Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dark Before Dawn Session Summary: Covenant Meetings

Picture from the Cassandra session but it shows three of the Crone
and the now deceased Ordo Dracul, Gary Dodd.

After the events of the last session, there was interest in running a few split "faction-specific" sessions which included the Ordo Dracul, the nascent Circle of the Crone and then finally a Gangrel-led clan celebration. Rather than attempting to go through all of the details on a forum that would be quite slow or an IRC chat room which would creak and sag under the weight of a dozen players, I thought it best to combine them all into a single day.

Since one of our players had to leave for hockey at 1:00PM, we began with the Ordo Dracul game at 11.00AM with people advised to attend as early as 10:00AM for pre-game chatter, meetings and conversation. The fellow who had yet to play a vampire (namely because he was playing the human, Henry Peterson, in the last game) sat in as Louie Bonaldo, the castellan's security minded ghoul.

I'd printed out several copies of the Agenda and after chatting to a few players of the Unsworn, I found the only person happy to MC the meeting was the player of Siobhan O'Baoill. So with that settled she sat down with the Agenda and started going through the following items:
  • Preliminaries
  • Present
  • Welcome to Kettral
  • Apologies
  • Business Arising from Previous Meeting
  • Juris Draconis
Most of the business passed easily, until they reached the heavy weight of the final item.  Michael Novichkov declared a Juris Draconis on Thomas McAllister based off Seamus O'Baoill's testimony that he had seen diablerie marks (basically soul eating) on Thomas McAllister aura. Shortly before Novichkov could even declare the Major Judge, McAllister said "Bye-bye Darling," and dropped Feral Infection. This meant that every person in that room had to roll versus frenzy (had the pre-rolled frenzy checks sorted in secret with the online rolls available to be seen on the forums because doing a dozen rolls in-game kills tension dead). Even the humans risked an anger frenzy!

Rather than telling people the results of their rolls, I instead informed them that they could spend a willpower point to avoid a frenzy for a round and that such willpower points would give them each a +1 bonus to their final roll. While typically you would pre-declare just how many points you would spend at the beginning, I decided to keep to the one-willpower-spent-per-turn method as it felt more organic and gave more leeway. Only once they ceased to spend willpower, or after things settled down, did I inform them of whether their bonuses were enough to go anywhere.  This matches how the game normally progresses as typically you don't make your roll until after you stop spending willpower.

Talitha immediately frenzied on her sire.  Professor Jasmine Hadley barely managed to get out of the way - she scrambled over the table but tripped over Walsh at the end due to a bad Athletics roll. Siobhan also immediately frenzied, having no willpower to spend, and she turned on Hadley and scratched her with her Gangrel claws. Walsh slipped out from under Hadley and went for a loose floor grille in preparation to slip away and hide.  The new vampire, Walther Hawkes (Siobhan's brother whom she only learned was her brother at the meeting itself), sensibly hid beneath the table.

McAllister dropped into Obfuscate on his next turn (good Initiative check) which meant that Gary Dodd (who had used both Coil of the Wyrm to immediately Ride the Wave of frenzy which allowed him to pick an objective to attack in a frenzy) could only pace the room and search for him. Novichkov ran to defend one door. Regrettably Kettral, Taylor and Epcott decided that retreat was the better part of valour and rather than block the other door they opened it -- though this gave McAllister a chance to escape the room it may have also saved everyone's unlife when Novichkov finally succumbed to his frenzy after almost everyone else had left.

By the time Novichkov stopped spending willpower, everyone had cleared out of the room.  It was only then that I informed him of his natural 1 on the roll.  So then he went in an anger frenzy after the other vampires.  First he ran toward the exit, damaging the locked door in its frame, in his efforts to locate someone.  Once that were done, he came charging through the haven looking for prey.

At this stage, Taylor was hiding in Gary Dodd's room behind his desk. Kettral was in his room. Siobhan had come after her frenzy only after Hadley Dominated her into draining Hadley's ghoul to death -- and the two had slipped through the bilge to the security office. Epcott was hiding in a hot desk office that anyone could access which had two doors.

And Gary Dodd had tracked the Obfuscated McAllister's movements into the library where a pile of folklore books sat in a pile ready to burn. McAllister set off a flare (still in obfuscate) to burn the books as Novichkov stepped into the room. Gary tried to kick the flare into Novichkov to distract him but failed to dislodge it from the books and burned his foot instead. Novichkov charged over to him, struck him a blow that stunned him, and then proceeded to shatter his skull. On the second Vigor punch, the Blood Potency 6 frenzying elder managed to hit him so hard that Gary Dodd immediately ashed upon the blow.

Then Novichkov came out of frenzy. McAllister set the alchemy lab on fire and snuck around before finally using a crowbar to pry open the exit and escape. After an hour of searching the Chapter House for him, they went to finish off the meeting. Important things needed to be spoken of.

First there was discussion of the need to call a blood hunt against McAllister. But there was no Prince since Harry Saeed had left the country in a previous downtime period. And so Professor Jasmine Hadley opened a discussion about the possible Praxis.

And then on to other Agenda items. So many of them were meant to be covered by Dodd and again and again there was a moment's silence when these items came up.  All knew that Novichkov wouldn't have stopped until one had died and all knew that Dodd had sacrificed his unlife in the line of duty. People kept as upbeat as shock allowed them and even Walsh seemed relatively peppy as he discussed his own agenda item.

That was to change later during the Gangrel meeting.

Dr. Jonathon Taylor also mentioned a certain fellow he had kept in torpor … who was awoken after being found in the Women's & Children's Hospital as a "patient" and was staked and put in a barrel.  A fellow called Marco Giovanni....  The  meeting ended with his revivification and introductions to the rest of the court.  And no, Marco wasn't a replacement character for Gary Dodd.  None of us really knew what the outcome of that diablerie accusation was going to be.


The Circle of the Crone covenant meeting, on the other hand, was mostly a meet and greet between the new and old players as well as some natural discussion about the problems of the city and the way forward for the covenant. Since no Kindred died, I feel it best to let them keep their secrets. They initially wanted to have a Chorus meeting for those interested in the covenant but whom belonged to another covenant but by the end of it they didn't really have a plan of what to do with them -- the Chorus that is -- and decided to worry about that later once they had more time to discuss things and get to know each other.

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