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Help me create a setting! (Warning: walls of text)

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  • Orabilis
    started a topic Help me create a setting! (Warning: walls of text)

    Help me create a setting! (Warning: walls of text)

    Okay, I'm going to start with a new chronicle in a few months, and I will have mostly inexperienced Vampire players, but otherwise not new to roleplaying games.
    The story will take place in the city of lights, Paris.
    The characters will be neonates, completely new to the Requiem, Embraced a few months ago, at most.
    The themes will be those of the Danse and politics, as well as the "mysteries of the World of Darkness". The first needs no explanation, the second one will be that of young Kindred meeting the horrors of the World of Darkness, both Vampiric and otherwise.
    The mood will be that of unease, both because of the older Kindred who are trying to keep the players down, having to watch your every move, and that of the other supernatural stuff going on in the city (read below, UNDERGROUND and OTHERS)
    The rules will be a mix of the Requiem and the B&S. Im using new Disciplines and Merits and stuff like that, but I'm keeping the old Weaknesses, Virtue/Vice (although, I will allow for other choices beside the 7/7 in the WoD rulebook), and old rules for the Beast and Predator's Taint. (not sure if this will be very important for the story itself, but just thought to mention it...)

    The setting I've definitely decided on so far:

    The Prince will be a very very old Vampire, active since before the French Revolution. His name is Dominique Lorrimer, and he is a very very old Ventrue, of a pure Ventrue line he claims dates back to Roman times. He is calm and proud, but not entirely tyrannical. He is, however, determined to keep his hard-earned and long-held position at any cost, so he is not at all "fair" to those he sees as a threat.


    A lot of the Kindred are Unaligned, about a quarter of all the city Vampires simply doesn't have any true backup in any of the Covenants. They agree at times with ones or the others, but are not really in it enough to be considered true members of a Covenant.
    The Invictus hold the power in the city, but the Carthians have a very strong presence as well. The spirit of the Revolution never quite left, and Parisian Kindred are often inclined to join the Movement, which has some strong roots here. So, even though the Prince is Invictus and his cronies hold most of the power, the Carthian Neonates are numerous and some actual laws were passed in the city, which are equal for everyone. Of course, those with more power and influence can sidestep those laws more easily, but at least a semblance of what the Carthians want is present, so the city hasn't erupted into full conflict over it.

    The Ordo has a substantial number of Kindred as their members, but are too self-centered and immersed in their search to be a great power in the society. However, their desire for Wyrm's Nests often puts them at odds with some other Kindred, as they struggle for territory. The PC's sires are all devout enemies of the Ordo, for one reason or another, and will definitely try to steer their new Childer toward the Ordo's destruction (ambitious, but they have a lot of time on their hands... )

    The Circle are barely present, but their powers are looked upon with great fear and distrust, and they mostly keep to the edges of the city, where nobody bothers them and they bother nobody. They aren't really numerous enough to be a threat, and they are too scary for anyone to really try to hurt them. Their leader is an ancient Nosferatu, a one-time ally of the Prince, though their friendship has dwindled in the past sixty years since Dominique took over the city.

    The Lance has a presence, and is supported by the Invictus, at least as lip service, but they are not quite as powerful as their numbers or alliance with the First Estate would suggest. Nobody is sure why, but it's just the way it is. The Inner Circle of the Invictus, however, knows that it's because they don't want to have a too powerful ally, just in case they turn on them one night.


    A huge part of the setting and the mystery behind it lies below groud. For centuries, the people of Paris have dug deep below their city, and it resulted in an incredibly large and complex maze of catacombs, tunnels and sewers. The subway rail system only added to an already vast network of tunnels, something that the Kindred would very much love to use (especially those more monstrous, both in nature and in appearance).
    However, there are rumors of the tunnels being dangerous and "haunted". Some of those that venture too deep do not return, and nobody knows what happens to them, Many on the surface dismiss those rumors as scary campfire tales, but they don't really have the nerve to go down and look for themselves.
    The nature of this will not be known to players, and I don't want it to be something completely defined, at least not in the beginning. If the players show interest, then I will expand on it (I am not sure if I will add the Strix to my chronicle, or if the underground will simply be the abode of an unknown boogey-man, but for now, it doesn't matter). However, the tunnels in my game are also substantially larger than the ones in the real world (and even in the real world, they are huge!), and some of them are used by Kindred a lot, it's just that there's always a feeling of unease when you gaze into the deeper, less-explored parts.


