Friday 15 September 2023

Vampire the Masquerade - V5 - Session One - Galerie Sanguine: San Diego

I'm currently running a Vampire the Masquerade chronicle using the 5th Edition rule-set for a small group of fellow role-players.

Our primary 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. This however is the second one of several planned interludes which will centre on the expansion of Baron Michael Tomassio's 'Galerie Sanguine' franchise to other domains.
The now obligatory warning bit - These session write-ups will contain swearing, sexual references and other references that might offend. There are however a list of potential triggers listed before the introduction. 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.
Links to our main campaign, with a summary of each session can be found HERE.

The PC's
Luthor Constantine - The Ministry, Conspiracy Debunker
Ethan Holst - Samedi, Mortician

Luthor Constantine and Ethan Holst

Chronicle Tenet - "Don't bite the hand that feeds you."

The Storyteller
As everyone else...

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. Introductory pieces that I read to the group are in Blue. Where particular NPC's have a mention in a faction profile you will be able to reach it by clicking on their name or faction beneath their picture.

Trigger Warnings for This Session: Blood (Obviously), Familicide, Occultism, Suicide

Michael Tomassio - Toreador Baron
San Diego's kindred politics are dangerous to navigate. The cities Baron is notoriously unpredictable, and her inner circle have a loyalty to her bordering on fanaticism.

With this in mind, Michael Tomassio, Arbiter of the Anarch Council of Los Angeles and founder of the Galerie Sanguine franchise, has decided that what he needs in San Diego are problem solvers, rather than artists. Therefore the artistic aspects of his San Diego branch will be dealt with by mortals, rather than kindred, and the kindred politics will be dealt with by agents with more appropriate skills.

Ethan Holst, a Samedi mortician with a side-line in cleaning up crime-scenes, and Luthor Constantine, a con-man with ties to the more religiously orientated Ministry members within the city, were deemed to have the skills needed to keep the Galerie Sanguine running smoothly. Both are ambitious in their own way, and though they have very different methods of solving problems, they work surprisingly well together

Scene One - Emissary
Cassie Rosales - 'Free' Ventrue
Emissary to Baron Tara of San Diego
Cassie Rosales, the emissary for Baron Tara, had made an appearance at the gallery, along with the cities constable, Absalom Hood. They had informed the mortal staff at the gallery that they required to speak with Ethan and Luthor immediately. The manager at the Galerie Sanguine had been personally appointed by Michael Tomassio and was well aware of the nature of her employer and his agents, so took the request in her stride.

Cassie got straight to the point "It is my understanding that you both have a history with problem resolution?"

Ethan decided to air on the side of caution with his reply. "That's one of our duties that's required of us, when the situation necessitates it." Luthor was more direct. "We know our way around problem solving, sure. Do you need our help with something?"

The pair exchanged a brief look, it was obvious that they were about to get volunteered for something, whether they liked it or not.

"Your Baron requires a small service of you..." began Cassie "...A body has been discovered and the murder scene is ritualistic in nature. Tara would like one of the Clan of Death to examine the scene to, hopefully, reassure us that there is no kindred involvement in their death. Should you be able to do this then she would not be ungrateful. It's not far from here so it would also be in your best interests to confirm this for yourselves, one would imagine?"

"The crime occurred in an apartment attached to a business venture with kindred associations and so subtlety is required, as well as some measure of haste. Before I give you the details, Absalom has something to say..."

Absalom Hood - Brujah
'Constable' of San Diego
Absalom was an imposing presence and had a reputation for direct action against any threats to his Baron. He rarely spoke, but when he did it was wise to pay attention. Like Cassie, he too was direct in his approach. Apparently you didn't rise through the ranks in San Diego through subtlety.

"You find any sign of kindred involvement, and you let me know immediately. I've had a quick look myself but that occult crap means fuck all to me...." He then reached into his pocket and produced a cheap burner phone.

"Send me a message or ring me using that phone, and that phone only. Avoid kindred terminology if you can, the line is secure but it never hurts to air on the side of not getting dragged to a Blacksite by the Second Inquisition, and I'll deal with it from there if there are any complications."

Both Ethan and Luthor had a fair idea about how Absalom might 'deal' with those complications and both decided to ensure that neither of them fell into that category. Ethan was already working out what he might need to take with him to facilitate the investigation. Luthor meanwhile was more concerned about how the situation could be turned to his advantage. When the Baron, Emissary and Constable of a city were asking you for a favour, then the rewards could be considerable.

Carrie then gave Ethan an address in the nearby district of Point Loma Heights, and two keys.

"Any pertinent questions?"

The pair had several, and over the next few minutes ascertained that the authorities had yet to become involved, that the body had been discovered by 'a local' who it became obvious that they weren't going to be told the identity of, and that the kindred associated with the business would also be remaining a mystery for now. "I can..." added Ethan. "...dispose of any bodies that might need to disappear..."

Storytellers Note - Ethan's player has the Oblivion power 'Ashes to Ashes' which allows him to dissolve a corpse by adding a small amount of his vitae to it.

Absalom stated that he'd keep the offer in mind should it become necessary.

Interlude - Trust Issues
Absalom Hood's Personal Transport
Tara's representatives returned to Absalom's transport where his own people were waiting, he turned to Cassie and repeated the question he'd asked her before they'd arrived.

"Are you sure that these kindred are trustworthy enough for this task?"

Cassie knew that Absalom was suspicious of everyone, even her, and that his first response to betrayal was invariably fatal to the betrayer.

"Them?.. No..." replied Cassie. "...their employer however, would not have made them responsible for one of his projects unless they had the necessary skills, and a reasonable certain set of moral standards that governed their actions."

Absalom was one of only three kindred within the city who knew Cassie's true name and origins, and so was also aware that she had some personal bias towards the founder of the Galerie Sanguine, Michael Tomassio.

"Just because he prevented your destruction..." replied Absalom. "...doesn't mean he didn't have a personal agenda for doing so. You talk about him like he's a fucking saint..."

Marius Walker - 'Shape of the Beasts Wrath'
Arla, or Cassie as she was now known, decided to frame the conversation in terms Absalom was more likely to appreciate. "He also managed to persuade Marius 'The Wolf Spider' Walker to go along with his plan, and my survival was part of those terms."

"He faced off against one of the scariest bastards in L.A. and convinced him to spare me. Can you imagine yourself taking that risk?.. for anyone?...I should also add that he was a nine foot tall demonic bat for most of that evening..."

Absalom conceded the point. "You better be fucking right..." he concluded. "...cuz you'll be taking the fucking blame if this goes to shit..."

Cassie merely nodded in reply as she had expected nothing less. She'd begun to have a few suspicions about Absalom, specifically that he was a lot better at kindred politics than he wanted others to believe.

Absalom kept his gaze upon Cassie as she entered the vehicle. "This one..." he thought to himself " a little too smart for her own good...." He'd have to have her activities monitored, and he had just the kindred in mind for the job.

Scene Two - The Free Clinic
Luthor Constantine's 'Acquired' Vehicle
They decided to take Ethan Holst's car as it was far more functional and less obvious than Luthor's considerably flashier sports car. Luthor had acquired the vehicle in a confidence con that had inadvertently involved another kindred and their ghoul, and had made himself an enemy in the process. 

