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[WIR] Chicago by Night 5th Edition

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  • #16
    The City part 1
    a.k.a THE RISE OF PRINCE JACKSON

    Type: Resource

    Synopsis: Horatio Ballard on top of a daycare contacts Jackson and we learn about his ascension to Prince. This begins with the ascension of Joseph Peterson to Prince followed by his dramatic fall due to the failed Chicago Olympics bid. Ballard then makes contact with a member of the Hecata

    Background: This section of the book is one of the larger ones and will need multiple articles on it even before we start getting into the NPCs. I've decided for this part to focus exclusively on the entertaining story which Onyx Path wrote about how Kevin Jackson became Prince of Chicago.

    As mentioned before, Kevin Jackson has always been a powerful vampire in the city. However, in 1st Edition he was just one of the many-many vampires of Lodin's Brood. Even when 2nd Edition killed a huge chunk of them, he was still not the most powerful vampires in the city and was often dismissed as a somewhat 2nd-rate Capone. Many player characters, in fact, killed him in Under a Blood Red Moon since assassinating him is one of the mission objectives werewolves, Anarchs, and Sabbat have.

    Generally, the early treatment of Kevin Jackson was a somewhat stereotypical gangbanger. He ruled over a public housing build, had a army of thugs, and profited primarily by the drug trade. He also had a dollar sign shaved into his flat-top haircut. As such, most players considered him a dangerous NPC but not someone they could see as Praxis of Chicago. I'll get into this later but I actually really like how the book plays with long-time gamers expectations and shows how KJ stepped up and evolved as an NPC. He was underestimated in life and and became underestimated in death.

    When "last" we left Chicago by Night, it was in Beckett's Jyhad Diary when it was stated the Primogen were ruling the city instead of a Prince. I never liked this because much of 2nd Edition was about the race for Prince and a Primogen like Chicago exists so there's someone so they don't have to rule directly. Besides, Chicago's Primogen ruling means that Critias is defacto Prince by default since he's a thousand years older than everyone else.

    Still, I was really surprised by the fact Joseph Peterson was chosen to be Prince even for a short time since even in the books, he was always considered a joke. Basically a parody of right wing conservative media pundits from the Reagan era. Ironically, that sort of character is MORE relevant now than it was in the 90s. While it makes a funny exercise in illustrating how powerful the Primogen that they put a buffoon in charge of the city.

    Random Aside: During the Everything is Racist! part of the V5 controversy, a guy I knew was convinced Joseph Peterson's appearance in THE CAMARILLA book was a coded reference to Jordan Peterson as well as ALT-RIGHT propaganda. I then pointed out Joseph had been around since 1991.

    The use of the Chicago Olympics failure to show just how out of depth Joseph is as Prince is an interesting call and makes for an iconic (albeit minor) historical event. Certainly, it was obvious that any local vampire potentant isn't going to have influence over an INTERNATIONAL group like the Olympic committee. Also, bluntly, the OC is like FIFA in that it's arguably even more corrupt than the Camarilla or certainly able to match them bribe for bribe.

    One thing I like about this story is it actually gives insights into Kevin Jackson as we find out he had a lot of his fellow Bloods (i.e. his lieutenants) arrested to make Chicago seem to be a "safer" city. This caused him no personal end of anguish but he did it anyway. It illustrates that KJ, at the end, has no personal loyalty to anyone and will always choose power over his friends or family.

    Which makes him perfect for Prince.

    Either way, Jackson seized control over territories and demanded to be made Prince after Peterson's public failure--then exiled Peterson to the boonies.

    Fun fact: Maxwell is mentioned as still being around Chicago when Peterson falls and Jackson stepped in front of him to become Prince.

    Re: Ballard the Pedophile

    One element of this story which I should mention is the story opens up with Horatio Ballard holding a meeting on top of a daycare. A popular fan theory for a long time has been Horatio Ballard is a vampire pedophile. This is due to the fact his Ventrue feeding restriction was the children of his own family (and the Kiss being inherently sexual) as well as the fact he had Humanity 0. Strangely, despite Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition's "darker and edgier" approach, all implications of Ballard being a pedophile were washed away in this book.

