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[WIR] Chicago by Night 5th Edition

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  • I think it comes down to Kevin not really giving a crap about equality next to power. He he isn't a Maldavis or even a demagogue like Juggler. He understands what it's like to come from an underprivileged background but his foremost interest has always been personal advancement.

    We might see a Baron Jackson if he'd been Embraced by a Juggler or Maldavis instead of a Lodin, though. It's an ironic reversal from his breathing days, but receiving such a select Embrace really helped him get his foot in the Camarilla's door. Doesn't hurt either that Lodin was one of the lowest-generation sires a neonate could realistically have in Chicago. For good or ill, princes' childer tend to stick by their sires unless they get completely screwed over like Bobby Weatherbottom or Tommy Hinds did.

    It'd be hilarious for some thin-blood to call Jackson out on his (immortal) privilege.


    Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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    • Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
      I think it comes down to Kevin not really giving a crap about equality next to power. He he isn't a Maldavis or even a demagogue like Juggler. He understands what it's like to come from an underprivileged background but his foremost interest has always been personal advancement.

      We might see a Baron Jackson if he'd been Embraced by a Juggler or Maldavis instead of a Lodin, though. It's an ironic reversal from his breathing days, but receiving such a select Embrace really helped him get his foot in the Camarilla's door. Doesn't hurt either that Lodin was one of the lowest-generation sires a neonate could realistically have in Chicago. For good or ill, princes' childer tend to stick by their sires unless they get completely screwed over like Bobby Weatherbottom or Tommy Hinds did.

      It'd be hilarious for some thin-blood to call Jackson out on his (immortal) privilege.
      THE ANARCHS got ignored by a lot of readers due to the controversy over the Camarilla. However, one of the funniest conversations in the book and the most interesting was the one between Salvador and Agata Starek. Agata basically points out that Theo Bell was a slave and rose from nothing to become a great hero.

      Salvador, being from humble origins (albeit nowhere near slavery) himself, counters that while Theo Bell did have tha as a mortal--he was the childe of a frigging Justicar and part of vampire royalty in the Camarilla for the next hundred years of his life. He also had killed dozens, if not hundreds of Anarchs, to maintain his position. In Jackson's case, I never imagined he would have been an Anarch for ideology but I've always liked them because (unlike some posters) I see the Anarchs as a alternative path to power for ambitious neonates unwilling to lick boots for centuries.

      Gordon Keaton was an Anarch in the previous editions but joined them not because he was in any way interested in egalitarianism or justice but because as a Caitiff, he was never going to be rising to power in the Camarilla. Many an Anarch Baron, IMHO, exists because you ally with your enemies enemy.

      Jackson would have only allied with the Anarchs because they'd have been a conveinance.


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

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      • Any truth to the rumor that Lodin is alive in V5 and living as a scarred, amnesiac bum?

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        • Originally posted by HardestadtTheEvenYounger View Post
          Any truth to the rumor that Lodin is alive in V5 and living as a scarred, amnesiac bum?
          He's not amnesiac. Just deeply degenerated.


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

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          • Alan Sovereign

            Type: NPC

            Synopsis: Brilliant financier

            Review: I admit, Alan Sovereign is a character who has surprised me by his longvevity. I've always thought he was one of the least interesting characters in Chicago by Night 1st Edition, the least interesting characters in 2nd Edition, and he's not standing out too well in 5th Edition. He's perfectly acceptable as a Ventrue financial wizard and arguably as much if not more so entitled to his fortune than Ballard (not that "deserving" money is how you make it in the Ventrue--you either have it or you don't).

            I admit I simply haven't come up with a use for Alan Sovereign in 25 years of play and while he's occasionally made an appearance in my game, I've never centered an adventure around him or really had a plot that said, "This is Alan Sovereign's plot." Even when I wanted to kill Ballard, I used Lawrence Ballard who has the infinitely more interesting motivation of protecting his family from an abusive patriarch.

            Even so, I'm not going to say that I think Alan Sovereign is a bad character. I just think he would be more interesting if they gave a guy a bit more edge. One of the plot hooks about Sovereign is that he's hanging around the Succubus Club and Red .05 despite the fact that he's about the least appropriate person in the world to be doing so. That's a mildly amusing image but I kind of wish they'd gone further.

            Really, the best thing that they've done for Sovereign is made him Jackson's Seneschal because if he can't generate interesting plots on his own then he can be the Voice of Sauron. Certainly, Alan is the kind of guy who can do a decent job being the face of whatever "legitimate" businesses which Kevin Jackson wants to take over. These can include kicking poor people out of their homes, killing people to steal their wealth, human trafficking, or the typical things you see on NCIS or Daredevil.

            Elements I like about AS are: 1. Alan is actually still fairly close to his Jewish heritage and we can see that whenever a Jewish character pops up in the books like the rabbi that he makes an effort to reach out to them. Given I've played a few Jewish characters, this is actually interesting and a part I missed. 2. Alan has a Masquerade-breaching relationship with a Bernie Madoff-esque ex-partner who he considers to be his best friend. 3. He's the only guy who seems aware the US government being aware of vampires is SPECTACULARLY BAD and OH MY GOD, WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING.

