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

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
    This is why I have problems with V5's "kill loads of characters and let the players sort it out" mentality. Sure, there are some stories that can come out of a character's death. But they are categorically fewer in number, by nature of definition, that stories that can arise while a character is alive (or unalive, as the case may be). A character's very presence creates the potential for action and drama. And their involvement complicates the character arcs and plans of every character they come into contact with.
    I'm not entirely 100% behind this actually despite the fact that I'm very fond of the fact that I approve of the resurrection of several characters in Chicago by Night, the return of Marcus Vitel, and did a lengthy "the return of Prince Lodin" story in my games. Because, speaking as a writer, death is actually very good for certain stories.

    Certainly characters are stories that need to have death to not only add stakes to the story but also so that other characters may increase their role in it. As long as certain narrative positions are held, characters are never going to change whereas if you remove others then they can grow into their roles.

    To use our examples from this game:

    Kevin Jackson and Lodin: Kevin Jackson as the ruler of the Chicago Bloods is an okay character and was always a fairly interesting Ventrue. However, until the death of Prince Lodin, he never really got the chance to become the much more fascinating character that we saw in CBN5E. He's reached his full potential and simultaneously is probably going to fall spectacularly. That is a much more interesting use than the majority of games I saw him used for before.

    Damien and Neon: I hate to use this example but the death of Neon and Damien's other mentors are good uses of the character. The tragic death of an 8-10 year old Kindred Innocent is something that shows the horror and danger of Kindred life in a way that underscores just how terrible the life is. It also gives a good reason for why Damien would turn on his fellow Anarchs as he's seen how insecure their life is.

    Theo Bell, the Anarchs and Hardestadt: The death of the Camarilla's founder means that Theo Bell is now a wanted man that will never be able to live anywhere but Anarch territory. It's also shattered the perceived invincibility of the Camarilla. The Camarilla as a whole benefits because now it has a big sized hole where there used to be Hardestadt lording over it.

    The Tremere, The Second Inquisition and The Council of Seven: Without the bedrock of the Tremere clan, every Tremere has a character arc to explore. It also is a wonderful way of showing that the Second Inquisition is not something to be
    trifled with.

    You could have done anything with Jan. Instead, you can do nothing with him, because he's dead.
    While I think there's a lot of what you could have done with Jan, I also point out that my main issue is that he went out in a story that he was an afterthought to. Hardestadt dying is the centerpiece of the Convention of Prague. There's not much added by Jan dying.

    Robb Stark dying is awesome at the Red Wedding.

    Adding a few more people to it doesn't really add much. Why Lady Stoneheart was a big deal (until she wasn't in the show).

    Concerning Jan himself, I liked him as a character (though not necessarily as a person) because of how well he perfectly encapsulates Clan Ventrue. He's proud, fastidious, professional, diplomatic, holds the party line, is a complete tool of his superiors (both in the Camarilla and Clan Ventrue), and despite all pretensions of nobility is still a monster. His feeding preference is fascinating BECAUSE it's problematic. It leaves us without any doubt that he, like all Ventrue, is still a parasite and abuser, gathering and cultivating PEOPLE in order to satisfy his particular taste. Even willing to stoop to reprehensible lows, when he gets desperate enough for a drink. That is Clan Ventrue in a nutshell, and why Jan Pieterzoon works as their face.
    Oh, I 100% agree that he wouldn't be nearly as memorable a character if not for the reprehensible quality of his feeding restriction. I think part of my issue with him is that the story, once its revealed, still largely makes itself about how bad he feels about it. The audience sympathy should be utterly gone but I suppose that is more flexible in a game where you play monsters.

    I've heard V:TM described as Anne Rice meets Thomas Harris when doing personal horror.

    I don't know, maybe I'm just weird. But, like with Jan, I find myself more tolerant of horrible people in fiction than I ever would be in Real Life. Maybe I'm just drawn to the charismatic ones, or I can appreciate their awfulness as having value in a narrative and character sense.
    The issue with Prince Benison Hodge is the fact that he's not treated as a particularly horrible person. Indeed, his, "The South still exists around me" delusion is treated as quirky and even endearing by the narrative ("oh that Prince, talking like it's Gone with the Wind") not the fact he keeps a stable of dominated slaves and has ghouls collected from the local KKK. You could easily play him for horror and he'd be a much more interesting character if that was the case.

    HOWEVER, I should also admit part of my issue with V:TM characters and racist NPCs is the fact that it can go horribly wrong. To make a long story short, KINDRED OF THE EAST caused a lot of tension in my area as local gamers used the animosity between the Kueijin and Cainites to engage in some in-character racism. Ruined a couple of groups.

