Modern Nights is a Vampire: the Masquerade and Mage: the Ascension game set in present-day San Francisco. Uniting these spheres is the stark divide between haves and have-nots and the slow progression away from humanity, whether that is due to the erosion of decades of the vampiric Beast, or the impact of Ascension and its resulting detachment from your fellow man. Our setting is low-magic and mostly city-level, so while hoary elders and high-fantasy wizards are options, the environment they will be in is not exactly designed for them.
PRP runners are invited to contribute to the setting page in order to communicate organizations or other continuity details that they'd like to make a part of the setting for collaborative use, such as buildings available for people's use, gangs and their territories, organizations and their activities, and so on.
The themes we explore through the Vampire sphere depend on the sect you would like to play in.
The Camarilla provides a play environment where their IC lives are cloak and dagger conspiracies in a Machiavellian world, navigating the confidence games and long cons of those in power both real and perceived. It is intended to be an environment where nothing is for free, and boons are a currency integral to buying one another's loyalty, which cannot be otherwise guaranteed.
The Sabbat provides an outlet for concepts of theocracy, militarism, death cults and demons in the dark. It's also the outlet for players who find intrigue in the dynamics of humanity loss, embracing and exploring the vampiric condition, and the dehumanization that undead life tends to bring. It is intended to be an environment about war, religion, vengeance and kinship, where its members view themselves as preparing the world for its inevitable apocalypse and grapple with their inhumanity.
The Anarch thematic focus is meritocracy, individuality, and bonds forged from surviving a dangerous world together. It is intended to be an environment where there is the pressure to conform and obey and the objective is to assert your autonomy and forge a family out of the fires of opposition.
Uncovering the Unknown – The Mages of San Francisco are constantly exploring the boundaries of this reality and many others, uncovering the full truth of the universe and the dangers that lie within. Only through discovery can the truth of the Tenth Sphere be revealed.
Recovering the Lost – The Apathy that set into San Francisco has caused many things to become Lost knowledge. Wonders, Nodes, Libraries, and other troves that would prove useful to the Awakened of San Francisco must be recovered.
Protecting the Sleepers – The Sleepers are not yet ready to be Awakened en masse, as doing so would cause dire harm to Reality. Oftentimes this requires the truth to be concealed in various creative ways. Other times, Protecting them sometimes requires a few Sleepers to witness the Truth, becoming Consors and Acolytes to assist in this task and others.
Safety From the Enemies of Awakening – The Awakened of San Francisco are beset on all sides by enemies: witch hunters, most Vampires, Marauders, the Nephandi, the Technocratic Union, and others. The Awakened must come together to repel these threats when they reveal themselves.
Restoring the City – The City of San Francisco was at one time, a hub of Tradition activity, but recent years have caused the area to fall into apathy. New blood is returning to SF after years, and must work together to restore the city to its place among the bastions of Tradition activity.
Is Too Much Protection A Thing? – A Tradition Mage has built a huge Wonder called the Signal Jammer capable of wreaking havoc on the use of Correspondence in the SF area. He claims that it’s to protect everyone from potential attacks like the one attempted by the Technocracy during the founding of the New Horizon Council. Is it doing more harm or good? Does Alex Foster even have control of it?
|Time||Present Day, in an alternative timeline where COVID never was a thing.|
|Location||San Francisco, California|
|Spheres||Vampire, Mage & Psychics, Humans & Hedge Wizards|
|Avatar Storm||The Storm has ended, but left such chaos that old umbral maps are useless.|
|The Week Of Nightmares||Happened.|
We use the following books in full:
We use the following books in fulll:
- Vampire: the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition Core Rulebook
- Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition Core Rulebook
- The Do It Yourself Lobotomy: Open Your Mind To Greater Creative Thinking
- V20 Ghouls And Revenants
- Anarchs Unbound
- V20 Lore Of The Clans
- V20 Lore Of The Bloodlines
- V20 Rites Of The Blood
- Sorcerer Revised
- M20 Book Of Secrets
- M20 How Do You DO That?
And we pick and choose from the following:
- Mind's Eye Theater V:tM (2013) - Bloodline selection in CG, Status titles.
