It's so quiet .... Why aren't we discussing our Chronicles?

Hey all, haven’t heard from y’all in days! I figured this would be a good time to get things going on the Forum of the Night to hear from all its children!

So I’m now 2 sessions into my Dallas By Night chronicle, and I’m rehashing an oldie but goodie from 1st edition as a way to introduce new players to the game. I also, however, have my wife (who also has been playing since 1st edition back in high school) and some other experienced players. To satisfy both groups of experience, I’m re-writing an old adventure called “Alien Hunger” from 1st edition. Since I’ve run the original straight out of the book for my wife back in 2002, I’m updating it to have occurred as written years ago, using the characters of that group as the original “victims.” I’m then taking the storyline and continuing it, setting up one of the original characters of that group as someone who is continuing the experiments using the book (since in the original story it said it would takes a decade to recreate Prestor’s experiments - now is a good a time as any!).

The adventure is split between the new players, who are undergoing the same experiment as the original (modified to show the change in the times and advance of technology), and the experienced players who are tasked with investigating the incident for the Baron of Fort Worth. They only know that a representative of the Prince of Dallas was seen torching a building in Mid-Cities (the place between Fort Worth and Dallas in the DFW Metroplex) and are tasked with finding out what’s going on.

It’s been an interesting ride so far, and my wife is digging the subtle references to the old coterie. For those interested, I’m planning on including it in my “DFW By Night” fanguide I’m writing (cover below).

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Great idea! Keep us updated on how the Chronicle progresses!

I’m just about to start Kent by Night; I’ve written my characters into the starting city - Canterbury - and our first game will be in early October, focusing on the growing tensions between the Camarilla, who have ruled Kent for centuries, and the Anarch movement, who have claimed numerous territories in recent nights, since the purge of London.

Last year, I ran Kent by Night, 1850; a victorian chronicle set in exactly the same location. The players were a Camarilla coterie charged with bringing Kent into the modern world, and were set against the ancient kindred who still occupied much of the county. They were no match for the raw power of these creatures, so they had to beat them using modern technology and culture, squeezing them out of their own domains. It was pretty glorious.

With the modern game, the world has advanced. Old friends and enemies are dotted throughout - including their old player characters. Needless to say, we’re all excited to start playing!

I’ve attached the Teaser PDF that I recently sent to my players - something to get them excited!

Kent By Night Teaser.pdf (112.6 KB)


Very cool! It brings up an interesting point, though. One I’ve been wrestling with as I’ve been working on DFWBN. Strictly speaking, the rules for occupancy is 1 vampire per 100,000 mortals. How do you handle these numbers in the UK games? Kent by those numbers could hold, what, 1 vampire? Do you throw them out altogether or use some amended lower figure?

It’s tricky, I’ll admit. Kent’s population is close to 2 million, so I’d be looking at 20 vampires, which, scattered over 4000km2 (2500m2) is pretty sparse! If I followed the 100,000 guideline, I might have one vampire per city in the county - not ideal.

But the 100,000 limit is the Camarilla standard; I like to assume that the modern nights are over crowded, and that the Anarchs, Thin Bloods and even young Cam licks just aren’t paying attention to the numbers. Checking the notable kindred in the Chicago By Night book gives us an average of 1 vampire per 38,000 mortals (based off Chicago’s population of 2.7m), so I made my limit 1 vampire per 40,000, with the metropolitan areas over populated compared to the suburban and rural. Giving roughly 38-40 kindred to play with. More than enough.

In a nut shell, heavily populated places like Canterbury, Maidstone and Dover have handfuls of kindred, while smaller towns like Whitstable, Deal and Swanscombe have few - perhaps none. It will make clashes over territory really important; but that’s great, as the campaign is about the conflict between the Camarilla and Anarchs. It also means that the players should come into contact with he movers and shakers of the setting really quickly, which is perfect pacing, as far as I’m concerned.

The setting is also on London’s doorstep, so I can also have forays into there, if I need to expand the setting, or raise the stakes. Finger’s crossed it works out!

