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& Vampires of the First City
CT Games ♦ Chuck Thompson ♦ August 2010
Primary Traits: Primary Traits are arranged or described by the player prior to the start of play. These traits may be increased later by spending experience points. Primary Traits include Attributes, Skills, and Merits. Attributes: Chuck’s Basic Storyteller features three different Attributes; Mental, Physical, and Social. Attributes are rated between of 1 and 5 dots, with 1 representing the human average. Determine a character’s Attributes by designating a Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Attribute, and then assigning 3, 2, and 1 dot respectively. Skills: In addition to Attributes there are nine Skills. Skills include Academics, Athletics, Empathy, Occult, Fighting, Persuasion, Sci/Tech, Subterfuge, and Expression. Determine a character’s Skills by designating a Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Skill Group, and arranging 4, 2, and 1 dot respectively. Adding a fourth or fifth dot grants a Skill Specialty, which applies a +1 bonus when using that Specialty. Merits: Merits are special traits that give characters automatic advantages in certain situations. Merits are rated between 1 and 3 dots, with each dot representing the total number of times that Merit may be invoked per session. Merits replenish automatically between sessions, and each character begins play with 2 points of Merits.
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-1 -2 -3
*NOTE: Skills are more difficult to use untrained
MERITS Allies Brawling Contacts Fame
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Mentor Research Resources Sixth Sense
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Haven Herd Retainer Status
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Derived Traits: Derived Traits are determined by the values of Primary Traits and may not be increased directly. Derived Traits include Defense, Health, Initiative, Size, Speed, Willpower, and Humanity. Defense, Initiative, Size and Speed: Defense is the ability of a character to resist Wounds. Initiative describes a character’s reaction speed. Size describes a character’s height and weight. Speed describes how fast a character moves relative to other characters. Health: Health is equal to Physical + Size. Wounds are tracked from left to right, and may be Bashing, Lethal, or Aggravated in nature. If the final Wound dealt is Bashing, the character falls unconscious. If the final Wound dealt is Lethal or Aggravated, the character is dead. Characters suffer cumulative penalties to all Pools as their wounds increase. Human characters heal at a rate of 1 Bashing per Day, 1 Lethal per Week, and 1 Aggravated per Month. Willpower: Willpower is equal to ½ of current Humanity, rounded up, with a minimum of one. Willpower may be spent any time during a session to add +3 to a dice Pool. Willpower may be replenished between sessions at a cost of one experience point.
TRAIT Defense Initiative Size Speed POOL Average of Mental and Physical + Armor Mental + Athletics 5 (Human Sized) Physical + Athletics + 5
Health Uninjured ---Bashing (-1) + + + Lethal (-2) Aggravated (-3)
NOTE: Vampires are only killed by Aggravated Wounds
Redeeming Virtue and Tragic Flaw: Characters are defined by their Redeeming Virtues and Tragic Flaws. During a scene, a character may invoke either to regain spent Willpower. The GM will be the final arbiter of whether Willpower is recovered and how much. Each character begins play with one Virtue and one Flaw.
Humanity 10 9 8
Humanity: Humanity describes a character’s emphatic connection with their fellow man. Selfish or violent acts erode Humanity. Characters that descend into Inhumanity become deranged and unplayable monsters. Human characters begin play with a Humanity score of 10.
