Where You're Going and Why (Morgantown)

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Where You're Going and Why (Morgantown)

Post by Chris Shaffer on Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:36 am

Welcome to Morgantown

The version of Morgantown seen in the 'Morgantown Project' game is very much like the real one. It's a little darker, everything's a little more corrupt, there's a little more gang violence, as you should all know. The students are about the same.

From the perspective of the vampires, Morgantown has never been a terribly popular city and nobody's entirely sure why. There are a variety of theories. Morgantown has, historically, had a relatively strong (if hilariously unstable) presence of human defenders. But that's never stopped anyone before. Until a few years ago, the next city over was ruled all but openly by a particularly savage and vicious bloodline (more on that below). But these sorts of vampires show up everywhere. There are stories of bizarre and unknowable monsters, like the 'City Lions' -- mountain lions somehow able to cloak themselves to hide among humanity -- but these things are found all over the Appalachians.

Morgantown has often been home to a couple of vampires at a time, and it's been a popular stop to pull off the highway and feed before moving on, but it's never had much of a stable population. That could be changing, with the recent (as of July, 2014) arrival of a group of Carthians from Pittsburgh looking to set down stakes and make the city their own. What have they found that makes Morgantown suddenly so attractive? This is one of the reasons why Prince Justin Flavius of Charleston sent an envoy to open the lines of communication and offer the city's assistance on whatever little project the Carthians have planned (in order to help preserve the Masquerade, of course). The envoy, a Gangrel named Matt Carter, met with the Carthians and stayed in town at their request while they considered a proper response.

His remains were shipped back to Charleston in a cardboard box.

The Carthians claim no knowledge of what happened to him -- as far as they know, he left town. His vehicle never left the hotel where he was staying.

This Is Where You Come In

Your mission is NOT to investigate Matt's death, however. He knew the risks, and his sacrifice has proven that something is going on in Morgantown. Something potentially dangerous. Morgantown is now considered a threat to Charleston's security and safety and Prince Justin wishes to pre-emptively colonize it. This is not intended to be the opening salvos of a war. The Invictus is not attacking the Carthians and Charleston is not attacking Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh makes no claims on Morgantown just yet and Charleston's making a move before they decide to do so.

If the truth behind Matt's destruction can be found, so much the better. But the purpose of this excursion is to claim Morgantown as a vassal state in Charleston's name. Once the Kindred of Charleston have solidified control over the city, one of you (and not necessarily one of the Invictus) will be appointed Regent to control it in Prince Justin's name. If the city is proven to be able to stand on its own two feet, then the Regent shall become Prince and Morgantown will become the sole province of the vampires living there.

(If I can take a step completely OOC for a moment, I'll set down ahead of time that Prince Justin hasn't killed one of his own followers or anything in order to spark a conflict and give himself an excuse to conquer Morgantown. Some characters may speculate ICly that this is all a 'false flag' operation, and that's your right if you wish to roleplay your character as such. But I'll just say now that it's not the case, to keep anyone from wasting their time building a character who exists for the sole purpose of proving this conspiracy theory. But if you want to have your character focused on Matt Carter's death, that's cool. Just know where things stand out of character.)

A Brief History of Morgantown

As previously mentioned, Morgantown's history is not substantially different from that of the real world. There's been the occasional bursts of what the media refers to as gang violence ripping through the city. From the perspective of the supernaturally-aware denizens of the World of Darkness, however, the smoke rises from very different fires.

(Stepping completely OOC again: The Morgantown Project takes place in the continuity of a game I ran some years ago and some of these events describe things that happened on and off-camera from that period. While these historical events may or may not be relevant in-character, they're still part of the history of the setting so NPCs may at least refer to them from time to time. Player characters might have reason to be aware of this as well.)

Fall of 2008 saw the massacre of a local scholarly organization centered on Appalachian history called the Mountain Line Preservation Society. They'd spent the next couple of years rebuilding, and this rebuilding period saw an uptick in monster hunter activity.

In the late spring of 2009, a number of draugr were turned loose in Morgantown by vampires in Fairmont. They ripped through the city, causing chaos and carnage until the local hunters and a couple of local supernaturals were able to put them down. If it had gone on much longer Charleston would have stepped in, but it never came as far as that. The following Halloween saw similar violence in the nearby city of Fairmont as other hunters descended upon the city in retaliation.

