We're Not In Rome; EC17 Storyline Tournament Report
The kindred had come alone. She was certain now. The suit had no idea. He must’ve thought he was dealing with any random passer-by. After all she was keeping up with the second tradition. For now.
The alley was tidy, as they all were. The area between S-stops of Hansaplatz and Tiergarten was serene. Almost uneventful. The green was all around – trees, lush vegetation… All hiding places for all living things small and smaller, which pumped with energy and instinct. The alley’s serenity was deceitful. It appeared as such for the kine choosing to live there, and it was often the sole reason for their choice of habitation.
But it was anything but serene.
The small game – birds, rabbits, hedgehogs – shied away from the two humanoid shapes in the darkness by instinct.
Danielle was wondering where the suit had forgotten his.
“So you came”, he said.
“Of course. I suppose it goes by the tradition”, Danielle replied.
“It well does. Let’s make this brief unless you have questions. As we know, time is money. How long are you going to stay in Berlin?” he said.
“Oh, well, it really does depend”, Danielle replied with a sly smile.
“On what exactly?” he asked, growing impatient. He had lost his instinct. Somewhere between the paper piles, suitcases and laptops. He continued: “My master would rather have wanderers take shelter if they must, and keep on traveling. I can manage a temporary haven for you and someone to feed on before you leave. That is how we do things in here.”
“Well, that’s the thing, brother. I’m not exactly sure yet if I’m just visiting. Or settling”, she replied. “I know of the things that are going on about. I know you’re trying to keep them from sight, but people see when there’s trouble brewing.”
“What do you mean exactly?” he inquired, his voice tightening. He gripped his leather glove and refitted it. He was catching on, wasn’t he? It would make it more fun.
She took a better position, closing in on the fence and the suit, just barely. Making it look casual. The wildlife knew already what was coming. They knew. They kept hold of their instincts. Half of them had silenced or drawn deeper into the vegetation.
“I know of the rumours. I know what some believe. And I know it’s a ruse. As does your boss, I believe. He’ll be idiotic if he doesn’t. And he must know by now that there are many who would try to gain from the confusion and, well, anarchy, that will follow”, Danielle let out. It didn’t matter now, she knew.
“Miss, I do not know what you are talking about”, he said. That must’ve been his stiffest, most end-of-conversation tones. Not a hint of Discipline. He still didn’t want to invest in this routine meeting. Well. All the better. “I would rather you stated your name, so we could get on with the tradition, and get you on your way as soon as possible.”
“Nah”, Danielle sighed. “I think I decided to stay.”
“Miss, I’m afraid that my master will not comply with that. We do not house nomads. Rules are rules. Traditions will be kept. You know, as they say: ‘When in Rome—‘”
Danielle snorted, disrupting him. The animals knew. They had taken their leave seconds ago. A lifetime. The instincts. The drive.
What more, it wasn’t just the snort that disrupted him. It was the fling of her claws, tempered by blood. It was her nails, fingers, fists, borrowing their way through his suit, then his chest. No amount of undead fortitude could deny her claws digging, digging in, and taking a firm grasp of his pulsing heart.
She whispered in his ears, just before bursting his heart and digging her fangs into his neck.
“But brother. We’re not in Rome.”
The Ventrue laid on the ground, now a pile of ash. Wind hummed in the trees. The lush city of Berlin. So tidy, so green, so lush – so filled with life, so filled with food.
And the center of kindred politics for decades to come. She was about to make sure of it.
Danielle Diron looked at her outfit. She was drenched in blood. Damn. She always went overboard. Time to hit the haven. She was awaiting a message from Sweden. Her general would be coming in a week’s time. Danielle would need to make some ground work before she arrived.
Whoever was lunatic that claimed Caine’s visage was about to make a burning wreck of the whole of Europe. With all the kine tensions the continent was ripe. And from the ashes of that storm would rise a new order.
And the center of the battlefield would be her city. This city. And the lushness and life would burn in the forges of freedom.
1000km To Berlin
Danielle was early in town, she knew, but any later might have been too late. The agents of this so called Caine were slithering in every day, and had done so for some time now. The Ventrue kept vigil in the city, but they must’ve known by now that the streets would bleed before long and there was nothing they could do about it. Wilhelm Waldburg knew better. If he’d taken his agents to tighten his grip on the flow of kindred, the Ventrue would be taken to a fight too early. They’d have no chance.
