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[V5] [WIR] The Chicago Folios - Completed 9/19/2020

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  • CTPhipps

    Arden Canty

    I remember when the entirety of the Tremere Antitribu bloodline was wiped out without even a "by your leave" in 3rd Edition. I always felt it was a weird action, especially when they introduced the Salubri Antitribu to replace them. I didn't really get the rationale behind wiping out an entire Bloodline or why they felt one couldn't exist with the other. The Tzimisce and Assamites got along with the Tremere Antitribu after all (and if they didn't, that was just being racist!).

    Arden Canty is a Tremere Antitribu who woke up after a long torpor to find not only his Bloodline eradicated by Tremere and Etrius but also the entire Sabbat missing. Much like his Gangrel counterpart, Arden found his freedom from the Vinculum liberating. A devout Christian in mortal life, he has since decided that the Church of Caine is what he needs to fill the spiritual hole in his life. Unlike the Sabbat, he's not really of the mind that Cainites need to be monsters and is quite happy to give genuine spiritual guidance to those Kindred who come to him.

    Even more interestingly, Arden is attempting to spread the Word of Caine among the Anarchs as opposed to the more genteel Camarilla. I've always felt that the Church of Caine and Anarchs were an interesting mix. It's something that I've combined multiple times. I also like that Arden is working to root out the remaining Sabbat in the region with Joshua Tarponski.

    But would Dusable let a Tremere Antitribu? Even a repentant one, live? Probably not. So Arden's success means his days are numbered unless he can get some protection. Either that or pretend to be Caitiff.

    Clarence Bartlelby

    Clarence Bartelby is a character I'm not sure how to react to. He's kind of an out of genre experience, though I don't think he's necessarily a bad one. He's a bit like what you might get if you stuck a Call of Cthulhu villain (albeit a tongue and cheek one) into Vampire: The Masquerade. He's a con man, thief, and book procurer in the vein of Lovejoy (if anyone remembers that show). One day, he overstepped himself and got himself Embraced by the Tremere, only for them to realize that he was a bottom feeder rather than a genius.

    I actually like these characters because it's inevitable that the Tremere are going to Embrace some duds every now and then. Their sires aren't going to automatically destroy them since they are going to look bad for making that mistake. We saw a similar one in The Fall of London with a guy who pretended to be a vast master of the mystic arts and medium, only to be revealed as a con man only after his Embrace.

    In any case, Clarence is someone both Erichtho and Dusable both loathe for obvious reasons. He hasn't any real power base but that's not something that matters much post Vienna cleansing. Worse, he's started up his own monstrous cult with a magical tongue artifact. It's one that is either controlling him, he's hallucinating the sentience of, or he's just using to control others with his typical carnival showmanship. I like all three.

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  • CTPhipps

    Doctor Benway

    Doctor Benway is another solid character that I could see several uses for. He's also an Elder, which is rare enough in these books. The "joke" about Doctor Benway is that he's a brilliant antiquities dealer and smuggler but secretly longs to be an actor. The implications of the book aren't clear but I like to think he's a fantastically terrible one. The kind of guy who would create "The Room" and the other Toreador would debate whether he's deliberately terrible and a genius or just plain bad.

    Doctor Benway has some unresolved issues with women that are also interesting. He's a guy who I think you could portray as somewhat similar to Homelander in that he's attracted to women with authority over him, which was a quality that didn't really fly in the 19th century but works a bit better in the 21st century.

    Not an Elder that immediately jumps out for plot points but I like him nevertheless.

    Mateo Garcia

    I love Mateo Garcia and think he's probably the best character in this entire book. Why? Because Mateo is a scumbag from beginning to end. The very definition of a Toreador poseur embraced for his looks rather than any genuine talent, he's a leech and a sociopath who abused his loved ones before his Embrace. Becoming a vampire wasn't QUITE the apotheosis he expected either because he'd let himself go just a wee bit before his Embrace and it ruined his "perfect" body.

