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

  • [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
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bluecho
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    Private Jordan Lynch: Jordan Lynch is a female military veteran who lost her leg in the Iraq War before returning home. Embraced by Anita Wainwright, she's a die-hard Anarch who is less than trusting of Juggler. She's presently on a "mission" to help Juggler carry out the drug deal. Its implied that she's still missing a leg despite the fact most Kindred would have regenerated it with blood beforehand.
    .
    I assume that's only true for a "fresh" wound. A missing leg that was allowed to heal isn't a "wound" anymore. It's Private Lynch's new "normal". Maybe if she'd been caught and Embraced shortly after getting wounded, it would be a different story. As it stands, the Embrace could do nothing for her that it couldn't do for a person who had scars. I don't know how it works in V5, but in previous editions this would be handled by giving the woman a Flaw (probably Lame).

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Rusted Veins part 2

    The Gentleman Gamer

    The actual adventure is written by Matthew Dawkins and I've never not been entertained by the Gentleman Gamer who has managed to really bring back a game that I had long abandoned. In general, what I think of as the "Mathew Dawkins style" is a combination of continuity porn (always fun for Old Timers), a somewhat more grounded style than 2nd Edition, and a bit more darker edge than previous editions. I like to think it's a more adult Bloodlines-style as a good way of explaining it and Rusted Veins is no different. I've never read a bad product he's been involved in and everyone usually has some duds.

    The New Gary

    Gary is re-imagined for the V5 era by stating that it is a urban warzone between Modius and Juggler, who have gone from having an irrelevant rivalry with no subjects to an actual struggle. According to this module, there's 10-20 Kindred living in Gary at any given time with the majority being exiles from other domains like Milwaukee and Chicago. They don't last very long as either they eventually leave or die. Modius is actually powerful on a personal level and while he struggles to assert his control over the other Kindred in the city--he can at least try. Juggler, by contrast, mostly just wants to build up his own Anarch army even if it doesn't seem like he wants to use it for anything. He's the Baron of Gary and has much claim to it as Modius has Prince but most of the Anarchs think of Juggler as "too old" to be a real leader.

    This is actually a really good re-imagining of Gary and makes it the kind of place you can legitimately conduct a campaign that's interesting. There's enough Kindred that you can have adventures in it but you have Modius and Juggler as both politically irrelevant but STILL DANGEROUS. Which is a nice contrast to Gary.

    Modius V5

    The Modius of V5 is identified as a French African colonial, which is a good bit of background and about 200 years old. It's noted that he has numerous spies among the Anarchs of his domain so has as much claim to the loyalty of them as any other Kindred. However, the Camarilla no longer apparently recognizes his Praxis (ouch) so he's completely isolated. He and Juggler actually worked together to revitalize Gary but have recently had a falling out.

    Juggler V5

    Juggler is revealed to now be the Baron of Gary due to the fact that he did a zombie movie (the one from Dust to Dust with obvious signs of tampering that somehow mocked the Camarilla). This resulted in Isaac Abrams and Velvet Velour requesting that he be formally acknowledged as a Baron. Most Anarchs stil don't like Juggler and call him a "self-serving criminal" which is admittedly not that big of an insult among the Anarchs.

    The Drug Deal

    The heart of the adventure is the "Drug Deal Gone Bad" that is a classic storyline for criminal tales, only this one being for vampires. It's a deal for about 30K worth of cash in exchange for a bunch of high-quality heroin. This is where the author makes use of some of the original Baptism by Fire humor in the joke that Modius is actually the person respnsible for the drug deal and is going to screw it up every bit as much as he did Gary. Modius could sell his high quality heroin for a lot more than he's doing so but is willing to dramatically lowball it (and he gets even less than 30K) for the money.

    We find out the reason why later in the game.
    The premise is that Juggler has decided to disrupt the deal by informing the Gary police. Being the World of Darkness, the cops who decide to interrupt a high-value drug deal aren't particularly GOOD cops and are here to steal both the heroin as well as the money for themselves. This is meant to be just one of those minor moves in the Jyhad (even by Juggler and Modius' standards) but is something that can lead to a shoot out that will get a bunch of mortals killed. Either the cops and gang members or the homeless people in the area caught in the crossfire.

    Despite the fact that they're all Neonates, they're still ****ing vampires. They can and probably will trace the cops back to their stash house (obviously not the police station). That way they can get back the money as well as the drugs for either themselves or to theoretically continue the deal that was supposed to go down before. Personally, though, it'll be the rare Kindred who won't keep one or the other.

