Sunday, October 31, 2010

Session 2 Adventure Report Pt. 2

The players had defeated the orcs and rescued the few remaining first class passengers that were still alive, but combat wasn't over yet and the players were still in initiative order. Two of the players decided to proceed through the first class car and out to the engine of the train. A history check by one of the player's revealed that they were probably getting fairly close to the border crossing into Jiyuland, and a rather large bridge, which may or may not still be there; the players were going to have to hurry. Getting through the train ended up being a little more difficult than originally expected. When two of the players entered the forward half, a head popped down from above the train and hit them with some psychic pain. Both the Halfling Rogue and the Dwarf Battlemind were dazed and taking ongoing psychic damage. Not a good way to start an encounter. A perception check by the rogue was enough to catch a glimpse of the beast when it pulled its dirty trick; they were fighting a Purple Dragon.

At this point, the party decided that it was best if they got the beast surrounded. The Dwarf went for it from the front of the train and the rest of the party fell back in order to stay away from the dragon breath trap. The rogue headed for the train engine to see if she could stop the train before it hit the bridge; what she found was a train conductor that had been imbedded in the controls by a rather mean wyrm. It was going to be a skill challenge for her to try to stop the train.

The rest of the party scaled the ladders attached to the train cars and made their way to the roof. It was the dead of night, but there was enough light to keep the fight going and to make out the shape of the young purple dragon which had been harassing them. The train was moving far too quickly for the young dragon to fly off the train, so it wasn't going to be an aerial battle.

However, the player's found that the dew slicken roof of a moving train was very hard to stand up on. At the beginning of every player's turn, if the player was standing, they had to make either an Acrobatics or an Athletics check to keep from falling prone - players that were prone already risked falling off the roof of the train.

In the beginning, the fight was firmly in the player's favor. The battlemind was able to blind the dragon before it got to take its initiative pass, which left it swiping blindly in thin air for the first round. However, several of the players fell down and weren't able to get into B2B with the dragon in order to make full attacks. Also, with the rogue occupied with stopping the train, they were a halfling short of combatants.

In Round 2, the dragon became unblinded and got really mad. The battlemind which had up to this point been treating the poor little purple dragon like a punching bag, became the target of the dragon's domination effect. Now, the dwarf would be fighting the Minotaur Barbarian with the big and painful axe. The rest of the party took a psychic breath to the face and was severly injurred and dazed. In subsequent rounds, the dragon spent all of its action points, stunning more than half the party and beating the hell of them with its claws and tail.

The wizard took a tumble off the roof of the train but was able to grab onto the train at its base with his legs dragging along the ground, taking some serious damage.

By the end of the combat, two of the players were knocked unconcious, but a victory push and a few burst heals later, the dragon was dead and the rogue was able to stop the train, just a few hundred meters from the bridge, which, just as the characters had suspected had been taken out.

What will they do now? That is a good question, stay tuned for session 3 which will take place on November 14th.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Session 2 Adventure Report Pt. 1

Last Sunday we had our second play session of the campaign. You will recall that in the last session, our players, all 7 of them, waited patiently for a late train taking them to the capital of Jiyuland, the city of Kalm; they didn't know each other very well and took the late train as an opportunity to get to know one another. When the train finally arrived, and got under way, they were attacked in the middle of the night by a raiding party of Orcs on Motorcycles throwing firebombs at the train; inside they fought and defeated these raiders, saving a young girl in the process. But, the train is still under attack. How will they proceed?

*****

The players were confronted with two choices, head backwards to the cargo car, or head forwards into the first class car. They chose to head forwards, moving towards the front of the train, but not before taking a peak up on top. Sending the ranger to take a look, the party was able to discern that there was something big and mean sitting on the top of the train. They weren't sure what it was, but they decided to head inside instead of taking it on first, but before doing that, they also took a look towards the back and found ANOTHER TRAIN, which had crept up from behind. It was also very big, mean, and was sporting a gaping mouth, from which, it was no doubt spilling orcs (or was getting ready to eat the train they were on). This battle was something they didn't want to deal with at this point. Putting the minotaur to work, they pulled the pin which seperated the first class car from the rear two. Doing this resulted in a fairly loud crunch from the cargo car as it smashed into the boarding train's car (but that will have to be another story for the future).

Inside the first class car, they were met with a scene of pure carange. The first class cabin had been invaded by Orcs as well. Some of the first class passangers had been killed and were bleeding from their eyes and ears. Others were simply bound as if being readied for a kidnapping. The Orcs were ready for this encounter and were not suprised.

The encounter went fairly well. Now that the players had been accustomed to the idea of minions, they were able to take out the few minions that were identical to those found in the prior encounter; they went down quickly to a little Wizardly magic. The real meat of this encounter came from several Orc Duskblades that put their poisons and their falchions to good use against the players. The players found themselves taking fairly regular ongoing poison damage as well as being flanked by the Orcs who could hit pretty regularly and pretty hard. However, good tactics, and a daily power or two put the Orcs down.

Stay tuned for the Adventure Report Pt. 2 in which our players have to fight a ...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Multiple Weapon and Armor Enchantments in 4e pt. 3

In the pat I have discussed the process of putting multiple weapon and armor enchantments on a single piece of gear. Today, I will get down to the crunch and explain my homebrew rule for making this possible.

******
Combining weapon and armor enchantments is very similar to Multi-classing in the most basic 4e form. The first thing you will do is do is determine the base item. In other words, you must first select a piece of magical armor, or a magic weapon, which you want to put an additional enchantment on.

You can put any secondary enchantment onto a piece of gear as long as that enchantment would be legal if it were the first. In other words, you can’t put an enchantment that requires the gear to be cloth armor, when putting it on a piece of plate. This follows the standard rules for enchanting items.

You can only put secondary or tertiary enchantments on weapons of higher level. In other words, the base weapon’s enchantment level must be higher than whatever enchantment you are putting on the weapon or armor.

The cost to put a secondary or tertiary enchantment is reduced by 25%.

Enhancement bonuses from enchantments do not stack, you always use the highest enhancement bonus from either enchantment.

In the case of weapons, always use the enhancement bonus with the highest critical high bonus.

All properties from any enchantments on the weapon or armor always remain active. Regardless of the number of enchantments on a piece of armor or a weapon, the properties on that piece of equipment are always ON.

Weapon powers are limited in the following ways.
At-Will and Encounter: When a piece of armor or a weapon has multiple at-will powers granted by different enchantments, regardless of the type of action, you can only use the at-will power of one weapon per round. In other words, you must designate which weapon you will make at-will and encounter powers with during that round. When you spend an action point, you may use a power from a different enchantment.

Daily: When a piece of armor or a weapon has multiple daily powers granted by different enchantments, regardless of the type of action, you can only use one daily power per encounter.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tokyo Game Show pt. 2

O, this post somehow got lost and never posted. So, here you go, a very late post about Tokyo Game Show, talking about the stuff I played.

