Richard Mc’Andrew, Victorian Vampire

   Today, continuing with the “unearth the old stuff” impulse, it’s Captain Richard Mc’Andrew, a character from back when that shiny new Vampire: The Masquerade first edition book had just come out – and the fellow running the game decided to mix in a bit of Call of Cthulhu because that one book really didn’t give him as much background as he wanted to work with.
   Personally, I mixed in some Space: 1889, simply because I thought it was funny.
   Oddly enough, a fair amount of the goings-on translated tolerably well into the expanded world-of-darkness terms, which was done a few years later when Mc’Andrew got hauled out again for another game. Since that’s the file I’ve run across, it’s the one you’ll find below. You’ll also find a new discipline, assorted equipment packages, and various other things.

   Captain Richard Mc’Andrew, Knight-Commander of the Order of the Bath, holder of the Victoria Cross, Royal Academy of Science (presumed lost), was born in India, 1869, of scottish parents. His father, Jacob, was one of the many administrators working for Queen Victorias foreign office. Richard spent his early childhood in India – absorbing a curious dose of oriental mysticism to go with english schooling. Returning to England at 10, he soon came to be regarded as eccentric.
   Young Richard Mc’Andrew first came to the attention of the Academy at 16 – when he invented the “Reactionless Etheric Thruster” – a considerable improvement on the older Edison Etheric Propeller. Over the next few years, Richard’s experimentation on the family estate, and later on board his own interplanetary ether flyer, produced numerous advances. The lightning-cannon, an electromagnetic distorter system, a practical gravatic polarizer, and transparent aluminum. His final project was the attempt to exceed the critical velocity of the etherflow.
   Fueled by its solar boiler and the battery reserve, the Wanderer hurtled through interplanetary space. A boiling distortion of the light beyond marked the bowwave and etheric wake in a rippling cascade. The ether compressed in a shockwave of near-solidity, as the air had once limited the speed of planes. Other ships had lost power long before this. but the distorter field let him continue to tap the sun’s energy. The virtual thruster was failing as the critical speed approached, but his hand was already pressing the lever that would fire the rockets. Terrible strains ripped through the ship as reality twisted. An unprecedented shockwave rippled out across space-time as, in a blast of light, the Wanderer – vanished.
   On board, Mc’Andrew convulsed as the internal fires of a reality shift raged through him. Damaged, power failing, the Wanderer hurtled towards Terra’s orbit as Richard clung to consciousness – and to minimal control. If he got within detection range a boat from the Royal Navy’s Lunar Base would pick him up. He made it. He nursed the ship into orbit before losing consciousness – and awoke two days later. No one came. He couldn’t even spot the base.

   As far as he could tell, there was no one on the moon at all.

   Presuming that there had been some sort of disaster on the moon, Richard began jury-rigging repairs. It took a week before he could maneuver enough to shift orbit to get a good look at the base – and found nothing. It took weeks more before he could attempt a landing, and found no evidence that the base had ever existed. That left him with a mystery – and with no alternative save to hope that his repairs would hold up through a rough landing on earth on partial thrust. He laid his course for his English estate.

   The landing was rough, but survivable.

   The estate was in a shocking state, and the world was worse. Everyone said it was decades later – that the British Empire had never ruled the solar system – that he was absurdly deluded. In his shock, Richard wasn’t really capable of arguing. Nevertheless, he knew who he was – and what had happened to him. The Malkavians thought it was a most charming delusion.

   They were wrong.

   Richard does seem a bit crazy. The embrace was one hell of a shock – as well as a terrible strain. Fluent in 23 of India’s 200+ languages, he tends to revert to his childhood speech patterns under stress (that’s all the time basically), is far more absent-minded then he used to be (and that was bad enough), and tends to bring along a lot of odd gadgetry whenever he goes anywhere. These days he mostly presents himself as an inventor and physician, making his money through patents. He has made a few contacts here and there. Looking for data, he’s willing to “treat” anyone, including at least two werewolves over the past few years.
   Richard had some difficulties adapting to “life” as a vampire. Still, it did give him the power he needed to reclaim “his” estate – and to build a hidden hanger for his ship. He turned his energies to investigating the nature of vampires and other supernatural types with some success, combining India’s study of the seven primary Chakra with bioenergy analysis and “modern” technology. While Richard kept most of his research to himself, he still became noted as an expert on the “occult”.
   His first triumph was the Auric Replicator – a device that could scan the energy patterns of a vampires body, and use that scan as a pattern to “align” another vampires spinal chakra. He used it to “promote himself” from eleventh to eighth generation (well, he bought that during character generation and this is his backstory: who knows if it will ever work again?). Not being stupid, he’s got some idea of what an upheaval this would cause – and has been keeping this secret strictly to himself. He’s less secretive about the fact that he employs some odd devices, but most of the few who’ve seen anything tend to chalk it up to being a Malkavian.

The Chronicle:

   Primarily set in Chicago, the “Convergence” loosely “spiraled around” the activities of a group of Ancilla who’d found a power source to back their rebellion against the local prince – and possibly to stand against Antediluvian’s themselves. The outer gods. Most of the Kindred – as well as most of the other inhabitants of the “world of darkness” – refused to credit such an idea in time.
   Jason recognized their activities. The prince sent for Richard (as an authority on supernatural monsters) after the first few creatures showed up – and Cergor got roped into playing bodyguard.
   Sylvia simply decided to come along.
   Despite some initial conflicts, the group gradually gained influence and allies, even managing to gain a few friends among the younger garou, who approved of Elder Gods even less then they did of vampires. Despite an attempt by the enemy Ancilla to break things up by embracing some werewolves, things were moving along well when the original game closed down. Oh well.
   Some details from this period can be found at the end of the post.