Of course he could have resolved the issue by giving it back, but that solution had, for some reason, never occurred to him.

Being the more practical of the two, Ethan suggested that they pretended to be professional cleaners. An easy cover for the Samedi as he had a legitimate business doing exactly that. He also had a plethora of warning signs used to put off curious visitors who might think twice about entering an area containing poisonous fumes or acidic chemicals. He also took with him overalls and protective clothing so as to further lend credence to the ruse. Needles to say, Luthor wasn't a fan of the 'look like a cleaner' part of the plan.

The Free Clinic - San Diego
Ethan also had several alternate adhesive signs for his vehicle with a selection of completely fictional companies on them. He also had a box of number plates acquired from various clean-up jobs, but decided that such precautions would be unnecessary on this occasion.

The apartment specified was above a modern looking free clinic outside of which were various well designed and eye-catching signs appealing for donations of blood. That a kindred might have interests in such a concern wasn't much of a surprise. It wouldn't be the first time that a blood drive had been used as a cover for feeding.

A security camera outside had been vandalised at some point, it's lens thoroughly and completely smashed. Several street lights had similar damage despite the area itself seeming to be fairly free of detritus, graffiti and the other signs of an area prone to crime. Quite the opposite, in fact the area was quite upmarket and the clinic itself was well lit, it was just the approach to it that had been compromised.

Both noted that several of the signs had  the logo of Aegis Medical is in one corner. So they concluded that this was either a business of Aegis's, or something set up by them for someone else. Given the involvement of both Tara's Emissary, and Constable, it seemed likely to them that it belonged to Tara or someone close to her.

A quick bit of research by Ethan revealed that a charitable organisation, funded by Aegis, ran blood drives around the city and had received some public support from the Mayor, who they knew was in Tara's pocket. Though not one hundred percent conclusive, this did strongly indicate that their assumption that this was a project of Tara's, was likely correct.

Ethan's extensive experience with crime scenes also led him to believe that the vandalism was certainly an attempt to cover an approach to the building by someone with criminal intent, as otherwise the damage was in no way in keeping with the area the clinic was based in.

After giving up trying to find a way to wear the overalls that still made him look 'cool', Luthor settled for rolling up the sleeves and wearing his sunglasses instead of the provided goggles. Ethan made no comment as just getting his associate to put the overalls on at all was a win as far as he was concerned.

"It might be possible to learn who broke that camera if we can access the footage..." theorized Ethan. "...though they'd have to be an idiot, or careless, or both..." Luthor considered this for a moment before replying. "You find out where the footage goes, and I'm sure I can persuade someone there to hand it over..."

Interlude - 'Cleo'
Cleo's Prostitutes and Blood Dolls
Absalom entered the brothel through the side entrance. The bouncer recognised him and made no attempt to bar his progress. One of his predecessors had made that mistake, and he had no desire to suffer the same fate. "She's in her office..." he stated, while avoiding making eye-contact. Tara's 'Constable' ignored him, he already knew exactly where he was going.

Several of Cleo's girls were smoking in one of the rear waiting rooms as it had evidently been a quiet night. These he actually bothered to acknowledge as he had used several as blood dolls in the past, and would probably need to do so in the future.

They responded to his attention with practiced smiles, before their attention returned to their cigarettes and small talk.

He continued unopposed to the top floor but decided, in the interest of diplomacy, to knock before entering the office. "Enter, Mr Hood..." said a sultry voice from within, " doors are always open for you..."

Cleo, was a rare beauty. Her features were perfect, she had the poise of a supermodel, and the figure to match. She was lounging on a velvet couch, and gestured to a seat opposite her, which Absalom took. Most of the sex workers and sex trade within San Diego were under Cleo's control, and she had contacts in every level of society, both legitimate and not.

'Cleo' - Kindred Madam
As was his way, he got straight to the point. "I need you to have some of your people follow someone and let me know what they're up to. It needs to be done with subtlety as the target is quite important..." Absalom placed a card upon one of the coffee tables, with several addresses written on it. "...they'll be at one of these locations..."

Cleo raised her head slightly to look at the card, but left it where it was. "You're using me, instead of Blackwell, because he would report to Tara first and you second, and the first question asked would be 'why are you keeping tabs on the Barons Emissary?'" Absalom decided that a reply was unnecessary. Cleo had summed up the situation perfectly. "Fine..." stated Cleo after a moments consideration. "...but this is going to cost you extra."

One of Absalom's burner phones vibrated, and he looked at the message, swore, then once more addressed Cleo. "I have one more favour to ask..." continued Absalom. "'s going to be along night and I probably won't get time to feed..."

"I'll throw that in for free..." replied Cleo. "...use one of the lazy bitches you passed on the way up. They aren't making me any money tonight so they might as well be useful for something..."

Scene Three - The Scene of the Crime
Old Damage, New Locks
The apartment's were accessed from a stairway in an alleyway alongside the clinic. The doors lock had been very recently replaced by a larger version. Where the wood had been previously splintered could be seen behind it as the new security measure didn't quite conceal the damage behind it. From the cracks in the wood it looked like someone had previously opened it with their foot. Unfortunately, when this had happened wasn't immediately apparent.

A second lock had also been added. As this showed no sign of damage, it seemed likely that it was added after the previous encounter between the door and someone's boot.

The keys they had been given fit the two locks perfectly.

"Did Absalom say where he got these keys?.." asked Luthor "...because if he had them all along then this is definitely one of Tara's places..."

The furniture within had been moved as close to the rooms walls as possible so as to free up the floor space. A carpet had been rolled up and propped in one corner. Judging from the ragged edges and remnants still on the floor, this had been accomplished quickly, or with very little care.

A poor attempt at a Warding Circle...
The floor space now contained a ritual circle surrounded by arcane symbols and words. It had been drawn in charcoal, but a significant section was missing. Judging from the lines of black in this area, something was dragged out towards the bathroom, their heels smudging out the markings as they were moved. Despite the damage, Ethan could reasonably extrapolate what the original might have looked like. 

The trail led to the bathroom...

Ethan had a closer look at the markings, and was unimpressed. The symbols were from warding rituals of various kinds but weren't even close to the correct configuration to actual defend anyone.

Even if they had been correctly drawn, they would have needed to be transcribed in blood, or vitae, and would have disappeared once activated.

Luthor pushed open the bathroom door, and both kindred looked within.


A woman lay dead in several inches of water that was now stained crimson with her blood. Her wrists had been slashed and the cuts also extended up her forearm. A kitchen knife lay on the floor adjacent to the bath, it was also covered in blood. Her body had various symbols cut into it which, like the ones in the living room, weren't even close to being correctly aligned to make a ritual work.

A bloody bathroom - Vampire attack?
There were also other marks on the woman's wrists and ankles, possibly she had been bound at some point with rope. To someone with a vague knowledge of kindred, this scene would certainly draw attention, but an actual kindred with knowledge of blood sorcery would see through it, as Ethan had. Worryingly, the Second Inquisition would certainly be drawn here should the scene hit the media.

