Hidden 12 days ago Post by Icon57
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The Loop and the Lariat

Introduction
Our modern world is built on old bones. This has always been true, and these bones have always been strong. Until now.
The elder creatures who laid the seeds of power centuries and millennia ago are beginning to lose their tight grip on the reins of power. The world grows more chaotic. This is no accident. The chaos is by design. It is caused by those who want power trying to pry it from those who have it.

The old houses and clans, the ones who value stability and a return on their investment on entrenched power, are loosely affiliated in an alliance known in whispered corners as The Loop, drawing its name from an ancient European vampire clan’s family crest, bearing a loop of rope with its ends crossed. The Durad family of Montenegro is one of the oldest underground power brokers in Europe, and have taken their crest to heart, ensuring that those they wield their soft power over are bound by the order they have set out. Their influence is slow, and their patience is vast. They place the pieces with care and allow the game to play out accordingly. They protect the relatively small population of vampires from humanity by preserving the shroud – the illusion that they do not exist. They gain wealth and influence, feeding grounds and supplicants. Their structure is that of a noble family, and they wear it on their sleeves, setting the example for the other clans and houses in the Loop – universally old, wealthy ones that have a vested interest in the stability of the systems that sustain them.

This, of course, antagonizes those who are excluded from those hallowed Gothic halls of power.

On the other side of the Atlantic ocean, a more libertarian, anarchic current has stirred. A more recent power broker in the underworld, the Elderidge family, has shaken loose from the control of the Loop. Dissatisfied with the limitations placed on less-powerful clans by the Loop, the Elderidges have systematically turned clan after clan, house after house, against the old guard, promising a less subtle exertion of power. Not satisfied to simply pull the strings, the Elderidges intend to take direct action to control the world they live in. They strike fast, hold fast to the power they acquire. They wrangle their prey and herd them in advantageous directions. They are power brokers the way a paramilitary group becomes a power broker: by simply being too big a threat to ignore. Based in Texas, they twist the icon of the Loop to something less passive: a Lariat. The Lariat are tired of the underground, tired of the shroud, tired of the shadows. Tired of a limit on their wealth and influence. They operate more like an organized crime family, with the inner circle populated almost entirely by the Elderidges. Naturally, there are those who think that they can do things better, and bide their time waiting to wrest power from the Elderidges.

Both sides have operatives everywhere, working in the dark underground to influence politics, gain familiars, make money, undermine their opponents (both in the opposing faction and within their own), and ultimately destroy their enemies.

Genre
Dark Urban Fantasy, Vampire

Setting
Modern, but flashbacks to historical periods are encouraged! I intend to explore how some characters were turned, I hope to play with how certain relationships between individuals and houses came to be. I think it would be fun to explore the current conflict through historical fiction lenses sometimes. Basically don’t feel limited by the modern setting if you want to explore other stuff, but let’s keep the bulk of the storytelling modern.

Players
The goal is to have players create their own house or clan, affiliated with either the Loop or the Lariat. Let’s try to have everyone pick a side, please. This doesn’t mean that affiliation can’t shift or betrayals can’t happen, but let’s avoid fence-sitters at the beginning.
As "GM" I would aim to play a house myself, but also nudge the factions in one direction or another by RPing key members of the Durads and Elderidges, as needed, but honestly I’d love to leave the action as open as possible.
Given that you’re in control of your own house, you’d be in charge of deciding:
Where, geographically, are you located? I encourage people to learn a bit outside their comfort zone! The fun thing about this is that we can have a globe-trotting game with houses operating via different characters in different places around the world.
What is your relative power and reach? Are you a small but noble house? Wealthy and powerful? Populous but distributed thinly across the globe? Localized in one place?
Which characters within that house are you going to write? Who do you need to tell the story of your house during the power struggle between the Loop and the Lariat?
What is your house’s ultimate goal? Are you a staunch defender of the Durad family? Personally ambitious like the Elderidges? Anarchic and malevolent? Sworn to destroy another house? Motivated by greed? Are you a vampire supremacist, marching at the forefront of the Lariat’s power grab? Or do you want to maintain the shroud and preserve the cover that the Loop has defended for centuries?

