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  • The Hardestadt problem

    Hardestadt's identity has been always something that bugged me a lot.




    Let's see what we know.


    (bolded text is mine)


    From Giovanni Chronicles Part 1, page 58

    "Hardestadt

    Clan: Ventrue
    Generation: 5th
    Embrace: 947 (born 904)
    Apparent Age: Early 40s
    Physical: Strenght 4, Dexterity 3, Stamina 5
    Social: Charisma 4, Manipulation 6, Appearance 5
    Mental: Perception 4, Intelligence 5, Wits 4
    Talents: Alertness 4,Athletics 2, Brawl 5, Dodge 3, Intimidation 6, Leadership 5,Subterfuge 2
    Skills: Etiquette 3, Melee 6,Ride 5, Security 2, Stealth 3, Torture 3
    Knowledges: Academics (Literature) 5, History 2, Kindred Lore 4, Law 4, Linguistics 4, Occult 2, Politics 6
    Disciplines: Auspex 2, Celerity 4, Dominate 4, Potence 4, Presence 5, Protean 2
    Backgrounds: Allies 7, Contacts 6, Elder Status 5, Herd 5, Influence 4, Military Force 4, Resources 6, Retainers 7
    Virtues: Coscience 1, Self-Control 4, Courage 5
    Morality: Humanity 2
    Willpower: 9"

    From Giovanni Chronicles Part 2, page 17

    Hardestadt Clan: Ventrue
    Generation: 5th
    Embrace: 947 (born 904)
    Apparent Age: Early 40s
    Physical: Strenght 4, Dexterity 3, Stamina 6
    Social: Charisma 5, Manipulation 6, Appearance 5
    Mental: Perception 4, Intelligence 5, Wits 4
    Talents: Alertness 4,Athletics 2, Brawl 6, Dodge 5, Intimidation 6, Leadership 6,Subterfuge 3
    Skills: Etiquette 3, Melee 6,Ride 5, Security 4, Stealth 4, Torture 4
    Knowledges: Academics (Literature) 5, History 3, Kindred Lore 5, Law 5, Linguistics 6, Occult 3, Politics 6
    Disciplines: Auspex 2, Celerity 5, Dominate 7, Fortitude 5,Necromancy 1,Potence 6, Presence 5, Protean 4
    Backgrounds: Allies 7, Contacts 6, Elder Status 5, Herd 5, Influence 4, Military Force 4, Resources 6, Retainers 7
    Virtues: Coscience 1, Self-Control 4, Courage 5
    Morality: Humanity 2
    Willpower: 9"
    From Giovanni Chronicles III, page 15

    "Hardestadt (ventrue): Despite his blustery reputation, Hardestadt is a shrewd tactician and the epitome of the political vampire. He takes the Giovanni threat seriously, but the Sabbat worries him more. He encourages characters under his sway to look out for matters of general Camarilla security, including the actions of the Giovanni, should events warrant. Hardestadt is bot the childe and descendant of a much older vampire of the same name, (the enemy of the Brujah Tyler). Hardestadt lives in Berlin, though he still mantains Castle Deverick, his italian haven. He feels contempt for those who have not lived the military life, and he feeds only from military men.

    Transylvania Chronicles 2 – Son of the Dragon, page 99
    "Hardestadt "the Elder"
    5th generation Ventrue, childe of Hardestadt the Elder
    Nature: Autocrat
    Demeanor: Director
    Embrace: 1191
    Apparent Age: Early 40s

    (...) Of course, this is all a ruse. Patricia of Bollingbroke led a small force of anarchs against Castle Hardestadt in the late 14th century, killing Hardestadt the Elder in the process. The fallen Ventrue's favored childe, Hardestadt the Younger, knew that with this dreadful turn of events, all of his sire's work was in jeopardy.
    With grim resolve, Hardestadt the Younger assumed his sire's visage through his mastery of Presence. He continued the Elder's agenda, pushing for the Camarilla as if nothing had ever happened. Obviously, Patricia is leery of "Hardestadt's" re-emergence in the Cainite world, but she has played it careful until this point."
    So, we know from 3 different sources that the Hardestadt the Younger, the one that dwelt in Europe in the XV and XVII century after the anarch revolt, the one that was present at the Thorns and so on was a 5th gen Ventrue.
    His embrace date...disputed.


