Imported Pages/The Red Rush VSS

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  • Organization: Games Without Borders
  • Domain: Ames, IA
  • Genre: Mixed: Vampire: The Requiem (2nd Edition) & Mortals (WoD-God Machine Chronicle)
  • Venue Title: The Red Rush
  • VST: Rebecca, GWB2006037576 (
  • Game Dates: 4th Saturday of each month (God Machine Chronicle start: June 2015)
  • Website:
  • VSS Publication: 04/01/2015
  • VSS Update:


  • Physical: 3
  • Mental: 4
  • Social: 2
  • Action: 3
  • Character Development: 5
  • Darkness: 4
  • Drama: 2
  • Intrigue: 3
  • Manners: 2
  • Mystery: 4
  • Pacing: 4

Each of the above operates on a scale of 1-5. 1 means that the element in question will rarely be present, 3 meaning it will regularly be present, and 5 meaning it will always be present.


Mood: Opportunity, competition and unexplored darkness Themes:

  • The Land Rush
  • Exploring the land between two rivers
  • Lurkers in the darkness
  • Unexpected allies
  • The Foundations of a new Court


The Children of Thunder (1800’s)

With the westward expansion of Europeans to the Midwest came bold and adventurous vampires hungry for a kingdom to call their own. These European kindred quickly learned that they were not safe in the lands between the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. The Iowa territory was already claimed by something older and deadlier than they cared to challenge. What few encounters were retold name them The Children of Thunder.

Where your eyes don’t go

Over the intervening centuries the only reliable information on the Iowa territory came in the form of anecdotal reports from transient vampires, usually Gangrel. They spoke of a land thick with strange sounds, smells and other odd phenomena where they always felt that eyes were upon them. If they stayed more than a single night in the same locale prey spooked whenever they tried to hunt. Hunger soon drove them to move on. Gangrel being a savvy lot took the hint and kept moving, never settling permanently in the land between two rivers.

As such no Gangrel are listed among those lost to the Iowa territory.

Those who never returned

The history of America is replete with tales of explorers driven by desire to carve out a home in the most inhospitable of lands. Vampires, being humans before the embrace, were no exception to this urge. Over the intervening centuries many European vampires tested their mettle in the wilds of Iowa. None succeeded in taming the Iowa Territory and few that attempted to put down roots there ever returned. The few who did crawl back to civilization bore scars both within and without for their arrogance.

In 1924 the court of Chicago received a package by night courier from the Iowa Territory. A leather suitcase with an ornately carved bone handle was presented at Elysium. The address label stated simply “to the Sire of Marcus Brogue c/o the Prince’s Harpy, Augusta Merryweather”. Tooled in the same delicate hand upon one side of the case was the following:

Enclosed are the torporous staked remains of Mr. Brogue. Removal of wood from heart serves as agreement to the following terms. Marcus Brogue shall henceforth owe his sire Life boon for his resurrection, Life Boon to the Children of Thunder for their inconvenience and whatever fee you and the court deem appropriate as compensation for services as notary.
– the Notary of Thunder

Further inspection revealed that the handle was actually an exposed and carved section of hip and the leather of the suitcase was the tanned skin of his limbs and torso. The rest of him had been broken and compacted to fit within the confines of the cases shell. Extensive magic had been used to retard Mr. Brogue’s healing capabilities for as long as the stake remained in place. Even after the stake was located and removed all the tanned and carved bits of him had to be carefully cut away and regrown before he was whole once more.

Marcus Brogue still walks in the shadow of his own folly.

None have since dared to set roots in Iowa. Augusta Merryweather refuses to part with her suitcase for any price.

An unprecedented offer

In the spring of 2013 couriers delivered letters to all the regional courts of the Midwest. Each letter was addressed to the respective Prince stating the following:

Father Thunder abdicated his rule, retiring to the lands beyond.

The Ascended Children of the Storm resolve to open the Iowa Territory to settlement heretofore prevented on pain of final death. To this end we solicit applications of civil-minded kindred who wish to join in the creation of a new court to oversee the entirety of the lands of Iowa.

Applicants must provide documents of introduction, records of ancestry where available and detail on your desires and capabilities. You must also secure a letter of reference from your Sire, ancestor or other respected kindred of your court.

