Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

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

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Grumpy RPG Reviews
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Antagonists

    We're almost to the NPC section of Forged in Steel but it's interesting to take time to talk about how different the situation was in 1st Edition. The Antagonist section of Forged in Steel basically says that the majority of conflict the players will have will start with Hunters. This is an interesting fact that plays right into 5th Edition.

    We have no less than three vampire hunters in the relatively small Forged in Steel supplement with Sullivan Dane being the hardass Society of Leopold Inquisitor, Agent Shepard as an FBI agent investigating the existence of the supernatural, and Detective Stephens who hates Juggler but isn't necessarily against all Kindred (let alone his sister).

    What I need to pause a second and discuss is the fact that while it'd be easy to execute a vampire hunter, all three of these vampire hunters are not people that the PCs should find it easy to do so. Sullivan Dane is full of True Faith and runs rather than engages in a direct fight. Gregory Stephens is a cop and the brother of a friend. Killing an FBI agent shouldn't have to be explained as something that is a bad idea for a vampire.

    The Chronicle also said that this is going to build up to a massive confrontation with the Kindred of Chicago (that aren't detailed here). Apparently, something is going to eventually trigger Lodin to decide to finish off Modius the Prince of Gary as well as his tiny coterie of minions. MRH encourages Storytellers to have the players develop a hate of Chicago.

    Which? Wha?

    I'm not sure the oddball collection of Gary's Kindred (note: not the people of Gary themselves) are a hill worth dying on.

    Mood

    Decay.

    Well, no shit. I don't actually have anything to add to this but they mention that Gary's mood is decay. I can confidently say that has been established.

    Very established.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Character Contacts

    Preludes were one of the things that early V:TM stressed heavily but sort of fell off the radar. The idea that you should be slowly ease each individual character into the story instead of the tried and true D&D method.

    MRH: You should give each individual player an intro to the story so they can get comfortable with the setting, politics, and your character's arc.
    Me: You all meet at the Succubus Club when a mysterious stranger tells you of a treasure map to Al Capone's vault.

    Needless to say I've improved since then when I was doing exactly what I did before V:TM. The Preludes are pre-generated for the various characters here in Gary and give you a lot of insight into not only how you're expected to progress in this story but also the Gary NPCs themselves.

    Character Contacts basically are a way to follow up the Prelude by having the characters establish a relationship with one of the Gary NPCs and how things might change. The big difference between V:TM and other roleplaying games was always in the way I described it, "V:TM is the game about nothing...and vampires."It's Seinfeld in the primary appeal of the game, at least in 1st Edition, is that you don't HAVE to adventure to have a bunch of games. A lot of games can consist just of interacting with NPCs and that's fun because they're an eclectic cast of characters while also vampires. That's interesting enough for some games.

    * Romance: The Allicia Story Path is that the player characters are stalked by Allicia and eventually she wants to share blood with them. She can't communicate with them via her voice but there's no talk about using paper and it's years before texting became a thing. Still, I think the Allicia character suffers from the major flaw of the fact the Storyteller has to communicate entirely by expressions that the players can't see. Even so, I've always been fond of the Allicia character and think she's full of potential. Modius has kept her as his slave-childe for decades and the fact she's a beautiful willowy Mia Farrow type that is being used as a femme fatale is very Gothic. Obviously, any relationship that turns sincere will mean that she is now an enemy of Modius.

    * Charity: The Michael path results in the player characters befriending the mentally-challenged vampire. Michael is a character that brings up a lot of questions and I'm going to bring those up in his write-up. However, he's meant to be an innocent character and a vampire who is lacking the horrors of the Beast. The player charactrs have a choice of protecting him from the horrors of the undead life but I think an equally interesting option is going for the "Rain Man" option. Michael is a potential Masquerade breach and a danger to the undead as a whole that may have to be put down for the greater good (of the damned).

    * Dangerous Friendship: The Evelyn Story Path is about befriending a beautiful (and more talkative) vampiress who has a bit more emotional heft. She's broken the Masquerade, she's an illegal Embrace, Juggler's childe, and many other potential ways to hint things. There's a lot of room to go with Evelyn and I think she makes a more interesting love interest as well. Brujah girl for the win.

