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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

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    Default Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    After many, many, many years of not giving the game a second glance, I am now actually working on a campaign for Vampire the Masquerade. A central element of the game's premise is that it takes place in a large modern metropolis. And when I start working on any worldbuilding idea, I always take at least a few moments to think if there are some elements from my native local culture of the Baltic Sea region that would fit into the overall concept. I fully admit that this part of Europe is not really very exciting when it comes to landscapes, and the local history is generally seen as a minor side-show to the squabbles of the Great Powers. While there are plenty of works about Vikings and Goths, those pretty much always take place in the distant lands they invaded and not actually in Northern Europe. But as a local, I do see some of the charms of the regions, and when you do a bit of digging, there's actually quite a lot of local history that makes for really great tales.
    For a Vampire campaign set in a metropolis of at least around a million people near the Baltic Sea, there are really only eight to ten options. And Hamburg became the immediate obvious choice, as I was born there and lived there for a good part of my childhood, and I'm still passing through there pretty regularly. And a quick list of notes for things that could be included in a Vampire campaign grew quite long pretty quickly:

    The metropolitan area of Hamburg combines a little over 5 million people, who with modern transportation can reach the city center within an hour (in light traffic, obviously). It's a city with a thousand year history that existed as an autonomous republic within the Holy Roman Empire. It had it's own aristocracy of powerful merchants who knew no other lord than the Emperor himself. It is now the second largest city in Germany, and has the full status of one of Germany's 16 states, still calling itself the "Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg". It is the third largest port in Europe and has long been Germany's gateway to America, Africa, and Asia.

    A brief History of Hamburg
    Hamburg was granted the status of a Free Imperial City in 1189, and even back then had a long history of conflict with the kings of Denmark, who were also owners of several principalities right outside the limits of the city. In 1241, Hamburg on the North Sea allied itself with the nearby Free City of Lübeck on the Baltic Sea, which marked the beginning of the Hanseatic League, which controlled all trade in Northern Europe for centuries to come. In the 14th century, following the ravages of the Black Death, the league was a major power in a great war with Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Mecklenburg, and the Teutonic Order, during which soldiers from Hamburg took part in the sacking of Copenhagen. At the beginning of the 30 Years War, the merchant lords of Hamburg surrounded the entire city with massive fortifications. The incredible investment and years of construction paid of, as Hamburg was one of the few cities in all of Germany that no army ever even tried to sack, as the country around it was ravaged by war for decades. In the early 1800s, Hamburg and Lübeck became the furthest outposts of Napoleon's Empire.
    A third of the city burned down in a great fire in 1842, but by the end of the century its fast growing population was approaching one million people. It became home to the largest trans-atlantic shipping company and the place from where millions of Germans left Europe for a new life in America. Disaster came again in 1942, when the city was bombed by British and American bombers day and night for a week, which dropped 40,000 tons of bombs, that flattened much of the city in a massive inferno of flames. At the end of the war, American analysts concludes that the destruction from the atomic bomb in Nagasaki did not mange to reach the scale of damage that had been seen in Hamburg. Since then, things have been relatively quiet for the city, with the exception of a flood in 1962 that drowned hundreds, and the city's population never stopped growing.

    Vampires in the World of Darkness
    Generally speaking, the basic premises of the World of Darkness setting are not very complicated unless you want to dive into the convoluted plot of the official campaign books (which this campaign doesn't). It is more or less what you would expect from any Urban Fantasy setting that has been around in the 30 years since this game was created.
    In the World of Darkness, vampires have been around for many thousands of years. In their own myths and legends, their history began when Cain was cursed to walk the Earth for all eternity, forever suffering with the guilt of having killed his brother. Stories say that Cain eventually met a sorceress or demon who taught him magic that could draw great power from his immortality, which turned him into the first vampire. Cain gave his blood to three humans, who also became immortal, and who then in turn gave their blood to an unknown number of humans that made up the third generation of vampires. All of these were different and unique, and at least some of them became the founders of bloodlines that have continued to the present day. The founders and the vampires they themselves creates have long since disappeared in the mists of time, but their descendants have spread all across the world. 13 of these clans are known, but only seven of these (the original seven from the first edition) have any presence in this version of Hamburg by Night and the surrounding area.
    At the end of the Middle Ages, countless vampires were destroyed by the Inquisition, and they realized that with better organization and more advanced weapons, there was no way to defeat the humans in an open war. Instead, a great conspiracy was conceived, to make the humans belief that they successfully eradicated all vampires from the world. The vampires would all go into hiding while still manipulating things from the shadows, and over the course of centuries convince the humans that they had never really existed in the first place. The society of vampires behind this Masquerade is known as the Camarilla, and they maintained some degree of stability and security for vampires for several centuries. But their authority to dictate to all vampires where they are allowed to live, where to hunt, and how many of their own spawn they can create was never fully accepted by all vampires, even though they saw the need to keep their existence hidden from the mortals. Those vampires who don't accept the Camarilla are known as the Anarchs, and they have become more popular and numerous than ever in recent decades, as younger vampires see themselves treated as eternal children by their elders who never have the dignity to die from old age and allow new generations to climb up in the hierarchy. There is also a doomsday cult of vampires known as the Sabbat, who reject all notions of living peacefully and secretly alongside humans, and who believe that the ancient founders of the clans will return to the world to devour all their offspring, possibly wiping out the world of the mortals as well. Either way, all vampires are aware that a time of great upheaval is approaching, and whatever form it will take, it will mean the final death for a great number of vampires.

    Clan Ventrue: The Ventrue trace their recorded history back to ancient Rome and they have always been known as aristocrats and politicans, but in the modern world they also include many industrialists and rich businessmen among their ranks. Unsurprisingly, the Ventrue had had their fangs in the Hanseatic League from the very start, and many of the wealthy merchant families were secretly controlled by Ventrue vampires. The oldest of the Ventrue has been the Prince of Hamburg for as long as anyone can remember. He is the one who enforces the laws of the Camarilla and has full authority about permissions to create or destroy vampires within the domain. The current Prince gained his position in 1942 after all his elders were killed, which in terms of European vampires is still very recently, and everyone knows that his claim to power is not nearly as secure as they all pretend it to be.

    Clan Toreador: The Toreador are a family of vampires that many consider to be obsessed with art, opulence, and, decadence. Which isn't exactly untrue, but vampires of clan Toreador are also very capable manipulators and perfectly at home in high society just as much as the Ventrue. The Toreador never had much presence among the merchants of Northern Europe. Instead, their presence was concentrated among the noble houses and they always had considerable influence in the royal courts of Scandinavia. Much of the conflict between the Hanseatic merchants and the kings of Denmark had been provoked by manipulations of the Ventrue and Toreador. The Toreador within the domain of Hamburg live almost entirely in Lübeck, which is half an hour drive (at night) outside of Hamburg. They only became part of the domain after the war, as their city was destroyed just as badly, but they never were very enthusiastic about it and their loyalty to the Ventrue Prince in Hamburg has always been in question.

    Clan Brujah: Like the Ventrue, the Brujah take great pride in the ancient history of the clan. They claim that more than 2000 years ago, they ruled the city of Carthage until it was destroyed by the Romans on behalf of the Ventrue vampires that had a strong hold over its aristocracy. Since then, the Brujah have lost any appearances of nobility and are now mostly seen as punks and anarchists, who are easily overcome by their instinct and who are quick to rebel against any kind of authority. The Brujah are quite numerous and are either open members of the Anarchs or make no real effort to hide their support for the movement. But in Hamburg their numbers consist mostly of very young vampires and are not seen as a serious threat to power to the elder vampires of the other clans. Unlike many Brujah communities in America, who often recruit their newest members from punks and street gangs, the younger Brujah in Hamburg are mostly drawn from students and anarchist activists. Like their ancient ancestors, they pride themselves on being intellectuals and visionaries, but that doesn't make them any less violent and most of them aren't much in the way of scholars.

    Clan Tremere: The Tremere are a strange oddity among vampires in that they were not founded by one of the ancients of the third generations. Instead they used to be a society of medieval sorcerers who sought the secret of immortality and experimented with the blood of vampires and other supernatural creatures. It is not known what exactly happened, but either by accident or design, the entire society was transformed into vampires.
    The original chapter of Clan Tremere in Hamburg was wiped out completely in the city's destruction over half a century ago. But during the 50s, Germany recruited large numbers of migrant workers to help with the rebuilding of the country's booming economy, and when large numbers of Turkish workers from Anatolia extended their stay and had their families come and join them in Germany, the head of the small Tremere chapter in Ankara realized that their stay would not just be extended but likely become permanent. Hearing of the destruction of the Hamburg chapter, he petitioned his superiors and the Ventrue Prince of Hamburg to be granted the vacant Tremere claim. The Turkish Tremere did very well for themselves in Hamburg under the guise of an institute for Turkish and Middle-Eastern scholarship, but the leader always cursed his lack of foresight and didn't anticipate the boom of Ankara, which today is just as big as Hamburg, and could have been his to rule if he had just been a bit more patient. The Tremere are the most important allies of the Ventrue in their rule of the city. While they have always been reliable, everyone knows that the Prince could not retain his claim on power without their support, which gives them considerable power.

    Clan Nosferatu: The vampires of the Nosferatu clan lack the human outer appearance of other vampires and are obviously undaed monsters. This forces them to hide from human eyes and severely limits their ability to directly influence human society. Instead, the Nosferatu have developed a culture of collecting and trading information. While they can only observe from a distance, they know almost everything that is going on and collect countless favors from the other clans to share their knowledge with them. The Nosferatu are one of the smaller clans in Hamburg and have no control over any of the city's streets. Instead, the Nosferatu hunting grounds make up the entire underground train system below the city. While other clans are allowed to use the trains, feeding anywhere in the tunnels and stations is forbidden to anyone but the Nosferatu who are masters in doing so without being seen despite the bright lighting and cameras.

    Clan Malkavian: The Malkavians are both seers gifted with foresight and premonitions and madmen cursed with deeply disturbed minds. They don't see themselves as mad, but rather as people who understand much more about the real world around them than anyone else. The Malkavians are one of the smaller clans in Hamburg like the Nosferatu, but they have a centuries old claim on the old shanty towns and market stalls along the road between the cities of Hamburg and Altona, where all the people gathered whose trades had them thrown out of the cities. But in the last two centuries, the city has massively grown in size so that both the Old City of Hamburg and Altona are now just small sections of the modern city's center. As is the small district of Saint Paul's between them that is now the heart of Hamburg's nightlife. The territory of the Malkavians may be tiny, but they have arguably the best hunting grounds within the entire domain. The leader of the small Malkavian community is regarded as having little interest in power, and most of the other vampires don't consider them able to gain any real influence even if they wanted to. As such, the Malkavians have established themselves as the neutral clan within the city's vampire politics, and everyone is welcome in their territory, as long as they don't hunt humans without permission. Most of the neutral meeting places for vampires where no violence of any kind is permitted by common consensus are inside the small Malkavian territory, many of which are even owned by their leader.

    Clan Gangrel: Unlike other vampires, the Gangrel feel most at home in the forests and fields rather than the streets of the city. But with werwolves haunting the countryside, they have little choice to stay closer to areas firmly under the control of vampires. There are currently only two Gangrel living in the domain of the Prince of Hamburg. They are both loners roaming in the sparsely build up areas on the south side of the river and rarely involve themselves in the politics of other vampires. (Player's can play Gangrel vampires, but the clan is mostly unimportant in the politics of the city.)
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    "Recent" Events
    The feud between the North German Ventrue and the Danish Toreador goes back to at least 1368 when a group of Ventrue ghouls led the razing of a Toreador noble's mansion during the Hanseatic invasion of Copenhagen. It probably began even earlier than that, but the only vampire from that time who is still around is the current Prince of Copenhagen Christina, who was just a newly turned fledgling at the time.

    In 1460, the human King of Denmark also became the Count of Holstein, extending Danish rule right up to the very gates of Hamburg and Lübeck. The recent creation of the Camarilla and the need for all vampires to go into hiding prevented the Danish Toreador from getting a strong foothold in the area, but one of them created Anna the Elder, who would become the primogen of the Toreador in Lübeck.

    In 1625, Denmark entered the 30 Years War in an attempt to expand its influence South past Hamburg, but this brought the feared Catholic warlord Wallenstein into the area. While the surrounding lands were ravaged by the war, Hamburg remained save behind its heavily expanded fortifications, where the current Ventrue Prince Thomas served as one of the defenders on the wall before he was made a vampire towards the end of the war. While there was no direct hostility between Hamburg and the Danes, there was a lot of talk about conspiracy, with the important Danish city Altona being located not even a mile outside the city walls up the river.

    In 1842, a great fire destroyed a third of Hamburg, and being one of the few things that can kill a vampire, led to the death of a significant number of vampires.