    But yes, you're right, I think of V:TM as best described as an "action horror" game. The horror part requires detestable Kindred and monsters.

    Going back to an earlier point, the Sourthern Lords are why I dislike V5, and specifically the Beckoning. We need MORE Methuselahs in the Jyhad, not FEWER. Especially ones that haven't been up and active in a while.
    Eh, there's a balance here that needs to exist. One of the things that irritated me about Forgotten Realms was the introduction of the Shades which was a bunch of 30th level wizards that dominated the setting. The issue being that there's a major sense that the PCs can't accomplish anything since if they ever did become a threat to the Shades that they'd just send someone 10+ levels more than them and kil them.

    The Beckoning means that the player characters can theoretically be movers and shakers in the Camarilla as well as potentially take down the limited number of Methuselahs around.

    To use a Southern Lord example, if say, Jurgen turned out to have lived through the Dark Ages and didn't become Hardestadt but instead a Plantation Owner then taking him down is a good Chronicle.

    But say you destroy Jurgen--and there's like a dozen others.

    There's no progress in the campaign chronicle. Nothing matters. It's like taking down one Ringwraith.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 04-19-2020, 12:47 PM.


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    • #47
      This chapter is closer to my wheel-house, so to speak. I have family living in Birmingham and have spent a great deal of time in the “Magic City.”

      Birmingham is unusual for a large Southern City in that it was both established after the Civil War, and was a heavily industrialized city. Seriously, it was a major producer of iron – like a Pittsburg in the Deep South. Or possibly a Gary in the Deep South. And much like Gary, it suffered when the American steel industry collapsed in the 1960s and 1970s.

      (Shakes fist and howls, “Damn you Ballard”)

      The city is not as lost as Gary, as it was able to reinvent itself as a medical and financial center, it is home to a lot of hospitals and banking, and is home to a major university.

      (So, you know, lots of Syndicate and Progenitor types about)

      However, ruins of the old iron production factories are scattered all over the place. Birmingham’s government is deeply corrupt – a recent mayor went to jail on federal corruption crimes only a decade ago. Racism is still a problem, albeit one hidden with weasel-words and good manners. It is possible to move from good, or at least clean and well-lit, neighborhoods into dangerous neighborhoods by crossing a few streets. Birmingham and its suburbs are also built in the valleys of mountains, so it spreads out in odd ways. Places that look close together on a map are actually far apart, because a road doesn’t go over the mountain – you have to drive around the mountain. The statue of the Roman god Vulcan – which appears in BJD – is a real thing, and does stand over the city, and gives a slightly pagan cast to an otherwise thoroughly Protestant city.

      All this to say, Birmingham would make a perfect World of Darkness city.

      (Onyx Path, call me, let’s make Birmingham by Night happen)

      Joking aside, this is a solid chapter. The American South has gotten relatively little attention in the World of Darkness in term of sourcebooks, as compared to the novels. The Assamite character, Randy, presented here is rock solid, and makes good a good observation;

      Originally posted by Randy
      And so, I’ve taken advantage of the cherished American myth that everyone with a thick Southern accent is mentally defective and can safely be ignored.
      Equally interesting is the Camarilla meeting Beckett spies on – the look behind the curtain at the politics, scheming, and backbiting is well executed.

      One of the reasons I like – and in some ways prefer – Requiem to Masquerade is the dynamics of the different Sects. This chapter presents another possible sect being born, in addition to the Sabbat and Camarilla (and whatever it is that Coven and Vitel are doing) in the form of a funky, blood-magic sect developing in New Orleans. A sect drawing its power from variations of voodoo. I like the dynamics of it.

      I see Silverson as played by Sam Waterston.

      And the bit of the strip-search and the back and forth with Jan is funny.

      I once had a copy of Necropolis Atlanta – it had a chapter about the local vampires. I don’t have the book anymore, so I cannot easily read the backgrounds of Benson, Bedelia and the others. Edit: Benison never bother me, because I always saw the character as a subtle parody of Civil War reenactors and people who talk about the Lost Cause and how the South will rise again - it's the province of crazy people.

      I generally agree with @CTPhillips about the Southron Lords, and the Confederacy. However, I would also populate the old plantation system with bitter and mad mages in addition to bitter and mad vampires.
      Last edited by Grumpy RPG Reviews; 07-13-2019, 04:04 PM.

