Domain Code: TX-065-D
VSS Boundaries: The geographical borders within Hays, Caldwell, and Blanco Counties.
City Type: Sabbat-Controlled
Other Vampire Political Affiliations Active in the Domain: N/A
Sect Boundaries: The Sabbat control the city of San Marcos itself
Theme: Delving into the Black Abyss
Mood: Faith, Doubt, Freedom, Existential Horror
Styles of Play: Physical: 3, Social: 2, Mental: 5
“It has been said, 'the truth will make men free.' The truth alone has never made anyone free. It is only doubt which will bring mental emancipation.” - Anton LaVey
The Chicago Blood Accords were supposed to bring peace to the Sabbat. It was supposed to be a time of rebuilding, a way to reforge the Sect into a weapon that could be waged in the post-Year of Fire world they now lived in. This hope has dissolved as a series of tragedies befell the City of San Marcos, a once-great stronghold of the Sword.
Over the last year, the Sabbat of San Marcos have experienced a slew of enemies in their Diocese, and this has taken its toll. In the wake of the Revenant Crisis, and Optima Incorporated's operation, much of the Sabbat's hold on the outlying territory has weakened. This, coupled with the Unblinded Brotherhood's incursion and the machinations of a local group of "Druids" led by a Witch pushed the Sect to a tipping point. While the Unblinded Brotherhood were eventually defeated, in their place Hunters have taken hold. Not much is known of these Hunters, or their resources, but their influence cannot be denied.
This has caused darkness to sweep across the area. Where once the Sabbat knew exactly what was going on in their territory, they now barely understand what surrounds them. Without this intelligence, the Cainites are forced back into San Marcos proper. From here, they will make their stand.
Tensions raised by this situation have ebbed away the Sect's unity and political factions within the Diocese appear to be constantly at odds. Adding disputes to territory on top of this, and the turmoil caused by the recent Synod, the bonds that hold the Sabbat together appear on the edge of breaking altogether. Despite this, the Sword of Caine must survive, working hard to regain what they lost and discover more about their ever growing list of villains.
San Marcos itself is still controlled by the Sabbat but the outlying areas have become extremely dangerous. There are hunters to the north, in Blanco County, who have taken ahold of all major cities within. Cainites visiting Caldwell County, to the south, will find that Lockhart has begun a similar transformation. Hays County remains a foothold but, outside of San Marcos, the Sword of Caine has lost both Wimberly and Dripping Springs to Hunters as well. Only the towns along I-35 appear to be completely safe.
1689 - Spaniard Alonso de Leon leads an expedition from Mexico to explore Texas and establish missions and presidios in the region. De Leon's party reaches the river on April 25, the feast day of St. Mark the Evangelist; the river is therefore named the San Marcos.
1808 - A small group of Mexican families settle at the Old Bastrop Highway crossing of the river, and named the settlement Villa de San Marcos de Neve. The settlers are plagued by floods and Indian raids and the settlement is abandoned in 1812.
1846 - The first Anglos settle in the vicinity of the San Marcos Springs. The town becomes a center for ginning and milling local agricultural products. The first Sabbat also settle in the region, consisting mostly of members of the Order of St. Blaise and led by Zana, Serena de la Cruz and Jean-Baptiste Chastain. Under their guidance, the Southwest Texas State Normal School is founded.
1849 - The town's most notable founder and early settler, Gen. Edward Burleson, builds a dam on the upper reaches of the river. Burleson was a hero of the Texas Revolution and former vice president of the Republic of Texas. The dam powered several mills, including one within present-day Sewell Park.
1901 - As San Marcos is a critical waystation in the war against the Camarilla for North America, an Ultra-Con fellowship arrives in the city under the leadership of Vox Umbra and Alexei Popov, demanding it be converted into a full Diocese. The Order of St. Blaise acquiesces, and the first Archbishop of San Marcos (Ventrue antitribu Mikael Varner, a known pawn of the Inquisition) is established. Shortly thereafter, the Order of St. Blaise places the University under the direct control of the Grimaldi Revenant family, who begin to slowly take control of the entire city.
