Fatal Choices: A Gehenna One-on-one Schenario

ACT 1 | ACT 2 | ACT 3

Crying woman with wine

INTRODUCTION

A date leads to an unorthodox embrace. This Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition (V5) scenario is an experiential crash course into the current meta plot. The players will learn that each choice in the world of darkness carries a weight of consequence that they don’t always expect. Designed for new and experienced storytellers with a conclusion that can lead seamlessly into any city game.

This one-on-one scenario is specially designed to introduce a player unfamiliar with Vampire: the Masquerade and the World of Darkness to both the setting and system. It introduces many of the themes of Vampire, as well as the personal and political horror and opportunities for betrayal that Vampire chronicles are renowned for. It can be a helpful module for a new Storyteller to familiarize themselves with the setting as well.

PREGAME PREPARATION

The Storyteller and the player should sit down and create a character as normal per the Vampire: the Masquerade 5th edition corebook. They should pick a clan and disciplines, as well as a Predator Type, but note that they will be playing as a mortal until about halfway through the scenario (Act 2, Scene 2). The player must describe where they live (with family or roommates), their job, and a co-worker (gender and name). To help this scenario it may be prudent to know the character’s sexual identity as they will be going on a date.

CREDITS

By: Rick Wheeler & Ian E. Muller
Design: Mark Anderson
Other art provided by White Wolf Publishing
Special Thanks to Daniel MacDonald for being an actual Ventrue.

Act One
Woman drinking wine at bar

Scene 1: The Date

The first scene will have light banter between the player and their roommate/family. The player can get into the shoes of the character they have created, establish likes, dislikes, and a rapport with this friend or family member. This should go on as long as it feels natural to help establish who the character is.

You have been single for a while and have recently been going on Tender dates. You end up swiping right on a beautiful person who you haven’t seen in your area. The profile says they are new in town. You tell your family or roommate about it and have a discussion about it. The Storyteller should flesh out the family member or roommate.

You go to work and run into a co-worker who’s been sharing their dating exploits. They tell you briefly about this awful date they had as an anecdote. Casually, they mention they have a new second shift office manager starting today as the conversation continues.

Eventually, they are interrupted by the new office manager, who is also the Tender date. They recognize you from Tender and also swiped right on you, but hadn’t decided what to do yet. After a quick conversation, they agree to meet you for drinks and half-price apps after work. They leave and you and your friend have a brief chat before work resumes and the scene ends.

Scene 2: The Uber

This scene is encouraged to go on as long as possible to build a relationship with the date.

You and the date catch an Uber together to the location as you both live so close to work you either walk or take public transit. You are picked up, and the driver begins the trip once you are both in. You both chat for a bit, excited about the location your date picked. It is a fairly new restaurant in town that has had great reviews. Your date admits that since moving here it has been a long time since they have had a social event to look forward to and thanks you with a perfunctory kiss on the cheek.

Suddenly the car doors lock. A second passenger in the front opens a dividing slider door between the cab and the backseat and points a taser gun at your date. He fires the taser into the dates chest, voltage electrifying them into unconsciousness. They spray something in your direction, close the cab divider and you lose consciousness.

Ally parking lot at night

In the lab

Scene One: The Lab

The metal table’s cold surface shocks you awake as it hits your bare skin. Four-inch leather straps are secured over you with chains on the other side, and something clicks and locks in place. A blinding light flips on above you, and something sharp pierces your wrist. One silhouette, followed by another, appear at the side of the table. Whoever they are, they are wearing helmets with dark reflective lenses. A machine beeps and suddenly pressure starts building in your arm, and you feel something flowing into your veins. If you twist and try to look around, across the room you see several people (ST – Describe how many and what they look like) are also tied up and blindfolded, with Hannibal-like muzzles over their mouths. One of them is your date. One of the individuals looks like he is wearing a Halloween mask of some kind of… goblin?

STORYTELLER NOTE  

Draw out the tension here before moving on to the next paragraph.

Minutes pass and a few of them start to twitch and stir. A smaller one begins to spasm and growl. His restraints begin to bulge. A voice crackles over a speaker, “Subject 213 beginning to undergo cognitive relapse, infrared shows an unexpected increase in muscle mass that previous specimens of type have not shown. Send him in during the final phase.”

