By Frank Branham
From Message <1994Oct11.email@example.com>
posted on Usenet to alt.games.whitewolf October 11, 1994.
Released into public domain.
Fire at Midnight is a story of intrigue, deceit, and murder set in the Gothic Punk world of Vampire the Masquerade. To play the game you will need one or two people to prepare the scene, and 10-12 people to take on the roles of Kindred. The story takes place in real-time, and lasts three hours.
To use this version, you will need a print out of this page and all of the attachments. If you don't like how this document was arranged, you can instead get a copy of the original article.
Kapp: A Brujah gunrunner who owns the warehouse in which the game is set. He has been staked, doused in lighter fluid, and burned to death.
Leland: An Archon of the Ventrue Justicar who is stationed in Atlanta. Leland has been sent by the Prince to investigate Kapp's murder.
Jacob: A Gangrel working for the Gangrel Prince of Atlanta.
Steele: Another Gangrel working for the Prince. Steele has only been with the Prince for a few months.
Rimer: A Brujah Anarch.
Woodruff: A Ventrue Ancilla of the Old South variety.
Selina: A Toreador alchoholic, who has an unusual talent for stealing and fencing important objects.
Royce: A Brujah who happens to be Kapp's Childe.
Hawkins: The Nosferatu who discovered Kapp's body.
Krista: A Toreador who is a highly-trained biologist. She is also absent- minded to a fault.
Grigori: A Tremere Ancilla and Terry's direct superior.
Terry: A Tremere Neonate.
Standish: A Malkavian who suffers from delusions of being a Great White Hunter in Borneo.
This story was originally designed for White Wolf's The Masquerade live interactive game. If you want to use The Masquerade it is recommended that you get a copy of the original article. This version now has the appropriate rules added to each character sheet.
Before play, you will need to explain combat to the players. If two characters engage in a fight, have them play a game of rock, paper, scissors. The loser is wounded and may take no action for ten minutes. If there is a tie, neither individual was injured.
Guns are a special case. If the character being shot at cannot touch the character firing the gun without moving his or her feet, that character automatically loses. If the target can touch the attacker, resolve combat normally, but the attacker wins ties.
Fire at Midnight takes place in a warehouse where a Kindred has been staked and burned only a few hours before the story begins. The victim, Kapp, was involved in collecting and selling vampire blood to the Atlanta Center for Disease Control (CDC). His accomplices are Jacob (a Gangrel who is an underling of the Prince), Royce (Kapp's Childe, a powerful Brujah), and Krista (a Toreador student who has been trying to research vampirism). Royce decided that the operation was too dangerous as it broke the Masquerade. He told his Tremere friend, Terry, about the operation. Terry told her direct superior Grigori about the chance to acquire a lot of blood, so the Tremere planned to substitute their buyers for the men from the CDC.
Earlier this evening, things turned really bad. Kapp found out that Royce was trying to sell blood to the Tremere and was furious. The two fought for a bit, and Royce staked Kapp to the warehouse floor. Terry arrived shortly thereafter to try and negotiate with Kapp, and decided to burn Kapp's staked body to remove any resistance to the blood being routed to the Tremere.
Hawkins found the burned body, unfortunately mixing his hand in the ashes. He immediately reported the murder to the Prince, who sent the Archon Leland and two of his underlings to investigate. The underlings (Jacob and Steele) have orders to round up any Kindred they find in the vicinity of the warehouse and take them to the warehouse for questioning. The Prince has promised to declare a Blood Hunt on any Kindred who leaves the warehouse before 5:00 AM. Leland arrives at 2:00 AM with Hawkins. She has only three hours to find the murderer before the Kindred must return to their havens for sunrise.
7:00 PM - Rimer finds out from Terry that she has a vial of Woodruff's blood.
8:15 PM - Kapp, Woodruff, and Krista meet to discuss the return of Woodruff's blood. Woodruff flies into a fury when he finds out that the blood has been stolen and leaves, swearing revenge.
8:45 PM - Selina manages to break into the secret vault of the Tremere chapterhouse and make off with a vial of Grigori's blood.
9:15 PM - Grigori discovers the break in. He sends Terry down to the warehouse to clean up the situation.
9:30 PM - Selina delivers Grigori's blood to Kapp and is paid. Kapp hides the blood in the warehouse.
9:45 PM - Selina meets Standish upon leaving the warehouse, and they go off to drink from a few mortals. Selina eventually tells Standish where she got the money.
10:45 PM - Rimer perches on the roof of a neighboring warehouse, waiting for a chance to break into the warehouse again.
11:00 PM - Jacob arrives early for a meeting which Kapp called to discuss what to do about the Tremere trying to receive blood. Kapp tells Jacob about the Tremere, and tells Jacob about the theft of the vial of Grigori's blood. Jacob leaves to appear at the Prince's court.
11:30 PM - Royce arrives and begins to argue with Kapp about selling blood to the Tremere. Rimer decides that tonight is a bad night to break in and so leaves. Royce stakes Kapp in a fury and leaves him.
Midnight - Terry appears and finds Kapp staked to the floor. She douses Kapp in lighter fluid and sets him on fire. As she leaves, she drops her amulet (which is found by Standish) and then heads home to take a quick shower.
