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[V5] [WIR] The Chicago Folios - Completed 9/19/2020

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  • #91
    It's time for NPCs in the book and this book has quite a lot of them. They include some really good ones that were missed in Chicago by Night 5E but also a bunch of original ones. Sadly, they didn't include Joshua Tarponski and I kind of wish they'd managed to squeeze him in.

    Still, I think this is actually the best part of the book despite how much I very much enjoyed

    Banu Haqim

    Arjun Shah

    I really like Arjun Shaw, who is an Assamite priest of Mithras. I think what I like most about the guy is that he actually a reconstruction of a lot of traditional Banu Haqim ideas without actually getting bogged down in the orientalist depiction of classic V:TM. While I enjoyed the Assamites of CBN5E with a diplomat and a young drug dealer, I think this guy feels a bit more like their "proper" version.

    Arjun is a British born man of Indian descent whose family has worshiped Mithras for centuries but he got the nod to gain immortality where others do. He's come to Milwaukee because of the irony of the World of Darkness. Milwaukee, home of Lavern and Shirley, is the place where the most badass Kindred in the world choose to live. Sort of like how Montreal is a Satanist Hellhole, you have to assume Milwaukee is the Murder Capital of the United StatesTM.

    Arjun has managed to make contact with Mark Decker and despite him coming across as not the kind of guy generally receptive to religion, The Cult of Mithras seems like something that he and his Anubi might actually get something from. Certainly, it might actually benefit his probably dwindling Humanity score and it's not a religion that emphasizes things he'd disdain like mercy or forgiveness.

    No, COTBG is quite clear that the Cult of Mithras emphasizes, "Obey or die. If a guy isn't worthy, kill him. But here's how you determine if he isn't worthy." It's not Lawful Good but it's probably one of the closer to Lawful Neutral than Lawful Evil Paths you'll find among Kindred. Certainly, it's not Chaotic Evil like the vast majority of Paths. I kind of regret that V5 has gotten rid of those because I'd love to see Matthew Dawkin's take on the Tenets for a Road of Mithras or Path of Mithras ala V20.

    Also, kudos for a chance to include Roger De Camden in your chronicle with their connection.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-14-2020, 04:54 AM.


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

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    • #92
      Brujah

      Jennifer MacKay

      A kickboxing bisexual feminist who is not quite as smart as she thinks she is. I admit Jennifer MacCay is a character that would be extremely annoying but I also think that's generally the point about her. She's a Brujah and was Embraced from a hard life (no surprise), so she's decided to put her anger to good use against the sexist ultra-white culture of the Camarilla. It's admirable but Jennifer is deliberately written as making a lot of decisions based on emotion as well as her past dealing with mortal power structures. She doesn't really understand Cainite society and it's biting her in the ass. I actually like this element as it makes her a more complex and interesting character as I believe the flaws are really what makes the best vampire characters.

      Sadly, the adventure featuring her in the Anarch section is one of my lesser favorites from this volume because Jennifer going after the one Ventrue Elder in possibly ALL OF HISTORY who actually has a feminist pro-person of color agenda makes Jennifer look like a moron. There's a difference between naive and stupid. I think Jennifer should probably be a bit more of the former than the latter. By contrast, I like that the book says that Jennifer much prefers Gengis as an Anarch leader to Anita Wainwright.

      I can easily see this coming about even though Gengis is the ultimate Anarch sell-out. For one, Jennifer strikes me as reaction to Anita Wainwright the same way people reacted to Daniel LaRouso in Cobra Kai when he opened his own dojo--"aren't you appropriating the culture of another woman?" Anita lives, breathes, and eats black rights but Jennifer is probably going to see a middle class white girl acting like she's one.

      I also felt the fact Jennifer MacCay has a lesbian girlfriend addicted to heroin adds as a serious addition to her character that is surprisingly moving. Jennifer was greatly "humanized" by this section and I felt that she benefited from it tremendously. She can't cure her girlfriend's addiction and is stuck watching her slowly wither away. It's the best kind of vampire romance in that it's ultimately doomed.

