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     Enemies Unknown          Out of Character          Current Events          Dignitaries & Emissaries          Historical Events          Local Population          Venue Style Sheet    

Part I: Basic Information

Domain: Dead Man’s Hand, AZ-010-D
Storyteller: Phil Ozlin, US2002034739
Venue: Vampire: the Masquerade, Camarilla/Anarch
Game Info: 1st Friday of each month (2014) moving to 3rd Saturday of each month (2015+)
Sign-in starts at 7:00 PM; game begins at 8:00 PM and ends at midnight
Game site will normally be 3917 East Ellis Street, Mesa, AZ 85206

Part II: Styles of Play

Overall Game Emphasis

Physical: 2
Social: 4
Mental: 4

Individual Game Components

Action (combat and challenges): 6
Character Development (personal dilemmas and choices): 8
Darkness (corruption, fear and horror): 8
Drama (ceremony and grand story): 7
Intrigue (politics and negotiation): 8
Manners (social etiquette and peer pressure): 7
Mystery (enigmas and investigation): 7
PC Death (how often is it present): 2
Pacing (how quickly do stories start, develop, and come to an end): 4

Part III: Description of Venue

Mood: Covetous, Mysterious, Unease
Themes: Entropy, Difficult Choices, Dangers of Knowledge, Power & Corruption, Struggle

Settling the Valley of the Sun

Prior to the Civil War there was little in the Salt River and Gila River Valleys to attract the attention of the few hardy Kindred souls willing to leave the established cities of the East Coast, and so it remained the province of the Native Americans and the werewolves that sometimes lurked among them. In the decades following the Civil War, many civilians and veterans headed West to try and start a new life away from the ruins of the old, resulting in townships and settlements springing up throughout the area that would eventually give rise to the modern Phoenix metropolitan sprawl. This allowed transient Kindred to use the area as something of a way station, but the number of inhabitants was still too low to support a permanent local population of Kindred. The city of Phoenix itself was incorporated in 1881 with a population of 2,500 individuals. The arrival of the major railroads in the area in the 1880's helped raise awareness of the small town among the Kindred of North America, yet it remained simply a stop on longer journeys, the population of the city only slightly more than doubling to 5,500 by the turn of the century.

Development began to speed up in the first half of the 20th century, with the first step being the naming of Phoenix as the capital of the newly formed state of Arizona. It still wasn't until late in the Roaring Twenties that the population of the city and the surrounding county grew large enough to support a permanent, if still minuscule, Kindred presence in the area. Slowly but surely the city continued to grow until World War II, when one of the effects of the war effort was to introduce industrialization to the city with a vengeance as it turned to the mass production of military supplies. At the end of the war, the city boasted a population of 65,000, with the surrounding towns and cities bringing the count for Maricopa County as a whole close to a quarter million. The postwar boom saw the population nearly double again, as well as further industrial growth and political prominence for the city, finally laying the necessary foundations for a significant Kindred presence.

The Praxis of Prince Locke

William Locke, an Elder Brujah and pillar of the Camarilla relocates to Phoenix with his two relatively young protégés and childer, James Wilkes and Rutherford Wellington. This move elicits surprise among established Kindred society back East, as Phoenix was thought much too small at the time to draw the attention of a Kindred of significant standing. Rumors abound that Locke is on the run from a jilted lover on the East Coast or some other form of scandal.

Locke and his children soon have Phoenix completely under their control. Little happens within the local communities that they are not either aware of or directly responsible for. Under their careful guidance Phoenix's population increases almost six-fold by the end of the decade. At this point Phoenix begins to gain a reputation as an up and coming metropolis, and many Neonates and freshly minted Ancilla looking for opportunity start to see Phoenix as a destination for those looking to make their mark in Kindred society.

Growth in Phoenix slows as Locke turns his attention from the mortal affairs in the city to the number of Kindred that have moved into the area. He begins to hold court, handing out territory to those he feels are worthy, and assigning positions to help keep everyone in line. His moniker, 'Iron Fist of the Camarilla', proves to be well earned during this time. The mortal populace continues to flourish, but less focus on the Kine allows powerful mortal influences to move into the city. It isn't only Kindred that see Phoenix as an opportune place to set up shop, especially located so near the country's southern border. During this period the Mayor Margaret T. Hance sets the stage for the construction of Terminal 3 at Sky Harbor Airport, converting it into an international air transport hub. The end of the decade was the perfect time to be a new Kindred working to set oneself up in Phoenix. Despite the current boom, dark clouds loom on the horizon as crime rates rise and illegal narcotics both old and new begin to flood the mortal world, becoming increasingly popular among the Kine.

