Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Setting: Seattle

or, Seattle by Night - Do it Yourself

I am in no way a citizen of Seattle nor have I been there at any point of my life. Yet, when Gm'ing games for World of Darkness, I sometimes turn to America, with a simple reason that it's more feasible to have larger cities there.

The following information might get heavy on World of Darkness setting, and certain terms will not be explained.

There had been quite a few games I ran there, and to say the truth, the city itself only served in a few small, nearly insignificant ways, such as mentioning a few small landmarks, or having a really rough map for the areas.

In truth, the game could have been taking place anywhere in the world, but for a few things.

Seattle, is, or was, theoretically, an Anarch Free State. There is no real evidence behind it, but there is a VtES card that proves me on the right track.

What else do we know - in recent years, Anarch 'rule' has been undermined and stolen from them by immigrants from the east - Asian vampires rushed to take a place of power at first opportunity.

So - the Baron, of course, was to be a Gangrel, thus I ended up with Viktor, loosing his fancy title, as he couldn't really have been the one of old.

This Viktor, was actually somewhat young, eight generation kindred, risen to the post as a result of his actions and not words.

Anarchs tend to do that - Viktor was a Baron born from the time when, fifty years ago, he killed the remaining two primogen who didn't try and leave soon after Anarchs took over.

Then, I though - he's a Gangrel, a clan not widely known for their politics and bookkeeping. So - he had to have help. Some young ventrue, perhaps? Enter Robin Withers.

There was no special choice - I randomized it by the cards, looking for a female Ventrue. Also, I had used the name before, when the cast wasn't set as it is now.

What is Robin's motivation? Power and control, of course - and when it can't be done in Camarilla,  one can try her hands at Anarchs.

Robin held most of the information. Information was power. She held Viktor's faith and all the information that could be found. In truth, she was constantly reminding Victor the things he had to know and things he should do, while remaining, at most, in the shadow.

But there is a degree of control one can have in an Anarch city. Thus, there must have been others who had certain influences in the city. Say, four major gang leaders. Thus, I found them among the cards, too.

Assad - the vampire with a plan, closed off from others, yet innately curious.

Hezekiel - the Brujah, who believed in true Anarch values, and wouldn't live with any power's influence in Seattle.

Taylor - Toreador who believed in letting clanless bunch be somewhat equal with other Annarchs.

Alonzo - one of the older kindred in the city - the Nosferatu lived there for a long time, and it didn't mater who was on top, he was in the city.

Then, there was a question of  outside conflicts - thus, some hunters to serve as a distraction, a powerful estate of Giovanni, and the looming threat of Catathians from Asia. Seattle is a huge port, handling a fourth of all Asian - USA sea trade traffic.

Of course, an outer threat would make Anarchs grow closer? No - that wouldn't be as interesting. Probably the only are Viktor tried to have power, was in the streets and the gangs there. It was a direct confrontation with Giovanni, who hold a substantial business as a National Crime Syndicate.

There was a short forum game even, about Giovanni and their NCS, I gm'ed once. In Seattle.
Thus, Diego Rosallini - the only tie with Giovanni resources.

So - the confrontation had to have been there for quite a while - and it ended in a convenient truce. Baron keeps Anarchs from throwing stones at Giovanni mansion, and Giovanni keep their pawns away from Baron's playground.

A truce, enforced by Joshua Tornopolski - a huge asset of the Baron. A kindred who has some recognition yet seeks stability. Joshua held most of the finances of the Seattle in his hands, and was, however lightly the term can be used with vampires - a friend of Viktor's.

Thus, both Victor and Joshua were for leaving Giovanni alone. The opposition, would be Hezekiel and Taylor - two important names in the city that want every non-anarch gone.

Only careful threading by Robin helped to hold the situation, as well as respect anarchs had for their baron.

Yet, to make things more interesting Robin involved herself with Cathayans, who offered her power and thus, began the fall of Seattle - the state the players are thrown in.

She let the conflict against Giovanni to spark in new light, making a deal with Donatello Giovanni, promising them an ignited conflict between Anarchs, and stopped helping mediate certain matters. Thus, the sudden rise of Hezekiel and Tyler to remove Giovanni.

At that point, any conflict was good, for blood was being expended.

And Cathathians had a plan for that - to bring a city on it's knees - they feed rather differently than usual kindred, thus, targeting the blood supply of an already overpopulated city was a crushing blow.

The only sane man in the situation, Assad, was too focused on himself and his gang, that he didn't warn others enough, about the new arrivals in the city and rising powerbase, that seeped the resources the second a conflict between Anarchs and Giovanni turned into war.

Thus, the Scene is set. Seattle is a place where soon the power balance will fall, where Anarchs, Giovanni and Cathahians are trying to wrestle control from each other, where gang leaders are suddenly finding new information about each other, that  Robin carefully let them know, sparking old and new grudges into full blown fires, and the Baron is blissfully unaware what is about to happen to his domain.

To top it all up, I released six players into that mess.

And what is always the case, it only made things worse.