Saturday, January 10, 2015

The story so far (VtR)

So for a while, I've been running a Vampire: The Requiem second edition game. I originally started it as a twice-a-month LARP, but due to lack of attendance I've slowly transitioned it into a tabletop game for the three players I could actually retain. Later tonight I run the first session that isn't some sort of 'mostly-real-time' experience, and it's a natural transition between stories. But before that happens, I wanted to take a moment to summarize what the first big story arc was.

The chronicle is called "The Morgantown Project." It takes place in the same continuity as a Hunter: The Vigil LARP I ran some years back, and a Promethean: The Created tabletop game I ran before that. (And it also takes place in the same continuity as a Mage: The Awakening one-shot I ran at Gencon 2014, which I'm not sure if I ever got around to writing up. If not, maybe I'll try to piece a post together based on my memories.)

The city of Morgantown, WV has never been too friendly for vampires. Sure, there've always been a few, but they've never really pulled together any sort of local community and no covenant has made even a token effort to claim a proper power base. Nobody knows exactly why, though the running theory is that it's a combination of the relatively-solid monster hunter community in town, the city's relatively small size and importance, and the fact that until a few years ago a large group of Oberlochs had taken over nearby Fairmont.

This changed in early summer 2014. A small group of Carthians from Pittsburgh, PA (about an hour and a half to the north) came in and settled as a group. Clearly trying to set down roots. Shortly afterwards, most of the few vampires still present in the city quietly pulled up stakes and left. The Invictus city of Charleston (about three hours to the south) took notice and collectively raised a curious eyebrow. Out of a general tendency to be busybodies and control freaks, Prince Justin of House Flavius (also known as 'Justin the Wise,' a Mekhet who claims descent from one of the Cult of Augurs back in the Camarilla) sent an envoy to Morgantown to try and get a handle on where their sudden interest came from. Did they want or find something specific? Was this some plan for Pittsburgh Carthians government to start claiming West Virginia territory?

So the envoy was sent. Officially, he was offering diplomatic ties and perhaps an advisor to help them get settled in. Unofficially, he sought answers about what the Carthians really want out of Morgantown. But before he could get those answers and report in, some time after meeting with the Carthians he vanished... to turn back up in Charleston as ashes. The Carthians, both in Morgantown and Pittsburgh, claimed no knowledge of what was happening. Justin the Wise decided it was time to get more direct.

So he found some relatively young vampires looking for a power base (but having trouble finding room) and sent them to formally lay a claim to Morgantown. Not to declare any sort of war or conflict with the Carthians, and certainly not to drive them out. But the Prince decided that Morgantown was now a dangerous element and a potential threat to be neutralized as soon as possible. And, if at all possible, to find out what happened to the envoy. The Invictus in Charleston actually have a handful of human pawns in Morgantown, folks in very influential places who've helped give the newcomers a bit of an edge.

So vampires were sent. Some stayed, some didn't. Investigations were made, Carthians were met, and over the course of a few months the vampires from Charleston laid claim to some of the city's territory. A couple of the more dangerous Carthians got violent. One fled after making an ill-advised attempt to kill the player characters, and another was deemed a dangerous threat for a handful of reasons.

One reason is that he was potentially a really nasty masquerade breach waiting to happen. But it also doesn't help that he was an agent of the Strix, the terrifying owl-shaped spirits that stalk the vampires of the world. Something ancient and powerful that wanted the Carthians to settle in Morgantown for whatever reason. But even if the leader could have explained that, even if he was more than just a puppet of a Strix operating in the area, when the player characters confronted him he struck back and forced them to kill him.

Since then, it's been more investigations -- during which they found out the Strix had maintained a long-term host in the city, who had in fact killed the Invictus envoy. Again, the question is 'Why?' Was it to tempt Charleston into making this very move? And the characters have convinced the local Carthians that one way or another Morgantown was going to become an extension of Prince Justin's domain for the time being while this is sorted out, and they can either get with the program or get out of the way. Between negotiation, diplomacy, and a little bit of intimidation, they managed to convince the Carthians to accept Charleston's control and protection.

So at the last session, shortly before Christmas, Prince Justin felt that Morgantown had been properly claimed as a vassal state and he and his seneschal gathered up the locals for a bit of a presentation whereupon he appointed one of the player characters to be the Regent of Morgantown.

That's the story so far. Now for the cast of PCs:

  • Derrick Ashton, Ordo Dracul Khaibit, Regent of Morgantown (played by Zac) -- The newly-appointed Regent. Derrick is an expert on spirits who has also spent some time studying the Strix (as per his bloodline), who came to Morgantown to better explore some of the weirdness there. It's working out pretty well for everyone that one of the Charleston vampires is someone who is knowledgeable and equipped in what it's likely to take to keep Morgantown safe.
  • Humfrey Van Der Hoek, Invictus Nosferatu (played by Sean) -- An Invictus Notary who went into self-imposed hermitude to escape a lot of Charleston's politics a while back. He's been in Morgantown for a while, keeping his head down, but when the Invictus in Charleston took an interest in the city they basically told him 'you're back on the clock, get to it.' So among other things, he's served as a font of local knowledge.
  • Simon Miller, Ordo Dracul Gangrel (played by Bryan) -- Simon's been the muscle of the group, working alongside the others to try and keep them safe and keep the Invictus' enemies at bay. He's done an admirable job of that, and if not for his assistance at least one of the other members of the group would be dead by now. Though that said, Bryan's been questioning how much long-term potential the character really has, so with my permission he's going to be changing characters between 'seasons' of the story. Unless he's changed his mind at the last moment, he'll be debuting his new character in tonight's session, but I wanted to at least get this down to recognize the help he's put in so far.

Anyhow, that's the rough summary of what's happened so far. If anyone's curious, I can get into some of the NPCs later but I'll probably explain them as they become relevant anyways in future write-ups.

As usual, if anyone has any questions, just ask.

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