Colin's Giovanni Chronicles

The Sun Has Set (Session 1)
Preludes; London Ghost Story

The Sun Has Set (Session 1)

Dramatis Personae: The Children of Isaac and their Followers

  • Chana, a widowed Jewish merchant (Lasombra, Tanya)
  • Rylan, an armsman who has fought the Turks (Follower of Set, Josh)
  • Mercedes, a young Spanish noble woman (Malkavian, Jessie)
  • Velli, a rebellious peasant woman who despises the Inquisitions and Crusades of the Church (Brujah, Amy)
  • Gallo, a peasant hunter and trapper (Gangrel, Phil)
  • Adrianna, a young street urchin (Toreador, Metellus)
  • Marianna, the unwilling childe of Claudius Giovanni, ally of the Children of Isaac
  • Paul, a soldier crippled fighting the Turks, now made a ghoul by Rylan
  • Enzo, a bandit hired by Lothar to ambush the coterie, now made a ghoul by Chana

Preludes (1666-1848)

Cloaks

The Children of Isaac took Marianna’s advice and started wearing the cloaks and boots of Cappadocius while sleeping in a graveyard at least once per year. When they do, they suffer terrible nightmares of clawed hands reaching out of the tombs and graves to clutch at them. As a result of this yearly ritual, they begin to sense and even see wraiths. This evens the playing field against the Necromancers of the Giovanni a little, since it makes it harder for the Giovanni to send ghosts to spy upon them invisibly.

The Gaunt

The Children of Isaac now have the ability to see or sense wraiths while wearing the cloaks. However, an apparition begins to appear to them when they are wearing the cloaks. At first it appeared every few decades, but it seems to appear more and more as the years pass, but none of them know what it is or what it means. They see a spectral shadow, stooped and hidden in a black, hooded robe. A cold, dank wind arises whenever it appears. Those with a keen sense of hearing can detect the distant sound of dripping water, as if in a subterranean pool. The figure proffers a gold cup with a gnarled, gray hand. It makes no other attempt to communicate and vanishes instantly if approached

Augustus Giovanni

The Children of Isaac have had daymares of the Giovanni Antediluvian ever since the Last Supper in 1444, but ever since the events of Blood & Fire these also seem more frequent. In these horrible dreams, the Elders feel like lost and frightened children (a feeling they left behind centuries ago, for the most part!), and feel what remains of their souls slipping away under the terrible gaze of Augustus Giovanni himself. When they have these particular daymares, they tend to awaken late into the next night, sheathed in a film of bloody sweat.

The Anexhexeton (1847)

Through Mateusz Gryzbowsky, the Nosferatu antitribu Noddist at the Black Monastery, Chana, Mercedes, and Adrianna hear of a witches’ coven in Savoy, France, around 1450 that made reference to a copy of the Anexhexeton, which seems to be another name for or a part of The Sargon Fragment, while being interrogated by the Inquisition. It seems that the witches alleged that a copy of the Anexhexeton was in the keeping of a “Monsieur M” in Barcelona, Spain.

Chana, Mercedes, and Adrianna made their way to Barcelona, and with a little investigation, find out that the mysterious warlock named “Monsier M” is still alive (!!!) and operates out of a ruined church outside the city overlooking the sea. So the next night, they travel out to the ruined church, only to find it destroyed and smoking from a recent fire.

A little investigation revealed a charred corpse (that of “Monsieur M”) lying in an inscribed magical circle of protection (apparently it didn’t help!). There were charred books and documents nearby, but none were the Anexhexeton. There was also a mystical triangle carved into the stone floor, with the words “Anexhexeton,” “Tetragrammaton,” and “Primematum” around it.

Adrianna was able to use Auspex to “read” the scene – the corpse was indeed Monsieur M., he was working rituals from a black book of some sort, but the visions revealed that Marianna knocked him unconscious from behind and stole the book. Shortly thereafter, Ambrogino Giovanni himself and a blonde female vampire arrived to torture and kill Monsieur M., but they left disappointed. Adrianna had a horrible vision of gray, severed hands murdering Monsieur M.!

Chana collected the remaining fragments of books to add to her collection of occult lore, but it seemed that they were going to leave without further findings. Just then, a mysterious figure stepped out of the shadows – a vampire whose very presence made them very uncomfortable. Mercedes recognized him as Anatole, a Malkavian prophet who has been known to aid Marianna from time to time. He said he had a letter from Marianna for them, and they flinched as he approached to give it to them.

Mercedes tried to view his aura with Auspex, but was struck down by a brilliant white light and stunned. Adrianna was able to view Anatole’s aura, however, and found it sparkling with pure golden light – True Faith! No wonder they could not approach him! Adrianna also verified that the letter truly was from Marianna, written in her own blood, and begging the Children of Isaac to meet up with her in London in December 1848. The letter was addressed to just the Kindred present, confirming the story that she wrote it after a prophetic vision from Anatole.

Adrianna and Mercedes both decided to go to London in 1848 to meet up with Marianna. Chana was unconvinced, however.

Later, Chana returned to the Black Monastery and conferred with Lord Alexandre (who is looking terrible these nights). He mentioned that Lady Vadislava was supporting the chaos caused by Doctor Archibald Streck in London, perhaps with an eye to overthrowing Lasombra leadership in the Sabbat there. He believed that her actions would only make the Sabbat more vulnerable in London. He asked Chana to travel to London and meet up with Lady Katarina Astor there, the Lasombra priscus (and presumptive archbishop of London should fall to the Sabbat), to see what the situation was in London and what could be done to help. So Chana ended up deciding to go to London in December 1848 after all.

The Justicar (November 1848)

Velli and Gallo were traveling through France in the aftermath of some mortal chaos that seemed to be caused by the Sabbat. While in Paris, they heard of the presence of their old associate, Justicar Violetta of Paris. They were invited to meet with her at her estate on the banks of the Seine just north of the city, where they witnessed her interrogating a Sabbat Neonate named Marcel. Marcel admitted to being Sabbat – he had been given the Sabbat Creation Rites by a Brujah antitribu named Gottfried Dietz and promised revenge on his oppressors and tormentors, then sent in the name of Doctor Archibald Streck to cause chaos. But Marcel was captured. He seemed to indicate that from what he heard, London was Doctor Streck’s next target.

This news upset Violetta deeply, especially since she is soon calling a Camarilla Conclave in London to deal with the ongoing power vacuum left by the disappearance of Prince Mithras 50 years ago. She asked Velli
and Gallo to go to London and meet with Valerius for her, assess the situation and make known that the Justicar would soon be arriving for the Conclave if additional support was needed to handle Sabbat attacks.

The Dream (late 1848)

Rylan had a dream that he was in Castle Deverick in 1444, just after the Last Supper, when the Founders of the Camarilla were debating about what to do with the Children of Isaac. Just as had actually happened in 1444, the Founders had almost resolved to destroy the Children of Isaac, when Durga Syn intervened. She gave the Prophecy of the Blood Egg, revealing that the Children of Isaac had important roles to play in the future, just as she did in 1444.

But then, Durga Syn turned to Rylan in the dream and spoke directly to him, saying, “The season is heavy with portent and the hour of your fate draws near. If you would embrace your word and gain power over your enemies, then go to old Londinium and wait my coming, Do this, and you may yet survive the approaching maelstrom.” She glanced at the windows, to where a storm was raging outside.

Rylan awakened abruptly. He decided to go to London in December 1848 and look for any sign of Durga Syn there.

London Ghost Story (December 1848)

The Children of Isaac meet at the train station in London on December 13th, 1848. They followed protocol to introduce themselves to the Prince, or in this cast, the Prince’s Chamberlain, Valerius, at his new estate (his old one burned down in 1666; Mithras gave him this one before his disappearance – it had oince belonged to his Cappadocian Seneschal, Lord Thomas Camden). He introduced them to his childe, Lady Anne Bowesley, and discussed with them the upcoming feast for the Scottish Gangrel Count Dunlop and the Conclave to follow. He was able to tell them of recent Sabbat attacks on the Toreador clan, and that the Tremere were not able to find anything useful to them.

Knowing of their interest in matters relating to the Giovanni, Valerius told them that as far as he knew, Gillespi Giovanni had returned to Rome in 1666, and the last Giovanni interest in the city of which he knew was an old cathedral, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Wandsworth, about 50 years ago.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Adrianna set off to investigate the cathedral. She found it run down, but still operating, She found a storage closet in which to hide and use Auspex to see what she could find out. She found personal effects belonging to a priest named Marcus Giovanni, including some large personal checks from a Montgomery Dunsirn (she took one of these for future reference). But she saw a wraith departing from the church, and suspected that it would inform the Giovanni of her presence, so Adrianna
did not stay to investigate further . . .

Next Session!

London Ghost Story continues on the night of December 13th, 1848!