1919 - All members of the Inquisition are destroyed within Austin for “allowing their political goals to overcome their duty to the Sect” by the Black Hand. Without the support of the Inquisition, the Archbishop is deposed, and the Black Hand takes direct control of the city until a new Archbishop can be ordained by the Cardinal.
1933 - After the Synod of New York, enterprising Cainites attempt to take advantage of the lack of Camarilla influence in order to subvert the Anarchs of Austin. A pack of master infiltrators, known as Los Hijos, is sent to Austin to stir up war. They are somehow discovered and a single survivor, Fernando Octavio Arroyo, returns to San Marcos in disgrace.
1950 - Paul J. Rogers, the owner of the Aquarena Springs, opens a new attraction: a submarine theater. Charming underwater performances are held every day of the year except Christmas. The spring-fed lake’s constant warm temperature allowed the shows to go on, even in the winter. At the height of its popularity, Aquarena Springs attracted an estimated 350,000 visitors each year.
1957 - The Code of Milan is truly accepted into the sect following the Third Civil War. The city elects a new Archbishop, an Assamite antitribu named Zayim Abisali who is known to hold debts to several members of the Black Hand.
1974 - Cheatham Street Warehouse, an old grocery warehouse, is bought by Kent Finlay and Jim Cunningham. They turn it into a country music hall, which goes on to be where many aspiring country stars get their start on the road to fame.
1985 - Researchers at the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment find evidence of an ancient settlement at the San Marcos River, associated with the Clovis culture, which suggests that the river has been the site of human habitation for more than 10,000 years.
1999 - The Assamite antitribu abandon the Black Hand, cutting the BH forces in San Marcos in half. A faction of Cainites, led by Arroyo and discontent with merely protecting the Order of St. Blaise’s pet project, call for the removal of the Archbishop. He is challenged to Monomacy and defeated, with the penalty of death. Arroyo becomes Archbishop of San Marcos and whips the diocese into an anti-camarilla frenzy.
2001 - The events of the Year of Fire see San Marcos preparing for a violent crusade against the Anarchs of Austin, only to see the return of the Camarilla in force. The city fights a violent Camarilla incursion from the north, as the Camarilla seeks to expand beyond Austin. The series of skirmishes against encroaching Camarilla forces, burgeoning Hunter forces, and other local supernaturals rages on in what will become known as the San Marcos War. The Inquisition takes advantage of the conflicts to bring all members of the Black Hand to bloody trial. The last of the Black Hand’s influence in the city fades.
2005 - San Marcos resumes its position as a strategic launch site for extracting forces from Texas. With the eyes of the clergy expecting their strict adherence to the Silence of the Blood, Arroyo’s continued attempts to corral the diocese into continuing the war with Austin stumbles and fails. With no one else wanting the eyes of the Cardinals and Regent on them, Arroyo continues as Archbishop.
2011 - The Accords come into place. Arroyo, discontented with the Sabbat’s ‘peace overtures’ (and, rumors suggest, influenced by other forces) begins to slowly lose his grip on reality, showing increasing lapses in his judgement. He abandons humanity for the Path of Cathari, doing increasingly little for the Sect save for whatever his whims decide upon, while drawing just enough attention to the city. He transforms San Marcos into a bloodied party town, in which the Order of St. Blaise can barely manage to maintain the Silence. He overfeeds, encourages the city to do the same, and generally does not enforce any of the Code of Milan. The city enters a ‘wild west’ period.
2016 - The San Marcos Art Commission announces a citywide art installation project that would erect 10 mermaid statues throughout the city. While they are all identical, each is decorated by a different artist.
