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Military bases and the Camarilla

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  • Military bases and the Camarilla

    I saw the thread (on the White Wolf reddit) about the Sabbat and the nuke and my mind started wandering. How do the Camarilla, and Sabbat, keep vampires from going onto a military base and using disciplines to steal the most dangerous hardware?

    The Sabbat hates to admit it, but they are - or were - wary of getting too much mortal attention. And preserving the masquerade is the reason the Camarilla exists.

    So I suspect the Inner Circle of the Camarilla assigns archons - probably praetors - to guard military bases with important hardware. These are at bases in the Camarilla sphere of influence. On the grounds of the base the authority of the archon probably exceeds that of the local prince. The rules this praetor enforces are; no one gets the base as a (recognized) haven, no special feeding grounds or elysium may be on the grounds of the base, and no one is to run off with any military hardware (unless under orders from the Inner Circle).

    As part of a hypocritical detente with humanity as a whole, the Sabbat probably assigns paladins to the same task in bases close to their cities.

    While not easy work, these were respectable positions.

    Until the Second Inquisition started, and vampires in these positions began going out like flies next to a bug zapper.

  • #2
    DC by night is your answer , military power is guarded not only by the camarilla but also by every supernatural faction included the technocrazy creating a situation were the moment you get the power everybody attacks you to prevent you becoming to powerful and start thinking about using your new resources against them.

    Also Elders prefer to destroy a resource rather than let it fell on hands of another elder. (But some do indeed have militar power in the form of military PRIVATE companies).

    Pd:One thing I inmported from CoD was Project Valkyria as a Human Division of hunters under the secret control of the Technocrazy instructed to hunt the Supernaturals that try to control the governaments , military and judiciary.This limits the influence of elders to local level unless they got lobbys or companys wich is great becuase is coherent with the setting,
    Last edited by Leandro16; 02-09-2019, 08:19 AM.


    • #3
      I doubt the preators or paladins would be assigned to every base, just one's with tempting hardware or a history of local vampires trying something stupid.
      Part of my thinking on this was driven by how dumb PCs can be at time. A few weeks ago there was a thread on the White Wolf reddit about a trio of PCs that decided to go kill Dracula himself, and fucked it up so badly they got themselves killed in a place crash.
      The Cam and the S want to prevent the stupid, so to speak.
      Yes, regular firearms are plentiful, and more can be made by those with the tools and know how. But no one wants a neonate walking onto a base and riding out in an M113 or an Apache Longbow or walking out with the warhead for a Tomahawk missile in their arms.
      The Sabbat and the Cam don't want anyone to even try.


      • #4
        I will say what stops that is a hard Storyteller no. I came to run Vampire: the Masqurade, not Vampire: Running Amok With Military Hardware. Seriously, it's just the quickest way to tank your game and should be dropped off the table for consideration.

        riding out in an M113 or an Apache Longbow
        I don't think your Obfuscate is going to cut it.


        • #5
          I like the idea above (and I think it makes sense) that there are simply too many players watching big military hardware for that kind of thing to be practical. The Camarilla, The Technocracy, the Garou (mostly Glass Walkers I would imagine), The Sabbt, the actual government... it's in everyone's best interest that no one can get hold of that stuff. If Marcus Vitel couldn't get hold of nukes in all the years he had in DC, no one can.


          • #6
            First line of protection is that most military bases are located in rural or, often, truly isolated, locations. There are lots of reasons for this.

            Nobody wants heavy ordnance training (or storage!) in their backyard, many bases create mini-toxic waste zones, military bases often double as pork-barrel spending for rural areas, and security is easier when there is no good reason for someone to be within a half-hour's drive other than interacting with the base. Now, there are, of course, some exceptions to this. In the US, Quantico and the Pentagon are located quite near to Washington, DC. But, the mission of those bases involves a great deal of interaction with the federal government, and for that you need to be local. If that weren't the case they'd be somewhere like Twenty-nine Palms, Yuma, or Pine Bluff. These are not the sorts of environments vampires do well in.

            Second, heavy weapons and weapons of mass destruction tend to be much more complex to operate than the movies would have you think. Many require highly skilled ground crews and support staff to operate them. Many, many nations would like to have a nuclear arsenal, and while it's true the superpowers work hard to prevent this, the main reason they don't is that it is really, really, really difficult.

            The third reason vampires (and other non-state actors) don't steal wmd is the difficulty in storing and transporting them. It's one thing to know where they are (no small thing), be able to access them (a serious James Bond-level adventure), and to dislodge them from their storage location (good luck, without a large, highly trained and very visible team), what do you do with them then? One wrong button pushed, one wrong bolt loosened, one time you don't vent the outflow gases at the right time, and you'll finally get a chance to try out all that fancy Fortitude you've been buying.