    Mateo doesn't see a need for the Masquerade, kills at will, and is just wonderfully scummy. He reminds me a lot of Gordon Keaton and Gordon used to be one of my all time favorite vampires in CBN.

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  • CTPhipps


    Martin is a character that runs the risk of being "too" cool to be an NPC. He's a Polish Resistance fighter against the Nazis and that automatically makes him a Cool Old GuyTM. Martin is also one of the nicest Kindred you'll ever meet as he's a guy who allows almost anyone to stay in his domain for a time before they are ushered along. My opinion is that he has ways of making "guests" move on as I can't help but think most Kindred are ungrateful enough that they might want to stay permanently or attempt to seize the territory for themselves.

    In simple terms, vampires do not observe Guest Right like they do in Westeros. They are more Chaotic Evil than Neutral Evil or even Lawful Evil. Still, I like the idea that Martin is strong enough to kick out most vampires who want to help and is actually quite helpful in teaching vampires how to control their Beasts (his High Animalism being a tool that assists in such). Still, I'm not quite sure how to use such a character.

    Interesting and mysterious but perhaps too proactive for a good chronicle.


    Salt is a Nosferatu convert to the Church of Set. It's an interesting contrast to the fact most Nosferatu are far more loyal to one another than typical Kindred and yet Salt is presently pledged to another group of them. It's interesting that Salt has completely misread the Church of Set and believes the Ministry is the group that has turned its back on "true freedom." She's a fundamentalist who is contemptible of those evil liberal Christians. The fact that Marcel is one of the most laidback Ministry members you'll ever meet and is STILL a worshiper of Set (versus other pagan deities) makes the whole thing all the more ridiculous.

    Ridiculous but believable.

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  • CTPhipps

    Andrea Harvey-Staboli

    Andrea Harvey-Staboli is an interesting character compared to the vast majority of other Kindred in this book, primarily because she's (from all accounts) a good person. She volunteers at soup kitchens, is a devout Catholic, and attempts to mentor Lianne Miller despite the fact she considers her to be a lost cause. I appreciate that insight with Lianne because Lianne clearly thinks she's running rings around Andrea but is just deluding herself.

    I feel like "good" Kindred are something nice to occasionally throw into the games because it puts the rest of their kind into stark relief. I was one of the few people who really liked Marianne of the Giovanni Clan and I kind of regret that I wasn't able to buy her fate for CULTS OF THE BLOOD GODS because I really wanted to give her a happy-ish ending. It's against all the laws of God and storytelling but it works for me.

    The character isn't perfect, either, which makes her a bit more useful. She's "only" got Humanity 7 and is painfully naive despite her oracular abilities. They set up a nice contrast against Son and you could easily see him being brought low or eventually destroying her. One thing I didn't quite buy is the fact that an Archon apparently recognized her decades after her illegal Embrace and went after her.

    I think Archons have better things to do than go after Tradition violations that old.

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  • CTPhipps

    Branden White

    Branden White is an interesting deconstruction of the Lasombra method of recruitment. They love proceeding to destroy everything you love, cherish, and have built in order to see how you function once they have put you at your lowest point. It'd be cliche to say the Lasombra have a lot of the Sith in them but they're the Clan that most resembles those consumed by the Dark Age. After all, they're the only people who think, "training my progeny to kill me is a sane use of my resources."

    I've always felt that would result in a lot of Lasombra plotting for decades or however long it took to get revenge on their sires. Lucita may be the most famous example of a childe hating her sire but I doubt she's an anomaly. Branden is an excellent example of what happens when the process leaves you a shattered shell of your former self. He doesn't even remember his family, barely remembers his sire, and is doing investment banking primarily because he's not sure what is his will or not is anymore. He's been utterly mind****ed.

    I also liked his visceral reaction to discovering Rabbi Basaras. Apparently, he just hates religion.

