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[WIR] Let the Streets Run Red (currently reading: Rusted Jungle)

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  • #91
    Random Statement: I choose to believe Father Christian Patriot (from Children of the Blood) becomes Baron/Prince ("what da hell ya talking about, boy?") of Willerton after the player characters deal with Starchild and his cult.

    It's a good reason why no one is immediately rushing down to deal with the Masquerade breaking lunatic.

    Though the obvious choice would be to have Robert Warrington Embrace him, possibly as a joke or some convoluted scheme to create a sitcom feud that failed.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 04-07-2021, 09:03 PM.


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

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    • #92
      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
      Rusted Jungle part 2 [Events] Gary by Night

      Type: By Night

      Analysis: Gary is an interesting city that has gone through multiple changes since it's original depiction in Forged in Steel. The original depiction by MRH seems to have been the "starter area" ala World of Warcraft's Stormwind. You are meant to wander around Gary for awhile and then eventually move to Chicago. Which, of course, required you to purchase Chicago by Night, 1st Edition. I find that to be smart business strategy even if it annoyed other people.

      I don't see any problem with actually continuing to adventure in Gary for a full campaign, though, because there's plenty to do there. Admittedly, the adventures there would be low-key versus 2nd Edition but the original Chronicle suggests:

      * Help Allicia escape from Modius
      * Stop a bunch of slavers
      * Protect Michael and the Masquerade both or choose one.
      * Deal with Sullivan Dane
      * Deal with Evelyn Stephens, Gregory Stephens, and Juggler
      * Deal with the many mortal issues of Gary like poverty, violence, homelessness, and the decay of the city.

      There's certainly plenty of stuff to deal with. It's also a very grounded setting that you should probably make mortal NPCs to deal with. It is the quintessential 1st Edition setting, really, even if there was a relatively small amount of stuff written about it.

      Dust to Dust essentially wrote Gary, Indiana off as a functioning city the statement that Juggler and Modius were the ONLY Kindred in the city. I don't really think of it much as an update so much as a epilogue to the struggle of Juggler and Modius. The game basically ends with the idea the players should abandon Juggler and Modius to Gary. I actually think this is a dumb idea because I have a very different idea about Gary's importance (more on that later).

      Rusted Veins updated Gary even more so and is probably what I think of as the "best" write-up for the city. I actually have the original Playtest PDF and know where to download it but I don't know if it's something that Paradox would want shared. Better to ere on the side of caution. Still, I am going to say it was a fantastic adventure and the depiction of Gary within it was really well done as well.

      The version of Gary in RV is a war zone with Modius and Juggler having somehow both managed to get significant numbers of followers. This is a very exciting version and gives both of the two vampire Lords a bit of respect. One thing I've always felt is Modius was meant to be a joke but not a very FUNNY one if you happened to be crushed under his boot. After all, a 200 year old vampire is a 200 year old vampire.

      The current version of Gary is one where the war was officially "won" with the defeat of Modius by Juggler and seeming peace after the Anarch victory. However, Juggler has since disappeared himself and a new Camarilla leader has arrived. In a way it remains a mirror with both being more competant than their predecessors but making the same mistakes as before. The opening of the chapter is told by a vampire named Bricks who along with Danov provides the rough history of Gary over the past couple of decades. I like Bricks and I hope he's given a full write-up in a future book.

      Updated NPCs

      * Modius: Is missing, presumed dead. I like how Modius managed to screw up by feeding his fellow vampires to Sullivan Dane. It's kind of hilarious that the original Camarilla Prince made the same mistake that the Camarilla did by trying to use the Second Inquisition. Right now, he's staked and serving as Maxwell's coffee table.

      * Allicia: Switched her allegiance to being an Anarch and is now serving as Evelyn Stephen's second in command. I've always liked this character and am interested in seeing whether she'll continue to go up the ranks of the Anarchs or if she's too Toreador/old/out of touch to do so.

      * Juggler:Also missing, presumed dead. I think Juggler is a character who gets treated a good deal more sympathetically than Modius himself in this book. At least in the context that Evelyn Stephens is following his legacy rather than rebelling against it.

      * Evelyn Stephens: Evelyn has taken over the city of Gary's Anarchs and is trying to do some good by enforcing peace with the local gangs. Her brother is police comissioner and a vampire hunter. This is curiously underdeveloped but it's nice to see the Baron of Gary be a woman of color.