1 0 Beast
NOTE: A Vampire’s potency is determined by their Beast Score (10 – Current Humanity)
Sins: Sins are affronts to Humanity, necessitating Humanity Checks. Sins are ranked in severity between 1 and 5, with rank 5 Sins being the most severe. Humanity Checks:
HUMANITY CHECK: Current Humanity – Sin Level
NOTE: Willpower may not be spent on Humanity Checks
Sin 1 2 3 4 5
Hum. 3 2 1 ---
Example Indirect Injury to Others / Selfishness / Theft Direct Injury to Others / Cruelty / Occult Powers Manslaughter / Sadism / Kidnapping Premeditated Murder / Ritual Sadism Perverse and Heinous Crimes
Addiction, Anxiety, Amnesia, Avoidance, Bipolar, Bulimia, Compulsion, Defiance, Delusion, Denial, Depression, Dissociation, Ennui, Fugue, Hysteria, Inferiority Complex, Insomnia, Mania, Masochism, Megalomania, Melancholy, Multiple Personalities, Nervous Tick, Nightmares, Obsession, Paranoia, Phobia, Regression, Sadism, Vengeful, Volatile
A single Success negates Degeneration, an Exceptional Success improves Humanity by 1, and a Dramatic Failure inflicts a Derangement.
Core Mechanics: Checks are resolved by rolling a number of 10-sided dice (called the Pool) verse a target number. The Pool is equal to the total of at least two traits, typically one Attribute and one Skill. Rolls of 8, 9, or 10 meet the target and are considered “Successes.” A single Success indicates a positive check. Rolling 1’s removes Successes, and all 10’s may be rolled again. The relative difficultly of a check is represented by a modifier, which adds or subtracts up to five dice from the Pool. The maximum number of dice that may be rolled in a single Pool is 15. Exceptional Success, Dramatic Failure, and Chance Die: Succeeding a Check by a margin of five or more results in an Exceptional Success. Checks which result in a negative number of Successes are Dramatic Failures. When modifiers reduce a Pool to zero or negative dice, a single Chance Die may be rolled instead. Check Types: There are three kinds of Checks in a storytelling game. Basic Checks are resolved with a single roll verse target number, and represent actions which resolve instantly or in a short amount of time. Extended Checks involve rolling a number of Successes over time, which represent involved or time-consuming actions. Contested Checks are made when another character is actively opposing your action. To win a Contested Check, you must roll more Successes than the Opponent.
CHECK TYPE Basic Check Extended Check Contested Check EXAMPLE Close Attack Range Attack Spot a Clue Investigation st 1 Impression Seduce Target POOL Attribute + Skill + Modifier Attribute + Skill + Modifier Attribute + Skill + Modifier # SUCCESSES 1 (8,9, or 10) Number over Time More than Opponent # 1 1 1 5/5 1 More
POOL PHY + Fighting – Target Defense PHY + Fighting – (Range + Defense) MEN + Subterfuge MEN + Subterfuge SOC + Empathy SOC + Persuasion TRAIT TYPE Attribute Discipline Merit Skill Virtue/Flaw Willpower
Experience: Experience is awarded at the end of each session. Awards range between 1 and 3 points depending on the challenge of the session and the relative success of the characters. Experience awards are the sole discretion of the GM. Experience points may be spent between sessions to improve traits or gain new abilities.
EXPERIENCE COST New Score × 5 New Score × 3 New Score × 2 New Score × 1 Additional Pair = 2 Replenish = 1
CHARACTER CREATION 1. Assign Attributes (3,2,1) 2. Arrange Skills (4,2,1) 3. Select Merits (2) 4. Calculate Derived Traits 5. Name and Concept
Sample Setting: Vampires of the First City “Vampires of the First City” presents a self-contained, urban setting for use with Human or Vampire characters. By default, characters are newly created Vampires, who are quickly drawn into the Machiavellian politics of the city’s Vampire society. Vampires: Vampires are former human beings who have become undead monsters, feeding on the blood of the living to survive. Occasionally this condition arises spontaneously after death, but most often it is inflicted by current Vampires who desire servants or companions. Vampires possess a host of supernatural abilities, not the least of which is limited immortality. To create a Vampire character, apply the Vampire Template to a Human character.