Questions for you
I want to leave this as open-ended as possible so that we all share ownership over the story, but every fantasy world needs to have some rules. Can I get your feedback on these in the comments?
• Should we have more dark creatures than just different flavours of vampires?
• I tend to prefer the pseudo-scientific approach of, say, Blade over the floaty fantasy of Interview with a Vampire. But I’m open to magic, I’m just not super familiar with magic systems so I’d appreciate input on this one. What do you think? Magic or no? And if yes, to what end? And what kind of limitations on the magic system make sense?
• Should there be some established “hunters” in the world? Or is the truth of the existence of vampires only just beginning to be known?

About that 18+ tag
Vampire fiction always implies a degree of… well, intimacy and violence. I think the genre is suited for 18+ content, so let’s be upfront that we don’t have to be shy about that. I’m not going to put any hard limits in place but if you feel that something might cross a line hit me up and we can discuss. Similarly, if something really crosses a line for you during play please let me know and we can adapt rules as we go. I do encourage everyone to avoid real-world slurs. I like to play with heavy stuff as much as anyone but it’s also important that this remain accessible for those who choose to play.

Hope to get some interest soon so that we can get into it! I’ll start developing my house and characters in the comments. I think it would be fun to start this coming weekend.
Hidden 10 days ago 8 days ago Post by Icon57
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House Scion


Affiliation

Loop

Status and Role

Power brokers and negotiators for House Durad

Seat of power

House Scion is based in Warwickshire, England. The reigning family of House Scion, the Creightons, operate an estate including a stone country house, grounds, offices, and conference areas.

History

House Scion is reportedly descended in an unbroken line from the original vampire house. Their influence in Britain began during the Roman occupation, and in fact their estate is built atop a (now subterranean) Roman homestead, bath complex, barracks, and catacomb.
House Scion is generally respected by old houses, as they have a reputation for long memories and sober, reflective mediation of conflicts. They have deep pockets and deeper roots in both the UK and the colonies. However, much of their influence is soft influence. They project more power than they have. If it came to all-out hostilities, they could perhaps position other houses between themselves and a threat, and one-on-one House Scion operatives tend to punch above their weight. However, they cannot field the fighting forces that some other houses can. They have influence everywhere, but few boots on the ground outside the UK.

Areas of Influence

• UK
• New York, San Francisco
• Montreal, Ottawa
• Johannesburg
• Rio
• Melbourne

Notable Characters

Eldon Creighton – Vampire. Pureblood. Head of House Scion. Born 1604.
Ada Creighton – Vampire. Current matriarch of House Scion. Turned by her husband, 1639.
Mr. Dutch – Vampire. Not his original name. Turned 1900 by Eldon Creighton. Negotiator and fixer for House Scion. Referred to alternately as “Mr. Dutch,” “Dutch,” “The Dutchman,” “the Afrikaner,” and “the Boer.” Blond, slightly baby-faced, small and muscular. Wears a suit in a way that suggests he wants to take it off and put on work clothes.
Catherine Cash – Human familiar. American. Mr. Dutch’s blood doll. Post-graduate degree in political science. Proficient researcher, very analytical. Effectively Chief of Staff to both Mr. Dutch and Yolanthe. Brunette. Rubenesque.
Yolanthe Normand – Vampire. Originally Cameroonian. Turned 1884 by an unknown vampire. Attaché to the Creightons, advisor to (and sometimes manager of) Mr. Dutch. Self-made after she was abandoned by the vampire who made her. Hunted her sire from Cameroon to Egypt to the UK and eventually killed him on the Creighton’s grounds. Her name is an assumed one. Tall, fit, very strong, large features, large natural hair that is often pulled back severely when on the job.

Objectives

House Scion’s fortunes have been inexorably linked to House Durad. If the peace fails, if the Shroud falls, then Scion’s wealth, influence, status, and relevance are all threatened. A full failure of the peace would effectively demonstrate that they lacked either the capacity or the will to do what they needed to do.

To this end, House Scion’s goal is to maintain the Shroud, to try and pacify the Elderidge family and the houses that pledge them allegiance. Should that fail, they will maintain the peace through whatever means they can.

*


Hope this house, these politics, and these characters are intriguing enough for people to want to participate! I look forward to seeing what other ideas people have in this world.