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      • #48
        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

        I'm not entirely 100% behind this actually despite the fact that I'm very fond of the fact that I approve of the resurrection of several characters in Chicago by Night, the return of Marcus Vitel, and did a lengthy "the return of Prince Lodin" story in my games. Because, speaking as a writer, death is actually very good for certain stories.

        Certainly characters are stories that need to have death to not only add stakes to the story but also so that other characters may increase their role in it. As long as certain narrative positions are held, characters are never going to change whereas if you remove others then they can grow into their roles.

        To use our examples from this game:

        Kevin Jackson and Lodin: Kevin Jackson as the ruler of the Chicago Bloods is an okay character and was always a fairly interesting Ventrue. However, until the death of Prince Lodin, he never really got the chance to become the much more fascinating character that we saw in CBN5E. He's reached his full potential and simultaneously is probably going to fall spectacularly. That is a much more interesting use than the majority of games I saw him used for before.

        Damien and Neon: I hate to use this example but the death of Neon and Damien's other mentors are good uses of the character. The tragic death of an 8-10 year old Kindred Innocent is something that shows the horror and danger of Kindred life in a way that underscores just how terrible the life is. It also gives a good reason for why Damien would turn on his fellow Anarchs as he's seen how insecure their life is.

        Theo Bell, the Anarchs and Hardelstadt: The death of the Camarilla's founder means that Theo Bell is now a wanted man that will never be able to live anywhere but Anarch territory. It's also shattered the perceived invincibility of the Camarilla. The Camarilla as a whole benefits because now it has a big sized hole where there used to be Hardelstadt lording over it.

        The Tremere, The Second Inquisition and The Council of Seven: Without the bedrock of the Tremere clan, every Tremere has a character arc to explore. It also is a wonderful way of showing that the Second Inquisition is not something to be
        trifled with.

        While I think there's a lot of what you could have done with Jan, I also point out that my main issue is that he went out in a story that he was an afterthought to. Hardelstadt dying is the centerpiece of the Convention of Prague. There's not much added by Jan dying.

        Robb Stark dying is awesome at the Red Wedding.

        Adding a few more people to it doesn't really add much. Why Lady Stoneheart was a big deal (until she wasn't in the show).
        Adding a person can totally have an impact, if you're prepared to LET it. Carna (while not a new character) was basically irrelevant to Kindred politics as a whole...until she wasn't anymore. Carna stepped up and decided to act, and that changed the course of Clan Tremere arguably more than destroying the Vienna Chantry did. If the Inner Council dies, they just get replaced. Everyone moves up in rank, and the Pyramid moves on. Carna started a revolution, because she proved it was possible for the Pyramid's monolithic structure to fragment.

        The right person at the right time, who is motivated to action, can make all the difference. And so long as they exist and have the Will, they can continue to affect the world. If they're dead, they can do nothing to create conflict in and of themselves. It's only how their deaths affect everyone else, not what they can accomplish as an independent actor with their own agency.

        If you read back on my earlier post, I SAID that death can create stories. But, all other things being equal, more characters leads to the greater total number of possible stories that can be told, by virtue of them having their own agendas. If a person dies and is martyred, for instance, they might inspire Many People, who each have their own story. But if the person lives, those Many People still have their own stories. It's just that now, the number of stories is (Many People) stories + 1. Not including how many stories arise from unique combinations of different characters interacting with each other, which geometrically increases the more characters are involved.

        I do not mean for one moment to diminish the value Death has in storytelling. Its value is inarguable, in and of itself. But, in and of itself, Character Death is no more Good, storytelling-wise, than Character Not-Death. The one cannot be compared to another, because stories are complicated and their value subjective. My contention is that, when faced with the choice between More Potential Stories and Fewer Potential Stories, I err on the side of "More" and figure out the rest later. It's why I prefer BJD's presentation of metaplot - where possibilities are wide-open and up to Storyteller preference - over V5 having decided FOR YOU what Vampire: The Masquerade will be about from now on.


        Eh, there's a balance here that needs to exist. One of the things that irritated me about Forgotten Realms was the introduction of the Shades which was a bunch of 30th level wizards that dominated the setting. The issue being that there's a major sense that the PCs can't accomplish anything since if they ever did become a threat to the Shades that they'd just send someone 10+ levels more than them and kil them.

        The Beckoning means that the player characters can theoretically be movers and shakers in the Camarilla as well as potentially take down the limited number of Methuselahs around.

        To use a Southern Lord example, if say, Jurgen turned out to have lived through the Dark Ages and didn't become Hardestadt but instead a Plantation Owner then taking him down is a good Chronicle.