Sabbat incursions start to become a regular occurrence. Due to the resulting constant distractions, Phoenix's mortal population is not watched as closely as it had been in the past. Locke is frustrated to see the cocaine epidemic ravaging the lower income areas, but as survival necessitates focusing on the Sabbat threat first and foremost, he fumes impotently as not inconsiderable portions of his influence structure fall to addiction. One notable Sabbat strike in 1985 sees the deaths of the Malkavian Keeper of Elysium and a Brujah Deputy Sheriff, and the fact that such a strike could only have been facilitated with inside information fuels Locke's paranoia and suspicion about the loyalty and motivations of the various members of his court.

The decade sees a steep rise in the instance of Sabbat attacks, infiltration attempts, and incursions into the city by mortal hunters. The Domain's vampiric population continues to grow, bringing new Kindred into the area, but despite this influx the political scene remains stable for the most part. Anarchs and Independent Clans begin arriving in the city and surrounding communities as well. Prince Locke seems unconcerned by the newcomers, stating "Nothing will shake the Ivory Tower. The Independents will know their place, and soon enough the Anarchs will see the error of their ways and join us."

Locke announces that he is willing to accept Anarchs as residents of the city. There is a list of rules they must follow, accompanied by an oath of fealty to Locke himself and a promise to bend every effort to the betterment of the city. Locke begins to rely more on his own childer and those Kindred closest to him, often keeping the general Kindred populace of the city in the dark on important matters. This proves to be the final straw for many of the more traditional residents and multiple prominent Kindred leave the city. Sabbat attacks rapidly dwindle in frequency until they cease altogether.

A Curtain of Silence Descends

In early 2009 Prince Locke issues an edict that no Kindred not already Acknowledged within his city will be granted Hospitality. Those who had left the city earlier in the decade are stripped of their Acknowledgement within Phoenix. Locke becomes ruthless about insuring that the remaining residents of the city do not share information regarding occurrences within the city to their clan-mates in the wider world beyond. A few rumors escape suggesting that Prince Locke was giving territory to Anarchs, and that he was ruling with an iron fist in defiance of the Justicariat with his childer acting as Sheriff and Scourge. Toward the end of the year the remaining Tremere in the city depart, unwilling to submit to the edict requiring that they sever communication with the rest of their clan.

The dawn of the new year brings initial efforts by the Servires of the region's Archon to investigate the city. They find the local Kindred unwilling to speak to them and are swiftly turned away. Outside influences likewise find no purchase within the domain, and one by one the channels that had previously allowed information to escape to those Kindred outside the city close until Phoenix is enveloped by a curtain of silence. The mortal news brings some worrying insight as it shows problems among the Kine. The news stations paint a picture of a city on edge, their nightly broadcasts rife with images and stories about a serial murderer loose in the city committing ritualistic killings. Over the course of the next few months 13 victims lose their lives, and the killer is never brought to justice.

In the summer of 2010 a missive emerges from Phoenix inviting a large contingent of Anarchs into the city for a meeting in the early fall. Intrigued Kindred around the area wait to learn the results of the talks and how the balance of power in the city might be affected, but no news emerges. As the weeks creep buy and absolutely nothing is heard from any of the inhabitants of the city or the Anarchs that travelled there for the conference, various concerns in nearby Domains begin to send in scouts to check the situation in Phoenix. Those scouts find no sign of any active Kindred in the city proper. The main Elysium is untouched by the mortals, the floor covered in piles of ash. Not a single living Kindred from the Ivory Tower, the Movement, or the Rebellion could be located. The news that Phoenix was open for the claiming quickly spread far and wide.

Modern Nights

In October 2010, over a month after the disappearance of the previous inhabitants of the city, many of the Kindred who had previously resided in the city had decided to return in order to investigate and possibly carve their own niche in the new power vacuum. Accompanied by Kindred allies recruited for the purpose as well as a few brave souls seeking their fortune, these Kindred return to the city in droves. They are greeted by a missive from one Pierre Durand, a Malkavian Elder, requesting that they gather at the Phoenix Art Museum, a known Elysium of the city prior to the disappearances. During this gathering it was discovered that a contingent of the Followers of Set had weathered whatever happened to the rest of the inhabitants of the city secure in their Temple deep within the bowels of the Mormon Temple in East Mesa. A small group of Giovanni residing in Apache Junction in return for guarding the eastern border of the city likewise was found to be still active. Both groups had declined to attend the scheduled meeting with the Anarchs and pled ignorance of exactly what happened to the rest of the Kindred in the city.

