In our Session Zero, the players created their characters and coterie, determining how they want to spend their Coterie points, and where their new domain – granted to them by the Prince in exchange for their agreement to help investigate the strange happenings through the city – will be located.
The following is the introduction, read to the players at the start of the session.
“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.”
Welcome to Providence by Night. Providence, Rhode Island, is a sleepy little city, ancient in as much as any city in American can be, with roots that go deep, deep underground and into the nearby sea. For Kindred society, it has never been a place of prominence. In fact, until the 1990s Providence had no Kindred presence to speak of. No Kindred claimed residence, and any who claimed the city as their own quickly vanished or left of their own accord. It wasn’t until a Nosferatu named Warwick claimed the Princedom that the undead truly began to settle into the city. It has never been a popular haunt for the Ventrue or Toreador, who favor Boston, New Haven, and the seaside artist towns dotting the Massachusetts coastline. But the Nos, Malkavians, and Tremere have always favored the quiet city. But recent events have changed the city, and all Kindred residing there can feel it in their blood.
Our story begins during the early 2000s. The Week of Nightmares is often seen as the catalyst, the bloodshed and insanity that swept through the Ravnos clan setting in motion a series of events that even the wakeful Methuselah’s still influencing their childer couldn’t have foreseen. A Beckoning started pulling Elders east, every night that passes growing stronger and harder to resist. It carried the eldest first, simply vanishing in the night, travelling to the Middle East for unknown reasons. The Sabbat had the hardest time resisting, droves of them heading off to fight their Gehenna War with the Antediluvians. Anarchs, independent to the last, seem to have an easier time ignoring the longing, but even their eldest have begun the trek. Some elders still resist, lingering in their domains and grasping ahold of their influence. But many believe they too will fall victim to The Beckoning, leaving their cities to the neonates and fledglings already running wild.
But The Beckoning wasn’t the only thing the Week of Nightmares sparked. A change started occurring in the blood. Something was altering the way Kindred accessed their supernatural abilities. Changing the disciplines themselves. Some kindred found themselves stronger than before, more capable of feats of superhuman agility and strength. Others felt power stripped from them – the Tremere’s blood magic a prime example of this. The biggest change was seen among the Thin-Bloods, whose ability to harness the powers of other Kindred adapted with the blood they stole. Ever the chameleons shifting between Kindred and Kine society, their innate abilities began to reflect this even more.
Warwick, Prince of Providence, was one of those who felt The Beckoning. He resisted for a long time, far longer than anyone believed capable, but in the end he too succumbed and vanished into the night. The power vacuum left in his wake threw Providence into chaos for a time, worsened by the Second Inquisition and their powerful weapons for combatting the undead. Providence had always been quiet, and was spared much of the genocide that larger, more prominent cities saw as mortals hunted down their former predators. But it still saw its share of Final Deaths met out.
The chaos and lack of leadership also opened up the floodgates for something… else. Something that could only be described as “other.” The Lupines have their own word for it, but rare is the kindred with ties to them. Strange, horrifying creatures began to be seen in the sewers and darker streets at night, and often the kindred that investigated them were never seen or heard from again. It wasn’t until recently, when a relatively unknown Malkavian, Howard Ellington, stepped forward and claimed the throne, uncontested, that order came back to Providence. In the few short years since, the city has become a home to many Kindred once more, with more Toreador moving in as well – their disdain for the Nosferatu prince not as strong for a Malkavian. Still, it is said that Ellington has less drive to rule than to investigate the stranger occurrences that still haunt Providence’s night, and there are whispers that a more politically motivated Kindred might be making moves to secure the throne for themself.
You have each seen the changes occurring, though a few of you are too young to know what it was like before. Some of you may have even seen these terrible creatures in the city at night. But you’re all relatively young. Fresh blood with barely a century of unlife between you. The neonates and fledging shaping the future of Providence, and perhaps of all Kindred society in New England
You have been summoned to court by Prince Howard Ellington, a Malkavian with a strong lineage to the Boston Malkavians, to assist in an ongoing investigation into these strange happenings.