            If I would suggest some changes.

            1. I would make Alan Sovereign the actual party behind the 2008 Financial Crisis. It's ridiculous and over the top but I like the idea that he's the guilty party for getting the ball rolling more than the Red Question. Indeed, he might be the guy who suggested they were behind it in the first place (perhaps owing Bobby Weatherbottom a life boon). It just strikes me that he's the kind of guy who was responsible for it in real life and it was his overspending in real-estate that, combined with Dominate, wiped out hundreds of millions of vampire portfolios.

            2. Alan Sovereign was the secret puppeteer behind Joseph Peterson and is the guy who actually pushed him to become Prince of Chicago. He did that by a brute force strategy of bribing other Kindred with million dollar payments and stolen information. Peterson proved to be a complete boob and Sovereign either was the one who screwed up the Olympic bid or Peterson went over his head. Either way, Sovereign wants to be puppet master of Chicago rather than the guy on the throne even if Jackson isnt the right guy for it.

            3. Actually give Alan a number of touchstones that humanize the guy a bit. He had a mortal family he loves and still watches over or a community of people he loves. He's fully capable of being ruthless and doing terrible things as a businessman but is not deadened to the world the way many other Kindred are.
            Last edited by CTPhipps; 03-03-2019, 08:52 AM.


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

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            • For the avoidance of doubt, neither the previous Chicago by Night books nor this one refer to Alan Sovereign as being Jewish.


              Matthew Dawkins
              In-House Developer for Onyx Path Publishing


              Website: http://www.matthewdawkins.com
              Patreon: http://https://www.patreon.com/matthewdawkins

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              • Originally posted by The Gentleman Gamer View Post
                For the avoidance of doubt, neither the previous Chicago by Night books nor this one refer to Alan Sovereign as being Jewish.
                Thanks for your corrections as always.

                Well that's a shame because I really liked the representation of them. There's not many such characters among vampires. I feel like they're underrepresented among urban fantasy and superhero works. He's also not a caricature but a three-dimensional individual that isn't one of the worst (or one of the best) among the undead. Maybe not my favorite character but like Kathy Glens, I felt he was enriched by being made closer to a mortal group.

                Mind you, I'm biased since my most famous creation is Jewish and got some praise from Jewish groups for his depiction in the Supervillainy Saga.

                Edit:

                I may have misread the implications of this.

                Last edited by CTPhipps; 03-03-2019, 09:00 AM.


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

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                • Some thoughts on Sovereign and uses of the guy i have made through the years...

                  - Sovereign wants to consume his sire and is already actively preparing for it - but wasn't he Ballard's ghoul for at least an year before being embraced? When did he break the Bond and how?
                  In fact in one recent game i STed, imade it so Sovereign was involved with Lawrence's actions against Ballard - in fact, he's the one who helped Lawrence realize the truth behind their sire's past domination - and acting as 3rd party in a scenario partly ripped from Blood Bond, but with Lawrence and Ballard in the places of Neally and Foster. Sovereign broke his bond by joining the Sabbat - but was fed wrong diablerie info because neither Rigaud nor Wade fully trust the strength of his vinculum just yet.

                  From his point of view, he's helping both Lawrence (making him break away from his patriarch's oppression), the Sabbat (as the mess could send waves and sour sire-childer relations through the whole city when sh*t hits the fan, specially if more of this start to happen) and himself (he's totally going to KS the "gross obese power suit buddha" from Lawrence when the time is right).
                  - Who gave him this imprecise bit of knowledge of diablerie? Was it some unknown local kindred that consumed its own sire or was it misinformation on the part of someone who would like to see Horatio Ballard gone?
                  For some reason i had in my mind for years that it was an anarch that taught him that, what i played with by having him being chummy Gengis and Gordon Keaton - and through him his childe, Priscilla Gibbs (that was furtively playing on changing loyalties from one to the other - and possibly the source of Alan's mangled bit of diablerie lore). He was familiar with Juggler and Evelyn too, though not as closely at all.
                  - Anyone ever considered the possibility of Sovereign having some sort of negative/revenge/spite-powered touchstone of an obsession with the government, something he might already be into, based on his feeding requirement? That could lead to some peculiar anti-establishment conundrums & occasional trouble, among other things.

                  (as an aside, would agent Shepard still be a lone wolf or could he have come in contact with the Special Affairs division or the Second Inquisition in the intervening years since VtM 1e?)
                  Last edited by Baaldam; 03-03-2019, 10:35 AM.

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                  • The Blood Bond gets broken by the Embrace so it's one of the reasons why (at least I think) very few vampires actually Embrace their ghouls (that and they tend to think of them with pure contempt). If you Embrace your ghoul, they may wake up hating you with pure fury for however many years you abused them.


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

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                    • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                      The Blood Bond gets broken by the Embrace so it's one of the reasons why (at least I think) very few vampires actually Embrace their ghouls (that and they tend to think of them with pure contempt). If you Embrace your ghoul, they may wake up hating you with pure fury for however many years you abused them.
                      I might be missremembering, but no, i don't think that is a sure thing as you describe, quite the contrary. Care to give a page reference? Guess i'll take some time to reread stuff at least.

