Welcome Package - What Is the World of Darkness?
While the game itself is mainly a vampire game, as a player and character you should have some basic knowledge of some of the supernatural creatures in the World of Darkness.
The following clans are the Camarilla Clans, or the "Super 7". They are not all of the clans available, but are the most commonly found, and the most often played. Before making a member of one of the other clans, please make sure you have ST approval.
Brujah: The Brujah are inheritors of a majestic and ancient legacy, which is unfortunate. Tonight's Brujah seem less like a clan and more like a mob. Punks, terrorists, revolutionaries, criminals, gangbangers and the like make up the Brujah; the clan seems to be united in nothing save its contempt for the institutions of vampire and mortal society. Well, this is not entirely true; Clan Brujah are among the most savage vampires, and the most trivial slight or annoyance may trigger a howling Brujah frenzy. The Brujah's disunity keeps the clan tenuously in the Camarilla, but Brujah thugs routinely defect to the anarchs, the better to strike against their hated elders. Even the "tamer" Brujah annoy the elders and princes routinely through acts of defiance and rebellion. Despite their recalcitrance, however, Brujah are valued as warriors; they are perhaps the most dangerous vampires in a straightforward battle. To anger a Brujah is nigh suicidal - and Brujah are notorious for their tempers.
Gangrel: Of all vampires, the Gangrel are perhaps closest to their inner nature. These nomadic loners spurn the constraints of society, preferring the comfort of the wilderness. How they avoid the wrath of the werewolves is unknown; perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the Gangrel are themselves shape shifters. When a mortal speaks of a vampire changing into a wolf or a bat, she is probably speaking of a Gangrel. Like the Brujah, Gangrel are fierce warriors; unlike the Brujah, Gangrel ferocity does not stem from anarchic rage, but from animalistic instinct. Gangrel have a keen understanding of the Beast in their souls, and prefer to spend their nights in communion with the animals whom they so emulate. In these modern nights many Gangrel are leaving the Camarilla and going independent.
Malkavian: At first glance, the members of Clan Malkavian do not appear to be a clan at all; they are chosen from all races, creeds and social strata. But Malkavians, regardless of mortal standing, bear one disturbing commonality: They are all quite mad. Whether from the clan's choice of victims, the circumstances of the Embrace, or some property in Malkavian blood itself, all Malkavians go insane shortly after the transformation (if they were not insane to begin with). Accordingly, many Malkavians find themselves pariahs, ostracized by a vampiric society fearful of their random urges and capricious whims. Wiser Kindred, however, prefer to keep the madmen close at hand: behind the Malkavians' lunatic cackling and feverish rantings lie smatterings of insight, even wisdom.
Nosferatu: Caine's childer are called "The Damned," and no vampires embody this more than do the wretches of Clan Nosferatu. While other vampires still look human and may travel in mortal society, Nosferatu are twisted and deformed by the curse of vampirism. To put it bluntly, the Embrace transforms them into hideous monsters. Unable to walk among humans, Nosferatu must dwell in subterranean sewers and catacombs. Other vampires revile Nosferatu, considering them disgusting and interacting with them only when they must. Because of this stigma, however, Nosferatu are survivors par excellence. Few creatures, mortal or vampire, know the city's back alleys and dark corners like the Nosferatu do. Additionally, Nosferatu have refined the crafts of sneaking and eavesdropping to fine arts; if anyone or anything has the latest dirt on mortal or vampiric society, it is the Nosferatu. Finally, millennia of shared deformity and abuse have fostered strong bonds among the monsters. Nosferatu forego the squabbling and feuds ubiquitous to the other clans, preferring to work in unison. You mess with one, you mess with 'em all - and that can get messy indeed.
Toreador: The Toreador are called many things - "degenerates," "artistes," "poseurs," and "hedonists" being but a few. But any such mass categorization does the clan a disservice. Depending on the individual and her mood, Toreador are alternately elegant and flamboyant, brilliant and ludicrous, visionary and dissipated. Perhaps the only truism that can be applied to the clan is its members' aesthetic zeal. Whatever a Toreador does, she does with passion. Whatever a Toreador is, she is with passion. To the Toreador, eternal life is to be savored. Many Toreadors were artists, musicians or poets in life; many more have spent frustrating centuries producing laughable attempts at art, music or poetry. Toreador share the Ventrue's love of high society, though not for them the tedium of actually running things - that's what functionaries are for, darling. Toreadors know that their place is to captivate and inspire - through their witty speech, graceful deeds, and simple, scintillating existence.
Tremere: Even among vampires, the insular Clan Tremere bears a reputation for treachery. This reputation is well earned; the Tremere were formerly a cabal of human wizards who, hungering for immortal life, wrested the secrets of vampirism from unwilling Kindred. Such vile deeds earned the clan a sinister reputation; even today, certain vampire clans would love nothing better than to destroy the entire Tremere line. Nonetheless, Clan Tremere holds a place in the Camarilla, for its members were instrumental in suppressing the Inquisition and supporting the Masquerade. Then, too, the Tremere have proved themselves dangerous enemies - and powerful allies. Tremere still practice a version of the arcane arts they studied in life, and so these "warlocks" use their sorcerous powers in service to the Camarilla almost as much as they use the Camarilla in service to themselves.
