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VtM: Camarilla Positions Explained

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VtM: Camarilla Positions Explained

Post  Storyteller on Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:02 pm

Prince

The Prince is, to put it simply, the vampire who has enough power to hold domain over a city, codify the laws for that city, and keep the peace. Such a position is typically held by an elder, for who but an elder has the necessary personal charisma and power to take and hold domain in a metropolis? In some small towns, younger vampires may be able to claim domain in the same way, but their claims are rarely respected by the coteries of the cities. On occasion, strange circumstances have placed younger vampires in a position to rule cities, but few such upstarts manage to hold their titles when the elders appear.

A Prince does not “reign” over a city. His role is more like that of an overseer or magistrate than that of a monarch. He is the judge who settles disputes between Kindred, the ultimate authority on the Traditions as they relate to his city, and the keeper of the peace. Whether this means he regularly scours his city for Sabbat or keeps a stranglehold on the wilder elements is up to him. Not every prince realizes or cares that his power is meant to be so informal; indeed, some demand that they be treated like the kings of old, holding court and requiring that their fellow Kindred within the domain attend them as they pass royal pronouncements, as such is their right and their due.

Seneschal

This is one position that many princes would like to do without, but which occasionally is necessary. One Prince described the filling of this position to be akin to choosing which knife to put at her throat. A seneschal is meant to be a chamberlain, a second-in-command and an adviser to the prince. At any time, he may be asked to step into the prince's place if she leaves town on business, abdicates or is slain.

Naturally, a Prince wishes to have final authority on such an important position, and many have fought endlessly with their Primogen over the subject. This is a dangerous position in more ways than one. Familiarity with the subject can give one ideas...

Keeper of Elysium

The Keeper is in charge of what goes on in Elysium. A Toreador wishing to display her latest work, a Tremere wanting to give a lecture, or a Brujah scheduling an open debate on princely policies – all must clear things with the Keeper, who can cancel or approve an event on the grounds of preserving the Masquerade. The Keeper is also in charge of maintaining the First Tradition in the Domain. As s/he spends most of the night in Elysium, this generally means s/he punishes breaches after the fact, and cleans up any mess.

The Keeper is responsible for maintaining the laws of Elysium, ensuring that mortals do not enter the area during Elysium, and that events run smoothly. Most Keepers are appointed by the prince, often with the stipulation that their appointment is conditional until their qualifications are assured.

Sheriff

The sheriff generally assists with the “muscle” aspects of ruling, doing everything from hauling offenders to court to keeping order on the streets and occasionally bouncing fools from Elysium. During wartime, the sheriff is often called on to be the war-chief, leading charges and coordinating the martial side of the fight. A sheriff may select deputies to assist him, who often act full in his authority.

Typically the Brujah and Gangrel clans provide the bulk of sheriffs, although anyone with something of a martial bent may be selected. Straight-ahead brawlers are becoming less common; operators who are precise in their applications of force have become the norm.

Keepers of Elysium and Sheriffs can be each other’s best friends or worst enemies. A keeper who insists on dealing with security himself at Elysium risks stepping on the toes of the Sheriff, who believes that such an action indicates to the harpies that he’s incompetent. A Sheriff who muscles into Elysium and conclave security without asking about existing plans may alienate the keeper, depriving him of much needed support when it comes time to press for tighter security measures. On the other hand, when the two offices work hand in hand, they can be incredibly effective.

Deputy[b]

A Sheriff or Keeper often selects deputies to assist him in a variety of capacities. Most often, they serve as the eyes and ears of the Sheriff/Keeper since they cannot be everywhere at once. When these deputies are out on official business (and only in such cases), they act with the authority of the Sheriff/Keeper.

[b]Primogen


The Primogen are the assembled elders of each clan in a city. Most often, each clan has a representative Primogen, but in some cities a Prince refuses to allow a given clan to place a member on this council of elders. In principle, Primogen represent their clans among the political body of elders, but in practice, the Primogen are more often an “elite vampires' club” and an incestuous nest of treachery and favor-currying. Primogen – the term refers to individual members as well as the collected body – convene at the Prince’s discretion. In cities with a powerful or despotic Prince, the Primogen might be nothing more than figureheads, while in other cities, Princes may govern solely at the whim of the elder council.

It is worth noting that the Prince is often not the Primogen for his clan. Although some Kindred claim that having duplicate clans involved in the political structure weighs matters in favor of that clan, no one is really in a position to change it.

Whip

Whips occasionally work as assistants for their Primogen. Not much different from the whips in mortal government, the whip’s job is to goad and encourage discussion and decision-making during clan meetings and to keep the clan updated on their Primogen members’ doings. Whips are selected by their clan.

Harpy

These Kindred pride themselves on being social managers of Kindred society and their modern-day equivalent of Strophades (the mythological home of the harpies) is the Elysium in whatever city they choose to live. The Harpies of today traffic in gossip and maneuvering themselves up the ladder of success, drawing others with them – or kicking them in the teeth and knocking them back down. Being as Harpies consider themselves the “voice of society,” it is best to remember that they are generally extremely skilled in social skills, quite vain and will always make sure they come out ahead in any deal.

Harpies serve other purposes, however. They are the keepers of boons and record the nightly activities of the Kindred they have set themselves to watch. Harpies are trusted to keep the official record of debts owed and status gained and can also be called upon to serve as diplomats or envoys to other domain.

The position of Harpy is not appointed by the Prince, but rather comes from an appointment of sorts from the Primogen Council. In order to be the Domain's Harpy, a majority of the Primogen in a city must loan status to the candidate. If the number of loaned status ever drops below a majority, another candidate must be installed. This situation leads to a tense truce between the Primogen, who hold the power to remove a Harpy rather easily, and the Harpy, who has power to decide when boons have been repaid. It is a title that is given to those Kindred who show skill at gathering, spreading, and using gossip and debts to make or break a vampire’s place in society. The best Harpies are unimpressed by braggarts, immune to bluster, and they show remarkable insight into reading a vampires nature and true motivations.

Harpies are both feared and trusted. They seem to be unusually aware of dirty little secrets, crimes committed (even in other cities) and if they have a mind to, they are able to raise Kindred to the heights of legend or to destroy their reputation forever. Bucking a harpy could assure one a place at the bottommost rung of the ladder of power for years to come.

Harpies communicate with each other through various channels. In the days of old letter writing, then telegraphs, then telephones were the weapons of choice. Now, with the advent and prevalence of email, word of transgressions literally flies around in the time it takes to tap a key on a keyboard. As such, it is a very bad idea to cross a Harpy, for if that happens and you run from the city to start anew, chances are that the Harpy of the city where you land will already know of it, even before you can park your car, step out of an airplane or disembark from a ship.

Scourge

As the nights grow more and more violent and the cities fill with unknown Kindred, some princes have resurrected this ancient position. Essentially, the Scourge patrols the borders of a princedom, seeking out and often destroying newcomers who have failed to present themselves to the Prince within a reasonable amount of time of arriving in a Domain. Caitiff, as well as fledglings of the 13th to the 15th generation, have much to fear from the Scourge. In some cases, even vampires who have followed protocol fall victim to the Scourge, as princes reflexively react to fears of overpopulation and espionage.

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