Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A New Harbinger Idea

Albrecht Von Vandenberg was born in Leipzig, Germany in 1908 to a wealthy industrialist and his wife, an opera Diva. Determined at a young age to be of particularly high intellect, young Albrecht’s education was accelerated beyond the norms for the early 20th century. An insatiable curiosity and thirst for knowledge drove him even before his teens.

Upon graduation from secondary school, he entered the University at Munich to study both Ancient History and Biology, two of his passions. It was here that he began to cement his future. In studying his subjects voraciously and in meeting with several other students and professors, Von Vandenberg began to study in earnest the origins and apparent superiority of the Nordic people. Scientific data was found in abundance on the subject, and many of his professors were adherents to these theories. There of course would soon evolve into the Aryan Supremacy theories. Von Vandenberg wrote several papers on the subject, studying further and deeper than many of his contemporaries had in the past. It was also at this time, that Von Vandenberg was introduced to the National Socialist Party, which espoused many of his own beliefs.

Von Vandenberg continued with his work after his graduation and subsequent doctorate studies. In 1935, catching the eye of a particular professor with contacts in both politics and the occult, Von Vandenberg was invited to join the Ahnenerbe, the Nazi German think tank that promoted itself as a "study society for Intellectual Ancient History." This group was founded and headed by Heinrich Himmler, one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany as well as one of the persons who would be most directly responsible for the Holocaust. In Himmler, Von Vandenberg found a mentor. In Von Vandenberg, Himmler found an enthusiastic intellect rarely seen in young Germans his age, who were as of late only interested in the more militaristic aspects of the Party.

Before long, the Ahnenerbe had become not only the vehicle to propagate Hitler’s “scientific” evidence of Aryan supremacy, but became the unofficial unit responsible for many expeditions and missions to recover various items of occult interest. Von Vandenberg, who had exhibited considerable aptitude in research as well as his established thirst for knowledge, was assigned to the majority of these expeditions. From the North Pole to the Cape of Good Hope, the Nazis searched high and low for relics and other items of occult import. Even amongst the general leadership of the party these expeditions were “in the name of science.” Amongst Hitler’s inner circle, however, the intentions of the Ahnenerbe were far more sinister and led to one inevitable goal: total world domination.During one such expedition, Von Vandenberg and a group of researchers unearthed a tomb in central Asia, searching for an ancient Hindu artifact. What they actually found was Von Vandenberg’s first Vampire.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Beginning of another Harbinger concept

So, I am approaching is a bit differently now. Check out these news reports that I wrote:

Nazi Barbarian captured alive!
Jason Carlson, Associated Press

March 23, 2002, Tel Aviv, Israel

The Israeli Prime Minister’s office announced to the world today that Nazi war criminal Albrecht von Vandenberg, known popularly as “The Barbarian of Sobibor”, has been captured and will stand trial in Israel. Von Vandenberg, the Nazi SS officer who performed brutal medical and supposed occult experiments on an estimated 1,500 Polish and Russian Jews, and was involved in the extermination of more than 200,000 more, was arrested in Austria last Friday.
Von Vandenberg was born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1908. A very successful medical student and intern, he caught the eye of Adolf Eichmann, head the Jewish section of the SS central security office in Berlin. In December 1941, he joined the Nazi's elite SS (Schutzstaffel) organization, whose members came to have broad responsibilities in Nazi Germany, including policing, intelligence, and the enforcement of Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitic policies.
In January 1942, top Nazi officials met at the Wannsee Conference near Berlin for the purpose of planning a "final solution of the Jewish question," as Nazi leader Hermann Goring put it. The Nazis decided to exterminate Europe's Jewish population. Von Vandenberg was appointed as chief physician to the Sobibor Extermination camp in occupied Poland, one of the camps where Jews were gassed or worked to death. His main duty was to find the most effective means in which to exterminate large masses of human beings at once. He carried this duty out with horrifying efficiency, and between three to four million Jews perished in the extermination camps across Europe before the end of World War II. Close to 2 million were executed elsewhere.
“The Barbarian’s” experiments were carried out at the behest of his contemporary, Dr Josef Mengele, the Auschwitz Extermination Camp’s infamous “Angel of Death.” The two corresponded extensively concerning the brutal work that they carried out. Incomplete journals of their grisly research have been recovered and studied throughout the years.
In 1943, just months before the successful prisoner uprising at Sobibor, Von Vandenberg was reassigned to the Dachau Prison camp to assist with medical experiments funded by Ahnenerbe, the Nazi think tank whose goal was to research the anthropological and cultural history of the Aryan race, and later to experiment and launch voyages with the intent of proving that prehistoric and mythological Nordic populations had once ruled the world. He conducted Eugenics experiments there and also served on several “mysterious” expeditions all over the world.
Following the war, Von Vandenberg was captured by U.S. troops, but he escaped in 1946 before having to face the Nuremberg International War Crimes Tribunal. Von Vandenberg traveled under an assumed identity between Europe and the Middle East and in 1950 arrived in Argentina, which maintained lax immigration policies and was a safe haven for many Nazi war criminals. In 1957, a German prosecutor secretly informed Israel that Von Vandenberg was living in Argentina. Agents from Israel's intelligence service, the Mossad, were deployed to Argentina, and in early 1960 they finally located Von Vandenberg. He was living in the Buenos Aires under the name Diego Salazar. When his friend and mentor Adolf Eichmann was captured by Mossad agents, Von Vandenberg was tipped off and disappeared mere minutes before he was to be taken. He fled to Cuba, where he successfully eluded capture for the next 40 years.
Recently, Von Vandenberg was diagnosed with liver cancer and had begun chemotherapy in Cuba. He was eventually referred to a doctor in Innsbrook, Austria. What he was not aware of was that Israeli intelligence had become aware of Von Vandenberg’s location in 1999, and was simply waiting for an opportunity to nab him. Once outside of Cuba and in cooperation with Austrian officials, he was met at the gate by Israeli authorities. Sources close to the case suggest that Von Vandenberg was aware of him impending capture and simply resigned himself to it.
Despite protestations by the Cuban government, who cited entrapment of a naturalized citizen of that country, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued on Thursday that Von Vandenberg’s status as an international war criminal gave Israel the right to proceed with a trial. A hearing as to the validity of this argument is scheduled to begin on April 11th at The Hague.

Hague finds Barbarian must stand trial – Charges are officially filed.
Jason Carlson, Associated Press

April 16th, 2002 - The Hague, Netherlands

Proceedings have begun in the upcoming trial of Albrecht von Vandenberg, known popularly as “The Barbarian of Sobibor”, who was captured last month while seeking cancer treatment in Austria. Von Vandenberg had been residing in Cuba for over 40 years after a failed attempt at his capture in Argentina in 1960. Known for his grisly medical experiments at the Polish death camp in Sobibor, von Vandenberg’s capture is considered a great victory for his victims and their families. Cuba demanded Von Vandenberg's return, but Israel argued that his status as an international war criminal gave it the right to proceed with a trial. Today, The International Criminal Court sided with Israel, citing Von Vandernberg’s crimes as “far too great to allow not to be investigated.” He faces 15 charges, including crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people, and war crimes. The Trial is set to begin August 9th.

Barbarian Pleads Guilty!
Jason Carlson, Associated Press

May 1st, 2002

Albrecht Von Vandenberg, the infamous Nazi Physician known as “The Barbarian of Sobibor”, pled guilty today to all 15 counts against him, including crimes against humanity, conspiracy to commit genocide, general war crimes, and crimes against the Jewish people. In a prepared statement read by his lawyer, Von Vandenberg claimed he was just following orders, but was willing to accept the blame as he carried them out. Witnesses claim that Von Vandenberg remained quiet and emotionless as the charges were levied against them, and seemingly smiled when his plea was entered.
With the guilty plea entered, sentencing began immediately. At the behest of the United Nations, as well as a coalition of the death camp survivors, the death penalty was removed as a possible sentence. It is expected that he will be sentenced to life in prison.