While Ethan investigated the scene, Luthor began a search of the rest of the apartment. The bedroom contained clothing, both a man's and a woman's, and the items in the bathroom also seemed to indicate a male and female occupant.

"A sloppy attempt at subterfuge..." commented Ethan. "...none of these rituals would have worked."

Luthor, who wasn't new to scenes of suicide, due to his clans occasional tendency to push a victim a little to hard towards acts that they subsequently regretted, had some opinions about the blade work. "The knife matches the wounds on the wrists, but not the other stuff..." he remarked.

Ethan had initially arrived at the same conclusion, but a closer examination had convinced him otherwise. "No... they just pressed harder on the cuts to the wrists. You can see some bruising..." Luthor didn't bother to argue. The Samedi was generally correct about such things.

Before they could discuss the matter further, and in direct contradiction to their earlier instructions that it was they who were to ring Absalom, not the other way around, their burner phone rang.

"What did you find?"

Ethan could detect the urgency in Absalom's voice so quickly gave him an overview of the situation, including Luthor's opinion that the apartment was shared.

This didn't surprise Absalom, as his reply indicated. "I think we've found the flatmate, more correctly the dead woman in the bath was his bit on the side. I'll send you the address. One of the sweepers will be waiting for you, Rowan probably, I think Skinner is dealing with something else. Don't hang about..."

The specified address was a mere thirty minutes away in Point Loma.

"We're needed again..." commented Ethan.

Interlude - Eyes and Ears
The kindred swore as he saw movement on the stairs. 

The device wasn't concealed anywhere near as well as he would have liked, and he much preferred to wire such devices directly into the vehicles own electrical system rather than place them externally. 

GPS Tracking Device
To make matters worse, one of the fuckers was apparently Samedi and those guys could do all sorts of weird shit. Hopefully seeing things that weren't actually there didn't translate to detecting surveillance devices as well.

He rolled from under the vehicle and faded from sight as he moved into cover behind a nearby wall. Though invisible to mortal eyes, other kindred were often sensitive to such abilities and so he deemed it best to get some physical cover between himself and the two investigators that Absalom had dragged into the situation.

As the pair drove away, the observer tested the receiver and was relieved when he discovered that the signal was strong, and that he had a clear indicator of direction and distance. Once he handed the device over to the other agent he could get on with the other job his boss had given him. If this had been a Camarilla domain then all this sneaking about would have been unnecessary, but unfortunately he, his allies, and their leader, had no authority here. For now at least.

He hated dealing with Anarch domains, almost as much as he disliked problems that couldn't be solved by cutting somethings heart out. And now here he was, sneaking about like a fucking Nos, spying on a zombie raiser and a corrupter of foolish mortals. This wasn't even supposed to be his task, but the boss had sent the other two on some other task and that just left him.

"Fucking Anarchs..." he muttered to himself as he headed back to his own vehicle, only to notice an opportunist thief trying unsuccessfully to break into it. He loosened his blade in it's scabbard and smiled to himself. Maybe this evening would provide some entertainment after all.

Scene Four - More Victims, More Clues
Rowan Barnes - Gangrel
Sweeper for San Diego
One of the cities census-takers, presumably Rowan, was waiting for them at the new location. Rowan was a hardy looking man, embraced in his early thirties, practically dressed in jeans, t-shirt and a jacket. The hilt of a hunting knife could be seen on his belt. 

"You're the art guys, right?"

"Amongst many other talents..." replied Luthor.
"Absalom wants to keep this as close to the Barons entourage as possible, but as your already involved, I guess your both now deputised..." Rowan's smile was one of amusement, not malice, it seemed that he found the idea of them both being 'volunteered' as somehow funny.

The building was an old, solidly constructed, apartment building. A large billboard on the outside showed a picture of the building, modernised and expanded, and announced a renovation project that was to begin in a few months time. The majority of the building looked to be empty and it seemed that the downstairs flat was the last set of rooms due to be emptied of residents.

The door to one of the downstairs flats had been removed from its hinges by a powerful blow, taking a cheap lock with it. Absalom was waiting for them inside.


A man, wearing nothing more than a pair of boxer shorts, lay dead, sprawled across a cheap and well worn sofa. His throat has been torn out in what looked very much like an animal attack. A beer can had spilled it's contents on the floor and the television was still on, a repeat of some sporting event was showing, though the sound had been muted.

"He was the caretaker. Apparently he'd been given permission to remain until refurbishment began, and then temporary residents and his old job back when the project was complete. He must have had friends in the company because that's a hell of a deal..."

"It gets messier..." warns the Constable...

There are three more dead in the property. A woman, presumably attempting to escape, had almost made it to the back door before a powerful blow to her back shattered her spine. Her throat was also damaged, and the paleness of the corpse, relative to the tiny crimson pool around it, led them to believe she had been drained of her lifeblood.

"The bedroom is the worst, but I need you to look...." continued Absalom. He seemed almost apologetic. When they entered the room they understand why.

The two young children, a boy and a girl, were sitting upright in bed, as if placed there like toy dolls. Both had an expression of pure terror on their dead faces. Both also had the twin marks that horror fans associate with vampire attacks, upon their necks.

Delilah Moreno - Gangrel Sweeper
"They might as well have put up a fucking sign saying 'here be vampires'..." muttered Rowan, who had entered the room behind them.

Another kindred, who hadn't introduced themselves, was examining a selection of personal belongings laid out on a low coffee table. She had been watching them out of the corner of her eye since they arrived at the scene. "Who the fuck are these pair?" she asked Absalom, despite them standing right next to her.

"This unsociable bitch is Delilah..." began Absalom. "...please introduce yourselves to her while I work out how the fuck we clean up this scene do it doesn't look like a vampire movie was being filmed here..."

The pair introduced themselves to an unimpressed Delilah, who eventually bothered to ask them about the other scene. Ethan summarised the situation. "There's a lot of things there that make no sense at all. Charcoal isn't used to make warding circles for one, the wounds seem staged, it's just inconsistent, almost rushed..."

Luthor interrupted Ethan's report. "I think Absalom is in a hurry for us to take a closer look at the dead kids..."


Ethan closely investigated the puncture wounds. "These don't look like a vampire made them. They might have been drained with a syringe. It also doesn't look like they've lost enough blood to kill them."

They had Absalom's attention now, and so Ethan continued.

"The deaths of the adults seems quite brutal, the children, not so much. It's possible they could have been injected with poison using same hole that blood was taken out. That would explain the precise nature of the wounds, their skin colouration and the fact that the blood loss was insufficient to bring about their deaths. In fact the children seem to have been killed far more humanely than their parents."

Luthor interjected "So whoever did this was more humane than they gave away? and pussied out when it came to the kids? That still doesn't explain why they'd point the murders at kindred. And why this family?"

"A personal connection?" theorized Ethan. 

"Well they murdered his mistress too so that tracks." added Luthor "Still doesn't explain why they'd want to gain all this kindred attention."

Absalom had his own input too. "Much of what you're suggesting implies multiple attackers."

Justin Rush - Brujah Smuggler
"Yes..." replied Ethan "...but that still leaves a lot of possibilities. We can't rule out ghouls, either guided by their regnant's or unbound ones. Though if they were vampires one could do it if they had the right abilities and disciplines, but if mortals did this then we would definitely be talking about multiple assailants."

