Are you ready for some Brujah? Here’s Colm Olliver, a nasty dude who would probably be Clan Honeybadger if such a thing existed. I like that Colm’s history is intertwined with an interesting location in the existing Vampire setting (Carfax Abbey, the gothic Anarch nightclub in London) and that some cornerstone musical elements of the Gothic-Punk world are part of his backstory. Here’s a guy who knows it’s better to burn out than fade away.
Four days left and counting in the Children of the Revolution Kickstarter, by the way. We’re almost to our funding milestone!
<n>Wrong place, wrong time, wrong decision. A combination of events led to Colm Olliver’s ouster from the domain of Birmingham, not the least of which was his own refusal to heed both the Traditions and the mortal laws of the domain.
The Embrace that brought Colm Olliver into the world of the Damned was a fluke. A pack of Sabbat made it all the way to Birmingham from Bristol, where its members decided to bolster their ranks and throw a few shovelheads at the Sheriff of Bristol’s Hounds. One of the pack’s Cainites grabbed Colm, put the bite on him, pointed him southward, and told him to kill any other vampires he saw. In the throes of frenzy, Colm did all of this and more, taking down two of the unsuspecting Hounds as well as four police and almost a score of innocent bystanders.
Unfortunately for Colm, this all happened on the night of the Birmingham pub bombings. The police, already facing the chaos of the domestic terrorist attack, reacted to the news of their fallen comrades and civilians as a related terrorist event. Riot police finally managed to subdue the enraged Kindred, who had exhausted himself at the end of his frenzy and sank into torpor as he was being hauled to Winson Green Prison. The violence of being dragged out of the police van and into the prison roused him from his shallow torpor and he frenzied again, killing two more police and slaking his thirst on their blood. While the attentions of the police at the prison were otherwise occupied by the so-called “Birmingham Six,” Colm Olliver escaped into the night with police blood on his hands.
Shortly thereafter, England passed the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Under the law, Colm’s actions were classified as terrorist activity, even though he’d had nothing to do with the actions of the Birmingham Six — who were themselves later exonerated — in support of the pub bombings. On the lam from mortal authorities, Colm chose to leave his Birmingham stalking grounds, where the local Kindred were becoming aware of him none too fondly. After all, he’d had no introduction to what he’d become or the society of the night. He was simply a rogue Kindred, presumably Caitiff or some debased elder’s by-blow, in a very traditional domain. Colm knew that something else was out there, hunting him, and before the Sheriff had a chance to bring him before the Prince, he again vanished into the darkness.
Colm came to understand his situation quickly. He quickly concluded the vagaries of the Kindred condition and, piecing together the fragments of his frenzied memory, he realized that his options were limited. There was no way he could get out of the country. The Prevention of Terrorism Act having been swiftly enacted, Scotland and Ireland’s borders would be heavily guarded, and the English Channel was too great a risk under cover of darkness and who knows what else was out there. London seemed to have the numbers and the urban chaos required to hide an accidental dissident, at least to a Kindred who couldn’t stay in his home domain.
So London it was, and Colm’s understanding of the Kindred state increased exponentially during the journey. He traveled by stolen car, by stowing away aboard passenger trains, and by traveling on foot when no faster method presented itself, all the while leaving a trail of ravaged vessels and traumatized onlookers. Along this trail of horror, Colm learned the vagaries of placating the Beast, avoiding the Red Fear, the impotence of God’s dominion, and the falsity of so many of the popular culture banes of vampirism. Being undead came with more than enough drawbacks, but the benefits it offered… we was like unto a fucking god himself! The midnight king of Hibernia, Albion, and even that shit-swamp Caledonia, if he wanted it!
Reality intruded as Colm approached the London domain. The mortal agents of Lady Anne Bowesely had followed the news of Colm’s trajectory and had braced themselves for the inevitable arrival of the rampaging hell-monger that the police reports and tabloids had indicated was heading their way. A network of ghouls, vigilantes, and “private security freelancers,” each unknowing that others had been summoned to aid the effort, converged upon the early morning London-bound farm truck as it rolled into the dispatch center where it was scheduled to offload its cargo. Colm had no idea he had been anticipated, but when a dozen interlopers who seemed to know fact from fiction when it came to the Kindred’s banes, he woke from the daysleep that had so recently overtaken him to find the peasants hammering a stake into his heart.