Letters of application must be notarized by a recognized officer of your local court and received by the first night of winter 2013.

Individuals selected for settlement shall owe Major Boon to both their kindred reference and the Children of the Storm. These Boons will be recorded in the court of the storm and letter of notice shall be sent to each Sire/reference in turn.

- The Notary of Thunder

Many thought this a prank at first. Comparison of the handwriting sent to Chicago in 1924 confirmed this was a genuine offer from the Court of Thunder. Soon young kindred, tired of fighting over scraps at the Elders table, quietly prepared applications and made other preparations. It is unknown how many applications were sent.

On the eve of the Spring Equinox 2014 sealed letters of acceptance were delivered to a select few applicants across the nation. Each letter instructed the recipient to prepare for arrival on Midsummer’s Eve 2014 in the Elysium of the Iowa Territory. Further instructions will be provided upon arrival.

(OOC note: I plan on having the first session set on Midsummer’s Eve 2014 and the second session set one year later. Standard chronology will proceed from that point on.)

Early release

At sundown on the night of the Land Rush long forgotten kindred wake from forced slumber. Thought long dead by the rest of the world, these freed prisoners have a lot of catching up to do. Can they adapt?


Items below may be changed by VST/domain constituency as needed for the collective story at any time. Mixed Genre Statement (Requiem 2nd edition & Mortals Venue) The Red Rush Venue is primarily Vampire the Requiem based. However, in the interest of offering a better portrayal of the World of Darkness described in the God Machine Chronicle I incorporated the Mortals venue as well. Many Mortal concepts and other lesser template options have great potential for collaborative tie-ins with vampiric culture. After considering the options of supporting individual applications for such characters or putting in for a full Mixed Genre Venue I felt the latter best to create a credible World of Darkness in Iowa.

Character Creation

Beyond the requirements of the Games Without Borders (GWB) Addenda the following character creation guidelines apply to characters that intend to begin game play attached to this VSS. All restrictions connect directly to the setting and storyline of the game start, June 2015. Many, if not all, of the vampire PC limitations will be removed as character driven story alters the factors that necessitated them in the first place.

On Character Creation in General:

I challenge you to change things up in your character(s) for this game. Try a different Clan, Covenant or Bloodline. If you tend towards physical characters why not explore the social arena or create a mastermind? Roleplaying is make-believe. Tonight we get to be something we aspire to, in some way, if only for a little while. Avoid reheating the leftovers of former glory. Leave past characters in the past. Celebrate their accomplishments and tragedies alike, yet strive to create new stories. I will in turn seek to create interesting and engaging settings and stories for you to guide. I challenge you to breathe new life into our game. Let us create new stories together and have a blast doing it!

- Doug Westvold

Mortals (Including most sanctioned Lesser Templates)  Character creation will follow the Universal and Mortals addenda. No items requiring higher than Mid approval in the Mortals addenda are sanctioned for PCs on this VSS.  The following Supernatural Merits (WoD-GMC.172-175) are sanctioned on this VSS: Aura Reading, Biokinesis (1-2), Clairvoyance, Cursed, Medium, Mind of a Madman, Omen Sensitivity, Psychometry, Telepathy, Thief of Fate, and Unseen Sense. Note that all supernatural merits are lost with the addition of any template (e.g. Ghoul, Vampire)  Ghouls who wish to purchase items disallowed for starting vampires will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Ghouls were usually sniffed out and killed or taken by the Children of Thunder. A few became stranded in Iowa and either died when they ran out of vitae or reverted to a human life beyond their Regnant’s grasp.


General factors that apply to all Vampire PCs:

  • Choose a Vampire role for this VSS: Settler, Parolee or Sooner. (see below)
  • No character traits representing ties and influences to the mortal world of the Iowa Territory are allowed at game start [e.g. Status (mortal), City Status (vampire), Contacts, Haven]. This is because none of you have established power bases in Iowa. Other items may be purchased if there is a believable story as to how you brought it with you (e.g. Staff, Retainers, Herd, Resources). This is a firm guideline, not a concrete rule. The VST will make final determinations based on story and character concept/background.


