The dead walk the streets of New Orleans. They could be called many things, and across the world the dead are known by many names, but in the Crescent City they are the Loa, those who straddle the border between this world and the Other, and can be both spiritual guide and celebrant trickster.
As much as they can be, the Loa exist in secret, seeping into society as myths and legends, and capitalizing on this undercurrent of incredulity and superstition to both make their lives easier, and to avoid drawing the eyes of the Other. Once mortal, the Loa have shed that life for something more lasting, using the life of others to perform rituals and to make trade with both each other, and with the truly Dead.
In recent years, many Loa have taken to calling themselves Vampires among “polite society,” a condescending term for the still living. While this is a misnomer and considered unsettling and inappropriate by many of the Loa, it seems to make acquiring blood and other signs of life easier.
An Empire of Dust and Ruin
Among the living, the Loa often exist in a state of celebrity and excess, indulging their own interests and curiosities with their overabundance of time. Among the Dead, the Loa inhabit an entirely different place in the order of things.
The Other World is a place of chaos and despair, where many of the Dead pass into without understanding why or how. It is a bleak and unpleasant place, a wasted and blasted reflection of the world as it is now. Buildings are in ruin, as if at the heart of a war zone. The greatest danger in the Other World, however, are those that know they have died.
At first, many Loa attempt to ignore the Other World. They have no requirement to venture there, and while there may be great gains to be garnered from those sojourns, the dangers considerably outweigh these to many. However, unwatched, the Other begins to seep into the living world, and the angry and maddened Dead begin to mingle with polite society.
By travelling in the Other World, by maintaining a presence there and dealing with the dangers in that place, the Loa ensure that the Other stays in Beyond where it belongs.
Currency of Secrets and Lives
Living between two worlds, the Loa have little interest in monetary concerns by and large. Of course they use money when needed, but most Loa quickly learn to use their abilities to avoid needing to. The Loa, however, are masters of secrets, and place a great weight on secret knowledge and hidden words.
Beyond that, however, the Loa trade in Life. Not an energy or ectoplasm, such as that left behind by the passing of the Dead, but the physical Sign of Life: blood, semen, flesh. The kindest Loa take little and only that freely, if not knowingly, given. The cruelest are no strangers to murder, rape, or torture to get what they want. Some cultivate small followings of the Living who offer their Life knowingly, but there is a danger in giving too much Life to the Other.
At the Bwa Kayiman, while the living were planing to free themselves from their shackles, so too were the Loa. Many gathered, but only five spoke, and when it broke six camps were formed, which would become the Houses.
Commonly having expensive tastes, the Loa of this House are guardians and protectors, guarding over gates to the Other, as well as protecting the Loa from threats more mundane. While they are overtly polite, they often carry with them a crass and crude undercurrent in their manners.
Lowest of the Houses, these Loa had no patron to speak for them at the Bwa Kayiman, and have learned to rely on their wits and cleverness to gain the upperhand politically over the other Houses, as well as to prove invaluable obtainers of secrets. They believe in personal freedoms, rather than observing a Patron’s power.
Kriminel is a House soaked in blood and violence. Watched carefully by other Loa for signs of Black Lodge affiliation, the Loa of House Kriminel carry with them the knowledge that they are born to violence and brutality, and it earns them a great deal of favors with the other Houses.
House La Croix
Representing a humorous and more relaxed concept of death and the Dead, , the Loa of La Croix tend to be active sexually moreso than others, and to maintain a sense of style and sophistication amidst the trappings of their eternity.
The only female patron at the Bwa Kayiman, Maman Brigitte was rumored to be able to summon fire even in life, or at least to make it dance to her song. Her Loa are carriers of this legacy, tempting the consuming flame with their rituals and proving to fear no shadow when they set their mind to a task.
Ostensibly, the ruling House of New Orleans, these Loa are generally the keepers of the grandest secrets, as well as the most hidden places. They are keepers of ritual, and include in these the Sorcerous Arts.
Predating the Bwa Kayiman, the tradition of the trumps dates back to time immemorial, under innumerous names but still tying to the familiar symbolism. This represents a facet of a Loa’s existence, largely reflecting how they choose to interact with both the living and the Dead.
Players may assign their Attributes as follows, before applying any bonuses:
One Attribute starts at 4
Two Attributes start at 3
Two Attributes start at 2
One Attribute is their Weakness, and is marked with a W; this can never be raised
A Loa is never long without some form of control on their environment, or those around them. It is their nature to to shape the world around them to some extent, and that is represented in the Resources. Each player will get 5 points to spend on Resources, that will grow with each season of game time that passes.
These that follow are suggestions, and a guideline on where to begin from for players designing their characters. Players are encouraged to come up with their own ideas if these do not fit their concept or vision.
The Loa has a hand in local financial institutions and the money behind the city and its people. It begins with knowing who and when to ask for a loan and goes from there to having the ear of local executives. Produces Wealth or Influence
The character has a voice among the seedy underbelly of the city, and the criminal element that inhabits it increasingly come to rely on the Loa’s advice and direction. Produces Wealth or Prestige
A presence on school grounds and in the halls of academia, the Loa begins as a needling voice to organize the students or to nudge the instructors, and becomes a rallying cry to the student body or a policy maker among the administrators. Produces Influence or Followers
The character has ties to the police and other law enforcement agencies of the city. It begins with beat cops and progesses quickly to having the ear of high ranking officials. Produces Prestige or Influence
Down among the lost of the city, in the dirt and alleyways, the character is known. A whispered name among the homeless and the degenerates, the Loa goes from helpful hand to urban legend among that population. Produces Followers or Contacts