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[5E] Chicago by Night discussion

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  • #16
    There were actually two guys named Critias. The second guy, the subject of the Platonic dialogues Timaeus and Critias, is the one that the character in Chicago by Night is based on. This Critias was a Sophist (a false teacher) and a rival of Socrates. He was one of the people who arranged for Socrates to be executed for “corrupting the youth of Athens.” (My ex took some philosophy classes at uni, so I’ll double check with him, but I’m pretty sure I’m right.)


    The die is cast.

    Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon

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    • #17
      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
      I like Anita Wainwright definitely but also note that it seems weird that they're making her antagonistic to Maldavis who is still in her funk 20 years after the events of Chicago by Night 2nd Edition. Mind you, I find it completely believable that the two women would irk the hell out of each other with one being a low generation Civil Rights legend who is not active versus one being a hign generation who is plus the fact Anita is a white woman involved in radical black activism versus Maldavis...not being. They could go further with this, I suppose, but it feels a little cheap so far.
      I haven't read Maldavis' history, but those differences sound as if they nicely explain the two's dislike. Helena's and Menele's enmity was pretty petty too when it got down to it.

      [quote]While not of the generation, Gengis is associated with Antifa and Bobby Weatherbottom seems to be the "internet social activist hacker" that would be associated with Anonymous and Occupy Wallstreet (given that he is actually a member of the now-defunct Red Question--which was a nice little bit of V20 homage).

      Man, Gengis joining Antifa is perfect. His punk friends must be pretty old now.

      If there's one semi-related significant complaint I have so far as CBN 5e, it's that there weren't anywhere nearly as many characters as there were in CBN 1e/2e. I'm not sure how the page count spent on each one compares--I remember your RPGNet Let's Read bringing up how one of CBN's strengths was that it made very impressionable characters despite a fairly low page count next to NPCs we saw in Revised city books like New York.

      I think an answer to that, and which wouldn't have further increased the book's page count, would have been to provide shorter summaries of additional characters. Anywhere from one to several sentences long. Basically, after Gengis' (or whoever the last Brujah is) writeup, an "Other Brujah" page with bullet lines on each of the city's other Brujah. It could clarify the fates and activities of NPCs from earlier books, or provide quick sketches of new personalities for GMs to flesh out as desired. "XXX is Anita's grandchilde, but a Duskborn she holds at arm's length and won't accept as her own. Some Anarchs remain more equal than others." "Dre is a gangbanger Embraced by Smiling Jack who'd become more scholarly by the 2000s, studied at Critias' academy, and was either destroyed by him or barely escaped and remains terrified for his unlife." "Carlyle was killed by Jackson during his Anarch purges for the specific crime of being a less interesting character than Hank Cave."

      A shout-out to a related thing that CBN 5e did really well, though, was providing short blurbs on various mortals and ghouls who served as Touchstones, Retainers, Allies, et al to the vampire NPCs. The Revised Storyteller's Handbook said "make the mortals in your setting as important as the vampires," but it never put that advice into practice by detailing many mortals in the city books. Having a well of pre-written mortal/ghoul NPCs to draw from is fun and useful for the same reason that pre-written vampire NPCs are fun and useful.

      It also makes me more excited at the hypothetical prospect of running a Chicago game. In my current game, I've fleshed out at least as many mortals and ghouls as the setting's vampires, and I'd want to repeat that for Chicago. Going by just 1e/2e, I'd have to come up with a bunch of NPCs whole cloth. I could do that, but the point of using a published city book is that I want White Wolf to already do some of the work. V5 gives me what's actually a really large cast of mortal and ghoul NPCs who simply have shorter bios than the vampires.

      For those who enjoy romantic vampire stories that are a bit creepy, I like how Anita has a Touchstone of someone who is just her replacement for her dead lover and how Gerard is dating someone who reminds him of Anita--you know with Brujah that could probably end with either murdering the other's lovers.
      That's great.

      One of the most interesting complaints about Critias is the historical Critias is nothing like the one in the book, being one of the Tyrants of Athens. The twist here that Menele had been controlling Critias' mind via the Blood Bond for millennia and that his "normal" persona is a petty toady who kisses up to someone literally a 40th of his age is fascinating. Critias should, by all means, rule Chicago but his true self isn't a strong leader.

      He's also a petty son of a bitch which makes him more useful if you have a game where it's Neonates versus Elders. It's also the one place where being able to assassinate someone much-much older in 5E is easier because otherwise he'd wipe the floor with the PCs.
      If people are going to raise complaints about the historical Critias, I think Helena, Menele, and Prias are the bigger offenders. You could change their names without changing anything about the characters.

      Critias likely knows better than to want to be prince. It's painting a target on your head for Anarchs to shoot after. Every methuselah knows the prince is the first Kindred who gets blamed when something goes wrong on a big safer. Safer to have the prince as your patsy.

