Saturday, 25 January 2020

Playing D&D with large groups

I'm currently playing D&D with two groups, one on Thursday evenings and one on Saturday evenings. I can't say I'm getting to either on a regular basis, due to work pressures, but the Thursday group is proving popular, as it takes place at the Dice Saloon in Brighton and has consequently expanded.

We are now up to seven players at the table, with scope for eight if we have a 100% attendance record. This would be a very rare eventuality, but not beyond the boundaries of possibility. I've noticed some other eight player groups playing D&D at the Dice Saloon - the game has become trendy again and many in the under 30 age bracket are getting into playing it.

Your humble correspondent is somewhat of a grognard by comparison, having first opened his D&D red box set at Christmas in 1983.

What to do with large groups of players

This post is really about how you actually play a tabletop RPG with that many players, as sessions can be a bit chaotic. The GM needs to be a little bit more assertive than usual, and can't pay attention to each player as much as he/she would like. As my GM Adam has stated, you need to avoid giving the noisiest wheel the most oil!

We are currently playing through the Tomb of Annihilation campaign, and I can report that after four months in the jungles of Chult and another two months in the lost city of Omu, the party does seem to have discovered the actual tomb.

New characters are being added as we encounter lost adventurers in a predicament - the latest joined when we found her languishing at the bottom of a pit trap. Adam has been very good at sewing each new character into the overarching plot - they are not just a random encounter, they have a reason for being where they are, and a good motive to join the adventurers.

As we have progressed into the tomb, however, the party has narrowly avoided splitting up, always a bad tactic, and in this case we almost lost one of our tabaxi scouts to a poison gas trap. With so many traps in the tomb, there is a delicate balancing act between sticking too close together that multiple adventurers can be claimed by the same trap, and dispersing so far apart that we can be picked off easily - something that occurred earlier in the campaign at another ruin, causing the death of our wizard.

Splitting up is something larger parties have a propensity towards, however.

Table-wise there is a lot of noise on the night and some quieter players seem spend most of the session saying little at all. You need to keep a close eye on where your miniature is on the map and make sure the GM knows from time to time what you are doing, but it can be very easy to go through three hours of gaming saying little. For me, this is less of an issue, as after a hard day at the coal face I'm happy to just sit there and enjoy the carnage. But I can see how some gamers, perhaps used to smaller groups, might find this difficult.

Coping with the big party experience

D&D seems suited to the big party experience. To be honest, that's really what it was intended for. Read adventures from the pioneering days of the game (e.g. Against the Giants) in the late 1970s and you will see they are written for larger parties, frequently in the 6-10 bracket. When I started running D&D at school, in the 1980s, we might be able to muster six players on a good day, but parties typically resorted to hiring retainers to make up the numbers and plug gaps in the skill set (I remember one entire session devoted to the player characters interviewing retainers in the upstairs room of an inn, with the young GM playing each prospective hireling in turn).

More recently, with smaller groups, the issue has been one of simply making sure the main functions are covered. Finely tuned games like Pathfinder seem to punish lower level parties without healing magic, for example. But I can also see how other games, like Call of Cthulhu, could really struggle with a large party, although I recognise there are many tournament adventures written for CoC for six players that seem to work fine.

The big question is - what sort of game, other than the classic dungeon bash, which is Tomb of Annihilation, works with a large party? I would argue there are two - the troupe game and the political game.

The troupe-based approach

The classic example of the troupe game is Ars Magica. This game of medieval wizards is structured around the idea of a community of characters who may / may not participate in each adventure. And not all characters are wizards. Some, called grogs, are more your standard spear carrier. But I can see how a GM could let more experienced / regular players take on the role of magi or companions in Ars Magica, and leave the occasional punter like myself to play a grog.

The system seems designed to manage a larger party as well as allowing players to run multiple characters. It is not everybody's cup of tea, but could work for bigger groups of players and has been used as the basis for substantial LARPs in the past.

The multi-faction approach

The other approach is the political game, where multiple players each represent their own interests, either in a long form, multi-session campaign, or in a one shot. I've seen examples of this in the pages of 1980s RPG magazines, using the background of a night in a roadside inn. Each player has a character with their own mission objectives, who may or may not know the other characters. Some start off in the inn, others arrive not long after the scene opens. I seem to recall the late Joe Dever wrote one such scenario using his Lone Wolf campaign.

