Guide to the Supernatural

Many supernatural “kinds”- wizards, vampires, faeries, etc. – are considered to belong to their own supernatural faction. Here’s a quick run-down of the major factions in play in Vegas and the surrounding Nevada region.

Sleeper Groups

It is all too easy when playing Mage to forget about the non-mage “Sleeper” community that forms the majority of the world populace. Not every accountant is a face of the shadowy Syndicate. Most doctors wouldn’t know what a Progenitor was if one bit them on the rear. Plenty of ghastly psychopaths are driven by their own dark natures, quite independently of the Nephandi. Mages may reshape the world, but that world exists with or without them. Often it is the world that reshapes the mage, and this section focuses on those who somehow affect mage society in Vegas.

The following are known enlightened sleeper societies that operate within Las Vegas and the Nevada region.

The Las Vegas Mafia: Though the Italian Mafia’s influence has waned significantly since the Siegel days, some of the older Vegas families still retain extensive financial networks and participate in local crime, mostly of the white-collar variety. The most feared member of the Las Vegas Mafia is the man respectfully called “Baby” by those who know of him. “Baby” Victor Manelli is one of those rare mortals who is at least peripherally aware of the existence of the supernatural, yet merely treats it as one more variable in his plans. He is a model of the modern Mafia businessman, carefully balancing a veneer of legitimacy with an underworld edge. The majority of Baby’s forces are mortal criminals who are somewhat clued-in to the supernatural. A small number are combat-ready mercenaries, unfazed by magic or supernatural weirdness. Baby has been in charge of Mafia operations in Las Vegas for just over a decade, and he’s kept the City of Sin profitable with a bare minimum of law enforcement attention and carnage. Baby also employs Buona Fortuna Security Services for magical protection and information-gathering, in an attempt to more fully understand supernatural issues.

LVPD Special Vices Squad, AKA The Hard Way Squad: A small group in the police force have created an “off the books” department as a response to rampant corruption in the city’s political infrastructure. It’s a common occurrence for some investigations to ground out in a series of procedural errors and for evidence to go missing, all the better to protect the interests of politically connected criminals. The Hard Way Squad might be the city’s only enforcers of true justice. They receive no formal support from the department, and they live in constant danger of being undone by the same legal system they’ve sworn to uphold. Their initial goal was to curtail the spread of pigment in the city, making it likely the Technocracy had something to do with their founding and initial successes.

The Nephite Priesthood: Recently, a few rumors have begun to spread, telling of people with previously unseen powers aiding in attacks on vampires, only to vanish afterward. In a few cases, these hunters have attacked other supernaturals directly. An apocalyptic group of Mormon witch hunters, the Nephites prepared for the coming millennium and hunted down threats to its religious community. While many Mormons believe in the Devil, not many have accurate information on the Prince of Darkness. There are some who know a bit about the various Vampire Courts, but very few know anything about the Faerie Courts or other supernatural nations. The general attitude of clued-in people among the Nephites is that anyone involved with the supernatural is either evil or sliding that way.

The Missionary Works of the Holy Ghost: The Missionary Works of the Holy Ghost is an evangelical Seventh-day Adventist church that serves as a pigment cult. The head of the Church is the Reverend Rashonda Mills, who inspired a small but dedicated following. Then, Mills was diagnosed with devastating pancreatic cancer; as the cancer spread, she refused treatment and relied on faith. Miraculously, it worked. Mills later told her followers that Christ appeared before her, healed her, and took the scales from her eyes much in the manner of the Apostle Paul. He then called on Mills and her church to spread His word, showing her angels and visions.

The miracles spread to the congregation, who also saw angels as Mills did. Her followers became extremely loyal, never wanting to miss a service, and outsiders, driven by the stories of angels and visions, sought to join the Missionary Works. Members practice meditation and use biofeedback devices and drugs – including pigment and cannabis – to aid in reaching deeper levels of consciousness, and put considerable stock in visions and intuition which are believed to be angels trying to communicate with them.

