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TTRPG writeups: WoD Modern 2 - Mercenaries #0

Posted on: Monday, 15 November 2021 @ 9:38pm
Blatting about

System: World of Darkness (edition uncertain as the sourcebooks are all over the joint and also I fudge and homebrew a lot)

All players except S were in Modern 1.  T reprised his character, the others wanted to try something else.  They decided on being a mercenary group comprised of ex-military buddies, except that for some reason which I don't think even they can explain, they all decided that they were going to be from different countries and not emigrate to one so that they could easily be army buddies -_- (the character party is comprised of one Australian, one Greek, one British who seems to have retconned to Irish, and two Russians) I had done individual preludes with each player so we could all get a feel for the character, and decided to use a group prelude to bring them all together as well as give them the shared history and for them to figure out how they would work together as a team so they would have an easier time fitting together as a team (rather than having to work it out) in the actual game.  The group prelude ended up turning into a 2-session mini-campaign because sometimes things like that just happen when I get ideas, so this prelude post is really, really long (I didn't split it).  Future writeups should (hopefully) be less long ^_^;


  • Penny Parker: Ananasi Hatar Malum (played by T)
  • Irina Yaroslavovich: Corax Chaser (played by C)
  • Benjamin: Changeling Redcap (played by 12yo)
  • Markos Rellakis: Gurahl Mountain Guardian (played by 16yo)
  • Ivan: Mage - Time/Forces (played by S)

Group prelude

The player characters are deployed into some war torn area where their countries have allied against some generic terrorist force.  After some time in which they perform whatever duties they were sent there to perform (Penny is a tank commander, Irina is a high ranking sniper who officially isn't actually there at all, Benjamin is an oddity in the frontline as not only does he prefer his archaic battleaxe to his rifle but he's more effective with it, Markos generally runs supplies in the back line and is occasionally a combat medic, Ivan is a helicopter pilot who can combat but normally does pickup and dropoff).

The group is summoned by (probably) Major Raj Molina to a meeting room in one of the officer meeting areas where the standard ranks don't go into.  Penny arrives first and asks Raj (who is her commanding officer) what's going on.  Raj says he has to assemble a special operations team and that he'll explain everything once the rest of the team arrives, which they do shortly after. 

I deliberately time Irina, who is the only player character with Scent of the True Form, to arrive last.  Ivan had had to extract Irina after a "job" so they had returned to base together and end up going in together.  After a successful check, I describe the scene to C as "you feel like you've just walked into the start of a bad joke...a spider, a bear, and a bird walk into a bar...and you might not know what that one is," pointing out T and 16yo as the spider and the bear respectively, Irina is obviously the bird and "might not know what that one is" was the Fae.  S and C had at some point decided that their characters already knew what the other one was.

Irina looks around the room and says she feels like she's just walked into a joke that has nothing to do with race.  Penny (relatively high ranking and a good commander), Irina (one of the best if not the best snipers in the current alliance) and Ivan (good at both injection and extracting as well as helicopter gunnery) know why they're there, but nobody including Benjamin and Markos (the "greenhorns") know why the greenhorns are there.

Raj explains that he was tasked with putting together a special ops team and he had chosen them based on their abilities which were not on paper, and reveals that he knows what they all are (except for Benjamin which he's currently not sure about).  Irina points out what everyone is seeing as one of the two greenhorns is too scared to say anything and after a rather uncouth indtroduction the other wasn't saying anything (as a Redcap Benjamin has increased difficulty for social rolls that don't involve intimidation), and indicates she knows Raj is a Kinfolk, and they do eventually share their main roles.

Mission 1: intel retrieval

The newly formed team are thrown in at the deep end and are almost immediately sent on a mission to find an information drop and ideally Elias Glynn (codenamed "Patchwork"), the intelligence officer that had dropped the drop, as the drop will almost definitely be encrypted and Eli will have the decryption keys.  Irina pragmatically asks if it's okay to kill Eli if it looks like they won't be able to rescue him.  Raj replies yes if there is no other option.  They are told the base he's in is in a key position and if they were able to also soften up the base for a later larger force to hit, that would be a great bonus.

