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wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




The other problem with going to Valkyrie is that they're heavily infiltrated and possibly funded by a group of vampires.

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Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



wiegieman posted:

The other problem with going to Valkyrie is that they're heavily infiltrated and possibly funded by a group of vampires.

Not in my campaign.

...

The Director was a Promethean who completed her Pilgrimage and retained full memory of her past.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




"Christ, this poo poo again. The task force put its weight behind a few laws that indirectly helped the Masquerade by extending federal and state business hours deep into the evening and early into the morning and now everyone says we're run by the drat bloodsuckers."

Kavak fucked around with this message at 02:53 on Dec 30, 2016

Luminous Obscurity
Jan 10, 2007

"The instrument you know as a piano was once called a pianoforte, because it can play both loud and quiet notes."


Everyone knows its funded by patriotic monsters. Being dead comes second to being an American.

ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013




the actual dark 'secret' of Valkyrie is that they're fash as hell

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



ZeroCount posted:

the actual dark 'secret' of Valkyrie is that they're fash as hell

But if you're running a Hunter campaign as beer and pizza fun where vampire princes get sucked into Air Force One's jet turbines, that's okay.

ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013




Cythereal posted:

But if you're running a Hunter campaign as beer and pizza fun where vampire princes get sucked into Air Force One's jet turbines, that's okay.

heck yeah

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Mors Rattus posted:

...wait, by the end the von Carsteins were vampire space marines?

I was pretty confused when I saw this design change for the first time. Kinda looks like a Nosferatu desperately wanted to be as cool as a Blood Dragon and started to do workouts.

But hey, their weird obsession to make stupid changes for a more copyrightable IP gotta start somewhere.

Luminous Obscurity posted:

Everyone knows its funded by patriotic monsters. Being dead comes second to being an American.

"I've helped to create this country by ripping and tearing countless Biritsh soldiers. Don't talk to me about patriotism like you know what that means!!"

Doresh fucked around with this message at 10:36 on Dec 30, 2016

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Vampire: the Requiem, 2nd Edition

Berlin is a city of terror, for vampires. Something is going after them, and they haven't been able to find out. One in four has vanished or died, and it's getting faster. History-wise, modern Berlin dates back to 1945 and the disappearance of the Kaiserin Clara von Magdeburg, who had ruled the city's vampires and led her Shadow Empire. Her bank accounts were likewise drained, and her Empire fell with her. After a year of brutal fighting, the Elector Council largely united behind a young Daeva, Joachim Hirsch, who was the childe of the Ordo Dracul elector and had never before shown much promise or ambition. Upon being crowned, Joachim declared himself the legitimate heir of the old Margravate of Brandenburg, styling himself Margrave Heinrich III. He quickly proved ruthless and competent, and within twenty years the electors served him loyally, including his sire. When the Berlin Wall fell, he moved quickly to gather allies who wanted peace, annexing East Berlin within less than a year.

The 90s were a chaotic but hopeful period for vampires, and when a young vampire vanished without trace or explanation in 1998, no one thought much of it, though a few especially sensitive Kindred felt a cold wind from the south and became nervous at bird cries. On New Year's Eve of 1999, just at the stroke of midnight and the change to 2000, his body was found, with claw marks over the heart but no signs of decay. Another vampire vanished that night, and three more over the next two years. All were young neonates. Then, ancillae and even a few elders. In 2009, Maria Goldstein, the Invictus Elector, became a victim. The margrave ordered a series of new embraces, establishing an elite corps he named the Watchful Eyes, to police the domain. At first, they seemed to be working.

A year after their founding, to the day, the Watchful Eyes headquarters burned to the ground during their anniversary celebration. None of those present for the event escaped alive. The margrave was out of options. On New Year's Eve, 2011, he told the Elector Council that he was going to get the vampire hunters of Berlin to solve the problem. 2012 began with a rash of near-public vampire attacks. It worked - rather than lone hunters, Berlin now had a number of hunter cells. Step two, the margrave was going to feed them some scapegoats. Step three, planting clues. It's not an easy game. The margrave needs to feed the hunters enough information about vampires to work with, but not too much. He hopes that by giving the hunters clues on the mysterious attacks on vampires, carefully edited to appear to be attacks on mortals, he will get them to root out what he could not. He needs to feed them enough vampire scapegoats to keep them going, but not enough that the hunters or the neonates of Berlin realize the game. And he must Embrace enough people to rebuild the Watchful Eyes, but not so many that the hunters realize he's targeting them. The margrave has publically announced that he's manipulating the hunters to go after the assassin, but not how. Should the young Kindred of the city figure it out, he might have to deal with a large revolt. His hope is that the problem is solved before that happens, but he's prepared emergency measures to abandon the city if he must.

While the Margrave is himself a Daeva, the clan receives no preferential treatment - indeed, he tends to give them less than anyone else, to avoid appearing to have a favorite. As a result, the clan tends to define themselves as opposing him, and are disproportionately members of the Invictus or the Revolutionary Council, and very rarely Ordo Dracul. The assassin has also hit more Daeva than any other clan, and between that and their tendency to leave the city, they're down to a quarter of their old numbers. The Gangrel, on the other hand, are in a strange position. They dislike that there are no Gangrels among the Electors, but they also are slowly growing to outnumber all other clans, being largely untargeted by the assassin. They quite like being a third of all vampires in the city. The Nosferatu and Mekhet have been coming together, united in greater safety than the Ventrue or Daeva due to their ability to hide. However, even in hiding, they have been targeted, and they have banded together for safety. Mutual blood bonds between Mekhet and Nosferatu are uncommon, and some wonder if the two clans will end up merged into something new. Fully half of the electors are either Mekhet or Nosferatu, which makes some people nervous about the alliance. The Ventrue, like the Daeva, have lost a lot. They're down to half of their old numbers, and they tend to be the strongest of the margrave's supporters. Their increasing political irrelevance, however, has split the clan between old and young, as the young radicalize against the apparent uselessness of their elders.

