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How to end the Second Inquisition

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  • CTPhipps
    started a topic How to end the Second Inquisition

    How to end the Second Inquisition

    I'm going to have the Second Inquisition gradually die down in my campaign and the vampires slowly piece together what's happened after using it heavily for a short time. I was curious how you guys would do something similar in your game.

    Here's what I'm going to tell the player characters basically.

    The ABC agencies that made up the alliance realized they couldn't share the information of vampires existing without causing massive panic, human rights violations, and people trying to side with them. So they kept it secret -- so they ran out of money from the tens of billions of dollars they originally had to pour into it. You can't explain to Senate subcommittees you're hunting monsters after all. The agencies also gradually stopped panicking and started thinking of vampires in the same sense that they think of drug cartels. They kill a lot of people but they aren't an existential threat to humanity.

    So they've dialed down the operations to particularly overt vampires (ironically preserving the Masquerade) or ones that threaten their operations. Still want to get rid of them but there's terrorists goddamnit and leftists to monitor. Indeed, you could actually use vampires to help you interrogate, control, and abuse enemies of the state. This resulted in various agencies developing their own plans on dealing with the vampires in their nation and using them against vampires in other nations.

    Others, bluntly, simply paid off people with their vast fortunes and made alliances to throw other vampires under the bus.

    The Society of Leopold, which did benefit tremendously from this early on, was completely disgusted with this turnaround They've since started trying to figure out whether they should try breaking the Masquerade as a whole.
    How do you see the SI ending or possibly done so by outside forces? I can see the Camarilla eventually tearing apart or the Technocracy fully subsuming it in a "World" of Darkness. Maybe even just Marcus Vitel.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 05-30-2019, 02:09 AM.

  • CoriolisEffect
    replied
    Originally posted by MCN View Post
    Umm... the second inquisition IS the broken masquerade. They're the direct result of the Masquerade being broken.to the kine. Vampires hide who they are for the specific reason to avoid the appearance of well funded and powerful slayers ganging up on them.
    Yeah that's what I'm arguing doesn't work out so well in practice.

    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    I think the Second Inquisition is probably a few thousand people globally. It's not remotely a broken Masquerade because that's the public knowing.

    YMMV.

    It's no more a broken masquerade than the Technocracy, I think.
    Yeah this. Supersecret organisations that works hard to keep the secret magical world secret does not constitute a broken masquerade.

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  • Sycophant
    replied
    CTPhipps: I liked your initial post in this thread to open this all up and I think there are some good ideas to try interspersed in the comments. I'm a little late to the convo

    In my game, the meta plot I developed well before V5 or the updated MET rules I went with more of a world wide crisis due to Gehenna not being what the prophets thought (long story) and once that played out differently, a group of Sabbat used the withering like event to assault the Inner Council who were in an emergency session. Most of them were wiped out, sending the Camarilla into turmoil and beginning a new War of Princes. Normally this would have allowed the Sabbat to take the upper hand but the goal of this splinter faction of Sabbat was not the annihilation of the Camarilla, but a grand distraction. This splint group began a civil war with their newfound fame within the Sabbat and pulled a hefty amount to their cause as they sought reformation within the sect.

    I've later amended this a little as there are certain elements of the V5 canon I like. So in this case I took the Alphabet soup agencies and the Society of Leopold and their combined actions and added them to the chaos, using the Nephite priesthood as their first joint operation (and explaining why all of them seemed to have vanished). I also amended Theo Bell's actions to coincide with the attack on the Inner Council, allowing him to off Hardestadt and Pieterzoon in the confusion and trying to bring the Brujah to the Anarchs.

    This has allowed a shake up of the three major vampire sects and in my game, giving it an end of the world feeling but most mortals still blind to the turmoil in the shadows.

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  • Pleiades
    replied
    Originally posted by MCN View Post
    If you want to run things differently, don't let me stop you, but the book seems to be pretty clear that they're not focused on mass public exposure being the only kind of Masquerade breach.
    one of the "books" (players guide I believe) describes how there are humans that are aware of vampires that deal with them without problem, because they're smart enough to keep their mouths shut

    another of the "books" (midnight siege iirc) describes that both sects neglect breaches during wars in secluded areas,
    because no one's gonna believe the words of some poor housewife in the suburbs talking about fanged humans flailing black tentacles around)

    Leave a comment:


  • Lian
    replied
    Originally posted by MCN View Post
    The Masquerade has never been about the public at large knowing. To quote the Traditions - "Thou shall not reveal thy true nature to those not of the Blood. Doing such shall renounce thy claims of Blood." The Masquerade has always been primarily focused on individuals.

    If you want to run things differently, don't let me stop you, but the book seems to be pretty clear that they're not focused on mass public exposure being the only kind of Masquerade breach.

