I'm currently running a Vampire the Masquerade chronicle using the 5th Edition rule-set for a small group of fellow role-players. These are the chronicles of their adventures.

Our chronicle is set in Los Angeles and features a small group of Camarilla agents sent into the 'Free States' to bring them back under Camarilla control. After over four years of plotting, one of their number is now leader of the Anarch Council of the Free States and the rest have privileged places within the Anarch hierarchy.
The now obligatory warning bit - Unlike my other RPG write-ups this one will contain swearing, sexual references and other references that might offend. If you can't tell the difference between real             peoples opinions and grown-ups role-playing predators who crave blood then this probably won't be for you. There are however a list of potential triggers listed before the introduction. I've also used actual photographs to represent some characters which I'll give acknowledgements to at the end if I've any idea who they are.
The introduction to this campaign, the first story and all the other parts can be found at the following links and are in chronological order. If you'd prefer a summary of each session rather than read everything then there's a more detailed link page HERE as well as links to the first episode of each story in the blog sidebar.
Chronicle One - 'Infiltrate L.A.' 
Welcome to L.A. - Introductory Session
Story One - 'Three Murders' - Part OneTwo, ThreeFour and Five
Interlude Session - One
Story Two - 'The Pasadena Problem' - Part OneTwoThree, and Four
Solo Session - 'The Neillson Library'
Story Two Continued- 'The Pasadena Problem' - Part FiveSixSeven and Eight
Story Three - 'Becoming Baron' - Part OneTwoThreeFour and Five
Solo Session - 'The Gather'
Story Three Continued - 'Becoming Baron' - Part SixSeven and Eight
Chronicle Two - 'Foothold L.A.' 
Solo Session - 'Hostile Takeover'
Story Four - 'Countdown' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Five - 'The Missing Chantry' - Part OneTwoThreeFour and Five
Solo Session - 'The Anaheim Assassination'
Story Six - 'A Meeting of Barons' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Seven - 'The Carmelita Situation' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Eight - 'The Blount Sisters' - Part One and Two
Story Nine - 'Blood Money' - Part OneTwoThreeFour, Five and Six
Story Ten - 'Anathema' - Part One and Two
Story Eleven - 'Predators and Prey' aka 'The Blount Sisters' - Part Three
Story Twelve - 'Aftermath' - Part One and Two
Story Thirteen - 'The Messiah Complex' - Part OneTwoThree and Four
Chronicle Three - 'Incursion L.A.'
Story Fourteen - 'The Rant'
Story Fifteen - 'Ties of Blood' - Part One and Two
Solo Session - 'A Gathering of Roses'
Story Sixteen - 'The Southern Solution' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Seventeen - 'The Baker Disappearance' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Eighteen - 'Inevitable Betrayals' - Part OneTwoThreeFour and Five
Story Nineteen - 'The Marius Contracts' - Part One and Two
Story Twenty - 'The MacNeil Protocols' - Part OneTwoThreeFourFive
Story Twenty - 'The MacNeil Protocols' - Part SixSevenEightNine and Ten
Interlude Session One - After Griffith Park
Interlude Session Two - Divide and Conquer
Interlude Session Three - On the Brink of War
Chronicle Four - 'Conquest L.A.'
Story Twenty One - 'Veni, Vidi, Victor' - Part OneTwoThreeFourFive
Story Twenty One - 'Veni, Vidi, Victor' - Part Six, and Epilogue
Story Twenty Two - 'The Unbound' - Part OneTwoThree and Four
Story Twenty Three - 'The War Council' - Part OneTwoThree and Four
Interlude Session - Recon
Story Twenty Four - 'Resistance' - Part OneTwoThreeFour and Five
Interlude Session - Damage Limitation
Interlude Session - The Killing Spree
Story Twenty Five - 'Personal Agendas' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Twenty Six - 'Strange Bedfellows' - Part OneTwoThreeFourFive and Six
Story Twenty Seven - 'The Fiorenza Sanction' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Twenty Eight - 'Hunters Hunted' - Part OneTwoThreeFour and Five
Story Twenty Eight - 'Hunters Hunted' - Epilogue
Solo Session - 'The Salubri Tome'
Story Twenty Nine - 'Methuselah' - Part OneTwoThreeFourFive
Story Twenty Nine - 'Methuselah' - Part SixSevenEightNine and Ten
Story Twenty Nine - 'Methuselah' - Epilogue
Galerie Sanguine - 'San Francisco'
'Anarchs' -  ZeroOneTwoThree and Four
Chronicle Five - 'Blood Cults of L.A.'
Story Thirty - 'A Plague of Blood' - Part OneTwoThreeFourFive,
Story Thirty - 'A Plague of Blood' - Part SixSevenEight and Nine

