The Dresden Files: What Happens in Vegas

Session 2: Pride Goeth Before

Thy Sins Manifest

A month has passed since the disturbing train incident. Jacob has written it off as a bad dream induced by a gas station burrito, while the rest of the group is dealing with the experience in their own ways. Phee has begun to research the Never Never through whatever means she has at her disposal. She tries to look up Donnie, but is unable to get in touch with him. Marcello has apologized profusely to Karisa for his role and has convinced her that he is truly sorry. In reality, he’s not all that sorry, but he doesn’t want to lose Karisa as a contact. Karisa has spent some time at local charities trying to make herself feel better for her part in the events. (Donnie’s player couldn’t make it to the game.)

The scene opens at Karisa’s birthday party at her home. Intending for it to be a casual get-together, she has only invited people she considers her friends…which consists of a few NPCs, Marcello, and Ian. Marcello has brought her a gift “to be opened in private” (it’s some sort of lockpick for electronic locks) and Ian has brought her a copy of the book ‘The Count of Monte Cristo,’ which he says reminded him of her. He is horrified at her mention of the movie, but she promises to read it. Upon learning that Marcello knows Karisa through “business,” Ian, who is a very large, very tough man, reminds Marcello how dear to him Karisa is and how upset he’ll be if something happens to her. Marcello is quick to reassure him that he, too, would be upset.

Still searching for Donnie, Phee decides to pay Karisa a visit. Karisa tells her Donnie isn’t here, but she follows social niceties and invites Phee in, since she’s already here and everything. She asks Phee to keep the whole wizarding thing on the down-low, which Phee does do — although this doesn’t stop her from asking every single party guest if they’ve seen Donnie.

Jacob, too, arrives unannounced to the party. He’s here to call in a favor Karisa owes him. Karisa leads him into her bedroom and learns he needs her to crack a safe the following morning. She is a little distressed to learn he can’t give her any details about the safe, but he promises to have the information she needs early the following morning. This distresses her further, because this means she has to be sober come morning. She also reluctantly invites him to stay.

Jacob enjoys a glass of water and considers his obligation to attend completed. As he goes to leave, however, Ian, having noticed Karisa’s frown, intercepts him. Karisa had brushed Ian’s concern off by reassuring him it was just business and she had a promise to fulfill, so Ian has decided to go right to the source: Jacob. He tells him that he had better not be doing something that might be harmful to Karisa, as he had done with Marcello earlier. Though less intimidated by the looming ex-con, Jacob, too, tells Ian that he doesn’t want to see Karisa hurt.

Their conversation is interrupted as a strange feeling overcomes them and the rest of the group. (The rest of the attendees have already gone, so it’s just the PCs who are left.) Jacob feels suddenly very angry. Ian, who is struggling with alcoholism, feels suddenly like he needs a drink. Phee feels very attracted to Ian. Marcello suddenly wants to steal Karisa’s things. And Karisa feels suddenly envious of Jacob, who doesn’t seem as though he was affected at all by the train incident.

To ward off the alcoholism, Ian clutches his crucifix so tightly that it bites into his skin a bit. Phee quickly offers to patch him up, which draws an openly suspicious look from Karisa, who shoos her away and directs Ian to the medical supplies herself. Recognizing the sensation as foreign and possibly supernatural, Jacob quickly locks the door, while Marcello absent-mindedly picks up a knick-knack from a shelf and barely keeps himself from pocketing it. Phee and Marcello also feel as though something is trying to invade them somehow.

Suddenly, three “demons” appear in the livingroom with the group. Each looks to be a doppelganger of one of the character they appear in front of: one of Karisa, one of Ian, and one of Jacob. Recognizing these things to some degree, Phee is baffled by their appearance: they usually don’t appear in people’s homes. To escape them, they should find either holy ground or somewhere with a stronger sense of “home”. Ian and Jacob both tell the others to get out as the demons begin their attack, and Ian recommends they go to St Joan of Arc Cathedral, as he has a contact there that will keep them safe. Marcello and Phee are able to get out easily. When Marcello turns to grab Karisa, however, his path is blocked by his own doppelganger, and a final doppelganger appears and grabs Phee as she tries to flee.

Ian swings for the demon in front of Karisa, and is vanishes in a puff of green smoke. Karisa scurries for the door and has to kind of side-step around the Marcellos, who are wrestling with one another. Across the lawn, she can also see that the Phees are wrestling as well. Not wanting to choose the wrong Marcello and hurt her friend, she asks which of them is the real one, and, predictably, they both turn to her at the same time and say, “I am!” It is not helpful. What is helpful, however, although not particularly revealing, is when one of the Marcellos grabs Karisa and carries her a block away using his super speed.

Safely outside the battle now, Karisa decides to run the rest of the way to St Joan of Arc Cathedral to find and enlist the help of Ian’s contact. She arrives to find a service already underway. Phee is dropped off by a super-speedy Marcello a moment later, and she tells Karisa that the demon she was fighting just suddenly vanished.

Back at Karisa’s apartment, all of the demons have vanished, hastened along by some violence and by Ian drawing on his faith. Marcello’s arrival — a sudden blur of movement — does not go unnoticed by Ian and Jacob, who quickly assume that he is the demon and that he’s done something with Karisa and Phee. This assumption is not helped in the least when Marcello is forced to cower before Ian’s crucifix and upswelling of faith. They apprehend him, in spite of his protests, and the trio begin to walk towards the church. When Marcello’s phone rings (the girls trying to get in touch with him so they don’t have to barge in on the service), it is grabbed from his hand and destroyed.

Reaching the church, Marcello is able to cross onto holy ground, but the pair remain suspicious of him. They quickly locate the girls, who were just about to interrupt the service, and then press Marcello for details. They learn that he’s a red-court infected and that, only through the influence of a group called St Giles, is he able to control himself and not become a full vampire. Karisa and Ian are immediately sympathetic, while Jacob reminds him that if he screws up at all, Jacob will be there to take him out. Phee, meanwhile, logically turns her attention to the problem at hand: the demons.

They wonder if the attack has something to do with the train; Karisa says it obviously doesn’t, because Ian wasn’t there and Donnie isn’t here, and can we not talk about that, please? (To which Ian voices some confusion, but no one bothers to explain.) Ian wonders if they were specifically targeting him, as he is trying to hunt down someone who stole some demonic-themed books from the library, but it is pointed out that the demon(s) attacked all of them. When it is asked if Karisa has brought anything home that could make her a target, Karisa explains that anything valuable usually goes right to her fence, Nadia Bliss. Phee latches onto the name and tells the group Nadia Bliss had been asking about a coin on the day of the train incident, and Karisa smugly tells Phee that she had already grabbed it. (Although it was gone when she woke up.) Nevertheless, now that the idea of the coin and the mysterious fence have been brought up, the group wants to investigate to see if they might have something to do with the event.

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