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

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  • #46
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    I've always been a fan of Lucian simply because of the fact he's an 8th generation Methuselah. Thats an inherently interesting concept to me: the idea this guy is old as dirt but he's someone who is ultimately limited by his generation.
    Lucian is probably my favorite of the Gary Kindred because he's one of the few who is not actually a putz. I've always run him as a Survivor, and realistically paranoid. He's a tough bastard, but one who knows when to run and hide. He would make a good mentor to a PC, but only if he sees in him certain qualities - like an instinct to not get wrapped up in petty politics, avoid overweaning ambition, and be a tough cookie himself. In other words, someone whom Lucian would see a young version of himself in him.

    One other thing about Lucian - he's supposed to have Status 5 which is more than Modius and equal to Lodin. Only some of the Primogen have more than him. As thus, I've always had the other vampires treat Lucian as if he is the actual Prince of Gary even though he does not bother to rule. That Lucian bothers to attend Modius's court at all is probably the only reason Modius stays as Prince. I imagine he has tacit support from Inyanga and Critias to indirectly "support" Modius in that way. There's an implied threat that if Lodin eliminates Modius, that Lucian would become Prince of Gary and a real threat to Lodin (which Lucian would never do, but Lodin can't risk that). And if someone like Juggler rants and rages at Modius perhaps a bit too long, or looks like he will start a physical fight, Lucian just needs to glare and the other vampire will either calm down or leave - Lucian is not someone you want to risk pissing off especially because he is inclined to leave you alone anyway.

    He's supposed to hate other elders and made many enemies in Chicago, presumably because he sometimes intervenes to oppose cruelty and inhumanity. So it is interesting to speculate what he's done. Decide who in Chicago in his enemy, and what he specifically did to oppose them, and you have some interesting plot hooks. And he's someone who just might pull the PCs' bacon out of a fire if they need saving. But only if they impress him with their humanity or one of them reminds him of his younger self.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
      One thing that happened with V:TM is it became a lot more dark and overt so the mysteriousness of the 1st Edition sort of disappeared.
      Once you start filling in the gaps and explaining everything, all the mystery tends to leave. It's one reason I do not use any Metaplot, and have come up with my own setting mysteries and answers. Once players know that what they read in some gamebook does not apply, the world becomes mysterious to them again. They have to PLAY through it if they want to learn anything, as opposed to not playing but reading the gamebooks as a kind of literature.

      I tend to go back to first edition or early second edition and develop the material myself (although I do use certain later information if I like it). I don't invalidate the concepts as first describe, but either do my own version based on them or heavily edit and revise what development did happen that I like.

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      • #48
        Sullivan Dane



        Sullivan Dane remains one of the coolest characters ever created for Vampire: The Masquerade and I think he should be considered as iconic as Theo Bell, Lucita, Victoria Ash, or the other Signature characters. If they do another NPC Request for the next WOD Kickstarter by Onyx Path then I'd definitely try and ask to do an update of the First Inquisitor. Sullivan Dane is the first Inquisitor and a character that sets the stage for most of them in subsequent fiction. He's named for Solomon Kane, dresses all in black, and drives around a black Lincoln like the Green Hornet (okay, I just added this part but it's perfectly appropriate for him). He's a very memorable character and it's fascinating to realize that he's also the underdog in any encounter with PCs despite his insane Faith score of 8.

        The problem with Sullivan Dane is, IMHO, that if the PCs ever meet him then he's dead. True Faith is nice when vampires are going to come at you with their claws but the average PC is a dangerous beast who will just shoot at Sullivan Dane with a gun. There's no way Van Helsing's cross is going to help with that matter. The best use for Sullivan Dane for me is to never have him actually show up in the game in-person but always talk to the PCs via telephone or act against them via long shots. My version of Sullivan Dane is a guy who sets the PCs' havens on fire during the daytime, snipes them from rooftops, or stakes their allies/enemies while forcing them to use brains rather than brawn.