*****

After getting through the doors at TGS this year, I headed straight for some games, making my way through the shopping section to get there. I had heard about some of the things that would be showcased this year and I was eager to get a chance to play them. In '08 I was only able to play two things the whole day and I was determined not to let that happen again.

The first thing I played was the much anticipated Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Awesome. Very fun. My team of Dante, Iron Man, and Ryu was excellent and exciting. Can't wait to get a hold of this BUY.

Game number 2 was one of the new Dragon Ball Fighting Games.... meh. They always have been.
B

But, the big one was Fallout New Vegas; I'm sure a lot of people out there may already have their hands on this game now, but I got to play it before you, so THERE! hehehe. I loved it and I am having it shipped out here to Japan. I must play this game more. Guess I should finished Fall Out 3 though before then...

After that, I won a XBox T-Shirt and made my way around the halls picking up free stuff. I think I ended up coming home with like 3 or 4 bags of swag and goods. Lots of good stuff to buy.

In the afternoon, I got pretty tired. I tried my hands at Monster Hunter 3rd, which is due out in December for PSP. I have never played a monster hunter game before, and I will admit, I got schooled by 3 middle school girls, but in my defense, the instructions were all in Japanese.

After that, I speant the day just taking in the views, as well as observing an International Counter Strike Match between Korea #1 Pro team and Japan's #1 Pro team. Quite the awesome rivalry.

That about wraps it up. I had a lot of fun and I can't wait for next year.

In Character Adventure Log - Session 1 pt. 2

The train finally arrived. It did not have the sleek and polished look of a passenger train, but people were boarding and so Keras and I followed Hughbert and his companions into the car. I ended up sitting across from the halfling and her friend. They spent the first hour or so whispering to each other and giggling, as though they were old friends catching up on their lives. When their conversation lapsed into a comfortable silence, I leaned forward and struck up a conversation with the halfling across from me. She introduced herself as Cora Tealeaf and her companion as Insert Name Here. We exchanged pleasantries and passed the time easily telling amusing stories about our travels. Cora seemed to have an abundance of energy, a trait that I had noticed on the several occasions in which I ran into halflings. One thing I had not noticed the other times, however, was the large number of knives that flashed their subtle warning as she shifted around in her seat.

After talking for a while, she excused herself and approached Francis and his companions. After a cheerful hello, she leaned in close to Ronan and whispered a quiet question into his ear. He showed no surprise at her actions, but just leaned back slightly and shook his head. Cora cocked her head at him and then wandered back to her seat. She looked thoughtful, so I gave her a few minutes to think. I heard the latches from Ronan’s guitar case open behind me but my gaze was drawn to Cora as she glanced at the noise. With a slight widening of her eyes, she leaned back in her seat and a smile flitted across her face. I turned to look at whatever she had seen, but Ronan seemed to be sleeping, sitting with his enormous guitar case across his lap. When I asked Cora what she had seen, she just shook her head, as though in imitation of Ronan a few minutes earlier, and said that she never forgets a face.

Our conversation drained with the light as the sun set over the southern horizon. People began arranging bags, trying to find a comfortable position to sleep. The train was so late in leaving that we would not reach our destination until the following morning. I was about to arrange my bedroll behind my head when I realized that Keras had taken the second watch the night before and could probably do with some sleep sooner rather than later. I tossed my bedroll to him and told him to get some sleep. With a grateful nod, he carefully placed his head against the wall and was soon breathing deeply from the vapors of saalis unistused. I noticed that Cora seemed to be staying awake while her companion slept. A quick glance at Francis and his companions showed that Ronan, the guitarist, seemed to be standing watching for his group. It was not an unusual occurence to run into another martial group on the road, but to run into two such groups was a bit odd. It seemed to take the parents around us quite some time to quiet their children down, but the train car was finally filled only with the noise of the engine ahead of us, the wind whipping by us, the track beneath us, and the soft breathing of the sleeping people around us.

I have no excuse for what happened next. I do not think that I have dozed off, but I was obviously not as aware as I should have been. The Raskema Koorma tells us that nothing is in the understanding, which was not first perceived by some of the senses. My senses had not perceived their coming, so I did not understand the sudden eruption of fire and the shattering of windows. I jerked upright in my seat, seemingly as surprised as both Cora and Ronan. As the initial blast of fire died down, I noticed three shapes, weapons drawn at both ends of the car. In order for me to see them, my eyes had to travel past the bodies of men, women, and children who had lost their lives in the sudden explosion of fire. With a shout of rage, I sprung from my seat and closed on the three figures at the back of the car before they had time to act. It only took a few seconds for me to reach them, but in that time I heard two incredibly loud reports and glanced back to see that Ronan had produced what seemed to be an enormous arquebus from somewhere. He was firing towards the figures at the back of the car, so I focused my attention on the three in front of me. I did not think Ronan would be a threat if he was firing at the orcs, but I knew that I could not defend against the orcs and him at the same time. Putting that thought aside, I focused my mind on the three orcs ahead of me. My first swing crushed the helm, and the skull within it, of an orc holding a fire pot. His two friends, suddenly finding themselves facing armed resistance in a car of unarmed civilians, drew their swords and began to swing at me.

Behind me, I heard the sound of combat. While facing the two remaining orcs, I could only take occasional glances behind me. Ronan had set the stock his enormous rifle against a window frame and was firing shot after shot with mechanical precision out the window. Cora was darting and tumbling through the shadows, a wicked dagger clutched in her hands. Insert name here had drawn her mace and her enemies seemed to be staggering back from her before her blows even landed. The cloaked woman who was travelling with Francis had stood and beams of blinding light were leaping forth from her hands to claw at the orcs, her inhumanly beautiful face visible each instance that her divine will was manifest. Francis had taken a stand in the middle of the car and was deftly weaving magic that culminated in a shattering explosion of color outside the train car. Keras, for some reason, seemed inordinately terrified of the small fires that dotted the train car. I was able to keep both orcs pinned in place at the back of the train car and was slowly wearing them down. As the sound of combat started to wind down behind me, I yelled over my shoulder, “Keras, kasvada paari munandit.”

Almost before I had a chance to process the thunder of hooves, Keras charged past me and slammed into one of the orcs. For those who have never seen a minotaur barbarian charging, I suggest you keep it that way. When an animal charges another animal, they are typically just trying to injure or scare the other animal away. Keras, with all of his martial training, hit the orc so hard that his limp body shattered against the back wall of the train car, cracking the thick wooden beams of the car and showering us with a rain of viscera. The orc in front of me froze and stared in horror at what had just happened. It was then that I made my second mistake of the night. I paused to stare in wonder at the stunning display of power I had just witnessed. The orc left me a perfect opening, but I could not swing my hammer because I was staring at the shattered remains of the other orc. The remaining orc recovered and redoubled his efforts, but it was no use. Seven against one are brutal odds even for a Dwarfen battlemind, but they were far too much for the lone orc. After his body, his life draining from hammer blows, gouges, and several large round shot holes, collapsed onto the floor of the train, I turned to begin putting out the fires.

