(I’m running a Vampire: the Masquerade chronicle in the classic early 90’s style – Camarilla city, small population of vampires, preludes, the works. I’ll be tagging all my vampire logs with this graphic at the top and the Kalisz by Night tag for those who want to follow along, and for those who would rather skip it. These are DM notes from the sessions, and thus may gloss over parts of the game or be completely mistaken about others.)
Tonight was the first prelude session for the Kalisz by Night chronicle, in this case the prelude game for Andrei Sokolov, a 12th generation Gangrel. The game is set in the Kalisz conurbation in Poland consisting of Kalisz and Ostrow in 1990. Poland is the first country to depart from the Warsaw Pact and to dismantle the communist apparatus of state.
The total population in the real world for this Conurbation is slightly over 200,000 persons, but in the World of Darkness the population pushes 350,000 as there are less people living in the countryside and more in the cities.
The area between the two cities along Highway 25 is more built up in fictional Kalisz than it is on the maps given, so the highway doesn’t cut through any actual farmland, rather through a long region of light commercial, industrial and residential areas.
Friday, March 2nd, 1990
Andrei Sokolov is ambushed by a mysterious stranger, embraced, and begins his unlife as a vampire. Stumbling to his girlfriends from the chance encounter, he discovers his lust for blood during their lovemaking, but his freakout over the actual act of drinking it prevents him from drinking more than a point. Wandering around her apartment as she falls asleep around 1 am, he tries to drink a beer and winds up in the bathroom vomiting the beer and blood.
He leaves the house and explores his stomping grounds, enjoying the powerful vampiric senses as he stalks a new source of blood – the guitarist of the Old Shitz, another local rock band. With his honed senses, wits and skill, he keeps out of sight while luring the guitarist into a deadend alley used by the local junkies in order to feed.
Looking to get away from all this weirdness for a few days, instead of going home he heads out to the woods northwest of Ostrow. Parking his Lada in a farmer’s access lane into the woods, he travels in to the deeper woods and revels in his enhanced senses, then discovering his talent for Animalism when he notices the spoor of wolves and deer. He summons the deer to him and is surprised when he can communicate with them, but then feeds on them regardless. As he starts feeding on his second deer he senses SOMETHING coming for him from deeper in the woods. A complete panic overtakes him and he begins running for his Lada, but then finds himself in a truly blind fear, running for his unlife.
Regaining control some 40 minutes later in a ditch, covered in mud from the ditches and sticks and debris from the woods, Andrei heads back to find his Lada (or if his survival skill check was a failure, heading in the opposite direction back to Ostrow). Getting to his car he finds the passenger door has been torn off, and his guitar from the back seat gone. And then there’s his sire, holding his guitar and in no gentle way telling him he’s an idiot for coming out here and that shit outside the cities is bad news and if he doesn’t get somewhere dark soon, the sun is going to get him.
The unnamed and unpleasant sire is somehow irresistible while nearby, so Andrei drive the two of them to a tenement building in Kalisz where his sire sets him up in a boiler room in the basement, tells him to meet him again on Tuesday night at the theatre downtown, and then padlocks the door shut.
Saturday, March 3rd, 1990
Andrei wakes up in a panic, suffering from what can only be described as sleep paralysis. He’s conscious but cannot move, stiff as a dead body. It takes a concerted effort to push vitae through his dead corpse to get it moving again (spending a blood point to start the next night). Through this process he learns the basics of how vampires can spend blood to increase physical stats.
Breaking out of the basement boiler room with a few tools (instead of kicking down the locked door like his sire suggested), he hauls ass in the Lada back to Ostrow where his band is the pre-show act at “Laundromat” (an old speakeasy now turned into an actual bar), opening for ToasterOven and the Rocking Dolls. After their act, he wrangles his roadie to find someone who can fix his car since the only mechanic he knows (Jaskolki) didn’t make it out to the show. Sven brings him to Bieganscy where the Lada has a new door attached and Sven picks up a large stash of weed to sell for Bieganscy on the strip. They then head back to Laundromat, hook up with his girlfriend and “the groupies” and hang out partying most of the night until a couple of hours before sunrise when he remembers that he hasn’t sunproofed his apartment yet.
The last two hours are spent in a desperate attempt to sunproof the place, ending with the kitchen door taped shut, the bed propped against the bedroom window, and Andrei sleeping in the en-suite bathroom with clothes shoved around all the edges of the bathroom door.
Sunday & Monday
Spent dayproofing the apartment properly and then convincing his girlfriend Sara that he is still a “real revolutionary rocker” and this whole gothic lifestyle does not mean he’s now going to listen to and play music like the Cure and Depeche Mode.
Tuesday, March 6th, 1990
After finding out that the only listed event at the theatre that night is an opera running from 8pm to 11pm, Andrei aims to arrive fashionably late (8:30 ish). But he’s surprised at the remains of that day’s protests and strikes as people are heading home from pro-democracy parties and rallies and ends up finally getting there shortly after nine. His sire drags him off to explain that yes, he’s a vampire. Yes, vampires have rules. And if he breaks them, vampires much more powerful than him will kill him for it. He then explains the traditions, including the whole progeny thing and explains that he has the right to progeny, but only had it a year ago, so when introduced to the prince, Andrei had to agree that he was embraced a year ago and not last week.
Wandering in to the theatre at midnight, he is introduced to Sheriff Tarlow Rizewski, a ghoul in the service of the prince and one of many of the Rizewski crime family who are also the prince’s ghouls. He is then introduced to Prince Arleta Kotlinska, and then dumped as his sire (finally introduced as “Franz”) explains that he’s useless and wants nothing to do with him now that the tradition of introduction has been dealt with.
The prince aims him towards Karol, who claims domain over the area that Andrei lives in (the strip in Ostrow). Karol (who missed Andrei’s introduction because he was backstage feeding on a few performers) completely snubs him and brushes him off assuming he’s actually a ghoul and not a vampire because of both his blush of health and deceptive aura merits.
His next introduction is to Elizibieta who gives him the basic run-down of vampirism and the city. Seems the old prince of the city (the Voivode) ran the city solely for himself and his childer from 1432 until last year. Over a period of two nights, the prince, all his progeny, and all of his progeny’s progeny were destroyed without a trace, leaving only one of his grandchilder (Elizibieta) and the gangrel who lives on the outskirts of town (Franz, Andrei’s sire). Into the power vacuum swept the new prince and those who would support her. In exchange for their support, some of these vampires were rewarded with the right of progeny – including Franz. Except he was only given that right during the power change a year ago… and Elizibieta saw him embrace a young woman at that time, definitely not the young man that he introduced tonight.
And Elizibieta disappears into the night and Andrei returns home wondering if his sire has really set him up to die and if Elizibieta is a friend, or his greatest weakness with her knowledge of his false origin.