Original Character Setup:

  • Attributes: Str 2, Dex 3, Sta 3, Chr 2, Man 2, App 2, Per 3, Int 5, and Wits 2.
  • Talents: Athletics 2, Brawl 1, and Dodge 2.
  • Skills: Drive 2, Firearms 3, Melee 1, Repair 4.
  • Knowledge: Computer 2, Finance 1, Investigation 1, Linguistics 1, Medicine 2, Occult 5, and Weird Science 5.
  • Disciplines: Bloodbinding 3.
  • Backgrounds: Generation 5, Resources 5, and Herd 1.
  • Virtues: Conscience 3, Self-Control 4, Courage 4
  • Humanity: 8
  • Willpower: 5
  • Freebie Points: Repair 4 (2), Weird Science 5 (4), Resources 5 (5), Herd 1 (1), Courage 4 (2), and Humanity 8 (1)
  • GM Changes: Auspex 1, Occult +2 – and “Gadgetry” 1. Richard is apparently known in at least some, vampire circles as an expert on the occult and supernatural “monsters”.

Special Notes:

  • The group gradually acquired a variety of benefits; Allies, Contacts, Influence, and a bit of Status – but all of this was basically limited to Chicago. Oh well.
  • Mc’Andrew predates the “official” Merits and Flaws, but Higher Purpose (Driving back the Cthulhu Mythos and/ or Paranatural Studies), Eat Food – and possibly Code Of Honor (Victorian Gentleman) might be appropriate. Some appropriate flaws might include Intolerance (Thugs and “Rednecks”), Prey Exclusion (Research Scientists, and/or Children), and Enemies (Cthulhu cultists or creatures, 2-3 points).
  • GM Changes were the GM’s way of fitting a character into the chronicle. He assigned the character twelve points worth of abilities, but withheld the characters first six points of “experience” to pay for them. You got them at “half price” simply because you didn’t get to pick them.
  • “Gadgetry” is an ability related to Science and Weird Science knowledges. It determines how many “personal”, unique gadgets the “user” may haul along. (The GM came up with this one simply to keep things under control). Note that the inventor can have lots of other stuff at home, but most of it will be unperfected, partly disassembled, too bulky, or otherwise unsuitable for use in the field. “Gadgetry” does not cover anything that you can get with money from commercial sources. Characters must, however, take at least one “dot” in this ability if they wish to make regular use of some weird invention of someone else’s creation. They’ve got to learn how to use and care for it.
  • Derangement; Mc’Andrew suffers from an inability to accept reality. He simply isn’t capable of handling the fact that this isn’t his world – and never was. He believes that some bizarre disaster or vast conspiracy or machination of the outer gods has warped Terra, and the rest of the solar system as well. During his more reasonable periods he realizes that “he’s the only one who remembers” – but most of the time he forgets it, and tends to question people about what happened or mutter bizarre comments. He does tend to get discouraged, and quit asking, if people persistently deny knowing about “the disaster”.
    Mc’Andrew has other “quirks”. He tries to analyze and/or cure almost anything and anyone, considers himself “human” – if with an odd disorder – and hates having to get involved in (or worse, start) a serious fight.
  • Nature; (Mad) Scientist. The scientist has a theory for everything, usually leading to some sort of gadget or experiment. According to the scientist, everything can be understood, no matter how complex or obscure it may be – and it’s his job to figure it out. Scientists have endless curiosity and enthusiasm – no matter how impractical their ideas turn out to be. Scientists may regain a point of willpower whenever they propose a reasonable-sounding new theory – or can explain how something fits into or can be accomplished through an old one. Alternatively, they can also get a point back when they discover something new or can get someone else to participate in an experiment. True mad scientists – those suffering from a derangement – also get one for spectacular, funny, or “running-gag”, acts of absent-mindedness. (Given how hard it is to come up with a new theory, the alternatives seemed needed. As usual, they’re all strictly under the GM’s control).
  • Demeanor; Architect or Visionary. Sadly, Richard’s bizarre concept tends to override other impressions.
  • “Weird” Science covers normal science at -2 levels.

Old Acquaintences:

The Brood / PC Group:

  • Cergor: A gangrel “killing machine”, he apparently has a high level of Celerity, and some skill in Protean, Potence, and Fortitude. A weaponsmaster and master martial artist, Cergor hung around the “brood” in the shadows, and occasionally popped out to kill something, several somethings, or a couple of dozen somethings. It never seemed to matter very much. He liked to view himself as an ultimate predator.
  • Jason Varr: Ex-policeman, cthulhoid investigator, and minor cthulhoid mage, Jason possessed some ability at Dominate as well as a variety of “spells”. He was very reluctant to employ summonings or major magics, but he was willing to use a variety of the minor bindings and invocations (most of these cost a willpower point). He was noted for his battle cry; “I’M REALLY NOT ENJOYING THIS!!!” (Ordinarily accompanied by the sound of full- automatic weapons fire). His favorite “spell” let him to keep incredible amounts of gear in his pockets, including some weapons that couldn’t possibly fit into a pocket. He was also fond of his “Ignite” spell – and the dismissal spells. Jason tended to view himself as a dark hero, and would take considerable risks to protect “innocents”.
  • Sylvia Durnwich: Dancer, stage actress, hypnotist (a skill only – but being a vampire seemed to enhance it quite a bit) and “Spiral Weaver” (something that was later formalized as an exotic thaumaturgy path, see the previous post). She was apparently pretty good at Presence as well. Sylvia was a Toreador – and was by far the most “politically” active (and astute) among the group.