As I used my cloak to smother the fires, I noticed Awnya, Cora, and I really wish I knew Elena’s character’s name checking over the bodies, searching for survivors. Francis and Ronan had their heads out the windows on either side of the train, scanning for more orcs. Keras and I managed to put out the rest of the fires and found everyone gathered around a young child that Cora had found. Awnya looked up and saw several small trickles of blood leaking through my armor. Shaking her head, she waved her hand and uttered a twisting word of pure light. My head suddenly cleared and my soreness disappeared. I suddenly found myself seriously considering taking Francis up on his offer to stay with him for a while. I have always enjoyed travelling with a cleric, they make the aftereffects of battle so much less painful.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In Character Adventure Log - Session 1 pt. 1

One of our players is recording the entire adventure in a series of adventure journals in character as his Dwarf Battlemind. I thought I would post them up here as they are awesome and deserve to be seen.

By Ryan a.k.a. 'The Dwarf'

*****

Don't listen to what they say. Go see. It was these words that sent me on my way, accompanied through hardship by my faithful companion Keras, a brother to me in all but blood. After months of travelling to speak with various factions, we found ourselves in Harinway, waiting to board a train bound for Kalm. Keras and I spent several hours at the station waiting for the train to arrive, a phenomenon that is much less rare than it should be in these lands. I recited parts of the Raskema Koorma to keep my mind focused while Keras sat slowly sharpening his gouge. Even though he seemed to be focused on the task at hand, I could tell that his mind was wandering the passages of his Kardias, looking for weaknesses. As the platform began to fill up, I noticed that our area seemed to attract an odd collection of travellers. A halfling and a half-elf sat on a bench nearby and chatted with each other. A group of three travellers were under the awning, talking quietly. One of them, a rather pale looking elf, gently strummed a guitar and hummed a tune while his companions, an older man and a hooded figure, spoke softly.

I noticed that Keras had paused in his sharpening and seemed to be focusing intently on the ground before him. "A King is not the noblest person in his country, he is the noblest of the servants. For if a King is not willing to work for his kingdom, to craft for his kingdom, to fight for his kingdom, and if the need arises, to die for his kingdom, how can he ask any of his people to do otherwise?" Keras shook his head and resumed sharpening his gouge without looking up at me. "Why," he asked, "do you always pick that passage to disturb my thinking?"

I sat back and smiled, taking a moment to enjoy the peace on the platform. After a slow moment, I finally spoke, "Because it always gets your attention. If I recite a new portion of the text, you sink deeper into yourself to think about it. How can you expect to nurture your Kardias by being in the world if your mind is not in the world as well."

Keras snorted, "Hmm, I suppose. Luckily your mind is always out in the world, I'm just waiting for it to find something worth paying attention to." A few passes with the whetstone later, Keras spoke softly, "That passage always pulls me back to the present because of the repetition, it's like walking down a path only to find yourself back at the beginning of the same path that this time leads somewhere else."As Keras finished talking, the halfling walked by us and approached the massive station master. In a very clear voice, she asked what the delay was and was told that the train we were waiting for had broken down but that another train was coming from the mountains to pick us up. I considering going to ask the station master how long the wait would be, but it seemed that he was quite disturbed over the whole affair. I had been keeping an eye on a large pavilion set up on one end of the platform and, after having seen a nobleman flash his ring to gain admittance, decided that perhaps Keras and I could get out of the sun and procure some meat and maybe even a fine Dwarfish wine.

I tapped Keras with my elbow and stood up. I slid off my left gauntlet so that I could produce my ring when asked. I felt Keras take his place at my right shoulder as I approached the tent. Even though the guards outside were well outfitted, the tension in their faces ratcheted up a notch as the minotaur loomed over my shoulder. I flashed my ring and the guard took a few seconds to puzzle out what he was seeing. Apparently these guards had not had the priviledge of being in the presence of Dwarfen nobility. The guard on the right finally gave a slight bow and apologized, not convincingly, for not recognizing me. "Do you have your first class ticket," he asked? Of course there would be some sort of monetary level required to get in the tent. "I seem to have misplaced it," I said incling my head towards the tent. He was not impressed and informed me that I could always buy one from the station master for 1000 pieces of gold. I managed not to let my mouth fall open at such an absurd sum. It seemed almost as though some external force was trying to set the ticket prices at some arbitrarly large number to keep me out. I must have stared at him for too long because he finally gestured towards the giant station master. As I turned and began to walk away, I found myself facing a nobleman approaching the tent. He smirked at me, dismissing me as someone barely worthy of notice for not being as moneyed as he. Without thinking, I stuck my foot out as we passed and I heard him stumble behind me. I slowed down, praying he would challenge me to a duel. After a few more steps, I realized that he must have assumed that he just tripped on his own. Keras leaned over slightly, "That was not becoming of a lord of your stature. Does your book have something to say about that?"

"It does," I conceded. "It also says that a wise man will ponder every possible ramification before opening his mouth." Keras chuckled as we returned to our seats, "So instead of pondering every possible ramification and then opening your mouth, you stuck your foot out?"

Before I could respond, I saw the halfling walk by us again, this time heading for the cargo minders at the other end of the platform. They moved as though they wore weapons and knew how to use them. I didn't think she would get in any trouble, but I made sure that my hammer was free at my side. She talked with them for a few minutes, seeming to win her way easily into their good graces, before returning to sit by her friend again. They spoke quietly, too quietly for my ears.

As I strained to hear what they were saying, I was approached by the older gentleman from under the awning. "Good day," he said. I stood up and gave a slight bow, "Good day to you as well." We struck up a conversation and eventually even managed to draw Keras into it for a bit. The older gentleman, Francis Hughbert, was travelling with a woman in a cloak named Awnya and the guitar playing Ronan.

Multiple Weapon and Armor Enchantments in 4e pt. 2

There are several things that need to be considered when trying to make a homebrew rule like this. I guess because of the nature of what I am doing that things are going to get broken a bit, but unbreaking them is something that will just have to come on a case by case basis.

When it comes to armor and weapons you are looking at several things that need to be balanced. The most important element in my mind has got to be the cost - this will either make items totally unaccessible or game breakingly powerful. GP cost is the great balancing engine of 4e item management (unless we are talking essentials, and I am not).
Level - another very important element to consider for combining any two items or any three for that matter. Putting two properties of vastly different levels together could be very broken if not managed correctly.
Type - For both armor and weapons, if there are type restrictions for an enchantment, it is going to have to carry over to both enchantments.
Enhancement - where do the flat bonuses go?
Properties and Powers - Probably the reason you are going to be taking two or more different enhancements on the same weapon. They are going to need to be balanced in some way.

