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[V20] How welcome are visitors to the Chantry?

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  • [V20] How welcome are visitors to the Chantry?

    This question is still for the V20 timeline, so before Carna's Rebellion and the nuking of Vienna etc, since that might change things.

    How welcoming are the Tremere to non-Tremere kindred visiting the Chantry? For the sake of argument, those kindred are in a Coterie with a Tremere in good standing, of said chantry (aka the player characters).

    Are they even allowed in?
    Only in special, guest-areas - kinda like Strauss did in Bloodlines, or only allowed to walk around with a chaperone?
    Would they dominate them to forget everything about it?
    Would the simple knowledge of where the Chantry is be enough to have a Tremere hit-squad called on you?
    What would someone have to do to get (even limited) access to the Chantry library?

    I realize some of this might be on a case by case basis, depending on the Regent. That is fine, if that's the case, I can adjust it to fit my chronicle how I like it.
    But are there any hard rules, things that will simply not be done or allowed?

  • #2
    I guess it depends on the circumstance.

    Leopold's (a.k.a. Gary Pennington) visit to Hanna's chantry in Atlanta is an example (Clan Novel Toreador). There were 3 outside clan visitors in Ceoris during the Dark Ages

    - Saga


    • #3
      The short version would be:

      "They're welcome in certain areas as long as they're invited. They are HIGHLY UNWELCOME if they are not invited and just show up."

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


      • #4
        A Tremere chantry is often regarded as little more than a set piece or stage to place a story. In my own games I never make a chantry without having a goal or purpose for it. The purpose influences the design of the chantry, the number of members, how secretive it is, and of course how well defended it is. There is such a thing as a mobile chantry so that can also change many aspects of this discussion.

        Here are a few examples chantries with different levels of security and secrecy:

        1. Mobile IT Group
        A large RV that houses a half dozen Tremere and ghouls. The main paths used in this chantry are path of conjuring and path of technomancy. The goal of this chantry is to give the tremere clan a foothold in the digital realm that can hold its own against the likes of schrecknet. The RV changes locations every day or two with the ghouls driving during daylight hours, then the vampires hacking at night. The path of conjuring takes care of most of their needs and what ever it can't is taken care of by dominate and computer skills. This style of chantry is invisible to most vampires because it can move freely from place to place and its entire power structure is based in modern technology which many vampires seem to have issues with.

        2. Hex Force
        This can be a military cargo plane or perhaps a modest cargo ship that has been heavily warded and houses a strike force of Tremere enforcers, all of which are skilled in counter magic and multiple paths. A small group of loyalist gargoyles acts as air support and a group of ghoul mercenaries rounds out the task force. Basically the mobile chantry can be dispatched to any where in the world to deal with problems Vienna deems critical. The amount of fire power that this group can drop on an enemy position is a bit mind numbing, think of those Desert Storm dune buggies that had full auto 40mm grenade launchers. Generally the first clue that this chantry is in the area is a smoking ruin and a one sided slaughter grounds appearing one night.

        3. Tremere Prince Chantry
        In the occasional city that has a Tremere prince it is worth it to hold court at the local chantry. It is very safe and secure while creating all sorts of scenarios where Tremere can generate loads of useful intelligence. It is easy enough to split the chantry between the "public" area and the private area that only Tremere can access thanks to wards. Of course unscrupulous Tremere might transfer in neonates who are gifted with auspex to constantly scan the guests/primogens thoughts for useful knowledge. Every one knows where the chantry is and they just enjoy the benefits of tremere protections when holding court.

        4. The Trap Chantry
        Once again this Chantry has a known location, but unlike the Prince Chantry this one is completely for the purposes of defense. Essentially the entire chantry is the stuff of RPG level design nightmares. Everything is trapped, everything is warded (even the toilet paper), and only a coterie of justicars would have a chance of getting out of the building alive. The real chantry is connected to the Trap Chantry by a long tunnel. This gives anyone watching the trap chantry the feeling it is active because the tremere come and go from it. But between the magical and mundane traps there is little hope of non-tremere surviving the false chantry. Sure the Sabbat might roll into town and lay siege to the chantry, but they will lose dozens if not hundreds of troops before the Tremere detonate the fake chantry and making the enemy falsely believe they had a victory.


        • #5
          Thoth makes a good point. The Chantry other Kindred are permitted to know about is not necessarily THE city's Chantry. (Indeed, "Chantry" is a fluid concept, one having more to do with the establishment of the Clan's foothold in an area than any specific building).

