World of Darkness
Location: Cacibajagua, Florida (map available)
The coastal city of Cacibajagua has a long, strange, and somewhat unpleasant history, filled with mysterious deaths, disappearances, and other bizarre occurances. Among the oddities are the network of unusual caves; a swath of the forest to the northwest of the city devoid of animals, hiding a strange mansion; the abandoned industrial park to the east of the city near the coast; and the peculiar scrap-yard to the southwest of the city.
On the surface however, Cacibajagua seems like a wonderful middle-sized city. Its diversified businesses have helped the city weather the turbulence of the economic winds, and even shown growth in some areas. The crime is kept fairly well contained in the south-west part of the city, which is also home to the handful of strip clubs, low income housing, hobbling mom-and-pop businesses of yester-year, and the best part of town for most illegal transactions.
OOC note: Unless otherwise noted, all the information on the site is designed with the "general public" in mind (especially about locations and the character pages). It is from the aspect that if Joe Average were to walk into a city and ask around about things or read the papers, this is the information he'd find out. The word Cacibajagua roughly translates to 'Black Cave' from a Native American dialect.
OOC Info on the setting and mood
As in real life, the World of Darkness has an abundance of groups with a variety of interests and agendas. These groups form shadow alliances and accords regularly and break them just as quickly. It's a tangled web that is ever present and almost impossible to unravel. The question should never be "Are you paranoid?" rather it should be "Are you paranoid enough?"
From the Orwellian conspiracy to the classic who-dun-it to the spooky ghost story and everything in between, the World of Darkness thrives on mystery of all kinds. What lurks in the shadows and what connections exist behind the lies and frontmen is anyones guess. Sometimes people will be given a glimpse into the shadows, given opportunities to delve deeper or turn away. Other times, the character will need to seek them out.
With the stakes high for everyone, it's no wonder that the movers and shakers involved play for keeps. It's not simply Kindred that have a license on intrigue and politics. Werewolf and Mage both have their pit vipers that are the definition of unethical and ambitious. And letís not forget the KineÖ
We're not only talking about corruption and descent of the soul, but society as well. Real life is full of corruption. The game is rigged against all but the top one-percent who rigged it long ago. Our characters live in a world of abundance that they are faced with every day, contrasted with the scarcity as the mighty hoard wealth, influence, and power. This doesnít mean a neonate canít shake the earth or reshape the city. David and Goliath stories can happen. It's part luck, skill, and planning.
There is duality at play. Kindred have Beasts to contend with, struggling with their human and monstrous sides. Mages struggle with the tug of their avatars as they attempt to attain Ascension against the weight of Paradigm and mortals are constantly at odds with their morality and desires. Lastly, there is the universal contention - the stories that everyone tell themselves, and other people, to help them justify their behavior. Itís not always intentional or malicious, itís all about perception against the nagging facts.
Perversions come in all shapes and sizes. Kinks and fetishes are everywhere in the World of Darkness, but it's not always so mundane. For example, the well-meaning vampire can find himself perverted by his Beast as he commits horrible acts while his Beast revels in the life blood of a victim. Werewolves can fall into Thrall and destroy loved ones in a flash of fang and claw, then do unspeakable things to the remains. Minds can be perverted and warped as the horrors of reality take hold and descend a mage into Quiet. All (including mortals) can lose hope, make mistakes that causes their humanity to fade, and go from trying to make a difference, to being selfish and indifferent.
Life is full of shitty choices and compromises. In having to make them, souls are corrupted little by little each night. The World of Darkness has built in conflicts and contradictions in every venue. Beasts and personal issues wreak havoc. Characters are constantly in conflict with them and faced with hard choices when managing their deepest and darkest drives. Often times, to do the right thing one must do something terrible. Mages play with the fabric of reality and have the power to raise humanity to a higher existence, but at what cost? What does a mortal have to do to get their share of the pie? And what dark deals have the glamorous and easy-living made?
OOC AND IC info about the Kindred
What does that mean, you ask? It means each item is labeled with who should know it. Please treat it all appropriately! As the Kindred world had considerable events happening in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and some clan-specific items, we're going to touch on the big ones here. The great thing about how the books are written, is there is a lot of misinformation out there (that's why the Knowledge is called "Lore" and not "Fact"), so this leaves room for characters that have Lore (or not) to debate events and history.
The Week of Nightmares
Nearly all Kindred more than 20-or-so years as a Kindred have at least heard of this event. It happened exactly as it's told in the books. If you need a quick refresher, this wiki is well written. As stated, Ravnos are still around, but are limited in Generation.
As part of the Week of Nightmares, many low generation Kindred were drawn to the Middle East. When it was over, some of those who survived came back (maybe all of them... no one is entirely sure).
"The Beckoning" or "Gehenna Crusade"
Years later, again, low generation Kindred were drawn away. As with last time, some made it back, others didn't, and none speak of what happened. More interesting is that the Sabbat, almost wholesale, up and went to participate in this war, which seems to be happening (or happened?) someplace in Africa. It's left previous Sabbat Stronghold cities hotly contested, with high generation, inexperienced Sabbat all brutally vying for leadership. The Camarilla are doing their best to take control of these cities, but doing so while containing breaches from the unchecked fervor of the Sabbat, and the Anarchs laying their own claims has made this difficult. Whispers and speculation abound...