Experience
  • 1 point automatic (all characters)
  • 1 point for “learning curve” (all characters)
  • 1 point for role-playing (all characters)
View
Interlude: Between "Blood & Fire" and "The Sun Has Set"
Interlude Notes

Interlude: Between “Blood & Fire” and “The Sun Has Set”

The previous session ended with the events leading up to and following the Great Fire of London in September 1666. “The Sun Has Set” properly begins in December of 1848, though our first session will encompass several Prelude events to that story. A few notes on downtime:

  • The Giovanni – The Giovanni Clan mostly adheres to the Promise of 1528 – the treaty between the Camarilla and the Giovanni that formally accepted the Giovanni as the successors of the Cappadocian Clan. It was given by the Founders and Claudius Giovanni, officially ending the feud between them that had silently festered since the Conspiracy of Isaac. The Promise included the assurance of non-interference of both Giovanni and Camarilla into each other’s affairs. There are rumors of a shake-up that has occurred among the Elders of the Clan, including rumors that Claudius Giovanni has met the Final Death at the hands of Augustus Giovanni, the clan’s Antediluvian founder.
  • Ambrogino Giovanni – has not directly crossed the paths of the *Children of Isaac" since 1666. He continues his quest for The Sargon Fragment (his copy was destroyed in the fire caused by Andre Mallotte that resulted in the Great Fire of London) and other lore of Cappadocius. He has probably interacted with all of the *Children of Isaac" at some point indirectly – sending assassins after each other and so forth. His current whereabouts and activities are unknown.
  • Count Jocalo – the Setite Methuselah who was interfering with the Children of Isaac in 1666 has become even more mysterious and elusive since then. Many younger vampires doubt that he even exists. His last rumored personal appearance was in Madrid, coinciding with the death of a powerful Elder. Among Spanish Kindred there are many wild rumors about him – that he can walk in sunlight, that he devours the souls of all he kills, that he consorts with demons, that he is a powerful Necromancer outside the Giovanni who consorts with the ghosts of the dead, that he controls a chantry of mortal mages, and that he is not really a vampire at all, but something far worse. No one knows the truth. But the Setite has not been directly encountered by anyone since 1666.
  • Prince Mithras of LondonMithras was one of the oldest and most powerful vampires the Children of Isaac ever encountered (besides the Antediluvian Cappadocius and his successor, Augustus Giovanni). Prince Mithras was very active in 1666, but as years passed the weight of his great age seemed to press on him. He disappeared 50 years ago, in 1798, and is presumed to have entered torpor, as happens to so many Methuselahs of his age and power. In his absence, London has been overseen by his Chamberlain, Valerius. Valerius is the most influential member of the Camarilla in London, but his authority still derives from his appointement as Mithras’ Chamberlain, and he is NOT the Prince. Justicar Violetta of Paris has announced her intention to call a London Conclave in late December of 1848 to deal with the power vacuum left by Mithras’ disappearance.
  • Revolutions and the Sabbat – After well over a century in retreat and the Sabbat Civil War in the Americas (that roughly coincided with the American Revolution), the sect is somewhat resurgent in Europe. Revolutions sweep throughout Europe, leaving many cities in flames. Popular insurrections have scarred Paris, Vienna, Milan, and Berlin, among others. The crowned heads of Europe fear continental rebellion on an unprecedented scale and have brutally suppressed revolts. Under cover of these rebellions, a Brujah antitribu Elder named Streck has attacked Camarilla interests in a manner not seen in over 150 years. Streck uses guerrilla tactics to strike at Camarilla interests from the shadows and disappear before the establishment can mount an effective counterattack. Camarilla Elders fear he is gearing up for a massive campaign against them – so far he has mostly targeted Neonates while leaving the Elders untouched, undermining the confidence of the lower orders of the Camarilla that their Elders can protect them.
  • The Founders – Unless the Children of Isaac go out of their way to involve themselves in the affairs of the Founders, the Founders of the Camarilla mostly leave them alone between 1666-1848.
  • The Sabbat of the Black Monastery – The Black Monastery is still in existence, under the Lasombra Elder Lord Alexandre. He rarely leaves shadow form these nights, and when he does, he reportedly looks older and decayed, as though the shadows were slowly eroding him. He has split with his former ally, Lady Vadislava, who has been responsible for some Sabbat attacks against London. Lord Alexandre suspects that Lady Vadislava and Clan Tzimisce may be trying to undermine Clan Lasombra’s leadership of the Sabbat. Mateusz Gryzbowsky has remained on good terms with any Sabbat who visit the Black Monastery and has been trying to track the movements of Marianna, Ambrogino Giovanni, and any rumors of the Sargon Fragment.
  • Durga Syn – the enigmatic Ravnos soothsayer has not been seen in about 250 years, and has been rumored to be somewhere in Russia.
  • Marianna – has not been seen much since 1666. She resurfaced briefly in Paris in the 1700s, pursued by the Giovanni. There was an incident that left one Camarilla ancilla and two Giovanni assassins dead. Not much is known of her activities since then, but it seems she has been relentlessly pursuing any hints of the Sargon Fragment or other lore relating to Cappadocius.
  • The Conspiracy of Isaac – most of the conspirators were destroyed or imprisoned in 1444. There is a persistent rumor in recent years that the Setite conspirator, Lady Amisa, who was held prisoner, somehow escaped, being replaced by a duplicate. No one knows exactly how the rumor got started, but the thought of a Setite Elder on the loose has frightened a number of Neonates.
View
Blood & Fire (Session 7)
Act III - Flash Point

Blood & Fire (Session 7)

Dramatis Personae: The Children of Isaac and their Followers

  • Chana, a widowed Jewish merchant (Lasombra, Tanya)
  • Rylan, an armsman who has fought the Turks (Follower of Set, Josh)
  • Mercedes, a young Spanish noble woman (Malkavian, Jessie)
  • Velli, a rebellious peasant woman who despises the Inquisitions and Crusades of the Church (Brujah, Amy)
  • Gallo, a peasant hunter and trapper (Gangrel, Phil)
  • Adrianna, a young street urchin (Toreador, Metellus)
  • Marianna, the unwilling childe of Claudius Giovanni, ally of the Children of Isaac
  • Paul, a soldier crippled fighting the Turks, now made a ghoul by Rylan
  • Enzo, a bandit hired by Lothar to ambush the coterie, now made a ghoul by Chana

Act III: Flash Point (continued)

Scene Five: The Fire of London (September 2nd, 1666)

The Ascension of Mallotte (continued)

Andre Mallotte had invoked the power of The Sargon Fragment . . . and is essentially transformed into a vampiric fire elemental! The Children of Isaac battled the transformed Mallotte as the flames spread through his mansion. The flames seemed to be slowly degrading Mallotte himself as he hurled fire at the coterie.

The Children of Isaac became aware that there were faces in the flames as they battled Mallotte – eerily like those in the Maelstrom surrounding the death of Cappadocius! Marianna stepped forward, wearing the shroud and boots given to the Children of Isaac by Cappadocius, and the flames seemed to part before her . . . using her sword in a distinctly Eastern fighting stance, brought the blade down on Mallotte, splitting him cleanly in two (and the skull-scarab within his head, which boiled away into oozing white ectoplasm like the other they encountered).

The Children of Isaac departed from the mansion in haste, but the fire was already spreading. The Great Fire of London in 1666 had begun.

Marianna stated her intention to depart, and Justicar Violetta of Paris agreed to allow her to depart in peace as “payment for services rendered.” Before leaving, she cautioned the Children of Isaac against aligning themselves too tightly with either the Camarilla or the Sabbat. She mentioned that she had been in contact with Durga Syn (“Synovea”) about ten years earlier, who had revealed some mystical secrets to her – she suggested wearing the shrouds and boots given by Cappadocius while sleeping in a graveyard at least once a year to unlock their powers.

Marianna also stated her belief that the soul of Cappadocius still wanders the world in some form, though she does not know how, or as what. Her eyes held an expression much like that of Cappadocius himself as she said this.

Aftermath

Over the next few nights, neither Ambrogino Giovanni nor Count Jocalo resurfaced, and it quickly became apparent that neither was still in town. Prince Mithras and Justicar Violetta of Paris both show their appreciation for the efforts of the Children of Isaac, and they received permanent havens in London (once the city was rebuilt from the fire).

On September 6th, Velli killed Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins in his inn room. “Evil is as evil does,” she observed. Prince Mithras had lifted his protection of Hopkins, since the outbreak of the Great Fire meant that he had outlived his usefulness.

The various members of the coterie began to go their own separate ways. Adrianna planned to go to Eastern Europe (Romania), West Asia, and make visits back to the Black Monastery in Switzerland to visit Lord Mendel when possible. She intended to check in on her haven in London every so often.

Next Session!

Beginning of Giovanni Chronicles III – The Sun Has Set in London, 1848!

Experience
  • 1 point automatic (all characters)
  • 1 point for “learning curve” (all characters)
  • 1 point for role-playing (all characters)
  • 1 point for “heroism”
  • 1 point of success
  • 1 point for danger
  • 1 point for wisdom

Plus 45 freebie points for the time advancement to 1848!

