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Help me make the best of this story

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  • Help me make the best of this story

    Disclaimer: We are running Transylvania chronicles and we are currently in the first act of book 4. Or sort of. My group is very much off the books by now and I’m just running stories based upon the stories in the book. I’m freeforming so much from the books I don’t think it is necessary to be familiar with TC or this act in particular to help me with the scenario, but if you are playing in or plan to play in TC, you are warned there may be spoilers, though I will try to not spoil to much.

    So the main adversary in the original story (it is the one about the book in vienna 1897), have been killed by the characters a long time ago. So I needed to something very different with this story, and basically rewrote it based on some of the plot (as I’ve done with pretty much everything in TC from book 3)
    So in my game Anseen, the Baali from book 2, is the one that sets everything in motion. He is a recurring villian in my game with lots of backhistory with the characters, but they have not seen or heard from him in 300 years or so.

    Anseen does not himself care about the book (the object of the story from TC), as it contains nothing he not already knows, but stages a conflict in Vienna to weaken the Tremere in order to Dialblerize Tremere (himself) who he knows/believes is struggling in torpor in the basement of the Chantry, planning to become an Antedilluvan himself and make Baali a new clan.
    His plan is this: He manipulated the Ravnos Vassily Taltos into offering the book to different groups (In my game: The Black hand, The Tremere, The Ventrue, The Arcanum, Black spiral Dancers ++) to cause mayhem in the city. He has a Spy both within the Tremere and the Sabbath, and the Spiral Dancers are as group serving him at a whim.

    In my game I am open to Anseen succeding. If the characters does not intervene, he will succeed with his plans. He will use his spy inside the Tremere to sabotage the defences of Fortschritt while the rest of the clan are distracted with the Sabbath/Arcanum/Werewolves as well as conflicts with the prince. Once inside he will summon some infernal power with his daimonoin that will wrestle the Antedilluvan (or actually, unknown to him, the two antedilluvans) while Anseen consumes his/their blood and soul. I’m not sure about what the further consequences are or if it will even make him an Antedilluvan, but it will definetly be the end of Tremere as a major clan in my world if he succeeds.

    Enter the characters: They did not themselves receive an invitation to buy the book, but received a notice from Nova Arpad (currently an ally) who didn’t care about the book herself, but thought the characters would be interested (correctly). The coterie is an (up until now-) independent Ventrue, and an Assamite and a Tremere both, in different ways, struggling with loyalty with their clans. The Ventrue has served as a Prince in Kronstadt since act1 (1197) and eventually – after the anarch revolt and COT – established himself as a rare Autarkis Prince in the area, a position that he has managed to keep because he had good relations to powerful cainities both within the Sabbath and the Camarilla in the area. However, he recently betrayed his trust within the sabbath and eventually had to flee from his domain, as the sect turned against him.

    The Assamite (hereafter A.) and the Ventrue (hereafter V.) have so far been 100% loyal to each other. A. have betrayed his clan, but it is not known. The Tremere character (hereafter T.) have not been with the group from the beginning. They have, however, worked together for 200 years, and V. have been close allies with the Tremere-clan. Recent events, however, put a major wound in this relationship, especially with the T., and V. and A are currently not working together and are barely on speaking terms with T. V. and T. are basically just passing through Vienna on their way to the New World (a new start, they have lost everything in Transylvania). T. is loyal to the other PCs cause, but have so far refused to betray his clan.
    The story so far: The characters arrive in Vienna (V. and T. for the book, the T. because he have developed a new ritual the Chantry is interested in) and learn that Vassily Taltos are missing, and that several different groups (including the Sabbath, but excluding Spiral Dancers and Arcanum) have been offered the books.

    Through some coorperation, A. and V. learn that the Tremere was tracking/scrying on Vassily until a certain point where the scrying was blocked, and A. goes to scout this area: There he is able to spy on the Spiral Dancers who are also scouting the area while they talk about some «Alphonso» who apparently is not after the book and so have allowed them to have it if they find it. He discovers that the area have been sprinkled with holy water (a ritual that blocks supernatural investigation, such as Auspex and Thaumaturgy, from working)
    Meanwhile V. is ambushed and taken prisoner by the black hand. After interrogation (and reading with Auspex 4), they let him go as they learn that he will not give the book to Tremere if he acquires it, and because V. still has some ties within the Sabbath. The pack leader offers cooperation, but V. refuses. The whole operation is orchestrated by the Baali spy within the group (the priest of the pack, an assamite-srocerer antitribu) who uses blood magic to taint V.s blood so she can read his thoughts at a distance (unknown to V).