    In 1940, the German army occupied Denmark in 4 hours, much to the delight of the German Ventrue, and not much after the German air force began it's long campaign to bomb London and other British cities. However, by 1942 the tables had turned and the British Air Force concluded that precision bombing of priority targets was just not technically possible. Instead they tried to simply go for massive widespread destruction with blockbuster and incendiary bombs on Lübeck. The fires grew into a massive inferno which causes gargantuan updrafts that created a giant pillar of roaring flames rising into the sky and killed hundreds of people, among them the small but ancient group of Ventrue in the city. One week later, bombings of Hamburg began, using the data gathered in the first attack. The following year, the British launched Operation Gomorrah, attacking the city day and night for a week with a thousand bombers, until successfully causing one of the greatest blazes the world has ever seen. The inferno incinerated all the city's Tremere, most of the Brujah, and almost all of the Ventrue elders in a single night. Even though he was only a vampire of the 7th generation, Thomas was the oldest surviving Ventrue in the city, and in the chaos that followed the other clans did not oppose his claim to be the new Prince of Hamburg. Anna of the Toreador in Lübeck also thought it wisest to pool what little resources remained with the vampires of Hamburg and agreed to add the city to the Prince's domain.

    After the war, Hamburg experienced a huge boom and was quickly rebuild, growing larger than every before. Much of this was only possible with the help of migrant workers from Southern Europe and Turkey, many of which eventually ended up staying in Germany permanently. Among these was a small group of Tremere from Ankara, whose leader saw much more potential as a primogen in Hamburg than being a prince in a small town in the Anatolian mountains, just as it was starting its own unexpected massive boom.

    In 1962, a giant cyclone of the North Sea flooded large portions of Hamburg that were not properly protected by dykes, drowning hundreds of mostly poor people. The only vampire territory affected by the floodwaters was that of the Brujah, which was almost completely flooded. Unsurprisingly, they saw this as clear evidence for the rich Ventrue in their mansions caring nothing for the well-being of poor humans.

    Conflict with the Danes returned in 2000, when the Öresund bridge between Copenhagen in Denmark and Malmö in Sweden was opened, a project that had been heavily backed by the Toreador. Within a month, all the vampires in Malmö had accepted the Prince of Copenhagen as their sovereign. A 20 minute car ride is no barrier to the power of a vampire Prince. Almost immediately, planning began for an even more ambitious project to construct a tunnel under the waters of the Baltic sea that would cut the travel time between Hamburg and Copenhagen almost by half to only three hours. Fast enough for vampires to travel between the two cities in a single night, even during the shortest nights of the summer. And Lübeck sits right on the highway that would connect them.

    The project was officially started in 2010, at the start of the campaign, again with Prince Christina of Copenhagen throwing her political and financial might behind it. While the construction would be entirely funded by Denmark, Prince Thomas of Hamburg managed to get the building permissions stuck in German courts for a decade. But in 2020 the last permissions were granted, with construction planned to start the next year, to be completed in 2030. Then it will be ultimately determined where the loyalties of Anna of Lübeck truly lie.

    The Brimstone Plot
    The Brimstone Plot is a conspiracy theory that the bombing of Hamburg with incendiary weapons that are extremely lethal to vampire was no accident. Many Ventrue in Hamburg seem to believe that the idea to not just pound the city with explosives, but to deliberately create a giant, all consuming inferno, must have come from rival vampires in London. Something named Operation Gomorrah surely must have been the idea of a vampire. It's not quite clear if this is supposed to be the work of a rival Ventrue faction in London, that had been in a kind of trade war with their German kin for centuries, or it was a plot by the Danish Toreador, who used the close ties between the Danish and Norwegian nobility to have the Norwegian King in exile suggest the idea to his British hosts.
    The Ventrue seem to be convinced that the attack was directly targeted at them.
    The Toreador think the idea is preposterous.
    The Brujah see it as another example of the little people being trampled in the spats of the high class, but don't really care about the specifics.
    The Nosferatu think the whole scenario sounds very implausible and there being no evidence for it.
    The Tremere always stay out of any such decision, claiming to have no reliable information about anything before they came to the city.
    The Malkavians might know, but they are not telling anyone.
    The Gangrel really don't care.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    The Domain of Hamburg

    The domain of Hamburg covers the entire Hamburg metropolitan area, bordering the domain of Bremen one hour to the Southwest, and being within a few hours driving distance of the domains of Hanover in the South and Copenhagen in the Northeast. Of these four domains, it is by far the largest with over 5 million human people.
    The domain covers the entire city of Hamburg that is home to 35 vampires, as well as the smaller city of Lübeck with 15 vampires, and the towns of Stade and Lüneburg with 2 vampires each, all of which can be reached in half an hour when the roads are empty at night. (Not so much during rush hours in the winter, though.) A large number of towns and villages are located between them, but none of them are home to any known vampires.

    The 54 vampires fall into the following clans:
    Ventrue: 13 (3 elders)
    Brujah: 12 (1 elder)
    Toreador: 9 (3 elders)
    Tremere: 7 (2 elders)
    Nosferatu: 6 (2 elders)
    Malkavian: 5 (1 elder)
    Gangrel: 2

    The Prince in Hamburg has been called the Aldermann since the establishment of the Camarilla. Though they may be vampires, they are still Hamburger. And since more than 800 years ago, Hamburg and Lübeck have been free imperial cities, and as such have known no lords other than the Emperor and God, and the last emperor abdicated over a hundred years ago. Therefore the vampire ruling over the primogen of the seven clans holds the same titel as the leaders of the medieval guilds speaking for all the masters of their trade.

    Like all Camarilla cities, the vampires of Hamburg follow the six traditions:
    - No vampire must allow humans to learn of their existence.
    - The Aldermann alone rules over the whole domain.
    - No new vampires must be created without permission from the Aldermann.
    - Until a new vampire is officially introduced to the Aldermann, the creator has full responsibility for all actions of the fledgling.
    - All vampires entering Hamburg must inform the Aldermann of their presence at the first opportunity.
    - No vampire must be killed without order from the Aldermann or in self-defense.

    In addition, the vampires in Hamburg also follow several local laws:
    - Each clan has defined territories in which none but them may hunt without permission of the primogen. About a third of the domain's urban area is not within any clan's territory.
    - The entire underground train system, including all stations and tunnels, and all trains of the four lines even when moving on open air tracks, are the territory of clan Nosferatu, regardless of territory borders on the streets.
    - All vampires may pass freely through any clan territory as long as they don't attack humans.
    - The passenger terminal of the airport is forbidden for all vampires, as the level of security makes detection too risky.
    - The use of automatic firearms within the domain is forbidden. It would draw too much police and public attention in Hamburg.
    - The Aldermann and the clan primogen have authority to forbid all vampires under them from using firearms if their use draws too much police attention.
    - Never talk about anything vampire related on the phone or email. Only make appoimtments to meet in person without giving any reason. Always assume someone is listening.

    Most borders between territories are marked by rivers, with much of the remainder being marked by train tracks. As moving between territories usually requires crossing a bridge or going through a tunnel, there is relatively little ambiguity about whose turf a vampire is on. So while vampires absolutely can cross moving water, it's ofte a good choice to consider well if you really want to.
    The Nosferatu have printed special city maps that have the clan territories marked in different colors with no additional discription. All vampires are explicitly forbidden to make any kinds of notes or markings on these maps so there is no possibility to connect them with vampires if theh get lost. Loss of such a map must be reported immediately, and violating the rules will always be reported to the Aldermann.
    One notable territorial dispute is the neighborhood of St. Georg. By ancient agreements, this part of the city is territory of the Ventrue, but they have not set foot beyond the Main Train Station and Lange Reihe street for almost a century and never brought up the open poaching by the Brujah on some of the city's poorest. But in recent years, popularity among students past their graduations have caused rent and property prises to rise steeply, transforming the population to something more to the Ventrue's taste, who are now coming back to this part of the city. The famous luxury hotel Atlantik is only 400 meters from the Main Station, which is one of the Brujah's most popular hangout places. And the situation is not at all helped by the Art Museum lying directly between them, and Toreador are regularly passing through the contested area. Most vampires are pretty certain that the first blood in an open war involving any of the three largest clans would be taking place somewhere within these four or five blocks.

    Nighttime Hours
    Hamburg is far enough north to have very significant difference in daylight and nighttime hours in summer and winter.
    During June and July, darkness lasts only for 4 to 5 hours. With such a short window during which almost nobody is out on the streets, most vampires who don't have mortals coming to visit them in their Havens for feeding spend almost all their few waking hours hunting and getting very little else done.
    In contrast to that, daylight last for only 8 hours in late December. With the end of Daylight Saving in late October, dusk comes so early that vampires can be out and about as early as 5, allowing them to mingle freely with humans in late afternoon and evening activities. One Brujah vampire still works a sociology lecturer at the university, holding classes from 18:15 to 19:45 during winter semesters. (They are always sparsely attended, but still.)

    The last event of the year for vampires is always the annual Labor Day riots on the first of May. They always start after the regular demonstrations during the day once night falls and often go late into the night. Nobody in the city bats an eye when rioters are found with broken necks or shattered skulls on a construction site in the morning, and even Nosferatu can freely mingle in crowds where everone is wearing hoods and have their faces covered.
    The precise date and general location is the same every year, amd with nights getting shorter very quickly over the course of May, the Brujah have an open invitation for all vampires to join them in the festivities before the summer break until the end of October. Usually this is done only by the Nosferatu and Malkavians, but anyone willing to debase themselves by feeding on drunk rioters in the poorest part of the city will be welcome with open arms by the Brujah.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    Is it bad that my first thought was "vampire Störtebeker"?
    Besides cut off heads being kinda counterproductive to a continued (un)Life I mean.
    "If it lives it can be killed.
    If it is dead it can be eaten."

    Ronkong Coma "the way of the bookhunter" III Catacombium
    (Walter Moers "Die Stadt der träumenden Bücher")



  5. - Top - End - #5
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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    I do have a little side assignment planned where the Malkavian primogen asks to bring her the skull of Störtebecker, because she has some things she needs to ask it. That the authenticity of the museum piece is highly doubtful doesn't concern her.
    In my research I found a lot of really cool material to work with. Lots of iconic sites in the city that make for great game environments, but writing all of those down in a manageable amount of detail takes some time.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

  6. - Top - End - #6
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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    District Overview

    I'll be calling these sections of the city districts, because it's a word that kind of fits, even though they don't actually reflect either the administrative Bezirke and Stadtteile. They are really areas that in some way share a common character between them in their architecture, economy, and population.


    As always, yellow areas are the domain of the Ventrue primogen, orange areas are Brujah, red areas are Toreador, purple areas Malkavian, blue areas Tremere, and green areas Gangrel. Nosferatu areas are not shown on the map as they are underground.
    Gray areas are not controlled by any of the primogen and can be claimed as personal domains by any vampires from any clan.

    The territories of the Ventrue and Brujah are much larger than the two districts each on the map but are mostly just more of the same with no sites of interest and not worth being covered in detail.
    Six additional districts lie outside of the map, which consists of the two nearby towns Stade and Lüneburg, and four districts in Lübeck.

    Altstadt
    The Old City consists of both the medieval Old City and New City, which were surrounded by the fortifications build at the start of the 30 Years War. The entire area was effectively annihilated in 1943, leading to the death of almost all Ventrue elders. It now consists mostly of office buildings and businsses from the 50s, with only a few stretches of streets retaining some of the original buildings. The area is part of the Ventrue territory, with the Aldermann being the only vampire who lives, and even he does so only out of tradition. It's of very little value to any other vampires.

    St. Pauli
    This area consists of the Saint Paul's neighborhood and the Altona Old City, which together make up the territory of the Malkavian primogen Ella. This district grew in the no man's land between the city borders of Hamburg and Altona, where all the trades that were not allowed within the cities settled along the Reeperbahn road. It was the natural home of the Malkavians who were equally seen as undesirables and didn't mind the company of beggars and whores. In the Modern Nights, an area like this has become the most valuable hunting ground, but the aristocratic Ventrue have little interest in it and take great pride in honoring ancient agreements. The whole district is the territory of the Malkavian primogen.

    Altona
    While this part of the city does not include the historic Old City of Altona, it lies entirely within the modern Bezirk Altona, from which it takes its name. It consists of the neighborhoods of Blankenese and Othmarschen on the western north bank of the Elbe, which are the wealthiest areas in all of Germany. Unsurprisingly, most Ventrue elders moved there after the Old City was destroyed. Hunting is not great, but the elders can afford to keep their own private herds for feeding.

    Stellingen
    The northwest part of the city consists of Stellingen, Eimsbüttel, and Loksted. This area was mostly spared in the bombings and still contains many buildings from the 19th century. It's a mostly residential area for middle class and better off working class people and the only thing that passes as night life are some neighborhood bars and inexpensive restaurants. None of the seven primogens lay claim to this part of the city and it's home to several neonates from many different clans.

    Fuhlsbüttel
    The North of Hamburg contains the Hamburg Airport, the state prison, and the massive Ohlsdorf Cemetary, which is the second largest in the Old World. Normal cemetaries have a bus stop, Ohlsdorf has 24. And it's own two bus lines that operate entirely on the streets going through the cemetary grounds.
    There is almost no feeding here, so vampires come here only for specific errands.

    Wandsbek
    Wandsbek is a typical German suburb that happens to still lie within the city limits. It's quite wealthy but has little of interest to vampires. When the Ankara chapter of Clan Tremere requested to move to Hamburg, the Aldermann agreed but had them take residence in Wandsbek. Nearby is the Ochsenzoll Asylum which is a leading institution for bipolar disorder and holds the mentally ill that are considered a danger to the public.
    It's said that the U1 train serves three final stations: Fuhlsbüttel (Prison), Ochsenzoll (Asylum) and Ohlsdorf (Cemetary).

