Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Humans Are Just Another Asset to be Managed

The Ventrue find themselves in a predicament when creating a childe. A sire prefers a candidate who can enhance his status and who can increase the power and prestige of the clan. However, the Venture sire also requires obedience and this is the heart of the problem. How does a sire embrace a talented, motivated childe yet instill in that childe a sense of obedience and duty? For some sires, the way to do that is to control when and how the childe feeds. Lady Galloway, sire of Byron Matthews, attempted to do just that, but her childe has proven to be unusually stubborn.

     Byron was embraced because of his uncanny financial sense. When he was alive, Byron managed a hedge fund that specialized in currency trading. He was used to being up before dawn for the opening of the Asian markets and worked late into the night studying trends, rumors and pouring over economic data. The Ventrue are a wealthy clan and someone like Byron would be a valuable asset.

     Byron was courted by Lady Galloway—although she was simply Hailey Galloway when they met—for months. She thought about turning Byron into a thrall, but she felt he would be more focused and productive as a Kindred. After weeks of dating and studying his character, she subjected him to the embrace.

     Byron has adapted quickly to un-life. The Beast has enhanced his desire to achieve success and Byron marvels at the wealth he can amass over decades or even centuries of trading. He is grateful to Hailey, yet he has resisted her attempts to control him. In life, Byron didn’t become wealthy by following the directions of others and he sees no reason why that should change.

     Although Byron has joined the Invictus, he has not done so out of obedience to Hailey. He joined because he thinks he can rise to great prominence within the covenant. The Ventrue, as well as the Invictus, prize wealth and he can make that happen for them in spades. Just like his financial portfolio, which is diverse and built to handle sudden market downturns, Byron has taken a keen interest in his feeding in order to ensure steady returns.

     As a newly-embraced Kindred, it would be customary for Byron to take his cues from Lady Galloway in regards to the acquisition of Vitae. Byron has resisted, refusing to put something so important in the hands of someone else. The two have feuded over this, but Byron is too valuable to Lady Galloway for her to press the issue. Instead, she has allowed Byron to cultivate his own Herd.

     This has not been difficult for Byron to do. When he was alive, Byron was tall, intelligent, good-looking and a quick thinker. These attributes have only been magnified since becoming one of the Damned. He has so far developed three vessels, or Licks, that he visits regularly. However, Byron understands that he has to be careful.

     Lady Galloway’s pride or a rival Kindred could put his girls at risk. If something were to happen to them, he’s certain the embarrassment would damage his status within the clan and covenant. He also faces conflict within his own covenant. Veronica Gallegos, the Daeva emissary, has pointed out that Byron enjoys freedoms that no neonate should. Meanwhile, her own childe has been humiliated by Lady Galloway.

     Byron keeps a safe distance from the other covenants in Santa Fina. Because his area of expertise – currency trading – is a solitary effort, he doesn’t rely too heavily upon others. He finds politics and petty dramas to be a waste of time. Instead, his efforts are largely dedicated to taking care of his herd and working in his office. Blood and money – what else does a Ventrue need?

Concept: Talented neonate who wants to plot his own course.
Virtue: Prudence
Vice: Greed
Clan: Ventrue
Covenant: Invictus

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 3, Resolve 3
Physical Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 2
Social Attributes: Presence 3, Manipulation 2, Composure 2

Mental Skills: Academics 4 (finance, currency trading), Computer 2, Occult 1, Science 4 (probability and statistics)
Physical Skills: Athletics 1, Drive 2, Stealth 1
Social Skills: Empathy 1, Intimidate 1, Persuasion 3, Socialize 2   Health: 7 Humanity: 7 Blood Potency: 1 Vitae: 3 Willpower: 5 Size: 5 Speed: 9 Initiative: 5 Defense: 2 Armor: none

Merits: Allies (Invictus) 1, Allies (Ventrue) 1, City Status 1, Clan Status 1, Covenant Status 1, Herd 2, Resources 3, Shared Haven 4

Disciplines: Dominate 2 [Command, dice pool 6 vs. Resolve + Blood Potency; Mesmerize, dice pool 5 vs. Resolve + Blood Potency] (p. 124-125), Resistance 1 (p. 140)

Bite, 0(L), dice pool 2

Byron’s Herd
     The three members of Byron’s herd are detailed below.

Amanda Choi
     She can’t believe how good he makes her feel. When Byron calls to say he’s coming by, she starts to get giddy with excitement. She’ll light some candles, open a bottle of wine and put on an outfit she knows he’ll like. They never go out, but that’s okay. He’s a busy man and Amanda knows that he works long hours. She’s not sure what he does, exactly, but she thinks it has to do with the stock market.

     Amanda, a yoga instructor, met Byron while out with friends for drinks. She was struck immediately by his looks and confidence. He’s about 20 years older than she is, but there’s a paternal quality to him that she’s drawn to. It doesn’t hurt that the sex is unbelievable. When she wakes up the next morning she can barely move. Amanda will feel sluggish for at least a day or two afterward. God, what does he do to her?

     She hopes that the two of them can have a more traditional relationship, but she knows that will never happen. He’s probably married, which might explain why she can never reach him during the day. Amanda’s friends tell her to stop wasting her time, but she can’t. Even though she only sees him twice a week, she stays home night after night hoping he’ll call. Her friends are slowly drifting away due to neglect and she’s becoming increasingly isolated. Still, a girl can dream.