Well, these are the basic things I am taking into consideration for this homebrew rule of mine. Anybody think I missed something?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Multiple Weapon and Armor Enchantments in 4e

I am sure I am not alone on this, but not being able to have a Keen, Vorpal Falchion in D&D 4e has always been something of a disappointment to me... I miss the days where weapons and armor could be more easily customizable, even if from time to time that led to broken and OP results. SOOOOOO.... I have taken it upon myself to homebrew some rules for adding mutliple enchantments to weapon and armor in 4e D&D. I hope that some people will find these rules useful in making new and interesting character gear variants and that they will enjoy these new rules. I am sure my home gain players will.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Rules for Flaws in 4e

So, as I mentioned yesterday, I will be brewing up some new 4e flaw rules so that i can get some more feats for my players and for myself... hehehe.

I think we can all agree that the 3rd Edition Flaw rules allowed for some serious overloading of flaws in order to max out the number of feats you could take. Unless as a DM you limit the number of flaws a character can take, this process can allow some characters to get really broken.

My House Rule for flaws going forward is this:
Every time you take a flaw in order to gain a feat, the number of flaws required to get a new feat goes up by one. So, your first flaw gets you 1 feat, but to get a second feat, you have to take 3 flaws. It simply keeps getting worse and worse from there. If you are going to try to really optimize a character through the flaw trading process is going to get brutal fairly quickly.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When will we see 4e flaws?

I remember gloriously the days when we had character flaws in 3.5. I loved this system. There were always more feats that I wanted to take and I didn't mind weakening my character in some ways in order to make him stronger in others. I would love to see a return of flaws to 4e in the future. The system may need to be adjusted, but being able to take several of these character defining traits, I think, would be a great addition to the game. In the meantime, I will be rolling up some new flaws/traits as homebrew for my ongoing campaign. Any players who want to, will be able to take these flaws/traits at their leisure. Look to The Dump Stat in the future for flaws coming down the road.

Monday, October 18, 2010

1/6th of a point from Bronze... XDMC - That Stings

Well, the 22nd XDMC has ended. I was sooooooooooooooo close. 1/6th of a point away from a tie for the bronze medal. Yet again, the top three spot eludes my tired grasp. But, now that the competition is over, I can go ahead and post my little cherub up here on the blog. The winners for this month's competition definitely deserved it. They were all really great. Check them out over at the Wizards forums by following this link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25858837/Expert_Dungeon_Master_Competition_22:_Introduce_a_Subversive_Villain!

I really, really liked the Briar Hag entry. It was deserving of the bronze. I wish we could have tied though. It would have been a fun little party. I'll be posting my entry up here over the next few days. Stay tuned.

Troll in the Corner - Contest, the Final Hours

Thought I would mention the Troll in the Corner contest. You can win a lot of the newest D&D products. They also have a fancy new forum set up which I am sure you will find me prowling in the very near future. There is only about an hour left till the final deadline, but you might want to get over there and get an entry or ten in. Good Luck. I'm sure we are all eager to find out who wins!

Here is a link to their website. Enjoy!
http://trollitc.com/2010/10/the-international-dd-4e-essentials-contest-last-day-to-enter/

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Apparently Jason Mewes Plays D&D

I'm not sure how many people out there share my taste in comedy, but I am a huge fan of Kevin Smith and all his films. I am a pretty religiuos listener of SModcast and really get into those shows every week. Recently this podcast has expanded and grown into a beast, a podcast network. I listen to the whole lot of them.

In a recent podcast, i forget which one, it came out that our belowed Jason Mewes, the actor beind the character Jay, in the Jay and Silent duo, revealed that he was a D&D player and frequently messes around with the D&D character builder. Interesting... why were we not told? somebody needs to get an interview with this guy and find out what he is playing!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I am now on Twitter... again...

I think my blog had a twitter page at one point. I never used it... even once... but now, I actually have people that I want to follow on Twitter, so I thought I would get into it. If you want to follow me, my handle is Shinobicow776, you can mention me using @Shinobicow776. Other RPG bloggers out there. Help me find you! What are your handles? tell me how to talk to you!!! please!!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Vampire The Masquerade: Frank Goodwin Pt. 8

Frank's Backstory... the Conclusion.

The stewardess had brought Frank an unopened pack of lucky strikes. He lit one up. “So, you and I are on a private Lear Jet, owned by the Yakuza, bound for Los Angeles.”
The stewardess entered into the cabin and bowed before Frank. “Sir, the flight is almost over. We will be landing in about one hour in Los Angeles. Please make all preparations for arrival.
“Thanks honey,” Frank nodded and took a big puff on his cigarette. “Well, you heard the woman. It appears that our time together is almost over. We will be landing in LAX very shortly. They call it the city of angels you know, but I doubt that moniker holds any truth any more. God is most certainly gone from that place. I wouldn’t be getting a warm reception there if wasn’t. Thank you very much for listening to my story. Like I said, I need to have someone by my side almost all the time. It is better when I can have some conversation as well, but you did the best you could under the circumstances.”

Frank leaned over to the girl and looked into her eyes.

“Itadakimasu,” he whispered into her ear. The girl began to weep uncontrollably at his words, translated into English as thank you for this meal.

Frank sunk his teeth into her and drained her of every ounce of life blood, being particularly careful not to get any on the leather couch. Filled with the youth’s warm, now drug-free blood, Frank felt revitalized. He could feel the wound on his chest, where she had staked him begin to close.

Frank laid her body down on the couch and he adjusted his suit. He had managed to keep it clean. He cleaned the blood off of his mouth with her red dress. It barely even left a stain.
The plane landed at a special runway reserved for planes of their size. Another black Mercedes came out to meet the Lear Jet and Frank made his way off the plane. He glanced worryingly around at the new landscape. It was the dead of night and threats could be anywhere. He was terrified. The bloody Japanese girl on the plane would be taken care of by the crew. His paperwork had all checked out with the tower and he was cleared for disembarkation, but something inside kept gnawing at him. Tonight, he might need another dose of medicine.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Vampire The Masquerade: Frank Goodwin Pt. 7

Frank's Backstory Continued...

After Aiko died, I was continuously trained in the goings on in both the Yakuza and the Camarilla. They wanted me to be the best ambassador that I could be. They wouldn’t have a chance to make a better one now that Aiko was gone. They wouldn’t risk tainting their bloodline by turning another foreigner. So, I learned to be Japanese. They taught me how to wield a Katana, the traditional Japanese sword. They taught me to read, write, and speak the language as perfectly as any Japanese person could hope to. Not only that, but I was also schooled in other aspects of Japanese culture as well as academics. I learned how to do business and I learned how to manage money.

During the 1980’s Japan went through its big boom. During that period, I helped the mob to get into the action and share a piece of the big money pie. I will put it simply and say that I helped a lot of people make a lot of money. Then, before the bubble burst, I helped everyone get out. They made their money and kept it. They invested wisely and I helped them move that money offshore and into other countries to invest where the money was growing. Sugar, making all that money earns you some respect in Japanese society, even if I am a foreign tool being used by the Prince.

