Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dystopic World Guide: CDC and EIS

This article is part of some world building for the futuristic World of Darkness game set in 2052 in a new World of Darkness game that incorporates Demon: the Fallen canon.  You can read about the Zombie Apocalypse over in this article and if you haven't already done so, I'd suggest reading it for context.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) are predominately based in the U.S.A. but they have branches in a number of other countries.  They no longer have government oversight and are instead governed by a Board of Directors who make a point to visit the various facilities to boost morale and prove that they are indeed human.  Naturally there are still rumors and superstition among the more occult minded that the people you see come around are not the real directors.  They are not only in charge of research, elimination and inventions regarding dealing with the Blaker Infection but also provide advice and assistance in dealing with mundane epidemics, diseases, and immunisation programs to keep mundane diseases from finishing the job.

While they have drawn staff from a number of other hunter groups, their members from Task Force: Valkyrie  no longer have any working equipment since going rogue and their original Lucifuge members largely died out and it'll be several more generations before they have any more known members of that group.  New Lucifuge generally work alongside their cells though a few do still seek employment.  The Null Mysteriis, Loyalists of Thule, and even a few Network Zero find it comparatively easy to find dual status here although Network Zero find some of the restrictions here to chafe.

The CDC have a vast administrative body and employ several thousand people worldwide.  The Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) are a group of disease detectives within the CDC who seek out rumors of outbreaks.  These cells are equipped to deal with a range of threats and generally the field operatives need to  have combat, scientific, and investigative training although each operative will have their own specialty.  The operatives tend to favor silenced handguns and archery as they prefer not to draw a horde down on their heads if things go from bad to worse.

All EIS operatives must have no attribute lower than 2.  They must also have Wits 3 and either Strength or Intelligence at 3.  They also must have:
  • Crafts 1 (to repair vehicles)
  • Investigation 2
  • Science 2
  • Athletics 2 AND Firearms 1 OR Firearms 2 AND Athletics 1
  • Drive 1
  • Empathy 2
  • Subterfuge 2
The CDC also have a number of undercover operatives whose role it is to keep an eye out for strange cults in the local area or corporate activities that might cause an outbreak.  They also cultivate a number of moles and even more informers.  Sometimes their handlers don't know who they're working for.  This is to reduce the fall out from encounters with the Cheiron Group and other dangerous conspiracies.

All undercover operatives must have no mental or social attribute lower than 2.  They must have Composure 3, Wits 3 and Manipulation 3:
  • Investigation 2
  • Empathy 2
  • Persuasion 2
  • Subterfuge 2
  • Streetwise 2
The CDC have Tactical Response Teams of their own who are sent into dangerous territories to either extract survivors and key assets or simply neutralise a threat.  Since the CDC prefers aerial assaults and dropping bombs on locations that have been overrun, they will only do this if they are sure there are enough survivors, or at least survivors of enough import, to overcome the risk of losing one of their teams.  These teams are the best of the best though they do tend toward muscle and dedication over anything else.  The brains are redirected to more dangerous EIS operations while combatants who aren't quite good enough get assigned on either security details or cleaning up locations from a safe distance - such as clearing roaming zombies who approach a facility.  The TRT tend to be well-educated as well, though.

Their TRT team members must have no physical attribute lower than 3.  They must also have Wits 3 and Composure 3.
  • Investigation 1
  • Science 1
  • Athletics 2
  • Brawl 2
  • Firearms 2
  • Stealth 2
  • Weaponry 2
Finally the CDC has its collection of scientists from a variety of fields, occultists, occult researchers, Fallen controllers (who wield the True Names of certain Low Torment Fallen discovered in the field), cleaners, administrative assistants, managers, system administrators, hackers, cooks, medical personnel, drivers, helicopter pilots, security details, and mechanics.  There's a lot of people to keep this organisation up and going.

So what does the CDC have, exactly, to help them out?  This is basically a Hunter Conspiracy.  What are their Endowments?

I have yet to provide the statistics for their various gadgets and gizmos but here's a few things:

They have augmentations to replace missing limbs (sometimes quick amputations can save a person from infection), special overlay contact lenses that provide data feeds and low-light vision, immunoboosters that slow the rate of infection (doubling the survival time) and blood tests to check for infection.  These aren't Endowments as they're equipment that may be purchased by any character. 

Some of their specially trained agents with psychic potential undergo Teleinformatics Training and are assigned to the EIS.

Friday, March 29, 2013

True Fae Prop: The Red Queen

Props: The Scarlet Render of Hearts

The Scarlet Render of Hearts was once part of a True Fae that mixed romance with murder on a regular basis.  It was taken by the Red Queen when she managed to survive a night of seduction with this other True Fae's Actor in that True Fae's Locale.  It is currently in the guise of a gold sword with a silver blade and a series of ruby hearts down the hilt and a scented rose on the pommel.   You can read more about the Fae over here and find more articles from the same campaign over here.
  • The Scarlet Render of Hearts can terrify and cower foes when brought to bear against them due to its intimidating might.  When used against other True Fae, it provides a +8 automatic successes to Intimidation checks.  Everyone else is simply cowed by the blade.
  • While sheathed, the sword denotes passion and excitement and can arouse great lusts in anyone who views it, causing them to have the vice of Lust as an additional vice until the end of the week.  This vice functions similarly to the Daeva curse in that the victim must spend two willpower to avoid indulging in their vice when temptation presents itself.
  • It strikes well and true and though it is no more sharper than an ordinary long sword it will always hit its target.  It has a mere +2 to damage rolls but you can ignore both Defense and Armor and assume that you have at least hit your target for one damage.
Fae Weakness: The Scarlet Render of Hearts cannot withstand being within the proximity of true love so if a kiss is ever to be shared between two people who truly love each other in a moment of great poignancy (i.e. after one lies dying or during a touching reunion after years apart) within sight of the blade, it will be destroyed.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Solo Investigation With NPCs

Investigation games are tricky beasts to run with a single player.  For starters, the investigation genre requires a lot of brainpower and mini epiphanies to make it from the beginning to the end.  While having, say, four or more players tends to increase the number of tangents, misunderstandings, and arguments about the 'truth' exponentially with each player added, having only one player means that it's all on them.  In truth, I think two to three players is the sweet spot for investigation as it means there are multiple perspectives without having so many that part of the game has to be spent on consensus building on what a clue is let alone what it means.

So what do you do if you have a solo player?

Well, I'd recommend giving them a bit more time to think than you normally would if you had multiple players.  Rather than demanding that they come up with the answer within the confines of the character's amount of time (matching in-game time to out-of-game time), I would recommend giving them more time and perhaps a few nudges to go over old clues and timelines if necessary.  The goal here is to ensure that they do have that epiphany (don't rob them of that moment) but the process shouldn't lead to hair pulling and frustration.

