Friday 30 November 2018

Vampire the Masquerade V5 - Session Six - The Pasadena Problem (Part One)

I'm currently running a Vampire the Masquerade chronicle using the 5th Edition rule-set for a small group of fellow role-players...
Our campaign is set in Los Angeles and features a small group of Camarilla agents sent into the 'Free States' to search for ways to once again bring the Ivory Tower to dominance under the pretence of being disillusioned neonates looking for the freedom of the Anarch way of life...a life which they hopefully won't decide they like better...
Why LA? - Well it contains a lot of different baronies giving me a lot of interactions to play with, allows me to use some of the more interesting characters from the Bloodlines PC game (which two of the players were familiar with) and is a setting not yet experienced by the players familiar with the Vampire RPG which gives me a chance to keep them on their toes...I've also changed quite a lot and inserted some new characters of my own to make things a bit more interesting...

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 and the first story can be found at the following links...
Welcome to L.A. - Introductory Session
Story One - 'Three Murders' - Part OneTwo, ThreeFour and Five
Interlude - One

The Storyteller
Garreth as Everyone else...
The PC's
Phil as Michael Tomassio - Toreador
Tom as Johnny 'Roach' West - Malkavian
Dave as Vincent 'Vin' Ghast - Brujah
And we'll soon be introducing a new player who won't turn up till scene four for reasons of the plot making sense...which will be in session two of this new story...
Matt as Dr Daniel Matthews - Banu Haqim
The player characters stats and backgrounds can be found HERE should any-one be interested...
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...they'll also be in blue so you can tell them apart from the more traditional write-up sections and occasionally an obscure Malkavian 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...

With Elena's portrait returned to the Fortier's, the rogue thin-blood faction eliminated and their patron Marius seemingly satisfied that they had performed the tasks set by him adequately enough to warrant his supporting of their campaign the coterie turned their attention to establishing their business cover 'Galerie Sanguine' before proceeding to the next part of their plan. The coterie had spent some of that time pursuing their own agendas and also during that time had decided to meet the elusive Nosferatu 'Gary' to report that the innocent victim of the thin-bloods scheme who he had known as a mortal had been avenged at their hands.

Scene One - Going Underground
Caleb - Nosferatu Guide
You make your way to the slums of Hollywood to the location given as the contact point for the elusive Nosferatu Gary. You were told to ask one of the bums on the street for him by name and there is definitely no shortage of those nearby.

The task of speaking to one of the street people was delegated by Michael to Vin as he pointed out that he knew how to talk to 'such people' and Roach was in an unusually sullen mood that evening.

At the end of the alley was a pile of rags that they presumed had a person within and this particular alleyway made the rest of the slum seem positively inviting by comparison. Vin gave the pile what was by his standards a gentle tap with his foot.

"Well, well...a Rebel, a Jester and a Diva come a calling." the beggars human features disappear and the instantly recognisable face of a Nosferatu peers at you through a cloth hood. He bends down and opens a manhole cover with a key of sorts that appears and disappears back into his rags and slides it aside..."After you..."

After taking the time to psych himself up adequately Michael followed Vin through the hatch with Roach taking the rear but he made his displeasure at the turn of events obvious to everyone concerned.

The sewer is surprisingly wide and has an actual walkway along one edge though it's smeared with various pungent substances and unidentifiable stains and the shallow water flowing along the bottom of the sewer channel itself is exactly as pleasant as you'd expect. Your guide passes some openings while taking you down others and unlocks several rusty but still solid looking gates at various points with a large metal key-ring containing a wide selection of keys from new to barely held together by the rust.

In an effort to distract himself from the grim surroundings Michael desperately sought out something to occupy his attention that wasn't covered in crap but nothing immediately leapt out at him. Instead he decided to memorise which keys their guide used to open which doors as both a distraction and because the information might come in useful later. Michael noted that the guide seemed to be quite nervous in certain areas of the sewer network, looking right and left and checking behind the group as if expecting pursuit yet seemed perfectly happy in others. Both Roach and Vin also became aware that that were detouring around some quite large sewer sections before being bought back to a route roughly in line with their original course.

Michael decided to broach the subject of their guides nervousness but his enquiries were more or less deflected by changes of subject and even his attempts to get at an answer via subtle sideways approaches to the subject were failing. Vin who had also noticed that they were taking a roundabout route went with a more direct approach "So why aren't we taking a direct route then?" but got no reply. The Brujah who had a somewhat simpler idea about how to deal with people who wouldn't answer basic questions blocked the Nosferatu's path and repeated the question in a considerably less conversational manner. The sewer rat whom Roach had discovered was called Caleb then decided to offer them some explanation in preference to being stared at disturbingly intensely by Vin.

"About fifteen years ago the Sabbat made a move on Los Angeles and as they knew we supplied information to many of the factions within including...well...the Camarilla"  He seems almost apologetic about helping the Camarilla, but it isn't very sincere "They attempted to cut off this information network by separating us from the surface and driving us deeper underground by flooding the sewers with Tzimisce flesh-crafted monstrosities ranging from small hunters to gigantic monstrous things that damn near filled some of the tunnels" "We fought as best as we could but in the end retreat was our only option" 

"One of the Camarilla higher-ups, that asshole LaCroix I think sent some-one expendable down to investigate and find out what happened. Instead he found a network filled with those fucking things and then promptly surprised every-one by butchering his way through them to us. 

Gary thought he must be a fucking nutter burning through blood like he was, using every physical discipline you could think of and draining creatures dry as he went, Gary still calls him 'suckhead' now" He chuckles to himself but it's more a nervous than happy memory from the tone. "Well he helped us clear out a lot more but there were areas we didn't really want Cammy agents in so we finished off the job ourselves but now it looks like a few crawled into dark corners that we missed and every now and again they get fed up of rats and look for bigger prey. Not sure what the Tzimisce made them out of but vamp blood does them just fine as well, unfortunately"

Seemingly satisfied with the explanation they indicated that Vin should let Caleb continue guiding them through the complex underground sewer network. Roach enquired whether the agent of LaCroix still resided in Los Angeles and Caleb confirmed that he did and was doing quite well for himself. "As well as an Autarkis Gangrel perhaps?" enquired the Malkavian and though he got no response the change in his aura seemed to indicate that Roach had made the correct assumption. It also explained why Marius had been aware of the Nosferatu's enquiries about the dead bag lady Dolores 'Doll' Green if he and Gary had a past relationship of some kind. 

After some conversation with Caleb while the now alert for danger Vin was watching their surroundings and Michael was trying to avoid looking at them Roach tried to see if anything else about Gary and their Mawla Marius's relationship could be wormed out of Caleb. The only information he could get was that apparently Gary and Marius had been playing some bizarre game for decades where the Nosferatu would ask him to locate something useless but obscure and Marius would demand payment in some difficult to acquire but completely unimportant item in return. He also discovered that the Gangrel had offered to sort out the problem with the intruder in the sewers but that Gary had turned him down...

Eventually you reach a large chamber with a railing around a circular platform next to an old control panel with a card slot in the centre. No doubt state of the art in the past but archaic by modern standards. Your guide (Caleb) indicates you should stand on the platform before sticking a card in the slot and joining you. There's an extremely un-reassuring grinding noise and the platform begins to lower... "An old fallout shelter...well...till it collapsed" you are informed.