Over the last years, in the time that you have been alive, I have enjoyed immense pleasures. I have had a herd of people to myself and could feed at my leisure. That being said, I won’t say it has been all roses. My derangements have always been there. You have seen some of them tonight first hand. I am an intensely paranoid individual, but I am also compelled to be around people. It is a strange paradoxical emotion. I am always compelled to surround myself with individuals who, at any time, could threaten my very existence. I can’t tell you how this drives me mad. A stake to the heart is the best I can do to clear my head, but that too is putting my life into someone else’s hands. I never trust someone to do this freely, and therefore, I had to use the power of my blood in order to command you to do this act tonight. It is always this way with me. I have also always been plagued with nightmares. They keep me awake all throughout the day. I haven’t slept a single day through in months. You can imagine how horrible that might be.

About a year ago I heard a rumor spreading through the Camarilla that a man fitting the description of Aiko’s sire had been spotted in Los Angeles. I was given special permission, due to all my years of service, to go to Los Angeles, on this Jet, in order to seek him out and find out who he is. This might be the only chance I get.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vampire The Masquerade: Frank Goodwin Pt. 6

Frank's Backstory Continued...

Frank took a pause in his story again. “Sorry honey, I hope I am not boring you too much with all this history. We can take a break now. Why don’t you get cleaned up. There is another dress in the bathroom hanging up. Take a shower and get changed. You look like you are tired and could use some freshening up.” Frank escorted the girl to the bathroom and unzipped the dress, sliding it off of her shoulders. She was very slight in figure and he could clearly see the veins in her neck standing out. He turned on the water in the shower and helped her get in before shutting the door.

Frank walked back over the couch and went to light another cigarette. It was the last one in the pack, but the kine stewardess was sure to have more.

Frank sat enjoying the last of his pack for several minutes before the girl stepped out of the bathroom, changed into a new dress, of nearly the same make and pattern. Her hair was wet and sticking together. She smelled much cleaner now. She didn’t wreak of horror quite as badly as she had before.

“Take a seat next to me on the couch,” Frank beckoned to her. She came and sat as he had dictated. She placed both her hands on her legs, sitting straight up. Her back didn’t even touch the soft leather cushion.

“You’re so tense sugar, loosen up.” Frank put one hand on his shoulder and leaned her against the back of the couch. “Isn’t that better. It is a very comfortable couch. I have earned luxuries such as these for all my hard work.” Frank took his hand off the girl’s shoulder.
“I hope you don’t mind if I finish my story.”

Monday, October 4, 2010

Vampire The Masquerade: Frank Goodwin Pt. 5

Frank's Backstory Continued...

After she embraced me, I became a beast. I won’t tell you all the details of the transformation, it would simply horrify you. However, that moment, I lost my humanity and became one of the kindred. I felt a great amount of power welling inside me. She and I lay in that room for days. She had stalked up plenty of blood for my first meals and had prepared, well in advance, for the changes that would be coming in me. I can’t tell you how long we talked in that tatami cocoon of hers, and when I say talked, I mean communicated, because we spoke not a single word the entire time. She communicated to me through her mind, explaining all the disparate elements of Vampire society, about the vampire clans, and the Camarilla. She knew not only of the Camarilla in Japan, but also the Camarilla from around the world.

She told me, that her name was Aiko, a name meaning ‘deep red’. She was one of the outliers in the Japanese Camarilla. She had been sired by a European vampire of the Malkavian clan; this bloodline had, prior to that, never been present in the Japanese Camarilla. At first, she was viewed as a deviant and a lunatic, cursed by the hereditary derangement of her clan. She never knew her Sire; he embraced her and quickly left abandoning her. She told me that she lived in darkness, alone, for many years before she was brought into the fold and saved by the Camarilla. Aiko was a liability. She told me of how for years it was determined that she would almost certainly never be allowed to sire a childe of her own. The elders did not want to continue to spread the Malkavian blood among the Japanese people.

However, from the day I entered the Butterfly, she explained how she had taken interest in me, how she had seen me clearly. She told me that more than anything she wanted to make me her childe. She wanted to embrace me and make me one of the kindred. She had fallen in love with me. Over these ten years, she waited and waited, formulating a plan. Finally, she approached the Prince and made her plea and her proposal. She explained that in the coming years, the vampire clans would need an emissary to the outsiders. Japan had been defeated in its worldwide aspirations and would now be very much exposed to both Europe and America. She added that embracing a foreigner was something that nobody would want to do. The Japanese customs of the Camarilla forbid it, but for her, someone who was sired by a European, and a kindred who had already been defiled, it could be permitted for the sake of the Camarilla.
The Prince took the proposal into deep consideration. He found her arguments logical and agreed to the proposal. The clans allowed her to sire me, they allowed her to choose her childe and bring him into the kindred. I would become a blood-bond tool of the elders, living to serve them and act as an emissary to the Americans and to the European vampire clans.

I was introduced to the Prince and forced to drink of his blood, binding me to him. I would never be allowed to act outside of his interest. I was devoted to him wholly in mind and body. Then, they put me under Aiko’s tutelage to learn about Japanese language and culture. I was also introduced at that time to the Japanese underworld. There are many Yakuza in Japan. I am sure you know that. For many years the mob ruled the entire country, having hands in everything. They were even closely linked to the government and the police and were responsible for running the communists out of the country and slaughtering them mainstream. What you might not know is the level of control the Camarilla has over the Yakuza. Many Yakuza leaders are vampires. Many of the generals, lieutenants, and even the most basic solider are kindred.

My first introduction to the mob was under the needle. They informed me that becoming one of them would involve the tattooing of my body. I would be marked so that all would know me. I was told that to show any sign of pain would mean my death. I must withstand the needle every day in perfect silence. I was not allowed to speak, nor was I allowed to move. I must withstand. The strength of my blood helped me to do this, but I will admit that at times, it took every ounce of my will to keep from screaming out in pain as the needle was driven into my body. I would spend the next thirty years under the needle, spending hours every day on the mat having these images bound to my flesh. It was literally a painstaking process.

But I must interrupt this narrative to explain one of the most defining moments in my life as a Kindred, the day my sire died. Aiko was late one night, precisely a year after my embrace. She was supposed to come back to our haven after having her evening meal to instruct me in Japanese. She was late, very late, something totally uncharacteristic of her. I paced back and forth in our haven waiting for her to show, but there never came a sign. Finally, I lost all patience and the paranoia in me began to rise. I believed that she had been killed. Questions twisted inside this head of mine and I began to lose all sanity. I couldn’t take it. Finally, the door burst open and a messenger entered from the Prince. I had very little control and attacked him. We struggled on the floor for several minutes before he finally pulled out a stake, not unlike the one you just used on me, and he stabbed me in the heart. I lost the ability to move. He got up, shook himself off, then explained to me as slowly and clearly as possible, making sure that I understood, that Aiko had been destroyed by a Witch Hunter from the continent. She had been trailed while in the streets and then, prior to feeding, had been decapitated in an alleyway not far from here. They needed to move me into the clans sacred Elysium. It was too dangerous to keep me there. The messenger removed the stake and I gained control of my body once again.I was brought, once again, before the Prince. They explained to me that I would now be put directly under his supervision. I would be under his control. I could do nothing about this; I was blood-bound to follow his every command. I felt a great loss at having been separated from my Sire. I vowed then and there that I would have that Witch Hunter’s throat someday. It was just going to be a matter of time.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Vampire The Masquerade: Frank Goodwin Pt. 4

Frank's Backstory Continued...