That’s the Ventrue for you though. The calculative bastards. That’s what they knew how to do, that’s for certain. The Justicars would be coming in with their Archons. Danielle’s plan – and, well, only chance for her plans to work – was to let the Camarilla pitbulls take it out with the serpents, and whoever would be there on the streets to contest the streets. It would be crucial for no one to know that the Gangrel were there before they were all too weak to oppose them.
She knew how to deal with the rabbles. She knew the city. She knew how to slither past the political webs, and gain ground within the city. She had already done so with those left in neglect by the traditions. Not all loved the Ventrue in Berlin. Oh, hells – NO ONE liked the Ventrue in Berlin. Except those who profited. Not nearly everyone profits.
That alone would not do, however. Thankfully there was someone she knew by reputation that not just disliked the suits. She hated them. She loathed them. Her hatred towards the Ventrue was unfathomable, and, to be completely fair, Danielle had little reason to question the reasons for that malcontent. She didn’t care, really. All she needed was a general for the streets.
She had contacted the Valkyrie through the web. Her explanation and offer were straight on point. Take her forces down south, and see the Ventrue burn. Whatever compensation she would need, would be granted to her after the liberation of Berlin.
Her reply was prompt, and made Danielle smirk.
“I’ll do it.
But even best laid plans never survive the contact with enemy. She knew that. Danielle had made her preparations. The underworld was hers. If she played her cards right, the rabbles would rally behind her. A word here, another there, and an elaborate show of how the Archons would violently purge the streets of the alien snakes from abroad – no one would be safe from the Camarilla, the masters behind the shackles.
And with Brunhilde she would have a proper chance against the Archons. That was all that she could plan on. That was the best preparations she could manage. With ignition the city would be covered in chaos, explode into anarchy. With that as their cover they would move about, survive, observe, and seize whatever was left in midst of the flames.
And the rest they would have to improvise. As always.
Crypt (13 cards; Capacity min=1 max=8 avg=5)
1x Anarch Convert 1 Caitiff:ANY
1x Antonino 6 ani pre pro FOR Gangrel:3
1x Brunhilde 8 pre ANI FOR PRO Gangrel:3
1x Brunhilde ADV 8 pre ANI FOR PRO Gangrel:3
2x Danielle Diron ADV 7 aus cel chi for ANI PRO Gangrel:3
1x Danielle Diron 7 chi for ANI PRO Gangrel:3
1x Dr. Allan Woodstock 5 ani aus for PRO Gangrel:3
1x Gunnar 4 for PRO Gangrel:4
1x Jacob Fermor 5 ani tha PRO Gangrel:4
1x Robert Price 2 pro Gangrel:4
1x Sarah Raines 2 for Gangrel:3
1x T.J. 3 cel for Gangrel:4
Library (75 cards)
1x Anarch Free Press, The
3x Anarch Revolt
1x Antediluvian Awakening
1x Archon Investigation
1x Barrens, The
1x Carfax Abbey
1x Direct Intervention
1x Ennoia's Theater
1x Fear of Mekhet
1x Pentex(TM) Subversion
2x Tribute to the Master
1x Narrow Minds
2x Deep Song
1x Fee Stake: Seattle
2x Field Training
2x Loki's Gift
1x Open War
Political Action (10)
2x Consanguineous Boon
1x Conservative Agitation
2x Eat the Rich
4x Reckless Agitation
1x Codex of the Edenic Groundskeepers
1x Renegade Garou
1x Underbridge Stray
Action Modifier (13)
1x Cryptic Rider
2x Earth Control
8x Freak Drive
1x Monkey Wrench
1x Propaganda of the Deed
6x Friend of Mine
2x Claws of the Dead
4x Form of Mist
I really loved the story that kind of enfolded with the games of the Storyline in EC17, Friday. At least from my perspective - full of deception, turns, violence, struggle, and obfuscated personal objectives, it was all very WoD and vampirish.
With these details brought to your detail from a specific point of view, I'd like to feed something to the Story line maintainers. If any of these ideas would/could give inspiration to stories, insight into what happened on the ground level of Berlin chaos, or influence a card or something, I'd be glad. The tournament had enough potential for major plot twists.
But most importantly, it was excellent fun! Thanks for everyone I got to play with, and sorry I'm not going to credit you by name! You know who you are! Thanks for making such a cool Friday event.
Krausedit\\ If you remember playing in one of these games and would like to discuss the story, add to it, give something away from your perspective or anything, feel free to add a reply! My focus, as you see, is more on the basic ideas of the story that MIGHT'VE occured in there, less on the games themselves.
