House of Caine
Washington, D.C. is a strange place, divided between the haves and have-nots, between city dwellers and commuters, between visitors and residents, between blacks and whites. Most of the affluent population of the District itself lives in Northwest D.C. This is also where most white Washington residents live.
For the politically important and influential, Washington is a city of parties and power lunches. It is a place where decisions that shake the world are made, where lobbyists decide how to control congressmen, where campaign analysts and political advisors debate how to manipulate the public. It is a place where whom you know is more important than what you know, and where prestation is a reality for mortals as well as Kindred.
For the rest of its citizens, Washington, is a beautiful place of monuments and symbols which seems to have forgotten that its also supposed to be a city. For many years Washingtonians didn’t even get to vote for president, and the D.C. budget must still be approved by Congress. It is a city of drugs and violent crime, where the Gothic and Punk elements clash openly. Here people struggle to improve their lots in life amid poverty, abuse, poor education and constant insecurity.
Many of the people who work in the District live outside it. They make the morning commute from as far south as Fredericksburg, Virginia or as far north as Frederick, Maryland. Alexandria, Rockville, Silver Spring, and Greenbelt all form a ring of cities around the District, each one adding to the District’s metro area. Much to the dismay of both Baltimore and Washington, D.C. residents, the 1990 Census found the two metro areas indistinguishable.
Many Washingtonians are distrustful, all too well aware of the jaded political mechanisms that dictate government policy. Though they welcome tourists, they will go to lengths to make sure that they are not mistaken for one themselves.
D.C. by Night
There are two centers of power in Washington, D.C.: the Prince, Marcus Vitel; and the Tremere, led by Pontifex Peter Dorfman. The Nosferatu, Gangrel, and Malkavian clans have an alliance which builds daily and could pose a threat to all the others. The Brujah are concerned with the Anarch Movement, and the Toreador, the architects of the Washington, D.C. plan, are a tattered wreck of a clan, though one strong voice could turn them around.
Prince Marcus Vitel rules with an iron hand. He does not forgive. Instead, he creates examples. Nonetheless, the Prince does not pay attention to things that do not directly harm him. The Nosferatu say that if you avoid the Prince’s gaze, you can do anything. That is … if you can also avoid the Pontifex’s attention.
Pontifex Dorfman has his ghouls involved in almost every aspect of Washington society. They work as lobbyists, serve in important government offices, and run clubs. If an individual seems useful in the short term, then Dorfman Dominates her into obedience. He is the only individual with the courage (or stupidity) to challenge the Prince on issues. However, none of his indirect attempts to bring down Prince Vitel’s reign have met with any measure of success.
Some wonder why the Prince hasn’t destroyed the Pontifex — socially, at least, if not physically. There are two prominent theories on the subject. First, a few Kindred, especially among the Toreador, believe that the Prince likes to maintain the illusion of having some kind of real opposition. The second idea is that the Prince prefers letting all of the Kindred see their alternative to his rule: Prince Dorfman. A few (mostly Tremere) say that the Prince fears the wrath of Clan Tremere if he were to disturb their network. Few others believe that Vitel fears anyone.
Washington, D.C. lies at the very south end of the East Coast urban sprawl which extends all the way north to Boston. The District of Columbia has a population of about 650,000, but this is a bit misleading. The nation’s capitol is surrounded on all sides by smaller cities. Both Alexandria and Rockville are major population centers in their own rights, the latter being the second largest city in Maryland. The entire metro area, excluding Baltimore, has a population of almost four million. The Baltimore area adds 2.3 million more.
Still, it is D.C. itself which makes up the heart and soul of this area. Mortals with far more power than most Kindred ever achieve have lived in Washington; there are monuments to many of them in the District. A wiki twice this size couldn’t go into detail on every aspect of any city, and Washington has more important locations than most. What follows are some of the more important locations in the World of Darkness.