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JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Did I miss the Dark*Matter articles that went over what FX are? Because as far as I understand, the articles went
History nobody cares about
Conspiracies: Illuminati: That Weird French Guy Who's Not A French General And Not That Other French General
Killing Jar (what was the jar about? Mothmen in holding tanks?)
Xenology

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Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


A killing jar is what you use to kill bugs, like moths, with minimum damage so you can pin them or whatever else bug collectors use dead bugs for.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


JcDent posted:

Did I miss the Dark*Matter articles that went over what FX are? Because as far as I understand, the articles went
History nobody cares about
Conspiracies: Illuminati: That Weird French Guy Who's Not A French General And Not That Other French General
Killing Jar (what was the jar about? Mothmen in holding tanks?)
Xenology

I don't know if FX got covered in detail, it's just magic. It comes in Faith or Arcane flavors and every branch works a bit differently. The Faith FX in the book are Monotheism, Shamanism, and Voodoo, while the Arcane FX are Diabolism, Enochian, and Hermeticism. I actually misremembered a detail in that post, fixing it now.

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


Feinne posted:

I don't know if FX got covered in detail, it's just magic. It comes in Faith or Arcane flavors and every branch works a bit differently. The Faith FX in the book are Monotheism, Shamanism, and Voodoo, while the Arcane FX are Diabolism, Enochian, and Hermeticism. I actually misremembered a detail in that post, fixing it now.

I remember it was covered, but I'm in the middle of something so I don't know where.

Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.


:smith:



Grimey Drawer



Part Who Actually Cares: The Locker Room, or, Straight Outta Crockett

The Locker Room starts with the Booker posting the Booking Sheet, based on all the input and suggestions of the players-as-writers. Everyone gets an opportunity to roleplay their characters’ reactions. Now it seems to me that with the “troupe” model and everyone having multiple characters, it might be a little confusing at this point- you may even have two of your PCs booked to fight each other. Part of this roleplay will involve backstage elements introduced by the Booker- conflicts between your personal and professional life, relationship developments, obligations, etc.

This is also where wrestlers can agitate to change things on the Booking Sheet, using Clout. The game says to roleplay the interaction first- the wrestler goes to the promoter and tries to persuade them to change things, and if it doesn’t seem like the promoter would be convinced, or someone’s arguing the opposite case, then you start making Clout rolls. It’s easier to alter promos and interviews- wrestlers with high Mic Skills in particular will usually be given a lot of leeway. However writers and promoters will often want a character doing an interview to hit on specific points, so as to create a coherent story.

After changes have been negotiated you can get into Plotting Out the Matches- the wrestlers in a match get together and work out how they want to play things out. Again they haven’t really just explained how a match works mechanically because that’s in the next section but from here it seems to involve narrating Move Sets between rolls, and players can agree that they’ll trade off narration every 1 or 2 sets or whatever. On the other hand it is possible just to wing it, and the game cautions against getting too detailed at this stage or else you’ll just repeat yourself in the match proper.

Next we get into using Clout. Once you get to the point where you need to make a Clout roll, it gets very simple- if the roll succeeds, the wrestler gets their way. The roll can be opposed by anyone who’s either in the same scene or would be affected by the wrestler’s request. The downside is, a character who fails a Clout roll loses a point of Clout. So it’s risky, which means there’s a reason to try and work things out before it gets to the point of needing a roll.

There’s another way you can lose Clout, and that’s by doing something really stupid. Showing up late or intoxicated, no-showing, getting arrested, intentionally injuring another wrestler, etc. Basically the Booker always has discretion to dock you Clout anytime you act in a way that would bring down the reputation of the character or the promotion. The Booker has a lot of discretion as to how much- the game suggests that you start with small punishments (say, 1 Clout the first time a wrestler shows up drunk) and add more if it becomes a clear pattern.

A character can never have less than 0 Clout- if you get to a situation where a wrestler would have less than 0, they should probably be fired. If the promotion has some reason to hang on to them (still under contract, etc.), they can instead bury them. Burial means a lot of things- getting saddled with a Bad Gimmick, losing a lot, being made to look weak/cowardly/etc. in matches, etc. A company can also bury you for other reasons- say, if contract negotiations are coming up, the promotion may try to reduce your heat so that you look less valuable to other companies.

On a completely unrelated note, WWE wrestler Natalya Neidhardt was once given an angle where she had uncontrollable flatulence. I’m not sure if contract negotiations were happening at this time, but it’s the sort of thing companies sometimes pull.

(The game also notes that a wrester who accepts this sort of thing gracefully may be let off the hook sooner. There’s no mechanic for this, sadly.)

The game says there are three ways of gaining Clout (so I guess the promotion’s Facilities don’t apply after all.) One is Paying Your Dues, which seems misnamed- if you made a successful Clout roll at any point during the Series, you gain a point of Clout after the Pay Per View. So there’s a reason to risk the Clout rolls as well as a reason not to try too hard too often- I like that. Another is Doing A Job- losing to someone with half as much Heat as you shows you’re willing to boost people lower than you on the totem pole and makes you more well-liked backstage, and again is worth 1 point. Finally at any point during a show the Booker may award a character a point of Clout if they feel it’s justified by something in-game, be it gaining a lot of Heat or doing something that would gain favor with the promotion or the locker room.

Next we get some detailed explanations for Phantom Heat and Nostalgia Heat. Phantom Heat represents when the people in charge are convinced someone is hotter than they are- that they’re the future, they’re the next Hulk Hogan or Ric Flair, etc. This is a common thing and the most recent example is probably, again, Roman Reigns- WWE tried to rocket him to the main event of Wrestlemania in 2015 but audiences just were not buying it.


The crowd is booing the Rock. Think about that. Think about what you have to do to get people to boo the Rock.

Negative Phantom Heat is when the crowd likes someone more than the people on top do, so the promotion tends to keep him lower on the card. For a while WWE was convinced that beloved underdog Daniel Bryan was only “catchphrase over”- that is, sure crowds were doing the thing with saying “Yes! Yes! Yes!” and pointing in the air, but that was just because that was fun, they didn’t want to see him be a champ or anything. He did finally manage to overcome that apathy and main event Wrestlemania, but only when it became clear the audience was sour on the planned main event.


And then he got injured and eventually forced to retire. But it was a fun ride while it lasted.

Phantom Heat is counted as Heat when dealing with a wrestler’s pay, match placement, etc., but not things like Match Heat or other “fan determined” statistics. (This could be clearer.) It’s a positive or negative number, and you can’t have both at the same time- they cancel each other out.

Apart from chargen, you can get Phantom Heat- positive or negative- mostly from other wrestlers going up to promoters and talking about you. If they say good things, you get the good kind, if they spread lies and say you’re not over, you get the bad kind. In both cases the wrestler speaking for you makes a Clout roll- it’s unopposed unless another wrestler is present and speaks against them. If they succeed, you either gain positive or negative Phantom Heat equal to their Clout score. You CAN try and talk yourself up to management, but you roll one less die doing so. (I suppose you could also try to talk yourself down, but the book doesn’t say and why would you?) A wrestler can only have this done to/for them once per show.

Nostalgia Heat is simpler. It’s the love you get just for having been around for so long, based on people’s memories of you, rather than how you’re doing now. Wrestlers tend to stick around well past their physical peak, and we like to see familiar faces. Whenever you get some kind of permanent hit to your performance, you convert part of your current Heat to Nostalgia Heat. The general rule is 10% for each negative to die rolls or -1 to a Trait, but the Booker can adjust this higher or lower depending on how much the injury relates to what you were famous for- if, say, you have some permanent knee damage (a common thing for wrestlers), that could be worse if you’re a famous aerial luchador, but if you were always kinda slow and relied on your look and Mic Skills to do the job, it might be less of a hit.


Nostalgia Heat applies to everything outside of matches, and it applies to Match Heat until the match begins, at which point you work out what the Match Heat would be without it, and subtract that from the Match Heat. I am… a little unclear on this because the example does it wrong. Here I’ll paste it and see if you can work it out:

quote:

For example: If Magnus, who has 50 Heat, is wrestling Bahamut, who has 10 Heat and 250 Nostalgia Heat the Match Heat would start with a Match Heat of 155 (the average of 50 and 260). Once the match begins the match Heat would be reduced to 30, which means the match would haveto generate 20 Heat for Magnus to increase his Heat and 125 Heat in order for Bahamut to increase his Heat.

The way I read the rule, though, the Match Heat should be reduced BY 30, taking it to 125. It doesn’t have to gain any more Heat for Magnus to improve, but Bahamut would need the match to gain at least 135 Heat to not lose any. (Maybe getting Heat worked differently in an earlier draft.)

I THINK my way works- basically Nostalgia Heat means you have to work harder to actually deliver a good match. Agh. This is annoying because I otherwise get it, and in a game that’s been pretty rules-light so far each individual point of confusion is, well, amplified.