      Lianne Miller

      Lianne Miller oddly reminds me a bit of Layla Miller from X-Factor, the comic rather than the show. She's young blonde girl with precognitive abilities that has a manipulative jerkish side to her that belies her somewhat angelic appearance. I wonder if the character took some inspiration from her as that would be pretty sweet.

      Lianne is another solid character and I have to say that I'm really feeling the NPC section of this book. The work done here is impressive and makes me appreciate the adventures starring these various characters significantly more. I do kind of think that the NPCs should have been scattered with the adventures because quite a few of them don't make much sense if you don't know their backgrounds first. Small complaint.

      In any case, Lianne is a woman trapped in a 15 year olds body and leaches off various communes and spiritual practice groups while pretending to be significantly older than she is. She's an Anarch but that's primarily because she's Brujah, very young, and they're an organization that is actually a familiar power structure to her. The Camarilla is very hierarchical and depends on titles, forms, and traditions. Lianne is every bit as hierarchical but is familiar with gaining power in groups that depend on looser power structures.

      Lianne also has the cool fact that she THINKS she knows what the source of the Beckoning is, which is a great story hook even if it's untrue.
      Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-14-2020, 06:15 AM.


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

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      • #93
        Caitiff

        Devin Boyce

        I love Devin Boyce as a character and think he's interesting in that he fulfills a vacancy created by the character development of Damien. Damien went from being a young but powerful young Lick that just wanted to live and unlive to being the Sheriff of the Camarilla, a Judas Anarch that is very similar to Balthazar. Devin Boyce feels very much like Damien 2.0 in terms of the role he'd play with the characters but avoids some of the pitfalls that the original character fell into.

        Basically, Devin Boyce is a card hustler and a loud obnoxious Anarch that fights the Man because why not? However, Devin is a good deal smarter than your average Anarch. Not so smart that he won't fall into pits trying to play games against people people like Kevin Jackson, let alone Critias but willing to learn. In a few decades, he might be the next Sheriff or maybe an Anarch leader of his own but he's still too new to pull anything off.

        The big benefit that Devin has is that he's not an epic powerhouse like Damien. He's weak enough that he needs the PCs help and also naive enough that they might pull him out of a jam. On the other hand, he's not the kind of guy who is annoying either. A solid character that I think is probably my favorite in the book. He's also got a relationship with Damien that gives him a sense of who he might be if he makes the wrong (right?) choices.

        I also like his Conviction is "make as much money as possible." That is a Conviction that can get you a lot of stories.

        Shejana

        The Last Ravnos.

        Yes, it's probably premature to say that Shejana is the Last Ravnos but I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to give her this moniker. The only other likely survivors of the Clan are ancients who might refound the Clan or maybe they were the first to die. For me, I probably would make Shejana the Last of the Ravnos as far as anyone knows. She could be the Mother of the Bloodline's rebirth but she's far too broken and disinterested to want to do so.

        I've always been a fan of Shejana and really enjoyed the fact she's been "rescued" from obscurity and is one of the few Week of Nightmares survivors. Like the Seven Fires, it also provides a template for people who want to put Ravnos in their game. There's no sign of the Players Handbook and we don't know if the Ravnos is going to be there but this allows you make a Ravnos character in the abstract. It also implies, I think Chimestry is going to be a Combo Discipline of Presence and Auspex rather than a Discipline in itself.

        I also like the fact that the Ravnos are seemingly forgotten by the 21st century. 20 years is not that long in Kindred years but for many Neonates, they might as well be the Salubri.

        Zal

        Zal is a character that I absolutely love. I think she has some absolutely beautiful artwork and she's easily the most beautiful character in the book. OTOH, I may be biased because I have ever been an addict to Goth Girls and married one because of it. Zal is humorously a Goth Girl that kind of was forced into, though. She was originally a very rebellious young woman and hated her family's (implied fundamentalist) Christianity but wasn't macabre in any way.