        The difference between Society of Leopold Hunters, all modeled on Dane, and other Hunters is the fact they have institutional experience that knows you never fight the monsters directly. Sullivan is more likely to have a car bomb set up or poison a blood supply for a nightclub than he is whipping out a flaming sword. I think that is a very good use for a Hunter and requires the PCs to whip out those investigation scores, talk to witnesses, and maybe even threaten innocents to get Sullivan to come out ("Are we the baddies?")

        I've also amused myself by having it so that Sullivan Dane IS basically a reversal of a supervillain when dealing with vampires. Sullivan Dane is the kind of guy who can and will pack it in if things get too hot and maybe disappear under a roof collapse or other unlikely event where you never find the body. That is a risky thing for STs because it could easily make the players hate the Hunter but if you've done your job right then they'll enjoy tangling with him again.

        I have also done a couple of team ups with Sullivan Dane over the years with the PCs joining forces with the Inquisitor who I've tended to play as a lot more moderate in his beliefs than your typical Inquisitor. It's not that he's a Hate Criminal who hates all Vampires. It's that most Vampires ARE cursed by God and evil. One of the more interesting things that happened in one game was where one of the characters was ex-Catholic and requested Sullivan to hear her confession.

        Sullivan canonically died in our game by giving himself up to Tiamat (newly awakened) in order to protect the PCs from being devoured by the 4th Generation Ventrue. The blood of the Inquisitor called to her and burned her isnide out, destroying the Ancient Vampire as well as the Demon inside her. Probably the most boss way the aging inquisitor could have gone out and somehting the players were okay with as they'd aged out of "14 year old mad that an NPC helped take care of the baddies."

        (It helped that the PCs had already prevented a ritual to End the World too--yes, this was a Superheroes with Fangs game, why do you ask?)

        In my canon, I should note that Sullivan Dane is considered to be a terror to the Camarilla and one of the few Inquisitors that are known by name alongside Caiaphas and Leopold. He's destroyed a few dozen Kindred in his life but was nearly killed in the events of Under a Blood Red Moon which required him to change up his methods. Sullivan became aware of Imbued and Demons during the events of 2004, that caused him not so much to question his faith but re-evaluate his priorities. My Sullivan Dane, for example, believes that vampires are cursed humans bearing the Mark of Cain and not demons inhabiting a human's corpse. This is something that is not quite heretical but not exactly welcome in certain circles either and greatly changes his opinion on their redeemability (which is to say highly unlikely, better they die, but not impossible).

        I also had him barely survive an encounter with Anatole with his sanity and faith intact.

        In Dust to Dust, Sullivan eventually has aged out of being a Hunter and is in his sixties. I think its interesting to note that he either will retire or try to train the next generation of Hunters. Obviously, he's not going to compromise himself with vampire blood like some. I've toyed also with using Sullivan Dane in a Mage: The Ascension game with Sullivan's incredibly High Faith actually being a sign he's on the verge of Awakening--and unsure how he'd react to the realization God wasn't working through him so much as he was working as a god.


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

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
          Lucian is probably my favorite of the Gary Kindred because he's one of the few who is not actually a putz. I've always run him as a Survivor, and realistically paranoid. He's a tough bastard, but one who knows when to run and hide. He would make a good mentor to a PC, but only if he sees in him certain qualities - like an instinct to not get wrapped up in petty politics, avoid overweaning ambition, and be a tough cookie himself. In other words, someone whom Lucian would see a young version of himself in him.
          There's an interesting element about him as an Elder because there's nothing he wants that the PCs can give him so he's not inclined to probably embroil them in his intrigues. On the other hand, I could also see Lucian involving the PCs in a game or intrigue just because. I'm also inclined to think he's a guy who could be involved in a lot of stuff normally beyond their paygrade like the Sabbat, Black Hand, True Hand, or Inconnu that might involve the PCs. You could easily have him be the guy who says, "Okay, there's a Lasombra who wants to visit the city and could you show her around? She doesn't want to clue anyone in to her being here." Then it's Lucita.