After a few minutes the elevator lowers you into an underground cavern piled with old machinery and a not insignificant amount of junk gathered from who knows where, much of the floor is metal presumably the collapsed shelter mentioned earlier. You can hear activity from a number of side passages but they're either too dark or have curving corners so you can't really see what's going on. Eventually you find yourself in a long room containing a table seemingly cobbled together from three different ones surrounded by a number of chairs, not one of which matches any of the others. Old movie posters featuring the many works of one Gorgeous Gary Golden fill one wall and a large mirror with a single crack running through it graces the opposite one. Caleb tells you to take a seat and disappears back the way he came...

The Brujah moved to the one entrance to the room to keep watch while Roach and Michael had a look around. In an effort to maintain some sense of etiquette Michael sat upon the least filthy of the chairs while Roach engaged in his usual activity of slightly rearranging things in other peoples havens in order to see if he got any reaction. The Malkavian's supernatural senses detected no defences and his scan for auras assured him that apart from the three of them the room was completely empty...he was of course completely wrong. 

Gary Golden - Nosferatu, former Primogen
"Greetings Boss, I hear you've been busy..." A tall Nosferatu in an expensive and immaculate dinner suit complete with bow tie is sitting at one of the chairs that was definitely empty a second earlier.

Storytellers Note - Even using V5's very generous interpretation of Auspex Vs. Obfuscate, Gary's Obfuscate and related attributes is way better than Roach's Auspex, waayyy better...

Michael started the conversation by introducing himself and the rest of the coterie and explained how they'd sought out and avenged the bag lady killed recently that they were aware Gary had been enquiring about. The number of film posters on the one wall confirmed Roach's theory that Gary was indeed the former actor Gorgeous Gary Golden which in turn made his relationship to the former child actress Dolores Green who had fallen on hard times make sense. In answer to his query about whether they had suffered Vin simply smiled ominously. 

Both Roach and Michael worked their way around the question of what Gary thought about the Camarilla by using references to the former Prince LaCroix rather than direct questions and were somewhat reassured that it seemed like his issue had not been with being told what to do by a Camarilla representative but rather being told what to do by any-one. Michael in particular became sure that if left to do what he wished below the ground he couldn't care less who made the decisions above. Having pushed the issue as far as they deemed safe the conversation moved to the fabled computer network of the Nosferatu known as Schrecknet.

Gary admitted that the presence of the second inquisition had meant that a significant increase in security was needed to maintain the integrity of the system and that in order to avoid drawing attention these upgrades had to be implemented subtly and slowly using equipment acquired from the most untraceable of sources. The upshot was that the system was not yet safe to use and would not be available for some time yet. Vin was however more interested in the blood-drinking creature blocking off areas of the sewer from the Nosferatu but was told by Gary that the matter was "In hand..." though both the other coterie members had doubts about the honesty of the answer.

"What with trying to get Schrecknet back up and running and some sewer areas needing to be reclaimed I'm currently resource poor...I am still however skill and information rich so perhaps I can show my gratitude in another way, Boss?"

Storytellers Note - As a reward from Gary I offered the players the choice of a free one dot skill, a discount on discipline training or a favour to be called in later as this was really the finale of the Three Murders story I figured I'd be generous as they'd done rather well.

Scene Two - The Vignes Commission
A handsome young man with curly dark hair and large intense eyes dressed in an expensive yet oddly archaic conservative suit has been wandering around the gallery for some half an hour but you can tell from his posture and the occasional nervous glance that he's waiting for something.

Roach immediately took an interest in the gentleman's somewhat shifty demeanour and using his particular abilities discerned that he was a kindred and from his particular aura more that likely of the Ventrue clan. It was immediately obvious to the Malkavian that he wanted something but was waiting for the opportunity to speak. Given that he was a vampire it seemed likely that he was waiting for the gallery to be absent of mortals before broaching whatever subject was on his mind. Roach made his way over to Michael and informed him that he might want to have a chat with the curly haired gentleman in question and sent a message to Vin to let him know that he might be needed.

Storytellers Note - Vin has the Illiterate flaw so the other characters have got around this in two inventive ways. Firstly they take pictures of relevant contacts so when his phone rings or when he needs to contact some-one he has a picture of their face as a reference and secondly they have a selection of images that Vin knows has a particularly meaning should they need to contact him via text. A picture of a paintbrush means 'head to the gallery', etc.

Michael approached the stranger and began to make casual enquires about whether he was looking to make a purchase. In response the kindred introduced himself. "My name is Henry Waters, I'm in the service of the Vignes estate" He leaned in a bit closer "Baron and Baroness of Pasadena and as rulers of this domain worthy of your respect of course." "is there somewhere we can talk privately?"
Michael directed Henry upstairs to the meeting room they used for their more exclusive clients and for the occasional planning session. Roach followed behind and a moment later Vin entered the gallery through the loading bay and made his way to the meeting room doorway where he adopted his usual guard position. Roach with his usual disdain for personal space and etiquette plonked himself in the seat right next the Ventrue and turned it sideways so he was staring directly at the side of his head.

Their guest apparently decided that getting straight to the point would be his best bet so he turned to Michael "You are the artist I presume?". the Toreador confirmed that this was the case and Henry continued "My mistress Vera Vignes would like a portrait of herself painted I presume you do such things?" "It would be normal financial transaction at whatever your normal rates for such things are of course, we're not asking for a boon. Perhaps you could also use it as an opportunity for you and your fellow kindred to all formally introduce yourself to Edward Vignes as introductions were previously done on your behalf by Mr Walker whom Edward finds...unsavoury... he leans in as if relaying some kind of secret 'an unfortunately necessary evil in a city filled with the weak...' I think were his exact words..."

Michael somewhat uncommittedly agreed that Marius was possibly an acquired taste and this seemed to satisfy Henry though Roach picked up that Marius's name seemed to cause a touch of jealousy to creep into the Ventrue's aura. "Excellent. is it satisfactory for me to make the arrangements for tomorrow evening or is that too soon?" A meeting was indeed arranged for midnight the following evening and their guest was escorted outside.

It occurred to Michael that a chance to get close to the Vignes family in order to look into the possibility of a change in management for Pasadena was almost too good an opportunity to pass up especially if he could persuade Vin and Roach to tag along with their respective expertise's in 'bypassing security' and 'target analysis'. Fortunately Roach was already on board with a meeting as he wished to discuss with the Baron the possibility of expanding their business operations in the area and knew that he'd need his co-operation to succeed as he effectively controlled all of the local politics within Pasadena. Vin for his part decided it might be a good chance to check out the Vignes families home security as he knew that Michael had been hinting about making a play for the barony of Pasadena at some point and that would more than likely involve a confrontation. While Michael paid a visit to one of his blood dolls, Roach decided to see what his new dusk-born friends and their leader knew about the Vignes family.

