Hunter: The Vigil

Twillights Reach



We have finally begun the Hunter campaign I discussed a number of times on the Blogs main page. I don't want to cram that page with game information instead I will keep it here so anyone interested can look it up easily enough. I still haven't figured out the functionality fully so there will be some teething problems while I get everything set up correctly. The campaign is set in the Lincoln Square area of Northern Chicago. We are using the New World of Darkness rules specifically Hunter: The Vigil. There are some other sources of inspiration thrown into the mix but the rules are as standard and as set out in that book!

The premise of the chronicle, Twilights Reach, is that each of the characters have had one of their family abducted. This is always a very close relative and always female. The police have herded them into a victim support group and through various means each have recieved unique information belonging to the case. This provides an entry in the Chicago Night, a journey with no turning back.


Characters:

We built the characters separately so there wasn't much interaction between the players beforehand. This resulted in a mixed bunch without too much of an overlap in terms of skills and abilites. As we are not using Compact and Conspiracies from the start these characters are more or less basic mortals at this point. This is fine as none of the players has delved into the fluff associated with either Hunter: The Vigil or the general World of Darkness. The characters first encounter each other at a victim support group a few weeks or months after they have suffered a loss to their family.

Harrison West:
Harison is a mystery. Little does he say about his background before he came to Chicago. He now works in an Italian Restaurant near Rosehill Cmetery. The house is owned by his step sister who vanished about two months ago. He contacted a local private investigation firm in an attempt to avoid the police as much as possible. They were not really able to tell him much more than he knew already though they provided a link to some similar abductions in Milwaukee the previous year. He seems skeptical and doesn't want to have anything to do with quaks and crazies. He believes that there is a scientific explanation for what has occured.

Charles Bridgewater:
The oldest character in the game, Charles Bridgewater was a succesful career cop. It all went downhill quickly on the day his daughter was abducted. While he was always too eager to indulge himself in drink. This very quickly became an excessive and abusive indulgence. As a result of arrving to work drunk over the course of a month he was fired from the Police Service and offered counselling. His wife also left and now stays with family. She has little or no contact with Charles. He seems open to the possibility that there is something currently unexplained about the abduction that only someone with special talents may explain.

Jay Gerhardt:
Jay is a wealthy owner of a sucessful private investigations firm. His company has grown from strength to strength and is one of the biggest in the city. He lives in the luxurious Ravenwood area of Lincoln Square. His wife was abducted in January and at the recommendation of the Police he is attending a victim support group. While he had what he refers to as an open marriage he is still very much upset over this. His mistress and assistant in the firm Maria is a comfort however as are his closest friends Rodger and Mark. All of these work at the Agency and preform the duties of bodyguard and driver fairly often.


Session One: The Hunt Begins


Bethany Mills, long term counsellor for the Lincoln Square Police Department, welcomes the three victims to the group. Having had each tell the story of what happened on the night in question she asks how that made them feel. She breaks for coffee and the victims soon begin to chat about what various information they have about the case. Bethany soon cuts the conversation short and they all sit in a circle again. She seems a little flustered and isn't able to conduct the group in a manner she would like. She really doesn't know what to say to these men. She finished the meeting about half an hour early but allows the group to remain if they wish. They soon begin to chat and share information. A lot comes to light. They notice that the abductions correspond to the phases of the moon. All the abductions in Chicago have taken place on the night of the new moon. The victims so far have all been female between 12 and 34. They are also all from Lincoln Square. An eye witness, a homeless man called Crazy Lenny, reported a man leaving one of the houses with a bundle in the Bridgewater case. However he was hoplessly drunk and didn't get a good look at the suspect. Both the bad weather and the fact he is blind in one eye didn't help either. A black van was reported by him and this concurs with the cases in Milwaukee.

On leaving the premises due the the janitor closing up the characters encounter Ron Fabiani a local paranormal investigator and also a cop. He has already contacted them individually offering the services of his organisation, the Chicago Paranormal Detectives. He isn't well recieved but manages to organise a meeting for the following evening at nine. This is due to the fact that Gerhardt knows one of his colleagues and is willing to put up with the annoying Italian because of this. Charles Bridgewater remembers these guys on the force and how the other officers considered them a bit of a joke.