Nazi Barbarian Dead!
Jason Carlson, Associated Press

May 2nd, 2002

Albrecht Von Vandenberg, the infamous Nazi Physician known as “The Barbarian of Sobibor”, was murdered in his prison cell, not 24 hours after he entered a plea of guilty for 15 counts of crimes varying from genocide to torture. Sources report that Von Vandenberg was likely killed approximately 12:35am, although his actual body was not discovered until almost 3:30am. He was slashed across the throat and left to bleed to death.
“The attack must have been quick and brutal’ said Chief Warden Hans Hergersheimer. “We also suspect that someone altered our security cameras, as we have no record of the attack taking place.”
The Israeli government was quick to deny any implication in the murder. “We have sided with our friends at the U.N. and abided by the wish of the survivors of the Shoah who requested that no more death arises from the existence of this man, even his own.”
Authorities have not ruled out some manner of conspiracy to kill Von Vandenberg, however. “He did some horrible things to a lot of people” said Hergersheimer. “We can’t really be that surprised.”

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A narrative...

What if I told you that this was all according to plan? What if I told you that I meant for this to happen all along? I suppose you would look at me and say I was insane. Oh, you might be condescending enough to look at my work, note my meticulous method and creative flair, and have a morbid appreciation for it. But probably not... No, you're likely the type of person who looks at the things that I have done and never consider why I do them, only that atrocities have been committed and that you are horrified by them. You'd call me a criminal, a psychopath. You'd call me evil. I cannot argue. I am all of those things. But that doesn't mean that I am not right in what I do.

I sit now, in this cell, awaiting my final punishment. They will murder me tonight, mostly to sate their own need for revenge. Killing me will bring none of those girls back, nor will it undo the work I have done.No, I will die, just another corpse to be thrown upon the pyre. I did not plead or vie for my life. I admitted what I had done and the pride that I took in it. I did not appeal when they found me guilty, nor when the sentenced me to death. I dared them to execute me, and now they will. They don't understand, but I thank them anyway. I have studied death in every possible way externally. I have watched it, nurtured it, extended it, and expedited it. 144 times, I have explored it. I have seen it in all of it's forms, but have never experienced it. Now I have the chance. My work will be complete, and I will finally be able to write my memoirs in Hell. They walk me down the long hall to my destiny, smiling as they lead me into the chamber. I lay myself down on the table and relax as they strap me in and swab both of my arms with alcohol, once for the main line and the other as a back up. Ever wonder why they do that? I mean, are they afraid that I might catch a disease before I die. From behind a wall of glass, I hear the Warden ask if I have any last words. I look over at the glass, smile at him and the family members of my subjects and smile."My work here is finished." I say and then turn to look up at the doctor who will record my doom and check for a pulse once I am done for.

I look up at her. She is plain looking, too plain, almost as if the face she wears is not her own, but what she would like me to see. She smiles at me and places her hand on my wrist. The man finishes hooking up the drip to the IV's and steps away. I thank him as he checks the lines, but he doesn't respond. I look up again at the plain face of the doctor, only this time it is not plain, but beautiful. A ghastly pallor and the smell of blood on her lips tell me at once what she is. She speaks to me with her mind. "Soon this life will be over and you will walk forever in glorious rapture." The man pushes the button and the first plunger sinks into the syringe. I feel a mild burning as the Sodium Thiopental enters by bloodstream, destined to put me to sleep before I can study my demise. I frown slightly.The voice speaks in my mind again. "No, my friend, I would not let you sleep. I know the work that you do, and my mistress would see that you complete it. Close your eyes now. When next you awake, you will become death and will revel in it."A single tear rolls down my cheek. Not a tear of pain or sadness, as I am sure the Warden and the others believe it to be, but a tear of joy as the second plunger drops, and the blessed poison enters my bloodstream. Pancuronium; this will paralyze my diaphragm and asphyxiate me. I pray I can live long enough to experience the last syringe. The next plunger drops and the glorious burning agony of Potassium Chloride rages through my veins. The pain is incredible. I am unable to move, as the Pancuronium has paralyzed me, or I would scream in ecstasy. I grow cold for a moment as I listen to the beating of my heart slow and the finally cease. Just before oblivion takes me, I feel another burning in my veins. Is there a fourth plunger, another drug?The voice fills my mind again. "Take my vitae, and be strengthened by it. When you taste it again, you will live forever in death." Darkness follows and I am dead.

