Well, faithful Nerdarchy reader, I have done it. I have dipped my dainty size 14 toe into the pool of the 21st century, and how it has changed gaming forever. See, when I first started gaming in 1989, these kind of tools were not readily available. Though thanks to the way my father raised me, I have a mind for extrapolating numbers from any given source. Be it the trajectory of a ball in flight, the stress levels of the bridge I am driving over, or even the population census from the lore of a series of role playing games. To this end, I started a project this week based on various bits of lore I have found in the World of Darkness for purposes of making it easier to understand the true dire situation of the monsters in that world.
To see the results, click this download link: Download
There is evil, the serpent that tempted Eve to taste the fruit of the tree of knowledge … and then there is evil that tempts you with a smile, a suit, and promise of what you truly desire. This evil is dangerous because it does not hunt you, you offer yourself to it with a smile. You will sell yourself, heart, mind, and soul. And one night, when you least expect it, you will hear a knock on the door, and the sins of the past will be visited upon you and all those you hold dear. Thus the venom of Set will crawl into your veins, and no anti-venom will save you.
Alrighty! So I recently had the pleasant surprise to turn on Facebook and be informed that Whitewolf Publishing has released not one but two new games based on existing licenses within the World of Darkness. Now I am not sure you are aware, but I...
I stand at the hill, watching as a crypt is raided, or not necessarily raided, as it is not so much a break in as a break out. The new generation of Giovanni stepping out into the night. Followed by, oh my, he has been busy. Look at that, all his cousins are joining him in the march from the grave, but only he was gifted with eternal life. No, like so many from his family, he has cursed them with eternal death. And that my dear friends, is what make the Giovanni special. It’s a dead man’s party. Who could ask for more?
To talk of the Nosferatu I came to see, I need only speak of the golden age of movies, back in the days when silent films giving way to talking pictures had slain the careers of many. But one of the greats, known as Golden Gary, survived. He had style, and he had grace, he had everything that one could hope for. But what he also had was one of the most mysterious disappearances of Hollywood history. The truth is, he was embraced by the Nosferatu clan of vampire and rendered to be one of the ugliest beings ever known to man. Yeah, he gained power beyond most people’s wildest dreams, but he had lost the very dream he had been living.
Knowing their reputation, I chose to bring help with me to this. For this, I brought my uncle Darwin, the Fianna Garou, to Tijuana. Here we sit in a bar of ill repute, watching as an act of a fire dancer amuses the crowd. From...
Coming around the corner of a cliff face almost a mile outside of the warehouse I was told contained my target. A Tremere, a vampire with a long colorful history unlike anything I have heard before. Torture, betrayal, and the most inhuman acts one could imagine are commonplace in this being’s history. Born a man of faith during the Salem Witch Trials, he single-handedly dropped the population of mages to almost nothing in what would become the United States. This being, the source of the screams I can hear from hundreds of meters away, once picked a target that decided he would rather not be burned at the stake. A Tremere vampire that turned him, and created a monster whose evil has nothing to do with his lust for blood.
“Find the Queen, win a prize! Ten dollars to seek the lady in red, twenty and you can guess three instead!” the man I seek states before I can even introduce myself, his grey eyes piercing in their intensity as he gauges my interest and gullibility. A Ravnos through and through, he follows his own path, and from what I can see from his long brown leather coat and weathered jeans, it has been a long path indeed.
“Alright, I’ll play,” I say as I throw down a ten dollar bill, its creases holding it in place upon his pop-up table as I see him nod in agreement before turning the queen of hearts face down.
It all started just like any other night. Well, any night that involves vampires, that is. See, I went to go interview the prince of a city on the West Coast, thinking a level of civility and decorum would greet a meeting with not only a leader in the Camarilla, but a Ventrue at that. Oh, how wrong I was. You see, the Camarilla does not like being revealed to the public in general. Not to mention the fact that just because they work together in an uneasy peace does not mean the Camarilla is filled with monsters unto themselves. I had barely gotten in the door of the business sky scraper that housed the prince when my mind was overtaken and conciousness fled from me.
