Savage Dresden

2.19 Romancing the Bloodstone

In which a fancy dinner party turns into deadly dinner theater

The PCs are at a high-class fund raiser at historical Monticello, sponsored by their patron, Albert Braun. The fund raiser is a distraction to allow the PCs to locate and retrieve the Bloodstone from a secret room in the top floor of Monticello.

Part 1
Marco & Claire are instrumental in the retrieval, carrying out a plan that Jack devised. Fuller performs surveillance from outside. Isaac acts as bodyguard to Braun and surveillance inside, and coordinates with the Monticello security staff.

Marco and Claire slip away during the formal tour and make their way upstairs to the famed room in the dome of Monticello. They enter the room and find that it’s warded against all otherworldly creatures. Not even Pip can enter. The room is a study filled with occult paraphernalia, further confirming what they read in Jefferson’s journal (see 2.17), that he was indeed part of a group of knowledgeable monster hunters. They soon find the secret chamber where the Bloodstone is hidden. Marco makes short work of the magical wards protecting the artifact.

With the Bloodstone in hand, the head back downstairs. Along the way, they run into one of the catering crew who seems to have been searching for them. Marco quickly captivates her with his roguish charm, and leads her off to distraction elsewhere. Claire has the Bloodstone and heads back to the party.

Outside, Fuller notices shadows moving through the trees and bushes surrounding the homestead. Black Court vampires have arrived on the scene.

Part 2
Because of Monticello’s historical status as THE home of the Founding Fathers, it has an intense magical threshold. Vamps can’t enter without invitation, but the wizards’ access to magic is severely hindered (-2 die sizes to Spellcasting). Fairies also cannot enter uninvited. Jack & Marco will have to go outside to fight at full power, but the bystanders will be safe if they stay inside.

The scene opens to reveal that the vampires are holding the building and party at a standoff. They are led by newcomer Samuel Gray. Selena explains that he is one of Budek’s ranking generals, come to finish the mission that Turlow started – retrieval of the Bloodstone. He is accompanied by the vampire dwarf, known as Nelson, whom the PCs encountered on a previous occasion.

Samuel demands the PCs hand over the Bloodstone or he’ll start killing people. To back up his threat, he has two of his followers fire on people in the house. Meanwhile, Isaac & security guards return fire. The security guards turn out to be ex-military as they shoot the vampires with expert marksmanship. One guard hits a vamp between the eyes. The vamp goes down only to stand up again next round. The guard freaks out and joins the crowd of bystanders.

The bystanders, at this point, have been gathered into the front room and are starting to panic. Detective Majors attempts to calm them with his authority, but it’s not enough. So Jack steps up and tries to use his stun blast to render them passive (and unconscious). Unfortunately his magic is severely hindered by the building’s threshold and his spell backfires, rendering Jack unconscious instead of the party guests. (The player who was running Jack for the night rolled a 1 on his spellcasting die, triggering a magical backlash. Ouch.)

Meanwhile, Marco is on the back patio with the serving girl he befriended last session. As they are flirting over a bottle of wine, they are approached by a very pretty woman who asks to join them. Marco is immediately mesmerized by the stranger’s beauty, but the serving girl is at first put off by the intrusion. However, she quickly succumbs to the woman’s unearthly charms.

When the woman suggests that they all go inside for a fresh bottle of wine, Marco comes to his senses and realizes that this woman is a vampire and that she’s using her mesmerism power to seduce him and the serving girl in order to get invited into the house. Before his companion can say anything damaging, like “Yes, why don’t you come inside with us,” he bashes the vampire in the head with the mostly empty wine bottle, distracting her long enough to drag the other girl into the house where they’ll be safe. The vampire gets furious and threatens them from the doorway before disappearing into the night.

Also meanwhile, Fuller (the satyr) has been carefully working his way toward the back of the house in hopes of getting inside with the team’s gear. He’s met by Pip, who was sent by Claire to find him. With Pip’s encouraging, Fuller overcomes his fear and makes it to the patio door, not long after the scene with Marco. Being a fey creature, Fuller can’t cross the threshold without an invitation. Fortunately, a boisterous couple was in the process of trying to escape the hostage situation and runs into Fuller at the door. Fuller manages to persuade the man’s wife to invite him in where he’ll be safe. Then the couple leave and are never seen again as they are slain off-camera by vampires.

Fuller finds Marco in the kitchen, talking excitedly with the catering woman. She has just revealed to Marco who she is – Leslie Hewitt, from the Circle of Thoth paranormal group. She just happens to be working for the catering company. Marco didn’t recognize her due to her different hair color and because she’s lost 20 pounds since he last saw her. As Marco and Fuller head toward the front of the house, they don’t notice Leslie pull out a video camera and begin documenting the events. She records the remaining events unimpeded because everyone is too busy to notice or do anything about it.

With Marco and Fuller now in the main room with everyone else, everyone’s focus returns to the stand-off. Samuel decides to ratchet up the threat level by lighting a Molotov cocktail and preparing to throw it into the front room. Remember, this is Monticello he’s threatening, never mind the 30 or 40 innocent bystanders in attendance. Before he has time to throw, the remaining security guard (being controlled by one of the players) shoots the bottle in his hand, further proving his expertise and setting the vampire leader aflame at the same time. (These security guys were just normal dudes, but every time the players had them act, they rolled astoundingly well.)

Samuel is just irritated by being set on fire and sets about dousing the flames as though it were but a minor distraction. He’s a badass. Meanwhile, he has his guys open fire again.
As all of this is unfolding, detective Majors loses control of the bystanders. They are scared and start to run off into the house. Fearing (knowing?) that once spread out, the bystanders will be fodder for vampiric manipulation, Claire steps up and cows the crazed crowd of Charlottesville elite into submission with her intimidating presence. She, too, is a badass.

Upset that the security guy stole his thunder by shooting the bomb before he could do so, Marco shoots Samuel in the head, doing massive amounts of damage that explodes the vampire’s head, killing him. (The player rolled so much damage that I really had no choice but to give him the kill-shot. I love Savage Worlds!)

At this point, I decide that the players have handled the situation very well, staving off the vampires at every turn. So we talk through the remainder of the situation, rather than play it out round-by-round (I love my players…they prefer story telling to dice rolling):

  • After Samuel’s demise, Nelson the midget vampire takes over command.
  • The PCs and their allies take the fight outside. Claire, the guard, and detective Majors are armed with super-soakers filled with holy water. Marco has revived Jack, who unleashes his fiery fury. Marco slings his magic and machete with equal effectiveness. It’s clear that the PCs will be victorious.
  • After the vampires are destroyed and driven off, Selena and Fuller use their persuasive personalities to convince the bystanders that this was all a dinner show put on by Braun, as part of the fund raiser event. Somehow, the group of innocents are convinced of this as truth, and everything is wrapped up nice and tidy. Except for the boorish couple who left the party in the middle of the attack. They are never seen again.
  • The PCs now have possession of the infamous Bloodstone, but is that a good thing? Even they wonder if they made the right decision in removing it from the heavily warded and secured cabinet. Time will tell…soon.

(GM Note: Despite having a short-handed group of players, and one of them being nearly incapacitated by medication, I thought the two of them did a very good job of dealing with the situation that I very crudely presented. They really did stay on top of the vampires’ threats and held their ground. They never allowed the vampires to gain an advantage and also kept the internal threat of the panicked bystanders under control, except for the one couple who were too stubborn to listen.)

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