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[WIR] The Gary Chronicles (Forged in Steel, Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust. etc)

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  • #16
    Modius



    Modius holds a lot of distinctions in V:TM. He's not only the first Prince we ever meet but he's also the first Elder, the first Toreador, and the first NPC period if you don't count the Sample NPC Malcolm. He's a character that has appeared over a dozen times in my games and the games I've played in over the past 25 years. He's also a character that has died numerous times and once was used to murder one of my PCs (a Native American) that the Storyteller didn't like, so he killed him in the Prelude. Modius was also a character that I have used for one of the funniest and most entertaining humiliation Conga lines for a player character (whose player loved it).

    He's a character with a lot of history.

    The character of Modius has already been introduced to readers as a "Half-Prince" that failed in a Elder feud with Lodin. The irony being that neither Modius nor Lodin were Elders at the beginning of their conflict. In fact, Lodin was a Neonate when he became Prince of Chicago and Modius was actually his elder by about a century. Another thing to show why Modius might be galled by submitting to Olaf.

    Random aside: Lodin and Modius also reflect somehting that was a thing in 1st Edition that didn't take off and that's the fact, like Goths, that vampires preferred to be referred to by a handle or pseudonym. For whatever reason, that didn't take off.
    Our history on Modius is relatively sparse but the description of him according to Modius is that he is a mystic that was active in the various underground magic movements following the Renaissance and is a founding member of the Arcanum. A look at Modius' stats will reveal this is complete horseshit. Well, maybe not but he has a Occult of 2 (which is pretty low for a 200 year old vampire even if he's just picking up stuff by osmosis), a Thaumaturgy of 1, and 1806 means he was around in the late 17th century but that's "following the Renaissance" by a significant number of years.

    My inclinations are that Modius was probably a former patron/customer of Annabelle as she was Embraced in 1722 so that she was about a century old when she turned him. I think Modius impressed her in his younger years with his bullshit about being a wizard and she turned him as he aged out of his cavalier ladies man days. Only after his Embrace did Annabelle realize he was a consummate liar and not nearly as skilled or knowledgeable as he pretended. He's essentially coasted in Annabelle and the late Maria's good graces ever since.

    The thing that works about Modius is that he's very much not a stereotype: he's not a traditional Toreador, he's not a very effective Prince, and everyone can basically grok Modius' personality easily enough. We've all seen people like Modius growing up in the 80s--chiefly on Saturday Morning cartoons. Starscream, Cobra Commander, Skeletor, and other villains did not possess a Sauron-esque grandiosity. No, Modius is a coward and backstabber that probably has a very high pitched voice that goes up an octave whenever he's threatened.

    Say what you will about Modius but he's MEMORABLE and that is why he's lasted far longer than the vast majority of NPCs in all of V:TM. I think one of the big mistakes a lot of Storytellers make is they often try to make their villains all-powerful or super-devilish when giving flaws to an NPC to balance out the successes is just as good a tool for making effective ones.

    There's also a rather uncomfortable bit of suggestion that Modius has two servants and they're both elderly black men he's dominated into complete submission. There's just enough hint of the racial subtext there that he becomes all the more hatable.

    How to use Modius: I have always been inclined to think of Modius as an Edgar Allan Poe character (if not Edgar Allan Poe himself). In fact I've gotten to use several of John Cussack's Edgar allan Poe pictures as a decent Modius. Even his clothing probably hasn't changed much in that time.



    Modius works best for me as Roderick Usher if you're familiar with the Fall of the House of Usher. He's a creepy weird guy from a great family, living in a decaying crumbling mansion, and refusing to leave it because that brings too many memories back. If Modius could somehow figure out how to make an underground bomb shelter and fill it with enough humans to survive then he would never leave it. Then again, I suspect a lot of Elders prefer that to keeping up with the real world. Sadly, they don't have Horizon Realms.

    One thing I tend to stress in my portrayals of Modius is that he's pathetic, cowardly, and (somewhat) incompetent but he's not SAFE. One of the best uses of Modius I've had was where a supremely arrogant Ventrue PC thought she could push around Modius. It resulted in a long running campaign story where he managed to Dominate her horribly and turn her into his Sheriff/Chief Minion. Poor Anna Morgan, 9th generation Ventrue ex-CIA assassin was forced to put her wetwork and planning skill to work for a man infinitely her inferior. The player loved it, especially when Modius was still comically trying to figure out how to use Twitter and wanted to Embrace Taylor Swift (for the prestige).

