Introduction

"Rio 40 graus, "Rio 110 degrees,
Cidade maravilha,
Marvelous city,
Purgatório da beleza e do caos...
" Purgatory of chaos and beauty..."

-- Fernanda Abreu, "Rio 40 C"

Rio de Janeiro: a portrait of Brazilian society painted in uncompromising tones. 13 million people live here in Brazil's most beautiful city, the third largest metropolis in Latin America. Once the political and cultural capital of the nation, Rio has gained world-wide renown as the capital of violence and Carnival.

Every element of the Brazilian social system is present in the "Marvelous City": corrupt political institutions; subhuman misery living side by side with incredible wealth; crime lords boldly defying the law, turning poverty-ravished favela shantytowns into their own personal fiefs. Street kids, runaways or abandoned, survive on the scraps that they root from the garbage bins of the luxury condo complexes in Ipanema and Copacabana, their existence acknowledged only when frustrated, underpaid cops blow a few of them away. Meanwhile, rich playboys bribe the police to ignore their transgressions while they drive Daddy's car without a license and buy cocaine in the favelas which cover the city's mountainsides.

To this boiling turmoil of beauty and depravity, Kindred come from all over the globe, seeking refuge from the deadly politics of the Jyhad. Rio has a century long reputation as a Free Domain; a place where neither Sabbat nor Camarilla rule and the war between anarch and elder is but a rumor. Indeed, even the Masquerade in Rio has become more observed in the breach than in fact. After all, in a city whose urban infrastructure has long since collapsed, where illusion reigns supreme and exaggeration is the norm, who believes in vampires? To many battle weary Kindred, Rio appears almost too good to be true.

Behind the glow of freedom, however, lies an oppressive system based on inflexible customs and strange traditions which resent intruders. Dark truths permeate the apparent haphazard organization of Kindred society in the city, hidden behind the evasive shrugs and a smiles of its inhabitants. Geographically, Rio is squeezed between the mountains and the sea, guarded by rocks which jolt towards the sky and plunge down into the depths of the ocean. The city is truly marvelous, but only from a distance. Underneath the city's elegance lies corruption. Its freedom is a lie; its beauty, the elusive promise of a whore's smile. Rioters have crashed the eternal party; the razors they wield flash in the darkness. The city welcomes everyone with the open arms of its famous Christ the Redeemer statue, but prudence is advised, lest an incautious vampire is dragged down to her Final Death....

Rio de Janeiro in Mortal Eyes

Gothic-Punk Rio de Janeiro is not very different from the real world's Marvelous City. For centuries the capital of Brazil as well as the nation's most important city, Rio today is neither. Its industry is in disarray, its urban infrastructure in the terminal stages of collapse. Architectural chaos and general urban misplanning impart an air of haphazard incompetence to the city. Gross scams perpetrated by Kindred and kine alike use the city's patina of decay and ineptitude as camouflage. But really, who cares? The kine may howl with fury during those rare moments when the corruption rolls to the surface like a bloated corpse, but they forget their outrage in the cheap glory of the next week's soccer victory, at most writing a sarcastic samba about the incident. The popular attitude of carelessness and joy is the true soul of the city; this is the way the mortal masses deal with their grinding misery.

Viewed from a distance, perhaps from the foot of the Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado mountain, Rio is one of the loveliest cities in the world. Nestled among the mountains, embraced by the sea, the city still evokes lush images of the 1930s casino and resort town it once was. Up close, however, the decay is much more apparent. Street people huddle in the doorways of the ruins of French-style townhouses from the time of the Emperor. Its elegant casinos have been mercilessly bulldozed to make way for beach-front condos. Abandoned children sleep on the beaches, washing themselves in the polluted waters of Guanabara Bay and preying on unwary tourists.

As the '80s came to a close, Rio was racked by violence as the discontent bred in the favelas poured down from the hills and overflowed into the streets. Crime ruled the city and the cariocan middle class began to fear for their lives and property. Years of terror and violence finally came to a head in November of 1994. The city government, fed up with the growing chaos and hamstrung by the corruption rampant in the police force, begged the army to suppress organized crime in Rio. Armored columns were sent into the favelas, threatening the locals into submission and occupying the city's hot spots. Since then things have been relatively calm, and awful lot like the calm one sees before the region's sudden and exceptionally violent tropical stroms, in fact...

How to Use This Book

The information in this book pertains principally to Rio de Janeiro. With a little work, though, ambitious Storytellers can use what is written here as a base to develop other chronicles set in Brazil. Appendix A: Brazil, deals with the country in general, briefly describing its major cities as well as reviewing Brazilian history since the European colonization. As Brazil is not an exceptionally well known country, this section also provides tips to help you believably narrarate stories there.

Appendix B describes a new blood line, the African-brazilian Ajé Olo (a-JAY o-LO), and gives Storytellers brief guidelines on how to integrate African-brazilian magic into their chronicles. Rules for Capoeira (kah-po-AY-rah), a Brazilian martial art form, are also included.

References

***

Rio itself is in fact very different from the rest of Brazil. If you plan to move your chronicle out of the "Marvelous City", research becomes key. The following sources of information will go a long way towards helping you out:

***

Theme

To foreign eyes, Rio de Janeiro appears beautiful, even calm. Beneath the surface, however, the city is coming apart at the seams. The hundred year old balance of power which has maintained Rio as a free domain is no longer strong enough to keep the self-interests of the various Kindred factions in check. War is brewing and innocent bystanders may well be sucked into the maelstrom.

