Rome is accepted in every region of the world as mistress and queen; everywhere the authority of its senators is paid the respect due to their gray hairs, and the name of the Roman people is an object of reverence and awe. Nevertheless… some do not bear in mind where they were born, and behave as if they were licensed to indulge in vice and debauchery. — Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae XIV. 6
In the year of the sixth consulship of Imperator Caesar Flavius Valerius Constantinus Augustus (320 AD)
The three vampires make a strange sight as they move through the darkened streets of Rome at night. Ashek is a dark-featured Egyptian, confident in the strange city of Rome despite his foreign origins. Lucius Macrinius Fabricus is a young and eager Roman though still unsure of the second life he has been given. Turia Undecim Liberum is a Greek ex-slave with a senuous walk and high ambitions. Only in Rome, where all roads meet, could such an ecclectic trio find itself.
To mortal eyes they would perhaps seem to be a foreign merchant and his Roman host walking to a social even with their Greek servant and this isn't too far from the truth. Macrinius Fabricus is firmly in place in the Senex of the Camarilla by virtue of his human and Kindred forebearers. Ashek has earned his place through political favor and steely determination, but he has been granted on a seat in the chamber as well. Turia is a foreigner and an outsider, working her way into the Camarilla proper with these two as patrons. And they are indeed heading for a social gathering, though one a living Roman would shudder to imagine.
Reaching the massive Baths of Carcalla, the three vampires climb the steps and slip through a side door and into one of the building's antechambers. A ghoul servant in a short servant's tunic steps forward with a pleasant smile. "Names, please?"
Go ahead and post your character sheets below and introduce yourselves to the servant (and the other coterie members).
It was a perfectly clear autumn night, and all could see the Milky Way in the starry sky. A shadow movedstealthily in the streets of Alexandria, hunched over a bundle in its arms. As it neared the temple of Horus, the shadow stopped, and looked more closely at its package. The moon glistened on the shadow's tears as it crouched, and laid a casket on the stairs of the temple. Minutes later, the casket started emitting noises, waking up the resident priests. They gathered quickly, bearing torches that barely lighted an infant, no more than a few hours old.
Now a young boy, Ashek was dutifully studying in the temple, learning the ways of the Gods. He had known nothing else since his very birth, so he didn't even consider there might be something else. Not until he entered the room. Geb-et was a young boy, from one of the very most influential family in Alexandria.
Childhood friends. Suspicious deaths in Geb-et families, he has to assume duties as head of family. Ashek right-hand / adviser, and proves to be very clever.
The family rises even further, its influence widespread. They ally to some Romans (under Ashek's Dreams guidance ?) Their roman ally is promoted to Rome, and Ashek goes there as the emissary of Geb-et's family, to further secure and extend their influence.
To do so, he keeps on doing what he's best at, sensing the trends, and steering his ally's actions toward the top. But he didn't go unnoticed, and go Embraced by a Mehket who wanted to be part of this rise. He's now torn between his duties toward his old master and friend, and his new master. Not to add his Dreams that are pushing him in yet another direction he can't see the end of, but another one, yes...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ From me - end of page 1: In his background, I've written that Ashek has been sent to Rome to help a Roman ally to his childhood friend Geb-et. That NPC has not been introduced yet, so I now give you Marius Decius Alarum. Also, he had been embraced by an undescribed sire too, upon which you have full freedom. And to spice things up some more, he has Dreams that seem to drag him into yet another direction. Ashek's Requiem is one of torn loyalties...
