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

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



    Hey folks,

    We've just finished our enormous Chicago by Night 5E review and it was one of my most well-appreciated works. We analyzed the characters, changes, and additions to the classic setting of Vampire: The Masquerade 1st Edition updated to the 21st century. It was a six month long project and similar to some RPG.net threads I did on the original Chicago by Night and Los Angeles by Night (before I was banned because I talked about what was in the "What's next on Game of Thrones" thread).

    It turns out I'm not completely done with writing reviews of the classic creations of 1st Edition Vampire: The Masquerade. This is going to be about one of the best locations in the history of the game and all-too-often-overlooked region. Yes, I of course speak of Gary, Indiana. We're going to analyze the Forged in Steel Chronicle, Baptism by Fire, Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, and Rusted Veins. Hopefully, we're also going to maybe analyze the Gary section of Let the Streets Run Red too but Is suspect I'll be doing a WIR of those as well.

    Gary has a special place in the heart of Vampire: The Masquerade because it was the first campaign setting for the world, being included as a "how do you do X" in the back of the original green book Vampire: The Masquerade as well as the 2nd Edition volume. It also served as our first introduction to Chicago. Even more so, it was the inspiration for Mark Rein Hagen to create Vampire: The Masquerade as a concept since he came up with the idea while driving through Gary, Indiana while on the way to Milwaukee.

    In any case, I hope everyone will participate in this thread as it's not just going to be me going over the various characters and ideas but also making my interpretations and suggestions to it. We all know Modius, Juggler, Sullivan Dane, and others after all.

    Articles

    Forged in Steel

    Concepts
    Premise
    Setting
    Character Contacts
    Antagonists and Mood
    Modius (NPC)
    Allicia (NPC)
    Juggler (NPC)
    Michael (NPC)
    Evelyn Stephens (NPC)
    Blood at Dawn (adventure)
    Danov (NPC)
    Lucian (NPC)
    Sullivan Dane (NPC)
    Agent Shepard (NPC)
    Is Modius as helpless as he appears? (analysis)
    Gregory Stephens (NPCs)
    Baptism by Fire part 1 (adventure)
    Baptism by Fire part 2 (adventure)
    Baptism by Fire part 3 (adventure)

    Ashes to Ashes

    Ashes to Ashes part 1
    Lodin (NPC)
    Roarke (NPC)
    Ashes to Ashes part 2
    Ashes to Ashes part 3
    Ashes to Ashes part 4
    Ashes to Ashes part 5
    Balthazar "Sheriff" (NPC)
    Ashes to Ashes Epilogue
    Damien (NPC)

    Blood Bond

    Blood Bond

    Dust to Dust

    Dust to Dust part 1
    Dust to Dust part 2
    Dust to Dust part 3

    Rusted Veins

    Rusted Veins part 1
    Rusted Veins part 2
    Rusted Veins part 3
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-08-2019, 06:50 AM.

  • CTPhipps
    replied
    On Page 225 of CHICAGO BY NIGHT 5E, we have an interesting bit of information on the events of "Blood Bond." Basically, in Edward Neally's entry, it explains that Emily was killed during one of Neally's frenzies. In short, Jackson's plan to drive his sire insane worked too well.

    You're right, Grumpy RPG Reviews, schemes of Kindred never work out well do they?

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...65117771263598

    Let the Streets Run Red is now back from approval.

    Here's the titles of the chapters.



    Woot.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    How I'd change Ashes to Ashes

    In order to make the story less railroady, here's what I would do to change it.

    * The player characters are told where to meet with Edward Neally and he impersonates Lodin the entire time before getting leading questions. He says that their membership in the city is conditional and requests they stay in the city with the Succubus Club listed as a place they should spend the night.

    * The player characters pick up something VERY weird is going on with Neally. They can do investigation with either the Anarchs or Sir. They can meet with Horace at the Cave or the Anarchs but I'm inclined to just skip Horace and have them go to the Anarch meeting. Sir can also give them any info they want about the city.