    Perhaps because the issue is more sensitive in this version or perhaps the developers knew that if this was an element of Ballard's personality then he'd have no other ones which mattered. Perhaps reducing his value as an NPC. I'm torn on it because, really, I think Ballard SHOULD be irredeemable scum. You know, beyond even being a vampire.

    Accompanying Art:

    Last edited by CTPhipps; 01-25-2019, 10:24 AM.


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

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    • #17
      Ballard's feeding preference is just mortal members of his own family in this edition, not children specifically. He's not a paedophile in this edition, and I see no reason to add any characters of that type in any of the books I develop.


      Matthew Dawkins
      In-House Developer for Onyx Path Publishing


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

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by The Gentleman Gamer View Post
        Ballard's feeding preference is just mortal members of his own family in this edition, not children specifically. He's not a paedophile in this edition, and I see no reason to add any characters of that type in any of the books I develop.
        Believe me, it's not a desire to see it as a concept.

        Just merely an observation from games I attended.

        In the end, it's always why Ballard ended up being assassinated by Lawrence Ballard in my games.

        FYI - here's the text from Lawrence Ballard's write up in CHICAGO BY NIGHT 1st Edition which gave us this impression.

        It was at this point that “Great-Uncle Ballard” came
        visiting. Like all the other members of the Ballard family,
        Lawrence had visited the fat old man as a child. He remembered
        those visits in the same way as most of his siblings and cousins
        did - as something pleasant to recall, but nightmarish to dream
        of.

        Thus Lawrence, who was sending his own children to visit
        Ballard,accepted the nocturnal visit with a mixture of excitement
        and trepidation.
        However, Ballard had come only to ask some
        legal advice on the subject of eviction. Impressed by his young
        relative’s legal knowledge, he was soon a regular visitor, always
        with some question relating to his seamy business dealings.

        After two years of this, Ballard decided that the legal
        marvel was exactly what he needed as a lieutenant. He obtained
        permission from the Prince, and told the younger Ballard what
        was in store for him. The lawyer was horrified at first, but after
        looking deep into Ballard’s eyes he realized just what a fantastically
        good idea it was.

        For years, Lawrence served his obese granduncle with
        all the devotion he could muster. Freed from the commitment of
        a daily legal practice, he has been able to throw himself into a
        study of the law unavailable to most practitioners, purely for his
        own benefit and interest.

        Recently, Ballard has stopped Dominating Lawrence
        as he once did and the lawyer is beginning to become disgusted
        with his existence, especially when he sees his own great-grandchildren
        being abused by his Sire.
        While he is unable to
        take any direct action against Ballard, Lawrence has begun
        passing information to Juggler and Hinds in the hope that they
        might one day destroy this monster. Lawrence himself feeds on
        the partners of Chicago’s larger law firms.
        Personally, I'm glad to see it dropped altogether.

        Assuming I wasn't reading subtext that was never there to begin with.


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

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        • #19
          The City part 2

          Type: Resource

          Synopsis: We get an explanation of Chicago Truths and Lies as well as some flavor for the city. We also get revised rules for Havens in Chicago as well as a random adventure generator for new STs

          Review: If you're British or know something about the countries compromising the United Kingdom then I suggest you should check out Isle of the Mighty for Changeling: The Dreaming because it's one of the most singular funny supplements which you will ever be likely to read. It was clearly written by either someone who had no actual experience with the United Kingdom other than Mary Poppins or at the very least had a very "posh" view of the country versus, you know, the place where the Punk in Gothic Punk was actually originated.



          I bring this up because one of the things White Wolf games has occasionally struggled with is it's depiction of various locations. A lot of the time, they were written with only a bare minimum of research by people who didn't really know the locals they were supposed to be creating supplements for. It's why LA By Night is more or less just "Gangs of LA w/ Vampires" and Berlin by Night is "Commies, Nazis, and Witch Hunters."