        Zal was a lazy musician content to play bars, coffee shops, and parties with no real ambition to apply herself before she managed to get Embraced by a Giovanni. It's intriguing to speculate as to why the Giovanni transformed her but I suspect it might have been an infatuation or case of mistaken identity since she was substituting for someone else. The blood "didn't take" but she's since become an obsessive Noddist and interested in dissecting corpses.

        I think that's a weird expression of the Embrace, that it actually affects your personality and makes you more of a stereotype but I don't like it.
        Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-14-2020, 01:31 PM.


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

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        • #94
          Gangrel

          Anthius "Dread"

          I'm very glad the Wolf Pack was added to the Gangrel section of this book because I was disappointed they were "put on a bus" (put on the road?) by Kevin Jackson in the opening fiction of Chicago by Night. The Wolf Pack a lot of people that took up a lot of space so I don't begrudge them being written out but they've always been a bunch I've liked. The fact they're Loyalist Camarilla Gangrel Archons also puts them in a unique position within V5.

          I also get why Kevin Jackson sent them away and betrayed them because any of them could remove him as Prince and no one would really care because they have age and rank over them. The old Primogen could have stopped them but if Anthius were to declare himself Prince or say Ballard or Annabelle were Prince then there's little Jackson could do to stop them. I like the depiction of Anthius in this book as well as he's a guy who barely survived his encounter with the Lupines and is having a bit of an Elder crisis. He's disillusioned with the Camarilla and raising hell as a Biker since the Anarchs have gone from being loyal opposition and Neonates to hardened guerilla warriors. The fact Duncan MacTavish has already killed a member of the Wolf Pack also makes it clear they are not screwing around anymore. It's not cowardice, far from it, but an awareness that maybe there's more to unlife than just busting heads.

          Anthius should be a Prince of some city and I like to think that he stopped by Milwaukee at least a few times. Decker is the sort of guy who might be inspirational to someone like Dread. I don't think Dread is planning on changing to be an Anarch any time soon but also doesn't see any reason why he couldn't rule better. That may just be my interpretation of him as the "smart" one of the group.

          Lewis "Lulu" Sheng

          I like the character of Lulu because he's an interesting breaking of stereotypes. He's an Asian American meathead that is smarter than he looks but that isn't necessarily saying much. Lulu is a carjacking scumbag and probably would do well among the Sabbat but because they're currently out to lunch, he's stuck with being a petty criminal. We get our first mention of Walter Nash in his backstory and I hope that means Lulu will be showing up in LTSRR.

          I like Lulu because he's a character that can be rather easily used as the basis for an adventure. Maybe he stills one of the fancier rides the PCs have or just proceeds to throw a bunch of heat on them because he feels like it. He thinsk he's a badass and someone who has the potential to be a major player but he's really just an exceptionally ruthless thug.

          Oddly, he'd probably do well among the Anarchs as well but Lulu strikes me as the kind of guy who would end up insulting Anita Wainwright or Gengis before trying to seize power--yet having no one actually willing to follow him. Lulu isn't scary enough to scare the creatures of the night and thus he's probably destined not to make it to Ancilla.

          Max "Blooper" Hagen

          Max is a character that has a very interesting backstory that leaps off the page but isn't ridiculous like some of the overcompensating "cool" characters out there. He's a Vietnam veteran that was Embraced by the Sabbat and was later captured by the Second Inquisition. Oddly, his time among the hunters proved to be beneficial to his sanity as it allowed him to break the Vinculum and regain a portion of his humanity before he escaped. He now regrets all the terrible things he's done but is still an incredibly violent as well as dangerous criminal. It's a nice juxtaposition and they make him "friends" with Edward Neally as well.

          Most Kindred don't trust him due to the fact he escaped from the Second Inquisition and they're probably wise to. He could be a Manchurian Candidate or perhaps is simply someone they let loose to monitor with radioactive blood they could trace or some other method of following him. It's also possible he's the best resource they could have about the Inquisition.