This Sessions PC is...
Dr Daniel Matthews - Banu Haqim, 'Sherlock'

The Storyteller
Everyone else...

The player characters stats and backgrounds can be found HERE should any-one be interested, but be warned that the page is usually several stories ahead of the most recent write-up and may contain some spoilers. 

There's also some minor 'house-rules' HERE that have occurred as we went along.

If I think something needs a bit of out of character explanation then those will get a storytellers note that will helpfully be in red. Introductory pieces that I read to the group are in Blue. Where particular NPC's have a mention in a faction profile you will be able to reach it by clicking on their name or faction beneath their picture.

Trigger Warnings for This Session: Blood

The plot to infect the Barons of Los Angeles with the blood plague has been foiled, with the destruction of Brother Kanker as an unforeseen bonus. Yet the cult still exists and though it has been weakened, it, and 'The Vector' that it harboured, are still out there somewhere.

In the wake of this, Gloria Martinez has made the foolish mistake of attempting to eliminate Baron Myranda of The Wilds, resulting in chaos in her own domain and a considerable shifting of the borders of all the territories involved.

Unfortunately the situation needs to be handled politically, rather than physically and Michael has given strict orders to hold off on any impulsive actions until he has bought everything back to some semblance of order. Daniel's primary concern is the fate of Leo Frost, and though Michael insists that he hasn't been destroyed, his exact location is still unknown.

It is therefore, possibly, almost a relief when Daniel's phone rings. The number was Victoria's, however it was Marius on the other end of the line.

Scene One - Hallowbrook
"I need you to meet me at Hallowbrook. I have someone who wants to speak with you and I have agreed to facilitate the meeting. It's not something I can explain over the phone I'm afraid. Can you be here within the hour?"

One Of Daniel's Custom Handguns
Daniel didn't like the mysterious overtones, and as he liked to be prepared, armed himself with every concealable weapon in his possession. 

He also carried his three primary handguns, a pair of custom Colt M1911's concerted to 10mm, and a Browning Hi-Power that had been illegally converted to fire fully automatically. All had suppressors.

He also used his own car, that had been subtly armoured, and also contained a small arsenal concealed in it's trunk. Not that he suspected that Marius himself meant him any harm. Had that been the case then 'The Fixer' had many far more convenient ways to eliminate someone, than inviting them to his base of operations.


Hallowbrook held the headquarters of Aegis Acquisitions, several of it's subsidiaries, and floors of residential apartments that were the homes for many of the companies executives, as well as a near army of security personnel. 

Hallowbrook House - Downtown
Aegis Acquisitions HQ
The top floors were reserved for Marius's multiple level home, including an extensive garden, and advanced communications hub, and four luxurious apartment levels inhabited by his ghouls and other notables. 

The lobby had it's own security checkpoint and cameras were everywhere, though were relatively unobtrusive, and the security staff were universally ex-military. All were armed, as security guards in California were allowed to carry weapons when on duty, but Daniel knew that extensive, and quite illegal, armouries were concealed around the building. As Marius had spent considerable resources to infiltrate, influence and bribe a great deal of the cities organisations of government, it seemed unlikely that he would ever have his premises investigated without him receiving a great deal of advance notice. In his cover identity as the major shareholder in Aegis Acquisitions, he was also incredibly wealthy, so that also tended to make organisations reticent to annoy him unduly.