          That's not the case of CHICAGO BY NIGHT 5E which makes a real effort to not only get Chicago natives to write about the city itself but also capture the feel of the city. I appreciated learning about these details in this Q&A which contains a lot of information on the process. It's about two hours long so I don't recommend watching it now but it does include explaining the kind of mentality which went into writing this book.



          The general attitude of this section is meant to give PCs a sense of Chicago and her natives. Some of these are self-explanatory like, "Chicago is not just downtown", "Chicago is not particularly violent despite its large number of gangs.", "No one actually calls it the Windy City in Chicago", and "Chicagoans are very proud of their local culture."

          We also get a revision to the Haven rules calld 'Homesteading." This is designed to give you all the tools you need to create a haven for your vampires in Chicago that has a bit more flavor than, "Mansion, Sewer Apartment, and/or creepy house in the suburbs." We also get little bits of flavor about the waterfront of Lake Michigan and the North Chicago River so that when you use those as meeting places, you know what to expect around them.

          My favorite part of this section, though, is the "random adventure hook" generator which is something I absolutely love. WAYYYYY BACK WHEN in 1st Edition Vampire: The Masquerade, there was a supplement called THE SUCCUBUS CLUB (note: NOT The Succubus Club: Dead Man's Party--that's a different book) which is probably the 2nd or 3rd most useful RPG supplement I have ever purchased (the others being Chicago by Night 1st Edition and the 3rd Edition of the Forgotten Realms).



          Now, The Succubus Club was basically what LET THE STREETS RUN RED is going to be. It's a collection of four or five chronicles with some supplemental material on the city of Chicago itself. Some of the adventures are kind of crap and others are genius. However, the most useful portion of the book was the random adventure generator that contained about a hundred little adventure hooks that could easily get you a night's entertainment. If you weren't amazing at getting adventure hooks off the ground then this was a major help and I'm glad Onyx Path decided to make something similar for this book.

          There's Caitiff trying to blackmail you, encountering wights, occult bookstores, cults, a bicycler getting hit by a car in front of you, and plenty of other little things that can keep you going all night.

          This honestly is a table set that justifies the game book by itself for me.
          Last edited by CTPhipps; 01-25-2019, 10:23 AM.


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

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          • #20
            The City part 3

            Type: Resource

            Synopsis: A description of Chicago's various districts and how they interact with Kindred.

            Review: This is probably the most useful resource for Storytellers who want to set their games actually in Chicago. The flavor of the city is most defined in terms of listing various things like Elysium, the Rack, the Succubus Club, the Hive [Downtown], the El, the Chicago Pedway, East Chicago, the South Side, Chinatown, the North Side, the Borderlands [Suburbs], and Gary.

            All of the districts are described with their own personality and it means that players (as well as their Storytellers) can memorize the general sense of each section. I like the exotic "vampire names" for things that are given to everything like the Borderlands, Hive, and Rack.

            Generally, there's an entire kingdom of locations which can be used to set adventures in. Probably the most useful things are the depictions of the interiors of the Blue Velvet, Succubus Club, and Red No. 5. There's a couple of other interesting locations that are added to the above but Vampire has traditionally been played in fictional nightclubs with these being the best.

            The description of Elysium is good and gives us a sense of what kind of places which Kindred choose to gather it. A lot of fans, afraid of the Second Inquisition and overestimating its power, basically assumed all Kindred would go off the grid like those crazy conspiracy theorists. Instead, it seems Kindred social society is the same as it's always been but just more secretive than before.

            One of the interesting parts of this section is the handling of Chinatown, which actually dips outside of Chicago by Night 1st or 2nd Editions but to the Book of Chantries. In that book, there's an extensive homage to Big Trouble in Little China. The homage is actually a little TOO much as it had the villain be Lo Pan.

            You can tell via Erichtho that the writers didn't seem to much care for that entry in the book.

            Mr. Jackson,

            I don’t care who runs things, but I also don’t know how much you’ve been told after the transfer of power. Let’s be clear about something: You don’t run Chinatown. You don’t set foot in Chinatown. You want something there, you come to me. If anyone stupidly wanders in there and has an unusual experience, don’t tell DuSable, unless you want your wayward idiot to make a long trip in a tiny box. Call me immediately.