There follows a section on Backstage Politics that takes the form of an excerpt from a book by Magnus Von Magnus (presumably the example guy), called The Glass Ceiling: Lessons in How to Keep Your Spot. This is basically an entire section on how to be a total bastard. It’s an enlightened brand of self-interest, mind you- you can job to people you trust so long as you get your win back later, you should seek to gain the trust of the roster, but also make others look back, yeah. On the one hand you have to be VERY careful encouraging- hell, allowing- this kind of behavior in any game that isn’t Paranoia. On the other, this being a game where everyone has a bunch of dudes may soften the blow of any treachery- at least if the players are above board. Of course the section is purely fluff, close to in-game fiction really, and if nothing else it does illustrate an attitude that some wrestlers have, and some of the techniques they use.

Next we’ll finish the back half of The Locker Room with some more mechanical details- Contracts, Steroid Use, Drugs, and Injury!

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




JcDent posted:

Did I miss the Dark*Matter articles that went over what FX are? Because as far as I understand, the articles went
History nobody cares about
Conspiracies: Illuminati: That Weird French Guy Who's Not A French General And Not That Other French General
Killing Jar (what was the jar about? Mothmen in holding tanks?)
Xenology

it starts here and has 5 additional segments.

tl;dr don't bother with anything other than hermetic sorcery or Judaeo-christian monotheism if you're a "hero" and diabolism is maybe the most functional school of magic but you are basically forced into being a cartoon villain for using it

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Freaking Crumbum posted:

it starts here and has 5 additional segments.

tl;dr don't bother with anything other than hermetic sorcery or Judaeo-christian monotheism if you're a "hero" and diabolism is maybe the most functional school of magic but you are basically forced into being a cartoon villain for using it

Fixed that for you, Dark*Matter doesn't care about kabbalah or Jewish mysticism.

e: sorry, this is a pet peeve of mine. People say Judaeo-Christian when they mean Christian, the Judaeo part is almost never actually a thing.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

Fixed that for you, Dark*Matter doesn't care about kabbalah or Jewish mysticism.

e: sorry, this is a pet peeve of mine. People say Judaeo-Christian when they mean Christian, the Judaeo part is almost never actually a thing.

Also the actual term mostly has use for specifically describing the original group of Disciples who weren't part of the larger Hellenistic world/God-Fearers during the early Jesus Movement (before it could be fully classed as its own separate religion from Judaism) so as to make note that they especially saw Christ's new teachings as a new sect of Judaism rather than a new system of religious thought.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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






Vampire: The Masquerade (2nd Edition)

quote:

On days like this
In times like these
I feel an animal deep inside
Heel to haunch on bended knees

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “The Raven”


First Carl McCoy, now Groovie Mann. By the end of this book, everyone in every band will be a vampire.

Chapter Two: Setting

Before getting into the particulars of its setting, Vampire discusses its mood and atmosphere. It defines it in brief as Gothic-Punk. “It is a world of darkness. All in all, the world is more corrupt, more decadent and less humane than any suburbanite would like to believe.” Hey, this sounds like the start of a brand!

Vampire says explicitly that its Gothic-Punk setting is a dystopian vision of its own time, not a meticulously researched alternate history. The same faces are on Mt. Rushmore, the same shows are on TV, but all the symptoms of civilizational decline are exacerbated. Institutions are as corrupt as they are monolithic, existing only to perpetuate themselves. Inner cities are stricken with poverty and ruled by gang violence and organized crime. The Church is strong only because people turn to superstition in their lives of quiet desperation. Culture is bankrupt; all art leans toward escapism. Even fashion and architecture are more dark and Gothic than in the real world.

The dystopia of Vampire is very much of the zeitgeist of the 1990s. It rages against what would come to be called the “end of history” after an essay (later a book) by Francis Fukuyama. It was the idea that the current political status quo was the ultimate form of government, and the future would just be a process of perfecting and managing it. You can criticize capitalism, consumerism, and the many injustices of the world all you want, but there are no better alternatives. (The second edition of Vampire was published just months after the Soviet Union finally dissolved.)

It’s a status quo predicted in works like They Live and Watchmen, and treated more literally in films such as The Matrix and Children of Men. And the 90s gave us a lot of art in which transgression and antisocial violence attained a sort-of folk-heroic status--for example, any movie with Quentin Tarantino or Gregg Araki’s name attached to it. Those artists moved on to other things, and so did Vampire in its later iterations.

Quite a tangent, I know, but my point is that Vampire’s setting is an expressionistic one. The unstated theme is a society decaying while, paradoxically, being locked in a kind of stasis. It’s not incoherent for depicting a society so decrepit that the United States ought to have collapsed into a Third World hellhole already--that it does not do so is the point.

Ecology of the Vampire

Vampires are not a natural species, but they have a place in the food chain like any other predator. The mortal population can only support so many vampires, and when the Kindred population grows too high, starvation and outbreaks of violence drive it back down. This is not the best way to regulate the population, of course, because it threatens the Masquerade.

Vampires are creatures of the city. It’s where all the food is, of course, but that’s not the only reason. First, vampires don’t travel well. I’ve heard some horror stories from people who missed their flight, but none of them involved spontaneous human combustion. Second, rural areas are dominated by Lupines--werewolves--who hate vampires with a passion. But the most important reason is that nearly all Kindred crave security and some semblance of a normal life. It’s not easy to stake out a safe haven and a cover identity that allows access to mortal blood. Kindred, even old and powerful ones, are loath to operate outside their tiny sphere of influence. This is why the Camarilla doesn’t wield much central authority, despite being backed by the most powerful Kindred around.

Centuries ago, every Kindred was lord of their own city, with only their progeny to keep them company. But as the mortal population has expanded and learned to coexist in vast metropoli, so too have vampires. As a general rule, a city can support 1 vampire for every 100,000 mortals. For example, the metropolitan area of a metropolis like Chicago, with 13 million, will support 130 vampires. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t climb higher. The efforts of the Prince and the city’s elders to restrict the population of young vampires is a major component of the endless cycle of intrigue and violence that Kindred call Jyhad.

Vampire Society

quote:

Immortality is the best recollection one leaves.

--Percy Bysshe Shelley, Highlander II: The Quickening

The most important factors in establishing social class among Kindred is Generation and age. Sure, the elders take note of talent and accomplishment, but the greatest accomplishment is surviving for centuries.

(Your “Generation” is how far removed you are from Caine, assuming the old bastard ever really existed. Caine is the 1st Generation, cursed by God Himself, his childer were the 2nd Generation, and so on. In game-mechanical terms, your Generation determines stuff like your maximum level in supernatural powers and other stuff, and you can’t increase Generation with experience points. It’s a major component of a character’s power level, and PCs start at the bottom--the 13th Generation.)

Thanks to Jyhad and the pull of the Beast, there’s an attrition rate even among the elders. But for the most part, the elders in charge stay in charge. Imagine how stupid and awful your city government would be if that corrupt old bastard everyone hates just never, ever died. And if you piss him off enough, he can throw a car at you.

A childe (plural childer) is a vampire that is still being trained by their sire. Childer are not considered adults in Kindred society, and their sire is held accountable for their gently caress-ups. (You might call someone a childe if they make a stupid rookie mistake.) People who just can’t hack it as vampires are put down by their sires before they get past this point.

A neonate is a Kindred who has recently had their coming-out, which includes being presented to the prince of the city. (That often includes some catechism, bar mitzvah type poo poo where you have to recite the Kindred laws and your ancient Dracula lineage, and do some medieval vassalage ritual.) If a neonate survives a few decades without majorly loving up, they’ll become an ancilla. Neonates are typically 11th-13th Generation Kindred.

Ancilla (plural ancillae) is the rank between neonate and elder. These Kindred are typically 100-200 years old, have carved out a niche for themselves, and are building their power and influence. They are usually 9th-11th Generation Kindred.

Elders, at 200-1000 years old, are the old and powerful vampires who are the movers and shakers in any given city. They are consumed with Kindred politics, making them visible faces of the establishment. Kindred considered elders are generally 6th-8th Generation.

Methuselahs are truly ancient Kindred, of the 4th and 5th Generations. At that age, Kindred undergo a change that makes them even more paranoid and consumed with ennui. They withdraw from Kindred society, manipulating their pawns from afar. These ancient conspirators are the engines of Jyhad.

Antediluvians are the stuff of myth and legend. The name is literal--we’re talking about Caine, his childer and grandchilder, who were lost to history after the fall of the Second City. These are the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Generations. They are as frightening to the Methuselahs as the Methuselahs are to the rest of the Kindred, and the mere rumour of their involvement is enough to instigate chaos. No one really knows how many of them have survived, what their motives are, or what powers they possess. Many believe in a coming apocalypse, called Gehenna, when the Antediluvians will awaken and destroy their childer as they war with each other, laying waste to the earth. It’s also possible that some have reached Golconda and are trying to guide Kindred toward a higher state. In any case, if these ancient vampires are still involved in Jyhad, they do so at an even further remove than the Methuselahs, and all Jyhad is ultimately down to the chess moves of the Antediluvians.

Two other distinctions worth mentioning are the Caitiff and the anarchs. Caitiff are vampires with no Clan--perhaps their sire abandoned them or died before they could be properly trained and introduced to other Kindred. Elders regard them as the scum of the earth, and the typical Caitiff is a bottom-feeding vagabond. Anarchs are young Kindred who reject the rule of princes and elders as much as they can get away with. As far as some elders are concerned, all young Kindred might as well be anarchs. If Caitiff are the homeless of the Kindred, anarchs are the anarchist punk squatters.