While the discussion continued, Luthor began to look through the victims belongings that Delilah had scattered over the table. It was of no surprise to anyone who knew him that the first item he selected to examine was the victims wallet.

"Is this one of Justin Rush's businesses?" asked Luthor. "I only mention it because the dead guy has one of his business cards in his wallet..."

This last observation received no reply from Absalom who had just received another message

"We've been summoned by the boss. She wants a report and we haven't a lot to tell her other than that it's a fucking mess..."

It seemed that a visit to the notoriously unpredictable Baron of San Diego was in their near future.

Interlude - As Above, So Below
'Cleo' - Nosferatu
Mistress of the Sex Trade of San Diego
Cleo made her way to the brothel's basement and opened an armoured door to which she had the only key. 

The room was soundproofed, with a drain in it's centre, beneath a heavy railing from which chains and manacles hung. These were currently unoccupied as Cleo had a full compliment of playthings from which to feed, well secured within her haven below the city deep within the warrens.

She removed her expensive clothing and placed each item carefully in a wardrobe set into the rooms right-hand side. As soon as she had shed her garments, she also dispensed with the illusionary mask which hid her true features.

Cleo was not as hideously deformed as some of her clan, her skin was dark and rough, her hair consisted of dreadlocks, intermingled with some scaly patches, and her eyes glowed white, like an animals might appear when light reflected from them, but she could pass for human if she covered herself up.

However, she always compared herself to the beauty she was before, and in that regard she considered her current appearance to be hideous, in comparison at least.

At the rooms rear was a second, equally secure, door that led to a long stone staircase that descended deep into the sewers. Unselfconscious in her nakedness, she blended with the darkness and disappeared into the warrens of San Diego without making a single sound. As she moved towards her base beneath the city, her childer emerged from the darkness one by one and joined their sire.

No-one above had any concept of what she was creating below the city. Soon all beneath the surface would be hers and her rival Blackwell would be allowed to join her as her second or be destroyed. Preferably the latter.

Scene Five - The Baron of San Diego
Absalom's instructions to Ethan and Luthor had been very specific.

"You two tag along, but don't talk unless she asks you a question, or I prompt you. She's going to be pissed off as it is without anyone making it fucking worse..."

Tara's base was currently a hundred million dollar, hilltop home amongst some of the most luxurious mansions in San Diego. Security was discrete, but state of the art, and the more kindred friendly aspects of it's internal layout were alleged to have been designed by the famed Malkavian architect Dillan Fitzgerald. The building itself had been modified, modernised and extended by Aegis Construction, presumably in return for boons and favours for Marius's business interests within the city. Though the building looked open plan from the outside, clever design had left many hidden and sheltered areas deep within and the whole structure was deceptively secure.

The head of security for Tara's haven introduced himself as Mr Duffy and might as well have been wearing a sign around his neck that said 'Former special forces soldier'.

Jude Duffy - Ghoul of Tara
Chief of Security for Baron Tara
As the group were escorted through the building, staff could be clearly seen going about their duties within. To the casual observer this looked like the servants who might be working in any such place, but rumour had it that they were all blood dolls of varying resonances, depending on what 'flavour' their mistress desired that evening.

The basement of Tara's home contained a meeting room of sorts. The ornate table had half a dozen chairs around it, one of which was considerably more ornate than the others. It is on this chair that Tara Kearney, Baron of San Diego awaited them, though some whispered that she'd prefer the title 'Prince' .

Her voice was soft and without a hint of menace, but the eyes painted a far different picture. They constantly moved between those in the room, then to the doorway, and then back again. Both were aware that hyper-awareness was a sign of paranoia or PTSD. Given Tara's recent experiences, in her case it might well be both.

"Why those locations? It's not a coincidence is it?" asked Tara, the movement they approached the table.

As Absalom begins to speak, Tara quietened him with a raised hand. "I'd like to hear the perspective of an outsider looking in, or two in this case." Her attention turned to Luthor and Ethan. "What do you think is going on?

She then started to tap on the table with a ring containing a dark red stone, the broken rhythm almost sounded like Morse code. Ethan wasn't sure whether this was subconscious or a deliberate attempt to make those speaking to her uncomfortable. Either way it was irritating in the extreme.

Tara Kearney - Brujah
Baron/Prince of San Diego
Ethan went first, as Luthor had been distracted by some of the more expensive of the mansions ornaments. The Samedi dearly hoped that Luthor hadn't pocketed any of them on the way through Tara's home.

"As you know this is an ongoing investigation and is at the early stages, however, neither of us believe that these attacks can, with any level of certainty, be blamed upon kindred. Not all of the puncture marks were have inflicted by fangs, several were morel likely made by the insertion of a syringe. All in all these scenes seems like part of an elaborate ruse. The ritualistic marks from the first site were ineffective and wrong, a performance if you will. That the two sites had a connection is certain, that it is merely the relationship between the victims is not necessarily the only one, there may be other facts yet to come to light."

Luthor then added his own observations.

"My professional acquaintance has gotten to the crux of this. I find it interesting that the janitor had been killed, as well as his mistress, one or the other would have been sufficient o create this 'vampire killer' idea. Whoever had done this also clearly felt they had overstepped the line with the children and this is a moral aspect that fits poorly with the other facts."

Luthor was clearly aware of the difference between right and wrong, he was just of the opinion that the rules didn't always necessarily apply to himself if they were an inconvenience. He automatically assumed that any kindred with a modicum of common sense felt the same way.

As Tara spoke it became apparent that she had only absorbed the information that confirmed what she already believed. "It seems obvious then that someone is trying to draw attention to parts of the city associated with myself. There is no doubt in my mind that those traitors are inhabitants of this city. Who else would have such knowledge?"

"Absalom! You must find these wretches and punish them for me. Start with the thinbloods, they can't be trusted, I can feel them plotting against me. They'll have allies too...that pair who protect them Josef and Sapphire, they'll be in on the scheme to undermine me..."

"May I also offer an alternate viewpoint?" Interjected Luthor.

Ethan took a step backwards and made sure he knew where the exits were. Absalom had warned them against talking unless specifically addressed. Tara grew quiet, and very still. Even the tapping of her ring ceased.

Conspiracy Theories?
"You might well be correct..." began Luthor, either ignoring the warning signs, or just not noticing them. "...but the last thing you want to do is accidentally overlook something. Absalom and Delilah have discovered that Justin Rush had some involvement with the victim, he could be involved in the killings too. It would be a shame if a pre-emptive attack on one group allowed a second, or even a third to escape justice..."

Considering the fact that he considered himself a debunker of conspiracy theories, Ethan could apparently invent some just as quickly.

Tara remained quiet for a few more moments, even Absalom seemed unsure about what her next move might be. Then she spoke again, this time her tone was more measured.

"This one may be right, this could be part of a much larger conspiracy to undermine my position as leader. Many are jealous of me, and believe themselves to be better suited to rule. Preposterous of course. None in this city are more suited to the throne than myself..." she then turned to Absalom. "...this one has some useful insights, his assistant too. They will continue to help you in the hunt for those who would dare to commit treason against me..."