Tension is good.  Frustration is bad.

Basically the rule with players no matter the number.

So what if you have included an NPC buddy or so to help them?  Perhaps you included them for social reasons because investigation games can get a bit lonely otherwise.  Or perhaps you wanted to shore them up in a few of their character's weak points.  Or simply wanted a Sherlock Holmes and Watson vibe.  Or perhaps the player latched onto an NPC and dragged them along with them.  Or it's simply logical that the person would have a partner.

Whatever the case, what do you do now?

Well, the NPC must never steal those plot defining epiphanies.  That sense of satisfaction belongs to the player, not to a character run by someone who knows all of the answers.  However, the NPC could make the odd connection, highlight the importance of a prop, remember that a name has been mentioned a few times before, or even suggest a few places to go next.

The limitation on this is that the NPC must not solve the plot nor connect too many dots.  Their role is to support the protagonist, after all.  Sure, they can have the odd moment in the limelight to keep them interesting but have that occur with the occasional brilliant moment of good cop / bad copping, or have them have minor epiphanies about the significance of something the player character forgot.  Or even a red herring.  Perhaps they are fantastic in a tangential situation, shedding light on the relationship between a witness and his secretary.  Does it matter to the plot at large?  No.  But it could show the NPC's insight into social interactions without stealing any of the limelight from the player.

The NPC certainly can make rolls to perform autopsies, perceive a clue, break and enter, and anything else that the player character can't do or has already failed to do.

What about when interviewing witnesses or talking to people?

The NPC can ask the occasional question, provide a clarifying comment, or perhaps be the good cop to the PC's bad cop (or vice versa) but they should very much play second fiddle here.  Not only is it difficult to hold a conversation with yourself using two personalities as well as a second actual person, but it's also boring to see and watch such a thing for too long.

And with the occasional combat?  Just make sure your NPC's combat statistics aren't as great as the PC's and always roll the dice rather than letting your NPC automatically achieve their efforts.  Unless, of course, the player doesn't care much for combat and has explicitly made a character that's largely a noncombatant.  In that case, don't worry so much about the combats the NPC is fighting.  Focus on what the PC does.  Perhaps the PC is trying to escape while the NPC provides covering fire.  As the PC can't see what's happening, don't describe that.  Just roll a few dice (whether you pay attention to it or not) and just provide the occasional sound description while focusing on what the PC is doing in those rounds.

Also remember that the NPC should fail on occasion.  Their advice should sometimes be incorrect.  Their powers should sometimes fail.  They should sometimes chase red herrings, neglect clues, and otherwise be blindsided by their own personality, their own assumptions, and their own history.  This will make them more interesting as a character and ensure that the player doesn't quickly find that the best course of action is to agree with the NPC.

What about having the NPC do things while the PC does other things?  Sure.  Your best bet is to generally get them to do the boring stuff.  Either something that is repetitive or which you or the player might not enjoy roleplaying so much.  Anything that can be done off-screen, in other words.

Occasionally they might take the more interesting option but this should only be if it will complicate the plot and throw the spotlight all the more forcefully onto the PC.  For example, you know that out of the two options, going to the old folk's home and going to the police station, that the old folk's home is the more interesting one.  The NPC elects to go to the old folk's home and the PC agrees.  While there, the NPC finds something critical to the case and is kidnapped for his efforts.  Now the PC must track him down and free him from the bad guys.  See?  A far more interesting option that talking to the police but in the end the kidnapping puts more of a focus onto the rescuer.  Of course, if the PC really wanted to go to the old folk's home then they should be able to do so.  You can always have the NPC kidnapped in some later circumstance.

Finally, take your cues from your players and keep an honest and open dialogue with them over the course of the campaign.  They should feel like they can tell you if an NPC is becoming too dominant or stole any of their thunder.  You also shouldn't be upset if they do.  They might love what you're doing with the NPC and want to keep him or her around.  They just want more of the focus in a few particular areas.  Or perhaps they're sensitive over how you handled a particular scene because of a previous Storyteller's actions or even their own neuroses.  When in doubt, ask.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Vampire Spotlight: James Tyler

"I'm here to help but to help you I need to know more about what happened that night.  Look, I know it's hard but you've got to start from the beginning.  And leave nothing out.  If you help us, we can get to the bottom of this and you won't need to be afraid anymore because there'll be nothing left in that house to scare you."

James was born in 1923 to a James Patterson (nicknamed Jimmy – hence James’ long abiding loathing of being called Jimmy) and Emma Patterson.  His father was a carpenter who lived a very ordinary and law-abiding life while James chafed at restrictions and yearned for excitement and adventure.  The two rarely saw eye to eye and at the tender age of sixteen, after trying a carpentry apprenticeship briefly, James headed off from home to explore Australia, earning money through odd jobs, simple con artistry, and gambling.

James joined the army in 1941 as a supply officer responsible for making requests on behalf of officers alongside his more usual administrative duties.  James took advantage of his position to work the black market, indulge in gambling, and otherwise arrange things to his liking.  He grew bored of this in 1943 and arranged to be transferred to the front lines.  It didn't take long for him to change his mind about being bored, but he didn't manage to get out until the war ended due to the great need for infantry. 

When the war ended, James came back home to his parents briefly before deciding to live the life of a gambler and a vagabond, roaming Australia and paying his way through life with other people’s money won through games of cards.  He’d sleep rough and ride the rails when things weren’t going well while during the good times he’d drink, party, and sleep around.  This felt like the good life, until it all went wrong.

In 1947, he met the Songbird in the form of an attractive South American woman with vivid green eyes, carrying a bow and a quiver of arrows, while they both rode a grain train without tickets.  When they stopped in a small town for the night as the train waited to pick up goods the following morning, the Songbird warned him that the town was dangerous and that he should stay hidden.

Instead he spent his last cash at the pub on a few drinks while looking for someone to gamble with.  While there, he caught the eye of Jack Tyler, a Daeva ancillae from the Ordo Dracul who was attempting to win fame by infiltrating and destroying a particularly nasty coterie of Belial’s Brood.  Jack needed a cover, and what better cover for Brood than a random Embrace?  Seeing a handsome man (and being a rather superficial bisexual, no less) with an interest in gambling, Jack made his move.

