Game History

A Mundane History of the Silicon Valley

In 1769, Jose Francisco Ortega, scouting for the Portola-Serra Party, became the first European to visit the fertile valley that later became known as the Santa Clara Valley. The area was inhabited by natives who were named Los Costanos (the coast people) by the Spanish, and later were called the Ohlone. Spain colonized California by establishing a string of 21 churches, called missions, that eventually stretched 600 miles along the California Coast from San Diego to Sonoma. The eighth mission, Mission Santa Clara, named for Saint Clare, was founded January 12, 1777.

In 1821, the Mexicans achieved independence from Spain.

In 1836, control of Mission Santa Clara was taken from the padres and turned over to civil commissioners who were supposed to oversee the "return of the land to the native population." This did not happen and squatters took over the church buildings and land. Disorder and decay set in, and by 1839 there were only 300 natives remaining in the vicinity of Mission Santa Clara. About this time, the Mexican governor began issuing land grants to various favored people. The land was used for vast ranchos (ranches); hides and tallow from the livestock eventually comprised the first commercial export products and industry in the area.

By the 1840's, the American frontier had expanded to California and new settlers began arriving in the area. The raising of the American flag over Monterey in July of 1846 was a symbol of the fact that the lands of California had passed from the hands of Mexico to the United States. California became a state in 1850.

When promises of great wealth failed to materialize during the Gold Rush of 1849, many of the gold seekers turned to the "gold" that was the fertile land of the Santa Clara Valley and began to settle in Santa Clara. During harvest season, hundreds women and men were employed in handling, sorting, and canning the valley's bounty.

In the 1850's the hamlet of Santa Clara began to take shape as a recognizable small town. The town site was surveyed by William Campbell into lots one hundred yards square, and one lot was given to each citizen with the understanding that he was to build a house on it within three months or lose the property. A schoolhouse and a church were built, several hotels erected, mercantile businesses established, and 23 houses were imported from Boston to be set up in the town.

In 1851, Santa Clara College was established on the old mission site and became a prominent feature of the developing area.

As the 19th century came to a close, more and more people arrived seeking the mild climate and job opportunities of the Santa Clara area. By 1906, the population of the city of Santa Clara alone had grown to nearly 5,000 souls.

A new product, the semiconductor chip, was developed in the 1950's. The resulting electronics industry, based on the silicon chip, gobbled up the remaining orchard land and changed the agricultural nature of Santa Clara and the Santa Clara Valley forever. In 1955, the cities of San Jose, Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell, Milpitas, Fremont, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, and Palo Alto met under the efforts of semiconductor industry leaders and incorporated into a single entity: Silicon City.

This was done in the interest of increasing commerce and bolstering the electronics industry.

Few remnants of the Santa Clara Valley's agricultural past remain as it today sits in the heart of what is known world-wide as Silicon Valley. By harvesting the fruits of high technology, Silicon City became a prosperous and progressive city with much to offer residents, businesses, and visitors alike.

In 2008 internal upheaval and gang wars brought federal attention and several months of martial law. Eventually, it was decided to break up the massive metropolis of Silicon City into the smaller and more manageable self-governing cities that appear on the map today.

A new designer drug hit the national scene in 2010, debuting in Silicon Valley. Known as bliss, it causes a feeling intense euphoria. Though the associated dehydration can occasionally be lethal, California legislators declared the drug legal (but heavily regulated) several months later.

Behind the Masquerade

A nocturnal history of the Domain of the South Bay

The domain now known as The South Bay was first founded as a Camarilla domain in 1851 by Toreador elder Carlos Manzanita. Seņor Manzanita, counter-revolutionary and former Bishop of the California arch-diocese, gave the financial backing to create the Santa Clara University and ghouled William Campbell, charging him as his retainer and keeper of mundane political affairs. Some few years later in 1872, Prince Manzanita was slain by Sabbat Warlord Dominique el Devoreor, or Dominique the Devourer.