    Seriously, that was a scene.

    Because even when Modius is at his weakest politically, he's still personally powerful. Auspex 3, Dominate 4, Obfuscate 4, Presence 1, Thaumaturgy 1 (okay maybe not those last two). He also has a Politics: Machiavellian of 4 and Intelligence: Practical of 4 that means as DUMB AS YOU THINK HE IS, he knows what's going on in Kindred society probably better than anyone but the Primogen or Lodin himself. If he went into torpor for a decade or two to clear his mind or left Chicago, I'm inclined to think he'd actually be as competent as Sebastian La Croix--which is damning with faint praise I know.

    I've had player characters outright murder Modius with a dragonsbreath shotgun (that Modius is weak enough to let them keep) and burn down his mansion as the pitiful end for a man but I'm inclined to think players could work for him as well. He's the kind of NPC that a Ventrue or Tremere could learn to manipulate as the power behind the throne in the Camarilla gerontocracy. I also had Son prop him up in my 5th Edition Chicago by Night game as the Malkavian "fixed" his brain by encouraging him to indulge his darkest impulses and be more hateful than scared--which makes him indistinguishable from most other Elders. He actually became Keeper of Elysium and almost overthrew a (fake) Lodin.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 06-06-2019, 06:05 PM.


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

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    • #17
      Allicia



      Allicia is a favorite character of mine despite the fact she's unable to talk and I've struggled with the ability to use her as a result. There's something very Gothic about the beautiful Jane Eyre-esque heroine (NPC or not) that is trapped under the thumb of an insane elder. For the romantically inclined among the straight male (or non-straight female), Allicia is a character who can be rescued from Modius' control but there's a lot of ways to play it as you don't know what she's like underneath the power of the Blood Bond.

      I've always liked the fact that Allicia is one of our first Ancilla NPCs and she's welded to her sire at the hip. Allicia is one of Modius' vampire brides ala Dracula or perhaps vampire daughter (or both) with her feelings not really having any relevance to the matter. The Blood Bond means she loves him as a father figure no matter what because it is magic. If I have one or two complaints, its the fact that Allicia remains a little bit of a cipher. Allicia herself doesn't remember what her past is. This is an opportunity for Storytellers who want another angle to explore with the character. Her mortal family is probably long dead but maybe there's something else that could be done.

      Examples:
      1. Modius used to be business partners with her family and killed them before taking her as payment.
      2. Her family home is like the Ocean Hotel and filled with ghosts.
      3. Williams is Allicia's father or some other ghoul.
      4. It just helps her reconnect to who she was and gives her the strength to throw off the Blood Bond.


      One element I like about Allicia is that she's actually a fairly classic femme fatale character. Except, Allicia's thing is that she looks like a stately innocent lady rather than the typical sultry and seductive sort of character--which is an interesting road less traveled there. Another interesting angle is that while Allicia and romance are immensely important, it doesn't necessarily have to be something that is sincere. Modius sends her to seduce Neonates in a really pathetic (but perhaps effective) way to gain minions. Allicia could not actually like them but still be used as a honey pot and perhaps a false alley that could betray the coterie.

      Allicia's mortal mein is given some attention that others don't in Forged in Steel. She's considered a rich eccentric and one of the few left in Gary (that's an understatement even in Forged in Steel). Allicia keeps connections with a couple of prominent mortal families in Chicago and prefers feeding on older men who she serves as the mistress to. I kind of like the fact that they put her as a woman who profits off her daddy issues.

      One thing not present in this book but I really liked is the REALLY obscure Storyteller's Screen that mentions that Allicia also has a side business you wouldn't expect from a stately lady-like woman. Specifically, she owns a high class strip club called The Torch that is the nicest one in Gary. I felt this was a nice contrast and helped reinforce that Allicia is a woman who traffics in sex, seduction, and the other tools of the succubus even if she doesn't LOOK like a person who does.