    Barmbek
    While most of the Toreador live in Lübeck, they have a small territory to themselves in Hamburg in the Barmbek neighborhood. Which is a complete joke. And a cruel one at that. It's nothing but bland and featureless rows of identical residential houses with no night life or culture of any kind. The three Toreador have requested many times to swap territory with the two Ventrue living in Lûbeck to get out of the accursed city, but the Ventrue have zero interest in Barmbek either.

    St. Georg
    The Saint George neighborhood is one of the oldest parts of Hamburg right outside the eastern walls of the Old City, which has always been part of the Ventrue territory. East of which lie the areas of Hammerbrook, Borgfelde, and Hamm, which became Brujah territory in the 19th century. In the 20th century, St. Georg was one of the poorest and most crime plagued area of Hamburg and never visited by the Ventrue. But it was where Brujah felt right at home a d they brazenly poached the area north of the rail tracks after the war. Now the Ventrue want it back and it's going to be trouble.

    Bergedorf
    Like Wandsbek, Bergedorf is a smaller town outside the main urban area but still inside the state of Hamburg. However very much unlike Wandsbek, the people of Bergedorf have much lower incomes with a strong working class culture. While many of the younger Brujah have their havens in St. Georg, the older members mostly live in Bergedorf away from the urban decay of the big city. To all untends and purposes, Bergedorf is an Anarch Barony, even though the eldest of the Brujah still holds the title of primogen

    Harbor
    The port of Hamburg is the third largest in Europe after Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The modern port facilities are all located on the south bank of the Elbe and consists of large container terminals, shipyards, and petroleum refineries. The Free Port and the Blohm + Voss shipyards are Ventrue territory as they are highly invested in these, while the rest is claimed by the Brujah. The only people in this part of the city at night are a few dock workers and security guards which can not be hunted on a regular basis without drawing attention and no vampires have their havens there.

    Neugraben
    The Southwest area of the State of Hamburg consists of a few villages but is mostly forest and heath. It's the territory of the Gangrel, but even with its large size it has only a very small population and is home to only two vampires.

    Stade
    Stade is a small town on the south bank of the Elbe, a few kilometers west of Hamburg. It's a quaint little town of medieval houses and if little importance, but home to two Ventrue.

    Lüneburg
    Lüneburg is a town very much like Stade, but located east of Hamburg. It is the home of a Ventrue and the ancient Nosferatu primogen.

    Lübeck Altstadt
    Lübeck is a city of 200,000 people half an hour east of Hamburg on the Baltic Sea coast. While its Old City was the first target of British carpet bombing, the destruction was not nearly as complete, and while large parts were rebuild with ugly 50s concrete slabs, two thirds of it are still the original medieval houses. While the Old City itself consist of a small river island, this district also includes the rows of mansions that sit right on the other river bank.
    While the Ventrue of Lübeck were almost wiped out, the Toreador mostly survived and now make their havens in medieval town houses or 19th centuries mansions.

    Lübeck Moislingen
    Every major city has a neighborhood that is on the wrong side of the tracks. Moislingen is not only the wrong side of the tracks, but also the wrong side of the river and the wrong side of the highway. Aside from store theft, pickpocketing, and burglary, most of the city's crimes take place here.
    Across the river is the neighborhood of Buntekuh, which only isn't the poorest part of Lûbeck because Moislingen already took that place. While in much better shape, it contains the notorious Hudekamp high rise which in its entirety has been claimed as the territory of a young Brujah.

    Travemünde
    While Lübeck has been an important sea port for over a thousand years, the Old City is located several kilometers upriver from the coast. The mouth of the Trave river as it reaches the Baltic Sea has long been a seaside resort for the wealthy and powerful of Lübeck, and with the rise of modern container ships was chosen as the side of the new cargo port. It also is home to the famous Travemünde Casino. (The real one was recently closed, but in this city it still exists.)

    Bad Schwartau
    Bad Schwartau is one of Lübeck's many suburbs located north of the city. The only sign that one has passed the city limits is a little yellow sign, but the urban area continues seamlessly past it. There is little of interest there, except for the famous marmelade factory.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    The Patricians of Hamburg

    Thomas: (7th generation Ventrue, 420 years old, Aldermann of Hamburg) Thomas was born in the late 16th century to wealthy parents and served as a low ranking officer during the 30 Years War. Though the city itself was never besieged while the lands around it went up in flames in the fighting between King Christian of Denmark and Wallenstein leading the Emperor's marauding troops, Hamburg's soldiers saw many years of trying to defend surrounding towns from pillaging mercenary companies that were left abandoned in foreign and hostile lands when their employers stopped paying them. Even though Hamburg and Denmark were both part of the protestant alliance, the 30 Years War made more clear than any other that the enemy of an enemy is not a friend, and the city was always weary that the Danish king would attempt to force it under it's "protection" like Lübeck. He became a vampire later in the war and later observed the city's conquest by Napoleon and the First and Second Schleswig War between Denmark and Prussia right on it's doorstep. He was furious when the walls that he had guarded during his living days were leveled to expand the growing city and never stopped worrying about foreign invaders. Especially the hated Danes.
    He was nobody of particular importance among the Ventrue, even when he became an elder. But when the city was destroyed in 1943, he was the oldest survivor of the clan who had escaped the inferno that incinerated kindred and kine. He had also experienced the great fire of 1842 and forever became even more fearful of fire than most vampires are already. Being the oldest Ventrue within the city he more or less fell into the office of Aldermann because nobody else was in any condition to disput it and busy trying to salavage what was left of their own clans. But he never really grew into his position and most elders consider him weak and unsuited for the office. So far nobody has attempted to dethrone him, but not out of a fear of him, but out of caution against the other contenders who would try to succeed him once the first shot is fired.
    Thomas is the only vampire who still has his haven in the Old City. A few of the houses near the Geese Market survived the flames and still look somewhat worthy of a modern patrician, but the house he owns is hardly a palatial residence. He only stays there because he believes it is unbecoming of a prince to live outside the walls of the historic city. As an elder of incredible wealth he can afford to keep his personal herd of humans in his haven to feed one. Otherwise it would be almost impossible to survive in a domain that empties out almost completely in the evening.

    Fiona: (8th generation Ventrue, 380 years old, Ventrue primogen) Fiona was born during the 30 Years War and survived it unharmed as the daughter of a wealthy family behind the secure fortificatins of Hamburg. When the Old City was destroyed, she had alreadt been living in Blankenese for over a century and only saw the lights of the fire in the distance. When Thomas became Aldermann of Hamburg, she became the primogen of Clan Ventrue and in charge of managing the clan's territory and members.
    Fiona's unquestionable loyalty is to the clan, but she is not particularly determined to see Thomas remaining in the seat if the Aldermann at any cost. Fiona would certainly be much more capable at ruling the city than Thomas, but there are several vampires in the domain much older than her. If taking the throne remains out of reach, she could still secure her position as primogen of the clan that is the second most numerous and by far the wealthiest. But if somehow both Anna and Vallentin should be unable to take the position for themselves, Anna could still have a shot at the throne.

    Konrad of Hamburg: (8th generation Ventrue, 320 years old, Wachtmeister of Hamburg. No connection to Konrad of Copenhagen.) Konrad quickly established himself as the new endorcer of the Masquerade in Hamburg even when the other elders were still trying to salvage what the could from the ruins of their havens. In the first night after the week of air raids, he began establishing a list of vampires that had survived or where most certainly destroyed and went to hunt down all the masterless ghouls before their ravenous thirst for vampire blood would lead to attacks on humans that would cause rumors of vampires.
    Konrad takes his role as Wachtmeister extremely serious and maintaining the Masquerade is always his main priority. People are ver curious what measures he would take if a struggle for the throne were to break out among the elders of Hamburg.

    Anna the Elder: (6th generation Toreador, 580 years old, Toreador primogen) Anna is the oldest vampire in Lübeck and second only to Heinrich in age. She takes great pride in her claim to have been present as a neonate at the first conclave of the Camarilla. While the destruction in Lübeck was less complete than in Hamburg a year later, Anna's sire was destroyed in the bombing and she inherited a city in ruins. At the end of the war, she agreed to a joining of the domains of Lübeck and Hamburg and accepted Thomas as prince. The decision had been unpopular with the other Toreador, who saw it as the final nail in the coffin of their smaller western neighbor stealing Lübeck's throne as the capital of the North. The hoped for benefits of accepting Thomas' ruler never really materialized, and it has been obvious for years that he would never become a strong ruler. The three Toreador living in Barmbek have urging Anna for a long time to challenge Thomas for the throne and grant them a more desirable territory in Hamburg. At another time, Anna would be the obvious candidate for Alderman, being both of great age and the sixth generation, and primogen of a high clan of great wealth. But the very reason that Thomas is approaching the chopping block is the Toreador prince of
    Copenhagen extending her influence into Germany, and other primogen expecting Anna to take Lübeck back out of the Hamburg domain with help from their Danish kin. No elder in Hamburg would ever accept the pawn of a foreign power to rule them, which seriously limits her prospects.

    Lukas: (7th generation Toreador, 470 years old)

    Katharina: (8th generation Toreador, 330 years old)

    Heinrich (6th generation Nosferatu, 780 years old, Nosferatu primogen) Heinrich is an absolutely ancient Nosferatu who has lived in Lûneburg literally longer than anyone can remember. He was old even when Anna was born and an elder when he created his only surviving childe Vallentin. Heinrich lost all but the last traces of his humanity centuries ago and often is not seen by anyone for years, making many believe that he is spending much of his existence in torpor. He rarely appears in public other that for meetings of the primogens and even then speaks only rarely. Younger vampires are wondering if the Nosferatu are simply carring a life sized puppet in a black frock into Elysiums under the cover of their Obfuscate discipline. Heinrich has long ago given up any pretense of having to breath or move his muscles.
    While Heinrich is by far the oldest vampire in Hamburg, everyone knows that he is not a contender to succeed Thomas as Aldermann. While Thomas' competence is lacking, Heinrich is not capable to rule anything. The most recent technology he might have rudimentary understanding of would probably be steam engines. Most vampires expect him to disappear and become a methuselah within the next years.

    Vallentin (7th generation Nosferatu, 590 years old) Vallentin was made a vampire around the same time as Anna and is the oldest vampire in Hamburg after his sire Heinrich. From what the younger Nosferatu have let slip about the insides of their clan (which is vanishingly little), Vallentin appears to be the true primogen of the Nosferatu in anything but name.
    With Fiona being too young, Anna's loyalty to Hamburg being in question, and most clans having little faith in the Brujah's commitment to the Camarilla, Vallentin is seen as the most acceptible candidate for being the next Aldermann. But compared to the others he has little power and resources and nobody is looking forwars to another ruler incapable of holding his throne against disenters.

    Georg: (8th generation Brujah, 290 years old, Brujah primogen) As the oldest vampire of Clan Bruja between the Elbe and the Schlei, Georg holds the title of primogen and publically declares his loyalty to the Camarilla. But he has shown no actions or inclinations to get the many vampires of his clan who call themselves Anarchs back into line, and everyone knows that the official Anarch leader Ernst follows the rare commands he gives with no more complaints than any other Brujah.
    Georg has no chances of any kind to become Aldermann or any other kind of Camarilla prince. But many think that he might be eying making himself Baron of Hamburg should the fight over Thomas' succession result in the breaking of the Camarilla.

    Frederike: (9th generation Brujah, 200 years old)

    Ernst: (9th generation Brujah, 170 years old, Anarch baron) Ernst is the youngest of the three vampires the Brujah consider their elders, though the other clans scoff at that notion. He is an open member of the Anarchs and considers himself to be the Baron of Hamm, but everyone knows that he is taking orders from Georg.
    Ernst claims that he was in Frankfurt during the St. Paul's Church Parliament to create a German nation as a child, but even the other Brujah don't really believe that. He later fought as a soldier in the Franco-Prussian War before he became a vampire.

    Selim: (7th generation Tremere, 350 years old, Tremere regent) Selim was the regent of the small Ankara chapter of the Tremere for over a century and the most powerful vampire in the remote city when thousands of poor Anatolian peasants followed the call of high paying work in Germany in the 50s. When families started to leave Ankara a few years later to live with their husbands and fathers, Selim was one of the first to realize that this arrangement would not be as temporary as planned. Seeing the humans of his city seeking a more prosperous future in Germany, he contacted the Tremere leadership to request for his small chapter in the middle of nowhere to revive the Tremere claim in Hamburg after the complete destruction of the local chapter. Over th following decades, this turned out to be a huge mistake as Ankara began its rise to become a great metropolis even larger than Hamburg, now under the control of some upstart Nosferatu who was living in a cave when he first came to the city.
    While Selim is quite respected among the elders of Hamburg, as a foreigner he can never become Alderman in a city that prides itself on its independence and old aristocracy. But at the same time, the other primogen understand that he is probably going to be the kingmaker in the upcoming power struggle. With his full support, even Thomas' could keep himself in power, at least for a few more decades.

    Ibrahim: (8th generation Tremere, 230 years old) While Selim integrated himself deeply in the old aristocracy of the city, Ibrahim still remains a complete mystery to the other clans, and everything indicates that he means to keep it that way.
    Ibrahim is a very powerful sorcerer who always smiles, often laughs, and never speaks. The other Tremere know for certain that he can talk, but he says very little in their chantry as well. Despite this, he very often accompanies Selim to even minor meeting, making the other clans wonder what exactly his purpose is.