    * Adopted Son: The player character is "adopted" by Modius who manages to hide his deep well of crazy long enough to become their Malwai. Honestly, I think "Mentor" sounds better and wish that 5th Edition hadn't gone with that. Modius also tries to set the player up with Allicia, only for it to fail miserably (probably because she hates Modius underneath her Blood Bond). Modius says that if ONLY Lodin wasn't a problem, he'd give Gary to the players and step down. There's all sorts of interesting ways that this can fall apart and fall apart this will.

    * Sinister Secret: The player character is actually Juggler's childe and another illegal Embrace he made. This requires them to be a 9th generation Brujah but is a pretty interesting angle. Given the way we see Modius do a "non-reaction" to the Embrace of Evelyn, it seems that Juggler is probably less afraid of Modius than Lodin. It also is a decent insight into Juggler's character as he is not actually interested in rebelling so much as the APPEARANCE of rebelling. It's interesting that the first Anarch we meet in the game world is also the first sellout.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Well I'm not trying to punish you on it. Hindsight is 20-20 and it took me years to think bigger than, "Well the game is almost over and I have no more plots...MORE WAVES OF ZOMBIES!"

    Generally, though for how I would run The Auction with just FORGED IN STEEL as a resource. The result of my skill as a Storyteller growing over the course of decades.

    1. The player characters know someone in a vaguely friendly capacity, either a homeless person or a social worker, and they witness them getting kidnapped in broad moonlight by the shoved in a black van method.

    2. Whether they derrail the van or manage to track it down to a local gang hideout is anyone's guess but the player characters can bluff, bribe, intimidate, shoot, or sneak into the gang's headquarters to find that their friend has been shoved into a literal cage.

    3. The player characters presumably rescue their friend and the other captives but also find out from any survivors that they had been rounded up to be sold to a mysterious man named Williams. You can either leave a trail of breadcrumbs to the Auction in notes with the gangs or just know its going to happen soon.

    4. The player characters are then contacted by Danov or Allicia as the resident non-shitty Kindred in the area. They warn the PCs that the Auction is conducted for and by Lucian or Modius and they run the risk of pissing off sme very powerful Kindred if they disrupt it.

    Drop hints they can contact either the police (Stephens is the only cop who cares), Shepard (The FBI would love to get involved), or even Sullivan Dane (who shall spare thee Kindred in exchange
    for helping these poor wretched souls).

    5. The issue with the Auction being that you can go guns blazing and sadly this will probably endanger the subjects with Williams fully willing to burn the church down with everyone inside to prevent evidence of his crimes coming to light. Bringing in the mortal authorities might result in the players having to deal with customers frenzying and a potential Masquerade breach.

    Either way, Modius and Lucian will both be furious.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 06-06-2019, 09:39 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    Actually, I don't think the Auction is meant to be more than a one shot adventure and an ongoing part of the setting. As I've explained to my players and fellow STs, there's nothing wrong with a one shot session as that's still an adventure. I very much think you ARE intended to simply go in guns blazing, rescue the slaves, and kill Williams.
    That's certainly possible, but it is at most 30 minutes of a game session and not at all challenging.

    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    The difference is in V:TM that is only the BEGINNING of matters because you have ticked off the following people:

    * Annabelle who no longer has her brainwashed gardening staff.
    * Son who has lost his torture victims.
    * Gordon Keaton who is eating people regularly that won't be missed.
    * Whoever else.
    This is completely true, but requires to have both Chicago By Night and an ST willing to make those connections since there is nothing in the text itself (that I recall) that makes anything like this explicit.