Ethan chose to ignore being described as 'Luthor's assistant', despite doing most of the investigative work. He was also was sure that separating themselves from these events was now impossible. Currently they were two of only a handful of kindred who Tara didn't suspect of treason. He imagined that crossing that line might be very simple indeed, and the consequences were not likely to be conducive to a long and happy unlife. Tara was clearly a dangerous, paranoid lunatic.

Luthor on the other hand, was already calculating the benefits of being on the side of the Baron. Her paranoia could be focussed and used to their benefit and should the situation change, then he'd just switch sides. 

They were almost out of the chamber when Baron Tara spoke once more.

"Find them, find them all..."


To Be Continued in 'Galerie Sanguine: San Diego (Part Two)'


Storytellers Conclusions
I sometimes 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....

That's things set up nicely. The players are already deep into their paranoid conjecture and I'm busy tweaking the next session based on those. These things are, after all, meant to be collaborative, right?

Song Lyrics
Also, the quote in the header is from the following song, should any-one be interested.


Further Acknowledgements
Portions of the materials are the copyrights and trademarks of White Wolf Entertainment AB, and are used with permission. All rights reserved.

I've used pictures of real people to represent some of the characters and art for others so in no particular order Luthor Constantine is Michele Morrone Michael, Ethan Holst is Bryan Cranston, Michael Tomassio is Matt Bomer, Cassie Rosales is Claudia Black, Absalom Hood is Jamie Dornan, Cleo is Bella Hadid, Rowan Barnes is Ben Foster, Delilah Monroe is Marg Helgenberger, Justin Rush is Armie Hammer, Jude Duffy is Luke Evans, Tara Kearney is Melissa Rauch, Josef Moyer is Sterling K Brown and Sapphire Khan is Uzo Aduba,

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.

Friday 5 May 2023

San Diego 'Galerie Sanguine' Chronicle - Briefing

I'm currently running a Vampire the Masquerade chronicle using the 5th Edition rule-set for a small group of fellow role-players.

Our primary 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. This is the initial chronicle briefing pack for the second of several planned interludes which will centre on the expansion of Baron Michael Tomassio's 'Galerie Sanguine' franchise to other domains.

You have a hard act to follow.

The 'Galerie Sanguine' franchises in Pasadena, Hollywood and San Francisco have all been great successes and it looks like Chicago will follow this trend. Of course none of them have to deal with a cities ruler who is at best a paranoid sociopath and at her worst, borderline psychopathic.

Your Mission
Michael Tomassio has given you an important task to perform now that you are established within the city. Interested parties have began to look in the direction of San Diego and in particular at it's ruler, Baron Tara Kearney.

Michael Tomassio, Baron of the North East
 Arbiter of the Anarch Council of Los Angeles

Two things concern them. 

Firstly, should Tara somehow be removed from power, how the remaining forces would align themselves and secondly, If Tara was convinced to declare for the Camarilla, who would oppose that decision.

You are aware that a Camarilla power broker, Fiorenza Savona, has offered to back Michael's next Galerie Sanguine franchise and it's just possible that should you be a success in this venture that you might be able to gain employment in a city containing far better opportunities than this one.

At worse you would ingratiate yourselves with an up and comer in the murky world of kindred politics where a boon is an invaluable reward and Michael Tomassio's star is certainly on the rise. His census-taker, enforcer, investigator and accountant have all ascended with him and have their peers respect and in some cases fear.

Though first, of course, you'd have to succeed in your task...

'The Galerie Sanguine'
Galerie Sanguine: San Diego - Feeding Ground
The latest of Michael Tomassio's Galerie Sanguine franchises is based in San Diego's arts district. 

Haven 2: Herd 1, Luxury, Resources 1, Security System 1.

It also includes a feeding ground that is well defined by a number of perimeter roads and the small body of water that separates it from San Diego International Airport. 

The Airport itself has been declared a 'No Go' area where feeding is forbidden, due to the presence of some security systems that Tara has been warned are Second Inquisition devices designed to detect kindred. This effectively limits kindred travel in and out of the city to the ports and main roads.

San Diego - Mission Bay at Night

The galleries initial stock has been made up of works via local artists, some of Michael's own pieces and other artwork and sculptures obtained from creative kindred that Michael supports. With three well established branches already acquiring such pieces, the influence of the Baron of North East Los Angeles is spreading amongst the artistic communities of the undead.


Kindred Population of San Diego (34)
Brujah: 11
Caitiff: 5
Duskborn: 3
Gangrel: 3
'The Ministry': 3

'Abstract' Toreador: 1
'Red' Nosferatu: 3
'Free' Ventrue: 1

Gangrel of 'The Oratory': 4


Temporary Residents
This number varies but is rarely by more than a mere handful and all are required to announce themselves on arrival and feed only in the areas temporarily allocated to them. The majority of short-term residents of San Diego, are merely stopping there on their way to Los Angeles. Currently there are only three.

The Baron and her Inner Circle
Tara Kearney - Brujah
Tara Kearney - Brujah
Baron of San Diego
In December of 1944, when the call went out for Anarchs to assist in the Revolt, it was hoped that a few Kindred from the neighbouring cities would show up to help. It was quite a pleasant surprise when Tara, a well-known Anarch from Texas, showed up with fifteen Brujah fighters, many of them veterans of the American Civil War. Their support was a major factor in the defeat of Don Sebastian's forces.

When the Anarchs needed a strike team to go to San Diego, Tara immediately volunteered. She found Maria, the Prince of San Diego, already destroyed. Tara immediately declared San Diego a member of the Anarch Free States and, in the first land grab in the brief history of the States, claimed the area as her own. The Revolutionary Council was too busy to argue with her, and then Tara strengthened her grip on the Barony of San Diego. Many Anarchs believed she had plans to completely break away from the Free States and declare herself Prince of San Diego, which would probably have precipitated a war with the rest of the Free States.

Jenna Cross, Duskborn messiah, and her followers made these rumours irrelevant when they stormed her penthouse apartment before any such plan could be implemented. Once the battle made it's way to the rooftop, Tara was riddled with bullets and shells from a dozen handguns, assault rifles and shotguns, then fell thirty stories to the ground below. Though Tara's followers retrieved the body, no-one was in any doubt that she'd met her final death. Unfortunately the duskborn were unable to capitalise on this victory and instead returned to Los Angeles where they took over Santa Monica pier and claimed it as their own domain.

However, she somehow survived. But with her forces scattered and her influence significantly reduced, she needed allies to regain her former power.

Over the next year her enemies, and those who were happier without her as ruler, began to suffer a series of misfortunes. Some of these merely disappeared, others met their ends in arson attacks, explosions and violent ambushes. All the scenes were then expertly cleaned. Business interests and political contacts were also targeted and within twelve months, Tara was once more the only significant kindred in San Diego, and once more claimed the position of Baron.

