The City [Chicago by Night]

Vampire: The Masquerade

Included below is an excerpt from V5 Chicago by Nightavailable for preorder on Backerkit.

A Tale of Two Cities

Chicago is. It is a series of paradoxes and transitions, of ever-changing paradigms and whimsy. It is both beautiful and putrid, both corrupt and a pillar of truth, an unstoppable force for change while holding onto the past with howling desperation. Chicago’s inherent dichotomy is reflected in the people, buildings, neighborhoods, history, and, most definitely, in its vampires.

Anyone who knows Chicago knows that division is part of its makeup. It has two of almost everything. Newspapers, pizza styles, baseball teams — Chicago is often referenced as the most segregated city in the world. Those borders, often disguised as viaducts, were intentionally put into place by systematic political machines with overtly racist and bigoted bias. While many of those machines were dismantled via the unending waves of time, the scars remain and some of that machinery is still in working order perpetuating age-old agendas and schemes.

Chicago is a gilded city. Beautiful and glittering, a wonder of modern development laid upon the bones of history and the backs of the less fortunate. A home to some of the darkest corruption and most trying needs. A school board president stealing money from children — a crime strangely common to Chicago — is a good example of the reckless brutality the city exudes.

When threatened, Chicago gains a unified, undeniably proud, dangerous populace. Wielding the malice of a swarm of hornets, Chicagoans bring ruin upon those who dare to question their will. The populace gladly speaks ill of the myriad of problems plaguing their home but the moment an outsider does the same, those same Chicagoans will become fiercely defensive of their city.

The City in a Vampire: The Masquerade chronicle is just as an essential aspect of your campaign as your players or the storyline. It drives forward the moods and themes you want to build within your game. It is the blueprint you lay across your chronicle and provides boundaries, areas of inquiry, and setting for the horrors that occur in the night. It provides a backdrop and impetus for action and reaction. Yet it doesn’t possess one defined flavor. Each block, each tenant building, each neighborhood has a very distinctive flow and energy.

The city of skyscrapers has infinite possibilities for the Damned. While the so-called “pillar clans” of the Camarilla — Ventrue, Toreador, and Tremere — tend to stay close to the city center (often referred to as the Loop or in Kindred parlance “The Hive”), the other clans act as satellites around the neighborhoods and sides. Each section of the city holds specific feels to them, being little cities of their own.

Then there are the Lasombra. Their attempt to join the Camarilla has caused a brand-new set of problems within Kindred society. With the exodus of Brujah and Gangrel from the Camarilla, and the new influx of Cainite power, old, well known territory lines have fallen into disarray. Feeding grounds are now subject to the disputes of the Jyhad. Possession, after all, is nine tenths of the law, and clans across the city are committing to open or subtle actions to claim positions and areas of influence.