<3>Das Ungeheuer Darin
<n>When he came to, it was no longer 1976. Three years had passed before someone… his captor…? had seen fit to remove the stake that held him in deathless stasis.
Indeed, his captor. Or captors, as it turned out. The Prince of London, not wanting to connect herself to Colm’s lurid person, had tasked one of her Primogen with the extirpation of the rising Caitiff menace, which happened to include (and indicate) Colm Olliver in particular. Shit rolls downhill, and this particular odious task tumbled down the Kindred pecking order until it foolishly ended up in the hands of a coterie of young Gangrel who had no especial enthusiasm for Anne Bowesely’s reign. The Gangrel unstaked Colm rather than risk their own Humanity in an act of murder-for-favor and promptly fled the domain for Manchester.
Political fallout was characteristically severe. How could this simple task, Lady Anne vituperated, result in such a ? Neonates shrugged their shoulders. Ancillae shrugged their shoulders and kicked the concern back up to the elder level. Elders blamed each other, their barbs dripping with venom over past personal transgressions and long-dormant vendettas, and ultimately hid behind an impenetrable snarl of prestation that left it unclear exactly who was supposed to carry out the death sentence. The result was a blemish for not only the Camarilla as an organization, but for the system of obligation that let such a high-profile obligation fall through the cracks. Two Harpies found themselves relegated to the Whitechapel hunting grounds, a Primogen saw his clan banned from Elysium for a month, and the Tremere lost the patronage of the Prince and had their claim to domain revoked — in a territory that held a crucial chantry. Amid the whole mess, Colm was pardoned in absentia, with the vain elders hoping that the sooner the whole affair was swept under the rug, the better. Death sentence? What death sentence?
The trouble he had caused the elders brought Colm to the eventual attention of London’s Anarchs, who gathered at Carfax Abbey, a deconsecrated church converted into a nightclub. A Brujah attached to the scene, Ian Corso, recognized Colm from the tabloid stories and identified in him the characteristics of the Kindred and that was all it took for Colm to become royalty at the Abbey. To his surprise, these vampires weren’t fucking asshole ponces who prided themselves on what gigantic cocks they could be to one another. Instead, Carfax Abbey was home to a movement that actually hated the gigantic fucking asshole ponce-cock part of vampire society. The whole lace-and-makeup thing was a little rich, but Colm soon found a home in the company of the scene’s rougher element, which had a bit of a connection to other countercultures, all of which were at least initially receptive to a new Kindred who had given such an audacious finger to Queen Anne herself. Even if he hadn’t directly known he’d done it….
The relationship that developed between Colm Olliver and the Anarchs proved to be a tumultuous one. While both certainly resented the rigid structures of the Camarilla and, when they encountered them, the equally relentless dogmas of the Sabbat, the Anarchs of Carfax Abbey aimed to rebuild London’s political into landscape into one that offered more opportunity for younger Kindred, in line with much of Anarch philosophy. More than anything else, Colm Olliver thrilled to the vast quantities of vitae that Carfax Abbey’s Blood Dolls readily yielded to him, oftentimes without his even having to ask them.
Colm had no such lofty ambitions. Indeed, his outlook ran more toward that of a particularly selfish Autarkis. He fell in love with the outlook espoused in one of the quotations bandied about he Anarch rallies:
“No one holds command over me. No man. No god. No Prince. What is a claim of age for ones who are immortal? What is a claim of power for ones who defy death? Call your damnable hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming to hell with me.”
The Anarchs just wanted to replace Princes with other Princes more sympathetic in outlook to their own. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Anarch politics even used the same kinds of outdated history-fetish terms to honor their heroes. Baron instead of Prince? What does the word matter if you’re still kissing his ass? Colm reasoned.