Interlude One - A Trip to the Pier
Jenna Cross - Dusk-born Baron
Roach was now a familiar sight to the thin-bloods and caitiff who saw the pier at Santa Monica as their domain so after a measure of socialising and a quick snack in the darkness beneath the pier courtesy of a lone pot-head the Malkavian made his way to the security office where their leader Jenna Cross mainly held court.

Storytellers Note - Routine feeding within their areas of expertise I tend to skim over as it can get tedious once they've role-played through it a couple of times.

Roach informed Jenna that as he'd discussed with her previously he was still trying to expand his groups influence and should he succeed Jenna's people would be welcome in any territory the coterie controlled but as the baron of Pasadena, Edward Vignes was a considerable obstacle he'd appreciate any information she had on him and his household. Seeing little to gain from withholding the information Jenna relayed what she knew.

Edward Vignes had arrived in Los Angeles from Boston and established himself in the comfortable manner he was used to. He controls the mortal politics of Pasadena very tightly using a combination of Presence and Dominate and the benefits of having money to fund the political campaigns of those who agree with him. He has a reputation of being some-one not to be trifled with though he also doesn't seem to go looking for trouble however Jenna also had heard that he seemed to have offensive resources or abilities not normally associated with a Ventrue without his own soldiers.

She told Roach that a group of kindred seeing Pasadena as an easy target having only three active kindred within it had made it known that they were going to take the barony for themselves. Armed to the teeth they had headed to the Vignes Pasadena mansion and were never heard of again. Since then he has been left alone with his only regular social companions being the Blount sisters in nearby Glendale and his own household of servants. Thanking her for the information he gave her his best regards and then returned to his haven though on his way back he made arrangements for The Cabbie to collect them as this would ensure there was no chance of them not arriving on time and instructed Vin to take only the most easily concealed items from his substantial armoury with him.

Scene Three - The Vignes Mansion
The Vignes home is a large Edwardian style mansion in one of the nicest districts of Pasadena with high walls and elegant cast-iron gates but no obvious security measures that you can see other than the aforementioned physical barriers. 

Arriving with plenty of time to spare the kindred transporter known as the cabbie dropped them at their destination before vanishing as abruptly as he'd arrived. To the supernatural senses of the Malkavian Roach the house itself was glowing a pale cold green and it felt uncomfortably like the house itself was watching them approach which was of course preposterous. As he attempted to tear his attention from it he felt the unmistakable throbbing behind the eye-balls that indicated a premonition of some kind was about to overwhelm him 

He could see three men climbing over the wall and approaching a house very much like this one, as the first man attempted to open the window he was suddenly and bloodily ripped apart by an explosion of glass shards. The remaining two attempted to run but moved as if running through treacle before some unseen force dragged them screaming backwards through the shattered window which reformed behind them without a trace cutting off their agonised screams as it did so. As the vision faded Roach could see Henry Waters dragging the torn apart body of the first would be burglar around the side of the house towards the cellar...Henry looked terrified...

Once adequately recovered Roach attempted to relay to Michael and Vin what he'd saw but without a suitable shared frame of reference the best he could manage was "The house is really weird and creepy...". Vin however wasn't really paying attention as he was more focused on the mansions security, or more correctly it's seeming complete lack of security.

Over the door is an old plaque obviously from a much older property with the date 1822 upon it in elaborate raised numbers though the middle '2' is loose. You are greeted at the door by Henry wearing a stylised outfit seemingly somewhere between butler and manservant. "May I take your coats or jackets? or would you like me to see you straight through to the Baron and Baroness?"

Michael handed him a carefully folded jacket, while Roach removed all his important belongings from his before handing it over, a process which actually took three times as long as simply keeping the jacket with him would have done. Vin kept his on though less because of the weapons within and more because it had been acquired for him by Michael and was about the nicest item of clothing he'd ever owned and he hadn't removed it since it had been given to him. Michael also left the accoutrements required for his artistic endeavours with him. 

The house while still possessing all the modern fixtures and fittings has definitely been constructed and furnished to suit some-one most comfortable in the Bostonian style of the 1800's. You are led into a comfortable, well ordered sitting room where a man and a woman are waiting for you. A tall, thin man with a mane of silver hair and glasses dressed in an expensive suit which like much else is in an Edwardian style who could only be Edward. 

Vera Vignes - Baroness
Sitting by his side is a slender, delicate looking woman in her sixties who though still attractive has made no attempt to hide her age who must be Vera. Henry introduces you as Mr's Tomassino, West and Ghast before moving to stand by the door. Edward dismisses him with a wave of the hand without even looking in his direction. "So you're the acquaintances of the Gangrel who cleans up the messes of those without the breeding to manage their own affairs?"

Michael picked up instantly that the Baron was definitely not a fan of Marius and that distancing themselves may do them some credit though he also knew enough about etiquette to reason that too much hostility to the Gangrel might make them seem uncouth. While briefly pondering his reply he also noted that the look Vera Vignes gave her husband Edward when he dismissed Henry was one of utter contempt, swiftly hidden from which he concluded that Vera is in love (or whatever passes for that in elder kindred) with Henry.

The Toreador explained their association with the Gangrel as purely one of convenience and that they had simply performed a task in exchange for his assistance, now that arrangement was completed he foresaw any further contact as being along the same lines if at all. This explanation seemed to satisfy their host and he turned the conversation to the portrait that was the apparent reason for the visit.

Roach had also observed the brief interaction between Vera and Henry and concluded that there was definitely some subtle flirting going on between the pair and if they're not already lovers it was definitely on the cards however his observation of the auras of the three had led him to another conclusion. It was unsurprising to him that Henry was very obviously blood-bound to Edward but the fact that Vera was blood-bound to Henry was more of a revelation. It seemed unlikely based on the circumstances that Edward knew what was going on between them and would certainly react poorly should he find out.

A vision of the Gangrel Marius at some gathering of kindred flirting rather obviously with Vera flashed through his mind as did the negative reactions of both Edward and Henry to the attention he was lavishing upon her. Though he was unsure whether this look into the past was an accurate representation of a real event it would explain a lot though in his opinion the real issue that Edward had with their patron was that he didn't like the idea of a Gangrel with money, power and influence something no doubt unheard of when the Ventrue was himself embraced. This was also almost certainly compounded by the fact that the Autarkis Gangrel seemed to take a perverse pleasure out of being considered a necessary evil and went out of his way to annoy people he found pompous.

Vin's own observations were more on the practical rather than the social. He'd spotted a handful of servants not one of which looks like they were security or even combat trained, a basic alarm system a child could bypass and not one door lock that could stop even an indifferent burglar. If there was any physical security in the mansion it was very well hidden indeed.

"So are you going to make a start on this portrait tonight or will we be arranging another visit?" "Your fellow kindred can wait in the library if they wish or I can arrange for Henry to take them wherever they require?" "I myself have some correspondence to complete, without my strong guidance the mortal politics of Pasadena wouldn't move in the right directions at all..."

Michael confirmed that he'd bought all the necessary items he required to make a start with some preliminary sketches and would be happy to begin immediately. Henry appeared at the door as if summoned though no signal that the coterie had observed had been made. Edward bade Henry to guide the artist to somewhere suitable to begin and Vera followed along dutifully behind. As the baron himself began to rise to leave Roach asked politely if he could have a word with him about a business venture he had in mind. Intrigued the Ventrue remained seated and indicated that he should continue.

