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  • Running a game in Britain 410 AD need advice

    So, this game is set in 410 AD, probably based in London (or Londinium as they would have called it at the time).

    I’m looking for ideas on how this game would go, I figure I’ll base it around the nightly unlife of the city’s Cainites and their personal conflicts and drama.

    I’m depicting Rome as a very vampire influenced society, the vampires of Rome steered the civilization towards urbanization and trade reliance (lots of feeding opportunities) and used the Roman military to eliminate werewolves. I’m depicting werewolves as being purged from Rome and the recent incursions by various Germanic invaders/counter-invaders (Rome was sacked in 410) as being werewolf backed.

    If anyone has any ideas on where I can get material from the books, I would be grateful.

  • #2
    Dark Ages: British Isles is the principal reference and recently Onyx Path published a book for Dark Ages V20 with several domains, Bath among them. I think Mithras went into torpor recently. Perhaps you could use the competence between his childer and the followers of his cult.


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    • #3
      Originally posted by Magus View Post
      Dark Ages: British Isles is the principal reference and recently Onyx Path published a book for Dark Ages V20 with several domains, Bath among them. I think Mithras went into torpor recently. Perhaps you could use the competence between his childer and the followers of his cult.

      Thanks for the advice, I checked out dark ages Britain and it’s good but very much centred on the 1230’s with only a little information on Roman Britain peppering the text. Still, any port in a storm.

      I actually found the NWOD book, Requiem for Rome to be fairly helpful too.

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      • #4
        Worst case scenario you watch King Arthur with Clive Owen and Keira Knightley. The movie was set about 300 AD and your game is only one century later, not a lot will have changed setting wise.

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        • #5
          How much real history do you want to incorporate?

          Roman era London at its peak was about 45,000 people, and its average population was probably around 35,000. London at AD 410 was not at its peak. After the last Roman soldier left in AD 407, London entered a steep decline (because of the Anglo-Saxon invasions) and was perhaps even completely abandoned by the end of the 5th century. By the 450s, Anglo-Saxon mercenaries brought in to replace the Roman legions had begun to usurp political control, and the next few decades saw wars breakout between the Romano-British and Anglo-Saxons. The last half of the 5th century is the legendary time of King Arthur who defeated the Anglo-Saxons and kept Britain free, but the Anglo-Saxons would go on to conquer most of the island during the next century.

          Sometime in the 7th century, the Anglo-Saxons settled close by to the old Roman city and eventually the population of this new London (Lundenwic) grew to around 10,000 people. The political divisions of the old Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and the invasion of the Vikings kept the London population down. It was not until the 10th century when a united Kingdom of England that London again assumed a great importance, and this was eventually reinforced by the Normans who invested a lot in the town. London did not become the real capital of England until about 1200 - until that time Winchester would have been considered the capital. This move helped London grow from a population of around 15,000 in 1100 to 80,000 in 1300.

          So if you go by history, a vampire chronicle set in Londonium in 410 is going to be very bleak. The city's population has already declined substantially (by about a third) from its peak. It is still a major Roman city at 30,000, but the subsequent chaos and invasions will lead to the population abandoning the city in less than a hundred years. Increasingly, there will be less and less people to safely hunt and vampires will either need to flee to better hunting grounds or slaughter themselves so there is enough food. But even that won't save them when the entire city fades away for the next century or two. Any neonate in the city in the year 410 probably will not survive. Most ancillae and many elders will share the same fate.

          Most of England's vampire population is probably destroyed around this time except those who are extremely powerful, can easily hide from Lupines and can feed in the wilderness, or get lucky and manage to hold up in the very, very few low population centers remaining.

          You can of course depart from history and keep Londonium as an active city, but you should probably demonstrate just how terrible this time period is. in other ways.
          Last edited by Black Fox; 11-24-2017, 09:39 PM.

