Examples of the Camarilla Protocols
- 1 Court
- 2 Symposium
- 3 Faction
- 4 Traveling
- 5 Boons
- 6 Compensation
- 7 Adoption
- 8 Bloodhunt
- 9 The Others
- 10 Final Example
- 11 Questions and Answers
Lars smiled to himself and entered the Elysium. Primogen Morton would mock him no more, he knew it. Easing himself through the door, he moved his large bulk to the nearest wall and tried to be ignored.
Before him the Court was in full session. His Majesty was receiving visitors (quite a few had turned up from neighboring Domains), and the silent Keeper of Elysium as well as the timid Seneschal were in attendance. Meanwhile the rest of the Court stood around and watched the events passing them by. As the formal part of the evening was still going on, many were bored, especially the Harpies. Some of their number was watching the presentation of the newcomers, while the rest were gathered around Chloe, the Chief Harpy, like a flock of brightly plumed birds. One of them eyed Lars.
"Oh look. The obese one has graced us with his presence."
Several pairs of cold eyes fell upon the Nosferatu and for a moment Lars considered using his powers of Obfuscate to hide himself. But that would only make things worse. He ignored a few more jibes, and made his way to his Clanmate, Lucy. One of the Brujah made a comment which ended with the words 'lard ass'. He walked on.
Lucy glanced up; her face hidden in shadow.
"Lars? Not often we see you in Elysium."
He cut straight to the point.
"Lucy, Morton has screwed up."
"What do you mean?"
"He's consorting with Prince Delwood."
"Are you sure?"
"I saw him myself. And if I saw him you can bet that the Princes spies will know about it."
The Prince's hatred of his neighbor was well known; as was the fact that he outlawed any from his Domain consorting with his rival. Lucy shook her head...
"If His Majesty finds out that our Primogen has broken one of his laws..."
"Then we all get to play 'Eat the Stick'."
Lucy glanced into the eyes of her Clanmate. The large Nosferatu nodded.
"We need to bring in Rat."
Rat narrow his eyes. Or rather the false face he always wore narrowed his eyes.
"Are you sure Lars?"
"Yes Lord Whip, certain."
"You realize what this means?"
"It means that we could all be punished for something Primogen Morton did, without telling us."
Rat, Whip of Clan Nosferatu in the Domain, shook his head in disbelief.
"We will have to act fast."
Lucy spoke up.
"We would be willing to support your Claim for Primogen Lord Rat."
"Of course," she said, her broken face breaking into a semblance of a smile, "Such a minor thing is certainly worth recompense."
Call of the Seasons
Prince Orsini blinked in shock.
"Repeat that again?"
"Majesty, by total consent of the Clan Nosferatu, Morton has been replaced as Primogen of the Nosferatu. Rat is now Primogen of the Clan Nosferatu within this city."
Silence covered the court. Every eye was upon the Ventrue Prince. His face was a mask; it showed no emotion. Quickly he gestured for his Seneschal to lean closer; the conversation that followed was less than a whisper.
"I'll be damned if I have that murderer as a Primogen in my Court Simmons."
"Yes My Prince, but there is nothing we can do about it."
"Yes there is..."
The Prince stood and smiled his famous cold smile.
"Kindred of my Domain. Of course I would accept Rat as Primogen of the Nosferatu of my Domain; but I had already decided that I shall be Calling the Seasons this night. The Clans have one hour to come to me with their new Primogen. Until such time, all existing Primogen posts are null and void."
The news was treated with raised whispers and shocked indignation. The Tremere Regent turned to an nearby apprentice.
"You shall remain Primogen, understood?"
Meanwhile, the Brujah had began to bicker. Lars blinked and turned to Lucy.
"This is going to be more difficult than I thought."
He looked away and straight into the anger soaked eyes of Morton. Former Primogen and oldest among the Nosferatu in the Domain. Lars suddenly developed a churning feeling in his gut.
Constable Wright sat back and watched the events as they transpired; the Brujah were beginning to shout. They'd have to watch themselves. His own Clan, the Gangrel, seemed to be just sitting around and telling tales; since the Clan as a whole had left the Camarilla, they had been without a Primogen. He wouldn't have it any other way.
He caught a flash of movement and saw the Prince gesture to him. Moving silently, the Sheriff of the Domain made his way to the man who Thralled him; the man to whom he would give his life in a second; who he loved above all others... his Prince. Wright walked quickly and kneeled before Orsini.
"Constable," intoned the Ventrue, "it has come to my attention that three nights ago the one that's called Morton, former Primogen of the Nosferatu, was seen in the presence of Prince Delwood."
"Expressly against your laws your Majesty."
The Sheriff nodded.
"I shall deal with it at once."
Constable Wright rose and walked across the room with grim determination.
Abint Dullah did not move. She rarely moved. And then only when was needed. No gesture was wasted; no words were wasted. She was a living example of conservative strength and precision. She stood in the corner of the court and spied all.
Her training in Alamut had made her ideal for this job, and since the... unpleasantness at Alamut, she (and many others) had left to find a new home, a new Mountain.
Her eyes fixed upon two events taking place at once. In a corner, the former Primogen of the Nosferatu was arguing with Wright, the Sheriff. She watched intently as he was escorted from the room. No doubt to the building next door, which was not Elysium and empty, and thus used for the Sheriff to show the Prince's anger with claws. She watched and saw Wright indicate that her help was not needed. Inwardly she cursed the Gangrel and wished he would appoint some deputies.
This resolved, she focused her attention back on the other event; the row among the Brujah was growing. The Primogen was fighting to retain his job, but some young Neonate was challenging. Voices were being raised, and insults traded. Typical Brujah she thought, always ready for a row.
She watched very closely. She had accepted the job on the proviso that this Elysium was absolute. No breaches to be tolerated. None. The Prince had accepted.
Suddenly a fist lashed out and the youngblood struck the Primogen. He was fast - his blood had activated the powers of Celerity and although the Primogen responded, he was no match for the younger, leaner Kindred.
But neither were a match for the silent female who raced towards them.
Constable Wright brought another fist into the gut of the Nosferatu Morton and the deformed man went down with the force of it. The Gangrel smiled.
"Let that be a lesson Morton. Next time I will use my claws. If you still bore the Title of Primogen I would crucify you to the wall, do you understand?"
The Nosferatu gasped. "Yes."
"Good. Get out of my sight."
The sagging figure left by the door that led to the Elysium. That would teach them all an example, Wright thought; the word of Prince Orsini was to be ignored at their own expense. Glancing around to make sure the mostly bare room was not too messed up by the beating he had inflicted, Wright made to leave when the door to the room opened and two figures entered. The first was a young girl, aged about 15; her pale skin and red eyes revealed she was a Kindred. Holding her by the scruff of her neck was the tall and imposing figure of Sergi, Scourge of the City. Wright had not seen him in some weeks, even though he was a member of the Sheriff's Clan. The Beast had taken its toll on the Scourge; his face was dog-like, and his eyes slitted.
"Sergi? Who is she?"
"Caitiff. Embraced in the last two nights. I found her wandering around the mall."
"Need any help?"
"Get out of my face Wright", snapped the Scourge.
The Sheriff nodded and left the room.
"Please," murmured the young girl, "please, I'm sorry if I upset you. Let me go home. Please."
"You can never go home again", intoned the flat voice of the Gangrel Scourge. From the scabbard he kept by his side, he withdrew the sword he carried with him at all times.
"No please," the girl was nearly screaming, "I'm sorry if I did something wrong; please I beg you, don't hurt me. I don't understand. Please what did I do wrong?"
Sergi stared into her eyes; blood tears welling up.
"You didn't do anything wrong. You just exist."
He raised the sword. Her scream was cut off within a second.
Chloe, the Chief Harpy, watched the struggle intently. The young Brujah had struck his former Primogen several times, and was moving in again, when the Assamite Keeper of Elysium arrived. The Keeper said but one word.
"Cease." It was not a request.
Two things happened at once: The former Brujah Primogen said, "Back off Princess" while the young buck attacked the Keeper of Elysium. He was new. He didn't know.
If it wasn't for her powers of Auspex, Chloe would never have seen what followed. The Assamite moved with a blur of speed, and the stake was driven through the young Brujah's heart. He fell to the floor.
The Prince gazed up from his conversation with a visiting Malkavian.
"My Lady Keeper; place him where this young whelp can witness the sun for a full minute. If he survives, have my ghoul retrieve him; if he dies, let him serve as an example to all."
Silence filled the room again. The Keeper nodded and picking up the body, left by the much used side door. Chloe saw her chance.
"Rathbone," she intoned, her English accent cutting and sharp. She fixed her gaze upon the former Brujah Primogen. "We noticed how you didn't seem to want to help the Keeper of Elysium; in fact you were decidedly unhelpful."
"No I wasn't."
"I believe your precise words where 'Back off Princess'? Hardly the actions of one who is supposedly a respected Ancilla."
"It was a Clan matter, I just wanted..."
"It was Elysium Rathbone. Elysium. And the Keeper of Elysium was discharging her duty. And all you could do was threaten her."
"It wasn't a threat, it was..."
"It was perceived as a threat Rathbone. I believe it would be wrong to consider you 'Loyal', don't you?"
The Brujah's reputation as Loyal to the Camarilla was hard earned. He winced but said nothing. Behind him one of the Brujah, with a strong southern accent began to intone.
