I'm currently running a Vampire the Masquerade chronicle using the 5th Edition rule-set for a small group of fellow role-players.

Our primary chronicle is set in Los Angeles and features a small group of Camarilla agents sent into the 'Free States' to bring them back under Camarilla control. This however is the second one of several planned interludes which will centre on the expansion of Baron Michael Tomassio's 'Galerie Sanguine' franchise to other domains.
The now obligatory warning bit - These session write-ups will contain swearing, sexual references and other references that might offend. There are however a list of potential triggers listed before the introduction. I've also used actual photographs to represent some characters which I'll give acknowledgements to at the end if I've any idea who they are.
Links to our main campaign, with a summary of each session can be found HERE.

The PC's
Luthor Constantine - The Ministry, Conspiracy Debunker
Ethan Holst - Samedi, Mortician

Luthor Constantine and Ethan Holst

Chronicle Tenet - "Don't bite the hand that feeds you."

The Storyteller
As everyone else...

If I think something needs a bit of out of character explanation then those will get a storytellers note that will helpfully be in red. Introductory pieces that I read to the group are in Blue. Where particular NPC's have a mention in a faction profile you will be able to reach it by clicking on their name or faction beneath their picture.

Trigger Warnings for This Session: Blood (Obviously), Familicide, Occultism, Suicide

The kindred of Galerie Sanguine have been drawn into the investigation of several murders within San Diego that may, or may not, have an occult connection.

The crimes locations have connections to various of the cities notable kindred which complicates matters considerably, and the pair have now found themselves unable to extricate themselves from the enquiry without offending the notoriously unpredictable Baron Tara.

Scene Six - Overlapping Interests
With the discovered bodies now safely hidden away at Ethan's mortuary, he and Luthor are to accompany one of Tara's inner circle to discuss with Justin Rush, exactly what business he had with the recently deceased security guard found at the second location they investigated. The aforementioned kindred, who they were to be accompanied by, was Cecilia Baird, one of the Constables childer, and his deputy when necessary.

The pair also had some time to go through some theories of their own.

Luthor was of the opinion that conspiracy theories such as the ones inspired by the crime scenes were merely there to confuse and fool the masses and, that those doing the fooling, rarely believed in the conspiracies at all. Tara had immediately concluded that the cities Duskborn population was involved, and Luthor doubted that they'd have been so careless, especially as they knew that Baron Tara was already inclined to think the worst of them. Either they were stupider than he had been led to believe, or they were being framed.

He also knew that Justin Rush had interests in the port area, and that Constance Carson was his competitor. If it came to light that one of his operators within the airport had drawn attention to the operations of the cities Baron, it would severely dent Rush's reputation. Even if only connected to the events peripherally, his involvement in a masquerade breach would make his operations a 'no-go' for any other kindred who valued discretion.

Ethan's own observations were more focussed, but along the same lines. The scene was, in his opinion. too 'noisy', and therefore possibly a distraction of some kind. There were so many clues that any investigator was still likely to be confused trying to sort out the real from the staged aspects of the crime scene,

The Samedi had also had more time to examine the bodies and gathered some new evidence.

Closer examination of some of the drain marks on the corpses, revealed that they could conceivably be made by fangs, with syringes used later to cover up the wounds, it was confusing why anyone would bother though. 

The more medical evidence he gathered, the harder it was to see if this was an attack made to look like it was committed by vampires, or a vampire attack made to look like a staged event. Both possibilities seemed unnecessarily convoluted, and that's what concerned him. Perhaps the perpetrator was just insane? As things currently stood, it was as likely a possibility as any.

However, their contact and guide had now arrived so further conjecture would have to be put on hold.


Cecilia Baird - Brujah
Childe of Absalom Hood
Cecilia was about five foot seven inches tall, slender in build, and somewhat androgynous in appearance. Her eyes were dark, as was her hair, and she was dressed in black. She didn't appear to be armed, though it was difficult to tell where she'd be able hide any armament of significance. She waited for them while leaning against a Ford Explorer SUV, barely a year old, and in excellent condition.