These characters applied for settlement and were accepted by the Children of Thunder to join the Iowa Territory. Applications were submitted privately. Accepted settlers received discreet invitations on the Spring Equinox of 2014. Unless your character shared this information with others no one knows that you are coming to Iowa prior to your departure, other than your Sire (character reference).

The following factors apply to Settlers:

  • You are an invited guest and can expect hospitality and respect when you arrive.
  • You will gain City Status 2 upon official arrival to the Iowa Territory.
  • You owe One Major Boon to your Sire or character reference.
  • You owe One Major Boon to the Children of Thunder.
  • Safe passage from your home court to the Elysium is provided.
  • Shipping/Transportation beyond what you can carry is your responsibility.
  • Mekhet were not invited, though applications were taken. (OOC information)
  • The following Bloodlines were not invited, though applications were taken: Agonistes, Bak-Ra, Calacas, Canda Bhanu, Cimitiere, Empusae, Erzebet, Iltani, Khaibit, Kinnaree, Lygos, Malkovians, Naditu, Players. (OOC Information)

Parolee (OOC Information: None outside the NPC coterie know such vampires exist at game start)

These characters entered Iowa 25 years ago or more. When such trespassers attempted to set down roots or caused breaches of the Masquerade they were dealt with fiercely. Those that were not destroyed utterly found themselves Staked/Torpored. Parolees will awaken on the first session with a conditional offer of parole for their trespass.

The following factors apply to Parolees:

  • Your unlife was spared: The world thinks you are gone forever.
  • You owe One Life Boon to the Children of Thunder.
  • You have nothing but the clothes on your back and whatever you carried when you were caught.
  • You are provisionally acknowledged upon accepting the terms of your Parole (City Status 1).
  • 25 years + of absence means Clan and Covenant Status are capped at 2 each to start.
  • Some skills and merits may be inappropriate at game start (e.g. Computers, Fame).
  • No Gangrel or Mekhet are among the paroled. (OOC Information)
  • The following Bloodlines were not among those paroled: Agonistes, Bak-Ra, Calacas, Canda Bhanu, Cimitiere, Empusae, Erzebet, Iltani, Khaibit, Kinnaree, Lygos, Malkovians, Naditu, Players. (OOC Information)


These characters enter Iowa at game start uninvited. They take their very unlife in their hands, knowingly or not. Some may be Gangrel travelling through by coincidence. Others may be infiltrators or true “Sooners”, seeking to jump Settler’s claim to choice territory. A rare one or two may have actually been eking out a quiet existence within the boundaries of Iowa for some years. Sooners may have to explain themselves if discovered. They may be shunned, punished, or killed outright depending on the circumstances. I cannot stress how risky this character choice is. You must discuss your concept in detail with the VST. If you do not like a high risk character development do not make a Sooner!

The following factors apply to Sooners:

  • You are trespassing in hostile territory.
  • You are unknown and Unacknowledged in Iowa (City Status 0 at game start).
  • You are not required to owe Boons at game start. This, combined with City Status 0, means vampire society holds few repercussions for other kindred killing you. Watch your back.
  • The VST will have a detailed discussion about what items are appropriate for your character based on your Background and Character Development Document.
  • No restrictions on Clan/Bloodline beyond GWB Addenda.

Optional Rules

  • Group Beats are not sanctioned on this VSS (WoD-GMC.158).
  • Beaten Down and Surrender (VtR2nd.175-6)

Any character that takes more than his Stamina in bashing damage or any amount of lethal damage is Beaten Down: He’s had the fight knocked out of him. He must spend a point of Willpower every time he wants to take a violent action until the end of the fight. He can still apply Defense against incoming attacks, can Dodge, and can run like hell, but it takes a point of Willpower to swing or shoot back. However, he can surrender, giving his attacker what she wants according to her declared intent. If you give in, you gain a point of Willpower and take a Beat, but you take no more part in the fight. If the other side wants to attack you, they’ve got to spend a point of Willpower to do so, and probably suffer a breaking point. If everyone on one side has surrendered, the fight’s over and the other side gets what they want. If one side’s intent involves violence, the other side can’t surrender — not without being killed. If that’s the case, their intended victims don’t get Beaten Down, and gain no benefit from surrendering. When someone wants to kill you, the only thing you can do is to try to stop her, whether you run like hell or unload a shotgun at her.