A Dream then takes me. In it I see my friend, the doctor, as she is mean to be seen: a living corpse, cold and beautiful in her pallor. She wheels me into a van and all goes black. I awaken again and she is carrying me. I hear wind blowing and think I smell the scent of desert flowers. She brings me to a cave and places me down. She then leaves. For a moment I am afraid, as I am paralyzed still and cannot move or call out. Then I feel a cold hand on my forehead, stroking my hair assuringly. I look up and see only a face hidden by a veil. A whisper of a voice escapes from the veil.

"Be calm, little childe. Your work must be completed."

Her veiled face then comes closer, as if to kiss me. I feel an incredible ectasy which threatens to overcome my senses. I begin to slip into sleep again. Just before I succumb, I taste blood on my lips. I then fall into darkness once more.

I awaken to the smell of wet clay and earth, that unmistakable reek of excrement and rot. I lay in a rotted box in a shallow pit, unburied. I take a moment to inventory my sensations. I do not breathe, my heart is still, but my senses are sharp, and my body moves. My face itches and burns, though. It is cold, and almost pitch black, except for a faint yellow glow to my right. I look about, trying to see in the dark.Amazingly, my eyes respond and what little light there is in the cave illuminates it now as if it were day. I sit up from my grave and look about. I am in a cavern of limestone and shale. Outside I can hear the sound of the desert wind. As I shift further, a sound escapes the box. I am not alone. I turn my newly sharpened gaze to the figure beside me. She is no more than 15 years old, bronze skin, unspoiled. Her smell is that of wildflowers and sex. Her fear is palpable. She wriggles in spasms in a futile attempt to break free of the ropes that bind her hands and feet.Her mouth is covered and gagged, her screams muffled behind cloth and tape. I look her over for a moment and feel a new sensation: hunger. I take a moment to let it our over me. It is a ravenous sensation, the likes of which I have never felt. It is a glorious pain that begs to be sated. I look down at the creature beside me again and smile. I understand now. I lay back down with her and take her into my arms, trying to comfort her. I tell her that it will be all right and stroke her lovely back and legs. I then tilt her chin up to meet mine and then rip her throat from her lovely neck. Her precious life flows from the tear and I take it into myself in glorious rapture. It is over far too quickly, but my hunger abates.

I rise from the pit and climb out, trying to get my bearings. As I do, I notice the itch again. It rages across my face. I rub at my face to try to stop it, but it will not. I start toward the light in the cave and turn down a passage to a small chamber. An antique vanity of mahogany sits in the center of the room, lit by two torchieres on either side of it. At the vanity sits a creature. Her flesh is desiccated and has flaked from her skull, which is tinged a sickly pale green. Her eyes, which are but sockets, glow with a wan yellow light. She is beauty personified. At that moment, I worship her. She turns and studies me for a moment. She is dressed in ancient wisps of gossamer, once white and pure, now worn and rotted, barely clinging to her form. A large veil sits upon her head, pulled back from her beautiful face. She is the figure from my dreams.