          It could be that a building is maintained as "The Chantry" whose primary purpose is to be where Kindred go when they want to talk to the Tremere and procure their services. There are advantages to doing this, rather than having a Tremere contact be in some other, non-dedicated location (like a bar, club, or other Kindred hotspot). A single location can be defended if it's attacked, since the Tremere control the space and know all of its exits. It provides Ritual space and workshops, in the event that a Tremere must be able to cast an effect in the presence of a client (such as with the "Branding" ritual that young Kindred so often request, a Ritual that among other things requires the equipment needed to melt silver...and tie down the recipient during "application"). It provides a handy place to stash non-Tremere VIPs who are under the Pyramid's protection. It's also a good spot to assign Neonate Tremere, so all the Elders can remain at the "real" Chantry. Most importantly, if Kindred think the "show" Chantry is real, they'll not work as hard to find the Clan's true assets.

          While not all cities will divide their forces between multiple locations, some compartmentalization is useful. Especially if the Clan maintains a close relationship with other Kindred in a given city. Obviously, a reclusive Chantry devoted more to research than to inter-Clan relations will have no need to make their positions known, let alone open their house to "the public".


          • #6
            In terms of the Chantry of the Five Boroughs, "Barnard College serves as the Tremere's internal center of communications, the Maupassant Room chantry is where the Tremere meet with Kindred from other clans."

            So, some chantries serve as meeting places between the Tremere and other vampires, for everything from discussing politics to hiring work.


            • #7
              I would imagine that even the Tremere have a public lobby or something, where visitors can hold an audience with them. Their actual research facilities would be kept further inside the Chantry, of course, but they're not complete isolationists.

              After all, the reason why the Tremere were so desperate to get into the Camarilla in the first place is because they realized they needed to establish good relations, if they wanted to survive long term.


              • #8
                I can only tell you how I do it -- and that's on a Regent by Regent basis. In my games, unless there's reason for Vienna to intervene, every Regent is basically God of his or her own little island. (There is an exception for cities with more than one chantry; in those cases, there is almost always one Regent who is more equal than others, as the clan usually only opens up second or third chantries for Regent-training purposes.)

                That means that if the Regent wants to bar all visitors, then all visitors are going to be barred. If the Regent wants to have a public area, then there will be one. If the Regent demands constant accompaniment by a clan member, that's going to be the rule of the day. There's not going to be much in the way of appeal from these policies, nor will the upper echelons of the clan pay any particular policy any mind unless and until something happens that requires them to examine the chantry (in which case, a cynical Regent might think, it won't really matter what the policy *was* -- it will get him or her in trouble anyway).

                The clan members, of course, will work around these policies. If there are no publicly accessible areas, Tremere will spend more time in Elysia. If the chantry is generally very open, neonates will compete to bring the most prestigious guests, etc. etc.


                • #9
                  I would assume few Chantries are completely secret. These are places where a whole clan of vampires congregate - someone will almost certainly slip up and the Tremere invest too much into the sites to just relocate, rebuild their laboratories and redraw all wards. That said, if the Tremere want to meet visitors on their own turf, I usually wouldn't do so in the Chantry proper. A building next door with a few meeting rooms or salons works just as well and is less of a security risk.


                  • #10
                    These are some good informations, thank you

                    Here's a little background to my question: I have one Tremere PC in the coterie, and another player is thinking of making one as well (it's not entirely sure yet). In another game I was in, we had two Tremere and two non-Tremere too, and that caused a somewhat focus on the Chantry and intra-Tremere drama, which at least one of the players wasn't too ok with (he's also playing in my game).

                    So I want to avoid that by somehow getting the other players also involved in that stuff somehow. First step to that would be they can actually set foot into the Chantry without getting said foot burned off by the wards I'll start throwing out some non-to-subltle hints that visitors to the Chantry happen from time to time.


                    • #11
                      Another thing you can do to take focus from the chantry is put the PCs domain in between the territorial domains of two regents each having there own chantry and each PC is from a different chantry. This means that the two don’t always work perfectly
                      Together and therefore they may be a visitor to the others chantry as well. This may shift the focus away from chantry stories as the two PC try to get along but still do not fully trust each other as they serve different masters. This also will add some new angles for story latter on as they developed a trust for each other and their regents suddenly try to put them in the middle of a struggle they are having with each other to please the lord they both serve.