Having left Ron at the Center the characters set off in search of Crazy Lenny. Searching briefly around the Bridgewater house and the surrounding streets they don't find anything more than his occasional sleeping place in the bushes. They move on to the nearest homeless shelter where after a quick bribe they get in to see the elderly woman who runs the place. She tells them that Crazy Lenny hasn't been seen around there for about two months and that he can sometimes be found in the Loop, the downtown area of Chicago. Failing that he can be found around the Rosehill Cemetery. She informs the players that he really is aptly named. He claims to see things that nobody else does. She asks them to bring him back to the shelter if they find him.

In the Loop the characters find a group of homeless people to ask about Lenny. Eventually they find some that know where he was recently. He was seen sleeping two nights ago between dumpsters on one of the ungerground streets nearby. Moving down to this level the characters encounter a potentially lethal situation. Two gangs are exchanging drugs below. The Lynchmen Sercaun Gangsters are buying concaine from a branch of the Bloods. Failing to notice and comprehend the danger the characters keep walking. The gangs quickly stop and watch as the group unpreturbed continues past them. The gangs do nothing but watch and wait but the group moves on. Having passed the two vans being unloaded they soon find Crazy Lenny who is completely drunk. Lenny isn't forthcoming with information until he is assured that the characters are not cops. He is eventually convinced with the aid of a $50 bill from Gerhardt. He tells the characters a little more than the cops. He gives a better description, a big muscled man with short brown hair and a thin face. He didn't get a look at exactly what he was carrying but guesses it could have been the girl in question. He didn't see the car very well either and just decribes it as a black van.

Links:
Lincoln Square Map
C.P.R.S.
Chicago Paranormal Detectives
Underground Streets Guide
Hematite

The session ended here with another abduction to occur that night. The characters were hoping to prevent it but the information they currently have is just not enough. Gerhardt set Maria and Rodger from his agency on the trail in Milwaukee to see if they could get more information on the abductions there. West set about researching Hematite a material found at minimal but higher than normal levels at each of the abduction locations. Finally Bridgewater contacted an old friend, Officer Crockett of Violent Crimes, in an attempt to find out more about the vehicle seen in Milwaukee and Chicago and its possible owner.



Session Two: First Blood


Session two started where we left off from before. While in the library Harrison recieved a note on his desk from Thomas Major. It asked Harry to contact him as soon as he was able. Outside the Library the group met up at seven. Harry had a really painful back after sitting for so long so he went to the doctor to get some pain relief. Charley and Jay then went to the meeting with Ron Fabiani at nine in the St. Pauli Bar. Jay set a tail on Harry though to make sure that nothing bad happened. The tail reported that he saw Harrison return to the library where he spent about half an hour at a computer terminal and then followed him to an alley behind a local pharmacy. Harry then paid for a small package that was handed over directly.

Jay and Charley didn't have to wait too long. Traffic in the city was bad and it took them a while to reach the bar. They took up seats in the corner and soon enough Ron came in. He gave them a hard sell about his group claiming that he was one of the only people capable of helping them. He warned about going up against the Spooks in the city alone and that it would be their funeral to do so. He also mentioned that he was well connected with similar groups around the country. At this point Harrison joined them and Ron started to try to sell the idea of his groups aid to Harrison. To help convince the group he handed over a file from the Milwaukee Paranormal Investigators that detailed one of the cases they investigated there. Soon enough two guys walk into the bar. One is dressed in gang colours and sports a red mowhawk. The other is a suited gentleman. Both seem to be carrying guns. Ron doesn't turn around but gets a description from the others. He just tells them to meet him out the back he will have his car ready at the end of the alley. After some confusion Charley walks to the back door of the bar beside the door to the toilet and runs out. Once he goes Ron and the others break for the door. They see the gangster reach for a gun. Charley hides behind the door of the bar in the alley as the others rush past ready to shoot however else comes out.

The gangster rushes out the door into the darkened alley behind the others. Charley tries to shoot him in the back but misses. Hearing the gunshot Harry screams and drops to the ground. Jay turns and shoots the gangster, grazing his arm. The gangster responds with a burst of fire from his SMG, grazing Jay. Charley slams the door shut and shoots again missing. Jay shoots but misses, even in the confined alley. The gangster turns and opens up on Charley spraying the wall beside his target. Charley's gun jams leaving him without a weapon. Jay jumps on the gangsters back stabbing him through the spine with a knife. The gangster drops to the ground. Running down the alley Charley grabs Harry from the ground and drags him to an impatient Ron in the car. Looking back he sees the gangster somehow getting up from the ground. However worse still the group spot a car coming towards them with the windows down. Ron and Charley swap seats and Jay shoots at the driver of the other car hitting and causing him to swerve. This gives Charley enough time to get to the intersection ahead of the pursuit.

