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[WIR] Chicago by Night 5th Edition

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  • CTPhipps
    started a topic [WIR] Chicago by Night 5th Edition

    [WIR] Chicago by Night 5th Edition

    Hey folks,

    I'm a huge fan of Chicago by Night 1st Edition, 2nd Edition, the original Baptism by Fire, and most of the subsequent books set in the Rust Belt area. Really, the only books I don't care for are Blood Bond and Diablerie: Mexico which is only nominally set in the Chicago Chronicles anyway.

    So, I was really excited about the prospect of a 5th Edition of Chicago by Night. I donated to the Kickstarter and was very pleased to get to read the completed manuscript. I did a re-read of the original CHICAGO BY NIGHT and LA BY NIGHT as well on that were very popular. Now, I'd very much like to do one here for you guys on CBN5E.

    I'll analyze the characters, discuss the plot twists, and talk about how it fits into V20 as well as V5E. I hope everyone will join in on this thread who has access to the manuscript (as well as people who don't) with their own opinions as well as discussion of plot points.

    Special thanks to The Gentleman Gamer for writing it!

    Reviews of Content


    Four trips to the Second City
    Red No. 5


    The World of Chicago
    Welcome to the Night [Lasombra] part 1
    Welcome to the Night [Lasombra] part 2
    The City part 1
    The City part 2
    The City part 3

    Banu Haqim

    Khadij Al-Kindi
    Aicha Rana


    Anita Wainwright
    Gerard (Marc Levensque)


    Bennet Steadman
    Francois Mamuwalde
    Nickolas "Sweetie Pepper" White
    Mercy Valdez
    Nerissa Blackwater


    Rosa Hernandez
    Lester Knife
    Duncan MacTavish


    Sierra Burrace
    Celia Arcaceil Rivera
    Rabbi Michalis Basaras
    Talley the Hound


    Jason Newberry "Son"
    Alexa Santos
    Evan Klein

    The Ministry

    Thea Noel MacCrain
    Aluc Romas de Leon


    Cedrick Calhoun

    Edith Beubien
    Nathaniel Bordruff
    Charles "Crook" Dawson

    Thin Bloods

    Ben Galura
    Noah "Flyboy" Grewal
    Sylvia Roanhorse


    Brett Stryker
    Kathy Glens


    Abraham Dusable
    Sun Che


    Kevin Jackson
    Horatio Ballard
    Alan Sovereign

    Naomi Stewart
    Lodin (Olaf One Eye)

    Bobby Weatherbottom


    The Anarch Center
    Baby Chorus
    Remaining Coteries


    Last edited by CTPhipps; 05-15-2019, 07:30 PM.

  • Draconis
    Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
    Personally, I dislike the idea of directly conflating the Underworld and the Abyss, one to one.

    I LIKE that the Abyss was its own thing. Strange and ineffable and impenetrable as a granite octopus. It was alien, and really hammered home the idea that Abyss Mystics were delving into some freaky, disturbing knowledge when they stared too long into it.
    I imagine we'll find out more in Cults, but I don't think the Abyss is going to be the Underworld. My guess: the Abyss is the place beyond the Shadowlands and the Underworld, where ghosts eventually go and don't come back. It's what the old Esilio ritual accesses, and not someplace a necromancer can actually go in person.

    Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
    If it's just the Underworld...that's disappointing. It pigeon-holes Obtenebration in with the Giovanni. All for the sake of fitting them and everyone else into a narrow selection of Disciplines. We have the same sort of pigeon-holing with Protean getting both Serpentis and Vicissitude shoved into it. Nothing is permitted outside pre-determined boxes, no matter that it makes each component less unique.
    I mean…surely allowing access to all the Protean mechanics can make each Minister more unique, since it's no longer "Setites can hypnotize people with their eyes, have poisonous fangs, turn into a snake, and remove people's hearts because, uh, Egypt I guess. Nothing else. Ever."? In V20, some Setites had Protean already—because they worship Tezcatlipoca in the form of a jaguar instead of a snake, and old-style Serpentis was so utterly inflexible that changing the flavor of one power required switching to an entirely different Discipline altogether. (Recent books also admit that the Ancient Egyptian deity was never really associated with snakes irl; the "snake-as-corrupter" idea really only became mainstream with the rise of Christianity.)