      That is pretty much what Critias did back in 1e with Lodin, who was the primogen's puppet. But he isn't turning Jackson into his. Maybe he's too paranoid after Menele to want to insert himself into the Jyhad that directly. Maybe he's happy just controlling the unlives of his academy students. You could call that petty (why settle for a neonate finishing school vs. the whole city?), or maybe it's an apples to oranges form of control, since Critias gets to shape the outlooks of his students to an extent that even the most draconian prince can't impose on their subjects writ large.

      I can't see Critias wanting to take the throne either, or at least not for long. His history in 1e said he would travel from city to city across the U.S. and occasionally rule as prince (in my headcanon, I have him as the one-time prince of Philly and the sire of Arthur Carroll, the former Brujah prince of D.C.), but it didn't sound like he ever did so for long. Critias would ultimately rather instruct and critique princes than be one himself. CBN 1e/2e amusingly states that Menele offered him the Embrace so he could be "the eternal gadfly."

      I agree, the big issue with Nerissa for me is that she's actually a very flat character. The fact she's associated with Lilith-ism also defeats the purpose of making her one of the Drowned. Either she's a wholly original character or she's not.
      Nerissa is essentially an open toolbox for the GM to develop. I suppose that's well enough, but well-written characters will already leave room for varied interpretations across GMs. I've read a bunch of fascinating and drastically different takes on Helena, Menele, and the other big Chicago names. The amount of depth they have makes it easier for GMs to take the characters and make them fully their own.

      In contrast, I can't name any "open toolbox for the GM to develop" NPCs that have ever really excited me. Or settings. But then, that's probably true for most people who prefer Masquerade over Requiem (the latter of which I thought got better the more it was fleshed out).

      Noah Grewal is an amazingly fun character. I'm surprised more people haven't commented on him.
      What I especially like is that he puts a face to the Second Inquisition (I mean, he's technically still one of their operatives). It's the same reason I was so happy to see more thin-bloods. These are supposed to be major components of V5's setting, and attaching names and faces to them has a lot of value.

      You also have to feel pretty sorry for Noah. The Second Inquisition has captured tons of vampires (hell, there's even a Loresheet for PCs to be one), and he had the random bad luck to get "Embraced" by the weakest-blooded fledgling who could've possibly wound up staked in a black site somewhere.

      Exactly, Son is the perfect kind of Camarilla Elder as he's a sadistic villain with lots of influence and power. He's alot more interesting than Maureen O'Leary. I am stunned that he hasn't hit wassail yet, though, and wish we'd gotten an explanation why not, though.
      I think you can bump his Embrace up to the '50s, '60s, or even later. Nothing about him really says "Victorian era" to me.

      CBN's 1e Malkavians get a rightfully bad rap, but one I really liked was Johann. He was mentioned as having this profoundly, almost supernaturally deep connection with Damien that went beyond even the blood bond. It was unclear exactly what it was, and it felt very 1e: relationship- and humanity-centric (it's pretty contrary Revised's "vampires are toxic douchebags" mood), vaguely romantic, moody, mysterious, and the fact it wasn't further developed in later books kept it so. It was just a little detail that made the still-new WoD feel wide open and full of mysteries and possibilities, like there was so much about the setting you still didn't understand.

      I suppose he had to get killed off, though, if Damien was going to wind up sheriff. He was too positive and wholesome an influence. He was a very 1e character in that regard too.

      I feel like Helena's writers doubled-down on the "she's the designated villain" role that she had in previous editions. They even said that she was associated with the Baali in Carthage versus Menele, who is the guy who has Spirit Thaumaturgy. I think Helena could have been more ambiguous but they just made her a serial killing bored aristocrat. She's great as a villain but that's kind of all she is.
      It's the same thing they did with Bordruff. They're taking a character who's already a monster by deeds and making her a monster by motivation as well. "Methuselahs are static creatures and Helena is still locked in the mindset of an abuse victim trying to stay safe by any and all means she believes necessary" is more tragic than "serial killing bored aristocrat" and doesn't diminish any of her atrocities. I just don't see what the latter adds in a game that's expressly about sympathetic monsters.


      Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
        I haven't read Maldavis' history, but those differences sound as if they nicely explain the two's dislike. Helena's and Menele's enmity was pretty petty too when it got down to it.
        There's a lot to unpack with Maldavis as she's basically been the patsy of every major player that ever graced Chicago, I'm surprised she's still sane!

        Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
        I think an answer to that, and which wouldn't have further increased the book's page count, would have been to provide shorter summaries of additional characters. Anywhere from one to several sentences long. Basically, after Gengis' (or whoever the last Brujah is) writeup, an "Other Brujah" page with bullet lines on each of the city's other Brujah. It could clarify the fates and activities of NPCs from earlier books, or provide quick sketches of new personalities for GMs to flesh out as desired. "XXX is Anita's grandchilde, but a Duskborn she holds at arm's length and won't accept as her own. Some Anarchs remain more equal than others." "Dre is a gangbanger Embraced by Smiling Jack who'd become more scholarly by the 2000s, studied at Critias' academy, and was either destroyed by him or barely escaped and remains terrified for his unlife." "Carlyle was killed by Jackson during his Anarch purges for the specific crime of being a less interesting character than Hank Cave."
        That would have been amazing, teasers on some interesting Old and New characters that are around, but vaugue enough the ST can use them how they want. like with the mention of Joshua Tarnopolski setting himself up as Baron of Joliet and Naperville. On an aside I'm hoping we get more on how that's going in Let the Streets Run Red.

        Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
        A shout-out to a related thing that CBN 5e did really well, though, was providing short blurbs on various mortals and ghouls who served as Touchstones, Retainers, Allies, et al to the vampire NPCs. The Revised Storyteller's Handbook said "make the mortals in your setting as important as the vampires," but it never put that advice into practice by detailing many mortals in the city books. Having a well of pre-written mortal/ghoul NPCs to draw from is fun and useful for the same reason that pre-written vampire NPCs are fun and useful.

        It also makes me more excited at the hypothetical prospect of running a Chicago game. In my current game, I've fleshed out at least as many mortals and ghouls as the setting's vampires, and I'd want to repeat that for Chicago. Going by just 1e/2e, I'd have to come up with a bunch of NPCs whole cloth. I could do that, but the point of using a published city book is that I want White Wolf to already do some of the work. V5 gives me what's actually a really large cast of mortal and ghoul NPCs who simply have shorter bios than the vampires.
        Agreed! I've made great use of named Mortals in my Chicago games!

        Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
        Nerissa is essentially an open toolbox for the GM to develop. I suppose that's well enough, but well-written characters will already leave room for varied interpretations across GMs. I've read a bunch of fascinating and drastically different takes on Helena, Menele, and the other big Chicago names. The amount of depth they have makes it easier for GMs to take the characters and make them fully their own.

        In contrast, I can't name any "open toolbox for the GM to develop" NPCs that have ever really excited me. Or settings. But then, that's probably true for most people who prefer Masquerade over Requiem (the latter of which I thought got better the more it was fleshed out).
        I like the idea of Nerissa, but I honestly don't know what to do with her. I am currently working through some vague ideas for a Second War of Chicago plotline. Which would feature Hernandez breaking the truce with the Werewolves, the ensuing conflict drawing the attention of the SI (Who then realise Werewolves are a thing, and maybe should expand operations, ooops). I'd like to use Nerissa in that and establish her as... something... but what shape that takes I really don't know yet.

        Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
        What I especially like is that he puts a face to the Second Inquisition (I mean, he's technically still one of their operatives). It's the same reason I was so happy to see more thin-bloods. These are supposed to be major components of V5's setting, and attaching names and faces to them has a lot of value.

        You also have to feel pretty sorry for Noah. The Second Inquisition has captured tons of vampires (hell, there's even a Loresheet for PCs to be one), and he had the random bad luck to get "Embraced" by the weakest-blooded fledgling who could've possibly wound up staked in a black site somewhere.
        I actually have taken the route that his Sire may have been more potent of Blood, but the artificial embrace they did (Literally replacing his blood with Vampire Blood) has left him something less than a Vampire, even by Thin-Blood standards. Although he uses the Thin-Blood mechanics, he's actually something else, and no-one (If they knew) is quite sure what that is.

        The Lasombra in my Camarilla game is planning to usurp Noah's control of the Airport, I'm looking forward to when that plan develops and then suddenly SI start's hitting his assets.

        Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
        It's the same thing they did with Bordruff. They're taking a character who's already a monster by deeds and making her a monster by motivation as well. "Methuselahs are static creatures and Helena is still locked in the mindset of an abuse victim trying to stay safe by any and all means she believes necessary" is more tragic than "serial killing bored aristocrat" and doesn't diminish any of her atrocities. I just don't see what the latter adds in a game that's expressly about sympathetic monsters.
        I am keeping to the abuse victim, but I'm also playing up the aspect that Menele and the conflict with him defined her for millennia, and you don't just get over that. She plays a great poker face, but underneath she's a wreck and is freewheeling, her desperation to escape the beckoning the only thing defining her at present, her search for a new enemy is just to try and fill the void left with the absence of purpose. That's another thing I would like to try and use Nerissa for, her threat bringing Helena out in her desperation, but that desperation may cloud her judgement and lead to some terrible mistakes...

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        • #19
          Personally, I'm surprised with Bobby Weatherbottom's new look. I'm neutral on it, but it seems like a different character compared to what is in his bio.


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          • #20
            Originally posted by Yaoi Huntress Earth View Post
            Personally, I'm surprised with Bobby Weatherbottom's new look. I'm neutral on it, but it seems like a different character compared to what is in his bio.
            I assume that Annabelle forced him to develop some style or he just drank some of her blood.

            I love this thread guys, truly.

            Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
            I haven't read Maldavis' history, but those differences sound as if they nicely explain the two's dislike. Helena's and Menele's enmity was pretty petty too when it got down to it.
            Another reason I always liked the Helena vs. Menele rivalry is that Menele claims the moral high ground but he's the guy who attacked her and destroyed Pompey. She destroyed his communities but that was repayment for what he did (and vice versa). Also, Menele manipulates just as many people as Helena. I always figured it would have been more interesting to have Menele be at a 5 Humanity and Helena at a 4. Menele argues from a position of morality but he's really only slightly better than her. That kind of can't happen if Helena is regularly diablerizing young women.

