This is an outline for a Night’s Black Agents adventure. Due to the fact that the important details of the game, such as the exact nature of the vampires and their conspiracy, can be customised this adventure should similarly be adjusted to fit the facts that have been established.
The important assumptions I will be making here is that the PCs are already aware of the existence of the vampires, that the vampires can convert others and that they have a conspiracy in place in at least the UK.
EYES ONLY BRIEFING
The London riots in 2011 were a wake up call for the vampires. They watched, along with the world, as thousands of people took to the streets to loot, rampage and destroy. The riots had started out of anger over the shooting of teenager by the police but that was only the flame that ignited something that was just waiting to explode.
This rapidly became not a protest or a rebellion but a chance to act outside the law. Witnesses described an almost party atmosphere as properties were ransacked, homes set alight and innocent people mugged. The thin veil of civilisation had been snatched away.
For five days the riots continued, spreading to other parts of the country. The vampires realised how close human society was to falling. If this was to occur they wanted to be behind it, they wanted to be in control. They viewed the riots as an audition process, selecting participants to join their ranks.
The government came down hard on the rioters, arresting and prosecuting over a thousand people. The vampires ensured that one of their human servants, Judge Simon Hall, dealt with the cases of their potential candidates. Those they selected were sent to a Behavioural Adjustment course, influenced by similar US programs, situated in the Brecon Beacons.
Camp Right Path published itself as a place where wayward youths could be scared straight. In the cold climes of the South Wales mountains they’d undergo gruelling hikes, rock climbing, caving and canoeing. They’d learn self discipline and team work. The isolated location would also ensure that it would be difficult for those attending to escape.
In truth Camp Right Path is a training camp for potential vampires. They are taught combat skills, strategy and stealth. They are taught that only the fittest survive and that secrecy is essential to protect everything that is important. A vampires (or vampires) wait in the caves to induct those who pass the course. Only then do the recruits realise what they’ve been prepared for.
Amongst the first of the new recruits is Winston Sweeny. A troubled youth he’d been a member of street gangs since the age of 11. Now 16 he led his own gang, the Night Crew, on a co-ordinated looting spree during the riots. Imbued with inhuman powers and desires he has now been unleashed on the Mandela Housing Estate in Peckham.
Under his leadership the Night Crew have become a force to be reckoned with, with even the police avoiding the area. The vampires are watching him eagerly to see what he does in his small domain, using him as a test case for their plan.
Recently Winston has gone to far, either due to carelessness or his alien hunger, and left behind evidence of a vampire attack. The vampires are attempting to cover it up and seriously considering eliminating Winston to cover their tracks but it is too late. The PCs are already on their trail.
THE START OF A CAMPAIGN
Every campaign has to begin somewhere and this could it. The initial incident of this adventure was designed to intrigue those who already know about vampires but PCs might still look into it and discover the vampire conspiracy along the way.
The easiest way to do this is have Phyllis Blair, the murder victim, have some connection to a PC. This could be a family member or an old friend. The PCs might also be called in by a member of the police or a journalist investigating the crime.
From this initial lead the PCs will uncover a large conspiracy that allowed it to take place and find leads that will allow them to go further up the ladder.
The PCs learn about the Murder of Phyllis Blair. This will lead them to Mandela Housing Estate and encounter the Night Crew. They’ll either eliminate the Night King or encounter The Clean Up Crew. Either way they’ll be put on the trail of The Judge who’ll reveal Camp Right Path. There they’ll have a chance to eliminate the vampires in The Cave and obtain The List.
MURDER OF PHYLLIS BLAIR
The PCs come across a news story about the murder of widower Phyllis Blair on the Mandela Housing Estate. This could be through a television report, a newspaper story or from someone who lives locally. Initially the report indicates that the 80 year old pensioner was found on the Estate, drained of blood. The police soon state that she was mugged and dismiss any suggestion that two puncture wounds were found on her neck.
Bullshit Detector and Cop Talk reveal that the police are lying. A 1 point spend could reveal which police officers originated the lie (the confidence in which they speak revealing its rehearsed nature), those who know the truth and are being forced to tow the line (they hesitate, stutter and shift their gaze) and those who are unaware that there is a cover up.
The reason for the lie is that the police don’t know what to make of the death. They certainly don’t believe a vampire is behind it, although the killer might think he is. They are hoping to avoid a panic and catch who is responsible before they strike again. None the less this is a low priority for them and questioning the locals has turned up little.
If you wish the vampire conspiracy could extend into the local police force with their human agents covering up the killing. This could lead the PCs to investigating the police further, infiltrating their premises to study files and ferretting out the vampire lackey. In this situation the lackey only knows they are supposed to protect the Night Crew.
