Call of Chicago: Icons for the Dracula Dossier

Thirteen – each has a number. Each asked to tell something strange – order of numbers makes the story complete – at the end the Count comes in.

            — Bram Stoker, Notes for Dracula

For a change, this isn’t something we left out of the Dracula Dossier. No, instead it’s something you can put into the Dracula Dossier – 13 Icons, very much like the 13 Icons in that other excellent game. Refresh your memory of how we insert Icons and Relationship rolls into Night’s Black Agents, if you care to.

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Rules

No agent can have (or should want) more than 1 Relationship point with Dracula. Defending a Positive relationship with Dracula is left as an exercise for the player and Director, but keep in mind that being loved by (or as he thinks of it, “property of”) Dracula is, if anything, perhaps even more dangerous than being hated by him.

Some of the Icons have possible factions: e.g., individual Dukes of Edom, or agencies of the Romanian government. When you take a Relationship with such an Icon, pick a faction if you wish. If that faction has an enemy within the Icon (the SRI and the SIE, for example) a Relationship Roll of 5 means your faction’s enemy shows up in the story: to do you dirt (but not actually whack you), try to get you to switch sides, get intel on its opponent, etc. Your relationship with your faction’s enemy is always Conflicted. However, balancing this potential irritation, your faction values your support more because it’s challenged more often: you can refresh 1 Relationship point in an Icon with a faction once per session.

Most large bureaucracies have plentiful factions, so feel free to introduce them where I haven’t: MI5, like the CIA, doubtless has its own bureaucratic siege warfare. Or even sub-factionalize the factions I do provide: the Vatican has rival cardinals, wayward bishops, and weird medieval bureaucracies that somehow no one can quite control.

Factions also make great nodes for a Conspyramid. Just saying.

All of the Icons are Ambiguous or Villainous, with the exception of Dracula (who is only Villainous) and the Slayer (who is Heroic or Ambiguous). In some campaigns (especially Stakes mode games) ECHELON, Five, The Circus, The Cross, The Company, or Der Reichsadler might also be Heroic.

A given Director might switch these around to suit her specific version of the Dracula Dossier, or switch her version of the Dracula Dossier around to emphasize the Icons her players pick as Relationships. Feel free, in other words, to swap in Icons like Queen Tera, Lilith, the Red Horse (the Turks), or any other key players in your game.

Edom

This is the original vampire project, nestled within MI6. You were marked for recruitment, or left under a cloud, or learned too much, or helped too little.

Factions: Individual Dukes, Dr. Drawes

The Bride

Like Quincey Morris in Munich, a Bride has gotten a special taste for you.

Factions: Individual Brides; perhaps Lilith, Alraune, or Elizabeth Báthory

The Octopus

You have a relationship with one of Europe’s mafias, perhaps even the Mafia or the Mafiya. You may be a fixer respected by all, or an ex-investigator hated by all; a former brother, or an escaped target.

Factions: Russian Mafiya bratva, Cosa Nostra, ’Ndrangheta, Camorra, a Triad, Chechen Obshina, Romanian mafia clan

ECHELON

You are inside the head of the folks who have eyes and ears everywhere. Were you a programmer or a monitor for the surveillance state, or do they have a special reason to follow your activities?

Factions: NSA, NRO, NGA, GCHQ, DIFC, ASD (Australia), CSE (Canada), GCSB (New Zealand)

Five

MI5, the Security Service of the United Kingdom, responsible for domestic intelligence, counter-terrorism, and counter-espionage. And in theory, responsible for uncovering rogue century-old operations within MI6.

The Circus

MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service of the United Kingdom, responsible for foreign intelligence operations. Your relationship with the Service is not with Edom; you may not even know they exist – or the Circus may have burned you for insisting that Edom did exist.

Factions: Secretariat (military), Requirements and Production (analysis), Security and Public Affairs (internal affairs, mole hunting), Operations (clandestine service), Information Operations (psychological warfare, press manipulation), the Intrusives (DH, p. 293)

The Cross

You have a relationship with someone with a relationship with God. You may be able to get “Indulgences” and illicit sacramental Hosts, or you may be marked for martyrdom for the good of the flock.

Factions: The Vatican, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Church

The Company

The Central Intelligence Agency, known as “the Cousins” to the Circus and Five, has plenty of hands out, and plenty of handouts, for anybody and everybody. You took a hand, once, or bit it.

Factions: Directorate of Analysis (“armchairs”), Directorate of Operations (“cowboys”), the CIA vampire program (“Find Forever”)

The Bear

British intelligence originally intended to aim its vampiric weapon at the Russians, its opponent in the Great Game – and the Russians haven’t forgotten it. The enemy of your enemy is your friend … or possibly your even worse enemy.

Factions: FSB, SVR, GRU, TE (“Special Expedition”) anti-vampire program surviving from 1801 (DH, p. 76)

The Lynx

The national animal of Romania is a small, solitary predator that somehow survives disasters that doom larger species. Sounds about right. You have a “guy in Bucharest” or a “contact in the Palace” or a bunch of signed Securitate pay stubs.

Factions: SIE, SRI, Romanian Armed Forces, Romanian Police, Control Body of the Prime Minister, individual cabinet ministries or oligarchs

Der Reichsadler

Officially called the “Bundesadler” now (except in Greece, and probably Spain and Portugal, and maybe Italy …) the black eagle has been the symbol of Germany for longer than Dracula has been alive. You have fallen under the eagle’s wings … or escaped its talons.

Factions: BND, BfV, Deutsche Bank, Projekt Draugr or other surviving Nazi vampire program (Villainous only)

The Slayer

This Icon hunts vampires, most likely more intensely and dangerously (or incorrectly) than you’d like. It’s an ideal placeholder Icon for a Legacy such as a dhampir Mina Harker, an undiscovered Van Helsing scion, or a badass Morris descendant like Carmilla Rojas. The Slayer may think of you as a protégé, as a weapon … or as bait.

Factions: Individual Legacies, Sayeret Aluka (DH, p. 75), Schola Allatio (DH, p. 77), Caldwell Foundation (DH, p. 160), Echipa Mortii (DH, p. 149; also Villainous)

Dracula

The King of Vampires knows who you are! Don’t you feel special?

Factions: None

One Response to “Call of Chicago: Icons for the Dracula Dossier”

  1. atamajakki says:

    I love this, and will definitely steal the concept for other GUMSHOE games as well.

    Do we have a release date on tye Dracula Dossier for non-backers?

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