World Of Darkness: RUSSIA
A Campaign Setting by David
This is not, nor is it intended to be, World
of Darkness canon. This is my interpretation of
fictional Russia, based on materials identified in the References section.
The GM reserves the right to say 'No' to any aspect of character design
or any character action that he feels violates the intention of the game.
Russia, circa 1868. This will be a Dark
Ages/Sorcerers Crusade crossover World of Darkness campaign. Contact
with the world outside of Russia will be minimal, except as history dictates,
and the global influence of such World of Darkness groups as the Camarilla
and the Sabbat will be ignored.
For most of Russian history, there has been tension
between the Tzimisce and the Silver Fangs. In some times and places,
this was demonstrated by all-out warfare and, in other eras and locations,
by a sort of cold war. Wraiths, the fae and mortal sorcerers attempt
to be independent third parties, with only the best intentions for their
mortal friends and family at heart, but more often than not find themselves
drawn into an uneasy alliance with the Shape Shifters of the region.
Kindred, for the most part, can be assumed to behave as described in Vampire
the Dark Ages. True Mages hold themselves aloof from all and manipulate
all parties for their own cryptic purposes.
For Wraiths, the campaign era is a time between
the Third and Fourth Great Maelstroms. Details of 'life' in the Shadowlands
can be gleaned from Wraith, 2nd edition, pages 71-73.
By 1868, the Faerie have experienced the Shattering,
and have mostly adapted to the new way of things as described in Changeling:
The Dreaming. However, their numbers and diversity are limited, and
the Sidhe have not re-appeared in Russian lands.
The campaign has been shifted to Play By E-mail
mode. For character e-mails, look here.
This will be a campaign of political intrigue
and Machiavellian manipulation. The overall story will revolve around
the life of Nicholas II and the shift from Imperial Russia to Soviet Russia.
Each player may run two or more characters.
Their primary character will be either an elder vampire created using the
rules in Elysium, an experienced mage using house rules based on Sorcerers
Crusade and modified in accordance with the Elysium rules or some other
elder style character developed with the input and approval of the Storyteller.
This character will be akin to the Magi of Ars Magica in that they will
run their household and have their underlings deal with the outside world.
These characters have been active for at least a human lifetime, granting
them significant influence and their increased abilities. They are
likely secretive, and known only to outsiders by name, if that. If
you wish to play a character other than a kindred or mage as your primary,
contact the Storyteller privately.
Your secondary character(s) [companions] will
be the way in which your primary character interacts with the world.
As such, one or more must be able to interact with the mortal court easily,
ie., during the day, in normal dress, etc. Your companions must be
tied to your primary character in some way, and you must be able to explain
to the Storyteller's satisfaction why each companion complies the primary
character's wishes. Companions will have no script immunity and can
be killed over the course of the story, so you may wish to develop more
than one such minion before play begins. In general, each player
will only have one companion active in any given scene, but companion characters
can be mixed and matched between scenes as appropriate. Your first secondary
character is "free", that is, there are no requirements for use or cost
to possess. Any additional secondary characters should be represented
appropriately by background and/or merit pruchases by the primary character.
For example, if you wish to have a group of three revenets under your (the
player's) direct control, the first is free and the additional two would
likely be purchased as two dots of the Background Retainer. On the
other hand, if you merely wish to have a Revenent clan at your beck and
call (but under the Storyteller's control) this will either be free or
purchased (for instance) as dots of Military force, depending on their
intended use/usefulness. Other than these restrictions and the Storyteller's
overall veto ability, you may create any sort of character native to the
World of Darkness (see Character Generation
for more details).
All characters should be fully fleshed out with
histories and the like. All characters and character concepts must
be individually approved by the Storyteller before play begins. Players
will be expected to understand the capabilities of their characters.
If you don't understand something, clear up your confusion with the Storyteller
outside of the session.
Additional experience may be awarded to players
who write narratives of the campaign from their perspective. Such
awards will be based on the Storyteller's subjective evaluation of the
quality of the story (not necessarily of the writing). These awards
will be made as the narratives are read by the Storyteller. These
narratives may be added to this web site at the Storyteller's discretion.
Due to the nature of the area portrayed, the
Gauntlet is thinner and all rolls should reference Vampire: The Dark Ages
In the battle between the Mages, Russia is behind
the rest of Europe and the difficulties described in Mage: Sorcerers Crusade
should be used.
Eras Of Interest:
600 - 862 A.D. Prologue: Slavs
Prior to this era, the region was closely tied to the umbra, and tales
of mortals or heroes traveling to the Otherworld were more often than not
based in reality. Silver Fangs ruled the land and Clan Gangrel called
the forest their home. An outcast Nosferatu Methuselah roamed the
land and aided in resisting the intrusion of Clan Tzimsce, who enter from
the Carpathians with their mortal kinsmen.
863 - 913 A.D. The Rus and Kiev
Rurik comes to Novgorod; beginning of the Varangian Dynasty.
Rurik's brothers claimed by the Kindred; Uvoldin
joins clan Gangrel and Severyan is embraced by a Tzimsce Methuselah.
Rumor holds it that Severyan is the power behind Rurik's throne.
The female Nosferatu enters topor, but is not forgotten. Her actions
are the basis for mortal legends and the antipathy Tzimsce hold for Nosferatu.