View
Blood and Fire (Session 6)
Act III - Flash Point

Blood & Fire (Session 6)

Dramatis Personae: The Children of Isaac and their Followers

  • Chana, a widowed Jewish merchant (Lasombra, Tanya)
  • Rylan, an armsman who has fought the Turks (Follower of Set, Josh)
  • Mercedes, a young Spanish noble woman (Malkavian, Jessie)
  • Velli, a rebellious peasant woman who despises the Inquisitions and Crusades of the Church (Brujah, Amy)
  • Gallo, a peasant hunter and trapper (Gangrel, Phil)
  • Adrianna, a young street urchin (Toreador, Metellus)
  • Marianna, the unwilling childe of Claudius Giovanni, ally of the Children of Isaac
  • Paul, a soldier crippled fighting the Turks, now made a ghoul by Rylan
  • Enzo, a bandit hired by Lothar to ambush the coterie, now made a ghoul by Chana

Act III: Flash Point (continued)

Chance Meetings, continued (August 31st, 1666)

After considerable debate as to what to do about Andre Mallotte, it was decided to wait and see, for the time being. The Children of Isaac kept watch on his mansion on the Strand for a while. Gallo used his glowing red eyes to watch through a window as Mallotte fed from his Border Collie (such perversion!). After a time, they decided to give up and return to the Rosewood Inn before the sun came up. Once back there, they read the translation of The Lilith Fragment. Adrianna used Spirit’s Touch (Auspex) to “read” The Lilith Fragment – she got the impression that Ambrogino Giovanni had been dropping off and picking up documents from Cappadocius’ library with Mallotte recently. It was decided that the next night, Chana would attend the Crimson Bacchanal while the others would search Mallotte’s mansion.

Flint and Tinder (September 1st, 1666)

The Crimson Bacchanal (September 1st, 1666)

The Children of Isaac awoke at the Rosewood Inn and went hunting around the city to replenish their blood before facing the night.

Chana went to Andre Mallotte’s mansion to go undercover with the Crimson Bacchanal. They had planned to have Gallo follow her to keep her safe. She was shown the secret basement room with cages where Rose, the girl they had befriended previously, was locked up, suffering from having been recently Embraced. Rose was to be the Crimson Bacchanal’s prey! Andre Mallotte, Duke Amber, Duchess Amber, Freia, and Frigga went out to perform the Hunt of the Crimson Bacchanal from Cheapside, accompanied by Chana (and followed by Gallo).

While this unlawful Hunt was taking place, the remaining Children of Isaac broke into Andre Mallotte’s mansion to search for any hint as to the disposition of Cappadocius’ stolen documents. They turned up nothing useful at first, but kept sensing something about the fireplace. Mercedes used Eyes of Chaos (Dementation) to have a vision of a black, shadowy snakelike being emerging from the fireplace.

The Elder Vanishes (September 1st, 1666)

When the coterie regrouped at the Rosewood Inn, there was an urgent summons to attend Prince Mithras. The Prince informed them that his lieutenant Valerius had apparently vanished the night before, and his haven burned down, and these events needed to be investigated. Other events were demanding Mithras’ own attention.

Faux Ambrogino

The coterie examined the smoking ruin of Valerius’ haven. They found a locket seeming identical to the one that Violetta of Paris apparently gives out to her favored agents, but the Children of Isaac did not believe she was involved. It seemed like it might be a forgery. Adrianna used Spirit’s Touch (Auspex) to determine that it was in fact a forgery planted by Count Jocalo in an attempt to frame Violetta of Paris for killing Valerius and burning his haven.

Just then, Ambrogino Giovanni himself appeared to the Children of Isaac! He threatened and ranted at them, but his ravings became more and more insane the longer it continued. Some of the Children of Isaac noted the faintest shimmering around him, as if he were covered by an illusion of some sort. They fought and defeated this faux Ambrogino, but his head exploded! A gold and lapis lazuli Egyptian scarab emerged from his skull and attempted to fly away, but the Children of Isaac were able to capture it and put it in a pouch.

Valerius

The coterie decided to report back to Prince Mithras. They find Valerius at the Prince’s mansion, undead and well! “The Prince is out!” he said tersely. After a short conversation, Valerius admits that something is going on – attacks and events all over London which threaten the Masquerade and require Mithras’ personal attention, so the Prince has taken charge of the situation and is dealing with it (and would thus be unavailable for the rest of the night). They showed him the body and the scarab, and he said that they should inform the Justicar.

The Justicar

So the coterie headed over to the King’s Theatre to show Violetta of Paris the body, the scarab, and the fake locket that was supposed to implicate her in the chaos. The scarab dissolved into a gooey substance that she recognized as “ectoplasm from the spirit world” (and so a creation of Necromancy, though apparently a form of Setite Necromancy rather than the Giovanni’s). She mentions again that the Prince is dealing with chaos instigated by the mysterious “enemy” – who it now appears certain is Count Jocalo, the Setite Methuselah – and she requests the coterie’s help in continuing the investigation.

Recognizing the body of the “faux Ambrogino” as that of Snee, a member of a coterie known as “The Foundlings,” she ordered the remaining Foundlings, Tobias and Catherine, brought in for questioning. She also ordered Gillespi, the local factor for the Giovanni Clan, brought in for questioning. While her Archon was dealing with this, she asked the Children of Isaac to go to Mallotte’s mansion and “make sure that poisonous little wart doesn’t bolt!”

Mallotte’s Mansion

Having arrived at Mallotte’s mansion, it did indeed appear that “the wart has bolted” – the placed looked abandoned. They found an open window and climbed in. Exploring the place, they found evidence that Mallotte had gathered some papers and left. The Ambers were nowhere to be found. They did find Frigga, who was hunting Freia – she said she was doing so on the orders of an “Indian seductress” – someone who fit the description of the goddess Kali! More work of Count Jocalo? More images of Count Jocalo were gleaned from using Spirit’s Touch (Auspex) on that fireplace) – and image of the Count appearing to Andre Mallotte and making him swallow a golden scarab identical to the one they recovered from the “faux Ambrogino!” The coterie left Frigga and Freia to kill one another and retreated to the Rosewood Inn for the day.

The Fire of London (September 2nd, 1666)

The Foundlings Brought to Bay (September 2nd, 1666)

When night fell, the coterie reported back to Justicar Violetta of Paris. They interrogated the remaining Foundlings, who admit that they were doing some work for Gillespi, the local Giovanni factor. While they had been doing some spying on The Children of Isaac for Gillespi, their other coterie member, Snee, had been sent to follow a lead and wasn’t seen again. Justicar Violetta of Paris told them Snee had been destroyed, and gave them a night’s head start to get out of London.

Gillespi (September 2nd, 1666)

Next, Gillespi was brought in for interrogation. Asked why the Giovanni thought they could bring such a dangerous artifact as Cappadocius’ documents to the city, Gillespi claimed that the Giovanni did not sanction Ambrogino Giovanni’s activities – he has gone rogue! The document in question is called The Sargon Fragment, containing ancient magic and necromantic lore that Ambrogino Giovanni seems determined to keep for himself. Gillespi admits to hiring the Foundlings to spy on the Children of Isaac, saying that the Children of Isaac might lead them to Ambrogino Giovanni and The Sargon Fragment. He knew nothing about Andre Mallotte, but thought Ambrogino Giovanni was unwise to bring in an outsider (how many Chaldean scholars does Gillespi think there are in the world?)

Gillespi is clearly frightened of the Children of Isaac. He claims he recognizes them from a tapestry he saw in Clan Giovanni’s vaults in Venice . . . a tapestry from around the year 1000, over 400 years before Claudius Giovanni’s “Last Supper.” Violetta of Paris seemed unsurprised by this, since Durga Syn has identified the Children of Isaac as being important in prophecy. She dismissed Gillespi, warning him that the Giovanni Clan needs to stay clear of this matter.

The Prince Returns (September 2nd, 1666)

Prince Mithras returned, looking quite disheveled – having dealt with a number of threats to the Masquerade the previous night, and having slept for the day in a barn. He now saw all of this as a concerted attack upon Camarilla rule in London, and mentioned that he had to deal with Duke Amber and Duchess Amber as well – “those two mummies won’t be showing up for my banquets for quite some time!”

Justicar Violetta of Paris is now certain that the mysterious “enemy” is Count Jocalo the Setite Methuselah, and the Prince concurs. He has alerted the Primogen and the Ventrue “machinery of governent,” and even put King Charles under protection from Setite interference. Prince Mithras said that he now knows he can consider the Children of Isaac “loyal members of the Camarilla” (much to the amusement of Chana!). He asked them to assist Justicar Violetta of Paris in finishing up dealing with the remains of this mess.

The Ascension of Mallotte (September 2nd, 1666)

The Justicar’s followers removed the remains of Freia and Frigga from Andre Mallotte’s mansion during the day – they had killed each other! She suggestsed going through his study again, now that they have a better idea what to look for. She wanted to acquire The Sargon Fragment for the Camarilla. The Children of Isaac accompanied the Justicar back to the mansion. She began a systematic search of the study. They all heard a droning, chanting sound. They found a secret door leading to a hidden ritual chamber!

Andre Mallotte had invoked the power of The Sargon Fragment . . . and is essentially transformed into a vampiric fire elemental! More next time . . .

Next Session!

