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  • Lets talk Chicago by Night and it's History

    So quick backstory, I used to play VtM Revised from like 1999 - 2002 and I never read any of the CbN material at all, pretty much read the revised material and some 2nd ed.

    So 6 months ago I decided to get back into the game, started building a collection and decided to read CbN 1st Edition because from glancing through I like the layout and want to emulate that with what I'm writing for my game.

    I'll be honest though....while some of the concepts are interesting, some just kind of comes across cheesy. Now I know there is a ton of material to include a 2nd edition, and I hear a lot about the material that covers the Sabbat/Lupine war....but what's your history/opinion with the setting? Did they stop making material for it after 2nd ed?

    I know a lot of you have decades of experience with the game and would love to hear your stories.


    For different game play videos of White Wolf Games from my play group
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBU...IhwsM3kHK56SRA
    https://soundcloud.com/twin-cities-by-night
    If you want to find White Wolf game play media or subject matter media
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/862703457198327/

  • #2
    Originally posted by ChristopherZacher View Post
    So quick backstory, I used to play VtM Revised from like 1999 - 2002 and I never read any of the CbN material at all, pretty much read the revised material and some 2nd ed.

    So 6 months ago I decided to get back into the game, started building a collection and decided to read CbN 1st Edition because from glancing through I like the layout and want to emulate that with what I'm writing for my game.

    I'll be honest though....while some of the concepts are interesting, some just kind of comes across cheesy. Now I know there is a ton of material to include a 2nd edition, and I hear a lot about the material that covers the Sabbat/Lupine war....but what's your history/opinion with the setting? Did they stop making material for it after 2nd ed?

    I know a lot of you have decades of experience with the game and would love to hear your stories.
    *warning - weird annoying fanboy rant ahead*

    I find the idea of Chicago by Night as cheesy as one of the more inexplicable things which seems a fairly common thing fan opinion. I've seen it dozens of times and DO.NOT.GET.IT. Basically, for some reason, I think Revised is the biggest case of setting blindness in all of history. Chicago by Night is a wonderful collection of NORMAL vampires. Vampires who are interested in money, revenge, sex, and very human motivations like the fact they were kept as a slave in 500 B.C. and just wanted to unlive with their lover until a bunch of older dickish vampires ruined it.

    You had married couples going through a messy divorce, guitarists who missed their chance at fame because of the Embrace, insane wassail-degenerating Malkavian violinists, failed Anarchs, and people like Lodin who were evil but competent at their jobs. You could go after Lodin or work for Lodin and it would work just the same as he was a 100 year old vampire who was not outside of a sufficiently prepped coterie's range if they wanted to hit Defcon 1 and assassinate him. It is, in simple terms, a city of roleplaying and interaction with interesting characters in a nonviolent manner.

    Who was your enemy in Chicago by Night? Lodin, Sheriff, Son, Ballard, Gordon Keaton, and Schumpter. A bunch of scheming, conniving, evil vampires who had human reasons for what they did. Even Son was a serial killer who just so happened to have been embraced--he's not a supernatural evil so much as a human one now made supernatural.

    This is a direct contrast to Revised which was all about Camarilla vs. Sabbat, flesh cathedrals, and ancient prophecies which will bring about the end of the world via Kupala. Revised has such adventures as walking with a Nickutu to eat Baba Yaga, Ravnos getting nuked by the Illuminati from orbit, blowing up the Underworld to get rid of a secretive group of vampire assassins, and randomly destroying the Tremere Antitribu plus any PCs which belonged to it. Oh and the DoC murdering all male DOC (including my Pavorati inspired one) So, explain to me, PLEASE. What is so cheesy about CbN?

    *End weird annoying fanboy rant*
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-21-2016, 11:01 AM.


    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 CTPhipps View Post

      *warning - weird annoying fanboy rant ahead*

      I find the idea of Chicago by Night as cheesy as one of the more inexplicable things which seems a fairly common thing fan opinion. I've seen it dozens of times and DO.NOT.GET.IT. Basically, for some reason, I think Revised is the biggest case of setting blindness in all of history. Chicago by Night is a wonderful collection of NORMAL vampires. Vampires who are interested in money, revenge, sex, and very human motivations like the fact they were kept as a slave in 500 B.C. and just wanted to unlive with their lover until a bunch of older dickish vampires ruined it.

      You had married couples going through a messy divorce, guitarists who missed their chance at fame because of the Embrace, insane wassail-degenerating Malkavian violinists, failed Anarchs, and people like Lodin who were evil but competent at their jobs. You could go after Lodin or work for Lodin and it would work just the same as he was a 100 year old vampire who was not outside of a sufficiently prepped coterie's range if they wanted to hit Defcon 1 and assassinate him. It is, in simple terms, a city of roleplaying and interaction with interesting characters in a nonviolent manner.

      Who was your enemy in Chicago by Night? Lodin, Sheriff, Son, Ballard, Gordon Keaton, and Schumpter. A bunch of scheming, conniving, evil vampires who had human reasons for what they did. Even Son was a serial killer who just so happened to have been embraced--he's not a supernatural evil so much as a human one now made supernatural.