        But say you destroy Jurgen--and there's like a dozen others.

        There's no progress in the campaign chronicle. Nothing matters. It's like taking down one Ringwraith.
        Well yes, if all your Methuselahs are 1) all working in perfect concert and as a unit, and 2) have them be literally omnipotent and knowledgeable of everything going on. Then OF COURSE the players will have no agency.

        But Methuselahs AREN'T just Ringwraiths, bent totally to the will of Sauron. They're individuals, with their own goals, habits, friendships, and animosities. If the Southern Lords rise, they'd spend half their time screwing over each other as they would bending local Kindred to their will. Especially since they know for a fact that, unlike in times past where they'd reached an equilibrium with each other, politically speaking, all bets are off. They're ALL trying to reclaim as much power as they can, and even try to grab more power held by their rivals. Moreover, they'd expect all the other Southern Lords to do the same, because it's exactly what they'd do. Regardless of what they want, they HAVE to start playing Xanatos Speed Chess, or they'll wind up with nothing (or dead). All while many other existing Kindred in the region will want to either stop the Southern Lords from taking over (because the current residents LIKE the power they've amassed), or to find a way to exploit the situation to their own gain.

        That includes plucky, PC-quality Neonates, who have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

        That's why I kind of consider the "we need to get rid of the current power players, so the PCs can DO something" excuse to be questionable. Why do we need a huge metaplot breaking event to unseat the ones in power? That's the Player Characters' job! That's the whole reason the Jyhad exists, and what decades of chronicles have been built around! Rather, I would argue that removing the Methuselahs and Elders diminishes PC accomplishment, if they're just handed their victory, and only need to fight off other Kindred of similar power levels in order to keep it.

        (Not to mention if you need to remove big power players in order to facilitate PC accomplishment, you don't need to wipe the whole slate clean. Entire books - like Chicago By Night 2 and Milwaukee By Night - were built on the power vacuum created by a single character's death. The Beckoning isn't necessary if that's the story you want to tell. It's throwing the baby out with the bath water.)
        Last edited by Bluecho; 07-13-2019, 07:17 PM.


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        • #49
          Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
          (Not to mention if you need to remove big power players in order to facilitate PC accomplishment, you don't need to wipe the whole slate clean. Entire books - like Chicago By Night 2 and Milwaukee By Night - were built on the power vacuum created by a single character's death. The Beckoning isn't necessary if that's the story you want to tell. It's throwing the baby out with the bath water.)
          I'm not disagreeing with most of what you said but the Beckoning only really wipes out whichever elders you want to get rid of and serves as a catalyst for change but won't effect anyone you want to keep.

          Is it a third, tenth, 100th of all Elders? Most of them? Only Methuselahs? Only 800 years old?

          You can adjust it to suit the needs of your campaign.

          All it really does is make it clear that some Elders are missing and this is a justification for change.


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          • #50
            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

            I'm not disagreeing with most of what you said but the Beckoning only really wipes out whichever elders you want to get rid of and serves as a catalyst for change but won't effect anyone you want to keep.

            Is it a third, tenth, 100th of all Elders? Most of them? Only Methuselahs? Only 800 years old?

            You can adjust it to suit the needs of your campaign.

            All it really does is make it clear that some Elders are missing and this is a justification for change.
            Mrmm. Maybe I'm just bitter, and I can acknowledge that my dislike of V5 is not wholly rational. But that just seems like a cop-out to me. Like trying to have your cake and eat it, too.

            Also, there's a much easier way to justify arbitrary deaths of Methuselahs and Elders: the Second Inquisition. Nobody expects the Second Inquisition.

            Especially not if there are forces within various sects, working to supply information to hunters about high-ranking vampires, for reasons known only to them.

            Because if you're going to make the SI out to be this existential threat to Kindred, you might as well go ALL IN.


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            • #51
              Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
              Mrmm. Maybe I'm just bitter, and I can acknowledge that my dislike of V5 is not wholly rational. But that just seems like a cop-out to me. Like trying to have your cake and eat it, too.

              Also, there's a much easier way to justify arbitrary deaths of Methuselahs and Elders: the Second Inquisition. Nobody expects the Second Inquisition.

              Especially not if there are forces within various sects, working to supply information to hunters about high-ranking vampires, for reasons known only to them.