12:15 AM - Krista finds the body, panics and runs. She is found by the Prince's men.
12:20 AM - Hawkins sees Krista running away and goes to investigate. In the dark he reaches out and touches the ashes before he figures out what they are. Hawkins then heads to tell the Prince of the murder.
1:00 AM - The Prince sends for the Archon to investigate. Jacob and Steele are sent to round up people and escort them to the warehouse.
2:00 AM - THE STORY BEGINS. Leland arrives with Hawkins to investigate the warehouse. Other Kindred begin to arrive shortly after, escorted by Jacob and Steele.
3:30 AM - Two mortal street gang members arrive to pick up a case of guns. One of them finds a bottle of lighter fluid outside, which he is brandishing as he walks in. It is the one which Terry dropped outside the warehouse.
4:30 AM - Two men from the CDC arrive to pick up 2 more vials of blood.
5:00 AM - THE STORY ENDS. All of the Kindred are free to go except those who the Archon finds guilty.
Make sure that you know the plot cold. Read through all of the character descriptions. You will also need to give a copy of each of the character descriptions to each player who plays. If you have less than 12 players, the characters of Steele and Selina can be removed from the game without affecting the plot seriously.
You will also need to prepare a few props:
A box of guns: Use index cards with GUN written on them to represent the guns. Place these in a box filled with styrofoam peanuts or some sort of packing material. Place the vial containing Rimer's blood in the bottom of this box. Leave this box out in the open near where Kapp's body is to be found.
3 Vials of blood: Find several medicine bottles and fill it with red fluid. Leave 1 unmarked (this is Woodruff's blood and should be given to Rimer), one should have Rimer's name on it (and should be hidden in the crate of guns), and the third should be hidden in an open place in the room where the game is to be played. (This should be marked with Grigori's name.)
A fancy amulet of some type in the shape of a hand. Likely you will need to take an index card, and draw an ornate amulet on it. Give it to Standish at the beginning of the game.
A letter from the Prince of London, naming Selina as the target of a Blood Hunt. This letter should be given to Hawkins.
A letter from a high-level Ventrue to Grigori, naming Woodruff and Grigori. Give this to Terry.
An sealed bottle of lighter fluid, or a representation. This will be brought into the game by the street gang members.
A notepad of paper. Write assorted notes with phone numbers and dates. On the last page, write the location of Grigori's vial of blood. The note should be written as if Kapp were writing a note to himself to remind him where the vial is hidden.
And to really dress the story up, use your imagination. Make a chalk drawing of a body to indicate where Kapp's ashes lie. You can also dig up some play money to give to your players so that they have something with which to bargain. Remember that the warehouse served as Kapp's office so he should probably have a desk of some sort. Lay out a set of papers, and perhaps a desk calendar with notes scribbled all over it. You may wish to include a few references to Kapp's gun trade, or even a few references to the Blood trade. During the first playtest, a layout of Tarot cards on the desk distracted the Archon for a good 20 minutes.
Have fun creating as many red herrings as you can add to the mystery.
Try to have Leland, Hawkins, Steele, and Jacob arrive slightly earlier than the rest of the players. Have everyone create their characters in some place away from the main area. When Leland and Hawkins have finished, lead them into the "warehouse" to begin the investigation. Tell Jacob and Steele to escort the other players one by one into the warehouse as they finish their characters. Tell them to be as rude and obnoxious as possible because the Prince is pretty angry about the murder.
You can then pretty much sit back and answer questions. The most important and pressing concern is that Leland will begin to use Psychometry on everything. Here is a list of what he will find as he touches certain objects in the room:
Kapp's body: He will be suddenly wrenched into the body of a panicking Kindred (Hawkins) whose hand is immersed in the ashes. Touching the stake will reveal the same image.
Lighter Fluid: Leland will be standing over a staked Kapp, seeing the lighter fluid being poured over Kapp. Leland then hears a voice speak, "Such a waste of blood, but you are safe from our rituals now." The vision then dissolves in a mass of blue flame.
The Amulet: The Leland see a Kindred walking down an alley, and smells a faint smell of lighter fluid on himself. He missteps, and the Amulet falls to the ground.
For other items, make up a simple vision from the point of view of the last person to have touched that object. Likely this will be Kapp.
You will also need to assume the role of a few protagonists during the game. Halfway through the adventure, two street gang members will appear to purchase guns from Kapp. Wrap a bandanna around your head and walk into the game area, waving the can of lighter fluid. The street gang member has no idea about Kindred, and will probably freak at the first breach of the Masquerade.
Thirty minutes before the game is to end, find a long coat and walk back in to the warehouse. Hesistantly ask for Kapp, and leave as soon as someone tells you yhat he is not around. This person is from the CDC, and has started to piece together a fair amount of information about vampires, so he will be very cautious. The CDC hunter also has a passing interest in the occult and has met Terry at the warehouse before. When he meets Terry, he will ask where Terry got the amulet, as he has been looking for such an amulet.
After 3 hours have passed, require the Archon to make any accusations that he wishes to make. Once the fireworks and escape have been settled, you will be done.
You'll need copies of all of these attachments to run this game.