Fallen Vegas: A World of Darkness Play-by-Post

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krellen
Location: The City in New Mexico
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Fallen Vegas: A World of Darkness Play-by-Post

Post by krellen » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:38 pm

Vegas lies in ruins. A separatist campaign started by a group of marginalised casino owners turned into all-out war between the government, the gambling militia, and the criminal gangs of Downtown Vegas, leaving Vegas a shell of its former self. But the shell is not empty, and a new hope has begun to circulate among those that remain in the city, and those that have now come to the city, hearing the Good Word.

Magic is real.

It can be seen all along the Strip, where clanking automatons powered by phlogiston clean the rubble of the Great Quake. It can be seen in dark alleys of Downtown, where blood is openly traded to power dark rituals and empower vitae junkies. It can be seen in the outskirts, where the wild has already begun to reclaim lost suburbs and savage creatures stalk the night.

While the Great Quake continues to send aftershocks throughout the world, as governments strive to maintain order and stability in an ever-changing sea of calamity, as systems that have stood for centuries suddenly wither and collapse over night, Vegas stands as a symbol of all that could be possible in this new, chaotic world. In a world still shaken by one devastating event, Vegas shines as the one place that may offer something better than the broken ruins of civilisation as we know it.

It all began, of course, with the election of Draco Finrich as Mayor of Vegas. Backed by environmental groups, powerful corporations, and influential casino moguls, his election was a landslide, and he let the results go to his head. He pushed a radical agenda of green energy, moral certitude, and pro-consumer policies that included a proposition to outlaw gambling in the city, which soon snowballed into a massive nationwide debate on the topic. With the eyes of the city and the nation upon the principle actors in the debate on gambling, a criminal organisation quietly gathered the various gangs and drug cartels of the city into a single terrorist organisation, which soon massed a massive attack upon the city itself. Quarantined by the US Military, Vegas was left to fend for itself.

In the end, the terrorists lost, though there was no single climatic battle for all to see that ended it. Instead it ended when the Great Quake came, a tremor that shook the entire Earth. In a single night - not gradually, as scientists had long predicted it would - the Earth's magnetic poles switched, reversing the polarity of its magnetosphere. This shook the very foundations of society - every satellite orbiting the planet was instantly shorted out, as were most of the world's information infrastructures. Machines began operating erratically, and the economy, driven as it was largely on electronic infrastructure, collapsed overnight.

In the chaos, somehow, the US military was driven away from the borders of Vegas and the haggard residents of Vegas's Strip seized control of the city and its surrounding, posting a Declaration of Separation along the makeshift walls that surrounded their enclave during the terrorist siege. With so many other problems to deal with, the US government could not manage to dispute the claim. Vegas exists, de facto if not by law, as an independent city-state now.

Almost drowned by the cacophony of the tragedy, several of the world's most powerful and influential people were lost in the event as well - several died, some quite suddenly and unexpectedly, while others - particularly the more reclusive figures - simply vanished without a trace. Had so many stolid institutions not lost their most influential and powerful figures, society may have been largely unchanged. But with so many positions of power suddenly vacant, along with the chaos of disrupted communications and systems, upheaval followed. Rebellions sprung, coups launched, and takeovers achieved. Many global institutions - including the Catholic Church, which lost the Pope and half the College of Cardinals that night - were shaken to their cores, many never to recover.

The communication disruptions were not permanent - terrestrial communications were repaired within a month, though there still exist a great many holes in the web of satellites that once circled the globe, as many failed to restart or crashed (often taking others with them) in the interim of their interoperability, and communication still has not been restored with the International Space Station. While a great deal has changed, life is slowly returning to something approaching normal around the world.

But not in Vegas. Because in Vegas, they know that magic is real.

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Fallen Vegas is the aftermath of the Mage campaign I ran on Skype last year. It is the World of Darkness, but perhaps a bit different from the usual. The citizens of Las Vegas, having witnessed a lot in the past year, believe in magic. They believe in vampires. They believe in werewolves. They believe in these things because they have seen, with their own eyes, that they are real. Werewolves and vampires waged open battles in the streets of Vegas, and the residents of the Strip - the only section of town relatively unscathed by the destruction of the past year - still recall their night-time vigils against the predations of these once-mythical beasts.