            Man, Gengis joining Antifa is perfect. His punk friends must be pretty old now.
            I love the development of Gengis in the book because he was always a lazy conformist who just happened to follow religiously whatever was popular among the counter-culture establishment. So, him growing into the role of the Anarch sellout who NEEDS the Camarilla to rebel against but has no real desire to change the status quo is a fascinating development. Gengis is a supporter of the Camarilla because he doesn't want to live in an Anarch free state because there's nothing to thumb his nose at there.

            I think he's really the most dangerous Anarch around now to other Anarchs. I like the idea he's the one who came up with the "only ten Anarchs" thing because that would make him able to protect his own little circle of miscreants.

            If there's one semi-related significant complaint I have so far as CBN 5e, it's that there weren't anywhere nearly as many characters as there were in CBN 1e/2e. I'm not sure how the page count spent on each one compares--I remember your RPGNet Let's Read bringing up how one of CBN's strengths was that it made very impressionable characters despite a fairly low page count next to NPCs we saw in Revised city books like New York.
            I think that they tried to balance NPCs against the fact that city books are usually the worst selling of supplements with rare exceptions. I do like how the NPC write-ups often refer to and give short write-ups of characters related to the NPCs. As you say, it really makes things much more developed and the setting much more alive. You don't only get to know Sovereign, you get to know his Touchstones and allies in the legal departments of Chicago.

            Critias likely knows better than to want to be prince. It's painting a target on your head for Anarchs to shoot after. Every methuselah knows the prince is the first Kindred who gets blamed when something goes wrong on a big safer. Safer to have the prince as your patsy.
            I think that Critias' overall lack of ambition is an interesting thing to have in a 2000 year old vampire. He's been mind-controlled as Menele's puppet for so long he could do almost anything he wants but he's pledged himself to Kevin Jackson and isn't even trying to control him. It's interesting that Helena assumed he'd be her new opponent but he's not interested in being a mastermind. He's also strangely someone who Helena probably couldn't control. It makes me wonder if she'll try to take him out at some point or just leave him alone for not poking the bee hive.

            You also have to feel pretty sorry for Noah. The Second Inquisition has captured tons of vampires (hell, there's even a Loresheet for PCs to be one), and he had the random bad luck to get "Embraced" by the weakest-blooded fledgling who could've possibly wound up staked in a black site somewhere.
            I wonder if that he was picked at random from their prisoners or if the Second Inquisition only uses Thin Blooded operatives because they're not Blankbodies (having body heat) and are still, for some values, "alive" unlike your typical vampire.

            I think you can bump his Embrace up to the '50s, '60s, or even later. Nothing about him really says "Victorian era" to me.
            I think he's named after Maureen O'Leary's cow, "Son", who caused the Chicago Fire of 1871. As such, he's implied to be the pyromaniac who did it for Maureen O'Leary and Lodin. However, I think you could easily play V5 Son as a kind of "realistic" version of Son. The "Brat Prince" who enjoys tormenting elders, doing what he wants, and having a dark charisma would an interesting interpretation of the character I think.

            It's the same thing they did with Bordruff. They're taking a character who's already a monster by deeds and making her a monster by motivation as well. "Methuselahs are static creatures and Helena is still locked in the mindset of an abuse victim trying to stay safe by any and all means she believes necessary" is more tragic than "serial killing bored aristocrat" and doesn't diminish any of her atrocities. I just don't see what the latter adds in a game that's expressly about sympathetic monsters.
            I agree.
            Last edited by CTPhipps; 01-29-2020, 03:44 AM.


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

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            • #21
              My version of Critias isnt even in Chicago , he broke free from his blood bond long ago thanks to one Helena Follower who wanted to free him from his sire with a ritual to weaken him.

              Thanks to that Critias is now a Carthian who travels around the world triying to establish an undead council of the thirty tyrants in multiple domains , some say that the brujah council in the soviet union was part of the experiment and now Critias has moved to other places where the council can trive like China but of course this is all but a rumour.

              Seriusly RL Critias is a dude who didnt bat an eye when Socrates who was his master execution happened and who once payed 300 lash bearers to lash at his own population and who executed over 1500 citizens to steal their propierty.Making such real life example of evil a mere puppet or unambitous oodball is a waste of potential.


              https://www.deviantart.com/cicerondixit/gallery

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              • #22
                Adze man,Adze rocks!

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Mithras304 View Post
                  That would have been amazing, teasers on some interesting Old and New characters that are around, but vaugue enough the ST can use them how they want. like with the mention of Joshua Tarnopolski setting himself up as Baron of Joliet and Naperville. On an aside I'm hoping we get more on how that's going in Let the Streets Run Red.
                  Did he? That's awesome. Blackjack was a pretty senior Anarch figure and it makes sense he might want to set himself up somewhere else where he can be the head honcho.

