The very basis of all Camarilla law, these tenents are the inviolate commandments of the organization, and are strictly enforced. Most neonates born to darkness under the auspices of the Camarilla have these laws shoved down their throats on the very frist night of their Embrace, if not shortly afterward by their sires. This is because any new vampire who violates the Traditions could very well mean Final Death to themselves and their sires, according to the Fourth Tradition.
The First Tradition: The Masquerade Thou shall not reveal thy nature to those not of the Blood. Doing so shall renounce thy claims of Blood.
The Second Tradition: Domain Thy Domain is thine own concern. All others owe thee respect while in it. None may challenge thy word while in thy domain.
The Third Tradition: Progeny Thou shall sire another only with the permission of thine Elder. If thou createst another without thine Elder's leave, both thee and thy progeny shall be slain.
The Fouth Tradition: The Accounting Those thou create are thine own childer. Until thy progeny shall be released, thou shall command them in all things. Their sins are thine to endure.
The Fifth Tradition: Hospitality Honor one another's Domain. When thou comest to a foreign city, thou shall present thyself to the one who ruleth there. Without the word of acceptance, thou art nothing.
The Sixith Traditions: Destruction Thou art forbidden to destroy another of thy kind. The right of destruction belongeth only to thine Elder. Only the eldest among thee shall call the Blood Hunt.
Since most Elders have had decades to remember the Traditions, and you obviously might not have, we highly suggest players refer back to this section if asked by an Elder or Prince. It could mean your character's unlife.
Officers of the CourtEdit
Over the centuries, the Camarilla has adopted a handful of positions or stations to see that the Kindred of a city act according to the dictates of the Traditions. In many ways, these positions define the Camarilla even as the Camarilla defines them: They offer a structured society for perpetuating the Masquerade, granting power to those who can best promote the way of the Camarilla, and punishing those who work against it.
Below are eight commonly accepted stations. However, as each Camarilla city has tis unique identity, concerns and personalities, it is often prudent to adjust the ranks. One city may need a full-time general to handle the war with the Sabbat. Another may require a sort of sinecure to be created for a powerful Kindred who is not suited for the conventional roles. Usually the prince and primogen argue long and hard over the creation of these special positions. Not only does the presence of these special positions wreak havoc with the conventional balance of power and all those cunning stratagems that rely upon it, but it creates hard feelings among those who feel that the new position detracts from their power. Of course, in certain cases, that is the primary reason for the creation of the station.
The prince is often seen as the seat of all Kindred power within a city—the most powerful and cunning of vampires and the official voice of the Camarila within the city. Certainly, the prince wields great power within his domain. In addition to whatever other powers he can claim through wits or strength, the prince traditionally possesses the right to create progeny and decide who else may do so, the right to determine the boundaries of Elysium and the right to mete out hunting grounds and place others off limits. The office also traditionally includes remarkable political power among the kine of his domain. The prince also determines the course and shape of justice among the Kindred of his domain, including the declaration of blood hunts.
Yet, while the prince is almost always the strongest of the city’s Kindred—at least the strongest of those who have political aspirations—he is not always the masterful figure Kindred associate with the position. In certain cases, the prince endures a nightly struggle with the primogen or would-be usurpers. Sometimes the prince is little more than a façade, a figurehead controlled by other, more powerful Kindred, or a lesser party whom the other powers of the city have agreed upon lest one of them develop greater authority than her comrades are willing to relinquish. The power of the prince is mighty—and desirable. There is never a shortage of Kindred eager to take advantage of any weakness, or to cultivate one where it does not yet exist, in hopes of gaining the position for themselves. Few events can shake up a domain like the fall of its prince as all surviving vampires will fight and maneuver to improve their station.
Regardless of the actual position of the prince, it is quite true that she is the focus of Camarilla power within the city. The prince—even on those occasions when she is beholden to others—is the force under which and against which all others must maneuver. A wise vampire scrutinizes the relationships between the Prince and the other Kindred. These relationships are often the levers one needs to pry one’s way up the ladder of Kindred society. As the arbiter of Kindred justice, all who scheme within his domain must take his temperaments, desires and goals into account. It is prudent to be able to explain any infractions one may commit as being in line with the prince’s aspirations. Conversely, one should always describe one’s rival’s actions in the opposite light.
