by Michael McConnell (26 Apr 94)

Here, as promised, is the first of several alternate NPCs for New Orleans that I've used over the years. We're starting at the top, with the Prince. I'm not posting stats because I figure that most people want to customize them anyway. I may eventually post them to gm-l with stats, however.

Monique, Prince of New Orleans, Toreador Poseur/Burnout

Monique is unusual in that she is both a femal prince and a Toreador instead of a Ventrue, but such is the magic of New Orleans. No one is really sure when she was Embraced, and she herself is reticent about her past. It is known that she was involved in the French Revolution and probably came to the newly- formed United States to escape the problems in France. Rumors place her as far back as the court of Louis the XIV, but no one is sure.

Monique's public history begins with her arrival in New Orleans in 1795. She immediately became a favorite of both Kindred and Kine society, both for her stunning beauty and for her musical talents (although these would fade as the decades passed). She quickly "married" herself to a plantation owner/ghoul and lived a quiet life of luxury and hedonism for roughly fifty years. She was partly responsible for supporting the activities of such voodoos as Dr. John and Marie Laveu, believing there to be something inherently artistic in their primeval ceremonies. Because both were later Embraced by Settites, she tries to keep this information under wraps.

Her turning point in unlife was when she awoke on the evening of October 12, 1854 to find her servants slain and her mansion in flames. She barely escaped the Final Death, and hid with a young clan member who was in love with her for close to two weeks. During this time, she was in a combined state of frenzy and impotent crippledness. Most Toreador agree that it was during this time that she lost her artistic vision and became concerned only with power. She never found out who attacked her, and would pay dearly for the information even today.

After the fire, she set up a studio in the city and began her climb up the political circle of the Kindred. It was extremely difficult at first. The then- current prince, a Ventrue by the name of Eliza Stepford, ruled the city with an iron fist and despised both Toreador and women. Over the next thirty years, Monique used her knowledge of art (she no longer had the skills) and wealth and influence in mortal society to become the unofficial leader of the clan. She was not the eldest but she was the most indispensable.

Her chance for power came when Eliza was assassinated in 1891. This too is a mystery that has never been solved. Popular belief blames the Settites, who were attempting to make inroads into the country at the time. Monique herself suspects that it may have been the Prince's Childe, Michel St. James. He was out of town when it occurred, and Monique believes that this was to allow him to appear guiltless and then return and claim the reins of power.

If this was his plan then it failed. Using her agents in the human world and having her clan begin a no-holds-barred power play, Monique took over the city just days after the death of Eliza. She even managed to procure the backing of the Gangrel Justicar Xavier Holland (and there is still much speculation as to the deal that the two worked out). On June 27, 1891, she declared herself Prince and no one was able to challenge her.

St. James arrived in town on July 4 nearly in a state of frenzy. He attacked her in the Elysium and had to be restrained. In a move that was by now becoming typically Machiavellian, Monique forgave him and allowed him to stay in the city (under close supervision of course). His presence had the effect of keeping the city's Ventrue weak.

While quiet, Monique's reign as Prince has not been uneventful. There was a war with the Lupines almost immediately after she took over. The wolves hoped that the presence of a new prince would make for an easy victory (how the Lupines had such an inside into Vampiric politics is unknown). The war lasted a short six months with heavy casualties for the Lupines, after which a nonaggression pact was worked out centering largely around the major caern of the Bayou St. John.

During the last years of World War One New Orleans was plagued by a serial killer known only as the Axeman. Although an official Blood Hunt was called on him, he was never found. A Blood Hunt has also been called on a Nosferatu elder known only as Quasimodo. This was in 1948 when he was rumored to have come to the area. Surprisingly, St. James lent his support to all of these things, and Monique is fairly certain that he no longer poses a threat.

The present-day political situation in New Orleans is shaky. The nonaggression pact with the Lupines is wearing down as the newer generations grow more and more violent and the city encroaches on the St. John Caern. There is also a growing Anarch movement, and Monique has begun to suspect that the Settites have more control in the city's affairs that she previously thought. There have also been attempted incursions by the Sabbat, although all have met with failure.

Despite these problems, it is likely that Monique will survive. She is strong both physically and politically, and is devilishly cunning and utterly ruthless She has complete control over her clan and widespread support among the Ventrue and Tremere, at least on the surface. The other clans don't count for much in New Orleans. She also knows how to use all her resources to the fullest, including martial, financial, social, and sexual. She has recently allied with a small group of Hollow One mages, and is planning to use them as a backup force. She also hopes that they can discover whatever it is that is seeping into New Orleans before it is too late.