    Eustace Lancaster

    Eustace Lancaster is a rare Elder addition to the franchise post-V5. Aside from The Fall of London Elders have been basically shuffled off screen for the most part. They still exist as we see with Critias, Annabelle, and so on but they're much rarer and plenty of them are dealing with the Beckoning.

    Eustace is notably a member of THOSE Lancasters, the inspiration for the Lannisters of Game of Thrones as well as one half to the War of the Roses. He took part in the Anarch Revolt but only to benefit himself as he saw a chance of clearing the powers that be above him, only to have that backfire with Talley. Talley, being the perpetual jobsworth Lasombra assassin, pointed out that Eustace was an opportunist who had never displayed any real loyalty to any of his allies. This crippled his meteoric rise to power and caused a massive blow to his ego that he holds against Talley centuries later.

    Now he's an Elder being Beckoned to the Middle East. However, it's a slow burn and he's got some time before he has to give in. Eustace will do anything to avoid this.

    Good potential villain. Very contemptible.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-15-2020, 05:39 AM.

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  • CTPhipps

    Anthius "Dread"

    I'm very glad the Wolf Pack was added to the Gangrel section of this book because I was disappointed they were "put on a bus" (put on the road?) by Kevin Jackson in the opening fiction of Chicago by Night. The Wolf Pack a lot of people that took up a lot of space so I don't begrudge them being written out but they've always been a bunch I've liked. The fact they're Loyalist Camarilla Gangrel Archons also puts them in a unique position within V5.

    I also get why Kevin Jackson sent them away and betrayed them because any of them could remove him as Prince and no one would really care because they have age and rank over them. The old Primogen could have stopped them but if Anthius were to declare himself Prince or say Ballard or Annabelle were Prince then there's little Jackson could do to stop them. I like the depiction of Anthius in this book as well as he's a guy who barely survived his encounter with the Lupines and is having a bit of an Elder crisis. He's disillusioned with the Camarilla and raising hell as a Biker since the Anarchs have gone from being loyal opposition and Neonates to hardened guerilla warriors. The fact Duncan MacTavish has already killed a member of the Wolf Pack also makes it clear they are not screwing around anymore. It's not cowardice, far from it, but an awareness that maybe there's more to unlife than just busting heads.

    Anthius should be a Prince of some city and I like to think that he stopped by Milwaukee at least a few times. Decker is the sort of guy who might be inspirational to someone like Dread. I don't think Dread is planning on changing to be an Anarch any time soon but also doesn't see any reason why he couldn't rule better. That may just be my interpretation of him as the "smart" one of the group.

    Lewis "Lulu" Sheng

    I like the character of Lulu because he's an interesting breaking of stereotypes. He's an Asian American meathead that is smarter than he looks but that isn't necessarily saying much. Lulu is a carjacking scumbag and probably would do well among the Sabbat but because they're currently out to lunch, he's stuck with being a petty criminal. We get our first mention of Walter Nash in his backstory and I hope that means Lulu will be showing up in LTSRR.

    I like Lulu because he's a character that can be rather easily used as the basis for an adventure. Maybe he stills one of the fancier rides the PCs have or just proceeds to throw a bunch of heat on them because he feels like it. He thinsk he's a badass and someone who has the potential to be a major player but he's really just an exceptionally ruthless thug.

    Oddly, he'd probably do well among the Anarchs as well but Lulu strikes me as the kind of guy who would end up insulting Anita Wainwright or Gengis before trying to seize power--yet having no one actually willing to follow him. Lulu isn't scary enough to scare the creatures of the night and thus he's probably destined not to make it to Ancilla.

    Max "Blooper" Hagen

    Max is a character that has a very interesting backstory that leaps off the page but isn't ridiculous like some of the overcompensating "cool" characters out there. He's a Vietnam veteran that was Embraced by the Sabbat and was later captured by the Second Inquisition. Oddly, his time among the hunters proved to be beneficial to his sanity as it allowed him to break the Vinculum and regain a portion of his humanity before he escaped. He now regrets all the terrible things he's done but is still an incredibly violent as well as dangerous criminal. It's a nice juxtaposition and they make him "friends" with Edward Neally as well.