"Are we using my car or yours?" she asked.

Ethan suggested that they use Cecilia's vehicle but offered to drive, which she accepted, though was insistent that her directions were followed explicitly.

They took a route to San Diego Docks that circumvented the International Airport by a significant margin. Apparently Cecilia had taken the warnings about it's status as 'off limits' quite seriously. As Ethan drove, she shared some information with them.

"Justin is currently in Downtown and didn't want to meet us until later. The Constable informed him that Tara will likely be quite upset if he can't make time for those investigating a matter she considers very important. After about a seconds consideration he gave Absalom this address.

"It makes sense why he didn't want us interrupting him, as the place we're heading to is one of Constance's operations, which means that he's either negotiating a truce, or trying to make an alliance, or something of that nature."

Absalom Hood - Brujah
'Constable' of San Diego
"Constance isn't the kind of kindred you just pop around to have a fucking chat with. She's a lying, two-faced, manipulative bitch, who'd stab you in the back if you turned your back on her, or the front if she was in a hurry... at least, that's the brief Absalom gave me... suffice to say, he's not a fan. He doesn't like the idea of elements not loyal to Tara having so much freedom... The whole 'Aegis' thing is a bit complicated..."

"Complicated, how?" asked Luthor. It was immediately clear to Luthor that she regretted her words and seemed reluctant to reply. He then switched tactics a little.

"As we're new to the city, and you are obviously an experienced and trusted operative of the cities Constable, any information you can give us would be invaluable, as well as treated with the utmost discretion." Said Luthor, following the statement with a smile that seemed to soften Cecilia somewhat. 

After a moments pause she continued. "Aegis, the Oratory, Marius, or some combination of the lot, more or less put Tara back in power. Her enemies all disappeared or had fatal 'accidents' courtesy of the Oratory, Aegis funded all her projects and the political campaigns of her puppets, and Marius did his 'Fixer' thing, and though they were paid in boons and the like, they still control much of what they created for her. Tara seems fine with it, but some of her inner circle are worried that that must mean that she's a puppet of Marius's..."

Luthor, for whom half truths and manipulation were second nature, could see that she was holding something back, but was also sure that now was not the time to push, but rather to ingratiate.

"Thank-you for sharing that knowledge with us, I can't say that I've heard much different about Miss Carson, but overlapping interests are common amongst kindred, are they not?"

Cecilia nodded her agreement, then replied. "It's difficult to do anything in this city, without overlapping the Oratory. If it's Aegis or Oratory then it's Constance's area, so like it or not she has to be dealt with. Constance's is old-school kindred. Loyalty through fear, you know the sort? Right? So you have to be a bit careful with how far you push her. But as we're here on Tara's say so, we should have a bit more leeway."

Ethan and Luthor filed the information away. Kindred interactions were always fairly incestuous, so knowing as many connections as possible certainly helped with one's survival.

"Fear can be a powerful motivator..." agreed Luthor. "...make people afraid and they'll believe anything that confirms their biases."

Ethan noted that Cecilia had moved closer to Luthor, as the conversation had developed. whether this was a good thing or not, Ethan was yet to decide. Luthor's casual attitude to relationships had gotten him into trouble on more than one occasion.

Interlude - Frenemies
Tara Kearney - Brujah
Baron of San Diego
Constance Carson put down her phone, and turned to Justin.

"Your visitors courtesy of Baron Tara and Constable Absalom will be here in five minutes. They have questions for you that I'd be very careful about how you answer. It would be unfortunate for you to make even more enemies..."

Justin raised an eyebrow. "What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"

Constance's tone had been vaguely threatening and Justin didn't like it. They were meant to be discussing alliances, and he had no intention of becoming another underling of this bitch. It would be an equal partnership or she could fuck off.

The look on Constance's face indicated to him that he wasn't going to receive an answer, so he tried a different question. "How much do they know?"

