Our Setting
The History of Chicago
"City of the Big Shoulders" – From Carl Sandburg's 1914 poem, "Chicago" "Hog butcher for the world, Tool maker, stacker of wheat, Player with railroads and the nation's freight handler; Stormy, husky, brawling, City of the big shoulders."

The first settlers to come to the Indian village, that would eventually grow into Chicago, were Father Jacques Marquette, a French-born missionary of the Jesuit order, and Louis Joliet, a Canadian explorer and mapmaker in the fall off 1673.

Led by Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, a trading post was established in 1779. In 1795, Revolutionary War hero, General "Mad" Anthony Wayne acquired the land in 1795 and Fort Dearborn was built in 1803. The establishment of this fort and the occupation of the land did not sit well with the Native Americans that had called the land home. Many of the settlers found themselves victims to war-parties and raids.

Fort Dearborn was abandoned during the War of 1812 but returned in 1816 with even more settlers. Chief Black Hawk of the Sauk Indian Tribe rose up as a leader of the Native Americans and planned to push back the white settlers off of Sauk land. After a bloody battle that some say included both Native Americans, White Settlers and Supernatural creatures, the Native Americans retreated into the wilderness and the white settlers retreated to Fort Dearborn.

Maxwell, a Brujah embraced by a Spaniard, became the first Prince of the growing city. A former fur trader, he had found himself subject to prejudice because of his ebony skin amongst mortal society, but he also found acceptance in the the world of the Kindred. Maxwell struggled to keep the city a Brujah haven but the Civil War found the city subject to a never ending influx of mortals and with the end of the war, Kindred. Amongst the newly arrived Kindred was a Ventrue by the name of Lodin.

In 1871, the Great Fire of Chicago swept through the city, know as "Devil's Night" and reportedly set by a Malkavian, the fire gutted 18,000 buildings and killed 300 mortals, but also decimated Maxwell's supporters which caused Lodin to see his chance. Maxwell was attacked and though he was not killed, he did flee the city, leaving Lodin and the Ventrue in charge of the city.

Rapid regrowth followed the fire and Lodin took full advantage. Through the combination of money and force, Lodin amassed a great empire built on the backs of the mortals who operated under his sway. But time and progress worked together to allow the mortals to rise and begin to protest the deplorable conditions that lived and worked in.

Into this time of upheaval stepped a Toreador by the name of Modius. Modius used his charms and innate abilities to garner the support of both the unhappy mortal workers and disgruntled Kindred. The battles that commenced in the 1880's relied upon the mortals both sides claimed as their own. Eventually Lodin found that the power he held in the police and and private security agencies was negated by the more violent elements of the mortal world and he also found himself lacking in Kindred allies.

In the face of spreading strikes Lodin attempted to destroy the union leaders during a protest. One of Lodin's mortal agents threw a bomb into the crowd. Known as the Haymarket Riot of 1886, the end result saw the death of many mortals and police. Four union leaders were sentenced to death despite the lack of evidence connecting them to the incident and Lodin saw a subsequent erosion of his influence as the dead man's memories were raised to the level of martyrs and union fervor rose to new heights. Lodin swore that he would not repeat his mistakes..but the tides of time had another thought in mind...

In 1894, the Pullman Strike began and would go down in history as one of the greatest tragedies of union history. Black and white Pullman workers came together to strike against the poor living and working conditions they were subject too and effectively crippled the nation's rail system. This was a direct threat to Lodin's lieutenant, a man by the name of Drummond who was a railroad baron.

Without consulting Lodin, Drummond used government troops to attack the workers and break the strike. This action swayed public opinion in favor of the workers and caused great scandal the world over. In light of this catastrophe, Lodin concluded that his current power structure could not stop the disgruntled workers and he began to look around for a suitable tool to control the workers. Lodin's attention came to rest upon a socialist leader, Tommy Hinds whom he embraced and dominated to turn against the labor leaders.

Hinds wasted no time in co-opting the union leadership with promises of wealth and power if they vowed to ensure worker complacency. Industries were forced to upgrade pay and working conditions and unions began to suffer takeover attempts by organized crime. Modius and his ilk were slow to react but when they did, it was with violence never before seen. Once the violence commenced Modius' followers became impatient and unwilling to rely on kine. An Anarch by the name of Balthazar along with his Sire, began to search for and destroyed Lodin's allies amongst both the Kindred and kine.