Pigment Gangs: The Las Vegas Valley is home to more than 300 street gangs, a number law enforcement officials say is growing as members ditch loyalties and create new groups. Roughly 20,000 gang members – or 6 for every 1,000 Nevada residents – live in the valley. Local gang members average from 14 to 21 years old, with recruitment typically starting in middle school. Many of the city’s more established gangs are subsets of larger, California-based organizations. But there also are “hybrid gangs,” more loosely organized groups that are harder for police to contain.

Hybrid gangs typically are younger, more scattered and more violent. Members can belong to several gangs at once. They don’t answer to a clear leader, and they don’t adhere to explicit rules of conduct. Identifying their rivals can be a struggle for police. Over the past year, the valley has seen an increase in gang activity due to violence relating to the drug pigment. Three gangs fought over the pigment drug trade in the valley, primarily made up of the Playboy Bloods, the Rolling 60s, and the Gerson Park Kingmen. The leadership of the three gangs act as local kingpins, who then sell the drug to their distributors, who sell it, in turn, to small-time street dealers. The police have no trouble nabbing these small fries. Whenever the police take one dealer off the streets, though, a new pusher takes his place in less than a week.

Tunnel People: There are 413 miles of floodwater control tunnels below Las Vegas, known as the Vegas Below, and it is home to over 1,000 homeless residents. It’s a crossroads of the destitute. Ex-cons, drug addicts, hard-core gamblers. The tunnel people of one kind or another have long existed in Vegas Below. They inhabit Vegas’s deep and complex sewer system, learning its every curve, pool, and outfall while still young children. They are masters at scrounging for useful items in the stream of waste, conducting small time robberies and cons on the surface, and often going to trade at the Floating Markets. They maintain amiable connections with the Ratkin and Rat-speakers, and those who can find the constitution to be polite to the tunnel people can often benefit from the relationship. In every part of the Underside, many choose to swear fealty to a particularly powerful force – be it a single, “royal” individual, a guild, tribe or religion. These loyalties require regular attention – one must pay homage, provide tithes, or come to the aid of one’s brethren. But they also provide a community for support and mutual defense. Those that choose to go it alone risk greater dangers and more uncertainty. But even with close-knit groups, all things are up for bargain. Food, protection, information and all manners of goods get passed through trade. Even favors provide the most valuable of currency. An able tunnel dweller will not only be quick with a knife, but sharp in a bargain.

Mage Groups

Despite its location in the middle of the desert, Las Vegas beckons mages like an oasis calling out to a thirsty pilgrim. Technocrats have held a degree of power in the World’s Most Original City for some time, building a stronghold in Nellis and in the very casinos that feed the community. A sharp increase in incidents involving Reality Deviants and reality disruptions has the Conventions concerned, however. Those who come to investigate the disturbances may be surprised to find that some of them are of their own creation.

More mages than one might expect call the Clark County area home, split into factions representing Tradition, Technocracy and other interests. Newcomers may be overwhelmed by the entrenched powers that already lie in the region. Nevertheless, more than 35 million tourists visit Vegas every year, and at any time at least a handful of transient mages intrude upon the local paradigm.

The Tapestry is constantly being disturbed, and sorcerous residents can almost feel reality ripple in the wake of roving willworkers. Long-term (an extremely relative concept in Vegas) inhabitants have proven themselves capable of weathering the storms of change, and will prove dangerous adversaries for anyone who might interfere with their plans. Notwithstanding this, any new cabal, such as that of the players, is going to make an impact, quite possibly one that forever changes the magical fabric of Las Vegas.

The following are known chantries that operate within Las Vegas and the Nevada region.

AEC: Located at Nellis Air Force Base, the Advanced Energy Commission is dedicated to high-tech research, exploring new forms of energy and their application. Originally known as the Atomic Energy Commission, their projects encompassed both its testing ranges and those of the Nevada Test Site. Whatever the labs find, they are careful to keep hidden until the Time Table allows its release. As a result of their position, the AEC has also inherited the unenviable position of guarding the operations in Hoover Dam.

Black Pyramid: Centered in the Sun Chamber beneath the Luxor, this multi-Tradition chantry steeped in the secrets of the Egyptians is dedicated to making contact with the lost leadership of the Nine Traditions. From its pinnacle, the brightest beam of light in the world pierces the depths of space searching for the higher powers. It maintains a number of relations with out-of-town mages, who often use its ceremonial facilities when they pass through town, usually in exchange for information or Tass.