Within an hour, James had been Embraced in his hotel room after making the foolish mistake of inviting the charming man into his hotel room (paid for by Jack Tyler, no less).  Jack gave him the option of becoming a vampire, phrasing it in the most positive light, and James, foolish James, accepted.  The Songbird knocked on the room door a short while later and James invited her in, asking for a few minutes alone with her.  She tried to warn him again, which made James feel really sad (as far as vampires can feel sad), and told him to avoid Jack.  At one point, she took his hand and that was when she noticed how cold he felt, and she said so, and James finally felt like he lost something.  An opportunity had passed him by.

She apologised for what had happened to him and withdrew from the room.

James then came down to regroup with Jack Tyler (whom he knew as Peter Walsh) and saw that he was talking to a group of dangerous looking vampires – three Belial’s Brood.  James managed to bite back the sudden wild rearing of the Beast but then everything changed so quickly as one of the Brood attacked Walsh.  Walsh fled through the window, the Brood on his heels, and James followed.

Meanwhile, Songbird had stolen a horse to help give her the range she needed to take out the Brood.  Walsh and the trio of kindred used Celerity and were well out of range of James but the Songbird’s horse managed to catch up quickly once the trio had stopped and Walsh had earth melded.  This occurred in a corn field so James couldn’t see much of what was happening although he could hear a fight.

The Songbird’s horse panicked and rode off so she jumped clear and after a quick skirmish where she tore a portion of one of the Brood’s beasts from him, she shifted into Walsh’s form and came out to grab James.  She had reasoned that he would listen to his sire more than a stranger.  He hadn't listened to her so far, after all.  They stole a car and got out of there.

The Songbird, as Peter Walsh, attempted to convince him to remain in one of the capital cities, explaining that a nomadic unlifestyle was too dangerous for a new kindred but James refused to listen.  He needed to cling onto something familiar in this crazy new world.  The Songbird knew the Walsh persona was meant to be a Taifa so, as Walsh, he tried to convince James that this was so though after the first few encounters with other kindred, James figured out that he was actually a Daeva.

They went on a few hunts during this time although it was difficult to keep James well-fed in this sparse and sun-drenched land, so they left Australia in 1949 and went to America.  This turned out not to be a great idea because the original Peter Walsh was Iraqi born and so the persona was considered a black person and subject to Jim Crow legislation whilst being different enough to the African Americans that Walsh could hardly find friends there.

They spent five years in America, from 1949 to 1954, before leaving for England.  You can find out more about a few of their adventures over in this article.  It was also during this time that he adopted a 10-year-old girl, Charlotte (Charlie) Adams, whom he has apprenticed as a Hunter and whom he has no intention of Embracing.  It wasn't so much of a choice on his behalf as Charlie clung onto the two of them and convinced them that there wasn't truly a better alternative by ensuring their next hunt was at an orphanage.

Having discovered that Peter Walsh is actually the Songbird, the sweet yet exotic woman that James has yearned for so many years, James gained quite a crush on him under the hopes that Walsh would soon shed his masculine form.  This did occur, but only during a meeting with Joy Tyler after they went to England together, where Joy figured out that her brother hadn’t returned – that it was actually the Songbird whom she had known previously.  Joy kissed Walsh passionately, and as his Unity (his version of a Clarity / Synergy score) was reasonably low at the time, he instinctively shifted into the form of Dr. Kellis which was the identity that had been Joy’s lover.

At first, James was excited by this but now he’s not so sure.  While there is a certain Walshness (or rather, the Walshness of the Walsh that James knew rather than the true Jack Tylerness of the original Wash) about her, there have also been indicators that things aren’t quite right.  She’s dead set against them having any sort of relationship, believing with an almost childlike naiveté that those who romance James are destined to be forgotten, alongside an innate need to keep her relationships stable and consistent so that she can be stable and consistent.

For now, however, things are working out.  James has Charlie, whom he regards as a daughter, and his best friend Walsh.  He has to deal with his kindred Aunty Joy Tyler, but he’s pretty sure he can handle it.


Apparent Age: 24
Kindred Age: 7
Clan: Daeva
Bloodline: Tyler (variant of Zelani)
Bloodline Weakness: Takes aggravated damage from blessed water.
Covenant: Ordo Dracul
Gender: Male

Virtue: Justice
Vice: Gluttony

Intelligence: 2
Wits: 3
Resolve: 3

Strength: 3
Dexterity: 3
Stamina: 2

Presence: 3
Manipulation: 4
Composure: 2

Academic: 1
Computer: 0
Crafts: 1
Investigation: 3 (Finding Physical Clues)
Medicine: 1
Occult: 3
Politics: 1 
Science: 1

Athletics: 2
Brawl: 1
Drive: 1
Firearms: 3 (Pistol)
Larceny: 2
Stealth: 2
Survival: 0
Weaponry: 3

Animal Ken: 0
Empathy: 2
Expression: 2 
Intimidation: 1
Persuasion: 3
Socialise: 2
Streetwise: 1
Subterfuge: 2 (Con)

Blood Potency: 2
Humanity: 6
Willpower: 5
Experience Points: 177 experience points

In this game, I use the LARP rules for merits whereby simple merits cost Total Dots x 2 while complex merits must have each level bought separately.

Social Chameleon (**)
Combat Marksmanship (*)
Striking Looks (**)
Multilingual - Italian / Latin (*)
Barfly (*)

Relic Analyist (*)
Favoured Weapon - Fireaxe (**)
Fast Reflexes (*)
French Language (*)
Meditative Mind (*)
Fighting Style: Langshwartz (*)


Majesty (***)
Celerity (*)
Vigor (*)
Serendipity (*)

In my game, I have house ruled it that coils have an experience point value equal to New Tier x 7 rather than equal to All Coils + New Coil x 7.

Coil of Beasts (*)
Coil of Souls (*)
CUSTOM: Coil of the Core (*)

Special Equipment
Fire Axe.  This weapon was given to him by a 10-year-old Charlotte Adams to help despatch a Ventrue serial killer in Chicago.  It was handed down to her by her father's friends after her father, a fireman, died in a fire that burned down a publishing house.

Monday, March 25, 2013

King in Yellow, Hastur, the Wyrd & the Origins of the True Fae

In order to do a Tatters of the King conversion to the World of Darkness, I naturally need to figure out what the King in Yellow, Hastur and Carcosa are precisely and how do they relate.  I didn't want to simply port over the Cthulhu Mythos as that would weaken the WoD Mythos and vice versa.  So I read a number of the books until I came up with something that worked for me.  It might not work for you, but that's okay.  In truth, if you run a WoD version of Tatters of the King, your players probably won't get to peek behind the curtain anyhow.  If you would like to see the main article from where all such articles have sprung, go here.

This story may not be true.