    From the introduction of the Corebook , revised edition, there is page were Hardestadt (the younger I suppose) speaks with his six brothers a few moments after the attack at Castle Hardestadt in Spain and they decide that one among themshould take their father visage and identity and advance his scheme in order to unite the clans. They decide that Hardestadt the Younger, being the eldest and closest in power and age to their father, will take the mantle.
    Moments later he blood bond his brothers to him, to be sure that no one will betray the pact.




    His progeny (his?) is Jan Pieterzoon, embrace date 1723, 7th generation.

    Se we already have quite the problem, since Pieterzoon generation is too high to be a direct childe of Hardestadt.


    But then the can of worm get wormier when we want to check who the original Hardestadt was.

    Dark Age Europe says the he was a 5th gen Ventrue (so the Elder and the Younger share the same generation).

    In the Ventrue Clan Novel Jurgen says that Hardestadt has roughly the same age of Julia Antasia.

    Ventrue Clan Novel Dark ages, p. 260

    Julia Antasia is on a par with my sire in age and influence, even if Hardestadt
    would never admit it, thought Jürgen, poring over her words in
    the Letters. How has she staved off the Beast for so long?

    Antasia was embraced in 480 b.c., she is a 5th Gen Ventrue.


    As for Jurgen we know from Under a Black Cross that he was embraced in 989 and was a 6th gen Ventrue, who can only feed from soldiers he captured in battle (similar to the one of Hardestadt, but not the same).




    So how would you retcon everything?

  • #2
    Jurgen's belief that his sire and Julia Antasia are the same age is the easiest to explain away. How would he know? Most likely Hardestadt was just reluctant to admit to his childe that Juia was so much older than he.

    As for the discrepancy in generation, this is one possible explanation:-

    https://1drv.ms/b/s!At_zakhUA8QFpBJNEmxRK8kzOeXn

    You could try variants on it. Maybe the "dominant" Hardestadt used his Blood Bound siblings the way Saddam Hussein used his body doubles, to handle meetings on his behalf.So the Hardestadt we meet in any given scenario isn't necessarily the one posing as the Elder.

    Comment


    • #3
      Harderstadt is an terribly contradicting mess of continuity mistakes, made even starker by writers insisting on using him as sig elder Ventrue when best forgotten and advancing metaplot trying to cover up the mistakes in terribly idiotic ways that only made things ever more nonsensical.

      Going with the original, Harderstadt was diablerized by Patricia of Bollingbroke/Tyler sometime between 1380s and 1530s (when she probably met Helena and he was very much a goner) and act of hers that spurred many half-hearted, doubtful and arrogant elders into fully joining the Camarilla, out of a real fear of being felled in the same way by neonate coteries or packs manipulating large angry mobs of mortals, not to mention inspiring the disgruntled anarch factions that would form the Sabbat.

      Harderstadt's core relevance for the setting is in the example of his destruction to kindred that no matter how powerful an elder thinks he, his childer and retainers are, a group of ingenious neonates can take him down with creativity and enough cannon fodder.

      The idea of some childer or body double assuming the identity to hide his destruction goes completely counter to that and is boneheaded beyond words for nothing beside "secrets under secrets - and Brujah are stupid riffraff, LOL". Harderstadt the Younger as vengeful childe and major elder on his own eulogizing and making a big propaganda warhorse of his sire's destruction centuries after the fact - while a number of conspiracy-minded and paranoid kindred, based on physical resemblance, power and other details whisper rumours of "the Younger" actually being the "the Elder" in disguise under everybody's noses - sounds like a more sensible take of the continuity and (d)evolving metaplot morass.

      Generations and stats i use as rough guidelines to the NPC at best - any discipline 6+ without an actual reference to what elders powers the NPC has is pretty much an admission just threw random numbers without thinking anything beyond "oh, powerful sue/stu" and could not bother itself to actually imagine and flesh out the NPC in a evocative manner.

