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[VoB] Point Grace

Started by TonyLB, November 03, 2005, 04:50:03 PM

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This is a "town" for the proposed Vineyard of Blood variation, running vampire stories under DitV rules.  I envision Point Grace as a coastal urban center, with museums, subways, scuzzy waterfront districts, beautiful waterfront districts ... all the urban amenities.

FOREWORD:  In working out the town, I noticed several gaps where the jump from one level of the hierarchy of sin to the next was too wide to easily bridge.  I have added rungs, and I think they work well.  They are highlighted in blue.  Note also that at each stage I am putting forth at least two instances of the sin in question.  It seems to work, for the more intricate social tapestry that such stories often rely upon.

Isolation:  Isolde is the toast of vampiric (and, for the select, human) society.  Her midnight gatherings at the Malebolge Club are too sophisticated, too perfect, to be called mere parties.  The savor of death and the hunt entices even the stodgiest vampires out of their haunts.  Though the human cattle do not recognize the frisson of terror that gives the parties such energy, they feel it ... the attraction of being prey, of fear.  But amidst all the clamoring and meeting, the sweating, the dying, the loving, Isolde stands alone, untouched and untouchable.

Diego is hideous, aged and scarred beyond any ability to pass for human.  He lives in the sewers, sustaining himself on rats and the Good Word of the Gospels, as he has ever since his days as a monk on the pilgrimage trail to Santiago.  Recently he found a young runaway, wounded beyond healing by some human predator.  He followed his heart and Sired Vivian ... the first vampire he has Sired in several centuries.  He keeps her close, away from the sinful proceedings on the surface.

Isolation leads to Angst:  Isolde knows that vampiric society will never cease to need her skills.  Isolation is the bane of their kind.  She knows that she will never find love or companionship ... that her life of service to her people will cost her everything, and will never, ever end.

Vivian is young, and beautiful, and a roamer by nature.  She has been hurt beyond bearing, and not just physically.  She wants to stay with Diego, who is good to her, and gentle, and who can keep her safe from the evil world.  But she is still part of that world, and she hears its siren call.  She fears to answer it, and fears not to.  Living in a sewer, she can never get clean.  She is always soiled, unappealing, worthless.  She looks at Diego and sees that if she stays here forever, that is what she will become too, and though she loves him like a father, that terrifies her.

Angst leads to Transgression:  In her quiet desperation, Isolde did a quietly desperate thing.  She began a romantic tryst with Randall Van der Kirk, a public and prominent scion of a wealthy and respected family.  She knows better than to flirt with a violation of the Masquerade this way, but she is convinced that the two of them are Meant To Be.

Vivian sneaks up to the surface.  She steals clothes, cleans up, goes to the Malebolge.  She dances, drinks, flirts.  She promises herself she'll only do it the one time.  She meets Randall, they talk.  Randall enjoys the flirtation, enjoys the thought it might become more.  Vivian breaks her promise, and returns, over and over.  She thinks Diego does not know.

Transgression leads to Envy:  Isolde sees Randall with Vivian, and rages.

Diego sees Vivian dance, drink ... live.  He remembers.  It was easier when he didn't remember.

Vivian loves Randall, and also hates him ... everything is so easy for the living.

Envy leads to Violence:  Randall flees from Isolde's jealousy right into bed with Vivian.  Vivian, consumed with passion and with envy, loves him and then Embraces him, taking his life and giving him immortality in its place.  Wracked with guilt she flees into the night.  Isolde finds Randall and vows to be his Sire in all but blood.  Randall?  Not thrilled.

Isolde hires Fingers Donovan, a large, savage, stupid, good-natured vampire to ambush Vivian and "pay her back."  Fingers beats her up pretty good, but stops short of dismembering her as Isolde ordered.

Diego cares for Vivian's wounds, violent urges rising in him, and memories of bloodshed and release.  He may not look like much, but he is old and very powerful.  He confronts Isolde, and the things he threatens her with are enough to make even her immortal blood run cold.  He is a moment from attacking her when instead he flees in self-loathing and horror.  He sneaks into a church to try to clear his head, regain his direction.  He is surprised by Father Yates, an innocent, ill-fortuned priest.  Diego kills the priest in an instant, then (horror-struck) cleans up the evidence and drags the body with him into the sewers.

