Phase One: And The World Will Be As Gehenna
There are many prophecies, and all are true. The coming of the red star heralds the world’s ending. The world’s Cainites awake from a dream in which their Father kneels and repents, and the Curse begins to lift. The Antediluvians emerge, as foretold: ravenous and afraid for their suddenly-fragile lives, they become tyrants or monsters. The sects are abolished: the Camarilla’s grand lie is revealed and the Sabbat is decapitated, the Regency destroyed by the rampaging Absimiliard. Half of Venice disappears overnight, the Giovanni seeming to vanish from the world. Soon, the Masquerade lies in tatters, either by the actions of the ancients themselves or by the efforts made to prevent them.
The wiser of the Cainites realise that their dream is a vision: Caine has accepted the error of his ways and seeks reconciliation with his God. Surviving elders scramble for Gehenna, where something happens. Accounts vary. Some say that Caine dies for his sins and the sins of his childer; some say that Lilith, mother of monsters, helps her former lover to die and accepts the sevenfold vengeance of the Lord; some say that Malkav, his madness lifted with the coming of the final night, claims the blood of the First and all the power it implies. Whatever happens, something changes. The world changes. Game over. Would you like to play again?
(This emerged from a morning’s chat, post-VtM, about the Gehenna scenarios and the Requiem; how the Requiem might be a continuation of the old WoD instead of its replacement; how the apparent merging of old clans into new, or divided archetypes back together, and the new weaknesses and powers of the clans, all suggested it might just be possible that Malkav might have been the author of the new world, since so many of the changes are sited in the mind.)
Phase Two: World War V
With the Masquerade in tatters, vampires have become a public enemy. Massacres ensue: panic in the streets, lynchings for the good of the community, daylight strikes on havens, hunts and burnings. The vampires’ powers are not what they were, the generations flattened in the absence of a source; the retaliation is slow and intermittent. Individuals cut deals with communities, collaborate against the stupid and the crazed among their number. In several countries, laws are rushed through to register and sanction vampires – not that this does them any good when some occult equivalent of the EDF are kicking in doors and ‘protecting the real people’. Dead Rights becomes a cause celebré among the bleeding hearts of the developed world, for all of a week. The Society of Leopold is now a public arm of the Vatican, and revelling in its vindication.
Not everything goes against the vampires, though. A group of mortal mages is sympathetic to their plight, offering sanctuary and protection for the more… civilised… undead. Those who’ve been smart enough to create thralls, herds, secure havens, webs of allies and so on find that the blood bond still works. A covenant of the open-minded – the Carthian movement – is founded and demonstrates that human-vampire co-operation is possible. And finally, reappearing as suddenly as they left, the Giovanni clan (those who made it back from the underworld, at least) flex their muscles and demand some peace of mind for themselves. It helps that the Giovanni command forces which are quite the match for amateur hunters, and are not afraid to pursue a vigorous self defence; it also helps that they are capable of bankrupting several governments if pushed. Gradually, an uneasy peace emerges…
(Going down to street level makes it clear that we’ll be playing a troupe game here: Ben has a lot of practical ideas on how amateurs can hunt vampires, which compute to interesting scenarios and encounters for vampire PCs. I’m retaining the Giovanni because they’re my favourites, because I think the shadowy necromantic corporate family make excellent antagonists or alternative PCs, and because I was so amused by their clanbook synching up perfectly with what we were trying to achieve here; their grand design ultimately meant they sidestepped the apocalypse, and while they don’t rule the new world they’re certainly very influential within it.)
Phase Three: New World Order
The Vampire Nation. The New Order. The Covenants. Call them what you will: they have emerged as the state of uneasy co-operation, official denial and wilful ignorance has settled. The Invictus and the Carthian Movement are two poles of vampire-human relationships: one sees it as an association between natural, superior masters and servants, the other as a dependency and a debt to be repaid. The Ordo Dracul are an echo of Metamorphosis and a memory of a transcendent horror; to them, the challenge is not merely survival but evolution, the perfection of homo desmodeus as a species discrete from its origins. The Circle of the Crone and the Lancea Sanctum have profound differences of opinion over who did what to whom at Gehenna and who learned what from whom in ancient days. The Dark Mother is contested as the saviour of all – or is it that Caine loves you, having died for your sins?
They have adversaries. VII, whoever or whatever they are, vampires of prodigious power who hover in the shadows of the New Order. Belial’s Brood, idiot infernalists whose boorish behaviour demands a good quashing for safety’s sake. The Society of Leopold, and others like it, who are convinced that the bloodsuckers have to be up to something. And, of course, the Giovanni; clan and house and covenant unto themselves, a league of perverts whose dreams of conquest have not abated in the dozen or so years since the Requiem began. There are wolves in the wilderness; the Hollow Ones could call in favours at any time; and there’s something nasty brewing in the underworld.
(Now isn’t that a fat sight better than a retcon?)