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Boston Unveiled: What have you done with it?

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  • Boston Unveiled: What have you done with it?

    Hi, everyone!

    In the spirit of sharing and storytelling, what have you done with the Boston supplement?

    Myself, I never ran it, since at the time I felt the Salem Consilium was too much like a kindred princedom to my liking. Maybe it was the presentation, I don't know, it just felt that despite the excellent ideas contained, I wouldn't know where to start. Eventually the mage line started to show its strengths and along came some powerful fiction pieces too, that finally let me grok BU. The real authority in Boston wasn't the Consilium itself, but the Secret Concord: all else was secondary to that unholy alliance of ruthless witches and christian powermongers. Once I started to contemplate the idea of filling the setting with a few more cabals and some 2ed caucus structures, the ideas started to flow again.

    Did any of you expanded the material presented to include other supernatural societies? Did any of you changed parts of the setting-as-written? Have you found any difficulty introducing a particular element of the setting? What about adapting the setting to the 2nd edition new rules and setting changes?

  • #2
    Alright, so I've been designing a multi-splat Chronicle for the past couple of months. It's basically a mash-up of Boston Unveiled (which has made my world-building work SO much easier) and the older Dark Colonies stuff, with lots of local history thrown in. Mages control most of Boston, vampires control what's left, there's a changeling freehold in Waltham, and sin-eaters and werewolves cooperate over various disaster sites to mend damage done both in Twilight and the Shadow Realm (the Tewksbury Explosion, the Pemberton Mill collapse, the Great Revere Train Wreck, and what-have-you). Virtually all of the BU history is intact, as are most of the cabals introduced.

    I've kneecapped the Illuminated Pentad though. I remember reading a couple of stories about the Nemean possessing Thanatos of the Pentad, spying on a Pentad-rallied conspirators meeting to overthrow him, and then siccing a bunch of monsters on them. He then gets stuck in his own mind by the rest of the Silver Ladder for his transgressions. I tweaked it some, so it results in the Nemean never getting punished. Now, a sole survivor from the Pentad yanks the players around for the eventual end goal of assassinating the Nemean.

    On that note, I'm running with a lot of the Red Word stuff. I knew I wanted some kind of over-arching doom plot that all roads eventually lead toward. I'm not running with the Bleached Schooner or the Austere Stone of Gilead, as this campaign is complicated enough without having to design MORE separate societies. I'm still on the fence about the Wood of Empty Houses and Beast of Burden.

    I'm also running with the Tremere elements out of Dorchester. I'm not sure I like Mama Desta as an antagonist, given the weird breast-feeding child soul theft thing and how it will definitely weird out my players? I pulled Madeline Coventry from Dark Colonies, and she'll be running around Dorchester with Desta at her side as a heavy instead.

    I uhhhh have not read any of the Mage-specific 2e stuff. I can't really answer questions about it. :\ Hopefully I'll be able to run First Night sometime later this month, and then the first game sometime after that. Some of my players are super-psyched, and some other folks I've bounced ideas off of want to guest-ST as NPCs. It's the first time I've ever done anything remotely like STing or DMing. It'll either be great or a total disaster! I have high hopes.

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    • #3
      all else was secondary to that unholy alliance of ruthless witches and christian powermongers.
      The problem I have is, it's not really clear how that authority actually works. The Nemean does wilfully stupid and harsh things (such as blocking a cabal from moving into Boston) and the characters just accept it, despite the Nemean not really having the firepower to back up his claims. If a player defies the Nemean, what exactly can he do? Send his three sentinels after them? Mobilise the consilium that hates his guts? Even the White Putnams don't seem like they'd really be any help. I get that it's meant to be that kind of arrangement so that the players can up end the setting but it does feel a bit odd when NPCs acquiesce to threats that clearly have nothing backing them.

      The other thing I'd look at is the Shadow Chorus. They're pretty cool, but their handling of the GotV caucus is dreadful from the perspective of the order book.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Michael View Post
        The problem I have is, it's not really clear how that authority actually works. The Nemean does wilfully stupid and harsh things (such as blocking a cabal from moving into Boston) and the characters just accept it, despite the Nemean not really having the firepower to back up his claims. If a player defies the Nemean, what exactly can he do? Send his three sentinels after them? Mobilise the consilium that hates his guts? Even the White Putnams don't seem like they'd really be any help. I get that it's meant to be that kind of arrangement so that the players can up end the setting but it does feel a bit odd when NPCs acquiesce to threats that clearly have nothing backing them.
        The thing about the Nemean is that he doesn't seem to need any back-up? In the Silver Ladder book, he sneaks into a secret let's-overthrow-the-Hierarch meeting INSIDE one of the conspirators and proceeds to raise enough hell that people lose limbs. I mean, the rest of the Silver Ladder busts him for being a douche in a treaty zone, but the point is the dude is scary enough to compel people to not openly move against him.

        When I get around to having him in a scene, I'm playing him like a crazier Ridcully from Pratchett's Discworld. Seems like such a good fit.

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        • #5
          Yeah the Nemean is a scary guy and he has some other scary guys who back him up, like The Ax.