      * Lucian: Lucian is more or less stated to have been Beckoned, going "East" by Danov. Even at 8th generation, he's a 2000 year old Methuselah so that makes sense. The rules of Blood Potency/5 dot Limit would have meant the difference between him and someone like Helena or Menele were far smaller too.

      * Danov: Danov apparently leaves Gary after the events of this book, according to him, forever.

      * Michael: Michael is not mentioned in the book but, strangely, a vampire named "Charlie" that seems to have every single trait of Michael at least in being a Malkavian with a child-like mentality living in Gary. I wonder if they're meant to be the same vampire.

      * Gregory Stephens: Now the commissioner of Gary's police department. Which is awesome but he was actually a CHICAGO PD homicide detective. Presumably he transferred at some point to look after his hometown.

      * William Shepard: Not mentioned, which is a shame. I hope he shows up in the Second Inquisition book.

      * Sullivan Dane: We get three names for the Kindred that Dane killed: Zakariah. Travers. Eloise. I feel kind of weird for saying so but I wish we had some more information on them because it'd be interesting to see what sort of people they were or if he was being indiscriminate.

      Is Charlie meant to be a different character, The Gentleman Gamer?
      Charlie's identity is entirely up to the reader.


      Matthew Dawkins
      In-House Developer for Onyx Path Publishing


      Website: https://www.matthewdawkins.com
      Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/matthewdawkins

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      • #93
        Originally posted by The Gentleman Gamer View Post

        Charlie's identity is entirely up to the reader.
        Thank you for your answer. I promise not to bug you for details very often.

        *goes to his notes about Beckett's whereabouts in 1983*



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

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        • #94
          Who is Charlie?

          Well, there's some differences between Arthur's Charlie and Michael. Michael is an 8th generation Malkavian and Arthur is a 9th generation Malkavian but so by diablerie, so presumably Arthur is a 10th generation Malkavian originally. So, it seems very likely that Charlie is actually a 9th generation Malkavian that was possibly sired by Michael. They also have some differences in the fact Michael is a childlike but innocent figure while Charlie kept Arthur as a slave via Dominate. A very un-Michael-like thing.

          I'm thinking Charlie was a much more selfish and intelligent but somewhat bratty adolescent vampire. More Damien than Michael.

          And I am literally the only person on Earth who probably cares about this.



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

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          • #95
            Rusted Jungle part 2 [Events] part 2 [Gary by Night]



            Changes to Gary for 2021

            One of the things that was prevalent in the original write-up of the city was going somewhat overboard in its description as a Post-Industrial hellscape. Like if someone did the factory scenes from Highlander and made a city out of it. I actually took that originally to just be the World of Darkness version of Gary but some people took it to be a factual description of a very suffering city. Which wasn't perhaps in the best of taste.

            The new version of Gary is a more "realistic" Rust Belt city with lots of bad areas, abandoned factories, and an unhealthy level of violence but a sense that the place isn't going to literally become an overgrown ghost town. 80K may not be that many people and it's got a lot of problems but it feels more like a small city past its prime versus a place that Freddy Krueger might be hiding in every shadow.

            I think it's up to the STs whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. It's easier to make fictional cities like Gotham City, Bludhaven, or Hub City into Gothic Punk hellscapes than actual ones in the RL but that was the difference between the World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness. The World of Darkness is meant to be a Sin City-esque exaggeration of our world while Requiem was meant to take place in "our world+the supernatural." At least that was my take.

            I don't begrudge the developers choosing the latter.

            New Vampires

            The biggest additions to the city are the Vanguard, who are a group of Camarilla hardliners who are planning to take Gary, Indiana from the Anarchs occupying it. It basically is organized like a military operation and I like that this should be immediately suspicious. Primarily because "who the hell wants to fight a war for Gary?" I mean aside from the people who live there. Eric Sharpe is an interesting character and I look forward to talking more about him.

            There's also [b]Maxwell[/] who is serving as a Lucian and Palpatine-esque figure on a boat, pulling all the strings in preparation for taking over Chicago. I have a lot of commentary on this because there's a lot going on here the players might miss since he's destabilizing Chicago and doing a bunch of CIA-esque tactics that would make Killmonger proud. Even so, I might actually argue he's not DEVIOUS ENOUGH in this book. I'll have some more suggestions later.