A door opens and a priest walks in with a cross in hand and a younger agent dressed in a black suit behind him. The veins in your body begin to ache as he raises the cross, speaking in Latin. The others near the smaller man begin to scream and are frantically trying to get away but cannot. Still, they struggle as if being even one centimeter away from the Priest would lessen the pain, as if he was a raging inferno. He begins asking questions to the others in the room. “Tell us where your havens are? Where is the local Elysium? Who in the city is working for them?”

No one talks. Eventually, one by one, the priest begins moving the blessed cross closer to their faces, pressing it into their flesh, causing a searing burning smell to fill the air. He pulls it away each time with some difficulty, as the flesh sticks to it, then burns off to ash. Every now and then one of the others says, “The District attorney! The deputy police chief! Judge Reinhold! I ghouled a local hotel owner! Elysium is sometimes held at (Local bar of your choice).”

SYSTEM:

Roll Wits and Insight – On 2 or more success, the date across from you didn’t really react much to the cross. On 3 or more, the priest was wearing thick gloves to handle the heat from burning the kindred, showing that he has done this before.

One of them goes into a crazed rage, speaking as if possessed by some monstrosity. As your fear and anxiety build you feel…stronger, more aware of yourself and surroundings. A small voice from deep within you whispers. You can’t make it out but you swear you heard something. Thud. Thud. Thud. Your heart beats harder, the voice gets louder, but then suddenly, it stops. You look down and see a large container next to you, with an IV in your arm pumping red fluid into you. Your other arm has another IV, but this one seems to be drawing out? As if they are removing your blood. You feel drained, but at the same time, stronger?

SYSTEM:

Roll Intelligence and Medicine – On 2 or more success you determine what is actually happening to you.

If successful, roll Wits and Occult  – On 2 or more success you can guess as to why – they are testing to see how long it takes you to turn.

Everything in your vision starts to get fuzzy. The outward edges of what you can see start closing inwards with blackness. You feel weaker and your lungs convulse looking for the strength to keep taking breaths, but you’re tired…exhausted…and you fade as if into a dream. Minutes pass as you hear a flatline continue. Voices record the time of death and the noises begin to get quieter until…nothing.

Suddenly you awaken with several medical staff with body armor and the tinted face masks checking on you. You hear a voice say, “Pulse, zero. Blood pressure as expected. Temperature is currently 56F. The subject has undergone the change at approx 11:36 PM, please note time of death.”

The priest and their assistant are gone. One agent in the room gets out a notepad and says “We’ll make a cover story and notify next of kin then proceed to question them.”

You feel strong, more aware of your surroundings. As the staff moves closer you feel a hunger growing rapidly inside you and an inner voice that sounds sinister says “C’mon do it! Break free and drink, you know you want to so do it already!”

STORYTELLER NOTE

While normally the player could use Disciplines to get out of this situation, they have no idea how to use them yet as they were just embraced via the Second Inquisition as an experiment. If the player is unable to talk, bribe, or break free move on to the next scene.

SYSTEM:

The player now has an opportunity to escape. They have four options, all of which require six success. They can try and break free with a Strength and Athletics roll. They then need to fight their way out.

PLAYER CHOICE

Church on the river
  1. The player can attempt Dex and Larceny to try and dislocate their bones and slip free. If they take this approach, they fall to the ground while trying to relocate their joints, and the room floods with guards who beat them, stake them, and restrain them again before removing the stake.

  2. The player can try and talk their way out against a guard, janitor, or nurse who is passing through the room. To do so, they need to roll for how they want to plead their case. They can charm with Charisma + Persuasion, try to Manipulate + Subterfuge, or use Wits + either Skill to outsmart the passerby.

  3. Finally, the player can bribe someone, but they need at least 3 dots in resources to do so.

If they succeed in talking or bribing their way out, the NPC will cut them free, get a stretcher and a sheet, put a toe tag on them and haul them off as a corpse, then provide them a set of clothes and tell them there is sewer access that leads out of the facility (a hospital, national guard building, police or federal station however you decide to place the SI location.) The player will be free but if it was a bribe it will be at the cost of that advantage, which they can regain past the one shot.

