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[WIR] Beckett's Jyhad Diary - The Big book of Metaplot

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  • Originally posted by Athanasius View Post
    I don't see any LGTBQ-reason for this new fact, but I think it not only gives a nice, further explanation as to why Tremere chose Goratrix to go down - after all, it was much more complicated to go after Goratrix, than choosing one of the inner circle, say Meerlinda -, they had an emotional connection, which made it easier for Tremere to take over Goratrix' body, but it also emphasizes the relationship between Tremere and Goratrix and moreover their mutual betrayal. Goratrix felt let down not only because he saw himself as the natural right hand of Tremere's, as he created Gargoyles, the ritual to become vampires and so on, but also because he saw himself as Tremere's favorite (and not the cowardly, but maybe more loyal, Etrius. With Tremere it's the other way round: His one time lover and second-in-command betrays him to the Sabbat - and therefore deserves to be punished that way. At least, that's how I would read it.
    A TV trope that exists is called "The Paragon always rebels" which is basically the idea that whenever you get into mythology or fantasy that there tends to be someone who is always the second greatest being someone who is most likely to revolt against the greatest. God and Lucifer w/ Michael being the Etrius), The God Emperor and Horus (w/ Sanguinus as the Etrius), and so on. In the case of Goratrix, he's a 4th generation vampire who is arguably too powerful for the Sabbat and yet eager to strike back at his masters. He just went with the only game in town and Tremere punished him for it.

    An interesting question is whether Goratrix escaped on his own to join the Sabbat originally or if he was freed by either Saulot or Tremere after he was delivered to Tremere in THE TRANSYLVANIA CHRONICLES. Notably, it's Goratrix who is indicated to (if not completely) revealed vampires to the Church then certainly contributed a great deal with the persecution of the Gnostic Christians as well as destruction of the Knights Templar that is squarely his doing in the WOD.

    For me? Yes. I've been a fan of the Saulot-twist since experiencing it "first-hand" as a player almost 20 years ago, so there is some bias there. But moreover, I always liked the twist, that Saulot's orchestrated "suicide" left [the] Tremere as the victim[s] - as I always saw Clan Tremere as one of the two villains of the whole Transylvania-arc - the other one being the Tzimisce - I always liked them being transformed from the uber-magician-vamps to Saulot's plaything, while their leader Tremere was not the big bad self-made-vampire, saint-slayer and tzimisce-blood-thief, but actually an arrogant mage, way over his head.
    For me, it's the fact that the big twist makes him no more or less capable than any of the other 13 Antediluvians. Tricking a mage into diablerizing him so he can rule the Clan from the shadows is what Lasombra and Tzimisce both did. I confess, it may just be my bias but my assumption is the Antediluvians do 13 Impossible Super-Plans a day like Lex Luthor and the only ones that don't succeed completely were thwarted by another Antedulivian. They're not so much playing chess as they are playing Go and they do it effortlessly. Then again, I tend to have a somewhat godlike unapproachable view of the Antediluvians and their minds.

    Again, I think that's a matter of personal taste, but I always thought that, if one vampire should be a figure of actual messianic abilities (or even credited as having these abilities), that should be Caine. And I always liked his in-game explanation, that he was pissed at Caine's lies, with him not being the first/only kind of vampire, combined with Saulot's failure to master the ways of the Kui-jin. To me, it was this "betrayal"/failure, that made him pour all his spite/anger at the Baali's creation pit, when returning from the east.
    Weirdly, if I do ever think of Saulot as the "Bad Vampire", I tend to think of Malkav as the actual Good Vampire. It's just that his enlightenment has warped his children as it's too much for them to understand THE ANSWER. It's why I've sometimes considered that Saulot and Malkav are Pre-Post Golconda the same vampire or brothers.

    There still is, which you guys have already emphasized, the new ambiguity of Saulot's Po and Hun - which is actually a nice way to deal with the ret-retcon, that was done, when they tried to de-evilize - not actually a word, but I like it :-) - Saulot in Lair of the Hidden and the Gehenna supplement. (Or maybe they just forgot or never read the TC?)
    Anyway, that's one of the reasons I think the BJD is well thought through - it adresses both major characterizations of Saulot and gives the choice to the reader/ST, to choose whichever one he prefers.
    I tend to think that was a disagreement among the writers. After all, not everyone is going to agree to what you should do with existing canon characters. On the other hand, I'm also a believer you shouldn't be able to get a handle on an Antedelivian either. Like Troile we have stories about her as a diablerist, an Infernalist, a fighter for social justice, and more. I'm inclined to think you can and should have entirely contradictory actions for them because it adds to the mystery. I might have different feelings on Saulot, though, if I had a higher estimation of Kindred of the East and it's relationship to their Western brethren.