      My usual take is to check for level 6+ powers and use then to gauge a generation, using the highest level one described as generation ceiling. If none are described - read, just a bunch of dots padding a NPC sheet - i power down the NPC to 8th or 7th gen and his disciplines to 5s or 6s of my preference, maybe add some weird artifact/ritual/discipline combo/macguffin, as an excuse to keep any inflated dice pools if i'm in the mood for that.
      Last edited by Baaldam; 10-14-2018, 03:55 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
        Harderstadt is an terribly contradicting mess of continuity mistakes, made even starker by writers insisting on using him as sig elder Ventrue when best forgotten and advancing metaplot trying to cover up the mistakes in terribly idiotic ways that only made things ever more nonsensical.

        Going with the original, Harderstadt was diablerized by Patricia of Bollingbroke/Tyler sometime between 1380s and 1530s (when she probably met Helena and he was very much a goner) and act of hers that spurred many half-hearted, doubtful and arrogant elders into fully joining the Camarilla, out of a real fear of being felled in the same way by neonate coteries or packs manipulating large angry mobs of mortals, not to mention inspiring the disgruntled anarch factions that would form the Sabbat.

        Harderstadt's core relevance for the setting is in the example of his destruction to kindred that no matter how powerful an elder thinks he, his childer and retainers are, a group of ingenious neonates can take him down with creativity and enough cannon fodder.

        The idea of some childer or body double assuming the identity to hide his destruction goes completely counter to that and is boneheaded beyond words for nothing beside "secrets under secrets - and Brujah are stupid riffraff, LOL". Harderstadt the Younger as vengeful childe and major elder on his own eulogizing and making a big propaganda warhorse of his sire's destruction centuries after the fact - while a number of conspiracy-minded and paranoid kindred, based on physical resemblance, power and other details whisper rumours of "the Younger" actually being the "the Elder" in disguise under everybody's noses - sounds like a more sensible take of the continuity and (d)evolving metaplot morass.

        Generations and stats i use as rough guidelines to the NPC at best - any discipline 6+ without an actual reference to what elders powers the NPC has is pretty much an admission just threw random numbers without thinking anything beyond "oh, powerful sue/stu" and could not bother itself to actually imagine and flesh out the NPC in a evocative manner.

        My usual take is to check for level 6+ powers and use then to gauge a generation, using the highest level one described as generation ceiling. If none are described - read, just a bunch of dots padding a NPC sheet - i power down the NPC to 8th or 7th gen and his disciplines to 5s or 6s of my preference, maybe add some weird artifact/ritual/discipline combo/macguffin, as an excuse to keep any inflated dice pools if i'm in the mood for that.
        That's assuming it was Hardestadt's death that caused the Camarilla to form and not the Inquisition.


        Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

          That's assuming it was Hardestadt's death that caused the Camarilla to form and not the Inquisition.
          A motive, not the only, obviously. Anarch Revolt was a thing happening in parallel, remember.

          Anyway, my point was that Harderstadt's original relevance was in his destruction as a warning for elders everywhere that anyone can fall, meaning that someone taking his place to hide that was a immensely boneheaded display of research failure on the writers' part. Harderstadt "the Younger" as himself instead makes more sense - and would solve the matter of Pieterzoon's generation tidily enough.
          Last edited by Baaldam; 10-14-2018, 05:33 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Baaldam View Post

            A motive, not the only, obviously. Anarch Revolt was a thing happening in parallel, remember.

            Anyway, my point was that Harderstadt's original relevance was in his destruction as a warning for elders everywhere that anyone can fall, meaning that someone taking his place to hide that was a immensely boneheaded display of research failure on the writers' part. Harderstadt "the Younger" as himself instead makes more sense - and would solve the matter of Pieterzoon's generation tidily enough.
            Again, that implies that Hardestadt's organizing power is a bigger thing than his martyrdom. Which I doubt is the case. Without Hardestadt to provide the Camarilla legitimacy, no one cared in the Ventrue.


            Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

              Again, that implies that Hardestadt's organizing power is a bigger thing than his martyrdom. Which I doubt is the case. Without Hardestadt to provide the Camarilla legitimacy, no one cared in the Ventrue.
              Can't say i agree on that - more of a cautionary tale "even the great can fall hard to the young - this guy met final death, so you can too". It's the whole issue of the Anarch Revolt distilled in one incident, with an elder that while distant was certainly better known as a quantity than elusive and half-mythic antediluvians.