<3>Tearing Down the Tower
<n>Over the course of the next decade-plus, the Anarchs rebelled openly against Prince Anne Bowesley’s praxis in particular and Camarilla dominance more generally. As punk, goth, krautrock, new wave, Oi!, protest reggae, and other musical genres colored the political and cultural scene of Carfax Abbey and London’s Anarch Movement, The Camarilla tightened its grip over the Traditions, cracking down on the Anarch Movement under the guise of protectionism against Sabbat encroachment. The Kindred had their own Iron Lady in the form of Queen Anne and her parliament of Primogen. The Camarilla pronounced death sentences on those self-identified Anarchs who chose to Embrace and their childer, but stopped short of declaring a unilateral Blood Hunt against the Anarch Movement. In response, the Anarchs redoubled their rhetoric against the Queen, winning little sympathy among the largely conservative Kindred power structure in London. With little option left to them, the Anarchs waged open Jyhad against the Camarilla, their ostensible parent sect, and struck down a series of “pretender Primogen” among the Ventrue, Toreador, Tremere, and Malkavian clans. Colm participated in several of these conflicts, not out of sympathy with Anarch philosophy, but out of hatred for Queen Anne herself.
By the summer of 1982, the Anarchs had disavowed themselves of Colm Olliver and the sympathy was mutual but not directly as hostile as the attitudes both of them harbored against the Camarilla and Sabbat. In this case, it simply worked out that the enemy of both of their enemies didn’t happen to be an ally. Carfax Abbey ceased to be a haven for him, though he was free to attend as he chose. It simply represented a time, a mindset, and a philosophical standpoint that he felt he had left behind. When the Tremere Justicar Gabrielle di Righetti showed up at the door of Carfax Abbey to formally censure club impresario Hortense Holden and her confidant Ian, Olliver and the Movement had already formally parted ways, despite Colm owing Ian a life boon for a perilous moment that had come during the early-1980s Anarch revolts known as “the Ghostdancing.”
After the split, Colm entered what has undeniably become the darkest phase of his unlife. Having been fighting incessantly since his Embrace, without any guidance into Kindred society by a sire-mentor, and having been considered a menace by the masters of the domains into which he found himself thrust, Colm succumbed to a fugue that must have been nurtured by the roaring of his Beast. He simply does not recall the years from 1984-1997. When he returned to his senses, he felt that nothing had changed. The “no-future” mantra of the postpunk 1980s had morphed into the millennialism of the 1990s and would — if the world continued to survive — adopt a new slogan for the same anxiety and nihilism. Even Queen Anne still held the Princedom in London, while Carfax Abbey continued to harbor the same bitter Anarchs and their screed, stinking of the same stale, spilled lager and smoke-machine chemical runoff. The only thing that’s changed is that Ian Corso looks as ravaged as punk icons Penny Rimbaud or Vini Reilly these nights.
After Colm regained his sense of self, he decided that he simply had to leave London, as it had nothing to offer him. With a suicide’s sense of finality, he planned a gesture that would graphically underscore his disgust with the Ivory Tower and its despotism over London. At the time, London had suffered a spate of terrorist bombing attempts, and Colm intended to strike a similar message against the Camarilla’s blood-cult of demagoguery while the Kindred of the city were similarly smitten with the climate of fear that gripped the mortals. Over the span of a week, in early November of 2009, Colm placed over a score of nail bombs throughout London, including targets such as Underground stations, shopping centers, banks, and nightclubs — including Carfax Abbey. Each of the targets had some connection to a Kindred who exerted influence over the locale, from the Nosferatu warrens beneath the Underground to the Ventrue-favored skyscrapers of the Bishopsgate financial interests.