"Why you stuck up, ignorant, snotty Toreador Bit..."
"I really DO hope you finish that sentence Brujah. I honestly hope you do.", Chloe spat out.
The Brujah caught himself. Chloe smiled a shark's smile.
The Kindred said a few goodbyes and made their way back to their havens; the week was theirs. Next week His Majesty would summon them again, and Simmons would be there for his Prince.
Waiting until Prince Orsini had left, Simmons went around the Elysium, moving chairs back into their correct place. He took some stain remover to the blood split by the young Brujah (who would be facing sunlight in a few hours) and locked the doors and set the alarm system.
This done he made his way to his car. It alerted the world that its alarm was being turned off, and Simmons opened the driver's side door and got in. He could have a driver sent for, he knew, to take him everywhere like Orsini, but he liked to do it himself. There was so little that was his own these nights.
No sooner then he sat down he became aware of the figure behind him. The shadows crept around it, but he sensed it anyway. Something told him he was in danger. He blinked once.
"What do you want?"
"I suppose I could ask you the same question", replied the cool voice of newly elected Nosferatu Primogen Rat.
"I don't know what you mean?"
"Really? Let's see. Albert Simmons. Ventrue. 10th generation. Aged about 150 years. Adopted Childe and designated Seneschal of Prince Orsini, also of the Ventrue. He is a rising star in the Clan, and you are in his shadows, yes? Of all the Ancilla of the Clan in this region, you are overlooked the most and him the least. You have good feeding grounds, a nice apartment, like to feed off girls in the nice rich girls college on the hill, and on a good day can waltz very well. Anything else?"
"What do you want?"
"Again with the questions," mocked Rat. "I want what you want Simmons. Power, space, prestige. And you can give them to me."
"Everything the Seneschal does must be verified by Prince Orsini."
"I don't really care about Seneschal Simmons' relationship to Prince Orsini. I care about Seneschal Rat's relationship to Prince Simmons."
A crack of thunder. The car was in silence as the rain began to fall.
Prince Orsini sat upon the resplendent Victorian chair; its high back framed in leather, with brass studs. A good chair. To his left sat Prince Wormwood of the Nosferatu, and the Tremere Prince of the small Domain to the south. All three men considered each other coldly for a second.
The Tremere spoke first.
"Prince Orsini, I was just wondering; the issue concerning the Caitiffs. How will you vote in this matter?"
The Ventrue gazed over at the Tremere.
"I have no love for bastards if that's what you mean. Why only last night I had to slay another. They breed like vermin, these lowly scum."
"Really? That's not what Prince Delwood says.", intoned Prince Wormwood.
"I am aware of the charges I face Prince Wormwood. I am innocent. Prince Delwood's Motion of Bad Standing shall fall, and then he shall fall."
Their conversation was interrupted by a young looking man, dressed in a suit slightly too small for him.
"Excuse me, is this where the Symposium meets?"
The three Princes turned their eyes upon the interloper. Orsini spoke first.
"Who are you?"
"They call me Rooster. Brujah Primogen and Representative of My Prince..."
Prince Wormwood broke in.
"The correct way to address a gathering of Princes is Your Majesties; you represent thy Domain and carry thy Princes vote - but remember We are Princes and be not so familiar with thy tongue again, Rooster!"
The Brujah nodded and stumbled off. The Three Princes watched him leave. The Tremere raised an eyebrow.
"Do you think he even knows what's on the agenda?"
"I'd be amazed," replied Orsini.
Motion of Bad Standing
Prince Delwood flashed his fangs briefly as he stared down Orsini.
"In light of the Resolution this Symposium just agreed upon, I do charge Orsini with allowing Caitiff to exist openly within His Domain."
Orsini laughed. "Don't be a fool Delwood."
"I bring a Motion of Bad Standing against him for aiding the enemies of the Camarilla."
An icy silence filled the room. All knew it was coming, but still the words echoed in their minds and made each Prince nervous. Prince Orsini merely smiled. "Delwood, you just sentenced yourself to death."
News was passed beyond the closed room in short order by the onlookers. Prince Delwood's Motion of Bad Standing against Prince Orsini was being debated. Lars glanced over at Primogen Rat.
"What does that mean?"
"It means that either Orsini or Delwood won't survive the night."
Rat's eyes darted across the main ball room and quickly found the panicked face of Simmons. A slight nod, and the Seneschal stood up and left the room.
Motion of Bad Standing Continued
The Archon, irritatingly reduced to no more than a Chairman for the meeting, grunted at the nearest Prince. It was the Tremere.
The Archon nodded.
"Thus by ten votes to nine, Prince Orsini is found not guilty of being in Bad Standing with his fellow Princes."
Prince Wormwood spoke suddenly, "Dread Archon, it seems as if Prince Delwood would impose his view of what is right and wrong upon the rest of us. That usurps the Second Tradition. Our course is undeniable, the Motion now carries to him."
The words were more traditional than necessary. Prince Delwood gulped once and steeled himself. This was the most dangerous time.
Lars hurried to keep up with Primogen Rat and Constable Wright.
"What's going on?" he asked, his massive bulk pushing other Kindred out of the way.
"It's what happens when Orsini and Delwood get into the same room together," snapped Wright. "Both faced Motions of Bad Standing and both had them fail; now they summon an ancient Tribunal to get the chance to topple each other."
"So what do we do?" asked Lars.
"We turn up and wave the flag, and make sure that the other side can't speak much."
Lars felt lost and confused. He didn't notice a sidewards glance by Rat to the Constable of his Domain.
"Yet another Motion of Bad Standing. One of these nights he will lose you know."
Wright became tight lipped.
"That's not His Majesties fault."
Rat nodded. Probably thralled, he thought.
"His Majesty speaks with all the wisdom of the collective shit of a baboon's ass!" hissed Orsini, which brought a laugh from the assembled Kindred. The three Princes in judgement even raised a smile.
Delwood seemed uncaring. "Be quiet you pompous idiot."
"Me pompous? Compared to you I am the very model of modesty."
More laughter. Lars frowned.
"Prince Orsini isn't defending himself."
"Neither," smiled Wright, "is Delwood."
Rat shook his head.
"But Dear Constable, Delwood seems like he knows something Orsini does not."
Chloe bit back her tears; she had been so close to being announced Royal Harpy. She had spent weeks building up her contacts, and slowly positioning herself to be accepted in that role, when suddenly the political row between Delwood and that fool Orsini had broken out. Now Vincent, her 'Sire's brother', had the steal on her and the Tribunal had passed against Orsini, the Motion which followed passed and Her Domain was one in Bad Standing. No one would consort to give her such power this evening. Damn Orsini.
She glanced up as Vincent made his way towards the Council Chamber. She bowed her head at his smugness and made to leave when she spied, in the distance, Prince Wormwood making his own Imperial way to the Symposium gathering. Thinking quickly she moved to intercept.
He peered at her over the thick lids of his eyes.
"Toreador. From Orsini's court, yes? Begone, thy Domain's name is foul unto me."
He made to leave.
"Certainly Majesty. I thought you'd be interested however to know that Vincent, he who will now stand before thee and ask for Royal Harpy... he is owed by Prince Delwood a Boon of some size."
The Nosferatu Prince stopped but did not turn around.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes Majesty, and he is desperate to be Royal Harpy. He'd give anything for it. Anything."
Wormwood stood for a second more, nodded and strode off.
Chloe smiled her luscious smile and imagined what would follow. Prince Wormwood would inform Vincent that he held several votes on the Symposium, his support would be vital, and all he would ask is the Boon owed by Delwood to go to him. She was sure Vincent would pay any price for a night of total power. The smile on her face froze as she thought about the situation. Her Domain was in Bad Standing, she was now disliked by all. And Vincent would in about 30 minutes have more status than a Justicar. He would seek her out, yes he would. She went to leave the gathering as quickly as she could.
Prince Wormwood entered the small antechamber. The assembled Princes nodded in recognition. Outside could be heard the music of the show the Toreador were putting on. They ignored it.
"An interesting night Prince Wormwood?" asked Abaxis, an Elder of the Malkavians who had known the Nosferatu Prince for several hundred years.
"One could say that," came the stoic reply.
"Well, would someone mind telling me what the hell happened in there?"
The voice came from Prince Peters, who had only claimed Praxis a few months beforehand was still relatively new to matters.
"Of course," sighed Wormwood, "I would be happy to. As you know we have been looking to increase our power for some time. At this moment membership of 'Red Guild' has been limited to Princes within Our region. As was seen last year, we have been outmaneuvered by the 'Alliance of Princes' whose membership is spread out across the nation, and the 'Society of the Black Rose' who have allies seemingly everywhere. Tonight was the first step in changing that situation."
"How so?" asked Prince Peters. Prince Delwood spoke up first.
"We first identified that we would be in no position to grow as long as the 'Umbra Alliance' existed. Simply put our two factions have been engaged in a long running dispute within this region. Tonight we achieved our first major victory. Prince Orsini was the main driving force in the 'Umbra Alliance'. I tried to bring a motion of Bad Standing against him, which failed because the Princes at the Council who do not belong to any faction balked at reducing a Prince of such high repute. Then I faced a Motion of Bad Standing, which also failed for the same reasons. I then called a pre-arranged Tribunal against Orsini, making sure that members of the 'Red Guild' were in judgment. I had him condemned, while Prince Wormwood placed pressure upon the independent Princes. When the Second Motion of Bad Standing went through, Orsini and his Domain was condemned."
