Friday, December 15, 2017

Actual Play: Dresden Files Accelerated Hollywoodland Session 1

Dresden Files Accelerated: Hollywoodland Session 1 Write-up

Played Friday, March 31st, 2017

Dramatis Personae

  • Father Darren O'ConnellCatholic priest and holy sword bearer (played by C)
  • Daniel Ehrlichmannhot-shot reporter/wereleopard (played by F)
  • Sammy Wessonclued-in mortal/Changeling (played by R)
  • Raymond Sandersmonster hunter/Changeling (played by D, not present)
  • Ted Summers aka The Dazzling Dante, White Court wizard (played by S, not present)
  • M. Beaulieu, Darren's fencing instructor
  • Vaughn Cadwalader Owen, Warner Brothers Head of Security
  • Persephone
  • Hamish Somhairle MacIver, Grip Shack "Manager"
  • Ben Crooker, information broker, contact of Sammy
  • Dimitrios "Dimi" Karamitsos, lawyer, friend of Daniel
  • Lawrence, a fence on First Street

On a rainy day in Hollywood, California, each of the PCs receives a couriered letter.

Daniel is in his newpaper's bullpen, working on a story when a young 15 year old soaking-wet courier brings him a letter. After he signs for the letter, on a carbon pad that has only his info, he examines the letter. Expensive envelope, heavy paper, quality and expensive. Calligraphy writing on the envelope is "Mr. D. Ehrlichmann".

Inside, the letter, written on a standard typewriter, asks Daniel to come see Vaughn Owen, Head of Security for Warner Brothers Studios. Vaughn is well known to Daniel, in fact, Vaughn politely threatened to break his legs just a while ago. The letter promises $10,000 cash for his services.

Darren is at Salle Beaulieu, one of many fencing schools in Hollywood. It is located above a garment factory and has a huge floorspace. The courier, an older man, nearly 50, also soaking wet, has Darren sign for it on another new carbon pad. Same expensive envelope, calligraphy on the front "Father D. O'Connell" and letter that Daniel got but different content except offering the $10,000 cash for services.

Sammy is hanging out at his apartment, watching the rain fall, when he spots a courier stopping at his building. A knock at the door and he greets a wet courier, who has him sign another new carbon pad for the letter. Same expensive envelope, calligraphy on the front to "Mr. S. Wesson", same gist to meet with Vaughn Owen for $10,000.

They each show up separately at the Warner Brothers Studios and are on the list at the gate. They find themselves in a large waiting room, waiting. A secretary sits about 20 feet away, answering calls and doing secretary things.

They talk about why they're there. They realize that they each one of them know at least two of the others. Daniel mentions the $10,000 as money to be paid to murder someone, it's that over-the-top.

After cooling their heels for a while, Daniel barges into the office, which turns out to be much smaller than the waiting room. Inside is Vaughn Owen, who welcomes him in, and then invites the others in as well. 

Vaughn is very urbane, polite but very much an iron fist in a velvet glove. He offers the party food and drink, including Glenfinnich 1890 Scotch. 

Vaughn explains that he wants them to find a film canister that contains shots of the movie set for the soon-to-be-released Casablanca. It is very important that it be returned to him, undisturbed, intact and not viewed.

He paid them $10,000 each and got their promise (treat as Aspect: Stays Bought on each of them). He shows them a similar canister and tells them the one they are looking for has a Sticker that says: "Casablanca Set Shot, Vol III and Vol IV

April 24th, 1942". Other specifics will be handled by his assistant, Persephone. Vaughn gives them passes to the studio to go freely everywhere and talk to everyone, then leaves them to enjoy the scotch and await his assistant.

Ray pockets the bottle of Glenfinnich and they leave, just to run into Persephone. Daniel is a "sucker for a pretty face" (Compel) so he ignores noticing anything that may warn him off, but Darren notices that something about her alarms him. He also recalls that Persephone is Old Greek for "Bringer of Death".

Persephone takes them into the movie lot, out to the Grip Shack, where the film canister was stolen. Sammy notices that the driver that takes them out there via car is in mortal fear of Persephone. They find the shack still with the broken lock. 

Inside the shack is grip and camera equipment. In the back, in an area little travelled, are where all the movie set films are stored. The only one currently missing is "Casablanca Set Shot, Vol III and Vol IV". 