Constance shrugged. "I've no idea, but this 'chat' would probably be a good time to find out, don't you think?"

She'd moved from threatening to patronizing, and Justin liked this even less. He was also unhappy about the presence of this new agent of Constance's who stood in the corner of the room like a creepy statue. If the newcomer noticed the attention, then he did nothing to show it.

Constance said something that interrupted his musing "What?"

"Your guests are here." repeated Constance.

Scene Seven - Sheep's Clothing
They arrived at an office building which would initially have passed as closed for business for the night, we're it not for the lights from several windows on the second floor, and the several cars parked out front.

One of these was a Bentley Bentayga, that Luthor estimated to be worth several hundred thousand dollars, and that was said to be one of the fastest SUV's in the world. The other two vehicles however, wouldn't have looked out of place in a military base, and were quite obviously converted military vehicles, though they had civilian plates, and were presumably road legal.

A slim man, of average height and gaunt of face, wearing a suit that might once have been good quality, was leaning against one of the RV's.

"That's Garrett. He's one of Constance's childer, so I guess his bitch sire is still here..." revealed Cecilia. "...so the other pair of bloodthirsty motherfuckers will be around somewhere..."

As if on cue, a larger, but equally badly dressed, individual emerged from the right side of the building, possibly he had been patrolling the area. Both were now looking in their vehicles direction, but were making no moves towards them.

Garrett - Gangrel
'The Untamed' Oratory Pack
"We are invited, so I guess we just introduce ourselves?" said Cecilia, but she didn't sound particularly certain.

Both could tell that Cecilia was clearly nervous. Apparently Constance and her Childers reputations for brutally were enough to even worry a representative of the cities Constable.

"We are here on official business." pointed out Ethan

Luthor saw an opportunity to further ingratiate himself with their guide. "I've done a bit of talking, perhaps I can speak to them for you?" As Luthor mentioned his 'bit of talking', Ethan muttered something about that being the "...understatement of the year..." Luthor chose to ignore the comment.

Luthor understood that body language was important when trying to create the impression you wanted in a 'mark'. He moved in a relaxed, but non-threatening manner. He wanted the Gangrel to see him as harmless, yet not a victim. It was a difficult balance, but Luthor pulled off the deception flawlessly. Cecilia followed just behind, and Ethan bought up the rear.

As they got nearer, Ethan noted dried blood in places on both of the Gangrel's clothing. Either they were very messy feeders, or they hadn't changed their clothes after a recent killing. Ethan wasn't sure which.

Luthor figured that the kindred knew who they were, so skipped the introductions. "Fine night for business wouldn't you say? Thank-you for accommodating us at this late hour."

Cole - Gangrel
'The Untamed' Oratory Pack
It was obvious to them all that Constance's childer saw Luthor, as a slightly over-friendly, and harmless, visitor and promptly stopped making any effort to intimidate them. The directions they gave were to the point, and they almost seemed disappointed that the visitors seemed unlikely to cause any trouble.

"Miss Carson is upstairs, with 'Rush'. Ignore the guard downstairs, he's one of ours, use the stairs on the right. Eleanor will meet you at the top..."

Luthor winked at Cecilia as they passed the now disinterested Gangrel "See? nothing to it"

Eleanor was a head shorter than Garrett, with dark curly hair, and the same dark eyes as her two 'brothers of the blood'. She was neater than the others, but not by much.

Ethan could see that there was dried blood under her fingernails, and like the other two there were several dark stains on her clothing that also looked to him like blood that had, at some point, soaked into her clothing, but it was difficult to tell how recently this had occurred.

As they approached she knocked on the door three times, then pushed it open for them. "Be polite, and brief..." she advised as they entered.


Constance was about five and a half feet tall, with red-hair tied in a bun, and wearing dark red lipstick and eye-shadow, she had also utilised the blush of life to giver her some semblance of normality. Her jacket appeared to have chainmail woven within it though whether this was a for protection, or a fashion statement, was difficult to tell. 