            One thing I wish we had was a list of them similar to the Anubi with all of Gary's vampires and maybe two sentences each describing who they are. That would make this upcoming war seem all the stronger.

            Second Inquisition

            Gary is a very interesting case because the equivalent of the GPD's SWAT team is fully aware of the existence of vampires, is supported by the government, and is actively hunting them. It's a major Masquerade breach and the only proper response from the Baron or Prince would be to kill all of them. However, the Baron of Gary, Indiana is also the Commissioner's sister. She's not someone who wants to carry out this sort of massacre. I suspect it's equally likely that Gregory Stephens has been steering his people away from just getting a rocket launcher [It's the WOD and peak police militarization] to blow up the Pit with all the Anarchs inside.

            I think that's a potential source of some very interesting tension that could be useful to discuss.

            The Missing Torch

            I do have one regret from this book and that's the Torch is not listed as one of Allicia's properties or any of the other ones. The Torch only existed with the Storyteller's Screen adventure from first edition where it was revealed Allicia ran (and performed at) a strip club in Gary, Indiana. She also used it to barter vessels from. This is not terribly in character from the beautiful ingenue of the main book but I have to admit I kind of liked it for sheer contrast. That out of Modius' eye, she ran a much more overtly sex-driven business.

            Still, I can understand why the writers may have felt that undermined the character.
            Last edited by CTPhipps; 04-09-2021, 07:19 PM.


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

            Comment


            • #96
              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              Who is Charlie?

              Well, there's some differences between Arthur's Charlie and Michael. Michael is an 8th generation Malkavian and Arthur is a 9th generation Malkavian but so by diablerie, so presumably Arthur is a 10th generation Malkavian originally. So, it seems very likely that Charlie is actually a 9th generation Malkavian that was possibly sired by Michael. They also have some differences in the fact Michael is a childlike but innocent figure while Charlie kept Arthur as a slave via Dominate. A very un-Michael-like thing.

              I'm thinking Charlie was a much more selfish and intelligent but somewhat bratty adolescent vampire. More Damien than Michael.

              And I am literally the only person on Earth who probably cares about this.


              Well I'd say it's reasonable to care, what with Arthur being your character


              Matthew Dawkins
              In-House Developer for Onyx Path Publishing


              Website: https://www.matthewdawkins.com
              Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/matthewdawkins

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              • #97
                Originally posted by The Gentleman Gamer View Post
                Well I'd say it's reasonable to care, what with Arthur being your character
                Corrected and improved by the good folks at Onyx Path PublishingTM.

                Otherwise, he'd be a Church of Caine member with a Predator Type of White Supremacists [hard to find in Gary].


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

                Comment


                • #98
                  Rusted Jungle part 2 [Events] part 3 [Adventure]

                  Synopsis: An attack on the Circulatory System results in the players being hired to infiltrate the Anarchs or Vanguard. They must first prove themselves by stealing a Hunter's information on the other side, though. Eventually, they discover that Eric Sharpe is responsible for the attacks and must choose to side with him or Evelyn Stephens. They are then offered jobs by Maxwell.

                  Analysis: I'm a big fan of both mysteries as well as spy fiction so this should be right up my ally as an adventure. I, unfortunately, have some criticisms of the story that I'll get to. However, it is a very interesting premise at the start. The player characters are sent into a hostile foreign city, divided in two between two power blocs, and they have the option to determine which of them is going to emerge as the new rulers of Gary, Indiana.

                  Part of what I like about this adventure is that the clues are nicely scattered around the game and you can follow them one after the other until you have a chance to change things directly. The player characters can also make some surprising decisions like siding against their own faction or turning the tide for one group or another. You also have some good moments like whether the PCs will deal with the police violently or not, threaten a babysitter w/ a child, or even talk with a Ronin Werewolf who is just hanging around. A fun sign of how DIFFERENT Gary is, is the fact you can meet a vampire hunter and just chat with her for information.

                  All good stuff.

                  So what are my criticisms?

                  * Lack of Boom: This is a pretty solid adventure on its own but I would argue that it loses something if you've been playing each of the adventures one after the other. Basically, if this is played as a climax to four Chronicles then it doesn't quite have enough "boom" at the end of things. Boom may not be what the ST or the players want. Certainly, you can run this as a standalone. Also, it's a fairly low key espionage-based affair so that it being grittier or downplayed is a good thing. I admit I tend to be on the more "cinematic" scale of things, though.



