Friday, 24 April 2020

Vampire the Masquerade V5 - Session Fifty Seven - The Southern Solution (Part Three)

I'm currently running a Vampire the Masquerade chronicle using the 5th Edition rule-set for a small group of fellow role-players. These are the chronicles of their adventures.
Our chronicle is set in Los Angeles and features a small group of Camarilla agents sent into the 'Free States' to bring them back under Camarilla control. After a year of plotting, the coterie now controls the three North-Eastern Baronies and has successfully weakened several others. Unfortunately other Barons have used the chaos they have created to consolidate their own positions.
The now obligatory warning bit - Unlike my other RPG write-ups this one will contain swearing, sexual references and other references that might offend. If you can't tell the difference between real peoples opinions and grown-ups role-playing predators who crave blood then this probably won't be for you. I've also used actual photographs to represent some characters which I'll give acknowledgements to at the end if I've any idea who they are.
The introduction to this campaign, the first story and all the other parts can be found at the following links and are in chronological order. If you'd prefer a summary of each session rather than read everything then there's a more detailed link page HERE as well as links to the first episode of each story in the blog sidebar.
Chronicle One - 'Infiltrate L.A.' 
Welcome to L.A. - Introductory Session
Story One - 'Three Murders' - Part OneTwo, ThreeFour and Five
Interlude Session - One
Story Two - 'The Pasadena Problem' - Part OneTwoThree, and Four
Solo Session - 'The Neillson Library'
Story Two Continued- 'The Pasadena Problem' - Part FiveSixSeven and Eight
Story Three - 'Becoming Baron' - Part OneTwoThreeFour and Five
Solo Session - 'The Gather'
Story Three Continued - 'Becoming Baron' - Part SixSeven and Eight
Chronicle Two - 'Foothold L.A.' 
Solo Session - 'Hostile Takeover'
Story Four - 'Countdown' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Five - 'The Missing Chantry' - Part OneTwoThreeFour and Five
Solo Session - 'The Anaheim Assassination'
Story Six - 'A Meeting of Barons' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Seven - 'The Carmelita Situation' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Eight - 'The Blount Sisters' - Part One and Two
Story Nine - 'Blood Money' - Part OneTwoThreeFour, Five and Six
Story Ten - 'Anathema' - Part One and Two
Story Eleven - 'Predators and Prey' aka 'The Blount Sisters' - Part Three
Story Twelve - 'Aftermath' - Part One and Two
Story Thirteen - 'The Messiah Complex' - Part OneTwoThree and Four
Chronicle Three - 'Incursion L.A.'
Story Fourteen - 'The Rant'
Story Fifteen - 'Ties of Blood' - Part One and Two
Solo Session - 'A Gathering of Roses'
'The Southern Solution' - Part One and Two

The PC's
Player controlled characters
Michael Tomassio - Toreador, 'Baron of the North East'
Vincent 'Vin' Ghast - Brujah, 'Constable'
Dr Daniel Matthews - Banu Haqim, 'Spymaster'
Hope Romero - Gangrel, 'Census Taker'
Mr Hertz - Nosferatu, 'Seneschal'
The SPC's
Storyteller controlled player allies
Priya Haynes - Gangrel, 'Sweeper'
Carla Doyle - Gangrel, 'Sweeper'
Orla Riviera - Gangrel, 'Sweeper'
Rosalind Perkins -  Thin-blood, Alchemist

The player characters stats and backgrounds can be found HERE should any-one be interested, but be warned that the page is usually several stories ahead of the most recent write-up and may contain some spoilers. There's also some minor 'house-rules' HERE that have occurred as we went along.

As I have written out introductions and dialogue for certain NPC's and some location descriptions I'll post these more or less as I wrote them so they'll be in a 'reading to the group' style and they'll also be in blue so you can tell them apart from the more traditional write-up sections and occasionally an obscure Premonition will turn up in purple. If I think something needs a bit of out of character explanation then those will get a storytellers note that will helpfully be in red. Anything covered via player handouts will also be in blue as they're written in the same style as introductions and the like. Where particular NPC's have a mention in a faction profile you will be able to reach it by clicking on their name beneath their picture.

Michael Tomassio - Toreador
Baron of the North East
Michael has been asked to serve as a neutral negotiator to help those effected by the recent final deaths of several significant kindred in the Southern domains of L.A. to reach as amicable a solution as possible.

Michael has taken on the task at Barons Allison Maller and Steve Booth's request though the idea has the broad approval of the other barons and pseudo-barons within the city.

