The Scorched Tower
Read Rumors only that you have taken or been given as backgrounds. This is on the honor system for now so please don’t abuse it.
Bureaucracy-You can manage various government agencies and bureaus. By dealing with social programs and public servants, you can spin red tape, bypass rules and regulations, or twist bureaucratic regimentation to your advantage. Bureaucracy is useful in operating or shutting down businesses, faking or acquiring permits and identification papers and manipulating public utilities and facilities. Government clerks at the city and county level, utility workers, road crews, surveyors and other civil servants are potential contacts or allies.
Church-Though the modern church has arguably less control over temporal society than it did in the Middle Ages, its policies still exert considerable influence over the direction of politics and communities. Knowing the appropriate people allows insight into many mainstream religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Shinto, or Buddhism (fringe or alternative groups, such as Scientology, are considered Occult). When you exercise Church Influence, you can change religious policy, affect the assignment of clergy and access a variety of lore and resources. Contacts and allies affected by church influence would include ministers, priests, bishops, church sponsored witch-hunters, holy orders, various attendees, and assistants.
Finance-Manipulating markets, stock reports and investments is a hobby of many Cainites, especially those who use their knowledge to keep hidden wealth. Though your actual available money is a function of your Resources, you can use Fiance Influence to start or smother businesses, crush or support banking institutions, and alter credit records. Clearly, such power over money is not to be trifled with- fortunes are made and destroyed with this sort of pull. CEO’s, bankers, stockbrokers, bank tellers, yes-men, financiers and loan agents are found among such work.
Health-Some vampires rely on connections in the medical community to acquire blood. Necromancers and practitioners of arcane arts may also require body parts or medical data to further their studies. Furthermore, maintaining the Masquerade often calls for alterations of medical records or faking of particular diseases; some Cainites even specialize in the study of blood-borne ailments. All of these sorts of research and development fall under the purview of Health Influence. Coroners, doctors, lab workers, therapists, pharmacists and specialists are just a few of the folks found in this field.
High Society-The glitterati at the top of society move in the circles of wealth and elegance. Many Kindred find such positions alluring, and they indulge in the passions of the famous and wealthy. Access to famous actors, celebrities and the idle rich grants a certain sway over fashion trends. Combined with Fame a modicum of High Society Influence turns a vampire into a debonair darling of the most exclusive social circles. Among these circles, one finds dilettantes, artists of almost any stripe, old money families, models, rock stars, sports figures, and jetsetters.
Industry-The grinding wheels of labor fuel the economies and markets of the world. Machines, factories and blue-collar workers line up in endless drudgery, churning out the staples of everyday living. Control over Industry Influence sways the formation of unions, the movements of work projects, locations for factories, and the product of manufacturing concerns. Union workers, foremen, engineers, construction workers, manual laborers and all manner of blue-collar workers exist among these ranks.
Legal-Since many of the operations that Cainites undertake are at least marginally illegal, a good amount of sway over judges and lawyers is indispensable. Those Kindred who dabble in law often pull strings in the courts to make sure that the questionable practices of Cainite society go unnoticed and unpunished. Of course, a little Legal Influence is also excellent for harassing an enemy’s assets, too. Such Influence ranges from law schools and firms, to lawyers, judges, DAs, clerks and public defenders.
Media-Directing media attention away from vampire activities is a key component of the Masquerade. Putting specific emphasis on certain events can place an enemy in an uncomfortable spotlight or discredit a rival. With Media, you can crush or alter news stories, control the operations of news stations and reporters and sway public opinions, with DJ’s, editors, of all varieties, Reporters, cameramen, photographers and broadcasters at your disposal. At storyteller discretion, Media Influence may also allow access to the more technical areas of television, radio or movies.
Occult-The hidden world of the supernatural teems with secrets, conspiracies and unusual factions. Obviously a vampire is aware that there are stranger things out there by dint of his very existence (after all, if a vampires exist…), but hard knowledge of such things is a function of Abilities. By using Occult Influence, you can dig up information to improve your knowledge, get inside the occult community, and find rare components from magical rituals. Even parts of the elusive Book of Nod are available to those with the right connections. Cult leaders, alternative religious groups, charlatans, occultists, New Agers and a few more dangerous elements can be found here.
Police-“to protect and serve” is the motto for the police, but these days, Kindred and Kine alike may have cause to wonder who is being protected and served. That said, Police Influence, can be very handy to assist with the Masquerade, to protect one’s holdings or to raid the assets of another. After all, attitude won’t save the anarchism whose haven is the target of a daylight raid. Police of all ranks, detectives, clerical staff, dispatchers, prison guards, special divisions (such as SWAT or homicide) and local highway patrol make up these ranks.
Political-Deal-making is second nature to most vampires, so they can get along very well with other bloodsuckers- that is, politicians. Altering party platforms, controlling local elections, changing appointed offices and calling in favors all falls under the purview of Political Influence. Well-timed blackmail, bribery, spin doctoring or any sundry tricks are stock in trade on both sides of this fence. Some of the likely contracts and allies include pollsters, lobbyists, activists, party members, spin doctors and politicians from rural zoning committees to the mayor of major cities or Congressional representatives.
Street-Ignored and often spat on by their “betters,” those in the dark alleys and slums have created their own culture to deal with life and any outsiders who might come calling. When calling on Street Influence, you use your connections on the underside of the city to find the homeless, gang members of all sorts, street busker’s, petty criminals, prostitutes, residents of the slums or barrios, and fringe elements of so-called “deviant” cultures.
Transportation-Most Cainites make their havens in defensible parts of cities. Traveling across the wilderness is difficult, with the problems of daylight and marauding Lupines. Without this Influence, the vampirism world shrinks into islands of “civilization” with dangerous wastelands in between. Getting across to special supplies and services can also take a measure of Transportation. All these things can be controlled with a bit of sway over truckers, harbors, railroads, airports, taxis, border guards, pilots, and untold hundreds, as well as more mundane aspects like shipping and travel arrangements.
Underworld-The world of crime offers lucrative possibilities to strong-willed or subtle leaders. Guns, money, drugs, and vice— such delicious past times can be led by anyone talented or simply vicious enough to take them. Underworld Influence lets you call on such favors for all manner of illegal dealings, and its ranks are filled by the Mafia, La Cosa Nostra, drug dealers, bookies, Yakuza, tongs, hitmen, fences and criminal gangs.
University-Institutions of learning and research are the purview of the University Influence. Access to the halls of learning can help you with any number of resources, from ancient languages to research assistance to many impressionable young minds. School boards, Students from kindergarten through college, graduate students, professors, teachers, deans, Greek orders and a variety of staff fill the ivy-covered halls.