2018 - The Revenant family that the Order of St. Blaise cultivated revolt on the Diocese, rising up in an attempt to free themselves from their blood-bonded servitude. The Cainites of San Marcos fight back, stopping their ritual and putting an end to their delusions of grandeur. A group of Druids, led by a Witch, make inroads into Sabbat territory. Arroyo fakes his own death, only to return later in the year as a member of the Unblinded Brotherhood, a splinter-sect that has pushed the Sword into yet another Civil War. Arroyo is defeated, and his ranks are thwarted, but the Sabbat are left unable to stop an influx of Hunters that follow in his wake. The Diocese is forced to back into San Marcos, only able to hold onto the city and I-35.
Cheatham Street Warehouse - The largest music venue in the city and the home of local musicians. George Strait and the Ace in the Hole Band played their first shows here in 1975 and, in the early 1980s, a young Stevie Ray Vaughan played there every Tuesday night. Even Willie Nelson has played here, marking it as a true Texas staple.
The Devil's Backbone - Texas Farm Roads 12, 165, 2325, and 32, along with U.S. Highway 281, form a loop that connects Wimberley and Blanco. This loop cuts through a scenic portion of the Texas Hill Country that looks like something straight out of a Wild West movie. The area, called the “Devil’s Backbone,” draws visitors from all over Texas who come to see the sweeping vistas. Supposedly, the area also draws visitors from farther away…perhaps even from the “great beyond.”
Optima, Inc HQ - An organization linked with the Revenant Revolt, and Serena de la Cruz. The company has gone quiet in recent nights, but remains a powerful force within the city. Somehow, they've chosen a new CEO, and appear to be buying land wherever they can.
San Marcos Regional Airport - Strategically located between two of the most dynamic and fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country, the San Marcos airport is a a rapidly emerging center for business and technology in the area.
Our Lady of Wisdom University Parish - Our Lady of Wisdom University Parish is a parish
in the Catholic Diocese of nearby Austin. They serve the needs of the Catholic students, faculty, and staff of Texas State University, for over 100 years.
San Marcos Springs - The San Marcos Springs are the third-largest collection of springs in Texas. Never in recorded history has the river run dry. Once a theme park, now a research center, this once famous attraction has mostly faded from public memory.
Texas State University - The largest institution in the Texas State University System and the fifth-largest university in the state of Texas. Classified as a research university and the alma-mater of George Strait and Lyndon B. Johnson.
The Witch's Glen - A large woodland area near the end of the Devil's Backbone and the previous home of "The Witch" and several others known as "Druids." The area has been fully cleaned out, as if the Druids left in a hurry after their last encounter with the Sword of Caine.
--Well Known Residents--
These NPCs will be available either as an Ally or a Contact for players to use, subject to VST approval.
[A] = Available as an Ally as defined in the BNS Book
[C] = Available as a Contact as defined in the BNS Book
Mason Peters, Mayor - Mayor Peters was elected as the 45th Mayor of the City of San Marcos on December 13, 2016. He ran on a platform of "Law and Order," promising to return peace to the city. It hasn't gone very well, and his polling numbers have been tumbling for months. [A,C]
Alicia Mendoza, KTSW Night DJ - Alicia hosts a late night program featuring alternative rock music, up and coming musicians, and local news. Although KTSW is a student run radio station, it's wildly popular and Alicia's program "Minutes to Midnight" leads the way. [C]
Katelyn Walsh, San Marcos Police Chief - Walsh served overseas in Iraq for two tours of duty in the Marine Corps before returning to civilian life. She has served the Odessa Police Department as a Field Training Officer, Firearms Instructor, Narcotics Detective, Narcotics Sergeant, Patrol Division Commander, Criminal Investigations Division Commander, and Operations Division Assistant Chief before being appointed as Chief of Police for the San Marcos Police Department in 2016. Chief Walsh is hard nosed and has never let anything stand in the way of justice. [A]
Paul "Shovelhead" Jones, Bar Manager of Cheatham Street Warehouse - The Cheatham Street Warehouse has seen some changes over the years, but one thing that hasn't changed is the man behind the bar. Paul Jones has a big heart for music and those who make it, but is also known for being extremely overprotective of the locals. Good rule of thumb? Don't heckle a band here, unless you want to deal with Shovelhead. [A, C]