Justin Rush was an imposing figure. Six and a half feet tall, handsome and well dressed in an expensive suit and shirt. Constance was perched on one corner of a large boardroom table, Justin was standing opposite. In one corner, a third individual stood motionless.

Cameron 'Cockroach' Roach - Gangrel
Ally of Constance Carson
The other man was a little under six feet tall, muscular and square jawed, wearing a long brown coat over a t-shirt and trousers, and glasses. His only movement was to turn his head slightly towards them as they entered. He shifted the rest of his body slightly to match the direction in which he was now looking, and then became motionless once more. He reminded Ethan of a preying mantis.

Lying on the table between Constance and Justin was a map of San Diego which had been folded so that the airport was at it's centre.

"What's so urgent that it warrants a vaguely threatening message from the cities Constable, yet is simultaneously unworthy of his personal attention?" asked Mr Rush, not unreasonably.

Cecilia began to explain, in broad terms, the recent murders and the circumstances surrounding them. Though Justin was the focus of the conversation, Constance watched intently. Luthor studied her and attempted to see if any Cecilia's explanations elicited any reaction from Constance. Unfortunately he could detect nothing in her expression that gave him any clues.

Storytellers Note - Or to be exact, Luthor's player rolled zero successes...

Justin allowed Cecilia to finish before replying. "What leads you to my door now?" he asked, though Luthor was reasonably sure that he already knew the answer. "Because..." interjected Luthor. "...one of the victims is an associate of yours..."

This was somewhat of a guess on Luthor's part, but he made the statement with such confidence that Justin apparently believed that he had some actual evidence to support his conclusion, rather than the vague circumstantial evidence that he actually possessed.

"Theodore? Yes he was one of mine.

Luthor tried not to look too smug, and almost succeeded.

Interlude - Connections
An Unknown Observer
The second tracking device clearly indicated that the pair had made their way to this office complex, one of Constance's, of that he was sure. He absent-mindedly scraped away a spot of dried blood, that his fellow agent had managed to get on the display of the positioning device, while he considered the situation. 

He wasn't sure what the connection between the investigation and the location was until he observed Justin Rush's car parked outside. Constance and Justin were supposed to be enemies, but in kindred terms that meant very little, their natures being what they were, and it wouldn't be the first time that kindred had banded together against a mutual foe, or for mutual gain.

His leader would want more information on the specifics of the meeting, but he had no intention of sneaking closer with three Gangrel on guard. Especially not those three. Undisciplined thugs they might be, but they were also on alert, and the Clan of the Beast were usually difficult to sneak up upon.

He'd been tasked with following the three on a previous night, observed their methods of hunting, and witnessed the aftermath of their feeding, and was therefore justifiably reluctant to get into a fight with them, especially as it would be three against one. Gangrel were notoriously pragmatic when it came to such things and only seemed to consider fighting on equal terms when they were settling internecine disputes. Constance herself was even worse than her childer. Some of the stories he'd heard about her excesses were difficult to believe, even when he'd had several confirmed by reliable sources.

No. It would be much better to gather information from a fairly safe distance, and then leave his boss to make the decision.

Scene Eight - Suspicions
Justin Rush - Brujah
The Docks - San Diego
"Your associate was obviously targeted for a reason, especially as no-one else resided in that building. It was highly unlikely to have been a random attack." stated Luthor. Ethan added his conjecture that the exact nature of the wounds was intentionally confusing, and that it was their intention to put the matter to bed with the least amount of trouble.

"I'm sure you realise..." continued Luthor. "...that an obviously occult based murder perpetrated against one of your own businesses, and staff, is likely to bring entirely the wrong kind of attention to your door, and to this city..."

Ethan interrupted. "Sorry to be pedantic, but it likely wasn't an occult ritual, just arranged to look like one. Of course that doesn't change the most important point just raised by my colleague, that the attention drawn by these events could be... unfortunate..."