Roach laid out his plan to bring some new culture to Pasadena by expanding from the gallery outwards into the surrounding block and further to make several of these places 'kindred friendly' with Edward as of course an honoured guest should he ever wish to grace any of these establishments with his presence. Observing the barons aura he could see that flattery and the thought of bringing more culture to the area were working to bring Edward around to the idea though when Roach mentioned using thin-bloods as labour the response became distinctly frosty. Roach swiftly recovered by describing any thin-bloods as 'menial labour' which seemed to satisfy the arrogant Ventrue.

Baron Vignes told Roach that he was pleased that proper etiquette had been shown by asking his permission before expanding outside of their agreed upon territory and agreed to give the matter some serious thought...once he'd dealt with the issue of the expensive painting his wife desired. Having a very clear idea of where this was going the Malkavian assured Edward that the portrait was to be a gift from Michael and the coterie and would cost him nothing except perhaps some goodwill. With his own business concluded he left Michael to continue with his work on the painting with Vin watching over him and left the mansion to return to the haven. Unsurprisingly a cab was waiting for him outside and took him exactly where he wished to go..

Though a willing subject Michael was more than empathetic enough to notice that she didn't seem particularly interested in having the portrait done and as in the gallery it was very obvious that Henry wished to ask something but this time seemed actually afraid to broach the subject. Wishing to move the conversation on but conscious that a delicate touch was needed the Toreador used every trick he knew to relax the pair and ingratiate himself with them and gradually built up their trust. Once he had done as much as he could he switched to a more direct approach and simply asked what he could do to help.

Reluctantly at first and then after checking the door to ensure they weren't overheard Henry finally revealed what Michael and Roach had already deduced that he and Vera wished to free themselves from Edwards influence but knew that he would kill them both before allowing it to occur. Henry had apparently deduced that the coterie were ambitious and pointed out that without the baron reigning in Pasadena and with him and the baroness absent it would be ripe for them to take over. Knowing that they had access to the resources they needed to simply leave Michael pointed out that he didn't see why they would need any help. It was then that they revealed the fundamental problem with their plan.

The love-struck pair were fearful of any attempt to elope as Edward had under his control a mysterious force that acted violently against his enemies. It had to their knowledge destroyed one attempt burglary upon the mansion itself and utterly destroyed a significant group of kindred who had tried to end Edwards unlife without any seeming effort on his part. It was this force that they wished assistance with as without it escape from him would though not easy be much less likely to be doomed to failure.

They themselves had no knowledge of the occult and hoped that the newcomers might and this information made Roach's ominous statement about the mansion make more sense. Pledging to help where he could the Toreador and his Brujah protector made their farewells and left to consider what they were going to do next...

To Be Continued in 'The Pasadena Problem' Part Two

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...
A mainly social session which may have been a disappointment for those of you who are fans of Vin and his inventive ways of killing people.

This was another session that amazingly went broadly as I was expecting mainly due to the fact that the coterie currently has fairly clear goals and have been making a concerted effort to move their plans forward. Of course being vampires there's a certain amount of furthering their own specific agendas but without those kinds of things vampire the masquerade would be no fun at all I suppose.

As I have no plans to cross-over into any of the other various supernatural systems I'll only be paying attention in the broadest possible sense to the canon for mages and wraiths and if I need something to work a specific way then it will regardless of if a supplement 17 years ago contradicts me, lol.

Spoiler Alert - There's some brutal murders next session to keep the Vin fans happy...

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 the actor Matt Bomer, Johnny 'Roach' West is quite obviously a drawing of Kurt Cobain, 'Vin' is the actor Scott Adkins, Dr Matthews is Mads Mikkelsen, Henry Waters is a very young Henry Cavill, Jenna Cross is Rhona Mitra and Vera Vignes is Helen Mirren. 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...

Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.

Tuesday 20 November 2018

V5 Chronicle - Faction Profiles - Aegis Acquisitions

During the course of the various stories of this chronicle the coterie has and will meet many characters so I'm therefore creating several profile pages for different groups within my version of kindred Los Angeles to help them keep track. I'll also amend these profiles as new information comes to light and old 'facts' turn out to be less factual than originally thought...
Aegis Acquisitions
Roxanne Weaver
CEO Aegis Acquisitions
Marius has used this company and it's sister construction firm as a front for his activities in Los Angeles and other nearby cities for at least the last century as well as a way of laundering money for his criminal enterprises. It's also rumoured that several hoards of ill-gotten gains from over the years have also been legitimised in this manner. With his own foreknowledge of deaths, disasters and misfortunes caused by his own activities and by monitoring the schemes of others his organisation is always poised ready to take advantage of the consequences.

As far as the mortal managers employees and investors are concerned the company is an entirely legitimate business venture that has been in the hands of the Walker family for several generations though they leave the day to day running to a board of directors while holding the majority shareholding themselves.

The current CEO is Roxanne Weaver whose financial acumen has enabled the company to reach new heights though this expansion has been also driven by a considerable new investment of money from the Walker families own considerable personal wealth. As these constant infusions of new capital enable the company to continue it's aggressive expansion, Miss Weaver is more than willing to expedite the occasional unusual investment or purchase required by the somewhat eccentric Walker family via their personal accountant Victoria Ann.

As well as these entirely legitimate investments Marius Walkers own schemes enable properties to be bought when their values are at their lowest, those who can be blamed for illegal activities are blackmailed, construction contracts are ready the moment a mysterious explosion occurs and so on. Though he has minor interests in virtually every district of LA his main influences are in Downtown, Santa Monica and Hollywood and to a much lesser extent, Chinatown.

He is also in possession of a small scale cargo ship called the 'Elizabeth Dane' which he uses for a variety of legitimate transporting of goods and some smuggling activities when necessary.

Amongst his interests in Downtown LA are the Hallowbrook Apartments a former hotel and high-rise complex that was the site of a horrendous massacre and whose top floors are used as his own haven, Club Confession whose Russian criminal owners were murdered freeing it for take-over, an abandoned hospital plagued by bad luck and still yet to be renovated, The office building Venture Tower acquired after requiring extensive re-building due to an explosion in the penthouse attributed to incorrectly stored gas bottles and the Nocturne Theatre, Skyeline Apartments and Empire Arms Hotel bought due to bankruptcy after the collapse of the LaCroix foundation who were the previous owners of Venture Tower.

Given the close proximity of the Hallowbrook and Venture buildings as well as several other Aegis businesses in that location the area is broadly considered by other kindred to be Marius's domain despite being in the centre of what is officially the barony of Louis Fortier and now covers an area of approximately twelve square blocks. He also considers the area beneath it to be his and defends it as vigorously as he does that above ground. This is beginning to become an issue as technically this is domain bestowed upon him by Baron Fortier and still belongs to him whereas most kindred treat it as entirely under Marius's control. It is now the general consensus that's it's only a matter of time before Marius Walker declares himself the Baron of Downtown in it's entirety.

