This campaign takes place in a setting that is more-or-less present day, in a world that more-or-less resembles our own, in the city of Juniper, Massachusetts (which is more or less like Boston). Like any big city, it has its share of murders. At least, they might’ve been murders; the police haven’t said much about the two young women found dead in an alleyway last night, barely a block away from the nightclub known as Disco Nuit, but they apparently have reason to suspect homicide. They’re asking anyone with information about the women’s movements last night to come forward.
The players don’t have any such information, but they’ve taken it upon themselves to acquire it (as player characters do). Shannon is particularly determined, since the two dead women, Bella and Louisa, were her co-workers. Her dance studio has been closed temporarily while everyone deals with the loss.
Not knowing where else to start, Shannon, Felix, and John head to Disco Nuit. It’s early enough that many of the staff who were working last night are only just finishing their shifts. Despite the hour, a set of large double doors is wide open, and the group heads inside.
John approaches someone polishing glasses at the nearest bar. The bartender is apologetic but unhelpful, saying that he served literally three thousand people last night. But, he says, the police have been pestering someone named Gerald, who might have more information.
Up the stairs indicated by the bartender is a hall that ends in another set of open double doors. Shannon, who creeps into the hallway to better see what’s going on, spies a room containing a few people in suits and a man with a French accent yelling into a phone. She pauses to hear what he’s saying, but he’s mostly going on about how people in big cities die all the time and shouting at his employees. Deciding that there’s not much to be gleaned from listening to the man yell about cocktail weenies and complain about the police, Shannon knocks on the door.
Gerald glances up, then down at a clipboard. “Yes, yes, come in! You must be–”
Shannon cuts him off. “Actually, I’m a family friend of–I imagine you heard about those two girls who died? I’m a friend of the families, and we’re conducting a private investigation into their deaths. We were hoping you could provide some more information…”
“Yes, yes, of course.” Gerald sounds faintly disgusted, but he waves Shannon inside anyway. He insists that he is “deeply distressed” to hear of the two women’s passing, but seems more distressed by the possibility that the families might decide to hit him with a lawsuit, stating that the two women left the club safely and “of their own will and volition, with no health issues that we could possibly be responsible for.” He does mention one thing of interest, however: the club’s security cameras saw them leave. When Shannon presses him for more information, Gerald does something surprisingly helpful: he has one of his employees produce copies of the tapes. These wouldn’t normally be made available to the public, but, Gerald says, he wants to “make it clear in the families’ minds how happy and healthy they were on leaving the club.” (In other words, as Felix remarks to John while the two of them wait in the stairwell, “there is epic chull coverage occurring.”)
Whether Gerald’s chull is covered or not, the party now has what it came for in the form of two VHS tapes. John suggests that everybody reconvene at his grandmother’s house, since he’s pretty sure she still has a VCR. His grandmother is sleeping when everyone arrives, so once John digs the VCR out of the attic, the group is able to watch the tapes without having to deflect any awkward questions.
The first tape, labelled “ladies entering,” shows just that. The women spend a few minutes waiting in line, but eventually enter the club through a doorway marked “Diabolique.” The second tape shows them leaving the club, apparently alone but for each other. They’re just as animated as they were when they entered the club, laughing and chatting as they leave, but now there’s a distinct difference in their body language; they seem to be having trouble keeping their spines straight.
It’s John who figures it out. “She’s not holding herself up there.” He pauses the tape. “She’s putting all her weight on that arm.” Now that he’s pointed it out, the rest of the party realizes that the women are leaning on people that the camera can’t actually see; there are even finger-shaped indentations visible in their clothing, although nobody can see any actual fingers.
“Do vampires show up on camera?” John wonders. “Werewolves?”
“They didn’t used to, and then there was Stephenie Meyer,” Felix answers. “Sorry, I don’t read enough real books to know.”
John, commenting that the women seem pretty lively, theorizes that whatever is with them must not be invisible to them. When the group watches the rest of the video, it does seem that the women are talking to people that the camera can’t see as well as to each other. They move out of view of the camera, heading off in the direction where their bodies were eventually found.
Having discovered everything there is to be discovered from the security tapes, the party sets about trying to figure out just how to track two invisible people in a crowd of three thousand. It sounds like a fool’s errand in more ways than one, but then, fools errands are pretty much what you get when you go chasing the things that go bump in the night.
[This post is the first in a series of posts covering my group's ongoing World of Darkness campaign. The next post is scheduled to drop on Thursday, January 16th, so check back then if you'd like to read more.]