This kind of scenario can be extrapolated into different settings. Robin Laws has even created his own set of rules, called Skulduggery, which represents situations where characters may not necessarily be part of the same group. Skulduggery is probably too heavily focused on player vs player contests for some tastes, but a political campaign would work with a large group of players because it would switch focus constantly and would also credibly be able to push forward with the narrative even if some individuals are absent.

Vampire the Dark Ages, the old White Wolf RPG, seems well set up for this sort of a game, as players typically end up in different vampire factions. Unlike its more modern counterpart, Vampire the Masquerade, it takes place well before the foundation of the Camarilla and the Sabbat, which effectively divides Cainite society into good guys and bad guys in the 15th century (check out the Giovanni Chronicles if you want to actually play through this epic schism, like I did).

Vampire games, even medieval ones, take place in fast moving urban environments (usually) with plenty of political intrigue, and the scope to constantly shift focus between players. They are also flexible enough to accommodate the sudden changes of direction in the plot that a large group of players can come up with. My only experience of this so far has been to play in the aforesaid Giovanni Chronicles, with a plot that stretched over 200 years. But I can see how a local campaign using something like Vampire or Urban Shadows would serve a big group of players very well.

Monday, 30 December 2019

Year In Review

Curse of Strahd
It has been quiet on this blog of late, largely because I've been so busy running two businesses since the start of September that I really have not had the chance to get around to it. As simple as that. But as 2019 runs down towards its inevitable conclusion, I thought I'd take a look in the rear view mirror at what was gaming in 2019, as this might also help to inform any ambitions I might have for 2020 - i.e. what is attainable, and what represents just day dreams.

First off, we did get some miniatures gaming in, quite a bit of it in fact, and ideally I'd like to repeat that next year. Much of this occurred in the first half of the year however.

The Frostgrave campaign with Kelvin rumbled on, although I fear my warband was getting the worst of it against those pesky orcs. The campaign went underground briefly for an investigation of the lost library, and then subsequently explored the ruins of the museum. Frostgrave is great fun, but things have been quiet on that front recently, as I try to expand my warband with some new recruits - I lost a couple of dogs in the last skirmish and feel I need to beef the team up with some shooters to cope with the orc archers.

We also managed to get a game of Lord of the Rings done, the next chapter in the Fellowship of the Ring campaign, which saw Frodo, Sam and Pippin take to the road to sneak out of Hobbiton and make for Bucklebury. They were pursued by Black Riders however. This was a great little scenario and it was fun to get the campaign back on track, but sadly it too has now been on hiatus for far too long! Hopefully we can get another game in the next couple of months.

Most of the miniatures gaming I did in 2019 involved the Dice Saloon Blood Bowl campaign, where I was managing a Chaos team. It was a steep learning experience against some veteran teams and some very experienced players. I finished the season on the end of seven defeats, with two draws and one victory.

I've re-entered for the new season, but progress has been slow, with the Lambs only getting one match completed in a 10 game season so far. I have some catching up to do...

Other than that, I also dusted off my Necron fleet for a single game of Battlefleet Gothic back in July. This was against a Chaos fleet. My Necrons took a pounding. Despite all the nice things that are said about Necrons in BFG online, I must be doing something wrong with them, as they don't seem 'broken' to me and were readily seen off by the Chaos powers in this battle. I think my lesson here was not to bring a heavy cruiser to the fight at the very least, and to try to take down a capital ship with escorts. Does not seem to work in this game...I still live in hope that Games Workshop will re-launch Battlefleet Gothic, which also seems to have a lively PC gaming following.

On Roleplaying Games...

The RPG front has been quite active throughout the year, which is great. Most of it has involved Dungeons and Dragons in one shape or form. The two main campaigns were the Curse of Strahd, run by Ben F., where I was playing a halfling monk, and Tomb of Annihilation, run by Adam T., where I was/am playing a drow druid.

Other than that I also got to play in a mini-campaign of Star Trek Adventures, while Adam was taking a break, and Ben F. ran a test drive of the new Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay rules from Cubicle 7.

There have also been a few memorable one-off games. Kelvin G. ran a play test of a Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventure he is working on for future publication, but I can't say much more than that about this one other than that it takes place in Paris.