Once upon a time, the greatest of God's angels fell from grace by providing humanity with that spark of sentience so long denied by the Creator.  Loyalist angels and fallen angels clashed in mighty battles of song and poetry until one human or another invented murder in order to prove his (or her - tales vary) loyalty to God.  The invention of violence proved to be a tipping point for many Fallen who embraced it in order to get an edge against the superior numbers of the Loyalists.  The celestial battles became more like the wars we know today although some of the fallen grew still more inventive with battlefield tactics using great displays of magic.

They lost.

Hastur was one of the fallen angels though none today recall what it did or was responsible for.  It is as though fate itself chose to excise most memories of Hastur from their minds.  They recall that Hastur was a powerful fallen but know nothing of faction or house or history.  Of course, this hardly matters now as Hastur has little to do with most of the Fallen kind.  (Read this article on Demon: the Fallen to learn more about that cosmology).

Hastur was returned to Earth several thousand years ago by a cult that worshipped it as a force of entropy, ennui and creative destruction that could provide such maddening knowledge that to meet its gaze was to be undone.  It was placed within nine large stones, well-marked, and ranged within the territory defined by them as an Earthbound of the land.  There were other cults, however, who worshipped Gods in other minor Earthbound and Hastur's cult collected them and provided them to their own God who devoured them and added their essence to its own.  Perhaps it consumed one or a dozen or a hundred.  None can tell.

One day, however, Hastur had its stones moved into a bastion located within the lands of its cult's territory but that bastion was only tenuously linked to reality.  The bastion broke away and collapsed into another place, an unreal place, called Arcadia where, unknown to the Fallen and Earthbound alike, was where the True Name syllables of dead angels, both fallen and loyalist, had been allowed to take root in dream stuff to forge the entities that would become True Fae.

Long before the bastion collapsed into that land, the sleeping entities awoken within the syllables had begun calling for humans who had once pledged their lineages to the service of those angels, and the humans responded by making the journey to Arcadia of their own free will.  These first humans were changed by what they found there and

The foundation stones of reality, however, chafed at the sensation of Arcadia almost as much as the Abyss and through the automatic shuddering expression of subconscious human faith, the Hedge itself was raised.  Where the foundation stones laid by the angels touched Arcadia, they themselves became changed and all the more rigid, forming the Wyrd.

Anyway, back to the story of Hastur.  The movement of the bastion caused him great injury and a True Fae slipped in, lashing at him with powerful weapons (Props) that tore loose aspects of Hastur itself.  Before Hastur plunged back into its silent imprisonment, the True Fae consumed those loosened syllables, converting them into further titles.  It stole a total of four such titles from Hastur (who had, due to his devouring of so many fallen now had nineteen syllables).

These titles became the King in Yellow, Plateau of Leng, Carcosa, and the Spawn of Hastur.  As Hastur still exists, the loss of those syllables means that it cannot be permanently summoned unless the Arcadian realm of Carcosa is manifested so close to Earth they touch.  Also as Hastur still exists, Carcosa actually can manifest that close without destroying itself, which is impossible for other Arcadian Realms.

This also allows Hastur to keep thralls even while he is in the Abyss as the Unspeakable Promise is further strengthened by his bizarre relationship to the Wyrd thriugh the True Fae.  The promise also leads the thralls to become Unspeakable Possessors when killed as an ounce of Hastur's energies are pulled into the body as some perverse twist on the usual Earthbound pacts.

But that isn't where the story ends.

Oh no.  You see, the True Fae that was also the King in Yellow used its new found power to gather so many titles to itself through Feuds that it came to possess no less than eleven before it was tricked by a Mage upon Earth to swear on its true name to perform an impossible task or for its physicality to be bound to Arcadia unless it can step down to Earth from the Plateau of Leng with the consensual aid of a human being.  Of course, when Carcosa is briefly brought alongside the Earth, the Spawn of Hastur may be summoned within it.  The Spawn of Hastur were the last syllable torn from Hastur and therefore their presence allows Hastur itself to be summoned from the abyss.

Warning: Below holds details of these titles.  You may not want to have such a terrible being dissected into titles and game labels.

Thus the only titles that may enter the Hedge or the Earth itself are titles warped to non-physical forms:

  • The Yellow Sign (image)
  • The Queen & the Stranger (story)
  • The Sullied Dream of Creative Desperation (dream)
  • The Ethereal Vision of Madness & Death (hallucination).
  • Spawn of Hastur (wisps)
The titles that are bound include:
  • Plateau of Leng (locale)
  • Lost Carcosa (locale)
  • King in Yellow (actor)
  • Tattered Robes of Entropy (prop)
  • Altar on the Plateau of Leng (prop)
  • Pipes found on the Pleateau of Leng (prop).
I won't be providing statistics for all of these titles as it's best if they are quite flexible to your needs.  The locales are also detailed in Tatters of the King (Chaosium) although I might do a write up if I add / change much while I'm running it.  I will do up some statistics on the King in Yellow actor as there's even a write up in the story.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dystopic World Guide: The Zombie Apocalypse

I've been doing some more world building for the futuristic World of Darkness game set in 2052 in a new World of Dakrness that incorporates Demon: the Fallen canon.  Is that the right canon?  Or is it cannon?  Anyway, my player characters are on the east coast of the not so United States of America, in Miami, where a ten foot tall wall stretches from north to south, keeping the country safe from the horrors of the middle and western states.

The story, as far as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) are concerned began in 2022.  Strange outbreaks of cannibalistic madmen occurred in several places on the west coast and mid-western states of the U.S.A.  There were reports that those infected didn't respond to police commands to halt nor stopped when fired upon until struck in the brain.  The CDC soon realised that they had to quarantine the affected area but there were still numerous fatalities as police tried to handcuff the attackers.  By the ninth incident, the quarantines were as absolute as in the movie 'Quarantine' with the CDC securing the area and slowly releasing each individual one by one into specially prepared armored vans when they were kept under observation for 24 hours.

The government tried to minimise awareness of the precise details of these bioterrorist attacks even among its own ranks but within the first year nearly all CDC personnel were brought into the truth so that they could be more efficient.

In the second year, twelve more outbreaks occurred though still in secluded areas where they were easily quarantined.  There were concerns that they were merely practice for a more wide spread release of the disease.

While the CDC tried to manage and research the outbreaks, performing a range of tests on the infected (those with living bodily functions) and the zombies (those whose heart has stopped), the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) located a conspiracy.  Terrible signs of some ancient monstrosity worshiped on American soil that turned humans into the hungry dead using a bizarre virus specially created in foul rituals.  The closer the EIS got, the more the conspiracy pushed back and they were capable of some terrible things.

Then it got worse.

