The world of vampires
The world of vampires isn’t just creepy for our featured bloodsuckers. It can also be quite overwhelming for newcomers: clans, groups, and a whole bunch of statuses and positions in the Camarilla alone. How are you supposed to keep track of it all?
But don’t worry: we’ll take care of that. Here we give you an overview of the world of vampires we play in.
What are Cainites?
The most common myth about the origin of vampires is the “forefather” Cain. Yes, the very Cain who slew his brother.
According to the legend in the game world, he was cursed by God to live in darkness and steal blood for all eternity as punishment for this first murder. The term Cainite is derived from the name Cain.
Cain created children who were the second generation. These in turn created children who also created children who also created offspring… The more generations between a vampire and Cain, the thinner and weaker their blood. It is said that this is why the thinnest-blooded vampires are no longer even able to produce their own children.
Of course, there is no real proof for this thesis. Or rather: if there is proof, no vampire knows about it. There are also other, much less widespread theories: Vampires are descent from gods, are formed by diseases, or are cursed… Ultimately, every vampire is free to find and believe their own truth.
What are clans?
Different families or clans emerged from Cain’s descendants. Each of these clans has its own strengths and weaknesses and a unique set of three disciplines.
As much as a clan has a certain characteristic, the members of this clan are very different. An example: The Toreador unites the absolute longing for impressions and sensations, which increases to the point of addiction. In the clan you will find artists, excessive party-goers, brilliant social butterflies, politicians who enjoy the cat-and-mouse game and many more. They are all united by the greed for more.
In a way, the clan is like a huge family spread all over the world: you hate each other, you love each other, you are somehow connected by blood and the clan founder.
If a clan comes together and acts as one, it can have an enormous influence on a region. Such developments also happen in our game from time to time. But the higher someone rises, the lower he will fall: No single clan remains permanently in power and directs all the destinies of the game.
What are the big vampire groups?
We spoke of the large vampire groups. These two groups, Sabbath and Camarilla, are also called sects and refer to the union of entire clans. Of course, there are also individual members in each clan who break away and change to another sect. And there are also a few clans that have not joined either of the two large sects and are independent.
The two sects originated in the world of vampires in the 15th century. Those familiar with the role-playing game of the 90s will remember terms such as “Anarch Revolt” and “Treaty of Thornes, which sets out the relationship between the Camarilla and the Anarchs. In the game, characters refer to the Treaty of Thornes from time to time, although no character walking around today has actually ever seen it, let alone knows what exactly it says.
Note: In our game world, the Camarilla did not suddenly come into being worldwide because the elders came together in one place and agreed on it. Instead, the Camarilla evolved in various places; in the midst of turbulent times, the new form of Cainite society that would be the Camarilla was born. There is no global network of domains, but domains that deal with each other regionally (like Germany and the Netherlands in our game).
The Camarilla is one of the two major sects in the world of vampires. Seven clans have come together to form this hierarchical and elder-led society: Ventrue, Tremere, Toreador, Malkavian, Nosferatu, Gangrel and Brujah.
In the Camarilla, princes rule over regions called domains. They enforce the six traditions that are meant to ensure the continuity of the Camarilla.
In the world of vampires, the Sabbath is the bogeyman of whom the Cainites of the Camarilla are warned from the night of their creation. And not without reason: there are no traditions here to protect a vampire from destruction, and the Sabbathians give themselves unrestrainedly to their bloodthirsty and perverted beast.
The clans of the Sabbath are the Tzimisce, who mould their own flesh and that of their victims like clay, and the Lasombra, who rule the shadows. Likewise, renegades of the Camarilla clans are found here.
The name says it all: the Anarchs do not belong to either of the two sects. Nor are they a sect in their own right, because that would already contradict what they are. Imagine Anarchs who voluntarily organise themselves into a large group without getting a headache.
Anarchs are as diverse as one can imagine. Some are more moderate and simply want to escape the rigid rules of the Camarilla. Others want to smash this rigid structure.
Four clans are independent and have not joined any sect. These are:
Sethites, who see their origin in the Egyptian god Seth.
