Session 2 Dracula Dossier Feedback

My first session of my Dracula Dossier game went better than I could have hoped for.  Here is the rundown of what happened session 1.

Players get Dracula Unredacted via suicide of Emma "Hopkins" Wade as presented in the sample spine chapter (it was way to good not to use).  Along with the book are pictures of an old abandoned house.

Players find the house, and find it belongs to the Grey family, but hasn't been used in over 50 years.  (I had here a uber-clue if they did a two point spend researching the house, but they didn't)

They go to the house posing as a gardening crew the next day, find that is has a couple of camera's inside, with some cool movie hacking they put the feed on a 15 minute loop so they can go poke around.  Upstairs they find a hastily prepared room that looks like it was made for a grandmother.  In the basement they find a pile of earth (nobody has Geology) and a cheap coffin and a horrible stink.  Inside the coffin is a woman in a halloween victorian dress they can't take photos of.  But underneath her it looks like somebody poured blood into the coffin that has dried and is the cause of the stench.  The Catholic player (whose Symbol is his Mama's Rosary) puts the symbol on the head of the woman, there is a sound like bacon frying and the lady shrieks like a feral cat, spasms and knocks herself out of the coffin.  The crew drop two clips into her, hastily make a bomb with a gas can from the gardening truck and blow up the basement of the house.  (Charlotte = Lucy, in my mind MI1c would have changed the names of the real people, especially an English lord.  The Grey family = Holmwoods.  My thought was the Satanic Cult of Dracula is still around but kinda lame, Edom is aware that they flair up when Dracula is active, and they are drawn to the house.  So they keep it under surveillance at all times as an early warning system.  The Cult has obviously flared up again, this time they found Lucy's/Charlotte's body.  I decided that the way you kill kill vampires in this game is you need to restrain them (decapitation, staking, mouth full of garlic or all three work for this), burn the body, and scatter the ashes in running water.  The book only has them doing the restraining, not the other end, thus the cult poured blood over Lucy/Charlotte's remains and reanimated her literally the day before.  Since the players did not actually see her burn when they torched the house, she's probably coming back later).

Going to Emma Wade's apartment later, they find it obviously tossed, but my Cat Burglar player drops two points into looking for something.  So I give them the uber-clue for a 2 point spend from earlier house research.  The Burglar finds a memory card from a camera in a hidden spot in the crown moulding of the apartment, using her uber-hacking skills back at HQ she finds, the Grey family inherited the house when the 4th Earl of Grey fiancee Charlotte Westerman died of a blood disease, that same night Charlotte's mother died of a heart condition upon seeing her daughters death.  The death certificates were both signed by a Dr Joshua Sadler.  They also find a picture of Charlotte and she was the same woman from the basement.  (Dr Sadler = Dr Stewart).

The players deciding that they have done to much in London (need to read the heat rules again to see where it's at, but yeah gun play and torching a house) decided based on flipping through Dracula Unredacted that they should go to Exeter.  They seem really fixated on the letters to Dracula from Peter Hawkins that aren't in the novel Dracula.

Which brings us to what to do about session 2?

The players literally know nothing about Exeter beyond Peter Hawkins wrote Dracula there, and one of the annotations mentioned "archives" in Exeter.  The problem is Peter Hawkins name has also been changed, and they also don't know Jonathan Harkers real name, so tracking down anything about the law firm in my mind is going to be impossible.  Especially since so much was lost during WWII.  Since they are now on Edom's radar I'm thinking of triggering the level 1 Leg-Breaker in the Edom Conspiramid.  One of my players is not very researchy and his character will likely get bored and start to find the night life.  I'm thinking at that point somebody comes, beats the crap out of him, tells him to stay off the Dracula case, and leaves. Based on how the players react the dude will either get away, or they can trail him back to the Hawkin's Country House, which is a low level node.  I'm thinking at the house, maybe they could find stuff on the HMS Proserpine, and the Neo-Nazi.  Plus researching the house might give a clue to Hawkin's and Harkers real names.

Any ideas or thoughts?


Comments

  • Personally I think the reaction pyramids look like a great tool to lean on when you or the players don't know where to go next.

    regarding "so tracking down anything about the law firm in my mind is going to be impossible", I feel like shutting down lines of enquiry like this outright is creating work for yourself. One of the great thing about WWII era stuff is that it'd all be paper based. Someone could easily have a partial copy of the worknames for agents from the era (perhaps from before the EDOM op began?), the players just have to contact the right person. If they mention that they want to track down the worknames, mention their networks, or maybe a Military Science spend can give them a pointer

    The players are all very competent spies right? as one possibility: I'm sure someone has a contact in their network who used to work for MI6 in the 60s who might know about an old stash of paper records that was not on the books and has been since forgotten about. Maybe its stashed in the floor of a safehouse in Paris, or a locked filing cabinet in an MI6 outpost in prague? drop in a chase where they try to shake a tail before they approach, and then a bit of B&E?
  • Further thought: You dont have to give the players a (partial) workname table, but provide them some kind of resource that will, given later information that will allow more work names to be figured out. possibly with traffic analysis spends it might turn into a pool of points that they can use to figure out more worknames
  • Sorry I didn't respond right away, I've had a hectic week.  They haven't quite put together that the names have been changed at this point.  They were going down that track when they thought Charlotte was Lucy, but they were like "Lucy died in the book it can't be her."

    However during the week I was thinking about how to write out the adventure and I reached the same conclusion.  If a player spends points I should reward that, so now I'm trying to figure out what they could find out.

    The problem is there not going to Exeter to follow logic, they are going there because flipping through the book they saw Exeter up front a few times, and a reference to an archive there.  But what that archive is, or who they are looking for isn't something they can name.  Also they had a strong desire to get out of London, having gone to heat 4 during the first adventure.
  • Your point about making a contact in Exeter is a good one!  My players are still getting used to the system so I'll bring it up that they could go do that! 
  • No problem!

    I think that early on in the campaign i wouldn't worry too much if the players are just following leads from the book almost at random. Simon Rogers made a comment in a recent panel about advanced investigative gaming[1] that the shared imagined space in an RPG is a 'fog' and things that may seem obvious to one player (especially the GM) may not be clear at all to the other players. Let the rumble about trying different angles and getting a picture of the low level of the conspiracy.

    If it's important to you that they start follow the work name puzzle early on and they aren't, it may be that they aren't even aware that work names could be a thing, or a thing that they can figure out. If it were me I'd have them find a clue that points out the possibility. Maybe they overhear some radio chatter, find a classified memo. Something that maybe rules out some possible matches and suggests a course of action. As an added bonus that allows more action / chases as the antagonists have plausible reasons to crash their party.




    [1] Plot Points: 58: Advanced GUMSHOE Seminar from GenCon 2015
    https://overcast.fm/+BWiDoAnpI
  • edited January 2016
    Agreed, assuming they go down the road, I think what they are going to find is Hawkin's original letters to Dracula, that will be verbatim from Dracula Unredacted.  However instead of signed Peter Hawkins they will be signed with his real name.  Which can lead them to figure out Jonathan and Mina's real name, which might make the whole point more clear.  I'm going to have to play this session more by ear, which figures since it's improvisational and all.

    Right now the players aren't very sure of exactly what is happening, they got it confirmed that Vampires are real, and some of the info in the book checks out.  Were still at the early stages.

    Thanks again for the responses by the way  :)
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