          Nadine "Nitro" Lewandowski

          Nadine is a welcome breath of double X chromosomes into the Wolf Pack and the book in general after three variations on "extremely toxic alpha males." She's someone who was rescued from certain death by the Wolf Pack, became a ghoul, and eventually earned the Embrace after the death of her sister at the hands of Duncan MacTavish. She's rabidly anti-Anarch but it's primarily due to the fact she wants (understandably) to avenge her sister. She's also significantly more gregarious than the rest of them.

          My opinion is she's also probably the only one who seems aware that Kevin Jackson is planning to kill them all--perhaps the first sign the Camarilla/Anarch divide is not really a simple one of "friend vs. foe."

          Tyrus

          Tyrus is an interesting case as I've always felt he's basically Karsh in miniature. For the vast majority of Elders, I don't believe they ever get close to killing someone. Sure, Annabelle COULD kill the majority of Neonates with Celerity but she didn't get to being 500 years old by risking it. The exceptions are some Elders who become so tough and brutal that they never shy away from fights but eschew all the courtly politics that would get them killed just as easily.

          I think Tyrus is at the end of his unlife but is pretty okay with that. He doesn't particularly have much loyalty to the Camarilla as a whole as it was a gig rather than a brotherhood. Fighting for them was just an excuse and he seems like someone who'd take up another job offer just as easily. I also think he's more intrigued by Duncan MacTavish being possibly able to take him down than offended. I don't think the character is suicidal but I don't see him as especially afraid of death unlike Anthius either.

          He'll meet it like a Klingon.
          Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-14-2020, 04:04 PM.


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

          Comment


          • #95
            Lasombra

            Branden White

            Branden White is an interesting deconstruction of the Lasombra method of recruitment. They love proceeding to destroy everything you love, cherish, and have built in order to see how you function once they have put you at your lowest point. It'd be cliche to say the Lasombra have a lot of the Sith in them but they're the Clan that most resembles those consumed by the Dark Age. After all, they're the only people who think, "training my progeny to kill me is a sane use of my resources."

            I've always felt that would result in a lot of Lasombra plotting for decades or however long it took to get revenge on their sires. Lucita may be the most famous example of a childe hating her sire but I doubt she's an anomaly. Branden is an excellent example of what happens when the process leaves you a shattered shell of your former self. He doesn't even remember his family, barely remembers his sire, and is doing investment banking primarily because he's not sure what is his will or not is anymore. He's been utterly mind****ed.

            I also liked his visceral reaction to discovering Rabbi Basaras. Apparently, he just hates religion.

            Eustace Lancaster

            Eustace Lancaster is a rare Elder addition to the franchise post-V5. Aside from The Fall of London Elders have been basically shuffled off screen for the most part. They still exist as we see with Critias, Annabelle, and so on but they're much rarer and plenty of them are dealing with the Beckoning.

            Eustace is notably a member of THOSE Lancasters, the inspiration for the Lannisters of Game of Thrones as well as one half to the War of the Roses. He took part in the Anarch Revolt but only to benefit himself as he saw a chance of clearing the powers that be above him, only to have that backfire with Talley. Talley, being the perpetual jobsworth Lasombra assassin, pointed out that Eustace was an opportunist who had never displayed any real loyalty to any of his allies. This crippled his meteoric rise to power and caused a massive blow to his ego that he holds against Talley centuries later.

            Now he's an Elder being Beckoned to the Middle East. However, it's a slow burn and he's got some time before he has to give in. Eustace will do anything to avoid this.

            Good potential villain. Very contemptible.
            Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-15-2020, 05:39 AM.


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

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            • #96
              Malkavians

              Andrea Harvey-Staboli

              Andrea Harvey-Staboli is an interesting character compared to the vast majority of other Kindred in this book, primarily because she's (from all accounts) a good person. She volunteers at soup kitchens, is a devout Catholic, and attempts to mentor Lianne Miller despite the fact she considers her to be a lost cause. I appreciate that insight with Lianne because Lianne clearly thinks she's running rings around Andrea but is just deluding herself.

              I feel like "good" Kindred are something nice to occasionally throw into the games because it puts the rest of their kind into stark relief. I was one of the few people who really liked Marianne of the Giovanni Clan and I kind of regret that I wasn't able to buy her fate for CULTS OF THE BLOOD GODS because I really wanted to give her a happy-ish ending. It's against all the laws of God and storytelling but it works for me.