Concept: Naive lick who foolishly dreams of a fairytale ending
Virtue: Hope
Vice: Lust

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 2, Wits 2, Resolve 2
Physical Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 3
Social Attributes: Presence 2, Manipulation 3, Composure 3

Mental Skills: Academics 2, Computer 2
Physical Skills: Athletics 4, Drive 2, Stealth 1
Social Skills (primary): Empathy 2 (emotions), Expression 3 (strip tease*), Persuasion 3 (seduction*), Socialize 3
     *For Seduction and Strip Tease checks, add 3 bonus dice to check for wearing alluring outfit (white corset, high boots, thong), perfume and setting a romantic mood.

Health: 8
Morality: 7
Willpower: 5
Size: 5
Speed: 9
Initiative: 5
Defense: 2
Armor: None

Merits: Contact (enigmatic lover) 1, Resources 2, Striking Looks 2

Feeble slaps and punches, 0(B), dice pool 2

Maria Espinoza
     Maria has a shit life. She hates her job as a cashier, her parents are dead and her ex-husband left and took their son to Mexico. On top of all that she lives in a crappy apartment that smells like microwave popcorn and cigarettes. Crime is rampant in her neighborhood, so she tries to keep her head down and never goes outside at night. It doesn’t help that she has a nice body and a pretty face.

     The pigs that live in her apartment complex are always making lewd comments. Sometimes, her doorknob will rattle as someone tests to see if it’s locked. Maria shudders when she thinks about what might happen if someone from the neighborhood were to get inside her apartment.

     Occasionally, Maria goes out for drinks. She doesn’t have very much money, so her options are limited to dive bars. Her goal on such occasions is to hopefully meet a decent man who will keep her company for the evening and hopefully won’t get drunk and violent.

     On one of her outings she met Byron. He was terribly out of place in the bar. He wore a tie when most of the scumbags wore Raiders jerseys or hoodies, but no one bothered him. He had a presence that led most people to believe he was a detective or something.

Or something.

     Maria was immediately drawn to him and within an hour they were back at her place. In the morning she felt weak. She figured she had a hangover even though she just had three beers. Byron was gone, but on the bedside table was enough money to pay the rent. Maria felt like a whore, but she would feel worse if she were evicted.

     She now sees Byron once or twice a week. She doesn’t waste time dreaming of a life with him. Maria figures that she’s his low-rent booty call and that’s all there is to it. At least he’s polite and helps her with the bills. Financially, Byron could do more for Maria. He could easily afford for her to live in a safe neighborhood. Instead, Maria remains in a dangerous one. Of course, this is by design.

     Should Byron lose interest and decide to drain her completely, the crime can be made to look like a burglary gone horribly wrong. Every investment must be managed with calm detachment and Maria is no different from a stock, bond or currency.

Concept: Just another asset to be managed
Virtue: Fortitude
Vice: Sloth

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 2, Wits 3, Resolve 3
Physical Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 3
Social Attributes: Presence 2, Manipulation 2, Composure 2

Mental Skills: Academics 1, Computer 2, Occult 1
Physical Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl 2, Drive 2, Stealth 2, Survival 1 (specialty - urban survival), Weaponry 2
Social Skills: Empathy 1, Expression 1, Intimidation 1, Persuasion 1 (seduction*), Socialize 1 (bar fly), Streetwise 1, Subterfuge 1
     *For Seduction check, add 3 bonus dice to check for wearing sexy outfit (bustier, leather jacket, tight jeans, black heels), perfume and buying a man a drink.

Health: 8
Morality: 7
Willpower: 5
Size: 5
Speed: 10
Initiative: 5
Defense: 2
Armor: None

Merits: Danger Sense, Fast Reflexes 1, Fleet of Foot, Iron Stamina 1, Language (Spanish) 2, Resources 1

Kicks and punches, 0(B), dice pool 4

Jana Cooper
    Lovers may come and go, but the books in her shop will always be there. Jana is a bibliophile and her friends – the few that she has – joke that she prefers the smell of an old book to that of a man. They’re wrong, because there’s one man that Jana cannot resist.

     A few months ago Byron visited Jana’s bookstore, which specializes in old and out-of-print texts. He struck Jana as intelligent, confident without being arrogant, and genuinely interested in old books. He also had money. On his first visit he inquired about an early edition of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and did not balk at a potential $60,000.00 price tag if one could be found at auction.

     The two began dating and the relationship quickly turned sexual. Always bookish and shy, Jana has never met a man like Byron. The things she is willing to do for him both excite and appall her. Her friends have noticed a change in her as well. She is withdrawn, listless and always looks as if she is coming down with something.

     In a supportive and loving relationship, Jana might become a notable figure in the book trade. Perhaps she could be taught how to sell her books online to reach a larger customer base. She might be encouraged to comb estate sales and storage unit auctions to secure rare books inexpensively. Then again, she could be inspired to offer her knowledge to an auction house.

     Instead, Byron keeps her weak. Jana will therefore remain a shy, pale bookseller until the night Byron finally looses control and bleeds her dry. Her shop will close and all that Jana could have been will go to the grave with her.

Concept: Shy, bookish girl waiting to be drained
Virtue: Temperance
Vice: Pride

Mental Attributes: Intelligence 4, Wits 2, Resolve 2
Physical Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 3
Social Attributes: Presence 2, Manipulation 2, Composure 3

Mental Skills: Academics 4 (library science), Computer 3, Crafts 2 (book repair), Investigation 2
Physical Skills: Athletics 1, Drive 2, Stealth 1
Social Skills: Empathy 2, Expression 1, Persuasion 1, Socialize 1, Subterfuge 2

Health: 8
Morality: 7
Willpower: 5
Size: 5
Speed: 9
Initiative: 5
Defense: 2
Armor: None

Merits: Encyclopedic Knowledge, Language (Latin) 1, Resources 2

Desperate flailing, 0(B), dice pool 2

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