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                      • Naomi Stewart

                        Type: NPC

                        Synopsis: Heroic Ventrue (and not an oxymoron).

                        Review: Friendly Neighborhood Vampires are something very tricky to write in Vampire: The Masquerade. Some gamers think they should be impossible to exist and only ruin the game by making it more like Forever Knight or Angel. Quite the contrary, I actually think that you lose something valuable if you don't have them in your game. It's just that it's a TRAGEDY when a vampire tries to keep onto their humanity. Inevitably, you will fail and you have to decide whether you try again.

                        As much shit as I give Khalid as a concept, he's basically an encapsulation of the vampire dilemma. The best thing a vampire can do, unless they're a Thin Blood, is to keep trying to be good no matter how many times they fail and never give up. Success, barring Golconda, is impossible but it's possible to be GOOD ENOUGH to get by.

                        You might even be a net positive in a very cold-blooded arithmetic sort of way if you keep the worst of the supernatural from leaking onto the world (i.e. live like a player character). "Superheroes with fangs" often gets derided as a playstyle but I think it's not remotely a bad thing because Forever Knight was a very good vampire story. It had drama, pathos, regret, and horror. Nick was also a hypocrite half the time and made many mistakes.

                        What does this mean for Naomi? I really like Naomi as a character. She's a activist trying to make the world a better place the long way, using her wealth and influence to try to raise up the poor as well as disadvantaged: particularly women of color. She has a fascinating and well-written backstory and honestly I think she should have a higher humanity. That's not something I state lightly and think a Humanity 8 would better suit her.

                        I admit to a certain level of bias here because Naomi Stewart is very similar to how I play Maldavis and the canonical entry for her doesn't have the same "determinator" idealistic fight sense that I always play in my versions of Maldavis. Really, her entry portrays her as much more cynical and kind of stupid (albeit, when you have Helena against you--you're going to lose). Naomi seems a far more formidable character.

                        I think Gina Torres is a great actress for her role.




                        If I did have any issues with Naomi Stewart, it would be the somewhat odd double standard in her relationships. She hates Balthazar and that's perfectly understandable. Everyone in the world should hate Balthazar unless there's a secret branch of Alt-Reich or Neo-Confederate Brujah that worship him.

                        However, she hates Dusable for his dark magics and that's a kind of weird thing because I doubt that's the kind of thing people get to see him perform. Also, "she doesn't understand what the Tremere bring to the Camarilla." Which implies a very sheltered view of the world given the Tremere in Chicago were there for the Sabbat/Lupine invasion as well as other conflicts where Thaumaturgy would be absolutely necessary.

                        It's also extra-weird given her reverence for Kevin Jackson. Kevin Jackson is a great sign of a Kindred making it to the top but it implies that she fully buys his belief he's going to improve things for the Chicago black communities. I can easily buy that Kevin, himself, believes that. No one believes they're the villain of their own story but it's hard to believe a guy at the center of black on black violence as well as the former head of the Chicago drug trade would be someone she has much admiration for.

                        Just my .02.


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

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                        • On the matter of Jackson, i would guess she might be taking his cleaning up through the years more at face value than she should. Naive for a kindred? Certainly, but then she's no ancilla or elder (afaik) and we all can be tricked by personal bias-generated blindspot. It fits into the kind of narrative she wants to believe/see, cynicism & good sense be damned.

                          As an aside, is she related to any of the local Ventrue or one of the first members of the clan not descended of Lodin's brood in the city?

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                          • Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                            On the matter of Jackson, i would guess she might be taking his cleaning up through the years more at face value than she should. Naive for a kindred? Certainly, but then she's no ancilla or elder (afaik) and we all can be tricked by personal bias-generated blindspot. It fits into the kind of narrative she wants to believe/see, cynicism & good sense be damned.

                            As an aside, is she related to any of the local Ventrue or one of the first members of the clan not descended of Lodin's brood in the city?
                            She's a former slave not embraced by Lodin.

                            Indeed, Lodin never recognized her because of his racism (also probably because it was established Lodin didn't tolerate any Ventrue in the city not descended from him).

                            So nice twist there.


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

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                            • I have a minor issue with her timeline. The text described her birth into slavery in 1860. Yes, it still existed then. However, the text also reads "first 20 years" of her life about the separation of her family, and suggests she encountered her sire while still a slave. Slavery ended legally in 1865, not 1880. Is the text suggesting slavery continued until 1880? If so, why would a vampire oppose such a thing?

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                              • Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                                I have a minor issue with her timeline. The text described her birth into slavery in 1860. Yes, it still existed then. However, the text also reads "first 20 years" of her life about the separation of her family, and suggests she encountered her sire while still a slave. Slavery ended legally in 1865, not 1880. Is the text suggesting slavery continued until 1880? If so, why would a vampire oppose such a thing?
                                Well plenty of vampires have causes, particularly among the Anarchs who often actually dislike ghouldom among other flaws. I may be biased here because the sire of my main character in the STRAIGHT OUTTA FANGTON was a Haitan vampire with a preference for eating slavers.


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

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