Lemmy. Also a vampire.

Traditions

The book has a long section covering what it means to be a Prince, followed by one on the Traditions that constitute the oldest laws of the Kindred. I’m covering the latter first.

The Six Traditions are supposed to have existed for as long as vampires have had any kind of society. Some claim they were handed down by Caine, but it’s more likely that they were established after the war that destroyed the 3rd Generation and the Second City, to prevent such a thing from happening again. Furthermore, the common wording and interpretation of the traditions is a few centuries old. In the modern nights, the meaning of each Tradition is whatever your city’s prince can and will enforce.

I. The Masquerade: Thou shall not reveal thy true nature to those not of the Blood.

The first rule of Vampire Club is that you do not talk about Vampire Club. This is the ultimate law of the Kindred. Even anarchs obey it as a matter of common sense. The vampire who breaks the Masquerade endangers all Kindred and is not Kindred at all.

II. The Domain: Thy domain is thine own concern. All others owe thee respect while in it.

This is the most iffy Tradition, because it’s a throwback to the age when each Kindred ruled over a city with only their childer to keep them company. In modern times, the prince is considered to hold domain over all the city. Kindred constantly war over turf, and anarchs think the prince grants turf to their favourites--but it’s more like they’ll recognize the niche you’ve carved out for yourself and your right not to be hosed with. (Most especially, the right not to have your haven burned down while you sleep.)

Like so much else in the Camarilla, possession is nine-tenths of the law. Kindred basically operate like organized crime, so you’ll see things like anarch gangs claiming a feeding ground but giving elders wide berth when they roll through. Like any feudal lord or mob boss, the prince has to have a light touch and tolerate some internecine conflict in order to protect their own position.

III. The Progeny: Thou shall only sire another with the permission of thine elder.

“Thine elder” refers to your sire or your prince or both. Control over the creation of new Kindred is one of the prince’s most vital powers. Any given prince will likely create childer to expand their power base, and try to prevent Caitiff and anarchs running around their city. “Illegal” childer are likely to be put to death along with their sire. Anarchs say “gently caress you” to this Tradition as a matter of course.

IV. The Accounting: Until thy Progeny shall be Released, thou shall command them in all things. Their sins are thine to endure.

Thee thou thy whatever, this is perhaps the simplest tradition. Childer have no rights, and no responsibilities either. Until you release them, their fuckups are your fuckups.

V. Hospitality: When thou comest to a foreign city, thou shall present thyself to the one who ruleth there. Without the word of acceptance, thou art nothing.

When you travel to a new city, you’re obligated to present yourself to the prince. Some princes make a big ritual out of it, while others are fine with a phone call. A lot of Kindred despise this Tradition out of principle. The anarchs hate the whole idea, while elders find it humiliating. That’s ironic, because enforcement is typically mild. Even those who never present themselves and get caught are typically just hauled in front of the prince, roughed up, and tossed out on the street. Princes value this Tradition because it gives them the right to know who’s in their city, and question them about who they are and what shenanigans they’re up to.

VI. Destruction: The right of destruction belongeth only to thine Elder. Only the Eldest among thee shall call the Blood Hunt.

There it is, the answer to the question “What if I break these rules?” The only punishment enshrined in the Traditions is also the most extreme. The Blood Hunt combines a death sentence with the ancient punishment of outlawry: you are no longer Kindred, and it’s open season on you. It’s similar to being declared an “enemy of the people” in ancient Rome: all Kindred are obliged to join the Hunt, and aiding you is treason. It’s not some weird ritual where vampires dress up like fox hunters and sicc hounds on a renegade Kindred. It’s a coordinated effort to track them down, find them, and kill them, with mortals being none the wiser.

As with the other Traditions, princes interpret the “Elder” as themselves, and a prince who can’t enforce his monopoly on the right of Destruction is not going to be prince much longer. The prince must invoke this Tradition to carry out a death sentence, and doing so for capricious reasons likely results in a half-hearted Hunt and humiliation for the prince.


You knew Mister Rogers was a Marine sniper, but did you know that he was...a vampire?

Seriously, I’m 90% sure they cast the star of Kindred: The Embraced from this picture.



Princedom

The title of prince is a throwback to the era of feudal baronies and city-states, but the modern age is the age of the princes. Simply put, the prince is the vampire who maintains political control over a given metropolitan area. The Camarilla, which purports to govern all Kindred, began formally recognizing princes in the mid-18th century.

As I’ve said, the Camarilla wields little central authority over everyday affairs. I mean, if poo poo gets really hosed up, the Camarilla has higher-ups that are more powerful than any prince. But they really don’t want to uproot themselves and come clean up your shithole city. As a result, there’s no barrier between de facto power and “legitimacy.” If you’re the one in charge, the Camarilla recognizes your right to rule.

Another consequence of decentralization is that rulership varies widely from city to city. Some princes assume fancy titles and hold court with elaborate rituals, while others are content to abide as the guy you don’t gently caress with. Some cities don’t have princes at all, and are ruled by a council or informal agreement.

Anyone can claim princedom, and anyone can challenge the prince--this is another component of Jyhad. The struggle takes the form of gang warfare, as each side marshals its soldiers and musters all its influence over mortal institutions (press, police, politics, etc.) to destroy the other. The aftermath of such a war is often a power vacuum. Perhaps this gives the impression that princedom is an endless game of king-of-the-hill, but not so. A good prince uses his privileges to build power and prevent rebellion. The elders will support him, if only to prevent chaos.

The Prince can interpret the Traditions however they like, and make up whatever other laws they like--if they can’t enforce them, it’s their problem, and a prince who can’t back up their claims is swiftly replaced. A prince is often the eldest and most powerful Kindred in the city, but not necessarily. Other elders are often disdainful of the prince--either they want the job themselves, or they think anybody who does is still immature. But elders generally support the prince’s mundane efforts to keep order, preventing anarchs from roaming the streets, creating too many childer and threatening the Masquerade. Elders are often members of the primogen, a council of advisors that is tradition in many cities.

Another strong tradition is that of Elysium. Princes can declare an area elysium, meaning that it is neutral ground where no violence is permitted. That rule also applies to any damage to the premises, as elysium is usually a place of high culture like a museum or art gallery.


Sects and Violence

quote:

A person who cannot live in society, or does not need to because he is self-sufficient, is either a beast or a god.

--Alan Moore, The Picture of Dorian Gray


Over half of all vampires claim membership in one of the major sects; some are only loyal to their Clan. (Now this is interesting. I believe the mysterious other half is meant to be anarchs, Caitiff, and obscure Clans which may be profitably detailed in a future sourcebook. As time went on, those vampires were understood to be the Kindred of the East and the Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom, who aren’t quite Kindred at all, as well as miscellaneous bloodlines like the Daughters of Cacophony.)

The Camarilla was founded in the 14th century in response to a newly reorganized Inquisition, and is the largest sect of vampires worldwide. Seven of the thirteen major Clans took part in its founding, and are considered to be of the Camarilla. (These are, incidentally, the Clans that you can play.) The Camarilla recognizes the Traditions, but not the Antediluvians--the semi-official stance is that they never existed, or if they did, they’re all dead. They don’t offer any alternative explanation as to where the gently caress vampires come from, though.

The Camarilla considers itself the governing body of all Kindred, and the official view is that all vampires are members of the Camarilla, whether they want to be or not. This theory is, well, just a theory. Princes and elders don’t want oversight, Methuselahs are practically invisible, and the Sabbat dominates entire regions of developed nations.

I’ve repeated that Kindred politics are intensely local, but the Camarilla does have some overarching power. The core of Camarilla leadership is the Inner Circle and its Justicars. The Inner Circle meets in Vienna every 13 years, as it has for five centuries. Each Clan sends one voting member. The main purpose of the Inner Circle is to appoint Justicars, one from each Clan. The political campaigns are long and bloody, as Justicars are invested with broad powers.

Justicars are the highest officers of the Camarilla, and the way the Camarilla can actually impose its will. First, Justicars are empowered to call a Conclave, a mass gathering of Kindred to deal with very important matters. Any Kindred is welcome to attend, and has the right to vote and to give testimony. Among other things, Conclaves allow Kindred to air grievances against princes, and princes to invite aid to crush dissent. The Camarilla has always claimed the right to intervene in local affairs and to depose princes, and Conclaves are where that can happen. Conclaves are called in times of emergency, or just every few years to deal with big-picture concerns. The Justicar of Clan Gangrel holds one in New Orleans every 3 years.

Justicars are also empowered to judge any Kindred who violates the Traditions, prescribing whatever punishment they deem necessary. When a Conclave reaches a decision, it’s the presiding Justicar who carries it out. Each Justicar has a crew of skilled Agents called Archons, who are willingly Blood Bound to the Justicar.

So what is the largest sect besides the Camarilla? The Sabbat. Also known as the Black Hand, the Sabbat is said to have begun as a medieval death cult. The Sabbat rules some of the biggest cities in North America--including NYC, Philly, Toronto, and Montreal--yet almost nothing about them is known for sure.

The Sabbat creates new members by torturing mortals to death, feeding them the blood of many vampires, and then burying them alive. Only those who claw their way to the surface are strong and crazy enough to be part of the Sabbat. Its members are organized in “packs” that fight and feed together. Its two preeminent Clans are called the Lasombra and the Tzimisce.