A 2 point Cop Talk spend can get a police officer to open up to the PCs and give them access to restricted files. Maybe they feel that the PCs have a better chance of bringing the killer to justice than the police can. Feel free to have this friendly NPC killed later for his betrayal or a mysteriously reassigned.
Criminology or Forensic Pathology (accessible through accessing police files, photos or eye witness accounts) reveals that the victim was robbed, with her jewellery (cheap earrings, necklace, wedding ring and bracelet) being removed and her handbag missing but this was an after thought. The lack of bruising around the areas were the jewellery was removed or the arm where her handbag rested indicated that the victim was already dead when they were removed.
Vampirology can confirm that the Phyllis was fed upon by a vampire. A 1 point spend confirms that there was only one vampire present. Adjust the details to match the feeding habits of the vampires in your campaign.
Streetwise and Criminology can recall that the Mandela Housing Estate is notorious for street crime, especially recently. The Night Crew are the chief culprits, raising to dominance amongst the local gangs. Could one of them be a vampire?
MANDELA HOUSING ESTATE
Established in the 1980s the Mandela Housing Estate consists of several tower blocks bordering a concrete square. A council estate poverty, unemployment and street crime is rampant. From the outside the estate is an intimidating wall of grey, keeping outsiders away. Inside the towers are oppressive, blocking the view of the outside world.
From the balconies sad people without hope look down on those who have wandered into this hopeless area. There is a sense that people are living in fear as they peek out behind curtains or from behind chain locked doors. Flickering lights create dark shadows in which anything might be hiding. Graffiti and the smell of human urine both serve to mark the territory of the top predators in the estate.
Architecture reveals that Phyllis was attacked in a secluded area but her path to that section would have been easily seen from various points around the Estate. The structure makes it easy to predict where people will go and wouldn’t take many people to keep the whole estate under tight surveillance.
Bureaucracy can access city records about the Mandela Housing Estate, revealing that much needed maintenance isn’t being performed because the council can’t find contractors willing to work there after numerous repair men were attacked on the Estate. The attackers were all members of the Night Crew but the police were unable to charge them.
Electronic Surveillance reveals the routine of those who live at the estate. During the day carry out the majority of their business and daily lives. As soon as the Sun sets people return to their homes as the Night Crew come out to play. Those who do venture out are harassed by the youths.
A 1 point spend can be used to tap into phone lines and listen to the inhabitants gossip abut Blair’s death and their complaints about the Night Crew.
Reassurance can encourage normally closed lipped members of the community to open up. They’ll reveal that Phyllis was a quiet woman who had lived there as long as anyone could remember. Her husband had died 15 years ago and she still spoke about him to her neighbours.
Shockingly the general sentiment is that Phyllis was partly responsible for her murder because she shouldn’t have gone out after dark. People are in no doubt that the Night Crew are responsible for the mugging but it is pointless speaking to the police as they won’t do anything.
A 1 point spend can persuade a local to contact the PCs if they see anything out of the ordinary or remember anything further (which can be a useful way to get additional information to the PCs if they miss anything). A 2 point spend can persuade them to let the PCs stay in their home during to act as base of operations in the estate.
Urban Survival lets the PCs pick up on the fear of the council estate. During the day they will also be able to pick out the youths who are members of the Night Crew due to the reverence and wide berth people give them. A 1 point spend allows the PC to go unnoticed, blending in with those who come and go to the estate.
It shouldn’t take long for the PCs to become aware of the Night Crew and begin to focus their investigation on them.
The Night Crew are the dominant street gang in the area, led by Winston Sweeny. Winston isn’t seen often, preferring to stay in his place on the 10th floor of one of the tower blocks. Members of the group wear dark clothing, mostly hoodies and hooded coats. Scarves or handkerchiefs cover the lower half of their faces, to disguise themselves.
Bicycles are the most common form of transport, with the Night Crew members been quite adept at riding them down the estates steps without falling. They co-ordinate their actions through the use of mobile phones. Look outs on the higher floors watch all movement, directing members on the ground.
While the Night Crew do a small trade in drugs their main source of income are muggings, burglary and demanding a toll from those who enter their territory. Their main focus is on relieving their boredom, carrying out campaigns of harassment against the inhabitants of the estate and the police.
Winston has brought the Right Path philosophy of Survival of the Fittest to his gang. New members are initiated by fighting all the other members of the Night Crew (or at least the toughest). Those who don’t flee or beg for it to be stopped are accepted once they have recovered from their injuries (typically they are hospitalised).