            Fourth, and this was one of the reasons the US and Soviets didn't lob off a few tacnukes at one another every so often, how do you use them in a way that doesn't destroy all of your own plans? Let's say you are a Sabbat pack that wants to kill the Prince of Swindon, UK, so you can take over Swindon. Okay, you somehow track down a nuke, manage to maintain and transport it, manage to find techs to operate it... what then? Wait til Elysium and set it off on the High Street? You've destroyed the very resource you were fighting over (the lovely town of Swindon), and have no idea whatsoever if you killed the Prince or any of the Camarilla vampires around him. How do you gather intel, or even just feed, as the entire world turns its attention to the Swindon Tragedy. Sure, you deny the other side the resource, but you've gained nothing at tremendous expense to yourself. Plus, how many sect-mates, hearing that "the Sabbat" nuked a whole fucking city decide to just walk away from what is clearly a murderous cult? Using a sniper rifle to turn a Prince's head into pink mist is warfare, killing a half-million people without knowing whether you killed the Prince at all is madness. And a PR nightmare.

            Fifth, reality has a built-in fail-safe for really, really stupid plans. Usually, the people executing them aren't exactly the most functional people in the world. A plan of this sort of complexity and difficulty requires many thoughtful, intelligent, and practical people to work together to bring it to fruition. Except, those are exactly the sort of people who would refuse to get within spitting distance of someone who suggests this plan. (Note: I do not mean the storyline is a dumb idea, just the idea of stealing wmd for vampire sect warfare, in-world. Some awesome stories can be told about stupid characters failing to execute horrible plans they fail to see the holes in. It's called a Coen Brothers movie.)

            Finally, wmd are not real useful for the sort of street warfare vampires fight every night. The US has a really scary, big arsenal of super-high-tech weapons of mass destruction at the President's beck and call (I just threw up in my mouth a little.), but look how much it helped pacify Fallujah, force Iran to stop their nuclear program, or sort through the trainwreck that Syria has become. Not even a little. Because, in the end warfare (both human and vampiric) is about making the opponents' leaders decide surrendering to your ideas and ways of doing things is less bother than fighting a longer war than you are willing to fight. That happens with bullets, economics, and diplomacy. Not Dr. Strangelove apocalypse machines.


            • #7
              Swindon was an excellent choice of example imo


              • #8
                A. Swindon is one of the worst places in the WoD, only Mexico City and Transylvania are worse.

                B. I was not actualy talking about WMD, at least not specifically. There is a lot of dangerous hardware at a military base besides WMD. And having praetors and paladins guarding a base makes for story possibilities.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                  I saw the thread (on the White Wolf reddit) about the Sabbat and the nuke and my mind started wandering. How do the Camarilla, and Sabbat, keep vampires from going onto a military base and using disciplines to steal the most dangerous hardware?
                  Can you give some examples of the military hardware you mean? When I read "nuke", I took you to mean nuclear (and perhaps biological and chemical) weapons.

                  I wouldn't have a problem with pcs having advanced, conventional weapons in a chronicle, assuming they spent the background points to acquire them, and the skill points to know how to use them. Actually, come to think of it, it might be fun to watch a pc who doesn't know which end the missile comes out of trying to use a MANPADS FIM-92 Stinger.

                  If you just mean big guns, of the tactical assault rifle variety, well... I live in South Carolina, USA. I'm pretty sure you can buy those at the local shopping mall, between Pizza Hut and Party City.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Wolfgar View Post
                    Seriously, it's just the quickest way to tank your game and should be dropped off the table for consideration.
                    Cute. Very subtle.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post

                      Can you give some examples of the military hardware you mean?
                      First, anything that would not only be illegal for a citizen to own and use, and would normally be impossible to use without additional equipment. So, no 50-cal machine guns that are normally mounted to jeeps, hummers, tanks, etc. No rocket launcher, grenade launchers, missile launchers. Anything that would be difficult to get even through the black market, and hard to conceal and use even for vampires.

                      Second, it's not just weapons but tools and vehicles. So, they don't get there hands on battle ready hummers, tanks, armed personnel carriers, attack choppers, jets, etc.

                      Really, the preators and paladins in this position mostly serve a narrative function. They are something the PCs have to deal with if they try to use the local base for resources.
                      Last edited by Grumpy RPG Reviews; 02-10-2019, 04:33 PM.


                      • #12
                        This is highly dependent on where your chronicle is set. Where I live, nearly all of that is available if you have the money and no criminal record.

                        Fifty caliber guns.