They soon learned that this wasn't just happening in the United States of America.  There was one minor outbreak in the warmer climates of Canada.  There were dozens more that occurred in India and the Philipines.  The Philipines didn't manage to contain the threat quickly enough and in 2024 they were over run until only a few desperate islands were left.  The nearby countries sent blockades to prevent any survivors ships from getting out due to fears of infection.

Canada successfully cracked down on the cult which had a lesser presence in their country.  The eradication of their branch of the cult, known as the Cult of the Pale Rider, revealed that they could draw on an ancient ritual designed by some awful demon thought to be Death Incarnate, which is some traditions is also Pestilence (though in other traditions Pestilence has replaced Conquest).  The icon of their worship was a small horse carved from the petrified wood of an unknown species of tree.  Subsequent research has indicated that the demon in question might well be Azrael itself.  The media managed to release part of this information to the public which quickly dubbed the disease as the 'Pale Rider' and the victims as 'Ridden', 'Ride-lost', or the 'Ridden Dead'.

Mexico reinforced the fence between the two countries for fear that migration patterns would reverse.  They tried to close their borders as best they could but the U.S.A. intimidated them into allowing their people through, for fear that if one group held them at bay than others might choose to do the same.

It wasn't until 2024 that the United Nations really took the zombie threat seriously as it took two years worth of data for the politicians to even begin to consider that their beliefs in a scientific reality were false.  Despite the very real dangers present, the governments of each nations were damaged in their efforts by every Mage, Vampire, Werewolf, Fallen and human conspiracy desperate to keep the Masquerade intact.  This slowed down the efforts almost as much as the bureaucratic bungling, rising paranoia, and inability for politicians and scientists to dismiss their preconceived notions.

During all of this, the EIS kept tracking the threat, sending field workers overseas, while the CDC collaborated with other world health organisations to find a cure.

They never found a cure but they did find a way to prevent the transmission of the infection.


Irradiated flesh couldn't be infected.

They also learned other things:

  • The infection would override a person's brain even while they still lived and the infected would maintain normal bodily functions until injury or over use caused the internal organs to fail.  At that point they became a more stereotypical zombie until something external caused enough trauma to the brain  stem.  Think 28 Days Later infected that will eventually become Walking Dead zombies. 
  • Once 'dead', their rate of decomposition were about a tenth of the natural rate as insects and carrion eaters avoid them while most strains of bacteria either didn't survive on the flesh or found their growth hampered by some unknown aspect of the infected flesh. 
  • The zombies seem to hibernate when temperatures drop below 0 degrees Celsius.  
  • Neither infected nor zombies feel pain.  
  • The infected and zombies have rudimentary skills and memories but no personality.  
  • Neither of them have any sense of self. 
  • The infection lives in the bodily fluids and these fluids continue to be generated even when other parts of the body cease to function.  Salivary glands continue to work and blood doesn't coagulate in the veins.  If removed from the body, the blood takes weeks to coagulate.
  • The infection can only be caught if the virus enters the bloodstream.  Swapping saliva with one wouldn't affect you unless you have abrasions in your mouth or lips.  
  • The infection is viral and can be isolated.  There is no scientific mechanism behind how it affects the body beyond death.  It is now thought that the virus provides a sympathetic link to the Pale Rider.

On December 31st, 2026, dozens of viral outbreaks were timed to coincide over hundreds of sites in India and along the west coast and mid-west states of the U.S.A.  The U.S. government declared martial law but it was a close call and there were fears the infected would spill over as seemed to be the case in India.

No one's quite sure who started firing nuclear weapons at the American and Indian hot spots.  Some wonder if it was the American government itself.  Or perhaps some frightened military bunker.  Some blame North Korea.  Others think it was a collective action by the United Nations.  There is so much misinformation out now that no one's quite sure what happened.  India was nearly wiped off the map.  Now no one goes there.  The U.S.A. had a lot of holes punched into it creating highly irradiated zones.

Over the years, the U.S.A. can be roughly divided into Fall Out style micro-governments in irradiated zones, abandoned territories filled with roaming zombie packs, tightly controlled safe zones with rigorous blood tests and decontamination protocols, and the east coast states that are divided from the rest of the country by a hastily erected wall.

The cult has yet to resurface but the remnants of the CDC and the EIS has now had 26 years to prepare and they will be ready.  They know more now.  They have head hunted and absorbed many of the Loyalists of Thule and Null Mysteriis left alive in America.  In the confusion, some of the temporarily leaderless Task Force: Valkyrie units signed up as well although their technology rapidly malfunctioned when they refused to return three years later when their previous leaders tried to recall them.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Things GMs Tend Not To Talk About

These are my responses to the Monsters and Manuals blog article about things that Game Masters tend not to talk about.

Book binding.  Not sure how well my Drive Thru RPG books will stand up to the test of time but at least one doesn't seem to have enough space between the covers.  The covers are always bursting open as though too many pages were shoved in unless weighed down.  The Pathfinder core rule book also shows the downside of the decision to combine Player and GM material.  Its bursting at the seams and part of the spine has torn loose because it's so big and heavy.  I don't think this is due to cheap binding but more due to the nature of the beast.

"Doing a voice".  I'm terrible at accents and most of my players react poorly to accents as well - from me or each other.  We do try to change it up a bit through tone of voice and word choice, though.

Breaks.  My game has no pre-determined breaks.  People go to the toilet when they feel the need.

Description.  Tends to be quite tight with a few telling details where necessary.  I sometimes have trouble with description in combats as my players are more visual than I am and are better at keeping track of where people have moved.  This can be annoying when I think they're elsewhere.

Where do you strike the balance between "doing what your character would do" and "acting like a dickhead"?  Is it likely to hamper anyone's enjoyment?  If not, go for it.  I know I can find it hard to avoid doing what my character would do, however.  Sometimes its hard to judge if it's annoying someone else.

 PC-on-PC violence.  Not allowed in Dystopic unless very special circumstances permit it and then only with my permission / overwatch.  More flexibility in Flashpoint though even there it's based more between Lhye and Proteus who are big boys and manage to keep it all at a reasonable level.  No serious PVP would be allowed in that game.  I have run a Vampire LARP, though, and PVP obviously worked out there.  It all depends on the type of game you're running and whether it can withstand the player characters attacking each other and the resultant paranoia / vendettas that can ultimately ensue.

How do you explain what a role playing game is to a stranger who is also a non-player?   Cooperative storytelling / improvisational theatre using games of chance (dice) to see if something succeeds or doesn't.

Alchohol at the table?  No.

What's acceptable to do to a PC whose player is absent from the session?  In Flashpoint I ignore them.  In Dystopic, they just happen to need to leave for a session.  I've tried other options but they just haven't worked for me.  I've never killed a PC whose player was absent.  Just doesn't seem right.