Prince Peters nodded, trying to take it all in. Wormwood spoke first.
"With Orsini thus condemned, we are able to move. Orsini is no fool. He will step down, and have his loyal Seneschal take Praxis. This means that the motion of Bad Standing shall be lifted and after a few months he can regain his power. What he has failed to understand is that the new Prince shall join the 'Red Guild' and most of the members of the Umbra Alliance shall join with him. At this point we shall have more members than the 'Alliance of Princes'."
Prince Peters blinked.
"And how do you know the Seneschal will join the 'Red Guild'?"
The door to the room opened and a lone figure entered...
"Majesties," intoned Prince Delwood, "may I introduce you to Prince Simmons."
Abaxis stared despondently at the former Sheriff, Wright.
"What do you want me to do about it?"
"Something... anything. Orsini always had a hard line against the Caitiff. Why he had one killed only-"
"Wright, this isn't you talking, this is the Blood Bond talking. It does not matter what the truth is; what matters is what has been said. Orsini is no longer Prince and you are no longer Sheriff."
"But it's so unfair?"
Silence. Wright bowed his head. Abaxis nodded.
"I will see what I can do."
He strode off. Orsini was an effective fool, he'd give him that. Thralling the Sheriff (so few did that these nights) made the Gangrel in question a loyal ally even without him being in office. It could still allow Orsini cause trouble. He knew how to neutralize this.
Making his way to the other side of the building, he found who he was looking for: Lord Grey, Elder of the Nosferatu and one of the main members of the much feared 'Society of the Black Rose'. Lord Grey smiled and nodded and dismissed the Ventrue and Toreador who hung around him like moths to a flame.
"Abaxis, how fare you this evening?"
"Very well. You are not angry at tonight's events?"
"Not really. After all, what care I about the fall of the 'Umbra Alliance' to the 'Red Guild'?"
"Oh you wouldn't care at all," sighed the Malkavian Elder, "if it wasn't for the fact that the 'Umbra Alliance' is controlled by the 'Society of the Black Rose'."
The Nosferatu laughed.
"You are well informed. But no, I am not angry. You win some, and you lose some."
"How very philosophical of you. Now, what are you going to do with your pawn, Orsini. He can still cause trouble you know."
"Of course he can, that's why he's my pawn."
Now Abaxis laughed softly.
"He still needs to be neutralized Lord Grey. After all, as long as he is around he will still be looking for his Throne back. Which could upset the delicate new status quo and perhaps bring our two societies into conflict."
"And we wouldn't want that now would we, Abaxis?" replied the Nosferatu.
A short silenced followed while the two men considered some thoughts.
"I offer you a deal Abaxis. Prince Leopold in California has annoyed me. Oh, don't ask, it will take too long to explain, but I want him removed from office. There will be a Symposium called in August in my Domain, my Prince shall call it like the good little fellow he is. I would like the 'Red Guild' to send a representative to it and to vote for a Motion of Bad Standing against Leopold."
"There is one against him?"
"Agree to this, and I shall find a way to keep Orsini busy. After all, His Sire does owe me a rather large Boon."
Abaxis thought for only a second.
Lord Grey inhaled from the cigarette he held, even though his lungs were dead; it helped maintain the Masquerade, and glanced at the one called Rat; Primogen of the Nosferatu in the city of the new Prince Simmons.
"Are you sure about him?"
"Totally, Lord Grey."
"Bring him to me."
Rat walked off, and Lord Grey spent the intervening minutes in quiet contemplation. Eventually Rat returned with an obese Nosferatu who looked nervous.
"You are the one they call Lars?"
"Yes Lord Grey."
"Primogen Rat informs you that you follow orders to the letter."
"Always my Lord."
"And you will never question an order from your Elders?"
"Never my Lord."
"Excellent. Congratulations, you are Clan Head of the Nosferatu for this nation."
Silence followed. Lars could feel his jaw drop in shock but couldn't think of what to say.
"Yes. Understand the conditions. You will work under the name 'Baron Silverton'. You will use that name as Clan Head because that is who we are telling everyone our Clan Head is called. You will be Lars at all other times. As Baron Silverton you will only say what I tell you to say. You will make official proclamations only when I tell you to. There are three other Nosferatu Elders who will have the same powers and they will identify themselves in the next few nights to you. Understand, as Clan Head you will be the voice of the Clan. Chances are you won't need to say anything, but if you do, we shall prepare you."
"But I am only a neonate Sir, I cannot give orders to my Elders."
"Don't be a fool all your life Lars," hissed Primogen Rat, "the Clan Heads of a Clan have no power. They are the voice of a Clan, their job is to threaten Princes who threaten the Clan. For example, Prince Leopold in California is promising to remove all Primogen who won't be blood bound to him and the Nosferatu Primogen wouldn't agree, so he killed him. Your job is to send him a letter, make it sound like you are the oldest of all Nosferatu, and tell him to compensate the Clan or face our wrath."
"And if he doesn't compensate the clan?"
"Then he will suffer," whispered Lord Grey, "but that's beside the point. The fact of the matter is Lars, is that you have been ordered to be Clan Head of Nosferatu and you shall be so. Understood?"
"Yes Lord Grey."
The fat Nosferatu walked slowly away in a state of shock.
"Rat, get after him and brief him on matters."
"Will do Lord Grey and if I may say so... it's good to have a Clan Head who knows their place."
"Yes, but for God's sake don't let him say anything as Baron Silverton without making sure the Elders see it first."
Prince Wormwood crossed his legs and gazed upon the four Princes in front of him. Prince Simmons seemed unsure about things and Prince Delwood had a broad grin on his face. Wormwood knew he would soon fix that.
"Gentlemen," he began, "some bad news. It is our belief that the 'Society of the Black Rose' will soon move against the 'Red Guild'."
"Why?" asked Prince Peters in shock.
"Because we have grown too fast for their liking. Thus we must consolidate power as quickly as possible. Only by consolidating power within the 'Red Guild' can we hope to survive."
Prince Delwood narrow his eyes.
"What do you mean 'consolidate', Wormwood?"
"Simple, over the next week you will combine your Domains into a single Domain, led by me. The area which all five of our Domains cover shall become one single Domain led by one Prince. Each of you shall become a Duke and shall follow my orders exclusively."
The four men looked like someone had just shot them. Prince Peters simply bowed his head; Prince Simmons spoke first.
"I have not waited all this time as a Seneschal to simply become a Duke. I will not stand down Wormwood, and if you try anything I'll call a motion of Bad-"
"Oh do shut up will you?" intoned the Nosferatu Prince. "Correct me if I am wrong, but you agreed to owe Primogen Rat a Blood Boon if he made you Prince, yes? Well, Rat has given that Boon to me, and you now owe me. I call that Boon in now. You owe me, I want to be repaid. For payment I shall demand that you give me your Throne and remain in power as my Duke. Understood?"
Prince Simmons merely blinked.
"I do not owe you a Boon Wormwood," hissed Prince Delwood, "so I have no reason to step down."
"Oh but I am afraid you do. In order to get the support of the 'Red Guild' Royal Harpy Vincent was more than willing to pass to me the Major Boon you owed him."
"But I had promised him the 'Red Guilds' support anyway!"
"That's what he said when I pointed out that you could 'attempt' to get the support and I could 'guarantee' it; he was more than willing to pay the price."
"That was a damn lie!"
"I know. Shame on me."
"That damn Toreador fool."
"Indeed. Now gentlemen, about the time frame of the creation of this Imperial Domain."
Prince Leopold dropped the china cup, its sound echoing across the room.
"I won't do it. I simply won't."
Lillian Windsor, designated Clan Head of the Ventrue simply sighed.
"Leopold it is this simple. Three Clan Heads are ready to condemn you: Owen Redfist of the Brujah, Prince Calliston of the Tremere, and Lady Brigadan of the Toreador have already done so and my spies inform me that Baron Silverton of the Nosferatu shall join them tomorrow."
"Baron Silverton. Very old they say. No one knows what he looks like. But that will be four Clan Heads Leopold. You will have to back down."
"I am Prince. 'None may question thee in thy own Domain'".
"Prince Leopold, you can quote the Second Tradition at me all you like. Now allow me quote to you the Seventh Tradition: "Those who have the real power get their own way." Now if you think you can anger four Clan Heads and remain in Praxis like this, then you are a bigger fool than I thought. Back down in this or else you will earn my anger."
Shaking in impotent rage, Leopold nodded. Lillian Windsor smiled. Her Sire would be happy. As the Eldest Ventrue in Italy, he was close to gaining control over the Toreador. Already two Elders in this nation were his Thralls, and very soon a third would be. The last thing he wanted was this silly Prince causing a Clan War between the Toreador and the Ventrue, especially as with the Toreador's backing, the Ventrue-Tremere-Toreador alliance would be signed within the year.
All was proceeding according to plan.
Rathbone, Brujah Senator to Duke Simmons of Imperator Wormwood's Imperial Domain nodded just once and followed the tall Malkavian into the side room. It was quiet inside and dimly lit.
Folding his arms, Rathbone tried to relax, especially when Sergi, Scourge of the Imperial Domain entered the room. The Malkavian glanced once at the Gangrel who just entered and then turned his long nose towards the Brujah.