Most of Downtown Vegas belongs still to the Sabbat, who thought Gehenna had come and had prepared for it by waging a terrorist war to bring the humans under their thumb. It is clear now the Great Quake was not Gehenna (for no ancients have stirred, so far as they know), and the Sabbat is weakened by the loss of their West Coast Cardinal and many of the Archbishops beneath her. While they still control most of their former territory, Anarchs, Independents and the Camarilla have all begun to explore Vegas as a potential prize to be claimed.

The Strip exists as a walled enclave of several thousand people who had been protected from the depravities of the Sabbat by a collection of Mages who, in the end, operated openly in their defence. While all but one of the Mages vanished in the Great Quake, their legacy remains: the people of Vegas believe in magic, particularly the strange throwback science of the Sons of Ether (the sole survivor of the Great Quake, Carol Phillips, is an Etherite). Clockwork automatons openly operate throughout the Strip, and it derives much of its electricity from phlogiston-derived technology. The Strip is mostly safe, and has begun to see a return of the tourism that once drove most of its economy, especially those coming to see the strange wonders that now power the city.

The suburbs and outskirts of Vegas have been largely reclaimed by nature, though it's a strange sort of nature; Vegas exists in the middle of a desert, and yet east of Vegas now stretches a vast and lush forest, as deep and dark as the Black Forest of medieval Europe. While the Hoover Dam did in fact fail during the Great Quake, somehow Lake Mead did not drain and a flood did not result - instead, nature reclaimed the area instantly, literally overnight - the forest that now stretches to the banks of the lake was there, full-grown, the morning after the Quake. Werewolves dwell openly in this forest and claim the territory as their own; so far the citizens of Vegas are satisfied to leave it to them.

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This will be a multi-faction Play-by-Post; players may be vampires, werewolves, mages (other supernatural creatures may be available, but I'd like to hash out any details before approval), or even just (extra)ordinary people, be they Kin, Ghoul, Hedge Wizard, or otherwise. The Great Quake is how the world is explaining an event that was actually the Sixth Great Maelstrom/Avatar Storm, for any familiar with those concepts in the World of Darkness.

Characters are built as standard: 7/5/3 to divide among attributes, 13/9/5 to divide among abilities, and the standard other traits for starting characters. 15 "Freebie" points.
These rules apply to both supernatural creatures and ordinary people, though ordinary people will get 15 extra "background" points that can be used to buy advantages like being a Ghoul, Kin, or Hedge Wizard or other special flavour perks that will make them able to operate in the same arena as fully supernatural characters. Ordinary humans have Virtues like vampires on the path of Humanity: Conscience, Self-Control and Courage.

If you're unfamiliar with the classic World of Darkness system but still want to play, let me know and we can hash out how to get you up to speed. If you have any questions about the setting or the system, don't hesitate to ask.

Players don't necessarily have to get along - it's very unlikely a vampire and a werewolf would be friends! - but I would like each character to have some sort of connection to at least one other character, though it doesn't have to be an amicable connection. Old enemies works just as well as a sire-and-childe relationship.

Some specific rules that may or may not matter to you: the Gauntlet in the Strip is 8; Downtown is 6; the Outskirts is 4. The Caern of Mead is a level 5 Wyld caern, and mostly dominated by Shadow Lords and Uktena. The Glass Walkers have a level 3 Urban caern nearer to the Strip. The centre of the forest is a tear in the Gauntlet, with Gauntlet 0 - a Verge.

The paradigm of Vegas is Etherite; their magic is coincidental. Technology is mostly coincidental, though sometimes fails for unknown reasons; all rolls subtract one success, and ordinary failures become botches.
Other Magic is less vulgar - all Paradox is reduced by one. Paradox is the Revised form - instant damage. The Avatar Storm is in effect - Mages passing to the spirit world take damage.
The Strip contains a working Fountain of Youth, controlled by Carol. A fair portion of the Strip's citizens are former senior-citizens now living off the Fountain.