Allison Maller and Steve Booth have both requested that any meeting take place in a Pasadena Elysium due to Michael's barony being unconnected and therefore neutral and due to his past record as a facilitator.

Vincent Ghast - Brujah
Enforcer for the North East Baronies
Well aware that this could be make or break for his own reputation and status as one of the premier movers and shakers within the city of angels, Michael has arranged early meetings with all significant parties in order to have advance notice of just what each of the baronies hopes to gain and is willing to sacrifice to facilitate those gains. The rest of his coterie have been tasked with ensuring that any potential security implications are also investigated. Vin's reputation for violence should be enough to put off any idea's of a direct attack and Daniel has been looking into any more subtle attempts at disruption.

Hank Boyd, the Crypts Sons Baron and Marius 'The Fixer' Walker's intentions have already been ascertained and the aid of Nine's 'Den Mother' Damsel has been sought to add weight to any decisions made. Michael's hope is that the presence of Damsel will help keep the various Brujah led factions from causing too much trouble, given her association with Nines Rodriguez.

Scene Thirteen - Murder by Proxy
Steve Booth - Brujah
Baron of Long Beach
Daniel was of the opinion that Michael's rejection of Marius's offer to assassinate Michael Broadhurst, the Ventrue who was using Geduld's former home as a base of operation was somewhat hasty. Broadhurst was likely to be able to unite the remaining elements of David Gedulds barony given his position as David's Seneschal but without him the rest could be bought into line. As usual, Daniel had some ideas about how to get the job done while still allowing his baron to maintain both his humanity and a measure of plausible deniability.

Gaining a meeting with Baron Booth was easy enough given the circumstances and Michael laid out his proposal to the Long Beach baron.

"In light of the ongoing hostilities, I'm hosting the meeting that you and Allison requested. You are obviously invited as without you their would be little chance of a resolution." Steve smiled at this as Michael continued. "For the duration of the meeting, the location will be considered Elysium..." Steve and his chief enforcer Hector exchanged a look at the use of a term 'Elysium' as it was generally associated with the Camarilla, but as broadly speaking there was no real Anarch equivalent, they let the point go without comment. " there will be no use of powers, carrying of personal armament that might be considered excessive and a measure of restraint will be necessary given the no doubt lively nature of the subject matter." Steve agreed, though as his 'muscle' were all either Gangrel or Brujah, not carrying weapons meant very little in the way of reducing their aggressive capabilities.

Damsel - Brujah
'Den Mother' of Nines Crew
"I should also make you aware that Marius will be there, given the number of Gangrel that will be effected by the situation..." neither Hector or Steve seemed surprised by this though it was possible that Hector, as a Gangrel, had already been informed. " will Damsel who has agreed to act as an arbiter should their be any Brujah specific issues that I haven't considered and as a representative of Nines." Michael then paused before relaying the piece of information that he expected to be a bone of contention. "It has also been necessary to invite Michael Broadhurst as he now represents a considerable portion of Geduld's remaining forces..."

"No fucking way..." was Steve's predictable response.

Storytellers Note - Never have an NPC with the same first name as a PC, it's very confusing when you try and do session write-ups...

"Unfortunately I see no other way of reaching a resolution." Continued Michael. "He is an involved party and considering the access he has to the resources of former Baron David Gedulds barony, a decision without his agreement would be meaningless..." Steve's anger was obvious to all present and it began to look like this would be an insurmountable stumbling block. Daniel fortunately had a solution.

Hector O'Neill - Gangrel
Long Beach 'Sweeper'
"I also feel like I should point out..." interrupted Daniel. "...that once Mr Broadhurst arrives at the meeting he will be considered under the same protection as all others present..." Daniel made eye contact with the Gangrel enforcer Hector as he emphasised the word 'arrives'.

As Steve was about to protest once more, Hector walked over and placed his hand upon his barons shoulder. "I'm sure we can handle that, given the importance of the situation." Steve turned to Hector, noting the uncharacteristic smile upon his face, he seemed to realise that he was missing something but trusted him enough to accept his council.

As they parted ways, Daniel asked for a moment to talk to Hector. Once out of their respective barons earshot, Daniel passed on some information that he had obtained through his ghouls observations. Firstly he let Hector know that Broadhurst would be no doubt travelling in the armoured cars favoured by David Geduld.

He also reminded him that being of the Ventrue clan he would be both resilient and dangerous to make eye contact with. Finally, he handed the Gangrel several maps that he'd made based on the observations of his own surveillance teams showing travel routes from their base that Broadhurst's people seemed to most commonly use. Having done all he could to ensure that Michael Broadhurst never made it to the discussion, he rejoined his baron and they returned to Pasadena to prepare for the meeting.