Join the storytelling fun! Let's make something out of this Story line.
> Danielle Diron
> Dmitra Ilyanova & Karen Suadela
> Epikasta Rigatos & Ellison Humbolt
“Will we start the fire?” Brunhilde asked.
“Yes. The fire rises”, Danielle answered.
As vampires of different origins and agendas started flooding the city, some on the streets and some on top of sky scrapers – some with lead pipes and guns on in their hands, some with speeches and pamphlets – it all exploded. The rumours of Archons stepping within city limits shook up the rabble, and the revolts put the city aflame from the first moments.
Dmitra, the first Justicar to arrive at the scene, underestimated the Tzimisce relic hunters to grave end. Her plans of purging the city ended abruptly. After her confrontation with the Tzimisce she was not heard from again. The Tzimisce were exceptionally keen on holding their ground in the city, with curious, ancient relics within their possession.
Unre must’ve been searching for the same set of relics, or knew much more of them than she probably would’ve wanted to share with the Tzimisce. They were relentless on her tracks, and she spied the danger just a tad too late. The Tzimisce intercepted her on her way to her cache of weapons and supplies, so she had to settle for fleeing. Without her tools of war she would be no match for her opponents and their ghoul lackies.
The newcomers, the weird alliance of Epikasta and Ellison, Toreador and Nosferatu, were having hard time keeping their act together with the anarchists on the streets. With little understanding of the ways of the crowds, they took a very direct, very aggressive stance at trying to unveil the Gangrel plot. More subtlety, more time, and an inch more to the left might’ve worked, but the pressure on them was just too much, and they took a lunge – and turned themselves into excellent scapegoats. With their undue aggression it was a trifle to instead accuse them of trespassing the first Tradition, and the Archons bought it gleefully. So much for that.
The relic hunt was something the Gangrel had not gotten news of previously however. Danielle had not taken that into account. It must’ve had something to do with that Caine’s visage -ruse. Maybe there WAS something to it… With better inspection to the Tzimisce’s caches, they found tablets of ancient power and knowledge. However, a closer inspection would not do, and to the Gangrels’ misfortune the Archons were not done yet. They confiscated the tablets, and took some of them for questioning. Brunhilde took it on her to rescure their people, but skirmishes with the Archons are not easy affairs. It would be a lie to say that she escaped unscathed, and would need to take quite some time to recover.
With Danielle left to deal with the escalating situation on her own, she was approached with an invitation for negotiations. Karen Suadela, now certain that that she would have no chance on her own, and with the torporized body of her clan’s Justicar to evacuate, had to get away. The Tzimisce were hot on her trail, smelling blood. On what terms would the Gangrel enable a steady foot on the grounds for the Brujah?
On none, Danielle decided. She made an offer though. With the unified forces of the Gangrel and Karen, they would press the war on the Tzimisce’s direction, and force them out of the area. This would steer the coast clear for the Brujah retreat. And only that – retreat, and commission of the turf for Gangrel supremacy.
The negotiations went on for quite some time, but eventually, the Brujah knew they had lost this battle. They struck the deal. The Brujah land was Gangrels’ and the Tzimisce were forced to reluctantly give way and take their relics with them. Unre, never having time to really grasp the situation, succumbed to the press of the anarchist revolts with the Toreador, now with a clear leader figure illuminated by the flames in the darkness: the one and only Baroness of Berlin.
Notes of the game:
- One of the best games I’ve EVER played!
- There was about 20 seconds on the clock when I passed the final turn with a Revolt on the table, and both other players on 1 pool. Bang, and a Bang.
- Ultimately my Prey decided, after probably 10 minutes of very heated (understandably) discussion that he would take the 1 of his KRC (on 1 pool), and I would back him on that vote as he killed his Prey. That resulted in 1 VP for him (probably all he could’ve gotten), 1 for me, and a game to win.
- Two Archon Investigations were played here! Ellison took a dive for 5 or 6 against me, and Brunhilde took the fall while taking a sweep with Codex of the Edenic Groundkeepers.
- To add to the chaos and devastation, the Antediluvians were awakening! I just couldn’t figure out how to write that in. Eventually the Tzimisce, with the Amulet that was made for the storyline, was sacrificed to keep the Elder Ones contempt. Super cool event, but couldn’t figure out how to write that in, as said. Maybe the Tzimisce and Unre were the only ones really aware of the ancient threat, probably lured in by the Visage spells or vast concentration of Kindred present…
> Aabbt Kindred Horde
> Lazverinus & Ladislas Toth
> The Wholesome of Lasombra Royalty
“You have the streets now, general. Keep them, hold them, for they are our strength and turf”, said Danielle, as she made her leave to conduct the second part of her plan. “Will they hold?”
