Tag Archives: VASCU

Reflections on the Hunter the Vigil

Recently, as those who read my blog may have seen I played in a very enjoyable Hunter the Vigil game run by my friend Barry, previous IC write-ups can be found here:

In the game myself and three other players portrayed mortal members of an elite government agency known as the Vanguard Serial Crime Unit or VASCU for short, a sort of paranormal FBI style organisation introduced in the nWoD Slashers book who investigate serial crimes; after a prelude case where we discovered a mad woman using corpses to fertilise strange red plants in her basement although we were swiftly moved off the case and told that it had now fallen under the remit of Project VALKYRIE, an elite military organisation. Realising that it stunk of a cover up we uncovered a related case in the town of Greenvale where the connection had seemingly been overlooked and were able to get ourselves assigned to it, this lead to us being plunged into a small town of strange cults, odd red sacrificial tree circles, captive spirits and an urban legend known as the raincoat killer who stalked the streets of the town murdering at will whenever a heavy rain fell.
Originally the game was supposed to be part of our one-off Wednesday style of games however it overran by quite a bit, wrapping up at session five, I think the GM would be the first to admit that the one-off approach isn’t his preferred style and that (like most of us) he’s more used to running slightly longer campaigns; however the game was still very enjoyable and we achieved our objective (sort of) even if it was only by gunning down the leader of the cult (the local Sheriff George Woodman) and one of the characters (Agent Brockhurst) sacrificing himself against the urban legend killer whilst the rest of us escaped to call in a Project VALKYRIE clean up team. This might have seemed like an unsatisfying ending for some, however, as a fan of Cthulhu-esque games where the characters generally either die, go insane or escape by the skin of their teeth I was quite happy with it and the GM did a lovely little epilogue section for the player character that had died as his spirit moved into the afterlife.
After the game had finished we all had a little discussion, as we often do, about what had happened within the game and, given that it was an investigation scenario, how we had done in terms of unravelling it all.
There were a few interesting points raised in the discussion:
  • Certain parts of the plot were hinged around the players having access to certain powers/abilities when character sheets were altered late on in the character gen session so these abilities were no longer possessed it made the whole scenario a lot more difficult to unravel.
  • A couple of longer pauses (due to players RL schedules) between games made it more likely that odd little facts would be missed or forgotten despite myself taking fairly copious notes during the game sessions.
  • Some of the plot points were quite obvious to me on an OOC level, however, with my character not having the extensive knowledge of the world of darkness that I possess it was difficult to justify having certain knowledge IC or to make logical leaps without it seeming like OOC knowledge was being used.
  • Our characters were designed as stereotypes to facilitate jumping straight into the game; this worked fine during the first session but, as the game went on, the characters started to seem less real and more one-dimensional.
  • Because there was very little downtime, my own character (who had been severely injured at the end of session 3) was unable to participate to any great degree in the last two sessions.
  • Several aspects of the plot had to be jettisoned in order to bring the game to a satisfactory conclusion by the end of session 5.

Overall the game was very enjoyable and I had a great time playing the grizzled, haunted ex-cop shtick although it did highlight the fact that perhaps certain types of game or scenario are not as suited for one-off games as others. 

Hunter the Vigil: Session write-up 5 – Agent Frank Dublowski

Please note: This is a write-up from an IC perspective of my character in a game that I playing.
“After a few minutes nothing seemed to have happened, Agent Brockhurst hadn’t sprouted red leaves or anything freaky like that so he unchained himself, he was behind the door putting away the cuffs in his coat when a worried looking nurse came in holding a full syringe, she was moving over towards me when Brockhurst cleared his throat loudly and stepped out from behind the door at which point the crazy bitch almost broke down and threw the syringe down. With no patience for any more of this backwater towns craziness we were blunt with her and managed to shake out that a man in Ms Aimes room had ordered her to do it.
Clambering painfully out of the bed, I grabbed a spare pistol off Brockhurst and we stormed into the room to see a figure in a red coat looming over the woman, all of the monitors and screens were off; as it heard us the figure started to reach inside it’s coat and was answered by a volley of gunfire from Brockhurst and myself. Pulling the fallen figures hood back as the gunsmoke cleared we revealed Deputy Thomas, and in a second my suspicions about the Sheriff’s department in this shitwater town were confirmed.
Through blood splattered lips Thomas was gibbered about how the Sheriff would soon complete his last sacrifice and begin his ascenscion; again we were not gentle with our questioning and were soon speeding to the car, Brockhurst pushing me in a commandeered wheelchair, my body still not up for the pressures of running. As he put me in the car and clipped himself into the driving seat I rang up our technical support agent and Carpenter to warn them about the Sheriff, it turned out they were already on the way to the station; I told them what had gone down and warned them to go in armed.
SMASH! The window of the van caved in and a huge and horrifically familiar axe smashed through it, I could smell rain outside and then I was frantically shouting to Brockhurst as he gunned the van into reverse and sped backwards, the vehicle squealed round and we zoomed off towards the station with the fading figure of the red coated killer (the real one, not some crazy deputy) stomping slowly after us.
Pulling up outside the building, we could see the red coat killer on the horizon, someone we hadn’t managed to lose it even though we’d broke every speed limit in the book; Brockhurst dived outside of the car shouting for me to get out and let the bureau know what was going on, realising how useless I was in my current state I could only nod before sliding into the driver seat and gunning the engine. As I drove away I stabbed at my mobile phone buttons and began to relay my report to the agent at the other end, in the distance I heard gunshots and could only hope my fellow Agents made it out okay as I requested emergency assistance from Project Valkyrie.
After that case we were all re-assigned, I only ever saw our technical support girl and Carpenter once after that, all of the reports had been locked up and i’d been denied access; we met in a cafĂ© a few months after the case was officially closed, apparently they had taken down the Sheriff shortly before the real red coat killer had turned up and Agent Brockhurst had been killed by the real killer, giving the others time to escape.
I can only hope that wherever Brockhurst is now, somehow he found his father. Agent Dublowski signing off.”