Yukio, one of Marius's two ancient ghouls, met him in the lobby and escorted him through a side entrance. This was also guarded, and equipped with several scanning devices, which Daniel was sure had selected some, if not all of his weapons. The athletically built security guard made eye-contact with Yukio and nodded towards the monitor in the security consol. Yukio shook her head and opened the door on the other side for Daniel. Whatever the meeting was about, him being armed was apparently not considered to be a concern. Daniel wasn't sure whether this was a good or bad thing.

He was then escorted to Marius's rooms by an unusually subdued Yukio, she was tense and not particularly talkative.

"Should I be worried?" asked Daniel.

Yukio smiled, but it seemed forced, before replying. "Yes. But not right now. You'll be safe during the meeting. After you leave? Well that depends on how things go..." but she refused to elaborate. Daniel suspected that the elevator contained listening devices as well as cameras, and it seemed that Yukio had been instructed not to discuss the matter.

Scene Two - Farouk
Victoria Anezka - Ancient Ghoul
Psychotic Personal Assistant
Marius was seated with Victoria, his other ancient ghoul. standing behind him. She was leaning casually on the back of the sofa. The only other person in the room was presumably the 'someone' who wanted to meet Daniel. He was an athletically built and handsome man with middle eastern facial features, dressed in a shirt, jacket and trousers. He watched the newcomer closely as Daniel entered, and Marius then offered him a seat.

Daniel carefully analysed Victoria. He was sure that not every 'Victoria' he met was the original, but this seemed to be the real deal. She was also quite obviously unhappy about the presence of the other guest.

Marius then made the introductions. 

"This is Farouk, a warrior priest of the Banu Haqim. He wishes to speak to you regarding your sire and some associated matters. He is well aware of who you are, and your reasons for being in Los Angeles, information he already possessed, not that he received from me. I have agreed to host this meeting on the condition that you survive it..."

Daniel took a seat. There wasn't a lot else to do except listen to what this 'Farouk' fellow had to say.

"You are the childe of Edward Kaya, yes?"

Edward Kaya - Banu Haqim
Sire of Dr Daniel Matthews
Daniel had been on the run from his sire for quite some time. He had hidden his true clan from the majority of the kindred of Los Angeles and had been pretending to be a Brujah philosopher. The handful who knew his real identity would have been unlikely to betray him, which meant that this Farouk had to have put considerable effort into locating him. Either that, or he was very good indeed.

Daniel merely nodded. Now was not the time to give this kindred any more information than he already possessed.

"He hunts for you, and has been using significant amounts of the clans resources to do so. This has become an issue, as information has begun to filter back to the Silisia that many of his personal goals have less to do with the advancement of the Laws of Haqim and much more to do with the advancement of Edward Kaya. I am therefore willing to make you an offer that Marius here seems to think will be acceptable to you. If you wish to hear it?"

Daniel had recently spent some time with the only other Banu Haqim in the city, Charlie 'Chick' Abbott, who had passed onto him some knowledge about their Clan. 

The Silsila were the spiritual elite of the Children of Haqim, a small warrior priesthood composed of those whom the Du'at and the Eldest felt were the truest adherents to Haqim's teachings. 

Farouk - Banu Haqim
Silsila, 'Keeper of the Blood'
Spiritually, their duties were the advancement of the Laws of Haqim (and, depending on Alamut's political climate, the Path of Blood). However, they were also keepers of Alamut's library and museum and the core of its defences should the Mountain ever come under assault.

"I don't appear to have much choice in the matter." replied Daniel. "And I guess there's no harm in listening to your offer. Consider me a captive audience..."