      Allicia is a character that would also be interesting to explore if and when Modius meets the Final Death or is removed from the equation. As someone who has been Modius' slave for decades, you could do almost anything with her personality. Critias, for example, turned out not to be the saintly and wise Kindred he's always presented himself as because that turns out to have been Menele all along. Instead, he was actually a conniving backstabbing piece of crap like the historical Critias. What is Allicia like once she's off her leash?

      One thing her stats mention is that Allicia is actually an incredibly gifted singer so it would be amusing that, were Modius to die and she regain her voice, she'd become Lzzy Hale.



      FYI - despite her picture clearly being blonde, she's black-haired in her description.
      Last edited by CTPhipps; 06-07-2019, 02:24 AM.


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

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      • #18
        Juggler



        The First Anarch.

        Juggler is an interesting case because we have the Anarchs alluded to in the Brujah section of the book but we don't actually know much about them. The War of the Ages is still something in development as it's not really much beyond, "The Camarilla has gots the money and the power while you have got shit."

        It wouldn't be until Chicago by Night and The Anarch Cookbook that we really get a sense of The Movement and what it means to be Kindred. Maldavis would embody it as a concept of Social Justice for Kindred (and probably would be more at home among the Requiem Carthians than what we know of as V:TM Anarchs) while Salvador Garcia would embody the wild and murderous Anarch side.

        Before any of these, we have Juggler and I'm kind of fascinated that our first introduction into the Anarchs is someone who not only completely subverts what would become the stereotypical Brujah but also makes it clear that he's terrible at it/a complete sellout. Juggler is like meeting your first communist coming out of his expensive Ferrari or your first Christian missionary selling rifles for silver.

        Honestly, Juggler remains my all-time favorite Anarch (alongside Anita Wainwright) and I hope we're going to see him in Let the Streets Run Red. I'm reasonably okay with the idea that Modius met the Final Death during the events of Rusted Veins at the hands of Sullivan Dane. We'll get to that when we reach that test adventure. However, I hope Juggler survived because he's actually someone I think has a future in the renewed Anarch movement and makes a wonderful opponent for more idealistic Anarchs.

        Juggler is, like most of the NPCs in this book, lacking an actual backstory. It's kind of weird but he's "mysterious" the same way Modius, Allicia, and others will be. The only clues about his true identity is that he speaks Neopolitan Italian. Later, we find that Juggler is Blood Bound to the OTHER OG Anarch sellout in Patricia Bollingbrook a.k.a Tyler.

        In my campaigns, I gave Juggler a new background that he was an Italian Race Car Driver ala Rush except from the 1950s instead of 1970s. This doesn't necessarily fit Juggler's Drive skill as he only has a 2 but he DOES have a Dexterity of 5 with the Specialization of Graceful. My view of Juggler being that he was never particularly GOOD at it and usually came in the back of racing but was very good at promoting himself as well as the sport.

        A European visiting Patricia Bollingbrook became enamored with his perceived leadership skill, which was real as the guy actually has a frigging 5 in it, and Embraced him on the spot. Patricia wanted someone who could be a catspaw among the Anarchs and after the Council Wars it was Juggler who picked up the pieces following Maldavis' demise. Notably, he was Embraced before
        Patricia diablerized Procet.

        Juggler doesn't actually mind being Patricia's servant since in the 1990s onward, he was showed in wealth and allowed to live a life of decadent wealth as well as partying. The Anarchs under Juggler's command frequently vandalize Elysium, shout about how the Prince can't do anything to them, and police themselves--exactly as Patricia told Lodin he would do in order to make them irrelevant.
        Juggler is said to be the leader of Chicago's Anarchs and that they meet in abandoned Steel Mill in Gary, Indiana. He's also said to regularly visit Chicago's Lincoln Park and that this is dangerous. Juggler's big thing is that he's not actually interested in the Anarch movement at least from what we see but throwing big, elaborate parties. He has a Herd of 5 (60 mortals) and I'm fairly sure from other events that he's got no problem expanding it.

        Other notable stats are that he's got a Streetwise (Anarchs) of 4 and a Etiquette (Gangs) 4, which means that Juggler may be TERRIBLE at his job but he can run rings around most people in terms of getting people to THINK he's good at running the Movement. Juggler also has the very Un-Brujah quality of 0 Dots in Presence but 4 Dots in Dominate. I don't know if that's a misprint or it indicates that Juggler HAS to use Etiquette and leadership to make up for sucking at his powers.