Vampire Template: The Vampire Template applies permanent changes to human characters, including adding several Derived Traits. Additional Traits include Blood Pool, Breed, Disciplines, Vampire Condition, and Vampire Weaknesses. Blood Pool: Vampires require the Blood of living creatures to sustain their un-lives and power their Disciplines. Blood Pool is derived from a Vampire’s Beast. Vampires begin with a Beast score of 1. Blood Dependency: Each night a Vampire must spend Blood to awaken. Rising costs one Blood per level of Beast. A fresh Vampire of 1 Beast may rise for a single point of Blood, while a degenerate or elder Vampire of 6 Beast must spend 6 points to rise. Rising before nightfall costs double the normal amount of Blood points. Breed: Most Vampires belong to a Breed, or bloodline of Vampires with similar strengths and weaknesses. Each Breed bestows a Favored Trait, a Unique Discipline, and a Breed Weakness. In First City, a majority of Vampires belong to one of nine Breeds, though others exist in limited numbers.
BREED Bohagande Caitiff Daeva Gangrel Khaibit Mekhet Nosferatu Oberlochs Rakshasa Ventrue TYPE Clever Lowborn Charming Savage Shadowy Wise Sneaky Tough Frightening Lordly TRAIT +1 MEN -+1 SOC +1 SOC +1 MEN +1 MEN +1 PHY +1 PHY +1 PHY +1 SOC BEAST 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 MAX 10 12 14 16 20 30 45 65 100 BPT 1 1 2 2 3 5 7 10 15 FEED FROM Animals Animals Humans Humans Humans Humans Humans Vampires Vampires
DISCIPLINE Sunnikuse -Dominate Animalism Obtenebration Auspex Obfuscate Protean Nightmare Majesty
WEAKNESS Must Sleep in Soil -Cannot enter Uninvited No 10-Again Frenzy Check Double Damage Fire & Light No 10-Again Humanity Check Appear as Corpses Aggravated Damage from Water Appear as Demons 50% Derangement on Failure
Disciplines: Vampire characters begin play with 3 points of Disciplines, at least one of which must be spent in a Unique Discipline. Remaining points may be spent in Common Disciplines. Learning the secret of another Breed’s Unique Discipline is possible, though it is difficult and verboten. Note: Sect Disciplines are listed but not described.
Celerity Resilience Resistance Vigor
Supernatural Speed Legendary Toughness Supernatural Defenses Epic Strength
Animalism Auspex Dominate Majesty Nightmare Obfuscate Obtenebration Protean Sunnikuse
Power over Animals and the Beast Supernatural Senses and Perception Ability to Overwhelm the Mind Tremendous Force of Personality Manipulate Fear Hide or Conceal Control over Light and Shadow Shape-changing and Adjusting Form Power over Luck and Fate
Augmentation Blood Sorcery Dark Miracles Necrophagus* *Rumored
Chemical Evolution Ancient Pagan Magic Biblical Miracles Feed from Dead
(SOC + Empathy + Animalism)
● ●● ●●● ●●●● ●●●●● ● ●● ●●● ●●●● ●●●●● ● to ●●●●● ● ●● ●●● ●●●● ●●●●● ● ●● ●●● ●●●● ●●●●●
-1 1 2 3 -1 1 2 3 1-5 -1 1 2 3 -1 1 2 3
Communicate with target Animal Command target Animal (Contested – SOC + Will) Summon and command all Animals of one type Possess target Animal (Contested – SOC + Will) Induce or calm Frenzy (Contested – SOC + Will) Double range of senses, add Auspex to rolls to resist Surprise See Auras and active Disciplines (Contested – MEN + Will) Reveal touched target’s thoughts or past (Contested – MEN + Will) Mentally attack target (successes damage target Will) Project soul from body Add X to Armor and Athletics (speed or dexterity only) – can be used Reflexively Become attractive and desirable to humans for 1 scene Alter target’s memories or implant suggestion (Contested – SOC + Will) Condition target to future Domination (Extended – +1 bonus per Success) Command target Human (Contested – SOC + Will) Possess target Human (Contested – SOC + Will) +1 to all social pools for this scene Touched target must confess (Contested – SOC + Will) Compel target to complete single task (Contested – SOC + Will) Summon target to your location (Contested – SOC + Will) Target cannot harm or target you this scene (Contested – SOC + Will)
