Embarrassed to death
We skulked around a little more until we found a suspiciously well-guarded room in the wine cellar. Ana also managed to slap the tracker on Zoltan, and he appears to be behind that guarded door. Guess what else was back there...
October 29, 2017
The secret door in the study – when do we go down there? Is there anything else to do upstairs?
We’re pretty sure Zoltan will be giving a personal tour of his artwork tomorrow afternoon through the main gallery and around the castle.
Should we just be party guests until tomorrow? Not sure what else we have to do…
Another art roll…Rene gets Far Out. There is art in the study, so the tour may go through there at some point. The art in the gallery will certainly be the focus.
As the models cover up and the painting breaks off, Morris starts to chat up one of the servants about Master Zubriggen’s whereabouts. Eventually they begin chatting about wine and fine ales and head for the wine cellar, where there would also be a few casks of ale.
In the basement are some cool storage areas and a lovely wine cellar. There is an area that Morris is not quite as welcome to enter – some very large objects and oversized and casks there.
Not that it’s Morris’s specialty, but he does notice some barrels of good beer and ale, hiding over in the corner of the wine cellar are at least three bottles of Chateau Margeau (a region well known for their older vintages).
Alertness +2 – the servant tries to distract Morris, but it’s clear that there are people talking quietly behind the casks. The servant claims that this area is also the break room; when Morris acknowledges the “workers”, they get real quiet all of a sudden.
Simon is waiting. Everyone else hears the news about Zoltan giving his tour. Rene has been documenting the “artwork”. Ana is hanging out behind Rene.
Morris suggests to Simon that we could sneak back down later on…
Morris *did* notice another door in the wine cellar…there is one that goes outside, and Ana didn’t say anything about it. For some reason she didn’t notice it. From the inside, it was not hidden but behind stuff.
Later in the evening, Morris and Simon will try to sneak back into the cellars. Dinner is over; it’s 9 pm and things are quiet. Someone is making a late-night snack in the kitchen when we walk in, so we are able to get down just beyond their notice. No one is standing in the pantry section.
First thing, Morris goes over to tap a pint of beer quite stealthily. We don’t hear anyone down here, just the sounds of the disco above. Pints in hand, we wander towards the secret-ish area…Engineering +6, burglary 0 = four of Zoltan’s personal guards are sitting in white leaning up on the wall…one cask appears to be sitting improperly.
Simon notices two guards are standing with their truncheons. The other two move back to protect that barrel…They offer to draw us a few liters and send it to our rooms. Morris and Simon duck into the wine cellar; it means nothing to Simon. As we look at the Margeau, Simon doesn’t know anything. One of the kitchen staff wanders in. Morris sweet-talks her; she suggests that the guards take their break down here. She isn’t sure it believes it; she’s lying. (Morris’s Empathy 4; she got a 4 something to tie).
Simon can’t tell any particular aspects that she’d have…she’s just a nobody. But she’s important enough to throw our asses out of the cellar.
At the bar, Simon suggests that he likes the idea of going through the kitchen even more than going through the study. And this gets Rene with us. We can handle the guards with the statuette…but we don’t know where Ana and Rene are.
Ana decides to have a tryst with one of the other party guests, and they slip off into the theater. They’re not alone in here…
Morris and Simon decide for a bit of fresh air and head down to the veranda. A guard questions us and asks where we’re going, but doesn’t stop us. We wander around and find the cellar door…it’s where we expect it.
Simon told Ana what we found and suggested this to her.
The next morning three of us are out on the veranda…not sure about Rene. Rene comes down at lunchtime looking for something to clear his head.
Simon outlines his plan. As soon as Rene hears “Chateau Margeau”, all other details stop.
If we alter the guards’ memories, we may need to explain this. Just throw a few empty bottles nearby and they get accused of drinking on duty.
A bit more time…Rene attempts to distract the guard in the entryway, and Morris sneaks in to look in the coat room. Investigation - -3. Nothing secret in here other than drugs in pockets. No apparent secret doors.
Any chance Rene could get any information from this servant? Well, the servant has a little downtime later this afternoon.
R: I hear tell of a bottle of Margeau in the cellars. Would you care to join me for that, perhaps bring some of the other servants?
Rene’s got a date for 4 pm, which would be after the art showing.
As the afternoon drags on, the guests start to fill up into the gallery – including Steve McQueen and Twiggy. Rene introduces himself. A little after 2, Mr. Zubriggen appears down the stairs. Rene and Ana are in the gallery. Simon and Morris are near the stairs. Zoltan smiles and nods to them. When he enters the gallery, he introduces himself, gives a short speech, and begins the tour. He starts to most arrogantly show off his collection.
Morris, Simon – looks like our cue.
Ana attempts to hang on Zoltan’s arm. She taps Captivated by Women and Femme Fatale and tries a Social Standing…+4. Before the tour is halfway through, he ushers her to his side and she takes his embrace.
We sneak over to the study, slowly and carefully. There are also a pair of guards following right behind Zoltan. It may very well be that someone noticed.