    Most Kindred don't trust him due to the fact he escaped from the Second Inquisition and they're probably wise to. He could be a Manchurian Candidate or perhaps is simply someone they let loose to monitor with radioactive blood they could trace or some other method of following him. It's also possible he's the best resource they could have about the Inquisition.

    Nadine "Nitro" Lewandowski

    Nadine is a welcome breath of double X chromosomes into the Wolf Pack and the book in general after three variations on "extremely toxic alpha males." She's someone who was rescued from certain death by the Wolf Pack, became a ghoul, and eventually earned the Embrace after the death of her sister at the hands of Duncan MacTavish. She's rabidly anti-Anarch but it's primarily due to the fact she wants (understandably) to avenge her sister. She's also significantly more gregarious than the rest of them.

    My opinion is she's also probably the only one who seems aware that Kevin Jackson is planning to kill them all--perhaps the first sign the Camarilla/Anarch divide is not really a simple one of "friend vs. foe."


    Tyrus is an interesting case as I've always felt he's basically Karsh in miniature. For the vast majority of Elders, I don't believe they ever get close to killing someone. Sure, Annabelle COULD kill the majority of Neonates with Celerity but she didn't get to being 500 years old by risking it. The exceptions are some Elders who become so tough and brutal that they never shy away from fights but eschew all the courtly politics that would get them killed just as easily.

    I think Tyrus is at the end of his unlife but is pretty okay with that. He doesn't particularly have much loyalty to the Camarilla as a whole as it was a gig rather than a brotherhood. Fighting for them was just an excuse and he seems like someone who'd take up another job offer just as easily. I also think he's more intrigued by Duncan MacTavish being possibly able to take him down than offended. I don't think the character is suicidal but I don't see him as especially afraid of death unlike Anthius either.

    He'll meet it like a Klingon.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-14-2020, 04:04 PM.

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  • CTPhipps

    Devin Boyce

    I love Devin Boyce as a character and think he's interesting in that he fulfills a vacancy created by the character development of Damien. Damien went from being a young but powerful young Lick that just wanted to live and unlive to being the Sheriff of the Camarilla, a Judas Anarch that is very similar to Balthazar. Devin Boyce feels very much like Damien 2.0 in terms of the role he'd play with the characters but avoids some of the pitfalls that the original character fell into.

    Basically, Devin Boyce is a card hustler and a loud obnoxious Anarch that fights the Man because why not? However, Devin is a good deal smarter than your average Anarch. Not so smart that he won't fall into pits trying to play games against people people like Kevin Jackson, let alone Critias but willing to learn. In a few decades, he might be the next Sheriff or maybe an Anarch leader of his own but he's still too new to pull anything off.

    The big benefit that Devin has is that he's not an epic powerhouse like Damien. He's weak enough that he needs the PCs help and also naive enough that they might pull him out of a jam. On the other hand, he's not the kind of guy who is annoying either. A solid character that I think is probably my favorite in the book. He's also got a relationship with Damien that gives him a sense of who he might be if he makes the wrong (right?) choices.

    I also like his Conviction is "make as much money as possible." That is a Conviction that can get you a lot of stories.


    The Last Ravnos.

    Yes, it's probably premature to say that Shejana is the Last Ravnos but I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to give her this moniker. The only other likely survivors of the Clan are ancients who might refound the Clan or maybe they were the first to die. For me, I probably would make Shejana the Last of the Ravnos as far as anyone knows. She could be the Mother of the Bloodline's rebirth but she's far too broken and disinterested to want to do so.