    It starts with a Blood Brother of all people (also a rather intelligent way to feed Beckett information, while simultaneously stealing his body parts), then proceeds to mysteriously killed Tremere antitribu - okay, maybe the CCTV of Tremere's ritual is a little bit too much - than Mahtiels visions give Beckett more to chew on, than actual knowledge, before he finally meets two characters who simply tell him stuff. I agree, that Schrekt - terrible name, by the way - is a little too forthcoming, a mistake he will not make twice when dealing with Beckett, I think. And, apparently, Saulot wanted Beckett to have - and to write down? - all this knowledge.
    Well, Karl's name is actually a real name. But yes, he was very dumb to trust Beckett to actually care about the right thing versus his own interests.

    Furthermore, I like that the BJD gives hints - willingly? - to all three major players of the new House(s) of Tremere, Carna, Tremeratrix and now Schrekt.
    It's good foreshadowing for V5 and I'm glad they went for that among the developers.


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    • Chapter Nineteen: The Eye Opens

      Beckett proceeds to head to Macau where he meets a character I did not expect to meet in Veronique from the Dark Ages: Brujah book. Apparently, she's Prince of Macau and the gateway to the East. I always liked Veronique and felt she was a character I'd like to have learned more about--which we have.

      Both Anatole and Lucita remember her fondly.
      Basically, Beckett has decided to come to Macau with the Eye of Hazimel in order to see if he can reunite it with its titular owner. Why Beckett chooses this insane course of action is anyone's guess but I believe it might have to do with the fact the Eye works like the One Ring of Sauron--it wants to be reunited with his master.

      We get a letter from Khalil Ravana, one of my least favorite Kindred of all time in any supplement, where he explains that the Ravnos have been at War with the Kindred of the East for the better part of all eternity. This is one of the things that I will comment on later but amount to the fact that as much as I dislike the Wan Kuei, removing them entirely means that you have to fill the hole left behind with something.

      I like the Drowned and Laibon so I hope they'd just retcon them out of existence with a new set of mysterious Kindred. They've already done it before.
      Chandraputa is less than happy about Beckett bringing the eye to India but eventually comes down on the side of those who want to bring it to Hazimel. It's interesting to note that this is one of the few times Beckett is in the center of a political struggle but it doesn't result in anything resembling violence--it's just a surprisingly fierce debate.

      Beckett meets with a vampire named Shivaji who is an ambassador. Beckett can't meet with the actual head of the clan because Lucita explains that he feels great revulsion for anyone not following the Path of Paradox. He is apparently too highly evolved for that.

      Notably, Hazimel turns out entirely able to tolerate (even like Beckett's presence) so this is just so much bullshit.
      At one point Shivaji mentions the Black Monastery that is the next chapter, so this takes place after that Chapter and the one where he rescues Hesha. Probably immediately after he rescues Hesha, in fact. We also get a lengthy description of Hazimel's epic-like history. Hindu mythology is, in my opinion, the best of all mythologies for sheer badassitude and grandiosity. I may lean to a Buddhist-influenced Christianity but it's the one closest to Exalted and tops it in all respects. No offense (quite the opposite) to any and all believers of it.

      Anatole mentions past users of the Eye of Hazimel: Zettler, Varrick, Vegel, Leopold, and Ruhadze. While the last three are all in the Clan Novels, presumably the first two are Harold Zettler and Preston Varrick the Tremere Regent of Tokyo. That opens some very interesting conversation pieces as Harold Zettler is a Path of Evil Revelations Infernalist who works with (I daresay not FOR) the Wyrm while Varrick is an exiled Cainite.