NPC’s:

  • Tzin Chin: An elderly oriental – and apparently a vastly powerful spirit-traveler and telekinetic. We never found out if he was a genuine ghost or if he did have a body somewhere. Tzin was apparently engaged in collecting a variety of ancient arcane items – as well as in some conflict with the elder vampires. He showed up as a guardian at a Shinto shrine once, but this may have been a ploy. Tzin apparently couldn’t be killed – but he could be temporarily disrupted, and had a limited “power supply”. There were some areas he couldn’t manifest in as well. He seemed to find Sylvia and Richard quite interesting for some reason.
  • Mayland Long: An extremely wealthy businessman and scholar, Mayland was a prime subject for manipulation. It didn’t work. He threw Jason out of his office – and beat the hell out of Cergor (with his bare hands) when Cergor tried to break into his house and intimidate him. His aura “said” that he had a soul of air and fire. We had to work around him that time. He acted as an ally during a conflict with some mages later on, and gave a badly-damaged Jason four “points” of his blood – which apparently translated into a twenty-point blood pool and one point in the Animalism discipline. Mayland isn’t a vampire, werewolf, or mage, but the characters thought he might be a faerie. Actually, given the name, I’m familiar with the GM’s probable source; a novel called Tea With The Black Dragon.
  • The Hand: This was some sort of ninja cult, which apparently used alchemy and vampire blood to give it’s members various powers. Slaying one vampire provides enough to induct five new members who’s precise powers depend on the quality of the blood used. Thus the Hand usually goes after Ancilla and Elders. While members are rarely as strong as an average Neonate, they know just what they’re doing and work together. They only appeared once – but that was quite bad enough.
  • Talasien: Richards “Mentor”, a powerful elder who has maintained his interest in the world by becoming a hopeless techno-tinkerer and computer hacker. One of the few the group could convince about the Elder gods (see below), Talasien took the “coordinators” role, as well as becoming a superb source of information. Talasien loves synthesized music, remotely-operated robots – and the challenge of setting up identities, paperwork, and similar nonsense, via fax and modem. Sadly, he always seemed more of a game-master shortcut than a “character”; he never displayed enough of a personality to make himself worth remembering.

   The Wanderer: These days, the wanderer is usually disguised as a double-wide “mobile home”. It somewhat resembles one in any case – at least in general size and shape – and a little work on the outside and judicious use of the distorter field covers the remainder. The solar mirror now doubles as a satellite dish. Other recent additions include UV-shielding on the portholes, a lot of “modern” (integrated-circuit) communications gear and instrumentation, an upgraded medical lab, and a superb computer system. As Richard’s not much of a decorator, this is a definite jarring note amid the classical, if cramped, Victorian furnishings and decor. The laboratory is a rather extreme example. The wanderer is equipped for a captain, a valet, and up to four passengers and/or crew – although things would be a bit cramped. Some of the more interesting areas include; the tiny Library / Gallery (mostly reference works, some of which he puts a high value on simply because they come from “home” – and “prove” that he isn’t crazy. He’s had copies made of those), the Observation Blister (complete with a fine Victorian telescope, navigational gear, and various modern instruments), the Conservatory / Greenhouse (to renew the oxygen supply and freshen the air. It also houses several hummingbirds), the compact “ship-style” Galley (where Argus, Mc’Andrew’s large Great Pyrenees, is usually found snoozing. It also serves as a service area), the Cargo Bay (now used as a rather cramped garage), the Workshop/Laboratory (with its bizarre mix of modern, “mad scientist”, and “Victorian” gear), the Victorian two-person Staterooms and Captains Cabin (tiny and cramped as they are, these ordinarily contrive to be quite comfortable somehow, if dated), the Ships Locker and Armory (carefully concealed. Jason was in the habit of lifting heavy weaponry from the military and national guard, and a fair amount of it is still in here. This also holds anything exceptionally dangerous, valuable, or mysterious that Richard happens to pick up), the Airlock (very useful, in that it rather neatly keeps any unfiltered sunlight from getting in), the Suit Locker (which holds several spacesuits, rather resembling Victorian diving suits), the bizarre Engine Room (just imagine it), the Control Room (in oak and teak. Despite recent additions, there are still a lot fewer instruments and controls then in a modern vessel), the Lounge/Reception Area (currently used as both a lounge and as a waiting area for patients and/or guests), and the Medical Lab (a room crowded with weird and high-tech equipment – including a refrigerated room/vault set into one wall to store drugs and blood, including quite a lot of his. Much of that has been modified through Bloodbinding for special purposes).
   Special Equipment; Unsurprisingly, the Wanderer is equipped with a variety of special items – such as the Electromagnetic Distorter (used, with the computer, to provide holographic camouflage, to focus light for the solar boiler, or just to cloak the ship), the Gravatic Polarizer (used as an inertial compensator, “meteorite screen”, and as a tractor/pressor field), The Rocket Thruster (still functional, if basically unused. It provides a huge burst of thrust – and a nasty surprise for anyone behind the ship), the Auric Replicator (actually, this may have upper limits, side effects, refuse to work on anyone else, require plenty of tinkering, or otherwise act up. If it works for anyone, there’s a tremendous potential for chaos and intrigue if it ever gets out or if he ever uses it; any sudden “promotion” will probably be noticed eventually.), the CAT Scanner (conventional enough – but it’s proven useful several times), a Winch and Cable (this feeds out next to a belly hatch. It was intended for emergency rescues, space tows, and so on. It uses an extremely strong line), several tons of assorted investigative gear, and whatever car or van he’s using currently. Such vehicles are always fitted with an uplink, equipment storage areas, UV coatings, and heavily tinted windows.
   Security; Well. most obviously, the ship is still a spacecraft. It’s airtight, self-contained, armored against meteor strikes (even the windows are made of 4 inches of transparent aluminum and have steel shutters to prevent abrasion), and stocked for trips of up to a years duration. Since becoming a vampire, McAndrew has installed a halogen extinguisher system and an elaborate (and very expensive) security system. Victorian locks and such have been augmented by electronic systems and low-powered external radar scans. (Isn’t it wonderful what being filthy rich can do for you?). Most of this input both appears on the security displays and as input to the security programs.
   Statistics; Stall 0, Cruise 180/75 MPS (Space), Max 240/150 MPS (Space), Maneuver 4/8 (Space), Crew 3 (May operate with pilot only – but an engineer and gunner may be handy). Armor 8/12. The Lightning-Cannon is mounted in a belly turret, it may be fired directly or through the remote system (use dexterity+computer). The solar boiler is relatively ineffective in the atmosphere. It takes about six hours to recharge the batteries enough for a one-hour flight. Fortunately, the batteries have a 72-hour capacity. Basic internal power is drawn from an isotopic power pack, a bit of recent space-salvage. Decreasing solar power limits most ether flyers to the inner solar system – but using the distorter field to focus the suns rays extends the Wanderers range out to the orbit of Saturn. (Personally, I have no idea what the statistics on the cannon should be. It was never really used. It’s a support-class weapon in any case).
   Operation; In normal operation the Wanderer is both quiet and extremely smooth. Occupants barely notice the fact that they’re moving. The standard “emergency rescue procedure” is simple enough – home in on signal or coordinates and drop the line. It’s never been used.