The Sabbat rejects all the trappings of mortal society, and holds Kindred who try to hold on to their humanity in utter contempt. They revel in being monsters, and consider mortals nothing more than livestock. They worship death, holding rites at cemeteries and tombs. They are known for destroying their enemies with fire, and for practicing diablerie with abandon, even upon their own elders when they become too weak.

The unspoken weirdness here is that the Sabbat controls some of the biggest and most important cities in the US and Canada, is always at war with the Camarilla, and doesn’t give a gently caress about humans--but we know almost nothing about them and they haven’t brought the Masquerade crashing down. It’s hard to predict how the tabletop business will go in this year of our Lord 1992, but I’m sure this state of affairs will be modified when White Wolf is ready to publish a sourcebook.

Finally, the Inconnu is a small and mysterious sect of ancient vampires who claim not to be a sect at all. They remove themselves from Kindred politics, and are able to live outside the cities by virtue of their extreme age and power. Sometimes they appear at Conclaves, but their only apparent commitment as a sect is to avoid Jyhad at all costs. They’re so removed from the world that they often sleep for years. Many seek Golconda, that mythical spiritual state that allows a vampire to transcend the evil inherent in their condition.

Of course, the existence of a brotherhood of extremely old and powerful vampires, who all claim to have turned away from material things, engenders exactly as much paranoia and speculation as you’d expect.


Clans

quote:

All happy families resemble one another; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

--Anne Rice, The Sorrows of Young Werther

Vampires are naturally solitary and selfish, but blood ties are very important to them. Most young vampires have more in common with each other than with their sires and grandsires, but lineages stretching back thousands of years is still a vital part of Kindred culture. Most vampires can trace their lineage back to an antediluvian of the 3rd Generation. There was a time when every vampire could recite their lineage going back to Caine, but neonates don’t give a poo poo. This has the elders grumbling about kids these centuries.

Each Clan has unique vampiric powers and a unique curse, and conforms to a general archetype. But all that will be fully covered in the character creation chapter; this brief section is more about each Clan’s mythic origins.

The Brujah were once known as lovers and guardians of knowledge; their founder supposedly invented the written word. But they killed their sire in the name of freedom, and ever since they’ve been rebels and radicals on the fringe of Kindred society. The Brujah are the only clan that supports the anarchs as an institution.

The Gangrel are wanderers who pride themselves on avoiding politics and other entanglements. Their founder is also the ancestor of the Gypsies--like that’s a thing--and the Gangrel are supposed to have some kind of bond with them. Okay.

The Malkavians’ origin is a mystery, featuring many contradictory legend. The most common is that Caine cursed their founder with insanity, which was passed on to all his childer. The Malkavians have always been on the outside looking in, with their founder’s secret manipulations supposedly keeping them alive.

Legend says the Nosferatu were founded by a man with a beautiful face but an evil soul, so Caine cursed him with the face of a monster. All Nosferatu are horribly ugly. Their founder was a violent monster, but Nosferatu tend to be sober and secretive.

The Toreador are a Clan of artists and aristocrats. Their founder was a leader of the rebellion against the Second Generation, but allowed his own childer to nurture their civilized instincts. Toreador are strong supporters of Elysium and of tradition in general.

The Tremere are, frankly, the product of a colossal mistake. A vampire Embraced a family of sorcerers, who quickly synthesized their magick with their new vampiric powers and took control of their Clan. They’re even said to have destroyed their Clan’s original founder. The Tremere are especially secretive and close-knit, and widely distrusted because of it.

The Ventrue believe that their founder was slain by one of the Brujah. Rather than nurse a grudge, they took advantage of their freedom from manipulation to become the leaders of the Camarilla. More princes come from the Ventrue than from any other Clan.

Mortals and Other Bumps in the Night

The biggest threat to a vampire is usually another vampire, but they share the world with a lot of other freaks--werewolves, sorcerers, Boo Berries, spies, tenured professors, televangelists, Moonies, the works.

Powerful Kindred typically manipulate local governments, but it’s hard to say how much federal governments know about vampires. In the United States, the people most likely to be on to something are in the FBI and NSA. The remnants of the FBI’s investigations into Communist super-science are now called Special Affairs. They have active case files open on mysterious phenomena, but not much pull within the FBI. The NSA sifts a lot of data, and flags interesting or “anomalous” reports--but for all anyone knows, anything that could potentially bring own the Masquerade just gets lost in the churn. No vampire has been able to infiltrate the NSA to find out. The Center for Disease Control is the closest to outright investigating vampires--they’re concerned about the transmission of AIDS and other blood-borne diseases with no apparent vector, and have launched a large investigation into the matter.

It’s common knowledge that the Roman Catholic Church proved the existence of vampires, and formed the Inquisition that spurred the founding of the Camarilla. Today, that Inquisition survives in the form of the Society of Leopold. The Society is not part of the Church, but is mostly Catholic and includes many priests. They don’t have encyclopedic knowledge of vampires, nor are they any kind of armed-to-the-teeth vampire hunting militia. Mostly they study old records in an attempt to piece together the truth. But they have learned that individuals with strong, genuine faith can use it to repel vampires.

When they do capture a vampire, they hold elaborate trials before executing their prisoners. A Jesuit splinter group has become more aggressive in hunting down vampires. Meanwhile, official Camarilla policy is to leave them alone and avoid them. Many elders remember that first Inquisition and are still afraid, while some anarchs enjoy baiting them.

The Arcanum grew out of the “War of the Roses” among Parisian occultists in the late 1880s. (Vampire is quite accurate here: the people involved called it a “magical war” but to everyone else it was a very entertaining, very embarrassing scandal among prominent Rosicrucians that was played up in the newspapers.) The most serious and scholarly members of various splinter groups left in disgust and formed the Arcanum.

The Arcanum is a group of serious and well-funded scholars researching the supernatural. The Camarilla is unsure how much they know about vampires, as they’re much more interested in more spiritual and intangible phenomena like miracles and hauntings than in vampires and werewolves and the Loch Ness monster. Even so, the Arcanum is under the same order as the Inquisition: monitor them but never ever let them take notice of you.

So what about actual mages? Powerful sorcerers not to be trifled with, most of whom follow the ancient Order of Hermes. They aren’t particular enemies of Kindred, but they despise the Tremere as traitors. (I suspect that if White Wolf was already thinking about launching Mage, the concept hewed closely to Ars Magica at this point.)

Lupines, or werewolves, are “the mortal enemies of vampires...since the dawn of time.” Why? No explanation. Lupines live in close-knit tribes, and hunt down and kill any vampires trespassing on their territory. Only the Gangrel have contact with them, and even then, they usually hide their true nature. By the by, the World of Darkness seems to be a setting where every place that isn’t a big city is savage wilderness. Or at least, a Stephen King type ominous small town, where ominously creepy old men sit on ominously creaking rocking chairs outside dilapidated country stores, saying “Ah, can’t get there from here” and ominously advising you to be inside before dark. But hey, White Wolf was based in Georgia.

Ghouls are a sort of gentleman’s exception to the Masquerade. (For that reason, you ought to get a by-your-leave from the Prince.) Many Kindred create ghouls to do their grunt work and guard them while they sleep. Ghouls are Blood Bound as a matter of course. Once they surpass their natural lifespan, they need vampire blood in their system constantly lest they age to death in a matter of hours or days.


Hey baby, wanna help me eat all the humans?


Fangin’ and Slangin’ with the Type A List Brother

Now we come to White Wolf’s most famous innovation: slang.

Vampire features a “Lexicon” of three lists: terms that most Kindred use, terms that are only used by dusty old Grandpa Munsters and their bootlickers, and vulgar terms that are only used by anarchs and other scum. Vampire is notorious for inspiring a lot of other games to characterize their setting with lots of Capitalized Jargon Words; when you find a game that has multiple Jargon Words for the same drat thing, this is why. A lot of these terms concern when, where, and how vampires feed on humans.

I’ll be damned if I make the mistake I did with Everlasting and Immortal and detail every goddamn thing, but I will go through some highlights. There are a lot of terms here that I’ve already covered, like “anarch” and “childe.”