Santa Monica
Amongst his holdings in Santa Monica are a pawn shop and the flats above it, Kilpatrick's Bail Bonds franchise bought cheaply after the manager lost several staff and clients to a serial killer, several beach apartments built on the site of a abandoned beach house whose drug dealer occupants were killed in a deal gone bad and Brothers Salvage allegedly the hideout of the Southland Slasher before his killing spree ended abruptly in 2004. He also has interests in several late night diners, SunCo gasoline which is rumoured to have once been the haven of the Nosferatu Bertrum Tung and at least one tattoo parlour acquired for unknown reasons, possibly it was simply going cheap. A percentage of the profits from these businesses is paid as tribute to the Baron of Santa Monica, Therese Voerman though he often pays these in the form of favours rather than financially. Marius has avoided the night-club business in Santa Monica as he has no wish to go into direct competition with the Voerman sisters main 'Asylum' club as they are much more valuable to him as clients and allies than as competitors.

His most notable current enterprise in Hollywood is the Asp Hole, the club of the former actor Ash Rivers bought from Isaac Abrams the Baron of Hollywood after the disappearance of the aforementioned actor. He also owns the Cavoletti Cafe, the Ground Zero internet cafe, the Luckee Star Motel and a sex shop and strip club collectively called the Sin Bin. All the latter are take-overs resulting from murders or other unfortunate events on the premises resulting in their values plummeting. Many of the Sin Bin's entertainers also make a living as prostitutes and Marius occasionally uses them as blood dolls for those kindred in need of an easy feeding. His latest investment is a move into the film industry via the entertainment empire of the starlet Karen Anatos but currently it's merely a financial arrangement without any actual personal involvement by him or his ghouls due to certain complications with Mrs Anatos's status with certain interested kindred. He has also recently acquired a newspaper made bankrupt after it came out on the wrong side of a messy law-suit, though what he wants it for is a subject for debate.

Marius's business interests in Chinatown are to the casual observer minimal, encompassing only the Glaze nightclub, a fish market, several slaughterhouses and the import/export warehouse Zhao's. When the Eastern vampires known as the Kuei-jin left Los Angeles several other businesses became available for take-over though it's unknown how many of these he managed to take control of. It is however presumed that he now holds significant sway over the local economy. For those kindred capable of surviving on animal blood, Marius's slaughterhouses are a popular destination for those vampires not too proud to except a 'free meal' as the Gangrel is surprisingly generous with it's distribution asking only the most trivial of boons in return. He has an arrangement with the Ventrue Lyko Wu, Leader of the Blood Dragons, Triad gang who has a significant presence in Chinatown though the exact terms are unknown.

Marius 'The Fixer' Walker
Autarkis Gangrel
Hallowbrook Apartments (Haven 5: Cell 3, Hidden Armoury 5, Occult Library 5, Laboratory 1, Luxury 1, Postern 4, Resources 5, Security System 6, Surgery 1, Watchmen 7)
Allies 5 (Multiple), Contacts 5 (Multiple), Domain (Chasse 4, Lien 3, Portillon 4), Fame 3 (Kindred Only), Influence 4, Herd 2 (Kindred), Herd 5 (Kine), Infamy 3, Mawla 4 (Jeanette Voerman: Anarch, Malkavian), Mawla 3 (Therese Voerman), Retainers (Alice 5, Clara 4, Daedra 4, Heather 2, Leanna 5, Melissa 3, Sylvia 4, Venus 3, Victoria 5, Yukio 5), Status 4 (5 with Gangrel)
Bloodhound, Iron Gullet, Linguist 4, Unbondable
Black Vein Permanency (The evidence of diablerie never leaves Marius's aura)
Carmelita Neillson (3: Neillson Library), Descendent of Xavier (1: Martyred Ancestor, 2 Where the Bodies Are Buried, 4: Monstrous Bat, 5: Experienced the Antediluvian), Fiorenza Savona (1: On Fiorenza's List, 2: Breakfast with Fiorenza, 3: Friendly Benefits), FIRSTLIGHT (1: Evasion Tactics, 2: Branch Office, 3: What Do They Know, 4: No Records Found, 5: Friends On The Inside), Jeanette/Therese Voerman (1: Asylum Membership, 2: Performing Monkey, 3: Jeanette’s Favorite, 4: Therese’s Favorite), Lupine Expert (1: Huntsman, 2: Tactician, 3: Soldier, 4: Trophy), Sect War Veteran (1: Survivor, 2: Active Participant, 3: Trophy Kill, 4: No Vampire’s Land), The Bahari (1: Dangerous Reputation, 2: Ritual Scarification, 3: Sacrifice the Children, 4: The Womb’s Blood, 5: First-Cursed), The Book of Nod (3: Scholar).
Claustrophobia, Diablerie Addiction, Paranoia (Mild)
Animal Features (Physical) 
Enhanced Senses (Sight, Hearing, Touch), Pheromone Glands (Only active when kindred uses Blush of Life)

A resident of LA for around five decades the Autarkis Gangrel Marius has quickly gained a reputation as a Kindred willing to solve problems with few questions asked, an adequate amount of discretion and a guarantee of results. Though open to accusations of occasionally lacking subtlety vampire culture is fairly flexible in the areas of 'the ends justifying the means' and the ends he provides usually broadly match the results required of him.

Events rumoured to be his responsibility have ranged from acquisition of occult artefacts that may or may not have already had homes in the collections of other kindred or certain poorly guarded museums, warehouse explosions that coincidentally were also Sabbat staging points, information retrieval and an almost countless number of mysterious and less than mysterious disappearances.

Of course it's unlikely that every event attributed to him were actually ones in which he was involved but a number of Anarch Barons have found that having a convenient scapegoat on which to cast suspicion is always useful and as they add to his reputation anyway he rarely if ever issues denials. Lacking the support of any particular faction and less than popular with his own clan due to past misdemeanours including a less than positive reaction to the clans leaving of the Camarilla a fact made more controversial by the rumours that he is a descendent of the Gangrel Xavier. He is now too useful to remove, too powerful to move against without significant risk but not quite powerful enough to be a threat to those already in power due to the haphazard nature of his interests. This balance is of course a position that he's spent considerable effort to maintain the illusion of though his interests have now become considerable enough that certain kindred are beginning to look in his direction with no small amount of suspicion.

Victoria Anne - Ghoul
Senior Retainer of Marius Walker
Having amassed a considerable amount of allies, contacts, havens and resources by profiting from having advanced notice of business interests that are about to collapse, important people who may be suddenly disappearing and large buildings inexplicably about to explode his interests are widespread though somewhat unfocused due to the random nature of their acquisition. It's a running joke amongst the Nosferatu that Marius always seems to get paid twice and his ghoul Victoria's financial expertise always makes the most of both payments.

He has further spread his influence by being in a position to offer a variety of havens to caitiff and neonate kindred in need as well as provide jobs for the resource poor in suitable night-time work areas such as warehouses, retail and the increasing number of clubs and bars with which he has influence in return for future boons. This latter endeavour has provided him with a significant network of kindred willing to perform minor tasks in order to continue receiving the aid he provides and some of the more ambitious of these have moved up in power and position still owing him those boons. It is suspected that with many kindred the method of payment is to keep him informed of the goings on with their respective faction and clan, a fact somewhat confirmed by his ability to be one step ahead of his competition. Jenna Cross has been made aware that he has spies within her organisation though only has suspicions rather than any actual evidence about who they might be.