    Ella: (8th generation Malkavian, 270 years old, Malkavian primogen) In life, Ella inherited her fathers fish shop in the St. Pauli harbor, which she ran for many years before being made a vampire by a Malkavian that few vampires in the city remember. Since then she expanded her business considerably, becoming one of the big Reeperbahn bosses. Following the decree of the Aldermann on the Masquerade, all her businesses are completely legitimate and stand up perfectly to any kinds of inspection. Officially, Ella came to Germany from Argentina in the 70s to take over the Kröger family business from her aunt, who had inherited it from her grandmother. For a while she's been thinking about changing her hair and having some nice appear to continue the small empire.
    Ella is running a night club and bought a fetish club when she heard it was about to be closed. Her lattest addition is the restaurant Clouds on the roof of the new high rise towers at the end of the Reeperbahn, which quickly became serious competition as the most popular Elysium with the high clans of the city against the Elbphilharmony concert hall sponsored by the Aldermann. She also still runs Fische Kröger, which is one of the places where neonates can get rid of a corpse in the middle of the night, which get chopped up and mixed with the remains of butchered fish.
    Ella is the youngest of the primogen and head of one of the smallest clans, giving her very little direct power in the city. But with the TV tower, Clouds, and the Nasty and Dangerous night club Elysiums being all in Malkavian territory, and more establishments in her private ownership, she has embraced the role as a neutral provider of services. Nobody is sure if she would take any active role in a power struggle, who she might support, and what form her part could take.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    Central Hamburg



    On the Reepernahn, late half past one
    If you got a girl, or got none
    You will have great fun, that's the way it's done
    On the Reeperbahn, late half past one

    Who never in one cozy night
    Saw the Reeperbahn in shiny light
    Is a sorry sod, 'cause he knows you not
    Oh my Saint Paul's, my Saint Paul's by Night
    The central area of Hamburg consists of the districts of Altona Altstadt and St. Pauli (Malkavian), the Neustadt and Altstsdt of the historic city core (Ventrue), and St. Georg (contested by Ventrue and Brujah). It is also the crossing point of all subway lines (Nosferatu). The entire area of the map is only about 5 km by 3 km, but contains almost all the places of particular interest within Hamburg. (The only missing ones are the airport, prison, main cemetary, asylum, zoo, state police presidium, and oil refinery, and several places in Lübeck.)

    1. City Hall
    Among the small handful of buildings that survived the bombing of the Old City is Hamburg's great City Hall from the 19th century. It houses the offices of the First Mayor and the city council, which simultaneously serves as the state parliament within the German Federal Republic.

    2. Aldermann Thomas' Haven
    The Aldermann owns a nice house near the Geese Market tha looks identical to the other surviving residential buildings in the area. He claims that it helps with maintaining a low profile for the Masquerade and that a true old blooded Hanseat has no need to flaunt his wealth, but the reality is that it's one of the few halfway elegant buildings in the old city and he refuses to move into a fancier mansion in Altona like the other elders of his clan. While the neighboring buildings hold numerous separate apartments, this building is occupied only by the Aldermann, some of his ghouls, and the human servanrs who make up his herd from which he feeds.

    3. Bar Noir
    This fancy looking bar with lots of shiny glass, sharp angles, and neon lights is a popular hangout place for the Ventrue. Not only do they fit in easily with the regular crowd, it's also very close to the Aldermann's home, and they see it as a form of showing respect to his choice of residence to spend time in his personal domain.

    4. St. Nicholas' Ruin
    St. Nicholas' Church had been the literal center of Hamburg for hundreds of years. When the last church was constructed, it was the tallest building in the entire world (thougj only briefly), and when the new fortifications were constructed in the 17th century, the specifications called for a circle with a one mile radius around the tower. The church was almost entirely destroyed in the bombing that set the city ablaze, with only a few arches of the outer walls and the great tower left standing. The church was never rebuild in preserved in the same state it was in 1943, the yellow sandstone blackened by the charring flames (and a century of car exhausts).
    The church had long been a common meeting place for Hamburg's vampires to discuss important matters in a neutral location. Meetings about matters of most serious importance are still frequently discussed inside the burned out shell of its walls.

    5. St. Michael's Church
    With the destruction of St. Nicholas' Church, St. Michael's Church became the new icon of the city. The tower of the church has a large observation platform going all around the tower just below the four clock faces, which is surrounded by a high iron fence that does nothing to stop the strong chilling winds that often blow in from the sea.

    6. Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall
    The Elphilharmony has long been the White Elephant of Hamburg, a greatly advertised and anticipated addition to the city's cultural scene and skyline that ended up being nationally famous for seemingly endless budget overruns and construction delays. It first seemed like its only saving grace would be that ot wasn't as disastrous as the Berlin Airport, but when it was finally completed it soon became very highly regarded as one of the best concert halls in the country, and a beloved new icon of the city. It is one of the city's Elysiums, where vampires are free to gather at all times and any kind of violence or indirect harm is explicitly forbidden under the Aldermann's law.

    7. Atlantik Hotel
    The Atlantik luxury hotel is probably the most famous hotel in Hamburg. (Ot was were James Bond encountered the torture specialist). It's located right on the Outer Alster, where the river has been widened into a large lake that dominates the city center. The hotel is simetimes used by Ventrue elders when they are receiving visitors, as most vampires really don't like letting strangers into their havens.

    8. Art Hall
    The new Art Hall consists of three museums within one large complex right next to the main rail station, and only a hundred meters from the Atlantik. It is the favorite hangout of the city's three Toreador and they get regular visits from their relatives in Lübeck any time there's a new exhibition. With the high potential of Ventrue, Toreador, and Brujah randomly running into each other on the street, the streets surrounding the art hall are the most dangerous hotspot in the city.

    9. Main Station
    The Hamburg Main Station was constructed to replace the terminal stations of the rail lines to Lübeck, Altona, Berlin, and Hannover and serve as the main hub for a sunway train system after the fire of 1842. Inside the massive steel and glass roof are two pedestrian bridges crossing the rail tracks, with the northern bridge consisting of a mod-sized shopping mall catering mostly to travelers. While the borders between Ventrue, Malkavian, and Brujah territories are mostly defined by rail tracks, the status of the main station crossing over the tracks has long been interpreted by the Brujah to be neutral ground and therefore fair game for hunting. Even though the Ventrue consider both sides of this particular rail tracks to be their territory. This never became a problem while the Ventrue stayed out of St. Georg, but these days the station is regarded as a Brujah outpost and there's usually at least one or two Brujah vampires or ghouls on the lookout for Ventrue showing their faces at aby time.

    10. Dammtorhallen Photography Hall
    The Dammtorhallen were originally build as market halls at the old Dyke Gate. The gate has been gone for a very long time like all the other city gates, and there has not been any market in the halls for decades. Eventually they were turned into a gallery for photography, and are another popular hangout for the Toreador.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    As a rather minor but hopefully interesting point, you might consider the role seasonality plays in the life of Hamburg's vampire community. VtM vampires essentially cannot conduct any activity at all during the day (even faint light, as through closed curtains, inflicts damage), and those with relatively low humanity lose even a significant portion of nighttime as they are unable to wakeup for a while after sunset and have go to bed early (these rules are not well defined). Hamburg is located at 53 degrees north, which means the length of night varies greatly depending on time of year. For example, tonight, January 14, the night lasts almost 16 hours - sunset at 4:30 pm and sunrise at 8:30 am. But on July 14 sunset is at 9:45 pm and sunrise at 5:15 am, meaning night is only 7.5 hours.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    Yes, I covered that a bit in the third post. May to August is basically Vampire Winter, where barely anything is happening in vampire society. June and July even more so. Daylight saving makes it even worse as mortals leave work and go to sleep one hour early. This is an important detail for the underlying conflict with the Danes. Summer nights are too short to drive from Copenhagen to Hamburg before dawn, and getting trapped on the car ferry is seen as too risky by vampires. Which means the two cities are effectively cut off from each other for several months, making it impossible for the vampires from Copenhagen to get a foothold in Germany. Any territory they might take will not be able to get any help when vampires from Hamburg strike back during the summer. The construction of a car tunnel that replaces the slow ferry will change that, and vampires will be able to come from Copenhagen to Lübeck all year round.
    The completion of the tunnel is the ticking timer for Aldermann Thomas. If Lübeck splits off and fights off attempts to take it back with Danish help, the Ventrue and Nosferatu will have his head. Until then, they wait and see if he might be able to hold the domain together.

    Winter is the opposite. It gets dark so early that vampires can get up in late afternoon and go out several hours before most businesses close. They effectively can go outside during the day.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    Central Hamburg (continued)

    11. Anthropological Museum
    The Anthropological Museum holds a large collection of historical artifacts from all around the world, including some egyptian mummies. A great place to do research or the procurement of rare magical objects.

    12. Dammtor Train Station
    The old Dammtor Station has become effectively obsolete, as it connects only to the Altona and Main stations, and a subway station was build right next to ot that services the main station every 10 minutes. It is now mostly a historic landmark, but for a long time was known as the prefered station for wealthy citizens from the New City for boarding trains before most of the ordinary rabble at Main Station.

    13. TV Tower
    The large TV Tower that can be seen from the upper floors of buildings throughout the whole city has two stories with an observation deck and a restaurant below the technical equipment and control rooms. They offer a magnificent view across the entire city, and have been a commonly used Elysium for official meetings for many decades. But with the restaurant being in dire need of renovations and a complete overhaul of the whole interior, and the opening of the Concert Hall and Clouds, it is now rarely used unless the other sites are unavailable because of mortal events late into the night.
    The TV Tower has been used several times for public executions by tying staked vampires to the main antenna. They have a full view of the city skyline at dawn, while being too high up to be vissible by people on the ground.

    14. Convention Center Hamburg
    The CCH is located right next to the TV Tower and consists of several huge halls for industry exhibition and rooms for meetings and presentations. They make for ideal hunting grounds as they are regularly filled with thousands of solitary travellers who won't be missed if they disappear for a few hours.

    15. Svetlana's Haven
    Right south of the CCH is the home of an 11th generation Malkavian. In recent years she's been spending more and more of her time in Wandsbek with the Tremere, working as an oracle for Selim, which includes full access to Tremere herds and hunting grounds.

    16. Nasty & Dangerous / Flak Tower
    This place used to be one of four massive concrete air defense tower that were build around the city center in World War 2. Even without the great anti-air guns on its roof, it still looks like a formidable gray fortress. Something build to withstand the blasts of blockbuster bombs is obviously very difficult to tear down once it has become obsolete, and after the trouble with dismantling the other three towers, it was decided to leave this one standing where it was on the edge of the city's fair ground, and find some kind of alternative use for it. Eventually it was turned into a night club and venue for rock concerts, as bomb proof walls turn out to be pretty sound proof as well.
    The Nasty & Dangerous is one of Hamburg's Elysiums and the favorite hangout place for the younger Brujah and Malkavians, and even the Gangrel occasionally drop by if personally invited. Very conveniently, it's located righr next to a subway station, letting the Anarchs get there without strolling right through the Aldermann's personal turf.

    17. Ella's Haven
    This cozy and almost quaint house across the street from St. John's Church and next to the Wohler's Park is the haven of the Malkavian primogen Elisabeth Kröger. It's on the opposite side from all the main places in the Malkavian territory and Ella's various businesses, but the area has some of the nicest houses in this part of the city that is otherwise dominated by cramped apartment buildings and noisy streets.

    18. Millerntor Stadium
    This is the smaller one of Hamburg's two football stadiums and the home of the FC St. Pauli. Back in the 80s, the club briefly played in the German top league, but has always been the weird little cousin of the much more famous Hamburger Sports Club. While the clubs of the top league are international brands with fans all across the country, St. Pauli never stopped being the local club for the noisy worker's neighborhood, and its fans take great pride in their eternal status of underdogs.

    19. Silke's Haven
    Silke is the youngest Malkavian vampire in the city and almost managed to die from heroin at the Main Station before Svetlana found her to make her into a vampire. Nobody knows why Svetlana pressured Ella to get a very short notice permission from the Aldermann to create another Malkavian vampire, or why she picked some random junkie she never met before, but everyone assumes it to just be a Malkavian thing. Even in undeath Silke still needs the drug (or at least believes she does) and only feeds from other passed out addicts. Too keep her peculiar herd healthy, she does some small time heroin dealing and often invites buyers to test her goods at her place. So far she has managed to keep any of this secret from most other vampires, but it's a blatant violation of the Aldermann's law to not risk the Masquerade by getting involved in street crime.

    20. Clouds
    When the Dancing Towers at the east end of the Reeperbahn were constructed, Ella had the idea to expand her various businesses with a new rooftop restaurant. While not nearly as high as the TV tower, its location offers a spectacular view of the harbor. The restaurant includes a large separate room for private gatherings, which has become one of the city's Elysiums since its opening. With Clan Malkavian being regarded as neutral, and providing a fancy gathering place in a spectacular location right outside the Aldermann's domain, Ella managed to get a serious boost in her reputation, even though she's the youngest of the primogen and head of a very small clan.
    (Somehow, four of the five Elysiums ended up being towers.)
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    Central Hamburg (continued)
    I am still discovering new places to add to the list, but I've gotten tired of updating the map and rearranging the numbers into a continuous path. So any additional places just will have to go at the end of the list after 34.