Looking through the film log, Sammy notices that all the movie set films have names and descriptions of the set written down, except for the one they are looking for. Vol I and Vol II have description, as does Vol V and Vol VI, Vol VII and the rest, but written in place of any reference to Vol II and Vol IV is "See Warner".

Persephone leaves them to investigate and they meet Hamish, the Grip Shack "manager". Hamish had been with Warner Brothers since the beginning. He explains the system in the shack and says that none of his crew would have stolen the film canister, nor broken in the shack, because they had keys.
Ray shares the Glenfinnich, which opens Hamish up a bit. He looks at their studio passes and makes a mark on each of them before handing them back. They asked why he did that and he told them he marked everything so he knew he saw it before and could track it. Sammy asked if he marked the films, too, and he had.

He remembered that the missing film canister was marked MCMXXVII-#### and the other Casablanca films were marked MCMXLII-####. He admitted that Vol III and Vol IV weren't originally in the Casablanca set. And that none of the Warner Brothers had been to the shack for years, since at least 1927.

Hamish also let them know that the marking dealt with the the year, so MCMXXVII was originally marked in 1927. When he consulted his personal log, he found it: MCMXXVII-0931, originally recorded in 1927 sometime between October 4 and 10th but there was no description for the entry. 

He remembered that October 6th was when Warner Brothers released The Jazz Singer and that on October 5th, Sam Warner had died suddenly. Hamish was very saddened by that and the memory was still very raw for him.

Hamish remembered that there was a film crew working late the night before the break-in was discovered. It was filming an Our Gang/Little Rascals film and there were a lot of kids as extras on the lot. It would have been possible for one of the extras, a kid, to hide on one of the sets, break into the shack after everyone had left and stolen the film canister.

When Daniel asked Hamish about how long Persephone had worked for the studio, he was confused, not knowing who he was talking about.
As they walked back to the studio gate, they mused that maybe the film showed the death of Sam Warner, possibly a murder, done by the other brothers. That's why they're willing to spend $50,000 for the five PCs to find that film.

Sammy mentioned that there was a gang of children who were breaking and entering, robbing places around town and perhaps they were some of the extras on the studio that night. Maybe he knew someone who could give them info on that gang.

They were walking past a filming when Darren and Daniel spotted a kid watching them and the kid looked like he was translucent in the direct sunlight he stood in then the kid ducked behind a building. It was a brief view for Darren but Daniel got a better look and it felt like someone had walked on his grave. Could it have been a ghost? There was no trace of the kid. Could the ghost have stolen the film? Darren didn't think so since they have no substance.

After leaving the studio, Sammy brought Daniel and Darren to Trond's Deli, where an information broker he knows spends time. They sat down with Ben Crooker. Ben kept on trying to order the best BLT in town for each of them but the waitress kept away.

Ben told them that there was a gang, but no one knew who ran it, who was the adult, the "Fagin" who was running the kids. They were mostly non-violent and just broke and entered. Two of the leaders were kids named Eddie and Richard or Dicky. He also said that Sammy knew a few of the fences that they used, Lawrence on First Street was one of them. Daniel described the ghostly kid they saw but Ben never saw any of the gang so he didn't know how they looked. They finally got their BLTs to go and Sammy gave Ben some cash for the info (and enough to keep him silent about it).

They split up to put their cash away and they'd meet up later. Daniel brought his $10,000 and the BLT to his friend Dimitrios, to store in his safe. Sammy hid his cash in a glamoured safe in his apartment and Darren handed his money over to his mentor/parish priest, who warned him to be careful.

At 8PM, they met up at Mick's Bar on First, for a drink before going to see Lawrence. Three shots rang out on the street and a blood-covered man stumbled into the bar, collapsing at their feet. It was Lawrence and before he died, he gasped "Eddie!"

Darren started giving him last rites and Daniel started rooting through his pockets, finding keys, some betting slips, a few bucks in a wallet. Meanwhile, Sammy ran outside to see who did the shooting but no one was there.

Next session: Who shot Lawrence? Who's Eddie? Where is the film? What are they going to have to do for that $10,000?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Unfortunately, due to spam, I have set up comment moderation. I will review and approve your comment as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.