    Now, making those connections isn't difficult for me (or I assume my old gaming buddies) 25 years later. But it was a bit beyond us at the time. And if the ST did hit us with all these repercussions, we'd have probably thought them unfair since it was completely beyond our expectations. We had very definite expectations of what an RPG was supposed to be about, and it took some time to understand how Vampire was "meant" to be played. As we slowly adopted a gaming stance in Vampire that was more appropriate for the setting/genre, we definitely lost some gamers (while gaining others - Vampire was hugely important at the time at attracting new people to RPGs who had never played before, generally fans of Anne Rice and Neil Gaiman who were both immensely popular at the time) who didn't like that style. Nothing wrong with that. But it was a conceptually leap that this was not a dungeon crawl type of game. A lot of early game sessions was us inadverently trying to figure out a new style of play that didn't mean the entire group of PCs went into a place to kill the baddies.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
    My friends and I were from the Chicago area when Vampire came out, and we started our PCs in Gary as well because that's what the book had. And we liked the idea of a game placed in "our" hometown city. But we all thought it was a little ridiculous that all these white PC and NPC vampires were in Gary since the city was around 90% black at the time. So while we accepted the premise and understood that Gary really didn't have a population of vampires itself (since everyone is actually there to be in Chicago, and this is just some strange waystation), it was very difficult to accept how even the few vampires who lived there could hunt and feed without it causing a racial stir of some kind. For people not from the Chicago area, this might not have been known.
    (looks up information about the city)

    In 1992, 13% of Gary's population is white and 87% is Black with a less than a third of one percent as Asian.

    Interestingly, this came up within both my games as well as the official supplement. I always found it somewhat notable that there's only two black characters in the supplement with Evelyn and Detective Stephens. Evelyn's art, however, is as white as anyone else's. Not in the description, though, I wondered if that was because of an artist's mistake or the assumption that all vampires would be on the paler side.

    It's not necessarily an issue, though, because the player characters if they're playing white characters are visitors from Chicago brought there to be sired and there's only seven vampires in all of Gary. Modius and Allicia have to be white by nature of their background as relics of different white-privileged times. Lucian is a Methuselah from Rome and Danov is Russian. However, I do think making Michael or Juggler (or both) black wouldn't be a bad change to the setting. This notably also makes Agent Shepard and Sullivan Dane stand out like cue-bals (to quote "Live and Let Die").

    Rusted Veins picked up on this element and all of the starting characters for the game are black.
    '
    As for how this affected my own work, it was thinking about this paradox when making my Detroit game that I was inspired to do Straight Outta Fangton.



    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
    I've never actually seen this story hook come into play. It didn't happen in either of the Chicago setting chronicles I played in. I don't know if it was because it bothered the ST too much, or if it simply wasn't intriguing enough.

    One possible reason might be because as early players of the game, we were very stuck in D&D mode. The idea that something like this would be an ongoing setting element to interact with, as opposed to a "dungeon" to encounter and "solve" (meaing we go in and kill Williams - and that obviously was not hard for a group of vampires), was something we only painfully learned as we adjusted play style. We really liked the idea of playing Vampire, but hadn't figured out how its style was different than other RPGs we had played.
    Actually, I don't think the Auction is meant to be more than a one shot adventure and an ongoing part of the setting. As I've explained to my players and fellow STs, there's nothing wrong with a one shot session as that's still an adventure. I very much think you ARE intended to simply go in guns blazing, rescue the slaves, and kill Williams.

    The difference is in V:TM that is only the BEGINNING of matters because you have ticked off the following people:

    * Annabelle who no longer has her brainwashed gardening staff.
    * Son who has lost his torture victims.
    * Gordon Keaton who is eating people regularly that won't be missed.
    * Whoever else.

    Now it's something I see a lot more potential for as a setting element. When I finally started my own Chicago setting chronicle, it was something I intended to use. But I started the players in 1920s Prohibition era Chicago, and any ruined Gary with an Auction was many decades into the "future" of the chronicle. And we ended the chronicle well before that.
    I've adapted the Auction multiple times in various stories but the actual nature of it being something that requires a ruined Gary isn't necessarily major, IMHO. Vampires and slavery are easily justified due to the nature of their powers as well as constant need for blood.
    Variations on the theme are the following:

    * Williams is actually Lucian's ghoul and not a renegade at all. Lucian is from Ancient Rome and sees nothing wrong with the chattel slavery trade. He's also the one who mesmerizes and uses Conditioning to make the slaves pliant in a way that leaves them useful servants of vampires.

    * Williams is actually Modius' ghoul that serves as the chief source of income for Modius in a city that no longer has a steel mill. Modius will be furious if the players disrupt matters and use his powers to wreck a terrible vengeance.