16yo roleplays reasonably well as a character that has only just learned enough English to be conversational, and C says "I go and sit next to the greenhorn to help translate", and as I'm speaking in character as Raj and describe Eli getting "waylaid", 16yo leans closer to C and stage whispers "what's waylaid" and C trying to do a Russian accent replies "that means he's dead".

After Raj has given the info dump briefing, he gives them time to gear up, saying they have clearance to grab most of the weapons that they think they will need and to organise with Ivan to get to where they're going, as Ivan has clearance to come and go whenever they're ready.  Raj is then summoned away by Colonel Gomez, whom both Raj and Penny despise.

T who is used to cruising along looks put on the spot for a moment after some ooc discussion between the players and I cheerfully prompt him with "You're in charge, commander!"

Penny and Irina give Markos a shopping list (Penny just dictating stuff for him to write down and Irina doing likewise but after seeing him looking confused at some of the things she's asking for, Irina grabs a piece of paper, writes her list in Russian cursive and hands it back to him).  Irina and Ivan specifically request Russian gear as they don't trust American gear.  Benjamin requests grenades ("things that go boom") and a very specific number of teabags.

Markos goes to each camp to acquire the gear, barely understanding the Russians but getting that they're grumbling about Irina's handwriting, and being told that he has the British clerk's "sincerest condolences" when it's discovered he's working with Benjamin as the British supply depot is so used to his awkward requests that they figured out who it was for just from looking.  Once he gets it back, Benjamin promptly starts eating a couple of the teabags (including the string and the tag), mildly disgusting the rest of the team.

The group deploy with Ivan and set up a perimeter around the helicopter while Irina flies in to see what she can see.

C does stupidly well on the dice roll with 8 or 9 successes from memory so sees all and knows all (I had a list of things of what Irina would notice depending on number of successes rolled, the highest was 6+).

She sees two sniper nests plus two spots that would be good sniper nests, picks where there should be a sniper nest in the town (which is set in a crevice in a cliff face), and flies further along the top of the cliff and sees two anti-air guns and a bunker guarding an access road that goes underground to be able to get to the town.  She goes to set up a sniper nest in one of the spots that looked like it would be good and finds one already there, so kills the two people inside it and takes over.  She locates and shoots out another sniper nest and is working on locating more when calls start coming over the dead snipers' radio.  She taps out "quiet" in morse code and after a moment, starts getting fired on.  She is able to triangulate where the shots are coming from and take out the last two sniper nests.  After being sure she's taken everyone out, she moves to a better position to cover her team and gives them the all clear to enter.

12yo rolls so stupidly well the other players are amazed that he didn't find the drop with that roll, they were told afterwards that they were in the wrong location.

The team are walking through the woods in a V formation, keeping an eye out while Irina keeps an eye on them from above.  Benjamin is casually swinging his axe and somehow manages to trip and completely vanishes into a ditch, landing flat on his face on an American military backpack.  He retrieves it and the team look it over to see if it's the drop, but it just contains supplies.  They keep searching and once more it's somehow the sociopathic Fae that notices that the shape of a bush looks slightly odd, and finds what looks like a water canteen.  He investigates it and after a lot of shaking, manages to pour some usb drives out.  Penny takes them and plugs them into something to check if it's the dead drop and finds the files encrypted which was not wholly unexpected.

I don't remember if they had explicitly brought a laptop with them but just went with it as it would make sense for them to do so.  T asks me if Raj would have the decryption keys and I reply "Guess who has the decryption keys." 

The team very briefly discuss if they pull out now that they have the dead drop which was the primary objective, but decide to pursue the secondary objective of retrieving Eli, figuring that he may have the decryption keys, and to see what they can do about the tertiary objective of softening up the base, also trying to figure out how the hell they're going to do that as they're a tiny "fire team" (whatever that is, the GM is a bit clueless) even with their supernatural abilities.  Penny starts leading them along the cliff base towards the heavily guarded access point they know exists from maps.  Markos meanwhile finds a Gurahl trail and on investigating, finds a hard-to-spot entrance to a cave.  He puts forward exploring the cave to Penny, she is annoyed and tells him to focus on the mission that this isn't a field trip.  Markos argues that the cave might lead in to where they want to go.  While they're arguing, Irina has noticed and informed them of increased activity in the base, and shortly after warns them that a patrol has come out and is headed in their general direction.  Penny immediately orders everyone to hide in the cave.

