Savage Dresden

2.22 Hostage Negotiation

In which the heroes rescue their boss and kill another vampire boss

Marco and Claire arrived at an upscale dinner party to find that Albert Braun, their patron, had been abducted by agents of the Black Court. They left a battered Selena Kyle to deliver their ransom message: the duo had until dawn to deliver the Bloodstone to the Black Court or Albert Braun would die.

With scarcely seven hours until the deadline, they didn’t have much time to prepare for a full-scale encounter. They sped home to prepare and called for support while en route. Detective Majors answered Claire’s call, and a female voice in the background let her know he wasn’t alone. Though he was clearly frustrated by Claire’s call, he promised to meet her near the rendezvous location. Likewise, Isaac agreed to meet them. Unfortunately, Jack was unavailable – the fire mage seemed to always be away on White Council business when his friends needed him most.

At home, Marco dedicated a few hours to prepping the Bloodstone. He succeeded in rigging it with a magical tracking device, but failed at his attempt to booby trap it against activation. The two spells left him drained and in need of rest.

The meeting was to take place at an old, abandoned textile factory. Charles and Isaac head for the roof and discover snipers already present. Majors enters the building with Claire, Marco, and Selena and takes up a position by the door to prevent their escape route from being cut off. Inside, they find a large factory floor crowded with a maze of machinery. Perfect for an ambush by the enemy.

Braun is tied to a chair in the center of an open area. He is bloodied, bruised, and unconscious. Nelson the vampire stands next to him and the two are flanked by a pair of vampires. Nelson begins negotiations by saying that things don’t need to get messy. All he wants is a simple trade. He asks to see the Bloodstone and Claire asks to examine Braun. Nelson accepts this as fair and Marco allows a third of Nelson’s minions to approach and look at the Bloodstone.

Claire moves up to examine Braun and determines him to be banged up but not seriously injured. And then, surprising everyone in the room, she lunges at Nelson in a full attack meant to kill. Nobody messes with her patron!

The factory vibrates with gunfire. Isaac, having made his way to the catwalks overhead, jumps a human sniper. He knocks the man over the railing to the floor below. A different sniper hits Majors, taking him out of the fight before the policeman has a chance to move. Marco and Selena dive for cover behind some machinery.

A few rounds later, Nelson is on the floor, subdued by Claire’s ferocity. The 100-year-old vampire is genuinely afraid of her. Selena has the Bloodstone and Marco and Isaac have killed or scared off Nelson’s goons, mortal and vampire alike.

Claire and Marco argue about killing Nelson. Marco wants him alive. They come to a bitter agreement that they still need info from him. Then Pip, who is vamped out from the battle, flies in to “help Claire in her moment of weakness” by killing Nelson herself.

Claire jumps in front of Pip and commands her to stop, but this only further infuriates the cursed pixie, who then moves to attack Claire! Marco is fed up with the situation and casts his fear spell. Pip succumbs to his magic and flees the building in a blind panic. Claire is unaffected but Nelson, already scared, wets himself.

Everyone takes a moment to catch their breath. Marco covers Nelson with his machete while Claire and Selena examine Detective Majors. He’s mortally wounded from the semi-automatic gunfire, but still alive. Claire summons her fairy healing power and heals the gunshot wounds. The holes in his chest and lungs knit closed and when the glow of her magic fades, not even a scar remains.

Marco, meanwhile, interrogates Nelson. Nelson laughs and repeats that he is just the middle man, but his boss is very close. He’ll gladly tell them all he knows, but first they must get through Borazzan. At that, one of the nearby dead vampires pushes himself up off the floor. As he rises, his form shimmers and shifts into that of a ghoul. Ghouls are physically powerful and ferocious denizens of the Nevernever and frequently hire themselves out as mercenary muscle.

Borazzan howls an insult at Marco then attacks with power and speed. But he didn’t count on Marco’s hair-trigger reflexes. The two characters deliver simultaneous deadly blows, leaving both surprised and severely wounded. Nelson takes advantage of the distraction and wraps himself around Marco’s feet with an iron grip borne of vampiric strength. Marco knows he doesn’t stand a chance against the ghoul if he can’t move. In a desperate attack, he soundly lops off the vampire’s head with his enchanted machete. The century-old vampire explodes into dust.

Seeing this, the ghoul, having nearly lost an arm in his first attack on Marco and then had dead rats thrown in his face by Charles (hiding up in the rafters), decides that there’s no point in further risking his life against foes as savage as himself. He remarks that with Nelson dead, he “won’t be getting paid for this job” so he flees through a nearby fire exit.

The heroes gather themselves and leave the scene. Isaac is jazzed because for once, he’s walking away without a scratch.

Later, back at the estate, Claire cleans up Braun, gives him a sedative, and puts him to bed. As she’s cleaning up in the bathroom, her adrenaline spikes and she runs back to Braun. Sure enough, she finds a faint pair of puncture wounds on the inside of his bicep. The bite was hidden by his shirt, meaning that the shirt was removed before Braun was bitten, then replaced.

Braun is now on his way to becoming a vampire of the Black Court.

GM note: This played out over two sessions and was our first big action scene in a long time. The PCs had a bit easier time than I expected, but who knew our newest PC would excel at using thrown-dead-animals-to-the-face as agility tricks? They were very effective at keeping the powerful ghoul off balance while Marco dispatched the vampire.

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