          One other thing about Lucian - he's supposed to have Status 5 which is more than Modius and equal to Lodin. Only some of the Primogen have more than him. As thus, I've always had the other vampires treat Lucian as if he is the actual Prince of Gary even though he does not bother to rule. That Lucian bothers to attend Modius's court at all is probably the only reason Modius stays as Prince. I imagine he has tacit support from Inyanga and Critias to indirectly "support" Modius in that way. There's an implied threat that if Lodin eliminates Modius, that Lucian would become Prince of Gary and a real threat to Lodin (which Lucian would never do, but Lodin can't risk that). And if someone like Juggler rants and rages at Modius perhaps a bit too long, or looks like he will start a physical fight, Lucian just needs to glare and the other vampire will either calm down or leave - Lucian is not someone you want to risk pissing off especially because he is inclined to leave you alone anyway.
          I think you could make Lucian a former Archon and a veteran of the Sabbat Wars in the Americas. Not necessarily someone who fought on the front lines but someone who was able to manipulate, investigate, and deal with most problems effectively. I think Lucian being in Gary could well be a reason why Lodin doesn't move too harsh against the city (not that there's much to move against) as Modius is the perfect kind of prince for his territory--a completely irrelevant one who will leave him alone if he shows the barest difference.

          He's supposed to hate other elders and made many enemies in Chicago, presumably because he sometimes intervenes to oppose cruelty and inhumanity. So it is interesting to speculate what he's done. Decide who in Chicago in his enemy, and what he specifically did to oppose them, and you have some interesting plot hooks. And he's someone who just might pull the PCs' bacon out of a fire if they need saving. But only if they impress him with their humanity or one of them reminds him of his younger self.
          I'm inclined to think Tyler is a good enemy for Lucian and she's someone he doens't want to tangle with. I also think, in my headcanon at least, Lucian was an associate of Marcus Vital at some point.


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

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          • #50
            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
            In Dust to Dust, Sullivan eventually has aged out of being a Hunter and is in his sixties. I think its interesting to note that he either will retire or try to train the next generation of Hunters. Obviously, he's not going to compromise himself with vampire blood like some. I've toyed also with using Sullivan Dane in a Mage: The Ascension game with Sullivan's incredibly High Faith actually being a sign he's on the verge of Awakening--and unsure how he'd react to the realization God wasn't working through him so much as he was working as a god.
            Obviously he wouldn't have to. The Celestial Chorus fully accept the idea that their "Awakening" is just them being used as an instrument of the One's will. For many, the idea of them being the god is at best foolishness, and at worst dangerous levels of pride. Sure, others in the Celestial Chorus disagree, but Sullivan Dane wouldn't be obligated to go along with their thinking.


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            • #51
              Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
              Obviously he wouldn't have to. The Celestial Chorus fully accept the idea that their "Awakening" is just them being used as an instrument of the One's will. For many, the idea of them being the god is at best foolishness, and at worst dangerous levels of pride. Sure, others in the Celestial Chorus disagree, but Sullivan Dane wouldn't be obligated to go along with their thinking.
              It depends really on which edition as either all Mages KNOW that Magick is will-working or they don't and it just IS will-working. I favor the former.

              But in Sullivan's case, the Celestial Choir would obviously be the only choice.

              He'd still be a heretic in the eyes of the Society of Leopold yet that was something he would always risk by not being a close-minded fanatic.

              He's an OPEN minded fanatic, dammit!

              Another interesting angel (misspelling intended) would be that Sullivan's 8 in Faith is actually being one of the first Imbued and misinterpreting the "miracles" that happened around him.


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

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              • #52
                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                I think Lucian being in Gary could well be a reason why Lodin doesn't move too harsh against the city (not that there's much to move against) as Modius is the perfect kind of prince for his territory--a completely irrelevant one who will leave him alone if he shows the barest difference.
                The thing about Modius isn't that he's a "threat" because he is Prince of Gary. It's that he was a former contender for the Prince of Chicago. Gary was just a convenient way to stay outside of Lodin's technical domain and keep that claim active. So in Lodin's mind, anyone who would claim to be Prince of Gary is really just gunning for his job. Modius isn't a threat for multiple reasons, but Lucian would be a threat if he ever took such a title.