Irina picks off the two people that look like they might me squad leader and second in command, causing the rest of the patrol to duck and cover.  She then starts playing whackamole with anyone who pokes their head up.  The rest of the team meanwhile have moved back into the cave to avoid casual detection.  Markos can detect Gurahl trail going all the way in, and as the cave is tending upward, he is eventually able to convince Penny that they should check it out as it seems very long and is headed in the right direction.  The team are so paranoid that even if there had been any traps set in the cave, they wouldn't have set them off or would have at least detected them.  The only major distraction in the trip is when Zmei (a small Russian dragon that is embedded in Ivan's magical treasure rifle and gives it the magical treasure ability) says something to Ivan and Benjamin happens to overhear and look properly at Ivan's gun for the first time (previously Zmei had been hiding from him) and demands WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?! however no one else including Ivan can see Zmei and assume that Ivan just likes talking to himself.

The ground team eventually encounter a very obvious concrete wall and figure it probably goes into the base they want to get into.  Penny and Markos debate going in "the loud way" (Markos smashing through it) or "the louder way" (using Benjamin's grenades).  While they're debating, Ivan stands by bored and somewhat exasperated, and an equally bored Benjamin starts gnawing on the wall.  The other three watch in horrid fascination once they register that yes he is actually eating the concrete.  Benjamin eats through enough of the wall for Markos to stick his arm through and pull out a section big enough for him to fit (which easily admits the others as they're all smaller than him).  They find themselves in a storeroom full of books, scrolls and some boxes which look like solid cubes.  Ivan quickly works out that the books and scrolls are "mage stuff" and snaffles a couple.  Benjamin tries to take a bite out of one of the boxes and finds out the hard way that the inside of the box is lined with cold iron.

They head to the next room, entering carefully, and see an American soldier in one cell, a large bear with a silver collar and leash mostly non-responsive in the one opposite, and more books and scrolls further up.  The soldier is startled and calls out to them in French.  No one can understand French and there is mild confusion in the group.  Ivan thinks to query "English?" of the soldier, who then quickly asks them not to shoot him in English.  Penny ascertains that he's Eli and assure him that they're the rescue party.  Benjamin cheerfully bites the lock off Eli's cell, while Markos crushes the one on the bear's cell.  Everyone is too scared to approach the bear, and in the end they call for Ivan or Benjamin to come and "just stick your arm in the cage with the bear and take the silver collar off".

I'm not sure if that was actually said in game but there were definitely a lot of out of character joking about it.  We also didn't realise at the time that the Ananasi don't have the silver intolerance so Penny could have touched the silver collar without getting hurt.

Ivan is either too smart to tangle with the bear or got distracted by more mage stuff, either way it ended up being Benjamin who marched into the cell and took the collar off.  The bear gets up menacingly and glares at everyone, all of whom immediately back off when they realise just how big it is.  The bear fixates on Markos who is intimidated, and urged by Penny "Bear, talk to the bear!"  Markos eventually greets the bear, being very deferential when realising that he's massively outranked (Markos as a beginner character is Rank 1, the bear is Rank 4).  The bear orders Markos to "leave and take your friends with you."  Markos squeaks something along the lines of "yes sir!" and tells everyone to get out of the way of the angry bear and that they're leaving.  The bear goes Crinos and lumbers out through the opposite wall (making his own door as he can't fit through the actual door) and going further into the base while everyone else backtracks out through the cave.

Their exit startles the remainder of the patrol that were hiding from Irina and a couple of them jump up.  Irina and Ivan react instinctively, Ivan throwing a time spell that he'd prepared earlier and slowing down time for himself, and Irina firing.  Ivan sees Irina's bullets coming in slow motion, and meanwhile he has enough time to line up and shoot both opponents, though Irina's bullet gets to the second one before his does.

Irina confirms with Penny that their extra is the "vip", and meanwhile everyone is keeping an eye on Eli who has checked the drop and is flustered because one of the usb drives is missing.  Penny asks if he remembers what's on it, he says yes but not all of it, and spends a bit of time frantically searching for it.  Irina meanwhile observes the gigantic Crinos bear wreaking havoc in the base.  Eli is able to find the last usb stick, and the group bail out back to the helicopter and head back to their base.