Marius has a significant network of ghouls mainly based at his large apartment building headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles as well as a number of kindred operatives in his direct employ. The fact that the majority of Marius's ghouls are attractive young women has led some to believe that they are selected on appearance first and merit second. An opinion soon changed should an overconfident kindred treat them as mere blood dolls...well...with perhaps one exception...

The Kindred
The Cabbie
Kindred Transporter
Hallowbrook Apartments Underground Garage (Haven 3: Hidden Armoury 3, Luxury, Postern 2, Security System 5, Watchmen 1)
Fame 3 (Kindred Only), Influence 3, Mask 3 (Zeroed), Retainer 3 (Ghoul Mechanic), Resources 3, Status 4
Iron Gullet
Pony Express (1: Access to the Network, 3: Driver, 5: Passenger Service)

Offering a unique service to the kindred of Los Angeles the kindred known currently as 'the Cabbie' (or sometimes 'The Transporter' by younger kindred) offers transport of any-one or anything from anywhere in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas with no questions asked anytime from nightfall to daybreak. Taking payment in blood, boon, money or valuables he guarantees prompt and guaranteed arrival times and can even be waiting at your chosen pick-up point at the moment you awake at your Haven. It's also been noted by several customers that they can't recall actually asking for a cab or telling him their destination despite the timing of both being perfect.

How he himself manages to arrive at a time that can only be accomplished by travel during the hours of daylight has never been answered but he has yet to fail to keep an appointment. By mutual agreement his vehicle is considered to have the same status as an Elysium and this is honoured by all kindred and is perhaps the only recorded time of a vehicle being granted this status. It's rumoured that even the Sabbat and the Lupines honour his status as neutral ground though this may be just wishful thinking from his passengers. Several older kindred speak of a gentlemen in the past known as the coachman who offered a similar service in other cities.

He has recently been contacted by Paxton, the creator of a delivery service amongst the kindred known as the Pony Express, to enquire about whether he wishes to become part of their network. He has apparently accepted the offer with Marius's approval and has now added an international aspect to his unique delivery service.

Occult Specialist
Abandoned Downtown Hospital (Haven 4: Cell 5, Creepy, Laboratory 3, Occult Library 5, Postern 1, Security System 5, Surgery, Warding 5, Watchmen 1)
Allies (Bound Spirits: Effectiveness 5, Reliability 4), Infamy 3 (Kindred Only)
Bloodhound, Linguistics 6
Obvious Predator, Organovore
Far too many to list...

Pisha is a vampire of the Nagaraja, a bloodline that is twice-cursed as they must consume not only the blood of their prey, but their flesh as well.

Pisha is by human standards a monster and is quite unapologetic about it but in truth Pisha is a survivor and when she eats humans she is in her opinion only doing what any other animal would do in her position to survive. Pisha is at heart a scholar and the majority of her ambitions and goals focus around gaining knowledge particularly in the field of Necromancy. She comes across as a very calm and collected individual who only cares about her intellectual pursuits but is a genuinely terrifying and powerful foe should she consider herself threatened.

Up until a few decades ago Pisha never spent much time in any location but is now more or less a permanent resident of Los Angeles. By arrangement with the few other kindred aware of her existence she is kept sealed within an abandoned downtown hospital by Marius who provides her with occult materials and enough flesh to maintain her existence in exchange for her making her occult knowledge available to him whenever necessary.

Once the threshold of the hospital entrance is passed however the hospitals halls, passageways and rooms are completely her domain and are riddled with traps both mundane and supernatural as well as been patrolled by undead creatures and wraiths under her control. Visitors to her domain are provided with a map of the complex and a specific route to follow in order to leave and (if she allows it) to return. It is the opinion of some of those who have sought her council that the precautions that keep her in place are more to inspire a feeling of security in the kindred of Los Angeles rather than an actually effective way of keeping her contained and that both her and Marius are well aware she could leave if she wished. However for now the arrangement seems to suit them both more than adequately whether it's a fallacy contrived by them both or not.

'Shepherdess', Mistress of Blood Dolls
Hallowbrook Apartments (Haven 5: Cell 3, Laboratory, Library 5 - Blood Research, Surgery)
Contacts 5 (Marcelina Black, The Circulatory System), Contacts 3 (Police Lieutenant in Vice), Contacts 3 ('Sin-bin' manager), Contacts 2 (Drug Dealer), Contacts 1 (Weed Dealer), Fame 1 (Former Actress and Model), Herd 5 (Marius's Blood Dolls), Resources 3 (Kept Woman), Retainer 3 ('Transporter')
Day Drinker, Discipline Affinity (Dominate, Presence), Lifelike, Linguistics 1 (Spanish), Stunning, Thin-blood Alchemist (Athanor Corporis 3, Calcinato 2, Fixato 5)
Bestial Temper, Clan Curse (Toreador), Vitae Dependency
The Blue Velvet (2: Who's Who), The Circulatory System (1: Tap into the System, 2: Little Black Book, 3: Farm Upstate, 4: Secure Transit, 5: Blood Sommelier)

A model and 'actress' drawn like many to Hollywood in the pursuit of fame who instead found the squalid underground of vice and degradation that so many others have fallen into.

Fed on at a 'speciality' party by a Toreador kindred attracted to her beauty and then again due to a particular sweetness of her blood she fell into the hands of a group of kindred known as 'The Circulatory System'. This group of kindred traded vessels of particular blood vintages between themselves and other interested individuals. After becoming a regular favourite of the self-same Toreador who first discovered her he purchased her for himself and after some time as his ghoul he embraced her.

However all did not go according to plan and she not only exhibited no particular disciplines of his clan but was in many ways barely a vampire at all. In his disappointment he abandoned her and having no place to go she returned to the only kindred she knew namely the very group that had been trading her for years, The Circulatory System itself. Having an intimate knowledge of the organisation from her days as one of it's vessels she became a valued member of the organisation despite her status as one of the duskborn. Unfortunately the loss of a valuable shipment to a powerful kindred in Los Angeles from Chicago threatened her status until an offer was made to her by a local 'Fixer'. In short he would compensate the organisation and the aforementioned kindred and in return she would serve him instead. Her choices being final death or an unlife of service to another she picked the latter.

She now manages Marius's herd of blood dolls, ensuring their health and well being as well as cataloguing any unique resonances for when the Gangrel has a particular preference. He also provides her the weekly infusion of vampiric vitae she needs in order to maintain her own disciplines. In addition to her usefulness as a personal manager of his herd she also left the Circulatory System with a number of other useful resources which she now utilises in Marius's service. She also is skilled at both brainwashing and deprogramming, skills gained during her time with the aforementioned Circulatory System and which she uses both in the service of Marius and on a freelance basis for certain special clients. The Circulatory System is ultimately a pragmatic organisation so with her debt to them cleared she can still interact with them and utilise their services, but at a price of course.