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          • #6
            I recommend the Warrior trilogy by Bernard Cornwell to give so e roughly era appropriate flavour with an Arthurian twist to it based of what little histories are available. You've got a land of small kingdoms with raiding going on all over with Saxons, Picti, Dumnonians, Britons, Irish, Umbrians, Cornish, Danes, Franks, Dal Riadans, Roman Descendants and more. There's a substantial clash of religions going on with Mithraists being still rather dominant especially in old Roman hubs. The gods of the Celtic people's are still very much in evidence, especially rurally, and The Church of Rome is not even close to the power it will become over the next 800 years (or indeed the next 50).

            There's plenty of room for vampires though and from all clans (although I don't recall if the Tremere existed in the 5th Century) and for so e truly terrifying monsters to be active

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
              How much real history do you want to incorporate?

              Roman era London at its peak was about 45,000 people, and its average population was probably around 35,000. London at AD 410 was not at its peak. After the last Roman soldier left in AD 407, London entered a steep decline (because of the Anglo-Saxon invasions) and was perhaps even completely abandoned by the end of the 5th century. By the 450s, Anglo-Saxon mercenaries brought in to replace the Roman legions had begun to usurp political control, and the next few decades saw wars breakout between the Romano-British and Anglo-Saxons. The last half of the 5th century is the legendary time of King Arthur who defeated the Anglo-Saxons and kept Britain free, but the Anglo-Saxons would go on to conquer most of the island during the next century.

              Sometime in the 7th century, the Anglo-Saxons settled close by to the old Roman city and eventually the population of this new London (Lundenwic) grew to around 10,000 people. The political divisions of the old Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and the invasion of the Vikings kept the London population down. It was not until the 10th century when a united Kingdom of England that London again assumed a great importance, and this was eventually reinforced by the Normans who invested a lot in the town. London did not become the real capital of England until about 1200 - until that time Winchester would have been considered the capital. This move helped London grow from a population of around 15,000 in 1100 to 80,000 in 1300.

              So if you go by history, a vampire chronicle set in Londonium in 410 is going to be very bleak. The city's population has already declined substantially (by about a third) from its peak. It is still a major Roman city at 30,000, but the subsequent chaos and invasions will lead to the population abandoning the city in less than a hundred years. Increasingly, there will be less and less people to safely hunt and vampires will either need to flee to better hunting grounds or slaughter themselves so there is enough food. But even that won't save them when the entire city fades away for the next century or two. Any neonate in the city in the year 410 probably will not survive. Most ancillae and many elders will share the same fate.

              Most of England's vampire population is probably destroyed around this time except those who are extremely powerful, can easily hide from Lupines and can feed in the wilderness, or get lucky and manage to hold up in the very, very few low population centers remaining.

              You can of course depart from history and keep Londonium as an active city, but you should probably demonstrate just how terrible this time period is. in other ways.
              Good points all around.

              I think this chroncile will stretch history a bit and put the population a little higher. Further, I intend to portray Britainia as a somewhat more vivacious colony with Londinium as its center and thus being more prosperous As well.

              We’ll see how the players handle things, if they do well by the city, then perhaps it will avoid the decline that you’ve accurately pointed out is historically imminent.

              I want to give the players the opportunity to save Londinium (and maybe all of Roman Britain) or let it fall. To that end, with the legion largely gone by 409, many of the elders and ancilla left to return to Rome only for the city to have been sacked and them to have been destroyed in the ensuing chaos (including their sires).

              Thus, the PCs will be the great power of the city and have the chance to save it or to let tragedy consume it.

              With a city like Londinium under their control, albeit a provincial city in a far flung colony of the empire, I think the players will really have the chance to shine as powers unto themselves.