“They’ll hold”, Brunhilde answered.
As they had predicted, the serpents were there. But the amount of them was what left them astonished. They were everywhere. Their aggression on taking the city was something no one could have anticipated. They were not only on to the Ventrue, but the whole of the city. They were in every corner – and they were strong, openly violating the First Tradition in their tough-as-nails serpent forms. Soldiers. And a single female figure leading them from the shadows.
Their open war on the Tzimisce (whatever what was their agenda here?!) was in full swing as Brunhilde led her forces deeper into Berlin. She would need to clear a way and establish control of the area, but—
What the hell?! Were they careless, or were the combined use of the clan Lasombra's obtenebration skills just superior to their vigil? Their assault on them was vicious and relentless. There was no moving forward to the embattled turf before the Lasombra were off their necks. Under siege, Brunhilde established defenses and attempted to locate from where, and why, they were picked off. A Gangrel here, another there, their resources were diminished. The connections, new local friends of theirs, Danielle had established prior to the chaos now really payed off as they were forced to get into hiding and under ground.
And that was when they were contacted by Lazverinus.
He never explained what his grief with the Lasombra was, but it seemed he had hunted them for his own reasons for quite some time. He warned that these Lasombra elders were not the only ones on the area. It was unfortunate that the Gangrel were caught in the middle of this mess. Brunhilde had little reason to hint at their reasons for being there. And there were no questions asked. Only a quick discussion and a decision to work together. The Lasombra had to go.
But no one should know. No one could get a hint of their alliance. The Lasombra were hell-bent on trying to rid the Gangrel out of their hiding places with one quick stroke, but there’s nothing as vicious as a cornered animal. They took positions and prepared for a long and hard-fought guerrilla skirmish. If word got out that the Gangrel were anything more than just stranded vagabonds they would become prime targets for everyone. The same went for Lazvernius.
So, the plan was for the Gangrel to survive no matter not. And the Ventrue archbishop would follow on their track, keep on getting closer and closer, a step at a time, shadowing the masters of shadows. Like carefully setting an object on an anvil in just the right angle and position before the hammer hits.
And a nibble at a time the trap was laid. And when the Lasombra, just shadows and a predator for the Gangrel, were all but spent in their frustration, the hammer hit. Lazvernius tore through their ranks like a hurricane.
Seeing their chance, the Gangrel stood up and raised their voices and arms from concealment and defense, and rallied the anarchists and low-life kindred and other allies they had found in sewers, alleys, riverbeds, and abandoned corners of Berlin, for one loud, reckless lunge. With the allied might of the Archbishop elder they first made the Lasombra flee, and with the same momentum took on the Setites and wrecked their defenses when they least expected.
The Tzimisce, not bothered by the Setites anymore, had vanished. Lazvernius, without another word of explanation, moved on in search of his prey.
The Lasombra were here. And they meant business. Their might was considerable, and tactics vicious.
The Setites plotted with the Caine’s visage. They were most likely the main conspirators. With such powerfully bred soldiers they would easily match the Archons, but they were losing ground as the revolts hindered their advance.
The Tzimisce held control of much of the city, but they seemed to have a very specific aim and goal – and that had something to do with those ancient relics and artefacts. They openly opposed the Setites, but for very different reasons most likely than the Ventrue. And they were loaded with ghouls bred and constructed for war. What exactly was on foot here?
And then there were the Ventrue, who were yet to show their faces. Danielle knew that they would be the last opponent to confront. Their ivory towers still stood.
The Archons were leaving the streets, and the Ventrue were plotting something. They let the Tzimisce and Setites draw blood openly, and still did not interfere, even though they were definitely suffering. Like a snake, waiting for its turn to strike all the while their enemies nibble parts of it.
Danielle sensed something was coming. Something they could not prepare for, not possibly. But with any luck, if they could just hold out and survive the inferno, the after party for that barbecue just might be theirs for the taking.
Brunhilde stayed silent, and glared in the direction of the Ventrue headquarters.
- A prime example on how team work is done. I really have to thank everyone here for co-operation.
- The Swedish style G2 Lasombra was by far, and easily, the best deck there. A by-the-book example of how the oppressors are taken out with strategy and vigilance.