Alleycat (vulgar): A vampire who feeds on street people, and is usually one himself. The archaic version is footpad. When more respectable vampires do this, it’s called slumming.
Banker, Banking (vulgar): Kindred who rob blood banks.
Barrens: Parts of a city that are devoid of life, and thus of good eating--abandoned warehouses and suchlike.
The Beast: A vampire’s animalistic drive to feed, sleep, flee fire and sunlight, and forget everything else.
Blister (vulgar): A vampire that picks up a disease from feeding, and passes it on to future victims.
Butterfly (vulgar): A vampire who mingles among high society. The archaic form is Whig.
Cainite (archaic): Vampires. Even “Kindred” is too vulgar for some elders.
Cauchemar (archaic): A vampire who only feeds on sleeping victims, leaving them mostly unharmed. The vulgar version is Sandman.
The Damned (vulgar): Vampires.
Farmer, Vegetary (vulgar): A Kindred who feeds on animals.
Haven: The place where you sleep during the day. Vampires have a very “a man’s home is his castle” view of their havens.
The Hunger: The all-consuming urge to feed.
Jyhad: Any kind of war or political struggle between vampires, but especially that involving the ancients using the rest of us as pawns in their inscrutable master plans.
Kine: Mortals.
Kiss: A prissy term for biting people and drinking their blood.
The Life: An even prissier term for said blood. The archaic version is Vitae.
Lush: A vampire who feeds on intoxicated people. This is the only way vampires can get high, by the way.
Osiris (archaic): A vampire who creates a mortal cult to feed upon. This practice is now rare.
Praxis (archaic): The right of princes to rule.
The Rack (vulgar): The red-light district of nightclubs, brothels, and so on, considered prime hunting ground. The archaic form is Papillon.
Rake (vulgar): Those who hunt in The Rack are Rakes. The archaic form is Gentry.
Regnant (archaic): One who holds a Blood Bond over another. The bonded person is called a Thrall.
Retainers (archaic): Mortals, usually ghouls, who serve vampires. Many are so thoroughly controlled that they have no free will.
Rogue: A vampire who hunts other vampires to commit diablerie. The vulgar form is Headhunter.
Siren: A vampire who seduces mortals and feeds on them while they sleep, without taking too much blood. The vulgar version is Casanova or Tease.
Vessel: A human, coldly considered purely as a source of blood. The vulgar version is Donor.

So yes, Vampire has a lot of Capitalized Jargon, including some Latinish archaicisms, but its slang mostly sounds like plausible slang. And that lexicon rounds out the setting chapter.


Next time on Kindred the Embraced: A brief chapter on GMing. Yes, Vampire does this before rules and character creation.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 14:14 on Nov 30, 2017

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Ah, the other sort of vampire.

Dallbun
Apr 21, 2010


To kill the tarrasque, you must reduce it to -30 hit points and then use

The Deck of Encounters Set One Part 43: The Deck of Players, Plants, and Remorhaz

259: It's Only a Game

An urban encounter - the locals have cordoned off a street block for a game resembling street hockey without skates. The red team is one short, and tries to recruit the burliest PC.

“Since the PC has no idea of the game’s rules, the red team constantly berates him - ‘You can’t cross the line ’til the ball does, you idiot!’ The black team looks on and laughs. The DM is encouraged to make up rules that the PC will violate. Any time the PC does anything, the team yells at him.”

:( Well, it was charming until then. I guess the idea is that the PC is purposefully being bullied? The XP award is 500 for participating, and “1000 for not being bullied, or a successful defense,” whatever that means. But let the PC make an Intelligence check to keep the rules straight or something! That’s a quick fix, though. Keep.


260: Something Rotten

The PCs are camped in a creepy swamp with “twisted trees” and stuff, and hear splashing coming from a nearby pool of water. It’s a submerged shambling mound trying to sneak up on them, and it’ll try to attack and suffocate any investigating PC and make its escape. If they don’t investigate the noise, it’ll slowly creep around and try to kill a sleeping PC, instead. It’s got a 1000 gp ruby necklace tangled up in its body. Half the card is devoted to reprinting the relevant special defenses and attacks of the creature.

There’s some decent horror movie imagery here, though it would take a pretty good DM to actually scare jaded players with it. It’s just a monster attack, but I guess there’s enough staging here for me to keep it.


261: Fools Rush In

There’s a cavern with a small waterfall flowing in from 50 feet above. The whole place is covered with damp, slippery mosses. The PCs notice glittering in the pool of water (an exposed vein of pyrite, yaaay), but when they go investigate it, a shambling mound will bust out of the hollow behind the waterfall where it lives and attack. It’ll “attack tenaciously, pursuing as long as the PCs remain underground.” There’s a bunch of coinage and some potions and a scroll in the lair. (That scroll must be in an extremely waterproof case.)

Eh, both these shambling mound encounters are pretty bare-bones. I think I’ll pass on this one, because it demands that I dump it in an existing dungeon, and it wouldn’t necessarily be thematically appropriate for that.


262: Fire and Ice

The PCs are traveling across an arctic plain, and see the snow and ice shift ahead of them. Two rounds later a remorhaz attacks them, rising in a cloud of steam. It’s hungry and attacks until slain or the PCs escape! Great.

That flavor text is essentially the only new content. Much of the rest of the card repeats info from the Monstrous Manual - it swallows its target on a natural 20, anyone touching its scalding back takes 10d10 damage, etc. It claims the remorhaz is only affected by magical weapons, but that appears to be a misreading of its special abilities.

Oh, it also says what’s in the remorhaz’s lair, five miles away - 2100 gp worth of valuables and a ring of warmth. Well, that’s a nice thing to find on an arctic plain. But pass.


263: Let Sleeping Dogs...

“The party is working their way through a treacherous glacial pass in freezing cold weather.” The footing is treacherous and there’s only one narrow path. They decide to turn back and brave the Mines of Moria instead. Then the path is interrupted by the head and upper body of a 42-foot long remorhaz. I guess… most of its body is encased in the ice and snow? It’s a little unclear.

The card suggests the PCs could try a dangerous climb up and around the remorhaz, or wake it up with a distraction and then hustle past the area. Or they could try to fight it - they do have the best possible surprise round, after all - and be rewarded with 11,000 exp for killing it, as opposed to the 500 the card grants them for navigating past it. Oh, AD&D. :allears: You’re half-heartedly trying to incentivize avoiding combat and thinking outside the box, but you can’t quite bring yourself to not reward meaningless combat. (“But these things are really dangerous! Obviously the PCs should get much better at being murderhobos if they slaughter it, even if they have no good reason to do so!”)

Anyway, keep.

Dallbun fucked around with this message at 14:30 on Nov 30, 2017

Lurks With Wolves
Jan 14, 2013

At least I don't dance with them, right?


Maxwell Lord posted:



Part Who Actually Cares: The Locker Room, or, Straight Outta Crockett

I just realized that might be a joke about this post covering how backstage clout and popularity work, not you being sad about no one ever commenting on these reviews.

Anyway, since I'm doing this now, Kayfabe kind of feels like less of a game and more of a neat way to model your fantasy booking. Not that ways to model fantasy booking aren't cool, because it is neat and it does seem like it has rules for basically everything you'd need to do that. I think my problem is that it doesn't feel like there's enough goals for characters to strive for mechanically. There's becoming more popular as a wrestler, but that's what everyone wants and it just starts to feel weird for me.

This post in particular makes it feel weirder, since it's talking about ways for wrestlers to take control of their stories and screw with other wrestlers' pushes and all that. You can have a lot of fun playing Hulk Hogan and keeping the other wrestlers down because it's best for business brother, don't get me wrong. It just rings a little hollow when you're also playing four of the guys he's keeping down.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


I’m not super familiar with Vampire, but surely the info about the Sabbat is inaccurate? I group of vampires that act like monsters all the time and also control all of NYC would probably immediately destroy the masquerade?

Is this a case of unreliable narrator? (Which would be a pretty crazy choice for a core rule book other than Paranoia.) Or is it just intended to be ignored as a surreal element of the setting? It certainly seems pretty “we’ve always been at war with eastasia.”

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Building on something I said earlier, the PbtA game World Wide Wrestling seems more roleplaying-focused, but I get confused a lot about what stats and moves correspond to what actions "in the fiction." Kayfabe seems tricky to actually roleplay, but I understand how the mechanical models correspond to wrestling.

Kayfabe seems like it maybe needs an enforced throughline from the guy you play on the booking committee and the wrestler you play. In the case of Hulk Hogan, that makes perfect sense in the context of WCW and the nWo, him keeping himself on top and holding everybody who wasn't his personal friend down, both in and out of kayfabe. But it doesn't need to be an actual stable.

I could see a fun game where one guy plays, say, the Nostalgia Talent--so you're playing Hogan, you're playing the booker who thinks only wrestlers like Hogan can draw, and you're playing one of Hogan's old buddies on the midcard. Another guy is playing the Scrappy Indie Talent, so you're playing Daniel Bryan, someone on the booking committee who wants to push talented new blood, and another indie guy on the midcard who's floundering because they don't know how to use him. Each "level" might have a token everyone's fighting over, whether that's a midcard belt, the championship belt, or creative control. That also opens the gate for some interesting character ads & disads...like, Triple H pushes indie talent but he's also notoriously self-aggrandizing and keeps pushing himself into the championship scene as a singles wrestler. Kevin Nash was poison to a bunch of people's careers, and so on.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



DalaranJ posted:

I’m not super familiar with Vampire, but surely the info about the Sabbat is inaccurate? I group of vampires that act like monsters all the time and also control all of NYC would probably immediately destroy the masquerade?

Is this a case of unreliable narrator? (Which would be a pretty crazy choice for a core rule book other than Paranoia.) Or is it just intended to be ignored as a surreal element of the setting? It certainly seems pretty “we’ve always been at war with eastasia.”

No, that's consistently how the Sabbat gets portrayed. They are both monstrous killers all the time, and secretly controlling about as much society as the Cam does, simultaneously.

The Sabbat were not well written.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I think there's just some kind of law that every grimdark setting has a psychopathic writer's pet bad-guy faction that is simultaneously controlling everything secretly but also doesn't give a gently caress about any of the setting conventions. See: Chaos, Sabbat, Scorpion, Voddace, etc

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.