Big Spring: If there is an environmental cause to be championed in the Las Vegas area, the Big Spring chantry will be at the forefront shouting through their megaphone, organizing protests, and getting in the faces of any offending bigwigs and politicians who stand in their way. Their primary causes are water conservation and indigenous property rights. The chantry has amassed a sizeable network of concerned citizens, regional conservation groups, and national environmental representatives to aid in their cause. Dedicated to protecting the legendary Big Spring Node from discovery and exploitation, they don’t have a central meeting place or even access to their namesake’s node, for its location is a mystery even to them – a mystery they’ll die to keep unsolved.

Buona Fortuna Security Services: Buona Fortuna Security Services is one of the largest independently owned security organizations in the Las Vegas area, and their clientele consists almost exclusively of casinos. The edge, of course, comes from the “special services” the Security Services offers to its clients. Spells designed to thwart supernatural mischief – makers and cheaters, as well as a staff of professional, discreet and effective operatives make Buona Fortuna a force to be reckoned with. Buona Fortuna is one of those rare groups who can skate untouched through both Tradition and Technocrat society. The local Technocratic mages value Buona Fortuna and look the other way at the Reality Deviants the security company uses to get the job done. The local Tradition mages value Buona Fortuna, primarily because Buona Fortuna has made Las Vegas a neutral ground between the two rival societies.

Cloud Room: Centered in the Stratosphere tower, this Construct is mainly dedicated to making money for its all-Syndicate membership. The Cloud Room has had a hand in negotiating development deals, sales of property, construction management, and venture capital interests for most of the major hotels and casinos on the Strip. The Cloud Room keeps the money flowing, sending in mediators to smooth over the bumps in contract negotiation, who resolves their investment ledgers from the furthest million down to the last decimal. If there’s a property to be built, best believe that the Cloud Room knows about it and is already drafting the legal paperwork and moving the money to make it a reality.

Other Groups: There are currently several cabals from the Nine Traditions in the city of Las Vegas, preparing for the upcoming “New Horizon Convocation" on December 21st, the Longest Night of the Year. At this year’s Convocation, a new leadership will be appointed to lead the Traditions. This new leadership will be known as the New Horizon Council, replacing the old Council of Nine that was destroyed in 1999. Because of the secrecy involved in the ritual and the meeting place, the cabals have been preparing security for the Convocation for the last few months. This means that there have been a increase number of Tradition mages within the city of neon and illusions.

Vampire Sects

The Vampire sects are perhaps the most pervasive, widespread groups of monsters out there. Fortunately for the other supernatural factions, they’re riddled with infighting and discord, frequently feuding with each other, and they require rigid levels of protocol and diplomacy in order to function at all. The Vampire sects often uses “Renfields” or ghouls – humans who have had their wills broken and then been bodily fortified by blood magic – to act as bodyguards, minions, and cannon-fodder. The Camarilla and the Giovanni both use orphan ghoul mages to act as intermediaries among mage society.

The Camarilla: Las Vegas was a city under Camarilla control, with a Ventrue prince who enforced the Six Traditions, in addition to several rules specific to the city. These included a ban against playing poker, the exclusion of casino and hotel owners as prey, as well as a limit of ten million dollars per night to use in bets and other games of chance. The Camarilla kept people in line by addicting their servitors to their narcotic blood tass. In some instances, they took this to religious extremes, building up dark street cults and gangs around the sensations only they could provide, using the junkies as disposable muscle.

The Camarilla loved its blood slaves, and human trafficking helped provide a ready supply. It was their chief industry in the city, allowing them to join the rest of our inhabitants in a common bond of complicity. Almost everyone is a client, mortal and immortal alike. Vampires feed on mortal blood. Necromancers and other dark wizards make magic from the reaping of bodies and souls. Pimps need to fill out the rank and file. The wealthy indulge sick fantasies, heady with the power of the almighty dollar. People from all over the world come here to do the same twisted business, ensuring the city retains its place of prominence.