For myself, I did not spend much time behind the GM's screen: I ran a couple of sessions of Trail of Cthulhu which followed on from the WW1 scenario I ran in 2018. This time I took the investigators to Egypt in 1920. This seemed to go down well but there has been little opportunity/inclination to continue with this campaign since then.

I also ran another Night's Black Agents one-shot from the Edom Files, this time the Carmilla Sanction, set in 1948 in Vienna, a city I used to live in as a teen. I stilly enjoy running Gumshoe and hope to get some more in during 2020 in one form or another. We shall see how things turn out.

That's it for the year. I'm sure I've left something out. Looking back on 2019, I did seem to get an impressive amount of regular gaming done, and also made it to Salute in April, so can't really complain. My attendance at the gaming table may have looked fragmentary on the surface of it, but on average I was probably gaming at least once a week, which given how busy I was on the work front, was a bloody miracle!

Next time: we take a look at what I'm working on and scope out some very rough plans for 2020...

Friday, 4 October 2019

Night's Black Agents: The Carmilla Sanction (part 3)

The hunt for Carmilla...
Vienna, April 1948, and the city has been closed off mysteriously by Soviet occupation forces. Inside the city an Edom hit squad is on the trail of 17th century Austrian vampire Carmilla Karnstein. Having sneaked into the city, the Edom unit is now seeking out the lookalike ghouls that Countess Karnstein has seeded in Vienna, while also suspecting a mole tipped her off to their initial assault on her castle in Styria.

The agents entered the central district of Vienna, which was shared by the four Allied powers, in an effort to locate the Bulgarian Carmilla lookalike, Alma Cril. Upon approaching the townhouse where she lived, they heard professional level piano music. The door was opened by a man with a Hungarian accent, introducing himself as George, who it turned out was co-habiting with Cril. He was obviously a concert pianist.

The house was littered with expensive art and artefacts, some of which looked like it was in the process of being packed up. Fox identified these as possible looted art that was destined for sale on the black market. George told the agents - who posed as variety journalists - that Cril was asleep and regularly slept late, not rising until after lunchtime.

Cril was eventually rousted out and thought she was being interviewed by the 'journalists' until O'Reilly lost patience, knocked George out, and subjected Cril to more direct questioning. Her answers were similar to those provided by di Pietri, and again she expressed an interest in getting out of the city and asked directly for a British passport in exchange for her cooperation. She was able to also tell the Edom team that another of the girls was working under the name Lara Clim at the Kommandatura, the Allied headquarters in Vienna, and only 20 minutes' walk away.

Cril exhibited the same reactions to a crucifix as di Pietri and also did not show up clearly in O'Reilly's shaving mirror. Fox was able to sit down and create some false papers for the couple which could get them out of Vienna and into the British sector in Austria.

On the streets of Vienna - 1948

The team now decided to head over to the Kommandatura where they bluffed their way in using their British electrician papers. Cril had told them that Lara Clim was working for the French legation on the second floor of the building. They managed to approach her and persuade her to show them where the main junction boxes were in the basement before again starting to interrogate her. She managed to use her mesmerism power against both O'Reilly and Blake, succeeding in making O'Reilly leave the generator room. Blake proved more resistant and forced the girl into a corner with his crucifix.

Fox went after O'Reilly into the corridor outside, and managed to slap him back to his senses. As the Irishman was recovering they both spotted another girl who looked like Clim approaching them down the corridor. She produced a pair of automatic pistols and ran at them with supernatural speed while firing the guns. Fox was winged although not seriously hurt. O'Reilly managed to shoot the girl with his crossbow, but she kept coming.

Hoffmann ducked out into the corridor and also started shooting at the girl, hitting her in the head and killing her. But behind him Blake was having trouble restraining Clim, who threw him across the room and into a wall. Blake returned to the attack and IIRC killed Clim, but may have just knocked her out. Fox retrieved ID papers from the dead girl with the gun-fu, who turned out to be the Ukrainian nurse, Clar-mila Vilsen.

The Kommandatura - Allied occupation headquarters in Vienna

Anyway, the agents quickly cut the power in the building and split up, sneaking out using either their Infiltration abilities or their electrician cover identities. Heat was already up to 3, so the target numbers were beginning to get hefty.

Having escaped from the Kommandatura, the Edom agents headed back to the Soviet sector. It was getting dark. They drove towards the house of Carmalli di Pietri. There was no sign of her Soviet lover, so it was a simple matter to pick her up, blindfold her and drive over to their safe house. The agents were planning to use her as bait to attract Carmilla, although they told her they were going to get her out of Vienna.