- M20 Book of the Fallen and M20 Gods and Monsters - for nefarious NPC purposes.
Government And Law Enforcement
- 1769: An overland Spanish exploration party, led by Don Gaspar de Portol, arrived on November 2, 1769. It was the first documented European visit to San Francisco Bay.
- 1776: The Spanish established the Presidio of San Francisco, followed by a mission, Mission San Francisco de Asis (Mission Dolores), established by the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza.
- 1835: Englishman William Richardson erected the first independent homestead near a boat anchorage around what is today Portsmouth Square. Together with Alcalde Francisco de Haro, he laid out a street plan for the expanded settlement, and the town, named Yerba Buena, began to attract American settlers.
- 1849: The California Gold Rush brought a flood of treasure seekers (known as "forty-niners"). Prospectors raised the population from 1,000 in 1848 to 25,000 by December 1849. It was at this point that San Francisco could reasonably sustain a sizeable vampiric population with structure (as opposed to unorganized stragglers and autarkis out in the boonies). The chaotic growth and nature of the city lent its initial political leanings to more of a loose confederation of vampires than a strict and traditional Camarilla. The promise of great wealth was so strong that crews on arriving vessels deserted and rushed off to the gold fields, leaving behind a forest of masts in San Francisco harbor. Some of these approximately 500 abandoned ships were used at times as storeships, saloons and hotels. Many were left to rot and some were sunk to establish title to the underwater lot.
- 1852: Wells Fargo bank is founded in San Francisco.
- 1869: Development of the Port of San Francisco and the establishment of overland access to the eastern U.S. rail system via the newly completed Pacific Railroad (the construction of which the city only reluctantly helped support) helped make the Bay Area a center for trade
- 1890: San Francisco's population approaches 300,000 and vampiric society within it is extensive and organized across sects.
- 1900: The San Francisco plague struck, lasting 4 years. It was an epidemic of bubonic plague centered on San Francisco's Chinatown, and the first plague epidemic in the continental United States. Its existence was denied for more than two years by California's Governor Henry Gage. His denial was based on business reasons, to protect the reputations of San Francisco and California and to prevent the loss of revenue due to quarantine. The failure to act quickly may have allowed the disease to establish itself among local animal populations. There were 121 cases identified, including 119 deaths. Certain feeding grounds were, naturally, disrupted.
- 1906: A major earthquake struck San Francisco and northern California. As buildings collapsed from the shaking, ruptured gas lines ignited fires that spread across the city and burned out of control for several days. With water mains out of service, the Presidio Artillery Corps attempted to contain the inferno by dynamiting blocks of buildings to create firebreaks. More than three-quarters of the city lay in ruins, including almost all of the downtown core. Estimates of casualties number in the several thousands. More than half of the city's population of 400,000 was left homeless, refugees settled temporarily in makeshift tent villages in Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, on the beaches, and elsewhere. Many fled permanently to the East Bay. Much of polite vampire society was scattered and set back by the staggering amounts of chaos, but some more 'inventive' and 'resourceful' coteries persevered.
- 1913: The First Council Chantry is established, the Council electing to purchase a warehouse on the bay itself that had been damaged and abandoned during the 1906 earthquake. It is quickly repaired and made secure.
- 1915: San Francisco rebuilt itself on a rapid, grand scale by 1915. The earthquake hastened development of western neighborhoods that survived the fire, including Pacific Heights, where many of the city's wealthy rebuilt their homes.59 In turn, the destroyed mansions of Nob Hill became grand hotels.
- 1916: Ventrue Vannevar Thomas is appointed Prince of San Francisco, beginning a reign that lasted until Jochen Van Nuys displaced him in 1996.
- 1930: In ensuing years, the city solidified its standing as a financial capital. In the wake of the 1929 stock market crash, not a single San Francisco-based bank failed. ndeed, it was at the height of the Great Depression that San Francisco undertook two great civil engineering projects, simultaneously constructing the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, completing them in 1936 and 1937, respectively.
