Dragon Bone Talisman Detected! | WBtV

Dragon Bone Talisman Detected!

Player Intro

As a member of the retrieval team you are sent out to secure a dragon bone talisman. Only very little is known about the talisman or who owns it. An analyst will brief you on the important aspects of your mission once you are on route. Return to the base once the talisman is secured. The mission fails if the trail of the talisman grows cold and the analyst recalls the team back to base.   This operation is run by the Dragon Loyalists faction. You are either employed by them under contract or are a loyalist yourself. Everyone you encounter will know who they are dealing with and how determined loyalists usually are to fulfill their mission. In return, they will expect you to keep to your mission and not meddle in unrelated affairs or use unnecessary force to get there. Anyone you attack or confront will look for a way out to keep themselves safe and avoid spilling blood. They will defend themselves if cornered and you do not accept their surrender or offer them a way out.  
Your character can either be chosen from Retrieval Team 1 or create your own character. All members of the team are combat veterans and are specialized in reconnaissance, infiltration and stealth.
Quick Summary
This one-shot is system-agnostic and can be played by four to six players.   All players are part of a retrieval team of the APU Dragon Bone Division. Their mission is to track down dragon bones and dragon bone talismans.   At the start of the session the team is deployed after a dragon bone talisman was detected somewhere in East Village, Manhattan. Based on the mission brief the goal of the team is to determine the location of the talisman and retrieve it from the people who currently possess it. To resolve this mission no combat is necessary.

Gamemaster Section

Table of Contents
  Who is the analyst?
Eric Davis supports the team in any way he can. He is a skilled analyst and can quickly find the answers to general questions with access to the internal knowledge bases of the dragon loyalist faction.   This is a good way to give the team hints or indirect instructions should they be stuck or go off mission.
  Who are the vampires?
A small group of vampires within the Московское братство. They wish to establish a base of power in East Village to improve their status within the brotherhood. They acquired a dragon bone talisman to get the support of a local necromancer in establishing their claim to East Village territory.   The group consists of two old vampires and eight young ones. Each of the old vampires commands four of the young vampires and acts independent of the other. They all start out in their club The Origin. There they are precelebrating their deal with the necromancer. As part of that the necklace was removed from its shielding container. Once they realize this they immediately send one group to their base of operations the Moscow Brotherhood Mansion. The second group waits to see if any dragon loyalists show up to reclaim the talisman. Should any of the vampires realize that the team is active to retrieve the talisman they will warn the others via text chat and put everyone on high alert.   Starting an open conflict with the dragon loyalists completely undermines their position as that costs them all support from the brotherhood. This means that they will avoid killing any of the team members. The vampires do not survive if they are directly exposed to sun light. This limits their movements to the inside of the buildings they are in.
  Who is the necromancer?
He is the recipient of the Dragontooth Necklace. It is very useful to him as it allows him to become much stronger. He is always accompanied by four Velociraptor Zombies (L1). They protect the necromancer when attacked until they are destroyed. Once cornered and without an opportunity to escape the necromancer gives up the necklace.   The necromancer will abandon the deal should he learn that the team is onto the vampires before they handed him the necklace. The vampires try to prevent him from learning about the team and pretend that everything is okay.
  The Night Club
The Origin is a basic night club. It has a front entrance and a back entrance. Inside there is the large main room with a dance floor, DJ booth, bar and some tables. From the main room a stair case leads up to some half-open private VIP sections that have a good view of the entire club. In the back there are two restrooms, a break room for the staff, a storage room and two offices. The entire club has no windows, ensuring that there is never any day light inside at any point.
  The Mansion
A large, palace-like, mansion in East Village. It has a large wall surrounding the property line and a grass garden up to the mansion. The mansion itself has an underground garage, a basement, an east and west wing and the main building. From the front it is possible to enter the main building and the underground garage. On the back are entrances to the east and west wing.
  Event Timeline
  • 10:00: Detected the talisman.
  • 10:10: Team deployed.
  • 10:15: Vampires realize their mistake.
  • 10:30: Vampires leave for mansion.
  • 10:45: First group arrives at mansion.
  • 11:45: Second group moves to mansion.
  • 13:20: Necromancer arrives at mansion.
  • 13:40: Necromancer begins ritual, all vampires occupied.
  • 14:00: Necromancer ends ritual and receives necklace.
  • 14:15: Necromancer leaves mansion.
  • Gamemaster Information