    Enter Dialezbita (the Ravnos with the Tarot back from book 1, random spelling) who does a Taro- reading on A. and V. Figuring out this reading, will be the main key to solve the plot for the characters. Most notably, the reading reveals 3 «helpers» and 3 «adversaries» in the current situation. The helpers are «prince of wands» (T.), The Empress (the leader of the sabbath pack) and the «fool» (Lord Adoph nonsuch, a malkavian). Adversiaries are «The queen of wands» (The Tremere spy), the devil (Anseen) and the priestess (the sabbath-priest-spy). The characters have to understand who the different card represent through details and hints and cooperation. They immediately identified The empress as the black-hand leader, but are so far uncertain about the rest.

    The reading also revealed «Art» as the main tool they have to use to «resolve the current situation», and Dialzbita revieled that it usually ment to «unite opposites».
    The idea is of course that they have to discover the the Baali is their true adversary in this mess, and that they have to lobby the different factions into working with each other (or at least not against each other) to defeat this common enemy. If they can discover that the Baali have corrupted both the Sabbath and the Tremere (through the spies) with dialobism, they can use their contacts with the Tremere and the Black-hand leader to stop his plans.

    They have so far guessed that the prince of wands may be T. (but haven’t talked with him yet) and that the priestess may be the black hand – priestess. If they talk with T. (and show him/describe him the cards) he can confirm that it is he, and also reveal who the Queen of wands is, which, if they can interrogate her, will reveal the plot.
    The other option was to talk with the Sabbath leader, but this has already ended in a failure. They went to talk with her again, but very much failed their diplomacy and ended up leaving her without much talk between them, and the last session ended with them going to the prince, revealing the location of the Black hand hide-out in the city (it is actually a fake hide-out, the Black hand have foreseen this outcome and the priest can read V.s thoughts at any time – and they will stage a trap for whatever the prince sends their way.)

    They have also guessed the fool might be the Lord Adolph (The Malkavian), but they haven’t talked with him yet. I am currently not sure what I will use him for: But I plan to led him reveal whatever he has to tell them while they are him having a session with the promising mortal Dr. Freud. More on this later:

    So – my plans further:
    The Prince attack on the black hand will be a disaster. It will severely weaken the Calmarilla in the city and spawn «open» warfare with the Sabbath-group. I’m not sure how to do it yet.
    Next session will probably be with T. alone, as the previous session was with the 2 other characters. I want to give him some hints of, but not reveal, unless he does something very smart/rolls very well, what is going on. At least I have to introduce the spy-character to him. I am thinking of maybe letting the werewolves run an attack on the clan (at a sub-chantry or such) to weaken the clan and cause further chaos before Anseen puts his plan in motion.

    The book is with the Arcanum. The only «player» who knows this at the moment, is Anseen. They used a ritual with holy water to block any signs of their doings at the spot where they ambushed Vassily and took their book, and the book is now protected by the holy faith of the Cathedral that serves as their hide out. They have no real idea of what is going on and are unaware of the importance of the book they have, and as such are in no hurry to leave. They have picked up an increased undead-activity, but so far considers this an opportunity to make their hunt more effective. Once they understand what is going on, they will leave as soon as they can.

    I plan to maybe let Lord Adolph reveal to the characters (probaly just A. and V.) were the book is, from Trance, so they will know before anyone else. They will then be given the opportunity to snatch the book and leave everything else behind, which they will probably manage, but will have the consequence that Ansens succeeds with his plans
    If they go through with the plot, I plan for the Climax of the story will be within the depths of Fortschritt where Tremere lies in Torpor, where the characters together with whatever allies they have at this point, have to fight Anseen and the Demon he summons. The demon will be more powerful than anything they can defeat, but if they manage to distract him Tremere/Saulot will have time to respond and defeat the demon.

    So – this ended up a lot longer than I imagined, and now I am not even sure what I am asking. Any thoughts on the plot? Suggestions on how to veawe together the plot? I am in particular uncertain on how I should resolve the plot with T. next session. I need to introduce the spy somehow. All I know for certain now is that she is a female and that she has a ghouled pet-tiger (the detail that will reveal her as the queen of wands if the characters interact) I also want to cause a conflict with the Tremere and the other camarilla in town (represented by the prince) somehow, orchestated by Anseen, but I have few ideas on how to achieve it.