- 1931: Agents of the Technocratic Union begin a violent series of battles against the local members of the Traditions during the summer of this year. During the war, a general order is given to the Technocracy to attempt to capture alive any person who may provide location information on the Chantry. The Tradition Mages are successfully able to prevent this information from being discovered.
- 1940: Hunters Point Naval Shipyard became a hub of activity, and Fort Mason became the primary port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater of Operations. The explosion of jobs drew many people, especially African Americans from the South, to the area.
- 1941: After a close call almost revealed the identities of several members of the Chantry Council to the Technocracy, a decision is made to shutter the Bay Warehouse Chantry until a more suitable and hidden location can be secured. The local Tradition Mages go into hiding.
- 1955: The onset of containerization made San Francisco's small piers obsolete, and cargo activity moved to the larger Port of Oakland. The city began to lose industrial jobs and turned to tourism as the most important segment of its economy.
- 1965: Professor Noah Martin, groovy Son of Ether, converts his 3-story home on Cedar Lane (Clarion Alley) into a self-cleaning party pad in a feat of magick, providing the city with the space that eventually became its chantry.
- 1967: The Summer of Love attracted a wide range of people of various ages: teenagers and college students drawn by their peers and the allure of joining an alleged cultural utopia; middle-class vacationers; and even partying military personnel from bases within driving distance. The Haight-Ashbury could not accommodate this influx of people, and the neighborhood scene quickly deteriorated, with overcrowding, homelessness, hunger, drug problems, and crime afflicting the neighborhood.
- 1962: Professor Noah Martin converts his 3-story home on Cedar Lane (Clarion Alley) into a self-cleaning party pad in a feat of magick, providing the city with the space that eventually became its chantry.
- 1965: Nolan Mathis Fournier, Toreador and Keeper of Elysium (at the time) goes missing, permanently. Many theories arose as to his disappearance, all of them blaming one of his many enemies, none of them quite agreeing on their identity.
- 1972: Professor Martin dies gruesomely in his second attempt at converting a space into one of his self-cleaning party pads, requiring the local Mages to come together to destroy a building and make it look like a minor earthquake.
- 1982: A dramatic increase in the number of homeless people starts in the city, an issue that remains today, despite many attempts to address it.
- 1987: Hostilities between the Technocracy and the local Tradition Mages begin to wind down to a Cold War state of affairs. Unknown to the Tradition Mages at the time, the Technocracy began transferring manpower and resources out of San Francisco.
- 1989: The Loma Prieta earthquake caused destruction and loss of life throughout the Bay Area. In San Francisco, the quake severely damaged structures in the Marina and South of Market districts and precipitated the demolition of the damaged Embarcadero Freeway and much of the damaged Central Freeway, allowing the city to reclaim The Embarcadero as its historic downtown waterfront and revitalizing the Hayes Valley neighborhood.
- 1996: Only two years after his arrival to the bay area, Ventrue Jochen Van Nuys emerges as the new Prince of San Francisco at the end of a coup against Vannevar Thomas.
- 1998:The dot-com boom brings a flood of startup companies into the San Francisco economy. Large numbers of entrepreneurs and computer application developers moved into the city, followed by marketing, design, and sales professionals, changing the social landscape as once-poorer neighborhoods became increasingly gentrified. The War In Heaven blazes, many of the local Tradition Mages travel into Horizon in a futile attempt to help stop the Ascension Warrior. Concordia falls, Horizon burns.
- 1999: Phone phreaking Virtual Adept Alex Foster creates the Signal Jammer, a self-replicating Correspondence effect meant to conceal him and his cabal from Technocratic incursions.
- 2000: The Shadow Curtain, a strange thaumaturgical ward created by the Nosferatu witch Baba Yaga which isolated the Kindred there for several years dies when the crone is destroyed, some say by the Nicktuku Vasalisa (others say Vasalisa was actually Baba Yagas own childe).
- 2001: Van Nuys announces his abdication and cedes the praxis to Miss Sarah Anne Winder. The New Horizon Convocation occurs in Los Angeles, striking major blows against both the Technocracy as well as The Fallen hordes, and the New Horizon Council is founded. The founding of the New Horizon Council pulls further Tradition and Technocracy resources from the San Francisco area.