Next time we conclude the night of September 2nd, 1666 – The Great Fire of London!

Experience
  • 1 point automatic (all characters)
  • 1 point for “learning curve” (all characters)
  • 1 point for role-playing (all characters)
View
Blood and Fire (Session 5)
Act III - Flash Point

Blood & Fire (Session 5)

Dramatis Personae: The Children of Isaac and their Followers

  • Chana, a widowed Jewish merchant (Lasombra, Tanya)
  • Rylan, an armsman who has fought the Turks (Follower of Set, Josh)
  • Mercedes, a young Spanish noble woman (Malkavian, Jessie)
  • Velli, a rebellious peasant woman who despises the Inquisitions and Crusades of the Church (Brujah, Amy)
  • Gallo, a peasant hunter and trapper (Gangrel, Phil)
  • Adrianna, a young street urchin (Toreador, Metellus)
  • Paul, a soldier crippled fighting the Turks, now made a ghoul by Rylan
  • Enzo, a bandit hired by Lothar to ambush the coterie, now made a ghoul by Chana

Act III: Flash Point

The Prince and the Justicar (August 30th, 1666)

Immediately upon their arrival in London, the Children of Isaac were summoned to a meeting with the Ventrue Prince of London Mithras and the Toreador Justicar Violetta of Paris. Valerius and Geoffrey Leigh were also present. Mithras interrogated the Children of Isaac about their relationship with and attempted defense of the Archon Lester Vance, who was apparently bringing information about a mysterious enemy plaguing the Camarilla in London. Violetta of Paris had a few questions of her own, and hinted that she was an associate of Durga Syn who should talk to the coterie privately later. Mithras accepted the coterie in London, on the condition that they help him investigate his mysterious enemy, and turn over the assassin they captured to him for interrogation. He did give them Andre Mallotte’s address on the Strand, and said that they may interview him, but since he was a Camarilla member in good standing, they must not harass him.

The Children of Isaac returned to the Rosewood Inn where they interrogated the ghoul assassin they had captured. Gallo physically intimidated him and Velli persuaded him to talk. He revealed that his name was Ibrahim, and that he was sent from Egypt to Dover to assassinate Lester Vance on behalf of his master, Count Jocalo, apparently a very old and powerful Setite. He did not know why, or what the master plan was, nor what the next step was, nor even who the assassins’ next contact was supposed to be (another assassin – one killed by the coterie – had been the only one to have that information). When they revealed that they intended to turn him over to Mithras, he begged for them to kill him instead! Nevertheless, they bundled him into a carriage waiting to take him under guard to the Prince’s mansion on the Strand.

The Ventrue ancilla who ran the Rosewood Inn, Joseph Gaiman, told the coterie to meet him in the tavern downstairs the following night so that he could arrange a private meeting with the Justicar Violetta of Paris.

Chance Meetings (August 31st, 1666)

The Witchfinder General

When the coterie came down to the tavern the following night, they did not yet see Joseph Gaiman. They witnessed an altercation between a man and his retinue (of whom everyone seemed a little bit afraid) and a barmaid named Rose. The girl was serving drinks, and when she saw the man, she threw hot coffee in his face. His retinue called her “witch!” Joseph Gaiman appeared, calming the situation with vampiric Presence, and apologized to the man, even deferring to him! Gaiman fired Rose on the spot and sent her away in tears. Velli followed her.

Gaiman explained that the man was Dr. Matthew Hopkins, Witchfinder General, and that he had hanged and burned a large number of people as witches. Mithras had ordered him left alone – if some Kindred were to kill him, they would make a martyr, but if some Kindred were to try and fail, it would re-energize Hopkins’ inquisition with actual proof of Satanic beings (vampires). Best to just leave it alone. Meanwhile, the Justicar Violetta of Paris would like to meet with them in Elysium – the new King’s Theater on Drury Lane.

Velli went to comfort Rose and possibly recruit her in some capacity. Rose explained that her father had been a minor vicar and that Dr. Hopkins had hanged him as a witch. She insisted she wanted to be left alone. Velli made some blunt sexual inquiries/advances, which horrified Rose, who again demanded to be left alone. Velli finally gave up and left Rose to her own devices.

Elysium

Joseph Gaiman arranged for the Children of Isaac to be taken by carriage to King’s Theater on Drury Lane, where one of Moliere’s plays was being performed. And actor showed them to a conservatory full of beautiful plants where the Justicar Violetta of Paris and her Archon Geoffrey Leigh awaited them. Geoffrey Leigh seemed bored through the whole meeting, not paying them any mind, while Violetta talked with them.

Violetta revealed that she knew something of their mission and their past, and that she was familiar with the story of the Conspiracy of Isaac and the Children of Isaac. She was apparently an associate of Durga Syn, and knew of the Prophecy of the Blood Egg. She knew how important the mission was to prevent Cappadocius’ secrets from falling into the hands of Ambrogino Giovanni, and so offered to help, though she was busy with her own official business (which they were able to aid by giving her the name of Count Jocalo). She advised that the Giovanni have a small presence in London among the Venetian banking firms of the Lombard district, tolerated by Mithras because he needs the bankers.

Before the coterie left King’s Theater, Geoffrey Leigh revealed that he was the owner of the Sailor’s Moon and that his agents were overseeing the sale of the Dutch ship they had helped capture, the Osprey. He promised that they would receive their share of the money once the sale was complete.

Malotte and the Crimson Bacchanal

After their meeting with Violetta, it was about 10 PM, so there was plenty of time left in the night. The coterie decided to investigate Andre Mallotte. They went to his mansion and knocked. A servant announced them, then showed them to Mallotte’s study, where he was accompanied by two doll-like Malkavian bodyguards named Freia and Frigga, who apparently did not speak English, only German and Norwegian.

Mallotte claimed not to know Ambrogino Giovanni or anything about their mission, and he was very convincing. Only Velli and Adrianna sensed anything wrong, as Mallotte was being a gracious host and apparently willing to help them in almost any way that he could. He offered to help translate the Chaldean for them if they could get their hands on the missing manuscripts. He went on a bit about the pleasures of hunting, and Chana seemed to think that he was hinting at something more significant than most vampires would mean by the term.

Adrianna managed to catch Mallotte in an unguarded moment and hinted that she thought he might possess some of the papers they sought. His eyes darted to a stack of papers over to one side, away from the Greek he was translating into Latin at his desk (Thucydides’ The Peloponnesian War). Mercedes and Gallo caused a bit of chaos as a distraction so that Adrianna could grab some of the papers from the stack.

The Children of Isaac were then ready to take their leave, but Chana stayed behind to talk about Mallotte’s interest in “hunting.” He confirmed that he meant hunting vampires, and that he was Master of Ceremonies for a group called the “Crimson Bacchanal” that participated in such hunts. The other members were apparently Freia, Frigga, and two Ventrue Methuselahs who had been waiting out of site (childer of Mithras himself!), Duke Amber and Duchess Amber. They explained part pf their scheme: Andre Mallotte had received permission from Prince Mithras to create a childe. So he would create childer for them to hunt, and if he got caught, he could say that he had Mithras’ permission to create progeny. They invited Chana back the next night to learn more about participating in such a Crimson Bacchanal.

Meanwhile, Adrianna had discovered among Mallotte’s papers letters that implied he was lying about being a Toreador, but is in fact the childe of Lord Casimir, one of the Conspiracy of Isaac (perhaps the reason he seemed ill at ease with a visit from the Children of Isaac. She also found a Chaldean document and a translation into code. Beginning to decode it, it appeared to be known as The Lilith Fragment.

Next Session!

Next time we shall continue on the night of August 31st, 1666 in London!

Experience
  • 1 point automatic (all characters)
  • 1 point for “learning curve” (all characters)
  • 1 point for role-playing (all characters)
  • 1 point for heroism (for Velli, who tried to take care of the barmaid Rose)
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Blood and Fire (Session 4)
Act II - The Black Monastery to Act III - Flash Point

Blood & Fire (Session 4)

Dramatis Personae: The Children of Isaac and their Followers

  • Chana, a widowed Jewish merchant (Lasombra, Tanya)
  • Rylan, an armsman who has fought the Turks (Follower of Set, Josh)
  • Mercedes, a young Spanish noble woman (Malkavian, Jessie)
  • Velli, a rebellious peasant woman who despises the Inquisitions and Crusades of the Church (Brujah, Amy)
  • Gallo, a peasant hunter and trapper (Gangrel, Phil)
  • Adrianna, a young street urchin (Toreador, Metellus)
  • Paul, a soldier crippled fighting the Turks, now made a ghoul by Rylan
  • Enzo, a bandit hired by Lothar to ambush the coterie, now made a ghoul by Chana

Act II: The Black Monastery

Creation Rites and Vaulderie

On the third night at the monastery, Chana underwent the Sabbat Creation Rites. After clawing her way up out of her grave, the Sabbat present celebrated the Vaulderie, mingling all their blood in one chalice and drinking from it so as to form Vincula between all the members.