San Diego at Night

The hand of the Los Angeles 'Fixer' Marius Walker was suspected. A fact more or less confirmed by the campaign of the cities, then soon to be, new Mayor being funded by Aegis sponsors, and his subsequent granting of significant city contracts to that same company when he entered office. That the Mayor is a blood-bound thrall of Tara is more or less common knowledge amongst the kindred of San Diego, but his public persona makes acting against him a potential masquerade breach. Her hold over the political decisions made within the city gives her a significant advantage over her rivals.

Her experiences have created a mercurial ruler who sees all her subjects as potential rivals, traitors or otherwise plotting against her in some way. Staying in her favour is difficult, but those who manage it can pretty much do as they please within San Diego as Tara considers any actions against her 'confidants' as an act against her.

As far as Tara is concerned, to know her is to love her, to oppose her is to die.

Having had bad experiences with multi-storey buildings, Tara's base is now a 100 million dollar, hilltop home amongst some of the most luxurious mansions in San Diego. Security is discrete, but state of the art, and the more kindred friendly aspects of it's internal layout were designed by the famed Malkavian architect Dillan Fitzgerald. The building itself was modified, modernised and extended by Aegis Construction.

Tara has her own herd, in the guise of an extensive staff at her home and therefore has no need to put herself in danger when feeding. She has additional protection in the form of security teams, the leaders of which are blood-bound to her. Their leader is her ghoul, Jude Duffy, a former special forces commander who was recruited for her by Mercury Security Solutions.

Cassie Rosales - 'Free' Ventrue
Cassie Rosales - 'Free' Ventrue
Emissary of Baron Tara
Cassie Rosales acts as Emissary for Tara when other domains are dealt with or if Tara simply deems the message beneath her notice to pass on personally. She is a recent addition to Tara's inner circle but is considered by most to be an excellent choice for the role. Of course, criticising Baron Kearney's choices in any area isn't exactly a great idea so maybe their private thoughts are different.

Cassie is beautiful, intelligent and hungry for power. Being this close to the throne has given her a taste of authority and she likes it. Though she is far too smart to make a play for the top job, she's not above creatively interpreting the messages given in order to curry favour or inconvenience potential rivals.

She is used to navigating the whims of a morally ambiguous and unpredictable superior. If anything, Tara is less dangerous than her previous employer was. 

Cassie has an apartment in Downtown San Diego. This central location facilitates her role within the city. Her financial needs are taken care of by Baron Tara and she has been granted several surrounding blocks as feeding ground.

Cassie is a common sight in the various feeding grounds of San Diego and has therefore been to the Galerie Sanguine many times to relay Tara's dictates.

The representatives of the gallery know something that only Baron Tara and Blackwell are also aware of. Cassie Rosales is actually the presumed destroyed Arla Hartley, former assistant to Marcelina Black of the Los Angeles 'Farm' of the Circulatory System. It has also been made clear to them that 'Cassie' is a potentially invaluable source of information on both the Circulatory System and other powerful organisations and therefore her position is not to be put in jeopardy.

A change of hair style, and a more casual style of dress has been her only attempt at disguise. It has however been surprisingly effective. Camarilla visitors are rare in San Diego and The Circulatory System has no presence there.

'Blackwell' - 'Red' Nosferatu
'Sticky' Malone - 'Red' Nosferatu, Childe of 'Blackwell'
'Blackwell' - 'Red' Nosferatu
Spymaster for Baron Tara
Dennis Blackwell was, in life, a financial expert and investigator for a powerful investment firm. Embraced in 1929 during the worst stock market crash in history by a Nosferatu desperate to keep the fortune on which their influence was based, Dennis took to his new existence with surprising ease. His sires investments were, unfortunately, already doomed and he, like many destitute investors of the time took his own life. Or unlife in this case.

Never a handsome man, and with little interest in pleasures of the flesh, Blackwell's hideous new appearance made little difference to him. This was fortunate as he has received the curse of his clan in a most extreme manner. His skin is black and blistered, in many ways resembling a burn victim, and even other kindred sometimes find his appearance unsettling. That disadvantage aside, his own spy network is quiet, efficient and ensure that Blackwell always has access to the most up to date information available. He is also unusually tech savvy for a kindred who didn't even see a computer for the first eighty years of his existence.

Blackwell has a single childe who also was somewhat unfortunate with the curse of his clan. 'Sticky' Malone, was recently rescued from captivity at the hands of an Unbound Ghoul gang known as 'The Youngbloods' and returned to his sire. This return has allowed Blackwell to get back to the business of being Tara's spymaster and advisor, and as a side-effect has ingratiated the one deemed most responsible for his liberation. Michael Tomassio's latest Galerie Sanguine franchise within the city was allowed to occur without interference, largely due to Blackwell vouching for them, and Tara's, probably temporary, gratitude at the assistance given to her chief advisor.

Unfortunately, the chance of this goodwill lasting indefinitely is unlikely. Eventually Tara's attention will turn to them, likely with suspicious eyes.

Blackwell makes his home beneath San Diego in the Nosferatu Warrens that run below the existing sewer system. He shares this network with his own childe and 'Cleo', the only other Nosferatu in San Diego.

Blackwell meets only Baron Tara, his closest agents, and on rare occasions the domain's census-takers, in order to pass on information about their targets to them.

Absalom Hood - Brujah
Laurance Truman and Cecilia Baird - Brujah, Childer of Absalom
Absalom Hood - Brujah
Constable of San Diego
Though Anarch domains look down upon many of the Camarilla badges of rank, if San Diego had a Sheriff, it would be Absalom Hood.

A veteran of the American Civil War, and many wars since, Absalom is an imposing individual and rather handsome in that rugged way that many women seem to like. As Tara's favourite enforcer he is as ruthless as you'd expect. Politically unambitious, and content merely to crack heads without caring about the 'why', Absalom is a perfect choice for Tara's hatchet man.

He is a formidable hand to hand combatant and his focus has always been upon the physical aspects of the innate disciplines of his Clan. His only interest in their more esoteric abilities is their usefulness for purposes of intimidation.

It was he who retrieved Tara's body from where it lay after her attempted destruction at the hands of Jenna Cross and her followers, a fact reflected in his opinion of any thin-blooded residents of the city. Caitiff are largely tolerated, but a thin-blood within San Diego can expect their every action to be closely observed and analysed. 

Absalom has two childer, Laurance Truman and Cecilia Baird, who have fought at his and Tara's side for over a century. Their loyalty to their Baron is absolute and should Absalom require aid, it is his childer who will be the first to come to his assistance.

However, when it comes to hunting down those who break the Baron's rules, it is the sweepers who do the majority of the dirty work.

Absalom's haven is somewhere near Seventeenth street in the East Village, though considering his job, he is careful to keep it's exact location to himself. The surrounding blocks along the outskirts of Downtown are known as San Diego's Skid Row and provide easy feeding considering the hundreds of homeless encampments that line the streets. Many kindred feed here and it isn't considered to be Absalom's feeding ground, though he has been authorized by Tara to deal with any kindred whose careless feeding there might draw undue attention.

The representatives of Galerie Sanguine have met Constable Hood on several occasions. On first arriving at the city, when allocated their feeding ground and after a minor dispute with a neighbour over where exactly the border between their respective territories actually were. On that final occasion, Absalom ruled in their favour, and dealt with the other kindreds objection to his decision by breaking their arms and legs and delivering their torpid form to their closest acquaintance in a body bag. 

