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  • Large Scale Vampire Projects

    The fluff regardless of edition brings up time and again how influential, rich, and powerful the vampires are. In particular clans such as the Ventrue and the Giovanni are renowned as bankers and major business players. But even when you go down to the individual vampire rather than looking at entire clans, you still have business men and women who are multi-billionaires.

    So I found myself becoming curious about what exactly these sorts of characters could actually do in game. What sort of infrastructure projects they could achieve or want to achieve to benefit them as vampires. What exactly could a coterie of investment kindred do in the world of darkness?
    As an example if even a single elder of the Tremere clan invested in a
    doomsday condo
    , V5 wouldn't have seen the Tremere clan decapitated by the 2nd inquisition.

    But when you think about it, buying and renovating an ICBM silo into a hardened chantry that would stand up to a nuclear strike and still not crack, isn't that big of a project. It is a glorified safe room. So what would be a bigger project, something that would merit the attention of several kindred siphoning hundreds of millions of dollars into it.

    I could see projects like constructing "company towns" out in the middle of no where, where everything has been built from the ground up to function for the vampiric residents benefit, with an entire below ground city for vampires and a mortal city above that generates revenue and blood. With the city location being so isolated and often in hostile terrain, even if mortals escaped they would have a couple hundred miles of desert to cross before getting to civilization again.

    Alternatively what would happen if a group like the Giovanni or V20 Tremere started doing massive public works projects to enhance their rituals. Any one who has seen either of the Full Metal Alchemist anime can imagine a few scenarios, and most other clans would have no clue what was going on because they wouldn't recognize the thaumaturgical or necromantic implications of the projects. Admittedly this falls into the territory of plot point rather than game mechanic, but in truth it is just scaling up what you can do with a haven or chantry.

    Even something as mundane as building private military contractor company becomes relatively straight forward. A few contacts, a little dominate here and there, a little ghouling to make the soldiers out perform the competition, and all that is required is the money to make it all happen. A coterie of business vampire characters could potentially bring entire private armies to the table with relatively little effort.

    Obviously everything discussed so far goes way beyond the scope of games where the focus is on who wore what fashion to the last party at Elysium, but at the same time in the modern age with telecommunications and international business being what it is, there really isn't much stopping mind numbingly rich characters even from character generation building an international power base of frightening proportions.

    Also when doing projects like this, who has authority over it in the vampire society? Does the Prince of the city where the vampire resides have say over what they can do business wise on a different continent? Or does a Prince have to constantly fight off vampiric out of state investors and not be able to call on other leaders to curtail their subjects?

  • #2
    Going to recycle this idea from the thread about defeating the Second Inquisition...

    Synthetic Blood Factories: gather up the Thin Blood Alchemists and have them get to work on producing a viable blood substitute for the kindred to feed on. Similar to what they did in the True Blood series. This would also open up the possibility for grander projects, such as vampires being able to "safely" drop the Masquerade, without fear of every mortal on the planet trying to obliterate them.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Thoth View Post
      [LEFT] Also when doing projects like this, who has authority over it in the vampire society? Does the Prince of the city where the vampire resides have say over what they can do business wise on a different continent? Or does a Prince have to constantly fight off vampiric out of state investors and not be able to call on other leaders to curtail their subjects?
      no one, that sort of thing is perfectly legal and supported by mechanics,
      the only sanctioned actions are masquerade breaking initiatives such as blood cults (that are sanctioned in both sects, but often ignored in the sabbat),

      the Prince (or higher ranking official) can sanction the initiative if it attracts too much attention

      otherwise, rival elders, or any elder who don't like youngers taking too much power for themselves may attempt to sabotage the initiative (by convincing the Prince that it can break the masquerade for example, or by having one of the youngers blood bound etc)


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      • #4
        While site-based infrastructure projects seem quite useful, such as a town designed for vampires, I think non-site projects are potentially more useful. I'm talking about using wealth and influence to move public policy, social trends, and cultural mores.