- Lazverinus kept on bleeding for 1 for the whole game, as we agreed at the very beginning, even though it must’ve been frustrating as hell with bouncing into the Lasombra’s pool gain of two or three sets of Ashur Tablets being played.
- Nibbles of 1, Anarch Revolts and Narrow Minds kept on nibbling the Lasombra out. Even a single govern bleed or anything more than 1 might’ve killed me right there because of the bounce. I took something like 14 pool damage in in one of the starting turns.
- We had my two vesseled minions on constant hunt duty and Friends of mine did plenty of work in keeping me alive.
- Even our crosstable went on with the plan! The setites bled for one, the tzimisce hunted – and let us do our thing.
- Eventually the oppressor was ousted (I killed him eventually backwards with a Reckless), and Lazverinus was gratious enough to give me a VP from the Setites with another Reckless as well.
- Thankfully the Swede playing the Lasombra was such a sport as well, and said he did enjoy playing the ‘bad guy’ and watching us slowly and purposefully try to take him out with the two (sometimes three) of us.
> The Ventrue
“When you’re forced to decide between allegiance and ambition, what will you choose?”
The kindred wars are curious business. They are not fought in broad daylight. They are not fought with detachments, regiments or bombardments. They are not fought with panzers or bombings.
The kindred artillery are war ghouls. Their fighting units are duos of supernatural killers. Their maneuvers are alley runs and rooftop shadows. Their skirmishes are fangs and claws. Their weapons of mass destruction are their supernatural powers.
And flames of war for them are kindles of mere unrest to the kine.
Anything more would result in the utter devastation of the whole world of darkness.
This is the fact the First Tradition of Camarilla was made to address. But even if a kindred would not bow to the Traditions, even those of the Sabbat and anarchists and all other sects and allegiances understand this reality.
The streets of Berlin bathed in kindred blood. The proverbial flames of war tore the underworld of the German capital apart, and its rebuilding would take a decade. And the human world gasped at the spree of mild unrest the nightlife of Berlin faced.
For many kindred the year of 1993 in Berlin was a battle of life and final death.
The local underworld could tell them as much that there was little left of the original nightlife on the streets. Whatever Danielle and Brunhilde would find in there would be on war path. The Tzimisce searched for something; the Ventrue had stepped up, and hid all around the city with their hosts of bodyguards, having abandoned their previous havens and ivory towers for the safety of exile.
The factions were set, allegiances made, and the hunt would begin. All they’d need to do was to seek out the Ventrue elders’ hideouts, set their world aflame a haven at a time, and rebuild from there.
Brunhilde had only one condition. Their cohorts were of no importance, and were free for killing, but the elders would need to go through her first. She would need to question each and every one of them. After she found what she was looking for, she said, it was of no importance what happened to them. Let the bastards burn.
Danielle’s plan exactly.
They hit gold at first try. Their leads lead them closer and closer to Arika’s hiding place. A tough bitch to crack. But doable. But as they made their move for the streets, the first agents mustered for Berlin’s final defense faced them. The malkavians were, as all knew, out of their minds, but at least in their own unfathomable way they worked usually for their own benefits.
These poor bastards hit them hard and face on, with little regard to their own safety. As if they were reprogrammed to hit any adversary they met, like sentries. Their already devastated minds conditioned, probably beyond recovery, were doings of a master. They managed to capture a lesser malkavian. Many others eluded them, and hit straight for their allies, the former brothers and sisters sharing the city. And in the eyes of the poor bastard wiped of memory and comprehension of their former self they witnessed terror. The malkavian managed to utter phrases of a shadowy beast, an unconditional master. The tortured soul told tales of lashing wisps of pure and utter darkness, against whose will there was no resistance.
And he came here to burn it all down. The ultimate purge. A final answer in case the situation got out of hand. And, it seems, it had.
They put the poor bastard out of his misery. A worthless childe unworthy of the unlife anyways, and beyond recovery most likely. But Danielle could not help but feel proud of their work. This lord of darkness might be just crazy ramblings of a malkavian mind, but she sensed there was some truth in it. And if they were really going in for a grand purge, whatever it meant, it meant that they had done something right.
Lord of Obtenebration
Arika had already left, vanished from the city. They found her haven in shambles, remains of her cohort butchered, but no sign of the Ventrue elder herself. And then the news hit them. The purges began from Spandau area. The kindred who had offered them aid and protection now scrambled to them asking for help. Their sewer homes were raided and bombed. No one knew by whom.