                      • #12
                        Brainstorming a few concepts for chantries to illustrate the range of possibilities:

                        Chantry of the Front Office Just outside Paris city limits sits La Défense, Europe's largest purpose-built complex of office towers, business headquarters, and a large shopping mall. Tucked into that mall is a quiet cafe, "Marie's". Brass fixtures, leaded glass windows, and the scent of Einspanner coffees lure executives and tourists alike to this calm oasis among the hustle and bustle of Parisian business. Down a hallway and behind a door hidden by a large portrait of Marie-Antoinette, there is a utilitarian office waiting room, with magazines, modern sofas, and soft music playing. Beyond the receptionist desk are three meeting rooms, the Regent's private office, and a small ritual space for secure magical communication with any other Chantry in the world. These unassuming rooms have witnessed business deals involving billions of Euros, and regularly host elders from across Western Europe who need a direct line to Vienna. (Security Protocols: The only rule is that one must check in with the recptionist, which allows for background checks and the like. Physical security is minimal, and the chantry has been destroyed multiple times. With only two Tremere on staff it is simple enough to rebuild. The Regent is skilled at communication rituals, but is little more than a glorified telephone operator. The current receptionist, otoh, is a former archon highly gifted in auspex who views this gig as her retirement plan.)

                        Chantry of the Meadowlands MetLife stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, serves as home to two NFL franchises and hosts scores of major musical acts in the off-season. Dozens of luxury suites look down on the field, but one is special. The Tremere have claimed Suite 13 as their own. The clan uses it to entertain out-of-town guests, host social events for Camarilla licks from across the northeast, and for meetings with dignitaries from other clans and sects. The whole complex is considered Elysium, as well as Tremere domain. Seating 85000 sports fans, hunting is ridiculously easy here on game nights. When the stadium is dark, the chantry hosts competitive hunts of humans through the labyrinthine and megalithic structure. Nearly every Camarilla kindred on the planet has heard of the Chantry's epic parties, and invitations are fairly easy to wrangle. After all, the whole point of the chantry is for Clan Tremere to show off and rack up favors. (Security Protocols: Vienna views the Meadowlands as a disposable playground, and would be willing to abandon it. The stadium has an unusually strong mortal security force, the equivalent of a mid-sized city's police force. All visitors are screened using state-of-the-art techniques to prevent "terrorism", but little in the way of thaumaturgical defenses.)

                        Chantry of the Pampas In the middle of the empty plains of La Pampa, 600 km west of Buenos Aires sits the small city of Santa Rosa. Here, in this dry and dusty land, the Tremere have built one of their largest chantries in the world. It is a stucco-clad mansion sitting on 500 square kilometers of ranchland. Why here, in the middle of nowhere? Well, this is an R&D center and practice range for some of the clan's more spectacular paths and rituals. Neighboring ranches have learned to ignore sudden tornadoes, fiery explosions, continuous towers of lightning, and unexplained earthquakes. The interdimensional rift that sucked in a fully loaded freight train in 1987 was a bit harder to explain, but the clan has Dominate for a reason. Out-of-clan visitors are surprisingly common. Vienna has come to realize that showing carefully chosen outsiders a recently embraced neonate using Conflagration to barbecue an entire herd of cattle with a simple hand gesture makes negotiations with other clans so much easier. (Security Protocols: Isolation keeps most random curiosity seekers away. Failing that, members of the chantry are mostly mad genius bomb makers, and violent mercenary types. So, it's hard to overstate the raw firepower available to this chantry. More than one uninvited visitor has ended their night by making a fwoosh sound and falling to ash.)

                        Chantry of the Neon Angel Los Angeles is known for its transient vampire population, with dozens in the process of arriving or leaving at any given time. In Manhattan Beach, there is a five-story, one-star hotel with a large neon pinup girl on the front facade. The lobby is mustier than an old man's closet, the elevator noisy as a train, and rooms seem smaller than the SUVs driving past on Highland Avenue. Though the hotel has seen better days, the Tremere maintain it as a visitors' center and haven of last resort for any Tremere (of any loyalty) who wish to use the facilities. There is a hotel bar with easy feeding, lightproof bathrooms for sleeping, and a large incinerator for the occasional body. Guests are welcome to use a small library and very basic laboratory. There is a small museum with dioramas and artifacts explaining clan history and traditions. A dozen down-and-out Tremere live here full-time. This motley crew is a mix of Camarilla vampires on the run from bloodhunts, Anarch vampires who want to maintain loose ties with their old clan, and random locals who may not have known their clan until recently. The Regent sees the whole operation as a sort of missionary act, helping the less fortunate among the clan. Vienna sees it as a way to keep an eye on the riff-raff, promoting those who are of value and disposing of those who may be too much trouble. (Security Protocols: House rules don't allow any supernatural creatures other than Tremere past the lobby and bar, with powerful wards to back it up. Most residents have survived in the rough and tumble of LA long enough to mount a credible defense. The clan actively publicizes the existence of the chantry to lure in new residents, but does not hesitate to destroy any troublemakers.)