It was at this point that Hoffmann noticed they were being followed by another car. He drove down a blind alley so that the team could stage an ambush, cutting off the other car when it tried to follow them. They suspected it might be Carmilla. However, three men got out of the vehicle and drew pistols while the driver tried to reverse back into the agents' car. O'Reilly, Blake and Hoffmann jumped out and started shooting at the car (O'Reilly had handcuffed di Pietri to the car door to stop her leaving), which was riddled with bullets. The driver was hit and killed and the car flipped over in the alley. The three surviving strangers ran down the alley and started shooting at the agents' car.

O'Reilly burns through his Shooting pool....
Fox, still in the car, was shining his flashlight down the alley as the bullets started whizzing past. He looked up into the driver's mirror as he heard the sound of something breaking in the back, and realised di Pietri was not showing up in the mirror at all. It wasn't di Pietri after all..."It's her, it's her," Fox started screaming.

The vampire Carmilla grabbed Fox by the back on his neck and pulled him into the back of the car. Fox was overwhelmed by the chill spreading through his body from her icy hand. Outside, Hoffman managed to toss a grenade down the alley, killing one of the three remaining attackers. The other two concentrated their fire on the car, hitting Fox. Smoke filled the alleyway, along with flying bullets.

Realising Fox was in trouble, O'Reilly fired indiscriminately into the car, and also hit Fox. Blake threw a knife with unerring accuracy and hit Carmilla in the eye, blinding her. She screamed with rage and pain, but this allowed the barely conscious Fox to throw himself out of the car as she had lost her grip on him. Which was lucky, because Hoffmann and O'Reilly both immediately tossed grenades into the vehicle. The second explosion triggered the fuel tanks, turning it into an inferno and torching the 300 year old vampire in the process.

The burning wreck also blocked the alley, allowing the agents to retreat after Blake had provide some first aid on Fox. The Edom team escaped on foot before a Russian patrol showed up (Heat to 4 at this point).

After that it was a simple process to lie up overnight in their safe house and escape from the city through the sewer tunnels the following morning. Their mission was accomplished and Carmilla Karnstein was no more.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Night's Black Agents: The Carmilla Sanction (part 2)

Soviet checkpoint, Vienna, 1948
Continuing on from where we left off two weeks ago, the Edom agents had just raided Schloss Karnstein in the Styrian Alps, killing two vampires and a number of the ghoul retainers of the 17th century vampire Carmilla Karnstein. Suspecting a mole within Edom, they reported back to Edom headquarters, telling Jetheth, their handler, that they were hunting for Carmilla in the British occupation zone near Salzburg. In reality, they prepared to get into the Soviet sector and make for Vienna, where the Romanian forger Popescu lived.

Staying at a nearby gasthof, the agents recuperated and Fox worked on their van to conceal their weapons and ammo preparatory to making a bid across the border into Soviet Austria. They also heard from their landlord that the Russians had closed off the entire city of Vienna to outside traffic.

Using their cover identities which centred around Blake and Hoffman's identities as a doctor and his assistant from Medicins Sans Frontieres, the agents slipped through a Russian checkpoint, although they did stop to question the soldiers about why Vienna had been closed. Being just privates, the border guards had no idea and anyway, had orders not to chin wag with anyone not in the Red Army.

Note - Medicins Sans Frontieres was founded in Paris in 1971, so the likelihood is the covers used here would have been International Red Cross, especially as Blake and Hoffman's cover was as Swiss medical personnel.

Proceeding towards Vienna, the agents stopped to place a call to a Russian army officer and black marketeer, Yuri Griginski, a British SIS asset who operated in the Soviet zone in Vienna. He told them how to get in through one of his smuggling routes down a large drain pipe near the Danube. He also arranged for a safe house in the Russian zone and transport.

Note - technically the agents breached Edom's instructions here by accessing an MI6 resource, but I reckoned Griginski was likely also a personal contact of Hoffmann's (codename Moth) and would not necessarily check this with SIS HQ in Vienna. SIS was oblivious of the Edom mission in Austria.

Once into the Soviet zone, the agents staked out the apartment belonging to Popescu. They searched it and found much of his forging materials and documents, including passport photos of several girls who could have met Carmilla's description. They were all oddly slightly out of focus, but obviously different people.