Spring and summer of 2011 also played host to scattered violence on the outskirts of town, starting with what can only be described as a small earthquake early on in the year focused on Woodburn Circle (right before WVU had all that work done on Woodburn Hall in real life). But what the news called a gang war broke out over the course of that summer, leading to the destruction of an office building downtown and a martial arts dojo on Beechurst before the Department of Homeland Security brought in the 'domestic terrorists' responsible for much of the carnage.

Morgantown's also seen its share of serial killers, like the Stigmata Killer -- a man who slept with women and then killed them by chewing their wrists open, who was later captured by the Vanguard Serial Crimes Unit. Morgantown's even birthed at least two serial killers, like the Night Terror Killer (believed dead, following a gunfight in Evansdale), and the Inquisitor (still on the loose). There have also been rumors of a supernatural vigilante in the area, but those rumors have dropped off  in recent years.

Aside from that the last couple of years haven't played out substantially differently than real life from a uniquely-vampiric perspective. The most notable thing is that Morgantown's regular vampire population, which was always kind of sparse, has started quietly leaving right before the Carthians set up shop. None of them have come to Charleston so nobody knows for sure if they're rats escaping a sinking ship or something else. If there are any vampires outside the Carthian sect present in Morgantown, Prince Justin is completely unaware of it.

Things have been awfully quiet on the monster hunter front as well. The only thing that particularly stands out there is a late-night radio show hosted by Mike "The Man at Midnight" Prescott (portions of which also get podcasted) wherein he regales his audience with tales of the supernatural -- often with call-in portions to encourage the audience to contribute. It's always casually wandered right up to the edge of a threat to the Masquerade but as a potential source of news it's been valuable enough that some suspect it's actually some creative vampire's contribution to the Cacophony.

Morgantown does have its weird, supernatural hot spots however. For instance, Woodburn Hall has a reputation as being a nexus of spirit activity. Until the recent patch of uncomfortable quiet, though, hunters have been known to use it as a meeting place so it's rare that a vampire gets close enough to dig into why. And according to those spiritually-inclined (Three or more dots of Occult, for instance), evenings of football or basketball games tend to agitate some variety of fire spirit. In the winters, people sometimes vanish on Grafton Road. Empty cars are found by the side of the road and if the owners are found they're long dead of hypothermia. Officially, the city says that dangerous bits of the road are trapping cars and the owners are wandering off to look for help and just don't make it.

Surrounding Areas
(Note that this section is for establishing details and such that may or may not be relevant later. It's not an invitation to go romping around other cities looking for adventures.)

Fairmont, historically, has been persona non grata among civilized vampires for a couple of reasons. Until a few years ago, a group of vampires of the savage and vicious Oberloch line set up shop in Fairmont. Oberlochs have traditionally avoided any but the most rural areas so for a bunch of them to take over a small city is almost unpredecedented. They kept the city in their thrall by establishing control over the hospital and nursing homes, ready to start killing innocent people by the dozens if any locals in the know tried anything. On Halloween of 2009, a small army of vampire hunters from outside the city descended upon Fairmont to try and dislodge the Oberloch infection. Many innocent people died and now the city has a reputation for hauntings. But between the emboldened hunters and the ghosts, Fairmont is not a safe place for vampires by any stretch of the imagination.

Clarksburg and Bridgeport are home to a group of insular vampires of the Sangiovanni line. They don't play well with outsiders and they tend to be more than a little creepy so the cities are given a wide berth.

Washington, PA has a couple of scattered vampires but nothing resembling any sort of city structure.

Pittsburgh, as has been established elsewhere, is Carthian territory with some sort of representative democracy led by Provost Jeff Rosenberg. The Ordo Dracul maintain an academy there as well, and in the few times Charleston and Pittsburgh have had official communication the Ordo Dracul have served rather well as intermediaries (not just because they travel well but because they're often politically neutral).

Wheeling is recognized as a center of sin and vice and tales of demonic possession and activity are rather common there.
Chris Shaffer

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