But in the past year, two dozen vampires have gone missing and the Tremere chantry was assaulted. Rumors suggest that the Camarilla court in Vegas has gone underground while the court’s sheriff, the vampire Montrose, conducts a shadow war against the court’s enemies.

The Giovanni: The city also holds a reasonable Giovanni presence, centered on the Jewish Rothstein family, although the main family also has activities within the city. The local capo of the Giovanni, the newly appointed Shlomo Rothstein, acquired his position after the last capo was assassinated in the previous year by mortal hunters. Unlike his predecessor, Rothstein seeks to avoid open bloodshed with the Camarilla and ordered his family to pull out of the pigment drug trade. In the past, the complicated rivalries that divide the Camarilla and the Giovanni often mean that a Giovanni vampire who’s currently up against a Camarilla foe can often find a Camarilla rival who’s prepared to make a temporary alliance against this mutual enemy – and vice versa, of course. This tends to benefit the rest of the supernatural world, as the vampire sects tend to keep each other’s numbers down.

The Anarchs: While the Camarilla usually keep the peace, manage to keep disturbances to a minimum and cover up any problems, Anarchs from California often travel through the city in groups, paying no respect to any other authority. Recently, Anarchs packs are dispersed in the city and seeking signs of weakness from the local Cainites in order to take the city.

El Heraldo De Cráneos Cartel: The Sabbat packs from Southern California and Mexico have been distributing pigment into the United States through a complex smuggling network with the help of trained projectors. Skinriders possess innocent people to use as drug couriers. Haunters possess vehicles and use them to carry drugs under conditions no mundane vehicle could survive. Wisps mesmerize border guards to help drug couriers pass, while the few Phantasms may hide drug shipments through illusion. Banshees, meanwhile, forecast which routes are most likely to avoid law enforcement. The system is highly compartmentalized, so few people know more than one or two steps in the chain – and since some of the critical links are run by spooks, mortal law-enforcement efforts quickly reach a dead end. Once a shipment of pigment reaches a city, the drug spreads through mundane channels. El Heraldo De Cráneos Cartel, also known as the Harbingers of Skulls, are the primarily distributors of pigment into the United States.

Other Vampire Sects: Before the Week of Nightmares, the city used to house a high Ravnos population, and even now, the city represents something familiar to the survivors who wander the nights. There are rumors of Setite temple in the surrounding deserts, and from time to time, members of the Clan arrive in the city and leave a certain period of time. A few disappearances per year tend to get blamed on them, but few wish to challenge the Snake Clan in the city.

Changeling Breeds

Very few of the Awakened realize that the changeling breeds are real, though their interaction with both the wondrous and monstrous makes them fairly open-minded to the idea of their existence. Regardless, most mages have no more knowledge concerning the changeling breeds than the average mortal gets from modern fiction. There are few types of theriomorphs (animal shapeshifters) that call Las Vegas home. Silver mining in Nevada began in 1858 with the discovery of the Comstock Lode, the first major silver-mining district in the United States. The resulting silver rush led to many other silver discoveries in Nevada. The changeling breeds avoided the “Silver State”, afraid that their enemies would use the silver mineral as a weapon against them. Even in the modern nights, many theriomorphs avoid Nevada due to their superstitious beliefs. Despite what Hollywood movies tell us, the majority of the forms of theriomorphism detailed herein are not caused by infectious bites.

The Ragnarok Bar: The viking themed restaurant and bar is a way station, a neutral ground for rival packs and tribes, and the place where non-local, traveling Garou in the territory check-in. The business is operated by a family of Bone Gnawer werewolves, known as the Stimple family. The head of the pack is Moe Stimple, a one-eye werewolf who is also the Ragnarok Bar’s proprietor. The Stimple family patrol the city and struggle to fight the worst of urban corruption. They are fairly skilled and experienced werewolves (individually and as a hunting pack) that have fought everything from vampires to ghouls to bane spirits and the risen, and are allies of the Ratkin in the city.