    There is a large and very active community of Awakened in the city, and the Kindred are aware of them, and vice versa. Most of the time, they keep apart, out of mutual fear, but rumor has it that the Prince has some of them bound by Vinculum and they are his secret weapon in the Danse. Some rumors say it's the other way around, and that mortal mages have snared the Prince in their spells and rituals, but those rumors are much less believed (as if someone could just use the Prince as a puppet! It's laughable!)
    Also, there is a little known Mage "prophet", who deals with Kindred who know how to find him (he is EXTREMELY paranoid, though, and always deals through proxies, duplicate bodies etc), who uses his magical skills, and skills of his Cabal to help those who need his services, in return for monetary profit, mystical services the Kindred can offer, magic items or whatever's appropriate.

    The Werewolves are simply a rumor, something not many of the Kindred believe. They are certainly not active enough to be a verified thing, although there are too many old stories that ARE true, so the Lupines are considered a threat of the wilds, one more reason to never leave the city.

    There are other supernatural creatures in the city too, but none too numerous to be of impact on the Kindred society. Other than the whatever is underground, of course.

    I want some help filling this out, now. I have some guidelines, I'd like some ideas for some rivalries, plots, mysteries etc, which I could fit into this setting. Some ideas for Elders, Primogen, the Prince's rivals, anything to make it a stable, realistic Domain, while still having enough wriggle-room to make the story around players (which I still haven't selected )

    All help is appreciated, and details are always welcome!

  • Orabilis
    Thanks, I will use some of the ideas here, I like it.
    Not sure if I'm gonna introduce Golconda into my game, at least for now, but I like these ideas...

    Anyone have any other ideas for Elders, their reasons to love or hate each others, etc?

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  • WelshBoi
    Hey dude,

    feel free to borrow this NPC

    Name: David Mason, The Golconda Pilgrim

    Background: On September 2nd 1666 the great fire of london left thousands of people homeless and destitute. Although only 6 fatalities were officially recorded the deaths of the poor and middle class Inhabitants were overlooked and many met their ends in the conflagration that lasted for three days. David was one of the countless victims whose lives were transformed in the disaster losing not only his home but his wife and two young children in the blaze. A rare soul, devoutly religious David decided to pour his grief into charitable acts helping others to try and recover what they could from the wreckage the fire left. It was during these efforts that David inadvertently saved a the unlife of one of the kindred.

    The vampire in question had long made his haven under the streets of the city. He had been slow to react to the news of the fire and when it moved far quicker than expected driven by an unnaturally strong easterly gale his haven had collapsed on top of him. He would have been trapped there beneath the rubble until torpor took him or sunlight finally scoured him but fate had other plans. Working through the night David uncovered the vampire, freeing him from the wreckage and rubble, then at the creatures insistence secured him a place to sleep away the dawn. David was still emotionally and mentally ravaged, he neither understood what the hideous creature was before him or what it was asking of him, all he knew was that it needed his help to survive and he could not in his heart refuse.

    Once the vampire recovered for the damage of the fire and having his haven collapsed atop him was healed its thoughts turned to what to do with David, the man was no direct threat and had selflessly saved him despite suffering great personal loss. Unfortunately David was a by now walking breach of the masquerade and needed to be dealt with one way or the other. Being of Clan Nosferatu the vampire was unable to alter the memory of what david had seen, yet the kindred was for some reason loath to slay the mortal that had preserved his own unlife. Instead the elder kindred bestowed what he was the greatest and most fitting reward to David, he embraced him.

    The early movements of David's requiem were painful and awkward, his unbeating heart torn by conflict between his grief, religious beliefs and the realities of his new existence. His sire attempting to assuage his new childers pain arranged for him to join the lancea et sanctum believing that david would find peace in the role of one of God's dammed predators. For a while it even worked, but as years had turned into decades and David poured over the Testament and other works of sanctified lore he became increasingly dissatisfied with the notion of eternal damnation. When the Court of London had accepted David as an Ancillae he asked to be released from his sire that he might travel to rome do greater work for his covenant. David's sire relented begrudgingly and so David left london.

    Over the next century David worked in the libraries and secret archives of the Sanctified always looking for hints and clues for a road to salvation, a way to regain his soul and perhaps even rejoin his family in heaven. He was rewarded with frustration.

    In the course of his duties David became increasingly familiar with the works and theories of the emerging Ordo Dracul that the Sanctified would often try to suppress or eliminate. Intrigued by the notion of transcendence of the curse of vampirism David began first preserving the works of the dragons so that he may secretly study them. Soon he began actively seeking them out under the guise of the sanctified inquisition, by this time he had lost faith with the Lancea et Sanctum, they were too happy to enjoy the damnation of their souls. One night David met a Dragon who could visibly demonstrate the effects of the coils on changing the nature of the curse and David was sold. He quit the Sanctified, crossed the adriatic and traveled east to the womb of the new Covenant to join it and learn its secrets, to escape damnation.