Lodin turned this to his advantage and seeking the support of the eldest Kindred in the city, he pointed out the threat the Anarchs made to the Masquerade. Upon receiving the grudging support of the Elders, Lodin set about ending the long war by any tactics necessary. Lodin's childe, Hinds paid a visit upon Balthazar and convinced the violent Anarch to switch sides. With the new support of Balthazar and the acquiescence of the Primogen, Lodin embarked upon a systematic campaign of extermination. Masking his attacks as a series of Blood Hunts called against violators of the Masquerade, Lodin managed to destroy most of his opponents. Modius, on the other hand, managed to leave the city and ensconce himself in the city of Gary, Indiana, then a center of union strength.

Cauchemar Praxis

The next fifty years became known as Cauchemar Praxis, a time of peace among the Kindred of Chicago. During this time of relative peace (some say muddled complacency) Lodin learned to fear the power of the Primogen. A few amongst them had grown to feel that Lodin had overstepped his bounds and he had created dangerous precedents. Three amongst their number threw their support behind Modius but they found their power checked by the mysterious, combined power of the Ventrue, Tremere and Malkavians. Deciding that the power of the city should rest firmly in the hands of the combined hands of the Elders. Shortly after World War I, invitations went out and the greatest Elders of Chicago began to gather in a new Elysium.

While the first meetings of the Elders accomplished little, they did give the Elders a feeling that they had discovered a way to solve conflict without engaging in bloody conflict. Eventually, the Elders began to establish a power structure greater than Lodin's. Lodin for his part, knew of the gathering but did not appreciate the importance of what was happening. When he made the decision to make Al Capone, the infamous gangster, his childe, this conflicted with the Elder Brujah Procet's plans to manipulate the underworld.

In the past, such a conflict would have resulted in bloody warfare amongst Kindred and kine both, but now the question came before the Primogen Council and a 5-2 vote the decided to allow the Prince his new neonate, but Capone would have to bow to the wishes of Procet in matters of the underworld. Lodin was angered by this but continually found himself checked by the powers of the Elders at every turn.

Lodin also never forgot the challenge of Modius and thus his primary goal was the destruction of the Prince of Gary. This period of time would become known as the Interdiction of Gary. This was a scheme to strip Modius of power by destroying the power of the mortals Modius controlled. Lodin gave two of his lieutenants free reign to cripple Gary's economy and destroy the Union influence there.

Modius and his other socialist allies realized too late what was happening. The economy of the city had long been based on steel and though unable to drive the steel plants out of the city, the two Kindred attacked the steel industry nationwide with alarming efficiency. Through use of dominate, steel magnates were forced into making ridiculous decisions chief amongst them strangling investments and supporting the growth of overseas steel manufacturers. Gary's economy was driven into a deep depression that proved incurable.

In conjunction with this attack on industry, Capone used extortion, hijacking and other rackets to contribute to the decline of Gary. He managed to place his own pawns into positions of power in the unions and used them to attack the active unions in the city. Additionally, all the Ventrue of Chicago combined to keep Gary from expanding its infrastructure and municipal construction.

Disquiet began slowly and from other parts of the country. Complacent Princes led to reports of unpresented neonates and gangs of Anarchs and marauding Sabbat packs began to reach the ears of Lodin. Uprisings in the South amongst the black population, supported by black Kindred led to violent battles led by the white Princes who were born into racist, European cultures. By the 1960's the brutality of the Princes had allowed the solidification of the Anarch hold on the West Coast and the establishment of the Anarch Free States.

Chicago's Anarchs had been badly set back by the fall of the socialists early in the 20th century but they had been quietly rebuilding and by 1960 they had surpassed the forces of Modius and they became source of concern to Lodin. This all came to a head in what would become known as the Night of Rage. Balthazar, now the Prince's enforcer, had been dispatched to find a neonate Brujah that had entered the city days before. He had no luck in finding the neonate, but he did come upon a group of Brujah gathered in Lincoln Park. Fearing they were plotting against Lodin, Balthazar and his Ventrue assistants attacked the group, killing two of its members. Unknown to the Ventrue, this group of Brujah was the reason for the relative quiet of the city.