For his part, the prince must manage the often-conflicting goals of maintaining control of his domain and ensuring the safety of the Kindred under his control. Most princes employ their role as guardian of the Masquerade for both purposes, using the pretext of “protecting the Traditions” or “maintaining the Masquerade” for their harsher decrees.
The prince who intends to last beyond the morning must have power, a commanding presence and the ability to keep the rest of the Kindred of his domain at each other’s throats instead of her own. In a social environment like the Camarilla, one should never underestimate the prince’s ability to grant and remove Status Traits, for such status is power. Naturally, the prince must balance these gifts and punishments to keep the majority of her subjects grateful, or at least indebted, to her while not granting them enough power to threaten her own authority. She must use punishments to keep rivals from becoming too potent and to discourage her subjects from disobeying her dictates. The prince need not limit herself to acting directly upon the Kindred in question. In certain cases, such as when a vampire who deserves to be commended has become too powerful for the prince’s liking, she may issue an edict against one of that Kindred’s rivals. Conversely, someone who has earned the prince’s displeasure may find his enemies receiving the prince’s largess.
Many princes are more than willing to create special posts for Kindred who catch their eye: to reward them, to keep them occupied or to vex others whose authority these new stations usurp. The demands and purposes of these posts area s varied as the needs of the princes and their domains: The past decade has seen the creation of Ambassador to the Lupines, Guardian of the City Sewers, Lord Regent of Cathayan Affairs and many others.
Of course, should these boons and chastisements prove insufficient, the prince may fall back on more extreme measures, including the blood hunt. A prince who demands such punishment had better be certain that she has the power to enforce her will, though.
- The prince of any city automatically gains three additional Status Traits: Exalted, Well-Known and Famous. He can never lose these Traits permanently while remaining Prince.
- The prince can remove one permanent Status Trait from someone at a cost of one temporary Status Trait per Trait removed.
- The prince can grant permanent Status Traits to any Kindred at a cost of one temporary Trait for each Trait awarded. The prince (and only the prince) may thus break the rule of only gaining one Status Trait per story, allowing a character to gain more than one Trait. If a prince wishes to confer more than three permanent Status Traits on another Kindred in a single session, the fourth and subsequent Traits will cost the prince permanent Status instead of temporary Traits. It does not cost the prince temporary Status to award a Kindred the first Status Trait when she is first Presented. The Trait: Acknowledged is conferred automatically as long as the prince chooses to recognize the neonate.
The seneschal takes on many different roles, depending on the political situation. Traditionally, the seneschal is the prince’s most trusted assistant, and the Kindred who performs the prince’s duties in his absence. In most cases, the seneschal is both m roe and less than that. Often, the seneschal is the vampire closest to the Prince, the filter through which the prince may perceive his domain and the person those who would speak with the prince must convince before they are granted audience. The position of seneschal is by no means a comfortable one. Princes often use their seneschals to perform those unpleasant duties they would rather not handle themselves. Princes may also make their seneschals scapegoats, claiming that they did not give them accurate, complete or timely information. In fact, many princes see this as no more than just retribution for the times when their seneschal chose to give them incomplete information or placed the blame for some unpopular edit that was the seneschal’s own creation upon the shoulders of the knowing prince.
In many cases, the seneschal is the battleground against which the prince and primogen vie for ascendancy, and astute vampires can discern much about the political climate by studying whether the prince or the primogen chose the seneschal. It is also worth noting which faction eh seneschal favors—it is not always the same as the one who sponsored him. Regardless of the climate, most vampires try to curry the good will of the seneschal, for this luminary usually has the ear of all other important Kindred in the domain. And while he may choose not to work directly against an offending Kindred, a clever seneschal can easily filter the information he puts forth so as to make the object of his ire appear a fool or a threat to the prince.
Serving as the focus for those who would speak to the prince grants the seneschal access to an impressive amount of information, and many manage to keep as well informed as their city’s harpies. In certain cases, an informal rivalry may develop between the seneschal and the harpies to determine who has access to better gossip. Such competition is the bane of the seneschal, for it is easy for other Kindred, from the Keeper of Elysium to the prince, to perceive him as in contention for their power. In general, it is only the seneschal’s inside information that lets him stay one step ahead and keep his many challengers at each other’s throats instead of at his. As a premiere power broker in the domain, the seneschal should keep in close contact with the Gossip, if the campaign has one.