Hoffmann keeping an eye on the Popescu flat

Once Popescu arrived home, well after curfew, he was confronted by the agents and interrogated, revealing that Carmilla had instructed him to create the passes and identities for the girls, who visited him in 1946 to collect them. He knew Carmilla was a vampire, and lived in fear of her, but had only dealt with her through one of her agents (the bald ghoul killed by Hoffmann at Schloss Karnstein). He had created papers for 10 girls over the period 1945-46.

O'Reilly forced Popescu to reveal he kept the details of the girls in his client book, which he retrieved for them from his desk, but just as he did, he was hit by a rifle bullet fired from across the street and killed almost instantly. This forced the agents to evacuate the building at speed (having shot out the lights) before a Russian patrol turned up.

Fox and O'Reilly found the Popescu diary was written in a personal code, but managed to begin to decipher it and located some of Carmilla's girls, namely a Bulgarian actress called Alma Cril in the central zone of Vienna (shared by the occupation powers), a Tyrolese Italian called Carmalli di Pietri who lived in the Soviet sector, a local Austrian girl called Carmilla Liebfels who lived in the British sector and a Ukrainian named Clar-mila Vilsen who had been granted the identity of a nurse but seemed to have no address.

The team decided to pay a visit to di Pietri the following morning and observed a smartly dressed man leaving her abode with a briefcase and getting into a jeep driven by a Russian soldier. Fox bluffed his way into the house pretending to be a local Viennese aristocrat fallen on hard times, after which the other agents broke into the house with guns out and masks on.

Not many mirrors in this house.

By interrogating di Pietri, they found she was living with a senior Russian diplomat who worked with the Soviet legation in the centre of the city. She had been told to remain in place but had no contact with either Carmilla or the other girls, some of whom she had met at the schloss in 1946. She did not know where they lived although she had seen a few in the city since then. However, more interestingly, she admitted she was also working for US intelligence and passing information about her lover to an agent called Robert Verboelen at the American legation.

Di Pietri did show up in O'Reilly's shaving mirror, but was always slightly out of focus. She also demonstrated an obvious fear of Blake's crucifix. She told the agents she wanted to get out of Vienna and return to the Tyrol and her family. The agents decided to leave her in place and proceed to the central zone of the city to visit the abode of the Bulgarian Alma Cril. Fox took some of the headed note paper from the Soviet legation he found in the house and Hoffmann procured a list of names of prominent Russian administrative officials from di Pietri.

Next time - trouble at the Kommandatura...

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Night's Black Agents: The Carmilla Sanction (part 1)

I returned to Night's Black Agents and Gumshoe last night, with a short mini-campaign from the pages of the Edom Files.

This is the second adventure in the Edom Files - I have run the first already, and you can read about it here. Luckily I'm playing with a group that has completed the Dracula Dosser campaign already, so is quite familiar with Edom and its background.

As discussed in the Dracula Dossier, Edom is a covert organisation that sits within MI6 and is tasked with countering the threat of the undead to national security. In the campaign we played, Edom ended up as adversaries of the player characters - although they could have been allies.

In the Carmilla Sanction, the PCs are members of an Edom hit squad tasked with tracking down and slaying the vampire Carmilla Karnstein in Austria in 1948. It is right after WW2, and Austria is still divided up between the Allied powers. Southern Austria is under British occupation.

We generated characters specifically for this mission and they are:

  • Sean O'Reilly, code name Wolf, a former military policeman, his drive is Mystery
  • Code name Fox, nobody knows his real name, he is a master forger and works for Edom because he has nowhere else to go
  • Jeff Hoffmann, code name Moth, he is a demolitions expert and an Austrian native, his drive is Collector
  • Nathan Blake, code name Owl, he is an MI6 assassin, his drive is Slayer
The team are a seasoned wetworks unit, part of Edom, sent to Austria in April 1948 under the cover of being electrical engineers, ostensibly dispatched to help restore the power in the British sector. In reality, their target is the Schloss Karnstein and its owner, Carmilla Karnstein, a vampire Edom believes has been lurking around Central Europe since the early 1700s.

The PCs had to scale the Leichenberg mountain in Styria in order to approach the schloss covertly, descending the mountain in an effort to surprise the castle's inhabitants during daylight. There were a number of things that could have gone wrong on the climb, as only one of them (Hoffmann) was an experienced mountaineer, and two were out of shape with no Athletics pools to speak of (Fox had not trained for this sort of work).