Mors Rattus posted:

No, that's consistently how the Sabbat gets portrayed. They are both monstrous killers all the time, and secretly controlling about as much society as the Cam does, simultaneously.

The Sabbat were not well written.
Per one of Werewolf's setting books, NYC is also run by a sinister cabal of child trafficking rich people and their pet monsters and spirits. Also Central Park is a spiritual locus but people can just wander on through whenever.

Big cities not within a convenient drive of Stone Mountain, GA were also not well written.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




DalaranJ posted:

I’m not super familiar with Vampire, but surely the info about the Sabbat is inaccurate? I group of vampires that act like monsters all the time and also control all of NYC would probably immediately destroy the masquerade?

Is this a case of unreliable narrator? (Which would be a pretty crazy choice for a core rule book other than Paranoia.) Or is it just intended to be ignored as a surreal element of the setting? It certainly seems pretty “we’ve always been at war with eastasia.”

I don't want to jump too far ahead, but: first, it's not a case of an unreliable narrator. That "To Mina, Love Vlad" chapter at the beginning of the book is the only part of the Vampire corebook that's written in-character. White Wolf's pattern of writing sourcebooks largely in the form of first-person narration didn't develop until years later. (I thoroughly hated most of that, by the way.)

The information on the Sabbat in the corebook is very, very sketchy and makes very little sense. I'm going to review several more books in the Vampire line, including the ones that detail the Sabbat--yes, even that one. But per the corebook, the Sabbat is basically one giant crazy cannibal cult from a 70s grindhouse movie. One of the suggested adventure seeds is the PCs facing off with a Sabbat pack who are a dark mirror to them, and there's no implication that they should be anything more than mute slasher villains.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




The VTMB PC game is the only good part of oWOD.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



My favorite thing about oVampire lore is the third Cainite conspiracy whose name I can't recall, who are like puppetmasters of puppetmasters and who never got written out of the game - they just stopped getting talked about until someone remembered they existed. they had a really goofy name, too, but it's escaping me.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Chernobyl Peace Prize posted:

Per one of Werewolf's setting books, NYC is also run by a sinister cabal of child trafficking rich people and their pet monsters and spirits.

Yes the 7th Generation, though a more accurate description of them would be "Wyrm Nambla".

The inciting incident that led to Albrecht becoming King was briefly uniting all the Fera and Tribes to burn them down to the foundations and then poo poo on the ashes.

Mors Rattus posted:

My favorite thing about oVampire lore is the third Cainite conspiracy whose name I can't recall, who are like puppetmasters of puppetmasters and who never got written out of the game - they just stopped getting talked about until someone remembered they existed. they had a really goofy name, too, but it's escaping me.


The black hand?

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Mors Rattus posted:

My favorite thing about oVampire lore is the third Cainite conspiracy whose name I can't recall, who are like puppetmasters of puppetmasters and who never got written out of the game - they just stopped getting talked about until someone remembered they existed. they had a really goofy name, too, but it's escaping me.

The True Black Hand, or Tal'Mahe'rah.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy: Ashes of Middenheim: Paths of the Damned, Part 1

This is why you don't trust cultists with anything important.

The Altmarket-Altquartier districts are where we start to see real damage from the siege. The Altquartier was right next to the east gate and saw heavy fighting, and stray artillery fire and cultist uprisings damaged the neighboring altmarket. Neither are particularly prosperous areas; the Altmarket is more of a set of warehouses and storage spaces than a market, and the Altquartier is a slum for poor daytalers and laborers who load and unload traffic from the east gate. Worse, the northeastern part of the Empire is the most damaged, and the East Gate suffered some of the worse fighting, so the whole districts' normal economic activity has been devastated by the interruption of trade as much as the damage, since the roads it services aren't in much use for anything but refugees and military patrols right now.

Despite the relative poverty of the area, there's one very important building: The Worshipful Guild of Legalists. The big three story building was untouched in the siege, blessedly, since it contains many of the city's records and houses the most important lawyers and legal officials in the city. Anyone who gets in trouble with the law and has the means to hire someone to speak in their defense (hint for adventurers) is going to find their way to the Guild eventually. The Guild also employs investigators, another way adventurers could get involved.

Fleischer's Slaughterhouse took a direct hit from a Hellcannon, a demonically bound energy cannon run by Chaos Dwarfs and the main siege weapon of the Chaos forces, and simply doesn't exist anymore. What exists in its place is a blackened scar on the land where strange flowers with screaming human faces grow from time to time. Locals also swear they've seen mutated rats of unusual size appear from the ruins of the slaughterhouse. For now, the authorities have the whole thing cordoned off until they either get enough people to properly cleanse the site or find some adventurers that have a wizard or something.

The Blazing Hearth is the center of an ethnic halfling neighborhood called Little Moot in the Old Market. The whole of the Little Moot survived, mostly, and it's a welcoming and open place but for the fact that the buildings (including the Blazing Hearth) tend to have 5-6 foot high ceilings. The food is so good, though, and so cheap compared to high-class joints like the Harvest Goose, that many swear the back-pains are completely worth it. If you need a place for the party's halfling to feel at home, or a comic interlude of the PCs braving tiny homes to get excellent food, the Blazing Hearth and the Little Moot are there.

The Southgate district is where most of the lower classes and poorer Burghers have their homes, especially with the damage to the Altquartier. It and the Ostwald district that neighbors it on the west (odd considering it's called Ostwald, you'd expect it to be in the east) didn't suffer as much damage in the siege as other gate-districts, since Archaon's army came from the north and east for the most part. There's still damage from the siege, but for now the area is pretty safe. Safe enough that many of the crime bosses and criminal rings from the Altquartier have decided to relocate to new slums and dives in the Ostwald.

We get a couple shady taverns and pawnbrokers here but they're not really interesting enough to describe in detail.

The Laborer's Hospice is an interesting enough place. It was built as a charitable place for seasonal laborers to stay while working in the city. It was also built to provide a place to recruit the more able-bodied and sharp-witted among the destitute as enforcers and racketeers for the criminals who built it. The funny thing is, though, it really does serve as a charitable hostlery every bit as much as it does a recruiting ground, and the original builder intended it to be both; a way to pay the city back for what he'd taken from it while also enabling him to take more later. The fact that it is also a legitimate charity and is doing good work serving uninvolved refugees has made the Hospice a neutral ground where the city's gangs can meet to work out their problems peacefully; there's been too much damage already for them to fight among themselves too openly, even with the Watch away. A nice place to drop plot hooks for criminal PCs.

There's also a deserted Brewery, the Dragon Ales Brewery, that served as a front for a secret halfling drug manufacturing lab. The city's crime lords don't actually know how to get into the lab, and the chemist/brewer halfling died in the siege. Now they're stuck without a way to access the valuable equipment, notes, and stock he built up, and the place has gained a reputation as being haunted. The perfect little sidequest for a less-than-legal party.

At the Neumarket-Eastgate district, the damage is most severe closest to the East Gate. This isn't because of more Hellcannon fire (though that didn't help) but rather because of one of the many failed cult uprisings in the city. The Eastgate is a middle class district, with things becoming increasingly gentrified the further north one gets.

Near the actual east gate was the Templar's Downfall, an infamous and controversial cabaret and nightclub that secretly housed a Slaaneshi cult. The Jade Scepter was able to conceal itself for quite some time because it had no designs on destroying the city originally, not even during the siege. The members just wanted a quiet, hidden place to indulge in crazy cocaine parties, experimental music, and the occasional orgy. They simply did their thing without any real design on larger ambitions until they were contacted by one of the besiegers, who promised such endless delight that they couldn't help but try to help out. So they tried to summon demons for the first time in the cult's history and messed it up completely. Demonettes aren't especially formidable already, and when the people who summoned them have no idea how to control them and they just run out to have 'fun', and in doing run directly into a huge concentration of Battle Wizards and Warrior Priests...well, the damage they did was as much from overzealous bright wizard fire as the demons. That was the end of the Templar's Downfall and the Jade Scepter Cult, and a prime example of why Archaon activating all the cults in the city didn't get him an open gate to charge through. The locals have fanciful tales about the place burning down in a dramatic battle with Hunters, but in reality the building burned because someone accidentally dropped a torch into a holed brandy cask while trying to loot any leftover drink or valuables from the ruins.

This district also houses the Royal College of Music, which runs the local opera (Imperials love opera) and trains cantors for the churches and singers or musicians for the city's many cabarets. With the Graf and many of their patrons away, the College's season is open, and they've taken to staging free concerts for the children of refugees to try to comfort them in these dark times and stay in practice. They also have the occasional benefit concert to raise money to help resettle people or rebuild parts of the city. It's adorable.

I'm leaving out a few of the smaller places or places that don't have solid plot hooks or anything to catch my eye, because if I don't I'm gonna be describing Middenheim all week.

Next Time: The Temple of Sigmar, and The Art of Glaring, But Diplomatically.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Kurieg posted:

Yes the 7th Generation, though a more accurate description of them would be "Wyrm Nambla".

