SHC GM-free session 14: Camp Butler

Summary: The Chicago Peers have passed through a portal in the Springfield area, and have found themselves in early-1920s Illinois. After having witnessed a gang ambush, and being briefly taken in for questioning by the new-formed Illinois State Police, they have been pointed towards the site of Camp Butler, once a notorious internment camp for Confederate prisoners. Even before their investigation begins in earnest, a Vampire attempts to seduce Sandi.

The draw for Vampires led me to think about how to fairly game such awesome foes. I scrambled together a card draw based along the same lines as the Mage draw, then laid the cards out to see what attacks the Vampires (other than the one we know about, who is in close proximity to Sandi) are assembling.

There was such a lot in play I set up a board for it, using some game pieces to represent 10′ hexes and gravestones.


The Peers spread out: there seems to be nothing immediately strange or wrong with the area.


Then a handsome stranger approaches Sandi, his eyes burning with mystery and charm:

Say! You're totally a Vampire!
Say! You’re totally a Vampire!

The seduction fails:

Surprise round: Sandi sounds the alarm, tumbles back to Cliff’s position. Vamp1 closes with Cliff, who is flat-footed, and slams him, confirming a crit. Cliff drops to Level 16.

Summoned creatures appear, many of them wolves. Dan, who has wandered a little away, is in grave danger!

Turning not much use here!
Turning not much use here!

A strange whistling and buzzing fills the air, though illusions (represented by maroon hexes) cover the presence of three swarms (represented by single large bugs). A minion or lesser vamp appears, and five ghouls unearth from around Hitch!

Birkby is menaced by a lesser vamp and unseen swarms!
Birkby is menaced by a lesser vamp and unseen swarms!

At this time, Initiative is rolled:

  • Birkby
  • Sandi
  • Cliff
  • All Vampires and minions
  • Hitch
  • Dan

Round 1:

Birkby yanks Dan back with a well-timed teleport, and they retreat to within 20′ of Cliff. He surges and throws a powerful illusion of the Peers, hastening from the other flank. Sandi enters melee with a jump and tumble to take her up and over the Cliff-Vamp tangle, and deals enough damage to destroy the vampire! Cliff, freed from the bite attack, charges around corners into the boiling cauldron of Ghouls, smashes one with Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, and is ready to take a hit for Hitch (nominated Bodyguard protectee).

All wolf packs double-move (one pack at the illusion), while the minion vamp makes a leap onto Dan, failing to pin him. The swarms unmask from the illusory terrain, getting attacks on Dan Birkby and Sandi. Concentration becomes difficult, even for Birkby who is already Stoneskinned.

Cliff stops a first shot, but Hitch is hit severely twice (two confirmed crits) and is bitten and grappled. He makes his Fort SV, and a combat casting check, and he and Cliff blink back 30′ to relatively clear ground nearer Birkby.

Dan makes tremendous Concentration check, lifts his cross-cane, and burns the minion vamp to ash with his enhanced (Burning Belief) Turning power.

Round 2:

Off the board I make new card draws for the remaining vampires. The only surprise is one who, having seen losses among his side, wishes them well and departs. Most begin closing, but one summons another minion and another pack of ghouls! This group filters through the fringe of trees flanking the gravestones.

Birkby is still smothered by a swarm or two, and making a good combat-casting check drops a fireball on ground zero! He makes a natural 20 Refl SV to avoid the worst of it, but Dan takes the full blast. Sandi, the wolf pack going for her, Hitch, and Cliff are all in the radius as well! All three swarms in the area are destroyed, but Dan and Hitch are severely burned! Luckily everyone makes the Mas SV.

At this stage I ask:

Q: can Sandi spot the minion and ghouls? (50-50) 98 no!

Sandi tumbles closer along the row of headstones to help Cliff and Hitch. The remaining four ghouls have scant protection and she scythes them down.

Q: can Cliff spot the minion and ghouls? yes.

Cliff makes a natural 20 on spot and warning the others, hustles Hitch further back towards Birkby. Just in time!

There are four swarms still arriving, and one reaches the spot Cliff and Hitch were standing! Two others near Sandi, and one gets within 20′ of Dan and Birkby. The minion vamp sends the ghouls in fast: they charge Sandi as best the headstones will permit. She gets some cover from charge against most, and none hit her. The minion eases around, well away from the tussle.

Hitch drops a Wall of Fire along all of the swarms. He swigs a potion. Dan swings his cross-cane to cover Sandi and burns four of the six ghouls. He surges and heals himself. He has failed to spot the minion vamp.



Round 3:

Birkby does have a chance of spotting the minion. He makes a fine DC21 spot, backs away from the Wall advising the others, and draws his ‘sonic screwdriver’. He surges and buffs with Displacement. Sandi edges back, finishing the remaining two ghouls then swinging and sending the minion vamp back to death; she quick-reloads one Glock. Cliff tosses a grenade at the (still-distracted) remaining wolf-pack: it’s a good throw and their SV are awful: they are put down.

Six greater vamps have arrived on the board. Another is in gaseous form a short way back; the suspected kingpin who summoned the minion and ghouls has decided to close now as well.

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