                        Rocket launchers and other stuff are illegal, unless they have been made inert. That is, some part of the firing mechanism removed. Read some of the small print in these ads, and see how the dealer finds small loopholes. The weapon is (very slightly) altered to meet the legal requirements, but this can then be reversed.

                        Hummers, tanks, apcs, helicopters, jets, etc are really just a matter of having the cash to purchase them, as they are not illegal... even outside the US. (Note, they take trade-ins for the budget-minded warlord!)


                        • #13
                          With all due respect, I think you are missing the point. Yes, in the WoD the PC can order all the deadly weapons they want from WoD-Amazon. But they have to get the weapons a piece at a time, and assemble it, or pay someone to do these things for them. There is a lot that can go wrong in that chain of events and it takes time, so there is no instant sense of gratification. Or they could walk onto the nearest military base at try to rob the place like it was a WalMart. Yes, robbing a military base is a bad idea. But a lot of PC plans are bad ideas. Having a paladin or praetor on the base gives the Storyteller a tool for dealing with the PCs that want to steal a tank and all the bazookas they can carry.


                          • #14
                            Personally speaking, if any player was stupid enough to think that robbing a millitary base was not suicidal, I'd let them give it a try.

                            Even without supernatural influences, i'm pretty sure they'd get cut to ribbons and or caught, in fact i struggle to think of anything below serious elder level shenanigans that could make them be able to treat a base as a Wallmart.

                            Prone to being a Classic Curmudgeon, goshdarned whippersnappers...


                            • #15
                              Grumpy RPG Reviews

                              I'm sorry. I read your first post as saying that vampires might want to steal nukes from a military base, so the major sects maintain guards, in the form of Paladins or Praetors, to prevent such NBC weapons from falling into the hands of random fledglings, for fear they might use them in the sect wars.

                              My reaction was that for a variety of technical, logistical, tactical, and strategic reason it was unlikely a fledgling coterie would both want to and be capable of doing so.

                              With your later post, I realized you meant not just NBC weapons, but also heavy conventional weapons. (anti-tank, anti-aircraft, heavy artillery, assault rifles, etc.) These, however, range from so widely available in National Guard depots, weapons manufacturer warehouses, and simply walking into a store at the mall and buying one, that it's difficult to imagine either sect effectively "guarding" access to them.

                              Nearly any military installation will have one or more of these heavy conventional weapons in large supply... large by the reckoning of a coterie, anyway. The US maintains 5000 military bases total, with 600 of these overseas. I doubt there are enough Praetors and Paladins to guard them all.

                              Now, the use of sect-appointed guards might make sense at a few select sites. For example, Lajes Air Base in the Azores would be a vital stopover point for kindred flying to Europe who wish to avoid daylight flights. Pine Bluff Arsenal, in Arkansas, is a major supply base, the only place in North America where white phosphorus rounds are filled, and a major Biological and Chemical warfare research center. (But, the US doesn't make biochem weapons. We just prepare for their use by others. Really. Promise. Nudge-nudge. Wink-wink.)

                              If the sects want to limit the assembly of large arsenals by vampires, they would do better to use traditional law enforcement methods.
                              • There are fewer vampires than sources of weapons. Local sect authorities already effectively keep an eye on their members, so monitor anyone amassing weapons. It's easier to detect weapons passing into the hands of vampires than to keep track of all weapons passing out of all military bases and retailers.
                              • Acquire access to security and inventory records at military bases and weapons dealers. If anything goes missing, make certain the humans track it down, but step in if they fail to do so. The humans don't want these weapons falling into the wrong hands any more than vampires do. Let the humans do their jobs. Very few human criminals rob a bank using an M30 four-deuce mortar, proof the human authorities can handle this task.
                              • Rather than placing a Paladin or Praetor at every military base, assign a half-dozen or so to a working group dedicated to preventing arms escalation in sect warfare. They would serve as a clearing house for information gathered from human records and sources, while a few of their number travel from city to city auditing local kindred for violations. (As an aside, this would make for an awesome elder level nomadic chronicle. It could even be a mixed sect group if there is a treaty, like SALT II, limiting weapon use in sect warfare.)
                              • Criminalize the amassing of arsenals without explicit permission from the Justicars. Post rewards for the reporting of kindred who amass unauthorized arsenals.
                              • Perhaps most effectively, gather a few examples of times when vampires did assemble such arsenals, and it blew up in their faces, both literally and figuratively. Disseminate these stories as psyops and propaganda through the usual communication channels. The best deterrent may be everyone realizing what a horrible idea it is to keep a thousand flashbang grenades in the place where you sleep during the day. If necessary, manufacture the events that serve as an object lesson.