Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Actual Play: Dresden Files Accelerated Hollywoodland Session 6

Dresden Files Accelerated: Hollywoodland Session 6 Write-up

Played Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

Dramatis Personae
  • Father Darren O'Connell, Catholic priest and holy sword bearer (played by C)
  • Daniel Ehrlichmann, hot-shot reporter/wereleopard (played by F)
  • Sammy Wesson, Clued-in Mortal/Changeling (played by R)
  • Ted Summers aka The Dazzling Dante, White Court wizard (played by B)
  • Raymond Sanders, monster hunter/Changeling (played by N, not present)
  • Persephone, White Court Vampire Assassin
  • Adrian Brandeis, Red Court Vampire Assassin
  • Fritz Lang, Hollywood Director and Monster Hunter
  • Peter Lorre, Hollywood Actor and Monster Hunter
  • Darlene Merritt, Daniel's nemesis
  • Donny Torrez, a street kid contact of Darren's, now on the straight-and-narrow
  • Harry, Jack and Albert Warner
  • Maeve and entourage
The rain was falling on the city. A hard rain. But it couldn't wash away the grime that Darren, Daniel, Sammy and Ted were mixed up in.

Darren and Daniel, along with Fritz Land and Peter Lorre, were on the roof of Daniel's apartment building, fighting Adrian. Darren's sword flashed in the early morning darkness, while Daniel, in leopard form, clung to Adrian's back. 

Sammy was on a nearby roof, chasing after Persephone, who was trying desperately to escape.

Daniel used his cat-like tread to unbalance Adrian (used Boost: "Cat on a Hot-Tin Red Court Vampire? Cat Got Your Tongue?" to help create Aspect: "That cat's trying to trip me!" 2 free invokes).

Meanwhile, Persephone dove around a pillbox on the nearby roof and when Sammy went after her, she doubled back and leapt the distance back to Daniel's building, through Daniel's apartment's busted window. 

Sammy saw her quickly look around and dive behind a couch, holding a film canister up into the light, then dash for the door and nearly out of sight from Sammy. That could be the elusive film canister they were all looking for!

Adrian, outnumbered and wounded, held up his hands and called for a truce. "Parley! Parley! I have information that I'm willing to trade for my life!" (Attempt to Create an Advantage against Darren that failed so badly Darren got a Boost: "The Catholic Church doesn't negotiate with Evil!"). Fritz and Peter cried out to Darren to not make any deals with this fiend from hell.

With his faith on his side and desiring to destroy the evil that Adrian represented, Darren raised Durendal and struck at Adrian, scoring a nearly life-ending hit (Darren achieved 15 shifts of damage, which nearly took Adrian out). Adrian slumped against the wall, his entrails spilling on the rooftop.

Ted made it to the roof in time to see Darren's strike and, filled with the rage of his father's death, a new conviction (newly defined Character Aspect: All Red Court Vampires must die!) and fueled by his drunkenness (using Aspect: Three Sheets to the Wind), he looked at the nearly-destroyed figure of Adrian and blasted him with all his considerable magical power, fusing Spirit and Fire to create a Lightning Evocation Blast that atomized Adrian (achieving 8 shifts of damage, which utterly destroyed Adrian) and caused Daniel to leap upon the pillbox roof and Darren to step back to escape its destructive power.

From the opposite rooftop, Sammy, focused on Persephone, saw a flash of lightning out of the corner of his eye as he called upon his Winter Court magic to send a flaming comet of ice and death to smash into Daniel's apartment to stop Persephone's escape.

Daniel's apartment building shook as Sammy's spell struck the side of it, smashing giant holes into Daniel's apartment and the hallway, and separating Persephone from the canister. The explosive force bodily pushed Persephone through another apartment's front door, through that apartment, through that apartment's bathroom door, through the wall, through the adjacent apartment's bathroom door and out the adjacent apartment's front door and into the stairwell, where she was out of sight.

Sammy spotted the canister in the rubble as the party on the roof steadied themselves from the explosion. Masonry fell onto the street below, as did the fire escape they came up to the roof on, crashing down across the street to strike the building Sammy was standing on.

Daniel, realizing that the sound came from his apartment, rushed down the roof stairs, transforming back into a human midstride and walked into an apartment that looked like, nay, that had a bomb go off in it. His front door was gone, vaporized, as well as most of the hallway wall and his couch, refrigerator and end table were all embedded in another wall.

Walking within five feet of the canister, he stepped over the rubble and walked to his bedroom to check on Darlene. Shell-shocked, Darlene got dressed and walked out into the remains of his apartment, reached for the front door knob that wasn't there, started a bit in surprise, then reached out again and pretended to turn a knob, open a door and step through, and close the door behind her before she straightened her clothes as best she could and unsteadily walked down the hall to leave the building.

Darren, Ted, Fritz and Peter passed her in the corridor with nary a comment. Daniel calmly light a cigarette and surveyed his ruined apartment as Sammy used magic to step through raindrops from the other rooftop into the apartment and calmly picked up the film canister. 