(MEN + Occult + Auspex)
(SOC + Persuasion + Dominate)
(SOC + Expression + Majesty)
(PHY + Empathy + Nightmare)
(PHY + Subterfuge + Obfuscate)
See in total darkness Manipulate nearby shadows Create cloud of shadow (MEN + Occult + Obtenebration) Shadow attack target (successes deal damage to Blood Pool) Transform into shadow (immune to all but Aggravated damage) Transform into Animal size 2 or smaller Transform into Animal size 4 or smaller Protean Deal Aggravated damage with talon attacks (PHY + Athletics + Protean) Transform into Animal hybrid size 6 Transform into mist or gas (immune to all but Aggravated damage) Resilience Add X to health, X damage reduction Resistance Add X to rolls to resist Disciplines – can be used Reflexively Meld into natural feature Target’s next action is a failure, your next action is a success (Cont. – MEN + Will) Sunnikuse Create illusory images for 1 scene (Extended – +1 sense per Success) (MEN + Occult + Sunnikuse) Levitate or glide slowly Alter die roll by one category, may be used reflexively Add X to close attacks and Athletics (strength or power only) – can be used ● to ●●●●● 1-5 Vigor Reflexively NOTE: Vampires sub their Beast score for Willpower when resisting Disciplines
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-1 1 2 3 -1 1 2 3 -1 1 2 3 -1 1 2 3 1-5 1-5 -1 1 2 3
Cause fear in target (Contested – MEN + Will) Enter and alter target’s dream Targets all in scene, humans frozen others flee (Contested – MEN + Will) Cause deadly nightmares (successes deal lethal damage) Mentally attack target (successes damage target MEN) Conceal objects in plain sight Unlock or lock most doors Feed and draw knowledge from corpses Vanish in plain sight Conceal entire locations for 1 scene
Vampire Condition: All Vampires share a number of supernatural traits regardless of Breed. Fog of Eternity: Vampires age far beyond a human’s lifespan, but their minds eventually deteriorate – making it difficult to distinguish between reality and fantasy, the past and the present. After 50 years (and every 25 years after), characters automatically increase Beast by 1 point and gain a derangement. Due to the Fog, Vampire history is uncertain and elders distrusted. Leave no Trace: Vampires leave little evidence of their passing; they have no fingerprints or DNA, and their recorded or reflected image is blurred beyond recognition. Wounds caused by feeding can likewise be obscured with a Vampire’s saliva. The oldest and most potent Vampires do not leave footprints or cast shadows. This effect is sometimes called the “Hollow.” Rapid Healing: Vampires heal much faster than mortal beings. All Bashing Wounds are healed within 1 hour, all Lethal Wounds within 1 day, and all Aggravated Wounds within 1 week. Vampires can only be killed by Aggravated Wounds. Vampires may also spend a point of blood to instantly heal 3 Bashing, 2 Lethal, or 1 Aggravated Wound. Torpor: Vampires do not sleep, but instead fall into Torpor. While in Torpor a Vampire is indistinguishable from a normal cadaver. For most Vampires, Torpor passes instantly and without sensation (unless attacked). As Vampires age, however, Torpor can last for days, weeks, or months without warning, and those who experience such hibernation report frequent and hellish nightmares. Undead: Vampires occupy dead bodies animated by force of will. They do not experience normal bodily functions or processes, but they can mimic them with concerted effort. Vampires require no sustenance beyond Blood; food and beverages taste bland and cannot be digested. Vampires do not feel extremes of temperature and have reduced tactile sensation and bodily awareness. Hearing, sight, and smell are all heightened above the human norm, even without use of Disciplines. Vampire Weaknesses: In addition to advantages granted by their condition, Vampires suffer several profound weaknesses.