              Because if you're going to make the SI out to be this existential threat to Kindred, you might as well go ALL IN.
              How I do the Beckoning

              For me, the Beckoning is a "controlled" Gehenna and fits into the Cyclical Gehenna of Beckett's Jyhad Diary. The Beckoning is bringing the Elders of 1000+ years or so to the Middle East along with those Kindred of 6th generatuon or lower. There's exceptions to this rule like Helena, Critias, and Jacob/Esau in my games (not to mention Neonates like Damien as well as Therese) but it is taking the most powerful of the undead there. Once there, they're either eaten by the Antediluvians or freed after a period of a few months. Gehenna being a parody of the Last Judgement of Jesus in Revelations and somewhat similar to the Feast of Folly by Cappadocius.

              "Do you meet the standards of your Eldest?"

              If you do, you're allowed to live for another 1000 years and go on doing the Brujah and Setite things your Founder finds worthwhile-if not, then they reclaim their blood.

              What the Sabbat don't realize and is doubly horrifying in my games that the Antediluvians don't NEED to feast on the blood of those they sired directly.

              They can feed on the bloodshed of their deaths indirectly.

              Meaning the Sabbat have been feeding their ancestors all along.

              ====

              For me, it's a great opportunity to preserve the apocalyptic feel of Noddism and the benefits of player characters who are inclined in that direction while also making it so the setting doesn't end.
              Last edited by CTPhipps; 08-09-2019, 05:12 AM.


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

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              • #52
                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                We get another hilarious story that has Beckett strip-searched by Jan Pieterzoon's goons being told in screenplay format by new character (as far as I know) Alex Silverson, Prince of Birmingham. Silverson writes it as Jan and Beckett smoldering with love for one another and it's amusing due to the fact they genuinely hate each other. Shoves are not hugs and all that. We also get a story that Jan attempted to have Beckett burned alive by being left for the sun, feet first. Jan tells Beckett that it wasn't personal but that he was spreading Noddist propaganda and needed to be dealt with.
                Alexander Silverson made his first appearance in the Storyteller's Guide to the Sabbat back in the early 1990s. Not a major character, but someone who has existed in the game universe for a while.

                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                We then meet the newly awakened from torpor Bedelia, sire of the awful Prince Benison (originally detailed in Wraith: The Oblivion I believe rather than a vampire supplement but killed in Clan Novel: Toreador). She's a elderly black woman who proceeds to rise up and smash the Sabbat of Atlanta with an army of the ghostly dead. Presumably, in one swift stroke, taking the city back from the Sabbat. While I wonder why she Embraced a Confederate general, Malkavians gonna Malk and it's not like hate isn't as common a reason to turn someone as love.
                Bedelia isn't black.


                Learn more about the hidden history of the British Isles in England Will Burn.
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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                  All this to say, Birmingham would make a perfect World of Darkness city.

                  (Onyx Path, call me, let’s make Birmingham by Night happen)
                  A while back, I planned out a Birmingham by Night for the Storytellers Vault. There were two reasons for this: because it's an interesting city in a part of America which has not seen much attention in the World of Darkness; and because I think that the South is handled really badly in White Wolf products. Portrayals of the region tend to invest very heavily in the Magnolia Myth. Note the Kindred princes of the region:

                  Atlanta (1): Bedelia, a white female patrician.
                  Atlanta (2): James Benison Hodge, a white male patrician.
                  Baton Rouge: Lawrence Meeks, male, probably white.
                  Birmingham: Alexander Silverson, a white male patrician.
                  New Orleans (1): Doran, a white male patrician.
                  New Orleans (2): Simon de Cosa, a white male patrician.
                  New Orleans (3): Marcel Guilbeau, a white male patrician.
                  New Orleans (4): Antonio Calbullarshi, white male.
                  Savannah (1): Sabert, male.
                  Savannah (2): Nathaniel Summerton, a white male patrician.
                  Savannah (3): Penelope Huxley, a white female patrician.
                  Washington DC (1): Arthur Carroll, a white male patrician.
                  Washington DC (2): Marissa, female.
                  Washington DC (3): Marcus Vitel, a white male patrician.

                  The reader may notice a theme in the backgrounds of the characters above, but there are two points which should stand out. Firstly, this is a list of all the southern princes who have background details provided in Vampire: the Masquerade supplements; excluded are characters who only appear in novels, or who are only mentioned by name. Secondly, all of the cities mentioned above are majority black cities, at least at the time of the last American census. Now, a fair number of the princes above are portrayed in a negative light, but their use nevertheless reveals a certain historiographic viewpoint, about the nature of the South and race issues in America.





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                  • #54
                    Thanks for the information on Birmingham, Grumpy RPG Reviews as I didn't know any of that.