The civilian write-up on page 69 of the Night’s Black Agent book should represent the untrained teenagers well but feel free to adapt it to best match the abilities of the PCs. The Night Crew are intimidating due to numbers not skill and the PCs should be able to defeat them in a one on one fight.
Criminology and Human Terrain can be used to pick out the power structure of the gang and that they report to Winston Sweeny. A 1 point spend indicates that they are unusually organised but not overly so. Most likely their leader has good understanding of tactics, it is just that the members haven’t the discipline to carry it out perfectly. A 2 point spend reveals that their leader, Winston, is referring to himself as the Night King.
Electronic Surveillance and Notice can establish the routine of the Night Crew, including placement of their look outs and the areas they patrol. A 1 point spend reveals that several members are purchasing camping gear, as they are being lined up to go to Camp Right Path. A 2 point spend observes Night Crew members speaking to mysterious men in a black car. These are members of the vampire Clean Up Crew, passing information back and fore to Winston, through his gang members.
Intimidation or Interrogation (on a captured Night Crew member) can reveal details about the gang and how Winston has undergone a change since going to the camp. They know Winston has become strange but are to terrified to oppose him. They only whisper that he is no longer human.
A 1 point spend reveals that Winston was responsible for the attack on Phyllis. Winston had been complaining of being continually hungry and unusually went out with the gang members to mug someone. To the horror of those present he drank the old woman’s blood. This has been kept quiet amongst most of the gang.
A 2 point spend reveals that Winston says he is a changed man and that other members of the gang can undergo the same process by going to Camp Right Path.
Streetwise can put the PCs in touch with rival gangs who talk about Winston more openly. They say that he has rumbled with their gang and even bitten others. Now they are too afraid to enter Night Crew turf for fear of being by their ‘mad dog’ leader.
A 1 point spend could encourage a rival gang to act as distraction or help set up an ambush, if they are persuaded that the PCs can take the Night Crew down.
Vampirology can reveal that none of the Night Crew, except Winston, is a vampire.
Surveillance can be used to carry out further investigation of the Night Crew, allowing the use of the above Investigative abilities. During their time on the Mandela Estate the PCs might also be required to use Sense Trouble to realise that the Night Crew have targeted them as potential victims.
They could also witness the Night Crew mugging an innocent victim. The PCs will then have to decide whether to step in and blow their cover or keep quiet and watch a street crime being committed. To further create tension the victim could be NPC that the PCs have befriended during the investigation (such as the one created through Reassurance).
Eventually the PCs should realise that they have to go to the top and take out Winston.
Winston Sweeny has been in trouble since he was young. His father was an alcoholic who beat his mother until he was arrested. His mother had become addicted to drugs and eventually vanished, leaving Winston in the custody of his aunt.
Growing up on the Mandela Estate Winston felt unloved and unwanted. He joined gangs to give himself an identity. Unable to control him or tolerate his behaviour his aunt left when he was 13 while he was out with a gang. Social services were unaware of this and he managed to fend for himself.
By 16 he had formed the Night Crew and led them on a rampage during the riots. For a short time they lived like kings, surrounded by their stolen goods. This ended when the police kicked in his door and dragged him away. The judge said he was going to set an example with Winston and sent him to Camp Right Path.
Initially Winston was determined not to learn anything but he found that he thrived in the dog eat dog environment at the camp. He excelled at everything they taught him and was soon being praised for his natural talent, a first for Winston.
The revelation that vampires existed and his transformation were incredibly traumatic, removing the last vestiges of his humanity. Winston know believes himself to be a king, selected to be something greater. He uses this to justify every hardship he has experienced, that it has all led him to this point.
The exact nature of Winston’s transformation depends on how vampires are represented in your campaign. If you prefer the vampires to be distant, rare entities then Winston could just be a Renfield (although one who believes himself to a vampire).
Winston holds his ‘court’ in the flat that belonged to his aunt. In fact the whole 10th floor acts as a base of operations. The Night Crew train, eat and sleep here. They also store their stolen goods with hiding places ready to conceal them if they are warned of a police raid by their look outs.
No one is allowed on the 10th floor without an invitation from Winston. Intruders will be dealt with by the Night Crew. Those who get past them will face the Night King, who needs little excuse to sate his hunger.
Architecture can reveal how to access the 10th floor without being detected by the Night Crew (for example through the floor above or below). A 1 point spend identifies junction points that can be used to turn off lights, activate fire alarms or otherwise cause chaos. A 2 point spend could reveal structural weak points that can cause part of the 10th floor to collapse (maybe exposing rooms to daylight).
Intimidation and Streetwise could persuade the Night Crew to let the PCs have an audience with the Night King. Pharmacy or Forgery could create a ‘product’ that the PCs could offer to sell to the Night Crew if they let them speak with Night King.