She rises from the chair and motions to it for me to sit, which I do.She turns me to the mirror and I gaze upon my dead face, gray, clammy, and bloated with death. For a moment I am sad. My flesh has betrayed me. She puts her hand upon my shoulder and smiles. "Do not despair at your countenance" her words speak in my mind. "Right now, your true self burns to be released. Do that which it asks." She places in my hand an ancient straight edge razor, rusted and ragged with years. "All you must do is slough off the remnants of the flesh that binds you. Once it is gone, it will never return to plague you again." I open the razor and go to work on my face...

I sit here now, understanding who I am and why I am. I hear stories of empires once held and lost, of a learned and pious people, now scattered across the winds. I hear of a family of necromancers and how I must destroy them. And I hear of the tool that we will use to do so: a tool called the Sabbat.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Longer Character History

He was mentally traumatized at the age of 6 due to being present for the murder/suicide of his parents. He is left in the apartment with the decomposing corpses for 3 days before being found by police playing quietly with the remains of his mother. He is placed in the custody of his aunt and uncle who almost immediately proceed to abuse him mentally, physically, and sexually. He is moved from home to home by DCF and is finally placed in the care of a foster parent at the age of 15. At this point, he is quiet and unobtrusive. He performs well in school and gets into a prestigious Midwestern college in Pre-Med. In the second year of college, he commits his first murder. The victim, an Asian designer major who made several drunken advances him at a party, was easliy overpowered. He then proceeded to suffocate her to the brink of death several times over the course of 10 hours before finally strangling her in his off campus apartment. He effectively disposes of the body. This victim is actually the last one known about and is not counted amongst the 144 subsequent slayings over the next 12 years. Finding this experience both fasinating and exhilerating, he documents the murder meticulously. At this point, he also feels a sense of elightenment that he feels he must pursue. Planning to study the process of death in as many ways as possible, he plans his next killing. He will record this "research" and share his work with the public as he proceeds with it. Over the next 12 years, and 144 murders later, he becomes known in the papers as Professor Death. He travels around the country, committing the crimes in a seemingly random pattern of places and victims, his only calling card the packet he sends whatever town he's in's local paper containing the next gruesome chapter of his research, including photos, audio recordings, and meticulous research data. This practice does almost get him caught on three occasions, but thorough planning gives him the contingencies necessary to avoid capture. At the end of his 12 years spree, he comes to what he feels is the end of his research, being no longer able to devise methods of death to study. At this point, experiencing his own death is the only aspect of research he has to complete. Unwilling to take his own life, and wanting to be able to publicly take credit for his work, he walks into FBI Headquarters in Houston, TX, a state where he knows he will be executed, and turns himself in. The only regret he has is that he will not be able to record this final piece of research. After a quick conviction and death sentence, he is sent to death row to await his fast tracked execution. On the night of his death, he is visited by a voice that asks if he would like to complete his research and share it. Although he knows this to be impossible, he replies yes. As he lay on the gurney in the execution chamber, the voice again asks him. He again answers yes. Just as the lethal injections are introduced into his body, he looks upon the face of the doctor, who reveals herself as the servant of a great Vampire who will help him finish his work. As the poison enters his bloodstream, so does the blood that ghouled him. He feels his death, but is able to be revived. Waking up in Mexico City, he is brought before La Vidua Blanca, who expresses admiration for his work. His work is just beginning...

10 Bullet Point Character - Harbinger of Skulls

  • A Child Fascinated with death from the age of six, when he witnessed his parent's murder/suicide, and then was left for three days to play with the decomposing bodies before being found by police.

  • Being severly abused by relatives, foster parents, and state workers, he grew more insular, but in his solitude, developed great intellegence.

  • Entered med school and committed his first murder in his second year there.

  • Finds that not only has he a natural acuity in committing murder, he is able to study the process of death in very close detail. He decides to pen the definitive work on the subject, a work that he will share with the masses as he writes it.

  • 12 years, 31 states and 144 more murders later, he is known in the papers as Professor Death, who leaves meticulously constructed copies of his research at whatever newspaper of the town where his crime is commited.

