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Depending on the type of Vampire: the Masquerade campaign, PC's may experience unusual growth in resources. This should generally come with a (potentially complicated) system of pros and cons as well as both daily and major issues and obstacles that PC may be required to deal with.

This type of event has recently happened in one of my games, where a PC has amassed enough influence and wealth to acquire, for all intents and purposes, a major airport.

A few things that my player is already beginning to plan as long term contingencies:

  • Elaborate system of hench-ghouls to help with tasks and communication
  • Specialist ghouls with expertise in flight regulations, international law, and other related talents/skills/knowledges

My player's plans may not come quite so easily, readily or as they fully intend based on reasons shown in below answers. Also, as has been pointed out, even as a Resource and not just an airport CEO Influence, many factors prevent this Resource from being as available to PC whim as a more reasonable Resource such as a simple warehouse may be. Additionally, as has been pointed out, the typical WoD setting would not be fitting where an airport as a Resource turned the game into less of a personal horror RPG and more of a glorified Lemonade Stand game. For this question's purposes, this question addresses airport use and ownership in WoD as offered by WoD rules but not fully detailed for higher level global settings

I have some ideas of my own about the basic main areas of consideration I should give as a GM, such as a need to consider other traveling supernaturals.

I have not been able to find any resources that help with the details of major airport ownership by a vampire PC, and I feel that I am missing a number of critical items here.

What do I need to plan or look out for when a vampire PC gains ownership of and major influence over a major airport in V:tM?

Please consider some of the following thoughts and reasons that I have chosen to keep this as a specific question about major airports as PC resources in V:tM:

  • Issues with traveling Black Hand/Inconnu/etc that try to sneak through the PC's airport
  • Camarilla politics regarding major airport control
  • Technocracy politics and issues with vampire-controlled airports
  • Obligations to local princes within the vicinity of major airports
  • Camarilla-enforced liability for unknowingly transporting Sabbat and hunted vampires through one's airport
  • Specific talents/skills/knowledges that will be helpful for a player and their cohorts to have a hindrance if a player and cohorts lack them
  • Other system-specific related considerations

These considerations are listed to serve as a basic idea of different factors. I am looking for a more general answer that hits on the important main factors to consider and I am not looking for lists.

As a general note, this is a campaign with very powerful PCs and NPCs alike and is not a standard campaign for newly-sired 13th generations. I am aware that a major airport is a very powerful resource. This is less of a balancing concern in my game and more of a concern about attention to detail. However, helpful information related to WoW airports in general may both suit my purposes and any user looking for airport information in general related to WoD campaigns.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 16 down vote accepted

I think you have already come with a lot of ideas. I am going to take a more general approach.

The airport is like a strategic resource for kindred, and also for any power trying to take control of the city.

Kindred politics

As you have said, the airport is a potential entry point for enemy kindred (sabbat, anarchs, enemies of the prince,...). For that reason, the primogeniture can demand some degree of collaboration or even control of the airport. If the characters fail controlling the kindred entrance, the primogeniture could take action to transfer the airport to someone more fitted.

Of course the characters can expect many favours in return of the responsabilities they have.

Not only official Camarilla enemies are interesting. Many kindred would exchange favours in return of knowing about the movements of their rivals (who could be respected Camarilla members).

Other powers

Not only Kindred, but anyone who wants control of the city would put their attention on the airport. They can range from mortal politicians, police, and criminals to hunters, werewolves or mages.

Characters should be careful not to be easily tracked by these groups, or they could have trouble and put the Masquerade at risk.

As a personal approach, I won't use the Technocracy. Vampires are supposed to not know about it, and I think they don't mix well in Vampire stories. But that's my personal opinion, you can do as you please.

Owning is not controlling

Notice that the characters who own the airport are not the only ones that could have influence on it. Hundreds work in an airport, and the characters can't control them. Other power players can have spies or in extreme cases saboteurs without too much effort. So, don't warn them, but you can introduce some competition.

Ghouls are expensive

I have read that they are planning to make a huge amount of ghouls. Please, see that having ghouls is not an easy task.

First, they may need permission to make such a quantity. Ghouls are technically a Masquerade breach. Of course, given their great responsibility, characters can justify it to the primogeniture.

Second, they must feed as many ghouls. Count how many ghouls they have; that is how many blood points they must spend per month.

Third, ghouls are volatile. A ghoul can sometimes do incredible things to get their domitor's attention. With dozens of ghouls, the competition can be brutal. Having to manage so much emotional problems can be insane.

So, I'd consider having only a few important ghouls, and control other people via domination, presence or mundane ways (money is always effective).

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A definite +1 for "Owning is not controlling." Exercise too much direct control, and you risk breaching the Masquerade. An airport depends on tons of outside factors not controlled by its owner: land and air transportation companies (who own and fly the actual planes), fuel suppliers, state and town supervision and services etc - and most of these will be controlled by vampiric and other supernatural powers way above those playing in even a metropolis. Botch a step and you're up against a Justicar... or worse. It's like owning a horse racing venue where the horses & jockeys belong to the mobs. –  OpaCitiZen Mar 10 '13 at 23:46
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+1 for the whole thing. This answer really maps out important considerations for airports in general in WoD settings. –  James Broyles Mar 11 '13 at 0:03
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Yeah, an airport could even be controlled by several people at a time, at least at some level. Another vampire, even Technocracy or anyone can imagine, can have agents infiltrated in the security, even without knowing who owns the airport. By the other hand, it is also true that they who owns the airport will have the easier to control elements when they own the thing and have access to lists of personel, contracts, etc. –  Mu_ Mar 11 '13 at 7:27
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One thing worth adding into the "other powers" is that I would imagine anybody with that much influence over an airport is probably pretty thoroughly security screened in this day and age by government intelligence type things. Depending on how overt the influence/control of the airport is they may get anti-terrorism security checks looking very closely at the character which would likely be a great source of interesting issues. –  Chris Mar 24 at 10:26