Farouk's emotional state was unreadable, even to one with Daniel's skills at profiling, so he couldn't yet get a handle on him. This lack of information was an annoyance to Daniel who liked all the intelligence he could gather. Farouk continued.

"Ur-Shulgi has shown an interest in the fate of an old acquaintance of his, known as Mithras. You are aware of both these names, yes?"

Daniel nodded again. "I don't think there's a kindred on earth who hasn't heard of one or both of those names. Mithras ruled London, and Ur-Shulgi is the most efficient warmage on the face of the planet."

Farouk then spoke again "An item, something of importance to Mithras, and which Ur-Shulgi seeks, has made it's way to this city. If you agree to assist in its retrieval, then I will, in return, ensure that Mr Kaya, and his childe, are no longer considered to possess the right of judgment over others.

Ur-Shulgi - Banu Haqim
Leader of the Children of Haqim
"In fact any of the clan who aid them will share their exile, this I can guarantee in Ur-Shulgi's name. I however cannot guarantee that they will not still seek you out, but if they do so then they will do so as individuals, with only their own means to assist them."

"Do you wish to take on this task?"

Daniel had a questions of his own first. "If I agree, and you fulfil your part of the bargain, will I truly only have to deal with Kaya and his childe, or has he accumulated other assets as well?"

Farouk confirmed that to his knowledge, Edward had only one childe, and limited financial assets of his own. Should he come after Daniel, it would be two to one, but that would be Edward Kaya's only advantage. Based on this assurance, Daniel agreed to take on the mission.

With this settled, Farouk, laid out his problem.

"An attempt to restore Mithras several years ago, ultimately failed due to one of the items containing his essence being replaced with a substitute. The genuine item was kept by one of those trusted to assist with the resurrection. His name is Doctor Henry Banerjee, and he, along with a ghoul has made his way to this city and into the service of the organisation known as The Circulatory System. You are aware of this group?"

Marcelina Black - Ventrue
Director of the L.A. 'Farm'
Daniel was well aware of the Circulatory System and disliked them a great deal. He found their trade in mortal vessels to be morally bankrupt. He also had a personal distrust for their leader within the city, Marcelina Black, who he considered to embody all the worst traits of the organisation she led. Daniel chose not to share all this, and simply confirmed that he knew of them.

"We are unsure of what these traders in vitae require the item for. It would take a master of blood sorcery far greater than any in their service to accomplish anything with it. Indeed, Ur-Shulgi may be the only kindred with such a level of potency in existence. especially with the destruction of the Tremere's leadership after the Vienna attack."

"Regardless. Politics tie even the hands of a judge such as myself and agreements regarding The Circulatory System are in place which would take time to navigate and the Eldest one is not blessed with patience. To complicate matters..." he nods in Marius's direction. "'The Wolf Spider' will not undertake this task as he informs me that this would break a non-interference pact between his grandechilde and Marcelina Black, current director of the L.A. 'Farm'. This leaves me in need of an agent to perform the task on my behalf and I am informed that you have considerable skill in this area of expertise?"

It was clear that Marius's refusal to help was an irritation to Farouk, in fact this was the first genuine sign of emotion that Daniel had detected. He extrapolated that Marius had done similar work for them in the past and that it had been expected that he would do so again. Likely then, the deal Daniel was being offered had been concocted at the last minute, and Farouk didn't look like the kind of kindred who liked to leave things to chance.

Myranda Maria - Gangrel
Baron of The Wilds
It was also of no surprise to him that he would prioritise the needs of his grandechilde Myranda, Baron of The Wilds, a she was a particular favourite of Marius's.

"I've been reluctantly involved in some problem solving within L.A." answered Daniel, noncommittedly. "But on those occasions, I had a lot more to go on than you've given me. What other information do you have?"