The Brujah were members of a local band that was popular amongst the Anarchs. They counseled nonviolence as a way to solve problems but their pacifism crumbled in the face of Balthazar's brutality. The Anarchs responded in kind and battles raged across the city. No One was safe, even Elders found themselves hunted to their havens. The battle lasted a week and saw the deaths of many and the war that had been brewing was out of the shadows and in full force.

Anarchs began to flock to the city and the Camarilla responded by sending a group of Archons to battle them. The battles raged for two years but no side began to emerge as victor. In 1968, it became apparent that a showdown was coming. Riots broke out in the city in the wake of the deaths of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. In August, Kindred and kine poured into the city for the Democratic Party's presidential convention. Tension,already high, began to swell and finally broke free. But the true violence had begun in April when Lodin had received permission from the Ventrue Justicar to settle the Anarch problem once and for all. But even she did not realize what Lodin had in mind. As Anarchs and mortal rebels began to head into the streets, Lodin launched his assault. Armies of Elders flooded the streets and attacked the protestors. Much of the battle made it to live television. Faced with mass charges of heavily armed police the protestors crumbled before them and once the anarchs were out of sight of the cameras, the Elders descended upon them and more than 100 Kindred perished that night. It was said that their ashes covered the streets.

After extensive clean up, stability was restored to the city and the Camarilla began to feel that the anarch threat had been crushed not only in Chicago but across the country. Lodin declared a truce and eventually accepted the presence of anarchs in the city.

Lodin eventually became overconfident in his victory and he became less diligent in overseeing his power base. Lodin created several neonates to help him rule the parts of the mortal society that he did not understand. He wished to gain hold over media and computer technology due to their rise in importance. The Primogen began to take notice by the time Lodin had created his fourth neonate in his second brood. This led to murmuring of discontent amongst those who had historically opposed Lodin but little happened. But this frustrated minority began to support the rise of the Anarchs and their leader, Maldavis. The Elders not only fed her the secrets of the city but they also fed her their potent blood.

In early 1983, when Lodin angered another member of the Primogen council, Annabelle Triabell, the leader of the Toreador. She was not the most powerful Primogen, but hers was the vote that would split the council.

Lodin had always had undisputed control over who sat in the post of Mayor of Chicago and he had always filled it with mortals who were more than willing to do his bidding. Maldavis chose to strike there first and she put forth a new candidate that she had groomed- Harold Washington. Though she did not control him herself, she ensured Lodin could not tamper with him. Lodin was caught off guard by this and Washington became mayor on April 15, 1983. Lodin, angered by this loss, moved to strike back despite the restrictions put in place by the Primogen council. But the Anarchs were prepared and even with the combined might of the Ventrue, he was unable to act. The battle that ensued lasted four years but unlike in the past, violence played only minor role. Mortal politics turned out to be the main arena and during that time, Maldavis' power grew and Lodin's ebbed away.

Lodin eventually began to retaliate against Maldavis' delicate machinations using cruder, less sophisticated methods. This led to a confrontation with the Primogen council and Elders and they agreed to forgive him for his heavy-handed maneuvers if he agreed to certain restrictions and requirements. Lodin then once again massacred the Anarchs and relative peace was restored in the city.

All of this came to an end in 1993. On a moonlit night a force of werewolves attacked the buildings in the heart of Chicago. The focus of their rage was the Succubus Club, owned by and haven to one of the most powerful vampires in North America. This led Lodin to declare a Blood Hunt against all of the city's werewolves. Very few know how extensive the werewolf population was in the city and none expected the bloody retaliation that came. While at first a number of werewolves were killed by Kindred, they struck back with unbelievable numbers and slaughtered Kindred wholesale. They struck businesses, the Tremere Chantry, the Succubus Club and Kindred havens. Approximately one-third of the city's Kindred perished. This included Lodin and Maldavis.

In light of the death of the Prince and given the turmoil created by those who had occupied Praxis, the Elders of the Clans rose up and dictated that the city would be governed by a Primogen Council. A council handpicked by them who would oversee the running of the city...and of course dance to the whims of the Elders. This arrangement lasted for many years, until recently when the Tremere, Malcolm Von Strecht arrived and somehow convinced the Elders that the time had come to set aside the rule by committee and reinstate a Praxis. With his hand-picked Seneschal, a Ventrue by the name of ________, Chicago is now once again ruled by a Prince. Only time will tell if this time it will hold.