In the Victorian setting, I had a grand total of 16 kindred, including the player characters. This was, again, over the 1 per 100,000 number (Victorian Kent had a population of just shy of 1m), but gave me enough to really force the players into immediate politicking and backstabbery. I wanted the setting to be full of mini tyrants lording it over their domains, while the players had to topple them with things like the railroad, postal service, and welfare rights. It made each NPC kindred a kind of mini boss that they needed to work out a tactic to defeat, and worked really well, with them moving into each domain.

So yeah; I tend to go by 1 per 30,000-50,000 in modern nights games. I’d say really overcrowded cities could drop even lower. London could easily be 1 per 25,000 and I think it would still work. If it hadn’t been blasted by the Second Inquisition, obviously…

Got about two sessions into my campaign and hit snags in coordinating play times. Which sucks, because the last session ended with a very hungry vamp PC being shoved into the back of the car with the rest of the party, who are not all vamps…

Campaign is mixed supes, so using 20th anniversary edition for the moment. Vamps were tasked with investigating a missing check in from a nosferatu info network ghoul. Which tied to a theft from the local legit metaphysical bookstore, which brought in the rest of the party.

Despite multiple clues that a mage was involved, they went after a high ranking tremere instead, which did not go well (see above mention of hungry vamp in the back of a car).

Story they don’t know is multi leveled. But to keep it simple:

Person running bookstore set it all up to get the various supes to fight each other while she moves in the background to get what she needs. She’s looking to do a spell to combine the powers of the various supes into her (ala the old skinwalker character from the 90’s edition)

She, in turn, is being used by something even stronger…

There’s also a building side story of the progenitors working with Pentex on experiments. Which will be a nice change of pace in tone when needed, to break things up.

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I don’t know how many times I’ve run the Sam Haight Chronicle over the years, from his first appearance in Rite of Passage through his big climax in Chaos Factor and even into the 20th homage, Skinner!

Great storyline to keep everyone on their toes, and it blends so well into a narrative, being a slowly boiling stew that reaches critical mass over the course of the Chronicle… blast from the past …

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I’ve seen a lot of people using the 1-40K ratio, and I think for games set in smaller towns it works well. I’m stuck though, because if I try that in DFW, then I’m looking at over 140 vampires I need to worry about as the entirety of the Metroplex has over 7 million people in it just between Dallas, Fort Worth and the Midcities areas (not including the surrounding small towns to the North, South, West and East within a 30 minute drive). I suppose I could always just place the limit at 140+ but actually have less there …

Split into clans, bloodlines and thin-bloods, 140 doesn’t go as far as you’d think. It’s less than 10 kindred per major clan/group. Obviously, it never splits that way, but it’s a good starting point.

With 40 kindred, I really have to think about over and under subscribed clans. A major metropolitan city could easily have 10-12 Brujah, and that would be a quarter of my population! In 140, it’s a fair amount.

Sam!! That’s the name I was trying to remember!! Thanks!!

Yeah definitely a slow boil planned, unless they get on track really well. She’s going to start with the lower level supe-adjacents, and work up from there. Ghouls and such.

I typically don’t worry about even naming all the vamps in my cities. Just the council and other major players, with allusions to other grunts doing other things. Keeps the paperwork simple. Lol.

Yea, I’m not naming everyone, either, but when writing up the city book for DFW I have to write up a few. For Dallas, the Prince, Sheriff, Scourge, Tremere Regent, Primogen Members, Harpy, Keeper, and one or two other prominent members of each clan. Then for the Barony of Fort Worth there’s the Baron, his gang, and a few important members of each clan. Then the other Kindred around the Metroplex in Mid-Cities and Plano… That’s 40-ish Kindred right there. Now, the idea that on top of all that another 100 or more Kindred are running around is just crazy… If I take the 1/100,000 viewpoint, then there would only be a handful of other Camarilla (3-5) to bring the total Camarilla to around 15 members total. The Anarchs would have about 12 in Fort Worth proper, which would mean that winning the hearts and minds of the 15 or so Mid-Cities Kindred of Irving, Grapevine, Arlington, and HEB becomes a “make it or break it” moment for either Sect, as those areas are in between the two major population centers and their loyalty to Dallas or Fort Worth (and thus the Sect they have allegiance with) is determined by the Kindred who make their havens there. If the Camarilla gets them, then they almost double the number of Anarchs, taking away their only advantage-numbers over power. If the Anarchs get them, then near doubling the number of Cam in the Metroplex makes them a true threat.