      Anyway, the debate mentioned above ends with Chandraputa exiling all Ravnos who were against bringing the Eye to Hazimel. Beckett then places the Eye on Hazimel's tomb and he resurrects, putting it in the middle of his forehead. Apparently, in addition to Vicissitude, Hazimel also knows Obeah. It fits my belief he's an enormous Twink. Beckett has his mind nearly fried by having Hazimel scan it (presumably for what the fuck has been happening since 1000 B.C.) while Beckett experiences a lot of Hazimel's life as well.

      Hazimel and Chadraputa have a conversation a week later where Beckett stupidly speaks up (in a very police and conciliatory tone--so I assume it was Hazimel using him as a puppet) then they make common cause as well as decide to seek out their sister--the traitor Ravana of the Ravnos is rising. This is apparently NOT the Ravnos Antediluvian despite that being a name assigned to him and I wonder if this was meant to possibly retcon the death of the Ravnos Antediluvian. This isn't actually a new retcon as the Ravnos Clanbook also refers to him as such.

      https://whitewolf.fandom.com/wiki/Ravana

      Beckett departs with a reward: a codex translating a long-dead language for him. He returns to the United States via Seattle.

      Adventures

      Lots of political adventures here but, really, I think we're all just here for the information on the Ravnos. The thing is that despite the Week of Nightmares being mentioned earlier in the book, it does not happen in this book and is effectively not dealt with by the Diary at all. I suspect this was to keep the Ravnos' fate canon agnostic before V5 confirmed that, yes, the Ravnos were all but wiped out.

      Thoughts

      This is going to be one of those thoughts that is less about the chapter and more about its subject matter. It's more or less universally agreed the Ravnos were a flawed clan. As I understand it, when they decided to wipe out a Clan for V:R it came down to either the Malkavians or the Ravnos as the ones on the chopping block. I'm very glad it wasn't the Malkavians on the chopping block but I'm inclined to think that the reason the Ravnos were on it was solely due to the infamy of World of Darkness: Racial Slur. It was such an embarrassment to the good people at White Wolf they felt that they had to offer up the Clan of Tricksters to the altar that Caine sacrificed Abel.

      The thing is that was actually pretty poor timing because Clan Book: Ravnos Revised is probably one of the best books ever written. I mean, it uses a lot of terminology that you have to memorize and is a bit mono-focused while simultaneously tackling more than it can possibly chew (India is a billion fucking people with the oldest civilization in the world--making them the "Ravnos Region" is still pretty dismissive even if it is a lot better idea than making them the Romani clan that is related to India anyway).

      There's an argument no Clan should be the only Kindred of Region X, even one as huge as India, and there's somevery strange ideas (like vampires having a caste system) in that book that I don't think should fly. However, it was a really fascinating and complex book that you could tell the writers did their best fleshing out in order to try to make it as interesting a clan to play as the Clan Book: Assamite Revised did. In practice, I admit it just resulted in Bollywood actress and Street Assassin joining "Gambit" and "Sexy Dancer" as the typical Ravnos characters at my table. Still, that's twice as many concepts and not bad ones. I *LIKE* Trickster characters and I *LIKE* Illusionists--I've actually considered merging the Path of Paradox and Chimestry with the Malkavian clan in my games or at least indicating there's a substantial chunk of them who have both.

      The problem with the Clan Book is that it came back AFTER the apocalyptic destruction of the clan with only 200 Ravnos surviving. That's better than the Tremere Antitribu but the vast majority of clan information is now defunct. Which is kind of the issue with this chapter as it makes a lot of fascinating insights and bold sweeping proclamations but if you're going to incorporate the death of Zapathasura then it doesn't give you many clues about how to incorporate that. Do any of these 4th generation demigods survive the event? What are they thinking about it?

      I admit, part of me likes the idea that the Technocracy "only" destroyed Ravana, a 4th generation Ur-Shulgi like Methuselah with their nukes and Solar mirrors. It's just his "degenerate" kindred like Khalil Ravana descended from him that destroyed themselves (maybe 50% of the Clan) and the other lineages (mostly in India) were left alone. On the other hand, I feel like that's a bit like, "And yet ANOTHER Antediluvian has faked his death." That would leave a lot of the Ravnos intact and able to spread out again, though, while saying all the crappy stereotypes (with rare exceptions) survived.

      On the other hand, it's been 20 years. 200 surviving Ravnos could have Embraced enough Ravnos in that time that it's a small Clan now rather than a "mere" Bloodline, particularly if one or more of the 4th Generations survived it. Besides, between the Beckoning and Second Inquisition, it's not like the other Clans are doing great either.