    21. Spielbudenplatz
    Two lots on the south side of the Reeperbahn have been left vacant and turned into a public square for fairground games stalls, but it's also used for market stalls, flea markets, and all other kinds of local events. While it's too risky to feed between the stalls, it's a great spot to pick out potential prey to stalk into one of the surrounding side streets.

    22. Davidwache
    The "most sinful mile in the world", obviously also claims to have the "most famous police station in Germany". Being located right on the west end of the Spielbudenplatz and around the corner from the Herbertstraße, the police station is a mandatory actor in and documentary or show about the area. The police officers stationed here know that their job is to maintain the peace and keep the area attractive to locals and tourists. As such, their work is all about keeping down robberies and violence on the street. What goes on in the back rooms of all the night clubs, casinos, and brothels is not their concern, and poking their noses into it would only make their primary purpose more complicated.

    23. Fische Kröger
    This old fish shop was the first business of the Malkavian primogen, which she took over from her father over 200 years ago when she was still mortal. Other than the owner, it's a completely ordinary fish store like the dozens of others all across the city. The only unusual thing about it is that it has capacities for processing fresh fish in much greater numbers than it actually sales. Ella explains that as being old equipment that she picked up for cheap from other shops that threw them out, and she just keeps using them until they actually break. In the meantime, the machines are quit useful for disposing of corpses. If bodies are brought to her before midnight, she can hide the shredded body parts among the previous day's fish remains before the human employees arrive for work in the early morning.

    24. Astra Brewery
    Beer Brewers were among the many trades that had been banished outside of the city walls and settled down in St. Pauli. In the middle ages, there were hundreds of them, and beer was long one of Hamburg's greatest exports. Today, there is only the Astra Brewery. Being considered a cheap, low quality beer for much of the 20th century, Astra decided to embrace it's trashy imagage with the same defiant and smirking pride that shapes the image and culture of the neighborhood with a very succesful marketing campaign.

    25. Herbertstraße
    While the Reeperbahn always fondly looked back at it's glamorous and exciting past before the war even during it's most rotten years, the Herbertstraße proudly rolls in its own filth. If the Reeperbahn is "the most sinful mile in the world", then this is the most wretched 100 meters in the city. There is nothing attractive or inviting about this row of cheap whore houses that a catering to customers who are looking for just that thing. Both ends of the street are blocked with rusty fences that have signs telling women and minors to stay out. As long as no blood is running out from under the barricade, the police does as well.

    26. Club de Sade
    It claims to the oldest fetish club in Europe, and when Ella heard that it was going to be sold or closed, she bought it to preserve this "historic landmark".

    27. Museum of Erotic Art
    As it says on the tin. I have an idea for a hidden Toreador antitribu (basically the full evil versions of the common mostly evil clans), who might be hanging out unusually often in this particular part of town.

    28. Institute for Tropical Diseases
    Hamburg is the largest port in Germany and has long been the Gateway to America, Africa, and Asia, as well as the destination for ships returning from these faraway places. This specialist hospital was build right next to the boarding piers for passenger ships, so that any arrivials with exotic diseases could immediately be brought into quarantine just across the street. With the special situation of Hamburg, the Institute became one of the leading institutions for tropical diseases in the world and is still the place where Germany deals with possible outbreaks of ebola or similarly nasty diseases.
    One of the senior doctors is one of Ella's ghouls, and he has prooven himself invaluable with covering up Masquerade threats regarding humans showing signs of repeated feeding, or ghouls who have been picked up on the verge of frenzy from lack of vampire blood.

    29. Landungsbrücken
    The Landing Bridges are a line of floating piers that were used for the boarding of passenger ships. Millions of people began their journey to the new world here, being the eastern counterpart to Ellis Island in new York for most of the many German American families.
    Today, the pier is basically just a forward extension of the waterside road, though it's still used by some passenger ferries across the river and tourists boats that offerr guided tours of the harbor as seen from the water.

    30. Rickmer Rickmers
    The very eastern end of the Landungsbrücken is the mooring place of the Rickmer Rickmers, a 100 meter long, 4 masted sailing ship from the 19th century. Back in those days, ships of this type visited the port in great numbers. While much slower than the steamers that crossed the Atlantic, these ships required no fuel for the journey to South America, which made them much more attractive to carry cargos that were in no great hurry. This surviving windjammer is now a museum.
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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    This is looking really good.

    Only notes I have so far is still very much future development stuff anyway things that I feel some expansion on could really shore up your larger setting.

    I would think you should develop and SHOW the threat of Copenhagen more. You have developed the idea that they are a threat and that with the opening of the tunnel Copenhagen could well make a move, but I have yet to see much of a historical or set up in place. Especially as during the winter Copenhagen's prince (or Jarl or whomever) can reach into the city.
    I would also point out that there is cannonically a branch of the Settites up in the Nordics thematically linked to the Midguard Serpent but who are much more culturally similar to Toreador than normal Settites...this fits nicly in what you already have going and being firmly outsiders and thus not PC available could be a good dose of "exotic" etc without being so prominent as to be necessary to use.

    possibly related and in general similar. You have developed the idea that the Prince is weak but not really shown how or why. What is he doing or failing to do that is getting under people skin? is he leaning too much on others? how? Why do vampires think they are not being led well? Are their too many close calls with the masquerade? too much attention from Archons and them doing stuff the prince should? not being allowed to move or influence things because of the Prince not being able to arrange cover or permission? Do vampires go to someone else to mediate problems? Tons of possibilities here and is still a bit vague so far. Developing it (especially now) will allows lots of fine detail and good plot hooks to be drawn up too.



    Questions that could be helpful going forward

    How are the vampires (especially elders) related to other members of their clans?...if two of the Ventrue Elders are siblings from the same lost sire but not the third it could shift dynamics, or if one of the rising mid level members of the clan is not related to any of the others...etc etc. ideas that some are from elsewhere and thus "outsiders" in some way. etc. you showed some of this with the Toreador but are all of them her extended brood or is she just the most prominent of several immigrants etc?

    Perhaps take a look at the real world history of the city and look for the WEIRD parts. Like the strange nonsensical decisions of leaders, weird riots, local lunatics etc. While they should not all be co-opted having one or two being the "cover story" of vampire world brushing up against the human can be an interesting thing. These could probably be major events in the history of vampire community. But have fun with it.
    example....a real world history of a violent brutal murderer is actually the fall guy of a vampire who had all but lost/lost their humanity...and where that vampire was eventually hunted down and killed is still where vampiric punishments/executions happen...as I said it is just an example but uses the semi-static nature of vampire society to bring what in the human world is old and weird history into the active unlives of the current day.
    Or a badly worded command being given to a highly placed mortal pawn that causes a politican to make some crazy decision that ends their career and thus their use-causing a consequential shift in vampire power as well becoming a warning lesson to young vampires about taking too direct control etc.
    or a really weird or odd building could have a history of vampire involvement. be it a spiteful spat over architects vision (esp with artistic Toreador), territory (perhaps "highest point" is involved in a boundary declaration and this would change it, someone has a haven under something and doesn't want to move etc)

    Also Torpid vampires....are any known in the area? particularly with fortitude ventrue can bet tough to kill. Or have some elders gone to sleep for a while and thus avoided things like the great fire and WW2? are certain factions waiting for someone to wake up? this could be another sword hanging over the Prince's head....or could be a reason for vampires to avoid area X (still officially the territory of a certain vampire even if they are asleep)...or any number of other plot drivers. This can even include vampires older than the city. Some lost Angle or Jute elder perhaps..potent in their way but lost technology and culture wise when they first rise.

    also you may want to develop the idea of who has various influences with things like police, building/code inspectors, media, etc...basically things that the PC's may want as services in the future. Figuring out who they need to go to for different kind of help ahead of time can be good.

    Also while you have done a nice development with how Hamburg relates to its northern neighbor you haven't shown as much toward the south or SE. By canon these areas were linked to the Fief of the Black Cross before the rise of the Camarilla but Hamburg's history gives you plenty of flexibility here but it can also be a a historical baseline from which to set the current state of affairs. You probably don't need much on this but still can be important for how visitors are received in particular.

    speaking of visitors...a quick idea of how visitors are treated/dealt with etc would probably be helpful. Nomads, emissaries, and people on missions are all good fodder for plots so having a framework here can be a good thing. Plus how uninvited or unwelcome guests are dealt with should probably be included. is the a Scourge for example?

    and now speaking of Scourge that brings up the question of other titles vampires? is there a Sheriff or Master of Elysium? Perhaps lesser titled vampires as well? Not absolutely needed but having an idea could be helpful.



    all told this is looking really good BTW.

  14. - Top - End - #14
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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    When I started working myself into all this material, I found pretty early on that Vampire seems to have gone into two different directions of what it wants to be. There is the premise of a "storytelling game about personal horror", with vampires eternally struggling against bestial instincts which they know will one day destroy everything they care for, and the whole thing about a global conspiracy of awesome shadowy mafia families who pull all the strings at the end of the world. And I don't think the two are compatible. So I am going with the original sales pitch of stories that revolve around characters who realize they are doomed to meet a horrible end, either next week or in a thousand years. Since the rulebooks don't really mention any of it, I decided to not look any further into the published storyline about American ...whatever they are doing.

    Right now I am revising some of the stuff I already got to make the whole setting more isolated and gloomy. Primarily cutting the roster of vampires down from 60 to 40, and getting rid of a good number of competing interest groups. Two Ventrue factions, two Brujah factions, two Nosferatu groups are a bit overkill and too complicated. I think the mistake was to start with carving up the domain among the seven clans and assigning them different fractions of NPC slots that mirror their relative power. I'm now looking more at NPCs the players are likely to deal with and then surround them with their personal cronies.

    Regarding the prince, I had not fully worked that out before. Right now, I quite like the idea that the issue for most elders is that he tries to be too much of a prince. The city even uses a title based on medieval guilds because they really don't like monarchs. But Thomas is getting on their nerves by ruling by decree instead of consensus and not consulting the primogen enough. He also has his old paranoia of the city needing better defenses and the kindred being discovered by their enemies, which means Masquerade restrictions are stricter than most feel necessary and often arbitrary.
    While I was thinking about having 7 fledglings being allowed in a city of only 40, I got the idea that the city just had a big clash with the Sabbat, during which a good number of Hamburger vampires were killed. The way he handled the whole thing also displeased the primogen, who think his obsession with security doesn't actually help protecting them.
    And on top of all of that, he's annoyingly smug about everything. I plan to take generous inspirations from Dukat from Deep Space Nine. Always in denial that there's a problem, blaming others for everything that goes wrong and deluding himself that he's close to success.

    With the Danes, my general idea is that the prince feels certain that Gehenna is coming, but it will not be a supernatural doomsday but a big vampire war. And she needs to prepare for that by gaining more allies, weakening likely opponents, and building a heap of bargaining chips to later work out truths and peace agreements. If she controls Malmö and Lübeck, she can afford to loose them against attackers from Stockholm, Hamburg, or Berlin and keep her actual domain intact.

    Generally I want to go with a style of isolation and reclusivness, and cities being prisons from which there is nowhere else to run. So contact with other domains will be limited.
    The only other major cities in Northern Germany are Bremen, Hanover, and Berlin. Looking further north, there's only Göteborg and eventually Oslo. But since those are on the other side of Copenhagen, I don't think they will be of any relevance to the Hamburger vampires.
    With Bremen I decided to have it as a city very similar to Hamburg and Lûbeck, with an old established Ventrue patrician family. But unlike the other two cities, it didn't suffer a destructive bombing that burned many elders in their Old City havens, so it's very stable. They also have a major Tremere chapter, which is where the regional lord resides. The Ventrue and Tremere of Hamburg might occasionally get helpful information from them, but they won't get involved in any of their business themselves.
    I think Hanover would make a good city for Ventrue and Toreador, but also could be a nice place for a good sized Brujah Anarch presence. But it's further away and I have nothing really planned for it.
    Berlin isn't really part of the maritime region anymore, but the only other major city that isn't part of the Rhine region, which I think would be entirely it's own thing. Berlin could be a good place for a known Sabbat hive. It's so far away from any other cities that the Camarilla has no eyes anywhere near it. Nobody really knows what's going on there, and nobody really wants to go there and look. A more or less random Sabbat raid on Hamburg or Lübeck could be a nice story element later in the campaign when it seems dramatically impactful. Could be seen as a sign that a war is really going to start, and it might be right now. Which wouldn't be helpful to deal with dangerous tensions.

    The only real role for Camarilla functions I have in the setting so far is the Aldermann as prince, and the Wachtmeister as a sheriff. I guess as I have worked her out so far, Ella does kind of do what harpies are described to be, but I don't see her as a popular socialite. All the other roles seem to be made with populations of a hundred vampires or more in mind. My city just isn't big enough for such formal arrangements to make sense. They are not one big happy family or an organised government. The primogen see themselves more as neighbors who all can't afford to scare others off their turf with violence all the time.
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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    Sounds like you're on the right line and there's no reason the Prince needs to populate any or all of the roles in court unless they feel they're useful or someone with enough clout demands it.
    Scourge is handy if there's lots of thin bloods or Sabbat running around, otherwise it's not needed (and whoever held it would probably cause trouble just to justify their having the title).
    The Nosferatu else sounds terrifying. Great image, and a serious question of if he's really that immobile and disinterested, why hasn't someone offed him yet. Is it an act? Does the have serious amounts of dominate hidden in there? Are all of the Nosferatu in the city blood bound to him?
    Anyway, very interesting setting.