It’s great for “City-based” Chronicles, but on a sheer City-City scale war, DFW would seem barren and under-populated. Even New York By Night, which included the surrounding areas of Manhattan, Long Island, Brooklyn, the Bronx and other areas said that handling a population of 20 million (which they stated was enough for 200 vampires) was too much intrigue to cover in a book. While I am thinking of it for purposes of the DFW By Night book, the practicality is through the course of the campaign I would never introduce 100+ vampires into the game … I would concern myself with the handful of PCs and the established 20 or so SPCs that they commonly interact with… so why artificially bloat the numbers when I don’t need to?

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The only thing I could think of would be to add fodder to the war. Although, with less numbers, each loss will hurt more… so it works out either way.

So, I’ve been toying with the idea of a side project where I try and actually figure out how many mortals it would take to give a reasonable amount of success and anonymity to a single vampire. The New York By Night book stated that in the 17th century, the 10,000 population of New York was hosting 20 vampires, but in the modern day, White Wolf adopted the firm 1/100,000 rule. The reason was listed as a guarantee to secure the Masquerade, which would cover both the blood needs of the vampires in the area and the need to ensure they would not be observed.

However, with the new edition, I’m finding that blood use is A LOT slower in use, as where in previous editions you were guaranteed to spend 1 or more blood points, in this edition you only have a 50% chance to spend the blood, and in Revised especially, the blood cost of Potence and Celerity was far higher than in V5. This has led me to rethink the numbers a little.

If I went ahead and did a full civil engineering/sociological/mathematical review of the topic, would anyone find it useful?

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I think it would be interesting, but don’t know how much I’d use it.

I dimly remember having a conversation with someone about how the 1 in 100,000 limit was drawn from unsolved missing persons data of the 90’s. If a location accepts 1000 missing persons a year before spending more than usual on the investigation, then 3 vampires could effectively kill one person a day in a location.

These days, things are different. In the entirety of the UK in 2014/2015, there were only 63 missing persons, 49 of which were identified. It’s tough being a lick these days.

Obviously, murders, violent crime and carefully disguised “natural causes” could mask some of them (and you don’t need to kill your vessel when you feed). In the UK in 2018, 732 lives were lost to homicide - if almost all of these were licks killing vessels and disguising it, then it’s still just two (very poor) vampires if they kill a vessel every day. If we assume that an accidental feeding death occurs 10% of the time, then we can support 20 vampires in the UK. If it’s 1% of the time, then we shoot up to 200. But that’s just based on dead people.

I have too much time on my hands.

I think an important factor to account for however, is that in the World of Darkness, everything is slightly grimmer, and less well run in the mortal world. Sure the UK of our world might not tolerate many missing persons each year, but the WoD UK probably tolerates a lot more for all sorts of reasons, vampiric influence being just one of them.

I’m intrigued by the close population tracking that you all engage in though. Never really occurred to me to be overly strict with it myself, I tend to have my local Cam in most cities number between 25-40 Kindred, depending on whether Anarchs are present, whilst my Anarchs tend to push a little higher maybe to 45 if they have an entire city to themselves.

Personally I always thought it’s more interesting to have the characters I need, then come up with a justification for why the numbers are off, rather than working out which Kindred to cut to stick to the ratio.

E.g. in my 1920’s Camarilla Chicago Chronicle (the Anarch sequel of which I hope to start next weekend) I had about 35-40 members of the Camarilla. The players only ever encountered about 15 or so of those Kindred, but the rest were there at communal events like Elysia to just help sell the idea more was happening in the world if nothing else.

In the past I’ve treated the 1:100,000 ratio more as a general guideline, an (unattainable?) ideal, or possibly an indicator of the vampiric population world wide. When it comes to cities I typically favour something closer to 1:10,000 - though I should note that has been out of necessity, having run most of my chronicles in western Canadian cities.

My current V5 chronicle is set in Victorian London. I don’t have a clue how many Kindred are in my London, other than to say, a lot! Seven sessions in and I think I’ve named close to three dozen licks in play - though my PCs only really deal with less than half - so many in fact that I’m having to move to using digital tools to track them all and their relevant plots. Until now I had been keeping the bulk of my notes in a pair of ‘leather’ bound journals with a red/rusty brown inked fountain pen.