Frenzy: When Vampires are angered or threatened, they risk losing control of their inner Beast and entering Frenzy. While Frenzied, Vampires attack, feed, or flee uncontrollably.
FRENZY CHECK Current Humanity – Modifier
NOTE: Willpower may be spent on Frenzy Checks
FRENZY CHECK MODIFIERS Aggravated Wound -3 Public Insult Bashing Wound -1 Sight of Fresh Blood Facing Hated Opponent -2 Threat of Fire/Light Facing Unknown Vampire 0 Zero Blood Points Lethal Wound -2 Zero Willpower Loved-one Threatened -1
0 0 0 -3 -1
Predator’s Taint: When Vampires encounter another individual Vampire for first time, their Beast flares uncontrollably and they must make an immediate Frenzy Check. After the initial check, the same Vampire can never inspire a further check in this manner. Sire’s Call: Vampires are uniquely vulnerable to the Vampire that spawned them, and suffer -2 to all Pools targeting or resisting their Sire. Sunlight Vulnerability: Natural Sunlight and Flames cause Vampires one Aggravated Wound for each turn of exposure.
First City: First City is a large cosmopolitan metropolis, located on the frigid northeast shore of a modern industrialized nation. An economic and cultural hub, First City has a population of nearly 20 million. A true melting pot, “First Citizens” come from a variety of backgrounds and are spread across five districts and 65 neighborhoods. Brickton, King’s Island, Middle City, and Northridge are located on islands in Powhatan Bay, while Alderberry is lies across the Algonquin River on mainland New Holland. Once a beacon of opportunity and hope, First City rotted from within; it is now synonymous with crime, corruption, and urban decay. Pedestrian History: New Holland was founded as an independent colony by a Dutch explorer and mercenary, Harold van Diem. Initially prosperous, the settlement was soon stricken by several failed crops and excruciating winters. When supplies ran out, the colony resorted to cannibalizing their dead. Taking pity on the pathetic settlers, Wascampsah, great shaman of the Five Tribes, intervened before the colonists starved to death. For a time the natives and the colonists were friends and allies, but a mere decade later, the settlers betrayed the Five Tribes to the British, during their war with the French. According to legend, Wascampsah cursed the colony and the vary land on which it stood. Years later, the burgeoning township became the focus of several desperate and bloody battles of the Revolution. The site of the town’s fortifications, Battle Hill, suffered the most bloodshed, and for years after the populous reported strange and otherworldly occurrences. After Independence, First City became the premiere northern port and wave after wave of immigrants entered the city. They were greeted with poverty, exploitation, and racism. Over the years, immigrant gangs organized to fight back. Gangs infiltrated the city’s political structure, and it became a puppet regime beholden to the gangs and their interests. At the time of the Civil War, the city was rife with violence and vice. The fury of the War and the Great Quake that followed ended the crime wave and mellowed the city. In this brief period of calm, the city established itself as the cultural and financial heart of the nation – even hosting the inaugural World’s Fair. Industry boomed, and tycoon Samuel Watts gave back to his city by commissioning public works and monuments. Young Austrian architect Anton Faust found many patrons, and to this day his “gothic deco” defines the architectural identity of the city. The good years were fleeting however. The Depression and Prohibition once again delivered the city into the hands of criminals. This time, the Italian Mafia would hold the city hostage for nearly fifty years. In the upheaval of the sixties, First City briefly became a haven for artists and counterculture, but race riots and drug violence tarnished its reputation. After RICO finally brought down the mob, the power gap drew new gangsters from the Orient and Eastern Europe. The two spent much of the nineties fighting in the streets for control of the Crack trade. At times the violence was so extreme, that the National Guard was called in to restore order. After decades of poverty, crime, and broken promises, First Citizens are tough but cynical. The popular saying is that First Citizens are colder than a northeastern winter. Despite this, the city remains a cultural beacon, with national treasures like Broadstreet, the Nat (National) Museum, and the famous Dutchmen baseball team. Vampire History: As one of the largest and most decadent cities in the world, First City attracts tyrants and conquerors. For as long as the eldest Kindred can remember, First City has been locked in a bloody cycle of usurpation. Power exchanges hands through guile, treachery, or assassination – never through choice or abdication. Each iteration of the cycle sees the victor