        Juggler's write-up does have some weird bits like the fact it implies that Modius owes Juggler some sort of powerful boon that prevents him from moving against him. I don't think that's necessarily the case at all. I think it's much more likely that Modius isn't strong enough to destroy Juggler outright and fears Juggler's sire/Regent so he won't move against him. So Juggler enjoys tweaking Modius' nose with impunity--defeating the whole purpose of being an Anarch.

        Another element that's weird is Juggler is described as a vampire who does not particularly care about Kine being killed and doesn't take that many precautions to prevent it happening. He also has a habit of frenzying and maiming humans without worrying about it. This doesn't refelct his humanity score that is put at a 7/10. I'd move it down to four or maybe even three. At the very least if you toned down his murder-happiness then he might be a 5. Juggler is also trying to take over the gangs of Gary for some reason, perhaps planning on Mass Embraces to fill out the ranks of his army.

        I'm inclined to think for a modernized V:TM game that Juggler is someone who should be plugged into the heart of the Movement. Someone who has contacts in the Anarch Free States and is someone who is on the "list" of people to contact in the Chicago area. However, I'm also inclined to think that Juggler isn't the kind of guy who has very much Anarch Status (if such a thing exists). The Elders of the Movement like MacNeil, Abrams, Fortier, and Salvador may have heard of Juggler but they also know that he's alot of talk and very little action.

        It makes his status as "Baron of Gary" in Rusted Veins all the more pathetic because being recognized as that is a joke award at best.

        How to use Juggler: I think Juggler is a character that the player characters should probably see through fairly quickly even if he tries to befriend them at start. Basically have them notice all the inconsistencies about his behavior and have his rhetoric feel rehearsed. If Nines Rodriguez sounds like he can speak from experience about the Camarilla, Depression, and abuse then Juggler talks a lot of platitudes without the sense he's ever had to suffer from real oppression. If they befriend Evelyn, it also should become very clear that he's an enormous hypocrite who keeps the mind of his childe enslaved.

        I'm inclined to think the best move the ST can do for Juggler is at some point he has them hired for a big Anarch strike, like potentially killing Lodin or stealing a bunch of blackmail material on all Kindred or the Second Inquisition's files on the city--only to have him backstab them haflway through. They can survive but they're now his enemies and they can't prove he did anything to them.

        At some point, the PCs should seize control of the Anarchs from Juggler or pass it to someone like Anita Wainwright or Maldavis. He's what's wrong with the Movement.
        Last edited by CTPhipps; 06-07-2019, 01:30 PM.


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

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        • #19
          You know, it just occurred to me the irony that Modius' past is as a 1930s Socialist Anarch and he is the most stereotypically aristocratic vampire unalive.


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

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          • #20
            As a bit of a tangent, it has occurred to me that an interesting modern plot twist would be if some group tried an urban renewal in Gary. Similar efforts have occurred around the country, with different degrees of success, including Baltimore and Detroit. This urban renewal would not come from any of the Kindred in Gary - it just upset the terminal cancer status quo of the local Kindred society.

            Edit: Who do you think has the Juggler look?
            Last edited by Grumpy RPG Reviews; 06-07-2019, 05:22 PM. Reason: Modius made me do it.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
              As a bit of a tangent, it has occurred to me that an interesting modern plot twist would be if some group tried an urban renewal in Gary. Similar efforts have occurred around the country, with different degrees of success, including Baltimore and Detroit. This urban renewal would not come from any of the Kindred in Gary - it just upset the terminal cancer status quo of the local Kindred society.
              In fact, Gary is undergoing quite a bit of renewal ...for certain definitions of renewal.

              https://www.curbed.com/2017/9/6/1625...t-architecture

              The short version being that about 80% of Gary is doomed to disintegrate (or has completely disintegrated) but there's many new building projects along the shores of Lake Michigan combined with the fact that people passing through Gary are a source of income on its own. The town as it used to be is more or less gone but that is allowing new elements of the town to be built over it. So it would be an interesting way of doing "The Fisher King" by having the town starting to recover by Modius entering torpor or having been killed.