                  Yes, that kind of cinematic. I am unashamed. I'm running a Gotham City by Night game currently.

                  * The Double Agent angle doesn't quite sell itself: The central premise of the story is that the player characters must infiltrate the other side of the Camarilla/Anarch divide for answers. The thing is that it first requires the player characters to have strong feelings on such a divide to begin with. Secondly, I don't think its actually necessary. Very little of this adventure would change if the PCs just introduced themselves as Kindred from Chicago, said they're investigating the attack on the Circulatory System, and took statements. The Anarchs and Vanguard might demand some favors first but it seems perfectly reasonable with those who would lie, lying anyway.

                  * The mystery is kind of an easy one for longtime V:TM players: Which party is responsible? Well loved 1st edition V:TM High Humanity possible love interest, Evelyn Stephens, or mysterious new Camarilla Ventrue wetworks operative Eric Sharpe? Honestly, the mystery is also a "crime" with low stakes because the victim is such a huge asshole. Evelyn probably should have attacked the Circulatory System because it's a bunch of human traffickers. You can even convince her to do so mid-game (at least the Gary branch) and that makes investigating her for the attack all the more queer.

                  * The climax is a bit anticlimactic: The ending of the game is the player characters going to meet Maxwell, getting a job offer, possibly getting into a fight they'd be woefully ill-prepared for, and then getting a letter from Sullivan Dane. The gang fight with the Anarchs and Vanguard seems like a better place to end the story. At least unless you have a better idea on how to take down Maxwell.

                  * Gregory Stephens never shows up, Modius and Juggler too: I think all three could enrich the adventure considerably.

                  There's a lot of good material here but I think that things could be amped up considerably to make, "Who is the Prince of Gary?" a much more interesting final adventure.

                  I'll get to that in my next post.
                  Last edited by CTPhipps; 04-09-2021, 07:20 PM.


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

                  Comment


                  • #99
                    Rusted Jungle part 2 [Events] part 4 [Adventure]



                    Synopsis: Some suggestions for amping up the tension and specifics of Rusted Jungle.

                    Analysis: As stated, I have a bunch of suggestions for this Chronicle. Not because it's bad but I feel like it could be better. There's actually an interesting case that I think this is probably the strongest of the Chronicles in terms of NPCs but weakest in terms of plot. It's still very good and very flexible but room for improvement isn't a criticism. Certainly, it has a lot more options in terms of player freedom than most adventure modules.

                    So, in no particular order:

                    Suggestions for Improving Rusted Jungle

                    1. Put the player characters at the attack: Given the Circulatory System are such asshole victims, it should be better to have the player characters there when the attack happens. Make it the Succubus Club, Blue Velvet, one of Annabelle's parties, or Elysium. I suggest using the "Sullivan Dane suicide bombing" plot hook from Chicago by Night as the intro. Except, it's actually just someone dressed like Sullivan Dane to make it seem like a false flag operation. As in, someone wanted them to think they were trying to blame the Inquisition while actually wanting them to blame the Anarchs. The real suicide bomber being a poor ghoul under Discipline and threats to his mortal family. Maybe throw in some Dominated Night's Cross hunters too. Either way, lots of mortals die horribly, a possible Masquerade breach as the blood incites Kindred to pounce on any nearby mortals, and maybe the death of some well-loved NPCs depending on how pissed you want to make the players.

                    2. Upping the [Wooden] Stakes: After such a barbaric attack, I'd make it clear that war between the Anarchs and Camarilla in Chicago is inevitable. The vampires want blood and not just the literal kind for once. Anita and Damien smell a rat, though. Kevin Jackson probably does too but "wiping out the Anarchs with pretext" is not exactly something he's opposed to, though. I'd actually underscore how serious this is by having BOTH Damien and Anita meet the players to hire them, together. I'd also have the pair cite the Sabbat's false flag operation with the Lupines as a reason for their bargain. Yes, finally a reason to acknowledge Under a Blood Red Moon. So the player characters are trying to prevent a war.