rewrite history to their advantage, and as a result much of the city’s definitive history has been lost. In its place a morass of speculation, rumors, and urban legends has arisen. Some of the more popular include: The first Vampires emigrated from Europe (Or were they banished?) There was a war between European and Native Vampires (the Bohagande perhaps?) In the old days, there were just two Sects: Sacra Nocte and the Vampire Nobles An important insurrection took place just after the Great Quake Vampires were once more numerous and brazen (Gilded Age relics) A second upheaval occurred during the Depression A particularly deplorable prince was overthrown by his own Coven in the Seventies
First City’s Vampires: According to most estimates, there are between 500 and 1,000 Vampires active in First City. Of these, less than 300 are recognized by the city’s ruling body, the Court. Vampires who present themselves to the Prince are known as “Courtly” Vampires, and enjoy feeding rights and the Prince’s protection. In exchange, Courtly Vampires must uphold the Prince’s laws, the “Laws of the Night.” Un-Courtly Vampires have no rights or protections, and are unwelcome and even hunted. The Court The First City’s Court is presided over by Prince Michael and the Council of Elders. According to most, the Prince seized his title from his predecessor long ago and the Elder Council is composed of his senior allies within the five Factions. The dictates of the Court are enforced by various officials, including the Herald, the Sheriff, the Castellan, and the Chaplain. The Court’s primary duties are enforcing the Laws of the Night, managing territory, and dispensing justice. Laws of the Night The Laws of the Night are a code by which all Courtly Vampires must abide. These Laws are based on the ancient traditions of the Vampire Nation, though they have been modified and adapted to suit the Court’s purposes. Those who break the law, even unwittingly, are subject to the Prince’s justice. The Laws of the Night are as follows:
ARCHAIC TRADITION Thou Shalt Accept Thine Own Death Thou Shalt not Violate the Dominion Thou Shalt Obey Thy Elders Thou Shalt not Kill Thine Own Kind Thou Shalt Conceal Thy Nature MODERN LAW Do not overly involve yourself in the world of the living or attract undue attention Do not enter territory you are not entitled to – resist interlopers and invaders Sire and Bond only with permission – show due respect to the Court Only the Court may enact the Blood Hunt Leave no evidence of Vampires or Vampire Activity
Vampire Slang Vampires employ a robust vocabulary to describe their activities and condition.
TERM (ARCHAIC) Asylum Beast Blood Hunt Court Courtly Coven Diablerie Discipline Domain / Fief Harpy Kindred Kine Nest Primogen Rötschreck Sire MEANING Public Areas or Safe Houses A Vampire’s Dark and Murderous Hunger A Death Sentence or Warrant Organized Vampire Government Citizens of the Vampire Government A Group of Vampires who Lair Together Consuming a Vampire’s Soul Supernatural Power Fueled by Blood A Territory where one may Hunt An Influential member of the Court Vampires Humans A Vampire Lair Founder or First of a Breed or Lineage Frenzy; “Red Fear” A Vampire’s Creator TERM (VULGAR) Bleed Blood Doll Blood Work Crypt Feed-Easy Fetch Ghoul Herd House Hop Hunting Ground Mainlining Rack Revenant Set Shine Vampire Nation MEANING A Drug Made from Vampire Blood Humans who Enjoy being Fed On Supernatural Power Fueled by Blood A Vampire’s Lair or Safe House A Vampire Bar or Hangout Vampires Consumed by the Beast Human Servants of Vampires Group of Humans for Frequent Feeding Breaking and Entering in order to Feed A Territory where one may Hunt Feeding on Inebriated Humans Best Hunting Ground in the City Ghoul from a family of Ghouls A Group of Vampires who Lair Together Use of Powers to Attract Humans Defunct Global Kingdom of Vampires
Sects: Vampires of the First City organize themselves into factions or Sects based on religious and political beliefs. Each Sect follows an ideology that describes what Vampires are and how they should act. Factions have specific requirements for entry, and expect members to perform certain tasks and obey Sect law. In return, Sects offer brotherhood and protection, and unique benefits as well. NOTE: Newly created Vampires are not members of a Sect.
