Vampire Politics

Fortunately M.H.I. has an excellent researcher for all things arcane. Here are some notes provided for your perusal. The Boss highly recommends you read them.

Memo: Eyes Only Classified
To: M.H.I. Action Teams
From: Maj. Charles-Benoit Deville (ret.)
Subject: Vampire Files
Addendum: Read it, learn it, don’t spill it. Ms. Völuspá

Vampires are some of the most common monsters of the night. Powerful, social and ruthless they wield social power like a scalpel and personal power like a gun. Vampire society has their tendrils in all levels of government and is one of the main reasons the government contracts out to M.H.I.
While powerful, vampires believe that if humanity knew about them their destruction would be imminent due to their inherent weaknesses. Therefore they maintain the masquerade. As we know humans as a whole do not believe in creatures of the night and rationalize their existence or are made to magically forget they exist. Vampires encourage this and as a general rule take great pains to keep their and other monsters, activities low key and subtle. Vampires are masters of subtle power manipulation. Operatives should keep in mind that these are generalities, there are sects of vampires which would cast aside the masquerade and attempt to actively dominate the Kine (the vampire’s term for humans) ruling as monstrous tyrants. The term vampires’ use for themselves is Kindred.
Vampire society is dominated by the Camarilla, an organization run by the eldest of vampires with much infighting for position and power. Vampires live (ahem) to gain social and personal power. The structure of the Camarilla is thus:
Caitiff: Clanless, young and week, they live night to night seeking to feed and survive only.
Childe: Freshly turned vampires who have not yet been introduced to vampire society nor released from their sire. Thus they have no respect and are property of their sire.
Neonate: Recently released and introduced to the Prince. They have yet to make their mark in society. If they behave they will gain full acceptance within 100-150 years and become Ancillae.
Anarch: The Anarchs have status because they are noticed and respected for what power they have achieved outside the Camarilla. They are voluntarily apart from the Camarilla although they tend to maintain the masquerade. Often times they are rebellious against the Camarilla society of elder domination.
Prince: The prince is the vampire who regulates all Kindred activity within one city. Although she retains considerable power she must still answer to her elders and leaders.
Ancilla: These Kindred are still young, but have proven themselves to the Elders. The Ancilla are up and coming Cainites, the ones who play by the rules (mostly) in order to achieve greater power.
Justicar: Justicars are the caretakers of vampiric traditions. They are the lawgivers and thus retain a great deal of respect.
Elder: when vampires reach a certain age, there are few above them who still hold power in vampire society. The elders are the Kindred who are in control and who seek to dominate all others. The Elders are normally over 500 years old, but like all things undead this can vary immensely.
Methuselah and Antediluvian: the existence of such vampires is known only through rumor. It is posited they are of great power due to their advanced age, but there have been no reported contacts or sightings and M.H.I. has been unable to find any reliable information about them.

The vampire society is divided into clans and it is through these blood ties that vampires claim their power and distinct identities.
Brujah: The Brujah clan is almost completely composed of rebels of one kind or another, forever searching for the ultimate expression of their individuality. The Brujah are punks, skinheads, bikers, death-rockers, freaks, socialists and anarchists. Nickname-Rabble, Brujah are known for Celerety, Potence and Presence.
Gangrel: The Gangrel are wanderers, rarely staying in one place for any length of time. In this, they differ greatly from the most Kindred, who tend to find a haven and cling to it. This is a clan of survivors – vampires capable of making it on their own. They do not despise civilization or the society of other Kindred – they simply do not require it. It is rumored they even have friends among the shape changers. Nickname – Outlanders, Gangrel are known for Animalism, Fortitude and Protean.
Malkavian: The Malkavians are insane, one and all. This clan is infamous for its destructive and nihilistic members. Often they do not seem insane. The Malkavians have a time honored tradition of playing practical jokes upon Kindred and Kine alike. Nickname-Kooks, Malkavians are known for their skills at Auspex, Dominate and Obfuscate.
Nosferatu: The Nosferatu are the least human-appearing of all the clans. They look something like feral animals. Their smell and appearance are revolting – one could even say monstrous. The Nosferatu are the information brokers of Kindred society, there is not much information which can be hidden from a dedicated Nosferatu over time. Nickname-Sewer Rats, Nosferatu excel in Potence, Obfuscate and Animalism.
Toreador: The members of this clan are known for their hedonism. They are proud and regal Kindred, highly excitable, and they cultivate expensive tastes – but hedonism is going a bit too far. Artists are always so misunderstood. The most sophisticated of the clans, Toreador are concerned with beauty in a way no mortal can fathom. Nickname-Degenerates, Toreador are known for Auspex, Celerity and Presence.
Tremere: The members of this clan are dedicated and extremely well-organized. Highly intellectual and manipulative, and respect those who struggle and persevere despite all odds. The Tremere are the occultists and mages of the Camarilla, they have codified and organized the art and science of Blood-Magic. Nickname-Warlocks, Tremere are known for Auspex, Domination powers and Thaumaturgy (blood magic).
Ventrue: Old-fashioned and tradition-bound, the Ventrue are sophisticated and genteel. They believe in good taste above all else and work hard to make their lives comfortable. They are seen as the nobility of vampire kind and are frequently the leaders in the Camarilla, and are honorable, social and elegant Kindred. Nickname-Blue Bloods, they excel at Domination, Fortitude and Presence.