          Honestly, if you are a bunch of regular Mages who turn up on his turf unwelcomed, then the Nemean is not the type to get huffy and sent some diplomats etc. He'll just take some guys and go around to your Sanctum and fuck you up. He'll put bodies in the ground and not think twice about it. Remember, power does not equal the brutality needed to exercise that against another living, breathing, feeling person. The Nemean is plenty powerful, and plenty brutal.

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          • #6
            but the point is the dude is scary enough to compel people to not openly move against him.
            I just don't think he is. He's one guy, and even masters can die very easily. If he's terrorising the consilium, he needs a structure to do that through.

            That said, I don't think it's an insumountable issue, I just don't think it's explained properly.


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            • #7
              I think Dave made the point that Boston is supposed to be a Consilium in a fail-state, and that the Nemean's dickishness has a purpose revealed in one of the fictions.

              Masters of Life are pretty scary.


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              • #8
                I believe it's heavily implied, if not stated outright, in the Silver Ladder book that the Nemean acts like a violently unstable tyrant for a reason. He wants to create an environment where the mages in his Consilium are eventually forced to overthrow and replace him, ideally with someone wiser and more capable as Hierarch.

                At least, that was the original intent...

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                • #9
                  I definitely recall that but can't recall why he wants to do that.

                  Also I recall that he speaks to the Old Man on the edge of the Ocean Ourbouros (or however that's spelt) and goes inside his Hut but cannot recall if he tricks him or is tricked or whatever. I do think he has become an Archmage at that point, though?

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                  • #10
                    The Nemean is deliberately trying to provoke people into deposing him. The assumption being that whoever does will be a player character -- he's there so your PCs can beat him up.


                    Dave Brookshaw

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                    • #11
                      It depends at what point you are at in his story.

                      By the end, he is an Aswadim. His role in the Secret Accord was to be the Baron of the Prince of 100,000, who was the 3rd signatory of their treaty. He was in the process of crossing his threshold when the Silver Ladder trapped him, and thus managed to escape. The Nemean seen in the story involving the Khonshu, whose life is being seized by an Archmage, is an Ochema. He is continuing his role as the Baron as an Archmage.


                      As for why he messed things up, I can only guess:
                      -It is quite possible that the state he created in Boston was part of his attempt to begin his Seeking. It would fit a Thyrsus who styles himself the Nemean: create a cut throat environment which favors the strong and punishes the weak, the Lion only surrendering his "pride" when defeated. But that is just a guess.

                      -They also have him confronting his past self, so that could have been another part of his seeking. Archmages are wierd like that.

                      -Or it could be that the Concord required that the two cabals had to retain power. Essentially, an exit clause if the Prince failed his end. I am sure there were caveats that the cabals couldn't surrender power or self-terminate. So it is possible the Nemean was trying to get out of the deal by having the other cabals remove the Noose and Putnams from power, but couldn't just step aside. And he failed, getting himself deposed but remaining the Prince's Baron.

                      Anyway, that was all I managed to suss out from the Anthology, Dave's post, the fluff from books and how IM describes seeking and Archmastery.
                      Last edited by Freemind; 05-10-2015, 08:44 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Freemind View Post
                        He is an Aswadim. His role in the Secret Accord was to be the Baron of the Prince of 100,000, who was the 3rd signatory of their treaty. He was in the process of crossing his threshold when the Silver Ladder trapped him, and thus managed to escape. The Nemean seen in the story involving the mage (name escapes me)whose life is being seized by an Archmage is an Ochema. He is continuing his role as the Baron as an Archmage.

                        It is quite possible that the state he created in Boston was part of his attempt to begin his Seeking. It would fit a Thyrsus who styles himself the Nemean: create a cut throat environment which favors the strong and punishes the weak, the Lion only surrendering his "pride" when defeated. But that is just a guess. They also have him confronting his past self, so that could have been another part of his seeking. Archmages are wierd like that.
                        I think that's the story about Khonshu, the Obrimos... I want to say Mysterium? guy who gets mixed up with all manner of madness.

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                        • #13
                          Yep! Thats the guy.

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                          • #14
                            I know about the Nemean being a plot device (for want of a better word). Malcolm said so years ago. I would also add, my original post said I know. That's not what my issue is.

                            My problem is about the structure of his authority and getting a picture in my head of how he actually exerts his political influence. I need a coherent way to present him so it doesn't look like the NPCs are just kowtowing to him because the plot says so. When the PCs decide to defy the Noose, what does the Nemean do? More importantly, how do the major cabals react? Presumably, they should back him up because for whatever reason they’re a part of his power structure. But those reasons aren’t terribly clear.

                            I don’t really buy him beating people personally, I mean, he gets unlucky once and he could easily end up dead. Seems unlikely to me. Plus, it seems heavily suggested that he rules in part through legal means. He abuses his authority, but he holds that authority legitimately; and others in the setting at least grudgingly acknowledge that authority as such.


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                            • #15
                              Remember how a Master of Spirit can establish their own courts of which they are the top dog, and can create their own monsters? That's some pretty sweet backup to have when you go in with your physical stats jacked up and a nice regeneration spell on you while you're in the shape of a giant lion with inpenetrable skin and claws of bronze.


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