Here it is… the Truth about the One-Year Plan. It is huge in scope, and I doubt that it will all even come up in the course of the game. Nonetheless, these are the binds which tie everything together: from The Dark Ages Saga; to London Fog; to The Night Chicago Ran Red; to Second Progeny; to Karna; to who J.D. is working for; to what happened to Michelo Ludwig; to Henry Avignon’s role in the dispelling of J.D.; to White’s arrival with Vanessa Cambridge in Davis; even to why Phillip Carlisle is going to die in March 1999. This is the truth of the Underground Puppeteers. This is
Chicago. The Ventrue controlled Chicago from its founding until September 13, 1924 (The Night Chicago Ran Red — September 13, 1998), when the Gionvanni captured it from them. During their tenure in Chicago, the Giovanni worked out new methods of binding and controlling wraiths. Thousands of wraiths that they had enslaved worked with the Giovanni to build massive soulforges, of a size and power unknown to anyone in the Shadowlands in history. With these soulforges, Giovanni-enslaved wraiths forged thousands upon thousands of damned souls into a huge machine; a machine which, when combined with its Umbral, Chimeric, and material components, would wreak untold devastation on our world. The power source for this engine was located deep underneath Davis, deeper even than the lowest Warrens. The target of the engine was Siberia. The engine was tested on December 18, 1998.
Siberia. In September, 1908, in the Tungus region of Siberia, there was an explosion which rivaled, in its destructive power, the atomic bombs which fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (note 1). No one knows what caused this explosion or what its true nature was; but someone is seeking to duplicate it.
Snowy Rock. In this relatively isolated town in Northern California, close to the Oregon border, a Dauntain is building the Chimerical component to the Engine. Already, magic has disappeared from the area, and the Dreaming is suffering.
The Pacific Ocean. In the Pacific Ocean, deep underneath the waves, the material component for the Engine is being built. Should it be detonated, the environmental destruction wreaked upon the earth’s oceans would be devastating.
Sussex, England. A conflict between Baron Johannes Albrecht and the barbarian Benjamin North set the stage for the rise of the new Camarilla of the Greater Central Valley in 1998; and its subsequent fall in August, 1999.
London, England. In 1878 Victorian London (London Fog — March 13, 1998), several Kindred found themselves the possessors of mysterious gems which appeared to be connected to the rising of an Antediluvian; many of these same gems have been found and lost again throughout history; they came together again in Chicago in 1924, in France in 1941, and are coming together again in Davis in 1999. These gems do not serve the awakening of the Antediluvians, but of something even more potent and single-minded: Malayik Jyran.
Although the roots of the present situation go back to Sussex in 1180, its true beginnings are really found in Siberia, 1908. At that time, an entity known as Malayik Jyran, pursued by others of his kind for a crime which I won’t elaborate on here (but which formed the basis of an Advanced Dungeons and Dragons campaign which I ran several years ago), was ejected from his home realm into our reality and executed with a projected singularity. The resultant explosion caused the damage in Siberia, and shattered Malayik Jyran throughout our realm, in time, space, and Umbra. “Shards” or his consciousness were sent as far back as the Cambrian times, and as far in the future as 1998. Malayik Jyran, utilizing the shards of his consciousness, is seeking to reconstruct the events of 1908, so that he might unify himself once again and return to his home realm, to seek his revenge. To accomplish this, Malayik Jyran must build a device capable of projecting a “multi-layered singularity” to the exact moment and place of the original projection. Because of the multi-dimensional nature of the singularity required, this projection must occur on all levels of reality; from the material realm to the Chimerical, to the Umbral to the Underworld. The Shadowlands component has already been built and tested; and the resulting test — which occurred on December 18, 1998 — resulted in a maelstrom in the Shadowlands and shattered, for an instant, the veil which separates the world of the living from the world of the dead.
It is not, of course, that easy. Not all of the shards of Malayik Jyran’s consciousness are fully aware of themselves or their full nature. The “meta-consciousness” that is Jyran is often forced to work subtly and indirectly in order to achieve his goals. These shards are entirely conscious and self-aware in their own right; but they all, for some reason, have the initials M.J. or J.M., and they all know that they are working for someone, even if they don’t know exactly who it is. Dr. Jackson Malthuse, Malkavian, for example, believes that he is working for King Pellinore, the Malkavian Justicar; in truth, however, King Pellinore is immobile and incommunicative in New Orleans, and has been since the execution of William Glendower last year. The King Pellinore that Jackson has been working with all these months is a projection of Malthuse’s own unconscious, guided by the Malayik meta-consciousness, to assist Jackson in reaching the important goals: to ensure that the COGCV does not become powerful enough to interfere in the construction of the material component of the projector. (Another shard run by a player character, Jacob Manroe, was to have played a major role in this particular goal; however, the game that he was supposed to do this in, What Rough Beast, never, unfortunately, got off the ground.)
Malayik Jyran has had many agents working for him throughout the centuries. One of the most prominent had spent decades consolidating and building its powerbase in the Pacific Rim, the better to assemble the monetary and material resources necessary to build the material component of the projector; this agent was, of course, Karna (Note 2). Karna’s goals were thwarted and the construction of the component delayed because of her involvement with Doctor X, who drove her insane and caused her to lose sight of her true goal. William Glendower was utterly oblivious to the danger that Karna really represented, and never saw her as more than a political threat. This lack of true knowledge led to his own death as events spiraled out of control and a series of Malayik-related events led to the rise of a demon in Davis last year and the collapse of the COGCV.