At the same time, the city still retains a certain warmth and at least the illusion of liberty. Her Kindred seem more open and less hampered by the restrictions of the Masquerade than the vampires of other cities. Even in the midst of war, there are places of peace and time for reflection. Though it is easy for the unwary to meet the sun here, regaining one's humanity is also possible. For those who seek it, Rio offers unparalleled opportunities to achieve Golcanda.

None of the major factions wishes to see Rio's reputation as a haven ruined. Much money is made from the passage of Kindred and kine through the region, especially during Carnival. The power structures of almost all the region's major players would be utterly destroyed if word spread around about some of the city's nastier little secrets. Despite the tremendous friendliness and apparent openness of the Cariocans, out-of-town Kindred will have a difficult time finding out what's really going on, especially if they don't speak Portuguese (which, let's face it, is not a very popular language).

Holocaust in paradise is thus the major theme of "Rio by Night". Extremes of violence and tenderness alternate with blinding speed. Is Rio a gateway to salvation or the first battleground of Gehanna? Or, as the title of Orson Well's famous film about the city suggests, can it be that "It's All True"?

Storytellers using this book should keep this theme in mind as the player characters get to know more about unlife in Rio. At first, the city should appear to be just what the doctor ordered; friendly people in a tropical paradise far from the schemes of the Jyhad. So what if most of the kine live in misery? There are street people in Chicago, too, right?

As foreign characters become involved with the locals, however, they should slowly become aware that all is not as it seems. Inevitably, they will be drawn into the city's death dance, probably against their will. This can work especially well if the characters have an overwhelming reason to not want to return home, such as having a Justicar or the Black Hand on their tails. Even as everything is going to hell in a hand basket, however, the Storyteller should interject unexpected moments of beauty and passion. Intense love affairs, participation in hopeless, noble causes and strange dealings with the spirits of the city all should all be woven into the tapestry that is the characters existence in Rio de Janeiro.

Mood

The mood of the city is constant contrast. Nothing in Rio exists in the middle ground: there is desperately poor and filthy rich; brutality and tenderness; originality and decadence; blind violence and Zen-like tranquillity. The Cariocans, kine and Kindred alike, are caught up in an endless balancing act between these extremes. Whereas existence in the States or in Europe can be treated as a science, in Brazil it must be seen as an art. There are no set, written rules; everything is subject to change.

Rio is made up of equal parts illusion and reality. Lies and truth, love and hate, beauty and decadence; everything coexists in contradiction, usually without clashing. It is very difficult to determine exactly where fantasy ends and reality begins. As the chronicle progresses, the characters should begin to notice just how much of what is said is irrelevant and how much of what is truly important is never discussed openly. Cariocans tend to prefer a beautiful lie to an ugly truth and their conversation reflects this preference.

Storytellers setting their chronicles in Rio should induce in their player's a floating sense of detachment in the midst of grisly reality, much like walking through a butcher's cold room while smoking opium. In Rio, Malkavians are well-adjusted, Ventrue spendthrift, Brujah conservative, Toreadors cheap and gaudy. The Sabbat is laid-back. Assamites own flower shops. Here are a few images which will help get a feel for the city:

- Reeking shanty towns on redolent, jungle-covered mountain-sides;

- Strains of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" drifting down from the favela during a fire-fight;

- Hyper-modern office buildings which suffer from constant black-outs;

- Street children selling disposable nail files to chic, Jaguar-driving women at stoplights;

- The saying, "For my friends, anything. For my enemies, the Law."

- The Christ the Redeemer statue observing the most barbarous acts with outstretched, forgiving arms;

- Eight year old prostitutes;

- Everyone conducts business by portable car-phone; especially the criminals;

- A satellite up-link dish in the middle of a huge shantytown;

- Wherever you go downtown, you can smell day-old human urine, frequently intermingled with the scent of US$100-an-ounce perfumes and colognes wafting off the passing theatergoers;

- Rich, tempting blood, perhaps the tastiest in the world, tainted with AIDS and meningitis;

An important mood element in "Rio by Night" is the contrast between the city's excess of vitality and the characters undead existence. Life surrounds the PCs at all times; always tempting, ultimately unobtainable. Though at first this should be represented as part of the charm of Rio de Janeiro, eventually it can become another element of the characters' personal hell; a constant tantalizing reminder of what they left behind and can never recapture. Sunbathing is the major spectator sport in Rio. Describe the tans of the happy kine in the street at night and their obvious sex play in the bars. Make the PCs feel jealous of the mortals. Make them feel that they're really missing something.

In the Gothic-Punk world, the "Marvelous City's" appeal lies not only in the surreal atmosphere created by the costumes and decadent public partying of Carnival, but also in its stark contrasts, visible every day of the year. Rio's amazingly diverse human landscape provides the perfect cover for vampires of all schoolings and inclinations.

Rio Tonight

Rio of grades and shades
Crossroads of civilization
Every streambed is a nation...