            You may have all the stupid notes Nicolai left for the old bosses, using pop culture code words and Orientalist trash, talking about the “Jade Demon,” and all that. First, let me assure you that none of us are holed up in there. That includes our Asian cousins. In fact, if any of them come to visit, you should dissuade them with all available means from visiting Chinatown.

            Second, don’t trust the old sources. Nicolai didn’t know a damn thing. Again, come to me first. DuSable has some experience in this regard, but you don’t want him getting involved unless you feel like another war.

            Third, if anyone coming out of Chinatown makes trouble with the help of truly extraordinary capabilities, kill them, burn everything, and bring me everything that doesn’t burn. They’re breaking some very old rules.

            That’s what you need to know right now. I will be visiting shortly to provide a detailed briefing.

            -Erichtho
            There's no real mention of Nephandi, Akashic Brotherhood, or Kuei-jin but it does establish Chinatown as it's "own" sort of place that could contain any of these things. It also has the Tremere have dominion over the place so no other vampires can just move in on them.

            I also appreciate the article on Gary (no surprise) which is my favorite part of this section other than the club sections. The book mentions Modius is dead with, presumably, the Prince of Gary having been killed during the events of Dust to Dust. That's a shame as Modius is one of the first characters created for Vampire: The Masquerade. It also mentions Juggler is missing and also potentially met the Final Death.

            Which means the two most iconic characters of the city are gone. It makes me wonder what will be said about them, the circumstances of their death, and what other Gary NPCs were there in the appropriate section of LET THE STREETS RUN RED.


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

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            • #21
              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              The homage is actually a little TOO much as it had the villain be Lo Pan.
              Clearly Ol' Jack Burton showed up, and settled Lo Pan and his business, between the Book of Chantries and Chicago V5. Yes sir.

              Edit: I like the way "LoPan," China Town and Erichtho are handled in Chicago V5.
              Last edited by Grumpy RPG Reviews; 01-22-2019, 02:15 PM. Reason: Erichtho made me do it.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post

                Clearly Ol' Jack Burton showed up, and settled Lo Pan and his business, between the Book of Chantries and Chicago V5. Yes sir.

                Edit: I like the way "LoPan," China Town and Erichtho are handled in Chicago V5.
                I like the implications Nicolai was a fan of the movie.




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

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                • #23
                  Banu Haqim

                  Now we finally get to the meet of the book, at least in my opinion. For me, Chicago by Night and all city sourcebooks are best defined by the NPCs. The vivid, wild, and fascinating personalities which you can put in your game. While a lot of them are tied to their cities, I have often mixed and matched them for my games. A strong personality can serve any number of wonderful functions for a game whether as ally, antagonist, hero, villain, or friend.

                  We start our analysis of CBN5E's NPCs with the Banu Haqim section. ASSAMITE REVISED set up the idea of the Vizier and Sorcerer caste with the goal of broadening the clan from being a generic death cult of diablerists. Interestingly, I've never actually been too hostile to that concept for the Assamites but that was because I had an Ashirra sect before there was an Ashirra sect.
                  In my 2nd Edition games, I had the assumption the Middle East was full of Brujah, Toreador, Ventrue, and Malkavians filling the role of the varied deep Middle Eastern culture which gave us things like mathematics as well as modern medicine. So, the Assamites didn't really NEED a Vizier or Sorcerer caste because they were just representing their own little band of psychopaths rather than the "Muslim clan."

                  As I've matured, though, I've come to believe it's always a good thing to have clans be broader than smaller. Even if the Banu Haqim didn't NEED to be anything more than a bunch of bloodthirsty soldiers, there's a much more interesting story there if they ARE mostly just another clan of vampires who just so happen to have a big chunk of them as psychopathic crazy people. Besides, the Web of Knives doesn't actually add much more than the Sabbat (and has since been retconned as the OG Sabbat anyway with many of the Black Hand's worst habits coming from them).