    Back to Oblivion, though: in-universe, BJD mentions a wary alliance between the Lasombra and the Giovanni in Venice; they're trying to pool their occult knowledge, with the Giovanni learning Abyss Mysticism and the Lasombra learning Necromancy, in the hopes of making both disciplines stronger. I imagine V5's Oblivion is the result of that knowledge-sharing. ("Hey, all your powers draw from the all-consuming void beyond the Underworld where reality itself ceases to be defined? Cool, we know how to traverse the Underworld, maybe we can make that power-channelling more effective.")

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  • Bluecho
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    One thing I like is that this really does make a lot of the lore about Obtenebration make sense now. Before there was "Abyss Mysticism" and a lot of talk about what the Abyss was, what it meant, and how it caused your brain to implode. Now, the Abyss being explicitly the Underworld (or center of it) makes sense as people kind of have OPINIONS on Hell/The Underworld. Getting obsessed with that makes perfect sense and it also is the kind of thing you can and should make rituals fore because Necromancy IS a form of magic.
    Personally, I dislike the idea of directly conflating the Underworld and the Abyss, one to one.

    I LIKE that the Abyss was its own thing. Strange and ineffable and impenetrable as a granite octopus. It was alien, and really hammered home the idea that Abyss Mystics were delving into some freaky, disturbing knowledge when they stared too long into it.

    If it's just the Underworld...that's disappointing. It pigeon-holes Obtenebration in with the Giovanni. All for the sake of fitting them and everyone else into a narrow selection of Disciplines. We have the same sort of pigeon-holing with Protean getting both Serpentis and Vicissitude shoved into it. Nothing is permitted outside pre-determined boxes, no matter that it makes each component less unique.

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  • CTPhipps
    Reposted from another thread (I think people will like this):

    Humanity and Me

    On my end, I actually like the idea of Paths and Roads but I think the ones written for the Sabbat are terrible. They make no sense and are completely unusable for a game that doesn't involve around constantly trying to kill one another or the others. I felt they actually made the problem worse in Revised by killing off the Path of Harmony (even if it didn't make sense they'd do it).

    Mind you, Revised did fix the Humanity system to an extent in that it became far more forgiving. Smiling Jack and Lucita at Humanity 4 consider humanity to be cattle, so you can assume that it requires PARTICULARLY heinous actions to hit Humanity 0. In 1st and 2nd Edition, only Humanity 1 types were regular unrepentant killers. In 3rd Edition and beyond, you have to be the guy who went nuts and ate someone's baby after being a particularly horrifying asshole for a long time beforehand.

    Part of the issue of Humanity boils down to a difference in playstyles and it being The Relic of its origins. Humanity exists primarily as a way to shake you out of the mentality of Dungeons and Dragons. The idea that your solution to the problems around you should be shooting, looting, and or "us against them" murderhobery.

    There's nothing wrong with this mentality and a lot of the Vampire games I've played are based around doing something not too dismilar to John Wick (or even Underworld and Blade). The Storytelling System has one of the most robust combat systems imaginable. However, I believe the Humanity system is about as important to the Vampire world as the SAN system for Call of Cthulhu.

    There's nothing preventing your typical vampire badass from having Humanity 4 or Humanity 5. Also, unless your players are the kind of people to want to eat children (literally) then they're unlikely to lose enough humanity to lose their character. That requies you to make a deliberate jump to the SAW and Hannibal levels of evil.

    Basically, I think it's important to also realize the Humanity system works hand in hand with the frenzy system and without one the other doesn't really function. Without the fact you can and will go off and murder children if you're hungry enough or angry enough then Humanity is not really a Beast to manage (pun intended). Without humanity, though, it's just a kind of annoying flavor text that when you eat the cops who tried to arrest you then there's no sense of palpable LOSS.

    For me, Humanity and its roleplaying is something that I prefer to do diceless as a general rule. I don't need to really go over minutia to know if I'm playing a hardened killer and Hitman or a humane Doctor struggling to keep his humanity. However, that doesn't mean that I don't appreciate it's there as an abstraction. Touchstones, for me, are an incentive like a toaster at the bank. They're there to say, "If you can roleplay a human connection to the Muggles then you are a bit more human. Even if its Harry Potter finding new ways to torment the Dursleys."

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  • CTPhipps
    Originally posted by Nicolas Milioni View Post
    That's nice. I like how often the last dot of a loresheet gives one a special power
    The absence of a Blood Disco Loresheet really surprised me.