-- Chico Buarque, "Rio"

Mortal Society

Rio de Janeiro is beleaguered by a host of problems ranging from post-industrial decay to the resurgence of illnesses typical of the middle-ages. Despite all this, Rio's landscape and inhabitants are so exuberant that newcomers are still easily seduced by the city. Only after the glow of the first magical contact has worn off does the visitor start to realize that this vast metropolis is tottering on the edge of chaos.

As the ex-capital of Brazil, Rio won international renown as a city of beauty and pleasure. This aura began to fade, however, in 1960 when the federal government moved its seat to Brasilia. Today the city's reputation is more than a little tarnished; the vast disparity between the rich and the poor has created an explosive situation. Rio's natural beauty, and reputation as a tourist paradise are at odds with its drug trade, kidnapping industry and the ever present spectre of urban violence. Radically different worlds coexist and sometimes collide. The immensely wealthy and absolutely destitute live right next to one an other; the contrast is as inescapable as the conflict inevitable.

Rio is a city at war with itself. Freed slaves and rural immigrants, seeking to escape the countryside's relentless poverty, poored into Rio after the turn of the century. Occupying the only land available to the them, the newly urbanized masses covered the tops and sides of Rio's undeveloped mountains with favelas; rickety shanty towns lacking electricity, water and sewers. As the decades passed, the city government did what it could to ignore the favelados presence, systematically denying them any voice in urban affairs as well as aid in improving their desperate lives. The military dictatorship, lasting from 1964 to 1984, only worsened the situation. Common criminals were incarcerated side by side with trained urban guerillas. The latter taught the former the rudiments of political organization and armed struggle. Their sentences served, the criminals took this knowledge back up into the hills, organizing ever more effective and audacious clandestine structures.

Rio's crime lords have by now established a parallel power structure in the slums and shanty towns of the city. The State has always left the favelados to their own devices, and the drug trade has filled in for social security. A thirteen year old can make $300 a week acting as the dealers eyes and ears. They fly kites or shoot fireworks according to a code, warning their employers of police raids. Gang wars over prime shanty town turf have become quite frequent. City Hall traditionally has ignored these bloody affairs. Recently, however, the firefights have begun to affect the middle-class, as stray bullets pierce the windows of chic apartments bordering the favelas. The city government might not listen to the favelados, but it has to sit up and take notice when the tax payers complain.

Organized crime and government live in each others pockets in Rio. Many councilmen and state senators owe their positions to the money and guns of the mafia backing them up. During last October's elections, Rio's votes were nulified by the federal government due to widespread fraud and intimidation at the polls. Nor is it only the city leaders who are corrupt; many of the municipal services, the police department in particular, are rotten. For example, it's quite common for police officers to moonlight for the death squads, exterminating street children as a means of putting a break on the city's elevated levels of petty theft.

Those authorities who aren't corrupt are hard-pressed to find quick solutions to the undeclared civil war which is tearing Rio apart. The vast majority of the city's public servants, however, are either indifferent to the suffering of their constituents or actively take part in the vast orgy of organized public looting which has turned City Hall into the ultimate pork barrel. Several years of scandals involving graft and corruption has left the citizens with zero faith in the city's leaders.

The rest of Brazil has begun to see view the city with a certain ammount of dread. According to tradition, everything that happens in the country first shows its face in Rio. Brazilians have become afraid of the "Marvelous City" as an unwanted beacon of the future. Still, from shanty towns to penthouses, the city's residents share many things, including a deep-seated informality and an intense joy of life, no matter how desperate. It is perhaps a measure of Rio's resiliency that this attitude shapes mortal Cariocan social behavior more than the city's violence and poverty.

Kindred Influence

The Ventrue and Toreador, who control what's left of Cariocan officialdom, are in a quandary. They have next to no control over large sections of the city and see their dominance incresingly challenged by the Ajé Olo, Sabbat and a growing population of Caitiff anarchs. Simultaneously, most of the city's Kindred have learned to keep a low profile since the signing of the Rio Compact, negotiating extensively with their neighbors and ignoring as much as possible the "powers that be" downtown. The current crisis has scared the bejeezus out of the resident Camarilla traditionalists, who believe that the chaos marks the beginning of a Sabbat play for dominance. These Elders have recently taken matters into their own hands, forcing the Ventrue and Toreador to call on their allies in Brasilia for aid.

The upshot of the Ventue requests was Operation Rio. The Federal Government has sent in the military, entrusting the Army with police powers as the city's regular force is totally corrupt and underequipped. A thorough clean-up of the city is sorely needed and, according to the government's pompous declarations, this is what's beginning. The media has whipped up rabid public support for a full-blown attack on the poor as the only possible solution for the city's problems. Curfews have been imposed in the favelas and paratroops roam the shantytowns unpaved streets. Residents must show I.D. to enter or leave their neighborhoods.

Some few Kindred whisper that there is a deeper force lurking behind the Venture's decision to call in the Army. If this is true, however, who or what is inspiring the unprecedented level of military activity remains a mystery. The fact remains that Rio is now under a state of siege, and it is in the context of these conditions that any newcomer must operate.All of Rio's known entrances are currently under heavy surveillance. This is a tense time to move about in the city. The Army's new police status is making the kine more nervous than ever; the poorer they are, the jumpier they become, caught in the middle of a war they can only lose. To survive one must be on guard all the time. The autoritarian siege measures can quickly expose an uncautious vampire.