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

              Comment


              • #22
                Oh, awesome news.

                I just won the Independent Audiobook Award for Best Paranormal for my book I WAS A TEENAGE WEREDEER.

                Who knew my shifter parody would win before my vampire books.





                With that shilling out of the way, back to Gary, Indiana.

                *sings song from THE MUSIC MAN*

                Last edited by CTPhipps; 06-08-2019, 12:39 PM.


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

                Comment


                • #23
                  Michael



                  The first Malkavian character and one that I always felt uncomfortable using so I have some ideas for his inclusion in the game but little actual experience. There's a lot of interesting style to the character and some hints at a deeper mystery. Unfortunately, like the rest of the Gary Signature NPCs so far, we don't actually have any backstory to Michael. This is frustrating to me as a Storyteller because it requires me to fill in the details for any game that gets beyond "So, what's your story?" At least in Michael's case, there's a reason why he can't respond as he genuinely doesn't know or can't communicate his backstory.

                  Michael's write-up states that he is apparently mentally-challenged (they use the term retarded because it was 1992). The speculation is that he was Embraced as a cruel joke and then abandoned. There's no hint to who his sire could be but a very easy answer would be Jason Newberry as Son is both the right Clan, Generation, and a sonofabitch who would do that. Somehow, Michael has not only avoided breaking the Masquerade by litering the streets with bodies but survived all the other problems a Kindred might encounter.

                  Michael lives in Telton Cemetary where he sleeps within a mausoleum that bears the name Martin Greenman. Michael believes this Mausoleum is somehow related to his father. There are no records that indicate Martin Greenman had anyone in his family named Michael. This is one of those mysteries where there's no obvious answer and I'm not sure there's a satisfying answer beyond, "Michael's dad is dead and he found a place he thinks his dad is located in."

                  One possible explanation for some of the issues that come up with Michael is that he has some sort of caretaker that has been looking after him or his survival abilities are far greater than his intelligence would indicate. Maybe Martin Greenman is a Wraith that Michael can see with his Malkavian Derangement (which was a thing in 1st Edition) and has been handling a lot of the issues or Allicia has been doing the heavy lifting for the Kindred. Indeed, the book says that Allicia takes care of him for months at a time but he eventually wanders of. Michael is blood bound to Allicia and that opens all sorts of squicky issues.

                  Like Leonard from Of Mice and Men, Michael is incredibly strong (Str 5) and can knock the hell out of you even if he doesn't have potence. He also has an Alertness of 5 and will flee from most Kindred unless he can trust them. He has a Herd of 3 people he can feed from safely but there's no indication who these individuals might be. He also has a Humanity of 10 (!!) and Willpower of 10 (!!). There's even the fact that he's stated to be an Innocent that has no aura of horror and no one has seen him feed--perhaps suggesting he's achieved Golconda simply through the purity of his child-like spirit.

                  Yeah.

                  I don't necessarily think Michael is a bad character but I find myself confronted with a Futurama quote every time I try and figure out the way he could exist.



                  Still, I've made a game effort to come up with some ideas:

                  1. Give Michael Animalism of 2 and a much lower generation (13th if not making him an actual Thin Blood) and have him feed exclusively off Animals. He lives entirely off of Rats and his Derangement is Expanded Empathy/Phobia of Humans so that he actually can't feed off of unwilling humans. You may argue that's cursed with awesome but only for a very specific type of character. I'd also raise Michael's survival to 3 points or higher. He is very much a figure of instinct and listening to the Beast without its violence. Michael is also a kind of figure who does pose a threat to the Masquerade and Modius would want to destroy him if he knew about him as would most Kindred despite being harmless to humans.

                  2. Michael is actually a much older Kindred than he appears and his regression to childlike status is a recent thing. A powerful Kindred stripped him of his memories either voluntarily or not and left him with only knowledge about how to survive. Michael's harmlessness as an Aura and lack of a Beast allows him to get close to people and feed on them without difficulty. I would probably give him a Presence of 3. If he did regain his memories, he might be a much nastier and horrible person that resents being turned into a child. It's also possible Michael's current status is a years-long status from a botched Derangement roll.