"OK Senator Rathbone, from the top if you please."
"Lord, I traveled to California to attend a Brujah Rant taking place in LA. While there I traveled about a bit and decided to call on the Domain of Prince Leopold. I have one of my family lineage there who is Sheriff, so I decided to give 'em a call. Anyways, I get there and there is this cute little Caitiff chick, sweet as anything and we got talking and she started giving me the come on and, well, you get where I am getting at?"
The Malkavian just nodded.
"Anyway, she asked to share some blood and I go, sure, and she takes me into this nice room and we start feeding and stuff, and the next thing this asshole comes barging in and screaming at her, so I scream at him and he throws the first punch, so I defend myself."
The Malkavian Sheriff of the Imperial Domain sighed.
"You fought back."
"Of course I did."
"You didn't find out that this was the Keeper of Elysium."
"How the hell did I know that?"
"You didn't find out that you were 'sharing blood' in the Prince Leopold's private chambers?"
"Of course not, I was only there for a night for God's sake!"
"So in other words, you are guilty of violating Prince Leopold's private rooms, breaching Elysium and attacking the Keeper of Elysium."
"No, that's not what-"
"That may not be the truth but it is what Prince Leopold says."
"But I didn't know that was his private-"
"Ignorance is no defense."
Rathbone looked worried.
"What are you going to do with me?"
"Well, as much as His Imperial Majesty would like to have me drive a stake through your heart and brick you up for ten years to teach you respect, Prince Wormwood has decided to ignore Prince Leopold's request to punish you and forgive you of all crimes."
Rathbone gave a sigh of relief; he then stopped himself and glanced back over at the Malkavian Sheriff.
"But if I know that Leopold, he's gonna pull one of those Bad Standing things against Prince Wormwood."
"I believe this is what his Majesty has in mind; be that as it may I hope you understand that in ignoring this, His Imperial Majesty has asked you to remember that you are owing him a favor."
Boons Example One
Orsini glanced up at Prince Wormwood. He tried to hide his hatred. For three years he had been Prince, respected, admired, and feared. That had all changed in one night. He had watched helplessly as his hated rival Prince Delwood won the Tribunal and brought a Motion of Bad Standing against him. He had thought he outguessed Delwood by making his 'adopted' son Simmons Prince, but Simmons had cut off all contact within the hour and exiled him from his own Domain. The next thing he knew his Sire had ordered him to become a Sheriff in a small Domain many miles to the south for a few months. That time now over, he returned to find that both Delwood and Simmons were now 'Dukes' under the control of Imperial Prince Wormwood. He had no idea how Wormwood had done this, but assumed it was because of Wormwood's involvement in the 'Red Guild'.
Orsini cleared his throat.
"Your Imperial Majesty-"
"Ah Orsini; it has been a while has it not?"
"Yes your Majesty."
"And to what do I owe this pleasure?"
"I come... I come to crave a boon."
Wormwood was good at hiding his emotions, but not good enough; his smile was seen by many.
"A boon Orsini? What kind of Boon?"
"I seek become your Senator for my former Domain."
"Really? And why do you wish this?"
"Because when I was Prince I earned more foes than supporters and without this title, my foes would destroy me."
Wormwood could not contain his laughter.
"Ah yes, a certain irony don't you think? How the wheel of fortune turns us, yes? Once moment Lord of all we survey and the next, reduced to rags, eh?"
Orsini did not respond.
"Ah Orsini, Orsini, what am I going to do with you? I could give you this title, but where would that leave me? You are ambitious, and you would wish to reclaim thy old Domain back wouldn't you?"
"No my Lord, I would sign any Oath, swear any-"
"You would be in my debt is what you would be Orsini. In this respect I would be content. But it would have to be a debt that I could hold over you for a while you understand?"
"Good. A Blood Boon perhaps?"
"A Blood Boon?"
"Yes; it would normally be a 'major' affair, that would be enough, but I have two things to consider. One is your ambition, which is monumental, and two your desperation. Without this post Duke Simmons would cast you to the wolves, yes?"
"While you having this position will mean that you will do the same to Simmons and a few others, I would imagine."
Wormwood smiled again.
"Then we are agreed. A Blood Boon owed to me? I would ask that you sign it, and I shall have my Imperial Primogen, Lord Rat, witness it. Hope you won't mind if I register it with the former Royal Harpy, Vincent? Of course you won't."
Boon Example Two
Wright of the Gangrel spat a large glob of blood onto the floor.
"I will not do it."
Rat smiled a cold smile.
"It's not that I am asking you to betray Orsini all the time. Just that this once, as per the Minor Boon you owe me, you agree that when he asks you to become his Sheriff, you refuse. That's all."
"No, I cannot do this thing. I cannot refuse him."
"So be it."
Wright watched him walk away. Orsini had explained to him about how important it was for him to become Orsini's Sheriff, which would allow Orsini to rebuild his power base. He could not refuse him. He worshiped and loved Orsini. He had always stood by him.
But a part of his brain watched as Rat began talking to Chloe, occasionally pointing back at him; that part of his brain screamed out at him: he was a boon breaker. He was going to fall. Soon they would reduce him to nothing. But he couldn't help himself, he had no choice.
Which was what Rat was relying upon.
Delwood struck with the sword, a sweeping blow that took Orsini's left arm clean off. Orsini staggered, and blinked but once. Delwood's follow up took his head.
He leaned up against the wall and rested his ailing limbs. He had finally ended the Jyhad that had plagued them for so long. He allowed himself a half smile. Suddenly someone cleared their throat and out of the shadows stepped the Malkavian Sheriff of the Imperial Domain.
"Duke Delwood, you just slew Duke Orsini. I think his Majesty will be displeased."
"Sheriff, kindly inform His Majesty that under the terms of the agreement of the Dukes, each Duke is allowed to enforce their own Bloodhunts on whomever they wish, provided they are not upon the Prince's 'Forbidden List'. This includes fellow Dukes. Something no doubt not lost to Prince Wormwood I am sure."
The Sheriff nodded.
"How very true. I shall inform his Majesty of the news."
"Do so and if I have inconvenienced His Majesty please remind him that I gave up my throne to him to fulfill a Boon, and that our decks are clear. If he wishes me not to spoil some plan of his, he could always ask me for a Boon."
The Malkavian Sheriff turned his long nose towards the Duke.
"No need your Lordship. You see, it so happens that Duke Orsini owed His Majesty a Blood Boon, and under the rules of Compensation, I believe that all that needs to be talked about is the method of your repayment. His Majesty and the Chief Harpy shall send for you. Good evening."
Delwood watched the Sheriff walked away and dropped his head. His eyes fixed upon the dead body of Orsini.
"You stupid, stupid bastard."
Lars shook his head.
"Sorry, what was that?"
"I want you to adopt Constance Drecunwish into Clan Nosferatu."
"But she's a Brujah."
"Until you adopt her, yes."
"But won't that mean-"
"It will mean that for the next month or so we have to accept jibes about our violent nature, and how the Clan is the dumping ground for the Brujah rubbish. I am sure Ms. Windsor, Clan Head of the Ventrue, shall accidentally call us 'Brujah'. We have been called worse."
"But what about that Caitiff Morgan? He's been waiting to be adopted for six months."
"And brings us absolutely no benefit. At least Dresunwish will bring us some prestige."
"But she's a Brujah my Lord, doesn't it mean that we will have to afford her the same rights as a member of our own Clan?"
"You have a problem with this Lars?"
"But Clan is Clan Lord Grey."
"Are you questioning this request Lars?"
"No, Lord. I shall adopt her at once. I shall send a missive from Baron Silverton at once."
Lord Grey watched Lars lumber off. Lars was right of course, Clan was Clan, but Lord Grey smiled to himself and recited the Seventh Tradition.
Prince Wormwood nodded.
"So be it. I hereby announce a Bloodhunt upon Vincent of the Toreador, former member of the Harpies of my Imperial Domain, and once holder of the title Royal Harpy, for the crimes of sedition and undermining the stability of my Domain, both of which are breaches of the Second Tradition. Under the terms of the 'Red Guild' this Bloodhunt is now extended into all remaining eight Domains of the Guild. Thus let his life be a warning to all those who would subvert our Praxis in any way."
Follower of Set
Primogen Rat scratched behind his ear. "And what would you charge for it?
"I would be willing to do this for you for a minor boon Lord Primogen", answered the cultured tones of the Follower of Set.
"Surely this thing is a trivial affair?"
"In your eyes Lord Primogen. But I am not a member of the Camarilla, and as such it is more difficult for me do these things."
Lord Rat nodded. "Understood. And you will get the Toreador Primogen out of the way on the allotted night?"
"Certainly. She will be very busy indeed."
"Excellent. And at no point must any link to myself be discovered."
"But of course Lord Primogen, but of course."
"Of course my noble Ventrue friend, but it will cost the standard 15%."
"Why the hell should I pay a damn Giovanni?"
Albert Dunsirn frowned and cleared his throat. His Scottish accent broke the air.
"You hav' ta pay me Mr. Blackwell, because His Imperial Majesty has decided that all business transactions within this Domain, by the Kindred of this Domain, shall take place within the walls of the 'Coffee House'. And as members of Clan Giovanni have been asked to make sure no double dealing is done, we run it, and charge the standard 15% on all deals. We are all his Majesty's servants."
Jacob Blackwell peered over the rim of his glasses at the Giovanni before him.
