Where You Came From (Charleston)

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Where You Came From (Charleston)

Post by Chris Shaffer on Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:30 am

Charleston, for at least the last century, has been ruled over by the Invictus. Most of that has been led by Prince Justin Flavius, also known as 'Justin the Wise' in some circles (City Status 5, Clan Status 4). Prince Justin is a Mekhet with a particularly dignified streak who claims descent from the Cult of Augurs in Rome. While there aren't a lot of vampires old enough to exactly verify this claim, he's old enough to have met Louis XIV so it's not inconceivable he would personally know an ancestor who could have been part of the Camarilla. He's old enough that feeding from humanity should be particularly difficult, an age where some Princes would consider voluntary torpor to be an option, but so far he seems strong and stable. If he's resorted to drastic measures to feed, nobody who's aware of it is talking.

Justin the Wise has ruled based on tradition with a notably conservative bent, but he's only rarely acted in a way that a rational Kindred would consider unfair. He's shown some favoritism to his Invictus followers but never so much as to be unseemly or so little as to be suspect. Citing certain old traditions he maintains a primogen council made up of the members of the other four major clans. ('Major' in this case, meaning 'not some weird or obscure variety of vampire only known to exist in places like Poughkeepsie')

He's been rather offended at the loss of Matt Carter, the Gangrel envoy sent to Morgantown to establish communications with the Carthians there. One of the few times he's let the other Kindred of his court see him nearly lose control was when the box was first presented to him. But he's regained himself and has tried very hard not to declare war on the Carthians. His restraint is largely due to the fact that he can't prove they're responsible, and just executing them outright would definitely draw a response from Pittsburgh. Despite the presence of the incursion, Morgantown has yet to be properly claimed as a Carthian domain. The city is still technically contested territory, and the best way he can see to settle the affair is to properly claim it in the name of the Invictus and make it safe for all Kindred. (Within reason)

Part of his reasoning is that Charleston's vampire population has reached the size that it's become difficult for neonates to establish a foothold, which is increasing tension in the city. So this project serves as a release valve to let those Kindred find a place of their own. And as someone who just wants the best for the Kindred in his domain, his leathery heart would actually be somewhat warmed by the idea of vampires of his domain being able to rise up and claim their own city. Sure, at first Morgantown would be a vassal state of Charleston led by a Regent rather than a Prince, but he considers the possibility of an independent, allied Morgantown to be an achievable and desirable goal.

His sire, Philippus Flavius, lives in Washington DC and makes regular social visits to Charleston by private plane. Justin also has at least one childe publicly residing in Charleston.

(If this were a movie, Prince Justin the Wise would be played by Sasha Roiz, currently known as Captain Sean Renard on Grimm.)

Helping him with his end of this project is Francis Sherman, Nosferatu Primogen and Seneschal of Charleston. (City Status 4, Clan Status 3) He does a lot of the heavy lifting for Justin and in particular is the one with the job of doing any logistics work with sorting out issues from outside the city. He's going to be your point of contact with the vampires back in Charleston and is also going to be establishing a network of safehouses and such to better ensure safe passage between the cities. Francis himself is a couple of centuries old and his cantankerous demeanor hides a genuinely helpful nature. Like Justin, he also wants to see the city thrive and grow but he's more interested in doing the work than making the decisions.

(If this were a movie, Francis Sherman would be played by Harry Dean Stanton with white hair)

Charleston's other Primogen consist of:

