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  • The Batman and the WoD

    I've seen the movie The Batman. Here is a major spoiler; the movie features the Batman and Gotham City.
    That said, it occurs to me that the film provides a pretty good example of a World of Darkness city. That is to say, Gotham is apparently a dreadful place. All the social institutions of government and law enforcement are corrupt and suborned to corrupt powers.
    There is no evident middle class, only the wealthy and the lower classes. The wealthy live in lavish places, albeit ones with too much Gothic fretwork in the living room. The destitute in live squalor, or close to it. Night clubs are some of the few places showing any vitality, and that is the vitality of a nightmare.
    Attempts at bettering things actually makes it all worse. Also, it is all very physically precarious. Last but not least, the whole place is actually physically ugly.
    Except in the World of Darkness, there are no heroes.






  • #2
    Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
    I've seen the movie The Batman. Here is a major spoiler; the movie features the Batman and Gotham City.
    That said, it occurs to me that the film provides a pretty good example of a World of Darkness city. That is to say, Gotham is apparently a dreadful place. All the social institutions of government and law enforcement are corrupt and suborned to corrupt powers.
    There is no evident middle class, only the wealthy and the lower classes. The wealthy live in lavish places, albeit ones with too much Gothic fretwork in the living room. The destitute in live squalor, or close to it. Night clubs are some of the few places showing any vitality, and that is the vitality of a nightmare.
    Attempts at bettering things actually makes it all worse. Also, it is all very physically precarious. Last but not least, the whole place is actually physically ugly.
    Except in the World of Darkness, there are no heroes.

    I have literally actually done an entire campaign of Gotham City by Night.


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

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
      Last but not least, the whole place is actually physically ugly.
      So much for Liverpool and Glasgow's Victorian landmark civic buildings and cemetaries.

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      • #4
        Robert Pattinson played a vampire.
        Robert Pattinson played the batman.

        There is a trilogy of graphic novel called Batman & Dracula where Batman becomes a vampire.

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        • #5
          I guess it is all a matter of perspective.

          Some of the poorest first world areas would count as middle to high class in poorer nations. When every building has indoor plumbing and electricity by default, free clinics exist at all, and even homeless people have smart phones. It gets a little difficult to claim how bad it is in comparison.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Thoth View Post
            I guess it is all a matter of perspective.

            Some of the poorest first world areas would count as middle to high class in poorer nations. When every building has indoor plumbing and electricity by default, free clinics exist at all, and even homeless people have smart phones. It gets a little difficult to claim how bad it is in comparison.
            Great points. In my country the level of poverty is staggering, but even the poorest person will probably have a cellphone of some kind often a smart phone as they have become necessities rather than luxuries. People will live in shacks without running water, but they still have to have a cellphone for work.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Thoth View Post
              I guess it is all a matter of perspective.

              Some of the poorest first world areas would count as middle to high class in poorer nations. When every building has indoor plumbing and electricity by default, free clinics exist at all, and even homeless people have smart phones. It gets a little difficult to claim how bad it is in comparison.
              I find that playing misery poker is a terrible way of looking at the world. At least in terms of dealing with poverty and other systemic issues.


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

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              • #8
                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                I find that playing misery poker is a terrible way of looking at the world. At least in terms of dealing with poverty and other systemic issues.
                It is less misery poker and more reality check.

                The V:tM setting is all about urban decay and how it is a harsh world the characters live in. But at the same time that there is all this urban blight, the damaged roads are still considered paved. Dare I say that the World of Darkness is a first world problem simulator with a dash of supernatural elements.

                But at the same time, by being aware of this difference in expectations as well as quality of life, you as an ST or Player can greatly enhance the role play experience as well as the quality of the games.

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                • #9
                  I don't want real world politics brought into this situation.

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                  • #10
                    I reject the idea that this misery porn is what defines gothic horror. The gothic often goes to extremes, but for the purposes of juxtaposition. This idea that the world is only poverty, corruption, and neglect is not something needed for horror. Dystopianism or depression is NOT horror. It is its own thing. There's no problem using those elements in a horror or specifically gothic horror game, but it is not essential or needed.

                    The gothic, including gothic horror, is part of the romantic movement. It is based on extreme feelings of emotion and rejection of rationalism and the Enlightenment ideals. So despair and misery can certainly fit in. But love, hope, beauty, and other positive things have their place. Most gothic horror novels have good ending in triumph, even if there is a cost to that triumph. Since the PCs in a WoD game are usually the monsters, this is often overlooked. But an ST can still include those elements.

                    Horror is about the generation of FEAR. It is not about despair or misery.

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                    • #11
                      Which is more horror inducing, the idea that your character is a monster, and you slip that character on or off as you please, or the notion that the player is more of a monster than they ever really considered and that can't as easily be dismissed when the game or session ends?

                      Anyone can play a character that skins babies alive and uses the still screaming bodies as a fleshlight before they die. But it is something else entirely when you have to contend with how your actions, rather than your characters actions, could be monstrous. This is part of the reason "play as yourself" games hit very close to home.

