The Projects are made up of tall, sprawling apartment buildings which block the sunlight on the streets below. They are sprinkled with small windows, mostly broken or barred and look like nothing so much as prisons. The streets are mostly populated by gangsters or the unemployed. The Cities authorities have fixed up and gentrified a good number of the more run down parts of the City over the last few years. Still, the Projects just seem to linger on, never getting the budget needed to come right. The police do come into the Projects, but never for long and there just aren’t enough assigned to the closest precincts to properly police the area.
People of Interest
Well, now, child, that is a nasty bruise there. It was your Larry that did this? He’s your pimp, right? That boy been hitting too many of his girls. Don’t you worry deary, Momma Mercy gonna fix it right up, and that Larry boy right along with it. Hush now, child.
Mental: Intelligence 3, Wits 3, Resolve 4
Physical: Strength 2, Dexterity 1, Stamina 2
Social: Presence 3, Manipulation 3, Composure 1
Mental Skills: Occult 3, Medicine 3, Crafts 2
Physical Skills: Drive 1, Survival 1
Social Skills: Animal Ken 2, Empathy 4, Persuasion 3, Streetwise 3, Subterfuge 4, Expression 2
Merits: Enchantment (Hedge Witch) 4, Familiar (Embodied) 4, Luck Magic 2, Curse of Ill-Fortune 3, See Auras 2, Healing 4, Holistic Awareness 3, Unseen Sense 3, Allies 3 (Projects Women), Contacts 2 (Prostitutes, Gangsters), Retainer 3 (Tashondra), Retainer 2 (Tamiqua)
(Mother Mercy uses rules presented in the excellent World of Darkness supplement “Second Sight”)
Mother Mercy is an unofficial celebrity in the projects. She is about 65 years old, and looks older. A large woman, she stood tall and proud in her youth. Now she hunches over an ivory handled cane, swathed in numerous jerseys, with a tiny pair of horn-rimmed glasses perched on the end of her nose. She lives on the top floor of one of the oldest of the Projects in a large apartment formed by knocking a door between two adjoining apartments. She has living with her are two orphan girls Tashondra (14) and Tamiqua (12) and three or four well fed cats. Mother Mercy almost never leaves her apartment and has her wards run her errands for her. During the day, Mother Mercy runs a day-care for the children of working mothers in the projects.
Still, it is whispered that Mother Mercy has a few other tricks up her sleeves. People speak about Shereena’s husband. After his fifth affair and him finally giving Shereena AIDS, she went to speak to Mother Mercy. The next week, he died in a drive by shooting. He caught ten bullets and the intended target walked away unharmed. Shereena is taking the pills and seems to be doing fine. Or the time Larry Sparks beat one of his girls so bad she couldn’t walk after. He was bitten by some weird dogs a few days later and died screaming as his legs rotted off. Even the doctors couldn’t help. These days no one hassles Mother Mercy or her girls. But sometimes, someone creeps up the stairs to her apartment late at night, knocks on her door and asks for a special kind of help.
Tamiqua is a normal teenage girl, aside from an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the supernatural. Tashondra, on the other hand, has the gift (the equivalent of the Dream Merit at 4 dots and Visionary Trance Merit at 2 dots). She is Mother Mercy’s protégé and is learning the same arts as Mother Mercy. Pretty soon, she will be an accomplished Shaman. One of the cats that live in Mother Mercy’s house, a large Persian tom named Leroy, is actually an embodied familiar.
Jamal “Big Dog” Creeley
Yo man, you think you can deal here? This is not your street, man. This is my street. You wanna walk on my street, you pay me. You wanna breathe on my street, you pay me. You got that, bitch?
Mental: Intelligence 2, Wits 3, Resolve 1
Physical: Strength 2, Dexterity 3, Stamina 3
Social: Presence 3, Manipulation 2, Composure 1
Mental Skills: Politics 1, Investigation 1, Science 1, Occult 2
Physical Skills: Brawling 2, Firearms 3, Drive 2, Larceny 1, Weapons 1
Social Skills: Intimidate 3, Socialise 3, Streetwise 4, Subterfuge 1, Expression 2 (DJ)
Merits: Danger Sense 2, Ambidextrous 3, Fast Reflexes 2, Gunslinger 3, Fresh Start 1, Status (West Street Dogs) 5, Allies 2 (116 Bloods),
Jamal Creeley is head of one of the most feared gangs in the Projects. He is a big man, with an imposing presence and piercing eyes. He is always dressed fully in the colours of the Dogs, from sneakers to the bandanna of the gang. He carries with him at all times two pearl handled pistols, which he treasures greatly. The West Street Dogs own a fair portion of the projects and control their turf with an iron hand – overseeing drug-dealing and prostitution and organizing armed robbery off their turf.
Jamal has a problem that is gradually becoming more and more apparent. On his rise to the head of the gang he has killed many, many people. However, only one lingers in his mind. One day, to make a point, he executed the head of a rival gang in bed with his long-time girlfriend. He did the deed with the rival’s pearl-handled pistols. Since then he has been dreaming of the deed. Recently, he has started to see the figure of a woman in his room of nights. Jamal hasn’t been sleeping much lately, and as the pressure mounts, so does his temper.
Places of Interest
An abandoned basketball court sits in an empty part of the Projects. Some nights, as word of mouth spreads the news, an epic battle breaks out. MCs from around the city gather to duel. The hottest of underground parties, the rawest of style is played out at the Battleground.
The Battleground carries a darker secret though. Every once in a while drive-bys, sneak killings and smack talk does not manage to cool the waters between two rival gangs. Three times in the past, the gangs have met on the Battleground, in force carrying guns, chains, knives and everything else. They end the fight, one way or another. The last few survivors of one of the gangs are the only ones to leave the place alive. The police hear about it and come to clean up the next morning, not believing that insanity like this would ever happen again.
Right in the center of the Projects lies Hell’s Hotbox. The towering apartment building and the surrounding slums are constantly on the verge of falling apart. Water and electricity services frequently fail and police are hardly ever seen except in overwhelming force. Hell’s Hotbox is where those that have dropped off the map end up. A different law rules the place and the rules of society are only a thin layer over the boiling rage and hunger that lurk in the hearts of the inhabitants.
Average GM Characters
Description: Gangsters always wear the colours of their gang as a uniform. This can be a collection of colours or a certain collection of clothing or tattoos.
Storytelling Hints: The standard response of the average gangster to most situations is unreasoning aggression. Gangsters live to claim the respect of those around them and rise in importance based on their actions in support of the gang, most of which are by necessity violent. If outgunned most gangsters will withdraw to seek help or prepare and ambush.
Abilities: Gunfighting (dice pool 6) – Gangsters are not the most skilled gunfighters in the world but eventually enough practice pays off.
Intimidate (dice pool 5) – Gangsters unreasoningly aggressive approach and willingness to resort to violence makes them reasonably intimidating.
Description: Junkies are almost universally wasted, pale and dressed in ratty unwashed clothes. Unwashed hair, sickly features and track-marks are the order of the day.
Storytelling Hints: Junkies will do anything for a fix – literally anything. They will lie, cheat, steal, prostitute themselves and some will even kill for a fix. This doesn’t remove all of their other personality but it definitely takes over the driving seat a lot of the time.
Abilities: Manipulate (dice pool 6) – Junkies are very good at twisting people around their fingers, using pity or sweet talk to wheedle out enough money for their next fix.
Theft (dice pool 5) – What a junky can’t sweet talk out of someone, they will steal. They aren’t amazing thieves but they are amazingly well motivated to pickpockets and pick locks.