If his Sire and Dreams give him a wide berth, Ashek will spend his nights trying to help Marius Decius Alarum by being both some kind of spin doctor, and some kind of spy master, on the lookout for events that he could benefit from. Currently, he's trying to meet with members of the Peregrinae Collegiae, since he's far more welcome than most of pure roman stock, and hopefully build himself some kind of yet unclaimed network. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ MJ's answer - end of page 1: For Marius Decius Alarum, I'm going to say that he was a legionary commander who was Embraced during his time in Egypt. He is a native Roman but knows what a resource Egypt can be and wants to build better relationships with it. He's quite busy, though, and in a precarious political situation himself so he can't easily intervene on Ashek's behalf (i.e. not the Mentor Merit) but he's a good patron to have regardless. As for Ashek's sire, I'm going to name him Nubi and say that he was a member of the priesthood who exulted in his form and the decadent power of Egyptian priests. He Embraced Ashek but has been in torpor for several years now, leaving Ashek in the care of Geb-et and the other powerful vampires of Alexandria.
L. Macrinius Fabricus was born in Rome to a merchant family. His father ensured that he gained a good Roman education by private tutor, and he learned his skills of engineering in both this fashion, and later by apprenticeship. He showed a great gift for architecture, and someone took note of his abilities. While working late one night on the plans for a water system for a wealthy family, he was invited to a private meeting promising a lucrative commission. Unknown to him the meeting was to be with Julia Sabina.
He remembers little of that night. Some half-remembered feelings of excitement, whispered words, a cold touch. All he knows now is that he cannot wake to work as he once did. He has become a creature of the night, and he has discovered who really controls the empire. If it was not for Julia’s aid, he suspects he would not have lasted as long as he has; though a few months is nothing compared to some of his Kindred. He’s unsure of whether to love Julia for her help, or to hate her for what she has done to him, but nothing can change who he is now, and he has decided to make the best of it.
"I am Macrinius Fabricus." replies Fabricus "I believe we are expected here."
Turia Undecim Liberum was named after she was granted freedom from her previous master when he wrote a provision in his will after her eleven years of fateful service. He died two weeks later from an unknown “illness”. Once free on the streets of Rome she used her exotic looks to live by, often seducing married men then robbing them. The act of Adultery by the man ensured their silence. This all changed when she was seduced by a Daeva, who brought her into his fold and taught her how to survive off of mortals carnal weaknesses. He didn’t realise however, that she preferred to make a man suffer, and she quickly developed a habit of “testing” husband’s faithfulness; if they committed adultery, she would drain them dry. She would also extract “justice” on the many slave traders in the city, either by manipulating them into self-destruction or by using her political lovers to force them out of the city. If these failed, she would often resort to the effective but undesirable method of killing them. She was always careful to hide her feeding though, often slashing the victim’s throat heavily to hide any feeding marks.
The servant nods and bows. "May you have a pleasant evening."
As the party steps from the antechamber and their eyes adjust to the light, it looks like every vampire in the world is here. Under a vaulted roof lost in the shadows, they wander, talk and enjoy the diversions. Some are naked, others adorned with nothing but jewels and gold, and still others are dressed in tunics or togas. There are humans mixed in, most naked, many chained, others performing as they have been told. As you look around, a vampire across the hall casually slits the throat of a chained human, filling goblets with blood and passing them round her friends.
Everybody is here. The three vampires can see Victrix, the famed gladiator of the Legio Mortuum, laughing as Macellarius Corbulo, the great and terrible master of the undead spectacle of the Circus Maximus, tells a wry, no doubt filthy joke. Eupraxus, the beautiful and strange Daeva of the Cult of Augurs, stands to the side, eyeing a shrine to Janus with professional detachment. Flaviana Galla, famed Augur, mentions something to him, pointing out some feature of the shrine. Helvidius Bassianus, called the War-Crow, scavenger of the northern battlefields, whispers to a uniformed soldier of the Legio Mortuum, scowling. Fabricus also sees his sire Julia Sabina listening stoically to a toga-wrapped vampires animated tale as he sloshes blood here and there.
The three vampires are still looking around when they realize that someone is approaching. She is naked, with no jewelry, but from the way the crowd parts around her the neonates know that she is no slave. In fact, each is sure they should know her. She is smiling, friendly, and just before she reaches the group, all three simultaneously remember her name: Tertia Julia Comitor, member of the Senex, and hostess of the party.