Bertrum Tung
Unknown Generation Nosferatu
Underground Bunker (Haven 3: Hidden Armoury 1, Library 3, Security System 5)
Contacts 1-4 (Various useful information brokers), Influence 1 (Santa Monica), Influence 2 (Downtown), Mask 3 (Cobbler), Mawla 4 (Jeanette Voerman: Anarch, Malkavian), Resources 2,  Retainer 4 (Knox Harrington - Ghoul), Status 2 (4 before the 'Voerman' incident)
Iron Gullet 3
Repulsive 2
Ambrus Maropis (2: Clandestine Information), Jeanette/Therese Voerman (3: Jeanette’s Favourite)

Bertram Tung is a Nosferatu who was forced for some time to reside in an abandoned oil tank at the SunCo Gasoline facility, in Santa Monica in order to avoid the Baron of Santa Monica, Therese Voerman whom he feared and no doubt still does. Her close watch on the borders of her territory made escape impossible so he was effectively trapped within Santa Monica until an arrangement was made to lift the contract out on him in exchange for a service. This service put him in considerable debt to the kindred who made it possible, one Marius 'The Fixer' Walker.

Tung was one of the most influential vampires in Santa Monica and a fierce rival of Santa Monica's Baron, Therese Voerman so being forced out of his home barony was a considerable blow. He has however regained much of his influence and moved what of it he could to downtown Los Angeles where Marius has provided him with a spacious underground haven and access to the resources he needed to rebuild his information network. Though he now effectively works for Marius he has the same remit as many under the umbrella of the Gangrel's influence which allows him to pursue his own agenda's as long as these don't interfere with any schemes of Marius's own or compromise the operations of his other operatives.

Knox Harrington - Ghoul
He currently resides in the provided haven beneath Venture tower where he can tap into the power and computer lines he needs to run his extensive database in a secure haven that was many years ago a bomb shelter. Knox Harrington, his long serving ghoul has an apartment in the tower itself though spends much of his time with his sire in the underground haven. Having previously been a bounty hunter and now with the abilities of a ghoul, Knox is an expert tracker and locator of individuals who may wish to remain incognito.

He has also recently acquired a Nosferatu assistant named Eric Moore who has shown himself to be a useful if somewhat impulsive computer expert though he prefers the term 'vigilante hacker'.

Bertram is a specialist in infiltration and is also intimately knowledgeable in the Kindred sects and clans. He is uninterested in politics, stating quite clearly that he never wanted to become the Baron of Santa Monica nor of any other barony for that matter. He is also very intelligent, planning from the shadows, like the majority of the Nosferatu. Tung is possessed of a some-what self deprecating sense of humour and isn't afraid to mock the miserable world he lives in, and the various people in it.

He has great loyalty towards his clan though pays only lip service to whatever passes for authority having the same scorn for the brief Camarilla leaders of Los Angeles that the other major Nosferatu player 'Gary' did. Tung has considerable respect for Nines because of his charisma and thinks that because of him, many Kindred turn Anarch every day. Though the specifics of his disagreement with Therese Voerman are unknown to any but themselves it is rumoured by many that he undermined a business deal of hers with information obtained from her sister Jeanette Voerman with whom it is implied he once had a sexual relationship.

The Ghouls
All of Marius's ghouls have apartments in the upper floors of Hallowbrook Apartments and benefit from access to it's significant resources and security.
Haven: Hallowbrook Apartments (Haven 5: Cell 3, Hidden Armoury 5, Occult Library 5, Laboratory 1, Luxury 1, Postern 4, Resources 5, Security System 6, Surgery 1, Watchmen 7)

Victoria Anne
Personal Assistant and Financial Adviser
In theory Victoria has access to any of Marius's own allies, contacts and resources as he has made it clear that a request from her is a request from him. A fact that rankles with many elder kindred used to ghouls being seen and not heard rather than dictating terms.
Obvious Predator
Antisocial Personality Disorder, Dependent Personality Disorder (Marius), Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Psychopathy.

It's rumoured that Victoria was once the ghoul of a particularly sadistic Tzimisce who had taken her to use as a personal project to make himself a servant who was perfect on the outside and a monster within and had used his mastery of the discipline known as Vicissitude to accomplish it. There's significant confusion over when this event was to have taken place as the Tzimisce believed to be her previous domitor mysteriously disappeared about half an hour after Marius went to discuss the possibility of him leaving town and taking some of his more interesting masquerade breaking creations with him. This version of events is directly contradicted by kindred who are certain that Victoria was with him when he arrived in LA some twenty years before the Sabbat's attempted invasion though Marius was indeed responsible for the final deaths of many Sabbat during their assault.

Regardless of the circumstances of her recruitment she has served loyally in his service mainly fulfilling the role of what in a normal business arrangement would be a personal assistant. Efficient, aloof and on occasion exhibiting a sadistic streak she manages her masters business interests and is by many considered responsible for some of the cleverer opportunities created by his activities. For many she is the first point of contact and also manages the day to day activities of Marius's considerable quantity of ghoul operatives. When engaged in activities that may be more dangerous than usual she is invariably accompanied by Yukio though when called upon to extract information from unwilling subjects she prefers to work alone, though sometimes Marius likes to watch...

She is also an utterly amoral, sadistic, psychopath who even some of the worst monsters in Los Angeles avoid if they can help it. Her loyalty to Marius however borders on the obsessive and any who question that loyalty rarely live to regret their mistake.

Yukio Hayashi
Assassin and Enforcer
Allies (Hallowbrook Security Teams: Effectiveness 5, Reliability 3), Hidden Armoury 5, Resources 4, Retainer 3 (Head of Security)

A former hunter of the supernatural who met her match when sent to dispatch the shapechanger who had killed the rest of her team of demon hunters. The creature had amassed several enemies killing seemingly at random as it moved through Kindred territory and continued it's masquerade threatening rampage in a Chinatown controlled by unusual vampires from the east.

The Autarkis Marius had apparently sought permission from these unusual kindred to enter their territory to destroy it and arrived just in time to dispatch the unfamiliar monstrosity as it stood over the hunters body. Curious about how she had stood for even a brief time against it he used his blood to bring her back from the brink of death and she has served him as enforcer and assassin ever since. As with Victoria there is some confusion as to when this occurred as despite a similar event being reported in Los Angeles Chinatown district the hunter in question was said to have survived and then left town immediately.

Surprisingly cheerful given her trade she is known to dress to accentuate her youth when working as an assassin in order to lure her targets into a false sense of security and is never without a small armoury of weapons about her person. Victoria and Yukio in particular have on more than one occasion exhibited the use of disciplines far beyond that normally used by the ghouls of neonates and ancillae leaving some to speculate that their master may actually be far older than any-one suspects. Of course this also may be just another rumour he allows to persist in order to keep both his allies and enemies guessing...

Recently it was discovered in conversation with Yukio by an inquisitive Toreador that she had been offered the role as ghoul and warrior in the service of Marius at a period in Japanese history that marked a significant transformation in the social acceptance of women. It is the Toreadors opinion that this would be somewhere in the Edo period which started in the 17th century (1600-1868 to be exact) which would put Yukio at at one hundred and fifty years old at the very least and possibly much older. It would also make the story of her more recent origin as a demon hunter extremely unlikely to be true unless the event happened a significant time ago before her arrival in LA.