    * William is a ghoul slave of a master he destroyed and sees the irony of slaving when he was a former slave himself but refuses to let himself die (he's old enough that losing the blood will kill him).

    * Variation on the slaving can be done as Mafia III did it at the hands of the local KKK stand-in who was deeply amused at the act and Wach Dogs 3 made it a purely sex-trafficking business.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 06-05-2019, 10:27 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    * The Auction: This is a surprising bit that is more an adventure hook than setting element. There's an actual slavery ring here in Gary that is operated by a ghoul named Williams. Williams kidnaps men, women, and children and holds weekly slave auctions every Saturday at an abandoned church (for added irony). Many Kindred in Chicago come here to buy the former street people (and also flat out citizens of Gary kidnapped from their homes) for their meals. My assumption is quite a few of these Kindred don't outright KILL their purchases but brainwash them to add to their herd--which isn't any better.

    This is a VERY easy adventure hook and one that nicely does "showing" rather than "telling" for how bad the World of Darkness is. There's also a bit unsaid here that the vast majority of Gary citizens are black ("White Flight" was invented as a term to describe the sudden removal of so many of Gary's richer families) so if you wanted to play this as a racially-charged storyline you can as well. The police clearly don't give a shit and I'm of the mind Modius is probably a regular customer here.

    MRH feels the need to suggest it's better for the players to shut down the Auction than participate in it (Conscience roll, difficulty 10). I'd say "No shit, Sherlock" but I've had plenty of players determined to be the biggest monster they can be.
    I've never actually seen this story hook come into play. It didn't happen in either of the Chicago setting chronicles I played in. I don't know if it was because it bothered the ST too much, or if it simply wasn't intriguing enough.

    One possible reason might be because as early players of the game, we were very stuck in D&D mode. The idea that something like this would be an ongoing setting element to interact with, as opposed to a "dungeon" to encounter and "solve" (meaing we go in and kill Williams - and that obviously was not hard for a group of vampires), was something we only painfully learned as we adjusted play style. We really liked the idea of playing Vampire, but hadn't figured out how its style was different than other RPGs we had played.

    Now it's something I see a lot more potential for as a setting element. When I finally started my own Chicago setting chronicle, it was something I intended to use. But I started the players in 1920s Prohibition era Chicago, and any ruined Gary with an Auction was many decades into the "future" of the chronicle. And we ended the chronicle well before that.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    My friends and I were from the Chicago area when Vampire came out, and we started our PCs in Gary as well because that's what the book had. And we liked the idea of a game placed in "our" hometown city. But we all thought it was a little ridiculous that all these white PC and NPC vampires were in Gary since the city was around 90% black at the time. So while we accepted the premise and understood that Gary really didn't have a population of vampires itself (since everyone is actually there to be in Chicago, and this is just some strange waystation), it was very difficult to accept how even the few vampires who lived there could hunt and feed without it causing a racial stir of some kind. For people not from the Chicago area, this might not have been known.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
    What's more, it's not just that vampires in Chicago go to Gary and use it as their personal playground.

    It's that Modius lets them. Indeed, he counts on it.

    Modius is the defeated, broken Prince to a depleted, brittle city. Lodin won, and Modius never got over it. But he's still a Prince, with all that entails (at least on paper). Modius probably couldn't stop Chicago residents from coming in, feeding on the citizens, and Embracing as they like. Modius can make it legal, though, as far as the Camarilla is concerned. He lets these things happen, and responds to questions with "yes, I allowed it, for it is my right as Prince of Gary".

    This is Modius's revenge, as petty as it is. This is how Modius sticks it to Lodin. Lodin may have taken everything else, but Gary still belongs to Modius, at least on paper. That's not nearly enough to win, since Gary is such a hellhole, of worth to almost no one. But it's enough to be the fly in Lodin's ointment. The "vassal Prince" that undermines Lodin's authority and edict against the Embrace, and who is so pathetic that LODIN would look bad if he struck back. It would make the mighty Prince of Chicago look weak and petty, if he stooped to wiping Modius from the earth, because Modius already looks weak and petty.