                    3. Don't insist on the undercover thing: I just don't think it's necessary even if their patrons suggest it.

                    4. Maxwell is manipulating both sides: Yes, it's a bit The Phantom Menace but it'd be interesting if Maxwell is supplying both sides of the conflict with the idea that he can radicalize them both then step in as leader once he's hardened them in battle. Making Eric Sharpe the bad guy is a little too obvious. Indeed, if you want to mess with it, you might actually have Evelyn working with Maxwell under the belief he's going to strike at the Camarilla. Then you have Anarch PCs with a choice between a Camarilla zealot and a well-intentioned but very dangerous rogue Baron.

                    5. Working with Hunters: I think the story would be improved if the Gary Hunters actually tried to contact the PCs in order to arrange a meeting. Gregory has "interesting" feelings about vampires and working with them is something he's okay with. He would present a chance to the PCs to have his hunters wipe out one of the factions or maybe help with Maxwell at the end. Smart PCs would know that this sort of alliance is a terrible idea but betraying them would unwittingly alienate Evelyn. You could also reveal that Gregory is protecting his sister ot his own men and women.

                    6. Have Sullivan Dane or the Hunters or the surviving Gang Show up at the Climax: The PCs vs. Maxwell could very well lead to a TPK given they have come into the lion's den. Having it end like the attack on the volcano lair in You Only Live Twice is how I like my climaxes, though. Evelyn or Sharpe's crew, both, or the Hunters all making an attack on Maxwell's fortress. I could easily see 70 year old Sullivan Dane with a anti-material rifle designed for taking down helicopters sniping Maxwell's head clean off from a half-mile away.



                    7. Have the PCs decide the fate of Modius and Juggler: Even if they make a deal with Maxwell, I'd have the PCs given the "Elders" to diablerize, blood bound, destroy, or more. It would also be interesting to have Evelyn want to free Juggler or trade Modius while both are terrible ideas. If the PCs don't intervene, Juggler takes over the Anarchs and immediately orders them to make all the stupid mistakes that Evelyn avoided. Modius will also leave Gary for Chicago and actually become a potent Toreador Elder [plotting to take over Gary again someday].

                    8. Possibly Switch Maxwell: I like Maxwell fine but it'd be interesting to possibly have different parties responsible for this adventure. Modius, having gained a spine and working with a now blood bound Juggler, is one option. So is the insane but still terrifying Lodin. The Second Inquisition getting vampires to fight each other is a third. Al Capone. Lucian. Son. Lots of potential interesting people who could be the mastermind stroking a white cat.

                    9. Bittersweet Ending: I'm inclined to think no matter what that the player characters efforts should yield only a phyrric victory. Even if they successfully get all the information they need to prove Maxwell was behind and possibly kill him, Kevin Jackson uses the event to outlaw Anarchs in Chicago under pain of death. Maybe he even invites Maxwell to be Tyler's replacement on the Primogen and to take over O'Hara Airport. You could also have the war already happened with many casualties. Perhaps Evelyn is forced to kill her own brother or is banished from the Anarchs when it's revealed the Hunter head is her sibling. There are no good endings for the Damned.

                    Call me crazy for making all these possible suggestions.

                    Other people might just want it to be played as is.
                    Last edited by CTPhipps; 04-09-2021, 08:13 PM.


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

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                    • AND DONE WITH THE ADVENTURE!

                      Now onto the NPCs!

                      If anyone has any questions/comments, please share!


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

                      Comment


                      • No questions, but a comment! Someone wrote to me a little while back to describe these scenarios as "incomplete" and that they had to amend them to fit their players' ambitions and desires.

                        Well, yes. That's the point. I love hearing about how people amend these stories, improving on them to fit their coteries. There's no way to write a chronicle that perfectly fits a group you've never met. Storytellers and players have to adjust them to make them work, by changing characters, plot elements, locations, and challenges.

                        With that said, I'm very much enjoying this thread! It's lovely to read someone talking about this book with so much enthusiasm while also explaining how they'd change it. To anyone reading: please change these stories! Don't feel you have to abide by everything we've written!


                        Matthew Dawkins
                        In-House Developer for Onyx Path Publishing


                        Website: https://www.matthewdawkins.com
                        Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/matthewdawkins

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by The Gentleman Gamer View Post
                          No questions, but a comment! Someone wrote to me a little while back to describe these scenarios as "incomplete" and that they had to amend them to fit their players' ambitions and desires.