The Watchful Eyes are a very small, Berlin-exclusive covenant - less than half a dozen survivors of the 2010 attack, a few newly Embraced vampure hunters selected personally by the Eyes' leader, the Mekhet Sara Ferreira, and a handful of promising recruits from among the city's vampires. They're almost cult-like in their fervor when it comes to hunting down the assassin, whom they have named Abaddon. They are paranoid to a fault and operate in cells that answer only to the First Cell, Ferreira's group of survivors. They are extremely powerful politically, with Ferreira as their elector, and have the margrave's ear. The Revolutionary Council is the other Berlin-exclusive covenant. They were the only covenant in East Berlin during the Cold War, and clearly in charge, if very fractious about leadership. The margrave gave them a set on his Elector Council, led by Ludwig Schneider of the Ventrue. They rapidly assimilated the Carthians after the Wall fell, surprising many, and over the last two decades they have gradually shed their Communist ethos in favor of Westernizing and becoming, essentially, Carthians in all but name with a few old guard that still grumble about communism. They are espcially discontented over the wealthy outpowering them politically, however.

The Circle of the Crone are rare in Berlin and are faced with suspicion over the attacks, because some believe the assassin has performed Cruac rites. Tehir elector is the Nosferatu Augustus. The Invcitus are in a position of near-irrelevance thanks to the margrave, and they do not like it. They have become an almost mystical group focused on the idea of producing their own secular Messiah to take back the city. Their elector is Sofia Goldstein, Mekhet and childe of the lost Maria. The Lancea et Sanctum are popular and the margrave likes them, allowing them to perform public prayer and rites at all events. Their elector is Cardinal Margarete Kohn of the Ventrue. The Ordo Dracul are essentially an extension of the margrave's will, as he has blood bound his sire, the elector Werther the Younger, and is able to command the old vampire easily.

Now we had to Montreal. Montreal is...not a good place to be a vampire. A being known as the Nameless has been keeping vampires from doing as they will for as long as anyone can remember. No one is sure what the Nameless is. Some say the devil, some an ancient draugr. Whatever it is, it is exceptionally dangerous when crossed. Vampires have been in southern Quebec for a very long time, among the native Mohawk and Iroquois, but not in any great numbers. The only remnant of this period is a small Ventrue family called the Tsihstekeri, who remain largely aloof from politics. By the 16th century, however, Europeans had come to the region, and by the 17th century, European vampires joined the French settlers. They rapidly outnumbered the native kindred and used conflicts between the French and the natives to their own benefit, at one point even enslaving an entire village of natives as food. For decades, the native vampires fought to free those prisoners, but it took them fifty years. The final battle slew most of the European vampires, and it took twenty years for them to return in the form of British vampires, who allied with the native vampires against the French, even if the native mortals did not. The two groups ended up growing together and Montreal established a society and its first prince, the Invictus Ventrue Thomas Sheridan. He was popular and maintained the peace for about a century, until November 5, 1935.

At that point, Sheridan was slaughtered and discovered by a young Carthian, who witnessed his destruction at the hands of some black figure with shining eyes. Since that night, Theban Sorcery has not functioned within Montreal at all. The locals panicked, and within a month their elected pro-tem leader was murdered by the figure, who left a scrawled message reading 'No more Princes.' The city fell into chaos, with each of hte major covenants trying to take control and not acknowledging the others. In 1960, the Carthians attempted to seize power over the entire city when the mysterious figure showed up and killed all but one of them, a woman named Eva Dubois who said that the figure killed the rest singlehandedly and gave her six rules before removing her eyes. In 40 years, they have not regrown. Rumor is she was told not to try. She named the figure 'the Nameless.' Since then, the rules have been in place. Anyone that breaks them is killed. The Tsihstekeri claim that the Nameless is just a harbinger of worse things to come.

The rules are simple: 1. Don't kill each other. 2. Don't gather more than five at a time. 3. Don't leave the city. 4. Don't look for me. 5. Don't impersonate me. 6. Stay away from the cross.

Montreal's Daeva primarily are French, with three major families - the Leclercs, the Guillaume and the Vasseur. The Gangrel maintain small urban packs, primarily nomads who are trapped in the city since the rules were established, and they especially would love to see the Nameless found and destroyed. The Mekhet do not like Montreal, because they can't figure out what the Nameless is or why it can find any rulebreaker. The Nosferatu aren't too bad off, and are especially good at moving around the city safely, so they make a good living as escorts and bodyguards. The Ventrue are among the eldest vampires in Montreal, many either native or British descended. Those Ventrue who speak to the Tsihstekeri family line tend not to fear the Nameless. No one knows why. They do, however, tend to fear something else entirely, which they never describe to others.

There are exceptionally few Carthians in Montreal, thanks to the slaughter of 1970. They're trying to create a network of safe havens. The Circle of the Crone maintain small cults of four vampires each, with various beliefs, but most of them see the Nameless as the ultimate trial and lesson. They like the fear and strange rules of the environment around them, even if it means the Nameless keeps taking a few for trying to learn more about it. The Invictus exist, but are ineffectual, given their inability to properly organize under the rules. They are dying and even worse at recruitment than the Carthians. The Lancea et Sanctum are banding together well...but they'vel ost their sorcery. In its place, they've been pooling resources to help each other, and all members get Retainer, Herd and Haven equal to their Lance Status. The Ordo Dracul tend not to have many problems, as a group, and have adapted well to the problems.

And that is literally it, no explanations again.

Next time: The Triangle and San Francisco

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

NHP advocate.