      Another issue is the fact that so much of the Ravnos history is wrapped up in their feud with the Wan Kuei. Getting rid of the latter results in a substantial hole in their backstory. Who to replace these with is an interesting question with the ideas coming in mind being:

      * There's actually millennia of Revenants who have risen in India over the centuries, armed with armies of ghosts. This feels like cheating, admittedly.
      * The Stargazers and Hengoyaki because why the fuck not. I'm entirely okay with a millennia-long feud with the Lupines in India as it gives the Stargazers a reason to know all that kung-fu (or in this instance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalaripayattu)
      * The Euthanatos (too small an organization)
      * The Nagaraja (who have always been huge and a Clan! Surprise!)
      * Just a dissident branch of the Ravnos themselves (Especially if it's over a mild doctrinal difference in the Path of Paradox)
      * Indian Gangrel (which runs the risk of reigniting a pointless feud from previous editions)

      No notes again because I said everything I had to say in this post.
      Last edited by CTPhipps; 08-07-2019, 03:08 AM.


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      • Just so you know, Hazimel gets very angry when people call him "Hazmiel".


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        • Matt Decker thinks I spelled it right.

          Thanks for the correction.

          Glad to see you're still popping in.


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          • An interesting thought of mine is the fact that giving back the Eye of Hazimel to Hazimel may have resulted in the awakening of the Ravnos Antediluvian. After all, such a powerful 4th generation awakening could have triggered his sire's return.

            That would be an epic case of NICE JOB BREAKING IT HERO as TVtropes would say.

            Mind you, at this point, Beckett still not believing in Antediluvians is somewhat ridiculous. Thankfully, the final chapter seems to break him of the delusion.
            Last edited by CTPhipps; 08-07-2019, 04:14 AM.


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            • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              Chapter Eighteen: Carthago Delenda Est[...]

              3. Is Original Recipe Brujah Alive?: It seems increasingly likely that killing an Antediluvian is harder than it sounds, especially one that is capable of Temporis 10 (which presumably allows actual Time Travel, Travel) which means that he could be both dead as well as alive. There's also the fact that the idea that Troile murdered Brujah may not even be true. Troile is accused of killing Ventrue as well (maybe the True Brujah are their descendants instead) as well as diablerizing 2nd generation. We also have had it stated in places that Troile was the only childer of Brujah, so all True Brujah are descendants of Troile. It's possible they simply decided to abandon their emotions after the disaster that was Carthage.
              I think BJD offers some kind of (ingame-)explanation:
              Originally posted by Beckett's Jyhad Diary, p. 321
              Al-Muntathir: [...] We childer could not replicate this feat, so we merely deaden what remains of our hearts. Yet a great part of us remains here, in this place, and so we look ever backward at it.
              So they try to mimick there founder, but are not actually able to transfer their emotions but only "deaden" them, whatever that means.

              What I've found intriguing reading this chapter was the account of Ilyes' "founding" of Carthage:
              Originally posted by Beckett's Jyhad Diary, p. 321
              The secret of purging the Blood of emotion was known to the Eldest, and none more so than our father. Some chose to inflict their wayward spirits on the mind, some on the flesh, others on the very Blood they gave to their childer. My great-great-grandsire chose differently. He chose the spirit, and this place.
              I'm surprised that these lines haven't been mentioned, yet, if I'm not mistaken. So, we have the story of Enoch/Ynosh getting rid of his beast when embracing [Tzimisce], which leads me to believe that "on the flesh" could refer to the Tzimisce, and the whole madness-network as Malkavs consciousness would neatly fit to "on the mind", but I liked how it all seems to add up now to a number of Antedeluvians getting rid of their Beasts (at least, that's what I think, "emotion" means in that paragraph above) and subsequently "gifting" their childer with it. Maybe "the very Blood" could refer to Haqim?
              And the idea of Carthage's passion (Brujah) and sins (Baali) being the result of Ilyes beast is very interesting as well.