The cars then proceed north. Charley opened up a good lead on the other but over the next few minutes heavy traffic forces him to slow to a crawl and the other car catches up. Harry awake now from his fit takes the SMG from Jay who took it from the gangster and sprays the other car. He hits and the car swerves into another coming in the opposite direction. The following car maintains control but the other car slams into a lamp post at high speed. Again the chase is on and this time Charley is having no success in losing the tail. Harry sprays the car a second time and this time causes the car to pile onto the pavement and smash into a wall. However at this point they hear sirens. Ron gives them the address of a safehouse in Evanston and they head in that direction.

It was 12:30 by the time they reached the safehouse. An abduction was going to occur within the next few hours and the characters needed to get back to Lincoln Square if they were going to do anything. Jumping into a taxi they rode back to Jay's office and picked up two of his cars and loaded out with surveilance gear.They selected the area they thought the abductor, now called Wisconsin Jack if their information proved correct, should strike in. At 2:30AM a deep fog rose from the streets to the east and they rushed in two Jeeps to that area. After another ten minutes of a fruitless search Harry saw briefly a Black Van flash past him through the fog at an intersection. Suspecting this might be who they were looking for he pursued and contacted the other car via walkie talkie as to where the pursuit was leading. After a tense chase Charley managed to get infront of the van in his car and force it to stop. Having sandwiched the van against a building they all piled out.

Links:
Milwaukee P.I.

Then the van door opened and a behemoth of a man stepped out. The fog almost seemed to wreathe around him like a snake obscuring his face somewhat. He charged towards Charley whose pistol jammed again. Dodging the blow barely Charley managed to scamper behind his own car. The baseball bat of the stranger smashed the roof of the car making a massive dent. Jay was brave enough at this point to open up on Wisconsin Jack and sprayed his with bullets from the SMG. Somehow he stayed on his feet and charged. Over the next minute or so Wisoncsin Jack was shot twice more but he managed to knock Jay out with a punch. He then somehow overturned the car with his bare hands forcing the characters to take refuge in their one car left. At this point the police sirens were heard and Jack made his way back to his van and drove away... nice cliffhanger!


Session Three: The Deepening Gloom


With the sound of sirens close the charaters turned their SUV north, away from their quarry. Jay was much more badly hurt than he had first appeared and it seemed imperative that the Police were not at this stage involved. Coming around a little Jay was able to direct the others to a safe house that his company somethimes used for witnesses. The decrepit house was located in an industrial area
to the north of Chicago. Surrounded by vacant warehouses and only approached by a circuitous route the house wouldn't be easily found. With the woefully inadequate first aid kit Harrison pathed up Jay as best as he could. Two hours work later he had managed to clean the wounds and sew them up. Thankfully the two bullets didn't hit anything vital and would only cause some problems while healing. With that the group went to sleep, somewhat troubled but otherwise a welcome rest.

After an all too short a night the occupants of the safehouse were awoken when a phone started ringing. Jay's office made contact with him to let him know that the police were at the office and his house this morning looking for him. Thinking quickly Jay informed Alex that a car was stolen last night from the garage. Alex was to make it look like a break in and was to destroy the video recordings for that evening. Charly had a shift at the Warehouse despite the fact that it was Sunday and despite the shaking of his hands he managed to get there in one piece. A fortified coffee helped with the shaking and the shortness of the night. His boss was as usual in a foul mood. Only Harrison was free and with some financial help from Jay he set about making some repairs on the safehouse. Jay drove to the Police precint in Lincoln Square for questioning, still bruised and battered from the punishment of last night. Det. Nigel and Officer Fraser led the questioning. Jay however wasn't playing ball and gave a very scanty recollection of the events. He did however make a slip up and revealed both Harrison's and Charly's relationship with him. After sometime Ron Fabiani arrived and broke up the interview, warning Jay to get his lawyer involved. Once Nigel and Fraser returned to the questioning Jay called his lawyer and the two Police Officers let him go.