Mors Rattus posted:

Vampire: the Requiem, 2nd Edition

And that is literally it, no explanations again.

Next time: The Triangle and San Francisco

I dunno, I prefer these two as set ups to the previous ones. It feels like they give the storyteller a bit more wiggle room to come up with stuff.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


Luminous Obscurity posted:

Everyone knows its funded by patriotic monsters. Being dead comes second to being an American.

"Diablorie, son!"

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


I do wish we'd gotten some possible explanations for the Weird Stuff going down, rather than it being left completely up to the Stortyeller's judgement.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Crasical posted:

I do wish we'd gotten some possible explanations for the Weird Stuff going down, rather than it being left completely up to the Stortyeller's judgement.

Some things are better left unanswered. Exibit A: the prequel trilogy.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Doresh posted:

Some things are better left unanswered. Exibit A: the prequel trilogy.
Things are even better when several possible explanations are given for you to build off of as a storyteller.

Asehujiko
Apr 6, 2011


Will there be a new thread for 2017? If so I'll hold off until tomorrow with starting Polaris(2016 one that is completely unrelated to the old one). It's a textbook case of interesting setting - bad crunch; Apocalypse happens, icecaps melt, radiation forces everybody to live in deep sea bunkers and after two ancient empires with lost technology appearing and disappearing there's a whole bunch of states in various levels of established or yet to be properly established and also the UN is run by wizards. The crunch however is 600 pages of tables, formulas on how to make more tables because writing them out would make the books even longer and worst of all, it's actually pretty restrictive on what kind of character you can make with it through various no-brainer skill choices and various counter-intuitive mechanics. Even then the rules in various places are incomplete and flat out refer to future supplements for more information.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Now add an unnecessary metaplot, and we've got a "winner".

And I'm holding off stuff for next year as well, as I figured that I might not finish it in this one.

Terrible Opinions posted:

Things are even better when several possible explanations are given for you to build off of as a storyteller.

Jedi: The Forcening. Recover 1 Willpower if you use Yodaspeak.

Spiderfist Island
Feb 19, 2011


I suppose I'm also holding off on stuff as well too, since my RQ2E review is still unfinished. The "reprint" PDF for Cults of Prax just was released to Kickstarter backers who ordered it, so after the eventual heat death of the universe I may also review that.

Doresh posted:

Some things are better left unanswered. Exibit A: the prequel trilogy.

The Prequel Trilogy is actually great if you think of it as R2-D2 making some ...embellishments when telling C-3PO why his memory was wiped. That's what I tell myself at least.

Asehujiko
Apr 6, 2011


Oh it has a metaplot that starts up and ends with "see future splatbook for more" and it even has attempting to jam real world physics into game rules and random little bits of rules hidden inside fluff chapters!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




I think the first update in this thread was for the Vampire chapter of Everlasting: Book of the Unliving, so if there's a new thread you better class it up with better vampires, Mors.

By the by, even the original Vampire (or at least the second edition) had info about groups that were never explained and left up to the Storyteller. I don't think it devoted as much pagecount to the Sabbat and the Black Hand that Requiem 2e does to the Strix.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Vampire: the Requiem, 2nd Edition

The Triangle is the extended metropolitan area composed of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill in North Carolina. It's a growing city, but a city of contradiction - poverty and wealth exist side by side. For vampires, however, it's quite a nice place. Growing population, established gentry, and so on. It'd be the model for any vampiric domain, really, set apart by one fact: it has six clans, not five. It's not entire clear how the clan Jiang Shi came to become such a big part of the Triangle, but they're here, and their eldest are extremely bizarre, different from other vampires in ways that the younger Jiang Shi are not.

No one has nay idea how they got to North Carolina. They appear to have always been there. The eldest vampires never saw them as fellow Kindred, but the younger ones see them as clearly a clan to be reckoned with. There's too many Jiang Shi to eliminate and keeping them out would harm the Masquerade. Until a few decades ago, the area was a set of half a dozen smaller domains until the Queen of Raleigh became powerful enough to annex the rest. Now, she is the Queen of the Triangle, aided by the Privy Council. She spends most of her time on elders' affairs and other high-level projects, leaving the lives of younger and weaker vampires to essentially be as they will, very lenient. The Triangle itself is divided up into dozens of fiefs, each ruled by a local baron or baroness, whose job is to keep things in order and pay tribute to the Quyeen. Baronies merge, divide and change as the Queen sees fit, and as long as a baron does what the Queen says, they can do whatever else they like. Some baronies are extremely hierarchical, but most commonly the baron just has one or two lieutenants, demands some tribute every so often and enforces a handful of laws. The Queen doesn't care about any internal unrest as long as she gets her tribute and the Traditions remain unbroken - but if either fails, the baron is responsible, no matter what. As a result, revolts are rare.

The Jiang Shi are highly established in the city. The Ventrue are known for seeking power, the Mekhet for seeking the occult, but the Jiang Shi are famous for being scholars and librarians. They are often stereotyped as being frail but intelligent, and their powers are rarely as dangerous as those of other clans. However, they have some abilities that no one else seems able to learn. It is said that they're easy to kill if you catch them off guard, but that itself isn't easy. Within the Triangle, mortals are easy prey - mostly middle class, not especially wary and generally out of shape. However, disappearances can't happen too often without drawing attention - the locals are too educated and too wealthy. The Queen is more than happy to throw a baron to the wolves if they let the media catch on. She's Invictus, after all, and the Masquerade trumps all. She typically Dominates these victims and subjects them to carefully planned vigilante justice or one of the other methods she's found of persuading mortals the problem is solved. This doesn't mean everything is safe - you get your obsessives no matter what, of course, and there's strange things. But those happen everywhere, right?