We sneak over to the corner…can we flop the carpet back down over the room? Yes…
What’s down below the stairs? We find ourselves in a long storage room filled with crates and barrels. This isn’t pantry or cellar-storage stuff.
Art? +1 and -4. Looks like military weapons down here. Artillery -1…it’s not military crates. Morris pries one open – it’s full of statues, paintings, and supplies.
Any more secret entrances? Alertness +2, +3 – another secret door. No big ass statues stolen from Greek museums in here.
Simon suggest that the secret door goes into the wine cellar and we know what’s over there.
Looks like we’re done here…we’ll need to go through the cellar. We check the tracker and they’re on the far side of the gallery.
One last Alertness…someone’s in the gallery. We wait quietly until we hear footsteps leave, then return to the study. We’re back upstairs with the door closed…but we may need a way out of here.
Ana has been hanging with Zoltan…can she pick up any other aspects? Rene will create a distraction by challenging his authority (Social Standing +4).
He’s also an Underappreciated Genius and Self-absorbed and Amazingly Insightful.
Rene wants to steal the limelight for just a moment to give Ana a distraction. His Art check is Fab…deceit = Hip. Once in the hallway, Rene finds that Zoltan passes over talking about some American Neo-Fascist artwork. Social standing +8…wow! He can pick a temporary aspect because he so totally caught Zoltan off-guard. “Artistically equaled” …she uses this and her Ever Vigilant aspect to get a +4 Sleight of Hand roll…
Zoltan tries to deflect the criticism verbally; Ana slips the tracker on him as he explains. The tour continues, and Simon and Morris exit the study.
Alertness +5 and +3…We’ll follow on the tour. Morris looks at the painting and realizes that it doesn’t really match but to his untrained eye, it’s not special. He *does* notice the guard on the stairs giving him the stink eye. Simon follows the tour; Morris joins later on.
We see Ana on Zoltan’s arm and some people watching Rene in amazement.
The crowd fawns over Zoltan’s work when he points it out. He’s quite the artist – paintings, statues, jewelry, etc. Upstairs in the dance hall are more statues of his. Nothing Hermes-sized, but still nice. A few sculptures in the music hall are strange modern renditions of musical instruments. A couple pieces in the dance hall are abstractly modern and not of anything…strange twisted shapes that seem to defy reality. Certainly seems like he could have made the statuette.
It’s about 5 and Rene realizes he’s missed his date…but one cannot insult ones host. Finish the tour, Alertness 0, -2, 5 (Rene), 2 (Ana).
By the end of the tour, Rene notices that the guards are giving him and his entourage the stink eye. We give Rene the quick lowdown – that we have to go into the wine cellar – and then he dashes off to have a bottle of wine with the servant.
We can also track Zoltan with the thing while we wait.
Rene shares some expensive wine with the servants and attempts to get on their good side…then find out what he can.
Deceit 0. They enjoy the first bottle of wine; he doesn’t even start to work on Zoltan yet. He’d share stories about some of the other guests.
Then they go for a better bottle of wine…+3 rapport (using the Aspect “here’s a good bottle!”
They spill the information that there a lot more shipments of art coming and going lately…some of them have been high security, off-hours, etc. There’s not always a party going on, so sometimes it’s not as hard to move anything big through. Where else? Through the storage entrance (the one we found into the pantry). No one seems to know *what* it has been.
Can anyone spill the beans about the “big surprise”? Apparently he’s working on some new art piece…Rene says he needs to make sure he’s got a fresh roll of film.
The tracker suggests he’s about below our room, which means the basement.
Ok, we’re probably here to recover art. Do we need to bust Zubriggen as well? How can we move the artwork out if we can take it home?
Rene asks us if maybe the statuette was just a trial, and the “unveiling” is a bigger one that would influence a room full of powerful people? That would be a bad thing.
Sneaking through the kitchen is pretty easy, but timing it out to get from the study at the same time will be tough.
We decide piss on it, and we all head to the kitchen. We notice a guard outside the study. We go into the entryway and see people dining up ahead. It’s pheasant tonight…we wait until a couple of people are carrying trays in and out of the kitchen, so we head for the stairs. Rene snitches a piece of meat like he belongs here…and now for the wine. He heads for the cellar…there are more servants busy in here.
Rene: You get your pint, I’ll grab the wine.
The servants are busy enough that they kind of ignore us. Morris nods towards the corner where the guards are…Rene leads us down towards the now *five* guards…one of them is intently watching the secret door to the south (towards the study entrance).
R: Ah, excellent. Waiters – get us some glasses!
Guards: We’ve been expecting you…(prepare truncheons)
R: Perhaps you should take a nap.
Art roll +8…
To a man they go catatonic.
Simon tosses the tracker to Morris and looks…the barrel rolls back to reveal an iron door. Simon ransacks the guards and pulls out some old keys. Morris points to the tracker, then points forward. He takes one last pull off the beer and sets it down. Ana has her pistols out.
We swing the door open and find ourselves inside what appears to be Leonardo Da Vinci’s workshop. Lots of machines and artwork fill the room. At the far end of the room we see Zoltan working feverishly on some strange statue. It draws our eyes to it strangely…
Simon taps “There is a logical explanation for everything” to get up to +2.