As messages go, it certainly made a point about questioning the rulings of the cities Sheriff.

Raphael 'Skinner' Hoffman - Gangrel Pack Leader
Rowan Barnes - Gangrel
Delilah Moreno - Gangrel
'Skinner' - Gangrel
Sweeper for San Diego
The pack of 'Skinner' Hoffman have been together since they were neonates and all have the same sire. An Elder Gangrel known simply as 'Jac'

'Jac' met his destruction a year ago in a mysterious fire that ravaged his haven. It's widely suspected that his allegiance was in question and rightly so. His plan to use his childer as a weapon to take control of San Diego was pre-empted by Blackwell, passed onto Tara, and a phone-call from her to a certain 'Fixer' was all it took to seal his fate.

Like Absalom, the three have no ambition outside of their next hunt, and the rewards given to them after each success. The pack are well aware of their sire's cause of final death and have taken the entire matter in typical pragmatic Gangrel fashion. He picked the wrong side and paid the price. His childer have no intention of making the same mistake. They have feeding grounds, respect, and are left to their own devices unless needed.

Though they have been approached by the Oratory representative a number of times, they have made it clear that their loyalty is to Tara, and unless she does something to destroy that relationship, that is how it's likely to remain.

Each of the sweepers has been granted their own park within San Diego as feeding ground, though they tend to all go to ground in the same area and rotate between them. This makes them both difficult to locate and more importantly, to challenge one is to fight them all.

The representatives of Galerie Sanguine are yet to have a direct meeting with the Census-Takers of San Diego. This can only be considered to be a good thing. Though they have been seen within their domain, this is part of their job and isn't therefore something that can be objected to without raising Tara's suspicions about what they might be hiding.

'Baron Tara's Brujah'
Of the fifteen Brujah who followed Tara to Los Angeles and then to San Diego, only nine survive into the modern nights. Four lost their unlives attempting to defend their Baron from the assault by Jenna Cross's overwhelming forces and a fifth was destroyed by Absalom when questions were raised about Tara's competence to rule before her resent ascension. He was granted trial by combat, but against Absalom that was effectively an execution, as his skill in combat exceeds that of his fellow Brujah within the city by a considerable margin.

Absalom, and his two childer make up a third of the remaining nine. The other six have been granted some of the best feeding grounds within the city as reward for their continued loyalty.

The Oratory
As would be expected considering Marius Walkers pivotal involvement in Tara's return to power, The Oratory and Aegis acquisitions have a strong presence in San Diego. The price for Marius's aid in her return were exceptional favourable terms for his own business interests as well as access to the port, associated transport links and some infrastructure.

Though their arrangement was complete upon Tara's rise once more to the rank of Baron, it is in both of their interests to continue to support the other.

Constance Carson - Gangrel
Constance Carson - 'The Oratory', San Diego
The Oratory representative within San Diego is Constance Carson. A fiery red-head considered something of a loose cannon amongst the hierarchy of the Oratory for three reasons.

Firstly she is unrelated to Marius Walker and therefore immune to the strange influence he has over his bloodline. Secondly she isn't Bahari so isn't guided by either of Marius's proxies within the Chosen of Ennoia, Mary or Aviana, and thirdly, the Gangrel pack allocated to San Diego are all her childer and therefore are loyal to her first and foremost.

However, she is also ruthless, efficient and very careful to ensure that her plots benefit both 'The Oratory' and herself in, broadly speaking, equal measures. She maintains her position with a formidable success record, and what might be considered excessively generous terms when undertaking tasks for Baron Tara. 

Ingratiating herself with those who can help elevate herself is one of her many talents and she is unusually politically minded for a Gangrel. Possibly this is why she got the job in the first place. Marius does like surprises and one thing that Constance can never be accused of being, is boring.

Constance and her Pack are based at one of Aegis's logistics hubs in the financial centre of the city, though their exact sleeping places are unknown.

'The Untamed' - Gangrel
Cole, Garrett and Eleanor make up the appropriately named 'The Untamed' Gangrel Pack.

All are childer of Constance, number only three and are a blunt tool at best. Information gathering is mainly achieved through traditional surveillance methods by ghoul led teams who answer to Constance, with The Untamed being held in reserve for what might be diplomatically called 'Sweep and Clear' operations, though the original military term 'Search and Destroy' is more appropriate.

There is somewhat of a rivalry between this Pack and Tara's sweepers. As the only two Gangrel packs in the area, they'd really like to know which is the dominant one. Unfortunately, the local situation makes this difficult to achieve without a lot of political fallout. 'The Untamed' are older, more experienced and more potent in the blood, but are predictably direct in their methods. This lack of tactical acumen on their part might be enough to give the pack of 'Skinner' Hoffman an edge.

The Galerie Sanguine's representatives have had no need to deal with either Aegis or the Oratory so what they know of them is merely hearsay.

Other Kindred of Note
'Cleo' - Nosferatu
'Cleo' Nosferatu
'Cleopatra', Madam and Sex Worker
Given it's usefulness as a convenient food source, the Sex Industry of any city is always much contested amongst kindred. Within San Diego, the majority of the prostitution is controlled by a Nosferatu named Cleo.

'Cleopatra' is a derogatory term used by the Nosferatu to describe those of their clan that were Embraced because of their extraordinary beauty. Cleo has taken the term and turned it into a badge of honour, and few in the city even remember her real moniker. In fact she was a pornographic film actress and model for many years. Drug use forced her into prostitution and by the time she was discovered overdosing in a back alley, she was a shadow of her former beauty. Some might have believed that she had suffered enough, however the Nosferatu who embraced her apparently did not.

Her sire survived just long enough to teach his childe the skills she needed to destroy and diablerise him. The black veins have long faded from her aura, but her bitterness remains and she has very little time for others of her clan.

Cleo controls several brothels and the majority of the cities street girls, via a series of proxies who extort protection money from the cities pimps. Those who refuse to pay don't stay in business for very long and currently over half of the sex trade in San Diego pays tribute to Cleo, whether they know it or not.

Cleo is a master of Obfuscate and uses this discipline to disguise herself as the sexual beauty she once was in order to feed. If a client proves to be particularly unpleasant then she may well show them her true form, before draining them dry and disposing of their exsanguinated corpse.

Cleo makes her home somewhere in the Warrens below San Diego. It's also rumoured that she keeps a herd of imprisoned former 'customers' there on which to feed, draining them dry when she grows bored of them and replacing the dead one with a new candidate.

'Dr Moses Lyn' - The Ministry
Clarence Hanna - The Ministry, Childe of Dr Moses
Naomi Reid - The Ministry
Dr Moses Lyn - The Ministry
A conman in life and an evangelical preacher after his death, some might say that his career hasn't actually changed much.

His congregation is substantial, though access to his more intimate ceremonies is reserved for those with money, influence or both, which gives him a considerable herd from which to feed. It also allows him to gain power in the mortal world through manipulation of those who listen to his words.

Given the many scandals surrounding his chosen profession, Moses is careful to ensure that enough money finds it's way into the coffers of local churches to justify his claims as a benefactor of the community. Of course this is a mere fraction of the actual donations.

