First, I want to think a little bit about how the city is organized. As I mentioned before, I see this city as one inherently torn between a strong center and independent outlying areas. Most of the major conflicts occur along this axis, as the prince seeks to expand his influence throughout the city and the various local "Lords" struggle back, until one or the other pushes too hard, and all out war results. The current Prince assumed control roughly twenty years ago, when the previous prince became, in the eyes of many, a brutal and mad dictator.
Now, in most Vampire cities, there exists a group called the Primogen. Exactly what they are vary city by city, but in general they are the most powerful vampires in the city who are not directly allied with the Prince. For one reason or another (personal age/power, mortal influence, Kindred leadership), they are the people that the Prince most take into account when making decisions. While individually the Prince might be more powerful than any one of them, if even a majority of them were to unite against him, well, his nights are numbered.
In this city, they are a tad different. Rather than calling themselves "Primogen," they are referred to as "Lords Proprietor" (generally just "Lords" or "Proprietors")--each controls one of the areas of the city as their personal playground. Ideally, they want a Prince who is merely a "first among equals," but their own tyranny and brutal ways often means that the Prince must interfere to maintain peace and the Traditions, thus ensuring the conflict continues.
So, the Prince has a core group of allies who assisted him directly in the overthrow of the old Prince, and who now work with him to rule the city. Opposed to him are the traditional Proprietors. I've come up with a few names/clans for these NPC's. As I develop them, hopefully I will thread the needle between "stereotype" and "unique" as this is a game for new players.
Denmark Vesey/Joseph Vesey--Prince
Rhett (Burnet Mayback)--Lawyer
West Ashley--Tremere Ghazi Abuhakema
Johns Island--Gangrel William Aiken (Ravenwood Plantation)
James Island--Toreador Trent Richard
Daniel Island--Malkavian Carloyn Lancaster
Cainhoy/Mt. Pleasant--Ventrue Michael King
North Charleston--Brujah Lavinia Fisher (PRETENDER)
I have a couple of ideas for each of these characters already, but I'll go into that for the next post.
Next, I wanted to spend a bit of time looking at the "streets"--gangs and their struggles work well in fictional/fantastic games, as they give them players some solid, early "street level" foes. Its good to have enemies with lots of guns, little hesitation, and whom the police won't be too worried about tracking down if they get killed. Of course, this is a game, so I'm embracing the "Grand Theft Auto" theory of gang design. Similar to how I wanted my regions to be really obvious and different, I want the major gangs to be really generically obvious as far as who is what. One idea I did want to do differently is that there is no major black gang in the city. I imagine they were unified temporarily by Vesey in his rise to power, but their leaders were wiped out in that struggle. While the typical "gangster" in the city is black, there is no one dominant black gang in Charleston By Night. The closest would be the "Brothers of Struggle" which is primarily black, but is also something of a "United Colors of Benetton" type gang, or what you see in most movies--a typical group of them would have two black guys, an Asian guy, a white guy, and maybe even a Hispanic girl.
Latin Kings--Largest and move powerful gang in the city, lead by Damien and his Crew
Juggalos--a mad gang of violent killers and robbers, led by Skippy Citter (Malkavian)
Dragons--Asian street gang, led by Meng "Jeff" Zeng
Savianos--Mafia, Led by Augusto La Torre
Brothers of Struggle--Mixed, Antwon "Haywire" Breedlove
Public Enemy #1--White Supremacist, Drew Bostwick
Finally, there is the "real" struggle--what's going on behind the scenes. A good Vampire game has numerous layers, but the top (or bottom, based on your point of view) is a pair of incredibly old vampires playing everyone for their own ends. I decide to tie this stuggle into Gehenna, the Vampire belied in the coming end of the world. Unlike the official version, I always preferred the idea of Gehenna as being a cyclical thing, coming every so often. In it, the eldest vampires rise from their hidden graves and hunt down and consume their children. They embrace a few and leave a few others alive to sire more, thus ensuring their herd is ready for the next cycle. Given this, I see two sides--side A wants to help the Antediluvians in a mad hope of being spared as a "dutiful servant." He would do everything he can to increase the population, increase the violence, keep everyone at each others throats and destroy anyone who might discover the truth. Side B wants to fight the Antediluvians using any weapon available--and in a world with nuclear weapons, there are quite a few available.
So, here's what I have
Powers that Be
Connal--Seeks to fight the Antediluvians (Brujah/Marion Forest)
Ianna--Seeks to advance their interests (Toreador/Downtown)
Next time I'll go into a bit more details into these people, start writing them all up, and figuring out how they all inter-relate.