        Some of these are examples of what rich and influential vampires might do, or may have already done:
        • Nosferatu could use Influence with policy-makers (as opposed to lawmakers) at the national level to require all new main branch storm drains be built to higher standards, including having walkways, and a minimum diameter of 2.5 meters. This could be guised as addressing worker safety rules, flood management improvements, or environmental concerns. Construction companies and labor unions would likely support the change, though local governments would oppose the additional cost. If the Nosferatu were successful, thousands of new miles of underground would open to settlement.
        • Brujah might offer generous grants to academics studying in the humanities and social sciences, funding think-tanks which support a more open, democratic society. As this work trickles forward through academia, the Brujah can infiltrate educational authorities who are responsible for developing primary and secondary school curricula and textbooks. It may take a few decades, but someday the vast majority of people will see the collective workers' struggle and historical figures who were the vanguard of social change as the most worthy heroes. At the same time, more reactionary forces and institutions will be framed as hindering necessary change.
        • Gangrel, long relegated to the pastoral periphery of human settlements, found themselves caught between hostile urban high clans and hostile-er garou septs. After WW2 in the US, they may have supported large scale construction of highways, with conveniently spaced rest-areas and local exits. These "defense" projects turned the liminal space between city and country into sprawling suburbs, filled chock-a-block with strip malls, modest ranch homes, and drive-thru burger joints. These cookie-cutter towns were repugnant to both high-clan vampires and environmentalist garou, leaving the Outlanders with an all-you-can-eat buffet composed of roughly half the US population.
        • Malkavians may have been behind public funding for insane asylums, thereby gathering their herds and potential childer all in one convenient place. Later, they may have supported cuts to the very same programs to push the mentally ill out onto the streets. Now, with disability payments made to those unable to work due to mental illness, and insurance companies keeping files of those who take meds for their illnesses, Clan Malkavian has access to a vast census of the mentally ill. What they plan to do with this directory is unknown, perhaps even to themselves. In the US alone, 40 million people take psychiatric meds. If such a directory of them could be used to enlist them in some elder's scheme, it would be a formidable army.
        • Tremere almost certainly have worked to promote higher education, especially in STEM fields. They likely had a role in combining the teaching of engineering, science, and technological fields into the same institutions that teach the liberal arts and humanities. Having all of these disciplines under one roof allowed the development of curricula in which electrical engineers and mathematicians still had to take a minimum distribution courses in "soft" sciences, like Anthropology, Psychology, or Linguistics. This cross-training creates a fertile ground for future recruits.
        • Toreador might have been instrumental in changing western fashion away from the corseted and layered costumes of the 19th century and toward the t-shirt-and-slacks unisex uniform of today. Makes feeding much easier. The may also be working on creating a softer, friendlier image for vampires in mass media. In 1900, vampires were demons and monsters. Now, they own fashionable nightclubs, fight crime, and some even sparkle. This re-branding project may prove useful if (when) the masquerade finally falls.'
        • Ventrue likely are doing as they have always done. Spotting a locus of power in government, military, or finance, and undertaking a subtle takeover of it. This is facilitated by the centuries long project of changing power from something that emanates from a blood-soaked man-on-horseback to something that lives in the numbers of a business ledger. It took vast resources and monumental amounts of influence, but the clan managed to transform the western world from a fractured series of robber kingdoms into a society built on polite deals and sober public policy. They took us from a barbarian horde torching Rome, to true power resting in the hands of quiet men in air-conditioned offices in Brussels, New York, and London. As is the way in an imperfect world, the results have been imperfect. This magnum opus of politesse could crumble tomorrow, but for now the world is a calm, predictable place, run by temperate (if occasionally amoral) men and women of respectable origins and polished resumes.

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        • #5
          How about one of those sites or the like that caters to fringe, reactionary groups online? Your InfoWars and PraegerUs, that pump out editorials that push biased or outright fabricated stories, in order to profit from reinforcing and exasperating the views of reactionaries. These sorts of sites have big donors (like the Koch Brothers), who pump money in for the purposes of pushing agendas they find convenient. That they'll make money from hocking consumer products is a fringe benefit to exploiting fringe movements.

          The act of steering public opinion - even of an extremist minority - is itself useful for vampires, of course. Getting people opposed to government spending on things like utilities (that keep streetlights lit) or social welfare (which keeps the poor off the streets and away from various crimes) has obvious appeal for vampires. As does promoting deregulation of businesses, allowing vampires in the financial markets to carve out more generous profit margins.

          However, the act of creating a "new media empire" on the web has other benefits. It creates a network that interacts with large numbers of people, giving the controllers of said network their own database on people. Every time a person comments on the website, shares articles and videos on social media, and buys merch or products through the outlet, they leave a data trail. Social media accounts can be trawled for data, allowing vampire techies to figure out demographic data. Learning who these people are and where, that spend so much time, money, and effort on the site and surrounding community. If you figure out where many "regulars" live, they can be sent targeted offers to attend rallies or events. Indeed, events and rallies can be targeted towards places where high percentages of the users live. Draw them in, and the vampires have their pick of people - passionate, motivated, gullible people - that can be taken aside for "exclusive meetings" with important VIPs (regular video hosts, article writers, celebrity guests, etc) within this particular reactionary community.