Frank paused. The girl was open eyed and far too scared to move. The plane, which had been moving along at a very even pace now began to shutter a bit. They had obviously reached an area of some unexpected turbulence and it gave Frank chills. Would he be safe? Would he make it to LA? Was this some plot by the pilots or Anarchs in order to send him to his true grave? These thoughts began streaming through his head, giving him a terrible headache. He lit another lucky strike and walked over to the couch. He laid down and tried to get the thoughts of paranoia out of his head. It was difficult and required his full effort.

The girl remained still, too stunned by all of what she had heard to even move. She it was all for the best really, Frank didn’t’ really want her running about the cabin screaming. That would just be annoying.

Frank called for the kine stewardess. “Bring it in. I need my medicine!”

The stewardess entered the cabin holding a silver tray. She had been prepared for this as well and new of exactly what Frank spoke. On the tray was what looked like a small wooden Jewelry box of excellent Japanese craftsmanship. It was covered in black lacquer and laced with gold in the pattern of dragons.

Frank got up from the couch and took the box off of the tray. The stewardess bowed and quietly left the cabin. She didn’t want to be here for this and Frank didn’t blame her. Frank walked over to the girl, still sitting unmoving at the table. He put the box down in front of her and stretched out his hand, touching her gently on the chin, raising her face to meet his. He stared deeply into her eyes.

“I am sorry to force you to do this honey, but I require your help now. In a moment, once I have undressed, you will open this box and remove its contents. You will then plunge what you find into my chest and hold it in for fifteen minutes. You will then remove the object, clean it, and sit back down. You will do this and only this.”

After receiving Frank’s command, he began to undress. He took off his Jacket and undid his tie. Then, he began to remove his shirt. The girl looked on at him as he did so. Then, he began to unbutton his shirt. What lay underneath caused the young girl’s eyes to open wide. He was covered from neck to foot in Japanese inks; his horimono was the undeniable sign of a marked man, a member of the Yakuza. Anyone who looked at it could instantly see the decades of care that went into its crafting. It was perfect in all of its glory. Figures of dragons and demons adorned his arms and his legs. He was covered in the cherry blossom storm, or Sakura Fubuki, a symbol of transience and the temporal nature of the human being. Frank turned around when he took off his pants and placed all of his clothes on the big leather couch. His back was covered in the image of a great roaring Tiger, a symbol of power. Any Japanese would know these images; this girl certainly did.

When he had finished disrobing, he stood in front of the girl. Then, as she had been instructed, she opened the black lacquer box and withdrew its contents, a small wooden stake wrapped in red silk. She took the stake from its silk wrappings and then stood before Frank; she waited only seconds before plunging it deep into his heart.

Frank could feel the incredible pain of the stake entering him and penetrating the organ of his lifeblood. He could feel the wood inside him, as he had so many times. He felt his body becoming limp and he could sense the loss of control setting on. There would be only seconds before this loss of control spread through his entire body and he would become paralyzed and immobile. He would lose all ability to move his body. A stake to the heart was something that every vampire feared. Frank feared it as well. He was filled with an intense fear of the stake that shook him all the way to the core; but every time he saw the stake, he felt his paranoia vanish. Frank regularly felt intense paranoid tendencies, but whenever he was confronted with a stake in front of him, this paranoia disappeared. He didn’t need to wonder if he was threatened or if he was in trouble, seeing the stake was a manifestation of fear in his mind and when it plunged into his heart, he could feel his fears leave his body.

The girl followed Frank’s orders to the letter and exactly fifteen minutes later, she removed the stake from his heart, leaving a gaping bloody wound in his chest. She cleaned the stake with the red silk cloth, placed it in its box, and returned to her seat at the table. Frank slumped onto the floor. He was a bloody mess, but feeling gradually returned to his body, intense pain spread through him, but he regained the ability to move. He carefully gathered himself off the floor and made his way to the bathroom. He cleaned the wound, just as always, stitched himself up with a medicine case specifically available for this purpose, and then applied a large bandage to the wounded area.

Frank returned to the cabin and dressed once again. Taking out another cigarette, he began to smoke, and sat back down at the table. “Sorry to put you through that. It must be horrifying. I can see it in your tearing eyes. I will explain all of this to you shortly, but for now, let me rest for a bit. Sugar, if you had a wooden stake stabbed into your heart, you would need to rest as well.
Frank sat there for almost two hours before beginning his story again.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Vampire The Masquerade: Frank Goodwin Pt. 3

Frank's Backstory Continued...

I was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1924. I don’t blame you if you don’t know it. You probably have never heard it being Japanese. It is where all the American cars used to be made. My Dad used to work at a Chrysler plant, making cars on an assembly line. When I was a kid I never had too many problems and my dad always had enough money to keep us together. Well honey, that all changed in 1929. I don’t really know what they teach young kids these days in Japanese schools, but the Great Depression changed America forever. I won’t go into all of it, but we lost everything. My dad lost his job at the plant and we barely had enough to stay alive.

My dad moved me and my mom out to California. We barely had enough money to make the trip and when we got there, we had nothing. We lived in a little shack and dad found work on a farm picking fruit; I had to stop going to school in order to help out; hell, there wasn’t really much education to be found back then anyways. I worked in the fields and picked fruit as well. The work was long and hard and I always came home tired and hungry. I can honestly say that I never had a complete meal in any of those long years.

One day, mom got pregnant again. I was ten years old when that happened and I remember that day vividly. I had never seen my father more nervous in my life. There were going to be a new mouth to feed and there was no money to do the feeding. The depression was hitting us really hard. Workers had scrambled in droves to California and as a result the pay was getting lower and lower as supply of workers kept growing. Nine months later, my mom gave birth to twin girls.

The day the twins were born, my father went into a panic. He had barely enough money to put a little on the table for me and my mom. I’ll put it bluntly. He went insane. I had been out playing when the twins were born. When I came home, our little shack was covered in blood. When I opened the door, I saw the shadow of my father in the candle light holding a knife. He had killed them all. I don’t know what went through his head, whether it was desperation or mercy, but my mother and both of the twins were dead. I saw this image and I was struck with terror. At first, I couldn’t move, but then, my father turned towards me and I saw something of a frenzied beast in his eyes, if I didn’t run, I was next. So, I ran. I was only 11 years old, but I ran. I ran and ran and never looked back. Finally, I collapsed weeping in a field. I had lost everything and I was on my own.