Comitor raises her hand, reaching out to Macrinius Fabricus, clearly expecting him to take it and greet her. She smiles, but her eyes narrow only slightly. This is a test.
Time to make a good impression, Karsaroth. Make some kind of social test to follow the right customs (Presence + Politics, Presence + Expression, Presence + Empathy, Manipulation + Expression) and the others can offer teamwork successes if they make the same roll to help.
Standing beside Macrinius Fabricus, Ashek did as he was accustomed to. With a few well placed words, he praised their host, the ever beautiful Comitor. Everybody would know it to be flattery, but flattery well done.
Ok, so bear with me here...I make a social test by adding the numbers I have for the attribute plus the skill (so Presense + Politics = 3 + 2 = 5). Then I roll d10s for that many times (5) trying to get 8 or higher? Is that how checks tend to work in the game? I read the quick start rules again, but I just want to make sure I'm understanding correctly. Assuimg that I am, here is my roll(s).
Also, from a GM perspective, do you prefer sblocks or greytext?
Macrinius Fabricus has seen his share of deaths, but he is finding it hard to endure the unbridled vice that is going on around him. It just doesn't seem right...but what is right for people like us? Comitor's approach catches him off guard, but he recognises her, and realises that he will need to be tactful. He takes her hand, and briefly kisses the back of it. It may be a little debasinghe musesbut it would not hurt to let her think that I count myself below her. "Tertia Julia, I must thank you for inviting us to your gathering. My friends and I have only just arrived."
As a GM I tend to use grey text unless it's something secret or something not everyone needs to know (if there's a particular detail about just one person's roll that I don't want in everyone's way, for instance).
As far as making checks, you have it exactly right. Add up all the stats that apply: usually Attribute + Skill, sometimes just Attribute, for Disciplines you typically add your Discipline rating too (so Presence + Intimidation + Majesty) which is described in that power. This is your dice pool and you roll that many successes hoping for 8 or higher. You also benefit from "10-again" (unless I say specifically no) which means that any 10s are rolled again (possibly to infinity, though the odds are against you). You can achieve this in invisiblecastle with "Xd10.hitsopen(8,10)."
Julia Comitor's smile widens and her eyes gleam. It is clear that Fabricus meets with her approval, and she steps forward next to the coterie, turning to show them the party with a sweep of her hand. “What is mine is yours tonight,” she says. “Please. Enjoy. And do come back to me before you leave. I should like very much to know more about you andyour friends.” In among the smiling faces of the crowd, Fabricus notices his sire, Julia Sabina. She grins and inclines her head, indicating a job well done.
There are a wealth of vampires to interact with, what do you do in this glittering crowd?
Once their hostess had given them leave to enjoy themselves, the egyptian Mekhet turned to his two comrades. They would have to mingle, and he couldn't hope to stick too much to the shadows.
Since this is a social event, what about we be social, then ? Let's meet again when the crowd dwindle to go and meet our hostess as she required ?
As they all agreed, not that they had much choice, Ashek writhed himself toward the Augurs Eupraxus and Flaviana. Though he considered himself a political man, his actions were driven by dreams, visions, and instinct. He would believe the gods were with him, but which gods ? And so he usually didn't pass an opportunity to talk to those more knowledgeable than he, in hope to someday understand the true meaning of his unlife.
As Ashek walks towards Eupraxus, he sees three vampires singing in front of a statue of Dionysus. They are swaying drunkenly and one takes long draughts from a jug, slopping blood all over his chin and tunic. Eupraxus pulls at one of his curls as he watches them, lost in thought. He grins as one of the vampires slips in the blood, falling heavily and clutching at her fellow celebrant's legs in hilarity. Eupraxus smiles as well but seemingly not for the same reason as the drunken Kindred.
When he notices Ashek approaching, he looks up with not a flicker in his wry smile. "Quite a party, no? Well I suppose it always is." Beyond Eupraxus Flaviana Galla is talking seriously with a circle of other Kindred, not paying the revelers much attention.