                          Well, yes. That's the point. I love hearing about how people amend these stories, improving on them to fit their coteries. There's no way to write a chronicle that perfectly fits a group you've never met. Storytellers and players have to adjust them to make them work, by changing characters, plot elements, locations, and challenges.

                          With that said, I'm very much enjoying this thread! It's lovely to read someone talking about this book with so much enthusiasm while also explaining how they'd change it. To anyone reading: please change these stories! Don't feel you have to abide by everything we've written!
                          Thanks!

                          It's been a real joy getting into these Chronicles and they've been a real benefit to my group. They managed to get them all back into Vampire: The Masquerade after an absence. It makes me really excited about the upcoming Cult of the Blood Gods sequel to this.

                          And yes, everyone's table is different with some preferring to emphasize the personal horror, others the cinematic, and others still a more ground grittier experience.

                          There's no way to do Vampire: The Masquerade long if you're having fun.

                          And these are VERY flexible adventures.


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

                          Comment


                          • Let the Streets Run Red Chronicle Crossover

                            A thought that I had while working on my write-ups for the NPC section of the book is that it is very possible to do this book as one long V:TM campaign with each adventure played one after the other. This obviously will require a bit of dedication by your players but it is something entirely possible for those who enjoy things like Masks of Nyarlathotep or The Two Headed Serpent.
                            There's already some thematic ties to everything but it can be interwoven a bit more if you want to do it.

                            Here's some rough thoughts that might work out for the PCs if they want:

                            * Set the PCs in Gary, Indiana to begin with: Having the player characters have their home base there would allow them to eventually deal with the threat that is brewing underneath their very nose. If they're Anarch sympathetic then have them build relationships with Evelyn and Allicia. You could have Eric Sharpe introduced earlier as someone hunting down Night Cross Hunters or Honor Mercer to help establish him earlier as a no-nonsense ambitious Cainite. Modius and Juggler's disappearances could also be plot points with Willerton being where Juggler supposedly took Modius' body before vanishing (and getting snagged by Maxwell).

                            * It was Maxwell all along: Yes, I'm using the "Agnes All Along" song. In this case, have Maxwell be the patron of the Night's Cross and Paul Sterri. You can also have him investigating the events of Willerton on behalf of his patron. Maxwell could also be either the party who hired Freddie Montgomery to blackmail Honor or informed Dawn Nakada about her (or both) in hopes of keeping Mark Decker distracted during his coup against Kevin Jackson. A possible ending to Innocence in Blood is that Honor does get staked and delivered to Mark in order to get his support as a sister-city to recognize him as Prince of Chicago.



                            * Its Jyhad All the Way Down: One of the things that was prevalent in 1st Edition was everyone was a pawn of someone else. If Maxwell is behind everything, who is behind Maxwell? The Harvest God could be a Drowned One that Maxwell made contact with during a visit to Willerton. Eletria could also be the person behind Maxwell to weaken Helena's control of the city, unwittingly causing the players to play into Helena's hands. Nerissa Blackwater, Jacob/Esau, Lucian, or other parties unknown.

                            * Honor Mercer and the Ministry: Having Honor join not the Chicago Anarchs but Gary Anarchs might be interesting as the Chicago Anarchs are a little too politically motivated compared to Evelyn Stephens. If she does survive the events of Innocence in Blood then her ending up there is far enough from Mark Decker to be somewhat secure. At least until he decides to pull her out by force. You might also have Freddie or Tyrone Soros flee to the Gary, Anarchs and serve as their Ministry preacher. Imagine him and Marion trying to make a life for themselves in the Rusted Jungle.

                            * Walter Nash: If he manages to survive the events of Power Prey, he could be a recurring character throughout the rest of the campaign. Possibly he's serving as Maxwell's Seneschal and will betray the latter for Praxis over Gary/Hamond/East Chicago. Not because he'd be content there but because he'd consider it a "Duchy" to Chicago and place to build up his personal fortune as well as place to exterminate Anarchs until Kevin Jackson's position was less secure. He could be an ally to the PCs or just trying to screw them or benefit himself in every adventure.

                            * The Hunters: Gregory Stephens, Sullivan Dane, the Night's Cross, and others may actually be drawn by the player characters' actions into forming an alliance against the undead in the region. Nice job, heroes.