          What, exactly, the vampires do with the folk drawn into their web is up to them. Just feeding on them seems almost too easy, and too obvious. More elaborate moves depend on the priorities of the vampires in charge, but could easily be bent towards more activism, and maybe even turning them into agents or weapons in the Jyhad. Reactionaries on the internet - especially conspiracy theorists - want to believe that there's some cause to fight for, and enemy to bring that fight to. They desperately want to believe that their personal problems can be salved through opposition to some easily identified foe. Most importantly, they like to believe THEY can personally be instrumental in that fight, instead of being largely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things (which is usually the reality). Convince folks you can offer that, and they'll follow your lead anywhere. Whether that's to giving up much of their disposable income to fund "the crusade", or to literally run out and fight someone.

          Our world is sadly full of radicalized people who commit acts of violence against innocent people. That's what happens when those who push radical agendas and rhetoric are mostly in it for profit. Imagine the kind of insidious damage that could be done by puppet masters who don't just wind up unstable reactionaries and let them loose, but actively funnel them towards some solid goal.

          It's fucking frightening, and I feel kind of bad suggesting that such digital age extremism be used for a Vampire game. I mean, many people have died in Real Life from this stuff. But still, if you're willing to get deep into "current events", it can be insanely potent. It's a strong tonic, story-wise, and should not be used lightly.
          Last edited by Bluecho; 06-13-2019, 11:59 AM.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
            While site-based infrastructure projects seem quite useful, such as a town designed for vampires, I think non-site projects are potentially more useful. I'm talking about using wealth and influence to move public policy, social trends, and cultural mores.
            The problem is that anything that is done on a cultural level is that it has a limited shelf life since it is directly tied to mortal life spans and mortal values, as opposed to an infrastructure project that depends on kindred use or upkeep.

            If for example during WWII the most idealistic of clans backed the notion of the GI Bill and easier home loans to promote a middle class as a form of breaking the power structure of old money clans that favored elite classes or royalty, that would be in line with your thinking. The following decade promoted prosperity and a greatly expanded middle class. Thus some power shifted around, but then the 1960's happened and all of that work to promote a more enlightened/educated middle class went up in smoke. Cultural manipulation can be done, but that is more akin to being a national spin doctor, moving from situation to situation, rather than making something you can a benefit from for 50-100 years.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
              Our world is sadly full of radicalized people who commit acts of violence against innocent people. That's what happens when those who push radical agendas and rhetoric are mostly in it for profit. Imagine the kind of insidious damage that could be done by puppet masters who don't just wind up unstable reactionaries and let them loose, but actively funnel them towards some solid goal.
              I feel that any vampire beyond a certain age would consider this business as normal for humanity even without vampiric manipulation.

              Radicalized people committing acts of violence on innocent people, that describes the modern political climate in many first world nations, the historical accounts of the crusades, and it also describes what happens when sports fans of opposing teams are left in proximity to each other while alcohol is available.

              After a certain point the vampire just looks at the situation and goes "same shit, different century".

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                Getting people opposed to government spending on things like utilities (that keep streetlights lit) or social welfare (which keeps the poor off the streets and away from various crimes) has obvious appeal for vampires.
                have you missed the all the threads complaining about the lack of night vision in vtm? xD
                not that I necessarly disagree, but less lights means worse vision (there's a penalty for hunting rolls if you don't have auspex or protean), and less pre--...people on the streets at night


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                • #9
                  Thoth

