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Strange Predators and Stranger Prey

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  • #16
    So this one's technically kinda Requiem stuff but it's for the Bangkok setting in The Pack and involves idigam shenanigans, so what the hell

    The Red Prince
    A king needs a court; a kingdom must be stocked with nobles and thrones, just like a good larder. The Red Prince is a fabrication, a victim plucked from obscurity and turned into the imperial scion of a nightmare monarchy – designated heir apparent to a crown that cannot be inherited. He’s a horrific monster of ghastly appetites and sadistic inclination, even as he’s just another toy, just another gleeful prop in the insane entourage of the Broken Majesty, idigam and would-be ruler of Thailand’s Shadow.

    The Red Prince is—or rather, was—a vampire. He wasn’t much of anybody, just another leech hanging out in Pak Kret, out where the really nasty leeches—the ones in the water, the Kha-Yawk and the Ukusgualu—can’t easily reach. Now, the Red Prince, he wasn’t much of anybody, true, but he wanted to be somebody. He wanted to be an up-and-comer, making something of his new unlife in a way his actual life had never been. The equivalent of the Prince in Pak Kret, well, they’d been having all those problems with the Lamprey Hosts, hence why the kindred in Bangkok didn’t have much of a toehold and had been forced, and this lick, he thought he saw an opportunity in that. He began maneuvering against the weakened vampire boss; sure, he wasn’t much himself, but why should the locals bend knee to some bloodsucker who couldn’t even keep hold of the city centre, with all their money and their fancy home and ghouled guards, and who now had to scrabble around like the rest of the refugee vampires? Why not look to a down-to-earth local who could do the kindred better, who knew their struggles better? So he engineered his little coup, and it went quite badly wrong; he and his ragtag pack of wannabes were outnumbered, overpowered, and generally heading straight for the chopping block.

    But the Broken Majesty, oh, it intervened, in a night of madness and melting bones and towering, leering flesh, and once it was done, it’d made that no-hoper lick into someone who really did mean something, a real prince to serve the king it wanted to be, and at one and the same time condemned him to never be anything more than its slave.

    Why did the Broken Majesty choose him? Did it see the fires of ambition and consider them a desirable trait for a servant prince? Did it see the craven opportunism and the weak mind behind them, combined with the power of the Curse, and deem that a perfect combination? Not even the Red Prince knows. He’s an utter monster now, so distant from humanity, but the Broken Majesty is more alien yet. He serves but he does not understand. If he is as a wolf to the human sheep, so the Broken Majesty is the mountainside upon which he dwells, that gives him shelter, and that might claim him with the crashing fall of its stones at any moment.

    The Red Prince, now, is a towering terror, a little mirror to the immensity of his idigam master. He’s had a dozen spirits crammed into his body; it was an easy process for the Broken Majesty to hollow him out and shove new denizens into his mind and flesh, since vampires have little soul left that needs scraping out. A small mercy, at least, is in the fact that the idigam chose spirits resonant with his nature to forge into a Hive-Claimed; their affinity for what he is means that some basic level of synthesis has formed between his mind and theirs, rather than simply being annihilated beneath the screaming madness of so many fellow prisoners in his thoughts. There’s bats and darkness, blood and the hunt, all packed together in his Vitae and his Beast. Sometimes the Beast roars and thrashes and lashes around within him. The spirits just laugh and choke it down, then start howling and thrashing at each other instead.

    No-one in this partnership could really be deemed sane.

    The overflowing power of the Blood and the Claiming has turned the Red Prince into a grotesque form. He looms tall, but rather than his flesh bloating and bulging, it has been turned more sinewy, and lean; his arms and legs are unnaturally long, his body thick with muscle, his skin mottled and toughened and furred like a bat’s. His face is a twisted mixture of wolf, bat, and man, his eyes entirely jet black. He looks like a vampire throwback, a huge primeval terror.

    Of course, he’s not called the Red Prince for nothing. He’s a slave, but also a ruler. The Broken Majesty has gathered quite the little court of Hive-Claimed, each controlling their own little fief on the idigam’s behalf. The Red Prince rules the vampires of Pak Kret. They might have laughed once, but now they tremble with fear and obey. Their new Prince is a cruel one, with little patience, a hair-trigger temper, and a tendency to hallucinate wildly. Still, in some ways he’s a more potent leader than they’ve had for a while. The bickering has stopped; the rowdy have fallen into line. The war against the blood-drinking Hosts of Bangkok has begun to turn. The Red Prince is not only relentless in his desire to rule, he’s also declared open season on Embraces; he wants more footsoldiers, and the freedom to sire is one of the few things he can offer that will build ties of loyalty.