              The character isn't perfect, either, which makes her a bit more useful. She's "only" got Humanity 7 and is painfully naive despite her oracular abilities. They set up a nice contrast against Son and you could easily see him being brought low or eventually destroying her. One thing I didn't quite buy is the fact that an Archon apparently recognized her decades after her illegal Embrace and went after her.

              I think Archons have better things to do than go after Tradition violations that old.


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

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              • #97
                Nosferatu

                Martin

                Martin is a character that runs the risk of being "too" cool to be an NPC. He's a Polish Resistance fighter against the Nazis and that automatically makes him a Cool Old GuyTM. Martin is also one of the nicest Kindred you'll ever meet as he's a guy who allows almost anyone to stay in his domain for a time before they are ushered along. My opinion is that he has ways of making "guests" move on as I can't help but think most Kindred are ungrateful enough that they might want to stay permanently or attempt to seize the territory for themselves.

                In simple terms, vampires do not observe Guest Right like they do in Westeros. They are more Chaotic Evil than Neutral Evil or even Lawful Evil. Still, I like the idea that Martin is strong enough to kick out most vampires who want to help and is actually quite helpful in teaching vampires how to control their Beasts (his High Animalism being a tool that assists in such). Still, I'm not quite sure how to use such a character.

                Interesting and mysterious but perhaps too proactive for a good chronicle.

                Salt

                Salt is a Nosferatu convert to the Church of Set. It's an interesting contrast to the fact most Nosferatu are far more loyal to one another than typical Kindred and yet Salt is presently pledged to another group of them. It's interesting that Salt has completely misread the Church of Set and believes the Ministry is the group that has turned its back on "true freedom." She's a fundamentalist who is contemptible of those evil liberal Christians. The fact that Marcel is one of the most laidback Ministry members you'll ever meet and is STILL a worshiper of Set (versus other pagan deities) makes the whole thing all the more ridiculous.

                Ridiculous but believable.


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

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                • #98
                  Toreador

                  Doctor Benway

                  Doctor Benway is another solid character that I could see several uses for. He's also an Elder, which is rare enough in these books. The "joke" about Doctor Benway is that he's a brilliant antiquities dealer and smuggler but secretly longs to be an actor. The implications of the book aren't clear but I like to think he's a fantastically terrible one. The kind of guy who would create "The Room" and the other Toreador would debate whether he's deliberately terrible and a genius or just plain bad.

                  Doctor Benway has some unresolved issues with women that are also interesting. He's a guy who I think you could portray as somewhat similar to Homelander in that he's attracted to women with authority over him, which was a quality that didn't really fly in the 19th century but works a bit better in the 21st century.

                  Not an Elder that immediately jumps out for plot points but I like him nevertheless.

                  Mateo Garcia

                  I love Mateo Garcia and think he's probably the best character in this entire book. Why? Because Mateo is a scumbag from beginning to end. The very definition of a Toreador poseur embraced for his looks rather than any genuine talent, he's a leech and a sociopath who abused his loved ones before his Embrace. Becoming a vampire wasn't QUITE the apotheosis he expected either because he'd let himself go just a wee bit before his Embrace and it ruined his "perfect" body.

                  Mateo doesn't see a need for the Masquerade, kills at will, and is just wonderfully scummy. He reminds me a lot of Gordon Keaton and Gordon used to be one of my all time favorite vampires in CBN.


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

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                  • #99
                    Tremere

                    Arden Canty

                    I remember when the entirety of the Tremere Antitribu bloodline was wiped out without even a "by your leave" in 3rd Edition. I always felt it was a weird action, especially when they introduced the Salubri Antitribu to replace them. I didn't really get the rationale behind wiping out an entire Bloodline or why they felt one couldn't exist with the other. The Tzimisce and Assamites got along with the Tremere Antitribu after all (and if they didn't, that was just being racist!).