Friday, March 22, 2013

True Fae Actor: The Red Queen

Actor: The Royal Red of Passion

This is the aspect most of the Changelings think about when they think of the Red Queen but the term 'Red Queen' is the publicly known name used to cover everything that is that particular True Fae.  You can read more about the Fae over here and find more articles from the same campaign over here.


The Red Queen is a voluptuous figure bedecked in ruby-studded gold jewellery, with a massive rich red velvet dress and fur-lined coat.  Her ruby eyes hold pupils of flame and her scarler hair falls like a waterfall about her pale red skin.  While her figure is enticing and beautiful, her face would be considered grotesque if captured in a painting due to the exaggerated facial expressions and too large facial features.  Few people have the will to find her ugly when they see her in person, however.  She has her heraldic image engraved upon her forehead (see description here).
Storytelling Hints:

The Red Queen is a passionate figure who can be at alternate times an eager seductress, veangeful queen, or inspiring royal, depending on circumstances, but always with a gleam of mania in her eye and a level of passion in her voice.  She can switch between moods and seems to feel very strongly about it at the time so it is hard to remain on her good side throughout a conversation.  Luckily (or perhaps unluckily), she tends to prefer to plot complex methods of revenge rather than simply injuring whoever gave her offense.  The Red Queen expects to be served and cherished.  This is why she is so confused by the idea of Freehold monarchs as surely no mere Changeling could compare to a True Fae's grandeur and is always eager to hear news of them.  She may even be willing to free a Changeling who cleverly offered to bring her a Monarch, or enough news of one, in exchange for his or her freedom.

Apparent Age: 36
Gender: Female
Seeming: Fairest
Virtue: Justice
Vice: Wrath

Intelligence: 3
Wits: 4
Resolve: 6

Strength: 4
Dexterity: 4
Stamina: 4

Presence: 6
Manipulation: 5
Composure: 1

Academics: 0
Computer: 0
Crafts: 0
Investigation: 1
Medicine: 0
Occult: 2
Politics: 6
Science: 0

Athletics: 2
Brawl: 4
Drive: 1
Firearms: 0
Larceny: 0
Stealth: 0
Survival: 0
Weaponry: 3

Animal Ken: 0
Empathy: 1
Expression: 3
Intimidation: 5
Persuasion: 3
Socialise: 4
Streetwise: 0
Subterfuge: 5

Wyrd: 8
Willpower: 7
Health: 10
Size: 6
Initiative: 5
Speed: 14

Striking Looks (****)
Fencing (***)
Languages (English and all European)
Token: The Glimpsing Mirror (***)
Token: Hedgespun Wardrobe (***)
Token: The Keeper's Quirt (*****)

Vainglory 5
Moon 3
Reflection 5
Separation 4
Hearth 3

Must always pause to consider her reflection when she catches sight of it for at least one round (Minor Bane); May not bring harm to anyone who is currently complimenting her for so long as they continue to do so - though no compliment may be repeated or the spell will be broken (Major Bane).

Mien Blessings: 
Seductive Fragrance (Flowering - Changeling: the Lost); Burning Hypnotism (Flamesiren - Winter Masques); A Mouthful of Sin (Oni - Winter Masques)

Weapons / Attacks:
The Keeper's Quirt (1L): 8 dice.
Fencing Sword Token: 7 dice + 5 automatic successes that only count on attack.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Free Adventure Writing

Looks like my players are willing to test my assumptions about their ability to withstand Love Dead Doom (check title).  I’ll probably be running the adventure with a choice selection of 3 – 4 players who are willing to take the challenge.  As they’re going in expecting a challenge and pumping themselves up for it, there’s a good chance they’ll make it through just fine.  Be interesting if it turns out to be too rough, after all.  Only one way to see.

Anywho, my free adventure is coming along nicely.  I’ve written up two pages of adventure overview, guidelines, hooks, and advice; two pages of detail on Barrow-in-Furness including possible avenues for investigation in the town at large; and about four pages of rough draft on the Stanwick Estate.  No statistics for anybody yet.  I’ll do that last.

It’s interesting because I plan to have different versions of the document for different systems.  Whenever I think of converting it into a different system, I think of different aspects that need to go into it.  World of Darkness adventures are often quite slick and there’s often not much more information than NPCs, interactions, and what different people know.  Trail of Cthulhu makes you want to know about the potential clue spends and that means more hints to be able to pick up on.  Call of Cthulhu BRP is all about the hand outs, which makes me wonder if I should provide a few, and if so, what would they be?  Pathfinder, well, that’s more about providing interesting encounters and perhaps the occasional trap.

Some things will necessarily need to be different between adventure variants but it’ll also be interesting to see what can cross over between the various system conversions.  I think this will teach me a lot about the different priorities for different games as well as whether a more rounded adventure can be created from using different game perspectives or if it’ll just make things cluttered.

In the end, you’ll be the judge for that.

Hmm, need a name for it other than 'Free Adventure'.  Not sure what yet.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

An Unusual Ordo Dracul Coterie

This article sprang off from this major article so if you'd like to see more articles on Vampire: the Requiem, Changeling: the Lost or my Tatters of the King conversion, please take a look over there.

Once upon a time, there were three kindred neonates who formed a coterie based around investigating wyrm’s nests for the Ordo Dracul.  These three kindred were Elizabeth White (Ventrue), Edward Burton (Gangrel), and Joy Tyler (Daeva).  They were a curious little bunch and they consistently poked their noses into places they shouldn't. 

One day in 1867 Joy Tyler came across a thief who was after the same reliquary.  There began a cat and mouse game which led to Joy finding the thief, Kelly Sanders, in a coffee shop.  The two sat down to tea, which was surprisingly amusing to them as it was meant to be a coffee shop but as it was in London most of the customers were after tea.

Kelly admitted that she was a thief but she had to steal what she did because there was a terrible menace scourging London and she just had to stop them.  Something in London had lured the True Fae from Arcadia so that their incursions were more frequent.  Something had to be done about this and perhaps the kindred could help.  The Ordo Dracul were nothing if not occultists.

Joy Tyler was both curious and proud of this line of reasoning.  If her coterie were the first to set up a treaty with the Changelings, why, that would be an immense accomplishment.  Unfortunately, the price to be paid for dealing with this motley of Changelings was great ... silence.  Utter silence.  They would be allowed to see Changelings and they could assist in the investigation and hopeful destruction of the terrible lure, doubtless gaining much occult knowledge in the meantime, but they could never speak of it to any member of the kindred court.