They meet up with Raj.  Raj glares at Eli, who mumbles an apology and promptly disappears, causing Irina to conclude that they're lovers.  Raj meanwhile congratulates the team on a job well done, lets them know that they're on call to him and that their respective armies are aware of this, and dismisses them back to their normal duties.

Mission 2: bomb nom

The group are back at regular duties: the Russians have a bit of downtime as there currently isn't a lot for them to do, Markos is irritated as he has spent ages having to fix the stores as someone messed it right up during the last mission, Benjamin and Penny have been in a few skirmishes.  Raj calls for a team meeting "right now" which causes some annoyance in Penny, Markos and Benjamin's respective camps as they suddenly lose key people to the special ops team.

The team meet up with Raj and Eli, who tells them that some of the intel he gathered indicates that a bomb is going to be planted in a prominent building in a commercial centre in a major city and the allied forces are going to be blamed.  The Russians aren't too concerned as everyone blames Russia anyway but all the involved countries' reputations are at stake.  The rest of the team are still somewhat dubious about Benjamin's alleged "bomb technician" skills but pay attention when he points out where the bombs are most likely to be planted (on the maintenance floor below the central maintenance floor and the first level of the underground carpark), and make plans accordingly.

They gear up and Irina gets Ivan to fly her in a day early.  She checks herself into a hotel across the road from the building in question.  She studies the movement of the place but is unable to pick any suspicious looking activity.  She manages to casually wander in to the areas in question and set up cameras, gives feed access to the rest of the team and spends the rest of the day and all night watching the cameras and the building.

The rest of the team fly in at get stuffed in the morning of the day the attack is supposed to happen.  Penny informs Irina that they've arrived, then they hire a car, park a block away from the target building and infiltrate.  Everyone notices a flicker of movement in the maintenance room.  Irina also notices a person on the roof and sights them down her scope.  She observes someone in flowing garb with their back to her crouched down over something.  They then move behind an obstacle on the roof out of sight.  Irina reports both the flicker of movement in the maintenance room and the person on the roof.  Penny confirms that they saw the flicker of movement.  Ivan realises there's time magic going on which may or may not have been caused by the person on the roof.  Irina asks if she should shoot them, Ivan advises not to as they can't be sure and just says to report any other movement. 

The ground team investigate the maintenance room where they saw the flicker of movement.  They don't find anyone else there, so start looking for the bomb.

Once more, the Fae does way too well on a perception check.

Benjamin heads straight over to where he would expect a bomb to be, walks around the area for a while, and then kicks an item out of the way, finding the bomb behind it.  It's a bit larger than he was expecting and also has four tubes of bubbling green liquid.  Penny and Ivan are immediately concerned thinking it's a biobomb, Markos feels like the bubbling green liquid is just coolant.  Benjamin settles in to examine the bomb and checks the timer to see how long he has.  Panic kicks in when he reads the timer and screams "FIVE SECONDS!" at his companions.  Markos instinctively throws himself to the ground, Penny doesn't bother as it won't help if it's a biobomb like she thinks and just glares at the scene with an expression of "really, this is how I'm going to die?" and Benjamin Calls Upon the Wyrd, pulling his Fae mien into the banal world and immediately getting to work chowing down on the bomb as fast as he can.  Ivan throws a time spell on Benjamin, slowing time down for him.  Benjamin doesn't notice as he's too busy panic eating the bomb.  The rest of the team notice him appearing to speed up dramatically, bomb pieces are flying everywhere, and they register with some horror that he is actually consuming the bomb and figure out why he's such a good "bomb technician".

Benjamin finishes guzzling the bomb and comments how that was really stressful as he normally has at least two minutes.  Nobody understands him as he's talking too fast.  Benjamin only realises he's been sped up when he realises there are still two seconds left on the timer before he eats that too.  Meanwhile Irina glances at the cameras again and to her shock notices that at least one bomb (she can only seen one and assumes there might be more) has appeared in the carpark even though she didn't detect movement in the carpark.  She quickly reports to the rest of the team.  They simultaneously realise that there may also be one on the roof.  Benjamin hastily throws Quicksilver on Penny, Markos and Ivan, and bolts out the door heading for the roof.  Penny and Markos bolt for the ground floor, Ivan decides to even it up and follow the Fae.