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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    Sounds really cool. The only thing that sounded odd was annual riots. Did I read that part right? Do those riots happen, to such a degree that murders are expected, every year?

    I mean, I can see an area where that happens, if human tensions are such that it breaks out annually, but seems odd. Though I can see the vamps trying to encourage such, as it makes a useful time of year.

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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliess View Post
    The Nosferatu else sounds terrifying. Great image, and a serious question of if he's really that immobile and disinterested, why hasn't someone offed him yet. Is it an act? Does the have serious amounts of dominate hidden in there? Are all of the Nosferatu in the city blood bound to him?
    The Old Man has the title of primogen, but it seems that the second oldest of the Nosferatu is basically doing all the work. I guess he didn't remove his boss yet because he doesn't need to. There is a bit more to this, but players might read this.

    Right now, the Nosferatu are one of the things I want to seriously restructure from what I have in my notes. I think the Old Man and his second could still just stay as they are, separate from the new Subway Trio. But if they are primogen, they also would have to have some direct connection to the elders. Not quite sure how that will end up.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeenLeen View Post
    Sounds really cool. The only thing that sounded odd was annual riots. Did I read that part right? Do those riots happen, to such a degree that murders are expected, every year?

    I mean, I can see an area where that happens, if human tensions are such that it breaks out annually, but seems odd. Though I can see the vamps trying to encourage such, as it makes a useful time of year.
    Nope, not a joke. Those are real.

    1st May is Labor Day in Europe. In Germany, it's a national no-work holiday when unions and labor organizations do their annual rallies. From what I understand, back in the 80s, when social tensions were a bit higher, those union protest could sometimes turn into riots. Violent extremists saw those as great opportunities find to find masses of angry people to whip up for some left wing terror. These days the union events very much oppose any kind of vandalism and violence, so the extremist just gather by themselves for their own annual riot. There's no cause or ideology behind it. They come from all over the country to some major cities where they know there will be a large amount of police they can fight.
    Don't know if it's still every year in Hamburg, but it's always expected to happen. I think Berlin has become more popular since you no longer have to go by plane to get there.

    I never thought about it, but it's indeed really nuts.
    Last edited by Yora; 2021-01-19 at 04:40 PM.
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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    Can confirm. That's every first of May here. First, there's some labour marches, some speeches from social democrat politicians, then there's a riot in the late afternoon that goes into the night. Some smashed windows, every few years, there's a car or two set on fire. Lots of interesting new political grafiti.

    Everyone just kind of shrugs and makes it a day where you don't go into the city if you don't have to.
    "Après la vie - le mort, après le mort, la vie de noveau.
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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    Central Hamburg (continued)

    31. Old Elbe Tunnel
    When the port grew in size during the 19th century, all space on the north bank of the Elbe was already occupied by housing, and so the massive extension all took place on the south bank. The port grew to such a size that dozens of ferries completely blocked up the river during shift change for hours, as dockworkers commuted to the other side, which led to frequent extremely dangerous collisions. As movable bridges would have caused the same issue, constructions for a tunnel beneath the river began at the turn of the century.
    By modern standards, this first tunnel is tiny, consisting of two tubes just big enough for a single car and narrow sidewalks on the sides. Which for workers commuting to work on foot or bicycle was completely adequate. The existing dense constructions on both sides of the river made the building of ramps impossible and so any cars have to be lowered down individually on large freight elevators. Today the tunnel is mostly a hostorical oddity, as port employes now live all over the city and get to work by car or bus by the new highway tunnels and bridges. But they are still quite useful for Brujah and Gangrel from the towns on the south bank to get into the city. They do however make perfect ambush spots, as the straight, well lit, and white tiled create a 200 meter long stretch without any cover or eacape routes other than going straight back or forward.

    32. Fish Market
    The Altona Fish Market is the main auction place and distribution center of the German fishing fleet. Most local seafood in Germany passes through here. (I guess this can be used like a maritime meat packing plant.)

    33. Blohm + Voss Shipyard Right across from St. Pauli and next the southern exit of the Old Tunnel are the old Blohm + Voss shipyards, which are perhaps the most famous heavy industry works of Hamburg. The Ventrue are considerable shareholders in the company.

    34. Hamburg Free Port
    The Free Port is a designated and fenced off area of the container that exists outside the German customs area and serves as a storage and reloading area for goods without the requirement to go through customs and pay import tax. The Ventrue have several ghouls among the Free Port authorities which can arrange for shipments to get past the fences without leaving any paper trails. As records are concerned, any missing containers were loaded on ships registered in Panama heading to Southeast Asia.
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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    After some searching, I did find two entertaining stories of local folklore that could be worked into a Vampire setting. I am putting them in spoiler boxes, in case future players might read up on things here.

    Spoiler: Pope Bennedict V
    Show
    964 was a pretty crazy year in Rome. In December of the previous year, Emperor Otto decided that he had enough of Pope John XII and appointed Leo VIII as the new pope. The people of Rome revolted and John returned after only three months, causing Leo to flee the city and ask the Emperor for help. Two months later John was murdered and Benedict V chosen as his successor. The Emperor besieged Rome and forced the defenders to capitulate, ending Benedict's reign after only one month. Because he had surrendered, the Emperor showed him mercy and exiled him to the furthest border of the empire in Hamburg, where he died one year later.

    Of course, the official story is a lie, and Benedict is actually a vampire who wasn't exiled but was on the run from vampire hunters. When he was finally cornered in Hamburg, he was overpowered by people who didn't know the right way to destroy a vampire. They put a stake through his heart, filled his mouth with salt, and then buried him face down in sand under a large stone. Afraid that he might return, they really didn't spare any expense with burying him, digging a 20 meter deep hole in the riverbank and with huge effort rolled a 200 tonne boulder on him. Over time, the course of the river shifted, causing his burial place to end up on the bottom of the Elbe.
    A thousand years later, dredging of the river to allow for the passage of larger container ships uncovered the boulder, which was pulled up and moved to the river bank. Since then, flowing water is slowly removing the remaining sand covering the vampire and eroding the old wooden stake in his heart, eventually re-awakening the 5th generation methuselah.


    Spoiler: Klaus Störtebecker
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    In the 14th century, a long series of succession wars ravaged Northern Europe which ended up involving the Kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, the Duchies of Holstein and Mecklenburg, the Hanseatic League, the Teutonic Order of crusaders, and large numbers of mercenaries raiding ships of the various factions. Eventually the wars came to an end and the remaining mercenary pirates were hunted down. The last great pirate captain was Klaus Störtebecker, who was captured alive after the battle at Heligoland, and brought to Hamburg for public execution.
    As Störtebecker and his men where lined up to be beheaded, he mad a last request that at least some of his men be spared. He asked that when his beheaded body fell to the ground, all the men his body tumbled by should be set free. When his head was chopped off with a sword, his body started running and passed many of the pirates until a soldiers kicked out his legs from under him.

    Of course, foul necromancy is at play here. Störtebecker was the ghoul of a Cappadocian vampire, who taught him the basics of the Necromancy discipline and the Path of Bones. Managing an exceptionally strong casting of the Tremens power in the moment of his death, he animated his own dying body to walk.
    The skull in the museum exhibit is actually his own, even though everyone assumes it's just a random skull dug up somewhere in the harbor.
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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    Factions and Coteries
    Here are my current ideas for the various vampire factions in the Hamburg Domain. Some are more formal while others are only a few vampires whi could call on each other for help against a shared rival.
    Right now, the roster consists of 42 Camarilla vampires spread out across urban areas of about 2,700,000 people in Hamburg and 260,000 in Lübeck.

    The Aldermann
    The Aldermann Thomas is the Ventrue Prince of Hamburg and Lübeck. Of the eight Ventrue in the domain, Luise and Alfred personally are loyal to him, and they have a large number of ghouls both as servants and in high government positions.
    The Wachtmeister Konrad is also unquestioningly loyal, but to the office of Aldermann, not the person who holds the position. If Thomas would do anything to threaten the Masquerade, Konrad would drop him instantly and work towards his replacement. But as long as Thomas remains the Aldermann with support from most primogen, he will always be fully behind him and defend the laws and traditions against anyone.

    The Ventrue Primogen
    The Ventrue Primogen is a woman named Fiona, who even more than the Aldermann has her fingers deep in the city's government and industry. If Thomas should lose the support of the primogen, she would be a natural candiadate to succeed him, but she is even younger and can't really throw any age behind her claims to legitimacy. The Ventrue Theodor and Heike aree both fully loyal to her personally.

    The Lübecker Court
    Lübeck is home the Toreador primogen Anna and her childe Lukas. Both are among the oldest vampires in the whole domain. Anna is another natural candidate to the position of Aldermann, but the other primogen will not support her if there is any reasonable suspicion that she receives any backing from the Prince of Copenhagen to overthrow Thomas.
    Lübeck is also home to the neonate Julius and the Nosferatu Achim, who are more loyal to their city than the Aldermann of Hamburg.

    Bergedorfer Circle
    The Bergedorfer Circle is a group of Brujah around the primogen Georg, who has his home in the small Town Bergedorf east of the city center. The group also includes his loyal lieutenant Frederike (Freddi), Karl, and the two young thinbloods Katja and Kevin, who they are trying to keep away from the influence of the Anarchs. The group takes pride in the intellectual history of their clan and maintains the appearance of socialist theorists.

    Hammerbrook Anarchs
    The poorest parts of Hamburg are the turf of several vampires with open and vocal sympathies for the Anarch Movement and irreverance for the traditions and institutions of the Camarilla. They are led by the Brujah Ernst, who has a really ambivalent relationship with Georg. He's not on good terms with Frederike, but obeys most orders when theh come directly from Georg. Georg tries to not strain the relationship by telling Ernst how to manage his people, and only interferes when the Anarchs are getting close to start real trouble with the Ventrue.
    The group also includes the Brujah Hans, Helga, and Pavel, who are all hotheads in their own particular ways, and the Nosferatu Wilhelm (Willi), and the Gangrel Paula often hangs out with them as well. Their main hangout is the Nasty & Dangerous in the old Flak Tower where they meet up with the Nosferatu and Malkavians.

    The Tremere Chantry
    The five Tremere in Hamburg are all born to Turkish parents. Mustafa led the small chapter in Ankara before he moved it to Germany, and his second Çem was an Ottoman soldier who faught the British at Galipoli. Gülçan was born in Turkey but became a vampire when she was grown up in Germany. Murad was born in Germany and was first recruited as an intern in the Institute for Turkish and Middle-Eastern Studies before being made a ghoul and eventually a vampire. Jasmin has a German mother, and Mustafa has started to look for new promising candidates among the Institute's fully ethnic German staff.
    Mustafa is out of competition for becoming Aldermann, but he very much intends the position to end up with someone deeply indebted to him.
    For a couple of years, the Malkavian Swetlana has been working as a seer for the chapter several times and on some occasions even spend some days in its chantry.

    The U-Bahn Gang
    Even though one of the three Nosferatu living in the Hamburg subway system is part of the Anarch group and another one part of the Malkavian business network, they also make up a coterie of their own. It consists of Wilhelm (Willi), Klara, and Kai, who have the entire train network as their personal domain, where they almost never let anyone else hunt, except for very severe emergencies.

    The Night-Unlife
    The Malkavian primogen Elisabeth (Ella) is one of the various bosses of the nightlife and underworld in St. Pauli. She runs it with her childe Christian, who was one of the first patients in the Ochsenzoll asylum and still often goes there to feed or meet with his human friends, and Svetlana's childe Silke, who was taken in by Ella when her sire abandoned her almost immediately after her creation. Christian and Silke are both of very limited help in running a big business with several establishments, but they serve as her eyes and ears out on the street. Instead, the main participants in the enterprise are the Toreador Gertrud (Gerti) and the Nosferatu Kai.

    The Artists
    The Toreador in Hamburg are maintaining their own private group. The group is being led by Katharina, a woman whose "passion" sometimes gets her mistaken for a Brujah or a closeted Anarch, who moved to Hamburg from Lübeck only fairly recently. While her relationship with the primogen Anna isn't easy, many believe her to have been sent to get a better foothold in the big city. While Katharina isn't really someone who is looking to make friends, she could be instrumental to establishing a kind of informal understanding between the Toreador and the Anarchs to shatter the domain into smaller territories without a common leader.
    The other vampires Katharina mostly hangs out with are the Hamburger Toreador neonates Gertrud (Gerti) and Thorsten, and the young Ventrue Jens. They often get together with the Toreador Sophie, but it's mostly to have someone to argue with about art, who at least can verbalize her criticisms in an intelligent way, though none of them really like her or share any of her aesthetic views.
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  22. - Top - End - #22
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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    I realized that even with all the aesthetically interesting locations and a cast of vampires, the setting as it is is really something missing very important.
    There isn't any supernatural horror in it yet!
    This could almost be a setting for a non-magical crime or government conspiracy campaign. Magic and monsters is where the fun lies.
    I also decided that I won't be using this thread as an information source for players when the campaign starts, as it's already inconsistent with some outdated facts. So no reason to not share any of the cool secret stuff I have here.