Sept of the Mother: Once the residence of Julian Raven, the surrounding property was purchased by a pack of Glass Walker werewolves called the Storm Watch and turned into a pharmaceutical research facility. Credited to the defeat of the great bane spirit, the Storm Eater, the Storm Watch are viewed as local heroes within the Garou community. They operate a subsidiary of Isis Pharmaceutical and worship the Egyptian goddess Isis as their totem. Rumors suggest that Julian Raven left behind a powerful node that the pack has claimed as their caern. Currently, the pack is working on a cure against the spiritual corruption of pigment.

The Ratkin: Led by the prehistoric ratkin, the Golden, the wererats of Vegas Below form a cohesive and respected society. Indeed, many kinfolk, calling themselves the Rat-Speakers, dedicate themselves to the service of the ratkin. Many ratkin hold titles and comport themselves with the same courtesy and complexity as human royalty. In the Underside, particularly in Vegas, the ratkin are a political force, often acting independent of human alliances, but with the ability to powerfully impact any balance of power. The ratkin have legions of spies, scouts, warriors and even mystics that are able to move freely through the worlds Above and Below. Their level of communication is unparalleled, and a kindness or slight paid to one rat may often be repaid by another, even in a different city altogether. The Ratkin worship a number of minor totem spirits, such as Roach, Rat, and the Great Trash Heap.

The Uktena: The Anasazi, the indigenous culture who originally inhabited these lands, were the kinfolk of the Uktena werewolves and the Nuwisha werecoyotes. When the Anasazi culture vanished, the Uktena remained to watch over their land while the Nuwisha left to explore the spirit wilds. The Paiute tribes that migrated to the Nevada region became the new kinfolk of the Uktena, and shared stories of Wolf and his mischievous brother Coyote. Only a few Uktena still remain in Nevada, watching over the ancient caerns in the Nevada wilderness.

The Asatru Futhark: The Aryan biker gang, known as the Asatru Futhark, promotes hate crimes and random violence and rebellion, partly out of a misguided racial superiority and partly due to juvenile boredom. Members of the Swords of Heimdall, these renegades of the Garou Nation were kicked out of the militant Get of Fenris due to their extreme views. The pack follows a criminal nomadic lifestyle and travels across the Southwestern United States as a band of brothers against all known authorities – Sleeper and Awakened. The pack attempted to gain prestige in Nevada in a ill attempt to free the Storm Eater and challenge the bane spirit, but were thwarted by the efforts of the Storm Watchers and a cabal of mages.

Faerie Courts

In a world increasingly hostile to the old ways of magic, the fae still remain as a bastion of dream and belief. Of perhaps all supernatural beings, faerie have the most (and most amiable) relations with Tradition mages. Both wish to see magic return to the world and a wider acceptance of mystical belief systems take hold. Faeries are divided into Seelie and Unseelie courts. The Seelie cultivate creativity and dreams among Sleepers, but the Unseelie stalk and terrorize them, stealing their dreams. This dichotomy is perhaps the greatest obstacle to changeling aid in engendering magic into the world.

Las Vegas is part of the Kingdom of the Burning Sun of Concordia. Home to both the Desert of Perpetual Night and a portion of the Desert of Flame, the Kingdom of the Burning Sun can be harsh and unforgiving one minute, serene and full of ancient beauty and wisdom the next. Its ruler is Chief Greyhawk of House Gwydion, formerly known as King Videll. Considered an aberration by most Sidhe, he enjoys an uncommon friendship with the Nunnehi in his realm, and some of the most important positions in his court are filled by native fae. This alliance has only benefited his reign, for Nunnehi attacks in his kingdom are virtually unknown. Nunnehi rebels in the Kingdom of the Feathered Serpent to the south continue to use Greyhawk’s lands as a staging area for their raids, and the border between the two realms is a major hotspot.

Though not as culturally popular as it once was, the ideas embraced in the American image of the wild west can still be found in this kingdom, and it can be a wild and dangerous realm, for both the frontier honor and the lawlessness embodied by that period of history live on.

Risen Society

Risen is a term used to describe a ghost that has managed to return to its body to walk among the living. For want of a better term, Risen are almost zombies, however without the slow gait, decaying flesh, or need to eat brains. Most mages prefer to avoid the Restless Dead rather than deal with uncomfortable reminders of their own mortality. It is thought that risen hold on to resolve issues left unfinished because of an untimely death, so some mages seek to assist these souls so they may move on. Risen are often catspaws and pawns for the darker supernatural nations and necromancers. Risen don’t usually have enough oomph to stir up “international” trouble on their own, but after the Week of Nightmares, the number of risen are increasing as ghosts flee the storms of the Lower Umbra.