Standard Equipment Packages:

   Vamphyric Survival Pack; Lightproof sleeping bag (a packet about the size of a “space blanket”), a “Do Not Disturb” sign, 500$ (in twenties), sewing packet, tiny flashlight, sunrise schedule, alarm-watch, CO2 / black foam canister, pocket knife, sunglasses, factor 75 sun screen (small packet), minitransceiver, silk shirt and pants (very thin), and one blood point in a small flask. Overall, a packet about the size of a fat pocket book, weighing less then two pounds.

  • The Transceiver is a pen-sized CB radio, capable of short-range voice transmission or of acting as a coded emergency beacon. If you think you might be relying on this function, it’s best to have someone ready to come for you and to establish a personal set of signal codes.
  • The Cover incorporates some padded armor plate and is meant to be spread over your heart to prevent staking.
  • The Foam is synthetic polymer designed to block out light, seal holes in the sleeping bag, and to extinguish flames. It isn’t all that strong, but could be used to coat a window or something. The canister will produce about four cubic feet of foam, enough to fill leftover space in an occupied sleeping bag several times over.
  • The Bag is fireproof, and includes enough repair tape to handle minor damage. It also includes a phosphor pin which glows when exposed to ultraviolet light, and so can be used to check on outside conditions. The bag is available in a slightly skunk-scented version meant to discourage inquisitive animals or Garou from poking around under your bush. It’s available in a variety of colors and patterns, including camouflage.
  • The Blood Point has been concentrated by removing a portion of the water and chemically balanced – giving it a definite chemical tang. On the other hand, it’s down to a few ounces.

“Pocket Kits”:

  • Chemical Test: A selection of instruments, probes, testing chemicals, and analyzers, allowing the user to analyze chemical traces, run comparisons – and check for contaminants. Sadly, this is not a laboratory, and the selection of chemicals isn’t good for much else.
  • Criminology: A pocket detectives kit, with various items to help analyze and preserve physical evidence. It includes vials, tweezers, fingerprint powder and tape, magnifying glass, thermometer, jewelers loup, “spray-
    on” plastic foam (for making casts), a simple camera and film, mini-recorder, sketching materials, stopwatch, a blood typer, a halogen flashlight – and a sniffer wand (detects the traces of several “common” explosives and incendiary chemicals, but is nowhere near as effective as a laboratory test). A slight variation on this kit is used for dissection and biological sampling.
  • Electronics: Contains a variety of miniature tools and components for electrical/electronic work, including a cutter/solderer, multimeter, frequency generator and mini-oscilloscope, patchcords, wire, solder, magnifier eyepiece, watchmakers tools, chip puller, small pliers / wire strippers, razorblade, etcetera.
  • Escape: This includes various hidden devices built into the users clothes – as well as more obvious items in a packet. A body search will reveal the packet, but the concealed items are likely to “pass”. Between the lockpicks, wire saw, explosive and/or corrosive pellets, electronic scrambler, and other items, the user should have a good chance at escaping from imprisonment, even without the use of other equipment or powers.
  • Espionage; A kit to delight the heart of any junior spy, including a selection of tracers, bugs, wiretaps, and contact mikes, tempest monitor, telephone scrambler, minicamera, parabolic mike, bug detector/jammer, white noise generator, knock-out drops, radiotracer powder and detector, minilaser drill/microphone, RF tracer, voice mask, needle launcher, and sodium pentothal. All of this stuff fits neatly into a small “pocket kit” – possible only because such gear is tiny to begin with.
  • Photographers: While this small kit does include a still camera and tiny developer, it’s mostly devoted to digital audiovisual recordings, suitable for image enhancement and computer analysis. It includes a variety of telephoto, wide-angle, and exotic lenses, and is even capable of low- light, thermal, micro-, and underwater photography. This is all stored on minidisks, allowing a total of about 12 hours worth of recorded material.
  • Toolkit: Contains various small tools, suited for a variety of minor mechanical repairs and tinkering. The assortment includes; “watchmakers” tools, “minitorch”, adjustable wrench, small pliers, cleaning brush, mini- drill (with various tips), jewelers loupe, files, wire saw, screwdrivers, a small hammer/prybar, and others, as well as a few small parts. While a poor substitute for a full toolchest, this is far better then nothing.
  • Thieves: This contains a selection of; lockpicks, alarm detectors, electronic jammers, beam diverters, and safecracking gadgets. A minidrill, climbing spikes and claws, miniature tools, jumper lines, some plastique and a detonator, small prybar, powerful magnet, superglue, penlight, glass cutter, gloves, IR goggles, 12 drugged knockout darts, and a variety of other small devices.
  • All of the pocket kits are just that – designed to fit into a pocket (Well OK. A large coat pocket). They are compact, light weight – and a terrible nuisance to pack or unpack, since they’re filled with little bitty carefully-fitted pieces. Still, they can be useful in many situations – and make it much faster to get ready.