                  You make some good points about sticking to physical infrastructure. I'll take another whack at it.
                  • Large-scale public housing projects which warehouse people in densely populated apartment towers. A herd of several thousand people can be maintained under one roof, with a single set of management and security personnel. The Corbusier "tower in a park" idea works well. The buffer zone of green space around the building creates a "no-man's land" in which outsiders can be easily detected poaching from the herd.
                  • Hastily built development, either for war-time expansions or economic booms, can be intentionally over-built. Once the market for such developments crash, the resulting large number of derelict buildings and empty lots creates live-work space for low clan vampires. The widely spaced houses provide privacy, without any likely intrusion by nature-loving garou.
                  • Major transportation and maintenance tunnel systems have been built, and then abandoned. Such cancelled projects hold obvious appeal to kindred.
                  • International border fortifications, such as the Iron Curtain, the proposed "wall" along the US-Mexico border, and the "peace walls" of Northern Ireland can serve to make kindred movements more difficult. Even a relatively open border, such as the US-Canada border stops travelers long enough to check papers, and document the trip... add a few infrared cameras and some AI tech and kindred travel becomes much more difficult.
                  • Secure installations, such as prisons, military installations, and nuclear power plants all have good reason to have high-level security measures in place. If a small portion of the facility can be set aside during construction for kindred use, a very secure haven would be possible.
                  • One way communications are made secure is with intranet systems which are hard to break into because there is limited physical access. By building parallel cable systems, a relatively secure means of communication is possible. An example of this would be Schrecknet, so... not perfect.
                  • Encoded communication is also possible using short wave radio stations broadcasting nonsensical gibberish, which is decoded by listeners to receive the signal. This need not be entirely gibberish. For example, during Portugal's Carnation Revolution radio stations broadcast a popular song ("E Depois Do Adeus") as a signal to rebel commanders that the time to act had come. It's easy to imagine a vampire sect or clan purchasing a nationwide radio programming network to broadcast coded messages at pre-set times as part of regular programming. The same could be done with cable television networks. ("Okay, every midnight listen to the Cooking Network. Here's the list of which network promos mean what.")
                  • Until recently, most news agencies worked from the same set of wire services, such as AP or Reuters. By purchasing such companies, masquerade breaches can be squelched before they reach a wide audience. Psyops and propaganda can also be spread.
                  • Transport systems, such as railways and ships, can be used to move personnel and materiel to where they're needed. In the modern era, control of a company like Netjet gives kindred near total freedom of travel. If the kindred also control rail stations, seaports, and airports, mortal authorities need have little knowledge of their movements.

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                  • #10
                    Assuming the Technocratic Union isn't a factor, most tech companies should in large part be owned and infiltated by the Camarilla. Google, Youtube, Facebook, Reddit, etctera.

                    Yeah that goes straight against V5 lore but it's you know, an entire new venue of power and influence on a massive scale that is a critical threat to the masquerade. Also it helps earn you money.

                    Assuming the Technocratic Union is a factor, they would own the above things instead, with the Camarilla having some influience over them.

                    Slightly wackier alternative project: Elder founded space station designed to allow a hand picked few kindred to escape Gehenna and repopulate the Kindred race after the inevitable end of the world.

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                    • #11
                      I have it the Tremere established a lot of unique Thaumaturigal workings. Like they have a highway of portals all around the world, probably in the form of magical mirrors. And under the Austrian Chantry they have their own private pocket Dimension so they can full on have a Castle and city located within a Mural in the chantry.

                      Also there are a few hidden facilities underneath meat processing centers. They use magic runes to drain and purify blood to secret underground rooms. So while they butcher cows and pigs above its siphoned to a fountain below, where Tremere feed the beast blood into an imprisoned vampire, often neonates, caitiff and thinbloods. So as not to risk the blood oath they cycle through the cainites they feed the blood to. So while the unlucky lick eats disgusting beast blood the Tremere extract tasty Vitae which they then use rituals to preserve in Jars, as well as a custom ritual to preserve a large quantity of it in a blood pool. They use this blood to supply fuel for experiments, as a trade product for desperate vampires, and to pay for Ghoul Mercenaries. This could be a potential method allow Kindred to live in Peace with humanity and some Altruistic Tremere, wooed by stories of Carthage from their Brujah Coteriemates, aware of these hidden facilities plan to try and reveal the mass produced Vitae to the rest of the Camarilla but will try to market it as synthetic vitae produced by Tremere Alchemy.

                      I have some major stadiums like the Tokyo Dome (for the Wan Gui) and Madison Square Garden (a joint Ventrue Toreador project) have secret underground floors where they have things like Bloodsports, ghoul fights, and competitions of strength and agility.

                      I have many cities, not just major cities, have secretly massive sewers and catacombs, often designed by Nosferatu. These allow for underground populations of kine.

                      There is a project underneath Las Vegas called the Third City, it is the most massive secret city since Kayamalki where the Kindred there try to rule openly with a population of mortals, it is separated by miles of magically warded tunnels which lead to the already massive Tunnel Folk population under Las Vegas. They use mutated Ghoul/Revanent Hogs and Rats who are often bloated and blind. As well as giant Flies and Bees, as they harvest the Larva for food, and the bees are cultivated for Blood Honey.