                  5E having the Banu Haqim join the Camarilla meant that Chicago by Night 5E would be a big example of, "So how do the Assamites fit into this world?" Overall, I was very impressed with the characters they chose to illustrate it. I also would like to take a moment to state I like that they've combined the Vizier and Sorcerer castes into one because I felt it was a little, "This clan can do everything!" I have no problem with the Banu Haqim having Blood Sorcery, I just felt that they had their own Toreador/Ventrue, Tremere, and Brujah/Gangrel the way Revised presented them. This way, they're a more interesting mix. It's why I support the Tzimisce having the Disciplines of Animalism, Blood Sorcery, and Protean.

                  Khadij Al-Kindi

                  Preview:

                  Khadij Al-Kindi

                  Type: NPC

                  Synopsis: An Iraqi street urchin turned Egyptian high society crime boss turned middle aged vampiress diplomat.

                  Review: I am a huge fan of Khadij Al-Kindi and not just because Matthew Dawkins confirmed my theory that she was based in large part on the Expanse's Chrisjen Avasarala (played by the wonderful Shohren Aghdashloo). Khadjij is just such an interesting subversion of so many Assamite stereotypes while being incredibly dangerous on a field of battle which Kindred are familiar with: inter-sect politics.

                  I appreciate she's an older woman in her late-fifites who was still embraced for love by Pink (of Vampire: The Masquerade: Redemption fame). That was an interesting twist even though I'm going to be pendantic and point out that was a cover identity for him. Khadjij showed a nice danger of Embracing people smarter and stronger willed than you as she abandoned her sire pretty much the moment she realized she was older as well as smarter than him.

                  Khadij is notably not a diplomat for the Assamite Clan, which carries its own baggage and doesn't really need to exist because the Banu Haqim are part of the Camarilla as a whole now anyway. Instead, she's an ambassador for the Ashirra and often commutes from the Middle East to Chicago regularly. That opens up the use of the sect as a power player in the Second City that would not normally be the case. I also love the refutation of the Second Inquisition that they pose no threat to her travel plans just because she's THAT rich (a reminder the WOD has problems more systemic than just vampires).

                  The character is really well-illustrated and can be involved in games in multiple ways. She wants to be part of Chicago's Primogen and while that's a tall order, it's not impossible given so many of its previous power players like Khalid, Tyler, Nicolai, and others have disappeared. Certainly, I'd love to see Critias try and debate this woman 2000 years his junior and get his butt handed to him.

                  I also appreciate that Khadij is depicted as a elder who is trying to reconnect with their humanity and failing miserably at it. She's showering a violinist with gifts and praise but the woman is repulsed by Khadij's attention. Possibly because she assumes it's romantic--which it may well be because vampires are kind of beyond gender/sex labels in my games. At the end of the day, you're just different kinds of steak to the undead and sometimes that involves rolling around with you naked. She also keeps her third husband as a slave and he's suicidal (though I don't think he'd refuse the Embrace).

                  Really, Khadij feels old and wants to experience youth again vicariously, particually through Neonate's humanity but she's an old and vicious thing in spirit.
                  Bravo, writers. I actually haven't used her yet because I just want to make my players love her as much as I do.


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

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                  • #24
                    Aicha Rana

                    Type: NPC

                    Synopsis: A French North African woman embraced by Khadja. She hates her sire, hates her privilege, and is struggling to be a better person despite being a fairly awful mortal one.

                    Review: Aicha is another non-traditional character archetype and one that I really appreciate: the Banu Haqim Anarch! Well, Aicha isn't an Anarch but she's definitely on her road to becoming one as she has seen just how debased and awful a person her sire was. Even though she was heavily involved in theft and drug trade, well, her mentor is a murderer and an unrepentant one.

                    All the wealth in the world doesn't really make up for the fact Aicha doesn't want to be a murderer and the Hunger is something her sire barely taught her to manage (if she bothered to each her at all). There's a lot of hints you can make that she's probably killed more than her fair share of humans, simply because her sire doesn't care about the collateral damage from her childer's feeding.

                    Hell, she more or less picked Aicha at random to turn because she was pretty and young.