To Irina who is still moving in normal time, Benjamin basically disappears out the door (moving faster than everyone else as Quicksilver and the time spell have stacked) with Ivan blurring slightly slower after him.  She blindly accepts it as Fae and Mage stuff that she doesn't fully understand.  Then Penny and Markos, moving at about the same speed as Ivan, do the same thing, and Irina stares for a bit, trying to comprehend what she saw, before dismissing it as something to think about later.

On the way to the roof, Benjamin is screaming "RUN!" at people as he races past them, not realising that all people are detecting as he races by is a rush of wind and a weird high pitched noise that they can't source.

Penny and Markos hit the first floor of the basement carpark.  Markos goes Arthren for the improved sense of smell and immediately sniffs out one bomb, heading straight for it.  Penny sees another one in the opposite direction and beelines for that.  Markos rips his bomb out of the wall, taking a chunk of the wall with it, and sniffs out another.  Penny takes a bit more time fighting to get hers off the wall, then spots another one which she runs to and starts removing as well.  Markos finds his next bomb and rips it and a chunk of wall out again, then follows his nose to the next one which happens to be the last one Penny has just finished pulling down.  They have about 30 seconds on their bombs, and decide the safesat way to get rid of them is to put them on the lowest level.  Penny goes Lilian and runs down the centre well of the ramps down, Markos leaps down from ramp to ramp.  Both hurl their bombs under the lowermost ramp and then reverse their trip.  As they're scurrying they hear the bombs exploding behind them and start feeling the heatwave rushing up behind.  They fling themselves out the car exit, changing into homid in the process.  Markos throws himself on the ground again, feeling the pressure wave blast over the top of him as he does.  Penny meanwhile grabs hold of the wall and slingshots herself around the corner.

Meanwhile on the roof, Benjamin and Ivan are frantically trying and failing to find their bomb.  After a while, Zmei tells Ivan where it is.  Ivan picks up a seed shaped object and realises that he's seen it before, but can't remember what it is.  He and Benjamin tussle over it as Benjamin thinks it's a bomb and wants to eat it and Ivan wants to hang onto it as he doesn't know what it is.  Benjamin eventually realises the object isn't a bomb and won't explode.  They're then informed by Irina that the carpark bombs are about to explode.  Benjamin grabs hold of a startled Ivan, uses the last of his Glamour to cast Hopscotch on himself and jumps the two of them over to the neighbouring building just as the bombs go off.

After the explosion, Markos gets up and Penny goes over to join him.  She glances around and notices a kid recording them and tiredly asks the kid to please stop recording as they had almost prevented a terrorist attack.  Markos is standing by being very large and unintentionally intimidating.  The kid is intimidated and quickly puts his phone away and hands behind his back.  Penny thanks him and she and Markos move away.  Penny calls Raj to tell him what happened and ask what they should do as they can hear sirens approaching, Raj instructs them to pull out as a cleanup crew will come in and take care of everything.  They regroup with Ivan and Benjamin, who had drawn some odd looks as they worked their way down the building they ended up on but most people were too distracted by the explosion to really pay attention to them, at the car.

After a bit more discussion and going back to the airport to store gear in the helicopter and change into civilian clothes, they take the rest of the day off with Ivan heading to a park to chill and read (probably one of the books he stole), Markos going to get ice cream, Penny and Irina catching up for coffee and Benjamin hanging out in the dodgiest looking area he can find trying to get people to mug him so he can terrify them for Glamour (which doesn't work because everyone is too scared of him).

Mission 3: failure

This one went relatively quick as it was a retcon of a scene all the players except S were familiar with from Modern 1 where Penny (who had amnesia) was regaining memories.

The allied forces have positioned themselves around a town-sized terrorist base, each one with their respective units.

GM placed the Greek and British forces next to each other for plot convenience and stated as such to the players for comedic purposes.

Irina makes a sniper nest with some snares to cover her and starts looking out for trouble.  She sees nothing and along with other snipers gives the all clear.  Ivan is among the combat helicopters this time and they do their first pass.  Raj and Penny are experiencing serious misgivings and both mention they have bad feelings about this.  Irina also feels like something is wrong as she observes people running around in panic and lack of any organised response.The helicopters wheel back for their second pass, and then Ivan pulls back to wait and see if they're needed for any more subsequent passes.