    I've always been a fan of Shejana and really enjoyed the fact she's been "rescued" from obscurity and is one of the few Week of Nightmares survivors. Like the Seven Fires, it also provides a template for people who want to put Ravnos in their game. There's no sign of the Players Handbook and we don't know if the Ravnos is going to be there but this allows you make a Ravnos character in the abstract. It also implies, I think Chimestry is going to be a Combo Discipline of Presence and Auspex rather than a Discipline in itself.

    I also like the fact that the Ravnos are seemingly forgotten by the 21st century. 20 years is not that long in Kindred years but for many Neonates, they might as well be the Salubri.


    Zal is a character that I absolutely love. I think she has some absolutely beautiful artwork and she's easily the most beautiful character in the book. OTOH, I may be biased because I have ever been an addict to Goth Girls and married one because of it. Zal is humorously a Goth Girl that kind of was forced into, though. She was originally a very rebellious young woman and hated her family's (implied fundamentalist) Christianity but wasn't macabre in any way.

    Zal was a lazy musician content to play bars, coffee shops, and parties with no real ambition to apply herself before she managed to get Embraced by a Giovanni. It's intriguing to speculate as to why the Giovanni transformed her but I suspect it might have been an infatuation or case of mistaken identity since she was substituting for someone else. The blood "didn't take" but she's since become an obsessive Noddist and interested in dissecting corpses.

    I think that's a weird expression of the Embrace, that it actually affects your personality and makes you more of a stereotype but I don't like it.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-14-2020, 01:31 PM.

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  • CTPhipps

    Jennifer MacKay

    A kickboxing bisexual feminist who is not quite as smart as she thinks she is. I admit Jennifer MacCay is a character that would be extremely annoying but I also think that's generally the point about her. She's a Brujah and was Embraced from a hard life (no surprise), so she's decided to put her anger to good use against the sexist ultra-white culture of the Camarilla. It's admirable but Jennifer is deliberately written as making a lot of decisions based on emotion as well as her past dealing with mortal power structures. She doesn't really understand Cainite society and it's biting her in the ass. I actually like this element as it makes her a more complex and interesting character as I believe the flaws are really what makes the best vampire characters.

    Sadly, the adventure featuring her in the Anarch section is one of my lesser favorites from this volume because Jennifer going after the one Ventrue Elder in possibly ALL OF HISTORY who actually has a feminist pro-person of color agenda makes Jennifer look like a moron. There's a difference between naive and stupid. I think Jennifer should probably be a bit more of the former than the latter. By contrast, I like that the book says that Jennifer much prefers Gengis as an Anarch leader to Anita Wainwright.

    I can easily see this coming about even though Gengis is the ultimate Anarch sell-out. For one, Jennifer strikes me as reaction to Anita Wainwright the same way people reacted to Daniel LaRouso in Cobra Kai when he opened his own dojo--"aren't you appropriating the culture of another woman?" Anita lives, breathes, and eats black rights but Jennifer is probably going to see a middle class white girl acting like she's one.

    I also felt the fact Jennifer MacCay has a lesbian girlfriend addicted to heroin adds as a serious addition to her character that is surprisingly moving. Jennifer was greatly "humanized" by this section and I felt that she benefited from it tremendously. She can't cure her girlfriend's addiction and is stuck watching her slowly wither away. It's the best kind of vampire romance in that it's ultimately doomed.

    Lianne Miller

    Lianne Miller oddly reminds me a bit of Layla Miller from X-Factor, the comic rather than the show. She's young blonde girl with precognitive abilities that has a manipulative jerkish side to her that belies her somewhat angelic appearance. I wonder if the character took some inspiration from her as that would be pretty sweet.

    Lianne is another solid character and I have to say that I'm really feeling the NPC section of this book. The work done here is impressive and makes me appreciate the adventures starring these various characters significantly more. I do kind of think that the NPCs should have been scattered with the adventures because quite a few of them don't make much sense if you don't know their backgrounds first. Small complaint.