    In the secret chapter houses and backroom studies of the Ordo Dracul David worked with feverish fervor learning the ways and theories of the Dragons. Slowly as the grip of the curse began to loosen David began to truly appreciate the true meaning of the Dragons transcendence, its practitioners to David did not escape their damnation just alter it. They moved further and further from both the Kindred condition and the human condition and David realised that if he continued to walk this path he would lose sight of his own true goal, Salvation.

    Slipping away once again from a covenant that held no promise for him David wandered the earth searching for the path lead him back to his soul. He found it a rumor, a myth, a legend: Golconda.

    Clan: Nosferatu
    Covenant: none though formerly of both the Lancea et sanctum and Ordo Dracul

    Mask: Guru
    Dirge: Nurturer

    Intelligence 4 Wits 3 Resolve 5
    Strength 3 Dexterity 3 Stamina 4
    Presence 5 Manipulation 4 Composure 4

    Academics 4 (Religion,Architecture) Crafts 4 Investigation 3 Medicine 2 Occult 4 (Transcendence) Science 1
    Athletics 3 Brawl 4 (Holds) Stealth 2 Survival 3
    Animal Ken 2 Empathy 5 Expression 4 Intimidation 1 Persuasion 3 Socialize 4 (normal people, small talk) Subterfuge 2

    Common sense, Danger sense, Holistic Awareness, Indomitable, Language 5 (English French Latin Italian Romanian), Meditative mind 4, Anonymity 3, Iron Will, Safe place 3, Sympathetic, Choke hold, Defensive Combat (brawl), Unarmed Defense 5, Acute senses, Haven 2, Touchstone 5

    Celerity 2 Majesty 2 Nightmare 3 Obfuscate 3 Protean 1 Vigor 4 Theban Sorcery 3 (Vitae reliquary, Liar's plague, Malediction of despair) Mystery of the Ascendant 5

    Health 9
    Willpower 9
    Blood Potency 6
    Vitae 20/6
    Humanity 9

    Size 5
    Speed 15
    Defense 8 or 9 if using defensive combat
    Initiative Mod 7

    David Mason in your chronicle:
    I like to use this character to portray the voice of the Man in my stories, he is a wise, compassionate voice of reason, who will gladly help a struggling kindred just for the chance to make a positive difference in their unlives (at least how he see's it). He's been pursuing an ascetic existence whilst keeping close contact with humanity and so far its been working for him. He worries about the effect that the kindred have on the world around them and will step in if he thinks a kindred is going to far and he can make a meaningful difference. That said David keeps well clear of anything resembling politics and the covenants, knowing secrets from both his former covenants he knows that a target would be on his head if they discovered who he was and that he was still active in modern nights.

    David has been trying to achieve Golconda for over a century now, he has paid penance for his past crimes and has a sense of inner peace most kindred can only dream of, although he does display unusual qualities David is adamant he has not achieved true salvation. He believes once he has he will be truly forgiven by God and made mortal once more so that he can one day rejoin his family in heaven. I like to play very loose with the effects that David's journey along the path to golconda has had on him

    Firstly despite his advanced age and high blood potency he doesn't appear to have any trouble feeding from either humans or animals, or does his pursuit of a virtuous and humane lifestyle provide him with all the willpower he needs to subside on weaker blood sources? well the truth is up to you

    Secondly David is largely free of the ravages of the beast, no one has ever seen him frenzy and the predatory auras of kindred leave him unfazed. Not only this but he has been observed to be about to talk Kindred out of even the wildest of the beasts hysteria. Is this simply dude to his adamant self control or has he achieved some tangible mastery over the beast? once more up to you.

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  • Orabilis
    Well, I did intentionally make it a bit standard, seeing how they are all relatively new to Vampire, so it was easier to make and introduce them to. Also, since I wanted the focus on the political games among the Kindred, I made the two political Covenants the most powerful ones in the city, and the Carthian movement just loses some of it's flavor when they are already in power, for me.
    The Prince is Invictus, but he is also a smart politician, so he from time to time gave in to some Carthian demands, while keeping himself on top. The way I imagined it, most Carthians aren't so much against the Prince, as they are against other Elders, who the Prince plays off one against another, keeping himself afloat all of that. He plays the strict but fair Prince who has some well-earned privileges, the model of what the Invictus tries to sell as what should be, and somehow, he placates the Carthians enough so they don't target HIM, but his political enemies. As for his Clan, I picked Ventrue because they do have the "classic" power look, but he could just as easily be a Daeva or, hell, a Gangrel, why not! He'd still be old, clever and powerful, no matter what Disciplines he has.