                  3. Michael actually has a caretaker in a Dominated human or Kindred (or Blood Bonded). This person brings Michael Kine, takes care of cleaning up after him, and more. They are just kept out of the way when other Kindred come calling. I'd give Michael a much more powerful Dominate in this case or Presence enough to summon him or her. The PCs will be left with the dilemma of what to do with the fact Michael is not a threat to people as long as he has a slave.

                  4. Michael's Humanity 10 is a front because he doesn't remember doing the horrible things he has to do to survive. I.e. hacking the Humanity stat. Michael feeds on whoever he encounters and then hides the bodies in the cemetary. The player characters will have a horrific moment at some point of following Michael back to his father's cemetary and then in the mausoleum down to a horrible cave that his filled with hundreds of bones. They will then have to destroy their friend.

                  5. Allicia is the patron of Michael, having arranged for him to have a Haven, food provided for him (Kine she's sent), and brainwashing him with her Blood Bond as well as Presence to get him to obey things necessary to survive as a Kindred. Michael is thus someone who hasn't broken the Masquerade or killed a bunch of humans but it's only a matter of time before he royally screws up things. Allicia is using him as a Touchstone (which we're fudging the rules on) and believes she's protecting someone good and decent (which she is). But this is a TERRIBLE idea and it's only a matter of time before it blows up.

                  Any of you guys have a way to use Michael?
                  Last edited by CTPhipps; 06-08-2019, 07:47 PM.


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

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                  • #24
                    There is another idea that might explain Michael's ability to survive and avoid destroying the Masquerade: he's got Disassociate Identity Disorder.

                    Consider that Michael's primary personality is that of a child-like innocent. That's the mode he occupies most of the time. But when needed - usually when he needs to hunt or dispose of bodies - a different, more aware personality takes over. One that's able to hunt effectively, and generally "clean up" after himself. What the exact behavioral traits this personality might embody are up to the Storyteller to determine. This identity might have higher Obfuscate and Dominate than Michael's "base" form, allowing him to evade detection, erase memories, and even assume a different appearance. And he's good enough at avoiding other Kindred that no one has yet realized this alternate persona even exists.


                    Now, if I were actually to RUN Michael, this is probably not what I'd go with. I'd go with the "added Animalism" option, and he just feeds on wildlife.


                    Actually - and this is something that occurred to me as I was writing this post - there might be the option that he is, or has ties to, members of the Children of Osiris. Bardo 3 would allow him to garner far more sustenance from animals than would otherwise be possible, and Bardo 1 alone is a great bulwark against Humanity loss. My biggest problem with this theory is that, even if we assume he's not a member of that Bloodline outright, but rather just learned it from an Osiran who took pity on him, the Discipline itself is described as being heavily reliant on meditation and an ascetic unlifestyle. Which I don't see Michael having the focus and self-awareness to maintain, unless he's some kind of savant.

                    Although, given how well he's able to survive despite his mental challenges, Michael being a savant is almost a given.

                    No matter how I look at it, Hermes Conrad was right. It all raises further questions.


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                    • #25
                      Bluecho

                      Thank you, that's a great suggestion that is at least internally consistent with both what we know of Malkavians, vampire survival, and his character.

                      Another crazy idea that occurs to me is, "Michael achieved Golconda." No, hear me out, he's a Kindred that did so....but the process wasn't exactly great and it obliterated his mind. It would simultaneously show the PCs that it's POSSIBLE to achieve Golconda and the process can destroy you. Not that Michael seems to mind.

                      Bardo is also an underused group and I hope they get updated in Blood Cults by Matthew Dawkins. I think their Discipline is a bit OP but a small sect of hermit vampires trying to maintain their humanity and/or hunters isn't a bad addition to the game.

                      I'd also make them a dissident sect of the FoS.


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

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                        Bluecho
                        Another crazy idea that occurs to me is, "Michael achieved Golconda." No, hear me out, he's a Kindred that did so....but the process wasn't exactly great and it obliterated his mind. It would simultaneously show the PCs that it's POSSIBLE to achieve Golconda and the process can destroy you. Not that Michael seems to mind.
                        A fascinating possibility. Golconda is a difficult and perilous state. It's totally possible that a vampire could achieve it, but not in the way they would have liked.