                      Horror isn't the same as fear, it isn't the same as misery, nor is it the same as self-loathing. Horror is the inescapable, horror is the thing that you refuse to confront, horror is realizing that everything you thought you were doing right, turns out to be wrong.

                      Now that horror could be something as simple as thinking you are a good person that doesn't bother anyone, only to realize that your average first world citizen uses almost the same amount of resources as 90 third world citizens at any given time. Alternatively that horror could be that you are comfortable with being monstrous, and thing that bothers you is the fact that it doesn't bother you.

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                      • #12
                        Getting back to Batman, here's a short summary of my GOTHAM CITY BY NIGHT notes:

                        Gotham City

                        + Gotham City has five million point two people and is an incredibly overcrowded, polluted mess.

                        + Gotham City is located in New Jersey across the bay from Metropolis. The two cities are different from New York and Jersey City, though, in that they both became incredibly rich and powerful before dealing with the collapse of its industry in different ways.

                        + Despite not being a Rust Belt town, Gotham City has all the markings of one with many abandoned manufacturing plants and its formerly prosperous Atlantic City-esque casino boardwalk as well as amusement park. Unlike Atlantic City, it doesn't even limp along but is just did. These are very common Kindred Havens and prone to being used by the Sabbat and Anarchs.

                        + Metropolis was eventually pulled out of its funk by Lex Luthor and technology industries while Gotham City has only Wayne Enterprises. If not for the constant charity and public works projects of it, it would have degenerated into becoming another Detroit or, worse, Hub City or Bludhaven. Its suggested that "Bruce Wayne IV" employs 50% of the city's employed.

                        + The city has remnants of Sionis Industries, Copplepot Heavy Manufacturing, Goth Corp, and numerous other former industries in town but their bankruptcies have left heavy scars on the city as well as further resentment for Wayne. Its assumed he helped detsroy them and his chairty is a front. Pentex actually bought out some of these but has failed to acquire Wayne Enterprises despite several attempts and may try again with Powers Industries.

                        + Gotham City architecture is famously art deco leftover from its prosperous period in the 1930s. Many of these buildings were destroyed in the Gotham City Earthquake and now are alongside shining modern skyscrappers. Many locals HATE the new buildings and consider them eyesores. The vogueness of garagoyles, grotesques, and other statuary is a local tradition that still has yearly design contests.

                        + Gotham City was actually making inroads to finally catching up with Metropolis and getting out of its shitty circumstances when the Gotham City Earthquake more or less unddid all of that. It was like Sisyphus' Boulder in all the unseen forces working to rebuild the city ended up getting the city declared a disaster zone and bureaucracy keeping it from being rebuilt for almost a year.

                        + The Gotham City police force is 50% corrupt as hell with heavy involvement in police brutality, graft, criminal infiltration, and murderous. 45% is only vaguely corrupt with overlooking a large number of crimes as well as focusing on the rich. This is actually a considerable improvement.

                        + Ghoul, Jim Gordon, is not the official Commissioner and hasn't been for decades but controls the various Chiefs of Police from behind the scenes. Many have wondered why the Prince hasn't Embraced him.

                        + The Gotham City crime lords feud constantly over territory and it is impossible for any one faction to stay on top for more than a few years. They are generally aware of the existence of vampires and other supernaturals, which is something of a joke as they are a cowardly and superstitious lot.

                        "Officially" organized crime is controlled by The Penguin (Ventrue), which crooks ironically think is a title passed down from various mob bosses.

                        + Media is controlled by Toreador Victoria Vale who has only really been powerful since the 1980s and maintains a public identity even as she's setting up a replacement. GBC is national news and syndicated with most people enjoying their gossip-ridden sensationalist press.
                        Last edited by CTPhipps; 03-09-2022, 07:45 PM.


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

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                        • #13
                          Gotham City Vampires (Camarilla)

                          + The Prince of Gotham City is Old Clan Tzimisce Bruce Wayne who has been Prince of the City since 1939 when he overthrew Carmine Falcone of Clan Ventrue. The idea of a Tzimisce as a Prince of a major Camarilla city is still controversial almost a century later.

                          Bruce's powers include limited amounts of Animalism, Potence, Fortitude, Obfuscate, and Presence. His eclectic powers stem from being taught by the Banu Haquim at some point and possibly diablerie before he swore it off.

                          + Bruce maintains a brood of young children that he raises as his offspring before embracing with one of them having gone on to become Prince of Bludhaven. Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake. He has not yet embraced the revenant Damien Wayne, who many believe to be a biothaumaturgical construct.

                          He also granted permission for Barbara to Embrace and she has done so with Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown (Alternatively: They are orphaned Kindred of the Banu Haqim and Caitiff that she adopted). Together, the Wayne Family represents 60% of the Tzimisce in the Camarilla. At least in America.

                          + Bruce regularly fakes his retirement and goes off for a few years to refresh his skills before coming back to resume the family fortune. This is not a common Prince practice and several times the city has been wrested from him, most notoriously when Brujah Bane became ruler of it and his insane zealot progeny Azrael.