SECT The Brood The Collective Modernist Party Sacra Nocte The Syndicate Unaligned VII*
PHILOSOPHY / MISSION Vampires are Mystical in Origin / Libertine Hedonism Vampirism is a Disease / Cure or Transcend Vampires are People Too / Vampire and Mortal Rights Vampires are Damned by God / Atonement and Humility Vampires are Pack Predators / The Weak shall Serve the Strong Vampire Society is Dangerous / Leave us Alone Vampires are the Enemy / Ancient Conspiracy
STEREOTYPE Heathen Witches Mad Scientists Humanists and Anarchists Religious Zealots Fascist Dictators Weak, Stupid, or Mislead Hidden Cultists
BENEFIT Blood Sorcery Augmentation Equal Rights Dark Miracles The Black Network -Necrophagus
Secret History: The deacons of the Sacra Nocte say that the first Kindred in the city were Daeva, Gangrel, Mehkit, Nosferatu, and Ventrue - emigrating from Europe before 1760. Having left the feudal courts of the Old World, they established a similar regime, with a Ventrue Prince named Roberto de Aranas. In those days, the court recognized only noble vampires and the church. As the colony expanded, the court encountered native vampires unknown in Europe. A fanatical Believer, Aranas declared the native vampires to be anathema and began a bloody purge. The purge was deadly for both sides, and thirty years of open warfare left the court in disarray. Ignorant of the Laws of the Night, native vampires freely recruited from among the whites, especially as their own peoples were driven westward. The muddying of the bloodlines made the purge impractical and unpopular, yet Aranas th would not back down. An upheaval occurred in the early decades of the 19 century, and most agree that by 1830 Aranas was gone. Afterward, native vampires were integrated into the court, and the first mention of the Bohagande appears in court writ. Irish Gangrel William Ivy became the new Prince. Ivy had a vendetta against the church, and the power of the Sacra Nocte was severely diminished. Ivy was born in the underclass of Dublin, and he rejected the traditional aristocracy. Prestige and power were awarded to vampires that brought tangible benefits – money, luxury, and influence among the humans. During this period, the old sect of Vampire Nobles transformed into the modern Syndicate, and the Black Network was born. Likewise, with Sacra Nocte disfavored, the Brood saw resurgence. Though an influential Prince, Ivy did not rule for long. Most accounts claim he was assassinated by one of his own coven-mates in the aftermath of the Great Quake of 1845. The next recorded Prince was the flamboyant Mischa Novrozsky, who reigned over a gilded age. Victorian sensibility gradually gave way to the decadence and excess of the 1920’s, and Novrozsky flourished. Novrozsky’s court was liberal, bold, and above all, profitable. Vampire barons built elaborate safe houses and Asylums all over the city, and entire cults of mortals were formed to cater to vampire society. Novrozsky walked a very fine line with the traditions, and ghouls and mortals were increasingly prevalent at court. Advances in modern science and Novrozsky permissive attitude lay the ground work for the Ordro Scientas. The order rejected supernatural explanations of vampirism, and sought to reduce or cure the weaknesses of the condition. The order eventually evolved into the modern Collective. The good times ended shortly after the Crash. Food remained plentiful, but the euphoria had vanished and Novrozsky became outspoken and unfashionable. Tough times required a tough leader, and in 1935, a thuggish Nosferatu diablerized the Prince, taking power for himself. The new Prince, John “the Dragon” Finch, had been a pimp and murderer in life, and he ruled ruthlessly. The Dragon dissolved any pretense of equality, and murdered and diablerized his way through dissidents and enemies. Ever pragmatic, the Syndicate became his staunch allies. The other Sects were forced to go into hiding, forming a second court in the tunnels below the city. John maintained his iron grip through the War and into the modern era. Finally, the idealism of the sixties began to erode his influence. Newly