    That's what makes Modius interesting. He's already lost, and could be unseated easily. But no one wants to take Gary - a squalid, rusted hellhole - and they gain little else from taking down Modius. Unless, of course, you're a vampire or vampires who already have nothing going for you (like the PCs). He's a gnat to the giants of vampire politics, but a dangerous foe to those on the bottom rungs...as well as an opportunity.

    As a "Starter Prince", he's brilliant.
    Agreed 100%

    One thing I'm going to get into the issue is also that while Modius is a weak prince, he's still fairly solidly an Elder and if he wasn't 9/10ths of the way to becoming Roderick Usher (Edgar Allan Poe reference ftw!) then he'd probably just abandon Gary and take up position among Chicago's Elders. There, he'd be close to Annabelle and function reasonably well among the Harpies. Being an anachronistic scheming bitter old coot is pretty much what the Camarilla exists to fawn over and soothe the egos thereof.

    However, Modius is a great example of an Elder who can't let go of his existing title and domain (as worthless as it) because while Modius is a shitty Prince, he is still a Prince and "To reign in hell is better to serve in Heaven." Except, of course, he's serving in hell as well. And while he's such a shitty prince, the players are likely to underestimate that while he's not a "real" ruler, he's still an Elder and has power far vaster than any individual of them has. Pride is the sin of Modius and the more he has nothing to be proud about, the more he clings to the trappings of power.

    Dust to Dust also gets into the fact that he needs Juggler as much as Juggler needs him because if he has an enemy (other than Lodin) then at least he has someone who cares about him. One of the possible endings for Modius I had was the players find him in the basement of his mansion, completely insane and with a dozen mindless servants feeding him and pretending he's the Prince. Also potentially hitting wassail with no one caring he kills a different every night in the Gary streets.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 06-05-2019, 09:47 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bluecho
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    * The Prince of Chicago has banned all new Neonates in Chicago

    So what was the reason anyone would come to Gary? I mean, if it's a crappy dystppian urban hellscape (in-universe) then why would any vampire stay there? Well, it turns out that Lodin has banned new Neonates in Chicago in order to cut off support to the Anarchs as well as consolidate his power. However, that just means the Elders went to Modius and turned Gary into a training ground for them.
    What's more, it's not just that vampires in Chicago go to Gary and use it as their personal playground.

    It's that Modius lets them. Indeed, he counts on it.

    Modius is the defeated, broken Prince to a depleted, brittle city. Lodin won, and Modius never got over it. But he's still a Prince, with all that entails (at least on paper). Modius probably couldn't stop Chicago residents from coming in, feeding on the citizens, and Embracing as they like. Modius can make it legal, though, as far as the Camarilla is concerned. He lets these things happen, and responds to questions with "yes, I allowed it, for it is my right as Prince of Gary".

    This is Modius's revenge, as petty as it is. This is how Modius sticks it to Lodin. Lodin may have taken everything else, but Gary still belongs to Modius, at least on paper. That's not nearly enough to win, since Gary is such a hellhole, of worth to almost no one. But it's enough to be the fly in Lodin's ointment. The "vassal Prince" that undermines Lodin's authority and edict against the Embrace, and who is so pathetic that LODIN would look bad if he struck back. It would make the mighty Prince of Chicago look weak and petty, if he stooped to wiping Modius from the earth, because Modius already looks weak and petty.

    That's what makes Modius interesting. He's already lost, and could be unseated easily. But no one wants to take Gary - a squalid, rusted hellhole - and they gain little else from taking down Modius. Unless, of course, you're a vampire or vampires who already have nothing going for you (like the PCs). He's a gnat to the giants of vampire politics, but a dangerous foe to those on the bottom rungs...as well as an opportunity.

    As a "Starter Prince", he's brilliant.
    Last edited by Bluecho; 06-05-2019, 09:25 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Redwulfe View Post
    Glad to see your insights into the Gary setting. It has always been one of my favorite kicking off points in my campaigns. Can hardly wait to see its update in LtSRR.
    Thanks. I hope people will pop in with their thoughts and how they used the various NPCs. Plenty of characters here have been wildly different in different hands.

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X