The Daeva do well in the Triangle. There's plenty of nightlife to be part of, and the clan as a whole does not really organize itself. The sire-childe bond is more a patronage than anything else - the sire starts the childe off with some contacts and resources, and in return the Daeva childe helps maintain their image and reputation and sometimes does favors. At least, that's the theory. The Gangrel, meanwhile, tend be on the outskirts, primarily suburban if not sedentary. They are very much drawn from the middle class and many do not take the 'Suburban Savages' very seriously. The Jiang Shi are half scholar, half early warning system. They've found several major threats early - a bronze bull that led to the deaths of several vampires in the late 60s, for example, and tend to operate in clutches of three to five that share resources. Typically Jiang Shi sires induct their childer into a clutch and then expect them to find their own once they become more powerful. They heavily recruit from the city's researchers, scientists and occultists.

The Mekhet, meanwhile, are excellent at hiding. They often pretend to be ghosts haunting an area, and they become invisible quite well. They have very deep influence over the city - their role as occultists has largely been usurped, but they instead operate as a sort of network of 'Shadow Guilds' that plot and maneuver to control the city through their abiliuty to spy and hide. The Nosferatu, likewise, thrive - they hide among the freaks and weirdos of the colleges in the area and mostly draw their childer from thisp opulation as well. Many were outcasts in life, either homeless or alienated students, and they're very diverse as a result. The local Ventrue tend to be pretty laid-back, young and well-liked. They're stylish, hard to offfend and ruthless when they must be. It's a carefully groomed facade by the clan elders, who maintain it despite the fact that many young Ventrue don't actually live up to it. It's resulted in the Ventrue being very respected and influential, leading by example.

The Invictus are absolutely in charge under Queen Carla Williams - though if you're smart, she's just the Queen. The Masquerade is hard to keep in an area this large, but the Invictus do a drat good job of it. They rule by an elder council of seven who serve to advise the Queen; in theory, she's just one member, but in practice, she's in charge. The Lancea et Sanctum are ppretty standard - they hold sermons and so on. They're maybe a bit less formal, but no more forgiving. The church midnight masses are very well-attended on Sundays, as most other vampires attend out of a sense of obligation, though enough don't that open scorn or defiance of Church doctrine is a recurring conflict. The local Circle of the Crone is much more open than normal - they believe that every Acolyte has the right to worship as they like. Tolerance of others' beliefs is key to how the local Circle operate, even if those beliefs seem monstrous. Those that want to enslave humanity and those who believe harming them is unforgivable have learned to live together and be friendly. The Ordo Dracul recruit largely from the collegiate mortals, and tend to be highly academic. They even have their own coded research journal. The Carthians tend to allie with the Circle, feeling that as the Acolytes are to religion, so must they be towards politics. All beliefs must be accepted. In theory, anyway. In practice, they tend to be at each others' throats about political stances, and as a result they tend to be very irrelevant, but also very dynamic, as new people are brought in and old ones driven away by the constant arguing and grandstanding.

Sidebar: the Jiang Shi! No one knows where their origin is. They appear across the world. In the Mediterranean, they claim to be the Sons of Phobos, who stole a pure heart to replace the one stolen from him. In Iceland, where they are also disproportioantely common, they are associated with druagr folklore. In Eastern Chin and Korea, they are believed to know forms of blood sorcery no one else has. The Mekhet lore about the Hollow is sometimes believed to be related to them, and some think they are related to the strix. Worldwide, there aren't many Jiang Shi, due to the nature of their Embrace. A Jiang Shi is made by replacing a normal person's blood with that of an extremely pure person, as determined by the tastes of the Jiang Shi sire. (They can tell at a taste of the blood.) Thus, two deaths are involved, one of which doesn't involve the corpse getting back up. The blood need not be fresh, but it's not exactly easy to raid a blood bank for the pure of heart. If the Jiang Shi also takes the donor's heart and implants it in the childe, they awaken at BP 2 instead of 1. Jiang Shi can feed as other vampires do and even learn Disciplines...but because of their clan bane, they do not produce the Kiss. They can neither cause the Swooning condition by their bite or the Scarred one - their Kiss is just one of intense numbing cold. As they become low on Vitae, they appear more monstrous - their fingers become claw-like and a strange green mold grows on their skin which produces a somewhat milder chilling effect. A Jiang Shi can spend Willpower to teleport back to the site of their death...but if they daysleep anywhere else, it costs 2 Vitae to awaken instead of 1, though they can change the site vy a ritual heart transplantation at a new site, with the usual purity requirements. Because there are so few Jiang Shi, they are rarely met by other vampires outside of areas in which they are strangely common. Their favored attributes are Intelligence and Dexterity, and their clan Disciplines are Animalism, Obfuscate and Celerity.

Some other minor weirdness in the area - Devil's Tramping Grounds is a campsite in which there is a circle that has no plants growing in it whatsoever. Local urban legend holds that those that sleep in it never return, though this isn't quite so - many do. Vampires with sensitivity to such things report uneasiness in the circle, as though being watched by something slumbering and ancient, and some report that no animals but birds will enter it. There's also a set of old railroad tracks that used to go past Maco STation - or, rather, there were. They got pulled up in the late 70s, and with them ended the Maco Light, a strange recurring event where odd green lights would race down the tracks. Some now report ghostly whistles in the distance or seeing distant tracks, and one ghoul with a strong sense for these things said he felt as if something large were pushing against the veil from the world of the dead.