Ordinary Equipment:

  • Clothing; Richard has his clothing made from “fireproof”, insulating, materials – incorporating armored panels and a lightproof weave. While grossly expensive, careful tailoring and design reduces the usual penalty by two, allowing his clothes to offer protection about equal to that of a “bulletproof vest” without penalty. They also tend to reduce damage from fire and sunlight by limiting the exposure. While Richard has several spare suits, and is willing to get some for his friends, it generally takes at least two weeks to order one. He often adds thermal underwear, whether out of necessity or to make it easier to pass for “normal”. He replaces the battery pack with a bit of bloodcrystal.
  • Pocket Flask; an elegant silver pocket flask, which he keeps filled with two (4) “points” worth of his own blood – stabilized through bloodbinding.
  • Wallet; Mc’Andrew’s wallet contains various “ID’s”, credit cards (Limit of 25,000$), licences, permits for his pistol, and quite a bit of cash. Mc’Andrew usually keeps this “tucked away” in a hidden pocket inside his armored coat.
  • Pocket Secretary; An expensive little toy. Cellular phone, minirecorder, calender watch – and “laptop” mini- computer – all in one. He normally has this in one or another pocket of his outer coat. It’s normally loaded with an CD/ROM Encyclopedia Britannica.
  • Pocket Clutter; Like any tinkerer, Richard tends to tuck odd bits of stuff into his pockets. Among the un- predictable mess of small junk, Mc’Andrew can normally count on finding his gold pocket watch, gloves, “swiss army knife”, comb, keys, and notepad, as well as string, a bit of glue or chalk, some pencils, matches, a small compass, and even a tiny telescope/microscope (depending on which way you turn the lens assembly).
  • Doctors Bag; Normally in his car or something, this is one of the larger commercial versions, augmented by a stock of Mc’Andrew’s “special” medicines. The whole mess weighs more then thirty pounds, comes in a brief- case – and really ought to suffice for anything short of major surgery.
  • When Appropriate:
    • .45 Pistol; Usually loaded with silver slugs, often alloyed with some “designer” toxin as appropriate to a situation. If he has this along, he’ll also have some spare clips in his pockets.
    • Sleeve Grapnel; A miniature CO2-launched grapnel and line, normally used as a last-ditch attempt to avoid a nasty fall – or as a way to get over a wall.
    • Car; As mentioned before, Mc’Andrew tends to change cars a lot. All of them are fitted with bulletproof glass, bullet- and fire- proof gas tanks, extinguisher systems, UV-coated windows (fitted, light-proof panels are stored under the seats), computers and radios, and a trunk containing various tools and a camping outfit. Naturally, they’re equipped with “conventional” safety systens as well. (In case things get messy, Mc’Andrew keeps some spare clothing under the back seat. Several extra flasks and a pistol are stored in a hidden compartment set into the side of the transmission hump).
      Security; More or less conventional – although they are fitted with reinforced frames and light armor. He doesn’t really change them much, he just rotates them.
    • Any (or all) of the “Standard Packages”:

   Bloodbinding is the ability to manipulate physical and arcane properties of the users own blood. This also allows the user to expel portions of his blood pool at will, and to resist the effects of whatever he’s brewing up inside himself. As a rule, no more then three such effects can be maintained at a time – but later shifts have no effect on blood no longer in the users system. While this is related in some ways to the Thaumaturgic Path Of Blood, Bloodbinding offers no access to ritual magic or to control of other peoples blood. It’s only concerned with the users blood, and is correspondingly versatile and flexible within that speciality. Any rolls required are based on Intelligence – commonly combined with Medicine, Occult, or Science, as appropriate. If the user was trying for something truly nasty, such as a potent corrosive, a failure may result in a level of damage. In the case of something like a kindred toxin, it may even be aggravated damage. Fortunately for the user, Bloodbinding can be aborted when it starts to go wrong. Obviously enough, effects beyond the trivial cost points from the users blood pool – sometimes many points. The more “common” effects available include;