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  • CTPhipps
    Adventure Hooks part 1

    One of the elements I've really enjoyed in past supplements were when they included easy to run adventure hooks that allow a Storyteller running out of ideas to create a one-night session or not. These were a huge benefit of the original Succubus Club supplement and this is something they included in this book. Some of these don't feel very relevent to Chicago while others make use of the NPCs.

    Caged Animal: This is a rather bizarre one but apparently the PCs are invited to try to help control their beasts by MMA training. They end up getting close to frenzy and have to deal with either killing the owner or feeding from them.

    The Sanctity of Elysium: During a particularly heated argument between Elders, one is close to frenzying. The PCs can intervene and potentially fuck up their situation badly or they can earn some gratitude. They may also get caught in the crossover.

    Staying in Touch: The PCs are contacted by a close friend who picks apart their reasons as to why they have dropped off the face of the Earth. This angers the PC and they either have to come up with some exceptional excuses or kill them.

    Whispers of Darkness: The PCs meet the Rabbi in the Lasombra section and he basically tries to lead them into his nihilistic death cult. The PCs can either respond positively or flee from the crazy person.

    [b]An Animal Out of Context/b]: This one is the best of the group as the PCs are invited by a Gangrl Great White Hunter (who may be one of the signature PCs from the original book) who claims to have found the secret of Golconda by getting in touch with his Beast. It turns out he's actually insane and running "The Most Dangerous Game." He is fully capable of hitting wassail while helping the PCs and thus things go utterly to hell. They even have stats for him.

    A Simple Favor: The PCs are put in charge of a fledgling for the Night named Billy. Billy fucks up a feeding and ends up killing his meal--something that happens to all of us. Billy is appropriately wracked with remorse and wants to Embrace his victim. Balthazar may try to blackmail them. This is a really good and basic vampire plot--well written out to. Lots of moral twists and turns there.

    Inferno: The PCs are visiting one of their touchstones when an insurance scam results in the building becoming a towering inferno with the PCs, their Touchstone, and some other hapless innocents trapped inside.

    Rage Unending: The PCs investigate Sun Che being possessed, find out she is, and all hell breaks loose due to the test backfiring horribly. I don't like this one because Sun Che is infinitely more interesting if she's just a vampire with horrible self control. YMMV.

    With My Jealousy: A deeply devoted ghoul sees his master, Sierra Van Burrace, flirting with someone else and they start spreading rumors she built her hotel empire on her back. Nothing so crasse really in the text but that's how it comes off (and justifies Sierra's response). She decides to murder the poor bastard. It's at a party, though, and Annabelle doesn't want the mood ruined. What do you do? My PCs would ask Sierra to do it out back.

    Carving a Place: Alan Sovereign wants to acquire a Rodin sculpture from a friend of his for 10,000 but she wants 30,000. The adventure basically exists to make it so the PCs realize Elders are insane as the best way to do it is to rob Alan's friend as she'll collect on the insurance and Alan will pay her the 10,000 extr

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  • Nicolas Milioni
    That's nice. I like how often the last dot of a loresheet gives one a special power

    Leave a comment:

  • CTPhipps
    Originally posted by Nicolas Milioni View Post
    But what kind of positive relationship would Sullivan have with an Vampire?
    If I were doing it?

    Sullivan Dane

    Sullivan Dane is believed by many to be the world's greatest living vampire hunter, having destroyed dozens of the undead from 1992 onward. He has become something of a Kindred boogeyman, having destroyed several powerful Elders. He is (heretically) a believer in mercy for the undead and thus specializes in the worst of their kind. While approaching old age, he is still spry enough to deal with most Cainites.

    Sullivan Dane also prefers to take every advantage and avoid straight confrontations like a vampire-hunting Batman. Those vampires he deals with often find themselves subject to indirect attacks like sniper fire, burned down havens, car bombs, and daylight attacks--the only thing off-limits being harm to the innocent. He has also a semi-formal relationship with the Second Inquisition and a closer one with the Society of Leopold but keeps both at arms length, preferring to work alone or with a handful of trusted associates.


    * Survivor: You have survived an encounter (or multiple encounters) with the world's most infamous vampire hunter As such, you have a heightened sense of paranoia about hunters as well as their tricks. Whenever detecting a hunter watching you, you get a plus two dice bonus.

    ** Hunter's Eyes: Having studied the methods and history of Sullivan Dane extensively, you have developed a number of vampire hunting tricks of your own. Once a story, you can read a vampire akin to an Inquisitor Sherlock Holmes and make a Wits + Occult roll to determine weaknesses of a vampire. These can range from feeding habits to how they might respond in combat to certain attacks.