    * The player characters, if they do go to the Anarchs, encounter Sheriff who reveals that the Prince is missing (unaware or uncaring that it's a major state secret). Sheriff gets humiliated and depending on the PC's actions will want to send them to the Final Death. Indeed, it will be Sheriff who frames them for the murder.

    * From this point on, the PCs can go in any direction they want with Balthazar the one who is advocating they be the Fall Guys just because he's that kind of asshole. Ballard agrees to go along with this plot because he needs to provide "justice" for Lodin and making it a plot of Modius has little way of backfiring.

    * Neally or Damien proceed to tell the PCs that the only way they can save themselves is to find Lodin's real killer. Neally wants the players to rescue Lodin and promises great rewards from the Camarilla. Damien says that the best thing to happen is find the real killers, clear their name, and make sure that Lodin meets an "accident" along the way.

    * The player characters can meet with Ballard who makes the exact same offer as Damien. Ballard would be very happy if Lodin's real killers are found but ALSO "confirmation" of Lodin's death. *wink wink* *cough cough* *hint hint* Ballard promises to protect the PCs and arrange for them to be rewarded if that happens.
    But he's not exactly TRUSTWORTHY either.

    * I'd skip the whole Methuselah angle and shorten the story so it's all about finding Roarke, his Satanic cult, and Lodin as his prisoner.

    * The players can choose which faction to side with or even Lodin.

    What these Changes Mean

    The big focus of the game is making the player characters involve themselves in the Jyhad by choosing which faction and patron to support. Neally, Lodin, Ballard, or Damien all are on different sides of the conflict but want/offer different things. They've also made an enemy of Balthazar for no real fault of their own and he's going to tirelessly pursue them just because he gets his jollies off on murder. The player characters have to learn how to play the game quickly and figure out who they trust or what kind of bargain they can make from it.

    I'd remove the Helena and Menele part of the story because it's confusing the actual story and distracting from the central mystery that is Lodin's kidnapping.

    Changing Roarke's Motivation

    I'm inclined to make Roarke a character that is more formidable than just an angry ghoul and use this to introduce the Sabbat. The player characters arrive at the cult and they'll find Roarke as a 13th generation Tzimisce with Lodin as a prisoner and some flesh crafted monsters plus a bunch of ghouled blood cultists. Roarke was Embraced by the Sabbat as a joke to get information on Lodin and he lost all respect for his master once the Blood Bond was broken. The player characters have gotten lucky by arriving at a time when the rest of the pack is absent (or they can get backup from the Anarchs/Neally). So, they can finish him off without a problem probably.

    However, if the PCs want they can also make a deal with Roarke and the Sabbat. What sort of deal is anyone's guess but if they take it, they may end up as Sabbat spies in the city and joining the Sword of Caine.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-23-2019, 06:01 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Little_Miss_ Serneholt
    replied
    I am curious. Are there any Storytellers who have made Ashes to Ashes into a more working and less railroading campaign and if so how?

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Redwulfe View Post

    Do you have a link to the Q&A?

    Leave a comment:


  • Redwulfe
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    But yes, the most recent Q&A with MD had him say that he expects V5 Chicago to be out soon and I am very excited by that by itself.

    Since there's going to be no Kickstarter manuscript delay, I think they probably won't (and this is just my guess) do a manuscript preview, as nice as that would be, but I am of the mind that it won't be that long after CBN5E's release that they will follow.
    Do you have a link to the Q&A?

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Well, my hardcover copy of BECKETT'S JYHAD DIARY has arrived.

    I'll give it a bit longer to do my WIR of it.

    Its a book that needs to be read carefully.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Redwulfe View Post
    But I wants me some more V5 fix. *scratches arm*
    But yes, the most recent Q&A with MD had him say that he expects V5 Chicago to be out soon and I am very excited by that by itself.

    Since there's going to be no Kickstarter manuscript delay, I think they probably won't (and this is just my guess) do a manuscript preview, as nice as that would be, but I am of the mind that it won't be that long after CBN5E's release that they will follow.