As Vegas is still "officially" a Sabbat city, there is no Masquerade.
The Tremere antitribu are extinct, but as the former Cardinal was the last of them, it is not unheard of for local Sabbat to know Thaumaturgy (as an out-of-Clan Discipline).
Because the Sixth Great Maelstrom has occurred, there are no more Wratihs - though the unfulfilled dead still walk the Earth, trapped in corpses as zombies instead.
Necromancy rituals do not work quite the same as they used to - most that involve summoning, questioning or controlling spirits require finding a zombified corpse to draw the spirit from first.
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Lachlan the Sane
Location: I come from the land down under, where women blow and men chunder

Re: Fallen Vegas: A World of Darkness Play-by-Post

Post by Lachlan the Sane » Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:00 am

So here's the public version of my character profile. Krellen has the character sheet, but you aren't allowed to look at it. Mwahahahaha.

Rising Crow and the River of Orchids

Trapped as it was in incessant gang wars, the citizens of Vegas grew somewhat used to terrorist attacks, terrible though that phrase may seem. Some semblance of stability returned after the fallout from the Great Quake had settled, but it has not lasted. In the past three months, a small gang of fanatics, calling themselves the River of Orchids, have been destroying buildings on the edge of the Hoover Forest. What few pieces of their manifesto have been gathered indicates that they are dedicated to the destruction of human construction and the expansion of the Forest. Their leader, an Awakened mage of Native American descent who calls himself Rising Crow, claims that he is creating the explosions himself with magic, although forensic investigation -- where possible -- confirms that they are almost all caused by IEDs.

What is of more concern is Crow's excessive use of dangerous Life magic; the destroyed buildings have a tendency to sprout forest at an alarming rate (although nothing like the speed with which the Hoover Forest grew). The members of the River of Orchids appear to have received a few magical enhancements typical of the guinea pigs of unscrupulous Life mages, and the Rising Crow himself has quite a few birdlike features. Furthermore, the more organised mages still living in and around Vegas have noted that Crow appears to have few qualms about casting Vulgar magic or causing Paradox.

Crow appears to consider every citizen of Vegas to be his enemy, and there are certainly very few people in Vegas who would consider him to be their ally. However, while Crow's base of operations does seem to be somewhere in or near werewolf territory, he does not appear to have attracted the enmity of the wolves. It is possible that they see him as a potential ally, a thought which chills some citizens to the bone.

(P.S. if anyone wants to play a werewolf from the Hoover Forest, Krellen and I know the reasons why the wolves get along with Rising Crow, so we'll send you a PM about it).
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Supahewok

Re: Fallen Vegas: A World of Darkness Play-by-Post

Post by Supahewok » Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:54 am

Oh wow, this section of the forum is alive again.

I'd like to join, but have no experience with the WoD system and only a little knowledge of its lore. (I can recognize the names of some vampire clans and that's about it)

I have played just about every version of D&D in some form save for the very original and Chainmail, along with a few other d20 systems, a little bit of GURPS, and I've read the rule book for Savage Worlds but never played it. Don't know if any of that experience would be helpful or not.
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Sudanna

Re: Fallen Vegas: A World of Darkness Play-by-Post

Post by Sudanna » Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:10 am

I'm in the same boat, really, except with less tabletop experience. :p
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krellen
Location: The City in New Mexico
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Re: Fallen Vegas: A World of Darkness Play-by-Post

Post by krellen » Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:11 am

Lachlan also has no experience with the World of Darkness, so experience is not required. Let me know what it is you might be interested in playing (it's the real world with supernatural creatures in it) and we can work out what you need to know.
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Supahewok

Re: Fallen Vegas: A World of Darkness Play-by-Post

Post by Supahewok » Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:45 am

Hmm, I like collecting P&P games, and have been meaning to look into this one at some point anyway. DrivethruRPG seems to have the .PDFs for various WoD books at $10-$14 dollars each. Is what you're running Classic WoD, New WoD, or Monte Cook's WoD? I'll grab the core book of whichever it is and give it a read this weekend.
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Lachlan the Sane
Location: I come from the land down under, where women blow and men chunder

