The Hook

Eversink is famed for its Opera.

The City takes great pride in its cultural achievements, and the Opera is the Queen of the City’s Pride. It’s downright patriotic to memorize all the words to the latest big stage smash. Opera singers are beloved and treated like City heroes.

Eversink’s Opera is housed in the Eversink Opera House in Alderhall. Beautiful beyond words and covered in gold filigree, the Eversink Opera House shines in the lagoon-like a brightly lit marble. The opera house will sink into the lagoon in a few generations but meanwhile, the rich and famous from the entire world flock to hear the newest season.

The season-opening is a big City to-do. The rich throw their doors open and hold lavish salons. Nobles, diplomats, government officials, and spies dressed in lavish costumes wander from party to party backstabbing, stealing secrets, getting drunk, and speculating on this year’s shows. The not-so-rich wear masks and pile into the bars across the City to drink and gossip. They utter words of hope that when the shows roll into the cheaper theaters later in the season, they still contain a spark of the Opera House’s magic.

Tickets are scarce, scalpers scalp, people scheme, and the season opens.

Over the last few years, the quality of new Operas on the Eversink stage degraded. The music used to be magnificent. Such soaring melodies! Such lovely harmonics! Oh, the story, it would stir the breast of the most hardened criminal to tears! Now the Operas are merely… good. Some Operas are mediocre. A few are outright bad. Discordant notes. Boring tales. Not a single grand rising arpeggio!

Rumor has it from outlanders and tourists who wander from City to City that Operas staged in other cities of other nations are better.

The City glitterati wrings their hands. Eversink may lose its position as the grandest culture center in the world! What can be done?

Meanwhile, the City Watch is investigating a noticeable uptick in murders. Someone is hunting Eversink’s prostitutes. Many were found exsanguinated, but not all. Several were murdered by brutal violence of one kind or another — throats slit, stab wounds—all the murders cluster in Sag Harbor around the downtown warehouses and docks.

The murders started a few years ago, and whoever is hunting the girls doesn’t do it year-round. The murders begin in the early spring, a few months before the Operatic opening season. They increase to a crescendo of blood in the early summer. Then, the murders suddenly cease as if the killer had his or her fill of death. Then the killer returns to hunt next season.

The City Watch has no leads and no witnesses. All it has is bodies. The City has a serial killer problem and no way to solve it.

The Two Problems are Linked

Lord Leonello Acordolo was the scion of a grandly noble Eversink family over 500 years ago. He was turned by a Vampire, and he has been lurking under the City ever since. His Spire sank under the city hundreds of years ago, but he still lives in it. He still wears the same clothes he wore in life. He has been enjoying his unlife.

Leonello Acordolo has all the power, influence, and raw cash of a vampire who has lived hundreds of years. For decades, he slept in his underground lair. When he woke, his human thralls scrambled to tend to his every need, guarded his home, and brought him victims as snacks. The human thralls prefer hunting Sag Harbor due to fewer eyes for witnesses and fewer tongues to wag. They’ve murdered many a witness. They do like to dump bodies where they hunt, though, which will one day be their biggest mistake.

But Leonello Acordolo cares not for where his lunch comes from. He has awakened, and he is eternally hungry. Hungry for art! Hungry for the experience! Hungry for music! Hungry to fill men’s hearts with the warmth he can never feel, not ever again, through stunning musical passages and soaring soprano solos! Also, he really is quite hungry for blood.

Leonello considers himself quite the artist. He was a famed art critic in life, he says. And now he has risen. He is pursuing his unlife-long dream. Using all his unnatural charm, hundreds of years of resources, and his Vampiric powers, Leonello recast himself as Eversink’s Greatest Opera Producer.

And, as this is Eversink, that would probably be okay, actually. Even with murdered prostitutes, if the outcome was good for the City, the Alderhall rich would turn their heads. Except Leonello has deeply, unbelievably terrible taste in music. His taste in music in life was awful. Still, unlife has magnified his inability to know what is good by a thousand.

The Vampire is subtly warping the Eversink music scene and destroying Eversink’s cultural dominance. His funding mediocre-to-bad operas and manipulation of the Eversink Operatic gatekeepers with unnatural charm is forcing much better works off the stage.

Leonello Acordolo, Vampire of the Opera

Self-Centered, Well-Mannered, Thirsty, ‘A True Artist,’ Monologue-y

Defense – Health: Hit Threshold 4, Armor 5 (0 when confronted by a bane), Health 10 per hero
Defense – Morale: Morale Threshold 4, Grit 3 (0 when confronted by a bane), Morale 10 per hero
Offense – Warfare: +1; Damage Modifier +3 (sharp fangs)
Offense – Sway: +2; Damage Modifier +3 (insinuating voice)
Abilities: Malus 25
Special Abilities: Fearsome Blow (cost 3), Insubstantial (cost 6), Monstrous Ability (cost 3), Magical Charm (cost 3), Regenerate (fully by next dusk if not fully destroyed), Strength
Misc: Any Health damage inflicted to a Dazed, Charmed, Unconscious, or Paralyzed target heals the vampire’s Health by 1 point for every damage point inflicted. Sunlight, however, acts like Fire to a vampire. Vampiric Armor and Grit are reduced to 0 by the sound of a glass armonica. Heroes best come armed with custom-blown wine glasses.
Refresh Tokens: 5

Description: Leonello Acordolo was roguishly good-looking in life. Already a long, tall rake, undeath has made him unnaturally handsome. He has tried recently to dress in the most recent fashions, but he tends to fall back on his ancient rotting formal silks. Luckily for Leonello, most Ancient Nobility down on their luck dress in ancient rotting formal silks, so he’s not entirely out of place. He speaks with the strange accent of a creature who learned to speak 500 years ago and has quickly caught up to modern “lingo.”

He throws money around like he has an infinite amount of it (he has quite a bit), which opens up the doors of Alderhall to him. He loves to mingle and “make connections” with the rich at salons and parties and easily charms his way in. He will never eat any of them, since first they’re his friends, and second, he does not hunt where he likes to party.

Like all Vampires, Leonello Acordolo burns in sunlight. His lair is in a sunken Spire deep under Alderhall and built over with other Spires. His lair is full of human thralls who worship him like a God.

Villainous Plot Seeds

  1. Hunting the Hunter: There really is only one major plot seed for the Terror of the Opera: hunting the hunter. The PCs can enter the story in two directions:
  2. Recruited by the Watch. Someone is murdering prostitutes in Sag Harbor. Many of the bodies found are exsanguinated, but not all. Some look like they’ve been in a fight or even tortured. The pattern is the time: early spring. There are no witnesses (at least none who have come forward) and few clues. This should lead PCs to the human thralls, but getting to the Vampire will mean chasing him through High Society.
  3. Recruited by Spurned Rich. Someone is warping the Eversink Opera scene, funding these terrible works of music crimes, and destroying Eversink’s reputation as a cultural center. It could simply be some Mercanti who struck it rich and his busy putting ill-found corporate cash into the Opera and ruining it. Or it could be something worse. The best place to start is the Alderhall salons — if the PCs can land invites.

Disclaimer: These posts are unaffiliated with official canonical posts or printed materials about Sword of the Serpentine. “Swords of the Serpentine” is (TM) Pelgrane Press. For more information on Eversink, visit the Pelgrane website.