Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
“Welcome to my house, weary traveller. Enter freely and of your own will. Within my walls you will find safety and comfort for so long as you abide with me, the lord and master of this Domain. This I swear by Earth and Sky, and the Waters of Life and Death that bind us all. Come, enter now, and leave some of the happiness that you bring.”
This chronicle details the adventures of an ambitious, talented coterie of Cainites that have become bound up in the intrigues of Transylvania and the Byzantine empire. They fought to find their own place among the Siebenburgen and within the Dream, aware that they were the pawns of the elders, their own sires and even darker forces that they have not yet begun to comprehend.
In their second goal, they failed. Forced to watch the city of Constantinople burn despite their mighty efforts, they nonetheless emerged strong, tempered by battled, wizened by grief and betrayal. They have since returned to the Siebenburgen in order to see their initial ambitions served.
The coterie consists of:
- Veceslav Basarab, a noble diplomat of Clan Tzimisce, who would become Knez of Tihuta for a mortal generation before being forced into exile by his powerful enemy, Vladimir Rustovich;
- Sister Maude, a physician and occultist of Clan Cappadocian, noted for her sarcasm and benificence. Always a reluctant participant of the far-travelled Concord, she has in recent years focused her energies on improving the health and sanitation of the Siebenburgen;
- Iulia, a secretive scholar of Clan Lasombra, known as the formidable Prince of Weißenburg despite her youth. A delver into ancient wisdom and forbidden secrets, Prince Iulia attempts to chart her destiny as a scholar of the Jihad and a mediator between the warring Tzimisce and Ventrue of Hungary;
- Brother Adalbert, a Benedictine monk of Clan Ventrue, also the Seneschal of Kronstadt and lately a Confessor for the Order of the Black Cross. A gifted organiser and ambitious mind, Adalbert is constrained within his clan by his weak blood, but seeks unorthodox directions of power;
- Armis, a brooding scout and veteran warrior of Clan Gangrel. A sometime associate of Iulia and Veceslav, this taciturn loner, soldier, and musician now assists them once again. He prefers to keeps his own council and his own secrets, and involves himself in the intrigues of the Concord for his own inscrutable reasons.
- and the Phaedymite Ravnos Francis of Toulouse, who in late 1217 also threw in his lot with the Concord, seeing advantage in counting himself among their number.
Another member of the Concord was lost late in the winter of AD 1203, during the assault of Voivode Koban against the valley of Toth. While he fell, it is unclear whether he has suffered the Final Death:
- Bernhard Billung, aka Sir Gunther of Saint Wolfgang, a Saxon knight of Clan Gangrel.
At various times, other Cainites have joined the coterie for a time:
- with Bernhard’s progeny, Svenin the Tall, being of longest service and greatest note. A free-booting, opportunistic reaver who served as the strong arm of the coterie for more than ten, but only when he could be bothered. Svenin still aids the coterie from time to time, and considers himself among their number, but he has busied himself of late pirating the sea lanes of the Adriatic.
- Sir Conrad of Monreal, a famed crusader, now a stalwart of the Lexor Brujah and a firm enemy of Alfonzo, the Lasombra Prince of Constantinople.
- Sir Alaric of Taranto, a Knight Templar of Clan Lasombra, who serves his adoptive sire and grandsire in their ambitions to subborn his military order as it rises to prominence in Croatia.
- Lotario Acuto, an enigmatic Toreador who once served the departed Michaelite Arbiter, Petronius. A clever and crafty finder of lost things and people, he now makes a place for himself among the new order of Constantinople.
- Maria, also of Clan Toreador, an aristocrat allied to the Árpád Ventrue and the Brujah bloodline of Prince Karsten of Kronstadt. In return for her assistance against Marelle, the Sculptor of Wolves, she was granted domain in the city of Hermannstadt — the only Cainite not of Nosferatu blood to be so honoured.
- and the Lexor Brujah Senator known as Theophanos of Epirus, who become an invaluable member of the coterie in 1217. Using his wealth and mercantile acumen to smooth their travels, he was directly responsible for moving thousands of stranded Hungarian crusaders to the Levant, garnering considerable prestation for his faction all the while. He has since returned to his business interests and factional duties in Greece.
The Concord has become a noted political force within the Siebenburgen of Transylvania, and also for their activities during the disastrous Fourth Cainite Crusade and the only marginally more successful Fifth. Forced to settle down in their respective demesnes in order to guard their power and shepherd their vision of a peaceful, prosperous Transylvania, they have fostered the creation of a second coterie to see their designs brought to fruition.
Self-dubbed the Ashen Band, these young Cainites are:
- Sir Ulrich of Wettin, of Clan Ventrue. Childe of Hardestadt the Younger, this driven aristocrat has been placed at the disposal of the Gangrel Svenin to see him grow strong or perish trying;
- Kelemen Gutkeled, of Clan Tzimisce and childe of Knez Veceslav of Tihuta. Even more of a sybarite than his sire, the Count of Reps’ primary usefulness thus far lies in his family connections and his enormous wealth;
- Helena Korosi, of Clan Brujah. A proud and canny Hungarian aristocrat with ties to the local Szeklers, she stands with the coterie as a means for her adoptive sire, Prince Karsten of Kronstadt, to establish ties with the Concord;
- Brother Berengar of Dohna, of Clan Ventrue. Childe of Heinrich von Achern, this devoted and pious member of the secret Order of the Black Cross is Brother Adalbert’s student, and Lord Jürgen’s agent in the coterie;
- Sága, of Clan Nosferatu. Product of a desperate, brutal embrace in the wilds of Ruthenia, and given succor by Sister Maude at the behest of Durga Syn, this natural storyteller serves as the Cappadocian’s proxy;
- and Marius de Şimand, of Clan Lasombra and childe of Prince Iulia of Weissenburg. Pragmatic and secretive in the style of his sire, this saturnine Vlach works to keep the disparate band of neonates from fracturing along petty lines;
Another member of the Ashen Band was lost late in the winter of AD 1218, destroyed by hunters in the city of Acre.
- Andras Taragoš, an Alexandrite of Clan Ravnos, who served as the proxy of Theophanos of Epirus. He was something of an unknown quantity, but he proved his worth in the weeks before his untimely Fina Death.
I have drawn heavily upon and expanded the story arcs and characters as presented in the Dark Ages Clan Novels, Transylvania By Night and Constantinople By Night. Against the backdrop of the larger campaign, we intend to loosely follow the storyline of the Transylvania Chronicles, Bitter Crusade and Under the Black Cross (as the storyteller is a little lazy). Fans of the Old World of Darkness with an eye for detail might also recognise a few names from the Chicago Chronicles here and there…
DISCLAIMER: I have wandered the Web for some time gathering pieces of art to use for portraits and scenery in my games. If I have used something that belongs to you and have caused offence, please accept my apologies in advance and don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ll be more than happy to take it down or give credit where it is due!
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: A very great debt is owed to Gastoff, who most generously allowed me to use his Terror at Thrushmoor campaign CSS as the backbone for the Concord of Ashes. He in turn borrowed the nav-bar CSS customization from both Bortas and Conan_Lybarian and his The Cold Truce campaign, the parchment sheet background CSS from Thorvaldr’s Tyellador and Bortas’s Morwindl campaigns, and more parchment tweaks from Ikabodo’s A Tale of Blood and Honour. Many, many thanks are also owed to LordMisha, who also assisted me with CSS and inspiration from his The Haunted campaign.