made vampires brought their modern sensibilities into the community, and John’s tyranny became a rallying post. Debates in the Low Court spawned new ways of thinking, and the Modernist Party was established for progressive thinking vampires. Tension between John and the Low Court grew, and tempers finally boiled over after a failed coup. What happened next is known as the Week of Chaos. From his spies, John learned of the coming insurrection, and chose to act first. The humans of First City were caught up in their own struggle – the civil rights movement. While the kindred warred for control of the city, six days of intense rioting broke out. John’s death squads began a campaign of extermination, invaded nests and immolating any they found. Anarchists of the Low Court besieged John’s headquarters, and succeeded in burning it to the ground. Word of the fighting flew around the city, and more and more joined in to dethrone the Prince. In the last days of the fighting, John was cornered in his tenement in the Furnace. When it was finally overrun, John had vanished but his court was insolvent. He never reappeared. The city’s vampires were left shaken by the violence, and a truce was called. Despite their long standing rivalries, the sects agreed to dissolve the feudal court in favor of a hybrid system. Power would be shared between a council of elected elders, and a Prince, chosen by the council. The Prince would serve for a term of no longer than a quarter century, and would then relinquish his power. The first council elevated Connor Tierney to Princedom. Tierney was a soft-spoken Daeva, from the Easter Village art community. A born mediator, Connor helped bring the reluctant factions into the fold, showing how the new system could be profitable and stable. Connor’s enforced equality legitimized the more marginalized factions, and weakened the hold of unsavory traditions and practices. Into the late seventies, Tierney’s rule seemed to show that a softer, more civilized existence was possible.
Unfortunately, the moral awakening that underpinned his movement had begun to collapse. The mortals had ended their war in Vietnam, and turned to personal gratification and materialism. The decadence and nihilism of the 1980’s cut to the core of the movement, and Tierney could not reconcile himself to the realities of the changes. Tierney retired to self-imposed exile in 1986; a defeated idealist. The hedonist Brood and greedy Syndicate were the only contenders to seize power, and together they pushed Emanuel “Michael” Foster to the throne. Foster was young, black, and sophisticated, a symbol of the new decade. He was the spawn of the notorious Old John Finch, but his philosophy was elitist and his outlook permissive. After taking power, Foster showed backbone that his patrons had not counted on. Foster predictably represented a slide toward Novrozky-era excess, but he also mirrored the autocrat Finch. By insisting on greater enforcement of the Laws of the Night, Foster systematically expanded his power and security. Like nights long past, the Prince is the single most important political entity, and the factions and even the council, are well within his shadow. The Laws of the Night are his tool, and punishment is quickly called down on violators. Foster’s authority chafes many, and he has no shortage of enemies. The Syndicate feels betrayed by one of their own. The Brood’s activities often flaunt the Prince’s laws, and they have been severely sanctioned. The Modernists believe Foster has overstepped his power, and that he is undermining the evolutions of the previous decades. Sacra Nocte and the Collective, ever at odds, both seek the Prince’s endorsement. It is truly an exciting and volatile time to be one of the undead. Appendix I: Map of First City
“To save yourself, you must forego your new nature; to forego your new nature is to invite destruction.”
Thou art Damned!
“How long can you stave off the inevitable destruction of all you once held dear?”
Chuck’s Basic Storyteller ♦ CT Games ♦ Chuck Thompson ♦ August 2010
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