                      Several secret Vessels are owned outright by Kindred both Camarilla and Sabbat, these are things like ocean liners and that one submarine that the Lasombra acquired. The government officials that know of it believe them to just be owned by pirates, but some ancients exist on them as mobile havens where they don't have to hide their nature and can revel in their power and status. Some Ventrue are funding a Billion Dollar Cruise ship as a perfect camouflage for exclusive clientele to be fed upon and traded with. It also possesses a space for secret experiments cracking the science of the Kindred's uncanny physiology.

                      Some skyscrapers actually have mirrored underground floors where the powerful kindred keep their Haven's as well as fund Billion dollar experiments in a variety of fields such as cloning, gene splicing, and even the analysis of psychic phenomena both kindred and mortal. Both Technocrats and Kindred fund such projects, and sometimes they are joint projects.


                      It is a time for great deeds!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Pleiades View Post

                        have you missed the all the threads complaining about the lack of night vision in vtm? xD
                        not that I necessarly disagree, but less lights means worse vision (there's a penalty for hunting rolls if you don't have auspex or protean), and less pre--...people on the streets at night
                        The reason why they'd want darker streets is because, while it can inhibit them, it definitely hobbles the Kine. And unlike the Kindred, Kine don't usually need the cover of darkness to attack people (muggers and the like notwithstanding).

                        I'm fairly certain that vampires working to keep streetlights in poor repair is canonical. I remember reading that somewhere. Midnight Siege made a point of saying how, when a Camarilla city is doomed to fall to the Sabbat, the Prince in charge is given orders to clean it up, in more ways than one. Funding gets allocated to utilities (including streetlights), corruption in police and municipal institutions gets rooted out, etc. All in the interests of "poisoning the well" for the incoming Sabbat occupiers, because a well-run city is very inconvenient for vampires.

                        So if darkness on the streets is an issue, it's obviously not a deal breaker for vampires. Especially since they've spent thousands of years prior to the industrial revolution operating and hunting in the dark.


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                        • #13
                          Malkavians using an intricate, detailed, and decades-long web of lies, blood bonding, Dominate, and Dementation to engineer the creation and marketing of flushable wipes, for no other reason than to fuck with the Nosferatu.

                          Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

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                          • #14
                            One high level project I read about in the Ventrue or Giovanni clanbook (don't remember which) was this one:

                            The Ventrue worked with/influenced NATO and successfully stopped the Giovanni from getting hold of an atom bomb.

                            That's like three high level projects rolled into one.

                            * Just the act of attempting to get a hold of the bomb.
                            * The underlying Giovanni project with the ghost prisons.
                            * The Ventrue having enough of a hold within NATO and international politics they successfully managed to stop the Giovanni.

                            There's an adventure for you.

                            "So what're we doing today, trying to bluff a police officer, hunt some random mortal, maybe have a party?"

                            "You're infiltrating into Afghanistan in a joint operation with the US military - they CANNOT know what you really are - upon reaching the target point you'll have 14 hours before we're scrapping the mission in which cause you're dust. You'll need to coopt the transfer of an old soviet missile smuggled out from Russia last year. The enemy ground is hot, we believe there's groups from America, Russia, at least two different terrorist organizations, as well as Giovanni - with a significant deployment of ghosts, plus a Sabbat war pack active in the vicinity."

                            "Oh."

                            "Also reports of Lupines in the area is unconfirmed, which makes me think you'll probably have to deal with a pack of angry wolves at some point."

                            "Anything else?"

                            "Yeah, we've prepared some suicide devices for you, in case you get captured or don't reach extraction. Oh some good news though, you'll have air support."

                            *cue mission impossible theme*

                            -

                            Granted stopping the Giovanni would probably not be that dramatic, more like I dunno, tipping off someone influential of what's taking place and getting to much attention directed that way, but that wouldn't make for as fun an adventure.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Theodrim View Post
                              Malkavians using an intricate, detailed, and decades-long web of lies, blood bonding, Dominate, and Dementation to engineer the creation and marketing of flushable wipes, for no other reason than to fuck with the Nosferatu.

                              Search your feelings, you know it to be true.
                              Given that many fatbergs are the result of fast food shops disposing of fry oil incorrectly, I could easily see this being a Ventrue plot against the Nosferatu rather than malkavian in nature.

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