GM Note: We welcomed a new player to our playtest group who is testing the Mercenary class. Alas, his PC name escapes me, so for now we shall just call him Merc.
Lists of new quests in hand, the party rests up, gears up, and begins the journey to the CBD. Before leaving, Chevalier Bataille assigned one of his guards to serve as a guide for Ambassador Cross, since the party is not familiar with the city. Merc is given strict instructions to make sure nothing happens to the Ambassador.
On the way to the CBD, they come across Father Thomas, who has been looking for them. His people informed him that the party might be going into the area, and he asks a favor. While St. Katherine’s doesn’t have a lot of financial resources, his flock are good people who would be inclined to support Pineville’s efforts at diplomacy should it come to a city vote. To gain their favor, Father Thomas asks the party to attempt to retrieve an old relic from a cathedral in the CBD. Father Thomas believes that before the war, the Vatican had sent a crucifix blessed by the last Pope. He believes recovering the relic would help elevate the spirits of the people of Nola. The party agrees to try to retrieve the crucifix.
There is no safe way into the CBD due to all of the damage to the area. And that is probably a good thing, since if there was easy access in and out of the area the gangs would have overrun NOLA a long time ago. Merc knows one way into the area, an old parking garage that serves as a tunnel. The tunnel is guarded by a patrol and a steel fence. As the PCs approach, the guards give them a warning that once they cross the gate, they will be on their own.
Slowly navigating their jeep through the garage, Fox notices a sliver of a wire across the path between two pillars. He and Merc go over to the wire to investigate and disarm the trap while the rest of the PCs wait in the Jeep. As they are trying to disable to device, raiders from the Black Dart gang rush out of the shadows, throwing grenades and making a mess. The PC’s manage to survive and take one of the gang alive. Cross uses his newly acquired Hypnosis ritual to gain mental control over the gang member and convince him that they are all friends.
“Bob” the Black Dart member is able to tell his new “friends” about the immediate area. The Black Dart gang is one of two small gangs in the immediate vicinity. The other is the Scorpion Gang. The two groups are rivals. He also knows the location of the cathedral the party is looking for, but warns that a vampire lives there. After some curious questioning, the party learns of a number of gang members found dead and bloodless in the immediate area of the cathedral.
So the party continues to journey into the CBD and eventually comes across an overturned tractor-trailer blocking the intersection. They can’t move the trailer and they can’t drive the jeep around it. They are going to have to go on foot for the remainder. But by this time, it is getting dark, and they had been previously warned of the presence of cannibalistic zombies and, for lack of a better term, surface-dwelling CHUDs, that come out at night. The trailer, however, is still relatively intact. They drive the jeep into the back of the trailer, close and seal the doors, and assign watches to wait out the night.
Not long after dusk, they hear the commotion of CHUDs running through the streets. There is also some gunfire, as it seems various gang members got caught outdoors after sundown. A poor roll on the random encounter chart results in the appearance of the DEATHCLAW PATRIARCH that is in the area (which only appears if you drop 100 on the encounter chart…bad roll, boys. bad roll). As the creature attempted to rip its way into the trailer, the party decided (for the first time in their lives, I think) that discretion was the better part of valor. They jumped in the jeep, crashed out the doors, and fled back to the tunnel. The Deathclaw was chasing them, but couldn’t catch them. A few of the PCs decided to take shots at the thing as they fled. Poor Bob suffered a critical failure on an attack roll and fell out of the Jeep. The Deathclaw jumped on him, ripped his head off, and began eating his innards.
Needless to say, the PCs did not turn around to try to save him.
Returning the following day, they found what was left of Bob. For reasons only understood the player, Milton decided to keep Bob’s head. The PCs then decided to go investigate the cathedral.
Getting to the cathedral, the front doors were barricaded shut from the inside. So Cross knocked on the door. A couple of minutes later, a voice on the other side of the door asked what they wanted. Cross introduced himself and said he wished to discuss a trade for the crucifix. The person on the other side of the door agreed to discuss a trade, but only Cross could enter. The rest of the party had to stay outside. After some internal squabbling (particularly after the person inside insulted Katie by calling her a loud wench for not shutting up during the preliminary negotiations), the rest of the party backed away and Cross entered the Cathedral.
The “vampire” turned out to be an occultist who seemed to suffer from the Vampirism mutation. He was willing to speak with Cross because he recognized him as a fellow demonologist. He said he would be happy to allow the party to have the crucifix, if they would provide him with live “servants” to help protect his lair by day. The vampire seemed to be concerned that the local gangs were taking too much interest in him as of late, so he wanted needed servants to help protect him. Cross agrees to see what he can do, and the vampire makes it clear that, if Cross is successful, he could be a valuable ally in terms of magical training.