Edward was eager to see this mysterious Hedge, having read many fairy tales as a little one, though he wasn’t so sure of taking a pledge.  Elizabeth White was also reticent although she made the agreement for a single year, reasoning that wasn’t too long a time to check her options.  During that year, they drew the ire of the Hunter & The Hounds and Elizabeth’s favoured ghoul was stolen away from her.

Rather than backing away in fear for their Requiem, the coterie cleaved closer to the motley.  Neither were in a very good position.  The London court was notoriously cut-throat and paranoia was a pretty good idea when dealing with such an old yet changing court.  So long as one changeling was willing to listen to them pledge to each other, they could be granted assurances that they wouldn’t screw each other over.  This seemed like a pretty good deal at the time.  Of course, the price for this was to swear to the motley a decade long pledge that is, for all intents and purposes, the Good Neighbours pledge.

And that is how it began.

Now the coterie has lost two members and gain five more.  They run an asylum to assist schizophrenics and others with delusional disorders, using studies in psychology as part of their own Great Work, while simultaneously working to find methods to lessen derangements.  They have even found some strange combination between a person’s moral compass and the mental anguish that may lead to disorders.

They own a windowless asylum built within an old aircraft factory in London that has a mirror within the hedge that appears more run down and within which they can provide strange locks that operate on dream logic and bizarre encounters.  This asylum is used for both regular patients and for the occasional student attempting to learn coils.  They did try to figure out how one could teach coils through dreams but soon discarded that idea as the Beast is ever so cruel and ever so skilled at permeating dreams.  So instead they rely on a Hollow controlled by the motley and experiment with strange Hedge Fruits upon the occasional vampire slave (Ordo Dracul term for a member who has yet to learn any coils).

In exchange for a quicker route to Coils (though sometimes the results go terribly wrong), they have been granted more flexibility within the Ordo Dracul, greater access to resources, and heightened status.  They also have invented a new coil that they're keeping quiet about as they can't explain the full details of their studies.  Of course, the kindred do wish to know more about their studies and those that ask are shown the windowless asylum (though not the Hedge version) and are told tales of hypnotherapy, Dominate and Wilhelm Wintringham’s bloodline abilities that make sense on the surface.  Thus far they've managed to keep the changelings a secret.

Still, it’s only a matter of time before someone else finds out.  A few (such as the London Ladder Sworn) already have, though thus far they are content with the situation.


  • Wilhelm Wintringham.  Ventrue.  Hope / Greed.  Embraced in 1862.  Custom bloodline whose weakness leads to greater stagnation, hence why he is seen in Victorian clothing.  Humanity 8.  Sworn of the Dying Light.  He will probably join the Sworn of the Ladder when he turns 200 as they have already found him intriguing.  He is the Director of the Asylum.

  • Joy Tyler.  Daeva.  Prudence / Wrath.  Embraced in 1805.  Bloodline is a variant on the Zelani.  Humanity 7 (varies).  Sworn of the Dying Light.  She provides political clout in the court.

  •   Molly Hendricks.  Daeva.  Faith / Lust.  Embraced in 1922.  Humanity 6.  She was sent to spy on them by her sire who died during the Blitz.  She learned too much, was made to forget it, but then figured it out again and so they allowed her to join the coterie.  She is surprisingly fanatical about their aims.  Her role is generally to ensure that any kindred being taught coils don’t kill any of the other patients.  Her ghoul, Sunderland, works as an orderly in the asylum.
  •  Richard Schafer.  Ventrue.  Temperance / Lust.  Embrace in 1914.  Humanity 6.  He is the Dominate whizz of the bunch and functions as a Castellan by keeping an eye on the place.  He is the one who figures out the locks and psychological trials alongside Wilhelm.
  •  Harry Wilks.  Gangrel.  Prudence / Greed.  Aged 14 at age of Embrace.  Joan is his sister.  He was turned into a larvae (sub-vampire) twenty nine years ago by an Ordo Dracul who was destroyed during the Blitz.  He was found eight years ago and the coterie took responsibility for him, keeping him well-fed in order to study him.  During this time, his Beast became whole as he gained a measure of Blood Potency.  Due to this, he spontaneously become a true vampire (after twenty five odd years of being a larvae).  He is quiet and cautious and doesn’t know what he wants to do in his unlife.  He has the first tier of the Coil of the Core, which was probably not a good idea.
  • Joan Wilks.  Gangrel.  Temperance / Gluttony.  Aged 8 at date of Embrace.  Harry’s sister.   She has the same back history as Harry.  The Circle of the Crone wish to draw her into their ranks as they find special significance in her young age of Embrace and her history as a larvae.  The Crone have vowed to the Prince to never let her become a Masquerade breach.  The Ordo Dracul coterie feel this is for the best as the Crone mentality would probably be the closest thing to ‘healthy’ for an eight-year-old kindred while the other covenants would merely show her to be lacking.  Within the Crone, she would be raised to accept her troubles as a method of strengthening herself.
  • Gregory Maxwell.  Gangrel.  Temperance / Greed.  A big tough American Gangrel who fled his membership in a particularly brutal motorcycle gang that had formed post-war.  He is huge and comes with a selection of Carthian devotions that helped him push his way into their little coterie.  That and Wilhelm took a liking to him.  He teaches his few Carthian devotions freely within the coterie though has warned them that if any of the local Carthians recognise it, they will not react kindly.  Only time will tell if the Carthians in Britain would know any of the American devotions as belonging to their covenant.

  • Coil of the Core.  This custom core was invented through the coterie’s efforts and helps to reduce the emotional deadening and lack of attachment in kindred kind.  Unfortunately, elders would not approve of a coil that makes kindred more afflicted by petty emotions and more likely to band together.  The coterie will keep the coil secret until they are assured of a positive reaction.
  • Hollow Asylum.  While of Autumn Court construction, and therefore quite disturbing, it could make a great fallback point in the event of attack.  However, they will then be at the mercy of the changelings if they ever want to leave as the Hedge is far too dangerous to roam.
  • Freehold Connections.  While they predominately deal with the Autumn Court, they have some connections to the other Freehold members.  They are well aware, however, that if they use this resource poorly they will be ditched and lose their source of power and influence.
  • Pledges.  They are pledged to each other in lifelong oaths that ensure their loyalty.  They are pledged to be Good Neighbours in ten year intervals.  The only one allowed to negotiate amendments to any pledge renewals is the youngest kindred of the coterie, whoever that may be.  This protects the changelings, somewhat, from kindred machinations honed over the years. 
  •  A few Carthian devotions.  It’s unknown whether the devotions that Gregory has brought are unknown in England.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Building A Free Adventure

I went and bought the very cool and very demented Death Love Doom which is body horror dialed up to 120.  Seriously, the pictures alone would induce nightmares for a fair number of people.  It's like Kult without being Kult.  If you're into that kind of horror, I'd suggest picking it up and running it for your group.  It would be pretty easily converted into whatever rules system you prefer as there aren't much in the way of rules in there.  You can check out the author's blog over here and you can find the book at the Pazio shop.