    The talisman is in the possession of a small group of vampires who act independently of their main faction. Their goal is to trade the Dragontooth Necklace to a necromancer who can further strengthen their supernatural power with a long ritual.   The team is assisted by an analyst who gives them their mission parameters. During the mission team can first try to gain support from Sharon Mora and the East Village clan. This support is not mandatory but can be very useful.   Then they arrive at the night club. The situation there is determined by how quickly the team arrived. From there they need to find their way to the mansion. This is the base of the vampires and where they now store the necklace. The team can now attempt to infiltrate the mansion to secure the necklace. Should they fail the vampires hand over the necklace to the necromancer.   Following the necromancer gives one last chance to get the necklace back. Should they lose the necromancer the mission is a failure and the analysts tell them to return their base. An investigative unit takes over the search for this necklace.   The spoilers on the left reveal additional information about the motivations of the opposing groups and the locations they can be found in. Linked support articles are not necessary to understand the mission, but give helpful background information and expand on the summaries given here.

    Mission Brief On Route

    The mission begins with the team in their vehicle on route to the East Village. They are expecting a mission briefing on their way. The team is fully geared and rested. The following brief is given to the team by their analyst Eric Davis.  
    Here is the information we have so far. The signature we detected indicates that someone in East Village has a dragon bone talisman that was shielded from detection. The shield was lifted either accidentally or to use the talisman for a brief moment. It is likely that they are now moving the talisman to a new location in order to prevent us from finding it.   We believe the talisman is located in a night club called The Origin. It is a vampire den. We have very little intel on the vampires that run the place and have no idea why they have a dragon bone talisman. We also have no intel on their strength and numbers. Going in blind is very risky.   To get information a good place to start is Amélia's Supply Shop. The owner Sharon Mora deals in rare, exotic and sometimes black market alchemy ingredients. She is probably aware of the people who have this talisman but she might be reluctant to cooperate.   The last point of interest is the Angry Sewer Rat. It is a bar run and frequented by the East Village clan. They used to trade in dragon bone dust several decades ago, but have since respected our rules. It is unlikely that they are in possession of the talisman, but they are likely aware of who has it. They might also be willing to support the operation as this is their territory.   Act fast and avoid direct conflict if possible. We don't want to start a war in Manhattan. Keep us updated on any intel you might gather on the mission and we will continue to monitor the situation.

    Recruiting Support

    The team can visit these two locations to gain support on the mission. This is not mandatory, but should make the mission easier.  

    Amélia's Supply Shop

    As you enter the store an overwhelming smell of many different herbs and oils greets you. As you get deeper into the store an older woman greets you with a warm smile: "Welcome to Amélia's Supply Shop, how can I help you today?"
      Amélia's Supply Shop is an important community hub in the East Village. The owner Sharon Mora has connections with many different factions locally, the city and around the world. She does not like sharing her intel without gaining anything in return.   Negotiations can be a simple social skill check or be played out as a contest. Sharon Mora cannot be intimidated by dragon loyalists and is displeased by rudeness. Accusations against her about the talisman put the players at an immediate disadvantage. More intel and assets are provided the better the team fairs in negotiations.  
    Intel
  • Vampires attempted to sell her some dragon bone dust.
  • A necromancer has been asking about ways to become stronger.
  • There are most likely two old and between 6 - 10 young vampires in the group.
  • They use The Origin as their feeding ground.
  • Assets
  • Hedgehog Grass Paste: Applying this paste to any kind of locked magical or technical mechanism will unlock it. The more intricate and powerful the lock is the more time and paste is required.
  • Presence Suppression Potion: This potion helps being stealthy. One potion can be used six times and last for twenty minutes.
  • Alchemy Supplies: Can be used by alchemists to create various alchemy products.
  • Angry Sewer Rat

    As you enter the small bar everyone goes silent. You see around fifteen people sitting in the bar all staring at you. A tall woman behind the bar asks: "What brings the like of you to this bar!?"
      The Angry Sewer Rat is an important location for the the East Village clan. The owner Eimear Mhic Canann of the Rat is present. Once the team identifies themselves as dragon loyalists and explain what their mission is the patrons will all calm down and return to their discussions and drinks.   Mrs. Canann is very supportive of the team and tells them everything she knows about the vampires. However, she is reluctant to promise any support beyond that. She is respected within the clan and if the team can convince her she can use her pull to grant various assets to the team. Each asset listed is harder to get and will require something in return. They wish some support in getting the vampires to leave their territory.  
    Intel
  • Vampires have been more active in the neighbourhood.
  • There were probably a few civilians killed in The Origin, but they have not been able to arrest anyone responsible.
  • There are most likely two old and between 6 - 10 young vampires in the group.
  • Their main base is in the Moscow Brotherhood Mansion.
  • Assets
  • Mobilize patrol cars to report movements.
  • Arrest captured vampires and hold them for 24h.
  • Blueprint of the mansion.
  • Direct support to overpower vampires stationed at night club.
  • The Night Club