                        Bardo is also an underused group and I hope they get updated in Blood Cults by Matthew Dawkins. I think their Discipline is a bit OP but a small sect of hermit vampires trying to maintain their humanity and/or hunters isn't a bad addition to the game.
                        Bardo is certainly powerful, though it carries with it strings that I think balance it out. For one, the vampire must adhere to Humanity, and all that implies. There's no trying to jump onto a Path of Enlightenment, so the character is married to the path of emulating humans. Granted, while the Bardo score can only be as high as one's Humanity, it still means that most vampires of 8th generation or higher will be able to get by with only Humanity 5, and still have access to as much Bardo as their blood would allow anyway. But it's still more restrictive than many "power-gaming" character builds are accustomed to. Like, sure, you get blood more easily (and morally) and can counter enemy magic, but you're also probably going to avoid situations where you could kill enemies.

                        For another, Bardo is particular to the Children of Osiris, a sect that's secretive even by the standards of vampires. They only teach it to members, and membership comes with both the unlifestyle (that of the ascetic monk), and the need to take away one's ability to Embrace.

                        Bardo, I think, is highly optimized for the kind of character play it's made for. Perhaps, yes, overly optimized.

                        I'd also make them a dissident sect of the FoS.
                        I do not, because I emphatically disagree with the impulse to fold all small and specialized groups into a larger faction, regardless of how little sense it makes to do so. It wasn't a sensible decision when Lore of the Clans did it with all adjacent Setite Bloodlines (the Tlacique would consider their "parent Clan" to be presumptuous at best, and hostile colonizers at worst, just like all Old World vampires), and it would make less sense here.

                        The Children of Osiris are - and have always been - the dedicated foes of the Setites, and I don't for one minute think they'd buy that whole "Ministry" rebranding. "Shed its skin all it wants, a snake is still a snake".
                        Last edited by Bluecho; 06-09-2019, 06:16 PM.


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                        • #27
                          Re: The Children of Osiris

                          Actually, the idea of making them Followers of Set is not due to the fact that they would be a Bloodline that was involved in the politics but because it makes sense for me for them to "rescue" as many Followers of Set as they can from the clan's somewhat insane conditioning process. People like Elizabeth, childe of Hesha, who have been turned with plans of being corrupted and broken by their sires only to make them dedicated foes of the Clan.

                          But that's just me.


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

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                            Re: The Children of Osiris

                            Actually, the idea of making them Followers of Set is not due to the fact that they would be a Bloodline that was involved in the politics but because it makes sense for me for them to "rescue" as many Followers of Set as they can from the clan's somewhat insane conditioning process. People like Elizabeth, childe of Hesha, who have been turned with plans of being corrupted and broken by their sires only to make them dedicated foes of the Clan.

                            But that's just me.
                            First, thank you for remembering that Elizabeth exists. (Even though it's a bad example, because her Embrace was specifically a part of Hesha's elaborate attempt to kill her; Hesha didn't intend for her to survive the sunrise).

                            Second, while I understand that reasoning, I have two problems with it. 1) The Children of Osiris have been around for thousands of years, and know the Followers of Set and their tricks. I suspect that when the books say that a Setite being genuinely repentant "has never come up", I assume the emphasis is on "genuinely". I would not be surprised if, in centuries past (when the Osirans were still known to exist), Setites tried all the time to infiltrate the Children of Osiris, to undermine Set's enemies from within. So the Osirans long ago learned the hard way to be very suspicious of serpents, especially ones who seem to want to reform. So I would assume, if the Osirans even decided to reveal themselves to exist (a big IF, since secrecy serves them well), they wouldn't jump at the chance to invite Setites into their temples. While some Setites could be saved and many Osirans would probably know that, there's always the danger that their new recruit is a Trojan horse, whether knowingly or because of deep-seated programming.

                            And 2) if the Children of Osiris DID want to work to "save brainwashed childer from the cult", they wouldn't join this new "Ministry". They'd go looking for young Setites and offer them to join the Children of Osiris. There's nothing the rebranded Followers of Set can offer that the Children of Osiris would want, especially given Setite history. Osirans only stand to lose by joining the Setites, whether through slow eroding of Osiran values, corruption of Bardo's ascetic and Humanity-centric ethos, or a rapid purge by Setite militants (such as the Cohort of Wepwewet) who, surprise, suddenly know where their Osiran foes are. The Children of Osiris are noble and forgiving. They aren't stupid.
                            Last edited by Bluecho; 06-09-2019, 06:42 PM.