The inciting incident that led to Albrecht becoming King was briefly uniting all the Fera and Tribes to burn them down to the foundations and then poo poo on the ashes.
The Seventh Generation is the only example I can think of where leading White Wolf devs just openly shat on it and told people it sucked and they were getting rid of it. I think Justin Achilli said "This is the World of Darkness, not the World of Liberalism." Because the Seventh Generation are just a collection of cliches of evil right-wingers, who are working together for no reason other than "they're a Wyrm cult and the Wyrm says so," and also they're child molesters because reasons.

And I mean, I sympathize, but you don't have to demonize Republicans by making them literally demons.

quote:

The black hand?

MonsieurChoc posted:

The True Black Hand, or Tal'Mahe'rah.
Full disclosure: I decided to review Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand, and only then realized that no one had actually covered V:tM yet. I also realized I couldn't fully do justice to the insanity of that book without going back and covering the core of the line. My review of that book is mostly written, but pedant that I am, I expect I'll end up feeling compelled to revise it.

The Tal'Ma'Ma'He'Man'She'Ra is loving nuts. So it's like, the Black Hand is actually an organization within the Sabbat. But there's a False Black Hand, and a True Black Hand that is the Tal'mahe'Ra. It's a classic case of adding complexity to a setting without actually adding meaning or depth.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005
The Biden administration is actively fighting to withhold COVID vaccinations from our child concentration camps and pointing out that somebody used the word "democrat" as an adjective will not make that fact go away

MonsieurChoc posted:

The True Black Hand, or Tal'Mahe'rah.

Sound more like the Inconnu, which barely got any write-ups until the end. The TBH was AGGRESSIVELY shat on by the writers after it got introduced, up to devoting the next edition’s ST guide to retconning their supplement as IC propaganda and double-nuking the entire faction.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



I was actually thinking of the Inconnu, yeah.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Halloween Jack posted:

The Tal'Ma'Ma'He'Man'She'Ra is loving nuts. So it's like, the Black Hand is actually an organization within the Sabbat. But there's a False Black Hand, and a True Black Hand that is the Tal'mahe'Ra. It's a classic case of adding complexity to a setting without actually adding meaning or depth.
Every game I've ever played in where there was a wheels-within-wheels-within-wheels conspiracy full of double-bluffs and false fronts has been a bust, because its really hard to get the players to care about (or the GM to keep track of) something that multilayered, especially if you're doling out incomplete information (as players find some but not all of the clues). The GM can build a complicated backstory full of shadowy figures and blackmail and hidden agendas but if its completely opaque to the PCs in play then their enemies may just as well be acting completely randomly. And after about the second layer of "no, but you see, what's REALLY going on..." most players just stop caring.

Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.


:smith:



Grimey Drawer

Lurks With Wolves posted:

I just realized that might be a joke about this post covering how backstage clout and popularity work, not you being sad about no one ever commenting on these reviews.

It's more "I can't be bothered to keep track of what part this is" because I have to go back to my old posts.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


I feel like kayfabe is in the same game genre as How to Host a Dungeon. It’s not an RPG, it’s a table top event simulator game.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



A brief explanation of the Inconnu, via me refreshing my memory and google.

First, the word inconnu means 'an unknown person or thing' or 'a form of whitefish related to the salmon that lives near the Arctic Circle.' You pick.

Second, no one knows what the Inconnu want or do. They don't participate in the Jyhad (yes) and they kill other vampires whenever they feel like. Some believe they pursue Golconda and others say they manipulate everyone and everything. All anyone ever sees are the Monitors, who are like vampire-watchers. They show up, write things down, leave and never interfere.

Third, they apparently want to preserve the existence of vampires as a whole. They have four factions: the Seekers (who want Golconda for all vampires), the Purifiers (who believe in transhumanvampirism via technology and sorcery), the Immaculates (who believe in embracing the monstrousness of being a vampire in order to transcend it) and the Haunted (who believe vampirism is caused by being possessed by a spirit of rage and greed, and can be transcended by starving the Beast and weakening it before it consumes you).

That's basically, uh, all I can find. I don't know if they ever got more than that.

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk






Chapter 6: The Illuminati - Rosy Crosses and Hidden Orders





Keepers of Knowledge: The Rosicrucians - Officially, this conspiracy started in Egypt during the 18th Dynasty while Thothmes III was Pharaoh, under the name of the Companions of Horus. Humans from Egypt were allowed to learn sorcery and mindwalking from rogue Greys and Kinori that were disobeying the commands of their own rulers. The very next paragraph tells us "but wait, actually this conspiracy started nearly one-thousand years before that first date" but the origin and goals for the conspiracy are still the same (rogue Greys and Kinori training Egyptian wizards & mindwalkers) so I'm not clear on why there needs to be a secret, for-reals-this-time origination date.

Any who, they pretty much mind their own business, learning to be better wizards and collecting occult knowledge and storing it in the Library of Alexandria. Of course, that place gets put to the torch and the Rosicrucians lose a significant part of their accumulated knowledge, so they decide to peace-out from Egypt and instead set-up shop in the mountains of Tibet. They continue to mostly keep to themselves, although it's pointed out that they were huge fans of Gnostic Christianity (and mystery cults in general) and they wage a shadow war with the Catholic Church by disseminating "subversive" religious literature and tracts to major cities across Europe (how they do this, while being primarily based somewhere in Tibet, is never explained). The Catholic Church gets so mad at the Rosicrucians for challenging their power structure that they make it illegal to be a member of the Rosicrucians, and this leads to Rosicrucians membership becoming something of a measure of street cred for other illuminati groups that wanted to give the finger to the Catholic Church. This goes so far as Charlemagne founding a fake Rosicrucian lodge in Toulouse sometime in the 9th century CE, which is followed in 1000 CE with a group of excommunicated Catholic monks founding another fake lodge of their own. The Freemasons have claimed that the entirety of the Rosicrucian conspiracy is just some subordinate Mason cell, and in modern times The Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis has sprung up claiming to be the official reincarnation of the original conspiracy.



They're your stereotypical, mystical, inscrutable Asian monastics. The art is a real missed opportunity to reveal what a human-grey cross-breed is supposed to look like.


Okay, but why would all of these different people try and convince everyone else that they are/own/partner with the Rosicrucians? Because the primary, actual secret that the Rosicrucians hold is that they've successfully cross-bred Greys and Humans, they've known how to do this since way back in BCE times, and their cross-breeds are the most powerful mindwalkers on the planet (discounting actual Greys). Apparently, all of the other illuminati groups either want to learn how the cross-breeding is accomplished or at least want other conspiracies to think they have cross-breeds of their own as a means of deterrence.

The cross-breeds themselves comprise a separate conspiracy-within-a-conspiracy and they operate as The Great Builders. They're the for-real leaders of what remains of the original Companions of Horus and their primary goal is to continue the work that the Kinori originally set-out to do after the whole Atlantis debacle: they scour the globe for Doorways that other Strangers could use to invade Earth and then set about permanently closing them, using whatever means are necessary. They're actually fairly unambiguous "good guys", although the GM could certainly decide that they're going around shutting these Doorways for less than altruistic reasons.

HQ & Branches: Somewhere in the Himalayan Mountains. Although there's many imposter groups, the actual Rosicrucians have no other branches outside their main temple.

Power & Resources: Whatever ancient artifacts and occult tomes they could save from the Library of Alexandria, mutually beneficial relationships with sub-factions within both the Kinori and the Greys and apparently they're allied with the Invisible College (which we haven't heard of before).

Followers: Unknown, but it's suspected there's roughly 100 living cross-breeds and several hundred regular humans that support them.

Secret Knowledge: They're one of the only places on Earth that can train humans to take the full Mindwalker class, plus they've got the motherfucking human-grey cross-breeding down pat.

Primary Goal: Promote enlightenment, spread knowledge, permanently seal active Doorways.

Common Missions: Find and recruit potential Mindwalking talents from the regular population, recon potential sites for Doorway activity, promote the fall of totalitarian regimes world-wide.




Secrets of God: The Secret Order of St. Gregory - This conspiracy was originally founded in 958 CE by the then-Patriarch of Constantinople. They're one of the smallest illuminati groups, with a reputation for maintaining such excessive secrecy that they haven't been successfully infiltrated by any other illuminati groups; almost no one living has even heard of this conspiracy outside of the people that are inducted into it. The Order actually operates independently from the modern Catholic Church, despite the group's origins, because of some very fortunate historial accidents. When the Church experienced the final schism between the Catholic and Orthodox branches in 1054 CE, the Order was comprised of members from each branch and was ostensibly expected to answer to both Popes. They maintained an uneasy balance between the demands of both branches until 1202 CE when Constantinople was sacked during the Fourth Crusade, and the Order used the ensuing chaos to completely destroy any records of their existence within both the Catholic and Orthodox hierarchies. Any other traces of the Order's existence were successfully purged between 1305 and 1415 CE, during the upheaval that occurred when the papacy abdicated Rome and the ensuing Antipope conflicts.

But who cares about that, what does this group actually do? They were supposed to be the Church's unofficial black-ops squad, the Tier 1 operators that get dispatched to eliminate the most dire supernatural or occult threats. Since they're no longer affiliated with the Catholic Church, they've become a group of freelance problem solvers, handling everything from exorcism to haunting to actual encounters with hostile supernaturals (Ghost Busting).



Father Sixgun about to engage in some sort of hate crime because SCIENCE IS THE DEVIL.