Vampires achieve their powers partially through the use of disciplines
Animalism: empathy with and power over the animal world as well as the animal within.
Auspex: extrasensory awareness, empathy and perception.
Celerity: this discipline explains the legendary and superior quickness of vampires.
Dominate: this discipline reflect the mystical ability of vampires to influence the minds and actions of others. It is an aspect of the power of the mind and the will.
Fortitude: This power provides supernatural toughness and vigor which allows Kindred to resist harm. All vampires have a powerful constitution and are able to shrug off the injury inflicted by guns and other weapons. However, with Fortitude they can resist damage even further by keeping weapons from harming them at all.
Obfuscate: Kindred with this Discipline excel at hiding among and away from crowds. From lurking in the shadows, blending in with people to total invisibility, the kindred with Obfuscate master the art of disappearing in plain sight.
Potence: this Discipline defines the superior strength that vampires often possess.
Presence: A vampire with the Presence Discipline can make himself exceptionally attractive and appealing to others. People will want to be around the vampire, to bask in the brilliant light she sheds.
Protean: This Discipline allows a vampire to transform either his entire body or a part of his body into something inhuman. The vampire can thus grow claws, turn into a bat, melt into the earth or transform into mist.
Thaumaturgy: This is the practice of Blood Magic and is largely the province of the Tremere Clan, who created it and guards is secrets jealously. Vampires cannot use magic as humans know it as it relies on Mana which is actual living energy. Hence the Tremere developed Blood magic which uses the life energy conveyed by living blood.

Updates from the good Major
The Camarilla
The Camarilla came about in an attempt to hold vampire society together against the power of the Inquisition in the 15th century. Under its iron guidance the Tradition of the Masquerade grew from a cautious suggestion to the guiding principle of Kindred unlife. Even today the Camarilla concerns itself with the enforcement of the Masquerade, maintaining harmony between Kindred and Kine, and battling the Sabbat, which it views as its direct opponent. The Camarilla is the largest sect of undead on the planet. Almost any vampire, regardless of lineage, may claim membership in the Camarilla. In truth, the Camarilla asserts that all vampires are already under its aegis, regardless of the wishes of the vampires in question. Over the age, the sect has attempted to extend its influence over other areas of vampire life, and each time has had its hands roundly slapped for its insolence. Princes brook no interference in the affairs of their cities, while the ancients scoff at the temerity of the younglings who think they can play at Jyhad. In the end, the Camarilla’s influence begins and ends with protecting the Masquerade and ensuring Kindred-Kine coexistence. The Camarilla claims to allow membership to any interested vampires, regardless of bloodline, but the vast majority represent the seven founding clans. (Brujah, Gangrel, Malkavian, Nosferatu, Toreador, Tremere and Ventrue) It was their members who founded the sect, and only these clans regularly make up the Camarilla’s governing Inner Circle. Other vampires of different bloodlines may attend conclaves and meetings, but their voices frequently go unheard.

The Sabbat
The Camarilla’s archenemy is the monstrous sect known as the Sabbat. Perceived as mindless savages and bloodthirsty fiends by the Camarilla and independent clans alike, the Sabbat is vilified among the society of the Damned, and for good reason. They’re just not the reasons other Kindred claim. While the Kindred of the Camarilla espouse concealing themselves among mortals and maintaining the tattered vestiges of their Humanity, the Sabbat favors a different philosophy. Not content to cower like beaten dogs neither from humans, nor to act as pawns in the schemes of their elders, Sabbat vampires instead prefer to revel in their undead nature. As the Sabbat reasons, vampires are a cut above mortals, who are merely food or diversion. Isn’t Kindred vitae more powerful than mortal blood? Don’t vampires have unnatural powers with which to assert themselves over the bovine masses? Who needs petty mortal morality when one is a blood-drinking, immortal monster? The Sabbat, though, involves far more than a simple carte blanche to behave as abominably as one chooses. Sabbat vampires are inherently alien, and their behavior reflects this. Sabbat vampires wish no place among humans or those who pretend to be humans. They loath humankind and except as sustenance, and they lack the ability to relate to vampires who cannot accept their natures. They even rebel against their own solitary unlives, traveling in wild nomadic packs instead of eking out secretive, isolated existences. For this reason, tensions run high in the Sabbat, and the sect’s surroundings often suffer for it. Thus the Sabbat threatens every city it touches, creeping like a cancer into communities that remain oblivious until the war packs tear the city down around them. Camarilla princes fear the swelling tide of the Sabbat, and with good cause: Their unlives and those of the Kindred in their cities are on the line. Accordingly Sabbat members in a Camarilla city can expect no quarter if exposed, as princes and primogen ruthlessly quash agents of the infernal insurrectionist sect.