The Bold Marauder

On the fourth and final full night at the Black Monastery, Julian Sanders sought out Velli and invited her to go hunting with him, They went out into the wilds hunting, where it was revealed that their prey was a Lupine! Velli was used as bait in Julian’s scheme, distracting a Lupine long enough for him to shoot it with several silver bullets and take it down. Velli discovered the power and potentially addictive pleasures of Lupine blood that night, and kept a flask of it.

A Mysterious Source

On that fourth night, it was discovered that Marianna was present in the Black Monastery. She reluctantly agreed to join the coterie in their their quest to stop Ambrogino Giovanni. She had found evidence that Ambrogino had left for London, heading to find a scholar named Mallotte who might be able to translate the Chaldean manuscripts he had stolen from the Founders

The next night, the Sabbat (including Chana) celebrated the Vaulderie once more, and then the party departed for London!

Act III – Flash Point

Over the course of the next few months, the Childen of Isaac made their way from Switzerland through France to Calais. Along the way, they learned a little more about Andre Mallotte, who is said to be a vampire of the Toreador Clan, an expert on ancient languages, who frequents London’s opulent Strand district.

Scene One: Death of an Archon (August 29th, 1666)

Arriving in Calais in late August of 1666. the Children of Isaac made contact with a Captain Burr of the Sailor’s Moon who agreed to give them passage to Dover in exchange for blood from each of them (Burr is a ghoul who requires vampire vitae to maintain his immortality). They set sail on the night of August 29th, with another vampire on board, an Archon named Lester Vance, of Clan Tremere, and his two ghouls, Iago and Gretchen. He was on official Camarilla business.

Midnight Gambit

A heavy, unnatural fog laid across the English Channel that night. A Dutch ship called the Osprey came out of the fog and attacked. The Children of Isaac and Lester Vance managed to turn the tables on the would-be pirates and capture the Osprey.

Dover

The Sailor’s Moon and Osprey arrived in Dover late that night. Lester Vance had a carriage arranged to take him to London, and generously arranged to transport the Children of Isaac as well.

The Assassination (August 30th, 1666)

The Children of Isaac were traveling to London with the Archon Lester Vance and fell asleep as the sun rose. Unfortunately, they awakened to the noonday sun shining into their carriage as Lester Vance was pulled out and killed by 8 unknown ghoul assailants, masked and well armed. They had removed Lester Vance’s heart surgically before he was slain. They managed to fight back and kill some of the ghouls, who all seemed swarthy, non-European types. They stayed in the sunproofed carriage until nightfall, then rushed to London.

London – the Rosewood Inn

Upon their arrival in London, the Children of Isaac went to the Rosewood Inn which had been Lester Vance’s destination before he had been assassinated. Soon afterwards, soldiers of Prince Mithras, the vampire Prince of London, arrived to escort the Children of Isaac to an audience with Mithras at his mansion on the Strand, overlooking the Thames River.

Next Session!

Next time we shall continue the story beginning with the Children of Isaac presenting themselves to Prince Mithras!

Experience
  • 1 point automatic (all characters)
  • 1 point for “learning curve” (all characters)
  • 1 point for role-playing (all characters)
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Blood and Fire (Session 3)
Act II: The Black Monastery

Blood & Fire (Session 3)

Dramatis Personae: The Children of Isaac and their Followers

  • Chana, a widowed Jewish merchant (Lasombra, Tanya)
  • Rylan, an armsman who has fought the Turks (Follower of Set, Josh)
  • Mercedes, a young Spanish noble woman (Malkavian, Jessie)
  • Velli, a rebellious peasant woman who despises the Inquisitions and Crusades of the Church (Brujah, Amy)
  • Gallo, a peasant hunter and trapper (Gangrel, Phil)
  • Adrianna, a young street urchin (Toreador, Metellus)
  • Paul, a soldier crippled fighting the Turks, now made a ghoul by Rylan
  • Enzo, a bandit hired by Lothar to ambush the coterie, now made a ghoul by Chana

Act II: The Black Monastery

Fox Hunt

After sufficient preparation, the Children of Isaac set out to find the Black Monastery. As they were riding in their carriage up the trail to the monastery, a man came running out of the woods, pleading with the coachmen to stop. The carriage rolled on, so he ran off into the woods. A few moments later, a woman on horseback came riding up and asked the coachmen about the man. This later turned out to be Content Not Found: lady-vladislava, wearing her black cloak trimmed in red like flames, with her hood up, concealing her face. She looked into the carriage as she rode past, so Rylan pulled the shades closed. They heard two more horsemen ride by.

Arrival

The carriage continued on towards the Black Monastery. Eventually, the road narrowed to a point where the carriage could no longer continue. The Children of Isaac prepared to continue on foot. While they were preparing, they saw six lanterns coming down the trail towards them. They were carried by six men, either humans or ghouls, three wearing black and green, three wearing scarlet and black blazoned with silver fish. They said that they had been sent to guide them to the Black Monastery. When questioned, they answered only that Lady Meridie would answer all of their questions at the monastery. They urged the Children of Isaac to hurry. The wind seemed to howl in the distance, almost like a wolf, and the men in scarlet and black crossed themselves quickly.

It was about a twenty minute walk to the open gates of the Black Monastery. The walk through the wilderness was an eerie experience for most of the vampires, knowing they were vulnerable in a wilderness environment where Lupines were known to roam. Finally, they arrived at the monastery. At the top of the steps waited a woman in a long green cloak who introduced herself as Lady Meridie de Chancie. She said, “I was wondering when you would arrive. ”wiki-content-link-not-found">_Content Not Found: lady-vladislava_ mentioned that there was a group of our kind on the road, and out here they can only be going to one place!"

Mercedes then asked, “Is it true that you are going to explain everything, as these men said? That seems so unlike our kind!”

Lady Meridie de Chancie laughed at this, and admitted that she wished to learn of the Children of Isaac as much as they wished to learn of her enclave, so it would be more of an exchange of information. Mercedes acknowledged this. Then Meridie said, “Urgency should never be a reason to forget one’s manners. Is it not meet that you should come inside and introduce yourselves, and greet the rest of us as well?” With that, she led them inside.

Meeting With the Elders

The Children of Isaac were led into a large common room in the monastery where a number of vampires were relaxing. More entered as they were getting settled, including the one in black and red they had seen on the road, and two others presumed to be the other horsemen. After a brief exchange in which the Children of Isaac were asked what they knew of the Black Monastery and were forced to admit they knew very little, the truth was revealed: the Black Monastery was a headquarters of the dreaded Sabbat! The Sabbat Wars were over, for the moment, and the majority of the sect had retreated to Scandinavia or the New World, but this stronghold remained in the heart of Camarilla-controlled Europe, unknown to all!

The members of the Black Monastery enclave were introduced:
Lady Meridie de Chancie, the lady in green, Brujah, co-head of the Black Monastery with Lord Alexandre
Master Frazier, scholarly gentleman, Ventrue
Lord Mendel, librarian of the Black Monastery, Tremere antitribu
Lady Vadislava, the huntress in scarlet and black met on the road, Tzimisce
Haakon Mortensen, huntsman, Country Gangrel antitribu
Julian Sanders, highwayman, Brujah antitribu
Mateusz Gryzbowsky, Noddist scholar, Nosferatu antitribu
Lady Melisande, beautiful blonde hedonist philosopher with a fan, Toreador antitribu
Lord Theron, gangly scarecrow of a madman, scholar of the Book of Nod (particularly Gehenna), Malkavian antitribu
Lady Veradis, Noddist scholar, Assamite antitribu
Lord Alexandre, Lasombra, co-head of the Black Monastery with Lady Meridie de Chancie
Lady Intisar, Follower of Set, claims she is here “to offer a perspective on evil”

Lord Alexandre questioned the Children of Isaac about their quest (and was told that they seek books relating to Cappadocius stolen by the Giovanni), and related the mission of the Black Monastery – to develop philosophies, Paths of Enlightenment, that would allow vampires who have rejected their Humanity to retain some semblance of their sanity and reason, a matter of great importance to the Sabbat, although the non-Sabbat members of the enclave agree that this could be vital for all vampires. He then proposed an exchange, in which the Children of Isaac would stay for a while and offer their perspectives on the Paths of Enlightenment, and the Black Monastery enclave would help search for documents relating to Cappadocius and the Giovanni. It was agreed.

The rules: No ghoul is to be tampered with without the permission of its owner, no Diablerie, any grievances are to be settled peacefully between the parties involved or mediated by Lady Meridie de Chancie and Lord Alexandre, and all duels are to be conducted in the courtyard.

The agreement was sealed by a Sermon of Caine from Content Not Found: lady-vladislava:

A great war was waged, the Elders against their Children, just as Uriel had said, and the Children slew their parents.

They rose up, used fire and wood, swords and claws, to destroy those who had created them.

The rebels then built a new city. Out of the fallen Empire, they collected the Thirteen clans that had been scattered by the Great War, and brought them together.