I won’t go into all the misery I experienced over the next few years on my own. It was horrible and lonely, but in the end, inconsequential to my story. I managed to survive working on my own, barely eking out a pitiful existence. The only thing I was able to do over those long years was teach myself to read. I found books every once and a while, or a newspaper, and I taught myself to read over those years.

In 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. I know you have heard all about the war in your schools. I know you have learned all about WWII in your history classes. The war in Germany had been going on for a while at that point, but when Japan made their surprise attack, that was when I decided to join in. I contacted a Navy enlistment officer in San Francisco and joined up to fight. I had very little to offer in the way of physical ability, but I could read, and they said I would be suited for working on a submarine.

They put me to work on the USS Drum, a very large sub. It sailed out of Pearl Harbor. I worked in the engine room, underneath the head engineer. Basically, I was supposed to do basic maintenance and help with taking care of the boat’s engines. I learned quickly and did this for the entirety of the war. It was dark and cold and attacks would come suddenly and last for a very, very long time. I lived those years in a very different kind of fear. The concussion of depth charges became my lullaby. I began to grow very afraid of closed spaces; it was very tight quarters living on that sub and I won’t lie, I grew to miss the sun, something I miss very much even now. I am still very afraid of being trapped in a box; it makes it very hard to sleep at night in my coffin. Yes, I sleep in a coffin. Even this plane is causing me a great deal of apprehension, but I am capable of suppressing this fear in order to survive.

When the war was over and the Japanese surrendered, I asked to be transferred off the sub. I was allowed to leave and transferred to the Navy headquarters in Yokosuka. I didn’t have much work to do then. The war was over and we were all more concerned with how the Japanese would deal with the disarmament and American occupation. I guess you could say that the occupation, more than the war itself, was the most important event in both my life and unlife.

There was a bar where all the foreigners drank and caroused. They had clean hookers and hard liquor. The Butterfly was where all the men went every night to drink away all the awful shit they had seen during the war and try to find a warm body to sleep next to. I went their every night I could, which was most of the time. I must have been to that joint a thousand time over the years. I grew into a man while I was there. My youth faded.

In that bar, the faces always changed. Some guys would get shipped out, get reassigned, or go back home, but for some reason, I never got those orders. It wasn’t like I had anywhere to go home to, anybody waiting for me back in the states. I had no family and nobody who loved me. It didn’t really bother me that I was stuck in Japan.

The faces of the girls in there would always change as well. I never really took to lying with whores. I don’t really know what it was, but something about it just didn’t sit well with me. It felt dirty. I wasn’t one of those guys. I came in for the atmosphere and for the whisky that hadn’t been watered down and more than anything, to simply surround myself with people. I hated being alone. The loneliness of my youth and the cold dark of that sub shaped me into a being in need of surrounding myself with people.

Then, one night in 1955, everything changed. I went into the Butterfly that night as usual. I sat at the bar, surrounded by beautiful women in sparkly dresses and army brats fresh off the plane. They were loving their quick vacation stay in Japan before shipping off to Korea. But, I hadn’t gotten any new war orders. I wasn’t shipping out to Korea. I was stuck in Japan doing the same shit I had always been doing, fixing ship board motors and such. I was thirty years old then. I had spent the last 10 years in Japan, at that bar, and my life had gotten to be pretty boring. I never bothered to learn any Japanese. I didn’t even really try to fit in with the other soldiers. I spent my days reading comics, magazines, and other books. I had a record player and sometimes I would listen to records, but I never really cared too much about music.

But that is off the topic. I was telling you about that night at the Butterfly. I went in that night and did all the usual stuff. None of the girls ever came up to me because they knew I wasn’t buying. I looked sometimes, but I wasn’t a paying customer so they never showed any interest in me, or my wallet. Every once and a while, some new face would approach and make an offer, but the other girls were always quick to fill her in about me.

That night however, a girl did come up to me. I saw her enter from the back. She had on ruby red lipstick and a slinky red dress, not unlike the one you are wearing now. It showed off all of her curves. She had long black hair, very different than all the other young strumpets in the place. I couldn’t say that I had ever noticed her there before, but something about her exuded confidence and she made it through the room like it was her own home. She knew every step to make to get from that door to where I was sitting as quickly as possible, but she took her time walking over to me. I don’t mean to say that she walked all over the place; she just walked real slow.

She came over to the bar and sat down next to me. For a few moments, she just sat there really quiet, resting her hands on the bar. She didn’t order anything or say anything. Then, something inside me urged me to make a move. “Can I buy you a drink?” I asked her in English, hoping that she would understand. She waited for several seconds, then, she opened her mouth as if to speak, but decided otherwise. She turned to me and looked into my eyes. She had beautiful black eyes. They looked like black diamonds and they sparkled in the light. She took me by my hand and led me fluidly into the back. I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t resist.

She escorted me through the back doors. There were many rooms, doors open, where I could see various sailor and soldiers, some that I knew, making love to their Japanese hostesses. They looked unbelievably happy, as if they had found that special something they had always been waiting for. I had heard that Japanese girls made great lovers. Even during the act they were wholly concentrated on their man. The other guys would say that they really knew how to take care of a man. In the ten long years I had been in Japan I had never slept with a single Japanese woman. I never enjoyed their touch or the delight of their flesh.

She ignored all these rooms and led me up the stairs and to a suite. She opened the door and led me inside. The room was, to say the least, very unique. It had no windows and was lit by candles. The room had traditional Japanese tatami floors. She took off her shoes before stepping into the room. I acted accordingly. There was no furniture in the room accept for a pair of large futons laid in the center. She stood over one and pointed with her hand for me to lay down.

I pulled back the blankets and lay down. She lay down beside me on her side. She propped herself up on her elbow and rested her head on her hand. I turned over to her and did likewise. There was just something about her that made me do the same. I must have simply just stared into her eyes for ten minutes. She was enthralling and beautiful. I couldn’t look away.
Then I could hear her voice. She was speaking to me, but her lips didn’t move and she spoke in perfect English. I looked over to the door and around the room, but there was nobody else there. It was undeniably her. It could only be her. I was startled at first, but I was more intrigued. I will never forget what she said to me.

“I have watched you here for more than ten years now. You may have never seen me, but I have always seen you. In these ten years, you have never once laid down with any of my girls, but yet, you still desire the company of women. There is something inside you that I want to know. I want to know the darkness inside you. I will have you teach me. Tonight you will leave your mortal coil and join me forever. I will make you my childe now. You will be mine and I will be yours. I know you don’t understand this, but you will in moments.”