The Factions

Won't you come and join us
in our playground?
It's a violent playground,
such a violent playground
(...)
We play for real,
we play for power!

-- Nitzer Ebb, "Violent Playground"

The Kindred of Rio reflect their city's decadence. No prince reigns in Rio; the Traditions are flaunted and the Camarilla is but a debating society. The city is divided among many different coteries, all of whom desire total control, none of whom is strong enough to impose it. For the first time in more than a century, open warfare has begun to break out among the Cariocan Kindred. The Sabbat has recently begun to pay the city more attention. It is rumored that they will soon make a move to harvest this over-ripe fruit before it falls to the ground and rots.

Around 100 vampires make the city their home, but this number can rise to 120 or 130 during Carnival. Most Cariocan vampires hold allegiance to neither the Sabbat nor the Camarilla; in fact, many are forced to stay in Rio due to past "misunderstandings" with powerful members of these sects. Although Rio is nominally a free domain without a prince, a vampire here is anything but free. The city's status is rigidly maintained through unwritten laws and enforced with an uneasy wariness. Unfortunately, "non-aligned" in Rio relates only to the major sects; the Cariocan Licks are, in fact, very much entangled in a web of intrigue spun by the myriad local coteries. Though not as obvious as in some cities, the ageless Jyhad is afoot in Rio as well.

The vampiric community of Rio has become a grotesque parody of mortal society. Kindred fight for influence and territory in the same manner as the city's kine squabble among their social classes. In this structure one major division is apparent; that between the "haves" and the "have nots".

The Traditionalists

The city's vampiric elite, mainly composed of Europeans embraced in the Old World, wields great economic and political power. These "Traditionalists" are led by the Ventrue and the Toreador, with certain Nosferatu, Tremere, Gangrel and Malkavians participating to a lesser degree. They control most of Rio's mortal power structure, including the police, leaders of the church, the media and the armed forces. The Traditionalists have lost much influence in the past half century as the city's population boomed out of control and its infrastructure collapsed. Under the loose leadership of Ventrue Alan Boggart, these vampires hold much power though they are few in number. The Traditionalists long for a return to "the good old days" when a Prince ruled the city with an iron fist.

The Toreador were once quite powerful in Rio, but they have now faded into the background somewhat. By and large, however, they are quite insenced by the decay of their once beautiful city.Some of them, principally the sycophants of Dona Urraca, the city's deposed Prince, have begun to agitate for an end to the Rio Compact. Patrício * has been the official leader of Rio’s Toreador since Urraca's resignation, and a steadfast supproter of the Compact, much to his sire's chagrin. Patricio owns a goodly chunk of what's left of the city's cultural strongholds and throws many parties and social gatherings, playing host to a variety of special guests from abroad. Currently, he is infatuated with Clara, a visiting Daughter of Cacaphony. Among Patrício’s Get, are Míriam, an impressionist painter embraced during the 1922 Modern Art Week and Alex, an athlete embraced in 1950.

The Ventrue of Rio are part of a country-wide organization called the Consortium, founded in the late 19th Century as a mutual aid society for clan members. The Consortium reached the height of its power with the coup of 1964 when they helped to install a dictatorial military regime with the aid of their North American allies in the CIA. Since then, the Ventrue's power has greatly diminished. Individual clan members now pursue their own goals without much thought to maintaining the collective power base. The leader of the Consortium is Alan Boggart, also Ventrue Primogen in Rio. He controls most of the city's hotels as well as a fair number of nightclubs, restaurants and travel agencies. Boggart's second in command, Antonio das Merces, has the harbor under a tight fist and is responsible for the security of Kindred arriving by ships. Rio's airports are the custody of Vladmir Kronski, a Russian Ventrue who came to city in the 1920s fleeing the Bolshevik Revolution. His major stronghold is the International Airport, but he has considerable control over the Santos Dumont and Galeão Airports as well. Finally, there is Felix Fanse. Felix is a Ventrue from Sao Paulo whose main function seems to be aiding Alan run the Consortium. Nobody knows for sure where he came from, but he first appeared during the 60s and quickly rose to a position of power with in the organization.

Theodontos rules the Nosferatu of Rio with iron hand: nothing happens without his notice. He has always been very particular about his lodgings, strangly so for a Nosferatu. At the end of the XIX century he embraced Charles Pearson, an English engineer who has aided Theodontos in gaining control over civil construction in Rio. The Nosferatu leader generally supports the Rio Compact, mainly because he doesn't want to be Prince but does not care to see anyone else hold that position, either. Two great mysteries occupy most of Theodontos’ time: what or who has been influencing the city from behind the scenes for so long and who sired the powerful Caitiff Madame Satan. He is beginning to suspect that both questions may have the same answer...

The Anarchs

In the favelas and working class suburbs, parallel power structures have sprung up, bringing a certain order to those places where mainstream society cannot or will not impose itself. The coteries which call these areas home are mainly made up of African and mixed blood Brazilian Kindred. Many of them subsist from the takings of organized crime, either through the control of mortal crime lords or by serving Kindred gangsters as hired guns ("finger men"). The Brujah and the Ajé Olo see these spaces as their traditional domain, though the vast majority of the Kindred who exist here are unaligned Caitiff. Several mutually hostile anarch factions hold territory in Rio. The most powerful of these is the Brujah Girolamo's gang, which maintains control over Rio's illegal lotteries.