Ezra Pratt, CEO of Optima Inc - Mr. Pratt is the new CEO of Optima Inc, manning the company at the incredible age of 24. He was a child genius, and held multiple degrees in a variety of scientific fields before he was an adult, but his age is still quite controversial among the remaining employees. [A]
Carmen, The Red Scorpion - The mysterious leader of the local gang, the Southside Syndicate. Everything known about Carmen comes down to rumor, even her name, but her gang has been growing substantially in San Marcos. They appear to have mostly taken over the local drug industry, though the extent of which is unknown. [C]
--Individual Game Components--
Action (combat and challenges): 3
Character Development (personal dilemmas and choices): 5
Darkness (corruption, fear and horror): 4
Drama (ceremony and grand story): 3
Intrigue (politics and negotiation): 2
Manners (social etiquette and peer pressure): 2
Mystery (enigmas and investigation): 4
PC Death (how often it is present): 2
Pacing (how quickly do stories start, develop and come to an end): 3
Sabbat is an inherently CVC Venue; this is made even more intense by the fact that the National Chronicle centers around the Jyhad. What does this mean? It means that you should be prepared for social and physical conflict with other players. All CVC must be run by the VST; no one else is sanctioned to preside over CVC actions.
Either attendance at game or submission of a complete downtime will be worth the maximum allotted XP per the Player’s Guide.
All proxies must be sent to both the VST and DST for cross venue considerations, as well as the home VST of the character. All proxies must also include:
-Complete character sheet and XP log
-Information on how the character plans to travel to, from, and within the Domain.
-An agreement that characters within the VSS are subject to effects of venue-level plot.
-Player’s presiding VST contact information.
Proxies intended for game must also include:
-The name of the person playing the character, if not yourself.
-All proxies during game must be represented by a player.
-NPC players may be provided, but are not guaranteed.
The VST staff reserves the right to deny all or part of any incoming proxy for any reason.
Our Chronicle is “The Time of Reckoning,” for both the faith of the Sabbat and in the direction of its future. This VSS will place the PCs in the middle of this, with enemies and temptations on all sides. One of the core moods of this chronicle is desperation, and that will hang over the entire venue. I plan on including National and Regional plot kits as often as possible, so that those interested in these plots have the opportunity to interact with them.
In 2019, the Sabbat have maintained a treaty with the Camarilla known as the Chicago Blood Accord. The core of this treaty mandates that the Sabbat maintain the Silence of the Blood, which has led to changes in how the Sect operates. They are no longer in need of 'violent soldiers,' and thus our local story will have a more political feel to it as the Jyhad begins to take a more important role in the themes and moods of the Sabbat. What does this mean? This means the Sabbat believe in keeping their activities secret from “Those Not of the Blood,” and it means they have done away with concepts like shovelhead parties and open acts of vampirism. It also means they have turned inward, fighting each other for dominance through political factions. With this in mind, the Diocese will have a mechanic that monitors the “fear” status of the city, and consequences that may stem from open acknowledgement of the existence of vampires.
Individuals wishing to be on a Path of Enlightenment (regardless of cost) will be required to include information in their application demonstrating knowledge of the Path and detailing when, where, and by whom they were educated on the Path, in addition to providing an example of how their path both gains beast traits and how they could lose progress on their path.
Players wishing to play members of the Black Hand or the Inquisition will be required to include in their application a statement agreeing to be subject to local domain plots which may focus on character-vs-character conflict between those groups.
This VSS uses a modified version of the Quest system from Werewolf the Apocalypse (the details of which can be found at https://goo.gl/C5dSnw) in order to distribute plot that players may interact with without needing complete storyteller supervision.
The number of Elder generation characters in play will be monitored and restricted, and preference will be given to concepts considered core to the venue (Lasombra, Tzimisce, and the base antitribu).