Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
The Baron's Gangrel
(modified from Constantinople by Night, pp. 77-78)
A storm gathers about Constantinople. The Gangrel family, led by Baron Thomas Feroux has sworn to protect the city, and to ensure the safety and prosperity of the family’s patrons, the Obertus Tzimisce. Since the Baron’s arrival over a century ago, the Gangrel have become indispensable to the security of the Dream. Their contacts among the clan, both in the East and the West, allow them to transport Cainites from one end of the Byzantine Empire to the other, while simultaneously ensuring the safety of Constantinople.
Recognised as Scions of the Obertus during the Seventh Council of AD 1081, the Baron’s Gangrel make up one of the largest families. many of them, however, do not reside in Constantinople. Instead, they travel across Eastern Europe and the Near East on various missions. The Baron grants his people freedom, yet upon the Embrace each shares blood with Symeon in a baptismal ceremony. The Baron’s network of Cainites keeps him informed of developments inside and outside the Byzantine Empire.
The family’s primary responsibility, however, is the protection of Gesu and the Obertus monasteries, a task it fulfills with almost religious fervour. Indeed, it is known among the families that if one absolutely has to find one of the Baron’s Gangrel, all they need do is approach the Monastery of St. John Studius or the Church of Christ Pantokrator, and the Gangrel will find them. Contrary to their barbaric reputation elsewhere, the Gangrel look with awe upon the wealth of knowledge they guard. The Baron also enforces the Codex of Legacies throughout the city, and are particularly assiduous in patrolling the limits of the Latin Quarter, hoping to punish the arrogant Latins for their transgressions.
In keeping with the Baron’s Norman background, his family is feudal in organisation. Thomas is the ruler of his clan, and he grants titles to his subordinates, assigning them places within the family’s hierarchy. Baron Thomas is Knight Commander, and he is served directly by three Knight Captains, Urbien and Justinian and John Tarchionates. These in turn are served by a number of senior knights and junior squires. Once every three years, the Baron’s Gangrel journey from all over the empire to Constantinople to share news and stories and renew their oaths of fealty. Thomas is the only Gangrel normally allowed to sire in Michael’s city. However, numerous members of the Greek Gangrel bloodline serve him, and he has been known to grant permission to them to take a prospective childe outside the Domain, Embrace them there, and return with them, where he will then formally adopt them as his own. This privilege is granted as a reward on very rare occasions. So far, the feudal order that the Baron applies to his family has served him well, mainly for its ritualised traditions and oaths of fealty.
A partial roster of the Baron’s Gangrel commonly found in the city
- Baron Thomas Feroux, Knight Commander (7th gen. Childe of Marie Feroux [d], e. late 11th century CE)
- Justinian, Knight Captain (6th gen. Childe of Abaza the Turk, e. mid 11th century CE)
- Urbien, Knight Captain (9th gen. Childe of Agatone, e. early 10th century CE)
- John Tarchionates, Knight Captain (8th gen. Childe of Thomas Feroux, e. late 11th century CE)
- Mother Agnes, Knight (8th gen. Childe of Thomas Feroux, e. late 11th century CE)
- Anna Sgorina, Knight (8th gen. Childe of Thomas Feroux, e. early 12th century CE)
- Verpus Sauzezh, Knight (8th gen. Childe of Hectorus [d], e. mid 12th century CE)
- Ioannes, Squire (11th gen. Childe of Voleta [d], e. late 12th century CE)
- Gyorgi, Squire (10th gen Childe of Urbien, e. late 12th century CE)
- At least 6 more squires can be found moving about the Greek districts of the city, and at least a dozen more knights and squires can be called to the assistance of the Baron from surrounding cities within a few nights time.
RELATIONS WITH OTHER FAMILIES
Due to the pressure that the Latins exerted during the Eighth Council of AD 1185, the Baron and his Gangrel lost power in the Latin Quarter. As a result, Bishop Alfonzo and his rivals among the Pisano’s, Genoese, and Amalfitans were able to invite vast numbers of Cainites into their restricted demesnes, more than doubling the Undead population of Constantinople. This angers Thomas because it is an insult to the hard work that his Gangrel have performed for a century, and also because of the pressure that it places on mortal population’s health and the Legacy of Shadows. Baron Thomas blames the Antonian Ventrue for this development, because it was their weakness and disunity that allowed the Latins to gain so much power.
Unwilling to allow this disastrous state of affairs to continue, Baron Thomas has publicly broken with the sacred old order, deriding the failure of the Antonians and the inactivity of the Michaelites. In several political stand-offs, he has publicly aligned himself with Autokrator Natalya of the Lexor Brujah, and he also appears to be working closely with Malachite on political matters too.
Baron Thomas’ agents abroad reported the likelihood of the Fourth Crusade, and the possibility that they would take the land route through the Byzantine empire, to him years ago. The Baron knew that the state of the provinces was too unstable to permit this, and he warned the ruling families that they should make preparations. Their reaction was, at best, half-hearted. The Antonians immediately began a lengthy process of debate regarding which of them should go to Venice, resulting in political paralyzation that still had not settled the matter by AD 1202.
Unwilling to risk use of the politically paralyzed Antonian Ventrue, he sent his own representative to Venice in an attempt to deflect the Crusade. Anna Sgorina was quick to admit that she was inadequate to the task, but did her duty nonetheless. Thomas listened to her advice, and called upon other contacts to supplement her influence. The Crusade is reportedly headed to Egypt, but news has now reached Thomas that the Dalmatian city of Zara was recently sacked and handed over to Venice. In response, he has sent word to his followers in the provinces, led by Knight Captain Justinian to watch the Crusade closely, and be ready to act against them if needs be.
Also, the Gangrel no longer have freedom to persecute and try all Cainite offenders of the Codex of Legacies. Together with the large numbers of new arrivals in the Latin Quarter, this has placed extraordinary strain on the rule of law and order in the city. Two of his squires were murdered near the Genoese Quarter in AD 1199, and one of his knights disappeared outside the Saut Aswad in 1201. Investigations into these crimes have yielded no results thus far, as the resources of the Baron’s Gangrel are stretched far too thinly. Baron Thomas suspects that Bishop Alfonzo has an Assamite in his employ, but does not have the authority to even question him. A shadowy war is in the offing between the Narsene Lasombra and the Baron’s Gangrel, and only a fool would dare be caught out of bounds in this charged climate.
RELATIONS WITH OUTSIDERS
The Baron’s Gangrel have always attracted those Canites with a sense of honour and bravery. The family’s feudal nature promotes a strong sense of belonging, and its duty to protect the Cainite monks only furthers this sense of community. Outsiders are welcome among the Baron’s Gangrel, so long as they are prepared to take Baron Thomas and Lord Symeon as their feudal superiors, prove their dedication to upholding the Codex of Legacies, and swear to defend the Obertus Order and their magnificent library unto the Final Death. Having said that, a number of the Baron’s Gangrel, led by Urbien the waif are particularly distrustful of Gangrel of the Frankish and Latin persuasion, and will make their lives difficult until they have proven their loyalty.