                  I like the idea of Nerissa, but I honestly don't know what to do with her.
                  Nerissa was interesting to read about. But the problem with characters whose backgrounds and motivations are an open toolbox is that, well, what you can actually do with them is too.

                  The Lasombra in my Camarilla game is planning to usurp Noah's control of the Airport, I'm looking forward to when that plan develops and then suddenly SI start's hitting his assets.
                  I always figured this was why the SI basically okay'd Noah's takeover of O'Hare. It's a very important domain that lots of vampires are going to want to wrest from his control, and because he's a thin-blood they figure it'll be easy. It's basically a giant mousetrap.

                  They can't rely on it forever, because eventually Chicago's Kindred are going to wise up and go, "Hey, everyone who's tried to take over this thin-blood's airport mysteriously disappeared," and it'll be an "interesting" question what happens to Noah then.

                  Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                  Another reason I always liked the Helena vs. Menele rivalry is that Menele claims the moral high ground but he's the guy who attacked her and destroyed Pompey. She destroyed his communities but that was repayment for what he did (and vice versa). Also, Menele manipulates just as many people as Helena. I always figured it would have been more interesting to have Menele be at a 5 Humanity and Helena at a 4. Menele argues from a position of morality but he's really only slightly better than her. That kind of can't happen if Helena is regularly diablerizing young women.
                  "But she turned on Carthage first!"

                  I agree Menele works better at Humanity 5 because you kind of don't get to be Humanity 10 when you're sacrificing people's lives as chess pieces. And is it any wonder finding Golconda has taken him millennia when Johann managed it in just a few decades? What's worse for Menele is that he knows this, completely understands what a cancer their Jyhad is on his soul, and has tried to fool Helena into thinking he's dead to extricate himself from it.

                  I think Menele's ultimate Golconda test, against which his suspire would be more denouement than anything else... is seeing if he could help Helena. If he could acknowledge how he's basically Minos in her eyes, how he destroyed Pompeii, and has also caused her to spend the past few thousand years on a pointless vendetta when she might have just wanted to live happily every after with Prias (or at least, tried to).

                  Alternately, being willing to sacrifice himself to end their Jyhad and the suffering it causes.

                  I think that they tried to balance NPCs against the fact that city books are usually the worst selling of supplements with rare exceptions.
                  Kickstarter, as with so many things, seems to be a better business mode for White Wolf. With the published city books it was hit or miss how well they sold. Kickstarter at least gives them guaranteed sales.

                  I think that Critias' overall lack of ambition is an interesting thing to have in a 2000 year old vampire. He's been mind-controlled as Menele's puppet for so long he could do almost anything he wants but he's pledged himself to Kevin Jackson and isn't even trying to control him. It's interesting that Helena assumed he'd be her new opponent but he's not interested in being a mastermind. He's also strangely someone who Helena probably couldn't control. It makes me wonder if she'll try to take him out at some point or just leave him alone for not poking the bee hive.
                  Critias is pretty "underpowered" for a methuselah by a lot of metrics. In CBN 1e/2e, his only 6+ Discipline was an Auspex power that let him seem smarter than he was by knowing what people were going to say ahead of time. His only other really high traits that I remember were Wits and some debate/philosophy-related Abilities. He can hold his own against many younger vampires, but against peers like Thetmes or Marcus Vitel, it's really no contest. Even a younger but more "aggressive" elder like Lucita or Fatimah could take him down.

                  And I really liked that about him. Not every vampire has to be a power-hungry mastermind or unstoppable badass just because they've been around for a while. "It's not the years, kid, it's the mileage." Lucien was another good example of this. So was Lambach Ruthven. Badass masterminds are a dime a dozen and it makes the setting feeling more real to have elders who don't all fit the same profile.

                  I think he's named after Maureen O'Leary's cow, "Son", who caused the Chicago Fire of 1871. As such, he's implied to be the pyromaniac who did it for Maureen O'Leary and Lodin. However, I think you could easily play V5 Son as a kind of "realistic" version of Son. The "Brat Prince" who enjoys tormenting elders, doing what he wants, and having a dark charisma would an interesting interpretation of the character I think.
                  You could make the argument that's who he already is. "Unfailingly and suspiciously helpful and polite" might fit him as he's been presented better than "dark charisma," but he didn't just get off to poking peoples' eyes out with burning sticks: as of Anarch Unbound, he also blackmailed Ballard into getting himself arrested for indecent exposure (and even tanking his shot at the princedom). There are so many worse things Son could have done and which he's clearly capable of doing (see: Neon's demise in 2e), but he still went with something darkly humorous rather than outright evil. It was a human touch for an otherwise inhuman character and I really liked it.

                  It's like how Lodin also found it amusing to call O'Leary "my queen" and endlessly fawn over her. CBN said he even managed to freak her out--a Ventrue getting the better of a Malkavian, right? Lodin was still an archetypal Ventrue prince, but it was little touches like that which made the characters feel like they were more than just their clans and archetypes.