Clara and Sylvia Drake
Mages and Occult Consultants
Occult Library 5, Resources 4

The sisters are of the Verbena tradition dedicated to preserving the ancient crafts and wisdom passed down over the ages by witches and warlocks, druids and druidesses, shamans, mystics, and priests and priestesses of the Old Gods. Both sisters are the unfortunate inheritors of a rare blood disorder that can emerge at any time and despite extensive research could find no magical method that permanently removed it's potential for emergence.

Becoming increasingly desperate their research moved from their own traditions into the magic of other supernatural creatures particularly vampires due to the obvious connection to blood. Learning of the kindred servants known as ghouls they came to the conclusion that if they couldn't cure the condition then never reaching the age at which it effected them would be the next best thing. Taking the dangerous path of approaching such creatures directly they used their contacts within the occult community where they eventually encountered a ghoul called Victoria and through her the Gangrel Marius. Though the event is discussed as if it was only recent, they have in fact been in his service for nearly ninety years.

The arrangement has suited both parties with Clara and Sylvia gaining both unlimited time in which to find a cure and access to financial and occult resources that would have been extremely difficult to obtain through their own machinations. They also have a base of operations where even their most unusual experiments can be carried out unobserved and without judgement. Also as their particular tradition highly values blood as an ingredient they have ready access to significant quantities of raw materials due to the ease with which their host can acquire such things.

Marius for his part now has two extremely capable and knowledgeable practitioners of magic to serve as consultants on occult matters and with abilities that kindred blood magicians would find difficult to counter. He uses them against other kindred on only the rarest of occasions however in order to reduce the chances of a reprisal removing this valuable resource from his arsenal.

There are rumours of a  third sister who uses Marius's resources to travel the world seeking knowledge to help both him and her own sisters, returning periodically to collect the preserved blood she needs to maintain her immortality.

Venus Dare
Club Confession Manager and Dominatrix 
Allies (Door Crew: Effectiveness 3, Reliability 3), Contacts 3 (Various Club Patrons), Contacts 3 (Various Submissives including 'Fat' Larry) Resources 3, Retainer 3 (Head Doorman), Retainer 3 (Doorman 'Heavy')

Formally Club Confession was under the thumb of a particularly unpleasant and violent Russian mobster whose demands for protection money had steadily increased to the point that as each month went by she became further and further in debt to him.

Desperately looking for a solution one of the customers of her sideline as a dominatrix let slip that he'd been selling a lot of hardware to a dangerous and skilled individual. After some 'prompting' he admitted that this man had successfully performed several near impossible jobs for him seemingly without significant effort and that he'd be happy to arrange an introduction between him and his mistress. The meeting would however have to be at night as he always seemed to be busy during the day.

A simple deal was arranged. Venus would make him a partner and split all the profits with him straight down the middle if he could make her problem go away. The three Russian enforcers who came to collect that months protection money found their way barred by a slightly built oriental girl who promptly executed all three while Marius personally paid a visit to the home of their boss.

The next day the club was in a new partnership and the news was full of stories about the gruesome massacre of three dozen mobsters, their leader and his family presumably at the hands of a rival criminal gang.

Marius promptly ghouled Venus and then had some of the clubs upstairs converted to private rooms where he could conduct business or grant feeding rights to those willing to pay the price. A special membership card is given to those who are to be taken care of in a particular manner so Venus recognises them and the doorman don't get in their way and certain 'vintage' wines are also available to clients with the correct palate. She is also broadly responsible for the running of Marius's other clubs 'The Asp Hole' in Hollywood and 'Glaze' in Chinatown.

Outside of these requirements Venus is left to run the business as she pleases and without the extortion she suffered previously is now beginning to enjoy the financial results of the clubs success. The majority of her doormen and women are former military or law enforcement personnel for which she pays a premium in order to ensure that the club is trouble free for it's more discerning clients. Of all of the organisations ghouls she is the closest thing Victoria has to a friend though what interests they have in common might not be the healthiest of things to look into.

Heather Taylor
Blood Doll
Contacts 2 (Interior Designers), Contacts 3 (Fashion Industry),  Resources 1 (Galerie Sanguine), Resources 4 (Kept Woman)

Why Marius took on a student with no connections, trade-able skills or discernible talents is a mystery to every-one who knows of him, yet his ghoul she is. Some have theorised that he did so as a way of keeping in touch with his dwindling humanity and to keep a connection to a constantly changing modern world. Though quite knowledgeable in the fields of interior design, fashion and with a newfound interest in art prompted by a conversation with the Toreador Michael she is primarily left to her own devices unless Victoria gets involved.

If involved in actual company business she is mainly seen transporting unimportant messages between minor contacts or performing trivial tasks for Victoria and is considered to be one of the few weak points in his organisation. When not accompanying Victoria or performing her own duties Yukio has been given the tertiary task of keeping Heather out of trouble and on the one occasion that an impulsive group of licks attempted to use her against her domitor this was reacted to with such overwhelming and brutal levels of violence and collateral damage that no-one has been yet willing to make a second attempt. Her superficial resemblance to Victoria has also raised a few eyebrows.

In a recent attempt to get her out from under her feet Victoria has suggested to her that she's wasting her creative talents and that perhaps she should seek suitable employment giving the 'Galerie Sanguine' of Michael Tomassio and his coterie as a likely candidate. Michael has indeed offered her a position which she has accepted and has surpassed expectations of all by actually excelling in the role. Though Michael is well aware that she is certainly reporting on their activities to Marius and Victoria her employment has other advantages than her creative abilities. Most importantly those kindred aware of the soft spot that the Gangrel 'Fixer' has for Heather are far less likely to act directly against the Gallery knowing that should she become collateral damage then Marius would no doubt overreact considerably.

Dr Melissa Russell
House Surgeon
Allies (Surgical Team/Staff: Effectiveness 3, Reliability 3), Laboratory, Resources 3, Surgery, Watchmen 2 (Private Security Firm)
Beautiful 2, Linguistics 3 (German, Latin, Spanish)

With the kindred Dr Daniel Matthews now effectively a full time member of the coterie of Michael Tomassio the 'Fixer' Marius has decided he needs some-one with medical training to fulfil the medical aspect of that role. Melissa Russell was a well regarded surgeon who worked at several hospitals in Los Angeles and came to Marius's attention while his operatives were observing Daniel Matthews at work during the early part of his stay in LA.

Whether she was selected to make some kind of point to Daniel or whether it was mere coincidence there's no doubt that she's a highly skilled doctor, surgeon and administrator. She has been given a state of the art laboratory and surgical suite, highly trained staff and access to a considerable budget and her department is now effectively the in-house medical team for the Aegis group's various companies.

Immortality and enhances senses were of course interesting but unforeseen bonuses.

The Unknown
The coterie have also heard rumours of another ghoul called 'Alice' in his service and apparently a former ghoul of the deceased prince LaCroix who is also now part of his organisation. Of course these vague rumours might turn out to be completely false as many of the truths surrounding 'The Fixer' are mutable at best.
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