The Brujah started their ascent to a position of power with their consolidation of the city's gambling rings in the 1960’s. The Bicho, or "Animal Lottery", functions much like the American numbers racket. A group of Idealist Brujah elders control, led by Girolamo, control many of the city's Bicho bankers. Recently, the Brujah have begun to gain even more influence in the city through their minions' sponsoring of Carnival's ever popular Samba schools. This gives them considerable control over one of the city's principal tourist attractions. Recently, however, the Bicho has suffered from a massive crackdown by the authorities. The current military occupation of the city doesn't auger well for the Brujah...

The Sabbat

Ex-members of the Sabbat have settled in and around Rio since the early 17th century. Originally, many of the members who immigrated to Brazil did so to get away from the wars then raging in Europe. Obviously, these defectors weren't about to commit themselves to another struggle, especially with so much territory going unclaimed in their new home. The leaders of the sect weren't interested in South America for centuries, preferring to concentrate their resources and attention on the United States. In the last 80 years, however, they've begun to take a more active stance with regard to Brazil.

The 1930's saw the infiltration of a dedicated Sabbat cadre into Rio. With an eye to turning the city into a usable refuge, they slowly extended their power base, forcibly reintegrating those members who had strayed from the fold and later recruiting local talent. The conquest of Rio was to be a low-key, long term operation run on a shoe string budget. The Cardinal of South America decided that there was no reason to expend cadres and resources in order to conquer a poorly organized city which, given time, would probably fall to the Sabbat of its own accord.

Since the 1970s, however, the leadership of the Sabbat has become more anxious to see the situation in Rio resolved for once and for all. More militant members of the sect were infiltrated into the city, including, it is rumored, members of the Black Hand. These highly trained agitators conducted a guerilla war against the Ajé Olo in the favelas, eventually taking control of the Red Commandos, one Rio's most organized and heavily armed drug consortiums. The Sabbat has been planning a big move in Brazil for some time now. Hernandez, the leader of sect in Rio, finds the city very puzzling. Its lack of a Prince and lax Masquerade have left him somewhat disorientated. He is unsure how to handle the city's unique power structure..Last year, the Sabbat began a campaign of terrorism against the Kindred of the North Zone, scaring the Traditionalists into calling in the Army. The military occupation of many of the Sabbat's hangouts has disrupted business as usual for the city's kine, but otherwise has accomplished little.

The Ajé Olo

These African-brazilian Kindred are a secretive lot. Though their presence in Rio is quite marked, very little is known about them. They claim to be descended from an African clan of vampires, tracing their bloodline through a Childe of Caine's who was embraced "east of Eden". According to their folklore, Caine, demoralized by the fall of the First City, went into self-exile in Africa. There he eventually founded a new dynasty which, supposedly, he meant as a counterbalance to the "corrupt and evil Kindred of the north".

The Camarilla, by and large, see the Ajé Olo as a mongrel minor bloodline, little better than Caitiff. They see their contempt as justified by the fact that, though the Ajé are always dropping hints about "powerful Elders who come from the Motherland", no one has ever met a member of this clan who was not Embraced in Brazil. Whether or not the story of African descent is true, however, none doubt that the Ajé Olo can make fearsome enemies. More than any other Bloodline with the possible exception of the Tremere, the Ajé have an affinity for spirits and the occult. Their havens and the surrounding territories are always heavily guarded by astral beings.

In Rio, the Ajé control several outlying neighborhoods and a couple of the bigger favelas. They generally ally themselves with the city's anarchs when push comes to shove, and there is quite a bit of cross over between the two groups. The principal goal of the Ajé Olo is to maintain control of their traditional territories, no matter who may run the rest of Rio. Ajé oba Ubirajara is a forward looking man, however. Since the 19th century, he's realized that his clan must make allainces in order to survive. Recently, the Ajé have come under pressure from the Sabbat and their Red Commando minions. Ubirajara has led the struggle against the sect's encroachment, trying to jar Rio's other Ajé leaders out of their complacency with dire predictions of the Sabbat's future plans for the city. So far, he has been unsuccessful.

Independents

Although City Hall remains Ventrue territory, Malkavian Joachim Ducasse has managed to gain control of many of Rio's public services, including the Munincipal Health Department. Ducasse has used the influence of this group to camuflage certain of his more unsavory operations. His Childe Lilian, controls several of Rio's popular tabloids which graphically display photos of the city's violence side by side pictures of semi-nude models. Lilian believes her work to be a higher form of art than the stuffy plays and concerts supported by the Toreador. Very few of the city's Kindred actually realize the full extent of the Malkavian couple's madness, however...

The Setites have a small but important presence in Rio, controling a sizable chunk of Rio's booming drug trade. They would like to gain more influence in the city but, ironically enough, the Sabbat stands in their way. Though not as numerous as the Black Hand, the Setites are much better organized and extremely well equipped. They can also count on the support of several heavily armed mortal gangs. Bloody clashes between the two groups have recently become quite frequent.

Suarez is an Inconnu Monitor who has grown fond of Rio and its peculiar history as a Free Domain. Although he has remained apart from the city's political manuevering, he has managed to make his presence felt. Suarez is currently biding his time, riding out the city's present wave of violence. He is aware, however, that he will probably be eventually forced to choose sides.

