Day 16: A Red List

Sales, Vampire: The Masquerade

Onyx Path’s Month of Nightmares features games, stories, and more to celebrate the spirit of Halloween. Count down the days with us by reading our excerpts, participating in the discussion, or by taking advantage of our special offers leading up to a haunted Halloween.

Dread Names, Red List 150381Way back when I pitched Dread Names, Red List during the Children of the Revolution Kickstarter it was going to be a short bonus PDF of about maybe 40 pages or so updating the Anathema for the V20 line. As work continued and the book expanded in scope (it ended up at over 120 pages!) I wanted to look at how the Red List works within the Camarilla beyond just a bunch of monsters that neonates fear. How does the Red List affect the politics of the Sect? Besides the Justicars and Alastors, who pays attention to the List? Why? We dove into the history of the Red List and explored the concept of the Blood Hunt as well as what made a creature a big enough threat that made the entire Camarilla need to hunt them.

Additionally, the idea of social clubs and “secret” societies within the the Camarilla is something I’ve always wanted to see played up a bit more. Groups that player characters could become rivals with or even members of should their motivations line up. So, the Council of Scales was created. As we developed the history and politics of the Red List I wanted to show where Camarilla characters could get involved. Trading information and favors, perhaps even affecting Camarilla policy in new ways.

Council of Scales

Though a Prince rules her domain and upholds the Traditions in the manner she sees fit, there are those who seek to study her rulings, comment upon them, and influence future decisions and her audience. The Council of Scales is one such clandestine, informal group. Founded by the Brujah Critias in the sixteenth century, the Council of Scales first began as a social group of philosophers who infrequently gathered together to study Camarilla law, the Traditions, and the implications surrounding the blood hunt.

As time passed, however, the Council took a more active role in Camarilla politics. Now, the Council is rumored to be behind the organization of blood hunts with local Princes across multiple domains, investigations of a Prince’s misconduct, and may have even gone so far as to suggest new Anathema, Justicars, and Alastors.

Though the Council of Scales is an informal group, its members hope to be acknowledged and folded into the Camarilla’s ruling body one day. Thus far, it has been officially recognized as a social club within the Camarilla that meets once-a-quarter to trade favors, information, and criticisms. Unofficially, the Council of Scales has a few dozen Camarilla members — mostly Brujah, Nosferatu, Tremere, and Ventrue — and is under the dubious assumption that they are somehow better watchdogs than the Justicars themselves.

As we continued working on the book we found we a chance to really explore who and what the Alastors are. They had a tiny amount of coverage in previous editions of Vampire, but very little actual word count discussing the duties of Alastors (beyond hunt bad guys) and how they functioned as a group. We took the opportunity to discuss how Alastors were selected, how they hunt and offer up an entire chapter on running Vampire games focused on the Red List. We included suggestions on Alastor focused chronicles as well as opportunities for characters to earn their way into those ranks.

The Red Alastors had the tiniest of references in a book years ago and Dread Names, Red List was a chance for me to expand on them in a new way. I wanted to show how the Alastors might work together and perhaps offer up a new rank within the Camarilla that clever Players might take for the Mentor Background (or maybe a Storyteller might get an idea for someone to give the PCs some grief… hey, it is your game). The Red Alastors also offer up some Red List related politics and intrigue within a major Camarilla city in a way that roaming Alastors might not. The Red Alastor could be seen as a looming “internal affairs” agent checking up on the local Prince or a prime target for some young Sabbat looking to make a name for themselves in the Litany of Blood.

Red Alastors

Unlike Alastors, Red Alastors are promoted from their numbers by a pair of Justicars and are afforded more oversight to hunt the Anathema. Many Red Alastors choose to remain in a Camarilla-held territory to oversee the Alastors and gather reports to plan for combat, uncover havens, or defend against full-scale attacks from Anathema like Alex Swift. Other Red Alastors, such as Lucinde before she became the Ventrue Justicar, operate more in the political sphere and report to the Justicars on behalf of all Alastors, collaborate with other Red Alastors, root out moles or fallen Alastors, or immerse themselves in local politics to smooth over any misunderstandings with the local Prince.

In the past, the identity of the Red Alastors was secret to all but a precious few. Most Kindred assume correctly that Red Alastors tend to be high-ranking Kindred: Archons, Sheriffs, and a few Princes, representing the Camarilla’s elite. Now, Red Alastors reveal their role at their discretion, since some have argued that anonymity is just as powerful as a frightening appearance.

Highly-capable, Red Alastors can fight alongside Alastors or choose remain behind to strategize ways to take down their enemies until the final showdown. Like their charges, Red Alastors never stop hunting the Anathema, even if they ascend to the rank of Justicar. Once a Kindred becomes an Alastor, she will always be an Alastor even if her focus shifts to accommodate her rank and role within the Camarilla.

The Dread Names, Red List PDF is on sale for 20% off for TODAY ONLY!

  1 comment for “Day 16: A Red List

  1. Phaolan
    October 18, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    PLEASE NOTE that I meant to post this days ago, but it’s important enough to still post late.

    Okay, I’ll admit it: This is my least favourite of the V20 line so far, but that’s due to the fact that I’m not a huge fan of ‘character books’ in general coupled with the fact that we have already seen many of these characters before…

    However, the material that Matt specifically mentions above IS quite wonderful!

    Perhaps what I should have said is: Page-for-page, this is my least favourite V20 book, but what’s in here is f-ing brilliant when one removes the character splats! And the characters ARE well done.

    What I’m TRYING to say is: I’m right chuffed that you had a chance to make this book what it is, and it has become one of my favourite of the ‘character books’ for all of Vampire: the Masquerade.

    What you should take away from this is: I’m a nutter, but I’m not shy about sharing that? 😛

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