Giovanni, who work with the dead and can summon spirits
as well as the Assamites and the Ravnos.
While you may encounter Sethites and Giovanni in the game, you will not find Assamites or Ravnos here. Your character with us will not know anything about them either, unless we discuss otherwise.
What is the society of the Camarilla like?
The Camarilla itself has a rather simple and strict hierarchy of different statuses*. It gets a little more complicated when positions are added, but you’ll quickly get the hang of both.
*The plural of status is status with a long u, not stati. Stati, however, has become common usage.
As a member of the Camarilla, your character belongs to one of these statuses.
A newly created vampire is a child. An exciting and dangerous time begins for him. They have to learn what it means to be a vampire. But in particular, they must work hard to earn the right to exist: The sire may destroy their child at any time. And in most domains children are not even protected by the traditions – anyone may destroy it and at most has to fear the wrath of the sire.
If a child has proven themselves and been absolved by a prince, they are from now on a neonate. Their most important achievement is the right to their existence: now they are fully protected by the traditions. They can also detach themselves from their maker and begin a life of their own.
Neonates or newborns form the largest group in the Camarilla. In places, the term neonate is seen as an insult – after all, one is no longer an infant, but a full-fledged vampire – and is not used. In this case, Cainites speak of themselves or others simply as Cainites or members of a clan, without mentioning a status.
Ancillae (Singluar Ancilla) are direct servants of elders. This position elevates them above neonates, for they act directly on behalf of their elders and usually take leading roles in the Camarilla. However, it is not all sunshine and roses: although they enjoy the privileges of a high position, they often have to subordinate their own goals to those of their elder.
One is not bound to an elder in one’s own clan or domain. A Brujah from Berlin can therefore be the Ancilla of a Gangel elder in Utrecht.
Another special feature: In the Catharsis Chronicle this status is not bound to age. If your character wants to become an Ancilla, you need an active Elder who elevates you to this status. How exactly you convince this Elder can be very exciting and thrilling, because every Elder has their own ideas about how their Ancilla should be.
Only a few Cainites live long enough to make the step to become an Elder. As with the Ancillae, age is not the only factor in becoming an Eler. However, a certain age is necessary to be experienced enough to become one.
In our game world, only Elders can recognise which people would survive the kiss. And only elders can prepare people who are not broken enough on their own. Only when a vampire has understood so much about the beast and the nature of vampires that they can do this, do they take the step to become an Elder.
Offices and positions
While the statuses are very precisely defined, the offices and social positions are much more vague. Ultimately, each Prince can define their own positions for their domain, which means that designations and powers can vary. Nevertheless, we can give you a rough overview.
This is the ruler of a domain. All others in this region are subordinate to him, and they alone decide on the life and death of their subjects. In fact, the members of their domain belong to them in a sense: It is the unwritten law that one leaves one’s home domain permanently and moves only with the permission of their Prince. The Princes usually react quite sensitively when their property simply takes off like that to settle somewhere else.
In some places you will also come across the term “Prinz” in German, but this is somewhat a translation error. In English, this position is called “prince”, which corresponds to the German “Fürst”. Some princes do not care whether they are called “Prinz” or “Fürst”, others make a clear distinction.
Some princes choose their own titles by which they wish to be addressed.
Seneschal, Prince Regent
The right hand of the Prince or Regent instead of the Prince when they are not present. Endowed with different rights, some are no more than the direct mouthpiece of the Prince, while others are allowed to exercise some or even all of the traditions (and must answer questions afterwards).
This is a social position. The herald looks after the observance of etiquette and teaches the younger ones who are not yet so good at it. But they also shape the whole society: they help organise large meetings of the domain, guide guests through the evening, and make sure that their Prince can shine appropriately.
Bailiff, reeve, warlord, bloodhound…
This is a rather warlike position. In times of external enemies, the reeve takes over the defence of the domain, organises the forces and leads the fight against the enemy.
But enemies do not only lurk in the form of the Sabbath: a reeve is also a political position that has to recognise and deal with political opponents of their Prince. And just like the herald, the reeve also finds themself once in a while teaching the younger ones with less experience.