One of the main issues to look out for is that easy access to air travel can have a profound effect on the usual city-based structure of a Vampire: The Masquerade game. One of the premises of the game is that the Kindred stick to the cities because the spaces between them -- the Outlands, the Barrens, the Wild Spaces -- are dangerous, empty of food and full of Lupines. Being able to go from one city to the next in the span of a few hours makes that danger mostly moot. It also makes the idea of Princely Domain hard to enforce; if you can escape the blood hunt with a convenient jaunt across the country to a friendlier sovereign, a lot of the fear and claustrophobia of the game goes away. (A philosophical question: if someone breaks the Traditions on an airplane, whose Domain is violated?)

One solution to this is to have the "owners" of the airport designated as "Princes of the Air." Another is to decide that the scope of the game is, as with some of the major live-action groups, continental in scope, and prepare yourself for inter-city and inter-territory competition and politicking.

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This is already a global setting with unusually-powerful PCs and dangers. Many Princes may take special notice of airport use, especially during Blood Hunts. Flying comes at great risk and is an option with its own dangers for any PC whether or not they influence an airport. A GM should be aware of balancing issues in regards to airport use. However, I am aiming at a balanced use in my situation and the Prince requires the owner's attention readily for a good portion of the storyline. One WoD recommends airports as potential higher level resources. Thanks for important usual structure tips. –  James Broyles Mar 10 '13 at 23:55
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@JamesBroyles: Your comment suggests an additional issue immediately: during a Blood Hunt, your PC is responsible for making sure the target cannot escape by air. That should give them a whole heap of extra security problems. (Given no more than the usual TSA and a couple of ghouls in strategic places, how do you secure an airport against someone with Obfuscate or Dominate?) –  Tynam Mar 11 '13 at 0:24
    
@Tynam Both my players and I hope to avoid any Blood Hunts to add to the fray, but this is also an important consideration. While the focal point of this acquisition is a strategic survival tactic to deal with major plot issues, the local Prince is a Ventrue who will expect superiority in business needs as well as security needs. You make a very valid point here, +1. –  James Broyles Mar 11 '13 at 0:35
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Not really. They are still avoiding the outlands, they just have the ability to travel between the cities, but that isn't exactly alien to the V:TM world which is much like ours. And the fact that there are areas outside of a domain does not affect the domains themselves. In the modern world it is hard to find any habitable space not claimed by some sovereign state or other, but this was not true even a few hundred years ago. –  TimothyAWiseman Mar 11 '13 at 16:28
    
@Tynam Find three powerful Thaumaturges and have them cast Eyes of the ever vigilant (block Obf+Dom) on the complex. Give them free access to travel and register some boons, contact the regent about it and he would be able to assist. One of the PCs found out about this ritual when they had to go into the chantry during a sabbat raid on he city. He eventually built enough of a name for himself to get this done on his shipping yard. It cost him over a dozen Major Boons and there are three powerful Thaumaturges (lvl 8) out there with 5 points of his vitae each. He is convinced it was worth it... –  Bob Mar 12 '13 at 12:10

The previous answers have already explored the inter-kindred (or high-level if you will) political and social ramifications of control of a major international airport well, but they do not cover three other factors:

  1. How the airport fits into local politics
  2. The operational aspects of being in control of a major airport
  3. How PCs fit into the airport's flight operations themselves

Local Airport Politics

As was alluded to by Flamma, an airport is not just a major political power piece at the national/transnational level, it is a major local political concern as well. How does this airport relate to the city it is associated with? Is it the pride of the city, their majestic gateway for travelers from afar? Or is it seen as little more than a source of noise and air pollution? This relationship will strongly determine how much support the locals will give your character in his or her efforts. You could have local politicians taking your character to court to shut down the airport, or they could be throwing money hand-over-fist at airport expansion plans, seeing it as a crown jewel of the city's infrastructure.

Airport Operations

While the OP (James Broyles) touched on the need for regulatory specialists to help run the show on the up-and-up, nobody here has touched on the need for a vast quantity of operational specialists to run a major airport, day-in and day-out. You will need people who can do everything from fixing broken ILS transmitters to changing lightbulbs, from forecasting and observing the weather to guiding planes through the sea of air traffic associated with any major airport, from fueling aircraft to keeping birds away. These specialists will likely come from the local community, as opposed to being supernatural folk, as well; not only is it easier to find normal people to do these things, keeping the people who are already running the show around is going to be vital to avoid nasty operational interruptions. (Imagine not being able to accept planes for three days of foggy weather because the only ILS transmitter quit and has to be sent back to the factory to be fixed.)

In short, consider all the problems your nearest major airport IRL goes through, whether it be harsh weather that threatens to sock the airport in, swarms of birds from a nearby dump that send planes back to base with dents, blood spatters, and banged-up engines, or high elevations that conspire with hot weather to rob planes of performance. The FAA has a tremendous amount of reading material on their website as well in the form of Advisory Circulars (Series 150, specifically, discusses nothing but airports).

PC relationships to Flying

Another factor that I did not touch on originally is how PCs themselves involve themselves in flight operations. Is everyone simply buying airline tickets, with no operations outside of scheduled airline and parcel service + the limited flight training needed to support this and a few other operations such as EMS/medevac? Or would characters have the resources to own aircraft outright, or participate in a fractional ownership operation? Would there be significant pleasure flying going on? Would there be PCs with pilot's licenses? The answers to these questions could add entire another dimensions to the RP, if you wish to explore them.

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