After I heard those words in my head, she moved over into my futon with me and unzipped her dress. She took off all her clothes and then began to relieve me of mine as well. I could feel her body against mine then; it was not the warm thing that I had thought it would be, but instead, it was very cold. She kissed me all over my body. I’ll spare you most of these details as not to spoil your virgin ears. I can’t imagine you need to hear about all that. But, in the end, I felt her bite me. I could feel her teeth in my neck, draining me of my essence, my precious blood. Then, she gave me the embrace. On that day I became one of the kindred and would be forever cursed.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Vampire The Masquerade: Frank Goodwin Pt. 2

Frank's Backstory

It was nearly midnight. The Lear Jet which had been provided for him was sitting on the Runway at Narita Airport. His paperwork had all been forged and a new passport had been prepared for his first trip back to the United States in over 60 years. Even with all of the special allowances made for him, he would need them to get through US customs at LAX. Frank’s Mercedes pulled up next to the plane and his driver, a Ghoul and servant of the elders, got out and opened his door. He bowed very low, a bow usually reserved when making an apology and waited for Frank to get out of the car.

“All the preparations have been made Sir. Please enjoy your trip.”

Frank got out and thanked the man for all of his hard work then made his way from the car up the steps to the plane. He couldn’t help but look over his shoulders as he was making even the short trip between the car and the plane. His compulsion kept him careful. He made one more look around at Narita airport, making sure that he was not followed and that nobody would come out to unpleasantly block his departure. Assured to himself he flicked his lit cigarette onto the tarmac and boarded the plane.

The Jet was very well suited to his tastes. He would have no trouble enjoying the trip. The plane was staffed entirely with kine servants of the Yakuza. He would have no problems maintaining the masquerade aboard this flight. He would not need to worry about sunlight pouring in through the windows and turning him to dust and ashes. This plane had been specially outfitted to move kindred quickly around the globe, even during daylight hours. There were several large leather couches and a table outfitted with fine Japanese dining ware. A chandelier hung from the ceiling providing pleasant mood lining to the cabin.
Onboard the plane, he was greeted by one of the Yakuza’s kine servants. She bowed to him as he entered the plane.

“Sir, all your bags have been loaded and we are ready to leave whenever you are,” she said in perfect English, “a meal has been prepared for your flight Sir. We hope that it suits your discerning pallet.”

Frank looked to the end of the long oaken dining table. A Japanese girl, probably in her early twenties was sitting unconscious at the end of the table. The girl’s face was very pretty. She had the fantastic fire of youth inside her. Her hair was black and styled in the most recent fashion. She was wearing a long red dress, not something that she would have purchased; it was far too expensive. She had obviously been drugged and brought here for his inflight meal. He was glad he would have something fresh on the long trip, but he would have to wait in order to feed. He was far too worried about what drugs they had given to her and would not be able to sink his teeth into this luscious kine until the drugs had somewhat left her system.

Frank hurried to one of the bathrooms and washed his hands and face. He wanted to clean up before take-off. He could feel the dark circles under his eyes; they had gotten so bad that he could actually feel them now. He wondered how long it was since he had slept a night all the way through. The nightmares had plagued him since his embrace. At first, they would stir him in his sleep, but lately, they had grown as powerful as to forcefully wake him and then he would not again be able to shut his eyes. Each time, the nightmares would come to him differently. They always showed him new images of fear and terror as though he were a kine being preyed upon him by other members of his clan.

The plane began to move, they had begun to taxi onto the runway. The flight plan had been approved by the tower and they were ready for Take-off. Frank left the bathroom and took a seat on one of the large leather couches and tried to close his eyes, but he would not let sleep take him.

The force of the plane taking off was enough to wake the sleeping girl. She began to fitfully wake up from her drug induced slumber. When she came to and her eyes opened, she looked extremely confused and frightened.

Frank got up and moved over to the table and took the seat opposite her.

“I’m sorry they frightened you honey. I guess they can be pretty rough sometimes. You look pretty startled, I guess you should be.” Frank pulled out a pack of Lucky Strikes from his Jacket pocket, lighting it with a match and dropped the spent match in the ashtray on the table.
“Would you like a cigarette? I love smoking.” The girl was almost hysterical, but Frank’s calming voice seemed to settle her down a little bit, but she didn’t’ seem to understand what he was saying. “Ah, you don’t speak English. That isn’t really a problem. We can continue in Japanese. Tabaco suimaska?” he asked this time in perfect Japanese. Frank’s long time spent living in the area around Tokyo; living with the Camarilla there had necessitated him learning the language, something he was able to quickly pick up.

Frank continued in Japanese. “Please, have a smoke, it will calm you down. On board this plane we can smoke all we want, one of the perks of traveling on a Lear Jet.” The girl nodded. Frank got up from his seat, walked to where she was sitting and placed a cigarette between her lips. She didn’t look at it. Her eyes were fixed on his. He lit it and moved back to his seat. The girl puffed on the cigarette very slowly but she managed to keep the ash from falling on her dress.
“I guess you might be wondering why you are here I suppose. Perhaps the people who brought you here may have shown a monstrous side of themselves when doing so. I wouldn’t blame them if they did. I guess you are probably wondering who I am and why you are here. We have a long flight ahead of us and I would guess whatever drugs they put in your system may still be there. So, I guess we should talk. No point in spoiling good company. Would you like something to eat? I need to eat as well. It is getting to be that time of the night for me.”

Frank hailed the kine stewardess and asked her to bring out some food. Some real food. They knew that he and his guest would need something solid to eat. They had been briefed. The stewardess brought in plates of very expensive Kobe beef with all the trimmings. It was a meal fit for the wealthiest classes, something that in Japan, Frank was privy to on a regular basis. This girl may have never tasted beef like this in her entire life. She put the food in front of them, but the girl looked apprehensive.

“Go ahead, it isn’t poisonous. If you aren’t going to eat, I’ll dig in myself.” Frank picked up a pair up his silverware. He cut off a piece of the steak and took a bite. It tasted like filth, literally. The Kobe beef tasted like cow manure. Frank knew this taste all too well. His body was special among the kindred; he was capable of consuming normal food, but it provided him no nourishment and on top of that, it always tasted like feces. He hated the taste, but something inside of him always compelled him to eat. He could never shake the urge to eat normal food, despite how palpably disgusting it was.

After Frank began to eat, the girl carefully took a few bites. It was obvious, despite her apprehension regarding her abduction, that she was enjoying it immensely.

Putting down his knife and fork, he began again. “While you eat, I guess I can tell you a little bit about myself. I hope it isn’t too shocking to you, but I’ll tell you right up front, I am a monster of sorts, what your kind would call a vampire.”

The girl choked on her steak, coughed, and looked up into Frank’s eyes. Whatever ease the Kobe beef had brought quickly disappeared.

“Sorry If I spoiled your appetite, but if I am going to have to be blunt with you because any story about me has to start at the beginning.” The girl simply stared. Tears seemed to be welling in her eyes, but she was too scared to let them out.

“So, let’s begin.”