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                            • #29
                              Evelyn Stephens



                              I am going to say I am a huge fan of Evelyn Stephens. The character has shown up multiple times in my games and has always been a source of entertaining plots. Weirdly, she's often a background character as often as the focus of a game because she's a good character for non-disruptive inclusion in a game. Evelyn is a character that works well for populating a society without necessarily making waves. When the PCs finally managed to acquire the Succubus Club, they hired her as the bartender for example. She also briefly worked as a stripper at one of the Ministry's temples that turned out to be her undercover for the Anarchs.

                              Evelyn's backstory is both simple and effective: a party girl that got close to the wrong guy at th Succubus Club (or wherever) only to be Embraced by Juggler. Juggler did so out of panic and clearly regrets doing so, probably because it wasn't done in Gary but in Chicago. I can't believe that Juggler was particularly afraid of Modius' reaction (and as we see, it's tepid at best). Evelyn didn't take to being made a vampire well and ran back to her family, which included a cop. Juggler managed to get her back and Blood Bound her but not before he was caught in an even worse mess.

                              Gregory Stephens is someone I presume is strong willed enough to have resisted Juggler's Dominate since it's such a personal and powerful thing that he experienced. Also, I don't believe you can just slip blood in someone's beer three times to make him a slave. I feel like that trivializes being a ghoul and the Blood Bond to an extent--I think in 5th Edition we're going to see it's something people have to do willingly.

                              Evelyn is thus an interesting character in the fact that she's a brainwashed Anarch. She can do nothing BUT love Juggler but has enough independence as well as Venn diagram overlap with her sire's agenda naturally (being a blithe rebellious spirit anyway) that her mind hasn't been turned to mush by the Blood Bond. Anarch PCs can befriend Evelyn and then discover her condition that might make her want to "rescue" Evelyn the same way that they can try to save Allicia. Except, even if they destroy Juggler she may not realize she was ever enslaved in the first place.

                              I've mentioned that both Evelyn and Allicia are set up for romantic plotlines, which kind of assumes that the PCs are straight male gamers (though they would also prove very popular with bisexual and lesbian female gamers, I suspect this is an accidental effect--but a sign they were well written and not the usual "Dungeon Bunnies" many female characters before had been). They are also set up as contrasts to one another with Allicia being a silent, soft, and delicate upper class woman while Evelyn is a angry, loud, and sexy lower class woman.

                              Vampire Betty and Veronica.

                              Evelyn is a good character for being a sideways intro to the story of Hunters Gregory and Agent Shepard. Basically, Shepard is probably going to want to expose or destroy all vampires while Gregory is going to want to protect his sister against all costs. She's a humane-seeming vampire and about as good a "face" to present to the human characters. It's also possible she could end up being a weapon by Hunters against her fellow Kindred as I could easily see her turned against the rest of Kindred-kind.

                              One element that is kind of iffy is the fact that Evelyn is the first black character in V:TM but the art doesn't necessarily reflect that (it doesn't necessarily NOT reflect that but that depends on how you view vampire skin tones). On the plus side, it's good that at least two of Gary's NPCs are African American.
                              Last edited by CTPhipps; 06-09-2019, 07:07 PM.


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

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                                Lodin and Modius also reflect somehting that was a thing in 1st Edition that didn't take off and that's the fact, like Goths, that vampires preferred to be referred to by a handle or pseudonym. For whatever reason, that didn't take off.
                                This IS something I usually do for my games. I noticed this as well. In my head, there are several reason so many vampires take pseudonyms. First, it gives you a "vampire name" in recognition you are no longer one of the living - your old life is dead to you, completely irrelevant. This is more common the older vampires get, but there are certainly neonates who have the same desire. Second, many vampires - if only inadvertently - interact with mortals and need a mortal name. And since they have to hide and reset their mortal identities every few decades to throw off suspicion, they need another name by which they are known by their vampire peers and remains static.
                                Last edited by Black Fox; 06-09-2019, 08:07 PM.

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