              The whole "providing legitimacy" thing is from later in the books and stuff sounds a little too contrived, honestly.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Baaldam View Post

                Can't say i agree on that - more of a cautionary tale "even the great can fall hard to the young - this guy met final death, so you can too". It's the whole issue of the Anarch Revolt distilled in one incident, with an elder that while distant was certainly better known as a quantity than elusive and half-mythic antediluvians.

                The whole "providing legitimacy" thing is from later in the books and stuff sounds a little too contrived, honestly.
                That's if you assume "An Elder dying at the hands of some Brujah" is something that is rare or even comment worthy. You've latched onto the idea of Hardestadt as the martyr who inspired the Camarilla to come forward but that flat out isn't what happened in canon.

                No one knows that Hardestadt is dead but Patricia Bollingbrook and it is depicted as one of the biggest secrets of the setting. You have a very good story about it but no one knows Hardestadt is dead save Patricia and the Ventrue who arranged for his impersonation (possibly one Tzimisce too).

                It's not like the death of Saulot, Lasombra, and Tzimisce wans't enough.

                The situation here is that the most powerful Ventrue in Europe is sponsoring the Camarilla and ordering all of his political allies and personages. Because if there's no Ventrue leader then the Ventrue won't be involved in it.

                Mithras is about the only other Ventrue who could pull it off and he doesn't give a shit.
                Last edited by CTPhipps; 10-14-2018, 11:44 PM.


                Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                  Mithras is about the only other Ventrue who could pull it off and he doesn't give a shit.
                  What about the few Ventrue Methuselahs that exist ? I think that, more likely than not, a Vampire who is a Methuselah could do an impersonation like this, or a similar one ? Or maybe not, it seems difficult and challenging to do, now that I think about it. But anyway - why would Mithras be any more capable of this than other Methuselahs of Clan Ventrue ?


                  It just occured to me - is there any information in V:tM books about the breakdown of the numbers of Vampires by the fact of being a Neonate, an Ancillae, an Elder, or a Methuselah ? Or for that matter, is there anything specific - or close to specific - written about how many Vampires of each Clan there are, or about how many Vampires of each Clan there are in the Camarilla and the Sabbat ?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post
                    What about the few Ventrue Methuselahs that exist ? I think that, more likely than not, a Vampire who is a Methuselah could do an impersonation like this, or a similar one ? Or maybe not, it seems difficult and challenging to do, now that I think about it. But anyway - why would Mithras be any more capable of this than other Methuselahs of Clan Ventrue ?

                    It just occured to me - is there any information in V:tM books about the breakdown of the numbers of Vampires by the fact of being a Neonate, an Ancillae, an Elder, or a Methuselah ? Or for that matter, is there anything specific - or close to specific - written about how many Vampires of each Clan there are, or about how many Vampires of each Clan there are in the Camarilla and the Sabbat ?
                    The thing about V:TM and all White Wolf lines in general is they don't want to color in the lines too much to prevent you from being able to do it yourself. Effectively, the simple answer is, "There are many Methuselahs, Elders, Ancilla, and so on as you need there to be." This leads to a Schrodinger's Cat sort of situation where until a Methuselah exists in print then there's none other than the ones who exist but a vague sense others do.

                    I.e. "We only know Gratiano, Moncada, the Sybil, and Marcus Vitel but if you wanted to make another Lasombra Meth, you could."

                    What I mean is to say that as far as we know in "canon" V:TM, Mithras and Hardestadt are the two most powerful Ventrue in the world. Stop. In your game or mine, there could be a bunch of 4th generation running around doing 4th generation things but the implications are that as far as everyone is concerned--Hardestadt is the most powerful, influential, "Head of the Ventrue Clan." Mithras is his own thing and an anachronism as he is a Methuselah who rules over London openly rather than from the shadows. I think the implications from Chicago by Night, Los Angeles, and Berlin by Night is the vast majority of vampires over a 1000 years old hide their identities and operate through proxies.

                    It's part of the reason why Hardestadt is being impersonated, at least from my perspective, because there's the implications there AREN'T a bunch of 5th generations running around Europe other than Francois Villon, the Tremere Inner Council, and Karl Schreckt.