Now, we jump over to San Francisco, particularly the Mission District. The city is old, but it runs on youth. The Mission is the name of the local vampiric domain - one that has some of the oldest vampires in North America, yet is controlled by the young. It is believed that the vampires of San Francisco came with the Spanish de Anza expedition that resulted in the founding of Mission Dolores. These vampires were as driven and obsessed about their faith as the mortals they traveled with. When the Spanish vampires arrived, however, they found native vampires already. It is unclear what happened next - the Lance does not share any records they keep of it. Officially, the story is that the locals converted to Christianity and the conquest was peacful. In truth, the Spanish vampire known as the Cardinal went mad at finding his own kind, and the locals helped bring him back to sanity. On the surface, the local Lance appeared normal, but in truth, the Cardinal and his inner circle, particularly his lover, Hummingbird, put together a version of the local religion that mixed some Lance ritual but did not accept its doctrine. This secret religion is still practiced in the Mission today, hidden within the Lance. This is why the Mission's Lance has been so permissive about allowing other heresies and cults to show up - it's good to have them around as foils when more hardline Lance vampires come to ask questions. Meanwhile, the local Invictus were having new ideas and hoping to take over the Mission. They watched the rise of the telegraph and understood even then that control of what others saw and understood was the key to controlling the masses. Books were primitive, but the rise of technology would be much better, if they could master it.

The local Daeva and Mekhet are masters of the Cacophony, rumormongers and gossip who hide their own messages in those of the mortal media and local gossip chains. The Daeva and Mekhet believe the local Cacophony has actually begun to take on a life of its own, guiding vampires as it will. Popularity and influence don't seem to control who gets what information. The two clans have begun investigating. The Gangrel, meanwhile, serve as messengers and deputies in the urban sprawl. The Mission Gangrel love the city, seeing it as a jungle all its own that they can dominate. The Nosferatu, meanwhile, are tied into plague - from the bubonic outbreak of 1900 to the AIDS epidemic. They aren't afraid of the plagues, and they are quite numerous in the Mission, but are insular and mostly related. It is believed by some that they all share a bloodline and are led by a priest of the Lance obsessed with controlling and spreading disease. She is rumored to have consumed the souls of a number of Morbus, a Mekhet bloodline of disease-spreaders. Certainly, the Nosferatu are mostly one extended family...and a bit of a powder keg as a result. The Ventrue, meanwhile, are charismatic and competitive. They are also at fault for several extremist groups in the Bay Area, though certainly not all. However, they do make almost a sport of pushing their vassals to extremism - especially the hippie ones.

Many other domains near San Francisco look on the Mission with interest and no small fear. 'Tolerance' is much talked about to explain why so many different Circle groups have been allowed to set up and actively practice. The truth is, the local Lance would love to destroy all these heretics in fire and blood and show the truth of the hidden cult in the Mission, but he dares not do so because the other local domains in LA and Portland are paying so much attention. Thus, he lets the Circle do what it likes as cover for his own cult. The Invictus, meanwhile, appear to have declared war on the Internet. They work to control local nodes, regional server forms and local legislation regarding the internet, and are experimenting with using DDoS attacks as a means of control. They're actively Embracing the best they can find in IT, and are extremely good at media relations and control. They are running a grand and somewhat harebrained scheme to control humanity via its media, and most recently have begun investing in the casual gaming market, reasoning that they can use short-term incentives to influence long-term behavior. They are also studying the use of social networking and data mining. The local Carthians appear to be strong-arm thugs and grifters...but it's a long con, one which has kept the Movement pretty much under the radar. They like that. Their goals are not really tied to the Mission itself, but in taking over Oakland and declaring it an independent Carthian domain, which is something they've been working at for some time patiently.

I actually quite like the Triangle and the Mission, myself.

Next time: Swansea, Wales and Tokyo, Japan

PJOmega
May 5, 2009


So I'm some 7000 posts back, but before the year ends I wanted to say thank you. Your comments and content contributions are a genuine joy to read.

Also, Mors Rattus, can we all pitch in for your inevitable wrist surgery? I feel we owe you at this point.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


You know, I was thinking about it earlier today, about why Valkyr feel so uncomfortable and VASCU feels so right, and it's because of the change in scope of the antagonists between Old and New. In the Old World of Darkness Valkyr would've been fine. Men and women using the best technology and training available to face the unthinkable was in no way overkill out that way. Here, though? They're up against a bunch of frankly pathetic (as in, inspiring pathos) broken people who are mostly trying to persist in a way that harms people, and they come off more as a bunch of militarized assholes eager to play with their new toys and see what it does to the perpetrator.

The monsters of the New World of Darkness don't merit a special response. They deserve to face a tired middle aged man who is pissed he's missing his daughter's play for this, but they needed a special agent out this way YESTERDAY, so he gets on the first flight and loads up on coffee to start building a case. They're small enough that the law should be able to cover a bunch of broken, harmful people, like any other criminal.

The Sin of Onan
Oct 11, 2012

And below,
watched by eyes of steel
we dreamt


Night10194 posted:

You know, I was thinking about it earlier today, about why Valkyr feel so uncomfortable and VASCU feels so right, and it's because of the change in scope of the antagonists between Old and New. In the Old World of Darkness Valkyr would've been fine. Men and women using the best technology and training available to face the unthinkable was in no way overkill out that way. Here, though? They're up against a bunch of frankly pathetic (as in, inspiring pathos) broken people who are mostly trying to persist in a way that harms people, and they come off more as a bunch of militarized assholes eager to play with their new toys and see what it does to the perpetrator.

The monsters of the New World of Darkness don't merit a special response. They deserve to face a tired middle aged man who is pissed he's missing his daughter's play for this, but they needed a special agent out this way YESTERDAY, so he gets on the first flight and loads up on coffee to start building a case. They're small enough that the law should be able to cover a bunch of broken, harmful people, like any other criminal.