While very few people have any idea that there is such an entity as Malayik Jyran, there is one person who has a slight clue and is marshalling whatever forces he can think of to counter him. This person is, of course, Phillip Carlisle, and all of his actions — from the building of the political and financial structures of the COGCV to his decision to evict the Grey Hand (which he knows was started by Karna) have been with the goal of opposing Malayik Jyran’s construction of the material component of the device. But even Carlisle is unaware of the full nature of the entity; he only knows that something is being built, and that he must stop it.
Since Malayik Jyran essentially exists in many different times simultaneously, he is able to orchestrate events and situations across centures (Jeff, this ought to sound somewhat familiar to you; I lifted the concept — somewhat modified — from an episode of Doctor Who). His scope is limited, since he doesn’t have shards at all points in history, but there is much that he can do.
The gems are key elements as well. These gems have been associated with the rise of a great spiritual power, and have been present at key events in the game’s history since Kent and Adam developed them for London Fog. They are part of a cult’s plan to rise up Set, and the cult in question is the same cult that Adam’s and Erin’s new NPC’s will be associated with. This cult has ties in Snowy Rock as well. Set’s consciousness is also associated with Malayik’s, but the connection is tenuous at best; but the communication that they share means that Set will arise in Davis, since that is where Malayik’s consciousness will reach its cusp in Jackson Malthuse.
The demon J.D. is, as you have probably guessed, a red herring. Though it has some close ties to Chicago (Will Mosby has even agreed to write Chicago into J.D.’s history) it was not “called forth” during the Tremere ritual in Chicago — the ritual was, in fact, meant to open a gate between this world and the Umbra, using a live Lupine as a “gatekeeper”; the ritual was interrupted by the testing of the Shadowlands engine. However, even J.D. has contact with Malayik and works directly for a hsard that exists in the Shadowlands; J.D. captures souls of Kindred in Davis and sends them to the Shadowlands to be used as pieces in the final phase of construction of the Shadowlands component of the [singularity projector].
The gems, which have begun appearing in Book Two (Josh’s new character, the Tremere, possesses one, and the Toreador Jonathan Shoemaker, possesses four of them), are making their way back to Davis. Once all of the gems are together, their power will allow to components of the Machine to be brought all together into one place; and coincidentally, raise Set (mind you, raising Set is a side-effect of this energy).
The politics of the COGCV and its neighbors (and enemies) form an important component of the One-Year Plan. Phillip Carlisle, as the only person who has a good awareness of what is happening (but cannot articulate it without sounding like an insane person), is a dangerous person for Malayik Jyran. Thus, Malayik operates through his shards among the Sabbat and the Black Spiral Dancers to bring him down. While the Garou believe that it was a pack of Red Talons who destroyed the COGCV court of Redding, for example, it was really the same pack of BSD’s that is also responsible for the assassination attempt on Vanessa Cambridge of January 14. There is a shard of Malayik within the Sabbat in Bakersfield, and that individual is responsible also for maintaining the war against the COGCV, even though that war is not in the Sabbat’s best interests.
The Garou are beginning to learn that something is going on in the Umbra, though; the Umbral component of the projector is being built near Sacramento. There is a massive “gate” in the Umbra near Snowy Rock, and through that gate, Chimerical and Dark Umbral energies are siphoned toward Sacramento. The Garou of California will eventually realize that this is going on, and will end up having to put a stop to it; assuming, of course, that the Tremere in the US — who are trying to establish their Chantry in San Francisco through Davis — are able to reconstruct the ritual in Chicago and are able to open a “gate” to the Umbra, which will allow entities of any supernatural persuasion to reach the component and destroy it (this will, unfortunately, require the sacrifice of a living Garou, who will be left “in limbo” — between this plane and the Umbra — for eternity.
Needless to say, this will require a considerable amount of cooperation between the Garou and the Kindred — and, among the Kindred, a good amount of cooperation between the Ventrue, the Tremere, and the Gionvanni (no clan has been left out; most of the PC’s have a vital connection to the politics in on way or another).
However, the BSD pack in northern California has begun moving toward Lodi, and, in March, will actually penetrate Carlisle’s chamber. The entire Lodi court will be laid to waste in late March, while the Fremont Court — which was next in Carlisle’s “succession plan” — will have been destroyed in mid February by the same BSD pack. This will leave the Davis Court as the Central Court of the COGCV, and Baron Riordan as its Prince.
Needless to say, there is a great deal more development to be done, and it is essential to get the input of the staff into the future course of the game. The COGCV is going to be pretty much wasted, I assume, by the end of the game. I haven’t yet thought of how Malayik Jyran will be destroyed (or even encountered), but I imagine that several odd alliances — of Kindred, Garou, Changeling, and Wraith, to say the least — will be required.
It’s my hope that this massive plot line will be to everyone’s liking. The purpose of keeping it secret all these months was to hopefully draw the staff into some of the mysteries surrounding the core plot as well as the players; I don’t know if I’ve intrigued you or simply frustrated you to no end. However, the game has now entered Phase Two; the rest of the game needs all of us to develop it together.
Note 1: The explosion which occurred in Siberia on June 30, 1908, at approximately 7:17 a.m., is a very well-documented historical fact. Even up to the 1960’s, damage to the surrounding forests were visible. I’ve fudged a little with the actual timing of the event so that certain player characters could be present, in a vision, at the time of the explosion without having to worry about sunlight. PC’s who have actually witnessed this explosion are Pon from Second Progeny and the Toreador Jonathan Shoemaker (played by Nick Alvarez).
Note 2: We always wondered why it was that Karna was doing what she was doing. Now we know; isn’t backplotting a wonderful thing?