“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” -Friedrich Nietzsche.
In the lush Louisiana city of carnivals, Catholicism, and commerce, terrible secrets lurk. In New Orleans, vampires make their nightly living off the blood of the living, while werewolves wage their holy war, and ghosts haunt with unresolved passion. The protagonists of our story are the Kindred, undead vampires locked in the War of Ages with their elders. Will they be heroes, mastering their primal urges and writing their own destiny, will they be pawns, or will they fall to the predations of the beast within?
Most vampires exist in a twilight world of gray, where moral decisions and outcomes are neither black or white. The characters are little different, though most have not abandoned their human consciences yet. A rogue cop becomes a mobster. A socialite struggles to regain wealth and status. A park ranger defends her territory. A young man exploits the underworld while seeking to become normal again.
They are all young by the standards of the immortals, but seem marked by destiny. Chosen for their skills and abilities, they have become the troubleshooters of the Kindred Prince and reluctant defenders of the city. If they agree on little else, it is that New Orleans is their city, and they want it to be free. Along with a shapeshifter, who risks her life for the sake of friendship, these five are constantly thrust into the heat of battle and the heart of mysteries.
The game started in 1985, internal time, and we are now in 1996.
The basic setup is that four neonate vampires became the “go to” people, or troubleshooters, for the Toreador Prince of New Orleans. First campaign/season, they defended their city against a Sabbat invasion. This took about a year in game time. Then we skipped forward ten years in the timeline between games for Season 2. The player characters are now trying to get rid of Setite necromancer Marie Laveau (who seeks revenge for them foiling her plan to help restore Set), while at the same time investigating the Satanic murder by a Baali of the Prince’s friend. Sounds pretty pulp-adventurish, doesn’t it? We like a mix of cinematic action, mystery investigation, supernatural goings-on, and reluctantly being dragged into brutual politics. The characters all have their own agendas and are usually busy trying to pursue them, too.
We have a Gangrel, a Ventrue, a Brujah, and a Nosferatu. Recurring NPCs include a Garou Shadow Lord, ally of the Gangrel and architect of the Garou/Kindred non-aggression and mutual aid treaty. There is a powerful Tremere chantry and a strong Toreador presence, but all Camarilla, Independent clans, and bloodlines are welcome in the city. My game stars the vampires, of course, but I consider it to take place in the general World of Darkness. Men in Black from the New World Order (Technocracy) have shown up, there are several Garou caerns around the city (including at least one Black Spiral Dancer stronghold), and vampire hunter and FBI agent Anita Blake (from the Laurell Hamilton books) has allied with the characters before.
We play once a month, usually for six or seven hours with breaks for food, over at a player’s house in Birmingham behind the Summit off I-280. The other four players are two married couples in their early to mid-forties. I’m Mack. I’m 35, currently single, and a lawyer. I loved the old White Wolf system and even interned at the company once, but none of us like the new rules or games. Fortunately, we own a lot of the old books. In particular, I’m a big fan of Mage: the Ascension, and would love to run it again.
New players are welcome! The screening process involves meeting me, making a character, and getting along with the other players. Prior experience with White Wolf is great, but not required. We’ve also been known to play the occasional game of Call of Cthulhu in-between Vampire sessions.