Zoltan: I told you I wasn’t to be…oh! Lady and Gentlemen…how do you like my workshop.
Our keen senses of the obvious notice the large statue of Hermes and Dionysus, partially covered.
R: Lucy, you got some ‘splainin to do.
Zoltan is completely lost at this mangled American pop culture reference.
Simon aim his gun at Zoltan.
S: Seems we’ve found the art thief.
Z: Don’t be ridiculous. I didn’t steal anything.
S: You are in possession of stolen goods.
R: Or were you not genius enough to notice?
Z: So is this how it ends?
R: You come along, quietly?
Zoltan draws a saber and says, “Don’t think that scares me.”
Simon shoots Zoltan. He taps the Aspect “he talks too much” to slow down Zoltan.
Rene’s first…he dashes forward to find a heavy metal object with which to damage the statue.
Simon shoots…and misses horribly. His gun jams. Zoltan giggles, walks up to Simon, and swings…Simon takes a Major consequence because he doesn’t have an 8-box. “Maimed hand”.
Ana: I’m sorry about this. You had your chance with me, and now I’m going to take my turn on you.
She tags him for a 4-box. Morris grabs a length of rope from the statue and tries to throw it around Zoltan to Entangle him. Zoltan casually flicks the rope to the side with his sword.
Rene swings at the statue and quips, “I’ve never heard a stone cry out before…your art is terrible.” Social combat!
Rene uses several stunts etc on top of his Intimidation…3 dice + 1 intimidation + 1 stunt + 4 art = 9. That’s a 7-box and a swing die…he takes a Severe and a 1-box on his Social track. “Impending scandal”
Simon decides this gun stuff is for the birds so he attacks bare-knuckled. Fists vs Athletics…he uses a fate point for +3 total…he lands only a glancing blow. Zoltan uses a Fate Point, taps Underappreciated Genius, and we should have known that he was planning this. More than just servants are coming down these stairs!
Then he spins towards Ana and attacks…he hits, but Ana uses Super Toughness and ignores the damage. She notices that Zoltan continues to be nervous about what Rene will say to the papers and takes advantage of the distraction to hit +8. Her Two-gun fury lands a six-box on him…4-box and a minor physical.
Morris slams the door shut and locks it just as the guards are coming around it…and spends a Fate point for “crowded and cluttered” to slow them all down. Hopefully we’ve got a couple more rounds before they’re in here.
Rene: Wait until the world finds out the only way you could have good art in your castle is to steal it.
Zoltan: You can only record good art yourself!
Well, Rene’s camera records everything…including the true meaning, etc.
R: I take pictures of art, even the crap you make!
Zoltan taps, “Terribly overconfident” to add +2 and settles for a 5-box. Severity of the hit still provides a temporary aspect…so the temporary aspect with “gun jammed” is different…
Ok, so Zoltan tapped Gun Jammed but then stopped paying fate points, so that aspect is not an issue anymore. Just like Hot Headed lasts but we need fate points to power it.
Simon tries to get his gun up to bear and fires! Guns 5 vs. 4 dodge = 2 points.
Zoltan turns towards the door that’s been closed and shouts, “Get in here and help me!”
He spins away from Ana and heads for Rene. A few steps and his saber whips out at the Frenchman. Dodging is always Athletics which Rene doesn’t have…
We need to consider the mechanical aspects of defending oneself (athletics vs weaponry vs ?) and how we handle aspects vs tapping vs ?
Rene takes a 4-box…owie!
Apparently his next art piece will be meat puppets…
Ana’s guns follow Zoltan over to Rene…she taps “Off Balance” and shoots for 11 guns…He didn’t concede yet…he does take his Extreme and a 3-box. She shot out his larynx…he’s clutching the gushing wound on his throat.
Morris hammers a chisel under the door to jam it shut.
Morris: As far as that statue, I got just the thing for it.
Before Simon can go, Zoltan Concedes. How does he want to go out?
He’ll give up and signal to his guards to stop attacking. He expects us to save his life, which we do.
We patch up Zoltan, ransack the workshop, call in Section 12…we try not to let on anything. Rene says that Master Zubriggen was called away but we are supposed to enjoy ourselves for the rest of the weekend. His Leadership is good enough to pull this off.
Sections 6 and 8 are called in and he’s a genius. It’s more than just art...he’s so smart he’s found a way to affect the subconscious of people with these shapes. He was going to use aspects from these artworks to control the human psyche. His big statue down here was the final version…the hand-sized version was just a failed prototype.
We get Zoltan black-bagged to London. Section 12 helps move the art (and statue) out.
Rene wonders if he can get the Mona Lisa in his bedroom and bring the curator of the exhibit over for a three-way…probably not.
Section 8 does take the small statuette as well. About a week later, back in London, Simon gets a strange letter in the mail. It’s a letter from the Chief in Paris who was on the Mona Lisa case personally thanking him for his help. That must have hurt to write…
We found the missing artwork and stopped a castle full of movers and shakers from getting mind-munched. Good job, agents!
Two more skill points for tonight.
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