Apparently they had laboured the point enough to make Justin open up a little about his associate.

"He used to work security for one of the logistics firms by the airport, and in return for turning a a blind-eye to certain additions to a storage crate, I made sure he was looked after. I never met his bit on the side, or his family. His death is inconvenient as he still had airport access, which is useful as kindred are banned from entering the area themselves. Not that everyone seems to be obeying that particular directive..."

He left the comment hanging, and seemed to be seeing how all present reacted to the statement. Cecilia was the first to ask for clarification. Justin however was politically savvy enough to use the question to score a point.

"I'll discuss the matter with the Constable, not his messenger girl or conscripted investigators...this isn't something he'd want spread around anyway. It might undermine the Barons authority if it became common knowledge that her authority is being flaunted..."

Constance was obviously amused by the whole exchange, and was making no attempt to hide the fact.

Ethan decided to clarify the situation. "In terms of the investigation into this murder, our obligations are to the Baron, but any information passed to us that facilitates this, but comprises no threat to the Baron herself would be kept between us.  We have no desire to disrupt this Barony, nor impact upon the delicate nature of it's internal politics, and therefore would keep any confidences that these restrictions allow of us."

Justin's reply seemed to be phrased so as to minimise any implications that it was he who was flaunting Baron Tara's authority "The only effect it's had on me is that I can't access the airport at all. I have some mortals who work within the broad area of the airport, but they are not as reliable as blood-bound operative."

Sensing that Justin had reached the limit of what he was willing to share, the pair turned their attention to Constance. Sensing the change in focus, Constance spoke first.

"I hope my childer weren't rude. They aren't great at the social necessities, but they're handy to have around when someone needs tearing into little pieces..."  Her tone was conversational, but the implied threat clearly indicated that she was used to going on the offensive during negotiations.

'The Untamed', After "Tearing several people into little pieces"

Luthor attempted to use her statement to lead her into revealing more, but met with limited success. "The murders were particularly brutal. The victims weren't exactly torn into pieces, but the killer or killers certainly left a mess."

Ethan scanned the room, assessing the best way he might vacate it as rapidly as possible. In his opinion, baiting Constance might not be the best plan, and Luthor had been dangerously close to making an accusation

"I don't make a habit of murdering children...." Constance replied. "...and I definitely don't advertise myself to the Second Inquisition, in such a manner. If I wanted some mortal and his whore dead, it would be done without the theatrics...everyone and everything I ever killed met their ends far more... efficiently, than this..."


Ethan took note of the phrasing of the reply and immediately concluded that Constance probably had killed children, just not these particular ones. He filed this disturbing information away, then continued where Luthor had left off. Though he decided that he would be a little less accusatory.

"You make a very valid point when you refer to theatrics. Of all the kindred within this city, are you aware of anyone who would be inclined towards theatrics such as these? Perhaps there is a pattern of behaviour that might point us towards a suspect."

"No-one springs to mind." stated Constance, though Ethan was certain that someone sprang to her mind when children had been mentioned.

Luthor interjected "Perhaps it was personal, but it could also be professional. I can't help wondering that if the perpetrator might eliminate one person with access to the airport, that they might try to do it to others with similar interests. Though I suppose the same effect could be gained simply through a well placed bribe."

San Diego International Airport - At Night

Constance immediately discounted the latter of these possibilities. "My people are loyal, and though fear is a factor, they are also paid extremely well." She stood up as she spoke, and the strange kindred who still stood silently in one corner of the room took a step forward. Clearly Luthor and Ethan were being informed that it was time for them to leave.

Ethan's involvement in a number of operations involving death and murder had, as an unfortunate side effect, also bought him into contact with those for whom killing was second nature. He was sure that Constance was such an individual, but she also didn't strike him as impulsive, and she definitely wasn't stupid. The whole thing seemed too convoluted for her. In his opinion she would have either just had everyone murdered, either in person or by proxy, and then just got on with her night. The elaborate cover-up seemed out of character.