Neuköln and Pankow were hit simultaneously just the following night. Come dusk not only city lights but flames lit the cloudy night sky. The havens were aflame. The self-proclaimed leaders of the anarchist uprising were now confronted with the survivors of calculated and coordinated strikes against any probable hiding place they could house themselves.
And then it reached the gangrel. At first their path towards the next Ventrue haven was blocked. Then shades about them blocked their way backwards. And soon they found themselves surrounded, with panicking kindred they had tried to conscript earlier now in their way more than as their aid. Danielle cursed.
Then the lord of darkness descended upon them. The ancient lasombra wielded his tenebrous power with unyielding efficiency, blocking any means of escape. The gangrel would be the next on the purging list, a mere nuisance, an item on a list of duties A list of death.
They scattered, Danielle and Brunhilde trying to keep their lieutenants together as the purgers closed in. The battleground was lit aflame. In the chaos, with way too many kindred to organize in defense, they were separated. Danielle ran down the alley, took a turn trying to avoid dark silhouettes he glanced in front of her, sensed shadowy lurkers just behind her, climbed the pipe to the rooftops – and stopped in front of darkness darker than anything. It had an unrecognizable form of a man.
“So what, are you the queen rat of this vermin?” it’s voice boomed without a hint of appreciation. “Convenient.”
Danielle mustered her senses and instincts, and focused. The tenebrous images clouded her sight, but her other senses were still with her, as long as she let them flare instead of succumbing to terror in front of this super naturality. She could smell it. It had a physical form. If it bleeds, it could be killed.
“Who are you?” she screamed at the darkness.
“They know me as Montano, and I was summoned to purge this city of filth. Filth much more dangerous than you. But you are in my way. You make my work difficult. Much more difficult than I would like. Stand down, vermin”, it answered with a demand.
“More dangerous? Are you talking about that ruse that’s called Caine’s Visage? Or the tzimisce?” Danielle demanded. She needed a bit more time to fully understand the situation. And knowledge about how to confont this enemy.
“You are not of the privilege to know”, Montano replied. “Will you stand down?”
“Like hell”, she spat, and focused her blood. Her hands lengthened into claws, her mastery of protean turning he nails into diamonds.
As she took the lunge towards the darkness, she was confronted not with the silhouette of the man, but a tentacle of darkness. It’s power was unyielding, and it hit her in the chest. The strength of the impact lifted her from her feet, up, up to the air. It seems like seconds in mid-air, with no gravity, feels like minutes, even to those that have lived centuries. The impact against a roof broke a rib, and her frame in turn broke the structures of the warehouse roof. She fell through and crashed in the midst of wooden crates. The papers in storage softened he drop only slightly.
She had to take her time before rising from wreckage. She smelled smoke. The house was about to be caught by the flames. She couldn’t hear the human fire department yet. Something was wrong. It must be because of the purge. Someone was meddling with the kine infrastructure. The potency in her blood started its work in repairing the damage in her body that would’ve killed any mortal. Her fortitude healed her body fast, but way too slow for comfort. Legs first. She needed to get up. She needed to keep moving.
And then the door cracked and slammed open. A figure stood in the opening. Her eyes glanced quickly through the room, and found her target. The lasombra paladin recognized Danielle, and sprinted towards her. She was about to finish her task quickly.
Blood rushed through Danielle’s undead body. Her feet worked. The knife was meant for her head. Rather it scratched her neck. Too close. Aurora van Brande’s mistake was not considering the potency of fortitude in clan gangrel’s blood, and their recovery time. Danielle’s claws, still bestial in appearance, drove themselves inside her opponent’s guts powered by the impetuous lunge Aurora took. She flinched, struggled for a few seconds, and gave in to aggravated damage that made a bloody mess of her organs as Danielle clutched her guts and ripped them out from her belly. The lasombra paladin fell on the ground unmoving.
Danielle stood, and limped for the door, and the smoky alleys. She was drenched in blood, half of it her own, half of it her opponent’s. The houses kindled around her. She took a few turns trying to find a way to get to higher ground. She’d need to re-evaluate the situation. It was getting out of hand real quick.
And after the next turn she saw her general facing the mass of shades. They were discussing.
“Brunhilde! What the hell are you doing?” Danielle demanded. The two turned to face her.
“Your general has informed me of her wish to meet with the prince”, Montano’s voice echoed in response, thick and deep.
“What the fuck?” Danielle asked. She looked Brunhilde in the eyes.
“Do you know where the Ventrue are?” Brunhilde demanded in her stoic tone.
“Don’t we have the info?” Danielle said.