                    I like Aicha as a character because she's already something we haven't seen much of, which is a European woman of color, and one of the rare Elder-Childer relationships in Chicago. Very few Elders in the setting have newly embraced childer or ones they still lord over so it's an interesting new dynamic to express. Aicha is scared and kinda-loyal to her sire but also doesn't want anything to do with her wealth or influence. The fact it's a mother-daughter relationship is also fairly rare compared to the reverse.

                    Aicha's story also broadens her sires because we get the story about how Aicha forgot to feed one of Khadja's ghouls and he went from being a young man to a seventy-year-old man rapidly. He now guilts her constantly. I think he's another potential candidate for the Embrace and interesting as a vampire who would be turned by a Neonate and be a old man who is, nevertheless, determined to enjoy himself.

                    Really, what marks Aicha is she's a character who exists between two worlds (the super-rich Camarilla and the street level Anarch) with an option to straddle them both. She's also a character who could easily becomes friends with a coterie of PCs. While it's stereotypical to make her a love interest, the fact she's a capable party girl as well as criminal makes her someone you could use in that role too.
                    Last edited by CTPhipps; 01-23-2019, 01:36 AM.


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

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                    • #25
                      Some random Clan thoughts for 5E:

                      + The fact that Chicago by Night 5E takes place before some of the clans have been detailed kind of hurts a few characters coming out.

                      + Doctor Genet was a character I would have liked to have seen included in this story, being a pro-euthanasia doctor who fed on dying patients as a way of helping them along. Sadly, he doesn't give them a peaceful death because the Giovanni bite doesn't have the pleasure of the Kiss unless he was a Cappadochian holdover.

                      + Shejana is a character I regret we're not going to have return and I briefly thought the female art for what I THINK is Erzuli was actually her. She was a Holocaust survivor as well as a Ravnos. While that's a character you could VERY easily get wrong, the fact she lived in Chicago as the only Ravnos meant she probably DID survive the Week of Nightmares.

                      + Wendy Wade is also a character we won't see in this version and I find that to be a shame because I've always had a fondness for the murderous little Tzimisce diablerist. Especially since after 25 years of time since the original Chicago by Night, she's gone from being a Neonate to someone who would be a powerful ancilla in the Sabbat. It's a shame her creator didn't write her as a Lasombra as I could easily see her as someone who would want to defect to the Camarilla.

                      + The Banu Haqim joining the Camarilla is something I was always rather iffy about but I suppose does fit with them being a "High" Clan. I am curious whether or not they're still afraid of Ur-Shulgi and what he's doing since that's the Middle of the Gehenna War. Will the Sabbat lay siege to Alamut? Or will the US military bomb it since if the Second Inquisition is capable of hitting the Vienna Chantry then they may be able to hit Alamut. Certainly, I think it'd be ironic if a 4th generation demigod was killed by cruise missiles.

                      (I don't just say that because that's how I killed Ur-Shulgi in my games).

                      + I've commented elsewhere that the Followers of Set joining the Anarchs is a direction I did not expect (and was one of the major supporters of Matthew Dawkins having them join the Camarilla). However, the more I think about it, the more I think the "Ministry" really benefits the Anarchs and vice versa. Basically, the biggest problem the Anarch Movement has in V:TM is they're stupid. I mean, the Sabbat is stupid too but they've always been depicted as having a brain. Like Brave New World and The Marching Morons (there's a surprising literary reference) the societies of idiots have guys in charge of the herd. The Anarchs have always been more like Idiiocracy in that everyone is a dumbass. In the entire Anarch movement there's a handful of brains: MacNeil, Maldavis, and a handful of others. The problem is plenty of them like Tyler and Tara end up defecting when things get bad.

                      + Marcus Vitel joining the Anarch movement just to take back Washington D.C. is a game changer by itself since he has more genius and charisma than the majority of the Movement put together. He could very much form his own sect from the people there. It'll be interesting if he chooses to join the Camarilla or makes his own Anarch Empire. He'd hardly be the first revolutionary to run an absolute dictatorship (look at the Brujah Council).