  • Blood Links rely on leaving a blood drop on something.
    1) Sensory. It acts as a tracer / bug.
    2) Control. It allows the user to exert his “normal” level of control without touching his target. This means simple communication with living things.
    3) Kinetic. It allows the user to exert his strength on the object without actually touching it.
    4) Summons. It allows the user to “conjure” smaller items to his hand.
    5) Dominance. It allows the user to attempt to override the victims physical body.
  • Concentration increases the potency of the users blood
    1) Enhancement. Increases the users blood pool by his “Bloodbinding” level.
    2) Healing. Restores two levels of damage per point.
    3) Bloodcrystal. Creates a powerful, magical, energy source, usable as a power supply for many things.
    4) Reduced Generation. Reduces the users “effective” generation by one.
    5) Renew Chakra. Restarts the heart, lungs, etc, for one hour per success and/or restores one blood point per success. Usable only once per day.
  • Synthesis imbues blood with magical energies, allowing it to act as a sort of “potion”. Sample effects:
    1) Corrosive, Simple healing, Self-Purging.
    2) Specific Corrosive, Plague Touch, Stabilized Blood.
    3) Incendiary Blood, Toxin Creation, Disease Cures.
    4) Antidotes, Blood Brands, Ectoplasm, Baneblood.
    5) Creatures Of Blood, Purging a Blood Bond.

Special Gear:

  • Cane; Mc’Andrews cane is actually a most formidable weapon. The twin silver prongs of it’s tip are capable of delivering a powerful, stungun-style, shock – while it’s core is an dual-frequency laser. Fueled by the supernatural energies of a bloodcrystal core, it isn’t limited by the power supply problems that limit normal laser weaponry (yes – a lethal laser “pistol” has been designed and built. It just requires a twelve-pound battery pack, takes 15 minutes to charge for a shot, and drains the batteries within 2 shots – or in 20 minutes of being kept ready to fire). The microwave frequency ionizes air enough to provide a conductive path – and so gives the shock effect a 30 ft range. The ultraviolet frequency is tuned against vampires – but requires far more power. It can blast a hole through armor plate, or do the equivalent of “sunlight” damage to kindred. The casing is reinforced and all controls are internal (He controls it via a blood link). Against metal armor (Vault doors, armored combat vehicles, etc), it halves the effective toughness.
    • Difficulty 4, Damage 8/12, Range 200 yards, Rate 2, Capacity 12 (Electrical/Microwave effects indefinite), Weight 3 Lbs. Against kindred this thing is extremely lethal – causing damage on a roll of 4+ and only being soaked on a roll of 8+. The beam can be swept across a group or area, but this halves the damage. The micro- wave setting tends to scramble electronics – while the “stungun” effect tends to scramble the victims nervous system. This is quite effective on garou, mortals, and mages, but is less so on kindred. Given the potential targets – and his once using it as a defibrillator – the power can be turned up pretty high. The second damage listing for the beam expends two “shots”.
  • Distorter Band; A wristband combining modern micro- electronics with weird science, it can be used in much the same way as the larger, onboard, model – to screen out the deadly solar frequencies, to “cloak” the user, or to generate lighting effects and/or images. It’s not up to lethal power levels (generating a maximum output of about 100 watts), but can be used for various minor tricks. As with the Cane, Mc’Andrew controls it via a blood link and uses a small bloodcrystal for the power supply. He often uses it for party tricks, or to avoid a fight. The power supply is good for several months.
  • Polarizer Band; Actually, he hasn’t finished it yet (IE, it hasn’t been paid for), but this is intended to be a companion to the Distorter, above. It’s supposed to “channel” local gravitational fields into “kinetic” effects – such as moving heavy objects, breaking falls (or enhancing leaps), or even creating a sort of force field. What it would actually do is up to the GM.

   Description: Mc’Andrew is a youthful member of the lower english aristocracy (albeit an eccentric one), and looks it. While always impeccably dressed, he somehow always seems a bit rumpled and slightly out of step with the world. He also tends to alternate between keen, focused, alert, attention and total abstraction, often within seconds. He also tends to be willing to try to explain anything – even if he has to speculate.
Mc’Andrew is 5’9, weighs 163 pounds, has brown hair amd blue eyes – and appears to be in his mid-twenties. He normally wears a rather old-fashioned suit, a coat, black shoes, and a sash of his family tartan. The coat is usually a bit rumpled, but otherwise he’s been accused of using a force field to keep his clothes clean. (Maybe that’s what he keeps in his hat?). His hair was a bit long by Victorian standards, but fits the modern ones well enough. His bushy moustache is blonder then his hair and a great deal shaggier – his hair is neat. He carries an old-fashioned pocket-watch and chain and tends to wear lots of rings. He usually has his silver handled (and tipped) ebony cane and his doctors bag. He would have “Victorian”-style sideburns, but concedes a bit to current fashions in the evening by taking a few seconds out to shave them back.

   Occupation: Mc’Andrew is primarily an inventor and field researcher, but since he’s picked up some modern techniques he normally operates as a physician (as far as relationships with the mortal authorities go). When he needs more money he usually just copies some gadget that’s common in his world, but not here – and patents it. Officially, he’s a doctor and an amateur tinkerer. He does have several alternate ID’s ready if he should ever need to disappear – or wants to fool somebody.

   Haven: While Richard has a mansion in England, he currently operates out of the Wanderer, mostly because he’s been doing a lot of traveling recently. He’s been visiting a lot of libraries looking for information on the Cthulhu Mythos – and the various supernatural beings found in the “World Of Darkness”. Most of that sort of stuff is in the hands of private collectors.

   Sire: This never came up. Where the characters had come from was secondary to stopping the rise of the Cthulhu Mythos, and Richard doesn’t really like the Malkavians; “They’re all bonkers”.