Upon hearing the news of Manzanita's slaughter, his childe Yori Clorono set out from Florence, Italy with several of his sire's allies and a hired Assamite assassin. Those who came with him were: Joseph Kinkade, Ventrue elder and former aid to Manzanita, Paul Strassberg, a Tremere who owed Kinkade a life boon, Victor Virazzio, a Toreador friend of Clorono, and Darien Blythe, a Malkavian nobleman and elder who had grown tired of life in Valencia and desired to see California. The Assamite's true name is lost in history - but he later became known as simply "Silver".

The group's journey to California was long and arduous. Efficient transportation from Europe to the American west was not yet in place, and most mortal transportation was not safe enough for kindred to travel by. It was not until almost three years after Manzanita's death that the group reached the California coast.

Once here, they made contact with William Campbell who told them the entire story of Manzanita's demise. Based on that information, within a matter of months they were able to locate Dominique's haven. The tracked him to a silver mine near the area known today as Yosemite. Deep in the mine they found Dominique encased in a exit-less prison he himself chose. Together they destroyed Dominique, but the Tremere dispatched the body with flame before the Assamite could take the Devourer's blood as 'payment' for services. All besides Strassberg apologized profusely, but all claimed there was nothing that could be done.

The Assamite would not accept this and demanded that Strassberg relinquish his blood as payment. Strassburg refused, and battle between the two ensued. It is not certain whether the others engaged in the fight, but Strassburg was the victor. The Assamite lay in torpor just before the coming dawn; that night they all slept beneath the earth, deep in the mine.

The next night they meant to exit the mine, but upon reaching the surface they faced a threat more dangerous than Strassburg. Werewolves had tracked them to the mine and laid an ambush at its entrance. The kindred fought for their lives and were eventually driven back into the mine, where in the maze of underground passageways they were able to shake their pursuers.

Nearly a fortnight they spent in the earth, devising a strategy to escape their would-be tomb. It was Strassburg who presented the plan. With the combined power of their blood he concocted an elaborate ritual which would build for them a fighter capable of combating the Wolf Menace. The Assamite was submerged in a vat of molten silver and vitae whilst the Tremere did his work. Awoken from torpor by the magic, his screams of agony rung loud through the tunnels of the mine. To bind his will they constructed four necklaces of silver, bound to his blood. Through the necklaces they could call upon him and dominate his will even over great distances.

Drawn by the unholy voice of the Assamite's pain, the werewolves came to find them, but instead found an opponent of great might. The Assamite's speed, stealth, and poison were added to his body of silver to form the ultimate werewolf-fighting machine. The werewolves, unprepared for such power, were soon dispatched.

Joseph Kinkade was the second Prince of the Orchard Valley. With 'Silver' as their weapon against the werewolves, they were able to establish themselves as the first successful Camarilla Domain in California, paving the way for many others.

In 1917, Kinkade handed praxis to Yori Clorono and disappeared. Around the same time Paul Strassburg left the domain, presumably with Kinkade. Darien Blythe remained the Malkavian Primogen and Victor Virazzio became the Seneschal.

The Jyhad first came to Northern California in 1942, near the end of World War II. Over the next four decades the city turned back wave after wave of Sabbat renegades. In 1981, at the height of a major battle between the forces, both sides were cut asunder as the city was flooded hunters and holy men from the Society of Leopold.

Those kindred who remained were forced underground; the Jyhad came to a standstill. With several elders destroyed by the hunters, old alliances were broken and the Camarilla kindred began to war amongst themselves. Alliances were formed between clans and Bloodlines, and general chaos ensued.

In 1985, Clorono's childe Michael Stoheart conspired with the Tremere Primogen Nathaniel Cunningham to assassinate Prince Clorono; with the help of a dominated Brujah, they succeeded. However, when Michael Stoheart moved to claim Praxis, Darien Blythe stepped forward to challenge him. Presenting evidence against Stoheart and Cunningham, Blythe claimed Praxis for himself. Victor Virazzio stood behind Darien Blythe as did the Brujah Primogen, while the Nosferatu remained neutral. The two 'Princes' declared Lextalionis on each other; the Malkavians, Toreador, and Brujah went to war against the Ventrue and Tremere.