              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              Albertus Magnus [...] gives Beckett the keys to breaking the Thaumaturgical wards on Carthage's tomb. Which...WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT!? I mean, he's a descendant of Critias but seriously.
              I figured it was actually Menele "ordering" Critias to give these infos to Beckett, as he wanted him to open the Necropolis - as to why? I'm not that familiar with Menele's agenda.
              What I didn't like - and didn't quite understand, as well, I've got to admit - is Marcus Verus being conveniently in Tunis, when Beckett needs the blood of "another childe of Mithras". So that means that Cretheus (the Bitter-Ender) actually had something to do with the seals on Carthage? Or was it only his Dur-An-Ki-magic, that was used then? And Beckett "is familiar with the magic" of the Assamite sorcerers. Really?

              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              Well, Karl's name is actually a real name.
              Would you care to elaborate? I think there is something in the back of my head, but I couldn't find any mention of a real-world Schrekt and - being from Germany myself - I just thought it was another example of silly german names. It basically means Charles Scares.

              Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
              Here Troile is conflated with the Tanit, a Punic and Phoenician goddess, the chief deity of Carthage. She was also called Tinnit, Tannou, or Tangou and appears equivelent to the moon-goddess Astarte, or Isis. Her consort was Baal-Hamon.
              I also liked that bit, but I think Tanit also the name of a 5th gen Baali. I wonder if that's just different authors doing different things with the ancient fertility goddes, or if there is some ingame explanation.
              Last edited by Athanasius; 08-07-2019, 09:40 AM.

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              • Originally posted by Athanasius View Post

                I figured it was actually Menele "ordering" Critias to give these infos to Beckett, as he wanted him to open the Necropolis - as to why? I'm not that familiar with Menele's agenda.
                What I didn't like - and didn't quite understand, as well, I've got to admit - is Marcus Verus being conveniently in Tunis, when Beckett needs the blood of "another childe of Mithras". So that means that Cretheus (the Bitter-Ender) actually had something to do with the seals on Carthage? Or was it only his Dur-An-Ki-magic, that was used then? And Beckett "is familiar with the magic" of the Assamite sorcerers. Really?
                Marcus Verus' reasons for being in Tunis are explained in The Black Hand: Guide to the Tal'Mahe'Ra.


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                • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                  Chapter Nineteen: The Eye Opens
                  When I saw the index this was probably one of the chapters I had least interest in, however after a slow start I really loved it.

                  It was good to finally see an Indian Ravnos court in action, and a high level one at that. Trust Beckett to get caught up in a Methuselahs power game, though he came out relatively unscathed.

                  Speaking of Methuselahs it was sobering to get a description of the pure power of Hazimel, and a recently awakened Hazimel at that. Thankfully he was using it benevolently, imagine him using it destructively.

                  That makes me wonder about the newspaper clipping of people starting to rebuild Harappa, the inference is that Hazimel is directly influencing them to return the Indus Valley Civilization of his youth. What's scarier is the possibility that he's doing it subconsciously rather than directly and the locals are being twisted to his will without his direct effort. Now imagine a mass rising of Methuselahs or Antediluvians and what that could do to a mortal civilisation.

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                  • Speaking as an academic, this is an example of a long running "debate" that is almost worthy of a paper of itself where people keep attempting to clear the name of Carthagians of this "libel." You know, despite every text of the period confirming that they did from Roman (biased) and Greek (less biased) and Jewish (biased but for reasons) sources.

                    History is constantly warred over with facts used to support suppositions.

                    For example, believing that the graves of sacrificed children were just those of children who'd died naturally.


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                    • Would you care to elaborate? I think there is something in the back of my head, but I couldn't find any mention of a real-world Schrekt and - being from Germany myself - I just thought it was another example of silly german names. It basically means Charles Scares.
                      Well, it's a reference (like Schrek.net) to Max Schrek, the lead actor of Nosferatu.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Schreck

                      And Beckett "is familiar with the magic" of the Assamite sorcerers. Really?
                      Like many academics, I think he's taking the piss. He's familiar in the sense he knows they have it.

                      I figured it was actually Menele "ordering" Critias to give these infos to Beckett, as he wanted him to open the Necropolis - as to why? I'm not that familiar with Menele's agenda.
                      All indications are Menele was genuinely loyal to his sire, Troile, and would be happy to continue to serving her. However, it should also be noted Menele is probably under her control every bit as much as Critias was under his.