The Red Star
This was a massive buzz to the mortal world as well. It was being reported as a massive comet on a collision course for earth. Its distance was calculated to be well outside our solar system, making it a massive celestial body. When it fractured and broke apart, it both collapsed and expanded, as if exploding from the inside, and parts of it being sucked into a black hole.
Astronomers are still studying the data. Astrophysicists think the energy and mass of the comet breached some yet unknown limit involving dark matter, resulting in its self-destruction in a way similar to a dying star, pulsing out and collapsing into a black hole, though much faster. On the spiritual and conspiracy side, all who saw it felt that it was something evil. Religions quietly praised their gods for stopping it. Conspiracy theorists accuse and thank alien intervention.
Umbra scrying/traveling creatures
The sourcebook hints that the Spirit Nukes that went off during this event might have literally evaporated chunks of the Umbra. While there are now much larger destroyed portions, the Umbra is (mostly) intact, but far more dangerous. The Storm Ward/Maelstrom still makes it very difficult to move there and back safely. Most shard realms are practically inaccessible. This has left the Traditions and Technocracy without most of their leadership and powerful members. It has also hampered many activities for Garou.
Because the Umbra is a quasi-perception-driven construct, that merges abstract and phyiscal concepts such as spirit realms, Deep-Space, and even the Internet, there were other effects. When the two nuclear weapons went off in the Umbra, random computers and servers all over the world had issues.
Some were infected by terrible viruses that resisted destruction by format, some seemed to act normal... or even better than normal. Some merely lost internet connectivity for a time (oh, the humanity!)... and many other strange events. Glyphs and strange languages overwriting them; even rumors of the infamous "singularity" - computers becoming self-aware were out there. These rumors mostly died over the years, and are just creepy-pasta or diminished to old tech jokes, right next to the "cup holder" story.
Other Clan Specific Things. IC to the respective clans.
Tremere - rumors that a cabal of Tremere were working to find a way to restore their mortality. And were very close. When their bodies were found... they weren't ash and they were obviously murdered. Did one make it out? Were they killed by other Kindred? By their own clan? By someone else?
Malkavians - They have seen a glimpse of the inside of a mansion, proud, elegant. Namely, it's hallways. And each hallway is an endless series of identical doors and mirrors, just a few feet apart. None have been able to steer the vision. When they try to look into their Mirror for insights, they see another place, or maybe it isn't, as it's still a mansion, but its elegance has rotted away with years of neglect. Instead of halls full of doors and mirrors, they see rooms, decorated with the trappings of the elite from the late 1800s, now delapidated, and something terrifying that seems to know they are scrying chases them, as if it could travel through their thoughts to the physical world. The fright of which always breaks their connection.
Nosferatu - The "harold of misfortune" (aka Rasputin, The Mad Monk, The Mad Russian) is rumored to be lurking in the city. His appearance in a given city brings a premonition of disaster. No one knows who he is, except he has a Russian accent and a seemingly impenetrable Unseen Presence that even allows him to openly speak without becoming visible - something that is extremely unsettling to many. He has a habit of showing up in cities that are about to experience turmoil, though never warns anyone of it. There's also a rumor that the infamous Beckett finds this pattern both amusing and annoying, as it stirs up the superstitions of his fellow Kindred.
Nosferatu (again!) - Zelios did not complete his geomantric web of power, but he was close. Rumors are the last piece of it is somewhere in or near the city. What it will do when (and if) properly activated is still of much speculation to those familiar with the arcane ley lines of power that criss-cross the world. Some say it was a fool's errand; that Zelios was tricked by the Setites and sent off on a wild goose chase. Others insist that what he learned in his travels was nothing trivial. Zelios himself has not been seen since some ruckus in Transylvania.
Brujah (you knew there was going to be something, right?) - Strangely, a few big names of Clan Brujah go through the effort to cross the country and hang out here at times. Smilin' Jack and Nines Rodriguez are apparently on good terms with the city's own NBA-statured defacto Brujah "Leader", Q. While it's rare that they are in town, there is always a Rant when they do, and always a party at a house belonging to Q. The house is in rough shape, and the neighborhood is even rougher. Cops don't come here unless something makes the news, and when they do, it's usually the SWAT team that shows up first. Q uses this house as a half-way home to Brujah passing through, giving them a safe place to stay.
Ventrue - Prince Gregory Sween is no fool, and plays the role of "servant of state" with aplomb, only fouled by the near complete lack of Primogen. He was rumored to be involved in either trying to defend NYC from the Sabbat at one of the many times power traded hands, or organized and led an attack to take it back. The rumors around it run the gamut, and Sween is never keen to speak of it.
Sween's ability to effectively control a city is clear, as it's no secret that he took on Cacibajagua as a project when it was merely a port town, and turned it into the carefully orchestrated mini-metropolis it is today. When asked why he picked this place over a more established location, his answers are usually glib and unsatisfying.