I'm going to go ahead and start a thread in the next couple of days and see if it tickles peoples' fancy. Hope to see you there!
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Bumping to say that I've gone ahead to start telling this story and I encourage others to jump in:
https://www.roleplayerguild.com/topics/176749-the-loop-and-the-lariat-dark-urban-fantasy

Looking forward to people checking it out!
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House Rahaim


Affiliation


Lariat

Status and Role


Former regional Loop hegemon in the Middle East
Current Lariat sympathizers

Seat of Power


Cairo, Egypt

History


Originally descended from the Ptolemaic dynasty, House Rahaim has schemed and plotted their way throughout the centuries to become the ultimate vampiric power in the Middle East. In doing so, they have instigated hundreds of bloody revolutions, brokered with colonial empires, and directly and indirectly caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. They have most notably to their name a multibillion arms industry, funded since time immemorial by the perennial wars being waged around them. And more recently, as a result of the West's constant meddling in the region, House Rahaim has many close ties with other vampiric powers of former colonial powers. The most recent player that House Rahaim has begun to woo is the United States of America, using their own influence in the region as a bargaining chip with the bigwigs in Washington.

Areas of Influence


Cairo, Egypt
Tangier, Morocco
Beirut, Lebanon
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
London, UK
Istanbul, Turkey
Athens, Greece
Washington D.C., USA

Notable Characters


Muhammad Rahaim - Vampire. Patriarch of House Rahaim, b. 1503. Turned by Gail Rahaim (d. 1550) in 1535.
Shaheera Rahaim - Vampire. Matriarch of House Rahaim, b. 1510. Turned by Gail Rahaim (d. 1550) in 1535.
Fariq Rahaim - Vampire. Son of Muhammad Rahaim, b. 1530. Twins with Mazina Rahaim. Turned by Gail Rahaim (d. 1550) in 1535.
Mazina Rahaim - Vampire. Daughter of Muhammad Rahaim, b. 1530. Twins with Fariq Rahaim. Turned by Gail Rahaim (d. 1550) in 1535.
Khalil al-Saroun - Human familiar, b. 1964. Manager of House Rahaim's many business ventures across the globe. Official representative of the Rahaims to government officials.
Dhareed al-Nassif - Vampire. b. 1507, turned by Muhammad Rahaim in 1540. House Rahaim's "enforcer" persona. Has led multiple armies throughout history and personally ripped apart dispatched of many of House Rahaim's enemies.

Objectives


The emergence of the Lariat has presented an opportunity for House Rahaim to break away from the yoke of the Loop. For centuries, Rahaim has always been considered "the weak link" by the other houses, their constant interference in mortal affairs perpetually threatening to break the Shroud and expose the vampiric community. Now, House Rahaim has finally found the perfect opportunity to strike. They have the resources; now all they need are allies who share the same sentiments.

At the end of the day, House Rahaim desires what is rightfully theirs: freedom from the confines of the Shroud, and dominance over humanity.
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Hidden 7 days ago Post by Icon57
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This is excellent! @BingTheWing, I especially like the idea that they're slipping away from the Loop as the story begins. I suspect, given House Rahaim's interest in America and the arms trade, that soon enough we'll be seeing interactions between Rahaim's people and the team of Dutch, Normand, and Cash who were winging their way to America in the introductory post.

Welcome aboard!
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@Icon57 Thanks! Just some clarifications on the lore: does the sun weaken vampires, or does it immediately burn them? Are familiars enslaved in a way or serving their masters out of their own conscience?
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@Icon57 Thanks! Just some clarifications on the lore: does the sun weaken vampires, or does it immediately burn them? Are familiars enslaved in a way or serving their masters out of their own conscience?


Good questions!

Re: familiars, I think they're a good way to differentiate between the houses. Like, Catherine Cash is very much a partner in Dutch's operation. But there's no reason to think that other familiars in House Scion are so privileged, and other houses might see familiars more like chattel or cannon fodder than employees or devotees. So the answer to that question is "yes." Whatever makes sense for your house and the characters you're playing.

As for sunlight, I really like the limitations that come from sunlight being deadly. But if there's a cool narrative reason for something different, or some combination of consequences to sunlight exposure, I'm all ears!
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