I dunno. I mean, some of them are pretty scrub-tier, some could be handled by a stern lecture, and some aren't even harmful, just weird, but the tired middle-aged special agent is probably not going to stand much of a chance of bringing in a raging werewolf, or a Mad mage, or anything else of great power and no self-control. Like, some nWoD monsters are fairly pathetic, but some are insanely powerful. I entirely approve of playing up TF:V as megafascists, but that's because I don't see Hunters, especially the larger organisations, as necessarily "good" or their targets as "bad."

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



TFV has a serious "who watches the watchmen" problem though. They've got the potential to be worse than most of the supernatural threats.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


The Lone Badger posted:

TFV has a serious "who watches the watchmen" problem though. They've got the potential to be worse than most of the supernatural threats.

I mean they're the modern security state which can get mega hosed up.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

I mean they're the modern security state which can get mega hosed up.

All the same, they're still potentially much better than some of their buddies round the Hunter table. The Lucifuge, Cheiron Group, Network Zero, Aegis Kai Doru, and many more groups can be more horrifying than any mere government agency if you care to play them that way.

In my own campaign, I portrayed Valkyrie as the middle ground between the US government options. VASCU are white, Valkyrie are grey, and I invented an NSA counterpart which was a very, very dark shade of grey called Project Looking Glass - and I had them secretly controlling Network Zero.


Then again, I'm fundamentally a technocratic idealist whose response to high-tech stuff is "That poo poo is so awesome and can fix what's wrong with society if we use it responsibly!"

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





The Sin of Onan posted:

I dunno. I mean, some of them are pretty scrub-tier, some could be handled by a stern lecture, and some aren't even harmful, just weird, but the tired middle-aged special agent is probably not going to stand much of a chance of bringing in a raging werewolf, or a Mad mage, or anything else of great power and no self-control. Like, some nWoD monsters are fairly pathetic, but some are insanely powerful. I entirely approve of playing up TF:V as megafascists, but that's because I don't see Hunters, especially the larger organisations, as necessarily "good" or their targets as "bad."
Just give that special agent a durable guitar or something, it'll work out.

And the Pickles.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Nessus posted:

Just give that special agent a durable guitar or something, it'll work out.

And the Pickles.

The fact that Francis York Morgan is 100% someone you can play as VASCU and wouldn't even be out of place for them is the best.

Deadly Premonition is incredible for modern weird horror.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Night10194 posted:

You know, I was thinking about it earlier today, about why Valkyr feel so uncomfortable and VASCU feels so right, and it's because of the change in scope of the antagonists between Old and New. In the Old World of Darkness Valkyr would've been fine. Men and women using the best technology and training available to face the unthinkable was in no way overkill out that way. Here, though? They're up against a bunch of frankly pathetic (as in, inspiring pathos) broken people who are mostly trying to persist in a way that harms people, and they come off more as a bunch of militarized assholes eager to play with their new toys and see what it does to the perpetrator.

The monsters of the New World of Darkness don't merit a special response. They deserve to face a tired middle aged man who is pissed he's missing his daughter's play for this, but they needed a special agent out this way YESTERDAY, so he gets on the first flight and loads up on coffee to start building a case. They're small enough that the law should be able to cover a bunch of broken, harmful people, like any other criminal.

There's some terrifyingly powerful things in the nWoD: you just don't get to play as them.

AnEdgelord
Dec 12, 2016



MonsieurChoc posted:

There's some terrifyingly powerful things in the nWoD: you just don't get to play as them.


Unless those things are a mage, mummy or demon

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


MonsieurChoc posted:

There's some terrifyingly powerful things in the nWoD: you just don't get to play as them.

Yeah, but the world seems a hell of a lot less 'infested'.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


oWoD:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd6UtMo3JDw

nWoD:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iY-QBvy3lR8

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




That makes oWoD look way too good and fun, IMO.

Rigged Death Trap
Feb 13, 2012

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP



Well blade is the DMPC with celerity 5

The PCs are the guys who just got oneshot when they tried to attack the ST's special snowflake.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Vampire: the Requiem, 2nd Edition

The city of Swansea in Wales is a very working-class city. It and the surrounding regions of Neath and Port Talbot are also largely unclaimed territory for most outsider vampires - and not worth the effort. The locals like it that way - there's more there than they let on, because they like their freedom. The domain, known as Beddnerys, is ruled over by the Assembly, a council of one member each of four different clans. The locals name themselves the Dead Jacks, and they can't exactly leave. In the east, the Metronome of Port Talbot is a constant if mysterious danger, and the werewolves in the south and west are a neverending battle.

For a very long time, Beddnerys was the sole domain of Nerys ferch Owain, an ancient Gangrel, and her childer. However, she died on September 21st, 1839. Modern vampiric history in Swansea begins around then. Legend abounds as to what Nerys was like - some say she spent most time in torpor, attended by her brood, while others say she had invented a unique form of blood sorcery and created some strange otherworld. (This is kind of absurd.) Certainly she must have fallen torpid sometime in the late 1700s or early 1800s, as that is how she was found in 1838 when the other vampires came for her. There was a mock trial and her sleeping corpse was found guilty of crimes against the common vampire. She was left out for the sun, her tomb sealed off and its location lost. The victorious conquerors soon fell to arguing about who should be in charge, but the nearby werewolves forced them to make some compromises to stay safe. The Assembly was established.

At the time, Swansea was desolate and lifeless, horrifying even to vampires. The local vampires were not wealthy or ranking people, but farmers and craftsmen and factory workers who resented Nerys for her actions against their kin in life. High and mighty vampires visiting the area tended to vanish, so it wasn't long before they stopped visiting. The peninsula werewolves considered it their own territory, and the skirmishes between them and the Dead Jacks have never ended nor have they solved anything, despite all the tricks both sides have tried. No outsider is trusted to not be a spy for the werewolves after one of the werewolves' human kin deliberately got himself Embraced and spied on the vampires for over three years before being discovered. The Dead Jacks are suspicious, even paranoid lot who hang together out of need. They value their independence and see vampirism as a state free of mortal restrictions. The Assembly is only barely tolerated, and the locals espeically despise the wealthy and exploitative classes, as they see it. They have remained in power largely because Beddnerys is surrounded by foes, they give the locals what they want in order to maintain their position, and they make sure to keep up at least the semblance of democracy, even if young vampires running for the position are usually set up to fail to demonstrate that only elders have the wisdom to rule well.

