his door was always open, but William was disinclined to speak to him, and so headed off for a look at Maud’s room. It turned out to have two entrances: one on the inside corridor and one opening out onto an ivy-covered courtyard. After considering the options, William decided against breaking and entering, mostly due to a lack of expertise in subtle burglary. He headed out into High Bleymouth in time to see Libby and Kevin leaving. He then successfully tailed them back to their cottage in Cobblestone Lane (the name being either a reference to bygone times or a total lie, since the cottage is situated up a hill on a narrow but tarmacked road, with no cobblestones in sight). The cottage backed onto a fenced-in paddock (currently empty), and was far enough away from the other houses at the foot of the hill that it was within earshot if you really yelled, but not if you spoke in a normal voice.

Intending to minimise the couple’s options of escape, William snuck up to the SUV parked outside the cottage and carefully let both left tyres down. He also found that the boot hadn’t been shut properly. Inside the boot was a crate full of books on vampires, ranging from antique tomes to trashy modern day novels, plus several non-fiction books about world-spanning vampire conspiracies (all of them full of completely inaccurate information, many of them deliberately published by vampires themselves in order to throw any would-be vampire-hunters off the scent). Also in the boot were a reusable Tesco shopping bag full of garlic bulbs and what appeared to be a broom handle which had been sharpened to a point. William took the home made stake, replaced the books in their original order, and then messed around with some of the more mundane stuff in the boot (like a first aid kit and a tyre jack) in order to create confusion. He also made a note of the SUV’s license number.

At this point, the light in the downstairs front room went out, leaving the whole house in darkness. William realised that this was a bit weird, because when people are leaving their front room to go to bed, they normally switch on a light in the bedroom or bathroom before going to sleep. He had a quick nose around the outside of the house, and heard what sounded like a woman sobbing. It seemed to be coming from underground.

William was heading away back down the hill when a light came on again and Kevin came out of the cottage’s back door for a cigarette. Spotting an opportunity to use Dominate, William snuck back up the hill and attempted to catch Kevin by surprise and Mesmerise him. Unfortunately, the attempt failed- and it looked like Kevin had some idea of why strange people looming out of the dark and trying to give you bizarre instructions is a sign of something more troubling than just an eccentric mortal mugger. Changing plans, William pulled a gun on him, which got Kevin to stay still and quiet long enough for another attempt at Mesmerise. This time he commanded Kevin to answer his questions truthfully, but when asked why he’d been out on the pier, Kevin simply kept repeating that he’d been having a conversation with his wife.

William was considering what to do next when Kevin tore a piece of wood from the paddock fence and rushed at him armed with a makeshift stake. William had enough distance between them to put a bullet in his leg, but the gunshot was clearly audible from down the hill. William used a final Mesmerise to tell Kevin to forget about the whole conversation, and then successfully managed to jump the fence and sneak down the hill unnoticed while Kevin’s neighbours rushed to his aid.

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Session 2
dodgy pubs and dodging medical ethics

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.

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Session 1
...wherein plot is dumped, and cats (and people) are almost strangled

The PCs start off in High Bleymouth, home of the Ordo Dracul stronghold (such as it is) known as The Institute. William was Embraced by Miguel Culebre, the Kogaion of the Institute, while Rupert‘s torpored body was kept safe there by Jeeves. Jack Carter met them in his study and gave them a general rundown on the village and its inhabitants (in particular: the need to enforce the Masquerade, especially given oncoming visit of Victoria Willows and a BBC camera crew). He also mentioned that Petra Ellington hadn’t been seen about for a few nights, and asked them to check in on her.

The PCs then fuelled up on cow’s blood and headed into town (shops shut late in Bleymouth- hey, sometimes the best thing a vampire can use its unnatural mental influence over society to achieve is later opening hours in a small village where 5pm is almost always before sunset). They headed to the local post office-cum-grocery shop, where they bought some flowers and a packet of Polos and listened to Mildred Cuthbert gossip about some new arrivals to town.

As they headed back towards High Bleymouth to find Petra’s house, they noticed a trail of ash leading from the local shady pub known as The Drunken Duck down towards the beach.

They got to Petra’s house and found no one would answer the door, although there was a cat mewing inside. William instinctively checked under the mat, and finding the key there, let himself in with the intent of strangling the cat to make it less noisy (Malkovians; what can you do?)

Inside they found signs of struggle in the kitchen, including traces of blood as if someone had been injured. They also found a very hungry and annoyed cat by the name of Tibbles, who avoided William’s attempts at felicide and persuaded Jeeves to pour it someone of the slightly-off milk from the fridge.

William headed upstairs and no sign of Petra. He also found that regrettably, the only things worth stealing were the sort of items people would be likely to notice missing.

By the time William arrived back downstairs, Rupert was engaged in conversation with Tibbles via the medium of Animalism. Tibbles (who appears to be something of a megalomaniac, even by cat standards) explained that two humans who did not immediately appear undead had turned up and dragged off Petra. It also volunteered that the humans had smelled strongly of garlic (indicating a squashed garlic clove left behind in the kitchen). The PCs took Tibbles to go convey this information to Jack.

They found Jack on the telephone to someone (probably a ghoul) about the preparations for Victoria’s arrival (something to do with hastily covering up some sort of occult research into snakes?) He was greatly concerned by the PCs’ discoveries, and asked them to go convey the unfortunate news to Emilia Winthrop (the sire of both the missing Petra and a vampire named Vince Patterson, recently dead under mysterious circumstances. Emilia had definitely felt one of her childer die but not the other, but it was unclear what to make of this.

While Jeeves and Rupert went to check up on that ash trail, William went to find Emilia. As per usual, she was in the local village stable block, but she was locked in her office. When William approached the door, he heard her crying. It seemed she was still very upset over the death of Vince. Unfortunately, William broke the news somewhat roughly, and almost succeeded in making her frenzy. Calming down somewhat when William mentioned Jeeves was on the case (he has that effect on people), she urged William to find these kidnappers (perhaps mortal vampire-hunters?) and find out if they were the same people who had murdered poor Vince. William hurried off to do just that, as behind him Emilia broke into a frenzy and began smashing up her office.

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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