                So Lucian being there is just a little extra insurance that Modius lives and keeps that threat-in-being alive a little longer elsewhere. If not for that, Lodin might move against Modius and nullify the Gary domain (since the one thing Lodin can't currently control is that Gary is the only legitimate way for Kindred in Chicago to create new childer for release).

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                  The problem with Sullivan Dane is, IMHO, that if the PCs ever meet him then he's dead. True Faith is nice when vampires are going to come at you with their claws but the average PC is a dangerous beast who will just shoot at Sullivan Dane with a gun. There's no way Van Helsing's cross is going to help with that matter. The best use for Sullivan Dane for me is to never have him actually show up in the game in-person but always talk to the PCs via telephone or act against them via long shots. My version of Sullivan Dane is a guy who sets the PCs' havens on fire during the daytime, snipes them from rooftops, or stakes their allies/enemies while forcing them to use brains rather than brawn.
                  Strangely, Dane has a Status of 1. I've always taken that to me he is known by reputation in the local Kindred community. They don't know who he is, but they know there is some really dangerous hunter out there in Chicago.

                  The way I used the character is that the PCs never meet him. They just know him by reputation. Every so often, I have some random minor Chicago NPC (usually one of my own used as a background element, like in Juggler's anarch gang, or some new arrival in from Kansas, or some illegally made fledgling) turned to ash and obviously hunted and destroyed. (Often, this is someone I added to the party simply in order to make him the scapegoat for a plan they have that is just really bad and Masquerade breaking. That's the best way I know to punish the PCs by breaking the Masquerade - which all new players do - while not directly destorying their character. It is a close enough call that they behave better in the future.) Inevitably, all the Chicago Kindred attribute any slayings to him. They don't know him by name, but do know some descriptive elements about him.

                  He's someone the PCs may want to investigate, not the other way around (unless the PCs screw up and break the Masquerade). He's there to explain why it is a bad idea to break the Masquerade.

                  I rarely have Dane hunt alone. Usually he shows up to console the family and friends of a recently turned vampire, and he assists them in getting revenge. In other words, he's the character that teams up with Det. Stephens and Agent Shepherd. It's the combination of those three with all their skills that would be the threat. Which is why Juggler's embrace of Evelyn is a real problem - it risks bringing all three together.

                  And I never have hunters go after vampires when it is dark out. They may set up to defend a vampire's victim at night. But if they hunt, it is ALWAYS during the day.

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                  • #54
                    Special Agent William Shepard



                    William Shepard is the start of the Second Inquisition and it's kind of fascinating to note that a character who was just thrown into the beginning is someone who could potentially have set the stage for the plot of 5th Edition Vampire: The Masquerade. The FBI agent investigating the existence of vampires was something set up as one of the earliest plotlines of the game and we've now seen how it's played out. William isn't actually that interesting of a character and fits into the archetype mold that most of the other Forged in Steel characters do. We don't even know how he's first encountered the Kindred, only that he did so and now is aware that Chicago is full of vampires. Not necessarily any other city in America but Chicago specifically.

                    Just like with other characters, I'm going to make up another backstory and am inclined to state that William Shepard was probably investigating the mob ties of Lodin's brood as well as some particularly messy murders (let's say the poor bastard that was thrown out of the window of the Sears' Tower) when Capone or Balthazar attempted to clean up matters. The attempt to wipe his mind didn't take but he managed to fake it long enough to get away. Ironically, this version of William screwed himself over by refusing to report anything he'd encountered as unusual. If he had, then he would have been labeled a crackpot but he would have been quietly scooped up by the SAD and found himself among people that would have believed him.

                    Well, maybe not as the original Hunters' Hunted SAD were a racist and misogynist bunch of anti-communist McCarthy holdovers at this time. I'm not sure if William Shepard is supposed to be Caucasian or a black man shaded the way Evelyn Stephens is. Personally, I'm inclined to think that William has a slightly more interesting backstory if he's a black man in the FBI (we know he's from Detroit, Michigan). On the other hand, a white and possibly naive upper class FBI agent in finely tailored suits also strikes a more noticeable contrast to Detective Stephens if you want to spin it that way as well.