The PCs may decide to go in fighting. The Night Crew won’t be much of an obstacle but the so-called Night King will make the most of his new abilities. The only advantage the PCs have is that he is young and careless. He believes he is undefeatable and so the PCs can led him into a trap or ambush.
If they take him ‘alive’ they can use Intimidation or Interrogation to learn about his transformation at Camp Right Path. Beyond this he doesn’t know anything further about the vampire conspiracy. A 1 point spend will reveal that they weren’t happy about his murder leaking to the public. A 2 point spend is required to make him remember the judge who sent him to the camp was Simon Hall.
It could be enough for the PCs to eliminate Winston and obtain the information about Camp Right Path. For some extra action the PCs visit could coincide with the arrival of the Clean Up Crew. This will put them into conflict with a much more capable group of opponents.
THE CLEAN UP CREW
The vampires weren’t so foolish as to believe that their new recruits wouldn’t make mistakes. Each was assigned a group of five experienced members of the conspiracy (who may be human, renfields or vampires). Their job was to monitor the recruits, clean up their messes and eliminate them should they get out of hand.
This adventure doesn’t necessarily require the Clean Up Crew, the PCs can gather all the important information without them. What they do provide is extra danger during the game, contrasting with the inexperience of the Night Crew.
If the PCs take too long to take action they may find that the Clean Up Crew are on the scene, eliminating witnesses and removing clues to follow. This can include eliminating Winston himself before they’ve had the chance to speak to him.
Learning that Winston is dead will let the PCs know that they were getting close to the vampires. The PCs could even be framed for his murder, especially if they made themselves very visible on the Estate. With the police after them the vampires are hoping they’ll run and give up the investigation.
Even with Winston dead the PCs can still learn that he was sent to Camp Right Way and come to the conclusion that he was transformed there.
Finally the Clean Up Crew could attack while they are speaking with Winston or the NIght Crew. Caught in the middle the PCs could either escape, fight both sides or choose an alliance (hoping that they’ll get information from the surviving side).
The exact skill level of the Clean Up crew is up to you. They should present a challenge for the PCs but the Clean Up Crew were only supposed to deal with street gang members and a young vampire, not former secret agents. They could use the write-up of bodyguards on page 69 or special police on page 70 of Night’s Black Agents.
Judge Simon Hall is a loyal servant of the vampires. Either he desires to be a vampire himself or they make his life very comfortable. He has no interest in justice, only using others to further himself. He has a sadistic streak and enjoys punishing others.
He is a minor character in this adventure but the PCs may wish to investigate him. Electronic Surveillance and Surveillance reveals his contact with members of the vampire conspiracy as they tell him who to send to Camp Right Path.
Accounting and Traffic Analysis can be used to find out that Judge Hall is receiving bribes through a variety of vampire controlled shell companies, that are also responsible for setting up Camp Right Path. He receives a payment each time he sentences an offender to the Camp. A 1 point spend is enough to find enough evidence to get Judge Hall suspended while he is being investigated and 2 point spend ruins his career completely (he’ll commit suicide not long after).
Intimidation and Interrogation easily get the truth from Simon, with a 1 point spend having him confess to knowledge about the existence of vampires. If they leave him alive he’ll immediately go to the vampires to put them on the PCs trail (although they’ll also kill him).
Bureaucracy and Law can turn up a list of people sent to the camp, which the PCs can use later.
If the PCs were framed then they can put pressure on Judge Hall to use his connections to get their names cleared.
CAMP RIGHT PATH
Situated amongst the mountains of the Brecon Beacons the camp is 600 m above the sea level. It is perpetually cold, with rain and snow common during the winter months. Established by the vampires it is run on a military principle, with recruits living in barracks, carrying out drills early in the morning and kept performing gruelling physical activities until late at night.
The camp councillors act like drill sergeants, breaking down the will of the recruits so that they can be reshaped. They are given limited food, with the recruits encouraged to fight over what is given resulting in the weakest going hungry.
The councillors are well aware of what the purpose of the camp is but don’t reveal this to the recruits. They simply speak in terms of transformation and becoming something more through sacrifice. Bullshit Detector reveals that they don’t care about the recruits or have any interest in their safety.
Bureaucracy and Law can reveal the dodgy dealings of the camp. They’ve paid off those who investigated them and bribed health and safety officers. Injuries have been numerous and several former recruits have subsequently gone missing.
Tracking and observing the activities of the camp should require Outdoor Survival as they trek across the mountains, scale cliff faces and canoe along freezing rivers. A 1 point spend reveals that the councillors have a particular reverence for nearby caves, warning the recruits to stay away unless they are accompanied by a councillor.