      This is a direct contrast to Revised which was all about Camarilla vs. Sabbat, flesh cathedrals, and ancient prophecies which will bring about the end of the world via Kupala. Revised has such adventures as walking with a Nickutu to eat Baba Yaga, Ravnos getting nuked by the Illuminati from orbit, blowing up the Underworld to get rid of a secretive group of vampire assassins, and randomly destroying the Tremere Antitribu plus any PCs which belonged to it. Oh and the DoC murdering all male DOC (including my Pavorati inspired one)

      So, explain to me, PLEASE.

      What is so cheesy about CbN?
      First, I've never ran an EPIC style revised game, mine have all been about personal horror and very very very small scale

      Second, some of the concepts of CbN are just bad. Al Capone? A "Punk Rock" band that consists of musical talents from different decades because they "discovered" punk rock and its three chords are some how magical and musical genius? Also the though of a century old vampire being like "you know what? I want to be a punk today!

      Third, it seems the majority of the characters are simply "dominated" to help on of the Methusalahs out, instead of the jyhad being played. One thing I LOVED about revised was that they started implying to play the great game was more than simply forcing someone with disciplines to do your will.

      Now, I will say I like some of the back stories for the elder characters and I feel they did very well. I guess to sum up it just felt so Juvenile rather than real. Sorry, but I don't find real concerns to be playing in a band called "Baby Chorus". I do like some of the Catiffs and their hook.

      I'm sure though it got a lot better in 2nd ed.


      For different game play videos of White Wolf Games from my play group
      https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBU...IhwsM3kHK56SRA
      https://soundcloud.com/twin-cities-by-night
      If you want to find White Wolf game play media or subject matter media
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/862703457198327/

      Comment


      • #4
        Also didn't Revise release a Succubus Club book?


        For different game play videos of White Wolf Games from my play group
        https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBU...IhwsM3kHK56SRA
        https://soundcloud.com/twin-cities-by-night
        If you want to find White Wolf game play media or subject matter media
        https://www.facebook.com/groups/862703457198327/

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ChristopherZacher View Post

          First, I've never ran an EPIC style revised game, mine have all been about personal horror and very very very small scale

          Second, some of the concepts of CbN are just bad. Al Capone? A "Punk Rock" band that consists of musical talents from different decades because they "discovered" punk rock and its three chords are some how magical and musical genius? Also the though of a century old vampire being like "you know what? I want to be a punk today!

          Third, it seems the majority of the characters are simply "dominated" to help on of the Methusalahs out, instead of the jyhad being played. One thing I LOVED about revised was that they started implying to play the great game was more than simply forcing someone with disciplines to do your will.

          Now, I will say I like some of the back stories for the elder characters and I feel they did very well. I guess to sum up it just felt so Juvenile rather than real. Sorry, but I don't find real concerns to be playing in a band called "Baby Chorus". I do like some of the Catiffs and their hook.

          I'm sure though it got a lot better in 2nd ed.
          Thanks for the rebuttal and very valid points!

          1. I dunno, if you're going to actually have a vampire who was someone famous in life, Al Capone seems like someone you'd want to do. I admit, poor Al is a concept who has aged poorly, though.

          2. Baby Chorus was an interesting concept for me by contrast because it was clear that they were just a bunch of friends who wanted to hang out and play music. They were a coterie the PCs could interact with and be friends with and not be threatened by. In D&D you couldn't do that because you were always measuring levels and wondering why the Harpers of Eventide weren't solving the problem. Baby Chorus, by contrast, seemed tailor made to just give the PCs some Anarch friends and contacts.

          3. Interestingly, I always felt there was a fun contrast between the two Methuselah that made them both people who the PCs could theoretically help out. Menele isn't going to dominate them into slavery because he has near-Golconda Humanity and prefers to promote people who are good rather than controlling them outright. Helena, by contrast, isn't going to hesitate to dominate people but she has other assets so most PCs would want to help the Extraordinarily Hot WomanTM against the evil guy Brujah Elder hunting her.

          Helena is probably the only time in history I've had PCs *WANT* to be manipulated by an ancient Elder.

          4. 2nd Edition has a lot going for it and eliminated almost all of the "silly" vampires but it sadly eliminated any vampire who wasn't cool, suave, or 2nd-ey. I felt the book lost a lot of flavor.

          5. After 2nd Ed, Chicago By Night effectively ceased to exist in the gameline and no references were made to it. I think it was because the developers didn't want to intrude on anyone else's line. It leaves me a bit annoyed, though, because I think the game needed updating for how vampire history and stats changed.

          I still hope for a V20 Chicago supplement and regularly annoy The Gentleman Gamer about it.

          But yes, on my end, I consider Chicago By Night to be the single greatest work of V:TM fiction ever made and what is easily the best supplement ever made. Not just the best Vampire supplement, the best supplement period. It is fifty or so vampires closely intertwined with weird histories, relationships, and personalities which gives an endless sandbox for the PCs to be able to play in without ever leaving.