As an aside, I have aspirations to convert my chronicle’s relationship map into a Book of Prestation where every Kindred has a page of their own, recording relevant relationships and the boons they owe and are owed in turn. Given how rusty my cursive is, and my inexperience at calligraphy, I’ve delayed because I want it to appear as one of the real books of presentation in the chronicle.

Overall I have tried to communicate to my players that in the greater London area, there are dozens of Kindred who are worth knowing, and dozens more beneath notice. Now that they have carved out a small territory to call their own, and they have been given a broad lay of the political landscape, I am hoping to narrow the focus of the chronicle to closer to a dozen Kindred while using the others as extras and create the sense of a dynamic, unliving city in the background.

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Honestly, the population considerations are more for writing the “baseline” of a city. When designing the city at the start, you want to have a “lived in” feel to it, and that requires establishing the existing Kindred and machinations already on-going that the players are introduced to. A city devoid of Kindred and lacking active politics feels empty and false, while a city that clogged to the gills with intrigue can be overly complicated and unrealistic in scope.

With setting up the city, you want to introduce the setting with an established backdrop. Once the game get going though, you add to it and introduce new elements as you need them - the story pushes the narrative that way. However, for a static start, it’s important to establish a baseline, a starting point.

It’s doubly important when you are setting up something like the DFW By Night sourcebook I’m working on as a fan supplement. I want to write it with the intention that others can find it useful, and supplement the “base” material I provide with things of their own devising. This means I have to be conscious of not overloading it with too much in the way of established characters.

As for the 1:100,000 ratio being based on missing persons data, that seems fit to shoot oneself in the foot. If you had a vampire killing a mortal everyday, then the threat to the Masquerade would be insane! The whole idea of the Masquerade would be pointless, and even in that scenario, then it would actually be 3:100,000, not 1:100,000… weird. I actually plan on investigating the overall impact of a vampire who is careful about their feeding and behavior to see what is the realistic norm. I’m working on my scientific assumptions now, setting those “rules” by which I will assume behavior of a "standard, Masquerade/Silence of the Blood conscious vampire. From there, I will see the minimum number of people needed to support that vampire.

Liking. Look forward to hearing more. Over the other side of Kent… Practically East Sussex by Night.


Thought it’d be worth putting something in here since we’re chatting about our chronicles. I started my new chronicle today, a sequel to my earlier 1920’s Chicago chronicle. The first one was a Camarilla chronicle in the same city.

The new chronicle follows a mostly new coterie (with the sole-survivor of the old Camarilla group who defected to the Anarchs).

Now they’re getting ready in Rockford and pushing into Chicago proper. Their first port of call was their old mob associate, Martin Blazewell, the sole competitor against Capone, and a mortal no less!

Three members of the Coterie headed out, the Camarilla-survivor a Gangrel called Richard; Solis an operative of the Sol Sorrorum a group of Banu-Haqim gone rogue; and a member of the Ministry named Yacine.

Finding the Speakeasy thanks to Richards prior knowledge Solis settled in on over-watch whilst the others headed inside. Inside Richard and Yacine found people mostly happy and jolly apart from a pair of gentlemen in black Italian-cut suits flanking Blazewell’s door that looked real out of place.

Richard bantered with some old accomplices (explosive experts that had helped the Cammy coterie on a bank heist) and discovered since Richard had fled with the Anarchs the boss had found a new flame. The luck lady, was one Emelia Harper and she’s the one who brought the new goons in the black Italian-cut suits.

Hearing this they decided to go have a little chat with their old pal and his new girl.

(I’ll post the rest if people are interested, hope I made it a good read.)


We played a mini-campaign last year - broadly based on The Monsters intro pack, but using our own characters and expanding on the set up somewhat. It was really cool, and sold our group on the game.

What we are waiting for, though, is the mooted London By Night which I think is so much of a natural fit for the game and our group, it will be a long term chronicle when we get round to it. We are in NZ, which actually isn’t the best of places to model a Vampire game, because of the low population, but two of us used to live in London and know the old city well.