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

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  • Originally posted by Pleiades View Post
    I thought we were done using real life figures, smh
    Al was one of the earliest vampires in the series, showing in CBN 1st Edition.

    Not quite as old as Ballard or the Gary crew but close to it.

    And yes, his Broken BaseTM reception is explicitly due to being such a famous figure.

    Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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    • Ventrue part 2 of 2

      Amelia Locke

      Amelia Locke is a "new and improved" version of Joseph Peterson in my view, a bit like the second Ventriloquist. Joseph Peterson is the kind of smarky smug little git that you can imagine is probably on Pentex's RED Network in the World of Darkness ever since he got fired from the Princedom in Chicago. The fact he shares a name with Jordan Peterson also makes associations that may not have been intended originally but fit perfectly with the kind of Roger Stone and Roger Ailes-esque character he was intended to be all along.

      Amelia Locke is an interesting contrast to that being effectively a good deal more like Lois Lane rather than the embodiment of Right Wing tabloid journalism that benefits the Masquerade. She's a genuine reporter and that is something that adds an interesting layer to Joseph Peterson as you wouldn't think he'd actually be interested in something like that. She's also a lesbian which is not really worth mentioning except for the fact that it does reflect on her mortal days as well as how it might influence her opinions.

      Amelia is a good character that I can see the PCs dealing with and at the start of adventures. She's still a cold blooded Ventrue and I'm sure has killed a few stories in her time but there's the benefit of her being on the outs with the Prince now. Kevin Jackson is nasty to anyone who even has a whiff of opposition to him and poor Amelia had nothing to do with her sire's ill-fated run for Prince (despite being manifestly unsuited for it).

      Milena Aronyan

      I have to say that while I bought The Chicago Folio to get Al Capone, Milena Aronyan is my favorite character in the book. I just love the idea of a Ventrue plumber and think she's easily the most entertaining character in the book. I also love that she's the childe of Alan Sovereign, too. Like Amelia Locke and Joseph Peterson, Embracing Milena actually enriches their sire because it makes them less of a stereotype.

      Alan Sovereign as the closest-thing to a "real life" version of the Clock King respecting a self-made working class immigrant woman building a successful business from scratch reflects interestingly on a vampire WASP who has never met a law he couldn't break in order to make an extra buck. It also influences her in the fact that Milena has an entirely wrong image of the Camarilla because she actually is the American Dream rewarded versus betrayed--at least from her perspective.

      I also note that Milena has a "Project Mayhem" network of janitors across the city that give her access to any building she wants as well as information. They're also pragmatic people who aren't organized crime but are exactly the kind of people who Al Capone would have recruited in his heyday as they're willing to kill to get ahead for themselves as well as their families. It's just that they are Eastern European rather than Italian. She's not a "good" person but is better than most.

      Sadly, she's completely misread Kevin Jackson as she thinks he'll be more egalitarian than most Ventrue versus being MORE conservative to preserve his power. Kevin Jackson has to be twice the Ventrue to get half as far.

      Tatyana Makarova

      Not much to say about her, she's Amelia Locke's lover and a fighter pilot who looks like an old woman. A very unique character but one I don't quite know how to use.

      Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-18-2020, 03:35 PM.

      Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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      • Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
        I'd love to hear your thoughts about Al Capone's survival and character, Grumpy RPG Reviews
        Capone is too big to ignore.

        Capone is arguably a perfect vampire in the setting, and at once almost comical as a vampire. A violent criminal who destroyed many lives, Capone thematically makes a great vampire, a kind of American thematic answer to Dracula. He is also utterly part of the culture and history of Chicago.

        On the other hand, having Capone as a vampire in the setting can feel a bit like having Lestat de Lioncourt as a vampire in the game as a Toreador – it is a bit too on the nose. And of course he is a legacy NPC, one left over from first edition. Keeping Capone around is problematic, but having him die or just disappear would be a waste of a character.

        Perhaps the best use of Capone is as a background figure which slowly emerges into the existence of the PCs, as a patron who tries to rope them into his growing war with Ballard. Even after the party meets him – which should take a long time – Capone should never be identified as Capone. Determining his identity should be entirely in the hands of the PCs.

        I also like the think the vampire Capone serves as a vector for syphilis.

        Edt: I just remembered that one of the old books, probably CbN 2nd, had a plot hook involving Capone potentially seeking Golconda. That, Capone the vampire gangster, seeking redemption, would have been an interesting take on the character.
        Last edited by Grumpy RPG Reviews; 09-18-2020, 09:16 PM.