                      + The thing about the FoS/Ministry is, though, that they are a "brain" clan. They may be fucking crazy to the one, don't get me wrong, but they rarely embrace stupid. They're also a clan that is ideologically based on FreedomTM the same way the Sabbat and Anarchs are, but just focused heavily on the religious and philosophical elements of freedom. They could very well be the Lasombra of a new sort of Sabbat with the Gangrel, Caitiff, and Brujah beside them. The Banu Haqim driving them to the Anarchs may have been the BH's biggest mistake in centuries.

                      So, seeing how the Ministry operates in Chicago should be good.

                      + I'm curious how the Church of Caine is going to be depicted as operating in the city of Chicago as it's being implied to be a much-much larger movement than you might expect and operating cross-sect.
                      Last edited by CTPhipps; 01-25-2019, 10:22 AM.


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

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                      • #26
                        I'm pleased you enjoyed the Banu Haqim in this book! They're often a tough clan to get right.


                        Matthew Dawkins
                        In-House Developer for Onyx Path Publishing


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

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by The Gentleman Gamer View Post
                          I'm pleased you enjoyed the Banu Haqim in this book! They're often a tough clan to get right.
                          The fact there isn't a diablerie-hungry murderer-for-hire in the section was a pleasant surprise.

                          The Banu Haqim in this book are also nicely distinct and heavily involved in the city's Elders vs. Anarchs politics with lots of uses set out for them.

                          So top marks.

                          :thumbs up:


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

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                          • #28
                            The Brujah

                            The Brujah in Chicago have always been one of the best defined clans in the city. It's one of the few cities which manages to balance a mixture of Idealist, Iconoclast, and Individualist Brujah. That struggle between them is now divided with the illustration of the Anarch Brujah and the {b]Hellene[/b] Brujah. Basically, everyone in Chicago picked sides between the Camarilla and Anarch and that has huge consequences for the city politics. Not everyone went down like you'd think they'd go either.

                            The biggest change to the Brujah in the city is the absence of Menele and that's an interesting twist for the entire setting because that means that the entire Jyhad that was formerly the basis of the city's politics has been thrown out the window. Menele being a Humanity 10 4th generation manipulator has always felt a little out of odds with the setting and while I love Old White Wolf's take, I tend to think that it was a little too obvious in, "He's the good guy, Helena is the bad guy."

                            Critias is notably still present in the city and shows just how older-than-drt Methuselahs can resist the Beckoning. It feels like ST's fiat but, you know what, that's how it should be. His resistance of the Beckoning gives you "permission" to say which Elders go and which Elders don't in the city.

                            Tyler is absent, which is weird because I'm not sure if she was Beckoned or whether or not she just simply left the Camarilla. The Anarch sourcebook implies she's had her past history as the killer of Hardelstadt made public and is now a kind of Anarch legend. Honestly, if anyone could lead the entirety of the Anarchs it's her....or Marcus Vitel. I'm not sure she wants the job, though, since she's the embodiment of the Brujah sellout.

                            (Certainly, she probably SHOULD be Prince of Chicago if you can't get Maxwell or Critias to step up)

                            Lots of other Brujah fall interestingly on the Anarch-Camarilla line and I'll enjoy talking about them.

                            Critias

                            Type: NPC

                            Synopsis: An ancient Greek philosopher who has recently broken his blood bond.

                            Review: I'm amused that in 1991, Critias was described as "The Doctor after an obscure British sci-fi show." Which is deeply amusing to me given how Doctor Who has since gone on to have its own Renaissance in the 21st century--arguably more than it had in previous decades. Honestly, Critias has never been particularly Doctor-like, however, save in the context of being incredibly obnoxiously full of his own genius.

                            Critias has always been an interesting character because he's really the 600 pound elephant in the room of any Chicago by Night campaign. Menele and Helena will always be behind the scenes but Critias is meant to be a Methuselah who is wandering around, doing his own thing. A lot of this is "Early Installment Weirdness" (see TV tropes). Critias was created before a 2500+ vampire was something you'd have to explain. A similar status exists for Lucien the Gangrel Roman centurion in Baptism by Fire.