- 2002: The remaining members of the local Chantry council are Alex Foster representing the Virtual Adepts / Mercurial Elite, Alice Morozov representing the Society of Ether, and Axel Fredriksen representing The Celestial Chorus. The Technocracy is controlled by Syndicate agent Frank Dumond. There are hardly any direct conflicts between the factions by this year.
- 2003: At some point, possibly during the first American invasion of Iraq, the long-forgotten (by most) tomb of the Assamite methuselah ur-Shulgi was disturbed, first by falling bombs and then by Iraqi deserters who were looking for plunder but wound up being the ravenous elders first meal. Ur-Shulgi eventually returned to Alamut where it murdered the sitting Eldest, rallied hardcore loyalists to its banner and alienated others by forbidding all religion save worship of the clans Antediluvian founder. The Vizier Tegyrius and Amr al-Ashrad, anticipating that the increasing tumult in Iraq might bring ur-Shulgi out of torpor, had already initiated a conspiracy within the clan to escape to the relative safety of the Camarilla.
- The Pogrom Begins: As rumors of Gehenna spread, the Camarilla seeks unity in its clan identities. Bigotry against the Caitiff spikes, and the “clanless trash” soon find themselves stripped of domain, hunting rights, and sometimes actively hunted or driven out of safe cities. Many of the clanless die; others seek asylum in the Anarch Movements or the welcoming arms of the Sabbat. This culminates in the Inner Circle proclaiming a Greater Status Ban on all Caitiff, limiting their ability to trade in boons or hold influence in the Camarilla to almost nothing.
- Sejanus Rising: So, funny story, remember how Theo Bell killed Marcus Vitel and in the chaos the Sabbat seized control of Washington D.C.? Turns out that even the Killa B couldn’t finish that old fucker off, but what do you expect from a two thousand year-old Sombra? In 2005, while Sascha Vykos was distracted with other concerns, Vitel, or rather Lucius Sejanus woke up from torpor and declared himself the independent Prince of Washington D.C., beholden to neither the Camarilla nor the Sabbat, and that “his city” stood as a haven to all Cainites who had wearied of the war between the sects. Backed by a motley assortment of cast-offs and odd puzzle pieces from all across everywhere and drawing on the support of the Giovanni and the Followers of Set, Sejanus started an intense brawl with the Sabbat, and ultimately came out on top. This was a giant shit in Cardinal Polonia’s cornflakes, because it meant that the Sabbat’s East Coast crusade was now officially a gigantic failure, with gallons of Cainite blood spilled, and the Sabbat actually in a worse position on the East Coast than they were when they started. Backed into a corner, Polonia saw no way out except to… take credit for 9/11 and start agitating for the Sabbat to turn its attention to the Holy Land.
- Signal Boost: Alex Foster's Signal Jammer, propagated by phone and wifi signals which are growing in popularity, has spiraled wildly out of control, steadily growing into the quagmire that persists today.
- Seven Once More: After several years of political maneuvering, the Vizier Tegyrius is declared the first Justicar of the Assamite clan. Tegyrius recieves the political “boon” of authority over the Josian Archons as part of his office. The Josians are a group of Archons that investigate reports of rising Methuselahs and other rumors of Gehenna, along with the practice of diabolism within the Ivory Tower.
- The New Burning Times: The Sabbat’s excesses catch up to it, as an alliance of well-armed, well-educated mortal hunters wipe out the domain of Savannah with a single coordinated assault, and do crippling damage to other domains. Detroit is so badly weakened by the hunters’ depredations that the Anarch Movement is able to overthrow the Sabbat there, taking the city for themselves. This new burning time effectively ends the Sabbat’s Grand Enfilade, and the hot war between the Ivory Tower and Sword of Caine goes cold. Careful sniping, battling for territory via proxy and influence, and guarded diplomacy become the order of the night.
- 2010: The Mandarinate is dissolved after Luna Demian devises a way to break through their wards and a successful assassination campaign is carried out in a rare joint effort between the Sects, some of it intentional, some of it coincidental.