                        Chantry of the Phantom Light On the Channel Isle of Guernsey, in the English Channel, one of the oldest chantries in Western Europe quietly goes about its business. Established in 933, it was funded by using thaumaturgy to create shipwrecks. The members of the chantry are three matronly ladies, sisters in life, with an encyclopedic knowledge of thaumaturgy. The chantry itself seems to be a thatched cottage with a lovely garden. Inside, however, a door leads to miles of tunnels and underground chambers dug out by ghouls over the centuries. In one of the deepest rooms is a vast library and collection of ritual objects. Tremere elders visit the sisters when needing a bit of a holiday, or when needing a bit of esoteric lore explained. They are served blood from the sisters' own herd in lovely little china teacups. Visitors had best mind their manners, though, as the sisters will not stand for any ruffianism or vulgarity. The usual rules by which Vienna moves clan members from chantry to chantry seem to post-date the Phantom Light's chartering, as that tradition is disregarded here. The sisters have never left Guernsey, and only accept apprentices by invitation. Such invitations are rare honors, saved for those clanmates with a druidic mindset or mastery of a nature-oriented path, such as the Green Path or Neptune's Might. (Security Protocols: Few dare raise the ire of these witches in orthopedic shoes, as rumor has it these mild-mannered ladies were personally responsible for the fates of an army of Sidhe warriors, the Spanish Armada, and Operation Sea Lion. Maybe their reputation is bluster, maybe not. Given that no one outside of Clan Tremere knows the chantry exists, and the sisters are careful to avoid clan politics, few have had reason to test their defenses.The occasional non-Tremere vampire who wanders onto Guernsey is never seen again.)

                        Chantry of the Golden Garden Until 1900, the Bangalore chantry was a small outpost in a colonial city dominated by the British. A fire swept through one afternoon, and destroyed all but one Tremere, a neo-nate former wife of a mathematics teacher. Once Vienna was assured she had no hand in the fire, they named her regent. It was an obscure posting, and no one really cared who led the local Tremere. The regent took the reins and, soon, usurped the title of Prince of Bengaluru. Embracing a dozen scientists, soldiers, and engineers, she laid the groundwork for a modern, technologically-oriented city. Vienna believes she is a respectable, if somewhat mediocre ancilla of the clan, gifted in political and social matters, but deficient in magic. Visiting Tremere are shown a quiet set of offices, libraries and havens in the Bangalore Palace, a slightly rundown tourist attraction from the colonial era. The real chantry fills a former train maintenance depot under the main station downtown, and is the heart of a data network that spans the globe. The regent is secretly funding research into techno-magick, and her apprentices are making quick strides in this arena. The fall of the Ravnos has moved up her timetable, as Princes across India vanish. If all goes well, she hopes to present India to Vienna as a gift within three decades. (Security Protocols: If the technology exists, the chantry has it. Thermal cameras, ai face recognition, retinal scans, and laser landscape rendering are just the outer layer. Sci-fi defenses worthy of the technocracy bristle in every hallway and elevator. The whole place is designed to be hard to enter, and impossible to leave. The most sensitive locations can only be accessed using teleportation magic learned from the Danava. Data security goes way beyond simple firewalls and passwords. The chantry is making legitimate progress in quantum encryption and entanglement communication systems. As for secrecy, only the full members of the chantry even know it exists, the rest of the clan believes there is a much less impressive chantry a few kilometers away. Several dozen uninvited guests have been mind-wiped or destroyed outright over the years.)

                        Chantry of the Lost Souls Located in a former monastery on a tiny island off the coast of Denmark, this chantry is a combination insane asylum and penitentiary for a few dozen Tremere too far gone to be allowed freedom of movement, but too valuable or connected to allow their outright destruction. Any one of them might be a candidate for the Red List if their existence were known. Inmates include a former Justicar who has entered wassail, a beloved childe of a member of the Seven who is possessed by a demon from outer space, and a researcher into Necromancy who has a sentient nihil living in her eyes. A small staff of guards maintain the facility, with blood supplied by a large flock of sheep. Few outside of the Seven, Tremere justicars, and a few highly connected elders know of the facility. (Security Protocols: Given the extreme secrecy, few defenses are required. Visitors are absolutely forbidden without the express approval of a member of the Seven, and being posted here as a guard is understood to be a one-way transfer. There is considerable firepower used to prevent escapees, and this could easily be turned outward.)


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
                          Brainstorming a few concepts for chantries to illustrate the range of possibilities:

                          It's posts like these that make me want to make that thread called "1001 Interesting Locations". Good work.