"What do you have over his Majesty, eh?"
"Blackmail. How did you get him to agree to this?"
"Blackmail? Ouch, don't be such a wee childe! Are you seriously suggestin' that I am blackmailing the imperial Prince of the largest Domain in the United States? Seriously?"
Jacob Blackwell thought about it, and Dunsirn carried on.
"And would ya be willing ta say this in front of the Chief Harpy?"
"No, no, I just meant-"
"I don't really care what 'cha meant Jimmy! All I care about is that you give me the 15% on this deal and stop dicking about, right?"
Dunsurin was gratified that slipping his accent from the nasal Highland accent to the more guttural Glaswegian had the desire effect. The Ventrue began signing the papers allocating 15% of the profits from the buyout to the holding company 'Tartan Investments'.
The paperwork done, Dunsirn saw Blackwell out, and spent the rest of his night sorting out the accounts. His second cousin, Margaret, saw to the needs of the rest of the Kindred in attendance. Albert smiled to himself and half whispered, "Aye, I'll bet she'll be seeing ta the needs of that Toreador's ghoul, tha' wee whore."
Finally, about 3 AM, the Coffee House ended, and the cultured Kindred guests left. Albert Dunsirn finished tabulating the figures before him and allowed himself a broad smile. Margaret popped her head around the corner.
"Margaret, you won't believe just how much bloody money we made this month."
"Albert, there's someone here to see ya?"
"Well tell 'em to bugger off will ya, tha Coffee House is closed."
The figure of a tall woman, obviously a vampire, turned the corner and nodded.
"Ouch! A skirt," smiled Albert, "what 'cha want wee one?"
"I want my cut Giovanni, what else?" the face was the young woman, but the voice was clearly that of the Nosferatu Wormwood, Imperial Prince of the Domain. Jacob's face fell.
"Your Majesty, forgive me, I didn't know-"
"Of course you didn't Giovanni. That was the whole point. Now about my cut-"
"Yes, yes, I have the figures here."
The Giovanni handed over a folder to the Prince, and watched as the masked appearance rippled and shifted into the terrible visage of the Prince. Wormwood glanced through its pages.
"I see profits are up Giovanni?"
"Yes Majesty, by 45%. Clan Ventrue have been expandin' into Media lately. Someone's stoppin' them, but I don't know who yet."
"Do I look remotely interested?"
The Giovanni looked away. The Prince would be getting to the main section any page now...
"Ah, my cut," smiled the Prince, "ten percent of all Giovanni profits; and in return I allow you within my Domain. Most fair don't you think?"
"Aye Majesty, very fair."
Wormwood glanced at the final mark of his cut. Clutching the folder to his side he turned to leave the 'Coffee House'. As he strode away he allowed his voice echo of the walls.
"One final thing Giovanni; if you try and cheat me again, I'll have my Sheriff take a drill to both your kneecaps. Henceforth I shall have 15% of the 15% you charge everyone. Don't ever try that again."
The Imperial Prince strode from the room. Albert Dunsirn stared after him. 15 percent, he thought, but then again, because of this arrangement Giovanni holdings in Media, and above all, Underworld had grown by 80%. Soon everyone would turn to the Giovanni to protect the Masquerade. Not bad for 15 percent.
He was called Lowerton. He was Caitiff. Some called him bastard. He was 90 years old; he'd been a Caitiff for 70 of those. And he had survived for those 70 years by doing one thing: Being useful for important people. Right now he was being very useful for some very important people. Prince Leopold glared at him.
"And why should I allow you enter my Domain, Caitiff," he whispered; "By your very presence you would lower the tone, suggest I allow mongrels free reign and sicken me."
"Majesty, I understand. By even allowing me enter your Domain you would be extending my life. I would appreciate your granting me this and would be in your debt. Indeed it could be said that I would owe you my very life."
"And you would admit this debt?"
"Certainly Majesty. By allowing me to reside in this Domain I would owe thee a Life boon. My life would be yours to do with as you wish."
Prince Leopold broke out into a broad grin.
"I think I may find you very useful Caitiff."
Lowerton nodded. That was what Lord Grey had said.
Prince Leopold glanced up from his papers at the three young Kindred who were standing at the far end of the room.
"And how long have they been waiting?"
"Three hours Majesty."
"Good, I think I'll see them now."
The lead Anarch stood slightly ahead of the other two, his face a brittle mask failing to hide his contempt.
"Your Most gracious Majesty, we come to seek audience for a matter of some misunderstanding between us both."
Prince Leopold smiled.
"Really, what could that be?"
"Majesty, last week two Anarchs were executed in your Domain for 'treason', this was-"
"This was completely legal given the circumstances."
"They where singing the French national anthem for God's sake."
"Precisely. Subversive. Some of us remember the French revolution."
"Why that's the biggest load of-"
"Careful Anarch," Leopolds words dripped poison, "you could be tarred by the same crime."
Leopold watched as the Anarch fought to compose himself. He was Brujah and close to frenzy; it wouldn't take much to make him lose control in Elysium. He watched as the Anarch visibly regained his composure and then ate a large slice of humble pie.
"Of course your Majesty," the Anarch intoned in a flat voice, "we thank you for this explanation. We apologize for wasting your time."
Leopold smiled and nodded. It was always good for Anarchs to know their place. He watched as the Anarchs left, one of them reaching and dialing into a cell phone. No doubt to moan about his experiences to some Brujah spy, thought Leopold.
In reality the Brujah's call was patched through to another Anarch with a cloned cell phone located several thousand miles away. A voice answered.
"No dice amigo. Leo don't give a damn."
"Make him give a damn."
Outside the Grand Elysium of Paris, the sun was due soon, and Dante, Primogen of the Ventrue of Paris and Childe of Prince Leopold of San Francisco, was making his way to his car. The two Anarchs watched him enter it, turn the ignition, and closed their eyes as the car exploded into a ball of fiery death. Dante was killed at once. One turned to the other.
"That should do the trick."
"Of course Lewis and the boys owe that Lord Grey a large boon for telling us the link between Leopold and Dante."
"Aye, but it will probably be used up asking us to kill another Cammie."
"Oh no, not the briar patch!" laughed his companion.
Lord Grey watched the Princes scuttle out of the Symposium meeting. While he had not attended, he also knew precisely what had happened, how the 'Red Guild' had only just realized that because of Wormwood's Imperial Domain they had actually lost several votes and were no longer any threat for the 'Society of the Black Rose' (which Wormwood had joined openly after several months secret membership), that Abaxis of the Malkavians, the 'Red Guild's most powerful ally had been neutralized, how the evidence of the Caitiff Lowerton had exposed Leopold's attempt to assassinate Prince Wormwood, how the knowledge brought by Drecunwish, the former Brujah, had allowed most of the influence of the Brujah in the Domain of Leopold to be crippled, and the death of his childe had left Leopold without the international support he so badly craved. All these things combined to allow the Motion of Bad Standing he had placed against Prince Wormwood, for some minor incident involving one of Wormwood's subjects, to fail. For daring to bring a failed Motion of Bad Standing, Leopold faced one himself, and had fallen.
His Praxis was over, and soon a young Nosferatu called Morton, who was new to the area and was once a Primogen elsewhere would take the throne of California.
All in all, a successful few months work. Grey, hearing noise behind him, glanced over his shoulder to see Prince Wormwood and the Ventrue Clan Head, Lillian Windsor, walk towards him.
"Majesty, Lady Windsor. How fare you this evening."
The Ventrue stared at him and then shook her head.
"Lord Grey, I can't believe you did this."
"Topple Leopold like that."
"I had nothing to do with it."
"But the plans we made-"
"Never happened Lillian. Remember, the Seventh Tradition should never be spoken aloud."
Windsor nodded and frowned.
"My Sire will hear about this."
"What on Earth makes you think your Sire didn't command it so, Lillian?"
Lillian Windsor, Elder of the Ventrue reacted to this with shock. Her mouth dropped for a second, then closed again. She blinked a few times and then turned on her heels and left.
Prince Wormwood and Lord Grey watched the Ventrue Elder leave. Without turning Wormwood spoke softly.
"Did he order it my Lord?"
"Of course not, but she will never have the guts to ask him, and she will always fear that he did."
Wormwood laughed softly. His face of course was a mask of pure calm.
"And what are your orders my Lord?"
Questions and Answers
Clan Level Questions
Question: I want to remove my Primogen? What are the rules for this?
Answer: There are none. Role-play it. You could resort to violence (not the best idea), you could lobby the other members of your Clan to appoint you, you could blackmail the existing Primogen to step down, the possibilities are endless. The whole thing is role-played out.
Question: Our Primogen does not have a Clan Whip, how can I make him appoint me?
Answer: Through role-play, of course. What a prudent Primogen you have.
Question: This rule that Primogen speak for the entire Clan in a Domain - how does this work?
Answer: It does what it says on the box - every single word of the Primogen speaks for the entire Clan in that Domain; end of story. This means your Primogen should be VERY careful about what they say.
This being said reread the rules on Kindred justice and so forth... if a Primogen of the Tremere turned to you, as a neonate Brujah and said 'I am a secret member of the Sabbat', you may smile and go, great and run around and say that as the Primogen said he was a secret member of the Sabbat, therefore ALL the Tremere locally are secret members of the Sabbat...