    The Technocracy, as fellow supernaturals, is kind of a grey area. Vampires, werewolves, mages all know about each other. I'm not as familiar with changelings, demons and wraiths. So, its debatable if they count. The SI, however, are very much regular mortal humans, which is a completely different bag of worms from willworkers.

    There is no grey area. Things that are not Vampires are scary creatures that want to kill you for reasonable(Mortal "DONT EAT US") or inexpicable("I am a creature of art how dare you call me Banal?"). You're not going to hide vampires exist from other supernaturals... but as the SI shows you don't need the Global Masquerade to get a lot of vampires killed.

    Like the other Traditions its very much "Enlightened Self Interest" its for yourown good to not interact with nonvampires who know what you are and you can't control.

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  • MCN
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    I think the Second Inquisition is probably a few thousand people globally. It's not remotely a broken Masquerade because that's the public knowing.

    It's no more a broken masquerade than the Technocracy, I think.
    The Masquerade has never been about the public at large knowing. To quote the Traditions - "Thou shall not reveal thy true nature to those not of the Blood. Doing such shall renounce thy claims of Blood." The Masquerade has always been primarily focused on individuals.

    If you want to run things differently, don't let me stop you, but the book seems to be pretty clear that they're not focused on mass public exposure being the only kind of Masquerade breach.

    The Technocracy, as fellow supernaturals, is kind of a grey area. Vampires, werewolves, mages all know about each other. I'm not as familiar with changelings, demons and wraiths. So, its debatable if they count. The SI, however, are very much regular mortal humans, which is a completely different bag of worms from willworkers.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by MCN View Post
    Umm... the second inquisition IS the broken masquerade. They're the direct result of the Masquerade being broken.to the kine. Vampires hide who they are for the specific reason to avoid the appearance of well funded and powerful slayers ganging up on them.

    The Masquerade isn't just the public. Its individuals, government channels, and more. Its pretty much every mortal anywhere.

    If there are mortals out there with knowledge of vampires, and aren't under the direct control of said vampires (ie blood bonded), then said mortals are a Masquerade break.

    Deciding not to reveal the existence of the undead to the public at large is a different matter; there's plenty of reasons to not. Such as world wide panic, witch hunts targeting innocent people, political upheaval, and more. Its a wild card that could conceivably cost far more than other measures. And, maybe they do plan on a slower reveal, one that provides far more control over the exposure and minimizes the impact on regular humans.

    Alternatively, you also have to remember that this is a world where the government is controlled by the Technocracy, and they do NOT want regular people aware of anything supernatural. That would upset their paradigm.

    I don't know, they seem to have worked really well in a number of urban fantasy books I've read. Heck, nine times out of ten, the normal human is the protagonist as well.

    This doesn't sound like something innate to the genre.
    I think the Second Inquisition is probably a few thousand people globally. It's not remotely a broken Masquerade because that's the public knowing.

    YMMV.

    It's no more a broken masquerade than the Technocracy, I think.

    Leave a comment:


  • MCN
    replied
    Originally posted by CoriolisEffect View Post
    The SI haven't broken the masquerade, so that's kinda shit for them.
    I mean, I know the book goes on about "the masquerade is broken" except uh... not really?
    Umm... the second inquisition IS the broken masquerade. They're the direct result of the Masquerade being broken.to the kine. Vampires hide who they are for the specific reason to avoid the appearance of well funded and powerful slayers ganging up on them.

    The Masquerade isn't just the public. Its individuals, government channels, and more. Its pretty much every mortal anywhere.

    If there are mortals out there with knowledge of vampires, and aren't under the direct control of said vampires (ie blood bonded), then said mortals are a Masquerade break.

    Deciding not to reveal the existence of the undead to the public at large is a different matter; there's plenty of reasons to not. Such as world wide panic, witch hunts targeting innocent people, political upheaval, and more. Its a wild card that could conceivably cost far more than other measures. And, maybe they do plan on a slower reveal, one that provides far more control over the exposure and minimizes the impact on regular humans.

    Alternatively, you also have to remember that this is a world where the government is controlled by the Technocracy, and they do NOT want regular people aware of anything supernatural. That would upset their paradigm.

    Normal mortals are kind of boring as an antagonist in an urban fantasy setting. Like I wanna visit a secret, magical world hidden underneath the surface of mundanity. I don't want to handle some middle aged jumped up fbi agents with no magical powers, no odd culture, and no fun history behind them.
    I don't know, they seem to have worked really well in a number of urban fantasy books I've read. Heck, nine times out of ten, the normal human is the protagonist as well.

    This doesn't sound like something innate to the genre.
    Last edited by MCN; 06-05-2019, 11:07 AM.