    In any case, Lianne is a woman trapped in a 15 year olds body and leaches off various communes and spiritual practice groups while pretending to be significantly older than she is. She's an Anarch but that's primarily because she's Brujah, very young, and they're an organization that is actually a familiar power structure to her. The Camarilla is very hierarchical and depends on titles, forms, and traditions. Lianne is every bit as hierarchical but is familiar with gaining power in groups that depend on looser power structures.

    Lianne also has the cool fact that she THINKS she knows what the source of the Beckoning is, which is a great story hook even if it's untrue.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-14-2020, 06:15 AM.

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  • CTPhipps
    It's time for NPCs in the book and this book has quite a lot of them. They include some really good ones that were missed in Chicago by Night 5E but also a bunch of original ones. Sadly, they didn't include Joshua Tarponski and I kind of wish they'd managed to squeeze him in.

    Still, I think this is actually the best part of the book despite how much I very much enjoyed

    Banu Haqim

    Arjun Shah

    I really like Arjun Shaw, who is an Assamite priest of Mithras. I think what I like most about the guy is that he actually a reconstruction of a lot of traditional Banu Haqim ideas without actually getting bogged down in the orientalist depiction of classic V:TM. While I enjoyed the Assamites of CBN5E with a diplomat and a young drug dealer, I think this guy feels a bit more like their "proper" version.

    Arjun is a British born man of Indian descent whose family has worshiped Mithras for centuries but he got the nod to gain immortality where others do. He's come to Milwaukee because of the irony of the World of Darkness. Milwaukee, home of Lavern and Shirley, is the place where the most badass Kindred in the world choose to live. Sort of like how Montreal is a Satanist Hellhole, you have to assume Milwaukee is the Murder Capital of the United StatesTM.

    Arjun has managed to make contact with Mark Decker and despite him coming across as not the kind of guy generally receptive to religion, The Cult of Mithras seems like something that he and his Anubi might actually get something from. Certainly, it might actually benefit his probably dwindling Humanity score and it's not a religion that emphasizes things he'd disdain like mercy or forgiveness.

    No, COTBG is quite clear that the Cult of Mithras emphasizes, "Obey or die. If a guy isn't worthy, kill him. But here's how you determine if he isn't worthy." It's not Lawful Good but it's probably one of the closer to Lawful Neutral than Lawful Evil Paths you'll find among Kindred. Certainly, it's not Chaotic Evil like the vast majority of Paths. I kind of regret that V5 has gotten rid of those because I'd love to see Matthew Dawkin's take on the Tenets for a Road of Mithras or Path of Mithras ala V20.

    Also, kudos for a chance to include Roger De Camden in your chronicle with their connection.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-14-2020, 04:54 AM.

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  • CTPhipps
    The Cult of Shalim

    Strangely, the Cult of Shalim doesn't get an adventure here and it just has a few bits of fiction describing it. I have mixed feelings about the Cult of Shalim due to the fact that I both like it and feel like it could be very easy to get it wrong. The story behind that is one of my favorite Forgotten Realms cults is the cult of Shar.

    Shar basically teaches that life is meaningless, life is pointless, and the universe would be better if we all went extinct. However, rather than genocidal, this gives its members an essential "contentment" that comes form embracing the nihilism and depression that leaves you numb rather than looking for something better in life. I had a similar feeling regarding Planescape's Dustmen.

    In part this is because both Shar and the Dustmen take from real life philosophical stances that in the face of an absurd universe, the best solution is not existentialism but to essentially opt out. There's strains of Buddhism, nihilism, and other religious-philosophical thought that teach this isn't a bad form of life. After all, if you want nothing and feel nothing then you lose nothing.

    The Cult of Shalim could be just another Nephandus cult or, more likely, worshiping Lasombra in that they want to END REALITY and return to OBLIVION! However, you could also simply argue that it is cult that has a genuine appeal in the World of Darkness on an individual level. Rabbi Bashara is probably serving a Antediluvian who is insane and no more moral than Darkseid but weirdly, probably has much more philosophical insight as well as enlightenment than his god.