                    Arden Canty is a Tremere Antitribu who woke up after a long torpor to find not only his Bloodline eradicated by Tremere and Etrius but also the entire Sabbat missing. Much like his Gangrel counterpart, Arden found his freedom from the Vinculum liberating. A devout Christian in mortal life, he has since decided that the Church of Caine is what he needs to fill the spiritual hole in his life. Unlike the Sabbat, he's not really of the mind that Cainites need to be monsters and is quite happy to give genuine spiritual guidance to those Kindred who come to him.

                    Even more interestingly, Arden is attempting to spread the Word of Caine among the Anarchs as opposed to the more genteel Camarilla. I've always felt that the Church of Caine and Anarchs were an interesting mix. It's something that I've combined multiple times. I also like that Arden is working to root out the remaining Sabbat in the region with Joshua Tarponski.

                    But would Dusable let a Tremere Antitribu? Even a repentant one, live? Probably not. So Arden's success means his days are numbered unless he can get some protection. Either that or pretend to be Caitiff.

                    Clarence Bartlelby

                    Clarence Bartelby is a character I'm not sure how to react to. He's kind of an out of genre experience, though I don't think he's necessarily a bad one. He's a bit like what you might get if you stuck a Call of Cthulhu villain (albeit a tongue and cheek one) into Vampire: The Masquerade. He's a con man, thief, and book procurer in the vein of Lovejoy (if anyone remembers that show). One day, he overstepped himself and got himself Embraced by the Tremere, only for them to realize that he was a bottom feeder rather than a genius.

                    I actually like these characters because it's inevitable that the Tremere are going to Embrace some duds every now and then. Their sires aren't going to automatically destroy them since they are going to look bad for making that mistake. We saw a similar one in The Fall of London with a guy who pretended to be a vast master of the mystic arts and medium, only to be revealed as a con man only after his Embrace.

                    In any case, Clarence is someone both Erichtho and Dusable both loathe for obvious reasons. He hasn't any real power base but that's not something that matters much post Vienna cleansing. Worse, he's started up his own monstrous cult with a magical tongue artifact. It's one that is either controlling him, he's hallucinating the sentience of, or he's just using to control others with his typical carnival showmanship. I like all three.


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

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                      (albeit a tongue and cheek one)
                      What you did there, I see it.


                      I mean, given Bartelby's object of obsession...

                      In any case i like Bartelby and he is the kind of Tremere character I might have made. For all that "most" Tremere are bookish wizards of the Hermetic take on magic, the clan should have members who work support in some manner. That is there should be room for Tremere characters whose work make the standard Tremere possible. Bartelby is such a vampire, someone who gets them items, books and information even if he is not much of a magician himself. That everyone dislikes him is just a nice touch.

                      Comment


                      • I can see Canty being brought in to Chicago Tremere circles, but mostly so they can pump him for information about the Sabbat, Tremere antitribue, and the Lasombra. His prospects beyond that become dim, however.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                          I can see Canty being brought in to Chicago Tremere circles, but mostly so they can pump him for information about the Sabbat, Tremere antitribue, and the Lasombra. His prospects beyond that become dim, however.
                          An Anarch Tremere is already a hard sell in Chicago. A RELIGIOUS Anarch Tremere might as well be a White Howler in a Black Spiral Den.

                          Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post

                          What you did there, I see it.

                          I mean, given Bartelby's object of obsession...
                          It's funny because the "Cult of the Bloody Tongue" is a major antagonist in MASKS OF NYARLATHOTEP. A campaign I just finished recently.

                          In any case i like Bartelby and he is the kind of Tremere character I might have made. For all that "most" Tremere are bookish wizards of the Hermetic take on magic, the clan should have members who work support in some manner. That is there should be room for Tremere characters whose work make the standard Tremere possible. Bartelby is such a vampire, someone who gets them items, books and information even if he is not much of a magician himself. That everyone dislikes him is just a nice touch.
                          One of the tricks of making a good NPC isn't just making them cool and interesting but making those that aren't cool or interesting but very useful to a chronicle. Bartelby's Peter Lorre-esque quality is something that makes him stand out from the many other beautiful and terrifying vampires out there. Also, "sneaky Tremere jerkass who isn't very powerful or connected" is actually a very useful guy as an antagonist as the player characters can fight against him without necessarily bringing down the Pyramid or what's left of it.
                          Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-18-2020, 02:40 PM.