Enough about him and more about me.

You see, it was a good adventure but it's not the type of horror I run and, more importantly, not the type of horror my players can stomach.  So I decided to spin off a similar theme: a haunted house tale in the body horror genre where there's some illegal stitching.  Oh, and I decided to set it during World War II, specifically in the time of the Barrow Blitz, in a large estate near Barrow-in-Furness.  I'd already invented a London True Fae called the Seamstress, anyhow, so I could always use her as a possible antagonist.

As I kept thinking on it, I realised that as it was now an entirely new adventure that I'd need to type up that I might as well share it with the rest of you.  At the moment I'm designing the property which was created in the Victorian era and has been adapted to war work - primarily victory gardens but also some trenches for the Home Guard to use in their practice.  They have some servants (the men too old to enlist), have lost a family member to the war, and have three Land Girls living in their converted barn.

As I'm developing the rooms, and the horrors that lurk within, I've also started looking at the history and relationships interconnecting the various NPCs.  I wanted to feed that through the various rooms in some interesting ways.  Naturally I can't talk much about this process without giving too much away.

Once I'm done with it, I'll find someplace to host the document and give you links to it.  I'll be doing a version for BRP Call of Cthulhu, World of Darkness and Trail of Cthulhu with different antagonists that fit those paradigms.  I might do one for Pathfinder, as well, though I'd naturally have to shake it up a bit by placing it in Golarion and therefore altering the rooms and technology.  Each document would be a separate one for you to download.

Keep you posted!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tatters of the King Campaign Coterie

As the character write-ups are a lot longer than expected due to all of the history I'm trying to encapsulate, I thought I would split it up so that each character would have their own page.  On this page I'll give you a bit of information on the five main characters, four of whom are NPCs, who will be helping James Tyler through the beautiful Call of Cthulhu campaign - Tatters of the King - that I'm converting to the World of Darkness.  See the main article here.

In 1949, James Pattison was Embraced by a Daeva called Jack Tyler who was going by the name of Peter Walsh in a bid to infiltrate some nasty members of Belial's Brood who were troubling Australia.  James was to aid Jack's cover but Jack got himself killed by Brood that very night and it was up to the passing shapeshifter to claim Jack's appearance and identity in order to get James out of there intact.  They stole a car while the Brood tried to dig up the real Jack Tyler (who had Earth melded) and got out of town. 

Feeling sorry for his plight, Songbird (still masquerading as Peter Walsh) offered to take him into a nearby city so that he could join the local vampire court.  He refused.  Instead he joined her on the faux Walsh on monster hunts and after a few years together figured out that she wasn't a vampire at all.  Learning that it was Walsh was actually someone who could shapeshift and become theoretically any woman he could want, James began to look at his old buddy a little differently.

What could be better than friendship?  Friends with benefits!

Ahh, Daeva.

A few years before that little revelation, they had picked up a 10-year-old girl called Charlotte Adams, a rough and tumble orphan and hidden genius, who helped them solve a case involving a vampire serial killer.  She refused to be dumped in some orphanage and offered to help them with their cover in exchange for fostering.  James wasn't so sure but Peter thought it was a good idea and so she joined their little group and they started teaching her the ropes of being a researcher, and later a hunter, as she got older.  Luckily for her, she was never blood bound or ghouled her.  James identified as a hunter, after all, and being a nomad he didn't give two tosses about kindred unlife or the Masquerade as it affects individuals humans.

Anyhow, now Charlie is fourteen, soon to be fifteen, and the trio have traveled to London, ostensibly to get away from the Jim Crow legislation (blacks get one fountain, whites get another, etc.) that had plagued the Iraqi-appearing Peter Walsh for the past four years.  Walsh reunited James with his Aunt, Joy Tyler, but there was some tension there as James doesn't trust vampires, Joy was involved in teaching him his coils in a non-consensual manner (long story), and James is pretty sure that Joy's prior history with the Songbird means that Joy will try to keep the Songbird around.

Interesting team, huh?  Well, it is working for now.

In Summary

James Tyler (PC – Daeva Neonate) has protective, fatherly feelings toward his apprentice hunter, Charlotte Adams.  James is attracted to his old buddy and pseudo-sire, Peter Walsh, now that Peter has taken on a female persona and appearance (named Dr. Kellis).  James has a custom coil that allows him to feel true attachment to both Charlotte Adams and Peter Walsh.  He is suspicious of Joy Tyler’s intentions, resentful about her part in experimenting on him, and concerned that she will try to steal Peter from him. 

Peter Walsh / Dr. Kellis / Songbird (NPC – Shapeshifter) is concerned by James’ reaction now that he has shifted into the form of a previous identity, Dr. Kellis.  The Songbird doesn’t want things to change as she enjoys their friendship and playful rivalry.  She sees Charlotte alternately as a friend, ally, and pet, and sometimes even manages some maternal instinct there, though she has a habit of thinking of Charlotte as a peer rather than as a child.  She has mixed feelings toward her old flame and current colleague, Joy Tyler, but is enjoying the opportunity to follow an occult investigation with both her old flame, Joy, and new friend, James.  She’s worried that jealousies might flare, however, and finds any romantic dramas surrounding her to be stupid, frustrating and altogether annoying.  She has little to no patience for it.

Charlotte Adams (NPC – 14-year-old girl) is eager to prove herself to James though she’s not quite sure how yet, as she’s not dumb enough to get herself in over her head if she can help it.  She is largely unaffected by Walsh’s change in gender as her history as an orphan has made her quite adaptable.  So long as they don't try to ditch her, she's happy.  She does want to spend more time with the Songbird and get her attention somehow.  Joy Tyler is a mysterious entity and Charlotte has been trained enough as a hunter to know that you don’t go randomly trusting some vampire.  Err, other than James, that is.

Joy Tyler (NPC – Daeva Ancillae) has missed the exciting allure of occult investigations with Dr. Kellis (a.k.a. Songbird) and is glad to have her back.  Joy wants to rekindle their relationship and convince the Songbird to stay in London as Joy is too old as an ancillae to be willing to travel far out of London.  Joy sees James as a rival and as a potential student who could, ironically enough, enable her to keep hold of the Songbird.  Charlotte is an amusing distraction to her.  Joy hasn’t really said more than a few words her way and is aware that James wouldn’t take kindly to her paying the girl any attention.