                    There's a tradition in writing called "Southern Gothic" that I think actually makes the Deep South quite appropriate for Vampire: The Masquerade, not just because the Goth movement thrived well in the shadow of the far more deeply conservative culture than the typical urban environment that many of the books had. The contrasts between the rural environments, cities, dark past, frequent poverty, and 200 years of history (which is long for America, short for everywhere else) make a good place to tell vampire stories. My hometown of Ashland, Ky has not too many dissimilarities to Gary, Indiana with Endron Oil being the kind of company that would have found a happy home here w/ the local corporate worship mixed with local corruption/pollution.

                    I'd go further to talk about this but I don't have to because there's actually a media franchise which illustrated exactly how to do "Southern Vampire: The Masquerade" already in HBO's True Blood. While it is possibly just coincidence that Charlaine Harris created a vampire culture that had local Kings and Queens that had their own Sheriffs, the books do have a very V:TM-esque feel with the show creators having admitted some of the writers were V:TM players and played up lore elements later.

                    Warning - NSW elements in the opening credits



                    Some of the seasons were stinkers but I think that a few were really good V:TM chronicles. I also appreciate the fact the show had a good mix of racial and sexualities thanks to Alan Ball's choices.

                    Just....quit when the Changeling: The Dreaming elements are added [am a big C:TD fan but...no.]
                    Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-14-2019, 07:28 AM.


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                    • #55
                      Chapter Five: London Calling

                      This is a very focused chapter. Beckett goes to London and ends up visiting a gentleman's club (of the Diogenes Club not strip club type) where he meets with some local Elders who are less than pleased to have him present. Beckett was born in England and Embraced at Oxford but rarely mentions his homeland in his work. Unlike many Elders, he's a man of his word and it's amusing to see him return to England and soak it up after decades of absence.

                      Politically, we find out that Lady Bowesley may be a better ruler than Cersei Lannister but not necessarily by much. She's killed a high-ranking Tremere for a frame-up job, continues to persecute them despite NOT being a 6000 year old Methuselah who can safely ignore them, has almost bankrupted her clan due to massive coke-filled orgies by her operatives (that's ghouldom for you), and is doing her best to support Jan Pieterzoon's war on the Sabbat despite that being something that has nothing to do with her.

                      I like the cynicism of V:TM that supporting a war against a monstrous terrorist organization like the Sabbat is portrayed in such a negative self-serving light. Also, the bit with Lady Anne's ghouls reminds me of John Oliver's report on the House of Lords scandal with Lord Sewell: *NFW subject matter -- but hilarious* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i05XmnhTAoA

                      I like how this chapter incorporates The Red Question Anarch group that has been specifically targeting Ventrue corporations. I'm not 100% behind the Anarchs behind the 2008 economic collapse, because unregulated capitalism and corruption can do that by itself, but I like the continuity as well as the fact one of them is apparently Bobby Weatherbottom.

                      The section also reveals they were short-selling and made millions ala The Big Short because of course they did--even Anarchs are still vampires.
                      All roads lead to Montgomery Coven and Beckett eventually gets a meeting with him where the man proceeds to murder a Ventrue Antitribu Inquisitor in a monomancy duel via loophole abuse. I'm a little confused why Inquisitors are a threat to Monty given that they normally are focused on Infernalism rather than loyalty in general but Mithras apparently slaughtered many of them. Monty proceeds to play a bunch of word games with Beckett as well as letting his plans for London to stand: 1. Sabbat. 2. Anarch. 3. Camarilla in name only. It doesn't matter as Doctor No would say, "East, West, points on a compass."

                      Coven has created a powerful PMC of loyal soldiers, probably ghouled but not necessarily, and is more or less ready to take London anytime he needs. He's dramatically undermined Lady Bowesley's power and can probably take the city whenever he wishes. It's hard to say you're not winning a game if your opponent doesn't even know your playing. Mithras also gives Beckett proof positive that Lady Anne is addicted to diablerie.

                      It's kind of amusing that the book highlights that Lady Anne isn't doing it to lower her generation or feed her methusaleh's thirst but just for pleasure. I think it's implying she might have gotten away with it if that were the case w/ the former two.
                      Beckett gets a message six months later that proves this as well as a letter that finally clues him into the fact that Monty Coven is the methuselah Mithras in a new body. There's references to what I believe to be the Victorian Vampire series but I didn't read any of those books.

                      Adventure Hooks

                      This chapter is more "focused" for lack of a better term. This is primarily about the Prince of London (sorry, forgive me, "Queen" of London) as well as her imminent defeat by a being vastly her superior in intellect. Watching Monty Coven play them all against one another and puppeteer them is like watching a master at work.