Many seneschals find it useful o keep an assistant or secretary. If he is lucky, he will be able to choose his own. Less fortunate seneschals are often “gifted” with one by the prince, one or more of the primogen, or some other powerful Kindred in the domain. Ostensibly, these Kindred are there to help the seneschal, but none are so foolish as to believe that. In truth, these assistants are almost always sponsored in hopes of gaining their patron some access to the seneschal’s information, usurping a bit of his power or as part of some other political machination. In such cases, the assistant becomes merely another front in the nightly intelligence war that marks the seneschal’s existence.
- The seneschal gains the following two additional Status Traits: Cherished and Esteemed. The character can never lose these Traits permanently while remaining seneschal.
- The seneschal can act in the prince’s stead when the prince is out of the city. He is therefore entitled to all of the powers of the prince, although he prince may reverse or revoke them at any time.
The word primogen refers to both the council of most powerful Kindred within a city and the individual Kindred that comprise it. The primogen council usually acts as both an advisory council to the prince and a check on her power. In theory, the primogen is composed of the eldest of each Camarilla clan, and the primogen of each clan is expected to protect that clan’s interests within the city. Nevertheless, certain clans—usually Malkavian and Brujah, for they are often considered too volatile—may find their presence proscribed by the prince, and thus have no representatives among the primogen. Additionally, some clans have enough power in the city to command more than a single seat on the primogen council. Also, in some cases, the prince acts as his clan’s representative in the primogen, in others some other vampire, often one of the prince’s childer, but sometimes a rival clan member, fills that post.
The members of the primogen are usually engaged in a struggle for power with the prince and the other primogen, and daring Kindred may gain the favor of their clan primogen by performing deeds that further their power. This is a dangerous game though, for the primogen have had decades or even centuries to develop their plans and can react quite angrily to ill-informed meddlers. Naturally, it is more common for such folk to get dragged by one primogen or the other into these machinations against their will.
Most Kindred try to limit their interaction with the primogen tot hat of their own clan, since she is the most likely to be able to help them and interested in doing so. It might seem that a primogen could abuse her powers by repeatedly increasing the status of her clanmates, but such actions tend to result in a backlash from the other clans. Additionally, granting excessive social powers to ambitious underlings can be a dangerous ploy. If Kindred are cautious around their own clan’s primogen, they are doubly so around hose of other clans. Unless a vampire has a reputation as a friend of the clan in question, primogen of different clans often view such creatures as little more than pawns and spies of their rivals—spies to be fed disinformation and pawns to be led astray. After all, anything that decreases the prestige of another clan decreases the importance of that clan’s primogen, and anything that reduces the power of one primogen increases the authority of the others. As senior members of their clan, primogen possess considerable power, though it is usually limited to the clan and its area of influence. Primogen rarely have official powers beyond their clan, but as they are powerful Kindred in their own right, lesser vampires tend to tread lightly in their presence.
The primogen council is usually limited to the senior members of each clan, which limits the membership to five Kindred in most cases. Nevertheless, many primogen like to maintain a lieutenant of sorts, as a means of displaying clan unity, subtly threatening the other primogen and keeping track of the sorts of tedious details that do not demand their complete attention. In Great Britain and the United States, the Primogen have adopted the term Whip to refer to these roles from their mortal legislatures. The jockeying and maneuvering among these lesser Kindred can be quite intense as the primogen like to present this as a route to prestige and power. They gloss over the fact that there is room for only one primogen in each clan, and these ancillae and neonates will only get that post by leaving for another domain or over the dead body of the current one.
- Primogen members each receive the additional Status Trait: Revered wen they join the primogen. As long as the character remains one of the primogen, she cannot lose this Trait permanently.
- Primogen may grant or remove permanent Status Traits to or from any member of their clan (except themselves*) at the cost of one temporary Status Trait for each Trait granted or removed.