Clans Tzimsce and Gangrel declare a lasting truce - Tzimsce will control
the settled areas, and Gangrel hold the forests.
The Bogatyrs are particularly active starting
during this period and this increased activity continues through the fifteenth
century. Though they were known before 863, they turned their attentions
to hunting Kindred, as well as other montrous foreigners, during the 9th
and 10th centuries. Kindred lore has it that the Bogatyrs were exterminated
at the beginning of the Muscovite era. Kindred Lore is distinctly unclear
as to the true nature of the Bogatyr.
913 - 978 A.D. Years of Early Growth
888 to 898 Cyril and Methodius
travel as missionaries into the Slavic countries, and create the basis
of the Cyrillic alphabet.
Svyatoslav, grand prince of Kiev, acting as ally to Byzantium, annexes
978 -1015 A.D. Vladimir
The annexing of Bulgaria was at the behest of
the Kindred prince of the region as a favor to his Tzimsce brethren in
Byzantium. Later, Kiev's Kindred prince found himself in opposition
to Byzantium's Kindred prince. This was the beginning of a breaking
of Russian kindred from the world politics of their brethren.
Tzimisces, emperor of Byzantium, defeats Svyatoslav's forces at Presthlava
Vladimir devotes himself to Eastern Orthodox Christianity and begins imposing
it on his citizens.
1015-1505 A.D. The Latter Days of Kievan Russia
Clan Toreador enters the region with the Eastern
Orthodox Church. These kindred support the isolationism of the region,
but without the support of the rest of their clan are unable to grab a
significant amount of power in the region Kindred politics. They
continue to be an influence until the fall of the Church in Russia.
First Mongol invasion of Russia; battle at Kalka River ends in near total
destruction of the Russian forces.
1505-1682 A.D. The Muscovite Era
Riding as advisors to the invading Khans, Clan
Cappadocian discovers Russia. They establish themselves in small
numbers as advisors to both the various rulers of the land and to the Tzimsce,
but never gain a political foothold of any true significance.
Alexander, prince of Novgorod, defeats the Swedes at the Neva River and
is named "Alexander Nevsky" (Alexander of the Neva).
Ivan Kalita (Ivan I) becomes grand prince of Russia, makes Moscow his capital
and has the seat of the Church moved there.
Fall of Constantinople to Ottoman Turks; Russia becomes center of Eastern
Clan Brujah enters the region, seeing Kiev as
a chance to rebuild Carthax. They maintain this view that kindred
and mortals can live in peace, despite opposition from the Tzimsce and
the changing views of their clansmen outside of Russia. With the
strengthening of the Church in Russia, Clan Toreador makes gains in political
power, but are still unable to break the Tzimsce majority in Kindred politics.
The predicted end of the world, according to Orthodox belief.
Any number of the murders and atrocities committed
from this period forward might be laid at the feet of Clan Tremere, who
begin operating in secret in the region during this era. During this
era, rumors about Changeling support of the Romanov clans begin.
1682-1725 A.D. The Beginning of the End
Anastasia Romanov dies, Ivan IV is distraught.
Ivan founds the oprichina, beginning an eight year reign of terror.
The Black Riders, Ivan the Terrible's secret police, are founded during
Job of Moscow is appointed first Russian metropolitan and patriarch of
the Orthodox Church.
Dmitri (Ivan IV's remaining son) found with his throat slit, possibly assassinated
A false Dmitri appears in Poland, winning support for an attack on Russia.
The ulozhenie is established, codifying Russian social strata and
binding peasants to land creating serfdom in Russia; the trading privileges
of the Muscovy Company are revoked.
1670-1671 Don Cossack Stenka
Razin leads a peasant revolt that is crushed by Alexis.
Most of the primary players in the supernatural
politics of the region were born during the reign of Peter the Great.
All other players have been active for much longer. Drawn by signs
only they could interpret, Clan Malkavian began an influx during this time.
1725-1917 A.D. Imperial Russia
Revolt of the streltsy and the beginning of Peter's obsessive campaign
1703-1708 Construction of St.
Petersburg; thousands dies, and no man may come into the city without a
Peter the Great abolishes the position of Patriarch and replaces it with
the Synod, a council of 10 priests who answer directly to the tsar.
1762-1796 The Reign of Catherine
1917-1990 A.D. Soviet Russia
1881-1894 The Reign of Alexander
1894-1917 The Reign of Nicholas
II; Nicholas and Alexandra; Gregory Rasputin
1917-1921 War Communism
1995 + A.D.
1941-1945 The Second World
1953-1983 The Soviet Union
1983-1990 The Fall of Communism
Russia, by S.
A History of Russia, by Nicholas V. Riasanovsky
Essential Russian Mythology, by Pyotr Simonov
RUS, by Mark Chapman
Wolf books and homepages, including
as well as the invaluable advice, support and inspiration
of Bruce Baugh and the Eyrie Mafia
Mage: Sorcerer's Crusade
Vampire: The Dark Ages
Vampire Revised Edition
Werewolf: The Apocalypse(2nd ed.)
Werewolf Player's Guide (2nd ed.)
Changeling: The Dreaming
Wraith: The Oblivion (2nd ed.)
World of Darkness: Sorcerer
War of Ages (particularly Elysium)
Ghouls: Fatal Addiction
Kindred of the East
World of Darkness: Demon Hunter X