                      I also liked that bit, but I think Tanit also the name of a 5th gen Baali. I wonder if that's just different authors doing different things with the ancient fertility goddes, or if there is some ingame explanation.
                      My assumption is that it's less "vampires inspired the myths of deities" and more like, "Vampires stole the names of existing gods and goddesses to pass themselves off as them" ala Stargate SG-1. You could also say it's a Stand Alone Complex where vampires steal the names of gods and change the legends about them as well. This would explain why you have so many other gods, goddesses, and so on under various supernatural identities.
                      Last edited by CTPhipps; 08-07-2019, 03:30 PM.


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                      • (I figured SchreckNet was just because Nosferatu are scary, though I suppose them being scary is more of a Requiem thing, in Masquerade they're just gross.)

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                        • Originally posted by Zorin001 View Post

                          When I saw the index this was probably one of the chapters I had least interest in, however after a slow start I really loved it.
                          I did like it a great deal even if I feel the Ravnos chapter needed to at least address the Week of Nightmares.

                          It was good to finally see an Indian Ravnos court in action, and a high level one at that. Trust Beckett to get caught up in a Methuselahs power game, though he came out relatively unscathed.
                          This is a LOT higher level than Beckett is used to dealing with. It's also ironic that, aside from Helena, it's at his closest for actually learning the answers he's always wanted. He's just too terified to ask.

                          Speaking of Methuselahs it was sobering to get a description of the pure power of Hazimel, and a recently awakened Hazimel at that. Thankfully he was using it benevolently, imagine him using it destructively.
                          Very true.

                          That makes me wonder about the newspaper clipping of people starting to rebuild Harappa, the inference is that Hazimel is directly influencing them to return the Indus Valley Civilization of his youth. What's scarier is the possibility that he's doing it subconsciously rather than directly and the locals are being twisted to his will without his direct effort. Now imagine a mass rising of Methuselahs or Antediluvians and what that could do to a mortal civilisation.
                          It was nicely creepy and reminds me of what the Wanderer might have done if not diablerized.


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                          • Chapter 20: Giovanni Chronicles V

                            Beckett receives a letter from the Capuchin (allegedly) and proceeds to follow its instructions by going to the Black Monastary. Okulus makes a hilarious commentary this is absolutely insane and stupid--which I agree but Beckett is on some level aware he's a Player Character (or at least the protagonist in a novel) so he has a degree of plot immunity. Either that or he's just insane from all the years he's associated with Anatole. Funnily, he brings along Anatole and Lucita, so he has an actual adventuring party with him.

                            The sole Kindred in the town of Basel refuses to grant them hospitality and shoos them away when they mention they're going to visit the Black Monastary. It's a scene equivalent to the peasants trying to warn Jonathan Harker that he's going to his doom but the poor Englishman not taking them seriously.

                            The scene is actually quite a bit well-done and I may actually do this as an adventure hook. It reminds me a lot of a Call of Cthulhu scenario, really, where they go to a crumbling old mansion and have a chance to poke around a bit before something nightmarish happens. Anatole finds a taxidermy stuffed Metis Garou (presumably at least since its recognized as a werewolf) while Lucita finds a chapel. That's when they realize they're surrounded by werewolves.

                            This obviously alarms our antiheroes and they do what any sane person would do in this situation and accidentally break things that contain eldritch evils. This unleashes a horrifying ghost monster that causes them to flee in terror. They also have a bunch of other Call of Cthulhu "moments" where they read the insane ramblings of cultists and wizards from the past that promise dark as well as foreboding secrets about the end of the world.

                            Beckett and company then go investigating The Conspiracy of Isaac, which they do some poking around in but don't mention the Children of Isaac (because much like Darth Revan, no good will come from identifying too many traits about PCs in-canon). Beckett is disturbed by the Endless Night more than anything else he's read or encountered so far, perhaps due to the fact that he doesn't believe in Antediluvians (despite encountering Hazimel and believing 90% in Ur-Shulgi) and the Giovanni are crazy enough fuckers to do this.

                            In any case, Anatole communicates with a table (I wonder if this was deliberate or if it's just making fun of the Fishmalk concept) and gets some actual horrifying information about events. Really, I almost wish he'd gotten it from a Stop Sign but the Prophet of Gehenna states, "Yes, this shit is real and yes, the Giovanni are the other Gehenna Cult trying to bring about the End of the World. Except, the Tal'Mah'Ra aren't actively casting spells to do it."