                    Shepard, himself, is a problem that the PCs should never be able to deal with using traditional methods. If he's murdered, made to disappear, or even killed in an "accident" then the FBI is almost certainly going to be all over his death and bring massive attention to his work. I'm also inclined to think that he has made arrangements that should he ever die or disappear that (what little he has) will be sent to the rest of the agency. In other words, they can't kill him or dispose of him. They have to either wipe his mind completely of the Kindred (almost impossible now that he's been doing this for years), discredit him in a permanent way, or actually convince him that vampires aren't real.

                    Another way that players might approach this, which I don't recommend is that they also simply present the idea that they're not bad guys and that if the truth came out that a lot of innocent people would get caught in the crossfire. I.e. convince him that the Masquerade is important. I think Evelyn Stephens would be a good character for this as (at least in my games) she was a very good character for convincing people vampires weren't all bad. Certainly, if William DOES become obsessed with destroying the Kindred then you could have a nice little conflict between him and Gregory over the matter.

                    Shepard is an agent who could do well with being updated for the 21st century. With an additional twenty years of service, he's very likely been promoted to be part of the SAD and could be a decent new head of the organization in 2019. Making him the Director (Assistant Director) of the Special Affairs Division and a key playing the Second Inquisition would be interesting if you could do flashbacks for your Gary Kindred. Hopefully, you could convince your characters not to murder him in the past as well and create a TIME PARADOX.

                    How to Use Agent Shepard: It'd be easy to play him as the straight man in any encounter but I think it behooves any Storyteller not to use Agent Dale Cooper or Fox Mulder as an inspiration for him. Having been exposed to the supernatural but not quite understanding, you could easily make him a guy who appears paranoid and obsessive about uncovering the truth with plenty of weird quirks from the fact he's operating off folklore as well as conspiracy theories right now. He's very good at his job but his Demeanor is "Fanatic" after all.

                    One thing I've considered doing was that if the PCs do convince Shepard not to investigate the undead too closely, you could easily make him a supernatural contact to investigate matters related to the Kindred and get some measure of justice. That does require the PCs to have a Humanity score high enough to actually care about such things, though. Another thing I've done is have the players get hand-out characters for Police Officers or Media and do a session with Gregory and William talking about something they're not (yet) involved in as vampires. A sort of interactive cutscene.
                    Last edited by CTPhipps; 06-14-2019, 06:57 PM.


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

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

                      Strangely, Dane has a Status of 1. I've always taken that to me he is known by reputation in the local Kindred community. They don't know who he is, but they know there is some really dangerous hunter out there in Chicago.
                      One thing you could actually do is that Sullivan Dane has been investigated by the Justicars and passed along information about him as a known hunter. It's why most Hunters have to stay off the grid. You could actually have the Sheriff or some local Anarch leader passing around a grainy photo and going, "Watch out for this guy."

                      The reverse of what usually happens.

                      The way I used the character is that the PCs never meet him. They just know him by reputation. Every so often, I have some random minor Chicago NPC (usually one of my own used as a background element, like in Juggler's anarch gang, or some new arrival in from Kansas, or some illegally made fledgling) turned to ash and obviously hunted and destroyed. (Often, this is someone I added to the party simply in order to make him the scapegoat for a plan they have that is just really bad and Masquerade breaking. That's the best way I know to punish the PCs by breaking the Masquerade - which all new players do - while not directly destorying their character. It is a close enough call that they behave better in the future.) Inevitably, all the Chicago Kindred attribute any slayings to him. They don't know him by name, but do know some descriptive elements about him.
                      A very interesting strategy and I might have to try that. Though in my case, I've had Sullivan play "phone tag" and talk with them using pay phones and burner phones. Basically, Sullivan knows Kindred well enough that they often will rat out each other for their own safety and he can build a comprehensive database (on yellow pad at least) of connections in a city by expecting them to turn him or his associates against his enemies.