                            * A Poisoned Chalice: If the PCs complete all of the various scenarios then they've done a fangtastic amount of services for the Camarilla in the region, wittingly or not. As such, Kevin Jackson will reward them with the aforementioned Princedom of East Chicago/Hammond/Gary. Including if they're Anarchs (especially if they are). This may tick their Anarch allies off considerably or actually serve as a way to deescalate the situation in the region. Maybe also throw in free passage through Chicago too so Kevin knows he can keep them under his thumb.

                            This is the reward I gave to the PCs.

                            In any case, lots of potential ways to make the game climax a bit more fluid.
                            Last edited by CTPhipps; 04-10-2021, 01:13 PM.


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

                            Comment


                            • Evelyn Stephens



                              Type: NPC

                              Synopsis: A former juvenile delinquent and party girl turned solid leader.

                              Analysis: Evelyn Stephens and Allicia came sort of like a matching pair in the original Forged in Steel chronicle. Just like how Juggler and Modius were two sides of the same coin, they both had a semi-enslaved perky female minion. Like the time Lex Luthor and the Joker met in the Batman/Superman animated movie with Mercy Graves immediately hating Harley Quinn and vice versa. Okay, I'm probably the only person in the world who'd use that comparison.

                              This write-up does a decent job of differentiating the two and actually having their commonalities show why they'd be friends rather than enemies. Just as Juggler and Modius show the worst side of the Anarchs and Camarilla, so does Evelyn provide one of the rare ocassions when an Anarch is actually sincere in their belief in a better world. It also leads to some of the cleverer bits about her character that I think are interesting to explore.

                              Some things I like in particular about her character are things like this:

                              Progressive Warrior: Evelyn is part of a new breed of progressive-minded Anarchs. She has no tolerance for extremist hate groups. As Baron, she has instituted a city-wide mandate: independent gangs can operate and sell their wares and can commit some level of violence, but not against women and never against children. To date, the two largest gangs in Gary — the Glen Park 45ers and the Knights — have abided by this rule.
                              It reminds me a bit of the fact that Suge Knight, a man who would definitely be a vampire in the World of Darkness, helped negotiate a treaty between the Crips and the Bloods. She's trying to do good while being a vampire and its questionable whether or not it is doomed.

                              I also like the fact that she has a well-detailed headquarters in The Dive since it provides a base for the Anarchs to operate in the city. I was always a fan of The Cave and wondered if it would get updated like the Succubus Club despite not being nearly as iconic. It also reminds me of the Anarch's hideout in Bloodlines.

                              Evelyn's relationship with Juggler is well handled as it's very clear that she is a better leader for the Anarchs than him (if for only the fact he's not Blood Bound to Tyler or Dominated by Helena--which isn't exactly Juggler's fault). However, if he were to return then he'd certainly undo all of her efforts. It's also possible that Evelyn is still Blood Bound to him even if it's probably weakened over the years. The PCs disposing of him, like Arthur Caldwell is implied to want to do, might be the best thing to do for the Anarchs but would forever make an enemy if found out.

                              One thing I'd disagree with:

                              Maldavis (Disgust) Maldavis represents the old guard of Chicago, and while many believe she is the future of the city, Evelyn isn’t one of them. Maldavis has proven herself to be too unpredictable and too violent, ultimately doing more harm than good. Evelyn’s moderate approach is often viewed as weakness by Maldavis and the bulk of the Chicago Anarchs. As a result, Evelyn worries Maldavis will force the Anarchs of Chicago and Gary into a conflict they might not recover from.
                              The weird relationship with Evelyn, Anita, and Maldavis is one that I would handle differently. Evelyn is implied to really like Anita and hates Maldavis. It's not unbelievable but it is kind of funny that Evelyn believes Maldavis (a consummate pacifist since the Council Wars) is the violent one, Anita the militant radical is peaceful, and Evelyn is the more moderate despite being in a constant state of war with Modius' goons. The racial dynamics are also notable given Anita is a black power supporter despite being a white woman, Maldavis actually worked in Civil Rights, and Evelyn grew up in a city that's about 80% black. I'm not saying this is an unbelievable set of relationships but you have to wonder how they all could misjudge each other so terribly.

                              Finally, there's the relationship with Gregory Stephens and I have to think there's multiple ways to play this. The local police being headed by a Hunter is terrible and a major failure of her as a Baron. The Special Hazards Unit and Commissioner have got to go. However, she could also be someone who might be planning to ghoul him or otherwise bring him under control. Likewise, protecting his sister and her minions is something that could bring down Gregory. It's a Romeo and Juliet situation without the romance and bound for tragedy. However, I couldn't say how it might shake out.