                      Thoughts

                      This is a fascinating chapter because, depending on how they choose to follow it up, it could be integral to The Fall of London module as written by Steffie De Vaan, Matthew Dawkins, and Klara Horskjær Herbøl. We don't know much about TFoL but for what has come up in interviews like the Darker Days Podcast: http://podcast.darker-days.org/e/109...-live-at-ukge/.

                      What little we do know indicates that it will be a book that has the player characters knocked into torpor, that they'll be taking commands from Mithras, that the city will go from a place of power [where Elysium is gorgeous] to a place where it is being picked over by scavengers, and that parts of it will take place in the Tube. We also know from V5 that Lady Anne Bowesley will be decapitated by Inquisitors, Mithras will (apparently) die, and the city of London will be the largest to fall to the Second Inquisition. Oh and it will (probably) be available around Christmas time.

                      This chapter, as a result. is a very interesting one for discussing the relationship between V20, Beckett's Jyhad Diary in particular, and V5. A lot of people see them as opposed but I point out that quite a few writers for one are writers for the next. The stories brought up in this chapter don't necessarily play out the way they would normally but that doesn't mean they're not worthwhile.

                      Certainly, this chapter contributes a great deal for making the Fall of London (from what we know of it) meaningful because it re-establishes these characters. I'm sure the actual module will be able to be appreciated completely independent of London Calling and previous WOD work but I wouldn't be surprised if it won't be enriched by it.

                      Basically, my view of the Second Inquisition is they're an Outside Context ProblemTM for the majority of vampires who never imagined their food would fight back but that doesn't mean that it's not thematically appropriate for them to arrive like a swarm of locusts and throw all this political maneuvering into chaos.
                      Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-14-2019, 10:45 AM.


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

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                      • #56
                        (SPOILERS)

                        Yes, there are references from the Victorian age Trilogy, probably the best novels written of Vampire Masquerade. In them, Beckett plays a minor role, but fall in love with one of the characters, Lady Enma Blake, a neonate Tremere being prepared for sacrifice to murder and poison Mithras by the warlocks. Their paths crossed while investigating the origins of Kemintiri, and finally Beckett gave some help to Lady Victoria Ash and Virginia, his childe, and daughter of Lady Enma. So, the correspondecy with Victoria and Lady Enma are with the few who know that Beckett one night had a hearth in love.

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                        • #57
                          Chapter Five: London Falling Notes

                          1. Queen Anne Bowesley is a character I absolutely love to hate. I mean it, she's a character I have a strangely irrational loathing of and yet I've only played a couple of London games. She's such a detestable character that before Hardestadt existed I was using her as "the worst example of a Camarilla aristocrat hated by the public." Discovering she's a mass diablerist doesn't really surprise me and is the kind of thing that I hope the PCs will be able to reveal in any game. Her death, like Hardestadt's couldn't have been more deserved but I also feel kind of cheated if the PCs won't get a chance to contribute to it.

                          2. I'm actually most interested in the idea that Monty Coven and Mithras are a gestalt rather thab the former possessed by the latter. The idea that Mithras is gaining a much needed boost in, if not Humanity then (lower case) humanity, is an interesting idea. Monty providing Mithras with much needed drive, ambition, and wonder at the modern world is something that could easily be used for other methuselahs seeking to reinvigorate their sense of (un)life. It also gives a justification for why Monty is possessed versus just using Mithras himself.

                          3. I like how this book expands on Montgomery's backstory and gives insights into his character. He was something of a flat character before but this expands on him tremendously. It also is nice to have him dealing with the same issues that other Kindred deal with in the area where he's continually underestimated--however, he might have been a potential genius or conqueror in the making before if he'd had a chance to develop into one.

                          4. I'm inclined to think that the best solution for a London that isn't devastated by the SI is the fact that Mithras form his own sect rather than makes his own Sabbat, Camarilla, or joins the Anarchs. Technically, you can say that would make him an Anarch but I could easily see him going one step further beyond what Marcus Vitel was doing. With Monty Coven in his brain, Mithras' ambitions could well go beyond the Camarilla and create something like the Invictus as an alternative to the Camarilla.

                          5. I am not sure if we'll see it but I do think that Monty Coven having his own PMC is probably why the SI actually had a fight for London. This is just me but with the obvious exception of (stupid) Anarchs and the Sabbat plus the occassional elder like Karsh--most vampires reaction to the SI showing up in town would be to be leave, IMHO. An actual covert Ultraviolet war with dead SAS soldiers and vampires is something you'd need someone like Mithras to arrange--and probably because he finds the whole thing hilarious.