                      [He's someone the PCs may want to investigate, not the other way around (unless the PCs screw up and break the Masquerade). He's there to explain why it is a bad idea to break the Masquerade.

                      I rarely have Dane hunt alone. Usually he shows up to console the family and friends of a recently turned vampire, and he assists them in getting revenge. In other words, he's the character that teams up with Det. Stephens and Agent Shepherd. It's the combination of those three with all their skills that would be the threat. Which is why Juggler's embrace of Evelyn is a real problem - it risks bringing all three together.

                      And I never have hunters go after vampires when it is dark out. They may set up to defend a vampire's victim at night. But if they hunt, it is ALWAYS during the day.
                      I think this is all very good advice for Storytellers about how to use Hunters in their games.


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

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

                        The thing about Modius isn't that he's a "threat" because he is Prince of Gary. It's that he was a former contender for the Prince of Chicago. Gary was just a convenient way to stay outside of Lodin's technical domain and keep that claim active. So in Lodin's mind, anyone who would claim to be Prince of Gary is really just gunning for his job. Modius isn't a threat for multiple reasons, but Lucian would be a threat if he ever took such a title.

                        So Lucian being there is just a little extra insurance that Modius lives and keeps that threat-in-being alive a little longer elsewhere. If not for that, Lodin might move against Modius and nullify the Gary domain (since the one thing Lodin can't currently control is that Gary is the only legitimate way for Kindred in Chicago to create new childer for release).
                        Is Modius as helpless as he seems?

                        I have a somewhat more complicated view on the subject that Lodin wiping out Modius isn't actually as easy as sending Balthazar or the Wolf Pack over to Gary then bringing back his head. As much as Lodin enjoys seeing Modius living in the ruins of his once-prosperous kingdom, I'm of the mind that he would put him to the Final Death if he could but can't rather than won't.

                        1. Lodin is the puppet of the Primogen in Chicago as much as he would love to cut his strings. They're a bunch of Methuselahs and even the youngest among them is four times as old as him. Modius and his scheme of allowing vampires to be sired in his territory is almost certainly at their behest w/ Annabelle the likely architect of it. He may not want any more vampires in Chicago cluttering up the pace but he's undoubtedly being forced to accept whichever ones they want Embraced as part of his kingdom.

                        2. Modius is Annabelle's childer and delivering him to the Final Death is something that would undoubtedly invoke her ire. Yes, he's an insane old disappointment but he's her disappointment and it wouldn't take much for Lodin to be replaced by one of his own childer or perhaps even Maldavis. It's possible, however, unlikely that she thinks Modius can pull himself out of this stupor since it's "only" been about 30 years or so since the collapse of the Steel Industry.

                        3. The Camarilla is built around survival of the fittest but that doesn't mean that Princes going around and offing other Princes is something that won't draw attention. Modius is the Prince of a pathetic shamble of a domain but he's still a Prince and were Lodin to eliminate him, it might bring down the wrath of a Justicar (perhaps at Annabelle's behest). Lodin could probably weather the storm but he'd suffer badly in the meantime and probably forfeit even more of his influence to keep in power. Modius is part of the EstablishmentTM even if he's a New Jersey Mafia boss compard to a New York Five Families boss on the Comission.

                        4. Modius could pull himself together if he wanted to. If he wanted to come to Chicago then he could and then he'd be welcomed as a two hundred year old elder with all the respect and power that implies. As of 1st Edition, there's still the Socialist Anarchs who would welcome him like Blackjack and Erich Weiss. Just a change of scenery would mean that Lodin would have someone who could be leveraged against him as, well, Modius as a Puppet would be even more desirable than Lodin to some people.

                        5. I'm inclined to note that I think Modius and Juggler's feud is actually nonexistent. This is non-canon but my inclinations are that Modius welcomed Juggler's gang into Gary willingly. Both as a favor to Tyler and also to tweek Lodin's nose. Juggler may publicly insult and tweak Modius but I'm inclined to think in private, this is all for show and that Modius is hoping Juggler can and will cause havoc for Lodin or even some day assassinate him (which might have been the case in Under a Blood Red Moon).