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              • #8
                Most of the metaplot about rome is in clanbook ventrue 3ed, CONSTANTINOPLE BY NIGHT(THIS IS BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE), clanbook lasombra, toreador and so on. Basically, there was Camila, a childer of Colat, a great Ventrue methuselah. Collat was known for his 'eternal senate' - a senate he created to better controle the primogen from rome. Camilla disliked that idea greatly. He ends up diablerizing collat and takes over Rome, eventually dissolving the senate. Ancient Rome, then, was greatly influenced by clans as Malkavian, Lasombra and Ventrue(Mostly)
                The mage factions that dealt in rome were the cult of mercury(Order of hermes 3ed and m20), cosian circle(I think it is progenitors.. book?), brotherhood of rule(Syndicate) and the sacred congregation(Formed by the messianic voices and mithraic cults, the reference can be found in the celestial chorus 3ed and I do think on sorcerer's crusade, but I'm not sure about that one).
                Beshter, son of arikel, a methuselah, which would be known later as Mikaehl - the vampire who founded constantinople - was also a major player in rome. There he had two lovers, at the time. Antonius - a great ventrue, also a methusela - and dracon, son of tzmisce(Both methuselahs), the reference for this is in constantinople by night.
                As for britain, I think Mithras, the methuselah Ventrue, was already there at that time and making the territory his. There is probably also a lot of influence from fiannas, and mage tribes which dealt with celtic magic, known generically as 'aedunna'.
                Hope that helps?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                  So if you go by history, a vampire chronicle set in Londonium in 410 is going to be very bleak. The city's population has already declined substantially (by about a third) from its peak. It is still a major Roman city at 30,000, but the subsequent chaos and invasions will lead to the population abandoning the city in less than a hundred years. Increasingly, there will be less and less people to safely hunt and vampires will either need to flee to better hunting grounds or slaughter themselves so there is enough food. But even that won't save them when the entire city fades away for the next century or two. Any neonate in the city in the year 410 probably will not survive. Most ancillae and many elders will share the same fate.

                  Most of England's vampire population is probably destroyed around this time except those who are extremely powerful, can easily hide from Lupines and can feed in the wilderness, or get lucky and manage to hold up in the very, very few low population centers remaining.
                  To add to this:

                  After 1600 years of uninterrupted activity, the Prince of and founder of London, Mithras, has recently (between one and two centuries ago) gone into indefinite torpor. During this extended lapse of his reign, Constantine the Great converted to Christianity within his realm, an act that would result in the sweeping destruction of Mithraism as a result. Ruling the city would be Cretheus, Mithras' childe and a Methuselah in his own right, charged with maintaining the realm until Mithras' return.

                  Unlike most Ventrue, the British strain of the Clan cannot by and large trace their roots to the glory of Rome or its identity - it stands to reason that they devolve from Mithras. And Mithras did not contain his disdain for the less autocratic rule of the Senate and Rome (and later the Camarilla), which is why he decided to subjugate Avalon in the first place and govern accordingly.


                  Cretheus is an extremely disinterested, unengaged Prince and ruler. After serving as his sire's envoy to the Eternal Senate in Rome for centuries, this crumbling backwater of barbaric proto-fiefdoms that were held together mainly by Mithras' charisma and force of will holds little interest or any ideological validity in his eyes. The Cult of Mithraism holds little value to Cretheus as well Though many of the Kindred within the Praxis of London are devout followers, the religious underpinnings and mysteries were all actually constructed by Cretheus under Mithras' orders to better serve as a power base. It holds no appeal in regards to his personal salvation. As a mystic and pursuer of lore, ruling from some place like Britain is hardly the place he wants to be. In fact, at the first opportunity, Cretheus abandons Mithras entirely to learn the Road of Heaven under Saulot in pursuit of Golconda. Despite this, Cretheus has access to terrible, ancient Blood magicks (including infernalism) and a keen mind that makes him very likely even deadlier then his sire; anyone who warrants his attention is due for a bad time.. He's recently embraced a neonate Reeve of the Shire ( 70yrs old at this point ) named Hilderic to serve as much needed muscle to his regime. But given his sire's passionlessness about his work, Hilderic is somewhat resentful at being dragged into this.


                  On the opposite side of this is Mithras' faithful childe Marcus Verus, though at this point he is unlanded and merely a 5th generation ancilla (which infers that Verus was extremely young when Mithras went into torpor). He still keeps the ideals of his divine sire alive and fights against the collapse of Roman Britain. Largely because as a devout Mithraic follower and former Roman legionary, he imagines himself sired by Mithras the God, and not Mithras the cynical, easily bored, arbitrary, inattentive, deceitful and insensate Methuselah that Cretheus has come to know and find wanting. In any case, Marcus Verus would doubtless be among the Roman Britons striving to hold the empire together in these dark tines, and the only of Mithras' childer to survive to the Dark Medieval other than Cretheus. He fights, but the changes coming are beyond his ability to stop. Other powerful Ventrue in the region would be Gotsdam and Bindusara, potent and powerful Kindred of mysterious origins.