Interlude - No Chances Taken
Michael's bar and meeting place had been closed for a 'private function' in order to ensure that no unfortunate mortals got in the way of proceedings.

He also through local contacts, bribes and some direct purchases, gained access to a number of private parking areas, local parking areas and patches of wasteland so each of the primary visiting factions had the minimum of interaction before the meeting began. All four of his Gangrel sweepers were allocated patrol areas covering approaches into Michael's domain and Daniel had positioned his own ghouls and teams at strategic locations that he deemed vulnerable.

Vin was to be stationed at the door in order to ensure that there were no unauthorised guests and that the authorised ones weren't carrying any inappropriate ordinance. He had also deployed his small army of beggars, bums, prostitutes and other street people with orders to look out for anything unusual or worthy of note and relay the information to him without delay. The Apostles, the criminal gang under the control of the Nosferatu, Mr Hertz were also saturating the area though only the senior gang lieutenants were aware of the true nature of the occasion.

Storytellers Note - The amount of time my players put into preventative measures makes me think that I must perhaps, occasionally, maybe, be a bit of a bastard... 

After three days of preparations, it was finally the night of the historic meeting to decide the fate of the Southern baronies.

Interlude - One Less Guest
Hector began to have suspicions about Daniel's exact role within Michael's organisation as their target took the exact route to the meeting that he had deemed most likely and was indeed using one of the now deceased Geduld's armoured vehicles.

Harvey, who ran the docks for Steve, had provided them with ammunition that he had acquired from some dubious smuggler whose loads he had facilitated on their quite illegal journey through his area of responsibility. Harvey had assured them that the term 'armoured' was somewhat relative and that these particular bullets would make short work of anything less well defended than an actual tank and had proven the fact for them in a quite corner of the dockyard.

After a dozen kindred, ghouls and blood-bonded mortals had riddled the vehicle with gunfire, Hector himself checked to ensure that Michael Broadhurst had met his final death. He then sent a message to Daniel to let him know that their would be one less guest at the meeting.

Scene Fourteen - The Fate of the South
Michael had added several other kindred to the guest list as he was concerned that their absence from such a significant meeting might be taken as a slight, especially as some had rivals who would also be attending. Each kindred attending had been allowed to bring two associates with them, either bodyguards, advisers or a mix of the two as they deemed necessary.

Los Angeles - South Coast at Night
Storytellers Note - There was a lot of dialogue in this bit and as I was being seven different barons, I didn't have time to note it all down. Therefore some of this section will by necessity be summarised.

As expected, the primary difficulty was that all kindred present would no doubt want to expand their domains into the newly vacant areas. Fortunately, Michael's advance meetings had given him a fair idea of how far each baron was willing to push and he had already prepared a viable mental map of a potential new set of borders. Now he just had to make all present think that it was their own idea.

Once all were seated, Michael began.

"Thank you for all taking the time to attend, though it appears we have one absence. Mr Broadhurst, who should be representing the former barony of David Geduld has apparently chosen to abstain..." Daniel and Hector exchanged a look across the table as they were both well aware that the missing kindred had met his final death less than an hour previously. "...he will therefore have to accept the decision we make or face the full force of those present should he object." There were no voices of dissent, which Michael took as agreement.

Nines Rodriguez - Brujah
"Damsel, of Nines crew, has agreed to act as an independent observer and to assist with any problems unique to clan Brujah as in my opinion she represents many of the best ideals of the clan. She is also doing so with Nines approval."

Nines was considered by many Anarchs to be the spiritual successor to Jeremy MacNeil and were also aware that this gave Damsel considerable influence. A few of the more politically aware of the kindred present elevated Michael in their opinions at this subtle but clever ploy. Several were also aware that Nines had some issues with Michael due to his hand in changing several fundamentals of how the Anarch Free States worked. Including one of his most trusted followers in the meeting was no doubt meant as an 'olive branch' of sorts.

Allison Maller who had been accompanied by the Gangrel Zakaria and a Caitiff named Aaron who seemed to be some sort of adviser, put forward her opinion that an expansion into Santa Ana by her was entirely justified as she had been the primary target of Amethyst before her final death. The fact that the expanded territory would no doubt attract new followers to her reduced forces was also a factor.