                          6. I'm actually really intrigued by the revelation Bobby Weatherbottom is a member of the Red Question. It explains a few things and actually shows how a vampire might know what Ventrue businesses to hit (as well as how Horatio Ballard's personal fortune was all but wiped out without destroying Ballard Industries as a whole--striking at the 1% not their employees). Congratulations, Bobby, you may actually justify the organization's existence in my campaigns as well as seriously impede the Camarilla's efforts.

                          7. One interesting thing in this section is that Mithras dismisses the myth of Caine and says he knows vampires much older than him. Given the cyclical Gehenna focus of the story, Beckett unwittingly misses his chance to ask someone who would know for sure. Well, theoretically. One of the things carried over from Requiem to V5 is the fact that vampire memory is not great and people might remember the myth rather than fact.
                          Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-14-2019, 01:21 PM.


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

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                          • #58
                            I found this chapter to be flawed in a few ways.

                            For one thing, there really aren’t any scenes set in the Tube. Granted, for years the Tube has been lousy with America Werewolves (that are in London for some reason). And lately there has been a drow problem. Even so, there should have been a scene set in the Tube. And the subplot of the True Brujah trying to steal a police box felt like it was from some other game or show entirely.

                            Less flippantly, for all the sense of age to both Mithras and London, there is no sense of that weight of time in this chapter. Nothing is set at the Tower, the rebuilt Globe, or Saint Paul’s. With this general lack of landmarks, and a lack of notable local flavor, the chapter might well have been set anywhere. The only things tying it to London are the fictional characters.

                            Mithras is older than (some) dirt. Montgomery Coven is younger than I am. The combined character (Mithven? Covras?) is deeply interesting and dynamic, and possesses a lot of qualities that make him distinct from Vitel… that other elder in possession of a national capital and a desire to create an empire.

                            The narrative business with Coven owning a mercenary company is interesting and provides a lot of game opportunities. The same is true of the financial shenanigans involving Wanklers – I wonder how to describe what they were doing when they lost that money.

                            Aside from the coke-fueled orgies I mean. Stupid ghouls, ruing coke-fueled orgies for the rest of us.

                            The mercenary company will get the attention of a lot of players – but the financial business should get the attention of players as well. Vampires do not simply prop themselves up as secret masters based on their martial prowess alone. They manipulate and control social power, and much – maybe most – of that will involve money. The idea of an elder setting an elder to scrambling for options because a bank foreclosed on their haven is funny, and strategically useful.

                            I also have the firm and consistent belief that none of the schemers or plotters in the World of Darkness ever get what they want. Plans turn around of them, things fall apart, and the center does not hold. This happens to the PCs. It happens to the Ancients, such as Saulot, Tzimisce and Cappadocius. And it will happen to Covras (that sounds better than Mithven) and Vitel. Indeed, the pair of them might accidently reveal the existence of vampire to the governments of two separate and powerful nations.

                            That is to say, I suspect whatever Covras attempts quickly spirals out of his control and leads to the Fall of London.
                            Last edited by Grumpy RPG Reviews; 07-15-2019, 03:22 AM. Reason: A coke fueld orgy made me do it.

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                            • #59
                              If I do have a (small) criticism of LONDON FALLING, Grumpy RPG Reviews it is the fact that this chapter is more about the metaplot of Mithras' resurrection as Coven than it is about London in general. This isn't a bad thing but I think some more hints about what's going on in the city would have been better.

                              Still, it's pretty similar to Washington D.C. that is all about the return of Marcus Vitel.
                              Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-15-2019, 02:54 PM.


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

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                              • #60
                                I can't wait to get to the Jerusalem chapter of BECKETT'S JYHAD DIARY because there's a lot of interesting bits there that I look forward to analyzing. Not just the idea that the Antediluvians move in and out of wightdom over the years but also that Malkav may or may not be the founder of the Baali. I'm curious what drinking their founder's blood means for the Malkavians and whether or not it's a way to explain why they might be written a bit differently in the future.

                                Also, whether or not being under Jerusalem (a place with True Faith 10 depending on where you stand) was a deliberate choice by Malkav--maybe to burn the wightdowm out of him or keep himself imprisoned.

                                In some of my games, Saulot was actually Malkav AFTER he achieved Golconda. That the Malkavians and Salubri were the same Clan at different points in their history.


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

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