Others

Werewolves

The most active Lupines in Rio are the Glass Walkers, who were responsible for the reforestation of Serra da Tijuca in XIX century, the greatest urban forest in the world. The other Lupines of Rio make it their home and base. The Glass Walkers know that Rio has an unusual vampiric power structure. Nevertheless, they believe that they've finally found out who is the Prince; the Iconnu Monitor Suarez. They are trying to contact him in order to avoid a war;: the Serra da Tijuca is being stripped down in order to provide space for new favelas and the Lupines are not happy.

Mages

The most powerful mage of Rio is an outcast from the Order of Hermes, *. It is said that he is extremely old and is a Master of three Spheres. He maintains a huge occult book store Downtown frequented by many Kindred, especially the Tremere. * is cared for by a mortal named Gertrudes. Besides *, there are a few other mages in Rio. The city is full of shamans, however. Many of Rio's African-brazilian religious cults are led by extremely talented hedge magicians.

Spirits

Finally, the city itself is alive. Due to the high concentration of African-brazilian religious activity, Rio's spirits are awake and accessable to a degree not possible in many other citys. Due to its intense African heritage, the city falls under the control of the ghostly Ivory Queen.

Travel to and Around Rio

Rio de Janeiro has entrances via land, sea and air. All of these are laid out around Guanabara Bay, the historical gateway to the city and its veritable mold. Nature has radically shaped Rio's layout. The region is full of mountains and close to the sea; the city has thus been forced to spread along the thin litoral strip and up through river valleys. Only recently, with the vast waves of rural immigrants, have the hillsides been colonized. Rio's landscape has always made for breathtakingly beautiful arrivals. Today, however, the city's decay is visible upon entrance. The bus and train stations are dirty and run down and all entrance points are currently under heavy Army surveillance.

Air Travel

The city has two major airports. The Aeroporto Internacional is immense. Together with its sister in the city of Sao Paulo, it handles the bulk of Brazil's international air traffic. Located on the Ilha do Governador in Guanabara Bay, the airport served as a spearhead for the urbanization of that distant borough, together with the Federal University campus. Between those two distant places a number of small island neighborhoods have sprung up. With the inauguration of the Red Line, an express highway linking most of the city's overland access routes with the glamourous South Zone, travel time from the city center to the Aeroporto Internacional has been cut to forty minutes with light traffic.

Normally, air travel to Rio would be quite difficult for Kindred, as the city is 8 hours flight from Miami and over 12 hours from Europe. However, Ventrue Vladimir Kronski makes his haven at the Aeroporto Internacional. He is personally in charge of maintaining air routes open for those Kindred wishing to visit the city. For a reasonable fee, Kronski offers "no questions asked" Customs transit for coffin-sized packages. Kronski states that his professional reputation puts him beyond all petty factional bickerings: anyone who can pay his price is welcome to use his services. Currently, Kronski's normal routine has been upset because of the Army's strict scrutiny of the Customs area, making discreet arrivals much more difficult. As his progeny watch the other air entrances, he is still able to work something out, most of the time...

Rio's second airport is named after Santos-Dumont, the Brazilian inventor of the airplane. In the past, it was the only air entrance into the city. Its location, on the border between the South Zone and the Center, puts it right beside the business district, a fifteen minute drive from the nicer neighborhoods. With the passage of time, Santos Drumond has been reduced to handling domestic flights only, and even these are slowly being transferred to the International Airport. Currently, however, the airport is the location of the important Rio - Sao Paulo air-bridge, placing it thirty minutes away from the largest city in the country.

A smaller air entrance is Campo dos Afonsos. It amounts to a glorified air strip; very frequently overlooked by the Kronski's people, which is why certain Kindred favor it. Some amateur pilots also like the strip, which has recently become an excellent place for meeting the "right people" for a clandestine trip outside the city.

Sea Travel

The easiest way for Kindred to come to Rio has historically been by sea. The Praca Maua docks are the city's most well known maritime entrance. Very few kine arrive there these days, as passenger liners making port in Rio are an increasingly rare occurence. On the other hand, the city is one of Brazil's most important export/import centers, so merchant vessels crowd the waterfront. Crates, boxes and containers are piled everywhere, making Praca Maua the prefered entrance for those Cainites who don't wish to make their presence in the city a matter of public knowledge.

The Sepetiba docks are a little smaller than those at Praca Maua. They were the first industrial docks built in Rio, and are essential for exporting Brazil's huge quantities of manufactured products and raw materials. To call them urban docks would be stretching the truth a bit; they are located just to the south of the city in the beautiful Sepetiba region. In the undeveloped southern coastal region, nature is still quite imposing; this is Garou territory. Though a train runs from the docks to the downtown region, few Kindred enter the city via this route for fear of being attacked by the Lupines.

Rio is also accessable by ferry, which runs every twenty minutes from the city of Niteroi, across Guanabara Bay. The view from the ferry is so breathtaking that the boats are considered Elysium by a large segment of the region's Kindred. The ferry dock is located at Praca XV de Novembro in the Rio's business district. Bus service to and from this area is so good that it is possible for Cariocans to work in Niteroi, and vice-versa. The ferry dock is one of the few places in the city that never closes down; it has a nightlife all its own, catering to those who don't have money to go somewhere else.