And then you'd be killed. Because she is a Primogen and you are lower, and you just made a big, public accusation with no 'evidence' (someone of equal station and status in the Camarilla saying the same thing) to back your claim.
Even if you had a tape-recorder with her saying it... it won't count. You are nothing and she is something. NEVER forget that.
I miss a game. When I turn up next Elysium, my PC is staked and whipped by the Sheriff because of something my Primogen did at the last game. But I wasn't even there. This is really unfair. Why?
Answer: It is, isn't it? That is the whole point... the Primogen of your Domain speaks for YOU. DO you trust that person in character? If not, change that situation.
If I travel to another Domain and the Primogen of my Clan in that Domain screws up, can I be punished for it?
Nope. They are not YOUR Primogen. You just get to watch your Clan mates suffer.
The Primogen speaking for the entire Clan rule makes playing a Primogen quite difficult don't it?
Yes. To quote one Ventrue PC - "The best Primogen in the world is a deaf mute, who writes everything down, and only shows the paper after everyone else in the Clan has seen it at least twice."
Under the Primogen speaks for everyone rule, what is to stop a Prince using it to pick on everything the Primogen says and twisting it to attack the Clans constantly?
It usually never gets that far. In most cases, where these systems have been in place the Primogen speak quite openly - they just realize they have to be careful and are. In some cases a Prince will act like a bit of a git and come down on Primogen of a given Clan - dissecting EVERYTHING he or she says in minute detail. And if this is so, then ask yourself this - if you are a Primogen of another Clan and this is happening, how does it make you feel? The Prince gets away with this on one Primogen, they can do it on you. They can do it on all of the Clans. Once you realize this, as Primogen you can place pressure upon your Prince.
Call of the Seasons
If the Prince gets rid of the Primogen council, what can we do to have him bring them back?
Keep them busy, with every trivial, boring detail of Clan business you can. Presentations, requests, news, news, and more news. Princes without Primogen tend to get bogged down with things fairly quickly.
Court Level Questions
The Prince wants to Thrall whomever becomes Sheriff. No one wants the job now. What happens?
The Prince learns that they can't always get what they want.
I was a bit unsure of the Keepers of Elysium section, what do you mean about 'levels of Elysium and uniformity'?
The relationship between a potential Keeper of Elysium and a Prince under these rules goes kind of like this...
"Who wants to be Keeper of Elysium?"
"I do, my Prince."
"Alright I shall make you this post... for a boon."
"Thank You Majesty. By the way Majesty... do you have any variations on Elysium?"
"Why yes, I would like the upstairs of the Elysium to be treated slightly differently..."
"Ah, I apologize Your Majesty... but I have suddenly discovered that I would rather have large stakes shoved through my chest."
"Oh... anyone else want to be Keeper?"
"What if I made Elysiums all the same?"
"Oh, I'll do it then Majesty!"
The aim of the game is to create a situation where Elysium means one thing EVERYWHERE; all Elysiums are treated the same; a universal standard applied across the board. This does not mean there cannot be variations, but that the society of the Kindred push for one simple standard.
Under this system our Domain can't get anyone to be Keeper of Elysium. What do we do?
The best bet is to change the standards of Elysium- an absolute ban on all violence, by anyone, at any time (unless they are trying to bring down Elysium breakers) is good.
Hey, if we make Elysiums a total non-violent place, this means all combat is gonna end. That's really boring! No, we ain't combat bunnies, but violence has its place in the WoD, alongside politics. What are you going to do about this?
Certainly these Protocols are there to REDUCE violence in the live action campaign; this is intentional; no society can work if it is riddled with endemic violence; let us look at the situation currently going on in Russia for the kind of society that produces.
This being said there are a lot of ways around this; the most obvious is to hold gatherings NOT on Elysiums - this has the disadvantage of sending out a message that 'all hell CAN break loose here'; the second is have a designated area set as Elysium and an area that is not Elysium. The third is to rotate Elysium gatherings - some gatherings of the Court are on Elysium and others not.
I play a Sheriff in my game. I apprehended a Bloodhunted criminal last month; thing was, it was Elysium and the Keeper of Elysium attacked me for doing so (letting the bloodhunted criminal get away). He was in the wrong, right?
Nope. Your Sheriff was. When we say Elysium is sacred we mean JUST that. SACRED. The person who walks in could be bloodhunted by everyone, but they are still safe in Elysium. This applies to Sabbat also. The first person to strike a blow is guilty.
This being said, as Sheriff all you have to do is keep an eye on the bloodhunted criminal and the moment they take 'step one' outside of Elysium they are yours. This leads to something known as the 'Rat Trap'- where a criminal enters Elysium to gloat and then realizes that they cannot leave without being attacked; and THIS leads to some criminals 'pulling an Esmeralda'; being bloodhunted and seeking 'sanctuary' inside the nearest Elysium (where no one can attack them). This defense is good for a short term escape but long term it tends to fail for obvious reasons (and if you can't see why this idea would fail... go ahead and try it and find out yourself!).
I play a Tremere who is very powerful and well respected and feared; at the game last month I killed this damn Anarch that had been annoying everyone; now everyone is trying to kill me because they say I broke Elysium; but that's not fair, because he was an Anarch and I am a respected and powerful Tremere and...
Sorry. The answer is in the rules above. Elysiums are the only SAFE place Kindred can go. I don't care if you are an Archon- you break Elysium, you undermine the whole concept and you pay the price.
My character has just been made a Harpy. You say that I should have lots of power, but there are all these Elders in my Chapter and no one pays any attention to me. Where do I get the power from?
Take these protocols and learn them by heart. These are the powers of the Harpies. If the Elders in your Domain consistently ignore them, then write down what they do and when and give it to a powerful Harpy, or a rival Prince. Remember as a Harpy your PC plays a vital role - you are there to make sure everyone 'knows their place' - from wild Anarchs to respected Elders. Everyone has rules to follow; and if they don't follow them, they are DESTROYING the society. Also remember that if you are attacked for doing no more than being a Harpy and commenting upon people breaking these rules - your attacker is not guilty of attacking a Harpy. Your attacker is guilty of attacking the society itself; they are as dangerous as a member of the Sabbat. As a Harpy you will soon realize that no one likes you, but they have to tolerate you- princes and Elders included.
Prince Level Questions
Under Seneschals seizing Praxis, you say 'anything goes'. What do you mean by that?
I mean anything goes... I mean the correct response if a Seneschal tries to take Praxis is to do one of a few things - throw your weight behind one of the two factions; or walk away. If Nathaniel Neonate tried to take Praxis, the prince can take one look and say the words 'Blood Hunt' and BAM! They are blood hunted. If the Seneschal does this, the prince can't just blood hunt them (well they can try). It is between the two of them now - when a Seneschal goes for Praxis chances are either they or the Prince will end up dead.
The local prince won't appoint a Seneschal since these protocols where introduced. What do we do?
That's one DAMN smart Prince. Try and make them IC but expect them to be nervous about the whole idea.
Symposium Level Questions
How often can a Symposium be called?
As often as the Prince in your region can call one. The only proviso is that they MUST give two months (8 weeks) warning publicly - along with the agenda.
If a Symposium does not have at least 8 weeks warning (and the longer the better) it is invalidated.
Won't this lead to all the Princes in my Region calling lots of Symposiums, as one Prince says one thing and another Prince says another? What do we do then?
If Princes allow all this Symposium level stuff go to their heads and start having Symposiums almost every week, natural boredom will soon see an end to this, as well as social pressure. For example, say one Prince goes to an Symposium and at it a vote on some subject goes against him; this Prince then calls another Symposium two months later, and announces one a month, every month, after that- reasoning that eventually he will get his own way. The other Princes will no doubt be quite annoyed, and simply put they boycott the Symposiums - if the Prince fails to get a complete Symposium it sends out a VERY clear signal - 'This Prince is a LOSER!'. Motions of Bad Standing are soon to follow.
Best bet, allow the PC princes react accordingly.
The other thing to consider here - that there is only so many things that a Symposium could want to discuss. Having seen them a few times, having regular Symposiums leads to the agenda of the princes becoming very stale and or used up.
OK, I am a bit confused with the time frame for Motions of Bad Standing. How much warning can I give?
Understand a Motion of Bad Standing is a BIG thing. Huge. It is effectively taking Praxis WITHOUT actually taking Praxis. So things get very heated around such events. First thing first, in MOST cases, a fellow Prince MUST stand up and bring the Motion - this is under the understanding that if the Motion is NOT passed they face a Motion themselves.
Understand, that if a Motion of Bad Standing is to be considered, then it must be added to the AGENDA of the Symposium - this means that at LEAST two months must pass where the Motion is known to be coming up. Like all the agenda items, everyone in the region, or nation, knows it is coming up. Motions of Bad Standing are NEVER secret things, and no attempt to make them secret is allowed. They are very public things designed to create political instability for a Prince.
So, a Motion of Bad Standing needs at LEAST 8 weeks warning before it is voted upon; this 8 weeks can be used in various ways; in about 50% of cases, Princes facing a Motion of Bad Standing are toppled before the Symposium, as the residents of their Domain realize that they will be placed in bad standing by their Prince, and they react accordingly. It is then up to the prince who called the Motion of Bad Standing to see if they want to withdraw the Motion at this stage (no penalty) or continue it against the new Prince (usually done with Domains that are considered- 'too far gone').