SI AGENTS

Physical 5, Social 4, Mental 5

Health 7, Willpower 6

Exceptional Dice Pools: Awareness 7, Firearms 6

Equipment: 9mm Handgun w/ standard ammunition, extendable batons (+1 dmg), at least one with a cattle prod (+1 dmg and stunned for a single round)

THE PRIEST

Physical 3, Social 5, Mental 6

Health 5, Willpower 7

Exceptional Dice Pools: Insight 7, Occult 6, True Faith 7 (+1 Aggravated dmg)

Equipment: Cross, Bible


Behind the building on the street at night

Scene Two: Escape

STORYTELLER NOTE

If the player does not succeed in breaking/bribing/talking their way out, use the next two paragraphs

The priest with the cross and the agent return having heard you are now vulnerable to their method of interrogation. Even as they enter the room and look at you, your body reacts with panic and fear, even discomfort. He raises the cross and you see pure sunlight pouring through both the cross and radiating from him, burning your very soul and you hear their questions loud and clear, questions you don’t know the answers or meaning to. You black out as this guttural roar rises up from your chest.

You come to with your face buried in one of the doctors’ necks, practically crushing their body against yours with a strength you have never dreamed of. You look around the room and see three other doctors on the floor, necks with similar bite marks and no blood spilling out of them. One of the Kindred tied to the table has also been drained to the point of death. It appears that many of the other Kindred who were freed during the struggle somehow. One remains, who yells “Free me before they come!”

STORYTELLER NOTE

If the player bribed/broke/talked their way out, start here.

At this point you realize there is an alarm and flashing lights that have been going off.

PLAYER CHOICE

  1. The player can leave the kindred. The Kindred gets free later and tells prince the player left them for dead, and luckily the sheriff found and rescued them.

  2. Drink the kindred to death (access to disciplines, stain on humanity. If prince dominates the player for the truth it was murder. Player considered for destruction). You are still at a hunger 3 and this thing inside of you is begging you to do it.

  3. Free the kindred and leave together. (They are the only witness to what actually happened and if it was the missing kindred who broke free that killed the other two, or if it was the player. They will use this knowledge against the player, or hold it until they pay for it with service/boon, showing knowledge is power.)

Regardless of which the player chooses, they also have the option to stick around to try and find answers as to what happened. This will count in their favor later as it will show they are competent at finding information and had the brains to check.

SYSTEM:

Before the player leaves they can perform a Wits and Investigation. On 2 success, the find charts near each patient station describing what exactly the SI were trying to learn. On 3 successes they see papers with a FIRSTLIGHT logo. The tests are to determine the approximate time it takes for “blank bodies” to 1. change a subject, 2. ghoul a subject, 3. die from Faith 4, and 5. if different types of blank bodies react to the same degree.

The goblin-like masked person, who’s body is still there, is labeled “Nosferatu.” They can attempt to check the face and realize it is not a mask and roll Intelligence and Occult. Their neck has teeth marks with no blood present.

There is a smaller person with dirty clothes who also has been drained with teeth marks on their throat.

There is one table empty that was adjacent to the player, there was somebody there before but the restraints like your own have been physically ripped apart. Someone else broke out, but who caused this? Them or you?

Your date’s chart says “Thin Blood.” They are unconscious and still strapped in.

PLAYER CHOICE

You can undo the date’s restraints with 2 success on a Dex and Larceny roll or Strength and Larceny to break them. You can attempt to carry them out with 2 success on a Strength and Athletics roll, blood buff if necessary. Or the player can leave them, in which case the Sheriff will have entered the lab and taken them to the trial. In this case, the date will realize you left them there to die, counting against the player.

During the escape, a lab security guard will turn a corner then freeze. They will turn and run away down a hallway and attempt to open several doors, all of which are locked. They will not be able to find the correct key and if chased will beg and cower in fear of the monster. The player can interrogate them and get more information related to the Second Inquisition. This will count towards their info gathering. Killing the guard will be seen as a clean up of the Masquerade and eliminating a threat, however, it may stain your humanity as he is only security, not an agent. If left alive, the Sheriff won’t know about the guard, and this won’t count against the player during the trial.


City Scape in world of darkness

Scene Three: A Clean Getaway?

OPTIONAL IF THE PLAYER CHOSE TO RESCUE THE DATE

As they are leaving the date regains consciousness. They will ask what happened and the player can explain. They will say something like “I’m so sorry, I can’t believe I was so stupid thinking I could try and lead a normal life without being caught…”

The player will likely ask and they will say they’re a Thin Blood. A vampire tried to turn them but the blood was too weak, now they’re stuck in-between and are hunted by the others for elimination. They look at the player and realize they’re a full Kindred, not a Thin Blood. The date starts freaking out, saying “oh no oh no this can’t be happening! You’re one of them! Shit I… I have to go, I’m so sorry!” They take off. The player will be unable to stop them.