   Feeding Ground: Actually, as a licensed physician, Mc’Andrew has simply established a private blood bank. Given his natural immunities, he can use a fair amount of what’s unfit for medical use. He has quite a bit of his own stored away as well. He’s habitually “up” well after dawn, as he refuses to “sleep” for more then the seven hours a day he habitually slept as a mortal. He occasionally sees special patients during the morning.

   Retainers: Technically, Richard only has one “retainer” – His valet, Eric Carstairs. Eric is a ghoul, but his only real “duties” are to 1) answer the phone, 2) keep an eye on everything while Richard’s asleep, and 3) respond to emergencies. Eric is a competent ethership pilot, medical technician, and lab assistant, but isn’t extraordinarily creative. He gets a large salary and excellent “fringe benefits”, including Mc’Andrew’s supernatural medical care for his six-year-old son William. He tends to be something of a womanizer and is quite protective of William (actually, Mc’Andrew is too).
Mc’Andrew’s “Herd” generally isn’t used as a source of blood. Instead it basically covers his more notable employees; his Lawyer (On retainer), Business Manager, Courier, Bloodmobile Operator – and three Guard/Handyman types. He usually hires locally, but uses a variety of Auspex, Cash, Psychological, and Bloodbinding techniques to ensure reasonable loyalty.
   Mc’Andrew did have a Ward for a while – “Goth”, AKA David Hardshaw, an eight-year-old child-mage. He got left in Mc’Andrew’s care during the Chaos Wyrm affair, and it took months to locate a Cabal that would take him in. Goth was a “specialist” in Wards and Teleportation Portals (Which made him awfully hard to pin down), and possessed both a touch of True Faith, and the annoying (cryptic and quasi-involuntary) version of the gift of Prophecy. Goth was a terrible pain, and tended to pop in and out most disconcertingly.

   Personal Quirks: Classically English, Mc’Andrew is terribly fond of horses, hounds, clubs (the more exclusive the better), archaeology (from a very “superior” viewpoint of course), libraries, and “sport”. He’s also endlessly curious, loyal, rational, and keeps a “stiff upper lip” (I say! Isn’t that Godzilla? Indeed it is old boy! Hand me my shotgun will you?”). He hates it when he has to deal with louts, needless violence, and dirty clothes. He tries to be honorable, resolute, and dutiful, but is too erratic to always make it work. He swings between pragmatism and visionary theorizing.

   Base Specialities: Dexterity; Precision. Stamina; Enduring. Perception; Insightful. Intelligence; Inventive. Drive; Spacecraft. Repair; Mechanics. Medicine; Physiology. Occult; Supernatural Biology. And finally; Weird Science; Physics and Biophysics.

Other Notes:

   Gadgetry: Several other people have had Mc’Andrew build gadgets for them, although this usually requires that they take the “Gadgetry” ability. Others he just comes up with – but the same rule applies. Some of the ones people took are noted below;

  • Linecaster; This gadget “spins” a monofilament line from fast polymers with a reaction pressure capable of hurling the resulting line nearly a hundred feet. Due to incomplete boundary polymerization, the ends of the line remain extremely sticky for several seconds. The line is capable of supporting about 300 Lbs normally – but tightening the nozzle results in a thread that can only support about 50 pounds, but is so thin that it’s dangerous to handle without special gloves. Unless the line is heat-cured in an inert atmosphere, exposure to oxygen breaks it down in about an hour.
    • This was one of Cergor’s favorites. He positively fell in love with the thing – especially after Richard added a rewinding drum that allowed him to easily wind himself up the line. He was really fond of using monofilament thread in weapons and traps as well. He also used it to “snatch” things, to tie things together, to swing from, and to tie people up.
  • Warp Gauntlets; These were actually gloves mounting the control sensors and a set of wrist generators. They were an attempt to reproduce the effects that his surviving instruments had recorded during his dimensional transition. The controls were intended to allow quick “fine adjustments” since his data was incomplete. They never did work properly, but Jason liked them for some reason.
    • Actually, the Gauntlets do induce a partial breakdown of dimensional barriers. They simply can’t do the whole job by themselves. This makes it vastly easier for a thaumaturge or “amateur” mage to draw power from elsewhere – and so provide a bonus “pool” of around 6 willpower points a day to use for magic. Jason loved them, but Richard never did fully understand why.
  • Ultra-Coffin; Actually, Mc’Andrew never thought all that much of the idea – but Talasien wanted one. This metallic monstrosity opens only from the inside and is heavily armoured, fireproof, and lightproof. It mounts computer-controlled defences and security systems – as well as various weapons. Internal power supplies and a cyrogenic reserve will keep it functioning for several days in a bonfire, while the occupant radios for help. It’s even got a small blood reserve, a drive system, and a set of devices designed to break restraints and foil any attempt to seal the user in (not least of which is the fact that the top slides into the shell sideways – rather then opening outwards). I recommended that you disguise the thing as well if you’re this paranoid.
  • Resonance Detuner; (We never had a Garou PC to test this on, so I’m not sure of exactly how well it worked in the game). This little gadget comes with an elastic meshwork strap, to enable Garou to continue wearing it while shapeshifting. The general idea was that silver seemed to have a destructive resonance when introduced into a garou’s Kirlian (Bioenergetic) Aura. As the Aura has a strong bioelectrical component, it seemed that a low-level tuned electrical counterfield should be able to disrupt the resonance, and so protect the Garou. He never found out how well it worked, because Moonhowler never got back to him on the subject. It may work (or merely offer limited protection) – but silver-injuries will almost certainly still be extremely painful. The most likely “side effect” is a limited sensitivity to the other, electrically-similar, group I-B elements of the periodic table (copper and gold).
  • Mc’Andrew never came up with a gadget Sylvia wanted (at least during the limited course of the chronicle), but she still used something called the “Shadowlance”, that she’d taken away from a Mythos “Priest”. As usual with Sylvia, no one else ever really found out exactly what it did. It seemed to appear and disappear when she wanted it, to have some sort of immovability function, and to channel kinetic energy. Major tricks apparently cost her willpower points – but the minor stuff seemed to be “free”.