Farouk did indeed have more information 

"Marcelina, and her new recruiter Celia, will be absent from the 'Farm' for two nights, beginning tomorrow evening and this would be an excellent window of opportunity to make the attempt. Of course if you have no fear of them and feel you need more time to prepare then that would be your decision. Ideally the item will be removed with minimal collateral damage, but we understand that sacrifices are sometimes necessary..."

Marius then interjected "I can't assist directly without breaking my word on the matters already mentioned, but I can equip you with anything you might need that is within my power to provide."

Daniel accepted Marius offer of equipment, but first wished to do some advanced reconnaissance in order to determine just what he might need.

"It looks like we have a deal." concluded Daniel and left to make his initial preparations.

Interlude - Old Hands
"How do you rate his chances of success?" asked Farouk

The Circulatory System
Marius took a while to answer, seemingly giving the question some consideration.

"High. He's a meticulous planner, and doesn't like the Circulatory System, so there's no moral objections which are generally the only thing that gets in his way. He'll do some recon, gather whatever intelligence he needs and then hit the location, with whatever of my equipment he requests."

"And you definitely won't take the contract?" continued Farouk.

It was Marius's turn to look irritated, but he replied anyway.

"I'm spread too thin at the moment to make an enemy of The Circulatory System, as you well know. I'm already having to surrender too much control to the local leaders of The Oratory, which is why I'm engaged in several projects to recruit leaders of skill to delegate such tasks to. I've just expanded into Chicago, and at least one of the founders of the System, in it's modern form at least, resides there."

Bronwyn - Malkavian
The Circulatory System Founder
"This makes the situation with them even more politically sensitive. So, No, I won't intervene. Once I'm established in Chicago, and Theo Bell has given me the information I seek, then I'll happily go back to transporting your assassins, stealing things for your sorcerers, and murdering people you can't be bothered to kill yourselves, but as the situation currently stands, you're on your own."

Farouk conceded the point, then changed the subject. "The item?"

Marius smiled. At least on this point he could be helpful, without breaking previous agreements.

"Dr Banerjee had the item when he approached me about employment and when I referred him to The Circulatory System to fulfil their vacant post as 'surgeon'. So he's definitely there, which means the seal is also there. He considers it to be his 'Get Out of Jail Free' card, should Mithras's agents catch up with him that is, so he'll keep it nearby. Protected in some way I'm sure, but near."

Farouk then raised his final concern. "And Daniel can be trusted to return the item to us once it's located?"

"Of course." answered Marius. "Mainly because he has no idea about how dangerous it is, nor the ramifications of letting Ur-Shulgi get his hands on it. Now onto other matters. Do you require accommodation and sustenance?"

An Ancient Seal, Vampiric Artefact, The Cult of Mithras

"Presumably there's a price." replied Farouk.

"There's always a price." confirmed Marius. "But under the circumstances I might give you a discount."

Farouk had decided that Marius would need to be watched. 'The Wolf Spider', like his sire Xaviar, was far too ambitious, and in terms of personal power, far too potent, to be left to his own devices. Hallowbrook was well defended, but no fortress was impregnable. At the very worst, planning Marius's assassination would be an amusing diversion for an hour or two.

Scene Three - A Test Run
The Circulatory System - Security Cameras
The Farm consisted of a large main building, centrally located within the complex. On the right side, when viewed from the entrance, was a long building that looked to be a garage facility where the armoured transports and escort vehicles used by The Circulatory System were stored. On the left was a square building that had the look of a barracks of sorts albeit a fairly luxurious one.

A stable block, the only remnants of the farm that this once was, was also on the left, and currently being converted into offices or similar. No workers could be seen as presumably they didn't work at night.

The exterior wall was about eight feet tall and topped with spikes designed to put off anyone attempting to scale the structure, as well as motion detectors and security cameras in armoured housings. 

The security precautions themselves within were also the very definition of overkill. Every corner had a wide-angle security camera on it, all in armoured domes and their placement indicated overlapping fields of vision. Apparently anticipating more modern intrusion methods, there were also several devices designed to detect and neutralise drones.

