New Legacies (3)

The Dracula Dossier Director’s Handbook (DH) covers the present-day Legacies of the main members of the Crew of Light – Billie Harker, Tabitha Holmwood, Thad Morris and the rest, the descendants of the original group who battled Dracula. However, Dracula Unredacted reveals the existence of several other members of this fellowship who, for reasons sinister or editorial, were excised from the narrative. Once the players discover the existence of Kate Reed or Inspector Cotford, might they not try to track down their present-day heirs?

Dr. James Renfield

One of the most fascinating and unexplained asides in the whole of Dracula is Renfield’s brief moment of lucidity shortly before his death, when he pleads with the Crew of Light for understanding (Dracula Unredacted, p. 331). He reveals that he seconded Lord Godalming’s father at the Windham Club, and shows surprising knowledge of the other hunters, suggesting Renfield was a man of considerable erudition and respectability before his madness.

The Director’s Handbook (p. 38) describes Renfield at the time of the novel, and also speculates he might have been committed to the asylum by a relative. If so, there might be a Renfield legacy in the present day.

Enter Dr. James Renfield – he’s a brilliant medical researcher, possibly working at the modern-day NHS facility built on the site of the asylum that once held his ancestor. Like the original Renfield, Dr. James is in remarkable physical condition – he regularly runs marathons, is an avid mountain-climber, and is in the Territorial reserves – and extremely well connected, socially and politically. He’s on various advisory bodies and boards, and has given evidence before Parliamentary committees on occasion, discussing bioterrorism, the ethics of genetic engineering and similar matters (possible connections: Philip Holmwood, DH p. 43; “Mr. Hopkins”, DH p. 117, Pharmaceutical Researcher, DH p. 128).

He’s a brilliant but intense man, impatient with lesser minds. Few people can keep up with Dr. Renfield when he’s tackling a challenge.

Dr. James shares one other quality with his ancestor – he’s unusually succeptible to vampiric influence. As soon as Dracula (or another vampire) comes within close proximity of the good doctor, his personality begins to change, taking on aspects of that vampire’s personality and goals. He soon becomes obsessive, then degenerates into incoherence and self-destructive or violent acts. Tailor the psychosis to the vampire – a Renfield in the thrall of Countess Bathory might behave very differently to one exposed to the American Vampire, or a resurrected Lucy.

Innocent: His great-great-grandfather has been erased from the family history, but show him a photograph or other proof of the actual existence of R.M. Renfield, and Dr. James is convinced to aid the Agents. This version of Dr. James is a tragic figure – he starts off as a heroic ally of the Agents, but quickly falls under the sway of the first major vampire encountered by the group.

Asset: Renfield’s already working with Edom (just like his ancestor?). Dr. James is actually an excellent candidate for Dr. Drawes (DH p. 50); alternatively, he might be an Edom researcher working on the Seward Serum. Presumably, they keep him far away from any actual vampires to avoid psychic contamination.

Minion: What’s that you say? How could the descendent of the guy who was famously working for Dracula be… working for Dracula? The obvious Minion take is that Renfield falls under Dracula’s spell, and acts to help the vampire in whatever way he can – kidnapping victims as offerings, inviting Dracula into houses, stalking troublesome hunters. Remember that Dracula may not even be aware of Renfield’s existence; Renfield’s compelled to act by Dracula’s psychic presence, not the vampire’s will.

For a nastier twist – Renfield’s willingly working for Dracula. When rumours of the missing Dossier reach the Count, Dracula orders his minion Renfield to trail his coat. Dr. James starts posting messages online, saying he’s looking into an odd family mystery, a disgraced ancestor who’s been excised from the records. Why, he’s got a copy of his ancestor’s coded journal (DH p. 277) – maybe, when put together with other records from the period, it might yield some useful information.

Defining Quirks: 1) Intense gaze 2) Loves cats 3) Hates insects, especially flies.

Investigative Abilities: Forensic Pathology, High Society, Outdoor Survival, Pharmacy, Research

General Abilities: Athletics 9, First Aid 10, Hand to Hand 6, Infiltration 6, Shrink 6

The Dracula Dossier reveals that Dracula is not a novel. It’s the censored version of Bram Stoker’s after-action report of the failed British Intelligence attempt to recruit a vampire in 1894. Kenneth Hite and Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan have restored the deleted sections, inserting annotations and clues left by three generations of MI6 analysts. This is Dracula UnredactedFollow those clues to the Director’s Handbook, containing hundreds of encounters: shady NPCs, dangerous locations, conspiratorial nodes, and mysterious objects. Together they comprise The Dracula Dossier — an epic improvised, collaborative campaign for Night’s Black Agents, our award-winning vampire spy thriller RPG. Purchase the Dracula Dossier starter kit bundle in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

3 thoughts on “New Legacies (3)

  1. SunlessNick says:

    That’s cool.

    A Murray Legacy might be interesting, descended from a sibling of Mina’s – it’s something Edom might overlook, but as a family, whatever Mina’s fate was might still haunt them.

    Dracula might still have mortal descendants too (Vlad the Impaler does, at least).

    Viv the scultpor already looks positioned to be an Aytown legac.

    • Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan says:

      Yep, Viv’s an Aytown legacy. There’s a Murray legacy in the DH, sort of – Billie Harker (DH p. 42) takes after her great-great-grandmother more than her great-great-grandfather…

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