Waking as if in a dream, I found myself tied to a medical bed similar to one used for dialysis. In fact, based on my woozy feeling, I could tell I had already been drained of a lot of blood. Before me sat a man in a lab coat, dress shirt, tacky fish tie, penny loafers and pressed slacks. Through my haze I could make out his droning monologue.
“You thought you were clever, thinking vampires are an easy mark, but you fleabags never expected me, did you? Not you, nor several others of your misbegotten family of lupines have been able to take me down. In fact, I take great pleasure in binding or even turning your super special ‘kinfolk.’ They make very effective test subjects. So are you part of the pack that attacked me last week? No, I don’t think so. They were smart, you are stupid. Almost too pathetic to use.”
Greeting Nerdarchy readers,
For those of you who do not know, I am a gamer who loves the World of Darkness series of games. This is not my only passion, though, as I adore zoology and especially marine life. If I had to pick my favorite of our floating friends, I would say Cetaceans, or whales, to be my absolute favorite. Another passion of mine is mysteries of the natural world. Low and behold, there is something that combines all of this.
See, in our oceans we have an unknown whale that has been calling out for over two decades now that no one can identify. Known for it’s unusually high-pitched sonic signature, the call whales use to find mates and their pods, the 52 Hertz whale is one of a kind. First detected in 1989 by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and further identified by declassified naval recordings by the SOSUS anti-submarine hydrophone arrays, this whale was immediately a mystery to one and all. See, a blue whale’s signature will fall between 10-39 Hertz, and fin whales are usually around 20 Hertz. The fact this whale was detected at 52 Hertz, double if not more than the range of others, makes it a mystery. How is it making this noise? Why is it the only one?
The fact that the call has deepened as of 1992 to 49 Hertz means the whale is not only able to survive on its own but is thriving into maturity. Each year, between August and December (that means right now!) the whale has been detected off the coast of California to the Aleutian to Kodiak Islands until January to February. With an average speed of 30 to 70 KM a day, it gets around quite a bit. Could it be searching for another like it? Could it be lost?
Watching this man from a distance, I can see the iconic insanity of the Malkavian clan of vampire shining through. Not the blithering idiot trying to bite off his ear so he doesn’t have to hear the voices, but one who has stepped up to the stage of life, lead by their insanity into a world without fear, and all the clarity that comes with it. Like a ring master, this man, young and vibrant in appearance, dressed to the nines as a showstopper of a ring leader, calls out to the crowd around him with charisma and verbosity.
Jumping up on a box and stretching his arms wide, he speaks in a voice that nearly yells at the start of a sentence only to fade away to draw the crowd in so they don’t miss a thing, “Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls of all ages! You have seen that seeing is believing! Please forget your seats, as you will not be needing them. This show is one for the ages, his age to her age, and all the ones in between! You will see wonders, and what will you wonder? That is the question and you will question everything from this world and beyond!” By this time I can hear the whispers, the edges of my vision clouded by the iconic infectious insanity the Malkavians have become synonymous with.
Turning, as if filled with knowledge that no one should have without being told, he addresses a crowd only he can see, “Nerdachy readers, you will see all that you can imagine and more than you ever dreamed. Not just a collection of glorious beards. Come with me, and you will see a world of pure horrific imagination!”
Well … that was unexpected. Wait … why is the crowd wearing bunny suits? Oh, boy … time for another trip down the rabbit hole …
I watch, enraptured inn every movement of the cold flesh of the vampire before me. Her pale skin clad in sheer lace and the velvet she gets her stage name from, yet somehow her style and grace are obvious, demanding respect from everyone there.
As her legs wrap around the pole, gravity and skill beyond that of humans the world round driving her to flip upside down in a waltz that has everyone wishing to be the pole, to dance with her for a night even if it would leave them empty vessels for an eternity.
Thus is the danger of this predator, the prey do not run. No, they clamber, they would fight to the death to be her next victim. Everything about her draws them in, to please her in whatever way would bring her a moments pleasure.
The clack of heels on freshly polished reflective floor barely warn of this pink haired beauty’s approach, not on her feet like a feral animal, but on hands and knees, slinking along like a cat in control of the mouse that is on the menu.