The Anarchs
The Anarchs are enigmas. Though they are vampires, they strive to bring down everything that vampire society has worked for. Anarchs feel that the Camarilla is a set of shackles that is holding vampires back from true freedom. The Anarchs are not part of any particular group. In truth, “Anarch” is merely a label that the Camarilla elders place on any Cainites who does not follow the Traditions. Members of the Sabbat are often called Anarchs, though their agenda is different from that of most true Anarchs. Anarchs often respect the Masquerade, just not the dominance of their elders and for the most part despise the Sabbat as another power structure intending to put both Kindred and Kine under the dominance of elder Cainites.

Sub sects
These vampiric sects are not the unified monoliths they wish to appear. Within their ranks there is dissention, division and unrest. Indeed the Anarch movement grew out of a rebellion against the Camarilla. Inside each sect there are sub sects just as there is in human politics. The best examples of this are the Vampire Courts. Within the Camarilla there exists three courts known to me; The White, Red and Black Courts. Each court tends to attract certain clans of Kindred and have their own rules referred to as Kings or Queens. These courts wield considerable power within the Camarilla, but all acknowledge the necessity for maintaining the Masquerade and at least openly give fealty to the Prince of the City. Often the Queen of a Court is also the Prince of a city. Kindred politics are nothing if not convoluted. With thousands of years to practice guile, politics and deception Kindred politics make human political institutions seem relatively honest and simple.

Sect: Sabbat
The leaders of the Sabbat, as much as any clan can be said to “rule” that chaotic body, the Lasombra see themselves as direct competition with the Ventrue as blue-blood rulers. Members of Clan Lasombra are consummate manipulators, and adamantly refuse to submit to the antiquated whims of the elders.
Nickname: Keepers (as in “my brother’s…”)
Clan Disciplines: Dominate, Obtenebration, Potence
Weaknesses: Lasombra vampires cast no reflections. They cannot be seen in mirrors, bodies of water, reflective windows, polished metals, photographs, and security cameras, etc. This curious anomaly even extends to the clothes they wear and the objects they carry.
Sect: Sabbat
If Clan Lasombra is the heart of the Sabbat, Clan Tzimisce is the soul. Even other vampires grow uneasy around these eerie Kindred. The Tzimisce’s signature Discipline of Vicissitude is the subject of particular dread; tales speak of crippling disfigurements inflected on a whim, of ghastly “experiments” and tortures refined beyond human – or vampiric – comprehension or endurance. In nights past, the Tzimisce was among the most powerful clans in the world, dominating much of the region now known as Eastern Europe. Potent sorcerers, they dominated the region’s mortals as well, in the process inspiring many of the horror stories about vampires.
Nickname: Fiends
Clan Disciplines: Animalism, Auspex, Vicissitude
Weaknesses: Tzimisce are very territorial creatures, maintaining a particular haven and guarding it ferociously. Whenever a Tzimisce sleeps, she must surround herself with at least two handfuls of earth from a place important to her as a mortal.
Sect: Independent
A predatory clan of vampires based in the Middle East. For ages, they have served as independent contractors, assassins for hire to any who provided them with blood. Now, with an ancient curse (imposed by the Tremere) lifted again, they are proving themselves enemies of all clans as they seek to slake their bottomless thirst for Cainite vitae.
Nickname: Assassins
Clan Disciplines: Celerity, Obfuscate, Quietas
Weaknesses: Addicted to blood of other Kindred
Followers of Set
Sect: Independent
Setites disdain sects for different reasons. They claim to be heirs to a tradition far older than both Camarilla and Sabbat, and scorn the idea of setting aside their hereditary tasks for a passing fad of mere centuries or so. The tenets of the clan’s shadowy faith allegedly date back to the first nights of civilization, and this ancient pedigree takes precedence over matters of mere politics.
Nickname: Serpents
Clan Disciplines: Obfuscate, Presence, Serpentis
Weaknesses: Sever vulnerability to bright light of all sorts. Bright lights of all sorts, spotlights; magnesium flares; etc, will damage Setites.
Sect: Independent
The Giovanni are as much a family as they are a clan; the majority of their neonates are Embraced from clan members’ mortal descendants. The insular Giovanni pursue two goals: accumulating material wealth and power, and learning the secrets of Death itself.
Nickname: Necromancers
Clan Disciplines: Dominate, Necromancy, Potence
Weaknesses: The Giovanni Kiss causes excruciating pain in mortals who receive it. In fact, the bite of a Giovanni vampire often kills its mortal victim from shock before the poor soul has a chance to die from blood loss. This prevents Giovanni from collecting herds and often they are likely to feed from already dead corpses or from hospital blood banks.
The Ravnos are driven by a clan wide compulsion for larceny and deception, as well as a powerful wanderlust. These masters of illusion, primarily of Indian and Gypsy stock, owe allegiance to themselves first, their clan second, and to no one else at all. Certainly the most loosely organized of the unaligned clans, the nomadic Ravnos are scattered across the world. They travel freely between Camarilla and Sabbat territory, for most princes have learned that it is more trouble to attempt to keep a Ravnos from one’s city than to wait for the wastrel vampire to become bored and move on.
Nickname: Deceivers
Clan Disciplines: Animalism, Chimerstry, Fortitude