Harvey Caplan - Ventrue
Runs the Docks for Baron Booth
Steve Booth had bought Hector and Bilal, both sweepers of considerable talent with him. This was somewhat of a surprise ass these were both Gangrel and the majority of his own gang were Brujah, like himself. Baron Booth wanted control of both docks, effectively gaining control of the entire Southern coast of L.A. He did however state that he was willing to surrender some of the northerly portions of his domain to his neighbours as long as they agreed to his terms. This was actually far less of a compromise than it seemed as Steve didn't really care about anything much past the beach anyway. He also stated his intention to put Harvey in charge of both ports and their dockyards, acting in his name.

Both Hank Boyd, Baron of the Crypts Sons and Gloria Martinez, Baron of Whittier gained significant territory from Steve's proposal so were obviously in favour. Louis Fortier could also see that this would enable him to take over a significant portion of David Gedulds former domain of Torrance with little or no opposition. Jesus Ramirez, however wasn't happy about the move claiming that Steve having control of both docks was too much power. All present of course knew that his real objection was to his rivals in the Crypt's Sons from gaining a larger domain. This was countered by the assertion that his ally Gloria gained also. The fact that this didn't reassure him, led some credence to rumours that he and Gloria's relationship was beginning to sour.

Mary - Bahari, Gangrel
'Mother' of the Children of the Wolf
It was at this point that Marius raised the issue of the Status of the several packs of Gangrel whose status was currently in dispute. He himself was accompanied by his childe 'Mary', a known Bahari who was uncharacteristically fully clothed for the event and his ghoul Victoria who was there despite the fact that all attendees were meant to be kindred. Michael, who was used to Marius being deliberately contrary for no good reason had let the breach of etiquette go, though many others present were clearly not happy.

The detailed Camarilla files that Michael had obtained through his contact Carmelita Neillson had stated quite clearly, just how dangerous Marius's childer and eldest ghouls really were so he saw no need in making enemies over such a trivial point. While he was musing, Marius began to speak.

"The former Gangrel under the command of Amethyst, now answer to Vinicius, last member of Hugo Snyders mercenaries. Given the proposal that Baron Booth takes control of the South coast then perhaps they could make themselves useful as border guards?" Steve raised an eyebrow and looked to Hector who visibly shrugged. It seemed like he was deferring to his barons decision. Without waiting for any confirmation he continued. "Perhaps Kellan and Logan's pack, currently dug into the Madrona Marshes could be given a similar offer?"

Louis Fortier - Ventrue
Baron of West Los Angeles
"Or perhaps..." Interrupted, Baron Fortier. " could actually take some responsibility yourself for a change?" All attention then turned to Louis. "We're all aware that your conditions for agreeing to all the current proposals is an expansion of your territory, effectively giving you control over what was formerly known as 'The Barony of the Angels'. If you wish the domain of a Baron then it's about time you accepted some of the negative aspects of the role..."

"Given their religious preferences..." Replied Marius. " seems far more reasonable if my childe Mary was to accept such a role?" The consensus of those present was however firmly on the side of having Marius be held accountable for the status of these Gangrel packs. He was clearly not happy about the decision but could see no way out of it without having to back down on his other demands. Reluctantly he agreed, no doubt making mental notes on just who exactly was now newly added to his shitlist.

Apparently happy that his prompting had inconvenienced Marius, Fortier changed the subject once more. "I have been in contact with Isaac Abrams to discuss the potential issues should Marius's borders move and there be some shifting of my own boundaries..." This definitely focused everyone's attention. The two richest barons in the city making private arrangements was a worrying threat to the balance of power. "...and I'm sure he would agree with my assessment that the agreement we seem to be reaching is the best that we can hope for under these unusual circumstances." There was a vague hint of threat in Fortier's tone that all present picked up upon. "It does of course mean that i will need to be given a free hand when it comes to dealing with those Brujah and Ventrue held up in Palos Verdes Estates that will need to be...removed...before I expand Southwards into the North of what was once the barony of Torrance."

Los Angeles - The New Borders
"Michael Broadhurst has met his final death so there are now only Brujah to be concerned with." Stated Steve Booth, matter of factly. Daniel tried his best to look as surprised as everyone else...

Storytellers Note - Much of this was handled via roleplay though I also asked for some dice rolls, when Charisma, Manipulation or Insight would have been necessary to accomplish certain parts of the negotiations. Daniel also made several rolls to profile some of the kindred present while Mr Hertz had several rolls related to finance as he influenced proceedings through certain financial and business manipulations.

"I have taken the liberty of having prepared a revised map of the potential new borders for you all to peruse." said Michael as he was handed a map of Los Angeles by Mr Hertz. "Modified of course based on our various agreements reached today..."