“Bullshit info. It’s old news. You know it by now. Things have changed”, Brunhilde said.
“I told you I’d give them to you”, Danielle said.
“And you know you cannot deliver that promise anymore”, Brunhilde replied.
“And I can”, Montano complemented.
“No”, Danielle whispered.
“It’s over, Danielle”, Brunhilde said. Was there a hint of compassion in there in her tone? Most likely Danielle just wished so. There was none.
“What about the revolution?” Danielle screamed at her face. Brunhilde shrugged.
“It would’ve been convenient. We were pretty close too, don’t you think?” Brunhilde said. The flames burst the glass windows of the nearest building. It was in inferno. The flames were hardly proverbial anymore.
“He bleeds. I could smell it. Take him on now. We can kill him. Montano!” Danielle yelled, making herself believe there was a chance still. She burned blood to recover for one last lunge and fight.
“Hardly”, Brunhilde said, and turned her head. And so it was final. She looked at Montano with deep intensity. “Take me to him.”
And the building collapsed into a fiery storm of sparks, flames, heat and rubble. Danielle took a step back. And another. She turned, and slowly her shambling steps turned into a sprint. As far away from Berlin as possible.
The chains on her wrists and ankles were reinforced, her shackles impenetrable, and her body drained. The bag over her head blinded her. But she heard. She smelled.
The other voice was Montano’s. The other unknown. But she smelled Ventrue blood. She heard the repulsive smugness in his voice.
“The revolts are done for.”
“I’ll leave the clean up for you. That is what you do. Prince of the city.”
“Just so. What a mess. The serpents were trouble enough. I wonder what would’ve happened if those rodents could’ve gotten further. Still, I wonder if we went overboard.”
“That is not my concern. The Traditions are upheld. My debt is fulfilled.”
“Fair enough. Then there’s still the problem with the tzimisce…”
“Your problem. Not mine. They might get on track with the issue, but at least it’s cleansed from this part of Europe. With the problems in Czechoslovakia—“
“There’s no such thing anymore. The world changes.”
“—with the problems, they might find refuge in there. The ravnos might take them in, and the tzimisce cannot keep their power up what with the revolution.”
“Might be. They got what they wanted from here though, didn’t they?”
“I do not know.”
“They are still within the city however. We will agree that your jurisdiction ends here. The tzimisce are our problem.”
“That is what I said.”
“Agreed, agreed. So. Is that your new pet?”
“I will not have that beast within my domain. Stake her, take her far away from here, and toss her into an ocean somewhere. For her crimes against the princedom of Berlin she is hereby banished from here.”
“Is that official?”
“As official as it gets. I AM still the prince in here. You took the traditions for your own. Will you comply with them?”
“With this… I will. The keeper of the domain has the final say.”
“You would not settle for a final death for her?”
“That sounds final. So be it. So, the tzimisce—“
“Some of them fled. They are those who matter. I will continue with my pursuit. The rest are either a decoy, or unruly enough to think they might have gain a stand here. If they do or not, I do not care. That is, as I said, your problem.”
“My city burns.”
“My ways are unconditional. The Purge is absolute. You knew the terms.”
“So I do.”
“I will leave now.”
“Take the bitch with you.”
Last thing Brunhilde knew was how a stake was hammered through her heart.
My paladin is gone. I'm not done with you yet.
Notes of the game:
- Well, I personally did some mistakes with who to bring up and when. Mistakes in a final kill you.
- Arika was eaten by Mekhet early. Montano raped and purged the malkavians. They did lunge at me first though, and weakened me enough.
- With Brunhilde graverobbed after the purge I just didn’t have enough blood to play my Friends that stacked my hand. The stacked at the right time, but here come the mistakes – with a few different actions I wouldn’t have ran out of blood.
- Wilhelm Walburg took Arika’s place and banished Brunhilde after she changed sides.
- With such a strong deck on the table, you’d need to gang up on them to survive. Too bad we drew just the wrong cards as a team, and the Ventrue (having lost hope at that time perhaps) allied with Montano in desperation.
- Those decks die when killed (‘till they’re dead), but you need to get the stuff up real fast.
- The Ventrue and Tzimisce took a last stand, but it didn’t really matter – with Montano being top seed and getting his oust from me just before dying he won the final table no matter what.
- A real duo of gentlemen they did finish the duel just in time!
Hope you enjoyed!
So, there were some pretty memorable instances in there! Many things could make for cards, and since Lasombra won the tournament, there might be something in store for them. Who knows.