                  Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
                    I always figured this was why the SI basically okay'd Noah's takeover of O'Hare. It's a very important domain that lots of vampires are going to want to wrest from his control, and because he's a thin-blood they figure it'll be easy. It's basically a giant mousetrap.

                    They can't rely on it forever, because eventually Chicago's Kindred are going to wise up and go, "Hey, everyone who's tried to take over this thin-blood's airport mysteriously disappeared," and it'll be an "interesting" question what happens to Noah then.
                    Yea the way I'm playing it is Noah is on borrowed time and he know's it. He's trying to carve a big enough niche that when the hit shits the fan he can't be dug out so easily.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
                      Did he? That's awesome. Blackjack was a pretty senior Anarch figure and it makes sense he might want to set himself up somewhere else where he can be the head honcho.
                      I like Blackjack but I feel he is the kind of character who needed an update like Anita and Gengis. Because he's a character that is too straightforwardly "good." Figuring out what his sort of dark side, if such a thing exists, would be interesting. I hope he's in either THE CHICAGO FOLIO or LET THE STREETS RUN RED.

                      Nerissa was interesting to read about. But the problem with characters whose backgrounds and motivations are an open toolbox is that, well, what you can actually do with them is too.
                      Honestly, I think she's a character that almost no characters would interact with and if they did, she seems like she'd kill them. I don't see much use for her to be honest. I did use her actually but actually made her the amnesiac Gangrel Antediluvian for a one-shot encounter.

                      I always figured this was why the SI basically okay'd Noah's takeover of O'Hare. It's a very important domain that lots of vampires are going to want to wrest from his control, and because he's a thin-blood they figure it'll be easy. It's basically a giant mousetrap.
                      I actually had the different view of things in that Noah was turned into a Thin Blood on the SI's orders but they expected him to be a spy in Kindred politics (not understanding how low on the totem pole that Thin Bloods were or even if they were). Instead, Noah used the situation to make himself a fortune in both influence as well as personal finances. I have the view that Noah is the kind of guy who has discovered that being a Kindred is actually very lucrative and enjoys the perks of it. It would lead to divided loyalties if not for the fact being an agent of the Agency is why he has any influence at all at his age so he has to balance both sides.

                      My view of the SI is that they don't actually pay much attention to Noah and some would be shocked at the idea of having "infiltrated" Kindred society.

                      I agree Menele works better at Humanity 5 because you kind of don't get to be Humanity 10 when you're sacrificing people's lives as chess pieces. And is it any wonder finding Golconda has taken him millennia when Johann managed it in just a few decades? What's worse for Menele is that he knows this, completely understands what a cancer their Jyhad is on his soul, and has tried to fool Helena into thinking he's dead to extricate himself from it.

                      I think Menele's ultimate Golconda test, against which his suspire would be more denouement than anything else... is seeing if he could help Helena. If he could acknowledge how he's basically Minos in her eyes, how he destroyed Pompeii, and has also caused her to spend the past few thousand years on a pointless vendetta when she might have just wanted to live happily every after with Prias (or at least, tried to).

                      Alternately, being willing to sacrifice himself to end their Jyhad and the suffering it causes.
                      Good call.

                      Critias is pretty "underpowered" for a methuselah by a lot of metrics. In CBN 1e/2e, his only 6+ Discipline was an Auspex power that let him seem smarter than he was by knowing what people were going to say ahead of time. His only other really high traits that I remember were Wits and some debate/philosophy-related Abilities. He can hold his own against many younger vampires, but against peers like Thetmes or Marcus Vitel, it's really no contest. Even a younger but more "aggressive" elder like Lucita or Fatimah could take him down.

                      And I really liked that about him. Not every vampire has to be a power-hungry mastermind or unstoppable badass just because they've been around for a while. "It's not the years, kid, it's the mileage." Lucien was another good example of this. So was Lambach Ruthven. Badass masterminds are a dime a dozen and it makes the setting feeling more real to have elders who don't all fit the same profile.
                      I dunno, I've always felt that Marcus Vitel was grossly overpowered even as a Methuselah. Indeed, one of the things that was notable about Chicago by Night is the fact that it was initially very overpowered in its collection of Elders and Methuselahs running around. I think V5 has gone a ways to correcting this but has gone a little too far in the other direction. Then again, everyone's table is different.

                      How terrifying should X be after all. Some people may want to think that on their best day, their coterie might take out Keminitiri while others think she should be statless because they are beyond such puny mortals.

                      You could make the argument that's who he already is. "Unfailingly and suspiciously helpful and polite" might fit him as he's been presented better than "dark charisma," but he didn't just get off to poking peoples' eyes out with burning sticks: as of Anarch Unbound, he also blackmailed Ballard into getting himself arrested for indecent exposure (and even tanking his shot at the princedom). There are so many worse things Son could have done and which he's clearly capable of doing (see: Neon's demise in 2e), but he still went with something darkly humorous rather than outright evil. It was a human touch for an otherwise inhuman character and I really liked it.