Harrison left the safehouse late in the day as he had a meeting with Thomas Major of the Chicago Skeptics Society. They met downtown in a Starbucks. Thomas looked like the epitome of a university professor.
The men briefly introduced each other and then got down to business. Thomas outlined the nature of his group and what it could and couldn't do for Harrison. Basically he was able to provide information and logistical support on a trust basis. Once the group found that they could trust Harrison and his comrades then they would be more amenable to aiding them in the future. As a show of faith Harrison described what they had encountered only the night before. Thomas was unable to shed any further light on the mystery. However he provided Harrison with a more direct contact address to speed up communication especially in light of any possible trouble in future.

That evening everyone met in the safehouse. Charly had phoned Officer Crockett at the Chicago Police department and had received news on the registration plate they noted the night before. Officer Crockett had been working on a list of owners of Black 05 Grand Dodge Vans and when checking this list with the plate provided he was able to mention the this vehicle had been pulled over on I-90 moving southbound on the 3rd of December the previous year. The car had a busted tail light but instead of booking the driver the cop strangely accompanied him to a nearby garage and watched while it was fixed. Charly contacted the garage, Hellman's Tire Service, and inquired about the incident. The worker who answered the phone remembered it as to how strange it was. He had never had a Police Officer accompany someone into the forecourt like that. However he wasn't able to remember all the details, especially specifics about the driver. He was able to describe him as tall and muscular and with an oddly thin face. Identifying himself as a NSA agent Jay attempted to question the worker further but he grew hesitant and ended the call. Charly had dropped into the Police Lab some blood samples from the scene but they wouldn't be ready untilt he morning. With nothing else to do the group contacted Ron who agreed to meet at his safehouse in Evanston.

Meeting up in Evanston that eveing it was immediately apparent that Ron wasn't very happy. He showed the group some articles from yesterdays Chicago Tribune. He had had to cover for the incident where they had a shoot out in the middle of a city intersection. Ron had provided false information and deliberatley tampered with evidence to protect them, despite the fact that he had warned them previously. After a very heated debate he laid down some guidelines for what the group should do in their pursuit of Wisconsin Jack. Acting like hunters was the main point, observe, study and ambush are the best three steps that anyone who encounters the creatures of the night can follow. He also said that he could help them in certain ways but it would be best now if they were never seen in public in each others company.

On Monday morning, after a nights sleep at the safehouse, Charly received the blood report on Wisconsin Jack. The only abnomalies were higher than normal Hemoglobin and Hemocrit. However not being medical experts they were only able to draw a few inaccurate conclusions from this. The day passed then with everyone going to work as expected. Jay spent some time studying metreological charts for the city but wasn't able to come up with any conclusions.

Links:
Hematocrit
Hemoglobin
Chicago Skeptics
Hellman's Tire Service
Emmerson Park

On Monday night Charly phoned Ron again to ask some questions. Ron was annoyed with them calling him so often. He didn't want to have his wife made suspiscious anymore than usual. Charly had some questions about the bodies found over the last few days in Emmerson Park. Shcoked Ron asked if anyone had informed him yet. Confused Charly said no. Ron then told him that the bodies were linked to his case. At this point we ended for the evening leaving everyone wondering what Ron meant.



Session Four: Revelation


Shocked from the message they just recieved the characters didn't know what to do. Ron sent over the Police Statement that was to be issued to the newspapers in the morning. While it claimed there was no link between the bodies found in Emmerson Park and the missing women unoffically he told them there was. The bodies were very badly decayed, evidence taken from the scene would indicate that the bodies were in the ground for about three years. Combined with the shallow graves the only remains found were skeletal. Dental records had matched the bodies but Police had withheld this information from the families.
Ron also provided the offical statement on the latest abduction. The victim matched the profile of the others and Police are now treating the cases as linked though they have not offically linked the cases to those in Milwaukee. Ron explained that if they did then the investigation would most likely be taken over by the FBI, something the local police were currently unwilling to do. Ron eventually hung up leaving Charly and Harrison to wade through the evidence.