    There are three possible situations when the team arrives at the night club. They find the first situation if they did not attempt to recruit any allies and directly went to the club. The second situation takes place if the team attempted to recruit one of the allies and the third situation happens if they attempted to recruit both allies. In case that the team knows about the mansion from the clan they can move directly to the mansion once they realize that the talisman is no longer present. It is up to the team to figure out if the talisman is still present or not. As the Dragontooth Necklace is in a shielded container they cannot just use magic to determine this.  
    Situation 1
    Player Perspective: They see a convoy of three armoured vehicles and an armed escort drive off as they arrive.   Full Picture: A few guards and four of the eight vampires are in the convoy together with the talisman inside of the container. The rest of the vampires are inside of the club and are watching the entrances.
    Situation 2
    Player Perspective: They see a convoy of three armoured vehicles and an armed escort drive off as they arrive.   Full Picture: A few guards and four vampires are in the convoy. The rest of the vampires are already at the mansion preparing for the ritual with the necromancer. In the club are only a few human employees.
    Situation 3
    Player Perspective: They see the club is closed, but that there is some people inside.   Full Picture: All of the vampires are in the mansion to prepare for the ritual. The human employees in the club do not offer any resistance to the team.

    Infiltrating The Mansion

    The vampires main headquarters is a mansion with a large basement below. The mansion has a number of human staff and security personnel present. A magi-tech security system can detect intruders if any alarms are triggered.   The vampires are busy preparing for the ritual and await the necromancers arrival. The vampires are on low alert since they are not expecting the dragon bone retrieval team to act very fast. The blueprints gives the team an advantage, but does not show the installed security systems.

    Outdoor Obstacles

    • Surrounded by a concrete wall with electric fence.
    • All entrances and walls are monitored by cameras. The cameras are monitored by two guards.
    • Three guards are patrolling the outside.
    • Security guards carry an access card to open up all the outer doors.
    • Motion sensors are setup on the walls and surrounding the mansion.

    Indoor Obstacles

    • The vault is locked by a magically enhanced electronic mechanism and guarded by two security guards.
    • The security room is in the east wing where they monitor the cameras and contains a master card for all doors.

    Team Detected / High Alert

    On detection human guards attempt to warn the vampires. If the ritual has not yet started they will send two young vampires to get the necklace. The vampires do not want the necromancer to notice that the team is present in the mansion. If they are warned during the ritual they will not react and simply continue with the ritual.   Should the team interrupt the ritual for whatever reason the necromancer will abandon the deal and retreat. In this case, the vampires can either be conviced (difficult) to hand over the necklace or forced (very difficult). The vampires will attempt to stall for time until evening and then run away with the necklace in the night.
     

    The Ritual

    When the necromancer arrives he performs the ritual on the vampires to strengthen them. This ritual takes around an hour and weakens the necromancer considerably. The vampires hand over the necklace when the ritual is finished. If at this point the team has not retrieved the necklace the necromancer will leave with it giving the team another chance to retrieve the necklace.
    Once the necromancer realized that the team is after him, he will attempt to hand-off the container with the necklace to a contact without the team noticing. He will use his zombies to create a distraction for the hand-off to take place. The contact is a skilled stealth user who is following the necromancer. The hand-off happens if none of the players has an eye on the necromancer for a moment. Once the hand-off has happened the necromancer will surrender. Should all the zombies be destroyed and the necromancer be cornered before the hand-off happens the necromancer will hand over the necklace.

    Aftermath

    The mission is over when the team either returned the Dragontooth Necklace to their base or if they are left without any directly actionable leads as to where the necklace could be. There are three possible outcomes for this mission.  
    Full Success
    The team not only managed to retrieve the necklace, but also prevented the vampires from receiving their buff. The team is commended with distinction and receive extra mission rewards and heavily improve their reputation with the East Village clan.
    Success
    The team managed to get the necklace. They earn their mission rewards and are commended for their success.
    Failure
    The team failed to get the necklace. They earn no extra rewards just their regular salary. A debrief takes place to find out what went wrong and some extra training is scheduled. Although the team can attempt to arrest the necromancer they will be ordered to retrieve him by their superior through the analyst. They have no real legal grounds to hold the necromancer against his will.