                  Largest issue of the night would likely be the ill-fated Emperor currently reigning in Londonium in a desperate effort to restore/usurp the Empire which stands on the brink. Which vampires back him in the hopes of seeing Rome endure, and which ones wish to see him fall and break the seemingly eternal rule of the invader Mithras and his Ventrue spawn?



                  Last edited by Hideamuro; 11-25-2017, 05:44 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the interesting feedback.

                    I’m going to be running this game with an eye towards the neonates. With the legions having left Britain in 409, the elders went with them and commanded their childer to tend to their British holdings. Now, with those elders dead in Rome, the neonates have run of Britannia and are the new powers of the city.

                    I probably won’t be incorporating Mithras, his childer or any of the major methuselahs and their childer, my goal is to make it a much more low level focused chroncile in which neonates pit themselves against one another in the last era of Roman Britain in order to gain control of the city.

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                    • #11
                      Zennis there are fewer resources out there for this period in Britain than you'd think, especially given the historical significance. That said, in addition to the comments by other posters I can point you to Shadow of a Horned God on Obsidian Portal--this was useful to me. (My campaign is in the same period, but is a VtM to VtR conversion.)

                      A few notes on Britain of the period that are not common:
                      1. The height of Roman British population was likely > 3 million. Enough that the agriculture patterns (and climate) pushed cultivation way up the hills into much more marginal soils. While cities and their denser, professional populations are most attractive to kindred, they didn't have to be huge to serve as centers of trade and links to the Continent (going as far as Constantinople). The most important resource for both the landowner nobles and kindred are the people, and the people are mostly farmers.

                      2. A side-effect of the population was that much of Britain was cleared of forests, with some exceptions (e.g. the Anderida Forest south of London). You'll need to study some maps in order to properly site the forests, which are of course of greatest import for identifying Lupine and Gangrel groups. Oh. And most of the wolves in Britain were hunted out in the face of the population pressure. All this has, by 410, started to reverse: the climate became colder, the sea continued to rise (it has been for 7000 years by then) and flood the fens further, and continued invasions by the Picts, Scotti (Irish) and Germanics (Saxons) have started a population slide that bottoms out around the late 11th century (think William the Conqueror). Kindred in the isles could be fairly numerous--but over the next 600 years will be reduced to less than half as many even as new people groups arrive with their own monsters in tow. You can read the implications here clearly.

                      3. Britain may have been the armpit of the Roman Empire, but it was also very connected and traded everywhere with everyone. They've found indications and artifacts from the period showing people and things came from as far away as India (silk) and Africa. It's a cosmopolitan rural place, if that makes sense.

                      Other vampire items:
                      * The date I've seen for Mithras' torpor range from 406 to 410. He spent his last century uninterested in Britain, however. Constantine's conversion took the wind out of his sails, so to speak.
                      * I'm pretty sure that Crethius was already in Rome at the time. He was present for the city's destruction in 410, when Carmilla went into torpor. His assignment was to spread Mithraism, but as noted his enthusiasm waned. The DAV20 Companion has info on this.
                      * Britain, Mithras left to Marcus Verus, his most devoted cult childer--a young one, but not the most recent: that honor goes to "Geraint". The VtM wiki list this fellow as being embraced in 410, but give little further detail other than that he sired "Rhodry ap Geraint ap Mithras".

                      While your campaign focuses on neonates, you'll still want to have a good idea who the prince is and what the mortal politics look like (hint: a mess). That will point you toward analogous relationships between the vampiric movers and shakers, and get the PCs embroiled in all kinds of trouble whether they want to or not. Eventually you have Saxons sacking London and other good stuff. Consider letting your coterie migrate between cities and even work to build up an area, as that would be analogous to what the mortals do in response to danger pressures.

                      I'll contact you by PM as well.

                      --Khanwulf

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for all the helpful suggestions!

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