                      It's like how Lodin also found it amusing to call O'Leary "my queen" and endlessly fawn over her. CBN said he even managed to freak her out--a Ventrue getting the better of a Malkavian, right? Lodin was still an archetypal Ventrue prince, but it was little touches like that which made the characters feel like they were more than just their clans and archetypes.
                      Changing Son from "the embodiment of pure evil" for a Kindred to someone who is simply a sadistic evil bully who gets his rocks off murder is an interesting twist. I still think he should have been on a Path of some kind, though, but that's not really necessary in V5.


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

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                        I like Blackjack but I feel he is the kind of character who needed an update like Anita and Gengis. Because he's a character that is too straightforwardly "good." Figuring out what his sort of dark side, if such a thing exists, would be interesting. I hope he's in either THE CHICAGO FOLIO or LET THE STREETS RUN RED.
                        I have a lot of faith in the writers. Their updates of pretty much every existing character have all been stellar, and there's a lot of grimdarker stuff you can do with a Progressive-era socialist.

                        I dunno, I've always felt that Marcus Vitel was grossly overpowered even as a Methuselah.
                        "But he doesn't have any 8-dot Disciplines! And only ONE 8-dot stat, Stamina!"

                        ^ My first thoughts when I read Vitel's sheet back when.

                        He also has 10 more Disciplines than the norm for his age, looking him over on the WWWiki. He's pretty exceptional but he could've been even more gonzo.

                        Indeed, one of the things that was notable about Chicago by Night is the fact that it was initially very overpowered in its collection of Elders and Methuselahs running around. I think V5 has gone a ways to correcting this but has gone a little too far in the other direction. Then again, everyone's table is different.
                        Chicago having such old elders was a product of 1e's setting, rather than the writers' specific desire to fill Chicago with really old elders. As we saw in Milwaukee, it was the assumed norm everywhere. It left the writers in an awkward spot when later editions lowered the ages of new elders. I think that decision was for the better, but it produced some real heascratchers when ancient and globally important cities like London had younger elders than cities like Milwaukee. (London, incidentally, I think went too far in the other direction.) Design sensibilities were changing, but established characters weren't changing with them.

                        As a thought exercise, I once came up with a "lower-powered" Chicago. Everyone's generation got increased by 1 and aged were trimmed down. Eletria got turned into Maria's sire to explain Annabelle being seventh gen, but kept her age where it was. Tyler I made an American Revolutionary and diablerist who was the original Tyler's childe. Khalid came from the Ottoman Empire. Nicolai came from the 1600s. Inyanga I made an Age of Exploration Embrace, around the time Portugal came to her part of the world. Critias I just replaced with Procet.

                        It was interesting to think up, but left an unpleasant aftertaste in my mouth. I didn't think you lost a lot decreasing most of their ages, but you can't do that with Tyler and have her stay the same character. So where is she and what is she up to, if she's not in Chicago? Ditto for Critias. So much of Critias is tied up in the era that he's from, too. He's supposed to be an ancient Greek philosopher. And when you keep Critias and Tyler at the ages they are, it throws the rest of the primogen out of whack, since they're supposed to be peers.

                        So I mostly tossed that idea aside, but kept Annabelle being Maria's childe and Eletria's grandchilde. The primogen don't all need to be the same generation and it further undescores that she's less than the others.

                        How terrifying should X be after all. Some people may want to think that on their best day, their coterie might take out Keminitiri while others think she should be statless because they are beyond such puny mortals.
                        I think it really depends how you have it happen. I mean, canon VtM has Monty Coven taking out Mithras. The big question seems to be more how easy it should be than whether it should be possible.

                        Changing Son from "the embodiment of pure evil" for a Kindred to someone who is simply a sadistic evil bully who gets his rocks off murder is an interesting twist. I still think he should have been on a Path of some kind, though, but that's not really necessary in V5.
                        Which I liked. There was no good answer for why he hadn't degenerated into a wight under the old rules. Requiem did have some interesting ideas for partly sentient wights in one of its Night Horrors books, which you could translate over to pre-V5 Masquerade to explain Son.

                        I prefer to keep him as a remorseless sociopath. He just gets off to malicious pranks as well as Neon-esque Moral Event Horizons. He has a more developed sense of humor than your stereotypical sociopath and genuinely finds it funny when Ballard gets caught in a movie theater wearing nothing underneath a trench coat.

                        Then he goes back to poking peoples' eyes out with hot sticks and smiles over that too.


                        Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
                          So where is she and what is she up to, if she's not in Chicago? Ditto for Critias. So much of Critias is tied up in the era that he's from, too. He's supposed to be an ancient Greek philosopher. And when you keep Critias and Tyler at the ages they are, it throws the rest of the primogen out of whack, since they're supposed to be peers.
                          Tyler has been Beckoned away, there's not much explanation behind it other than her brief exchange with Critias before she left.
                          Critias on the other had is having a little identity crisis. With Menele gone (Presumed beckoned) his blood bond and control over Critias snapped, Critias slowly came to the realisation that the last 2,000 years has been Menele subtly shuffling him around for his own agenda, and now he's having serious doubts over what in his life has been his choice and what was Menele's influence. He's taken to going over every action with a fine tooth comb to try and piece together who the 'real' Critias is. Meanwhile he's resurrected his Entelechy School as the Eternal Academy, which Jackson is also using as a Camarilla finishing school of Sorts for Neonates, though those who fail are never seen again.