                              Random Notes

                              * The art for Evelyn is based on Rosario Dawson, which I talked with the artist regarding (I bought the original artwork to frame on my wall). I think it's a good choice actress wise.

                              * In a pitch I made for the character being updated, which they mostly went for their own thing, Evelyn led the Second Inquisition against Gordon Keaton. That Evelyn is, ironically, doing exactly what Modius is and feeding her enemies to Hunters.
                              Last edited by CTPhipps; 04-10-2021, 02:22 PM.


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

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                              • Allicia



                                Synopsis: A trophy-childe who has since become a Anarch leader.

                                Analysis: Allicia remains one of my all time favorite vampire characters but also one that I feel like is one of the hardest to actually deal with. She was a mute character in the original Forged in Steel write-up and that's an impressive disability to overcome in tabletop roleplaying unless the characters are supposed to be familiar with ASL. Which notably I'm not sure that Allicia possessed knowledge of sign language since she's not deaf, just mute.

                                The 21st century certainly helps with Allicia's use, though, especially if the player characters are Anarchs as now she can text anything she wants. It's also stated that she can speak, even sing, but that she's still someone who avoids speaking directly if she can. It also explains why she isn't someone that stuck with the Camarilla as social media technology is a literal boon (presumably Arthur Caldwell taught her) to her.

                                One thing the revised Allicia has is the fact it really does explain why she would be an Anarch as she has a truly awful history of abuse, sexual slavery, and mental torture. It manages to avoid the luridness of Desus and Lilith from Exalted (in part because Modius is using her as a honey trap) but still gets along with the fact she was only a tool to the Prince of Gary. The fact she's not entirely sold on the Anarchs is also a sign that maybe she notices that they're not as devoted to freeing enslaved childer as they claim to be. Evelyn, after all, mourns Juggler despite being treated much the same.

                                A small but noteworthy element is that this version of Allicia is confirmed as bisexual, being involved with both women and men since at least the 1930s. It's a small matter since the game is hinting that a lot of vampires go both ways because sex is the blood and the blood is sex but it is a positive note for representation as well as avoiding bi erasure. We get an implication of crossover here as it's apparently established that Allicia comes from a family affiliated with Pentex. Indeed, if you want to play up the incest angle of vampirism that Anne Rice was always fond of, it could be that Allicia is a member of the Colepepper family that she's found herself drawn to. Those who don't want to use Pentex could use a Tzimisce or Giovanni ghoul family as a substitute. It does amuse me to think she might positively REAK of the Wyrm compared to even other vampires.

                                I'm not sure what sort of business Falcon Motors can have in Gary but I wouldn't be surprised if she actually managed to re-establish a factory of some sort here even if it involves Russian or Chinese Pentex money. Recently, a small number of Rust Belt factories have been (re)opened due to the immense amount of dark money involved. Perfect for vampires. I recommend AMERICAN FACTORY on Netflix for a possible example.

                                Allicia is a romantic character that has a lot of the classic Toreador tropes but with caveats that make her interesting. She's a great lover but apparently has quite a few among mortals as well as vampires. Arthur Caldwell loves her but does she feel the same (he's not even listed on her sheet)? She's also raising the child of her mortal lover that she broke up the marriage of and perhaps plans on Embracing later. Note that neither Nina or Frank are Touchstones either, which may imply Allicia doesn't feel THAT much for them.

                                Indeed, her Humanity is 5, which is pretty close to an Elder's and far lower than the 9 she used to have. It's been a rough three decades for her. Strictly speaking, she might not be able to enjoy any of the actions of romance that those with higher Humanity can. Presence and the Kiss probably substitutes for actual sex or feeling. Unless, of course, she has or develops a True Love merit. Mind you, I've always felt it was kind of silly only High Humanity kindred could have sex.

                                Allicia could well be a better "Prince" of Gary than Evelyn Baron but they're better working together.

                                Notes

                                * Allicia wanting to kill Annabelle would be an interesting story for Chicago as the Elder never gave her a single thought while supporting Modius.

                                * I love the art for her that seems like it could go very Daisy Ridley.



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

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