Conclave

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Conclaves are the greatest events in Camarilla politics - at least the greatest events to which every vampire can be privy.

One American Kindred described conclave to his childe as "a House Committee session, the Supreme Court and a tent revival all rolled up into one." A conclave serves as the highest court of Camarilla Kindred, a legislative session for considering and deciding future Camarilla policy, and a reaffirmation of the Camarilla as the guiding principle behind the Masquerade and Kindred-kine relations.

Any and all Kindred who hear the call to conclave are welcome to attend. These events can last anywhere from a few hours to several weeks. A city hosting a conclave may never be aware of what is occurring, except that many hotels are suddenly booked up. Naturally, conclaves are perilous undertakings; so many vampires (many of them potent-blooded Elders) in a single location presents a tempting target for Sabbat or diablerists. Many attendees might not know where the conclave will be held until a few nights before the event itself.

Only Justicars may call Conclaves, and only when needed, due to logistical concerns. The Conclave is usually held in the geographic region most concerned with the issue at hand, or more centrally if the problem is widespread. The vampires who attend the Conclave are referred to as the assembly, and any may speak, provided they are supported by at least two other members. Each member of the assembly receives a single vote regarding the issue.

Conclaves are typically called with regard to powerful individuals, such as Prince, or serious breaches of the Traditions.

Any Kindred may bring a grievance to the conclave and expect to have it addressed. A Prince may request more leeway regarding the Traditions to deal with Sabbat or Anarchs, or to have a destructive quarrel between two powerful Elders mediated. The conclave may call blood hunts against individuals, including Prince, or have particularly powerful Princes removed from office. The right to depose Prince is one the Camarilla keeps a tight leash on, and while a Justicar may not remove a prince, she may call a conclave for the sole purpose of forcing a Prince's abdication.

Any actions that would result in a serious breach of the Traditions must be discussed and agreed upon by the conclave to avoid punishment in the future. The conclave interprets the Six Traditions and may add amendments or enact precedents.

Many princes have come to demand that certain powers, which could be breaches of Traditions, be given them in dealing with unruly Kindred.

A Kindred on trial at a conclave may challenge the ruling by requesting an ordeal. These ordeals can be quite literally almost any exacting task or quest, with a time limit for completion. If the ordeal is not completed to satisfaction, the Justicar may impose any penalty. Should the crime be considered too heinous to allow the accused an ordeal, she may be challenged to ritual combat by one of her accusers. As with the ordeal, almost anything can happen: ritual weapons, both opponents blindfolded, forbiddance of Disciplines, etc.

After a conclave, Princes often reward those who voted in their favor and punish those who did not. Some vampires, in anticipation of a Prince's anger, settle their affairs and seek out new living arrangements at the conclave. Others take the opportunity to curry as much favor as possible, hoping that their "loyalty" will be rewarded.

Not every conclave called is an emergency meeting. Some Justicars arrange for annual conclaves allowing all Kindred who choose to attend an opportunity to meet and talk over the year's business. For the past decade, the Toreador Justicar has called a conclave on the weekend closest to Halloween, while another takes place in New Orleans every three years. These are opportunities for Camarilla vampires to discuss business that relates to the sect as a whole, to fraternize with others of their station and clan, and simply to socialize with new faces and old acquaintances. However, with the increasing boldness of the sect's many enemies, many Kindred fear that one of these conclaves will provide a perfect target for a retaliatory strike.

For more information, please see The Protocols of the Camarilla.