Michel Saint-James

by Michael McConnell (4 May 94)

Good evening ladies and germs... here's the second of the NPCs that I said I'd get around to posting. For those of you who came in late, these are alternate NPCs for those individuals who don't like that rather drab NPCs from New Orleans by Night (I've finally picked up the book, and I'd have to agree with most people who didn't like them, although the Malkavians and Caitiff were interesting). The first post was the of Monique, the Prince of the city. Here is the write-up for Michel Saint-James, the oldest vampire in the city and the main contender for Monique's power.

Michel Saint-James

Michel Saint-James was embraced in Paris in 1587 by a man named Ammante, who was then the head of the city's Ventrue. Michel at the time was a young noble man, rich and jaded. Ammante saw in him the possibilities of a powerful childe, and Michel proved him to be right.The two travelled Europe together for almost 200 years, playiing the power games of the Elders. During this time, Michel developed a fascination with the intrigues and intricacies of Kindred politics. He has ever since dedicated himself to controling them, out of a combination of boredom, lust for power, and a twisted sense of duty.

Ammante was one of the few French Kindred who knew of the growing Anarch movement, and he guessed enough to get out of France before the Revolution. Using the French and Indian War as an excuse, he and Michel moved to New Orleans in 1758. There, Ammante took the name Eliza Stepford and became prince of the city.

The struggle for power was difficult at first. There was no effective prince when the two arrived, and the blood ran like water as they consolidated their control. Eliza had learned his lesson from the French Anarchs: Never give up. Anyone who so much as spoke out against him in public was either "reprimanded" or slain outright. Only one dissenter ever escaped his grasp: a powerful Nosferatu named Quasimodo, who seemed to be leading the local Anarchs. Those questioned seemed to regard him as being nearly divine, and even the Elders of the city held him with great fear and reverence. He was never caught, and is thought to be responsible for several attempts on both Eliza and Michel's lives

Eliza had complete power by the time the American Revolution broke out, and the war did not faze New Orleans. If anything, it made it stronger, as colonial Elders came to the city as a spot for refuge and gave Eliza backing. Except for the occasional terrorist act committed byQuasimodo and his anarchs (Michel is fairly certain it was they who tried to kill Monique in her haven, although he is unsure as to why), things remained quiet until 1891, when Eliza was killed.

Michel is still uncertain as to who killed his sire. He blamed Monique at first She was the logical choice, haven taken over in Michel's abscence (he himself was reporting back to the Elders of France on the city's progress). However, he has never found any evidence to implicate her. Over the decades, he has slowly begun to suspect that Quasimodo had finally succeeded in his war against Eliza.

Nearly insane with anger, Michel returned to New Orleans in July of 1891 to find a city much different from what he had left. The Toreador, Tremere, and Primogen all backed Monique as prince. Even his own clan members were unloyal to him. It was not for another twenty years that he strengthened his control of the Ventrue, and then he began plotting his revenge.

He has been extremely careful since then. Outwardly, he appears to have given up the political game and to support Monique 100%. However, he has secretly been supporting the Anarchs and the Settites since the Twenties, and their constant weathering at Monique's power has finally begun to show. He has also developed one of the best information networks in the city, and only the Nosferatu know more than he (although neither group knows of all of Monique's influences, especially the alliance with the Mages). He has often tried to contract Quasimodo, but the legendary anarch is either gone or in hiding.

Michel senses that the time is drawing close for his coup. He is beginning to turn his attention to gaining allies outside the clan, most notably in the Tremere and Brujah (the Toreador are still completely under Monique's sway). He has also been working on the Justicar Xavier, attempting to persuade him that Monique can no longer handle the situation. When he is finally ready, he will kill Monique and take over. He is, however, unaware that his holds over the anarchs and the Settites are slipping (although in the latter case they were never that strong to begin with), and he may not be able to seize control once the war begins.

Michel's influences are vast and uncountable. He controls secretly controls many of the city's businesses and government bureaus. All of these are from behind the scenes, so that no one suspects that his true power is almost rival to Monique's. He also controls the leader of the Anarchs, a younger Ventrue named Steven Morrison who is eager to make a name for himself. He was a plant since the begining, and has now finally wrested control (well, as much control as one can have over the Anarchs). He also has agents among the Gangrel who are trying to open relations with the local werewolves.He is also, of course, phenomenally rich and has a large number of retainers and herd (he feeds only off those of French ancestry).

IMAGE: A suave, polished, sophisticated, charismatic dilettente. He always dresses in the finest clothes and acts with the utmost charm and grace. Of course, all this is a veneer hiding the power-hungry manipulator within, but over the centuries he has polished his disguise to perfection. Almost everyone who meets him invariably underestimates his power.

ROLEPLAYING NOTES: Be nice, polite, friendly. Associate with all those of your station, ignore those below you. Pretend to be disinterested in politics and power and more concerned with your fortune and your social life. You shall be ready to strike when the time comes, and none shall stand in your way. Use all others to your advantage. Be ruthless with those that you control; Eliza taught you that much. Your general outlook is generally Machiavellian; do anything that you need to gain power and maintain your charade.