- Spring 2021:
- The Traditions:The population of Mages in the San Francisco area has largely dwindled to less than a tenth of what it once was. The local Council Chantry meets only to confirm the representatives that are still in the area are alive. The local Technocracy agents exist only to funnel money into Frank Dumond’s pockets. The future is uncertain.
- The Sabbat: Her Excellency Reverend Washington regulates a more disciplined Sabbat within the Bay Area, heedful of the precarious state that the information age has left Cainites in.
- The Anarchs: Baron Lopez and and his moneyman Kyle Cooper, lead a so-far mild existence largely getting along with the Camarilla for now, as nothing is in contest yet.
- The Camarilla: Prince Winder is was enjoying an uneventful year with her small cabinet of Primogen until the release of a YouTube video that leaked her name along with some sect luminaries.
- Summer 2021:
- The Traditions: After the brief resurgence of interest in a node in Sutro Baths, a Hermetic was brutally murdered by a monster determined to reside there. The local Advocate Council decided to leave the cave alone, content with the node in Clarion Alley. Recently, however, the property's federal proprietors have abruptly replaced the original tenant to the nearby Cliff House property and started offering ghost tours of the area.
- The Sabbat: News of the missing Iron Shields pack (from Richmond) reached San Francisco, prompting a search. The Sabbat has discovered that the pack had been captured after crossing paths with a band of vampire hunters, who seem to be baiting the Sabbat by turning up the corpse of Leslie Diaz in a shallow suburban grave.
- The Camarilla: The Camarilla releases official suspicions that the YouTube video is produced by a group of vampire hunters after an artifact called The Author. The Nevada chantry has confirmed that 'The Author' that the hunters refer to is a moniker they specifically gave to a missing artpiece. The Prince has called for investigation of the matter: she cares little for the ancient bauble itself, and far more for how these strangers discovered sensitive information, and what, exactly, they do know. Sheriff Pavlova warns of visions of an attack, and her desire to see someone help her in her post.
- Fall 2021:
- An Encrypted Warning: Dr. Aidan Crommey, self-described as an Apprentice of House Tremere, releases an encrypted missive, presumably as a consequence of his demise. The message reveals that the Author is in fact a powerful item capable of empowering the hunters who seek it into surely exterminating their targets, which don't appear to stop at vampires, as they describe their enemies to be "four kingdoms," vampires only one of them.
Below is a list of both player-owned businesses on grid and plot-device businesses that exist as clues and leads. You can also check out the list of Established Businesses that are exclusively on grid.
- Lucky Boar Studios is a production company which has recently been involved in the supernatural.
- Dubois-Durand sells jewelry across a wide range of price points via website, catalogs, and digital marketplaces. The retailer operates a flagship store in San Francisco and two stores under the Andre Mercier banner in Sausalito and San Rafael.
- Kuponzi is a data hub for the convenience retail industry involved in a massive data breach earlier this year.
- Open Heart SF is a homeless advocacy group in San Francisco which runs charity events.
|Le Petit Garcon||Pacific Heights||Primogen DeSantis's questionably named salon, often declared Elysium||Camarilla, Anarchs|
|Under The Bridge Skatepark||Folsom||Easy to access, easy to bail. Tends towards use by Anarchs and Sabbat.||Anarchs, Sabbat|
|St. Joseph's Church||Folsom||Dusty masonry that spoke to a divine world, now condemned behind a chainlink fence. Communal haven.||Sabbat|
|Adair's Hair And Nails||Tenderloin||Abandoned, ruined ex-nail shop. Gateway to the Underground, leading to the fallout shelter.||Nosferatu|
|Eureka Valley Station||BART Tunnels||Dug into the underground is a stony, arched chamber of concrete that smells of burnt flesh, bleach, and blood. This is a Sabbat ritual space.||Sabbat|
|Haightful Hookah||Haight-Ashbury||Hippy chemist and Child of Knowledge Holland Samuels III's haunt of choice.||Disparates|
|The Party Pad||Clarion Alley||The site of the Golden Gate Chantry, left behind by a Son of Ether who went abruptly missing, presumed dead.||Traditions|