Some of Colm’s bombs exploded, causing the desired effect of terror. Various mortal agencies and Kindred found others. In the cases of those that discharged their improvised payloads, the Camarilla of London conspired to cover up the acts of domestic terror or to tie them to radical organizations among the kine. Among the Kindred community, response ranged from the incredulous to the wrathful. Hortense Holden from Carfax Abbey lamented the act as “depravity brought on by an obviously eroding humanitas” while even the insider Malkavians of the Camarilla courts howled for retribution. The result was inevitable, of course. Colm Olliver had finally earned a Blood Hunt.
Olliver considers himself a freedom fighter, primarily for his own freedom rather than any greater political sentiment, which is why he splintered from the Anarchs. Under Queen Anne’s decree, Colm is a terrorist. Similarly, Colm remains wanted by British Special Branch and the Metropolitan Police Service for his mortal law violations that have no statutes of limitations. In response to his Kindred infamy, he’s under Lextalionis in both London and Birmingham, and has pledged never to return to either unless it’s to stake and devour their Princes. (Obviously, he has no direct knowledge of the events surrounding the disappearance of Prince Mithras or the fate of the diablerist Monty Coven, who is believed by some to have committed Amaranth on the Prince.) The Camarilla has considered adding him to the Red List, but prevailing sentiment is that sooner or later, he’ll manage to destroy himself, and no specific clan has stepped forward to pursue any possible trophy placed on him.
Tonight, Colm flirts with the idea of joining the Anarch domains (but not the movement) in northern Italy or California. Whatever his decision, he must hide the route he takes out of England from both mortal authorities and Kindred toadies, and will likely end up passing through several interim domains before arriving at his final destination. And if he has to pledge more boons along the way to take his fight to a different front, what of it? That is, if he manages to make it out of Queen Anne’s London with his head still attached to his shoulders.
Sire: Fat Ciaran
Apparent Age: early 40s
Physical: Strength 4, Dexterity 2, Stamina 5
Social: Charisma 3, Manipulation 3, Appearance 2
Mental: Perception 3, Intelligence 2, Wits 2
Talents: Alertness 2, Athletics 1, Brawl 2, Intimidation 3, Streetwise 2, Subterfuge 1
Skills: Crafts (butcher) 3, Drive 1, Firearms 2, Larceny 2, Stealth 1, Survival 2
Knowledges: Academics 1, Politics 1, Science 2, Technology 2
Disciplines: Celerity 2, Potence 4, Thaumaturgy 2 (Path of Corruption 2)
Thaumaturgical Rituals: Bind the Accusing Tongue
Backgrounds: Allies 1, Alternate Identity 1, Contacts 1
Virtues: Conscience 1, Self-Control 3, Courage 3
Morality: Humanity 4
Blood Pool/Max per Turn: 12/1
Image: A rough-and-tumble butcher from an industrial northern suburb, Colm has been scarred by an impoverished youth and outlaw unlife, and he looks it. He’s not big, but he’s a hellfighter, a knuckle-cracking Mick with black hair and a scarred-over eye. Having always been on the lam since his Embrace, Colm’s a bit ragged around the edges, having no time to settle into a domain and get comfortable. He has a hostile, vicious look about him, which he relies upon to scare others away from contact.
Roleplaying Hints: You’re angry with everything because nothing ever works out for anyone except the people who already have everything they need. You give people a chance in the infinitesimal hope that they might see things as they truly are: that mortals want to be taken advantage of and that Kindred should be able to do what they want without having to answer to someone pretending to be superior to the other monsters. Eventually, though, everyone fails that test. You just want to find that one Lick who knows the truth.
Haven: Colm makes his haven wherever he finds it, bullying “crash space” where he can or breaking and entering if nothing else presents itself. He’s not above evicting a rightful tenant, especially in locations where that’s known to happen, and home invasion is one of the many mortal-law crimes on his lengthy rap sheet.
Influence: Practically nil. Colm’s Allies and Contacts are those last few lingering connections to his time among the Carfax Abbey Anarchs who feel a sense of duty even after the bombing. Even these will probably atrophy to nothing once he manages to escape England, and whether he’s able to cultivate new relationships with other connections along the way… well, it’s unlikely. The future probably holds a great deal of loneliness and bitter regret for Colm.