    The full truth about the Nosferatu primogen Heinrich
    Heinrich was born in the 12th century and experienced hundreds of years as a vampire in the good old times before the Inquisition. When the Camarilla was founded, he was already an elder. All of it is long gone and forgotten, and even the immortals around him don't remember any of it. He already had lost all interest in humanity when the industrial revolution began, and by now his Humanity has fallen down to 2. He is a tall and willowy shade of a man, with bone white skin, needle-like fangs, and hollow black eyes, dressed in a nondescriptive black frock. He is completely silent except for the rare occasion where he quietly mutters a sentence or two, and does not make any movements that don't serve a purpose. He doesn't even participate in the affairs of vampires anymore and will soon become one of the first methuselah of the 6th generation.
    With his advanced age, the blood of animals has stopped giving him any sustenance long ago. And even the blood of humans is losing its appeal and he has developed a thirst for vampire blood. Mostly he is getting it by preying on the ghouls of other vampires who had recently been fed by their masters. He is careful about not feeding from the same vampire's ghouls more than once per year, to avoid falling into a blood bond to that vampire. But occasionally he has fed on other vampires directly in recent decades, and they must not survive to tell others about his new craving. The most convenient way to do this is to simply suck them completely dry and drain what remains of their human soul. As he is the oldest vamire in the region, the diablerie of lesser vampires does not give him any greater powers, but it is what makes him stir from his frequent periods of torpor.
    As a 6th generation Nosferatu, Heinrich has mastered the 7th powers of both Obfuscate and Potence, making him a terrifying beast without rival in Hamburg. Not only can he hide himself completely from the senses of mortals and other vampires, he can also extend this power to his victims. Despite his frail appearance, he has the strength of a 1000 kilo werewolf and his claws are strong enough to burry themselves in solid concrete, allowing him to crawl on walls and ceilings. He can snatch a vampire from a closely standing group without anyone noticing something going on, until ash falls from above and there is one fewer of them.
    Heinrich is not in a hurry. He can continue with this hunt, snatching a vampire or two per year, for several decades until he will finally lose the last of his humanity and be fully overcome by the beast. As dead vampires quickly decompose to a state that matches the time that has passed since their death, they mostly leave very little remains that are usually impossible to identify and show no signs of the cause of the vampires final death. Over the years, it will become apparent that something is killing vampires, but the truth can most likely only be found out by snooping around in Heinrich's house in Lüneburg outside of Hamburg itself. And even then, a coterie of neonates would not have the slightest chance to confront him directly.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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  23. - Top - End - #23
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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    This could almost be a setting for a non-magical crime or government conspiracy campaign. Magic and monsters is where the fun lies.
    You know, I was thinking that.
    As in, I'm currently running an urban fantasy mystery game where the players are globe-trotting weirdness investigators and for my next adventure, I really haven't written anything much down than "a city in Germany". And since I don't really know any cities in Germany all that well, I might just steal like 80% of your write-up of Hamburg.

    Hm.... museum heist to steal Störtebecker's skull.
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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I realized that even with all the aesthetically interesting locations and a cast of vampires, the setting as it is is really something missing very important.
    There isn't any supernatural horror in it yet!
    This could almost be a setting for a non-magical crime or government conspiracy campaign. Magic and monsters is where the fun lies.
    I also decided that I won't be using this thread as an information source for players when the campaign starts, as it's already inconsistent with some outdated facts. So no reason to not share any of the cool secret stuff I have here.
    I understand wanting to avoid the larger metaplot of other supernaturals, but if you wanted to throw something in there, if some Nazi mages had secreted away something in the city... well, that could be something neat. (Or good/more-good mages who stole something from the Nazis and hid in the relatively neutral city.)
    Especially if it was warded and the wards are failing due to non-repair (the mages have forgotten about it). Could be a reason for Baali to come (especially if it was Nephandi mages) and be an antagonist.

    A little cliche, and probably not great for the themes you want, but, well, an idea.
    As another thing outside the themes: when my group was going to do an oWoD campaign, the DM asked us to choose between vampire and mage. We picked mage. He later said that, if we had done vampire, he would sometime have had us fight Technocrats. Partially because he knew we'd do almost anything in our power to steal their "laser guns" and be utterly baffled when they didn't work.

    The full truth about the Nosferatu primogen Heinrich
    Heinrich was born in the 12th century and experienced hundreds of years as a vampire in the good old times before the Inquisition. When the Camarilla was founded, he was already an elder. All of it is long gone and forgotten, and even the immortals around him don't remember any of it. He already had lost all interest in humanity when the industrial revolution began, and by now his Humanity has fallen down to 2. He is a tall and willowy shade of a man, with bone white skin, needle-like fangs, and hollow black eyes, dressed in a nondescriptive black frock. He is completely silent except for the rare occasion where he quietly mutters a sentence or two, and does not make any movements that don't serve a purpose. He doesn't even participate in the affairs of vampires anymore and will soon become one of the first methuselah of the 6th generation.
    With his advanced age, the blood of animals has stopped giving him any sustenance long ago. And even the blood of humans is losing its appeal and he has developed a thirst for vampire blood. Mostly he is getting it by preying on the ghouls of other vampires who had recently been fed by their masters. He is careful about not feeding from the same vampire's ghouls more than once per year, to avoid falling into a blood bond to that vampire. But occasionally he has fed on other vampires directly in recent decades, and they must not survive to tell others about his new craving. The most convenient way to do this is to simply suck them completely dry and drain what remains of their human soul. As he is the oldest vamire in the region, the diablerie of lesser vampires does not give him any greater powers, but it is what makes him stir from his frequent periods of torpor.
    As a 6th generation Nosferatu, Heinrich has mastered the 7th powers of both Obfuscate and Potence, making him a terrifying beast without rival in Hamburg. Not only can he hide himself completely from the senses of mortals and other vampires, he can also extend this power to his victims. Despite his frail appearance, he has the strength of a 1000 kilo werewolf and his claws are strong enough to burry themselves in solid concrete, allowing him to crawl on walls and ceilings. He can snatch a vampire from a closely standing group without anyone noticing something going on, until ash falls from above and there is one fewer of them.
    Heinrich is not in a hurry. He can continue with this hunt, snatching a vampire or two per year, for several decades until he will finally lose the last of his humanity and be fully overcome by the beast. As dead vampires quickly decompose to a state that matches the time that has passed since their death, they mostly leave very little remains that are usually impossible to identify and show no signs of the cause of the vampires final death. Over the years, it will become apparent that something is killing vampires, but the truth can most likely only be found out by snooping around in Heinrich's house in Lüneburg outside of Hamburg itself. And even then, a coterie of neonates would not have the slightest chance to confront him directly.
    While this is a terrifying thing, and I reckon will become a maelstrom of death and chaos if/when he completely succumbs to the Beast, it doesn't sound particularly scary for player characters. I guess beyond being some Big Bad they (or their antagonists) could awaken into activity. E.g., as you note, he himself is too big a threat to directly oppose. But I could see a plot where, especially if enemies of the city realize how dangerous he is (or even suspect it), they hope to goad him into succumbing so that the city is ruined, the Aldermann ousted, and they can take direct or indirect control. Could be Camarilla rivals or the Sabbat.

  25. - Top - End - #25
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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    Quote Originally Posted by JeenLeen View Post
    But I could see a plot where, especially if enemies of the city realize how dangerous he is (or even suspect it), they hope to goad him into succumbing so that the city is ruined, the Aldermann ousted, and they can take direct or indirect control. Could be Camarilla rivals or the Sabbat.
    I really do like that line of thought. The Sabbat learning of it before the other primogen and trying to use it for their purposes seems like a really fun idea.

    So, some more thought on the supernatural horror thing...

    Something that I actually noticed pretty early in my preparation research was that after the first week I already got pretty much all the cool stuff that I had after the fourth week. Having lived in Hamburg in my childhood, I knew about all the major landmarks that I wanted to look up, which of course sped up the process by much. But after that, looking deeper into the city didn't really add much anymore. Instead what I encountered was that looking deeper into the real city and getting more familiar with it, actually made it feel less interesting and more bland. One day I spend many hours on Street View to find good streets for where vampires of the various clans could have their havens. But as it turns out, most parts of probably all cities are really very unremarkable and boring. I don't think it's a coincidence that of the 40 or so cool places in Hamburg that I could maybe use in a Vampire campaign, more than 30 are within a single four square kilometer area, which is about 2% of the whole city area. All the residential areas, green spaces, and even most of the industrial areas are completely interchangeable areas of vast emptiness as far as playable content is concerned.
    The rulebooks for most editions actually say this themselves. The World of Darkness is not about real places from our world at night. It's about warped caricatures of real places. Not simply the real world but a bit more cynical and with monsters. It needs to a much cooler and more exciting world as well.
    It actually reminds me of the big worldbuilding exposition in the movie Inception. (That movie dresses itself up as a heist movie, but it really is an introductory lecture on storytelling and worldbuilding to get the audience fully invested and believe in it.)

    - "I know this bridge. This place is real. You didn't imagine it, you remembered it..."
    - "I cross it every day on my way to the college."
    - "Never recreate places from your memory. Always imagine new places."
    - "You have to draw from what you know."
    - "Use pieces. A streetlamp, phonebooths, a type of brick. Not whole areas.
    The movie gives a different reason for dramatic storytelling reasons, but I think it's really about real places generally just not being interesting enough. And the more time I spend reading up on real places and events, and looking at real pictures in normal daylight, the more Hamburg felt like a boring and ordinary place to me. Not the cool hyper-real ideas I started with based on professional photographs of new waterfront constructions that were specifically designed to be lit up spectacularly at night. These are real photos, which look just like what you would see if you looked through a camera standing in those spots. But these are specially select locations that have specifically designed buildings that are deliberately made and modified to look spectacular during the right time of day, with the right weather. They are real places, but they are also artificial places. The established Vampire traditions to call the settings Hamburg by Night is actually somewhat misleading. We don't care what Hamburg is like at night. What we want is a stunning and fantastical city that takes enough inspirations from Hamburg to kind of look like it is Hamburg if you don't compare it with the real thing side by side.

    As in the saying "the map is not the territory", neither is it a setting. The setting for any story, and fantasy stories in particular, really is the culture and aesthetics. An interesting and compelling setting is all about the ways people think and interact with each other, and getting invested is all about gradually learning to expect what people will do and to understand why the people do what they are doing. That's where all the best worldbuilding takes place.

    The first thing that I think is critical for the setting, even though it seems really obvious, is that it's always night. For a vampire campaign, this does not just mean that everything that is story relevant takes place after sunset when most people have finished work. When all PCs are vampires, this means that the sun never rises. It is not just always night, it is now eternal night. There is no more day or night for vampires (in the World of Darkness). There is only times of being awake and times of being asleep. Day doesn't just mean that vampires have to stay inside or underground while the sun is shining. It's a time where they are almost completely knocked out and unresponsive. There is no peeking at the dawn sky from behind heavy curtains. In other settings, sunlight is like deadly radiation for vampires, which they must avoid being exposed to. In the World of Darkness, the whole concept of Day disappears from the vampiric existence. It's a small thing, but I think for a Vampire campaign, it's a good thing to think of it as a world without a sun and present it as such to the players. (There are special situations in which a vampire can be conscious during day hours, but I think they are best used as extreme cases when everything has gone terribly wrong and vampires are afraid for their unlife.)

    However, another major thing about Vampire: The Masquerade in particular, is that vampires are confined to major cities. One reason is that they need the densely populated cities to feed, and they can not travel further away from their havens than it takes to get back before dawn. It is possible to travel to other cities, but then you are all alone in a city you don't know, which is full of other vampires who don't want you in their territory. Just not a good idea.
    But another reason is that the wilderness is the turf of the werewolves, and those can really mess up all but the oldest and most powerful vampires. Not quite sure how well this concept really carries over to the Benelux, Northern France, West Germany region, which is a giant urbanized blob, and while it does have plenty of green spaces, those really can't be called wilderness by any stretch of the word. But at least for Northern Germany, I think it still can be done plausibly enough. While Hamburg is the second largest city after Berlin, the surrounding area is actually one of the least densely populated. Also like Berlin. Everything northeast of the Bremen - Hanover - Magdeburg - Leipzig - Dresden Line is much less populated than the rest of the country.
    Hamburg is huge and produces massive amounts of light at night. Even when you're out in the woods on the edges of the suburbs, it's never actually getting dark. I think it would be a fun approach to regularly remind players out near the city's edges that the light is the direction of safety and home. And the dark is the direction of unknown threats. The PCs won't have to travel far before they reach the edges of their small world, where it fades to nothing but blackness.
    The interesting special case of course is the highway from Hamburg to Lübeck. It's not a long drive, especially at night and you're confident in your ability to drive fast. I think that journey should always be mentioned as a special and unsettling experience, for once the night traffic has died down, it can get really quite dark out there, especially when you have the glare from the road right in front of your car. I actually got an idea to have the PCs realize on a return trip that the highway is closed because of overnight bridge repairs and they will have to take one of the back roads through the countryside. Which is just the spot for a werewolf ambush. The werewolf wouldn't even have to fight them. Just wreck their car enough to leave them stranded in the rural countryside, hours before dawn, possibly without a map.

