Scene: Camp Butler cemetery, somewhere in the early 1920s
The Chicago Peers from the early 21st Century have dropped back about 90 years, and are currently clustered together amongst Confederate gravestones, fighting off an attack by Greater Vampires. The Peers survive the first wave of summoned creatures and minions, though the drastic measures by Paul Birkby (fireball, ground zero) nearly kill Dan and Hitch. Hitch’s trademark Wall of Fire has just dropped across four remaining swarms; Sandi has obliterated the last minion; and a well-aimed grenade from Cliff has wiped out a small wolf-pack.
We re-enter the combat on the Vampire initiative. Six greater vampires are now within close to mid range, with two more still to appear. As this is being wargamed, the six are ‘on the board’.
The swarms are disrupted and destroyed by Hitch’s Wall of Fire. It still has plenty of rounds to burn. Hitch asks for healing and buffs again, and Inspires the team with some well-chosen snappy dialogue.
Dan heals Hitch, surges and casts Prayer and Coordinates the team’s defence.
Q: Can Dan sense evil? (50-50) 16 yes! He warns the others. (There’s nothing to say the normal Image Intensifiers Cliff and Sandi use won’t pick them up but it’s nice to get Emulator confirmation.)
Round 4: Birkby makes another excellent Spot check, drops the ‘sonic screwdriver’ since he knows it’s not effective against these chaps, edges further towards the Wall of Fire and throws Glitterdust over the vamp he’s got good line-of-sight on.
That Vamp is at long range for Sandi’s Glocks; she quick-reloads the near-empty pistol and opens up on the nearest vamp, destroying it, then turns her attention to the next-nearest, chopping him apart as well; she falls back to Birkby and Hitch’s side of the gravestones they are among and since she has a couple shots left delivers a dead-accurate double-tap to the glittering vamp.
Cliff unlimbers his massive pistol – he needs to keep Maxwell’s Silver Hammer ready to use – and staggers the glittering vamp with a good shot.
The glittering vamp sprays rounds from a tommy-gun wildly – had Sandi not killed its fellow, the burst might have – and staggers in a small circle. Obviously Birkby’s spell has worked perfectly!
Unseen by our heroes, on each flank behind the Wall of Fire comes another vamp, swinging wide around the flames and looking to draw a bead! A third vamp has run within easy gunshot or charge range. Cliff has positioned himself to be the obvious target and the vamp fires at him, missing.
Hitch selects a maximised Magic Missile volley: finishes the blinded, glittering vamp with the first dart, then slams the remaining darts into the vamp that just fired. Dan throws a Turn at it as well, and it explodes into flame, burning and screaming until it disintegrates!
[Dan’s Burning Belief feat adds a touch of theatrical and painful fire!]
Q: Can Birkby see the gaseous form vampire approaching? (No Way!) 12 yes.
Birkby’s Darkvision has picked up a suspiciously approaching fog wisp and he alerts the others. Sandi delays, crouching in cover. Cliff falls back so that any vamp flanking around the wall on Dan’s side can’t get through to Dan or Hitch. He delays, Hammer in one hand pistol in the other. Around the Wall on that side races a vamp that springs upon Cliff, as he fires into it then slams it with the Hammer. The vamp connects in spite of the huge damage, fails to confirm a threat; but Cliff is once again drained of levels. The gaseous form drifts ‘onto the board’ and the final vamp, the one that summoned two groups, arrives making fast time in behind the vamp that just charged Cliff!
Meanwhile the other of the flanking vamps charges around the Wall, but runs into a barrage from Sandi, who has not been distracted. It explodes into dust.
Hitch finishes Cliff’s attacker with another MM dart. He has also picked up the newcomer behind it, but is really focusing on the gaseous cloud. The remaining four darts lance into the cloud.
Dan, who is now tucked well back by the flaming Wall, cannot see much, but preps a Faith’s Fury.
Round 6: as the remaining vamps hurl themselves forward they take Faith’s Fury, a raft of bullets, and various MMs and perish.
Chaos rises to 8.
Scene: the same
Charles joins the Peers.
“My doubts in ye are set to rest. This test was both of thy sinews and thy power. Ye have it in ye to do what no mortal in this world can: to take on the struggle for the people of this time.
“So I will advise ye. Ask what ye will.”
“I don’t suppose you can advise a bunch of restoration can you?” Cliff grumbles.
“Your phrases be strange, but if you mean, can aught be done to restore the ill wrought by demons, yes it can.”
Cliff feels a great deal better as his lost levels begin to return.
“Let’s break this down to simple, manageable tasks,” Hitch suggests. “We need to ration our strength, since a lot of what we rely on…” here glancing at Birkby, “is no longer available to us.
“Is this the work of the great vampire lord we know of as The Monk?”
“Is he here?”
“In this land? Aye. In this place? Nay.”
“Does he hide in, mmm, Springfield?”
“Nay, he rules in the land of the sedge river, you call Chicago.”
“These two years have gone bye since ill came first. Now the old vampire’s followers are strong, and as ye seen, are spreading their nests across this land. They seek places of foul deed and grievance, where dark summonings tear the curtain farther.”
“Would St. Vitellius’ Cup make a difference,” Dan wants to know. Charles seems a little unfamiliar with the concept but once it is explained, agrees that such a relic would greatly aid. As the questions peter out, he passes over a satchel crusted with dust and mildew, and wanders off, soon lost amidst the grey pre-dawn.
“So now we know. We find the Cup over in San Fran again, bring it here…”
“Defeat the Master…”
“And say! If we leave a note for Elliott or even Jack where he can find it in the campus, things could be different in the future!”
Chaos check 8, interrupt: 73 PC Positive. For who, d5, it is Cliff.
Meaning 37/96, struggle [for] the public.
A series of emulator questions draw out the key answers.
- Recover St. Vitellius’ Cup, currently thought to be in possession of a Russian refugee named Videnko in San Francisco
- Defeat The Monk in Chicago. Based on the dress and equipment of the greater vamps in Camp Butler, he has probably set up a Mob-style franchise.
- Restore the Campus, possibly by leaving a time-deposit letter to the Academy so that the bombings can be averted.
If the latter plan works perfectly, all of the disasters that have befallen the Academy and North America in the years of the second decade of the 21st Century can be averted.
“But where will that leave us?” wonders Cliff.