After initial investigation turned up no immediate threats, the Elders among those present discussed the formation of a new court, and after some debate and dickering Julian Marcus Haldane, a Ventrue of House Gaul, stepped forward to claim the Praxis of Phoenix with his contender, one Michael Cristos, a Toreador of House Von Daun, serving as his Seneschal. Additional Kindred interested in the opportunities in Phoenix continued to arrive, and within months the court had been rounded out to include Gage Creed of Clan Gangrel as the Sheriff, Charlotte Farnsworth of Clan Nosferatu as the Harpy, Caralyne Butcher of Clan Ventrue as the Keeper of Elysium, and, though it did not become public knowledge for many years, Simon Woo of Clan Nosferatu as the Scourge. The Primogen Council consisted of Xavier Diamond speaking for Clan Brujah, Elder Rain speaking for Clan Malkavian, Elder Rune Huldason speaking for Clan Nosferatu, Ben Castle speaking for Clan Tremere, Elder Alistair Fitzwilliam Von Daun speaking for Clan Toreador, and Anna Russell speaking for Clan Ventrue.

While the fortunes of some Kindred have risen and those of others have fallen, the transfer of power and responsibility has been reasonably ordered during the Praxis of Prince Haldane. Elder Anna Russel of Clan Ventrue now serves as Seneschal, Elder Rune Huldason as the Harpy, Lily of Clan Brujah as the Sheriff, Maddock of Clan Gangrel as the Scourge, and the office of Keeper of Elysium stands vacant after the recent death of Raina von Daun of Clan Toreador. On the Primogen Council Leo Kovalev speaks for Clan Brujah, Jennifer Love for Clan Malkavian, Simon Woo for Clan Nosferatu, Gabriel Thorne for Clan Toreador, Vincent Archer for Clan Venture, while Clan Tremere, almost absent from the city, is voiceless. Prince Haldane’s Court is further graced by Emissaries from the Anarchs as well as all three Independent Clans, all of which have small presences in the city.

As to conditions in the city itself, while insurgent activity by the Sabbat is on the rise and the concerns of insuring ample feeding grounds for the Clans in the face of an increasing influx of Kindred reassured by the recent years of stability are more immediate problems, the mystery of exactly what happened to the previous inhabitants of the city is never far from the thoughts of the new court and residents. Further compounding things is the air of unfamiliarity and mystery around the domain caused by the intermarriage of European and Native American cultures from both North and Central America casting an unfamiliar patina across the Supernatural landscape. But any crisis provides both danger and opportunity, and enterprising Kindred could make quite the name for themselves if they have the will to brave the risk and seize those opportunities.

Part IV: Storytelling Mechanics

Venue Emphasis

The Camarilla is ascendant, or so its upper echelons and their staunch supporters claim at every opportunity. Emphasis will be on exploring how the Ivory Tower functions in the face of new challenges, and whether they can adapt to formerly familiar threats that have evolved and changed after being defeated and forced underground. Little, if anything, is as it seems.

Proxy Rules

Live Proxy

Live proxy occurs when one or more characters are given to the VST to portray at a game in the players’ absence. The VST is not required to accept request to proxy a character into her control, and may assign portrayal of the character to an AVST or Narrator. By giving a character to the VST for proxy play, the player grants the VST all rights to the character for the duration of the proxy scene.

All proxies must be received by email CC’ing the player’s presiding ST at least 48 hours in advance of the game.

Live proxies must include at least:
  • Complete character sheet
  • Full XP log
  • The travel methods and security precautions (if any) the character is using to reach the gathering
  • Detailed description of what the character intends to accomplish and how they intend to do so
  • Player’s presiding VST contact information (full name, membership number, and email at a minimum)
Helpful supplemental information:
  • Detailed description of how character tends to interact with mortals, Kindred, and other Supernaturals
  • Detailed description of Personality, Notable Habits, and Appearance
  • List of things your PC will always try to do/never ever do
  • Detailed combat tactics

Online Proxy, Soft

An online soft proxy occurs when one or more players arrange to have their character present in a domain solely for role-play purposes without the players themselves being present and all involved parties agree to forgo challenges. The VST is not required to accept a request to proxy a character into the VSS for online play. A soft proxy may never be converted to a hard proxy.

All proxies must be received by email CCing the player’s presiding ST at least 24 hours prior to the beginning of the proxy scene. All involved parties, including the VST, must agree that no challenges will be thrown; otherwise the scene must be handled as a hard online proxy instead.