Violence leads to Injustice:  Vivian seeks out Randall, to try to do right.  When she finds that Isolde is caring for him, she categorically refuses to act as his Sire.  She abdicates the role to Isolde who she (rightly) believes has the knowledge and resources to fulfill it.

Randall draws the connection between Vivian's wounds and Isolde's jealousy.  He thinks that Vivian has rejected him out of fear.  He spurns Isolde, refuses to see her, refuses to learn from her.  He refuses, in short, to have a Sire, or even to learn how to be a vampire.  He strikes out on his own, still seeking Vivian, and is soon making many rookie mistakes.  His family begins to suspect the supernatural.

Isolde, in her misery and terror, closes down Malebolge.  The vampires of the city lose the best, safest venue in which to release their dark passions.

Diego exiles Vivian from their shared lair, without explanation and without mercy.  Hurt, confused, convinced that it is punishment for her transgressions, she obeys.  She is skilled enough to quickly secure new lodgings and resources, but is heartbroken at the loss of her bond to her Sire.

What do the NPCs want the Dogs to do?

Isolde:  She wants them to bind Randall to her, so that she never needs to fear losing him again.  Oh, and she thinks Vivian should die, die, die for what she's done.
Randall:  He thinks he wants them to pair him with Vivian, but really he wants to escape his new unlife:  either by turning him back human (yeah, right!) or by killing him.  He also wants them to punish Isolde for having drawn him into this whole mess to begin with.
Diego:  He wants them to keep Vivian safe, and to help him return to peace and serenity.
Vivian:  She wants somebody to look out for her, to protect her, to love her.  And she wants some guarantee that Isolde won't come back for a second try at killing her dead, dead, dead.
Fingers Donovan:  He wants them to tell him that he's not in trouble.  He's not in trouble, is he?

And ... I think that's it.  It seems reasonably grabby to me, though I worry that there's some simple, straightforward solution where everyone gets what they want (or enough of it to make them happy).  I wonder whether players should take on the roles of travelling agents of justice, or be entrenched already in the city politics (its Prince, its leaders) or perhaps some mix.  I guess, for a one-shot, it's okay to leave that up to the players.
Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum

Mark Causey

Forgive my unfamiliarity with WW V:tM, but doesn't the Camarilla have roaming vampires that either work for the Prince or higher levels of the bureaucracy that basically police the group for breaks in the Masquerade? This would give the players the automatic recognition and the authority that the Dogs do in the original setting, wouldn't it? It would also give them fairly powerful vampires to play.
--Mark Causey
Runic Empyrean


You know what?  I have no idea.  It's been more than a decade since I ran V:tM, and I've forgotten most everything.  If anyone has that knowledge, I'd be interested to hear what options other players are likely to immediately recognize.
Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum


Yes, Archons.  Shockingly, Wikipedia does not have an entry on them!  They're sort of the Independent Prosecutors of the vampire world, investigating and punishing big-scale breaches of the vampire rules (small scale breaches are handled by the local Prince).  They also handle misconduct by Princes or treason. The Archons map 1-to-1 to the Dogs in that they're anointed and sent out by the secret heads of Camarilla and are pretty much a law unto themselves.

I like your additions to the ladder -- "Angst" absolutely has to be there!  When I was working on my town ideas last night, I also thought there should be a higher rung of the ladder beyond "Monstrosity", something that specifically endangers the community.  I was thinking "Revolt" might be an possiblity: junior vampires rebel against their elders, mortals start hunting vampires. 
I believe in peace and science.

Mark Causey

I think there's also a parallel for that group (the Archons) in each of the other monster lines from WW. What I (in my opinion) think exists as a GM brute squad, a force to wipe out 'out of hand' storylines, would actually map to DitV in an actually interesting way and actually encourage all that political intrigue that the game was supposed to have in the first place.

I'd love to comment on the town, but I've yet to run a game of DitV. I've been trolling the boards trying to prepare myself.
--Mark Causey
Runic Empyrean