If the prince is the official face of Camarilla justice, the harpy is the de facto arbiter of vampiric propriety, culture and status. They are the undying memory of faux pas, innuendo, gossip, rumor and scandal—all bundled into a viciously entertaining combination of Torquemada and Miss Manners. In the world of the Camarilla, where the halls of power can often resemble an old boys’ club, the harpy is as close to an equal-opportunity position as one may find. Any Kindred with the right combination of wit, maliciousness and savoire faire may insinuate herself into the position. Of course any pretender who tries but falls short will find that news of this particular solecism has reached the ears of all but the most bucolic of domains.
Many neonates question the actual power of the harpies, claiming that all it should take is the strength to ignore their japes to render them totally impotent in the face of Kindred with real power. Such naïveté rarely lasts long, as all of the elder Kindred have a vested interest in the power of the harpies: It keeps conflicts within Elysium confined to the social arena, and that keeps the elder vampires much safer. Younger vampires who underestimate the harpies’ power soon learn the error of their ways—as lack of proper respect for one’s elders is one of the foibles harpies most love to point out.
There is usually one primary harpy, but she may sponsor others as described in Laws of the Night p. 219. In addition, harpies may employ or encourage other Kindred to bring news, gossip and information heir way. Such duty is doubly dangerous, for it will certainly draw the ire of those whose faults are so brought to light, and being in such close proximity to the harpies increases the chance that they will notice and broadcast their servant’s faults. Nevertheless, for Kindred clever and circumspect enough to handle the demands of this situation, being a spy for the harpies can be an effective route to information, and possibly even an entry into their elite number.
Even more than the seneschal, harpies need to keep in communication with the game’s Gossip, if one is present, to record the objects of their displeasure, to verify the activities of others who are altering the status of other Kindred and—as a simulation of their network of informants—to keep them abreast of the latest developments in their chosen arena. In games where there is no Gossip and the Storyteller feels that one of the harpies is sufficiently responsible, that harpy may fulfill the role of Gossip for the game. Additionally, Storytellers will want to make sure that harpies are kept appraised of any critical gaffes the other characters may have made.
As a final note, harpy players must exercise caution to ensure that their characters direct their comments at the mistakes of other characters, not at the players. It is alright to mock a character’s choice of clothes when he attends Elysium; it is not proper to make fun of the layer himself. Always keep the distinction between character and player in mind.
- The leader of the harpies receives the additional Status Trait: Influential on attaining the position. As long as the character remains the leader, he cannot lose this trait permanently.
- The harpy automatically gets one temporary Status Trait from each member of the primogen, who bestow these Status Traits to demonstrate their support of the harpies. The harpy, in turn, may use these Traits however she desires, even against the owner.
- The harpy may remove one permanent Status Trait from a Kindred who has backed out of a boon or is part of a major scandal. There is no cost for doing so, although there must be a grain of truth to the scandal. The harpy must produce some sort of evidence at a gathering of Kindred, at which time the Status Trait is removed.
- The harpy may restore Status he has removed at a cost of one temporary Trait per Trait removed.
Keeper of ElysiumEdit
The Keeper of Elysium has broad powers within the Camarilla, but only within certain strictly delimited boundaries. Within the confines of Elysium, the keeper has the authority to take whatever actions she feels are necessary to preserve the Masquerade and the sanctity of Elysium. Keepers are charged with the physical security of Elysium as well as the societal ramifications of what transpires there. Though such power may seem trivial in the face of the strength of the sheriff or the coercion fo the harpies, Kindred know that Elysium is one of the few safe, neutral places where they can interact. As the master thereof, the Keeper of Elysium possesses a particularly focused power.
If the keeper feels that a function planned for her domain would be a threat to the Masquerade or the Kindred, she is entitled to cancel it without notice even if it is already in progress. Many Kindred derive prestige, power and pleasure from events held in Elysium. Ventrue hold business dealings and entertain visiting dignitaries from distant domains. Toreador host balls and exhibits. Brujah have their raves and Tremere their discourses. And, of course, those who wish to speak with the prince must usually enter Elysium to do so. When such meetings are aborted as threats to the Masquerade, not only can it be remarkably inconvenient, but the host’s image is tarnished. Additionally, the keeper is expected to control the presence of weapons within Elysium. As such, she has the right to search any Kindred who requests entrance. Such searches are rarely more than an embarrassing nuisance, but they too reduce the image of those subject to them. Additionally, one never knows what unfortunate items may turn up when one searches a vampire. Finally, some keepers have been caught spying on certain guests, “out of concern for the Masquerade” of course. For these reasons, most Kindred try not to offend the keeper of Elysium. On the other hand, those Kindred with anarch leanings or who do not respect the traditions of Elysium often see the keeper as embodying all they detest about the Camarilla: petty, artificial tyranny, arbitrary rules and no real power to speak of.