Hunter the Vigil: Session write-up 4 – Agent Frank Dublowski

Please note: This is a write-up from an IC perspective of my character in a game that I playing.
“Damn… my head was killing me…I opened my eyes blearly and slowly the irritating noise I could hear became the clear beeping of some sort of heart monitor attached to me; looking around it seemed as though i’d been bought to the hospital. Brockhurst was waiting in the room and seemed relieved that i’d made it; he showed me a jacket that he’d found in the lumber mill (least he’d got there) – I used my ability on it and was able to tell him that it was from the original victim, although the strain caused me to pass out again.
When I woke up Brockhurst was checking me over, the wounds on my neck were strangle marks from incredibly large hands, no wonder it was so hard for me to breathe; I got Brockhurst to read the chart from the end of the bed, but it showed nothing unusual. My fellow agent was talking about the seeds but I kept fading in and out, eventually he was able to make me understand that he had obtained some of the red seeds and was going to hold them next to his skin as part of some experiment, he then handcuffed himself to the radiator and we waited.”

Hunter the Vigil: Session write-up 3 – Agent Frank Dublowski

Please note: This is a write-up from an IC perspective of my character in a game that I playing.

“After arriving at the hospital we found Brockhurst in a state of confusion, something had really spooked him; he claimed that something had happened whilst he’d been performing the autopsy on the murdered woman and that his surroundings had changed without really changing and that the Red Raincoat killer had appeared and attacked him, however, he’d squeezed of several shots at the killer (apparently with little effect). Combing the area near where he’d been in the hospital I was unable to find any shell casings or evidence of arms fire, but Agent Brockhurst’s gun had definitely been discharged recently, suggesting that there was some truth to his story; a lot of agents might have blown off the idea that someone could be somewhere one minute and elsewhere the next, sure it sounded crazy, but I worked for VASCU, crazy was our business.

Coaxing him back into the autopsy room and guarding him whilst the investigation continued, it was discovered that the victim Anna had red seeds placed in her mouth and that her tongue had been removed; according to Brockhurst’s medical skills she’d probably died of blood loss as a result of the injury, some sort of sharp instrument had been used to remove the tongue.

Realising that we were getting nowhere and that more people might start dying if we didn’t make any headway I decided that enough was enough, the local sheriff knew something (I had seen it in his face when i’d shown the plant samples to the local forester) and he wasn’t telling; i’d been playing nice up until now, but i’d do whatever it took to get this case resolved and see that justice was done, God help anyone who got in my way. Pushing my way into the Sheriff’s office I confronted him, explaining that I knew he was hiding something and that we were both working to see that justice is done, he could either work with us or tell us what he knew and get the hell out of our way; my tactics seemed to work and he confessed to knowing about a small copse of red coloured trees located near a communal cemetery.

Travelling to the cemetary we met Brian Strange the groundskeeper who showed us to the copse of trees; noting that they appeared to be of the same genus as our original red plants (and remembering that they had grown in corpses) we commandeered some spades and started digging around the bases of the trees. Eventually, to our horror (but not surprise) we unearthed a number of bodies tangled in the roots, some long dead, others more recent, the cult overtones of this case were becoming harder to ignore. I rang the local sheriff and was halfway through calling in our other two agents when my phone shorted out and it began to rain; Agent Brockhurst paled and said this is what had happened at the hospital.

Sure enough we glimpsed a red-coated figure through the trees, it appeared to be dragging some sort of large and improbably heavy axe behind it as it moved through the trees that, in the dim light, looked for all the world like shadowy figures reaching out their arms towards us. We fired off a few shots but it seemed to make no difference, Brockhurst wanted to hold off the creature whilst I made a run towards our other lead, the distant lumber mill but, realising he was faster, I volunteered to hold it off. As Brockhurst broke into a run I kept firing at the killer drawing it towards me and then, as it got closer, and I could see that there was no face below the hood of the coat, I grabbed the large axe, wrenching the heavy weight from its grasp with all my strength and heaved it over my head.

I had hoped that the creature’s (since I had no doubt now that this thing wasn’t human) own axe might be able to injure it where our bullets had failed, but I could barely lift it; I hoped that the fleet footed Agent Brockhurst had got away as the things hands closed around my throat and began to squeeze. Blackness rushed towards me, my heart pounded in my ears as I felt myself falling.”