The Circulatory System - Armed Guards
All the guards patrolled in pairs, and though the exterior guards lacked the heavy armour of those that sometimes emerged from within, they were still sporting body armour and military grade weapons. They also appeared to have some less lethal items of equipment such as batons and handcuffs, but Daniel presumed that these were for use on escaping 'vessels', not incoming threats.

In Daniel's opinion, many of the guards appeared to be on some form of stimulant, presumably to keep them alert even when working at these late hours. He imagined that their long-term health wasn't a great concern of Marcelina's given that her trade by definition considered mortals to be expendable assets.

The rooftop gunmen were equipped with M110A1 Sniper rifles and the more heavily armed of the security people were armed with M4's with M26 under-slung shotgun attachments and side-arms. Unusually their side-arms appeared to be revolvers not automatics but were all high calibre models. Several were even carrying M249 SAW's with brass and link catchers. All this firepower didn't even take into account the equipment on board the vans and escort cars which he knew had concealed heavy weapons within.

The Circulatory System - Security Cameras
Daniel mentally ran through several scenarios for testing the guards reaction time, before deciding that the simplest plan was often the best. Drawing upon his powers of Obfuscation he faded from sight, and simultaneously the area around him became completely silent. Clearing the wall was a simple matter and he landed on the other side of the wall, waited for a moment then retreated back the way he'd came.

An alarm had sounded from both the barracks and main building within a second or two of his landing, and the first pair of guards approached within thirty seconds, followed fifteen seconds later by several others. Evidently there were other systems within the walls that he hadn't observed during his perimeter reconnaissance. It was clear that he'd need a distraction to split up the security, as he doubted that he'd get very far by simply making a break for the house. The under construction exterior buildings were the closest to the outer wall, and should provide good cover as long as he could lure the guards to another location.

Now he needed to borrow some equipment, and practice his skills a little. Hopefully Marius's offer of materiel aid had been a genuine one.

Scene Four - Hallowbrook, Again...
Victoria, Victoria, and Victoria...
His visit was expected, and so security at Hallowbrook had already been informed to let him through. His escort this time was Victoria, though he wasn't convinced that this one was the genuine article, a suspicion that was confirmed when he met another Victoria inside Marius's rooms. This one gave him the creeps, so was probably the original. 

He had originally suspected that one of Marius Childer, known somewhat unoriginally as 'Jane Doe', or occasionally 'The Mannequin' sometimes stood in for Victoria Anezka. Now he was sure that the duplicates were Vicissitude creations, and that there were a lot more than one of them.

Daniel had been in Marius's equipment room before, though last time equipment had already been laid out for him. This time Marius had apparently decided to give him freedom to select whatever he wanted. He had to admit that he was spoiled for choice.

It was also obvious that this equipment had been collected over many years, and that Marius seemed to have difficulty in throwing things away. The weapons room had bows and crossbows ranging from the most up to date models, made with modern materials, to those that looked like they hadn't been used in centuries. The firearms were also a curious mix. Black powder weapons, together with a modern recreation, were racked right next to a selection of powerful revolvers and automatic pistols, obviously selected with stopping power in mind. There was also a selection of assault weapons and rifles, but it was clear that when it came to ranged combat, Marius's preference was for short range engagements.

Daniel was more than happy with his own weaponry, but he never missed an opportunity to gain any insight he could into other kindred. Not that 'up close and personal' and 'Marius', were exactly ground-breaking conclusions.

The bladed weapons were also of interest to Daniel and covered an even wider range of eras and archetypes than the ranged weapons had. These looked to have been regularly cleaned and maintained, and more care had been taken in their storage than the other weapons.

He noticed Marius watching him. "Professional curiosity..." explained Daniel before moving to the equipment section of the armoury. He did however select several flashbang and smoke grenades which he put to one side for later collection. He planned on doing this stealthily, but it never hurt to be able to facilitate a tactical withdrawal.