This being said, the REASON why the motion of Bad Standing is being called MUST be said when the Motion is called; you cannot call a Motion and then not explain why - otherwise Princes could call a Motion, allow political fear to undermine the prince and then withdraw the spurious Motion.
The 8 weeks before the Motion is called is usually spent lobbying - getting other Princes to attend and vote is important for both sides.
The guidelines for 'automatic' Motions work like this - when a prince does one of these things they face a Motion of Bad Standing - all it takes is for someone to call the Motion; if an automatic motion of bad standing (called, for example, because the prince changed clans) fails, the prince who called it faces a motion but RARELY gets blamed for it ("I called the motion because one of us had to." Is accepted by most princes). Finding a Prince guilty of calling a spurious Motion because they followed the guidelines for automatic Motions is likely to get a Motion... you get the picture?
The ONLY time a Motion of Bad Standing can take place without 8 weeks warning, is if a Tribunal decides that a Motion is required.
How much warning must be given for Tribunals?
If there are two Princes who are in opposition, and three princes willing to judge the case, and ALL five princes agree, they can hold it then and there (making sure that everyone knows it's happening so they can watch). Aside from that a Tribunal usually follows the 8 week rule.
Can I bring a Motion of Bad Standing against an entire faction of Princes?
You can certainly try, and if you did it you would gain international recognition and a great deal of respect. Good luck.
Why have Royal Harpies?
There are several reasons to have Royal Harpies. One, so far not mentioned is that Royal Harpies, on the night of their existence, control ALL Harpies in the building (at least that's the theory). It's a good way of making sure Harpies are on their toes. This being said it has such awesome powers, many Princes don't like this post to exist. It's all decided IC - the origin of the role lies in the concept of 'National/Regional Head of the Harpies'. This role ONLY exists this way.
Faction Level questions
A Prince joined our faction, and now he has betrayed our secrets; I play a powerful and respected Gangrel prince; because of him I have lost Praxis; this is not fair; he has spoiled my game; I have played this PC for five years...
Sorry. Role-play rules. The technical term for what just happened is, 'outplayed'. Please sit down and try and 'out play' them back.
Lying, betraying, backstabbing and generally being a complete git is the way ahead I am afraid.
My PC is the new Clan Head of the Toreador? How much status do I get?
Understand that there are two things going on at once - the first is the Head of the Clan; the second is Clan Head. Let me explain...
No Clan, except the Tremere, has a rigid structure that follows a 'Top Elder'. None. The top job is ALWAYS taken by an antediluvian.
Based within the realms of PURE role-play, PC's can try and be accepted as 'Head of their Clan' nation/region wide. There are no rules for this, and no powers set; no status; and no protocols... to do this requires PURE role-play. It is not a Camarilla post, so you get no status. And you gain and retain any power in your Clan through what you role-play as being able to.
Now a 'Clan Head' is the role described above. This is the person the Camarilla sees as the 'Clan Head' - the big boss. Certainly, chances are they ain't the big boss, but what does the Sect care?
Now to everyone who wants to be a Clan Head - please read the following carefully...
"To the New Clan Head...
Congratulations. You are now a 'Clan Head' of your Clan. On behalf of my character, every character played by each NST, ANST, RST, DST, VST; every character played by every coordinator, every character that plays world-wide... I am now going to be watching you. Closely.
Every word you say will be studied. Everything you do will be analyzed.
You have no 'personal time'. You are never 'off duty'. You cannot make ONE mistake.
You will never be forgiven. My PC and everyone else's will hound you now. You are a Clan Head. One of the biggest fish on the planet. And if I can help bring you in, if I can use what you say and do to crush your Clan, I shall. If I can take a wrong comment or the wrong gesture and use it to have all the Princes of your Clan toppled, all the Primogen bloodhunted, all your Clan's possessions taken, and your very Clan reduced, then I shall do it. I shall encourage others to do it. And if I miss it... well, I have several THOUSAND players who think the same way as I am doing. Who will relish the chance to destroy you.
Members of your own Clan are aware of this. On behalf of them let me say that you holding this position terrifies them. They know the damage you can do. They will be watching you even more closely. The moment you go wrong they will replace you and in order to get themselves out of the mess, they will throw you to the wolves and make an example of you.
You are alone. Everyone hates you. You have something they want but cannot have. No one is your friend. No one cares. Everyone wants you to owe them a boon so they can control your Clan so you cannot ask for any 'favors'. Everyone wants to crush your Clan, so you cannot trust anyone to keep a 'secret'.
You can adopt any member of another Clan into ours. And if you adopt, say a Brujah, I will have to accept being called 'Brujah' and quips about being violent for a few weeks. I may not be on e-mail. I may not know about this until some Harpy rips into me at my local court; I may not know what they are talking about. I may strike them or verbally attack them, not knowing what you have done and suffer for it, and it is your fault.
You are Clan Head; you speak for me, but I do not give you my voice; you act for me, but I did not choose you; you can have me killed, but I may have never met you. I do not want you to exist. We do not need to adopt. We do not need to expel. Why have this post?"
Is it just me? But as an ST, reading the section on Clan Heads; in some ways, it seems like we're handing a loaded-gun to the players with the expectation that the players will shoot themselves (adding to game) and learn having one is a bad idea.
Yes, that is correct.
Why is it that only a Clan Head can adopt people?
Because while Clan isn't everything, it is not like a suit of clothes; you can't just change it when you are bored. Many people have commented that one of the weird things among the Camarilla campaign is that Clan becomes the MOST central thing to many PC's. This may be so, and people have to move away from that to a certain degree (Clan dictates where you come from but rarely indicates where you are going); but this does not mean that Clan should become unimportant. Under the adoption rules ONLY a Clan Head can adopt people into a Clan. Joining another Clan is a BIG THING. It should make ripples- even the concept of a Neonate swapping Clans should make some impact on the world of the Kindred. Hence the Clan Head only adoption policy- this allows the ANST or NST of the nation to make sure these ripples take place.
On a side note, this is perhaps the only reason to HAVE a Clan Head - to allow adoptions. But it's also a small price to pay for many to not have them - who cares if they can't adopt anyone? Better not to and not have a damn Clan Head.
If the Followers Of Set adopted a Ventrue, does that mean we call all Followers of Set Ventrue for a few weeks?
Nope. The Followers of Set, as a Clan are outside the social rules of the Camarilla. They have enough to deal with; they don't get hit with the adoption thing.
I play a non-Camarilla Clan; do we appoint Clan Heads?
You are in a non-Camarilla Clan. No one gives a damn what you do; you just gotta know your place, understand that we can kill you at ANY time, for ANY reason, and keep your damn ugly face out of mine!
Seriously, if the Giovanni appointed a Clan Head, PC's may give that individual some respect, but as a whole it is akin to someone walking up to the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of the UK, the President of China, and the Prime Minister of India and saying...
"I am the new President of Luxembourg and I demand respect!"
Try not to laugh.
What are the limits of an Imperial Princes Domain?
There are none. An Imperial Prince can absorb the Domains of as many princes as are willing to be absorbed. They cannot claim areas that don't have a game; but they can claim areas that do.
If I topple an Imperial Prince do I get to claim his whole Domain?
Not automatically, no. It is up to each Duke, if the prince falls, if they want to remain part of an Imperial Domain. Imperial Princes usually hold power because of individual personality or presence, or because of boons. Without that person holding the title Imperator, the chances are the title will slip. Smart Imperial princes will, if they desire, attempt to have it listed in some kind of formal contract that the Dukes will support the Imperial Domain come what may. If they get their own way, smart Dukes will respond by insisting that ONLY the Imperial Prince who gave them the Duchy can remove them from office (which could have someone becoming a new Imperial Prince and having his territory ruled by several Dukes who are opposed to him- think King John and rebel Barons for a good example).
Smarter Dukes will try their damn best not to allow an Imperial Domain to exist beyond the individual prince.
If an Imperial Prince absorbs four Domains into hers, does this mean they have five votes at a Symposium?
No, it means they have one; at the Symposium they may want to argue that they should get extra votes because of the size of their Domain; that is decided by the Princes present (usually they say no); in fact becoming an Imperial Domain usually weakens a faction - as in the example given the factions votes fall from five to one; the whole point is that an Imperial Prince now becomes a BIG fish; if an Elder from another region or nation wishes to talk to the most important prince in your region or nation, they usually choose the one with the largest Domain.
Your average Imperator is motivated by ego, it must be said. For some this is the sign of a natural leader.
For others a sign they should be killed as soon as possible. Being an Imperial Prince is means you will develop, automatically, a LOT more enemies.
Jyhad Level Questions
What do you mean there are no rules?
There are no rules. This is the realm of those who live by the Seventh Tradition, "Those who have the real power get their own way and make their own rules..." Simple as that.
How do I know I am playing at Jyhad level?
Oh, you'll know. But the best way to understand if you have reached this high is you find yourself interacting with at least one Justicar on a semi-regular basis; influencing several princes; having regular communications with Elders in other nations; being involved in at least one LARGE faction.
You mention something about coteries of Elders... how does that work?
Once again, all IC, all role-played and all decided on the spot. No rules, just role-play.
Questions on Traveling
I went to another game and I got into a fight with another PC; I play this Brujah, and he is bloodhunted somewhere, but the other guy caused the fight, and now they say my best friend, who plays the Prince of my Domain, must punish me, or else face a motion of bad standing; this is not fair, as he is my best friend, and the other guy started the fight...
