Saturday, October 8, 2011

World of Darkness Chronicle, Part the First

So, my cousin DJ and two friends, Luke and Shaun, started my (New) World of Darkness chronicle, set in 1920's Philadelphia, entitled Night Train to Nowhere, on Thursday night.

The characters are:

Lance Davenport: If H.P. Lovecraft were an English professor. Lance is Shaun's character. He writes articles for Weird Tales and other pulp rags under a pseudonym. He's had strange dreams ever since he was a kid that has led him to be fascinated in the strange and unexplainable.

Mick Callahan: Irish-American World War I vet. He got separated from his unit in the Ardennes and ended up sharing a shell-hole with a German soldier. As a fog rolled in, Mick fled as what appeared to be a vampire killed the young German. After the war, he returned home to watch helplessly as a vampire took his wife, never to be seen again.

Seamus Flannagan: Irish-American muscle who boxes illegally to pay the bills. Seamus was orphaned as a kid when his father, a detective with the Philadelphia police, was murdered with a strange cuneiform symbol carved into his head. Seamus is seeking answers to his father's murder and why it was hushed up.

The tale opened with Seamus and Lance shopping in Mick's antique shop. Father Edward Massey, a friend of Mick's, entered and asked if the characters had seen the local Catholic high school librarian, Brother Lucas Shrift. As Seamus had been in the orphanage with Shrift, he was interested immediately. Shrift had disappeared before, for five years before returning with no memory of his journey or why he had left. Father Massey feared Shrift's new disappearance was related.

The characters began by calling around for information. Seamus attempted to see the Archbishop and ask about Lucas Shrift but was stymied by a strange, sinister priest at the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The trio then searched Shrift's house for clues, finding plenty. A window had been forced and the lock broken. Lance found a strange journal written partly in a strange script, the rest in Latin. Hidden in a hollowed book, Mick discovered a key, which Lance identified as belonging to some sort of safe deposit box.

After spending a day at work, the three reunited. Lance had called his close friend and reporter for the Inquirer, Hunter Jerusalem, who said he would try to get a story about Shrift's disappearance into the local papers. Mick, acting on a hunch, contacted a friend of his, Detective Dashiell, to learn about a robbery of the Museum two years ago, in which a strange Mesopotamian idol and cylinder seal were stolen. Seamus canvassed the docks asking about a ship whose captain Shrift was supposed to have met.

That evening, the characters made their way down to the docks to El Diablo Roso, a rum-runner out of Cuba. The ship's crew had itchy trigger fingers and the characters almost turned away in failure when a hulking first mate with a Cockney accent challenged Seamus to a round of bare-knuckle fisticuffs. The session ended with a narrow victory for Seamus and the first-mate agreeing to talk with the characters.

All-in-all, I think it went rather well. We only had about 3 1/2 hours to play, and it looks like we're going to be running once per month, so I'm awarding experience per every 1 1/2 to 2 hours of playing time.

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