The technical section also revealed a lot to Daniel about Marius's nature. Though carefully arranged and catalogued, he doubted that anything in this section had ever been used. Likely it was maintained by one of 'The Fixers' more technically minded operatives.

"I need signal jammers, an RF scanner, and those grenades." stated Daniel. Marius merely shrugged, and Daniel had a feeling that the ancient Gangrel wouldn't have known which one was which, if Daniel hadn't pointed to them. After selecting several more items, including a couple of hardwood stakes from a bandolier in the weaponry section, he made his second request.

"I need a little practice with approaches, and your roof garden is about the same size as the area I need to cover. Any chance I could borrow Yukio for an hour? If she can't see me coming then the Circulatory System guards will be no problem."


Though she was indeed a worthy opponent against which to test his skills, he did have an ulterior motive. He was hoping that, as one of Marius's closest allies, Yukio might have some insights into Farouk. Unfortunately she wouldn't be drawn into a conversation on that particular subject.

Her verdict on his abilities was also fairly complimentary, and in all honesty, the practice hadn't been altogether a waste of time.

"I nearly had you that last time..." quipped Daniel.

"You would have, but I cheated..." admitted Yukio. "...I can see through those tricky talents of obfuscation that you use, but I doubt very much whether any of Marcelina's guards have such talents."

Daniel sincerely hoped that she was correct.

Interlude - One With the Blade
Farouk's Curved Blade - Damascus Steel
The curved blade, forged of Damascus steel, was a deadly work of art by the standards of any age, and Marius couldn't help but admire the craftsmanship, even as it threatened to remove his hand at the wrist. His own weapon was a bastard sword, made using modern materials and techniques, but which would have been familiar in appearance to a swordsman from as early as the twelfth century.

Marius nodded in appreciation at Farouk's attack, then responded with straight thrust that forced his opponent backwards. Switching to a two-handed grip he forced the Banu Haqim to retreat further with a series of powerful blows that Farouk simply avoided rather than blocking. A skilful feint was anticipated by Marius, But it then became a feint within a feint, and the Gangrel once more found himself on the defensive.


Yukio turned as Victoria joined her on the balcony overlooking the training area. "How long?" she asked.

"Two hours so far..." replied Yukio. "...no disciplines. Just skill versus skill, though to be honest it's actually brute force against skill at the moment. Farouk is slightly faster, Marius is slightly stronger, and the whole fight is largely irrelevant as both are holding back."

Marius Walker - Protean, 'Mythic Form'
"Farouk is actually significantly faster than he's pretending to be, and Marius has five times the strength he's actually using. If it was a real contest to determine who was best with a blade then Farouk is clearly a better swordsman. Of course if it was a real fight them Marius wouldn't use a sword anyway, so I'm not sure what either of them is trying to prove..."

Victoria placed her hand lightly upon Yukio's shoulder. Victoria Anezka showed affection to only three individuals, Marius, Yukio, and the manager of Marius's various L.A. clubs, Venus Dare, so a casual observer might have been surprised at the tenderness of the gesture.

"They were both deciding whether to destroy the other." stated Victoria. "Not here of course, but later. Both saw the other as a potential threat, but now they have a begrudging respect for each others abilities, and their potential usefulness to one another. Respect leads to fear, but not the fear of being punished, rather it's the fear of disappointing the one you respect. I doubt they'll ever reach that stage, but as long as we're not at war, I'll call it a win."

"Of course fear and respect can easily be mistaken for one another, if you're not paying attention...or are a slave..."

'Bastard Sword' - From Marius's Personal Armoury

"How does that truism apply to one such as Ur-Shulgi?" asked Yukio.

"The rules don't apply to gods..." replied Victoria. For a moment the younger ghoul thought she was making a joke, but one look at her eyes showed that she was completely serious. "...and anyone who doesn't fear the Herald of Destruction is too stupid to exist for long. Marius fears him too, and that should tell you all you need to know." Yukio said nothing. If Marius was afraid of something, then it was likely to be very, very dangerous indeed. 