                            I kid, actually, he talks to Lord Valdemar who tells him all about the End of the World via the Giovanni a.k.a The Endless Night

                            Beckett panics and tries to figure out who he can warn that the Giovanni are out-of-genre. All vampires are supposed to be selfish bastards who only care about themselves. Beckett can deal with that, Beckett understands that. The Giovanni voluntarily bringing about Ragnarok like Pentex Incoproated is something that he can't process. Beckett has never encountered the Baali (at least of the Nergal variety) and he's new spoken with the Nephandus or even a proper Wyrm cultist. The idea of people actively seeking Oblivion is alien to him--even if they believe they can rule the ashes. It's genuinely really good character writing (not that the book is lacking for such).

                            You can feel Beckett's despair as he realizes no one gives a shit.

                            The Capuchin then puts him in touch with Ambrogino Giovanni, who basically reassures Beckett that everything will be alright because ANOTHER group of old-as-fuck Methuselahs are eating the Giovanni responsible for the Endless Night (along with a good chunk of Ambrogino's political enemies). Ambrogino doesn't believe he can prevent it forever but he believes he can delay it until he's secured himself and....really, who else matters?

                            Adventure Hooks/Thoughts

                            I love the Giovanni as probably the most gritty, dark, and disturbing clan of Vampire: The Masquerade. Justin Achilli knocked it out of the park when he created them and if there's any group that embodies "personal horror" it's probably the Giovanni. It's why Giovanni Chronicles IV, despite all of its many flaws, is an excellent stand-alone module. It's just kind of a crappy end to the series.

                            The only thing I have always been iffy on is the Endless Night, which I always felt was tacked on and not really something that added much to the Clan as a whole. It's a supervillain plot. There's a place for that in Vampire: The Masquerade but it is something that kind of jars with the rest of the Clan as well as the Masquerade as a whole since it turns the Giovanni into Baali-lite, which is a problem the Followers of Set also suffered without the apocalypse plot. At best, you get something like CoC's Masks of Nyarlathotep (hardly a bad thing) and at worst you have Mr. Burns trying to cover Springfield in his enormous metal dome to blot out the sun.

                            It's why Pentex doesn't entirely fit with V:TM as you need people who are intelligent enough and crafty enough to build a massive financial Empire but also dumb enough to not wonder how they're going to fit into this scheme. Mind you, real-life corporate America is full of people who assume they'll be dead by the time the planet dies so how it is their problem--so I guess reality is unrealistic.

                            I do appreciate the book providing multiple ways for which the Endless Night might fall down, up to and including how I think it would fall down were they to achieve it - the literally millions of souls on the other side of the Shadowlands would kill everyone on Earth or possess them before exterminating the Giovanni en masse. That presumes that it also wouldn't allow the demons from Demon: The Fallen, Neverborn (assuming they're not the same thing), or other things over from the other side. As mentioned, it's like inviting Hastur over, only insane cultists think he's coming for tea.

                            Yet, this a really good chapter. They make it so Beckett/Anatole/Lucita are uncovering a genuinely horrifying secret and play it with all due atmosphere. It's probably my favorite in the entire book.
                            Last edited by CTPhipps; 08-09-2019, 03:55 AM.


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

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                            • Chapter 20: Giovanni Chronicles V notes

                              1. Anatole and Lucita are apparently on speaking terms at this point, so its questionable whether this takes place before or after her turn to the Sabbat. I don't see any reference to the previous adventures, Beckett isn't working for Vitel, and they attempt to contact Baron Samedi without any reference to Beckett's screw up there. So I'm going to put this as possibly the first
                              adventure in the book.

                              2. The Book of the Grave War is mentioned here for the first time and it's possible this is what put Beckett on the book's trail. It, disturbingly, mentions that diablerie is something that Kindred will have to engage in to survive Gehenna. I wonder if this is a Oedipus Rex kind of prophecy in that the Kindred who "survive" Gehenna are like Monty Coven, carrying around the souls of ancients in their body.

                              3. Cappadocius is one of the two Antediluvians we know is really most sincerely dead, along with potentially Brujah the First (and that's questionable as we don't even know if he ever existed since the Temporis-wielding Antediluvian under Carthage could be Troile). This is because the Children of Isaac put down Cappadocius for the last time in Boston--in what is an anticlimactic cutscene effectively.