                    However, because WW's developers refuse to directly make this sort of statement, a lot of people may have different ideas as to what is and isn't a level of influence. My assumption, though, is that Hardestadt is probably not the only 5th generation Ventrue Elder running around but maybe there's like 6-7 in Europe total and he's the only one who isn't planning on riding this whole Inquisition thing out either through torpor or slaves. Also, after seeing him die, I imagine the other 6 might have been the guys to order Jurgen brainwashed and Vicisstituded into looking like their former colleague.

                    That way THEY can control the Camarilla through a puppet.

                    Because vampires, am I right?
                    Last edited by CTPhipps; 10-15-2018, 10:44 AM.


                    Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I don't think that the importance of Hardestadt was given by him being a 5th gen Ventrue.



                      5Th gen was not that rare in the middle age,there was plenty of 5th gen Ventrue alive at the time.



                      Eliuh/Rebekah, Geraint,the Duke of Amber, the Duchess of Amber, Marcus Verus, Cretheus, Gaius Marcellus, Demetrius, Geoffrey du Temple,Caius, Belisarius, Titus Venturus Camillus,Septima Dominica, Lysander, Julia Antasia,Maltheas, Gaius Fabricius, Fabrizio Ufilia, Ilse Reinneger/Gustav Bredenstein, Gotsdam

                      And these are just the "known" 5th gen Ventrue that were active in the Dark Age, and only Caius and Spetima didn't lived long enough to see the Anarch Revolt (Eliuh and Ilse got diablerized by their childe, who became in turn 5th gen).

                      You also had plenty of 6th gen old as fuck, more powerful than many of the younger 5th gen of the list.

                      But what these vampires lacked compared to Hardestadt is simple: Dignitas and power.

                      Many of this list are older than Hardestadt, but they were less powerful in political terms and in Ventrue prestige. Hardestadt was a member of the Ephorate, the highest court of the Ventrue Clan, the Clanbook says he was the most important Ventrue since the times of Camilla. Hell, he was one of the most powerful prince in the Dark Age, he was not the prince of a mere town, but the absolute ruler of all the Holy Roman Empire, and his influence stretched far beyond the Empire's border, into the eastern lord's provinces, his word was important even in Livonia,Hungary, Trasnylvania, southern Italy, everywhere.
                      After the death of Alexander, former prince of Paris, Hardestadt became the most powerful Ventrue prince of Europe, with the exception of Mithras, but Mithras was isolated in political terms.
                      Hardestadt survival was vital because it was Hardestadt word that could bind the Clan, forcing them into the Camarilla, no on else had the prestige to make such a decree; only Mithras could have done the same, but he had no interest in such a thing.

                      In the land of kings only an emperor could unite and over-rule the other monarchs, and the only emperor the Ventrue had in continental Europa was Hardestadt.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Mind you, this is AFTER the Inquisition and Anarch revolt or during.

                        At least half the vampires in Europe were destroyed and probably many more.

                        The destruction of the Cainite race was entirely possible.


                        Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Of the 5th gen I mentioned none has died in the Anarch revolt.
                          Only Caius and Septima Dominica died before the creation of the Camarilla.

                          The other are still alive in the modern nights. The only thing is that Rebekah and Bredenstein hot the position of Eilhu and Ilse.

                          The Anarch revolt was not a problem for the elders, It was a problem for the younglings.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Undead rabbit View Post
                            Of the 5th gen I mentioned none has died in the Anarch revolt.
                            Only Caius and Septima Dominica died before the creation of the Camarilla.

                            The other are still alive in the modern nights. The only thing is that Rebekah and Bredenstein hot the position of Eilhu and Ilse.

                            The Anarch revolt was not a problem for the elders, It was a problem for the younglings.
                            I believe the Tzimisce and Lasombra would disagree.

                            Two High Clans, brought low.

                            The Cappadochians also get destroyed not long after.


                            Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              And why? They are both alive and well.

                              Cappadocians have not been destroyed neither by the Inquisition neither by the Anarchs .
                              Even more, the downfall of the cappadocians was decided decided by Cappa himself.

                              Same for the Tzimisce.
                              Last edited by Undead rabbit; 10-15-2018, 01:56 PM.

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