Soft online proxies must include at least:
  • Complete character sheet
  • Full XP log
  • Detailed description of what the character intends to accomplish and how they intend to do so
  • Player’s presiding VST contact information (full name, membership number, and email at a minimum)

Online Proxy, Hard

An online hard proxy occurs when one or more players arrange to have their character present in a domain to engage in a downtime scene involving challenges and possible character death without the players themselves being present. The VST is not required to accept a request to proxy a character into the VSS for online play.

All proxies must be received by email CC’ing the player’s presiding ST at least 24 hours prior to the beginning of the proxy scene.

Hard online proxies must include at least:
  • Complete character sheet
  • Full XP log
  • Specific start date of proxy and either intended end date or duration
  • The travel methods and security precautions (if any) the character is using to enter the domain
  • Detailed description of what the character intends to accomplish and how they intend to do so
  • Feeding instructions for the duration of the proxy
  • Haven arrangements for duration of the proxy.
  • Player’s presiding VST contact information (full name, membership number, and email at a minimum)
Helpful supplemental information:
  • Detailed description of how character tends to interact with mortals, Kindred, and other Supernaturals
  • Detailed description of Personality, Notable Habits, and Appearance
  • List of things your PC will always try to do/never ever do
  • Detailed combat tactics
  • A list of signs for challenges (15-20 is recommended)



In the interest of balancing player agency against time constraints, online hard proxy play will tend to be conducted in a call and response fashion. The initial emails will be processed and results provided to the players for additional input (if required). Upon receipt of all player’s input or if no response is received before the end of the next day, the VST will advance the scene based on any input received from players and using the provided proxy instructions for any players that did not respond, and provide the results. This cycle will be repeated until the scene is resolved. Players may choose to cede agency of their characters entirely to the VST as in a Live Proxy, the VST will run the character based on the proxy instructions provided and provide the results of the scene to the player in one lump response.

Travel Risks

Travel risks in Phoenix will change over time due to player action and story progression, but at this time include but are not limited to:

  • Sabbat activity and influence in a significant portion of the western and southern sections of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
  • An interfaith alliance of Hunters consisting of members of the Catholic, Mormon, and Jewish faiths are active across the metropolitan area.
  • Lupines control the Superstition Mountains and surrounding wilderness to the east of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
  • Active immigration control and drug interdiction efforts by various law enforcement agencies throughout the state.

Experience Award Guidelines

Standard experience awards are as follows:

  • On a month with a single live game that game is worth 8 XP or 16 XP if a character is eligible for AGR.
  • On a month with two live games each game is worth 4 XP or 8 XP if a character is eligible for AGR.
  • Submitting a downtime detailing expenditures of a characters downtime actions and backgrounds (if any) for the month is worth 2 XP or 4 XP if a character is eligible for AGR.
  • Participating in a downtime scene is worth 3 XP or 6 XP if a character is eligible for AGR.

Other Policies

Elder Character Power Base

In an effort to maintain genre-appropriate demographics and portrayal of Elder concepts, players wishing to portray a character of Master Elder generation or a character of Pretender Elder generation of the Elder social class are expected to have two PCs of lesser generation in their service. Emails from the players of those PC’s should be included along with the High Notification application for Elder Generation. There will be a limited number of characters of Pretender Elder generation allowed into play at the Ancilla social class, but to ever claim the benefits of Elder social class they must fulfill this 2 PC fealty requirement. If those PCs die over the course of the chronicle the Elder player is expected to make every effort to obtain the service of other PCs.

Territories

The Phoenix metropolitan area will be divided up into a series of territories, mostly along city boundaries.

Name: Tempe Owner: Clan Toreador Population: ♦♦♦♦● | ○○○ Feeding Difficulty:Influences: University Staff, Radio Stations Security: ●○○○○

Each territory is defined by a block as the one shown above. The block is headed by a title bar that lists the name of the territory as well as the name of the group or individual that is commonly understood to currently control the territory (the ‘commonly understood’ owner and status of a territory may prove to be inaccurate upon close investigation). The rest of the block outlines the four attributes of the territory. The color of the block also helps indicate ownership in a more general way: Blue indicates Camarilla control, Purple indicates control by a ‘Neutral’ faction such as the Anarch Movement or an Independent Clan, Red indicates control by a ‘Hostile’ faction such as the Sabbat, Hunters, or Lupines, Orange indicates that a territory is currently contested, and Grey indicates that the territory either is uncontrolled or nobody has investigated who controls it.