Suddenly the effort being put into keeping Farouk on their side, despite Marius's previous agreements making direct aid impossible, made perfect sense.

Scene Five - Distractions
Daniel's Karambit
Several members of the coterie had been to the Circulatory Systems 'Farm' before in the past, so Daniel knew that the office used by Marcelina to receive guests had a single entrance to the main facility. The only other obvious entrance to the facility he'd observed was flanked by two pairs of armed guards. The roaming patrols checked the office periodically but it had none permanently stationed there.

Daniel checked his equipment one last time, called upon all his powers of stealth, then cleared the wall once more. This night however, he did so near the stable block, and then paused to see how the guards dealt with the intrusion. As they emerged from the barracks and main structure, Daniel covered the distance to the closest cover in a second, then paused once more.

The guards were thorough, but Daniel knew how to make the best of cover, and weaved his way through the construction site that would eventually be offices. 

Daniel Matthews - Waiting...
A single individual briefly looked in his direction, and for a moment he became concerned that perhaps this guard was more than he appeared to be. Unfortunately, eliminating them would be a clear sign to the defenders that an infiltrator was amongst them, so he waited. A few seconds later they moved on, and then Daniel made his move towards the barracks.

He heard one guard muttering about "The sensors going off every time a leaf landed on the fucking lawn..." but nonetheless they still searched the area in a systematic fashion. Whatever their personal opinions, they seemed to take their job seriously. Daniel theorized that fear of the consequences of failure was a factor in this. He didn't imagine The Circulatory System to be very considerate employers.

Two pairs of guards remained and did a sweep of the area where Daniel had initially entered the complex, and another pair checked out the stables. The others returned to their posts. Taking advantage of a gap between two groups, Daniel circled the barracks area, and awaited his opportunity. In spite of the danger, he was quite enjoying himself.

Daniel's Lockpicking Kit
A handful of seconds passed, and he decided to make a break for the office door. It was possible that a better opportunity might present itself, but in Daniel's experience, this was rarely the case. Invariably one ended up lamenting the chance they'd missed.

He arrived at the entrance to the facility unobserved, and examined the lock. It was sophisticated but mundane, and seemed to have no electronic components aspects to it's structure. Figuring he had about thirty-five seconds to pick the lock before company arrived via a patrol, he started work immediately. Twenty seconds later a satisfying click indicated that he had succeeded. 

Carefully, but quickly, he entered the office to begin his search.


Storytellers Conclusions
I sometimes like to do a round-up of how the session went in these features but if you couldn't give a shit what I think then feel free to skip this bit....

As long-term readers are probably aware, Daniel's player likes investigation and infiltration sort of sessions, but sometimes these can be a bit boring for other players who'd rather just find the enemy and punch them repeatedly in the face, or whose talents are more political. Though I tend to balance sessions to give every player something to do, it's occasionally nice to let a single player indulge themselves a little.

Plus this session will allow me to explore Daniel's origins a bit more, and remind him of the threat that his sire still represents...

Song Lyrics
Also, the quote in the header is from the following song, should any-one be interested.


Further Acknowledgements
Portions of the materials are the copyrights and trademarks of White Wolf Entertainment AB, and are used with permission. All rights reserved.

I've used pictures of real people to represent some of the characters and art for others so in no particular order Dr Daniel Matthews is Mads Mikkelsen, Victoria Anezka is Lilith May, Edward Kaya is Laurence Fishburne, Farouk is Faran Haroon Tahir, Marcelina Black Is Carrie-Anne Moss, Myranda Maria is Shannyn Visceral and Yukio Hayashi is Jamie Chung.

Everything else is from vampire related folders and searches and is as far as I know is all of the 'fair use' variety. If there's something that you feel should be attributed to some-one then feel free to let me know and I'll happily add an acknowledgement.