As it was, the group avoided alerting the castle's inhabitants, and bought themselves more time by bivouacking on the mountain overnight in order to launch their attack at dawn the next day. This they succeeded in doing, roping across to the castle's roof and gaining access to the fourth floor through a window.

Schloss Karnstein

Initial investigation found the castle seemingly deserted, but the agents soon encountered some of Carmilla's servants on the third floor of the central wing of the castle. While Hoffmann sought to overpower one of the men and use him as a shield against a second, Blake was surprised by a third who stabbed him in the back before O'Reilly could shoot him with his crossbow. Fox sought to grapple with him but found the servant to be unusually strong.

IIRC one of the servants had his neck broken and another was stabbed to death with a kukri. It was all very bloody, needless to say, but the alarm was not raised, which was the important thing, and Blake's knife wound was successfully treated. The third man was aggressively interrogated by Hoffmann (including the removal of a finger), and provided additional information on some of the other inhabitants of the castle and the news that his mistress had left the day before, before he too was ruthlessly executed by the agents.

The team explored the south wing of the castle and discovered evidence that it had been lived in about three years before. Clues included six beds in a dormitory with sheets still on them, graffiti carved into bed posts, empty food cans, dresses and clippings of brown hair. Strangely, they also found a tattoo machine with some dried dark ink still in it.

Over the main stair case in the castle they saw a painting of Carmilla which Fox reckoned to be from the 1690s. He took a few photos of it. In the master bedroom the agents successfully surprised and killed a vampire that looked like a middle-aged woman, who was sleeping in a four poster bed covered in grave soil. Blake presciently opened the curtains to the bedroom beforehand, allowing sunlight to stream in before the sleeping vampire was attacked and beheaded with a kukri.

In the fireplace of the master bedroom Fox discovered the burned remains of grey passports of the sort used to move between the Allied sectors in Vienna. He could not identify whom they were intended for, but he recognised them as very good forgeries, the handiwork of a Romanian forger who he knows lives in Vienna called Popescu.

Proceeding downstairs to the castle chapel, the group surprised and killed another servant coming upstairs armed with a shotgun. Hoffmann took the weapon. Reaching the chapel, they stormed in to find it devoid of Christian symbols and with strange designs painted on the walls, some of them in dried blood. A large and intricate pyramid of human bones sat on the altar. Hoffmann recognised this as a site for the practise of advanced witchcraft.

Before they could explore further, the dark skinned woman clinging to the ceiling dropped on them. She prepared her blowpipe to shoot at Blake, but was shot in the face by Hoffmann. While the blast from his shotgun did little damage to the woman, who cackled evilly, it did destroy her blowpipe. Before she could act further, however, Blake attacked with his kukri and successfully beheaded her.

With two vampires down, the team moved to the front of the castle. The shooting had alerted two more servants who were leading horses out of the stables. They mounted these and began riding hell for leather towards the castle. They seemed to be brandishing whips. They rode into a hail of automatic weapons fire from Blake, Hoffmann and O'Reilly who downed a horse and shot down both the servants. One of the horses kept coming, seemingly possessed of a berserk rage, but Hoffmann finished it off with a grenade. The group reckons it had been infected with vampire blood at some stage.

Blake considers whether vampire hunting is all it is cracked up to be.

With the shooting over, the three agents turned to find the hapless Fox with a tall, gaunt man dressed in 18th century costume, most of it black. He was holding a relatively modern automatic pistol against Fox's head. He ordered the agents to drop their weapons in German. As they complied, Blake reached for one of his throwing knives, and with a career-defining throw, landed it in one of the man's eye sockets, killing him instantly. It turned out he was not a vampire.

Further searching of the premises revealed no sign of Carmilla, other than evidence that a black sports car, an Alfa Romeo, which had been stored in one of the garages, had been driven away recently. Fox suspected that Carmilla might have been tipped off about the attack somehow.

The team now checked in with Edom on the long range radio from the castle, explaining that Carmilla was still active, but the castle was sanitised. They said they were going to search the immediate locale for her. In reality, they began to make preparations to get into the Soviet sector. A truck was found in the garage, and keys on one of the dead servants. With the sun setting over Styria, they headed east.

To be continued...