The tanks open fire, Raj lets the team know on the super secret app that he's not happy, but doesn't say anything on official comms.  After once more checking and still seeing no organised resistance, Irina announces that something is wrong and she's out and goes dark on official comms, bailing out of her nest.  The ground troops go in.  Markos looks around and finds a good spot to set up a field hospital, and on realising that most of the injured are civilians rather than soldiers, starts treating them.  Benjamin is running through swinging his axe and starts getting high off the Glamour that's rapidly erupting out of the general terror of the situation.

As far as I can tell from the rulebook Glamour is supposed to be "lost" if you recharge over the Glamour rating as you can't have more temp Glamour than permanent, my house rule is they get high and have to either use it immediately or roll Willpower with the TN getting higher and higher with each point, after which GM gains temporary control of the character.  After Calling Upon the Wyrd and then casting Quicksilver on himself, 12yo isn't sure what else to do and so starts rolling Willpower, though he said he wanted to see what would happen when he failed.  He eventually fails and I grab Benjamin for a little while and have him start mauling someone with intent to cannibalise (and also conveniently burning off the excess Glamour).

Markos is glancing up to survey the situation and notices Benjamin mauling a civilian.  He heads over, picking up a brick on the way, and clubs Benjamin over the head with the brick.

I did not make 16yo roll and as Markos has a strength of 5, Benjamin ended up straight in the Wounded or Mauled health state and barely conscious. 

Markos drags Benjamin back to the field hospital, making sure to take the roughest possible route and drag him over every pile of rubble he can see (which puts him up to the next health state) before setting him up in a cot and treating his injuries.  His condition plus Markos at least subconsciously realising (GM telling  the player who didn't know what the character would know) that Benjamin needed to be removed from the area has him calling Ivan for a med-evac.  Ivan arrives, Markos loads on Benjamin in the cot and helps a few of the walking wounded.

Raj meanwhile has ordered an abort and fall back.  There is a lot of confusion and arguing in the channels Penny is privy to but not the others.  Raj repeats the command into the super secret app.  Markos and Ivan are preoccupied and don't notice, Benjamin is unconscious, Irina glances at it but doesn't really respond as she's already done that, and Penny had already obeyed the order as she's under Raj's command.

Shortly after they return, Benjamin, Markos, Irina and Ivan are arrested for insubordination and desertion.  Benjamin can't really put up a fight as he's still injured, Markos doesn't resist.  Ivan doesn't even get a chance to respond as he's tranquilised immediately.  Irina is initially puzzled as to how and why they're getting arrested when they're not even officially there, and the second she realises Ivan is going down, she puts up a huge fight.

C rolls 7 successes on Dex+Brawl and says he takes 7 people out with him.  I agree Irina could manage that and send reinforcements.

Everyone realises they have a problem when they are cuffed in things that hurt them.

16yo asks how they're not dead, I say firstly they're not getting stabbed with it and secondly the metals in question are inlaid in the cuffs so there's proximity which will hurt enough to stop them doing anything useful but it's not otherwise in direct contact.

Irina is taken to an interrogation room and strung and beaten up.  She starts playing bravo, hurtling insults at the two people beating her up.


Raj and Penny meet up, sharing and agreeing with the other's sentiments that something was seriously wrong.  Both are also angry about what happened to the rest of their team as Raj wasn't able to get explanations on that front.  A frantic Eli finds them in this conversation and starts babbling in Cajun French at them.  Raj answers him in very broken sounding French, and then switches to English, telling him to speak English and that Penny couldn't understand French.  Eli glances around hurriedly, then grabs Raj and drags him to a nearby office, grabbing Penny almost as an afterthought in passing.  Only having calmed down enough to speak coherent English, Eli hurriedly tells them that he finished analysing the data he had and that they'd just wiped out a civilian town, the suspected terrorist base had been further north.  Raj and Penny don't receive this too well.  Penny wants to know who ordered the attacks, Raj gives her the four names, and says he's going to extract their team and asks if she's going to deal with the names.  Penny says she is.