    I haven't yet made any of these Elders, that's what I'm looking for here, to make some ideas come to life, to see what powerful ancient Kindred you made in your games. I have some ideas, some quirks and stuff like that, but what I mostly need is a few Elder ideas and some relationships between them. Some titles, a few ideas on how those who are powerful stay in power and keep the poachers away, who has what dirt on whom etc.

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  • Eremite
    I'd argue that your Prince is a tad too standard. And the Prince (or alternate ruling body) is incredibly important for the flavour and themes of your chronicle. Do you have a copy of Damnation City? The Ten Princes in there are amazing examples of non-standard Princes that inform the feel of their city.

    And when you've got a real ancient you need to think about torpor, who they've been before now, what they remember and what they're wrong about. And he is ancient.

    Then there's the balance of power below him - Sheriffs, Senechals, etc.

    I'll shamelessly use one of my own chronicles as an example, as it has a similarly ancient Prince. An overriding theme is mystery and paranoia. So we have a Prince so ancient nobody knows her name or even her clan (most likely Nosferatu, but there's no consensus - the only clan she's never suspected of being is Daeva) and she is terrifyingly powerful. She's nominally Invictus but doesn't go to their meetings or bother with their games - she's above it all. Though they fear and respect her, they're not too fond of her because she allowed the Dragons and, more recently, Acolytes to gain legal standing in the city (some fear if enough Carthians appeared she'd legitimise them).

    Her Seneschal is the classic Ventrue Invictus type and does nearly all of the Prince's actual duties, and heads the Invictus. Her Reeve is a Mekhet spymaster that has dirt on pretty much everyone and is roundly loathed. Now. Who rules the domain? There are accusations of blood bonds going to and from each and every one of these three, but ultimately... Are the Reeve and Senechal just the pawns of an ancient monster too horrifying to bother with politics who would, with no difficulty, tear them in half if they moved against her? Is she, in fact, the pawn of the Seneshal who is Prince in all but name... and uses her as a nice cover to discourage would-be assassins? Or is the Reeve who puppeteers things with his blackmail and his mastery of Auspex, Obfuscate and Domination? Is it a tug of war with each of them thinking they, truly, rule?

    Your version of Paris has the usual, self-interested order and a sidelined Lancea et Sanctum. The only big players are the Invictus and the Carthians, who seem to go through regular rises and falls. I'm not sure that gels too well with a stable Camarilla-era Prince loyal to the Invictus. Is the Prince actually unaffiliated and plays them off against one another? Have there been a procession of princes as the two covenants rise and fall and this ancient is just one of the line, albeit a particularly powerful and long-lasting one? Are there two Princes (or equivalents) who refuse to recognise one another and exist in a constant state of cold/covert war, with flashpoints of actual war?

    Just spitballin' here.
    Last edited by Eremite; 12-24-2013, 10:06 PM.

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  • thedonnie
    If you have a prominent number of Wyrms' Nests, then you may want to have Changing Breeds but not necessarily full on Werewolves. You should also think about, since this is Paris and their love of tombs, Geist.

    The idea of a Ventrue Invictus leading the city is a tried and true. I did it in an LA based chronicle. Except I had him be Malkavian for a nice twist. He had a Mekhet Khaibit Ordo Dracul for Sheriff. The biggest ones in the court were a Gangrel Carthian who wanted to challenge the Prince every chance he got as well as a Daeva Lancea who was a charismatic cult leader. She used her mortal pawns like a scalpel to end threats. Then came the Nosferatu who owned most of the clubs. He had tunnels built connecting all of them and he used a combination of Obfuscate and Auspex to end up knowing everything there was to know in the city.

    I hope these ideas help or inspire you.

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  • Asaram
    Well, for the unknown and strange, how about Blood Bathers in the city? Humans that are immune to disciplines, and even if you kill them they will eventually come back (with their corpse still where it was left, so how do they do that?).
    They don't speak much, they don't care much, they're very discreet. The one thing they DO care about, for unknown reasons, are a few specific mortals in the city, whom they monitor very closely...

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  • Orabilis

    I will houserule it so that feeding rules are a bit more difficult, so feeding is not just "powering up" in a few hours, it's something that actually takes up a lot of the Kindred's time, and is the reason merits like Herd and Territory are important. This will initially be a source of great conflict for the players, since they start off with nothing, and are going to need (and probably want) a lot of it.

    Subinfeudation will be a big deal, except in Carthian territory, but even there, you have to prove yourself to be allowed to feed.

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