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

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                        • #57
                          I am in some general agreement with your opinion on Modius, but disagree with a lot of specifics.

                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                          1. Lodin is the puppet of the Primogen in Chicago...
                          Lodin is a weak Prince in so far as he is under the thumb of the Primogen. But I don't think he's their puppet. The books make it clear that while Lodin is at a disadvantage versus the Primogen, that he wins a lot of battles. Lodin seems to be a very good politician - he constantly divides the Council so they sometimes vote his way, and he seems to be very effective participating in Conclaves. Lodin is also very persistent - willing to fight a stalemate for years or even decades while waiting for that one opportunity to eliminate his opponent. And Chicago is filled with the rivals he's defeated - Maxwell, Modius, Maldavis, Ventrue of other lineages, Anarchs in general. This doesn't seem like a puppet to me.

                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                          2. Modius is Annabelle's childer and delivering him to the Final Death is something that would undoubtedly invoke her ire.
                          This is a great point, but it is important to remember that Lodin has means available to him to destroy Modius and not have it be worked back to him. So Annabelle's vengeacce complicates things, but not an impossible extent. On the other, in the scenario I mentioned, regardless of who has the credit for destroying Modius, Lucian is there to potentially step in.

                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                          3. The Camarilla is built around survival of the fittest but that doesn't mean that Princes going around and offing other Princes is something that won't draw attention.
                          Completely true, but there are always pretexts. As long as Lodin waits for the right opportunity, this obstacle too can be overcome.

                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                          4. Modius could pull himself together if he wanted to.
                          I don't think that's the case. He potentially could pull himself together, but I always gathered that Modius is now a broken shell of the man he once was. His many defeats have left him demoralized. He'd need to go through a serious psychological turnaround before he'd be truly capable of operating in Chicago's ruthless political climate.

                          And I'd always thought that Hind's Socialists view Modius now more as an old ally than someone they would see as really a legitimate leader.

                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                          5. I'm inclined to note that I think Modius and Juggler's feud is actually nonexistent.
                          I too think it's more playacting than real, but for subtler psychological reasons. I don't think there is any real connection between them at all. Instead, I think each of them THINKS they are successfully manipulating the other, and that the other one in reality is serving their own plans. So yes, Modius thinks by tolerating Juggler he is playing a deep game against Lodin, but in truth he's just a weak prince and Juggler won't do anything. And Juggler thinks by challenging Modius publicly, that he can easily demonstrate to the other Anarchs that he's a strong leader. But to do that, he needs Modius to stay as Prince as when he's gone, he can't do that anymore and actually has to do something.

                          But neither is as clever as they think they are. I imagine most of their interactions can often be seen as farcical as that between Captain Amazing and Casanova Frankenstein. The first 90 seconds is probably how much of their internal monologue goes.


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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                            Another way that players might approach this, which I don't recommend is that they also simply present the idea that they're not bad guys and that if the truth came out that a lot of innocent people would get caught in the crossfire. I.e. convince him that the Masquerade is important. I think Evelyn Stephens would be a good character for this as (at least in my games) she was a very good character for convincing people vampires weren't all bad. Certainly, if William DOES become obsessed with destroying the Kindred then you could have a nice little conflict between him and Gregory over the matter.
                            As part of the trio of hunters, I imagined Shepherd's main job is to work behind the scenes before they move in to kill. He gets the wiretaps, long distance tails, and financial forensics to figure out what exactly they're up against. So if Sullivan Dane is Van Helsing and Detective Stephens Lord Godalming (because he lost Lucy like Stephens lost his sister), then Shepherd is a mix of Quincy, Harker, and Seward in terms of the expertise he brings.

                            As for Evelyn, I think it is really only a matter of time before Gregory accepts his sister is truly lost and that she needs to be destroyed. So while Shepherd might vocalize destroying her early on, I think the conflict would be minimal - the best way to get Gregory on his side is to help him eliminate Juggler's band first. And while they do that, there will no doubt be events that divorce the siblings from each other.

