There are not many laws in vampiric society. The few that do exist are enforced with all the more power: The six traditions, the pillars of a more or less stable society. Those who break the traditions know that they pay for it with their existence. Those who are lucky enough not to die will suffer a punishment that sometimes makes them wish they had simply been destroyed. It is up to the Princes to decide who broke a tradition.
That is why traditions are almost always one of the first lessons a newly created vampire learns in the Camarilla. And if you look at the fourth tradition, you know why: every sire knows that he himself has to take the rap if his child breaks a tradition. Even if he doesn’t find the traditions too important, this is a good reason to educate his own child.
The six traditions
Nowadays, the Princes fulfill the role of the “eldest” the traditions speak of.
I. The Masquerade
You shall not reveal thy true nature to those not of the Blood. Doing so shall renounce thy claims of Blood.
II. The Domain
Thy domain is thine own concern. All others owe thee respect while in it. None may challenge thy word while in thy domain.
III. The Progeny
You shall only Sire another with the permission of thine Elder. If you created another without thine Elder’s leave, both thou and thy Progeny shall be slain.
IV. The Accounting
Those thou create are thine own children. Until thy Progeny shall be Released, thou shall command them in all things. Their sins are thine to endure.
V. The Hospitality
Honor one another’s domain. When thou comest to a foreign city, though shall present thyself to the one who ruleth there. Without the word of acceptance, thou art nothing.
VI. The Destruction
Thou art forbidden to destroy another of thy kind. The right of destruction belongeth only to thine Elder. Only the Eldest among thee shall call the Blood Hunt.
Do you really have to know them by heart?
In short, yes.
When you go into the game, you should know these six rules. You don’t necessarily have to memorise them word for word, but the content has to be right. It doesn’t happen too often, but it does happen from time to time that you are asked about these traditions. If you then reveal yourself to be ignorant, you have a big problem.
If you are first created in the game, you will learn them in the game. However, hardly any child is absolved as a neonate who has not mastered the traditions. So, you have to learn them one way or the other 😉
Mnemonic aid for learning
To make memorising a little easier, there is a tip that has helped many people. If you look at the list of traditions, you will see that they are mirrored in the middle:
The 1st tradition (Masquerade) and the 6th tradition (Annihilation) stand out. This is about the survival of the Cainites: They don’t want people to find out about them and then hunt them down, nor do they want Cainites to just go out and destroy adversaries.
The 2nd tradition (domain) and the 5th tradition (hospitality) both deal with territory: The tradition of domain regulates that the vampire has unchallenged say in his territory. From this comes the tradition of hospitality, that visitors to his territory need his word of welcome if they wish to visit or even stay longer.
The 3rd tradition (progeny) and the 4th tradition (accountability) both deal with reproduction: vampires may only create offspring with permission, and are also responsible for them until they know everything to be able to act independently in the sense of the traditions and the Camarilla.