Chimerstry: The Ravnos are heirs to a legacy of illusion, and none can say exactly why. Chimerstry is an art of conjuration; the vampire may draw upon his inner reserves to bring phantoms to life. These false images can confound mortal senses and sensory equipment alike. If the Cainite’s power is strong enough, illusions created by Chimerstry may even baffle the heightened senses of the vampire.
Dementation: The special legacy of the Malkavian clan, Dementation allows the vampire to channel madness, focus it, and pour it into the minds of those around him. The practitioner of Dementation need not actually be mad herself – at least initially – although madness seems to grant a certain insight into key tenets of this Discipline. Few vampires ask the Malkavians to teach them this Discipline, although the Lunatics are almost always eager to enlighten others. *Note this is a new Discipline amongst the Malkavians replacing Dominate. This is posited to be some form of infection spread as part of the Jyhad.
Necromancy: Necromancy is at once a Discipline and a school of magical learning, all dedicated toward the command of the souls of the dead. It has some similarities to Thaumaturgy in that, rather than being a strict linear progression of powers, Necromancy consists of several “paths” and accompanying “rituals”. Well-trained and puissant vampiric necromancers can summon the dead, banish or imprison souls, and even reinsert ghosts into living – or unliving – bodies. Needless to say, the study of Necromancy is not widespread among the Kindred, and its practitioners – primarily Giovanni Kindred – are shunned or ignored whenever possible.
Obtenebration: The bailiwick of the Lasombra, the Obtenebration Discipline grants its users power over darkness. The precise nature of the “darkness” invoked is a matter of debate among the Keepers. Some believe it to be shadows, while others, perhaps more correctly, believe the power grants a Kindred control over the stuff of her soul, allowing her to coax it tangibly forth.
Quietus; Quietus the Discipline of silent death, is practiced by the assassins of Clan Assamite. Using the principles of poison, vitae control and pestilence, this blood-based Discipline focuses on the destruction of its target through varying means. Quietus does not always cause a quick death; the Assassins rely upon its secret lethality to hide their involvement with their victims.
Serpentis: Serpentis is the legacy of Set, his gift to his children. The Followers of Set carefully guard this Discipline’s secrets, teaching the reptilian art only to those they deem worthy (almost never outsiders). Most Cainites fear the Setites purely because of this Discipline, the way of the serpent and the tempter. Serpentis can evoke an almost primordial fear in others, particularly those who recall the tale of Eden. After all, hiss the Setites, the serpent was an evil older then even Caine himself.
Vicissitude: Vicissitude is the signature power of the Tzimisce and is almost unknown outside the clan. Similar in some respects to Protean, Vicissitude allows the Fiends to shape and sculpt their own or others’ flesh and bone. When a Tzimisce uses Vicissitude to alter mortals, ghouls and vampires of higher generation, the effects of the power are permanent; vampires of equal or lower generation may heal the effects of Vicissitude as though they were aggravated wounds. Naturally, a wielder can always reshape her own flesh. Note that while this Discipline permits powerful and horrific effects, the wielder must obtain skin-to-skin contact and must often physically sculpt the desired result. This even applies to the use of the power on oneself. Tzimisce skilled in Vicissitude are often inhumanly beautiful; those less skilled are simply inhuman.

Many Kindred believe the most ancient of vampires (Antediluvians) are manipulating every aspect of Kindred and Kine society in a great game of power wherein each Antediluvian seeks to dominate the entire world. They refer to this game as the Jyhad. It is also a hidden war between the Antediluvians and the more modern elders.

Vampire Politics

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