Tough air-ferries allow the sophisticated traveler to cross over to Niteroi in five minutes, most people use the Presidente Costa e Silva bridge. More commonly known as the Rio-Niterói bridge, this x-kilometer long construction spans the bay with a four lane highway that's already begining to show signs of saturation at rush hour. Hour long traffic jams are a common occurence in the early evening.

Road Travel

Today, the most common way to enter Rio is by land. Avenida Brasil, the city's principal throughway runs from the North Zone through the West Zone before finally merging with the interstate highway system in the suburbs of the Fluminense flatlands. Rio's West Zone, comprised of poor and desperate neighborhoods, swarms out on both sides of Avenida Brasil, blending seamlessly with the equally poor suburbs clinging to the city limits. When the masses in these grim townships feel that their toes have been sufficiently stepped on, they strangle the city by blocking the avenue.

The only other highway out of the city leaves directly from Barra da Tijuca in the far side of the South Zone, and runs along the coastal escarpment heading for the port of Santos, 400 KM away. The road is reasonably well kept, if full of hairpin turns, and handles a good portion of the commercial traffic to the industrial state of Sao Paulo.

There are three bus stations in Rio. Novo Rio, which handles most of the interstate traffic is clearly full to overflowing and there is talk of opening yet another station to share the weight. Novo Rio is not a safe place to be alone at night. In recent years it has become indescribably filthy and full of pickpockets, beggars and purse-snatchers. Rumor has it that one of the city's Nosferatu has recently taken the area over as part of his territory; except for the obligatory army presence, the Ventrue and Toreador leave the place alone.

The old Praca Maua bus station, from which embark the lines to the poor cities along Fluminense flatlands, is also overworked. The buses are in far worse condition here. Through Ventrue Antonio das Merces' neglect, the station has fallen into the hands of a faction of Brujah anarchs who run several small rackets there.

The only bus station in good condition is the small strip inside the Menezes Cortes garage building, smack in the middle of the city's business district. There, executives travel in air conditioned comfort to the posh tourist cities of the interior. As these resorts are practically next door, Rio's yuppies have begun converting them to American-style suburban neighborhoods, complete with big houses and wide lawns. The uppercrust trembles at the thought of braving Avenida Brasil in their spotless BMWs, so the deluxe buses see quite alot of service. Several Kindred have followed the mortal exodus as well, setting up out-of-town havens. Menezes Cortes is thus the only bus station under complete control by the Ventrue/Toreador axis.

Rail Travel

The only access routes that can compete with the highways for sheer traffic weight are the railroads. The Brazilian rail system has fallen into massive decay in recent years. In Rio, however, needs must; the rickety electric commuter trains are the only truly affordable means of transportation for the dispossessed who daily journey to work from suburbia. Buses are mostly the province of these regions' ephemeral middle class.

Rio's main train station is the Central do Brasil, located on the border between the Center and the North Zone. The station's enormous proportions recall President Getulio Vargas' grandiose ambitions for his country. Squatting solemnly beside the Central do Brasil, the headquarters of the Army's Eastern Military Command completes the neighborhoods' architectural grandeur. The human masses which flow through the station infuse the place with the drama and hopes of everday life; perhaps the dictator's vision may have been not so far off the mark after all... Some Kindred hold the station and its plebian transients in disdain and have made efforts to quicken its decadence. Certain Ajé Olo and Brujah don't let the decay take over completely, however; they appreciate the vitality of the station's seedy, raw atmosphere.

Leopoldina is an the older station, named after D.Pedro I's wife and dating back to the days of the Empire. D.Pedro II built it to both commemorate Brazil's entrance into the Industrial World and to please his old mother. In the past, some of the country's most breathtaking train journeys embarked from this station's platforms. Time and inordinate urban growth have turned it into an auxiliary departure for the Central's few interstate lines.

Getting around Downtown

Road

Taxis can easily be found anywhere in the city center and on most of the region's major throughways. Fares are generally reasonable, usually around US$ .20 a minute, and drivers can be haggled with. A marked accent can cause problems, however. Rio's taxi drivers have been known to go dozens of kilometers out of their way in order to milk the most out of gringo passengers. It's always wise to double check one's change as well.

Despite the risk, taxis are infinitely perferable to the bus system if one has the money available. Rio's buses are noisy, crowded and slow, with the added threat of constant holdups thrown in for good measure. About the only good thing about the Cariocan buses is that they're cheap (about US$.50 for a ride almost anywhere) and plentiful (unless the drivers are on strike). Bus lines run to and from almost all corners of the city except the favelas, where they usually stop at the foot of the hill.

Privately owned automobiles are, of course, an extremely common method of transport in Rio as well. Cars are quite vunerable to theft, however; it's quite rare to meet a member of the Cariocan middle class who hasn't had their vehicle stolen in the past few years. Hot vehicles are usually traded over the border to Bolivia for cocaine or broken down into component parts and sold in the North Zone's infamous Acuari Fair, known city wide as the "Robauto". Trafic jams and lack of parking are endemic conditions the cariocan driver must face during the day. The streets are relatively clear by night, however.

Rail

I read it in The New York Times;
Fernando Belo doesn't know if he'll participate
In the next railroad surfing championship.
Train surfer...