Outdoor Survival or Street Wise can pick out a particular recruit for the PCs to keep an eye on. Matching the profile of Winston he is close to ‘graduating’. If they follow him the councillors will eventually take him to the Cave.
If your vampires feed on blood then the councillors regularly take blood from the recruits, saying that it is to test for drugs. Bullshit detector reveals this is a lie and Diagnosis reveals that they aren’t using the proper procedures for drug testing. In fact these donations are being used to feed the vampire in the cave.
If the PCs enter the camp they’ll be asked to leave by the councillors. If they refuse the councillors first response is to contact the police (saying that the PCs are endangering the children). If the PCs reveal they know about the vampires then the councillors will get them away from the recruits and then try to kill them.
The councillors should use the write-up for body guards on page 69 of Night’s Black Agents. They are prepared to die for the vampire they protect in the cave. If defeated they can be Interrogated or Intimidated to reveal what is in there. A 1 point spend can force them to provide the list of those who have been changed into vampires and where they have been sent.
The recruits are all young offenders but are still civilians. Streetwise or Reassurance can get them to trust the PCs and tell them what has been happening at the camp. They’ll explain that when you graduate you are taken to the caves. Those who return are different and kept isolated from the other recruits.
A 1 point spend persuades the recruits to reveal misconduct from the councillors, including beating those who are weak. A 2 point spend will persuade the recruit to go to the police which will ensure that the camp is investigated and eventually shut down.
Whatever the PCs do the recruits are the innocent people caught in the cross fire. The PCs will need to take care that they aren’t hurt as the public outcry if they are killed will be great. If the PCs can get the recruits to civilisation with minimal injuries they may establish allies amongst the London youth.
To make this section of the game more difficult the camp could be hit by a snow storm. This will result in the PCs being expose to extreme cold, making all movement and thinking related checks more difficult. Maintaining surveillance on the camp becomes much more difficult when they are in danger of freezing to death.
In a nearby cave is a major vampire, assigned to convert the recruits. Such a vampire must be more suited to lurking in the dark than interacting with humans. Use a variation of the feral vampire that still fits within your version of the vampires.
The recruits that graduate are taken into the cave system, which requires some care to be taken. A chamber has been set up where the councillors change into robes, anoint the recruit and lead them into the lair of the vampire. This is religious ceremony, with scented candles, incense burners and bells used as part of the ritual.
The vampire within is waiting another recruit. The PCs may be able to briefly hide their identity by wearing the robes of the councillors. Their scent will reveal them unless the incense burner is used or they have the councillors blood on them.
This is the climax of the game and the battle with the vampire should be suitably epic. Deep underground the vampire will use its knowledge of the cave system to retreat and attack from the shadows. It will choose narrow tunnels where the PCs numbers will work against them and use the darkness to prevent them using ranged weapons.
By eliminating the vampire they will have stopped the vampires plan. They may wish to go further by causing cave ins and burning the camp to the ground. They will have sent a clear message to the vampires that the PCs are on to them.
With the vampire destroyed and the camp shut down there is one dangling plot thread, the list of those who have been converted. This can be the jumping point for further adventures as the PCs track these people down and expose further elements of the conspiracy.
The majority of those chosen by the vampires will be like Winston. They could be overseeing street level crime across the world. They could be assigned as bodyguards, enforcers or soldiers for prominent members in the conspiracy. Those arrested for violent crimes could be assassins or just plain old killers.
Members of high society were also arrested as a result of the riots. Bored rich brats who found it amusing to steal for the sake of stealing. This lack of morality appealed to the vampires and could be their way to influence politicians, the rich and the famous through their wayward children.
The PCs might also continue to investigate the infrastructure that allowed the creation of the camp and influence the legal system. They could also look into the riots and try to discover if the vampires were responsible for it and whether they’ll try something similar again on a grander scale.
For an example of how secret agents might deal with street crime look no further than ‘Harry Brown’, with Michael Caine in the title role. It tells the story of an ex-serviceman avenging the death of his friend at the hands of local young thugs.
For an example of combining gang culture on a tower block with supernatural elements look towards ‘Attack the Block’. In that film it is a street gang versus aliens but the principle is the same, as they are pursued floor by floor up the tower. This could be the basis of the Clean Up Crews attack.
The documentary series ‘Ross Kemp on Gangs’ has several examples of how UK street gangs operate and behave. Similarly numerous UK police documentaries show the violence and danger that can be found on the streets. Finally ‘The Riots in their own words’ is a documentary about the London riots by the BBC that gives a good perspective of those involved in the troubles.