They brought the Kingship Clan (Ventrue), the Clan of the Beast (Gangrel), the Moon Clan (Malkavian), the Clan of the Hidden (Nosferatu), the Wanderer Clan (Ravnos), the Clan of the Rose (Toreador), the Night Clan (Lasombra), the Clan of Shapers (Tzimisce), the Snake Clan (Setites), the Clan of Death (Cappadocians), the Healer Clan (Salubri), the Clan of the Hunt (Assamites), and the Learned Clan (Brujah).

They made a beautiful city, and the people worshipped them as gods.

When the Sermon of Caine was completed, the Sabbat members celebrated a Vaulderie, passing around a cup into which all of them bled, and from which each of them drank in turn.

Many A Quaint and Curious Volume

Adrianna went to visit the library with Lord Mendel. They were joined by Mercedes, who used Eyes of Chaos to discern patterns – and strange disruptions of the patterns – in the arrangements of the books. They were later joined by Chana in search of the Red Book of Westmarch. They were also joined later by Rylan, fleeing Lady Intisar.

Lady Meridie’s Garden

Lady Meridie de Chancie invited Chana to talk in her garden. They talked of the Sabbat ideals of freedom, which interested Chana, and she suggested that she should seek out The Red Book of Westmarch. This book was a firsthand account of the early days of the Sabbat and its Jyhad against the Camarilla.

Night of the Hunter

Haakon Mortensen invited Gallo to go out running with him. They ran into the woods and found a place to relax. Haakon Mortensen discussed his thoughts on the Path of Harmony, and inquired about Gallo’s philosophy. The two Gangrel went hunting game in the forest.

An Evil Below

Lady Intisar discussed the nature of Setite theology and evil with Rylan. Like Rylan, she seemed to have rejected the notion that Set was a god. She quickly grew bored with the conversation and departed, leaving Rylan alone. He decided to seek out the library. He got lost, wandering the halls below the Black Monastery. He saw Lady Vadislava tattooing a ghoul. He wandered though a Thaumaturgical ritual chamber. He found a closed door with light coming from under the door, and looked through the keyhole. He saw Lady Intisar carrying out some kind of ritual, apparently to Isis and Osiris, but the Osiris had demonic bat-wings. A demonic presence spoke to her out of the darkness. Rylan overheard some disturbing things that sounded like plotting against the Children of Isaac, particularly himself, and possibly against the enclave of the Black Monastery. Suddenly, the demonic presence seemed to become aware of Rylan and he fled, running into Lady Vadislava. He did not want to say what he had witnessed, so he truthfully claimed that he was just looking for the library. When Lady Intisar arrived, he said the same to her, then departed for the library, where he researched ancient Egyptian myth and ritual, but could find no counterpart to what Lady Intisar had been doing.

Riddles Wrapped in Enigma

Lord Theron sought out Mercedes
in the library, dropping dark hints about the future in a mad voice, and trying to explain, in his way, that she should join the Sabbat so as to have a chance of surviving Gehenna.
He quoted passages from the Book of Nod’s “Chronicle of Secrets,” favoring the quote:

Shine black the sun! Shine blood the moon! Gehenna is coming soon!

Several times over the next several nights, Lord Theron would appear to pursue Mercedes and quote at her, desperate to convert her to the Sabbat. She began to mock him in return.

Where Do Angels Come From?

On the second night at the Black Monastery, Lady Melisande invited Adrianna to her chamber. They discussed angels and opera and art, philosophy on the nature of evil and the Cathar heretics, and the Albigensian Crusade. But their conversation was cut short abruptly when Lady Vadislava returned from a hunting trip with a sack. The sack contained a little blonde girl, about six years old, and Lady Melisande declared her intention to make the girl into an angel (by killing her). She declared that this was her art – making angels (by killing children). Adrianna apparently could not stomach this monstrosity, and so stormed off.

A Taste of Blood

On the second night, Lord Alexandre went strolling with Chana, discussing the nature of the Sabbat and its ideal of freedom from the machinations of elders. Chana sympathized with these ideals. He grabbed her hand and bit it, sampling her blood. He offered her his blood in return, and she could taste in it all the other members of the Sabbat pack at the Black Monastery, their blood mingled in the Vaulderie. He invited her to join the Sabbat. She agreed.

Chana sounded out some of the other Children of Isaac on the notion of joining the Sabbat, but her mind was already made up. On the third night in the monastery, Chana underwent the Sabbat Creation Rites, and partook of the Vaulderie, forswearing the Camarilla and joining the Sabbat,

Next Session!

Next time we shall continue the story at the Black Monastery!

Experience
  • 1 point automatic (all characters)
  • 1 point for “learning curve” (all characters)
  • 1 point for role-playing (all characters)
  • 1 point for heroism (all characters – just about every character took some heroic stand in this session, or perhaps anti-heroic, but I’m giving the point anyway)
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Blood and Fire (Session 2)
Act I: Unholy Bandits, Act II: The Black Monastery

Blood & Fire (Session 2)

Dramatis Personae: The Children of Isaac and their Followers

  • Chana, a widowed Jewish merchant (Lasombra, Tanya)
  • Rylan, an armsman who has fought the Turks (Follower of Set, Josh)
  • Mercedes, a young Spanish noble woman (Malkavian, Jessie)
  • Velli, a rebellious peasant woman who despises the Inquisitions and Crusades of the Church (Brujah, Amy)
  • Gallo, a peasant hunter and trapper (Gangrel, Phil)
  • Adrianna, a young street urchin (Toreador, Metellus)
  • Paul, a soldier crippled fighting the Turks, now made a ghoul by Rylan
  • Enzo, a bandit hired by Lothar to ambush the coterie, now made a ghoul by Chana

Act I: Unholy Bandits

Scene 4: The Warehouse

The next evening, the Children of Isaac sought out Bernini at the Giovanni-controlled warehouse. Chana used Obtenebration to frighten away the workers, and Mercedes tried to use Dementation, but failed. Bernini revealed that the destination of the materials acquired for Ambrogino Giovanni was Basel, in Switzerland. He also revealed his desire to become a vampire, boasted of the women he had bitten and whose blood he had drunk, trying to become worthy of the Embrace. Chana offered to Embrace him – she used Obtenebration to make his last moments a living Hell as she killed him, and all the members of the coterie drank his blood (except for Adrianna, as it happened). The Children of Isaac dumped Bernini’s body in the Tiber River and prepared to head north to Switzerland.

Leaving the Eternal City

The Children of Isaac appropriated a sunproofed carriage belonging to the Giovanni for their journey North. The ghouls were to be the coachmen.

Act II: The Black Monastery

Into the Old Country

Over the next months, the Children of Isaac made their way north into the Swiss Alps. The ghouls drove the carriage by day, and by night they would slip out to feed in the villages, careful to avoid the Augustinian monks with their True Faith and their famous Saint Bernard dogs.

A Grim Reminder

In a small village not far from the city of Basel, the Children of Isaac witnessed the burning of a witch, a grim reminder that Switzerland is anything but safe for creatures of the night at this time. Velli was tempted to rescue the witch, but could not come up with any way to do so without revealing the presence of vampires to the villagers. As a matter of self-preservation, she was forced to let it go. For a brief moment, she thought she saw a red-haired vampire watching from the other side of the witch’s pyre – the coterie wondered if this could be Marianna? They could find no trace of her, afterward.

Arriving in Town

The Children of Isaac finally arrived in the city of Basel in the early summer of 1666. They went to Frankel’s Bookshop, where the Kindred shopkeeper suggested that they should go introduce themselves to Prince Manfred at the Black Coq. So the coterie went to the Black Coq tavern. Some of them used some blood to make themselves appear human to the others in the tavern. They presented themselves to Prince Manfred, who gave them his hospitality and offered to help them, since they mentioned that they were on a mission for the Founders. He mentioned the presence of strange Kindred who had not yet presented themselves at the nearby Black Monastery. A seamstress was commissioned to make some appropriate garb for Chana. The coterie was warned of the presence of Lupines in the wilderness outside Basel, and to avoid a tavern called The Eagle and Child, as it is a place where Lupines gather in human form.

The Children of Isaac slept for the day at the inn across the street from the Black Coq, a ghoul-run, vampire-controlled inn. The next night they visited Frankel’s Bookshop again, and talked about rare books. Frankel mentioned that the rare cabalistic texts purchased by Ambrogino Giovanni were sent to the Black Monastery. The coterie resolved to investigate.

Over the next few nights, the Children of Isaac prepared to investigate the Black Monastery. They bought useful provisions, researched what they could find, and Gallo commissioned some silvered daggers and musketballs.

Next Game will begin with the investigation of the Black Monastery.