His words have, to his disappointment, had little effect upon the cities Baron who has little time for religion, kindred or otherwise. As far as she's concerned the only figure in San Diego worthy of worship is herself. In light of his failure to place himself as advisor to the Baron, he has instead turned his attention to her emissary. If he can't manipulate Tara directly, then perhaps he can do so via another route.

He is assisted by two Ministry Neonates. Clarence Hanna is his childe, and the other, Naomi Reid, has effectively been adopted as such. Between them they run the more mundane aspects of the cult that Moses has begun to establish.

If an alternate, and more malleable, candidate for leadership was to emerge then the Ministry might well lend them their support instead. It's also likely that Tara is aware of this, which makes it all the more important that they do nothing to draw her wrath upon them as she is certain to be looking for an excuse to do so.

Moses and his followers have a number of churches and halls of congregation around the city. Where they lie at night is unknown but they probably have resting places beneath one or more of these.

Justin Rush - Brujah
Justin Rush - Brujah
One of the few Brujah within San Diego who isn't directly beholden to Tara, Mr Rush is about as far from a warrior philosopher as is possible. Many mistake him for a Ventrue on their first meeting though it would be wise not to make such a comparison to his face.

Justin controls a logistics business, based at the Port of San Diego, that has branches at most of the major routes in and out of the city.

Smuggling is his main source of income, though he has a side-line in providing transport services for kindred with the need to travel outside of the city limits. He keeps his Baron on side by providing services for her for free and by providing for the needs of his own clan at, slightly, more favourable rates than he does for the rest.

He and Constance Carson have a begrudging but stable working relationship as both have interests in the port area. Justin is steadfastly resisting her attempts to muscle him out of the logistics business and some have theorized that for some reason she isn't trying as hard as she could be to eliminate him as competition. 

Unknown, but likely within the dock area. 

Josef Moyer and Sapphire Khan - Caitiff
Given the ties between Sire and Childe it isn't surprising that guilt by association is a common problem amongst kindred of dubious heritages. Josef and Sapphire have been careful to distance themselves from any association with the forces of Jenna Cross and make a point of continuously pledging their loyalty, and that of their followers, to the Baron.

The truth is less straightforward as Sapphire was one of the very followers of Jenna who riddled Tara with gunfire and watched her plummet to her apparent final death. More surprising to her is that Baron Tara has stood no more than an arms length away from her, and looked her straight in the face, without any hint of recognition.

As mortals, both were veterans of the civil rights movement within America and so are accustomed to prejudice. They hoped that unlife as an Anarch would be different yet once again they find themselves fighting for the same rights as their peers. Though disappointed, neither was particularly surprised.

The pair currently have two caitiff and three duskborn under their protection, and all are struggling to feed consistently given that their allocated feeding grounds are undisputedly the worse in the city. One of their number, a third Caitiff, was beaten into torpor by Absalom for venturing into another's feeding ground.

His body is being stored in a secret location just in case Absalom decides to pay them a visit to finish the job. None of them have potent enough vitae to bring an end to his torpor and, without outside assistance' will just have to wait for enough time to pass.

Unknown, but given the quality and size of their feeding grounds, probably wouldn't take much finding.

Tianna Bartlett - 'Abstract' Toreador
Tianna Bartlett - Toreador
San Diego Zoo
San Diego's Zoo is the domain of Tianna Bartlett, a Toreador who sees beauty in the natural world, rather than in the artistic creations of mortals or kindred. She is also what kindred refer to as a 'Farmer', feeding only on animal blood.

She has no time for other members of her Clan as she finds them to be shallow and petty.
A laboratory on the Zoo's grounds extracts blood from a variety of exotic creatures under the guise of research into disease, though they are careful to cause no harm to the donors as Tianna reacts poorly to any who might bring such natural wonders to a premature end. Tianna will occasionally allow kindred to feed from the more mundane of the zoo's fauna, and sometimes it's visitors, in return for minor boons and favours.

Baron Tara has granted Tianna the area as her feeding ground, mainly because no-one else particularly wanted it, and partially as Tianna seems to be one of the rare Kindred within San Diego capable of navigating Tara's increasingly erratic moods.

Though many suspect that Tianna influences her Baron by use of disciplines, others point to the fact that she is highly empathetic and may simply just be better at reading her than the rest of the cities population.

San Diego Zoo. Given the amount of buildings, enclosures and rarely used storage areas, finding a place to sleep within would give her little trouble.

Temporary Residents
Anika Norton - 'Free' Ventrue
Temporary resident of San Diego
There are currently three temporary residents within the city. All arrived less than a month ago, but not at the same time.

Anika Norton, Alec Doherty and Jaime Bartlett each arrived separately but were allocated temporary feeding grounds in the poorer areas of the city which were within a few blocks of one another. They have therefore pooled their resources in order to make unlife a little easier for them.

Anika is a 'Free' Ventrue, with the usual tale of one seeking a path were age and heritage are less of a factor and where one is judged as an individual. Alec and Jaime are Brujah who left the Camarilla when the majority of their clan did, pushed out of their havens and domain by several new Banu Haqim arrivals.

Each has stated their intention to continue their journey to Los Angeles and they plan to travel together. Though they act as if they are equals, outside observers have commented that old habits die hard and that the pair of Brujah seem to look to the Ventrue for guidance. They are also showing no real signs of leaving, leading some to believe that perhaps they might petition Baron Tara for permanent residence.

With the reins of power within the city firmly in Tara's favour, a tight unit such as this could easily upset the balance if they were to pick a side other than that of the Baron.

Outside Threats
The Second Inquisition
The Second Inquisition is a name guaranteed to make any kindred in the modern nights pay attention.

Though they have yet to make their presence known in San Diego, some of the standard precautions they employ have already been noted. XScopes designed to detect kindred have apparently been recently installed in San Diego airport.

The Second Inquisition - Assault Team

In response, Baron Tara has declared the area to be completely off limits to kindred for both travel and feeding. She has made it clear that anyone breaking this rule will be executed by the cities Constable in order to ensure that no repeat offenses are possible. If one must meet their Final Death to ensure her safety, and that of her city of course, then she will do so without mercy.

Rumours of a new 'Special' unit based at San Diego Naval Base, that in many respects matches SI units seen in other cities, may turn out to simply be paranoia on behalf of some inhabitants.

The Sabbat
The Sabbat are seemingly focussed upon Los Angeles, rather than smaller domains such as San Diego, and there are currently no indications that this is likely to change. Of course, anything is possible.

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 Matt Bomer, Fiorenza Savona is Jamie Lee Curtis, Tara Kearney is Melissa Rauch, Cassie Rosales is Claudia Black, Absalom Hood is Jamie Dornan, Raphael 'Skinner' Hoffman is Richard Norton, Constance Carson is Dina Meyer, 'The Untamed' are some of the cast from 30 days of Night, Dr Moses Lyn is James Marsden, Justin Rush is Armie Hammer, Josef Moyer is Sterling K Brown, Sapphire Khan is Uzo Aduba, Tianna Bartlett is Paz de la Huerta and Anika Norton is Sarah Paulson.
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