        • Very solid interpretation, Grumpy.

          I'm inclined to think, in retrospect, Gabriel Alphonse Capone should have died at the hands of the Second Inquisition as a suitably grandiose way of bringing the threat of the organization to the heart of Chicago while also tying up loose ends. He's too big of a character to ignore in Chicago but I also feel he represents the past of the V:TM line that has since been moved on from.

          While it would be silly to imagine him going down with a Tommy Gun in a burning building, I also feel like that would be the story that the vampires of Chicago would tell about him. I don't think Kevin Jackson killing him really has the same "oomph" that the SI doing it would and there's few other vampires I think would have resonance for it.

          Maybe diablerie by Olaf One-Eye and that's why he's regained (some) of his faculties.

          Sadly, I can't think of an Anarch who could have pulled it off.

          Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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          • Loresheets part 1 of 3

            Loresheets are something that I've felt were a good addition to the game but are basically just Merits with a lot more backstory to them. I also feel like they're something confusing since you're really only supposed to take one specific level of them.


            A solid loresheet that allows you to be one of the Camarilla's direct agent in the city. Being an Archon is a pretty big leap for player characters at creation but in the diminished Camarilla, it may actually be plausible. The Wolf Pack is a Camarilla Archon group but with no Justicar to back them, they're in a weird gray area of authority and no authority.

            Convention of Chicago

            I feel like this Loresheet is just confusing as I have no idea what Convention this is referring to and feel like it would have been a bigger deal in CBN5E if it was something I missed. There's apparently a full-blown CONCLAVE that succeeded but I have no idea what they discussed, what legislation they passed, or what qualifies as a success.

            Descendant of Menele

            This is an obvious one even if Menele is now in Carthage or some other part of the Middle East. One of the things I do like about this is the fact that it makes clear Critias wasn't the only vampire Menele was mentally dominating. There's an entire bunch of enlightened, sophisticated, and humane vampires who were his mind-slaves. I like that. It makes you wonder if Menele thought he was doing them a favor.

            Goblin Roads

            I wrote an entire short story about a Malkavian Goblin Driver in "Year of the Road" and I suggest people check it out. The Goblin Roads are just the most 1st edition, 20th Anniversary idea ever, IMHO. That between Milwaukee and Chicago there's this Outer Limits-esque stretch of land where the laws of physics and realitry goes completely out the window. I approve.


            I'm not sure why the loresheet for Justicar Lucinde is here. She's not tied to any of the characters in the Chicago Folio. However, this allows you to buy a slot as an Alastor, which I think is an even bigger deal than the Archon status you can purchase.
            Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-18-2020, 09:54 PM.

            Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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            • Loresheets part 2 of 3

              Khalid al-Rashid

              This is actually less interesting as a loresheet and more for explaining what exactly happened to our perpetually Humanity 1 Golconda seeker. It seems very likely that Khalid didn't just go to the Middle East like so many others believed him to but actually may have been murdered by Nerissa Blackwater. Say what you will about Khalid but he was a faithful Muslim (just terrible at following its dictates) so I see no chance he would have accepted any bargain with the followers of Lilith at Lake Michigan. Perhaps in a martyr's death he may have found the peace he so desperately desired.

              Kindred Dueling

              This is another odd man out of the Loresheets. I don't think there's any hint of kindred dueling in any of the adventures here. However, it's a cool enough concept for Kindred to enjoy and adds to the somewhat aristocratic decadent feel of the Camarilla. They're back to the old school Dark Ages rules. Pre-Thorns.

              Malkavian Family

              This is a Loresheet I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. You are part of Son's coterie of Malkavians and that strikes me as so awful that no one would think this a good idea to take. Bronwyn?
              Certainly. Son? Fuck no. Even the Loresheet seems to think this is the case since most of the benefits are about avoiding Son's wrath and having someone who is powerful enough to keep him from screwing up your life.

              Occult Artifacts

              You have a magical item, which is pretty cool. I do find it weird it says only Tremere and Banu Haqim, though. Surely it's possible for them to gift your character with one of their strange artifacts.

              Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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              • Loresheets part 3 of 3

                The Pony Express

                I always wondered why the V5 writers decided to make the Camarilla ditch cellphones and other modern technology. Part of it was brought home by John Wick, of all things, where they had pneumatic tube systems and old fashioned telephone operations lines. Just the visual and weirdness of it made the Camarilla justified. The Pony Express is another cool thing and I think it's going to be the basis of Night Road that's coming out next week.