Of course Luthor decided he needed to get the last word in.

"You've both given us some information worthy of further investigation. However, I can't help but considering that, maybe, some other agent could be working to destabilise the hard work and effort of worthy kindred such as yourself as you continue to work in your own, and Baron Tara's service. If I was a competitor of yours myself, I might be someone who would come after you too.... Anyway, I'm sure it's nothing for you both to worry about."

Luthor's plan was to make them paranoid as possible about people being 'out to get them'. In his opinion, the more paranoid that they were, the more likely they would be to make mistakes by overreacting. Justin was clearly considering what Luthor had said, but Constance gave no indication that she felt threatened. Given that she had, in theory at least, the resources of both Aegis and the Oratory to call upon, she probably felt that she was fairly secure.

Apparently Constance had decided that the last words were going to be hers. "I'm sure I'll be fine. I don't have enemies... well... not for very long..."

As they turned to leave, Luthor offered Cecilia his arm, which she accepted.

"Did we accomplish anything in there?" she asked, once they were a safe distance from the building.

It was an excellent question.

Interlude - The Pack
Constance left moments after the investigators had left, and joined up with her childer.

"What did you think of them?" she asked.

"The pretty one was a harmless buffoon, and his boyfriend didn't look like he could fight his way out of a wet paper bag..." said Garrett, whose value system was entirely based on how proficient an individual was in a fight. Cole, who generally followed Garrett's lead, nodded his agreement.

Eleanor - Gangrel
'The Untamed' Oratory Pack
Eleanor, who was undoubtedly the smartest of the three, and arguably the most vicious, had a different opinion.

"They're cleverer than they look. I was listening to them during the meeting and they didn't seem harmless to me. The fact that the handsome one made you think they were, tells me that he knows how to play the fool when it suits him. The other one was observing everything and everyone. They're a pack of two, and we all know that a pack is greater than the sum of it's parts. Plus I did a little checking up..."

Constance raised an eyebrow. Her childer weren't exactly known for their cognitive skills. She'd have to keep a closer eye on Eleanor in case she got any ideas above her station. Nonetheless, she allowed her childe to continue.

"...their boss in L.A. is basically running the place now and all his people are well trained, and respected. I doubt he's started hiring fucking idiots all of a sudden..."

Constance had heard enough.

"We'll keep an eye on them, but we have larger concerns at the moment. We have a logistics operation to bring under Oratory control."

Eleanor stopped talking. 'Oratory', meant Aegis, and that meant Constance's boss Marius would be showing an interest in their progress. Her own interest in the upstart investigators would have to be put on the back-burner. At least, for now.

"What's next then?" she asked.


To Be Continued in 'Galerie Sanguine: San Diego (Part Three)'


Storytellers Conclusions
I sometimes like to do a round-up of how the session went in these features but if you couldn't give a shit what I think then feel free to skip this bit....

The players skirted the line between information gathering and outright accusations with enough skill to avoid getting their characters killed... but only just. let's hope they're as successful next session.

Song Lyrics
Also, the quote in the header is from the following song, should any-one be interested.


Further Acknowledgements
Portions of the materials are the copyrights and trademarks of White Wolf Entertainment AB, and are used with permission. All rights reserved.

I've used pictures of real people to represent some of the characters and art for others so in no particular order Luthor Constantine is Michele Morrone Michael, Ethan Holst is Bryan Cranston, Cecilia Baird is Lynn Gunn, Absalom Hood is Jamie Dornan, Tara Kearney is Melissa Rauch, Garrett is John Rawls, Cole is Danny Huston, Cameron 'Cockroach' Roach is Henry Rollins, The 'Unknown Observer' is Tyler Mane, Justin Rush is Armie Hammer, Constance Carson is Dina Meyer and Eleanor is Megan Franich.

Everything else is from vampire related folders and searches and is as far as I know is all of the 'fair use' variety. If there's something that you feel should be attributed to some-one then feel free to let me know and I'll happily add an acknowledgement.