-- Jorge Benjor, "W. Brasil"

As mentioned above, Rio possesses a well-developed, if poorly maintained, interurban electric train network. A 45 minute journey to the outlying townships costs about US$ .30. The trains themselves are falling to pieces and would have long since been retired as a threat to public safety if it weren't for the fact that so many people depend on them and there are no replacements. The wagons' doors and windows are either broken or frozen open, making it easy for the North Zone youth to engage in their favorite sport: train surfing. This post-industrial past-time involves climbing to the roofs of the wagons and attempting to keep one's balance while avoiding high voltage wires and tunnel cielings. Several of the North Zone's anarch gangs test prospective members' courage by taking them train surfing. If this happens to a character of yours, roll dexerity + athletics. A failure means you fall to the car's roof and look like a fool. A botch means you take 7 dice damage (aggravated for electricity at the Storyteller's option) and go "splat", "thud", or "sizzle".

Rio also has a rudimentary subway system, which covers the downtown and extends into the South Zone as far as Botafogo. The "metro", as it's called, is clean, safe and relatively cheap; US$ .50 per ride. Unfortunately, it doesn't go hardly anywhere outside the city center.

 

Vital Statistics {Sidebar}

"...or as you Americans say, let's go see the town!"

-- Walt Disney's Ze Carioca, "Have you Ever Been to Bahia?"

Rio de Janeiro is a sprawling urban potpourri surrounded by six other cities: Itaguai, Nova Iguacu, Duque de Caxias, Niteroi and Sao Goncalo. Though originally separate, these communities have fused into the amorphous mass known as "Greater Rio" with a total population of around 12,000,000 people. This is pure speculation, however. A big chunk of the region's mortal inhabitants live out their lives in shanty towns clinging to the mountainsides or in the desperate slums filling the Fluminense Lowlands, regions where the State's presence is tenuous, at best.

The Atlantic Ocean borders Rio to the south as does Guanabara Bay to the east. The city is divided by a chain of low mountains into North and South Zones. These mountains, the Serra da Tijuca (SAY-hah dah tee-JOO-kah), are for the most part covered by dense forest and are undisputed Garou territory. Connecting both zones are a couple of tunnels and a few meandering roads which either cross over the Tijucas or skirt along Botafogo and Flamengo Beaches, squeezed between the mountains and the bay. The hills of the city are blotched with favelas (fah-VEH-lahs), shanty towns which serve as strategic strongholds for gangs and organized crime. The Cariocan rich and the middle class live in the coastal flatlands bordering the bay and in the valleys between the mountains.

The temperature in Rio is warm all year long, climbing to 40 degrees Celsius in the summer months of December, January and February. At night, see breezes help to cool the town off. Rio gets quite a lot of rain; almost X centimeters a year. It's quite common for the highland regions of the city to be fogged in by low hanging clouds.

 

Money and Inflation (sidebar)

Over the past six years, Brazil has changed its monetary system five times in an attempt to ameliorate the ravages of inflation which, until recently, had been clocked in at over 150% per month. The current national coin is called the "Real" (or "Surreal", depending on one's attitude). Its implementation in July of 1994 temporarily put the breaks on inflation, lowering it to a measily 5-10% a month. At the moment, (December 1994) one Real (R$) is worth about US$ 1.15. Money can freely be exchanged in most major banks and tourist agencies, but the exchange rate changes daily, sometimes quite drastically. Many Brazilians feel that inflation will soon retrun. If this happens, the dollar will return to its previous position as the country's accepted coin for "serious business".

As a curious side effect of Brazil's fifteen-year history of hyper-inflation, all coin operated machines and pay-phones run on tokens, usually sold at newstands. This can be quite inconvenient if one needs to make an urgent call in the middle of the night and all the nearby newstands are closed...

 

Language and Communication (Sidebar)

Be advised that Brazil is substantially different from the rest of Latin America. For one thing, Brazilians speak Portuguese, a language which few non-Brazilian characters are likely to know. Though Portuguese is related to Spanish, it is far enough removed that communication difficulties between Spanish speakers and native Brazilians should be constant. (Think of an American trying to communicate in backwoods Jamaica and you've got the idea). A short glossary of commonly used Portuguese words and phrases has been included to help you confuse your friends and amuse your enemies.

 

Culls

Nanna has a long story behind her. This is not her real name, nor is she the Lasombra she claims to be. In fact she is a 5th generation Baali, who among other things had a love affair with Qunato before her embrace. When she first came to Rio she didn’t know and still doesn'’t, that he is here, but she knows that there is some one behind the present state of things. Ever since her support to Vargas in the 30’s Nanna has maintained a low profile in the politics of the Damned, after all she doesn’t need to expose her self when she has two very influential Ventrue to do her will. In the Mortal world, Nanna doesn’t concentrate her influence, preferring to tempt some entrepreneurs with her hellish powers, but always very stealthily.

Qunato is a True Brujah Methuselah who is behind the present situation in Rio. Watching with wary eyes as the tensions among the various groups mount with no release in sight. His Childe, Madame Sata, is not nearly as efficient as he wanted him to be and, on top of all, his old nemesis Nanna is around and active. If this were happening two thousand years ago, he would have fled as he has done so many times before, but now he is trying to change and achieve Golconda. This means staying through the forthcoming storm. He believes the day is coming when he will have to show himself and he dreads this day...


Volta

 

 

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