These rules only apply to people (or vampires) who would incur a breaking point for committing (or attempting) “murder.” Creatures that don’t have a problem killing people in general can ignore surrender without penalty and don’t have the fight beaten out of them like normal folks.

This rule applies to Vampires with Humanity higher than 1 since “Premeditated Killing” (Murder) is a Humanity 2 Breaking Point. Vampires with a Humanity of 1 are beyond caring and no longer subject to this mechanic.

  • Optional rules sanctioned in future addenda will be reviewed by the VST for appropriateness to this VSS.

Clan Eminence & Covenant Ascendancy (Status in the Danse Macabre p.13-14) Clan Eminence and Covenant Ascendancy are determined by total the Status of all active characters in order to avoid continuity issues stemming from IC distinctions between PCs and NPCs. No other changes. Blood Pools & Feeding

  • Surviving as a vampire is not easy. Hunting animals, humans or supernatural creatures is always risky. Only blood garnered through game mechanics like Herd can be assumed without the potential of requiring a feeding scene. Feeding scenes will be run by the VST or a Narrator (aVST).
  • The supervising ST of the game where the PC is currently (i.e. normally the VST, unless convention / FGotM), determines starting vitae and feeding prior to the start of game, not the VST of the VSS the PC is attached to. Players are encouraged to consult Damnation City for innovative ways to increase their feeding chances.
  • Characters that spend Willpower to feed from sources inadequate to their Blood Potency must track that spent Willpower.

Starting Vitae
Vitae at game start is determined as follows:

  • Roll one die.
  • Add dots in the Feeding Ground Merit.
  • At player's option, add some or all dots in the Herd Merit.
    • Dots of Herd not used in this fashion may be used for in-game feeding at a rate of two Vitae per dot in lieu of feeding tests.
  • The total is the character's starting Vitae.


  • Characters may perform a number of downtime actions equal to their Resolve +1.
  • A default set of actions can be established that will take place if a player fails to submit a current downtime, though no EXP will be awarded for that downtime period.
  • All EXP expenditures must be noted in downtimes.
  • One EXP expenditure per downtime does not require a dedicated downtime action, but all subsequent expenditures during that period do.


  • Please note that due to the interconnected nature of our local story, the following social merits are all Low Approval with Mid Notification: Allies, Contacts, Fame, Retainers & Status.
  • Those who have such merits associated with other domains may only use them within this Domain at the discretion of the VST and a penalty in value due to geographic reach may be assessed.

Pre-casts & rituals

  • There are no pre-casts. Casting times eat into the time all characters have between waking from day sleep and entering group play. Rituals that have longer durations may cost downtime actions to cast if the VST determines that is the best way to reflect the time spent on enacting such blood magic.
  • Rituals you want to start with (chapter) must be run by the VST or a Narrator (aVST) prior to entering play.

Travel Risks

  • Iowa remains something of a frontier for kindred. Few vampires save for a handful of transient Gangrel know much of what awaits characters in this land between two rivers. Passing through unfamiliar territory poses some risk. This is not intended to discourage visitors, but rather to highlight the hidden nature of the domain.

Visitors (Proxies & In person) In order to visit “the Red Rush” VSS, players are required to contact the VST and provide the following information:

  • A character sheet with XP Log and Approvals.
  • A description of how the character is traveling to and from the domain.
  • The intended time frame of the visit.
  • A physical description of the character.
  • The nature of the visit (combat, social, influence, etc.) and a description of planned events.
  • Contact information for the Primary VST of the character (who should be copied on the e-mail.)
  • Proxies: Player must clarify whether they wish to Proxy as hard or soft RP.

Beats & Experiences

  • Game Attendance earns a base of five Beats, plus additional Beats as per the Beat system on an individual basis; this VSS does not use the optional Group Beats rule.
  • Downtime reports earn a base of three Beats, plus additional as noted in the Beat system.
  • Character journals may earn Beats at ST discretion.
  • Blood Beats are earned per the system in Vampire the Requiem 2nd Edition p276.