Previous Tales:

   Nightfall – The Gathering: An epidemic of bizarre sightings, spreading madness, and exotic deaths, leads Lythande’, Prince of Chicago, to call for an expert. Each for his own reasons; (Mc”andrew; Curiosity, being obliging, and being flattered. Sylvia apparently on a vendetta against a former associate. Jason because it was what he did, and Cergor because the prince asked him to), the group responded. The trail eventually led to a group of ghoul-cultists – who’d converted one of the old salt mines under the city into a temple – and were busily sacrificing kids to call up a horde of “mythos” monsters. The group got most of the ghouls, blew up the caverns with the monsters inside, rescued the surviving kids, and invented an explanation for the police.
   The Gathering Storm: Knowing that some vampire had to be feeding the ghouls, and that he’d gotten away, the group began trying to gather allies and influence around the city for next time. They convinced one or two of the cities more important kindred, managed to gather a bit of influence here and there, and generally got set up in the city. They also got “beaten up” by Mayland Long, dealt with a vampire hunter, and encountered a few of the major “powers” in the city, both mortal and un- natural. Among those, the Elder Talasien was to prove very helpful later on. Mc’Andrew also recruited Eric during this story, mostly due to his habit of stopping to treat accident victims.
   An Interlude With Chin: The groups quiet gathering of clues, information, and occult artifacts (they were at an auction) was abruptly disrupted by Tzin Chin. In the ensuing series of chases and encounters, the group became embroiled in a sort of occult scavenger’s hunt, eventually managing to acquire several of the assorted objects (an ancient Egyptian dagger, a Mayan statuette and small calendar-stone, and a curious renaissance ring) that he seemed to be after, but losing more. We never did really find out just what the this was all about.
   The Howling: A minor, private, episode – just for Mc’Andrew – this was simply the first friendly (OK, it was pretty tense for a while) contact with the “local” garou. Mc’Andrew finished off a wounded Byakhee that was about to finish off an incapacitated garou, and took the injured (and stuck in wereform – and wasn’t that a pain) werewolf home to patch him up. Things got a bit sticky for a while, but “because you needed help” took the edge off the hostility. Interestingly, it seemed that the combination of garou regeneration and Richard’s bloodbinding skill could heal even aggravated injuries in a few hours.
   Eibon Portals: Apparently an experiment gone very wrong, this temporal rift was a “gateway” into the far distant past. The dinosaurs that wandered through were something of a problem. In the end the group was unable to close it fully – but Mc’Andrew’s, Sylvia’s, and Jason’s, combined efforts sufficed to seal it against animals and less-powerful mystics. The group left the portal under the guardianship of the werewolves, who later launched an (apparently successful) attempt to recover a few of Gaia’s lost species through it – including the Bunyip and a variety of others. Evidently this attracted the attention of at least one cabal.
   The Chaos Wyrm: A trail of clues led the group to a conspiracy to summon the world-devouring Dholes as a “weapon” against the elder vampires. In the ensuing scramble, the group wound up in a competition/alliance with Mayland Long, a mismatched pair of Mages, and the local Garou in a chase that eventually led to Egypt, and a confrontation with the great sphinx. Along the way Sylvia got the Shadowlance from a mythos priest, Jason was nearly annihilated calling on an outer god, and Mc’Andrew got stuck taking care of David Hardshaw/”Goth”, after they rescued him from a marauder mage.
   Old Calcutta: A simple little theater performance (with Sylvia in a starring role), turned into a nightmare of intrigue, assassination, and politics, all played out in and around the unsuspecting audience and actors even as the performance went on. Bodies and weaponry accumulated, as Sylvia’s, Cergor’s, and the Prince’s old enemies took advantage of the confusion to try to kill each other off. The denouncement left at least three kindred (maybe more), eight ghouls, two huntsmen – and several professional hit men – dead. It was INSANE. In the aftermath Mc’Andrew spent a lot of time finding a cabal that would take Goth in, at least until things settled down a bit.
   With Bloodstained Hands: With the ongoing kindred massacre splintering the city, the return of Tzin Chin and the appearance of the Hand at least gave the kindred a good reason to make peace and cooperate – after they got past blaming each other. Defeating the Hand was a problem – but the group managed eventually. Tzin Chin was another matter – but at least he blew up that copy of Das Vermis Mysteries that someone had been using.
   Red Moon Rising: Badly weakened, and faced with a newly-unified group of Kindred, the remaining cultist- vampires apparently got a bit desperate, and choose to embrace a few garou in hopes of weakening the alliance the group had forged and of creating enough trouble to cover their own activities. It worked to some extent, but the group was gathering to renew their attack when the original chronicle had to close down.

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2 Responses

  1. Nice to see that someone followed thru and posted some adventure logs. I was looking for Ideas for my own vampire/Cthulhu game. I looked around some and it seems that most of the posters never got further than getting signed up.

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