Thursday, November 24, 2016


The Red Line Corporate Solutions team is looking for Castle Dracula somewhere in northern Romania. Alas, what it finds instead is a werewolf. Oops.

The team consists of:

Natasha Avram, former Russian government assassin. Wears a lot of leather. Driven by money. Possible sociopath.

Sten Brodrington, ace driver who is a bit vague about which specific branch of British intelligence he worked for. He's looking for direction and purpose in life, or at least that's what he says.

Max Fischer, German investigator with a mysterious past. A little twitchy. He's hoping for some sort of redemption.

Carmel Shaked, Israeli break-and-enter specialist with a bit of a nationalistic streak. Carmel has had enough of secrets and lies.

Natasha is some distance away, trying to talk sense into an unhinged Max. Sten is sat behind the wheel of the team's 4x4. All of which leaves Carmel facing the two young ruffians, one of which is now a "Ruff"-ian. Ho ho!

"Ruff", like a dog. No?

Anyway, there's a bit of a skirmish as Carmel tries to evade the monster, then Sten puts his foot down -- literally -- and smashes his car into the creature. Meanwhile the other thug begins to change and Max and Natasha scramble back to aid their colleagues.

The vehicle skids and swerves around as the werewolf clings to the bonnet and attempts to grab Sten. It manages to tear the driver's side door off the hinges -- quite a feat considering the vehicle is armoured -- and in response Sten points his MP5 at the monster's head, makes a smooth quip, then the gun jams. The creature seems to smile.

Meanwhile the rest of the team tackles the other monster, with Carmel finishing it off with a burst of gunfire.

Sten is forced to be creative and swings the vehicle in a wide arc, hoping the momentum is enough to shake the monster loose before it can eat him. It turns out to be more than enough as the werewolf spins through the air with a plaintive whine and crunches against a tree. It is quite dead, but the rest of the team makes sure by dousing the corpse with bottles of silver nitrate.

(They thought the silver nitrate would be useful against vampires. It wasn't.)

The lump of gore that was the other werewolf begins to bubble and hiss, as if it is boiling, then it clambers to what was its feet. A gurgling voice issues from the wreck of its throat and the team finds itself somehow in conversation with Dracula himself. This is all a bit too much for Carmel, who goes for a sit down.

Natasha seems to be oblivious to the gravity of the situation and attempts to bait the ancient vampire warlord but he seems resistant to her dubious charms and after a brief back-and forth -- during which he casts doubt on Sten's loyalty -- the Lord of the Vampires™ does whatever the equivalent of hanging up is when one is using magic to speak through a corpse. A rain storm sweeps in and the team decides to return to base, a rented cottage some miles away.

The rain seems to follow, and a quick look at weather satellite imagery seems to confirm that the torrential rain is indeed centred on the team. No one expected Dracula to be quite so petty.

Sten is not trusted to keep watch, which doesn't bother him as he gets a full night's rest while the others keep an eye out for further vampiric shenanigans. The next morning brings more rain but the investigators decide to press on and search for the castle. Carmel fumbles an attempt to hack some detailed satellite imagery of the Red Lake area, and suspects that she may have alerted the authorities, so the team decides on a more basic approach and starts canvassing local guides.

The search starts to resemble a weird sort of holiday as the investigators go on a number of cave tours but alas do not discover Dracula's secret underground fortress. The team feels the trail going cold and in desperation Carmel risks breaking cover and asks her contacts to look into the locations of any former SOE agents who would have been in Romania during EDOM's 1941 operation to enlist Dracula for the war effort. To everyone's surprise, a potential lead is uncovered, and to everyone's annoyance, he is back in London.

The investigators decide to try a telephone call and get what seems to be a doddery old gent somewhere in south Wales. He is not too helpful and seems confused at best -- "Is this about PPI?" -- but they suspect that he is more sharp than he is letting on and they keep pushing, until he lets slip that he needs some sort of password before he will say any more.

Sten calls his brother in MI6 and convinces him to dig out a suitable password, and the team rings the elderly agent again. It is an old code, but it checks out, and the old fellow confirms that he was on the 1941 mission. He claims that he doesn't remember many details from that time but gives the team a rough location for the castle as well as some landmarks to help pinpoint the exact spot on which it stood.

The team heads back to the Red Lake and follows the directions provided by the old agent until further progress is blocked by a tall wire fence. The investigators debate whether to cut a gap large enough for their 4x4 but in the end decide to proceed on foot; this proves to be a wise decision as they encounter -- but do not alert -- a pair of park wardens.

Silenced guns roar put-put-put and the two wardens are eliminated; a closer inspection of the corpses reveals that each is wearing body armour and is carrying a submachine gun, none of which is standard issue for the average Romanian park keeper.

The investigators advance until they reach a crag overlooking the lake; this, they were told, is the location of Castle Dracula. Sure enough, they spy ruins atop the higher ground, as well as more armed guards. A plan is formed.

While everyone else hides, Max sets up a campfire nearby and sets his mobile to play some good old-fashioned German party music. Then he too hides within sight of the fire. Natasha climbs a tree with a good view of the crag and sets up her rifle. Carmel listens in to the guards' radio chatter but with little success as she doesn't speak Romanian.

A couple of guards head into the woods to investigate Max's Europarty and as they approach the campfire, the team springs its trap. All goes as planned until the guards start teleporting.

A running gunfight ensues. Carmel, Max, and Sten assault the crag while Natasha attempts to provide covering fire, somewhat stymied by a teleporting park warden trying to remove her head; when her gun jams, the Russian resorts to a grenade to finish him off.

Natasha's colleagues gain the upper hand and soon eliminate the opposition atop the outcrop, although at least one of the guards is unaccounted for. The Russian assassin jogs back through the trees to rejoin the rest of the team as a chill fills the air and a thick fog rolls in from the lake; Carmel, Max, and Sten make a quick circle of holy water and broken communion wafers and stand within, weapons ready. They urge Natasha to hurry.

The Russian scrambles up the slope, crucifix in hand, as the fog thickens in front of her and forms into a short but athletic woman.

Next: There's a bat in mi dungeon, what am I gonna do?


  1. Dracula being petty and making the weather follow them is pretty funny. Although it should probably be terrifying. Is this that What If? where the X-Men never rescue Storm from his clutches?

    On another note, because I'm running a little behind reading these, when Natasha came back from the walk in the woods without the two translators, did anyone on the team ask what happened to them? Or are they all taking it as given she killed them?

    1. Natasha is a bit of an odd one. The players all know that she is not in fact a former government assassin, but as far as the characters know, "Uncle Ivan" is her actual uncle and is just very well connected.

      As far as the translators go, Natasha told the others that she put them on a bus back to Saint Petersburg. The characters believe this; the players know better.

  2. I really dig that werewolf transformation pic! Did you draw that for this adventure/post, or is it appearing somewhere else?

    1. Thank you! It was done for this post; I try to get some original art into my game summary posts but I don't always have time, alas.