But from what I saw I'd love to suggest these two cards as storyline rewards, if you guys would like to consider them (even based on this one event).
Amulet of the Ancients
Art: Terrence (G2 Cap4) holding the amulet, obviously empowered, facing an adversary confidently
This Tzimisce, Harbginger of Skull or Follower of Set gets +1 level of all of their disciplines, and action cards requiring disciplines cost them 1 less blood. Any minion can steal this card as a action; Followers of Set and Bane Mummies get +1 stealth on that action.
Someone correct me if it WASN'T Terrence in my first game, where Petri played the Tzimisce with the story line amulet! It was pretty effective and pretty cool. The tzimisce were there for the whole of my story line experience, and every time in cross table. Thank god, I don't know how well I could've dealth with those War ghouls and Abansomes. Anyways, I thought that it would've been cool to give some longevity to the story line cards, and maybe reward the tzimisce for their hard work. Unre was the keeper of ancient lore in the first game, and probably would know how to work the amulet as well.
Fee Stake: Berlin
Art: What do YOU think was the most memorable event in the story? I'd need to think a bit about this.
Requires a ready anarch with capacity above 4. +1 stealth action. Title.
Put this card on the acting anarch to represent the unique anarch title of Baron of Berlin. This may lead to a contested title. This anarch gains +1 bleed when bleeding a methuselah controlling a ready Ventrue . Any vampire can call a referendum to burn this card as a +1 stealth political action. In that referendum, non-anarch titles are worth 1 fewer votes. If the vampire calling that referendum is Lasombra and the referendum is successful, this anarch goes to torpor.
This is pretty self explanatory to be honest, and reflects the storyline events. It follows the basic templating for fee stakes, and doesn't exactly offer anything spectacular to the game. Rather fun extra events and reflections on what happened in Berlin 1993 to the gangrel.
And thanks to everybody who played in the finals making it a game to remember!
Here is what I can/could add to Petrus' ideas
Montano HATES the Anarch movement for what it did to clan Lasombra. This might have already been enough of an “incentive” to him to investigate in Berlin, but since “Antediluvian Awakening” was played in two games, especially in the finals, there must have been something only the eldest vampires can be aware of. The latter might be the reason for the Ventrue coming to terms with Montano: Well, Montano destroyed the Pentex Subversion on Arika (for no reason at first sight), she took care about the “Antedivulian Awakening”, the Ventrue could reassure their rule over Berlin at the very end. Did someone notice that Marcus Vitel, who possesses Obtenebration, did much of the clean-up? B)
There were a lot of Gangrels around. But they were not united. I could not have made the gamewin at my first table if they had been. Xaviar warned them again and again in detail what would happen if Montano were to pursue his mission. Maybe if Mimir had not been late (he showed up after the Purge), maybe if the young Gangrel (antitribu vote deck) had not forgotten their “Old Friends”. But when the shadows had done their whisperings, Xaviar betrayed Danielle Diron (diablerie, and he agreed on the Blood Hunt on himself), Harry Reese’s mind was empty and Mimir without clue how to track down his enemies one by one (missing rush cards and choosing the wrong targets). And in the end (in the finals) Brunhilde changed sides openly …
Of course, a lot of Followers of Set were there. But Nakhthorheb (game 1) was too slow to escape the shadows (after having made some minor deals with them). Kemintiri (game 2) was helpless and so confused that she initiated a Purge herself, and Count Jocalo could see what was coming (through his special text) but was helpless against it because minor shadows hunted him down. (Two of those mid-cap Lasombra went to follow their true master in the course of the game.)
Only the Toreador (antitribu) Anarchs could stand their ground (using the powers of the “Heart of Nizchetus”, which was finally stolen in a desperate out-of-turn “Mind Rape” by Montano action using “Daring the Dawn” to succeed).
To me, the decisive 10 minutes in the finals was the one turn (maybe after 45 minutes) in which Montano (having a “Lear Jet”) did (almost) everything he could do: Bleed (getting the “Enkil Cog”), govern down, play “Mind Rape”, summon a Nocturn, even call a vote (which was denied), finally play “Berlin’s Purge” ^^ and wait.
If I were to ask for a gift to the Lasombra (not that they would need it), it could be something like “Sleep Unseen” using Obtenebration, maybe only for vampires with capacity of 8 or more. It could be called “Protective Shadows”.
And maybe there should be a “Wilhelm Waldburg advanced”, since he was able to protect his city.
National Coordinator Germany
Toreador Prince of Darmstadt, Heart of the Jugendstil