(End of Optional scene)

After escaping it’s early morning. The player should instinctively head home

There, two police officers (who are SI operatives) are giving the bad news to the family member/roommate that their friend or child and date were found murdered and an autopsy is being performed as they speak. Any information they have as to their associates is greatly appreciated. The two agents then leave the grieving family member/roommate alone.

If the player was hidden watching this they may  speak to them. They will be startled and confused, surprised to see the player. As the conversation continues have them make regular Wits + Awareness checks. After achieving a cumulative 6 successes, they realize their loved one is dead… they are not breathing, they are cold, their skin is pale and lifeless. They begin to act paranoid and will eventually start to back away. Eventually, they panic and call for the officers, who are still outside waiting to see if the player come home.

SI AGENTS

Same stats as earlier.

FIGHT OR FLIGHT

If the player wins, the Sheriff reveals himself and will later note that they can hold their own in a fight. If they begin to lose, the fight ends as the sheriff appears dispatches the SI agents in a single attack. He then tells the player that they have questions, and they must see the prince. If the player asks, they get a crash course in Camarilla politics. They’re in over their heads, they’re an unsanctioned “vampire” and they will be judged if they will be allowed a continued existence. The sheriff will be overly rough, shoving them into a car.

ALTERNATE SCENE THREE

Frenzy attack

IF THE PLAYER LEFT OTHER KINDRED BEHIND

When the Sheriff arrives he will ask who they are and where they came from, and is very hostile. The player has not introduced themselves to the Prince, so they ask why. When the player explains the Sheriff asks about who else was there and when they mention the other Kindred the Sheriff does not take that well, as the player has abandoned his own kind, leaving them with the Second Inquisition. The player’s confusion will not help their cause. The Sheriff threatens to kill them on the spot if they don’t go back with them and save the rest. Perhaps have the player engage in some mild combat, but the Sheriff will easily overpower them, giving them the choice “Help, or meet final death.”

They sneak back in, the player must roll Dex and Stealth. The Sheriff is less stealthy, but dispatches any obstacles. They return to the room and find the date in a frenzy devouring the staff, as well as the two diablorized kindred, and the witness if they were left behind. The missing Kindred is still gone, with straps broken. The End Trial the Player earns another pro in their favor, as they can say they at least showed promise of talking their way out/or breaking out, and going back to save the rest. (Initially leaving the others behind won’t count against them as they helped the Sheriff).

The date, however, is on trial not only as a Thin Blood, but is then tasked with finding out who committed diablerie. The Prince doesn’t think it was the Thin Blood, as they would no longer be Thin Blood after diablerizing a lower-gen vampire, but they also aren’t 100% sure if that is the case and want closure. The session ends as normal with the player being assigned to the date to solve the mystery.

THE SHERIFF

He’s served the Prince for a decade and knows the city inside and out. He’s completely loyal, and happy with his position, though rumor has it a younger upstart is vying for the position. He should be wary, if not downright hostile toward unfamiliar Kindred, and is a staunch Camarilla loyalist.

Attributes: Strength 5, Dexterity 3, Stamina 4, Charisma 2, Manipulation 2, Composure 2, Intelligence 3, Wits 3, Resolve 4

Secondary Attributes: Health 7, Willpower 6

Skills: Athletics 4, Brawl 4, Drive 2, Firearms 3, Larceny 3, Melee 3, Stealth 4, Survival 3;
Animal Ken 2, Etiquette 1, Insight 2, Intimidation 5, Leadership 2, Persuasion 2, Subterfuge 2, Streetwise 3
Awareness 3, Investigation 4, Politics 3, Technology 2

Disciplines: Animalism 3, Fortitude 2, Potence 3, Protean 2

Humanity: 6

Blood Potency: 2


Act Three
Courtroom

Scene One: The Trial

During the ride, the Sheriff will ask what happened to the player. They can lie, or tell the truth. If they tell the truth, the Sheriff will ask if they were able to discover anything about what they went through and where they were. If the player cooperated and has two or more pieces of acceptable info regarding what was happening, the Sheriff will later tell the Prince they are adept at finding Intel.