Thomas Major also sent through some information from his group. Harrison had requested that the metereological charts for the nights in question be checked by an expert and that the blood test be checked too. The group didn't have any experts on the weather but they provided some good interpretations of the evidence still. They mentioned a way to create fake fog which would be inconvinient but transportable. They also dragged up a biblical reference to fog in Peter 2:17. The blood report was also a little inconclusive. The blood was thickened due to the high level of hemocrit and hemoglobin present and Charly suggested that this was a possible weakness worth targeting. Chlorosodiumhydrate can be used as a coagulant and if it could be put into Jacks system somehow they could take him out easily. With that in mind Harrison contacted his friends in the illegal pharmaceutical industry and procured a batch. Jay had provided some money before going home for the evening to catch up on paperwork. This was quickly spent getting two tranquiliser pistols from a hunting store that was open late in Evanston.

It was getting late but Charly convinced Harrison to check out Emmerson Park before going home.
Reaching the enrty to the Park on W. Granville they immediately noted something strange. The entire area of the park was closed off by police tape. Everywhere they looked they saw small pieces of paper with a strange symbol (right) everywhere. The symbol was stuck all over the rusted railings, the moss coverd trees, basically everywhere it could be hung. There were hundreds visible. They were printed on a sheet and ripped out, it looked like maybe four had been printed on each A4 sheet. Checking around the area they noted that the gate of the park had a latin inscription: Crux sancta sit mihi lux. This is odd as they haven't noticed anything like this in other parks in the city. The area was once steeped in Catholic history. There was onstreet parking along W. Granville and while the few cars present were decrepit one in particular looked out of the ordinary. It was completely destroyed due to aging. Rust covered everything, looking inside even the leather and suprisingly the plastic looked aged and rotten. Charly opened the door with a bang, the entire door came off when he tried to open it. The bang of the door hitting the street scared a dog who leapt out of the park and ran down the street away from the noise. Charly took samples of the metal and leather. Harrison checked the trunk but it was empty.

Passing through the Police tape Charly took the lead. With flashlights leading them on they tried to pierce the thick overgrowth of the park. It was once a well tended and oft visited place. Now it was thickly overgrown with the paths barely navigable. Once inside and passed the weak influence of the street lights they noticed that a flickering light was coming from the Gazebo in the centre of the park. Sneaking up on the Gazebo they noticed that a little dark haired girl was sitting inside with her back to them. The gazebo itself was in a very bad state of repair. The paint had peeled and fungi were growing over the exposed wood. Sneaking further towards it they noticed that the little girl, clearly of hispanic origin, was crying. Harrison hung back incase of trouble but Charly went forward into the light from the weak flickering bulb in the Gazebo. The girl instantly turned to face him, she was obviously very scared. She kept repeating "I want to go home, please take me home" and "I can't go, they won't let me. I need my necklace, I lost it. My Mommy will be angry" to Charly's questions. She wouldn't respond to questions except about her necklace with anything other than the above. Eventually she pointed out where she lost the necklace. Harrison went into the undergroth to look for it while Charly covered him. After only a second or two of pushing into the thick bushes Harrison noticed the necklace hanging from a low branch, just off the ground. However a loud crash sounded ahead of him, like something big dropping from the trees. Both men started but the sound came from a rotten branch breaking from a tree nearby. When Charly turned to comfort the girl she was gone. A quick search of the area revealed nothing, no sounds and no tracks.

The only things left to investigate in the park was the old church and the abandoned apartment block. Harrison went to the Church and checked it out. It is actually an old house that has been extended many times rather than an actual church. It was locked up and there was no easy way to get in. Finding nothing of interest and eager to get home soon the characters approached the apartment building. It was a decrepit crumbling mass despite the fact that it should only be ten or so years old. There was a light on in the upper floor despite the order of condemnation that was plastered over the entrances. Pushing the door open and entering the characters first noticed the rotten smell and then the dampness. Everywhere was wet from the floor to the ceiling. Deciding to not try the elevator Charly led the way up the stairs. Upon reaching the top floor and squelching their way to the lighted apartment they were greeted with the voice of an old woman demanding to know what they wanted. Pretending to be fire inspectors, despite the very late hour, they questioned the old lady about why she was here. Eventually the convinced her to open the door and to allow them in. Taking the offered tean and cookies the characters got no satisfactory answers from the old lady and they were eventually asked to leave. Hesitatingly they did but Harrison had become very aggresive and was eventually forced to leave by Charly.

At that we ended the session, it was fun but left more questions unanswered!


Session Five: Confusion


4th October


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