  • Charles Beaumont, Gangrel Primogen and Bishop of the Lancea et Sanctum (City Status 3, Clan Status 3) -- A little over a century old and often critical of Justin's decisions, this firebrand doesn't go off on his passionate rants as much as he used to but when he does his hackles visibly raise and his already-unkempt long brown hair becomes like a lion's mane. Prince Justin is not as friendly to the Lancea et Sanctum as most Invictus Princes (for reasons known only to him) but he does show them proper respect, attends Midnight Mass, and accepts Charles' counsel. They wouldn't pretend to be friends by any stretch of the imagination if nothing else he has served well as a Devil's Advocate on the Primogen Council. Charles was the sire of the late Matt Carter.
  • Philosopher Victoria Kostner, Ventrue Primogen and Mystery-Sworn of the Ordo Dracul (City Status 3, Clan Status 4) -- Victoria is a social powerhouse, known more for her talents at leadership than occult research. She's the sort that gets put in charge so the more intellectual types can focus on their pursuits. So she's not the most powerful Dragon in the city, but she's the local face of the Order and makes sure things get done. She's of average build with short, black hair and blue eyes, and is average height. In private, she's a harsh taskmaster of the Order known for wrangling neonates and not taking any guff. In public, she's everyone's best friend who's at least willing to hear you out and pass things along to people more qualified to understand it than she is.
  • Mark Rook, Daeva Primogen of the Invictus and Sheriff of Charleston (City Status 3, Clan Status 2) -- Francis is Prince Justin's extra pair of hands, but Mark is the bludgeon they wield. Mark is the lawkeeper and enforcer of the Invictus. His black hair is short, almost buzzed, and he carries himself with a demeanor that suggests military but the fashionable suits he wears suggest otherwise. His one concession to vanity is keeping up with human fashions. His build and face suggest that he was embraced right when the physical effects of age were starting to take hold. He has his Hounds to help him keep order, but if someone threatens the city or the Primogen Council or Prince Justin he makes a big show of taking the case himself and the offender simply vanishes. Sure, a dedicated investigator could figure out exactly what he did or where he did it, but to the rank and file it almost looks like a magic act.

Other consequential Kindred of the city are as follows:

  • Cassandra Bering, House Flavius, Mekhet of the Invictus (City Status 3, Clan Status 4) -- Cassandra is Prince Justin's childe, embraced during the turmoil of the 1920's. She's served the Invictus loyally manipulating the state government through a particular genius for blackmail and spying. Through an elaborate spy network and a grasp of game theory, she knows the lives and schedules of local senators well enough that if one of them belches she can guess what it smells like before anyone can express disgust.
  • Harold "Harry" Harkness, Unaligned Gangrel (City Status 4) -- Harold is probably the most influential Kindred in the city without a title or a covenant. At different points in his past he's claimed membership in the Carthians, the Lancea et Sanctum (though he learned no Theban Sorcery, as far as anyone knows), and the Invictus. He's made a big show of publicly eschewing covenant membership since the 40's -- which naturally makes everyone wonder who he's really working for. Harold is a vicious businessman who moved to town back in the 20's. He's now got a stranglehold on the companies that transport coal out of and through Charleston, which gives him enough influence over the mortal world that Justin couldn't dislodge him from the city if he wanted to. He reportedly commands wealth beyond the dreams of avarice but has never shown any actual interest in interacting with vampire politics except on a purely mercenary basis. His opinion is often sought out, as he's good at getting things done, but if he actually interferes in the affairs of other vampires it's either for his own personal benefit or the benefit of someone paying him to do so. The more powerful vampires in the city almost never deal with him and he's mostly sought out by neonates and ancillae for their own power games. He's also been known to embrace childer and leave them to their own devices with almost no support from him.
  • Lindsey Dragomir, Mekhet Kogaion of the Ordo Dracul (City Status 3) -- Lindsey is the reclusive leader of the local Ordo Dracul. Uncharacteristically rough and tumble for a Mekhet, she's set herself up as a drug baron among the poorer human populace, testing alchemical mixtures on customers and seeking volunteers willing to join her experiments in exchange for what they need to survive. In times of desperation, though, she's been known to prowl through the city to capture human victims (or vampiric trespassers) for experimentation. She gives most of her orders to the rest of her covenant through Victoria and is reputed to be a couple of centuries old. She dedicates time and power and energy to advancing the sciences of the Ordo Dracul. She's been known to Embrace and indoctrinate her most promising subjects, but more than a few revenants found in the city are rumored to come from her labs as well.

If someone wants to play a childe of one of these established characters, that will require permission from me and purchase of the following Merits, representing the amount of investment they put into you or will require in a childe. This takes into account any relevant caps on these Merits. I will have in my notes what Skills (or Resources rating) each theoretical Mentor can provide if someone just wants to take them as a teacher. If you want to pick your Mentor's own contributions and situation, we'll work to create a new Mentor specifically for your character. Some of these characters, with the right backstory, might even be True Friends or could be the liege for one or more Invictus Oaths.