    We get another Dust to Dust reference with a "Dead Zone" in Gary where the amount of cancer and other conditions have skyrocketed due to a "Giovanni plot." So, apparently, there was an affect by her ritual--just not much of one. Well not much of one in the context that may have caused massive continuous misery and death far beyond most Kindred will do by them. Most Kindred are murderers and will kill dozens of people across their unlives but this could be hundreds of people stretching across generations.
    Modius will then contact the player characters and demand they get back his money as well as heroin. He promises rewards but obviously can't give them money (or he'll offer them an IOU--which no prince normally would be caught dead doing. A Major Boon? Yes. An IOU? Never). Sullivan Dane will then contact Zion and ask to set him up with Modius because, well, Dane and Modius are mortal enemies. I suspect Dane has killed many stronger vampires than Modius over the years and more dangerous ones but as lame as the Prince of Gary is--he's still a 200 year old Elder and is one of those Elders with dozens of bodies behind him if not a hundred or more.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-09-2019, 12:46 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Rusted Veins part 1

    Rusted Veins is the climax of this thread, at least until the release of Let the Streets Run Red. Basically, it was a convention adventure that I was lucky to get a copy of the PDF for and it's unfortunate that it's not available anymore. The Alpha Playtest of V5 at Gencon August of 2017 was written by Kenneth Hite, Jason Andrew, and Matthew Dawkins with insight from Jason Carl, Karim Muammar, and Martin Ericsson. So it's a pretty prestigious set of writers there.

    The majority of the 104 page document is basically the Starter Kit.for Vampire: The Masquerde 5E. It gives the basic rules for the game right up until Page 55, where we're introduced to the Sample Characters that give us a sense of what the Adventure will be like.

    The Pre-Gens

    Makayla "Malort" Elliot: A black female cop who was corrupt and dirty in the Gary PD. She ended up shaking down the wrong Kindred and ended up Embraced for her efforts. She's now a woman covered in fingernails. She's trying to keep her new condition secret from her mother and children that she stays in contact with and is presently on police disability. Makayla sells the locations of elderly residents to her fellow Kindred so they can be eaten--which is delightfully evil. She's also strangely afraid of a local police man who is blackmailing her and I'm kind of wondering why that is a problem unless they're Kindred themselves.

    Jeremiah "Padre" Jefferson: Another black character (which is appreciated and reflects the actuality of Gary), he's a former veteran who returned to Gary to become a self-appointed servant of the Lord. One of his actions resulted in him being Embraced by a Nosferatu. He hasn't lost his faith as his severe burn scars actually allow him to operate in regular society. Sullivan Dane has made contact with him and promised him redemption if he can help him get to Modius. This seems a bit out of character for Sullivan and more like Nathaniel Borduff (who could be using Dane's identity).

    Both Makayla and Jeremiah might made good children of Danov but Nathaniel Borduff might be a good substitute for Jeremiah.
    Zion "Snowman" Middleton: A vampire drug dealer that was embraced by a Gangrel attempting to figure out how to substitute street drugs for the cravings. The Gangrel also had designs on Modius' praxis (HA!) but Zion ended up turning him over to the Prince for a Blood Hunt. Now Zion is in Modius' favor and might as well be Modius' Sheriff since I can't imagine anyone else caring. Snowman plans to eventually eliminate Modius and take his place since, bluntly, Gary is a good place for a man like him. He's also the brother of Sydney Middleton.

    I don't think Lucian would be this one's sire since he could have the Princedom of Gary at will and isn't a drug addict. My inclination was that he was probably sired by Malcolm. Malcolm probably would be able to bargain with Modius to escape.
    Sydney One-Round Middleton: Gary's answer to Ronda Rousey and an MMA fighter who managed to escape the town, only to get Embraced by Juggler in order to give himself another fight. She's continuing to fight but has badly injured some of her opponent. Sydney is a legitimate Anarch believer but believes (correctly) Juggler is full of shit.

    Private Jordan Lynch: Jordan Lynch is a female military veteran who lost her leg in the Iraq War before returning home. Embraced by Anita Wainwright, she's a die-hard Anarch who is less than trusting of Juggler. She's presently on a "mission" to help Juggler carry out the drug deal. Its implied that she's still missing a leg despite the fact most Kindred would have regenerated it with blood beforehand.

    Elijah "Baggie" Franklin: A drug addict Embraced by Zion after he was invited with a bunch of other users to a party where they were massacred. Apparently, Zion felt enough guilt to turn him. Baggie is officially Zion's sidekick and childe but he's actually answering directly to Juggler. Juggler may not be a Ride or Die Anarch but he's got more experience managing coteries and local politics than some Elders. So he's assigned Baggie an assignment as a spy to undermine Zion until he's forced to make a deal with Juggler. Baggie is playing them both against one another as while he's not fond of them--he's grateful to both Juggler's help and Zion making him a monster. After all, he was a junkie before but now blood satisfies the cravings while being manageable.

    Overall, this is a pretty good coterie.

    I also appreciate that they're all African American even if a couple are stereotypical.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Personally, I agree that making Dellisle more than just a savage snarling Beast and a more rounded Humanity 1 character that is still totally evil is a much more interesting use of a 200 year old Samedi Elder.

    Good use of the Third Man quotes there.

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X