                            V20 played with this a bit by having Critias be a major mover and shaker in the Camarilla, showing up in side material. It makes sense because, really, there's no reason not to have Critias be the Brujah Inner Councilman other than either Menele didn't want him to have the job or he didn't feel inclined to be, "the most powerful vampire in the world that's publicly acting." The depiction in Chicago by Night 5E chooses to go a different direction.

                            Critias is suffering a midlife crisis.

                            Well, the Kindred equivalent because as a blood bonded and dominated vampire, Critias hasn't actually been "himself" since his mortal days. Like when Short Round burned Indiana Jones in THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, Critias the domineering Brujah philosopher is a product of his sire's control and he's only free for the first time in his unlife. That, especially for someone as old as him, must call a person's entire life into question.

                            The result is Critias acting like an Elder much-much weaker than he could be and acting deferring to Kevin Jackson despite their enormous dispartiy in ages. Critias has doubled-down on his Camarilla loyalty and is missing out on his chance to be a guiding force in the Anarch movement. He's also been reduced to serving as the boss of a "School for Neonates" which he's been failing a lot of the students at for fairly arbitrary reasons--knowing the punishment is Final Death.

                            In short, Critias just got a whole lot less sympathetic.

                            Interestingly, Critias has a touchstone in Mahavir Chakrabarti. Mahavir is a gay student and intellectual from a conservative family who is strongly attracted to the older man (in part because of his presence probably). He has no idea how much of a hole's potentially going to fall in, especially as Critias is needing something to hold onto. Critias doesn't want to ghoul him, though, because of the horrors of the Blood Bond. We also have some odd Kindred relationships like the fact Anita Wainwright wants to recruit him to the Anarchs, unaware just how unstable and ruthless he's become.

                            One interesting element is Critias' stats and the controversial decision by Onyx Path (White Wolf?) to make it so that no Elders, even Meths like Critias, have any stats over 5. This could be in-universe as an example of the Blood Bond breaking affecting his stats or meant to be a retcon that stats over 6 don't exist. I don't think the latter is justifiable, though, since a lot of Vampire: The Masquerade depends on ancients being godlike powerful.

                            I do understand why they did it in this game, though, because this is a game where the Anarchs and Sabbat are meant to be a genuine threat to even beings like Helena and Critias. Besides, it's not like his stats aren't threatening still.
                            Last edited by CTPhipps; 01-25-2019, 10:23 AM.


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

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                            • #29
                              I always assumed Critias was supposed to look like William Hartnell, or possibly Patrick Troughton, but none of the art ever depicts him anything like those men. As an aside, the historical Critias was a traitor to Athens, and participated in the puppet government Sparta set up after that city defeated Athens. So, he would have made a better Ventrue than a Brujah.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                                I always assumed Critias was supposed to look like William Hartnell, or possibly Patrick Troughton, but none of the art ever depicts him anything like those men. As an aside, the historical Critias was a traitor to Athens, and participated in the puppet government Sparta set up after that city defeated Athens. So, he would have made a better Ventrue than a Brujah.
                                Interestingly enough, Critias' history more reflects Socrates in that he was executed for his philosophical ideals rather than his politics so I'm assuming he's not THE Critias who died in battle. I suppose they just assumed (correctly) that making him Socrates would be a bridge too far after Helena and Menele. I'm also not even sure that Critias is meant to be his actual name or just a pseudonym he picked up since Vampires in 1st Edition had that as a thing they did (it was dropped in later editions).

                                The whole character of Critias is built around the fact he's "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Indeed, the original write-up stated that Critias was a Soliphist and his whole deal is that he loves to argue for the sake of arguing. Critias has never really had any values that were important to him other than a general "I like being the smartest person in the room."

                                One of the things I do note (as you mention with being a better Ventrue) is that in CbN, a large number of the city's Brujah have a history of being traitors as well as sellouts. Indeed, the first three Brujah of this book are"

                                Critias
                                Damien
                                Balthazar

                                Throw in Patricia Bollingbrook and you have 4 major Brujah as people who have turned against the Revolution for the loving arms of power in the Camarilla.
                                Last edited by CTPhipps; 01-23-2019, 10:09 PM.


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

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