    Leave a comment:


  • Redwulfe
    replied
    But I wants me some more V5 fix. *scratches arm*

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Redwulfe View Post
    Do we know how long the approval process takes. Folio is still in approvals, it’s been three weeks now. So I am honoring just a month or that we will see these go through fast. CbN seems to be done with layout. So I am hoping for a PDF of this by gencon. Would love to have some backer previews of folio and LTSRR by then as well.
    Well I'm sure every backer would want that but I am going to be satisfied no matter what.

    I'd be a massive hypocrite to counsel patience but I'm counselling patience.

    Leave a comment:


  • Redwulfe
    replied
    Do we know how long the approval process takes. Folio is still in approvals, it’s been three weeks now. So I am honoring just a month or that we will see these go through fast. CbN seems to be done with layout. So I am hoping for a PDF of this by gencon. Would love to have some backer previews of folio and LTSRR by then as well.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    LET THE STREETS RUN RED is now in Manuscript Approval.

    *raises goblet of vitae*

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    And that is the Gary Chronicles!

    Alas, I can't figure on ways to improve Rusted Veins.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Rusted Veins part 3

    The Traveling Salesman

    The player characters are then asked to meet with Modius' contact and pick up the package that he wanted from her. It turns out to be Bronwyn who is already a representative of the Circulatory System that has taken Zion and Sydney's brother Kenneth prisoner.

    Apparently, he's a very prized vessel for some quality about his blood. Bronwyn hates being in Gary and is barely able to stomach it. She just wants to get her money and go. She'll also leave if the player characters are the least bit rude to her. Most of her customers don't require her to wait or go to dilapidated churches I presume. Kenneth apparently possesses a unique Resonance that makes the people who drink of him immune to the Second Inquisition's scans. My idea being that this translates to giving a Kindred an automatic Blush of Life. Juggler will want Kenny if the player characters inform him about him and offers 30K.

    Two of the coterie have Kenny as their Touchstone and its an automatic Humanity Loss to turn him over to Modius for being drained continually for what is certain to a short life as a slave. Oh and the player characters also see Bronwyn has other prisoners in her delivery van. This is flat out slavery and a pretty good mortal conflict--especially if they know Bronwyn can't be beaten and the safer choice is to save the one person they know they can.

    The Climax

    Basically, the player characters have complete freedom to resolve this story however they see fit. They can hand over Kenny to Modius or Juggler but this is human trafficking someone to a fate worse than death. Modius has apparently attracted the Second Inquisition's attention because he's actually willing to leave Gary, Indiana (something he never would have previously done) in exchange for Kenny. That's a deal with the Devil but some player characters might think it's worth it.

    A fittingly dramatic conclusion to the adventure is that Sullivan Dane is willing to substitute himself for Kenneth in order to save the boy's life. This will result in Modius drinking Sullivan Dane (probably dry) and killing both the Prince as well as Modius. It doesn't have to do either but I think it's a suitable end to the Witch Hunter's life as well as Modius--if you like big and dramatic. Sullivan goes out like a Boss and walks the walk as a defender of humanity. Modius gets an ironic end that is still dramatic too.

    This is how Dane died in my primary campaign and it worked well.

    Epilogue

    The Storyteller is expected to do a meeting of the Succubus Club with the new Primogen of Chicago: Critias, Marcel, Rosa Hernandez, Al Capone, Son, and Khalid. They allude to the "New Prince" and basically suggest that these roving gangs of Anarchs are a threat he will deal with.

    DUN DUN DUN

    Great foreshadowing there. I'm kind of sad Al Capone didn't get to be Primogen for long.

    Thoughts

    I think Rusted Veins is a really good adventure and I'm kind of sad it wasn't included in the main book because it really does an excellent job of showing the themes of the new edition as well as setting up Chicago by Night 5E. The fact it's all over the life of a single Blood Doll (albeit one who can hide you from the Inquisition) and a drug deal makes it all the more impressive. The player characters don't have to engage with the morality of the actions they take but if they do, it's especially powerful.

    The only downside is it's very much a Tournament Module with ties to its pregens but that's how these things roll anyway.

    10/10
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-08-2019, 06:39 AM.

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