    Or maybe I'm way overthinking it.


    Some Lovecraftian and weird magical item cults here. Not much to say but I enjoyed them.

    With that, we finish the adventure portion of the book.


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  • CTPhipps
    Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
    I wonder how the hardcore Sabbat fans and apologists feel about this situation.
    My general interpretation of things is that Sabbat fans are pretty confused about the situation with the Sabbat or assume that the organization is effectively destroyed. Having a "mini-Sabbat" tucked away in THE CHICAGO FOLIOS is something that requires a pretty big amount of dedication to find and if you're a hardcore Sabbat fan, you're probably already someone who has made their own Sabbat survivors or made up your opinion on the subject.

    I do admit that making the Sabbat utterly repulsive in their evil is something I think will be controversial yet is not at all inappropriate for them. There's a certain cool 90s edge to the Sabbat but the truth is they are a bunch of theocratic fascists, terrorists, and serial killers. Not exactly people who radiate the cool rebelliousness they're often stuck with.

    Is Cults still due next year? Also, the nature of Lilith will probably be a surprise for some characters - which can provide interesting story fodder.
    I think so, yeah. I really liked the section on the Bahari by the woman who is confused at just how messed up orthodox Lilith worship is.

    The ruins of an underground Mithras temple was found in London - this probably inspired the writer who made Mithras as a character and prince of London.
    Cool catch.

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  • Grumpy RPG Reviews
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    This section also contains some genuinely disturbing stuff about humans who get to witness just what inhuman evil monsters the Sabbat really are.
    I wonder how the hardcore Sabbat fans and apologists feel about this situation.

    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    The BahariWhat I loved about CULTS OF THE BLOOD GODS is that it did have someone point out that Lilith is not a feminist figure so much as a demon co-opted as a feminist figure.
    Is Cults still due next year? Also, the nature of Lilith will probably be a surprise for some characters - which can provide interesting story fodder.

    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    The Cult of MithrasPart of this is my love of the actual cult from Ancient Rome...
    The ruins of an underground Mithras temple was found in London - this probably inspired the writer who made Mithras as a character and prince of London.

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  • CTPhipps
    The Cult of Mithras

    I've always been a fan of the Cult of Mithras and while I'm not quite as deep into the lore of it as Matthew Dawkins, I have appreciated his efforts to increase the importance of the 4th generation vampire and his storyline. Part of this is my love of the actual cult from Ancient Rome and seeing so much effort to turn what was probably just a name drop into something that is a fascinatingly complex Kindred heresy.

    I recommend people check out THE FALL OF LONDON because it really is a fantastic chronicle. It also is, bluntly, a bit more V20 in its handling of V5's plots than other work. Mithras is the architect of the Fall of London not those pesky humans and Queen Anne Bowesley is retconned as dying in a much more dignified way (or surviving with the PC's help). The adventure is mostly about Arjun Shah, a Mithras worshiping Ventrue who has expanded into Milkwaukee and found it quite comfortable to his liking. If nothing else, Decker and his coterie are hardened badasses who have a warrior cult in need of a spiritual focus beyond baseball. They're the kind of people who would honestly benefit from Mithraism in a way that might make them better(ish) people.

    I mean, not increase their humanity, but maybe protect them from the Beast and more honorable. My one regret from the lack of the Path System is that we don't have a Path of Mithras, which I imagine would have been the inspiration for the Road of Chivalry.

    One thing I liked about this entry is the fact that Arjun thinks the Ventrue of Chicago are pretty much all worthless and he's not wrong. I suspect he MIGHT think Kevin Jackson worthy of joining the cult but I think of KJ as an atheist who would soundly reject anything resembling spiritualism. He's simply too much of the 20th and 21st centuries to find anything interesting within the ancient sect.

