Expert Reconnaissance:

Armed with the identity of our book thief, and the possibility of an international incident, our Mages are off to the Delacey estate in hopes of retrieving the stolen grimoire.

Their first step is to case the estate. The Thyrsus Mage consults with some spirits in the area to find that there is not much going on here that has been of any particular interest to them. Every once in a while a delivery van will come and go, or an employee will arrive or leave, and that’s about it. DeLacey himself appears to be a recluse, at the very least he hasn’t been seen leaving the grounds in some time.

The estate is modeled after the Chateau de Chenonceau. As you can see in the picture, the building is only approachable by the stone bridge that connects it from its location in the River Cher to the mainland. There is a guard house on the bridge, and the Player Characters can hear dogs barking on the grounds.

With step one accomplished, they now need some pretense under which to enter the grounds and search for the book. After a few minutes of deliberation (and a quick phone call to their home Consilium) the Mages decide on a cover story involving a rare acquisition at the NY Public Library that DeLacey might be interested in sponsoring. They would love to talk to him about it. As GM, and realizing that I am dealing with a Mage here, I did take the precaution of making it difficult for the players to simply bluster their way through. Sadly they realized that with their connection to the NY Public Library (it is their home base) they could come up with a reason why he might actually want to listen to them. And since they did well with their MANIPULATION + PERSUASION rolls he decided to let them in for an appointment the next day.

Upon meeting DeLacey the first thing that our intrepid Player Characters confirm is that he is a Mage. Whatever his abilities are, they do not seem to involve masking his aura. He is clearly from money, and while willing to discuss topics that he finds interesting, his interest in the Player Characters is limited at best. Our Guardian of the Veil decides to do most of the talking, with two Free Councillors (Neils and Rex) following his lead. As Argus does his best to be distracting (and he does quite well babbling about antique books), his cohorts run various covert magical scans of the area to see if they can locate the book. While they are having a problem pinpointing its exact location, they do sense that it is somewhere in the building.

Our Thyrsus Adamantine Arrow is keeping an eye on the Acanthus child outside. His cover is that he is painting the beautiful estate, and his daughter is with him playing in the grass. He stays at a safe distance, while magically scanning for dangers of the animal or plant persuasion. Aside from the pack of guard dogs things seem relatively safe. Marissa stumbles across a storm drain that might be useful to circumvent the guard post on the bridge if the need arises.

It is at this point inside the estate that our Guardian of the Veil comes up with a bold and cunning plan. He decides that he is going to try to get a piece of hair from Mr DeLacey that he can use to scry on the man after they leave in the hopes of seeing him reading the grimoire. This is not a bad plan. The execution of this plan however leaves a lot to be desired.

Argus starts off with an unsuccessful WITS + INVESTIGATION roll to see if he notices any stray hairs on DeLacey’s shoulder that he can perhaps stealthily remove. A botch result prevents him from finding one. He then decides that it would be brilliant to try to snag a piece of DeLacey’s hair in his watch-band by stumbling into him as they walk and talk.

I imagine you can easily come up with the three letters that were my reaction to this plan, but I’ll give you a hint anyway: they didn’t stand for “Werewolf The Forsaken” when they popped into my head at that moment in time.

So first he has to stumble into DeLacey, he then has to make it appear to be a casual mis-step, and on top of this he needs to snag a piece of the man’s hair in his watch band. This will call for some skill rolls.

  • DEX + BRAWL: To execute the stumble maneuver and hit his intended target
  • DEX + STEALTH: To execute the maneuver in such a way that it appears to be an accident
  • DEX + LARCENY: To manage to snag a strand of hair in the midst of stumbling in such a way that it appears to be an accident.

As it happens, Argus is pretty dextrous, so in theory this shouldn’t be so bad.

He makes the Brawl roll first, and manages to direct his stumble into DeLacey. Next up is the Stealth roll, and he botches it beautifully. Despite this botch he goes for the Larceny roll anyway to see if he can at least get the hair off of the man’s head. Sadly, he rolls a multi-botch.

Now, technically in the World of Darkness you can only get a dramatic failure on a chance die. I am of the opinion that this is a steaming load of crap. The more you know about a thing, the more assured you are that you will pull it off without a hitch, the greater your possible failure can be. The chance of failing in this epic manner is reduced by your skill (represented in game terms by the fact that the more dice you have in your pool the greater the chance that at least one of them will have a success on it), but if you have that much skill and still manage to not just fail but actually botch – well, you have the skill to know exactly what the worst possibly thing you could do is and clearly you did it anyway. My players and I are on the same page here. As a result Argus stumbled into DeLacey on target, but instead of merely bumping into him he caught his foot on the edge of a throw rug and really hit him, knocking them both sprawling to the ground.

Making matters worse: while he did manage to snag his watch band into DeLacey’s hair, DeLacey’s hair was actually an expensive toupee which is now attached to Argus’ watch and dangling from Argus’ wrist.

As you might imagine, it is at this moment that the Mages were escorted off of the property.

In the immortal words of Rex the Moros Free Councillor: Smooth.

Mages Make Me Cry


Posted on December 30, 2011, in Campaign Summary, Gaming, Mage Awakening, MtAw, RPG, WoD, World of Darkness and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. This, I think, was roughly the point where I decided Argus should always take the lead. He always comes up with the best – by which I mean most hilarious – plans.

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