It is there in black and white. If the other guy started it, you could have forced HIS prince to kill HIM. But you broke the rules, and now it's your Prince who faces the cost. There in black and white. It is fair. The words you are looking for is 'out played'. It's about knowing the rules and manipulating them as best you can... and not getting manipulated in return.
I went to another game where a whole bunch of players don't get on with the players in my Chapter and they said I broke the rules of traveling because they just want to cause trouble, and it's all OOC...
OK, thing one... manipulation of these rules for OOC reasons has a VERY special word for it. It is called 'cheating'. Those who do it are cheaters. Don't. It ain't big and it ain't clever.
Thing two... if you did the thing, then you are guilty; if you didn't, then you are innocent. And if IC they are lying, then IC they are lying and stitching you over... and IC you have to now get your way out of it, fast.
As long as they ain't motivated by OOC reasons there is NO ban on PC's lying their little heads off to have your PC blamed for something you didn't do. In fact having a foe blamed for something they didn't do is a GREAT idea. Try it yourself. A lot. Under these protocols it can happen. A lot.
Of course the characters who are good at this, will be the most nasty, underhanded, two-faced, vicious characters around. As such they would make ideal princes.
Could someone just clarify this for me, I would say that Harpies cannot strip status from their own Princes whilst within their 'home' domains but they can do so to visiting Princes. Yes/No?
Princes mess up to lose Status while visiting, the Harpies should report them to their Prince.
Their Prince should respond. If their Prince does not act... well then... role-play it. If a Prince gets to a position where they should need to remove status of another Prince they SHOULD call a Tribunal.
Which can be done with but three Princes turning up... and all the pomp/fun that goes with it.
But of course if the Prince backs up the Harpy, the Harpy can remove the status on the night (after all they are backing up their Prince's DOMAIN)...in the end they can TRY, and if the prince PC isn't good enough, they can even get away from it.
We don't want to define everything. The confusion of uncharted territories is one we should be watching and smiling. If someone turns to an ST and asks
The answer is...
"Try it and convince everyone it's right."
I don't want to give Boons IC. This system makes that almost impossible. Why?
Because everyone should owe a boon. Seriously.
Won't that makes things really confusing?
Yes and no. In a world where everyone owes Boons, everyone owes someone a task; anyone can be FORCED to betray anyone else; the loyal Primogen turns against his Prince one night; the stalwart member of the Anarchs turns up to protect the prince; the noble member of the Nosferatu helps the Giovanni in inhuman experiments- the world becomes one where no one is 'free'. The entire society is based around servitude and favors.
When you have this, what would appear to be confusing, is actually very simple. Friends would turn to friends and point out that it would be better to avoid each other as this evening one is fulfilling a boon. Even Princes and Elders would be hog tied by this system.
The whole point is to remove from you, the players, any last certainties your PC's had. They are now dead. At any minute you may be betrayed; at any second, your PC will find a stake in their back. As time goes by your PC will become more cynical, and more harsh; they will become 'Boon Whores'; charging astronomical prices if they can to diffuse the boons they owe.
Thus ending up being productive members of the Camarilla and maintaining the status quo.
I play a powerful and respected Ventrue; I recently killed an Anarch PC who everyone hated, especially me and my best friend, and I have now been told that this Anarch owed a life boon to this Gangrel Elder, and that I now owe them a life boon, which you say means I can't get out of, and that's is really unfair, as it means that my character is ruined...
I am very sorry. Please read the rules. There it is, in black and white. Yes, you are a powerful and respected Ventrue; and a SMARTER Anarch and/or Gangrel Elder just stitched you up. The correct IC response is to slap your forehead and shout 'D'oh!' and then try and get the Boon off you (if possible).
Our game is being tied up by everyone asking for Boons and no one willing to pay them. How do we get around this?
Remember, when asked to owe a Boon, you could always get out of it by offering a Boon owed to you to be transferred to someone else. If faced with a 'I will do THAT for you but it will cost you a major boon' it IS a legitimate response to say 'Would you accept a trivial boon of Samuel Ward in return?'. The older/meaner/more well known the PC, the more gravity the boon attached to that PC is.
I just started playing. In the first four months of the game I have been charged by the Prince one trivial boon for not incurring his wrath over a trivial subject; a minor boon by my Primogen for her arranging a haven for me; the Sheriff has charged me a major boon for 'overlooking' some crime I had no idea I was committing; the local Tremere Primogen has charged me a minor boon for testing the blood of my friend and they then elevated this to a major boon so they don't tell the prince my friend is a caitiff.
The Tremere now wants me to betray my Clan secrets and get my Primogen to owe me a boon to keep what she said from the prince; then I am to take the boon (minor) and give it to the Tremere Primogen- for that he shall wipe my boon out; what do I do? This isn't fair?
May I suggest you agree to fulfill the boon; ask for a few months to get your plan ready; use that time to get people to owe you boons and then try and use these to get out of the situation you are in. Otherwise following the 11th Commandment - 'Thou shalt not get caught!'.
For the record, I believe that the Tremere Primogen is only doing this because he has to - no doubt he owes someone else a Boon.
The whole boon set-up creates a situation where someone could ask a boon of someone to ask a boon of someone to ask a boon of someone who is on the other side of the planet and has NO idea what caused all this.
Under what you describe as patronage, it means that those people with powerful character sheets are going to gain all the IC Boon power. This isn't fair, right?
In many ways yes. But it also allows neonates get AS powerful as Elders. Sure it's harder, but the more boons you are owed, the more people will want to give you them.
Please be aware all you Gangrel, Nosferatu and Brujah Elders out there - I can hear your minds ticking - you're thinking 'Hmmm. Maybe I should become a hit-man/bodyguard, just like the Assamites - only for boons, instead of blood?'. Please be aware that this is a great idea. Fantastic. And it will eventually put the Assamites out of business.
Please be aware that Assamite players are reading this as well.
When can a Prince allow a travesty of justice to take place?
Whenever they want and the powerful members of the Court let him.
My PC has been role-playing with the Toreador Justicar and all they did was talk to her, and my character is now dead; this is unfair and...
Yep. Intentionally. Sorry, but the kid gloves are off. Justicars should be avoided.
Read the warning again, and hold it next to your heart.
Are you saying that someone outside the Camarilla, or who has no status, can be accused of ANYTHING and be found guilty?
Yes. Totally. The main independent Clans either have agreements (like the Giovanni) or have individual arrangements made; but certainly all Autarkis and caitiff can be happily used as scapegoats. This is not nice or fair. As was said above... the Camarilla is neither nice nor fair.
Killing off all Caitiff has the added advantage of getting rid of that lingering fear that you were living in the age of Gehenna. If you blame/wipe out everyone of thin blood, you are saved.
I play a powerful and respected member of the Tremere; the other night I went and killed some Anarch PC's and they have presented this; my local prince has bloodhunted me; this is unfair, as they are only Anarchs, while my PC has six status traits...
That's really too bad. Obviously the Anarchs played the game better than you. You are now presented by a harsh choice - role-play your way out of it, or role-play a good death scene.
I have just found out that the Prince of my Domain used to be a member of the Sabbat (Dark Secret Flaw). I play a neonate with no Sect position. How do I bring her down?
You are kinda stuck here. The most important thing to remember is that you cannot 'just say' the secret; they are a prince and you are nothing in terms of the Sect. So, your main option is to find another prince to make the accusation; hopefully someone who hates your prince (usually a member of another faction).
My PC was blood hunted by a Prince and I have just discovered that they set me up. I posted the proof (a copy of the e-mail they sent the Sheriff to frame me) to my Clan list but no one is listening to a word I say, even after seeing the evidence I gave. Why?
Think about it - you are a criminal; they are a Prince; you have presented 'proof'. Remember 'proof' in terms of the Camarilla is defined by having 'someone of equal or greater standing bring the accusation'. Find either another Prince or Elder to bring the evidence (they will be sure to do so for a LARGE boon of course). But be aware, by listing the information publicly you have invalidated it. Best bet was to keep it quiet and find someone to do it.
Boy. This sure is confusing. I am having difficulty remembering all this. What do I do?
That's OK. It's completely normal. There are some players who have been using this system for over a year and they don't remember it all. It will take several readings to absorb this information and even then, there are things you'll forget. Don't panic. Remember that everyone is in the same boat kinda. If you are getting lost, the best bet is find your rank in the society and learn everything in that section- if you are a Sheriff it isn't that important to know what goes on in Faction level stuff; concentrate on Court level, that's complex enough as it is. Don't try and aim to high.
Remember, one of best IC things to see is someone moving 'up a rank'; this is especially fun to watch a new Prince move up to faction level stuff; it is not unknown for a respected member of court arrive at Prince level stuff or faction level and get destroyed because someone has been waiting for him to arrive there.
Each level increases in danger and complexity.
Isn't there a simple way of getting around all this?
Yes. Just remember the basics...
- Be polite to everyone.
- Don't frenzy in public.
- If you don't know them, always assume that someone can kill you at a moment's notice.
- Always charge for ANY service.
- Always try and haggle down any boon you owe to as little as possible.
- ALWAYS have your boons registered.
- There is nothing wrong with sucking up. ALWAYS do it.
- Don't attack people - you never know what they owe to someone.
- Speak little; walk softly; carry a big stick of boons.
- TRUST NO ONE.