  • Finally reaching what he decides is the end of his work, he decides that experiencing his own death is the natural conclusion to his work. His only regret is that he will not be able to record it.

  • Having committed seven of his murders in the state of Texas, a state renowned for it's quick and indiscriminate death penalties, he walks into an FBI office in Houston and turns himself in.

  • After a quick trial and sentencing, he is sent to death row, where he meets a doctor who is actually a servant of the Harbinger of Skulls La Vuida Blanca, who has taken interest in his work. Without the servant actually revealing her nature to him, she tells him that she will help him complete and document his work.

  • On the gurney of the execution chamber, he is ghouled just as the last of the three lethal injections are introduced into his body. He dies, but is easily revived minutes later, the power of the blood protecting him.

  • He is brought to Mexico City, where he is embraced by La Vidua Blanca, who gives him new insight on death...and undeath.

Why I should be allowed to play a Harbinger of Skulls.

Why I should be allowed to play a Harbinger of Skulls.

A Proposal by Jim Williams

After a long hiatus from One World, I have returned to find the Sabbat genre the preeminent Vampire genre in the Northeast. This does my heart good, as I have always preferred the Sword to the Tower. I believe that the addition of a PC Harbinger would bring a great deal of flavor to not only the Boston game, but the Northeast Sabbat as a whole, while remaining balanced within the game.

Am I qualified to play such a bloodline?

In short, yes. As a former Giovanni Coordinator and Northeast Giovanni Sub coordinator before that, I am very familiar with the Genre and the bloodline as a whole. I actually got the first Harbinger NPC passed in One World and ran a local plot in the area where he was a primary protagonist for both the Giovanni and the local Camarilla.

So, the big question is…why? Why, genre-wise, would this character be of benefit to Boston and to OWbN as a whole? I have a number of responses:

1. The Final Nights are upon us, and things have been taking place that Cainite history says just isn’t supposed to happen. The Warrior Salubri have reappeared and join The Sabbat, the Ravnos Antediluvian is destroyed, and the secret of what dwelled in Kaymaliki finally comes to light when the last vestiges of the Cappadocians reveal themselves. A Harbinger of Skulls would serve as a reminder to the players that everything that they fight for could either be over tomorrow, or that they could, very soon, be called upon by Caine to rise up and destroy those that would devour them once and for all. At least that’s how I would play him.

2. Every game in the Northeast has made a point of either celebrating or lamenting the fact that the region is all but conquered by the Sabbat. A Harbinger being there makes sense. It is one of the most populous Sabbat areas in the country, if not the world. A Harbinger Elder would likely dwell in New York or Boston, as opposed to Middle America or The West Coast. The Northeast is “where the Sabbat is”.

3. Why Boston? Well, for years Boston was a stronghold of the Giovanni. Although they have been driven out, much of what they left behind still remains. Wraiths, Spectres, and other such detritus on the other side of The Shroud still float about in the ether of Boston. It is a place where Necromancers would come to study and to dwell.

4. I think a Harbinger would be an interesting devotee to the Path of Death & the Soul. What insight can centuries in the Shadowlands give to a people in reference to the state of death and undeath? Any chance to expand and explore such genre staples as The Paths of Enlightenment should be looked at as a potential for deeper roleplaying opportunities.

5. I plan to play a recently embraced 9th generation Harbinger, childe of La Vidua Blanca (See Mexico City by Night). This makes for an excellent roleplaying opportunity on my part, as this canon character is an extremely deranged and twisted individual, even for a Harbinger. Her childe would likely exhibit many of the same tendencies.

While it can be argued that precedent has already been set and that this is not the first Harbinger PC propped or, hopefully, approved, I feel that my reasoning stands on it’s own. I feel that I could bring a great deal to Boston with this character, and I hope that you take that, and everything else presented here into consideration.

Thank you for taking the time to look this proposal. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to drop me a line at


Jim Williams