The film canister had a sticker that said "Casablanca Set Shot, Vol III and Vol IV, April 24th, 1942" In addition, there was Hamish's mark "MCMXXVII-0931" on the canister. He glamoured it into a book to keep it hidden from prying eyes. To his amazement, the book turned out to be Spenser's "The Fairie Queene", with a familiar figure on the cover, who seemed to wink at him in a knowing fashion.

As the sounds of fire engines and police cars approached, Daniel asked Fritz if he had access to a film projector. Fritz offered the private theatre in his mansion and they headed for Daniel's car outside. One of Daniel's neighbors opened his door and made a comment about warning Daniel about that gas leak then shut the door before he could respond. 

As he followed the rest, Ted looked around Daniel's apartment and found a decanter of alcohol embedded in the wall. He pried it loose, broke off the neck and took a swig -- Vermouth, best for martinis or cooking but little else. He handed it off to one of the firefighters he passed on the stairs, realizing that booze held little appeal to him now that he had his father's bloodmark and, besides the knowledge that every other person who had those bloodmarks were dead, had no idea what that meant (changed Trouble: I have my father's bloodmark).

They piled into Daniel's car and made the short trip to Fritz's home. Sammy gravely handed over the film canister and watched it's contents like a hawk as Fritz loaded it into his projector. The film started and the Adventures of Superman: Volcano played on the screen.

Volcano was released in July, 1942, so it couldn't have been the film they were looking for but Darren, Sammy and Daniel realized that they'd seen Volcano before: At the Bijou Theatre the night they went to talk to Donny.

Donny must have been involved in the theft from the beginning, working with the Princes to get the film. Then he stole it from their mansion and took it to the Bijou, where he switched it with the Superman Volcano film. Darren and Daniel remember him going on an errand that evening, so he must have picked Daniel's pocket for his apartment keys, hidden the Superman Volcano film there in the Casablanca canister, then come back to the theatre, slipping Daniel's keys back on him.

Racing to the theatre in the early morning, in the hopes of getting the real film, they spotted a posh car out front and the lights in the marquee on. The driver refused to say anything except he let slip that he works for "Mr. Warner" and he got in his car to avoid them.

As they walked into the theatre, they heard the projector starting up. Stepping into the theatre proper, they saw a film playing on the screen. In the darkness, they saw a figure of a man watching the film, smoking a cigarette, the ember glowing bright.

The screen showed the three Warner brothers, Harry, Jack and Albert, murdering their brother Sam in a ritual sacrifice. After the murder, the three left the view of the camera for a few minutes. In the intervening moments, the dead body of Sam moved, then stood up, then shambled off, out of view. The brothers looked shocked when they came back and there was no body. Daniel took a careful picture of the actual crime on his pocket camera before the film stopped and the lights came one.

Harry Warner looked at Darren, Daniel, Sammy and Ted, and then turned to Donny, seated nearby with a briefcase, presumably filled with money, nodded his head and gave a wave of the hand. Donny got up, gave Darren a look that said "Anything to get my mom and me out of here" and left with the money.

Harry looked back at the group as Jack and Albert appeared in the theatre with the film in hand. He nodded at them and turned back, saying "We sacrificed Sam for fame and fortune. We had no idea he would become a vampire and the 'Master' of the Black Court here in Hollywood."

While he talked, Jack thumbed his lighter and set the film on fire. The film went up, burning to ash.

Harry smiled at them, as if to say "go ahead and see if anyone believes you. I'm betting not." He and his brothers left, leaving the group in the theatre.

At the same time as the film was burning, in a desecrated church in the valley, the Master of the Black Court, formerly Sam Warner, sat on a throne, surrounded by his court. He stood suddenly, cried out then burst into flames, burning to ash before his followers' eyes. 

In the shocked silence that followed, the Master's most trusted lieutenants, "Fatty" Arbuckle and Virginia Rappe, looked at each other with unbridled enmity and then at the rest of the court. Sounds of a riot erupted from the church.


Sammy walked home in the early morning. Suddenly, he was aware of a familiar presence. He heard the ringing of horse bells and saw Her and her entourage riding beside him. She was pleased that the film was destroyed, that it ended the Master and factionalized the Black Court for a long time. "I still have work for you, just remember that. You still owe me," She laughed as she and her entourage rode off.

Ted had a lot of thinking to do. His father's recent death, after thinking his father dead all these years, and acquiring his father's bloodmark, had shaken him to the core of his being. He went onto a dark path.

Knowing the danger that Persephone posed, Darren tried to track her down.

Daniel also sought Persephone, but he dealt with his problem, Darlene, by slipping her an envelope with some of her nude pics and the picture of the Warner brothers murdering Sam. She moved to a different paper and tried to get the Warners' murdering ways published but none of the respectable papers would touch that story with a 10 foot pole. She was reduced to having it published in a "yellow" newspaper, which lead to her losing her job and moving to the East Coast. Daniel heard she married rich and got out of the newspaper business.

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