                          + Bruce generally practices capital punishment less than other Kindred Princes. Offenders are resigned to Arkham Asylum where they undergo humiliation, brainwashing, and torture. This has been of questionable effectiveness.

                          + Bruce is actually somewhat friendlier to mortals than most Kindred and has a policy not to kill humans during feeding or without his permission (which is practically never, if ever, given). It still occurs but has been used as a justification for undermining him. Deaths still occur all the time but are punished with beatings and imprisonment.

                          + There is no Primogen in Gotham City or Harpies, though rumors the Elders of the Court of Carmine Falcone called The Court of Owls trying to take back the city from Bruce Wayne occur. They were all exiled or killed over the years.

                          Bruce's dictatorship is quite infamous along the East Coast.


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

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                          • #14
                            Gotham City Vampires (Sabbat)

                            + Part of the reason Bruce Wayne gets away with violating so many Kindred norms is the fact that the city has been contested for decades between him and The Joker. The Joker is an infamous Sabbat Pricius who tests even Bruce's mettle.

                            + The Joker often controls sections of the city and works with a variety of other theatrical psychopaths. Because this is the WOD, Bruce doesn't hesitate to try to destroy these enemies but they often pass their mantles down to new wielders.

                            + The Joker is unsurprisingly a Malkavian Antitribu and has sired numerous other members of his Clan that often assume his identity before ending their lives.

                            + Other notable Sabbat are Scarecrow (Malkavian), Black Mask (Ventrue), Firefly (Tremere), Mad Hatter (Malkavian), Killer Croc (Nosferatu), and Poison Ivy (Lhiannan).

                            + The Penguin has allied several times with the Sabbat to overthrow Bruce Wayne but somehow survived both groups' wrath. Which either makes him a fool, a tool, or a genius.

                            + Harley Quinn, the Joker's longest-lived progeny, fully defected to the Anarchs and surprisingly brought Poison Ivy with her. She is now hated by both the Sabbat as well as the Camarilla in the city.

                            + While being Embraced by the Sabbat, the Riddler attempted to defect to the Camarilla and eventually was found guilty of passing information back to them. He is presently without friends and in hiding.

                            + Two-Face is a Malkavian and frequently is Blood Bound or helped by Bruce Wayne despite his unpredictable loyalties. The Sabbat destroyed half his face as a favor to Falcone in an attempt by him to relciam his throne. Harvey Dent has tried to become Prince multiple times using the Sabbat like the Penguin but more successful.

                            It is likely Bruce knows he's such an unsteady ally that he is being used as a stalking horse.
                            Last edited by CTPhipps; 03-10-2022, 12:43 AM.


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

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                            • #15
                              Gotham City (Anarchs)

                              + The Anarchs are not terribly strong in Gotham City due to the fact Bruce Wayne's war against the Sabbat means that there's very little room for fence sitters. Elders avoid the city due to its contested nature and you're either with the Bat or the Joker.

                              + The most famous Anarch in the city is more Autarkis with Selina Kyle who has been the Prince's mistress as well as enemy depending on events. She doesn't bother leading any Anarchs but ignores his laws with seeming impunity. The most aid she gives other Anarchs is via deals and being vaguely willing to help them out if they help her--which is more than most Ancilla.

                              Selina is an unusual sort of vampire in that she is a Gangrel but has Presence like a Toreador in addition to Celerity, Obfuscate, and Potence based jumping powers. She also cannot shapechange beyond claws. She might also have a minor bit of Blood Sorcery that disables technology and allows her to cling to walls.

                              + Harley Quinn has been founding her own Anarch group recently with "rescued" Sabbat shovelheads and teaching them the ropes. She's still a dangerous Low Humanity psychopath but better than the alternative (I guess?)

                              + Lonnie Machin is a 13th generation Neonate that may or may not be the Joker's distant descendant. It says much about his war against the rich and privileged in the city that Batman doesn't even bother to shut him down.

                              + Stephanie Brown is a Panders childe of the Cluemaster who has been passed off as Barbara Gordon's childe. She is an Anarch but only vaguely with far too much brightness and optimism for a Kindred. Very few Kindred take her seriously.

                              + Perhaps the biggest Anarch in the city that may change everything is the returned Jason Todd who emerged out of a twenty-year torpor. Jason Todd is the childe of the Prince and some Anarchs think of him as a spoiled brat but he's successfully recruited and trained Anarchs in paramilitary tactics.

                              He is the most militant opposition to Bruce Wayne's princedom but wants to destroy the Sabbat more (for now).

                              + Generally, Bruce rules the Anarchs with a light hand since they're allied with him by default against the Black Hand and their mayhem. He is an autocrat, though, and plenty of Anarchs who flout his rules end up in Arkham where they either learn their lesson or gravitate to the Sabbat.

                              Others like Lonnie Machin and Stephanie Brown are effectively treated as children acting out rather than real threats. They will "grow up" in Bruce's opinion.
                              Last edited by CTPhipps; 03-09-2022, 08:26 PM.


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

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