    *** Dropbox: You know enough about Sullivan Dane's network of contacts, informants, and network of information to be able to send him information. Once per story, you can send him information about a vampire and make them a potential target. Sullivan doesn't go after all vampires himself but if he feels there is sufficient cause, which very few Kindred don't give, it is probable a Kindred will be attacked by hunters within the week.

    **** Enemy Mine: Sullivan Dane and you have formed an alliance. He may have you marked for death in the future or he may think you're capable of redemption but, either way, he has bigger fish to fry. He's able to serve as a ally and contact in matters vampiric, sharing information as well as potentially targets. Sullivan will not endanger the innocent but has been known to work against the worst of humanity as well as other supernaturals than the undead. He may also fool the Second Inquisition or Society of Leopold if he thinks it will work better for humanity in the long run. An exchange of favors can be negotiated once per session.

    ***** Forgiveness: Sullivan Dane is a genuine worker of miracles and whether it is because he is partially Awakened, blessed by God, or possessed by an otherworldly spirit doesn't matter. He has given his blessing on you and heard your confession, giving you a greater resistance to the Beast. As such, you get a free re-roll of a failed frenzy check once per Chronicle. It is also possible to take Sullivan Dane as a Touchstone.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 05-16-2019, 11:48 PM.

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  • Nicolas Milioni
    But what kind of positive relationship would Sullivan have with an Vampire?
    Last edited by Nicolas Milioni; 05-16-2019, 10:52 PM.

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  • CTPhipps
    Almost to the end of the WIR.

    Thanks for everyone who participated in this!

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  • CTPhipps
    Loresheets part 3

    My overall opinion on the loresheets is that they were very well done and the biggest issue is that some of them seem like strange choices for Chicago by Night versus potentially other book about the Second Inquisition or the Clans. I also feel like (wait for it) that the Anarchs didn't get their own loresheets. Because, of course I would feel like the Anarchs got the shaft on this.

    Here's some loresheets I would have done.

    Anarch Center

    You have a position and power within this group of lovable rogues. At level five, you'd have the option of taking it from Anita if you wanted.

    Balthazar (Brujah Only)

    He's a kind of crappy mentor but being part of Sheriff's brood seems like something that should be an interesting option.


    He's been expanded so much that I think you could definitely use him as a Malwai and give him multiple benefits as well as problems as a patron.

    House of Nicolai

    There would be points for Sun Che, Erichtho, and Dusable.


    Such a classic fallen hero definitely needs her own loresheet, IMHO.


    I'm the only person in the world who knows what happened to him (except for Matthew Dawkins).

    Sullivan Dane

    I mentioned it above that he is the iconic Society of Leopold inquisitor.

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  • CTPhipps
    Loresheets 2

    Because this is the gift that keeps on giving.

    Fires and Floods and Devil's Nights

    This is a pretty good loresheet because it ties into Chicago's history of disasters and weirdness. I'm not sure that its a particularly Chicago-based one and its kind of weird to have the player characters potentially responsible for the levies breaking in Katrina or other actions. Because you know people who take this merit think this is permission to do that.


    Firstlight is a good loresheet that expands both the Second Inquisition as well as gives us plenty of information about how to incorporate them into the game. I would have appreciated if they'd included a NPC in the main write-up for the Second Inquisition, though. The option of having a mole in the SI is awesome, though.

    Kevin Jackson

    One of the best creations of Chicago by Night 5E. Prince Kevin Jackson is one of the best loresheets of it. It's good to have him as your patron even as he's rocketing up the ranks of the Camarilla either to his doom or to his grandeur.

    Kindred Iconography

    A nifty little bit that ties into the main book's focus on Blade-esque glyphs. Not particularly Chicagoean but its still pretty awesome.

    The Labyrinth (Chicago Underground, not Black Spiral Dancer)

    This is definitely something that should be a Nosferatu mainstay, but I'm a bit curious why they inserted some specific things like "you know an oracle who lives here." Really having a big haven and access to a large set of tunnels is cool by itself.

    Lupine Expert

    Appropriate for Chicago with Under a Blood Red Moon, though I would have liked more tie-ins to Anita or Rose (or Matt Decker).

    Nathaniel Bodruff

    A really well-written loresheet for a character I would not normally think to be influential or powerful enough to get a loresheet.

    The Painted Lady

    Nothing to complain about here and a good bit of flavor.