                          That's a very basic summary, there's a lot more depth to it than I can do justice to here.

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                          • #28
                            I actually meant within the context of a "pre-V5 younger Chicago elders" hypothetical setting. If you remove Tyler and Critias, where do you stick them?


                            Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Mithras304 View Post
                              Tyler has been Beckoned away, there's not much explanation behind it other than her brief exchange with Critias before she left.
                              This isn't the Beckoning according to THE ANARCHS so much as she just left Chicago.

                              Critias on the other had is having a little identity crisis. With Menele gone (Presumed beckoned) his blood bond and control over Critias snapped, Critias slowly came to the realisation that the last 2,000 years has been Menele subtly shuffling him around for his own agenda, and now he's having serious doubts over what in his life has been his choice and what was Menele's influence. He's taken to going over every action with a fine tooth comb to try and piece together who the 'real' Critias is. Meanwhile he's resurrected his Entelechy School as the Eternal Academy, which Jackson is also using as a Camarilla finishing school of Sorts for Neonates, though those who fail are never seen again.

                              That's a very basic summary, there's a lot more depth to it than I can do justice to here.
                              This is a great concept but it was notably a bit overdone in LET THE STREETS RUN RED as it's implied that Menele had been doing this to DOZENS of high-humanity philosophical Elders and they all had their Blood Bonds broken at once, causing his Cult of the Methuselah to go cray-cray. I feel like that takes a bit away from Critias' uniqueness.

                              I will point out there's also another issue about Critias' school--Critias is such a basket case right now that he's failing Neonates left and right so his school is more like a slaughterhouse than an actual place of learning. Which makes Anita's attempts to reach Critias all the more doomed because he's killing as many people as Jackson now if not moreso.


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

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                                I like Blackjack but I feel he is the kind of character who needed an update like Anita and Gengis. Because he's a character that is too straightforwardly "good." Figuring out what his sort of dark side, if such a thing exists, would be interesting. I hope he's in either THE CHICAGO FOLIO or LET THE STREETS RUN RED.
                                There are a few ways you can handle Blackjack.

                                First, as a political leader, he is a backroom politics guy. He makes deals and compromises while handling all the bureaucratic stuff. That means he's the kind of guy who can gather a lot of power into his hands if he wanted. We have lots of real world examples of such politicians - the first Mayor Daley of Chicago, Martin Bormann (Hitler's private secretary), and Joseph Stalin. Such people can be utterly ruthless.

                                Second, despite his relatively high humanity and good intentions, he seems to distinctly lack passion and can abandon things. In his original biography, it was said he predicted Socialism's demise in America and changed his interest to changing Kindred society. Later after the anarch's failure, he was one of the key figures of the non-revolutionary anarch debating society under Hinds in first edition CbN. So it seems that whatever passion he may have had as a young man in his twenties, it was already spent by the time Tyler embraced him. So he's not exactly the guy who is going to push the movement forward. Given his tendency towards nostalgia, he seems more interested in personal relationships now rather than ideology.

                                Third, after Hinds' destruction in UBRM, the second edition CbN write up adds that he is now seeking revenge on the Sabbat since he knew that they were responsible for it. That means he likely knows the individual Sabbat involved. Swearing vengeance is a powerful motive. It worked for giving a dark side to Ahab. And it reinforces the idea that he is now primarily motivated by his personal relationships, not a cause.

                                Fourth, the books gave him retainers, allies, and influence among the unions. But these are all personal ties. He has Presence, but not Dominate. So what exactly do you to preserve control/influence over the various unions in Chicago when it is based on you giving advice and always being around? After a while this becomes suspicious. This was already 70+ years when the first CbN came out. Now it is over a hundred years. It's possible to get new allies and influential people and jettisoning old ones. But what about the retainers? What does he do with them? There's various solutions to this problem, but most of them aren't good. Possible indication he accepts having to sacrifice some people now and then.

                                If you put these together, you could portray Blackjack something along these lines:

                                As a popular and trusted figure, Blackjack has become indispensable to the Anarchs in Chicago. He's become the right hand man behind Anita Wainwright, handling the night to night things for her so she can concentrate on the greater picture. He's essentially her Seneschal. As such, he has gained a lot of power and control over the movement as people owe him favors, and need to get by him in order to see Anita. But Blackjack's true passion isn't the Anarch movement. It's getting revenge on the Sabbat who was responsible for the destruction of his best friend. He doesn't care about the Camarilla or the Prince of Chicago, Kevin Jackson. Everything he's doing is that someday he use the Anarchs to destroy the Sabbat, at least those people he knows directly responsible for those events several decades ago. And if that eventually means sending some of his new anarch buddies out to die some night, well, that's the price he's sworn to pay.

                                So not exactly evil. He can retain his high humanity for quite sometime. But it does give him an edge and some depth to his Beast.

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