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  • Nyrufa
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    How cynical are you about hunters?

    Is it, "I will never ever compromise with you, Vlad! Do your worst."

    OR

    "Can you, I dunno, just feed on Mexicans?"
    With the exception of the fanatically driven zealots, I find it hard to believe that any institution would seriously decide to hunt monsters to the point of extinction. Not after getting a first hand look at the kind of ridiculous powers they can pull off. The monsters might be fewer in number, but they are proportionately just as deadly as a full sized force. And waging a full scale war on domestic soil is bound to result in heavy losses, maybe even a pyrrhic victory.

    "Congratulations men, this year we successfully managed to kill 50 vampires!"

    "Yeah, but we lost 300 men doing so!"

    Training black ops soldiers isn't cheap!

    I find it far more believable that after the momentum dies down, both sides would come to some sort of compromise, with the bulk of the SI choosing to go after monsters who cause the most amount of trouble. As for the rest of them, the monsters have managed their own self policing governments for a long time now, and it doesn't seem too ridiculous to let them keep doing so in the interest of maintaining a stabilized peace between them.

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  • CoriolisEffect
    replied
    The SI haven't broken the masquerade, so that's kinda shit for them.
    I mean, I know the book goes on about "the masquerade is broken" except uh... not really?

    The masquerade is that the public doesn't know about vampires. Since the SI haven't informed the public of this, they haven't broken masquerade. Which honestly should make them less of a threat. An assault helicopter and an army hunting you down should be absolutely fucking shit even for elders. A SWAT team with fancy gear and someone bugging your phone should be a lot less out of context problem for them.

    And the book tries to play them up, maybe to try and make the game more street level or something, I dunno.

    Other problems with the SI is well...

    Normal mortals are kind of boring as an antagonist in an urban fantasy setting. Like I wanna visit a secret, magical world hidden underneath the surface of mundanity. I don't want to handle some middle aged jumped up fbi agents with no magical powers, no odd culture, and no fun history behind them. It's kinda boring.
    Sofar, bit 1dimensional. With sabbat, I can think up a dozen ways to include them in a game off the cuff. With the SI uh... either they hunt vampires or they don't? Probably with a smattering of defections and mind control and such but all very obvious, formulaic and predictable. Would work better if they were less "the new big threat".
    Most of their victories amount to informed abilities. They totally beat up the Camarilla and all the kindred cause they got like technology and fancy weapons and funding. Ok. I dunno man, I'm not entirely sold on it.

    Also honestly they should just break the masquerade. If they are capable of convincing the masses that vampires exist (which supposedly they are) and they want to fight vampires, then breaking the masquerade should be like step 1.

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  • Nyrufa
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    The idea that you should only sell books that players as well as Storytellers both feel obligated to buy.

    Obligated? I barely even remember the Lasombra exist most of the time. And their decision to split from the Sabbat and join the Camarilla at the first sign of trouble has absolutely destroyed the clan's public image for me... fucking hypocrites!

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  • Illithid
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    The idea that you should only sell books that players as well as Storytellers both feel obligated to buy.
    It is certainly an option.
    But, do you know what's better - Making things that people want to buy and increasing the entry cost for the (compete base rules of the) hobby prohibitively expensive, putting countless people off that could get in buying only one or two books.

    Even Games Workshop (Now rebranded to "Warhammer" stores in many places now) has changed the rules and redesigned things with their games so people can play with a much lower outlay. they know that if they only get these people in spending around a hundred, then it's still a success. But having more players in at that level encourages others to get in as well, and they'll still have the core players that will spend their disposable income on their product anyway. It's grown the business, not shrunk it.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Honestly, I think it's also implied the Second Inquisition succeeded so greatly because the Elders were preoccupied with the Beckoning. And this is really sad, that the vast majority of the "big success" was actually the Society of Leopold rather than SEAL or Mossad teams.

    Yes, the ACTUAL Inquisition was doing the heavy lifting. They just needed money, weapons, and some more bodies to back them up.

    The SoL is probably the only group that will keep going like they always have.

    And while it sounds a bit lame, "Who is paying for this and what do they think they're paying for?" is a question that I mean entirely seriously. Presumably there's Senate subcommittees on intelligence who are going to be asking what the level of operations they're doing are about and for what purpose. How much can the Inquisition expend for a vampire-free world as long as they're keeping the Masquerade up to avoid a global panic.

    And the vampires just have to convince Senator Jones that he'll do better using that money for building a new LaCroix Corp Power Plant for an extra 10,000,000 in campaign funds.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 06-02-2019, 09:17 PM.