Population

Population is denoted by dots, each of which represents 50,000 people or an appreciable fraction thereof. One dot of population can support a single Neonate (Generation 1) or Ancilla (Generation 2) vampire feeding in the territory, while two dots is required to support each Pretender Elder (Generation 3) or Master Elder (Generation 4) feeding in the territory. If more vampires feed in the territory than the population can support, there will be consequences from the overfeeding. Herd does not remove the population pressure of a vampire, as the members of the Herd and their medical concerns resulting from constant feeding must still be concealed among the general population.

Base population is represented by diamonds; these dots may never be removed. Any population increase is represented by filled circles. Any remaining population increase potential is indicated by empty circles. Population may be increased or decreased by expending the equivalent of 30 points of applicable Backgrounds.

Efforts to increase population are more likely to take the form of targeted development such as opening a blood bank, building a large cattle farm or processing plant, or promoting tourism to increase the transient population in the territory rather than actually increasing the permanent population in the city.

Feeding Difficulty

Feeding difficulty is denoted by dots, which represent the difficulty vampires experience feeding in a particular location based on the prevailing conditions (see BNS V:tM Guide page 308). The level of feeding difficulty may not be increased or decreased by player action at this time.

If a PC expends a number of downtime actions and/or points of the Herd Background that equal or exceed the feeding difficulty modified by any pertinent Clan Weaknesses (increase), Merits (decrease), or Status (decrease), that PC will enter into game with their full blood pool. If a PC does not expend a sufficient number of downtime actions and/or points of the Herd Background, or submits no feeding downtime at all, they will enter game with half their blood pool.

Additional expenditures of downtime actions and/or points of the Herd Background may be required to avoid the notice of any Patrols in the territory (see BNS V:tM Guide page 308) or to avoid negative effects of certain feeding related Flaws.

Casing the Joint

Since Patrolling actions are submitted privately to the ST as part of a PC’s downtime report, and there is no mechanism in the BNS rules to determine who might be patrolling a territory, I am allowing PCs to spend a downtime action ‘casing the joint’, as it were. You will learn exactly who is patrolling the territory and if more patrols come in later in the month, you will have the opportunity to spend additional downtime actions/Herd to avoid the new patrol(s) as well. As with other downtime actions, you may pass this action off to an Ally or Retainer.

Influences

Denotes the close-knit, influential societies most commonly found within the territory. Control over the territory means exclusive access to these individuals, which provides the noted ‘virtual specialization(s)’ to the owner(s) of the territory. These specialties behave exactly as and stack with any Influence specialties the Kindred may already possess (see BNS V:tM Guide page 509-510 & 512) within the boundaries of the VSS, meaning that it is possible for an individual to effect a Level 7 General Influence action as long as the effects of that action remain entirely within the VSS. Influence specializations may not be added, altered, or removed by player action at this time.

Security

Security is denoted by dots and indicates efforts made to secure the territory, whether by a network of homeless people and street vendors reporting anything out of the ordinary to having hacked feeds from the local security cameras. The current level of security is indicated by filled circles, potential security expansion is indicated by empty circles.

Any time the territory is violated, the dots of Security of the territory are compared to the dots of Stealth possessed by the intruding PC or NPC. If the intruder is actively utilizing Obfuscate or a similar supernatural power they add their levels in the power to their dots of Stealth for the purposes of this comparison.

If the Security is less than the intruder’s Stealth, the intruder is not detected unless they do something to draw attention to themselves. If the Security is equal to the intruder’s Stealth, the owner(s) of the territory learn that an intrusion is occurring along with a general whereabouts and description of the intruder (not enough to establish identity without further investigation). If the Security is greater than the intruder’s Stealth, the owner(s) of the territory learn that an intrusion is occurring along with the exact whereabouts and a good description of the intruder.

Security may be increased or decreased by expending the equivalent of 15 points of applicable backgrounds

Moving the Bar

Cities are dynamic things, and in keeping with that it is possible to affect a territory through significant effort, abstracted to the utilization of certain Backgrounds in downtime. Dots of Allies, Influences: Elite, Influence: Underworld and Resources may be expended on a one for one basis to add points toward increasing or decreasing an attribute of a territory. PCs may expend a downtime action to improve a territory; this provides five points plus one point per dot of Fame possessed by the PC (if any) towards increasing or decreasing an attribute of a territory, or they may pass this action off to a Retainer who will contribute a number of points equal to their rating. Backgrounds or downtime actions expended in this manner refresh at the beginning of the following month.

Please note that the Population and Security attributes of territories may be decreased as well as raised, and you may affect any territory, not just one that you own.