    Cover image: Book of Magic by TJ Trewin

    Comments

    Please Login in order to comment!
    Apr 23, 2022 13:34 by Chris L

    I like the optional locations and how you've separated out "intel" and "assets." Angry Sewer Rat could use the flavor and NPC that Amelia's has. Also, what are the stakes if they fail or succeed? I'm inferring that retrieving the talisman is part of their job, but if the necromancer has it, how bad is it? Or is that just part of the job? I like how you have all the pieces for the adventure, but the way the information was delivered confused me until I read the sidebars. Maybe incorporate the sidebar info into the "adventure text" somehow. Also, breaking up some of the larger paragraphs into smaller ones would help readability. Images would also help to break up the "wall of text". Overall, this is a strong beginning to your adventure!


    See WorldEmber 2023 Hub for my WorldEmber progress.

    Check out my challenge winning article: Ghost Boy.

    Apr 24, 2022 19:02 by Chris L

    Love the changes you made! Makes it way more digestible and the success/failure states work great for me!


    See WorldEmber 2023 Hub for my WorldEmber progress.

    Check out my challenge winning article: Ghost Boy.

    Apr 24, 2022 19:24

    Thank you! I was really done with this, but your very nice and expansive comment gave me the motivation to make it just a little better one more time. Really appreciate that! :)

    Check out my world World Behind the Veil!
    Apr 29, 2022 21:12

    Getting some strong special supernatural agent vibes here, the adventure succeeds in hitting all the notes. Excellent legwork sections with the shop (nice potions) and the Sewer Rat. I'm not sure whether the players I usually deal with would take the hint that they should act fast to avoid having to deal with situation 3. On the other hand, the optional locations are so much fun I would probably like to play both anyway. Also, I'd probably be tempted to draw off some of the vampires from the ritual if the players go in too loud at the mansion. One of the best adventures I've read so far in the challenge, interesting and clear, very nice!

    If you have some time, I would much appreciate your feedback on my entry for Adventure April: Carbon Copy Paradise
    Apr 30, 2022 06:05

    Thank you! Really appreciate your comment!   The necromancer would probably notice the invasion if the team is very, very loud. And then interrupt the ritual and bail out. Which in turn would free up all the vampires to go deal with the team!

    Check out my world World Behind the Veil!
    Apr 30, 2022 21:59 by Michael Chandra

    Nice approaches to take care of the situation. So if I get it right, 'recruiting allies' actually means having visited + scored info&support from one of the two mentioned locations?


    Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
    Apr 30, 2022 22:10

    Yes exactly! And the amount of support can depend on how successful they were in convincing each of them to support them :)

    Check out my world World Behind the Veil!
    Apr 30, 2022 22:53 by Time Bender

    This seems like quite a challenging one-shot! I also really enjoyed reading about the optional stops the players could make to gather intel and assets. It made challenge that much more in-depth!

    May 1, 2022 05:04

    Thank you!

    Check out my world World Behind the Veil!
    May 1, 2022 00:14 by rugrat0ne

    Good to see the Angry Sewer Rat again :D A complicated caper but very interesting.

    Debating a third world. No, not that kind.
    May 1, 2022 05:04

    Thanks!

    Check out my world World Behind the Veil!
    May 1, 2022 17:37

    To be honest, I did not read it, but it looks amazing!!! There is no way that I could have done this event and admire you and those that pulled it off. I will definitely go back to the top and read it all, but I felt compelled to leave a comment of my first glance..

    May 1, 2022 17:56

    Thank you for your kind comment! It was definitely quite a bit of work, last year I didn't participate either, and this time I just took the plunge. I think it came out pretty well thanks to some great feedback I got from the community!   I hope you enjoy reading it :)

    Check out my world World Behind the Veil!
    May 1, 2022 23:24

    Vampires and Necromancers, hell ya! What a great one-shot! I love the location spoilers and the timeline. There are lots of useful to run pieces of information here. I love the feeling of a ticking clock and things will happen even if the team is slow to act. Great situational options, design layout and use of spoilers.


    Graylion - Nexus   Roleplaying
    not Ruleplaying
    not Rollplaying
    May 2, 2022 06:50

    Thanky you Graylion! I am happy how well it turned out :)

    Check out my world World Behind the Veil!