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

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                          • Ventrue part 1 of 2

                            This is the end! At least of the NPC section. I will say that they saved the best for last.

                            Al Capone



                            Honestly, this entry is like 90% of why I bought this book.

                            Al Capone is a character that breaks a lot of bases among vampire players and has since his first appearance. He's pretty cool to have as a character when you're 14 years old and are doing your first bit of STing but he's a character that feels increasingly silly to have as you get older. After all, why would the Camarilla allow one of Chicago's most famous citizens stay in his original hidey-hole and engage in the exact same activity as before. Maybe Elvis could get away with being his own impersonator in Graceland but you'd think that was a terrible idea all round and probably why he was staked and beheaded in my games (Elvis, not Al Capone).

                            However, Al Capone is a character that is iffy because he's actually the kind of person who would have thrived in vampire society. He's a thug and a killer but also a guy who knew how to play the games of politics, power, and social justice. If not for the fact the book says he looks like his "classic" appearance, I could also say that he could get away with being a vampire because like Bela Lugosi (a Toreador Embraced by Ed Wood in my games), he wouldn't look like his heyday but an old syphilis-ravaged man.

                            V5 actually redeems Al Capone here by addressing the primary problems with the character head on. He's a guy who can't go out in public and who can't hold the mob under his rule without people spotting him. Al is also a guy who the Camarilla has declared a Blood Hunt against because his very existence does violate the Masquerade and he has too many political enemies to press the issue. The Italian mob is a shadow of its former self, too, so it's not like he has the influence necessary to make his problems go away either.

                            I also believe the Special Affairs Division (SAD) would crap themselves with joy (it's possible, or so I hear) if they discovered not only Al Capone was a vampire but that they were the ones to finally cap him. It would be their greatest achievement and something they would constantly bring up at Second Inquisition water coolers. Indeed, if anyone is the one to finally put a stake in old Al then it's my recommendation of William Shepherd versus someone like Sullivan Dane or Gregory Stephens. Bonus points for hunting him down via forensic accounting.

                            But for the time being, someone who funded Kickstarter bought Al Capone's fate and decided to let him live. It's like that 1900 number that DC comics set up to see if fans wanted Robin to die or not. Al was spared by popular demand and if I'd bought Al Capone's fate, I would have done the same thing. Al is just TOO INTERESTING of a character to die off-handedly and if he did die, it should be at the hands of the PCs at the end of a Chronicle.

                            Even so, Al's prospects aren't great. The new Al Capone is living like Osama Bin Ladin in Pakistan with complete isolation save from what I presume to his most loyal followers and brainwashed minions. He's living underneath a hostile Prince, the Anarchs hate him, and I've mentioned the Second Inquisition would absolutely love to kill this guy. Any sane vampire would skedaddle (there's a word I don't use often) and it's not like Al Capone would be the kind of guy you'd look for in, say, Kansas City or Spokane. Maybe Florida if he needs familiar climates.

                            But vampire Al Capone isn't a quitter.

                            I also like what it says about how tenuous Kevin Jackson's reign really is that all it took for the richest and most powerful of his opponents in the city to get away from a sting was just to bribe his most trusted scourge. If KJ had sent the Wolf Pack after Al instead of his "personal" assassin, Al would be dead. Personally, Al Capone doesn't have many options but if he were to escape from this permanently, I'd have him seek out Erzulie and have a little Vicissitude applied.

                            Either way, when he DOES bite it, it needs to be to this song.

                            Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-18-2020, 03:00 PM.


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

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                            • I'd love to hear your thoughts about Al Capone's survival and character, Grumpy RPG Reviews


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

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                              • I thought we were done using real life figures, smh
                                Last edited by Pleiades; 09-18-2020, 03:08 PM.


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