World of Darkness: Denver

World of Darkness: Denver / Games / Vampire: The Masquerade / Setting / History

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History

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Here are the cold hard facts, staked out in the sunlight for your perusal:

  • Originally a trio of settlements known as St. Charles, Auraria and Highland in a sparsely population region of the Territory of Kansas, the discovery of gold would lead to a rush of over 100,000 fortune seekers and prospectors to the area. Though the amount of available gold was found to be limited, it would later serve as a base camp for mines in the surrounding countryside.

  • Denver emerged as a Camarilla stronghold in 1861, around the time U.S. President James Buchanan signed an Act of Congress organizing the free Territory of Colorado. This came with an increased military presence as well as oversight from the federal government.

  • The majority of Denver's population supported the North in the Civil War, and the Northern transplants drove out many formerly Southern inhabitants. This allowed the Camarilla to further strengthen its hold on the city, as the Northern cities at the time were predominantly held by the Sect.

  • The first noteworthy scuffle between Sabbat and Camarilla vampires occurs in the Spring of 1863, though whether this was concurrent with or the cause of a great fire that burned a majority of the wooden buildings in the heart of downtown Denver is unknown.

  • The Denver Pacific Line, completed in 1870, finally allowed a passenger – and more notably freight – to embark from the East Coast and disembark on the West Coast without ever leaving the train. Denver becomes a hub of transportation and what had been a Camarilla War of Attrition and Sabbat geurilla war boils over into full scale conflict.

  • In 1874 a silver mining boom leads to the immigrant population of Denver soaring and its overall population rising from 5,000 in 1870 to 35,000 a decade later.

  • The transition of the U.S. government to a gold standard leads to the collapse of the silver market and subsequent Denver Depression of 1893. As thousands of jobless entered the city from the surrounding countryside in search of jobs, religious and ethnic prejudices rise. The American Protective Association, for example, found jobs for American Protestants and natives by firing immigrant and first-generation American Catholics. A few Lasombra and members of the Independent Clans begin consolidating power and influence through local Catholic churches, immigrant social clubs and societies, and criminal gangs.

  • That same year (1893) tent cities begin forming around Riverfront Park and South Platte River, gathering more homeless and unemployed Coloradans. In the first year of the Denver Depression almost a thousand mines and local businesses had closed. The city's population contracts for the first time, by over 10%, when railway companies begin offering reduced rates to those leaving Denver.

  • Over the next few years the majority of Camarilla's  Ventrue, Tremere and Toreador population flee the city for more hospitable vistas further West and back East. A small contingent of Nosferatu, Brujah, Gangrel and Malkavian ancillae and neonates remain in the city, led by two elders of the Nosferatu and Brujah clans, and defend it against an unprecedented Sabbat offensive, leading to:

  • A period of unprecedented lawlessness overtaking Denver in the 1890s. At one point Populist Party governor Davis Hanson Waite attempts to forcibly remove all corrupt police and fire commissioners, as well as other city government officials, gathering a federal militia to do so and nearly starting what would be known as the “City Hall War.” This Depression, lawlessness and corruption serves as the violent backdrop for a decades-long series of Sabbat sieges on Denver, though it continues to stand as a (wavering) bastion of the Ivory Tower thank to the industrious maneuverings of the few Camarilla that remain.

  • This city is broken down into territories by its neighborhoods, with the Camarilla dominating the upper class vistas and mansions in the city center, with the Brujah acting as a buffer; meanwhile the Sabbat, Nosferatu, Giovanni, Settites and Gangrel form a tenuous truce in the outer thoroughfares filled with lower- and working-class immigrants.

  • Disillusioned with partisan politics, the growing Home Rule movement leads to a non-partisan mayor. Agricultural jobs that rely on Denver's connection to the national railway system carry the city through what remains of this depression and the city's economy and job market rebounds by 1900.

  • By 1902 Denver is consolidated into a city-county, annexing adjacent neighborhoods. The Sabbat incursions subside. Their packs inexplicably withdraw and there is a period of peace in the city.

  • The Ventrue and Toreador return to the city in droves. The lack of a Tremere presence unsettles some Malkavians, who whisper it is no coincidence.

  • Throughout the Progressive Era Denver's place as one of America's major cities is solidified, the civic efforts of its mayor and upstanding citizens culminating in its hosting of the 1908 Democratic National Convention. Denver's reputation as a center of agriculture and livestock also grows. The organized labor movement, comprised of representatives in the construction, mining, manufacturing and railroad industries, also gains a substantial foothold in Denver politics. The Ventrue and Brujah become the dominant clans of Denver, respectively carrying the greatest burden in ruling and defending the city.

  • In the early 1900s the Nosferatu are again regulated to their place in the gutter. A small coterie of Brujah who cut their teeth fighting the Sabbat alongside the Sewer Rats advocate for a better place in court for the clan, arguing that without the backchannel diplomacy and intrgue of the Nossies the city might have been lost.

  • In 1918, with World War I in full swing, Denver's prohibition and temperance movements succeed in outlawing spirits a full two years before the rest of the United States. With countless small businesses closing within their spheres of influence and the subsequent shutting down of The Rack, the Brujah blame the Ventrue for bad governing of the kine and this causes the first notable schism in the truce between these two dominant clans.

  • The national rise of Prohibition coincides with a local “nativist” attitude, associating immigrant populations with slovenly drinking and malingering. In 1925 Clarence Joseph Morley, a member of the Ku Klux Klan known for targeting Irish and Italian Roman Catholics in his vitriolic speeches, was elected Governor of Colorado. Another Klansman, Benjamin Stapleton, enjoyed the mayorship of Denver from 1923-1931 and again from 1935-1947, during which time he named Bill Candlish, also a Klansman, Chief of Police in Denver, the organization's political influence in the region growing.

  • In the 1920s and 30s Irish and Italian members of the police force are fired or otherwise forced from their positions. No few find a new livelihood in an era of organized crime that comes with the onset of Prohibition, including bootleg liquor, corruption, bribery, and protection rackets. As kine gangs of various origins sink their teeth into Denver and the surrounding counties, clans such as the Giovanni, Brujah and Settites also gain a level of influence in the vampiric politics of Colorado.

  • The Sabbat remains relatively quiet, though an unprovoked attack against the Nosferatu that live at the edges of the Prince's domain leads to the Final Death of their Primogen, Henrietta in Rags. This keeps the Camarilla on their guard, though few weap for the loss of the Queen of the Sewers. Her childe, Gotfred, takes her place as Primogen of the Nosferatu.

  • While the KKK has long lost its influence in city politics by the end of Prohibition, and integration of subsequent generations of European immigrants eases tensions, there is still no shortage of prejudice and outright hate against Mexican immigrants and the African American population. The Sabbat have not attacked since the death of Henrietta.

  • WWII, a second war to settle the first, breaks out and Denver's economy is further diversified by a burgeoning manufacturing industry. As the city's population begins to rapidly expand, so too does the number of Kindred that call it home.

  • Throughout the 50s and 60s the suburban sprawl of Denver continues to spread, with many upper and middle-class families abandoning the city center for its developments. In the latter quarter of the 20th Century a modern revitalization of the University of Denver, the city's art scene, and integration of its manufacturing workforce with an ascendant technology sector continues the city's emergence as a modern metropolis.

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