Then the book does a hard 180 degree pivot away from decency and claims that the Order does not accept women into its ranks, that they were the singular source that started the witch hunts of the fifteenth century and the Inquisition in the sixteenth century, are directly responsible for "the gradual suppression and settlement of the Roma (Gypsies)", the destruction of Shamanism in the Native populations of North America during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the imposition of colonial authorities against Chinese mysticism during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and most recently have been the guiding force behind the repeated attempts by China to invade Tibet and the destruction of Tibetan temples. They believe all Strangers or aliens are literal minions of Satan and execute them on sight, they believe any forms of mysticism or sorcery or spell casting are likewise Satanic and execute anyone exhibiting those powers on sight, and they all believe that their actions are 100% divinely ordained by the God of Heaven; why else would they have been so generally successful in accomplishing their aims?

So, a pretty big laundry list of the worst possible things any group of dudes could have conspired to do. While the Free Masons are definitely presented as the generic villains of the Dark*Matter setting, the Order is clearly just as villainous, and with a much more detailed list of offenses. Which is fine, I guess, because every setting needs antagonists for the heroes to fight against, but it still strikes me as very tone-deaf to directly link this fictional group of villains to horrific acts of genocide and mass slaughter that were perpetrated in the real world.

HQ & Branches: Their HQ is in St. Petersburg and they've got branches literally all over the world, including such remarkably un-intuitive places as Flagstaff, Arizona. Based on their aforementioned list of historical crimes, I can only assume the branch in Flagstaff is engaged in some horrible oppression of the local Native American population.

Power & Resources: Anything of occult significance that they could have stolen from the people they've victimized over the last 600 years, scholars well versed in matters of theology and dead languages, a gigantic network of unwitting supporters in the congregation of every single Catholic Church across the globe.

Followers: Unknown, but it's suspected there's several hundred of these hosed up dudes sneaking around.

Secret Knowledge: Supposedly these guys also know how to train humans as actual Mindwalkers, but it's unlikely that this is going to be an avenue of training that your players can pursue. They're also masters of martial arts and Monotheism FX, so I guess they're a bunch of sadistic, conservative Christian karate psychics. In other words, they're all Chuck Norris, but not the played-out-meme Chuck Norris, the literally-crazy-in-real-life Chuck Norris.

Primary Goal: Rid the Earth of the minions of Satan, using whatever definition of "Satanic" suits their immediate needs.

Common Missions: Organizing and perpetrating hate crime on a global scale, if their history is any indication.


NEXT TIME: The Invisible College and the Knights of Malta.

Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.


:smith:



Grimey Drawer

Lurks With Wolves posted:

I just realized that might be a joke about this post covering how backstage clout and popularity work, not you being sad about no one ever commenting on these reviews.

Anyway, since I'm doing this now, Kayfabe kind of feels like less of a game and more of a neat way to model your fantasy booking. Not that ways to model fantasy booking aren't cool, because it is neat and it does seem like it has rules for basically everything you'd need to do that. I think my problem is that it doesn't feel like there's enough goals for characters to strive for mechanically. There's becoming more popular as a wrestler, but that's what everyone wants and it just starts to feel weird for me.

This post in particular makes it feel weirder, since it's talking about ways for wrestlers to take control of their stories and screw with other wrestlers' pushes and all that. You can have a lot of fun playing Hulk Hogan and keeping the other wrestlers down because it's best for business brother, don't get me wrong. It just rings a little hollow when you're also playing four of the guys he's keeping down.

I do see it as sort of an e-Fed simulator, and that's honestly part of my interest- TEW (the PC management sim I mentioned earlier) is less about running your own promotion and more jumping into someone else's and trying to do good with what they have. (And watching the computer book your competition in confusing ways.) There's sort of an unstated goal of growing the promotion as well, as there is in World Wide Wrestling. But we'll get to that when we get to creating the promotion, which unfortunately is still a ways to go.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




FMguru posted:

Every game I've ever played in where there was a wheels-within-wheels-within-wheels conspiracy full of double-bluffs and false fronts has been a bust, because its really hard to get the players to care about (or the GM to keep track of) something that multilayered, especially if you're doling out incomplete information (as players find some but not all of the clues). The GM can build a complicated backstory full of shadowy figures and blackmail and hidden agendas but if its completely opaque to the PCs in play then their enemies may just as well be acting completely randomly. And after about the second layer of "no, but you see, what's REALLY going on..." most players just stop caring.
It's never a good idea for a game to have a Big Secret that is hidden even from the GM. I've never seen that go well.

That said, that isn't the particular problem with the Tal'Ma'Ha'Va'Na'Gi'La. The True Black Hand recruits the most talented and ambitious Kindred in the Sabbat...by blackmailing them and not revealing the true purpose of the True Black Hand until after they join. Their true purpose, by the way, is diametrically opposed to the rest of the Sabbat.

The problem with this cup-and-ball trick is that it's so unnecessary. Basically, Stephen A. Brown was totally onboard with the idea that Vampire should be a game of edgy dark superheroes. I'd go so far as to say that he introduced it to the oWoD. Dirty Secrets wasn't a one-off; he had already written the books that first detailed the Sabbat, and Dirty Secrets was him being allowed to run wild. He preferred that PCs be independently wealthy Bruce Wayne types, all the better to spend their time fighting even darker edgier monsters than they.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

"Inconnu" is basically a catch-all term for various powerful elder vampires who aren't involved in any of the ordinary political games that ancient bloodsuckers play, either because they have their own weird political games that nobody's caught on to, or because they're genuinely trying to stay out of weird vampire politics.

They are probably not an actual single group, except sometimes when they are, but nobody really knows enough about them to say.

Meanwhile, the thing about the Sabbat is that they started off as the monstrous vampire cult of all the dudes who revel in inhumanity and disdain the Masquerade, but as time went on they got caught in the ever-flowing current that drags all splats in these games towards playability, and so they had to be revised into something that wasn't so obviously unsustainable. (See also the Technocracy becoming more reasonable as Mage went on, and, uh... just about everything, really. Are there any evil factions that didn't eventually become playable? Spectres, maybe?)

Anyway, the Tal'Mahe'Ra got brought back in their own V20 supplement, and they're basically the vampire faction that actively serves the Antediluvians, as opposed to wanting to destroy them or pointedly not believing in them.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Playing as the post-storm reformed Technocracy is pretty much the only thing besides a new VtMB style game from the same people that could drag me into oWoD.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




Rand Brittain posted:

"Inconnu" is basically a catch-all term for various powerful elder vampires who aren't involved in any of the ordinary political games that ancient bloodsuckers play, either because they have their own weird political games that nobody's caught on to, or because they're genuinely trying to stay out of weird vampire politics.

Now I want to write up a secret hunter society set up strictly to insolate one ancient sperglord vampire from all those young whippersnappers who keep interrupting his quality anime watching.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Mors Rattus posted:

A brief explanation of the Inconnu, via me refreshing my memory and google.

First, the word inconnu means 'an unknown person or thing' or 'a form of whitefish related to the salmon that lives near the Arctic Circle.' You pick.

Second, no one knows what the Inconnu want or do. They don't participate in the Jyhad (yes) and they kill other vampires whenever they feel like. Some believe they pursue Golconda and others say they manipulate everyone and everything. All anyone ever sees are the Monitors, who are like vampire-watchers. They show up, write things down, leave and never interfere.

Third, they apparently want to preserve the existence of vampires as a whole. They have four factions: the Seekers (who want Golconda for all vampires), the Purifiers (who believe in transhumanvampirism via technology and sorcery), the Immaculates (who believe in embracing the monstrousness of being a vampire in order to transcend it) and the Haunted (who believe vampirism is caused by being possessed by a spirit of rage and greed, and can be transcended by starving the Beast and weakening it before it consumes you).

That's basically, uh, all I can find. I don't know if they ever got more than that.

In Dark Ages, the Inconnu are the ancient vampires who used to be in charge during the time of the Roman Empire, but had lost all their influence by the time of the Medieval era.

Also, it's literally just the french word for Unknown.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Freaking Crumbum posted:


They're your stereotypical, mystical, inscrutable Asian monastics. The art is a real missed opportunity to reveal what a human-grey cross-breed is supposed to look like.
On the one hand, yes, they missed the opportunity to show a Gray-human hybrid in the art here (there's one in Xenoforms, and I think he literally looks like a regular human being, which is a bit boring). On the other hand, Yeti lama. Yeti lama.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





The Sabbat seemed to give a poo poo about the Masquerade as well, if only as a pragmatic matter rather than an ethical one. Based on portrayals later in the line, it would mostly take a minor gear shift to make the Sabbat seem far more coherent and protagonisty than the Camarilla - albeit in a way that involves rituals involving eating human blood on the regular.

But it's "Vampire," not "Something That Isn't A Bloodsucking Monster."

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Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Nessus posted:

The Sabbat seemed to give a poo poo about the Masquerade as well, if only as a pragmatic matter rather than an ethical one. Based on portrayals later in the line, it would mostly take a minor gear shift to make the Sabbat seem far more coherent and protagonisty than the Camarilla - albeit in a way that involves rituals involving eating human blood on the regular.

Originally they were the group that didn't care about the Masquerade, but they had to back way the hell away from that stance in order to make it possible for there to be a Masquerade.

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