He then slid several copies of the document prepared by the Nosferatu into the centre of the meeting table for all present to give their approval of.

"I do however have a small additional request to make..." Michael continued. "...I would like the opportunity to speak to the remainder of Gedulds people in Palos Verdes before any action is taken against them. Perhaps I, with Damsel's assistance, can persuade them to move on of their own free will. Enough kindred vitae has already been spilt over these territories. I would like to do my best to ensure that no more needed be added to the count..."

"I don't see why not..." replied Baron Fortier.

Scene Fifteen - Torrance's Last
Daniel wasn't confident about the likelihood of a peaceful resolution but knew that Michael couldn't be dissuaded from at least making the attempt. Vin had been instructed to stay in their vehicle as his reputation for brutal violence had a tendency to start as many fights as it prevented. They did however want him handy in case trouble did occur. Vin himself didn't seem to care either way.

Shayna Moody - Brujah
Daniel was observing their surroundings to see if anything had changed from when he had done reconnaissance of the area previously. The compound seemed just the same, though quieter and less populated. He was also armed to the teeth, just in case.

As Michael, Daniel and Damsel approached the gate to the compound in a vehicle driven by Michael's chauffeur Dion, all were on the alert for any sign of ambush though the Banu Haqim assured them that there was no sign of one. He did however point out that someone had a rifle aimed at them from one of the mansions upper windows. Michael was confident that the very expensive armoured car would protect them and waited while Dion approached the intercom and requested entry.

"Who the fuck are you?" was the not unreasonable question. Michael's answer was diplomatic as usual. "My name is Michael Tomassio and I am here to discuss with you the viability of a peaceful solution to your current dilemma as you are now slap bang in the middle of domain claimed by Louis Fortier..." Apparently both his and Fortier's name held some relevance to those within as with a 'click' the gate swung open to allow their vehicle access.

David Geduld - Ventrue
Former Baron, Destroyed
A single kindred emerged from the mansions front door, holding a submachine gun. Though not aimed at them, it wasn't exactly pointing away either. The rifle wielding kindred in the upper window was however focused entirely upon them. "Say your piece then..."

Michael explained to them that they were the last of Geduld's kindred followers, and that his second in command, Mr Broadhurst had also been destroyed. He further informed them that a meeting had taken place to divide up the contested territories and that they were now in the domain of Louis Fortier who "...would no doubt wish to ensure that there are no hostile elements remaining to cause him any future issues..." and that "...It would be in your best interests to vacate voluntarily while the option was sill available..."

Damsel then interrupted. "What Michael is saying is that if you don't fuck off, Fortier will send an army of ghouls here in the middle of the day and they will stake you, saw off your heads and then set you all on fucking fire..."

"Well if you put it like that...I suppose you'd better come in..." was the reply.

The four remaining Brujah were given a week to vacate the territory under the assurance that no hostile action would be taken against them until that date. Steve Booth and Louis Fortier were informed of the agreement and gave their word that they would give them the time requested but "...not a second more..."

It seemed that Michael had managed to once again accomplish the near impossible, and negotiate an agreement between half a dozen disparate elements without violence becoming necessary. That is, as far as he was aware.

To be Continued in 'The Baker Disappearance' (Part One)

In Conclusion
I like to do a round-up of how the session went in these features but if you couldn't give a shit what I think then feel free to skip this bit...

They managed it, leaving me with several potential side-plots relating to them NOT managing it that will add to the 'change the names and re-use later' pile.

They did a lot of groundwork on the motivations of all the factions involved as well as rolling spectacularly well so I suppose they deserve their little victory, lol. Now I'll have to think of a new way to make their unlives as difficult as possible...


Portions of the materials are the copyrights and trademarks of White Wolf Entertainment AB, and are used with permission. All rights reserved. For more information please visit

I've used pictures of real people to represent some of the characters and art for others so in no particular order Michael Tomassio is represented by Matt Bomer, 'Vin' is Scott Adkins, Dr Matthews is Mads Mikkelsen, Hope is Deborah Ann Woll, Mr Hertz is Charles Dance, David Geduld is Zachary Quinto, Harvey Caplan is Harvey Keitel, Louis Fortier was Eduardo Verastegui and Shayna Moody is Jill Wagner. Everything else is from vampire related folders and searches and is as far as I know is all of the 'fair use' variety. If there's something that you feel should be attributed to some-one then feel free to let me know and I'll happily add an acknowledgement...
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