Re: Fallen Vegas: A World of Darkness Play-by-Post

Post by Lachlan the Sane » Tue Jan 06, 2015 2:07 am

Supahewok wrote:Hmm, I like collecting P&P games, and have been meaning to look into this one at some point anyway. DrivethruRPG seems to have the .PDFs for various WoD books at $10-$14 dollars each. Is what you're running Classic WoD, New WoD, or Monte Cook's WoD? I'll grab the core book of whichever it is and give it a read this weekend.
Krellen sent me a .pdf of Mage: The Ascension (the old WoD mage rulebook) which he apparently got legitimately -- I think that some of the oWoD rulebooks were put on a limited-time free download when the nWoD versions became available?

In any case, we're playing the old version of WoD, and Krellen might be able to send you a rulebook depending on what type of character you want to play.
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krellen
Location: The City in New Mexico
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Re: Fallen Vegas: A World of Darkness Play-by-Post

Post by krellen » Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:18 pm

Last January, the Revised edition of Mage: the Ascension was a free download because the publishers were running their Kickstarter for the 20th Anniversary edition.

As Mage-20th hasn't been released yet, I will be using Revised Mage as the Mage rulebook (it should be mostly similar). I'll be using Vampire-20th and Werewolf-20th for those games. I don't have rules for Changelings, so if you want to play one, you'll need to get the source yourself. I am not allowing PCs to be zombies (formally known as Risen).

As far as mortals go, I have rules for shapeshifter Kinfolk, Hedge Wizards/Sorcerers, and Hunters, both the mundane and the supernatural kind. Technocrats may also be available.
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krellen
Location: The City in New Mexico
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Re: Fallen Vegas: A World of Darkness Play-by-Post

Post by krellen » Tue Jan 06, 2015 10:54 pm

As I have now had two people ask basically the same question (even if they didn't know they were asking it), there is an important difference between Hedge Wizards/Sorcerers and Mages. Sorcerers cast rote spells, with fixed effects - they have to study and practice their spells and repeat them the same way every time, and the effects they can accomplish are always the same; if their spell summons rain, that's all that spell can ever do - summon rain. And it will be a mundane rain - no rainclouds indoors.

Mages, on the other hand, tell reality to sit down and shut up. They understand the Nine Spheres of being that make up the universe and, based on their personal understanding of those Spheres, enact their will on the universe. While most of them are bound within a certain paradigm - their personal understanding of how they enforce their will on reality (for instance, Etherites understand their ability in the form of scientific experimentation and mechanical adaptation, though they usually believe in "debunked" theories like the ether, alchemy and spontaneous generation) - so long as their understanding of a Sphere and their paradigm allows it, they can do anything. Most Mages try to make their magic look like coincidence, however - a lucky break, etc. - because when they do not, reality lashes back at them, tearing at their very souls in retaliation.

However, because reality is formed entirely of what people believe it to be, the belief of the people of Vegas has allowed more outlandish feats to be done with less backlash, and as previously stated, the ideas of the Etherites are entirely within the bounds of reality's local paradigm.

So a Sorcerer can do what it is they can do so long as they have the time and materials to cast their spell without fear of repercussion (from reality, anyway), while Mages can make things up on the fly and do not always have to follow rote (though rote can help), nor are they confined in what effects they can create save by their own understanding of reality - denoted by their Sphere ratings, but can be "punished" by reality if they push too far.
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krellen
Location: The City in New Mexico
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Re: Fallen Vegas: A World of Darkness Play-by-Post

Post by krellen » Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:59 pm

This thing isn't dead yet. It's getting better.
PossiblyInsane

Re: Fallen Vegas: A World of Darkness Play-by-Post

Post by PossiblyInsane » Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:54 pm

Glad to hear it. Looking forward to when it gets out of the lab
Guthie

Re: Fallen Vegas: A World of Darkness Play-by-Post

Post by Guthie » Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:38 pm

I'm putting together a novice Hunter character. Is anyone interested in pairing up, amicably or otherwise?
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