          There's villains in CBN, don't get me wrong but they're fully developed 3-dimensional people with friends and loved ones. If you kill Lodin then you have Lorraine weeping over his ashes and asking God why this is happening because he was the person she loved most in the world. If you kill Ballard, you may collapse the United States economy and cause a recession worse than the 2008 one. You might also save a bunch of children from being molested.

          There's an amazing number of useful NPCs present in Chicago by Night and best of all it's a book which is FULL of ethnic and sexual diversity. In 1991 they managed to have homosexual characters, bisexual characters, black characters, Asian characters, and more with none of them coming off as a stereotype (well, Pham Hong came close). I love Theo Bell but he basically came off as, "So, how do we get Blade into V:TM?"

          It's a world where there's possible love interests for just about every kind of character or orientation if you want to do romance in your chronicles: Maldavis, Erichtho, Annabelle (for you Elders), Anita (for you Brujah), Priam (for women), the Paynes, and even false leads like Stryker. That was a thing I never contemplated out of a supplement but was amazingly useful.

          I've done five or six Chicago By Night chronicles since I was sixteen and they're always entertaining. I will say, though, I probably think Under a Blood Red Moon was a mistake. It destroyed all the weird, quirky, and pathetic vampires in the setting to replace them all with more generic "Cool" vampires and I think the setting never really recovered as a result. It felt more generic and less weird because apparently dorky train-loving idiot vampires couldn't exist.
          I think it also eliminated a substantial portion of the city's black vampires.

          So, yeah, I'm totally biased.

          Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-21-2016, 12:43 PM.


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

          Comment


          • #6
            Also I think it's cool you have such history with the setting, and I'm actually excited to read more about it.


            For different game play videos of White Wolf Games from my play group
            https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBU...IhwsM3kHK56SRA
            https://soundcloud.com/twin-cities-by-night
            If you want to find White Wolf game play media or subject matter media
            https://www.facebook.com/groups/862703457198327/

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ChristopherZacher View Post
              Also I think it's cool you have such history with the setting, and I'm actually excited to read more about it.
              Thanks, just posted a bigger response there and comments on your observations. I'd love to hear your thoughts on other elements.


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

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ChristopherZacher View Post
                Also didn't Revise release a Succubus Club book?
                I remember being disappointed with this as it re-envisioned the Succubus Club as a traveling rave with no connection to the one in Chicago. I was actually hoping it would result in the owner of the Succubus Club (Portia I assume in Revised) was franchising the name and causing spin-off clubs in cities around America.

                You know, like Lux in Hollywood.

                Thus every city could have a Succubus Club.


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

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                  Thanks, just posted a bigger response there and comments on your observations. I'd love to hear your thoughts on other elements.
                  I agree and can see that it was pretty damn edgy for 1991. Once I finish reading through the three CC books I have, I think I'll have more insight. Plus I never put two and two together about Ballard being a chomo. I know he had kids from his family visit but I always took it as an Anne Rice type "Mentor my family throughout history" type thing.

                  Also it is refreshing from the nuking vampires and katanas and trenchcoats, which makes me cringe the most when it comes to VtM.


                  For different game play videos of White Wolf Games from my play group
                  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBU...IhwsM3kHK56SRA
                  https://soundcloud.com/twin-cities-by-night
                  If you want to find White Wolf game play media or subject matter media
                  https://www.facebook.com/groups/862703457198327/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ChristopherZacher View Post

                    I agree and can see that it was pretty damn edgy for 1991. Once I finish reading through the three CC books I have, I think I'll have more insight. Plus I never put two and two together about Ballard being a chomo. I know he had kids from his family visit but I always took it as an Anne Rice type "Mentor my family throughout history" type thing.

                    Also it is refreshing from the nuking vampires and katanas and trenchcoats, which makes me cringe the most when it comes to VtM.
                    It's very very subtle and nicely handled.

                    I didn't realize it until I read about Lawrence Ballard needing to be dominated for DECADES about it and as soon as it stopped, immediately started planning Horatio Ballard's murder. It made a wonderful plot hook for the PCs as well as gave me a good roleplaying hint for Lawrence: "Lawrence is on the verge of frenzy because he's been Dominated into his kids being used as blood bags and now his grandkids and remembers it all. He wants the PCs to murder Ballard but might just try to murder his grandfather in public at any time."

                    Good adventure.

                    Especially as the PCs realize they were going to piss off the entirety of Clan Ventrue once the stock market crashed.


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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Nonsense - you never bother me about it. I'd love to do a V20 Chicago by Night. We'll have to see what happens in the next few months!


                      Matthew Dawkins
                      In-House Developer for Onyx Path Publishing


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

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                      • #12
                        I loved this in-depth reread on RPG.net.


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                        • #13
                          It was a very fun thread.

                          It sparked a lot of fun spin-offs.
                          Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-21-2016, 01:06 PM.


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

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Dang, blocked at work


                            For different game play videos of White Wolf Games from my play group
                            https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBU...IhwsM3kHK56SRA
                            https://soundcloud.com/twin-cities-by-night
                            If you want to find White Wolf game play media or subject matter media
                            https://www.facebook.com/groups/862703457198327/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ChristopherZacher View Post

                              Dang, blocked at work
                              http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...ChicagoByNight
                              Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-21-2016, 01:36 PM.


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

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