The First Step Society: The First Step Society is a non-profit organization that strives to provide home and change to the homeless, addicted, and others in need. Run by a national guild of risen, ghosts, and sleepers, they provide homeless shelters and resources to newly arrived risen to the land of the living. Rumors suggest that the First Step Society is one of many non-profit organizations that carter to the rising risen population in the United States and are loosely allied with the Camarilla.

Other Risen Societies: Although the Kuei-jin have not yet advanced that far, it is rumored that one of the Ancestors that took up residence in the conquered city of San Francisco has agreed to visit Las Vegas to conduct talks with the Giovanni for an unknown cause, likely involving the state of the New Promise Mandarinate of California. It is not known when or even if this diplomat would come to visit the city.

Ghost Groups

Ghosts are intangible entities, and are believed by some to be the remnants of the souls of those who have departed the world of the living, hanging on to conclude unfinished business. They are among the most frequently encountered supernatural entities and range from barely self-aware shades to frighteningly lifelike spectres. Ghosts’ home turf is the Lower Umbra, though they often skirt the borders of the mortal world. Few mages seek to cross the line that divides the living from the dead. Death prefers to hold on to its own, and it claims many unwary mages who travel the Lower Umbra. Euthanatoi who have explored the lands of the dead sometimes speak of a storm that rages underneath the world and of a labyrinthine Realm of terror beyond that. Recently, the storms have surged across the world, making travel and visitations less safe than before. With the storms in the Lower Umbra, the Restless Dead have gained a nastier disposition. Mages who seek to contact or control ghosts find them more hostile and dangerous than before.

The Grim Legion: During the Week of Nightmares, there was a war in the Lower Umbra between rival spirit kingdoms. The roman-like Stygia defending their territory against the invading Celestial Empire of Jade. The war was interrupted by the arrival of the Sixth Great Maelstrom and legions on both sides were devastated by the storms.

In the neighboring shadow lands of Nevada, the local legion of Stygian ghosts attempted to rebuild their resources. The legion normally recruited ghosts that died as a result of violence, usually murder, and kept this philosophy when they recruited from the local restless dead. A reflection of the very nature of their death, the legion was called the Grim Legion. The Grim Legion was led by former American Jewish mobster, Bugsy Siegel, who knew the shadowlands of Vegas well.

Siegel led the legion to exploit the drug pigment to make contact with the living and helped fuel the gang violence between the street gangs. The legion reaped and recruited from the recently dead and sought to establish a new Stygia within the city of neon and illusions and made allies with the Giovanni. But Siegel’s plans fell apart when the local capo of the Giovanni was assassinated by mortal hunters, and soon later, Siegel himself was eliminated by a cabal of mages. The Legion has now fallen into bickering warlords fighting against one another, attempting to maintain their meager resources while fending off against the Euthanatoi.

Spectres: Spectres are ghosts that have, in so many words, given into their Shadows. When a ghost accumulates too much dark emotion, its Shadow takes over permanently and it becomes a Spectre; its humanity and former identity are replaced with a truly evil, sadistic personality tied into a massive hive-mind. In the process, the ghost forgets about its old tethers, friends and ideals, which keeps it from Transcending. Spectres roam desolate parts of the world of the dead thereafter, minions of the Neverborn, the Malfeans. Recent discoveries by the mages of Vegas have uncovered that the drug pigment is created from the dark ichor of dead Spectres, creating a malevolent tass that corrupts the soul. Rumors suggest that the spectres are purposely attempting to spread pigment across the United States and elsewhere.

Other Ghost Groups: The Underworld around Las Vegas resonates with the hate-crimes against Mormons from 1857, whose ghosts still continue their conflict. Some of the ghost towns are actual Ghost Towns, still inhabited by the remnants of their former population. The city is home to various ghosts, all attempting to finish their unfinished business.

Guide to the Supernatural

The Fallen Tower Rajak101