In Beddnerys, clan is far more important than covenant. Clans are inherent, defined and not abstract. Blood ties matter in a small community, and each clan can trace their origins back to maybe three, four vampires, tops, outside the few strangers. The Gangrel of Swansea have a reputation of strength, independence and neutrality. They are the judges of Beddnerys, a fact only ever questioned in private, and even the Assembly pay lip service to the idea. They were here first, after all. The Daeva are a raucous, gregarious group prone to fighting and parties. They tend to be very close among their own lines, trading favors up and down the chain of relation. The Nosferatu of Swansea make up almost a third of the Lancea et Sanctum and have a reputation for weirdness and asceticism which makes them come off as very virtuous. The Mekhet are largely viewed with suspicion. Some are tolerated and they do have an Assemblyman, but they came later than the others and brough the Circle of the Crone with them. (Indeed, all the Crone elders are Mekhet.) They tend to be the ones that dabble in the dark and occult secrets, and they are often blamed for the existence of the Metronome. A few even think they have friends among the Gower wolves. The real outcasts, however, are the Ventrue. Beddnerys was made by laborers, and they resented the upper classes. The resentment has not gone, though it's died off. The Ventrue are no longer killed on sight, but the ban on their presence was only lifted recently. They have no seat on the Assembly and are unlikely to gain one. It doesn't help that many of the Beddnerys vampires are old enough to remember their time working factories.

Covenant is secondary in Swansea, with political power being mostly family-based. The covenants are more cliques than anything else. The Lancea et Sanctum are the largest by far, though they have long abandoned their Catholic trappings for a more austere Protestant faith based on the beliefs of the locals. Their severe views tend to be challenged by the younger vampires, who see faith less as a way of life and more as a tool to help in life. However, about three quarters of the domain at least pay lip service to Lance beliefs. There is, however, no formal hierarchy, just a number of ministered congregations. The Circle of the Crone make up about half of the vampires that aren't Lance. Their beliefs tie to ancient Welsh myth, particularly tales of the head of Bran the Blessed and the Mabinogion. They broadly split into two groups - first, a reactionary group of bloody ecstatics who care less about myth and more about hating the Sanctified, and the more restrained second group who seek a darkness within themselves that Christianity cannot explain. The Ordo Dracul are a small group, but have plenty of younger dabblers who later go on to rejoin the Church. The elders tend to be ascetics who believe in self-deprivation, which is why the recruits tend to leave. The elders consider this a good thing, as the Order is not for all. The Invictus, Carthians and unaligned are all essentially interchangeable, a sort of blended group of youngsters that tend to be atheist, agnostic or Muslim and who tend to be discontent with how things are. They are growing.

I've mentioned the Metronome. The Metronome is a strange force centered on Port TAlbot and its polluted steelworks. It is nearly predictable, and broadly follows the same set pattern of reactions. Vampires do one thing, it reacts in a specific manner. They do others, it reacts in another manner. Hunting is not a good idea in its area, because...well, you can exist safely in Port Talbot until you accidentally break one of the Metronome's hidden rules. At that point, you probably die. For some, the risk is worth it.

Hopping over to Tokyo, most of the western covenants are ill represented. Rather, the city's vampiric population is run by four 'zaibatsu' - structured conspiracies, three of which are vampiric and one of which is human. The vampires of Tokyo have been organized for a very long time, and they flourished there. By the late 19th century, they had the largest population of vampires in a single city, anywhere. They may still. However, modern Tokyo really began with the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Nearly half the vampires of the city were killed, particularly among less privileged dynasties. The Invictus and Lancea took the opportunity to come in and take over Tokyo by force, with the Invictus ening up on top shortly before the Great Depression hit. This and the Japanese war effort led to a strong vampiric presence in the Japanese army during World War II, which further depleted their numbers as the Japanese vampires ended up unlucky in alliances and unable to find friends in distant Germany or nearby Russia. In 1945, the Invictus regime collapsed, and the Tokyo vampires agreed to dissolve the covenants and forbid further centralized Princes. Instead, large coteries, known as zaibatsu, emerged. Over the next decade, they largely filtered into three major groups - the Takahasi Family, the Maeda Group and Ume House.

Meanwhile, a mortal named Inoue Akio got involved, pissing off some vampires who bullied him out of a business deal. He began to look deeper, finding proof of vampiric influence and control around him. Through mysticism and skill, he fought free of them and formed the Hototogisu, which proved able to compete with the three zaibatsu, gaining grudging acceptance as a fourth major power. Several times, other vampires attempting revolts or power grabs, Each time, the zaibatsu and unaligned vampires stopped them, arguing that they'd violate the agreements set...and, of course, deprive the zaibatsu of their control. In 1987, the Carthians claimed leadership, with twenty of them announcing their desire to take the city publically. In the next few months, all 20 lost their fortunes and influence, and then died, one at a time, over the course of 20 weeks. The Carthians were banned from Tokyo.

In 2010, the Hototogisu sent all the zaibatsu leaders an identical letter, a five-year plan to relieve the zaibatsu and in fact all vampires of major influence over Tokyo, with an offer to work with the Hototogisu to unify Tokyo itself under four seperate groups. Those who responded well received good fortune and gifts, which led them to succeed in their zaibatsu, and within the first few years, leadership has swung heavily in favor of the Hototogisu sympathizers. Recently, some of the Lancea et Sanctum have stood up against the Hototogisu as heretics and violators of the Masquerade, but have yet to openly aggress. Still, certain people have vanished. Now, things are unstable, and any sharp actions could tip the balance of power.

