This afternoon my V:TM campaign finally got into the really heavy-duty Gothic novel territory I've been aiming for since the start of the game. I had it all carefully planned out. My players would show up at the creepy manor house, be stopped by the groundskeeper and then be shown into the lady of the house for her to tell them her evil masterplan. They might have then either gotten into a violent altercation and killed her or peaceably gotten her to give them a sample of the reagent she'd been using to turn London street urchins into creepy albino monsters. It was all intended to be really spooky and atmospheric in any case. However, this was not the case that happened.
What did happen started when PC Matt's Nosferatu character failed to mention that the boat he was hitching a ride on had failed to stop at the town (Hoddesdon) that he was aiming for. This necessitated a flying leap off the boat in which he missed the bank and had to swim downstream to shore in a comical manner. Meanwhile, PC Chris's Assamite (antitribu, natch) guy had found out that the place they were looking for was actually three miles away in Stanstead Abbots, so they woke up the owner of the town carriage-house telling him that a plague caused by ducks that caused inflamation of the hippocampus and hypothalmus had broken out in Stanstead Abbots and they needed to go treat it immediately.
So Nos PC made the horses go stupidly fast by instilling English patriotism in them and they finally arrived at the manor. Instead of waffling at all outside they made a beeline for the servants' entrance at the back. Assamite PC turns on Quietus level 1 to silently break the door down. The following events went something like this:
1. PCs troop inside creepy manor. Malkavian and Nos PCs are Obfuscated.
2. Groundskeeper is alerted to this by the house ghost and comes in after them. Assamite PC hides in a cupboard.
3. Groundskeeper waves a loaded blunderbuss about. Nos PC attempts to feed on groundskeeper. Nos PC does not succeed.
4. Assamite PC, to distract groundskeeper from the fact that a horrific creature with one eye and no lower jaw is trying to drink his blood, activates Way of Levinbolt which makes the cupboard glow like a freakin' lamp.
5. Groundskeeper freaks out, fixates on cupboard. Nos PC attempts to feed again. Nos PC does not succeed again.
6. Groundskeeper, very suspicious, whirls around to try and see what the INVISIBLE FORCE THAT IS ATTEMPTING TO BITE HIS NECK is. In a last-ditch effort, Assamit PC yells, "I am God!" from the cupboard.
7. Groundskeeper is so nonplussed by this that Nos PC, instead of trying for the Kiss again, makes a bid to grab his gun. In the struggle, the gun goes off and hits Malk PC in the shoulder. Malk PC's fuge state activates from the stress and he immediately becomes visible. Everybody facepalms as he just stands there staring vacantly off into space like an idiot.
At this point the lady of the house showed up and things went downhill from there. The conversation was fairly civil, but it ended with her getting staked for transport back to London, presumably for later interrogation by the Camarilla powers that be. Her groundskeeper ended up with his wrist broken after the ghost tried to use his arm to punch Nos PC out. They then went to sleep because it was dawn by this point and there was no time to get back to their home base in London. It was one of the funnest sessions I've had in a while and everything got done that needed to be done, but the complete lack of gravitas of any sort was definitely not what I was expecting. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or to berate my players for failing at the Gothic genre.