Raj goes to Benjamin and Markos first, telling them they're going to be jailed for life if they return to their home countries, but they can go with him if they want.  Both agree.  He says he'll be back for them once he's sorted things out.  He goes to see Ivan, finds him unconscious and just negotiates for him to be handed over.  He then goes to see Irina and on finding her being beaten up, gets visibly pissed off and rather than leave and come back as he did with the others, he orders the two heavies to leave the room.  The heavies are reluctant but Raj does have authority apparently.  Irina hurls more insults at them as they leave and as soon as the door is shut and Raj is within conversation range she immediately says "Raj, please, get me outta here, this really hurts".  Raj quickly explains that she and Ivan are going to get executed if they return to Russia.  Irina is confused by this but agrees to go with him and promises to behave.  Raj orders the heavies to come back in and let her down.  Irina has immediately switched back into bravo mode when they re-enter and as soon as she's released, she growls that they're lucky she made a promise.  She has to stay in his quarters as that was part of the agreement for him taking her immediately, and he lets her vent her pent up rage on his punching bag (she goes Crinos and completely destroys it).  He then goes and negotiates for Benjamin and Markos, bringing them back to his quarters too.

Penny in the meantime murders the four generals on her list by cocooning them and apparently leaving random Spanish words or phrases in web-writing around the cocoons (because I had in a fit of sleep-deprived delirium written something along the lines of "she got away with it because nobody suspects the Spanish-speaking spiders" about this part in her backstory which I handed to T at the conclusion of Modern 1).

There is an agreement that Penny will meet the rest of them in her holiday house in New Orleans at a later date.  Raj takes the rest of the team to New Orleans.  Ivan recovers on the plane and queries if anyone got the license plate of the truck that hit him.  Irina fills him in on their situation in Russian, blaming him for possibly killing someone important on his bombing run seeing as their government suddenly wants them dead.  Ivan curses in English.

They live in the holiday house for a couple of months while Raj and Eli sort things out out.

I stage whisper to C "THERE'S AN INDOOR GUN RANGE" which C and S immediately decide that Irina and Ivan avail themselves of while T exclaims "I HAVE A GUN RANGE?!"

As soon as the visas are sorted Irina is gone and apparently sorts herself out as far as jobs and accommodation goes.  Ivan is set up in an old Victorian house that was rumoured to be haunted, these increase after Ivan moves in. 

I also tell the players that the house randomly changes layout for everyone but Ivan, who always ends up wherever he wants to be and isn't really aware that the house changes layout for everyone else.  T and 16yo immediately recognise this as "IT'S KLAUS' HOUSE!" (16yo's demon character's house from Modern 1 did the same thing, I said the difference was they could all Willpower their way through Ivan's house because it didn't contain thousands of angry souls).

Benjamin and Markos are set up on the same property far enough away from each other for some peace and quiet.  Benjamin is in the small cottage which contains a freehold that had previously been owned by a Fae.  Benjamin claims the freehold.  Markos has a cute little self-contained shack near the river with a small dock.  On exploring the surrounds, he immediately realises he's in a Gurahl protectorate, and eventually meets up with Storm, the Gurahl guardian of the area.  She notes that he "grew up way too fast, didn't you hun", which Markos calmly replies along the lines of "it happens", as he transitioned into Uzmati earlier than he should have after the failed mission.  She gives him the rundown of the area (the protectorate is surrounded by and overlaps Garou territory, be careful and don't antagonise them, and that the Camarilla vampires have a strangehold on the inner city of New Orleans and are trying to expand their reach, but the Fera and Fae in the area are holding the line) and is happy to delegate a chunk of the protectorate to him as the area she's guarding is very large.  The chunk she gives him contains Penny's holiday home, a small Umbral Glade and enough space to hunt and fish easily.

Raj and Eli set up not too far from Ivan's house, they have "foster kids" and "foster dogs" in and out of their house regularly, and after initially long-term caring for Eli's niece Farrah (who happens to be a Satyr) to help Eli's elderly parents out, they end up adopting her.

Penny's plans in the meantime go awry when there is an unexpectedly long stopover for her flight in New Mexico (she was apparently taking an interesting route back to Brisbane to visit her father before doubling back to New Orleans to meet up with the team) and she ends up getting attacked by Hunters while killing time exploring the town, running out in front of Maxwell's (C's Modern 1 Mage) car escaping them, getting hit, cracking her head hard enough to get amnesia.

Penny ends up playing through Modern 1 instead of rejoining her companions in a timely fashion.

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