Where appropriate, dots of Mentor granted by purchasing the Invested Merit can count towards these minimums. Just keep in mind that as per the Merit's description, your relationship with your sire can be dependent on your standing in the Invictus. Screwing up can result in that bridge being burned.

  • Prince Justin the Wise (Mekhet): Mentor 3, Clan Status 1, Dynasty Membership 1, must be Invictus (Lineage is also recommended)
  • Seneschal Francis Sherman (Nosferatu): Mentor 2, Clan Status 1, Invested
  • Bishop Charles Beaumont (Gangrel): Mentor 2, Inspiring or Anointed, must be Lancea et Sanctum
  • Philosopher Victoria Kostner (Ventrue): Mentor 2, Iron Will
  • Sheriff Mark Rook (Daeva): Mentor 2, Lineage
  • Cassandra Bering, House Flavius (Mekhet): Mentor 2, Clan Status 1, Lineage (Dynasty Membership 1 is also recommended)
  • Harry Harkness (Gangrel): Lineage, unavailable as a Mentor
  • Lindsey Dragomir (Mekhet): Mentor 1, Bloodhound or Distinguished Palate, must be Ordo Dracul

Last edited by Chris Shaffer on Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:53 am; edited 1 time in total
Chris Shaffer

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Re: Where You Came From (Charleston)

Post by Chris Shaffer on Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:44 am

It's occurred to me that as much as I've talked about the vampires back in Charleston, I haven't talked about the city itself much. So to lay down a few basic things to know...

Charleston's what the Invictus would term a traditional city. It's led by a Prince who has a Seneschal right hand and a Sheriff. The Sheriff has Hounds that serve him. Prince Justin regularly holds court at one of the various Elysiums around the city. Attendance isn't mandatory but it's made clear that people will notice if you don't show up.

Justin's also a big fan of public debate to sort out interpersonal issues or he makes a policy decision or some such that provokes big arguments. That said, such debates are particularly rare because a lot of Kindred would rather sneak around and stab each other in the back than make a big show of airing dirty laundry.

His rules are as follows:

  • No killing without permission. If you absolutely need to see someone dead, you're expected to challenge them to a traditional Invictus one-on-one trial by combat called the Monomacy. These things are public and to death or torpor. (They're also somewhat rare.)
  • No embracing without permission. Justin will insist that before a vampire embraces, they justify their choice to his satisfaction. If an embrace happens without permission in a moment of weakness, the sire is now justifying why they and their childe should be allowed to stay in the city.
  • If you catch someone breaking the Masquerade, it's your duty to subdue them or report them to the Sheriff. The perpetrator is captured and usually publicly beaten at one of the gatherings. Justin isn't one for cruel torture, but if he has to make an example out of someone he goes for spectacle. We're talking humiliation and sometimes creative wounding the perpetrator isn't allowed to heal for a week.
  • Someone breaking the Masquerade has exactly one warning. If the perpetrator screws up again and Justin hears about it before they've been captured, he calls an immediate Blood Hunt. This is basically what it sounds like -- the vampire makes a run for it while every vampire in the city is expected to help hunt them down. If the perpetrator dies in the process, then so be it. But Justin prefers to have them brought back for a public execution. Again, such executions aren't cruel but they are bloody and painful. And again, attendance isn't mandatory but if you aren't there and dressed in your metaphorical Sunday best word will get around.

Now, as for how this effects your characters... it doesn't. Not directly, anyhow. It's here just to present the sort of culture you came from. Justin respects that Morgantown right now is sort of 'frontier town' and that shit happens. That said, he really really hopes he doesn't have to find out about anyone from the Morgantown contingent taking advantage of the distance to go nuts. But he's maintaining absolute zero tolerance on intentional Masquerade breaches. Accidents are one thing and he expects you to clean those up. But he also knows how tempting it could be to stage a deliberate breach and pin it on one of the Carthians or whomever else may be in town. If he hears about that happening, he will have Sheriff Rook bring you back.
Chris Shaffer

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