One month later, the havens of both Stoheart and Cunningham were raided on the same night by hunters, and the kindred dispatched. A week later, an Archon representing the Brujah Justicar arrived in Silicon City to ratify and acknowledge Darien Blythe's praxis.

Blythe spent the next 15 years cleaning up the Domain. He destroyed or routed the remaining Sabbat packs and enforced the Masquerade religiously. In those years he destroyed or banished 16 kindred for breach of the Masquerade. The strict enforcement of the Masquerade paid off, and the hunters who had seemly taken up residence eventually died or dispersed. On the eve of the Millennium he retreated from the halls of the Elysium and began his policy of denying hospitality to all but the most respected members of the Camarilla.

But in 2003, hearing rumors of another Sabbat force amassing, the Primogen Council convinced Blythe to open the doors of the Elysium once more. Reluctantly he did so, but with a word of warning to those invited to the influentially lush Silicon City: "The Masquerade shall be of first importance."

After many years, Blythe relinquished his hold on the throne to become an Archon for the Malkavian Justicar; the streets of the domain were no safer for kindred once his strict rule was gone.

With many of the elders having left Silicon City to pursue bigger and better things, a new set made their way west to this frontier town, curious as the valley that in the course of only a few years has become a central hub of influence in the kine world.

Praxis seizure after praxis seizure rocked the stability of the domain; battle with anarch, Sabbat, and lupine forces, kindred-backed gang wars, and several federal investigations finally forced the domain into a state of mortal martial law for several months.

There was only one solution left - to move the seat of power in the domain from Campbell to Mountain View and to break up the mega-city of Silicon City back into smaller and more manageable self-governing cities.

Johnny Munin was the first prince on the newly relocated throne, but the Ventrue soon became fed up with the antics of the populace of the Domain of South Bay and walked away from the throne and the domain. A long string of musical chairs praxis shifts followed Munin's departure causing even more instability in the domain. The ritualistic murder of Archon Blythe by the Setites, and the mysterious disappearance of the werewolf slaying "Silver" did not help either.

Finally, two Princes - Johan Karl and Patrick Connor - threatened to tear the domain in two in their battle for the throne. A Regional Lesser Harpy of North America was called in to arbitrate the dispute to avoid war, and it was Jacob Lennet of the Toreador who emerged from arbitration with the throne.

Eventually, Jacob Lennet handed over the throne of the Domain of the South Bay, and in doing so managed what no others had before him - he convinced Lady Cathryn of Carlisle, Elder of Clan Ventrue, to assume the position of Prince.

Surrounded by enemies - Sabbat in Santa Cruz, anarchs in most of Northern California, the unknown power of Cathayans inhabiting San Francisco, Lupines living in the hills, and all manner of other dangers lurking in the shadows - Prince Lady Cathryn did her best to run a traditional Camarilla Court.

However, it seems the inherent instability of the Domain of the South Bay needed take its toll, and in early 2013 Prince Lady Cathryn lay dead by mysterious causes. Her successor, Prince Fox, was assassinated not two months later.

How things now stand in the Domain of the South Bay

Today, the rule of Prince Jackson of the Brujah appears to emulate the traditional style of Lady Cathryn and the European courts, but his reign is yet untested and his American roots are evident in his tendency toward diplomacy and collaboration.

The world is a big, scary place, and you just happen to be in the middle of it. The werewolf killer "Silver" is mysteriously gone, his control necklaces lost - there is no more guarantee of safety against the Werewolves. The Sabbat to the south have the entire region on edge. The anarchs surrounding the domain are displeased with the myriad of bad dealings from the time of musical princes. Rising mysterious forces have made the area too frightening for some. But above all this, negotiating for position and status in an elder-run traditional-style court has made the careers of some who have come to the domain, and robbed others of their lives.

How will you fare?

Last updated by Ginger on 2013/08/26 at 16:00