Clan is generally unimportant in Tokyo, as the zaibatsu claim to meritocracy, even if that's not true in practice. Those who care about family tend not to be part of the zaibatsu, as well. The Daeva mostly align with the Zaibatsu, but some find their structure boring and limiting. This minority tend to be Lance and are often disproportionately powerful within anti-zaibatsu groups due to their passion. The Gangrel are mostly apolitical, acting as enforcers for hire and seeking stability. The Mekhet tend to be exceptionally wealthy, due to their ability to gather blackmail material. Some are neutral as much as they can be, while some care only about making their way to the top. The Nosferatu are almost all zaibatsu members, who find that the claimed meritocracy frees them of the prejudices they often face. However, one thing is clear: the clan runs the Tokyo Metro, a strong exception to the weak clans of Tokyo. They are currently trying to find a way to demand tribute from the Hototohisu mortals for subway usage. The Ventrue, meanwhile, tend to be the most vocal anti-Zaibatsu, as many of their dynasties lost power in the takeover. They are often Lance sympathizers as well.

On paper, the Zaibatsu claim 3/4 of the vampiric population - nearly 250 vampires, nominally. The Hototogisu are nominally exclusively human, though som vampires have officially signed on. They take their name from a breed of cuckoo, and they operate as a business conglomerate - food manufacturing, taxi services, fashion. They know about vampires and seek to control them rather than be controlled. Inoue remains at the top, and can dismiss any member of his board, but each member company operates independently and only ranking officers know of the group's real goals. They maintain a private library on supernatural and useful mundane topics, and often hire 'contractors' - usually cops or criminals - to serve as specialists in various problems. This extends their influence greatly. The Maeda, meanwhile, began with control of agriculture and moved into retail. They have a reputation for using physical force and serving as the zaibatsu enforcers. However, their influence has waned quite a bit as violence has become less necessary, and their profits are dropping due to anti-GMO beliefs, many of which are pushed by the Hototogisu. They are seeking to expand, and quickly. The Takahashi Family see themselves as the leaders of the zaibatsu, though no one else agrees. They are the most closely tied to the Hototogisu, and also have influence with the Bank of Tokyo, the Japanese exchange and Honda. They are not actually a family, and indeed disallow blood relations to serve on the board simultaneously. They limit membership to 90 vampires at a time, though they rarely have the full capacity. Each member of their six-member board oversses a broad industry, and they focus on transportation, finance, energy, media, manufacturing and health. Ume House, meanwhile, see themselves as the spiritual wing of the szaibatus. They do hold influence in mortal areas, such as the Narita airport, but focus mostly on history and spiritualism, particularly shrines, museums, historical societies and cults. They have less monetary power...but they do have strong influence over traditionalist politicians. They practice a form of vaguely Shinto blood sorcery known as Kigan, which...is essentially a Japanese variant of Cruac, though the two cannot be mutually taught or understood by each other. Nearly half the city's coteries have an Ume priest, though the Lance reject them.

The Lance agenda is pretty clear - remove the Hototogisu and, after that, the zaibatsu. They hate that humans know about them in such large numbers. However, the Tokyo Lance have barely over a dozen members, so they can't act directly. Instead, they sow dissent and rebelliousness among the independent and disenfranchised. It's not that hard for them to do, but it's still an uphill battle. They believe, however, that if any one zaibatsu falls, the whole system will collapse. The independent groups have had trouble organizing politically, and come in many stripes, none large.

Next time: Ghouls

Thesaurasaurus
Feb 15, 2010

"Send in Boxbot!"



The Metronome of Port Talbot sounds hella God-Machine, especially with the steelworks that could easily hide a Facility in the gaps between Euclidean spaces.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Barudak posted:

If I had to hazard a guess sleeping to level feels natural in so far as sleeping is the moment in most of these games where your energy is restored so it makes sense. It also, in a more classical game where you're constantly earning fractional bits of a level, a more elegant way to ensure players only need to dick around with their character sheet and stats during downtime rather than in the middle of a dungeon or a gods forbid a fight.
There's a legendarily bad heartbreaker called Imagine where you need to sleep to level. When challenged about this on the RPGnet forums, the author justified his position by breaking out academic research linking sleep to memory and learning. For a D&D heartbreaker with all the usual features and then some.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Jason Sartin's review on RPGNet is a pretty amazing takedown of the whole game that the game's author got all bent out of shape over. Sartin's reviews are F&F years before we came up with the idea here.

My favorite thing about Imagine is how you can't just run in combat; you have to spend time getting up to speed by walking->jogging->running.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


Thesaurasaurus posted:

The Metronome of Port Talbot sounds hella God-Machine, especially with the steelworks that could easily hide a Facility in the gaps between Euclidean spaces.

I like the idea that it's something God-Machiney seen from the outside by vampires who don't know anything about that whole mess. A visiting Holy Engineer (or Demon, or Mage) might have an idea of what's going on, but for the locals it's just inexplicable Roadside Picnic weirdness.

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Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Evil Mastermind posted:

My favorite thing about Imagine is how you can't just run in combat; you have to spend time getting up to speed by walking->jogging->running.

Why of course. Having acceleration/deceleration rules for vehicles only would just be ridiculous. Don't even get me started on those games that don't have acceleration for anything.

(I also love any heartbreaker that does the whole class-and-level routine while boasting about the game can do anything! and you're only limited by the power of your imagination!.)

Doresh fucked around with this message at 22:13 on Jan 2, 2017

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