    My three favorite vampire clans are the Tremere, the Nosferatu, and the Malkavians. Who just so happen to be the most magical of the Camarilla clans. The Tremere and Malkavians have the Auspex discipline, which grants them supernatural perception, the ability to read minds, and for their spirits to leave their bodies. The Nosferatu and Malkavians both have the Obfuscate discipline, which allows them to change their appearance or hide themselves completely from the senses of others. And of course, the Tremere are an actual order of sorcerers and blood mages, while the Malkavians have visions of a higher reality. That's some really great supernatural stuff that is thematically much more interesting than super-speed, super-strength, invulnerability, or mental enslavement. Those are the staples of the Ventrue, Toreador, and Brujah, which currently are the most important factions in the political game. Which is really not ideal.
    I think what is needed to give the campaign a stronger supernatual element is to make the political conflict about power and influence more of a manifestation and distraction of the real primary threats.
    I earlier mentioned an off the cuff idea that the Prince of Copenhagen is expanding her area of influence because she anticipates dangerous conflict that will threaten her domain, which she hopes to be able to weather out by bolstering her territory and minions. A mutual alliance with the Aldermann of Hamburg seems hopeless, as they both know they will throw each other to the wolves at the first opportune moment. She needs a vassal, not an ally.

    It absolutely will not be "an antediluvian awakens to devour all the vampires". That idea has always been stupid as anything other than a conspiracy theory panic. I am much more a fan of Silent Hill, Darkwood, Bloodborne, and Twin Peaks. Something related to an old evil presence in the black waters of the many swamps would probably be cool. Or something to an evil presence from the bottom of the sea.
    The sea recently had a devastating fire that was literally codenamed Operation Gomorrah, followed 20 years later by a flood. Those are all very bad omens, especially at a time when the Sabbat is proclaiming that the end is coming.
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  26. - Top - End - #26
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    Lightbulb Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    I am thinking that I am probably not going to use the Northeast Passage as the story for the campaign. It is a great concept, but the further I am getting familiar with the game and discover how everything comes together, the more I find my real interest to lie in other areas than political conflicts between elders. And the whole outline really is all about the business of Ventrue, Toreador, and Brujah elders. It's cool, but neither supernatural nor spooky.
    I can still see it as a nice element to really raise the pressure in the later parts of the campaign, when one of their main priorities becomes not to get stepped on by the fighting elders while they try to deal with their own pressing matters. But even then, all the vampires from Copenhagen don't really need to be a faction in any of this. But still, it's great to know the nature of the conflict and the motivations of the important actors when the players later get to see it from the sidelines. And it can be relevant to how players can get influence with the various primogens throughout the campaign.

    But after a couple of days of thinking about it, I got a new idea that is really different, but also really cool:

    Fear the Black Blood
    The Ventrue are having a problem with their oil refinery. For several months, significant amounts of crude oil from the North Sea have gone missing. If there were a spill of this scale, the Elbe would look like asphalt and be full of dead fish and seagulls. But who would be stealing cheap crude oil when there's high quality kerosene and petrol in the tanks next to it?
    There's also a problem with some strange brown gunk that keeps glogging up the systems to separate impurities from the petroleum. While he's inspectng the issues, the Ventrue is overcome by a sudden urge to lick the brown stuff and it turns out to be vitae! The taste is absolutely revolting, but the stuff is even better than werewolf blood. He takes it to the primogen who takes it to the Aldermann, and they all sense a great opportunity to sell it to other vampires. Not for money, but for favors.
    Of course, there is no way this is going to end well.

    This idea builds on several concepts from Werewolf, and werewolves are quite likely to play a part as the events unfold.
    In the mythology of werewolves, the world is controlled by three primordial spirits. The Spirit of Order, the Spirit of Chaos, and the Spirit of Balance. But the Spirit of Balance became mad and became the Spirit of Corruption. Since ancient times it has been the sacred duty of werewolves to fight the Wyrm's influence over the world, but with the beginning of industrialisation, it's power has grown massively. (Vampire is often superheroes with fangs. Werewolf is Captain Planet with tails.)
    The werewolves of Northern Europe know the Wyrm as the Midgard Serpent which dwells in North Atlantic and the North Sea and has spawned many terrifying creatures. One such dragon wss buried by the advancing glaciers during the Ice Age, right above one of the many oil fields in the area. When the glaciers retreated, its body had been ground into the earth and mixed with the oil, and when the melting ice kept the ocean levels rising, the whole land between Denmark and England vanished at the bottom of the sea. And now the oil is being pumped up and refined in Norway, Scotland, and Germany. (I can't find any details about the refinery, but I really can't imagine they are shipping crude oil fro, Arabia or Mexico to Germany when there's oil fields right next door.)
    There is some precedent for vampires being corrupted snd possessed by descendants of the Wyrm. And two of the main effects are that these former vampires double their maximum blood pool and are more vulnerable to Frenzy. I think that's a great starting point. Maybe the Black Blood does not count towards the blood pool limits, and having any Black Blood Points reduces humanity. I still will have to work that out in detail. Of course, eventually, drinking the Black Blood will turn vampires into horrible abominations. (That at first will be mistaken for Tzemisce creations.)
    Even worse than the corupting effect on vampires is where the missing crude oil is going. It's not spilling out into the river, but into the Spirit World. There is nothing visible in the material world, but in the Spirit World the entire area around the refinery is a massive oil spill. Which eventually will bleed over to supernatural beings in the physical world. The possibilities for doing some Silent Hill nightmare stuff are endless.
    I am also sure I'll find some way to light the spirit oil spill dramatically on fire.
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    Default Re: Northeast Passage - Hamburg by Night (VtM)

    Themes and Style

    I feel like writing about how I think Hamburg by Night should come across, and how it should feel to be a vampire. Which probably is something that should have been right at the start of creating a specific setting.

    It's always night: Which sems like an obvious thing to say, but it's also something worth spelling out explicitly. It's not just that a Vampire campaign around a nighttime aesthetic, the PCs are most at home in the city's nightlife, and all important business is done after dark. When the characters are all vampires, they literaly never see a bright sky. Ever. Even in completely sealed rooms beneath their havens, vampires have a very hard time staying awake when the sun is up outside. It's not just that sunlight is a deadly radiation they have to avoid getting exposed to. They don't sit in their homes waiting for the sun to set so they can get out the door and deal with urgent business. During daylight hours, time is almost suspended for vampires. To vampires, the whole concept of Day is only a vague memory.

    Being a vampire is awful: As a vampire, people get all kinds of cool new powers. But it's never worth it. Everyone who understands what it's like to be a vampire would never want to be one. No matter how awful their lives as humans are, becoming a vampire is never an improvement. Of course, they never know that before they experience it for themselves.
    Existence as a vampire always means an innevitable bad ending. If you don't get killed violently, as a vampire you know for certain that eventually you will lose everything that remains of your humanity, you will be fully consumed by the Beast, and you will destroy everything and everyone that once mattered to you. Though at that point, you will no longer care.
    Faced with this outlook, it seems like the only good solution is to die right here and now. But even more so than the irresistable thirst for blood, nothing has as much of a hold over vampires than their need to survive. A vampire's mind might seek death, but the Beast will stop at nothing to ensure it's own survival. When a vampire is facing final death, the Beast takes over and do everything to survive. Mustering the willpower to overcome the beast and make a sacrifice to safe others is almost impossible. The only way to keep others safe from the Beast is to stay as far away from them as possible to keep them out of harm's way.

    The world of vampires is very small: Even though modern transportation and communication have opened up the world to humans, the restrictions of the Masquerade have made vampires more isolated than they were ever before. Because they need to feed on humans, vampires always have to stay close to people. But because their feeding must go entirely unnoticed, they can only hunt in major cities, where you never need to feed on the same person more than once, an occasional disapearance will go unnoticed, and nobody spends even a second thought about a neighbor who nobody in the whole street seems to know. Of all the vampires alive today, many have ever spend time in the countryside, and almost none have any experience with the supernatural beings who rule the nights beyond the points where the street lights end. Except for some elders who maintain limited communications through the Camarilla hierarchy to keep each other informed about Sabbat activities in the region, ordinary vampires don't know anyone outside their city. Beyond the lights of their city, there is only an endless void of darkness full of werewolves and other monsters, with no information whatsoever on where you could safely feed or find secure protection from the sun. And there is no help that would come from vampires in other cities. They don't want any outsiders and newcommers on their turf. They are already struggling over the limited space and struggling to maintain the Masquerade. In all but the rarest cases, unknown vampires coming to a new city will be immediatly destroyed.

    All vampires are in hiding: Many vampires like to tell themselves that they are the masters of the night. The biggest, meanest, and most dangerous things that prowl the city streets, and many elders see themselves as pulling many of the strings of society and the economy. But in the end, all vampires are living the lives of fugitives. The Masquerade exists to protect vampires, but living under it doesn't provide any comforts. Vampires have to live among humans, but their existence must never be revealed to the mortals. In many ways, vampires in modern cities are at the most vulnerable they have ever been. Gone are the days were a haven could be guarded night and day by a dozen ghouls and human mercenaries, and mortals would stay far away from a vampire's mansion or castle. In the modern nights, the threat from three or four determined humans with petrol bombs is greater than ever.
    And it's not just the mortals vampires have to fear. As long as a vampire can hide it's nature from its neighbors, it is relatively safe from them at the moment. The even greater threat are other vampires. Vampires are solitary creatures by nature. They don't want to be near each other unless they really have to. And under the Masquerade, they have little choice in that matter. All the vampires in a city are always competing with each other for territory and humans to feed on, and to claw their way to the top of the pile. The Camarilla punishes the murder of other vampires with death. Not because they consider each other's lives sacred or care for each other, but because without this law, vampires would all have destroyed each other long ago. However, dead vampires leave behind little in the way of identifyable remains, and the small numbers of vampires in a city means there are rarely any witnesses to the death of a vampire. Usually, vampires simply disappear and are never heard of again, with no clues of any kind whether they are dead or still alive, when or where they could have been killed, or how it might have happened.
    Vampires can trust no one and their entire existence consists of constantly watching their backs. For all their power, they are never safe.

    Humanity is an obstacle: In a society of immortals, where the oldest members are the strongest and least vulnerable, seats don't open up at the top for younger vampires to take over. Rank and status in the Camarilla is based entirely on how valuable you are to those above you. The elders are always looking for people who can get things done, and who do it quickly, quietly, without leaving evidence, and without complaining. The older vampires get, the less remains of their humanity, and compassion and concern for mortals is only a vague memory for most elders. As long as the Masquerade is not needelessly threatened, they literally could not care about how many humans get hurt by their activities. They only care about seeing results, and their pawns doing what they are told.
    Obviously, vampires who care little about how their actions affect humans can use much more direct and faster approaches to deal with things. You don't have to be a complete monster to rise up in the Camarilla, but it certainly helps. Those with a conscience rarely reach any notable levels of influence and wealth.

    The importance of appearances: The Ventrue and Toreador of Hamburg and Lübeck mostly come from the old Hanseatic patrician class, and even the Brujah and Nosferatu have old and strong ties to the free peasants and working class of their city. Most of the customs and courtesy they had in life carried over to their undead existence, and the peculiarities of the regional culture express themselves even more than usual in the reclusive ways of the vampires.
    The vampires of Hamburg are intensely private people, who consider their own inner lives nobody's business but their own, and the people close to them. Which for vampires is almost no one. The vampires, particularly the elders, don't chat. They talk business. Business is business and leisure is leisure, and both have their time and their place. And in the cold rainy North, the two don't mix. For the elders and many ancilla, Elysium is not about socializing. It's more like an informal business meeting and trading information. They don't come for entertainment, but to maintain personal contacts and to keep updated on each other's activities. Elysium is work.
    Germans have a reputation for doing things orderly without distractions, and this is probably more true in the North than anywhere else. Northern vampires who have lost much of their humanity can take this to a whole nother level. There is nothing they hate more than disruptions. They want everthing to be sparkly clean and in good repair, nobody causing disturbances, and everything working like it's supposed to be. And with centuries of manipulation of society, these vampiric obsessions have shaped the culture of the city. The mission and purpose of the Hamburg police is not to prevent crime, but to maintain order. The crime rates of the city are of little concern to the goverment, as long as the crimes don't happen in the streets or affect bystanders passing by. Robberies are bad, but extortion is not the problem of the police. The problem with drugs are not the drugs, but junkies passed out on sidewalks. That's the part that the people of the city won't tolerate. Fighting poverty is all about removing the visible signs of poverty, not the causes. The city is flush with money and there's always new constructions of low-income housing and plenty of food banks and charity stores. As long as there are no people on the streets begging for money to buy food and everyone has a registered adress, the problem of poverty has been solved as far as the government is concerned. Unemployment rates, low wages, and long working hours to earn a pittance are not a pressing issue.
    The dominating mood in Hamburg is complacency and wilfull ignorance. Things aren't good for all but a very few. But it is what it is. And it's not actually that bad. Be content with what you got and safe yourself a lot of needless trouble by trying to complain about your lot in life. This attitude is working very well for the vampires in the city. People don't poke their noses into other people's businesses. They don't want to know what goes on in other people's homes as long as there's no noise getting outside. Suspicious things are rarely reported and even more rarely investigated. It rarely takes much intimidation to get people to leave. Usually letting them know that you know they are staring is all that it takes.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

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