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

                              As part of the trio of hunters, I imagined Shepherd's main job is to work behind the scenes before they move in to kill. He gets the wiretaps, long distance tails, and financial forensics to figure out what exactly they're up against. So if Sullivan Dane is Van Helsing and Detective Stephens Lord Godalming (because he lost Lucy like Stephens lost his sister), then Shepherd is a mix of Quincy, Harker, and Seward in terms of the expertise he brings.

                              As for Evelyn, I think it is really only a matter of time before Gregory accepts his sister is truly lost and that she needs to be destroyed. So while Shepherd might vocalize destroying her early on, I think the conflict would be minimal - the best way to get Gregory on his side is to help him eliminate Juggler's band first. And while they do that, there will no doubt be events that divorce the siblings from each other.
                              Weird, because I have had Gregory agree to be Embraced in two or three games.

                              My Gregory would be absolutely kill William or Sullivan before his sister is harmed.

                              Wrong or not.

                              +1 for the Mystery Men quote.
                              Last edited by CTPhipps; 06-14-2019, 09:35 PM.


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

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                              • #60
                                Detective Gregory Stephens



                                Detective Gregory Stephens is a character that we've already discussed through his relationship with Evelyn Stephens, potential relationship with Agent Shepard, and possible association with Sullivan Dane should everything go completely south. He's not a character I've actually used much but has been memorable the few times that I have.The real appeal of Gregory is the fact that he has a fundamentally human story that is very easy to relate to. He just wants to help his sister and is unfortunately doomed in this effort. Golconda might or might not exist but it's not going to be found by a Chicago/Gary homicide detective. There's no cure for Evelyn's condition and the only thing he might do for her is to kill her sire.

                                There's a lot of interesting subtext to also to the fact that Evelyn fed on him, told him everything, and Juggler then proceeded to severely injure him in the span of a couple of days. That has got to royally mess with your mind. Juggler has the Dominate power to erase Gregory's mind but given the fact he has a level 8 willpower, it's related to his sister, and other factors: it's no wonder that any attempt was a miserable failure.

                                It should be noted that Gregory is actually a Homicide Detective in Chicago but I think that was retconned to being one in Gary. There's not much point in him being a Chicago detective if the game is set in Gary after all. One thing is that the book also states that Gregory has already made contact with other Kindred in Chicago as well as assisted them. He's an interesting character straddling the line between Two Worlds. Yes, he hates Juggler but loves Evelyn so he's morally neutral to the Kindred as a whole.

                                There's multiple ways to continue this storyline and it's interesting to speculate on the possible ways to continue Gregory's development dependent on the player characters' actions. Here's some possibilities that I think works well.

                                1. Gregory turns against Evelyn: Depending on how her Humanity degrades, Evelyn might turn into a monster that Gregory has to put down. Sullivan or William can encourage this line of thought as well potentially Juggler's abuses.

                                2. Gregory turns against his partners: Gregory ultimately chooses Evelyn when he is forced into the choice between her or Humanity. In this respect, he fully becomes part of the vampire world.

                                3. Gregory is ghouled or Embraced: This is a darker interpretation and probably leads from #2 or an attempt to prevent him from #1. Evelyn would probably trigger degeneration in him with the former while the latter would result in him probably resenting her the way all vampire childer seem to do with their sires, no matter how well intentioned.

                                4. Gregory gets his mind-wiped: This would probably only be the result of Gregory deciding he doesn't want anything further with the supernatural world. He would voluntarily allow his mind to be wiped as well as believe his sister was dead.

                                5. Gregory is killed to uphold the Masquerade: Pretty much the most likely scenario. While Juggler may not be willing to kill Gregory himself, Lodin certainly wouldn't hesitate to do so.

                                For recommendations on other Kindred contacts, I think you could easily have Malcolm the Gangrel as someone he knew from Narcotics. Malcolm might be inclined to overlook the walking Masquerade violation that Gregory is because he's a Neonate as well as high as a kite half the time. Also, he might have instructed Gregory away from some of the early mistakes most Hunters make that would get him killed.
                                Last edited by CTPhipps; 06-15-2019, 12:11 PM.


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

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