The keeper of Elysium is one of the most public of stations. Keepers regularly interact with the primogen, the seneschal, the sheriff, any other Kindred who would have a use for a quiet neutral ground and even mortals who merely see it as another museum or library. These relationships are often professional, for example, the keeper may ask the sheriff to aid in security matters in Elysium. They can easily degenerate into rivalries, though, especially when one Kindred sees another as interfering with her duties and rights. Thus, though the station is prestigious, being keeper of Elysium is demanding, politically risky and often held only for a brief term. In some cases, the position is given to a troublemaker in the hopes that she will humiliate herself. Such cases are rare, however, for few domains can afford to have an incompetent keeper.
In addition to whatever security, catering and maintenance forces she controls, a keeper may have a significant collection of assistants. Usually keepers use ghouls, but in larger cities, lesser Kindred may fill these positions. A keeper usually wants to have at least one assistant for each separate geographical location that comprises Elysium within the city. She may also have a lieutenant in charge of security, and possibly another whose sole purpose is to act as liaison with other Kindred of note such as the seneschal or sheriff.
- The keeper of Elysium gains the additional Status Trait: Honorable on attaining the office. As long as the character remains the keeper, he cannot lose this Trait permanently.
- The keeper may immediately remove one permanent Status Trait from any Kindred he catches breaking the Masquerade. If he does not witness it himself, sufficient evidence must be brought forth. This removal costs the keeper nothing.
The sheriff is the strong arm of the Camarilla, the Kindred who ensures that even the more rebellious vampires obey the prince’s orders. Though he is often seen as little more than the prince’s enforcer, the predations of the Sabbat and the approach of the Final Nights have forced successful sheriffs to become more cautious, disciplined and astute. In addition to policing the local Kindred population for violations of the Masquerade—a task made more vital and dangerous by the rise of public media—the sheriff must be prepared for such crises as have been erupting in these dangerous times, up to and including being a general in an all-out war with the Sabbat.
Most Kindred are wary of the sheriff. Though princes are increasingly employing cautious, tactically savvy enforcers, Kindred folklore continues to view the sheriff as the prince’s favorite thug. Since they work in different theatres of conflict, harpies and sheriffs often detest each other. Unless the sheriff has shown favoritism concerning a particular clan, the primogen are usually willing to leave him to his job while they attend to their own concerns. Most sheriffs see the scourge’s duties as encroaching on their jurisdiction, sot here is rarely any love lost between the two positions. The rest of the city’s Kindred usually just try to stay out of his way.
Though the prince may use the sheriff for whatever tasks he deems necessary, most sheriffs spend their time policing the Kindred community for violations of the Masquerade. Sheriffs and their deputies visit the racks and whatever hunting grounds are trendy this month to ensure that everything is suitably quiet. They listen to EMTs, the police, the local media and anybody else for rumors of suspicious happenings. Most sheriffs also keep a fair number of stool pigeons among the neonates. If they hear something, they track down the offender and drag his sorry carcass back to the prince for judgment.
Given the dangerous nature of their duties, sheriffs often take on deputies. In most cases these deputies are merely less experienced and less powerful enforcers. In certain situations the sheriff may want to have specialized deputies to handle specialized problems. Sheriffs may call for deputies who have skill fighting Lupines, experience with Sabbat tactics, rapport with anarchs or whatever expert knowledge is necessary for the protection of the domain and the execution of the prince’s orders. Such specialists usually receive more respect than the sheriff’s ordinary deputies do; this sometimes creates tension among the ranks. Sheriffs also employ any number of spies to bring them information about breaches in the Masquerade and about the movements of suspect Kindred. Such vampires do not count as deputies, though—they only serve the sheriff through the occasional bit of intelligence offered for some money or a minor boon.
- The sheriff gains the additional Status Trait: Feared when he attains the position. While he remains sheriff, he cannot permanently lose this Trait.