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  • CTPhipps
    The Bahari

    This opens up with a funny storyline about, of all people, Ted Bundy. Basically, the story pokes a hole in the myth of him being a genius master criminal and brilliant seducer of women. The story proceeds to talk about how the biggest advantage that Ted Bundy had was the fact that he was a well-groomed white man that lured women in because society said that was nonthreatening. It's actually something similar that happened with Jeffrey Dahlmer (though that's not brought up here). In RL, Jeffrey moved into a predominately black neighborhood and the police were quite friendly with him because they assumed he was the LEAST dangerous person there.

    The Bahari member then goes into a lengthy spiel about Lilith, which I wonder about being ironic. What I loved about CULTS OF THE BLOOD GODS is that it did have someone point out that Lilith is not a feminist figure so much as a demon co-opted as a feminist figure. They even mention that the legend of Lilith is an incredibly misogynist one and it's kind of weird so many people gravitate to her legend.

    Eve is a feminist figure, taking supernatural knowledge for herself and sharing it with her husband so that he would not remain ignorant (making her both the giver of sin as well as the person who bestows knowledge) but Lilith is a demon who hunts pregnant women down among other delightful things. I've always felt that the Bahari should be a religion with a hefty dose of misogyny in it. They're the ultimate, "I'm not like THOSE girls" people who consider whatever tortures and evils they do to other women justified because they're weak. IN effect, a female specific version of fascism.

    The adventure is a kind of funny one as the PCs are hired by a Ventrue stereotype to join the Bahari on his behalf. He's an idiot and misses that the Cult of Mamuwalde is not the only Lilith worshipers in the city.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 08-30-2020, 05:12 AM.

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  • CTPhipps
    I'm going to forgo the formality of the articles now and just talk about them as we're coming to the point when LET THE STREETS RUN RED is going to be released.

    The Seven Fires

    The Seven Fires is probably the most important part of the book, IMHO, since it is something that has been desperately wanted by the fans of V:TM since 5th Edition came out. It is only a tiny bit of information but it is the first official information for using the Sabbat outside of "they all fucked off to the Middle East." Okay, this isn't entirely true but aside from this and some bits about the Lasombra, this is the only canon bit.

    The Seven Fires is a great idea for those people who are missing their Sabbat stories of sieges, terrorism, and other fun. The Seven Fires are a "mini-Sabbat" that are doing all of these things and attempting to get revenge on the Lasombra for their defection. They exist on the edges of Camarilla and Anarch territory, doing the same they always did.

    Except CRAZIER.

    The Seven Fires are basically the Imperial Remnant/First Order of the Sabbat. They're in hiding and working to rebuild the Sabbat. While the section doesn't explain how big the Seven Fires are, they could be as large as the Storyteller wants and be used as the basis for carrying on a fight against the Sabbat in all but name.

    This section also contains some genuinely disturbing stuff about humans who get to witness just what inhuman evil monsters the Sabbat really are. I think people kind of immunized themselves to how BAD the Sabbat are and forgot that they're horrifying as well as terrifying.

    One thing that V5 has been criticized for is the fact that it works too much to Humanity and not real sense of Paths. This underscores nicely a decent argument that this is reasonable. The Seven Fires are not "cool" evil, they are Dahlmer and Ed Gein evil. They're sick twisted bastards who regularly eviscerate families and eat babies. That may be what makes them effective and why gamers might not want to play them in V5 that takes its violence all the more seriously. It's why I always said, "Baali are pretty much too disgusting for any sane person to want to play."


    Victor, a somewhat stupid roid-rage meathead from CHICAGO BY NIGHT 2nd Edition, is also reimagined here as a Sabbat soldier on a suicide mission of serial murder and Masquerade breaking throughout Chicago. They made a disposable character like Carlyle or Vickie into a genuinely scary one. There's no reasoning with him, not because he's one dimensional, but because he's a monster.

    I am surprised they don't say he's close to wightdom, though.

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