    It’s not the only thing he can offer, of course. The Red Prince doesn’t just hold sway over a court of vampires and the significant mortal resources they control; he’s also a lord of the Shadow, spreading the Broken Majesty’s influence through the hisil and gathering a cavorting cavalcade of spirits of blood, darkness, and fear in his wake. He’s slowly building a cadre of Claimed vampires, picking the most dedicated or malleable and persuading them to accept the ‘blood rituals’ that he claims will greatly empower them.

    Things aren’t all going the upstart’s way, of course. His presence draws Uratha opposition to the vampires, where previously they were happy to mostly leave Kindred alone. The Lampreys have realized the game has changed, too, and are changing tack; they’re accelerating their corruption of the Gauntlet up the river and into Pak Kret, hoping to stymie Kindred use of spiritual allies and turn the vampires to bloody-visioned madness. The Red Prince may have suppressed the treacherous proclivities of the vampires in his court, but plenty of Kindred still exist outside his reach—particularly the local version of the Circle of the Crone. These Circle vampires are carefully, quietly preparing to move against the monstrous blood-drinker, who they see as a colossal offence to their own faith, a blood-god invented and imposed by a mad monstrosity that does not really care anything at all for the sacred nature of the Kindred. They’re laying the foundations for a major Cruac ritual; first, though, they need the blood sacrament that’ll tie their terrible curse to the false lord. They need the Red Prince’s own sire, and the precious blood bond of sympathy to him that she possesses. The Prince isn’t yet aware of the problem, but as soon as he becomes such, he’ll extend his reach beyond Thailand as he tries to track down his errant sire before anyone else finds her.

    And, of course, there’s the burbling Broken Majesty, the mad would-be king of Thailand’s Shadow with its contradictory commands, its lack of comprehension of the Red Prince’s daily existence and need for blood, and its gathering court of squabbling Princes who all think themselves at least the Red Prince’s equal, if not his superior. Already the Black Prince’s hollow wolves threaten to push into the Red Prince’s hunting grounds, while the White Prince and his soulless sorcerers mock the Red Prince as ‘least favoured of the court’.

    The Red Prince would never have been anyone, really. Then he became someone, became a monster above all monsters, and somehow he feels like he’s back where he was before; a nobody, a frustrated wannabe, for all his power. And so he lashes out and screams and crushes dissent out of mad insecurity, even as the choir of spirits all bicker in his head, urge him on, or twist his thoughts in ways that aren’t his. Where does he begin? Where do the spirits end? How much longer before the whole psychic coalition of entities just comes apart at the seams and paints Pak Kret red in one final rampage before the dawn ends it all?

    Red Prince
    Hive-Claimed Vampire
    Clan: Ventrue
    Covenant: Unaligned
    Int 4 Wits 4 Res 4 Str 10 Dex 3 Sta 9 Pre 5 Man 5 Com 3
    Academics 1, Animal Ken 1, Athletics 3, Brawl 3, Crafts 1, Empathy 2, Expression 3, Investigation 1, Larceny 1, Occult 3, Persuasion (Diverting Blame) 3, Stealth 2, Streetwise (Opportunities) 2, Subterfuge (Cons) 3, Survival 2
    Merits: Allies (Claimed Vampires) 5, Iron Stamina 3, Resources 4, Retainer (Claimed Bodyguard) 5, Status (Pak Kret Vampires) 5
    Humanity: 3
    Disciplines: Animalism 1, Celerity 1, Dominate 4, Resilience 3, Vigor 1
    Dread Powers: Armoured Hide 1, Blood Spray*, Natural Weapons 2, Venomous Ichor, Wall Climb
    Influences: Bats 1, Blood 2, Darkness 2, Fear 2, Predators 1
    Blood Potency: 3 Vitae: 12 Essence: 22
    Size: 9 Corpus: 18 Willpower: 7
    Defence: 6 Speed: 18 Initiative: 6
    New Dread Power – Blood Spray: The Red Prince may discharge a spray of scalding Vitae as a ranged attack of up to fifteen yards range with the autofire trait. The spray uses Dexterity + Athletics as its attack roll; prey do get their Defence unless grappling the Red Prince. The spray deals +0L, but should it deal any damage at all, it also afflicts the target with a stage 1 blood bond and forces them to test for Vitae addiction just as if they had drunk some of the Red Prince’s blood.

    - Chris Allen, Freelance Writer & Developer

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