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  • Nyrufa
    replied
    Originally posted by Morbus View Post


    Why should the plot move on ? This is the new status quo. SI is there to stay and vampires will have to learn to survive with this new threat.

    That's the whole V5 premise and frankly I don't see what's wrong here.

    The first inquisition didn't stay. So why should the second?

    And besides, we've already posted numerous explanations for justifying how and why it would fail.

    I mean come on, the Nosferatu devoted their entire history towards building up the greatest counter intelligence network in vampire society. Are you seriously going to sit there with a straight face and tell me that one breach of their Schrecknet is going to decimate their whole operation? Mitnick spent weeks of constant work and fried three laptops before he finally broke into a minor database, and the Primogen showed up on his doorstep within the first hour!

    No, the sewer rats have something going on that they haven't told the other clans about...


    The Ventrue and Lasombra have always seized power wherever society decided to place it. You don't just say "well, the masquerade was breached. I guess we can ignore all the bribes, blood bonds, and years of hypnotic programming the two clans used to assert their dominance over mortal society!"


    The Tremere also have a long and proud history of carrying out wide spread magical attacks on anybody who they saw as being too big of a threat. Entire clans have been crippled, or even outright destroyed because of their machinations.

    The Second Inquisition is a threat, to be sure, but it was never intended to be the extinction level event for Masquerade. That particular role went to the Antedeluvians, and the End Times metaplot. But since Gehenna is now being treated as some sort of behind the scenes, slow decline into entropy sort of situation, the game has to over exaggerate the threat that a bunch of mortal institutions pose to creatures who have centuries worth of experience in the world of combat, politics, espionage and survival tactics!


    If the V5 book was told from the perspective of the kindred themselves, then we might be right to worry about the Second Inquisition's movements. But since the book appears to be written from the point of view of the Inquisition itself, we have to take their perspective of the situation with a few handfuls of salt...


    Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
    Especially since the SI likely accomplished what they did because of long planning, intelligence gathering, exploiting weaknesses, and getting the drop on the Kindred. The last is the most important, and why the SI's progress will slow. They've exhausted the element of surprise. Vampires are aware they're being hunted. They're going to be far more careful. They're also going to realize the threat the SI poses, and work to formulate counter-offenses.

    I agree with this.

    Second Inquisition: You'd better take us seriously, we destroyed the Tremere power base in Vienna, after all!

    Me: Congratulations, you carried out a surprise attack on ONE clan, that was barely over 1,000 years old. There are 12 other clans out there, who are far older than the one you bombed, and they now know you're coming! Oh, also, you didn't kill all the Tremere. Best start praying as hard as you can, because I can guarantee you they won't take that lying down!
    Last edited by Nyrufa; 06-02-2019, 08:50 PM.

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  • Bluecho
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    Because either they'll gain momentum or lose it.

    They've already been losing momentum since they haven't destroyed the vampires of any other major cities.
    I agree with this. The nature of all-out-war is that, if it isn't ramping up, it's ramping down. It's very difficult to maintain a steady state of conflict, if you assume that both sides are doing everything they can to win (or at least to lose as little as possible).

    The Camarilla-Sabbat conflict was always more a series of individual crusades, fought on a regional basis. Because the Sabbat is generally disorganized, and the Camarilla are reluctant to work together. The huge, sweeping offensive on the East coast of the US, for instance, was so notable because it saw such a united effort by many Sabbat forces, spread over a wide area. Most of the time, if a crusade stalls, it will soon result in entrenchment or one side being repelled. In either case, the turbulent nights of a full-blown crusade last only so long.

    It's much the same way with the Vampire-Inquisition conflict. If the SI isn't in a position to keep purging cities, it means their progress is stalling. They won't stop being a threat, obviously, but they'll need to do something drastic to regain momentum.

    Especially since the SI likely accomplished what they did because of long planning, intelligence gathering, exploiting weaknesses, and getting the drop on the Kindred. The last is the most important, and why the SI's progress will slow. They've exhausted the element of surprise. Vampires are aware they're being hunted. They're going to be far more careful. They're also going to realize the threat the SI poses, and work to formulate counter-offenses.

    Prosecuting an extermination campaign against vampires could only be done with swift offenses in the opening nights of the war. Now, Kindred will dig in, and start fighting a guerrilla war. Unsurprisingly, a guerrilla war is not too favorable for the "occupying" side. Just ask American soldiers in Vietnam or the Middle East. Big wins are going to be harder to come by, now that the easiest targets are already dead and the rest are aware, entrenched, and pissed off. Vampires will make life HELL for the SI, which means government agents and higher ups will start getting discouraged. The SI, for all their talk of the vampires as existential threats, are not as motivated to win as the vampires, who fight for both survival and spite.

    Vampires can get really nasty. They've had centuries of practice.

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