Experience
  • 1 point automatic (all characters)
  • 1 point for “learning curve” (all characters)
  • 1 point for role-playing (all characters)
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Blood & Fire (Session 1)
Act I: Unholy Bandits

Blood & Fire

Dramatis Personae: The Children of Isaac and their Followers

  • Chana, a widowed Jewish merchant (Lasombra, Tanya)
  • Rylan, an armsman who has fought the Turks (Follower of Set, Josh)
  • Mercedes, a young Spanish noble woman (Malkavian, Jessie)
  • Velli, a rebellious peasant woman who despises the Inquisitions and Crusades of the Church (Brujah, Amy)
  • Gallo, a peasant hunter and trapper (Gangrel, Phil)
  • Adrianna, a young street urchin (Toreador, Metellus)
  • Paul, a soldier crippled fighting the Turks, now made a ghoul by Rylan
  • Enzo, a bandit hired by Lothar to ambush the coterie, now made a ghoul by Chana

Act I: Unholy Bandits

Scene 1: An Impolite Invitation

The coterie, known as the Children of Isaac, went their separate ways after the events of April 1444. Their stories are their own to tell, but in brief, Chana became a protector of her people and had made an alliance with would-be messiah Sabbatai Zevi, Rylan and Gallo both followed the wars across the battlefields of Europe, Mercedes concentrated on building her power in her own domain in Spain, Velli continued to oppose the Church and spent some time traveling the New World, and Adrianna drifted through the cities of Europe for a time. However, towards the end of 1665 and beginning of 1666, all felt an irresistible call pulling them towards Rome – a powerful Summoning.

Before the Gates

The Children of Isaac ended up on the streets of Rome, in front of the gates of Casa Hadestadt on the Capiltoline Hill, on the night of Saturday, February 13th, 1666. They saw the Ventrue motto “Regere Sanguine Regere In Veritate Est” (To Rule By Blood Is To Rule In Truth") on the gates, as well as the coat-of-arms of the Founder Hardestadt, “Vincam Etiam Ab Inferis” (“Even From The Grave I Shall Conquer”). So the coterie was able to deduce that it was the Founders who had summoned them, even though most of them had had no dealings with the Founders in 222 years. They discussed matters among themselves while waiting for their hosts to show themselves.

Eventually, a black-liveried servant came to unlock the gates and show the Children of Isaac inside. The gates were locked behind them. They were shown into the manse, into a dimly-lit drawing room decorated with impeccable taste. Another black-liveried servant brought a silver tray with seven crystal glasses and a hand-cut crystal decanter of blood, which proved to be potent blood of a 6th-generation vampire. Some drank, some did not.

Soon, servants arrived to reveal a trapdoor under an exquisite Persian rug and showed the Children of Isaac into the catacombs.

Into the Catacombs

The servants led the Children of Isaac through the dark tunnels under the manse. The lead servant was clearly a ghoul with the rudiments of Thaumaturgy, and he used the Path of Flames to conjure a handful of flame to light the way. Gallo used Eyes of the Beast (Protean 1) to see in the dark, his eyes glowing dimly red; Adrianna and Mercedesused Heightened Senses (Auspex 1) to help see in the dark, and when it became clear that the servants were intentionally taking them by a confusing route, Chana used Obtenebration to have the shadows themselves trace their path through the darkness.

Sepulchre

Eventually, they arrived at a larger chamber lit by torches made from magically-burning femurs. There, at a great slate-topped table, sat the Founders:

Mistress Fanchon welcomed them pleasantly, saying that she was glad that the Founders had made the right decision in not exterminating the Children of Isaac for their unlawful Embrace by the Conspiracy of Isaac. Hardestadt then got right to the point, explaining that a book from the library of Cappadocius himself, that had been stored for safe keeping in the Vatican Library, had recently been stolen – followed by reports that many books and documents relating to Cappadocius’ esoteric research into the nature of godhead had likewise gone missing. As terrifying to contemplate as the idea of Cappadocius becoming God might have been, the idea of anyone else achieving that feat would be so much worse!

The Die Is Cast

Therefore, Hardestadt called for a Blood Hunt against the unknown thief, charging the Children of Isaac with discovering the thief and the stolen book, which was to be returned or destroyed (Mistress Fanchon made a telepathic offer to Chana and Adrianna, offering the chance to commit Diablerie and lower generation twice if the book were to be delivered intact to her, personally, however!). The coterie was advised that a bookseller named Alfonse on the Via Frattina often deals with esoteric books of this sort. Then, Hardestadt’s servants showed the Children of Isaac back out of the catacombs and out of the manse.

As the Children of Isaac were being led out, Camilla Banes, who had been completely silent during the entire meeting, suddenly burst out with mad, high-pitched laughter, shocking even the other Founders. She shrieked, “500 years! A half a millennium before the dead saint rests! Oh, my poor darling Cappadocius, only three more centuries before you can rest in the Light!” The tinkle of her psychotic laughter trailed the coterie off into the dark.

Scene 2: The Trail of the Thief

Starting The Ball Rolling

The Children of Isaac wished that they could examine the scene of the crime in the Vatican Library itself, but this was not possible. The Vatican is the focus for such intense Faith that no Kindred can set foot inside without being destroyed. The book had been placed there by mortal agents of Josef von Bauren, and while he was willing to tell them where in the library the book had been hidden, there would be no way to investigate this on their own.

Therefore, they came up with plans. Mercedes wrote out introductions for her handmaiden to visit the Vatican library disguised as a nun, perhaps accompanied by other ghouls. But this would have to wait for morning. In the meantime, Chana decided to seek answers in the Jewish Quarter, while the rest of the Children of Isaac investigated the bookseller, Alfonse.

The House of Adonijah

Chana went to the Jewish Quarter to confer with the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Rabbi Joshua Menaggen. She bore letters of introduction from her ally, the would-be messiah Sabbatai Zevi, who was causing quite a stir among the Jews of the city. The Chief Rabbi gladly received her, despite the late hour, and was able to advise her to consult with Adonijah Ben-Reuven. He also gave her letters to convey to Sabbatai Zevi on behalf of the Jews of Rome, formally inviting him to visit Rome (which he would do in August of 1666).

Having been advised, Chana sought the ramshackle house of Adonijah Ben-Reuven, a bird-like old Qabbalistic scholar. He offered to do her horoscope via gematria, converting her name and birthdate into Hebrew letters and their numerical values, then consulting charts to divine her future (he did not even bat an eye at her birthdate in the 1400s, once he convinced her to tell the truth) – “The sword of Uriel waits for you, I am afraid. I see it here; fire, a conflagration, and in the center of it, pages burning. Avoid the numbers 16 and 9p; be kind to old women and young girls. Take the taste of blood from another’s mouth where it is an abomination but beware the chalice that will be offered you. Beyond that, I see no more.”

Chana discovered that Adonijah was in the process of creating a golem to protect the Jews of Rome, and had traded many of his mystical texts having to do with “The Annointing” to agents of the Giovanni in exchange for Qabbalistic documents, including the notes of Rabbi Loew of Prague. He said that an agent named Bernini had bought the books, and that he was known to frequent The Three Lions Inn. He also suggested that she should seek the bookseller Alfonse.

The Bookseller’s

Meanwhile, the other Children of Isaac came to the shop of Alfonse the Bookseller on the Via Frattina. They found him and his nephew Sigismundo working late, typesetting a copy of the Decameron by Boccaccio. Alfonse had a brace of pistols nearby in case of trouble.

The Children of Isaac questioned Alfonse about the books, but he was unwilling to speak. He said, “You’re putting me in a very difficult position here, you see!” He said that he had sold out of all his stock on those subjects, and that his agents had been unable to locate more. He did let slip, however, that a “young thing of a girl” with red hair had been in just the previous evening asking after the same sort of books – it had filled his heart with regret to send her away empty-handed, so he had sold her a travelogue written in Latin by a soldier describing his journey through the Swiss Alps.

Gallo asked after books with illustrations, and was shown a copy of the Hypneratomachia Polyphili. Rylan used Entrancement (Presence 3) to make Alfonse more cooperative, after which the bookseller explained that he had sold all of his texts on Gnosticism, the Cult of Lilith, Qabbalah, the ritual called “The Annointing,” and the like to “a young man of swarthy complexion and rich clothing,” having been warned “on pain of death not to mention to whom he had sold the texts or detail of his appearance.” He added that Sigismundo had been complaining of chills and odd noises in the shop ever since the wealthy gentleman had visited; Sigismundo then chimed in saying, “I swear, the type re-arranges itself as I am setting it, too!”

Mercedes used Auspex to determine that there were shadowy, unseen presences in the shop, telling Adrianna “We are not alone, here.” More Auspex showed several shadowy forms. Mercedes decided to try spiking the emotions in the room to a fever-pitch, saying, “I see you, come out!” and using Voice of Madness (Dementation 3). As emotional energy swirled through the room, though, it only seemed to fuel the power of the ghostly presences. The candles all blew out, the typesetting was shown to read only “GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT GETOUTGETOUTGETOUTGETOUT!”, and Sigismundo fell into a fit, speaking in a gravelly adult male voice, saying, “SILENTIUM SAPIENTIA EST!” (“Silence Is Wisdom!”).

The Children of Isaac pushed for more information. They got a bill of sale made out to “A.V.C.G.” Gallo stole Alfonse’s pistols in the confusion. Having decided that they had learned all that they could, the Children of Isaac left the bookshop. But as they walked down the street, they heard screaming and loud crashing sounds coming from the bookshop. Velli went back to look in the window. She saw that the heavy lead typefaces had been hurled around the shop with incredible force, killing both Alfonse and Sigismundo. The Children of Isaac hurried away from the haunted shop, eager to meet up with Chana.