- The sheriff may demand that any Kindred within the city accompany him for questioning or judgment. Failure to do so causes the offender to lose one permanent Status Trait.
- The sheriff is immune to the powers of the keeper of Elysium (those conferred by his position, that is; he must still honor the Traditions).
The scourge is charged with culling the city of undesirable vampires, specifically those created without the permission of the prince. Most of these vampires are of the 14th and 15th generation, but some are Caitiff or unrecognized childer of lower generation. Though many cities have not instituted the station of scourge, others have, trying to stave off the “Time of Thin Blood” prophesied in the Book of Nod. Though some claim that the station of scourge is an ancient post dating back to the Dark Ages and resurrected in modern times, others argue that it is an entirely new creation. Regardless of the historical truth, in those cities where the scourge stalks the night, she stands as a mythic bogeyman and source of fear among those illegitimate vampires who have heard of her and among those legitimate Kindred who wonder what she might become.
In cities where one exists, most Kindred shun the scourge. Even those who perceive her existence as necessary seem troubled by her presence, perhaps worrying that the martial prowess she wields against the undesirables may one night be turned against them. For their part, most scourges shun the company of those they protect, perhaps sensing their unease, perhaps seeing them as the source of the problem that they have been called upon to correct. The few Kindred who attempt to keep the scourge fully integrated in Camarilla society are rarely appreciated by the scourge or their fellow Kindred.
On a typical night, a scourge may travel to the more dismal, less populated parts of the city, where even Nosferatu and Malkavians rarely have reason to venture. There, she searches for signs of fugitives, such as rats and stray dogs drained of blood or street people who are more jumpy than usual. Some scourges set traps, while others hunt the Caitiff down like beasts. Some princes demand that the prey be brought back alive for questioning, in hopes of learning who is being sloppy. Others are content to see the heads or fangs of the night’s take. Occasionally, sometimes based on a rumor or a tip, sometimes not, the scourge visits the city’s regular Kindred, looking to see if they are harboring illegally created childer. On such occasions wise scourges are even more cautious than normal, since older vampires are far more cunning and dangerous than the untrained fledglings they normally hunt.
Unlike the other stations, the position of scourge is almost universally a solitary role. Whether out of princely fear of her violent, anti-social ways or because of the general undesirability of the position, there are few cities with more than one or where the scourge has assistants.
- The scourge gains the additional Status Trait: Feared when he attains the position. While he remains scourge, he cannot permanently lose this Trait.
- The scourge can harass, detain or destroy without penalty any Kindred that have been created without permission from the prince, or who have not been presented formally to the prince.
- If the scourge discovers another character harboring or abetting vampires created without the prince’s permission or who have not been presented formally, he may remove a permanent Status Trait from that character immediately. This removal costs the scourge nothing, but he must present sufficient evidence of the crime to the Prince. Should the prince find the evidence insufficient or be unconvinced of the crime, he may return he stripped Status to the character.
- Not all cities have reinstated the office of scourge, and even those that have do not consider it a noble aspiration, but rather a necessary evil born of the Final Nights.
The Little PeopleEdit
In addition to the major stations, important Kindred often enjoy keeping personal aides, secretaries, bodyguards or whatever in attendance. As a rule, such subordinates possess no special authority unless their masters can and do grant it to them. For senior vampires, granting such powers is always a double-edged sword. One wants one’s servant to have the influence to complete his assignments expediently, but one does not want him gaining enough power to become a threat. Additionally, these subordinates are often the targets of plots and even recruitment by opposing Kindred, so they must be watched carefully. Nevertheless, as the world becomes more and more complex, it has become harder for vampires from past centuries to keep apace with it all, and more of them have taken to relying on their aides to keep their interests running smoothly.
- Whips have the same powers as the primogen, although they do not gain an additional Status Trait, and their powers may be revoked at any time by the primogen of their clan.
- The leader of the harpies may sponsor lesser harpies by giving another Kindred a Status Trait of his own. Lesser harpies may remove temporary Status just as the head harpy removes permanent Status, although their leader may choose to make such loss permanent.
- The sheriff may sponsor deputies by giving another Kindred a Status Trait of his own. These deputies have the same powers as the sheriff, but the sheriff may revoke their authority at any time.