Indianapolis is a young city, both in mortal and vampire terms. From its founding up to the late nineteenth century, the city was off limits to vampires. Any Kindred found inside the city were quickly hunted and killed by the large population of Lupines. Local Garou legend, the most accurate source for information on the area’s ancient history, makes no mention of Kindred until the seventeenth century, when French fur traders first populated the region, bringing word of the Kindred with them. Even then, the werewolves spoke only of immortals living in the cities on the coasts and major rivers of America, never in the interior. Certainly a few Gangrels may have existed in the Midwestern wilderness, but, for the most part, vampires in the Midwest traveled north to Chicago or south to New Orleans, where other Kindred had already established a stronghold.
In 1882, a pair of Brujah vampires claimed a haven in Indianapolis. As soon as the Lupines heard of this, they set about to dispatch the intruders, but the task wasn’t as easy as it seemed. By sleeping in different places over time, the two vampires evaded the werewolves during the day, and, simply by doing what Brujahs do best, they fought them off at night. By World War I, the Garou had made an uneasy peace with the pair. As long as they remained within the city boundaries, they were free to stay and hunt as they pleased. If they set foot outside the city limits, they were fair game for any Lupine strong, reckless, or crazy enough to challenge them.
The older vampire was Nicolai, an elder Kindred who came to Indianapolis to escape vampire society and pursue Golconda. The younger was Nicolai’s progeny, Matthias, who saw Indianapolis as a city that, while small at the time, had great potential, and who set himself up as the first prince of Indianapolis. The two vampires, it is known, have almost a paternal relationship, and they serve both themselves and each other. Nicolai chose Indianapolis both for its solitude and to give Matthias his chance to rule a city. And Matthias, though he wanted Indianapolis for his own, clearly would have followed his father anywhere.
As rumors grew that the Camarilla had established a new stronghold, more vampires began to arrive. A trio of Nosferatu arrived first, sneaking through the most desolate parts of town to avoid the Lupines. Gradually, a few Gangrel who had lived in the outlying forests managed to enter the city. The vampires gained seats on the city’s first primogen, due to their skill at negotiating with Lupines. For close to thirty years, only seven vampires made their homes in Indianapolis. Others were either scared off or killed off by the werewolves.
In the past twenty years, there has been a rise in the vampire population. The cause is twofold, both at night and during the day. The rise of Indianapolis has proven that Matthias’s faith in Indianapolis well-founded. While New York was taken over by the Sabbat, Los Angeles fell to constant violence, and Chicago was attacked viciously by Lupines, Indianapolis has continued to rise. Although it can’t match the size and power of the major cities, it is a contender for top honors. The extra population and wealth to be had has attracted many new vampires, including two Ventrues who now claim princedom over the rich towns north of Indianapolis.
And in 1965, Matthias, with the aid of Nicolai and the new Gangrel, managed to call a truce with the werewolves, allowing any vampire to stay within the city limits or to travel along the major highways. In return, the Lupines gained dominion over Greenwood, Plainfield and most of the forests and parks within Marion County. The werewolves haven’t attacked anyone in the city since then, and so the vampires who feared for their safety in Indianapolis lost their fear and came to a new home. But, since most land outside of Marion County was held by Garou, the vampires are now forced to stay within the city. With the truce, the city remained a prison; it just became a more crowded prison.
Matthias has had little influence in the affairs of Kindred and Kine. The human Indianapolis is growing quite rapidly without Matthias’s help, it seems, and he believes that the best ruler is one who gives his people the most freedom. He has dominated many members of the police force, and maintains contacts with the newspapers and television stations, but otherwise he is happy to watch his city grow on its own.
But when he does speak, everybody listens. Matthias and Nicolai are staunch defenders of the Traditions, and quickly and ruthlessly hunt down any who break them. Besides being wise, Matthias is also immensely powerful, and has been known sometimes to lead a blood hunt himself, rather than sending other vampires on the hunt. Occasionally, a vampire will try to use this fact to his advantage. A vampire will break a Tradition, lure Matthias out of his stronghold, and attempt to kill the prince in combat. Three times vampires have tried this, and three times they have realized their mistake about two seconds too late.
Along with the Traditions, Matthias has set up additional laws for the city’s Kindred. For those in the city, Matthias considers these laws as sacred as the Traditions themselves.
-No evidence. Dispose of your own bodies. Lick the wounds you inflict. Any drained bodies left to rot or mortals waking up with strange puncture wounds are considered breaches of the Masquerade.
-Hunt whomever you please, but journalists and law officers are the prince’s domain.
-Respect others’ domains. Those who curry favor with the Prince may receive exclusive hunting rights over their chosen territory. If commanded to leave another’s domain in the prince’s name, leave. Any Kindred using the prince’s name without his authority is subject to bloodhunt.
In most cities, princes don’t like to risk bloodhunts on those who break the laws. The ensuing violence could cause a breach in the Masquerade, and the draining of a powerful vampire could turn a group of neonates into a group of elders. Banishment is a popular alternative; the offending vampire is forced to leave the city and never return. In Indianapolis, Matthias cannot take such risks. If he ostracized every law-breaking vampire, he would arouse the Lupines and bring their wrath down on the whole city. Thus, when a law is broken, justice is usually swift and merciless. A violation of Matthias’ laws usually brings a painful punishment (staking or a minute in the sunlight), and a breaking of the Traditions is grounds for bloodhunt.