The Three Lions Inn

The members of the coterie met up and exchanged notes. As it was nearly dawn, they needed to take shelter from the sun until the next night. Their next moves were to have their ghouls investigate the Vatican Library during the day, and to seek Bernini at the Three Lions Inn the next night. As a result, Chana paid for two rooms at the Three Lions Inn – one for herself, and the other to be shared by Rylan, Velli, and Adrianna.

Gallo went out to find a patch of earth in the old Forum Romanum and used Earth Meld (Protean 3) to sink into the ground for the day.

Mercedes found a nice house and invited herself in, using Dementation to force the people living there to give her shelter for the day.

Next Game will begin with the investigation at the Three Lions Inn

Experience
  • 1 point automatic (all characters)
  • 1 point for “learning curve” (all characters)
  • 2 point for role-playing (all characters) – Really good job this session!
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Interlude - Between "The Last Supper" and "Blood and Fire"
First Interlude

Interlude – Between “The Last Supper” and “Blood and Fire”

The first story in this chronicle takes place over the course of just a few nights in 1444, but the fledgling Kindred are witnesses to earth-shaking events of the supernatural world – the fall of the Antediluvian Cappadocius (and thus the end of the Cappdocian Clan) at the hands of Augustus Giovanni (and hence the rise of his bloodline to become the Giovanni Clan), coinciding with a great Maelstrom of the spirit world and the strange escape of Cappadocius’ soul. The Kindred of the coterie were created as cannon fodder by members of the Conspiracy of Isaac, but managed to survive and become accepted members of Cainite society,

Immediately following these events, they would have witnessed the founding of the Camarilla, a theoretically universal Kindred society (though in practice, only 7 of the 13 clans officially joined – the Brujah, Gangrel, Malkavian, Nosferatu, Toreador, Tremere, and the Ventrue). The vampires of the coterie had the rather dubious honor of having met and known the Founders of the Camarilla before the founding, including Hardestadt, the real force behind the formation of the Camarilla, and Rafael de Corazon, the architect of the Masquerade used to counter the humans’ Inquisition.

The Camarilla maintains the so-called Traditions of Caine as law. They are:

  • The First Tradition: The Masquerade – “Thou shalt not reveal thy true nature to those not of the Blood. Doing such shall renounce thy claims of Blood.”
  • The Second Tradition: The Domain – “Thy domain is thine own concern. All others owe thee respect while in it. None may challenge thy word in thy domain.”
  • The Third Tradition: The Progeny – “Thou shalt only Sire another with the permission of thine Elder. If thou createst another without thine Elder’s leave, both thou and thy Progeny shall be slain.”
  • The Fourth Tradition: The Accounting – “Those thou create are thine own children. Until thy Progeny shall be Released, thou shalt command them in all things. Their sins are thine to endure.”
  • The Fifth Tradition: Hospitality – “Honor one another’s domain. When thou comest to a foreign city, thou shalt present thyself to the one who ruleth there. Without the word of acceptance, thou art nothing.”
  • The Sixth Tradition: Destruction (a.k.a. Lextalionis) – “Thou art forbidden to destroy another of thy kind. The right of destruction belongeth only to thine Elder. Only the Eldest among thee shall call the Blood Hunt.”

From the ashes of the Anarch Revolt, an attempt by younger Cainites to overthrow the complete stranglehold of elders on Kindred society, rose a new organization to counter the Camarilla – the Sabbat (essentially created by the Convention of Thorns in 1493). Not much is known about this mysterious organization, save the majority of 2 clans, the Lasombra and Tzimisce, joined the fledgling sect. The Sabbat reportedly has some ritual that can free vampires from the Blood Bond (the slavish condition that results from drinking a vampire’s blood three or more times); the members have broken their bonds to their elders and oppose the Camarilla’s plan to blend in with humanity, saying that vampires are NOT human – they are Damned, and they should act like it, holding dominion over mere mortals. The Sabbat were largely defeated by the Camarilla, and have fled – those who remained in Europe have mostly retreated to Scandinavia, while more have fled to the New World in search of freedom. The Camarilla feels confident that it has achieved victory over the Sabbat, and that Hardestadt’s dream of a universal Kindred society is at hand.

Four clans have held largely aloof from the conflict between the Camarilla and the Sabbat – the Assamite assassins (who have largely withdrawn from Europe following a defeat by the Camarilla and a curse leveled upon them by Clan Tremere that prevents them from consuming Kindred blood), the Ravnos gypsies and wanderers (who refuse to acknowledge any sect’s rules and society), the Followers of Set (or “Setites,” who are devoted to their Antediluvian founder-god), and the new Giovanni Clan, who claim Venice as their territory and remain neutral in the conflict between Camarilla and Sabbat. A formal treaty between the Giovanni and the Camarilla was established, called the Promise of 1528. The details are not generally known, but most believe that the essential agreement is that the Giovanni agree to stay out of the affairs of other Kindred, and in exchange the Camarilla acknowledged them as one of the 13 Clans and gives them the right to go their own way.

Your characters probably see themselves vaguely as members of the Camarilla, though they are free to remain independent (especially Rylan and Chana, since their clans are not traditionally pledged to the Camarilla) as long as they don’t cause trouble. They have heard of the Sabbat but have not yet had the opportunity to join that sect.

Over the last 222 years, the Kindred have developed their own unlives and interests. They probably remained in Europe, though they may have traveled and returned to Europe. “Blood and Fire” begins in Rome in 1666, and to quote the module, “Much has changed . . . and the world has become smaller. Copernicus and his spiritual children have literally reinvented the universe; behind Galileo, Kepler, and countless others, the Technocracy has extended a strangle hold on reality. The Age of Reason and the Age of Exploration have erupted hand-in-hand, and many European powers have turned their attention abroad. The Americas, Africa, and the Orient have been ruthlessly exploited, with European flags flying on every continent . . .”

Your characters have had time to learn more about the lore of the Kindred. Some concepts that you would be aware of:

  • Gehenna – Vampires have legends of an Apocalypse called “Gehenna.” It is well known that as vampires age, they need stronger and stronger blood to sustain them. Caine and the Antediluvian vampires (any surviving 2nd or 3rd generation vampires) would certainly not be able to sustain themselves on human blood; they would need the blood of other vampires to remain active. The Antediluvians are all believed to be in Torpor (long-term sleep), including even the comparatively-recently-made-3rd-generation Tremere. One odd exception is Augustus Giovanni, who does appear to be awake and actively guiding his clan fairly often (perhaps a result of Cappadocian’s soul escaping? Is he not a “full” member of the 3rd generation?). Anyway, most Methuselahs eventually slip into Torpor as well, and Elders sometimes feel the pull of the long sleep. Not dead, but sleeping, these ancient vampires wait in hiding. Some vampires believe that when the time is right, the Antediluvians will arise from Torpor and consume all lesser Kindred to sustain themselves, and event known as “Gehenna.” Many vampires secretly believe in this coming Apocalypse, though the Camarilla officially denounces the idea of Gehenna as a fairy tale used to frighten neonate vampires. The Sabbat is said to believe in Gehenna as an article of faith, and while they worship Caine, they are said to be preparing to fight the other Antediluvians at Gehenna.
  • Golconda – Far less widely-held is belief in a state known as Golconda. It is said to be a spiritual state in which the Beast within a vampire is redeemed, saving the vampire’s soul from Damnation. Some even say that a vampire who achieves Golconda can choose to become human again. Golconda is denounced as a fairy tale by both the Sabbat (they are offended by the very notion of becoming “tame” vampires, or worse, mere mortal scum) and the Camarilla (who see the whole thing as nonsense, officially). None of your characters has ever met a vampire who has achieved this state, nor anyone who claims to know anyone who has done so. Still, the idea remains powerful.
  • Wassail – The final descent into the madness of the Beast, the loss of all Humanity, is known as “Wassail” – this is something you have all witnessed by now, probably many times. When a vampire loses all hold on their former Humanity, only the Beast is left. It can be difficult to destroy such a monster, for it has a certain animal cunning, even bereft of human reason. There is no known way to come back from this state. You may have lost friends or acquaintances to the Beast over time. You yourself have probably frenzied more than once, and inched closer to that Abyss . . .
  • The Others – Vampires are not alone in this World of Darkness. You are already familiar with the Giovanni necromancers, who have the power to command ghosts – so you know ghosts exist. You are told that faerie changelings once existed throughout the world, but they seem to have retreated to their legendary realm of Arcadia in the face of the advancing Age of Reason. Likewise, you know that magic and sorcery exist, but it seems to be fading away or going into hiding, replaced by the powers of the Age of Reason and science. There are definitely demons and spirits out there, though rare. Most dangerous of all are the Lupines – the werewolves. Vampires don’t know much about Lupines, except that they are nearly-unstoppable engines of death and destruction, and they regard vampires as abominations that must be destroyed. Fortunately for the Kindred, Lupines are becoming rarer, and prefer to stay in the wilderness, while vampires rule the growing cities and towns. Still, Lupines are a deadly enemy, and you have learned to avoid any area which these monsters might prowl.
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