That mouse, in the case of a Toreador, is art and forms of beauty in this world. As she crawls to me, her green eyes becoming my world, I realize that knowledge of the abilities she wields does not grant immunity to them, for my world fades into a world of green and pink. If I ever see the sun is no longer my will.
Toreador, the deviants, are vampires that live unlife to the fullest. They are such prolific personalities that they do not have a reputation for combat but are feared none the less. A founding member of the Camarilla, the Toreador are beings of near infinite charisma and skill. Though they are the opposite coin to the rebellious Brujah, controlled ability to the ruckus impulse of their opposite. This comes from their powers as well as their weakness. For in the interaction of those two factors, you find why the Toreador are the way they are.
After so much time dealing with the Garou, I got cocky when it comes to the Kindred known as the Gangrel. I had went to deal with the clan and thought that because they are close to the beast, they would parlay freely. Well, that does not seem to be the case as I was punched in the head hard enough to knock me reeling. Well, to say he was not friendly from that point on is an understatement. Then again, I was not the most polite guest. Especially after I found out my sharp tongue could literally drive my host Blaine into fits of feral rage.
I heard once that there is nothing sharper than an Irish tongue. Well, they have not felt the claws of the Gangrel clan, twisting and drilling it’s way into my hand as the Kindred laughed in delight. His face, at first normal like any human’s, had shifted to have lupine ears and eyes like a cat with the various aggressive roars of frustration my insults and unwillingness to cooperate had brought forth from him. This man, no, this beast is only wearing a thinly held back visage of civility ready to fade away like a mirage. And like such illusion, once the truth is seen it is forever feared by the prey and the predator alike despite any collar one can put on it.
Heaven help those that bear the curse of the Gangrel, for they are doomed to an eternity not of the world of man, or beast, but a world alone forever.
There is a beast within every vampire, and then there is the beast known as the clan Gangrel. See, where other clan’s let their kindred hide their beast on the inside, the Gangrel personify it inside and out. This is a nice way of describing the extra bit of nastiness that the curse of clan Gangrel is, the ever lasting fear that the next frenzy will leave it’s mark and turn their greatest gifts against them in the ultimate form of karma. Course karma is a beast unto itself.
I watch from from a distance as I have not found a way to safely introduce myself to the vampires before me. Each one exactly the same in how they are trying to be different. Rebels without a clue some would say but who can argue with the results as I listen in on what could only be described as a exsanguinated shakedown. The rebels, feral in their devotion to the Sabbat, are attacking an entire warehouse that is soon to be a haven, a place to stay and launch their assault on the Camarilla and the world at large.
Like many of the Sabbat, these vampires are of the warrior-poet clan known as Brujah, Strong and fast, these men and women are charismatic in a terrifying way. The predatory nature they exhibit as enthralling as it is fear inducing. The world itself seems to be a smaller place as I realize they could be anyone. From my friends, to the mail man, the Brujah and vampires like them are the apex predator of the world because they can hide in plain sight. I think I will have to find a way to get closer but without a way to protect myself I cannot risk it.
Well I think I timed this out well with the election having happened and the real World of Darkness starting. Time to give an overview of the sects that all vampires pay homage to in one way shape or form. No matter which side of the political die you land on, you can find a home within one of these governing bodies.
Let’s jump right in shall we with the simple information of what is a sect. That is an interesting question as many would equate them to Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or even the ever present Anarchist. These labels are fairly accurate and yet totally off base at the same time. See most of the current governments came out of the need for survival, both in the real world and the World of Darkness. Survival is many things, psychological and physical needs as well as the needs for personal safety from the predations of the world. The World of Darkness has many predators indeed and some will surprise you.
The one I refer to is humans, harmless one on one but like the grasshoppers in “A Bugs Life”, the kindred have learned that numbers mean for a lot in this big scary world. To put it in game terms, seven billion people is a lot to run from. Well in all actuality you can anticipate that there may be a vampire per ten thousand humans or so. Ten thousand is even a lot to handle if everyone up-rises at once. As my older brother Donald once told me, “The dice will pop up in their favor eventually”. I digress, the governments of Kindred society all approach things in different ways but their goal is always survival against threats both real and imaginary.