    I like the Ducheski but do they have a house in Chicago? They were mentioned in Erichtho's write-up but I'm not sure about their presence in the region.

    The Society of Leopold

    I kind of wish this was a Sullivan Dane loresheet but, otherwise, really impressive. The option to actually be a former Society of Leopold hunter is a really good one and a classic vampire hunter character archetype for both a villain or hero.


    Perfect for this book. I'm a big fan of Talley and while I'd hate if he killed Lucita, I think he's a great potential patron for PCs.


    Very good basis for "Nosferatu who knows everything."

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  • CTPhipps
    Loresheets part 1

    Lore sheets are one of the things in the 5th Edition of V:TM that I am both very fond of but also more than a little confused by. They're a combination of resources and Merits that are far more heavily tied to storylines than before but you buy them all individually, which means they're a bit of a Freebie point sink. Overall, I think that each character should get about 7 points to spread among loresheets because it can be used to nicely establish yourself in the setting of V:TM rather than require you to spend your otherwise precious points.

    One thing I really appreciate about Chicago by Night 5th Edition is that it nicely fixes the fact there's a fairly minor bunch of Loresheets in canon before this but there's a couple of dozen here that really expands what the loresheets are capable of doing. I have a few issues with the ones chosen but it's overall a very big boon to the concepts of loresheets in general. So I'm going to list them and what I think.

    New Loresheets


    Annabelle is a good NPC but I'm not necessarily blown away by her as the choice to give a Loresheet as you'd think Critias would be the Primogen to have as a patron given the fact he's a 3000 year old elder with his own school as well as a history of patronizing Kindred. Sadly, Helena was a Loresheet that was in the Camarilla book and should have been listed somewhere here I think.


    I really like the fact that the book has gone a long way in redeeming Ballard from "gross monstrous figure" into a more interesting nuanced NPC. It's interesting that he's a Loresheet even though he's not nearly as rich as he used to be too.

    Blacksite 24

    I don't have any problem with this Loresheet and it expands the Second Inquisition but it is strange that the SI has both this AND the Firstlight AND the Society of Leopold loresheets. Shouldn't some of this been saved for another volume?

    The Blue Velvet

    The Succubus Club and Asylum basically have the same loresheets. It's not a bad thing but I wonder if it might not have been better to just say, "Vampire Nightclub." This is also notable in that Red No. 5# isn't present.

    The Book of Nod

    I admit to having taken this Loresheet for one of my characters. I don't think the Book of Nod is a particularly good basis for a Loresheet, though, especially since Aristostle de Laurent's copy of it was mass produced in-canon. It actually got someone put on the Red List in V20 so I fully believe copies are on the internet...somewhere.

    Capone Gang

    This one admittedly feels out of place to me and I'm going to criticize it because Al Capone isn't in the book. We even get a short Kindred write-up for a character that shoudln't have been there. I love the Capone gang, though, so its out of place but welcome. Confusing, no?

    The Cobweb (Malkavians)

    Okay, this is absolutely awesome and every Malkavian should be able to have at least 1-5 of this and the ability to buy it in. I find it strange it's in Chicago by Night 5th Edition but that's just because some great writers are there. It should be an essential loresheet.


    This is basically a Nerissa/Cult of Lilith Loresheet and really lists some fascinating as well as weird ideas. I don't think it's particularly well named but it's something that definitely should be in the Blood Cults book, I think for Bahari.

    Cult of Shalim (Nephandi-esque Lasombra)

    You worship darkness, you want to destroy the universe, you are philosophically dedicated to the Caanite god of Darkness. I actually don't think this one belongs here because this strikes me as a thing that needed to be with an appropriate cult write-up.

    Descendant of Lodin

    This is a really great collection of ideas and one of the best loresheets here because it shows not only the power and politics of Lodin's brood but it also reminds people he created dozens of Cainites that have since formed their own brood.

    Descendant of Montano

    I like Montana well and this is the Lasombra Clan Book but it's kind of strange that he's singled out here in the book over all the other Lasombra elders. I feel an Amis Noctis Lore sheet whould have been more appropriate or Lucita (yes, I'm not letting that go). Talley, of course, gets his own Loresheet later.

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  • Nicolas Milioni
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    I actually like that Oblivion is just much easier to say.

    And it sounds incredibly badass

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  • CTPhipps
    I actually like that Oblivion is just much easier to say.

    I think the Dark Arts is silly and so is Shadowboxing but I like the fact there's multiple names for it now.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 05-15-2019, 08:33 PM.

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