Eventually, they arrive at a secluded area and a pit dug in the dirt, surrounded by other cars with their headlights on. Several buckets of gasoline are present and multiple people are standing around. The player is thrust out of the car, hitting the ground in front of the pit.

As you hit the ground you see another person bound in chains scream as someone throws a lit cigarette at them and they burst into flames. They immolate immediately and are reduced to ash. The Sheriff addresses those gathered “That is what you get when you break the Masquerade.”

As you get up you see the Kindred that got away from the lab (either with help, or they broke out themselves). And another person kneeling down with a bag over their head. The door of a limousine opens and a well-dressed woman walks out. She lights a cigarette then says “Who do I have to thank for ruining my evening plans tonight?”

As you get up you see the Kindred that got away from the lab (either with help, or they broke out themselves). And another person kneeling down with a bag over their head. The door of a limousine opens and a well-dressed woman walks out. She lights a cigarette then says “Who do I have to thank for ruining my evening plans tonight?”

The Sheriff shoved the player forward and the Prince looks at the player with disgust. Then the Sheriff tells what he knows. “The SI captured several Kindred in our domain, and some outside of the sect, and performed experiments on them. Testing how much time it takes to ghoul and embrace. How much vitae it takes. Also stages of damage by true faith against different clans, even on that Thin Blood piece of shit we found tonight.” At that, the bag is removed from the kneeling person’s head, and it’s revealed to be the date, who begins sobbing.

The Prince says “Give me one good reason why I should allow you to continue to exist in my city”. As she says the words “my city” the cigarette is pushed into the player’s cheek, dealing 1 point of aggravated damage (terror frenzy check – Difficulty 1). If the player fails the check and begins to frenzy the Sheriff uses Quell the Beast to relax them again and bring them out of the terror frenzy.

Trial by Kindred: the player, the sheriff, the witness, the PrinceTHE PLAYER

They may then make their plea.

THE WITNESS

The other kindred who was present then says their piece. If the player freed them it works in their favor. If they left them it goes against them.

THE SHERIFF

Will say his piece, and if the player didn’t break the Masquerade it will count for them, if they did it’s against. If they fought well it counts. Depending on the level of Intel they gathered it will also count.

THE SCALES

The pros and cons will be weighed by the Prince. If there are enough pros the player will be allowed to live. If there are more cons, they may be tested by being told to execute the date by setting them on fire, thus proving their loyalty at a personal cost.

The player is left with the choice to disobey, or refuse to choose. in either case the date will be given the option of diablorizing the player and continuing their existence in these nights as a full kindred.

THE PRINCE

She’s been in charge for as long as most Kindred in the city can remember. With the Sheriff’s loyalty and a strong Primogen council she’s never had any trouble squashing Anarch rebels or contests for her rule. Because of this, she doesn’t suffer fools lightly, and often feels she has more important matters to deal with, regardless of why her attention is being sought.

Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 4, Stamina 3, Charisma 3, Manipulation 5, Composure 3, Intelligence 3, Wits 4, Resolve 3

Secondary Attributes: Health 6, Willpower 6

Skills: Athletics 3, Brawl 2, Drive 2, Firearms 4, Melee 4, Survival 2;
Etiquette 4, Insight 4, Intimidation 3, Leadership 5, Persuasion 3, Subterfuge 4, Streetwise 2;
Academics 3, Awareness 3, Finance 2, Investigation 2, Occult 2, Politics 4, Technology 1

Disciplines: Auspex 3, Celerity 3, Dominate 2, Fortitude 1, Presence 4

Humanity: 5

Blood Potency: 3


vampire interrogation

Scene Two: The Question

The Prince will then address the question of what happened to the other two kindred who were found drained. The Prince tasks the Player, the Witness, and the Date (if they survived) to track down the missing Kindred and discover their fate. Perhaps even break into the SI compound and find footage, interrogate staff, and take out as many as they can. The Prince mentions they may assign other neonate Kindred to assist the player, as they also have much to prove in order to become fully independent of their own sires.

Wrapping Up

At this point, the session ends and the player is offered the opportunity for a follow-up session to solve this mystery. They then can invite friends who may be interested in playing after hearing about the fun they had with the experience. New players would be invited to a session zero to create neonate characters and assist the player in this quest. At the end of the second session, they are provided a small slice of a domain and at that point, you can start your own city chronicle!

Kindred woman crying in bloody wine glass

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