                              In fact, just to make it less anticlimactic, I'm going to use the 1983 R-rated cartoon ROCK AND RULE's climax to describe how Cappadocius was defeated by a bunch of singing Pooka. One of which was Deborah Harry.

                              Yes, that is a thing that exists.



                              4. But apparently, Cappadocius has a tiny fragment of his soul still around. It's also possible Ambrogino is wrong and this is actually Specter Cappadocius that survived the attempt to banish it, possibly because of Giovanni treachery and cowardice. It turns out that diablerizing God is harder than it sounds and he was either banished to Hell or there was no one there to eat (perhaps because Yawhew shattered to become the avatars of mages or left for greener realities).

                              I have sometimes toyed with the idea the Grim Reaper is a literal entity in the WoD and is actually Cappadocius gathering souls for his artificial Heaven and Hell in the Far Shores.

                              5. The Black Monastery is one of the cooler locations in the World of Darkness. However, it becomes a bit less cool with the existence of the Roads. It turns the Paths of Enlightenment from a stunning intellectual achievement to being incredibly successful plagarists. Even the Council of Nicea elements that would still make it a great theological triumph are undermined by the fact the Paths are pretty poor man's "Prosperity Gospel" versions of their founding Roads--designed to justify rampant diablerie as well as mass murder in the name of Sect.

                              6. Hell, I'm honestly not sure if Izim Ur-Baal made the Path of Caine as an enormous scam or not (because he couldn't teach heathen Cainites the Road of Blood). I think that's a real question that I am the only fan of V:TM who wonders about.

                              7. I do like the scene where Beckett just keeps rattling off various versions of, "I have to tell the authorities the Giovanni are planning to end the world." Which, of course, amounts to nothing because the Camarilla are the ones responsible for the Giovanni wiping out the Cappadocius (or at least turning a blind eye) while the Sabbat are actually smart enough to know starting a third front with the Giovanni would be stupid.

                              8. I say 3rd front because they're already fighting the Setites. Not that the Sabbat hesitate to start a 4th front with the Ancients in the Middle East. Then they started a fifth front with the Civil War between the defecting Lasombra w/ their main clan. Not to bring in the issue of the True Hand versus the Zillah worshipers in the Black Hand.

                              Infernalists...

                              Panders revolting...

                              Wait, the Harbingers of Skulls are at war with the Giovanni so there is a new front there.

                              Salubri and whatever the fuck they're doing....

                              The Second Inquisition....

                              Church of Caine and Anarch defections...

                              Anarchs in general...

                              Drowned....

                              Marcus Vitel....

                              Tremere/Goratrix....



                              9. I feel like the ending was a good one as the Harbingers of Skulls killing off top tier Giovanni is a pretty good reason for them not to achieve their dastardly plan of dastardliness until the ST decides it's right. Mind you, I think we can put a pin in it for the time being as of V5. With the destruction of Mausoleum and disappearance of Augustus Giovanni's corpse (I'm going to assume he was mentally in the Shadowlands, not physically) I think the Hecata will be much less inclined to bring about the Day of Judgement.

                              10. Possible endings for Augustus are:

                              * The Second Inquisition destroyed him (unlikely but not impossible as a sunbath might actually finish him off in a way that it couldn't Ravnos--it might take eight hours, though but they could help it along with flamethrowers--Augustus is powerful but he got the Diet Coke knock off version of diablerie so is a fraction of even Tremere's power, IMHO)

                              * The Capuchin diablerized him (I think he may be the one 4th generation in the world smart enough to realize this is a shitty idea).

                              * The Capuchin just destroyed his physical form and trapped him on the other side or bound his soul (more likely).

                              * Eaten by Dispater (who may be either the Lasombra Antediluvian's Obtneration form or a Archduke of Hell or Neverborn).

                              * Escaped (I actually think this is the least likely one)

                              * Cappadocius Specter ate Augustus' soul and is back in the body of an Antediluvian.

                              * The Cappadocius fragment devoured his soul without retrieving his body and returned to the Shadowlands.

                              * Sullivan Dane staked him with a piece of the True Cross then chopped off his head with the Spear of Destiny's blade before going out for burgers.
                              Last edited by CTPhipps; 08-09-2019, 05:34 AM.


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

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