OOC info about Government Agencies
Over the course of American history, many unexplained events have gained the attention of the government. Congress has responded by allocating funds to agencies, which in turn earmark a portion for secret projects dealing with several different covert operations. Few people know about these "black book" projects, which are lost in a sea of paper trails, code names, and marked "classified". Sometimes these agencies within agencies are even hidden from their parent organization. These operations include secret backing of questionable governments or groups to protect U.S. interests, technological and scientific development, or where Project Twilight is concerned... the investigation and research into the paranormal and supernatural.
Governments all over the world and the agencies within have long been controlled and manipulated by the supernatural. Their covert culture and campaigns of misinformation in the name of "public safety" has been the biggest thorn in their side. However, fearing the reaction of the masses and maintaining their secrecy, they have been battling themselves and their bureaucracies rather than making significant progress to curb and possibly even control the forces they seek to understand.
Those at the top are guided by their own politics, agendas, and aspirations which often times calls for manipulating the very projects that they have created. Inter-agency rivalry, politics, betrayal, and sheer ruthlessness are some of the things an agent must deal with and deal with well in order to hope to survive lest he become another hidden casualty.
Who do they serve? Who do they answer to? These are all the nebulous territory of covert culture. One thing is for certain, this is an exclusive club. You donít send in an application for a transfer. You are selected for special assignment. Perhaps your character will one day be thrust in the middle of a clandestine meeting and get a chance to find out.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
The FBI acts as the largest national-soil field investigation force. Crimes that span state lines, break federal criminal laws, or when local police asks for assistance, falls into the FBIs territory. Within the FBI there is a particular group that focuses on the supernatural; the Special Affairs Division (SAD) was formed in the days of Herbert Hoover and has perhaps completed the most research on the supernatural, and because of that have the most internal conflicts connected to external interests.
National Security Agency (NSA)
The NSA is an agency whose roots date back to the 1950's. For many years, it was so downplayed their initials doubled as an inside-joke within the Intelligence Community: ĎNo Such Agencyí. It focuses on technology, communications, codes, encryption and counter-intelligence. Their agents are better equipped than their SAD counterparts, but are often inferior to all other agencies in field capability. Most of their missions involve providing "mental horsepower" to other agencies. With their unprecedented level of access to information combined with the highly compartmentalized missions they work on, their own paranoid culture exceeds almost any other, fueling the Spy vs. Spy issues, creating perfect pockets for subterfuge and influence, which all lent to the nickname 'The Puzzle Palace' for their main facility.
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
The CIA was founded in 1947 and has been woefully unaware of the supernatural throughout history. Typical activities include intelligence gathering, subverting foreign elections, sabotage, spying on private citizens, performing illicit medical and scientific experiments on both agents and citizens, and assassinations. Although missions have encountered the supernatural in the past, the agency was not aware of what it was dealing with. Few agents within the CIA are aware of supernaturals and when they try to alert their superiors, they are labeled as "crackpots". While the CIA is supposed to only be active over-seas, there are caveats they can manipulate to run small operations on US soil.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Centers for Disease Control is an agency that deals with researching diseases, toxins, etc. With the advent of AIDS, a couple teams within the CDC had come close to discovering the Kindred.
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
The Drug Enforcement Administration is a law enforcement agency that maintains narcotics regulations both at home and abroad. As a result, it comes in direct conflict with supernatural groups that are involved in the drug trade, but the agency is unaware of the true nature of these groups.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF)
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is a unique law enforcement agency in the United States Department of Justice that protects communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products. The ATF are woefully unaware of the supernatural.
OOC and IC info about Hunters
Yes, the imbued and run-of-the-mill hunters exist, and are active! The "Second Inquisition" - the loose alliance of government agencies, religious orders/zealots, and supernaturally-aware vigilantes has made some large strides. On the outside (to the Kindred), they are well organized, well informed, and frighteningly fast and effective when they decide to strike.
There are rumors that they managed to crack Shrecknet and gain an unknown amount of information. It would explain some of their strikes, the vacuums of power that exist now in some strategic cities (Chicago, Austin, Silicon Valley, Vegas), the sudden and unexplained uprooting of long established Kindred, and how other Kindred and their cities remain untouched - either completely or relatively, for now. Cacibajagua, so far, has avoided any issues large enough to warrant notice by other Kindred.
On the inside though, their alliance is tenuous, suspicious, and self-serving. The agencies don't trust "the religious nut jobs", the vigilantes don't trust "the man", and the religious components are trying to convert both, or steal their resources, which is totally not a sin when you're doing it in the name of god...
((interesting side note, on the White Wolf Facebook page, there is a video of Shrecknet being hacked, and they are bypassing a 'blood scanner' that identifies the sample as being Kindred. In the V5 book, it makes mention by note of a character that there is no biological difference between kindred blood and mortal blood. So maybe it's an unreliable narrator story trope, or maybe the Nosferatu were mapping their individual DNA as keys and just labeled it that way. More lore fodder!))