                Sheriff Damien

                I love Damien as a villain of V:TM and his betrayal was one of the few genuinely shocking moments I've felt in serialized fiction. At least for RPGs. This basically is a standard mentor Loresheet where you get access to him, his contacts, and his music if you help him. There's a bit of irony here because Damien thinks it's his job to protect "his own" now but except for Kathy Glens, Damien doesn't have any friends and he's actively persecuting the Anarchs who looked up to him as a hero.

                The Wolf Pack

                The final loresheet is you being a member of the Wolf Pack, perhaps fallen away from the group but still able to wear the Patches. You're not an Archon but you are a member of the gang and thus Archon adjacent. That provides you a lot more cover than you might normally possess as a hard drinking, hard fighting Gangrel. Mind you, it's not nearly as much cover as you might have possessed when the Gangrel Clan was still part of the Camarilla.

                Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                • Rituals

                  The last portion of the book and one which I don't have much to say about is a collection of Thaumaturgical rituals that are adaptations of ones from the original Chicago by Night supplements as well as some original ones. This is an interesting part of the book since, as far as I can tell, this is the only place in the V5 line so far that ANY Thaumaturgical Rituals have been described. [Edit: Correction, there's plenty in Cults of the Blood Gods but that hasn't technically been released yet.]

                  It's not exactly a supplement but it works.

                  And with that, THE CHICAGO FOLIO is done!

                  Thanks for everyone following me to the very end.

                  The End

                  Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                  • Co-posted with the Discussion thread despite normally not allowing that:

                    The Chicago Folio Final Thoughts

                    Overall, I think this is a really solid supplement that reminds me a bit of the old Succubus Club one for 3rd Edition. That was a collection of short adventure hooks as well as Chronicles for the player characters to experience. As such, it's kind of split between this and LET THE STREETS RUN RED but this has an excellent collection of NPCs to supplement it.

                    I felt like the Anarch section of the book was the best part and I'm a bit biased there. However, I really enjoyed giving them the kind of attention they deserved. There's a lot of things that can change the status quo of the main game like the death of Genghis, the discovery of the List, and the decision for the Anarchs to go a lot more militant by destroying a major Kindred business. Honestly, I'm inclined to think that if the Anarchs (as is) go to war with Kevin Jackson, it'll just result in their complete destruction.

                    Right now, Duncan MacTavish aside, they are in a seriously weakened state and at their most divided. It doesn't help that Critias is toadying to Jackson despite their 2500 year age difference. I also like the somewhat more nuanced portrayal of Kevin Jackson's rule in this book. Chicago V5 showed that he's arguably the most powerful Prince that has ever existed in Chicago, dwarfing Lodin's control over the city due to having a weak Primogen and Helena's full support with no Menele to oppose him.

                    This book shows that he's alienating allies like the Wolf Pack, though, and also has his subordinates refusing to obey his orders like "Kill Al Capone." I actually think the fact that they didn't do it is more a sign of KJ's weakness than Al's actual threat to his regime. Al never was KJ's enemy the way he is Ballad's. It's only KJ who thought they were (probably because I can't imagine Al being the most respectful to KJ given his historical racism and treatment of rivals).

                    The book provides a write-up for a Ravnos in 2020 and also a way to use the Sabbat in-miniature that I think are desperately needed things that make the book a "must buy" even though it's only a single write-up and short section. The Seven Fires are relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things but they EXIST and give us our first real information on the state of the Black Hand outside of the Middle East.

                    The NPCs were well-done with most of them being extremely believable and not too overpowered. While they did add a couple of Elders to the story, the majority were just a diverse collection of Neonates or Ancilla that can have a variety of interactions with the PCs. I mentioned I wish they had updated Joshua Tarponski fully but the Wolf Pack and Al Capone are enough. I think Lianna Miller, Mateo, Devin Boyce, and Zal are the standouts. Devin Boyce and the Parkie Boys, in particular replaces the Nihilists from Chicago 1st and 2nd Edition, with "rowdy but kind of dumb Anarchs in need of PC help. Zal is the perfect LI for my PCs because, well, Goth girl Caitiff.

                    The Loresheets were fine.

                    I think the Ritual section actually was VERY needed for this game and the fact its here is kind of strange but important. It makes this book even more of a must buy.

                    Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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