Ventrue: Elegant, aristocratic and regal, the Ventrue are the lords of the Camarilla. It was Clan Ventrue that provided the cornerstone of the Camarilla, and it is Clan Ventrue that directs and coaxes the Camarilla in its darkest hours. Even in the modern age, the majority of princes descend from Clan Ventrue. The Ventrue would, of course, have things no other way. In the tradition of noblesse oblige, the Ventrue must lead the other clans for their own good. In ancient nights, Ventrue were chosen from nobles, merchant princes or other wielders of power. In modern times the clan recruits from wealthy "old-money" families, ruthless corporate climbers, and politicians. Although Ventrue move in the same social circles as the Toreador, they do not fritter away their existences in frivolity and idle chatter. The Ventrue proudly wear the privileges of leadership, and stoically bear its burdens. Thus has it always been; thus shall it always be.
The Blood Bond is a powerful tool used by vampires to bind others to their will. By drinking the blood of a Vampire on three different nights a person can be brought under near total control. The love they will feel for you will be greater then the love of a mother to a daughter. Any person who is under a blood bond will have little to no control of their lives. They will live to serve the person they are bonded to, as that person will become the central figure in their lives.
This is not a position you wish to find yourself. Very rarely does anyone willingly enter in to a blood bond. And the only way to remove a blood bound is to avoid the person you are bonded to for an extend period of time (years). To ignore the effects of a bond even for a short time takes an amazing amount of willpower.
The Camarilla is the largest single sect of vampires, as well as the most open; theoretically, any vampire may claim membership, regardless of lineage. In fact, the Camarilla assumes that all vampires are members of their sect - whether they want to be or not. The founders of the sect view it as the Great Society of undead, and take offense at any suggestion otherwise.
The Camarilla's primary concern is the maintenance and preservation of the Masquerade. The sect was organized in the 15th century in response to the growing influence of the Inquisition. Historically, there have been many attempts by leaders of the Camarilla to assert more authority over other aspects of vampire existence. Each time, the attempt has failed in a wave of bloodshed. The princes do not brook interference into what they consider to be their historical rights and privileges. Nor do the Methuselahs desire a competitor who could thwart their aims. Therefore, the Camarilla remains a divided sect of only moderate influence. The elders who control it use it as yet another means to oppress and manipulate the anarchs.
It is thought the Ventrue played a primary role in bringing together the seven founding clans of the Camarilla. Their efforts and imagination certainly lie behind its improbable origin. Though the Camarilla holds itself open to all bloodlines, those that choose to participate represents only slightly more than half of the known clans. Only seven of the 13 clans were among its founders, and only these clans regularly attend meetings of the Inner Circle. Individuals from other clans may be part of the Camarilla, but no other clan as a whole is.
The Camarilla does not openly recognize the existence of the Antediluvians. Statements about them are publicly derided. As far as the Camarilla is concerned, they are but myths.
Laws and Rules
(as written by White Wolf)
The Prince: The ruling vampire of a Camarilla-held territory is called the Prince. This powerful vampire is usually of Clan Ventrue or Toreador; however, Brujah, Nosferatu or even Malkavian Princes are not unknown. The Prince has absolute power to establish, grant or strip domains, and to declare certain areas off limits for hunting. The Prince may declare certain areas as Elysium (neutral ground where violence is prohibited), and may call blood hunts on rebels and malcontents who violate the Six Traditions.
Princes tend to control city-sized regions; thus, there is a Prince of Paris, a Prince of Chicago, a Prince of Atlanta, etc. Because a city's Prince has often lived in the area for centuries, she has had ample time to build a power structure, and usually knows far more about the workings of "her" city than rebellious anarchs give her credit for.
The Harpy: A social rumourmonger and arbitrator of Status within the city. The lead Harpy is selected by a majority vote of the Primogen Council, and can then appoint sub-harpies. The Harpies arbitrate disputes involving boons, as well as scandals within the Camarilla. The station can be revoked by a vote of the Primogen Council at any time, but while a Kindred holds the position, the Primogen show their support by each loaning her a point of Status.
The Seneschal: The Prince's second-in-command, and usually a powerful vampire in her own right. She advises the Prince, and will also make decisions and issue orders on the Prince's behalf if she is unavailable. However, these decisions may ultimately be reversed or overruled by the Prince.
The Sheriff: A Kindred selected by the Prince and Primogen Council who enforces the Traditions within the Prince's Domain, as well as the edicts of the Prince. Because of the importance of these duties, the Sheriff has the authority to request that any kindred accompany her for questioning and judgment, and as a result, is immune to the powers of the Keeper of the Elysium.
The Keeper of Elysium: The Kindred charged with maintaining the peace at Elysium gatherings. As a consequence, they must often work closely with the Sheriff. In addition, they punish those who have broken the Masquerade.
The Court Chronicler: The city of Winnipeg has a court chronicler whose duty it is to keep track of what happens at each court and who attends it.
The Primogen Council: The Prince is often served by a council of advisors chosen from powerful elders of the various clans. These elders are collectively called Primogen. Though, in theory, a Prince's rule is absolute, a Prince who fails to heed her Primogen often finds herself deposed or killed in short order. The Primogen are formidable forces in their own right, and ceaselessly intrigue against each other and the Prince.
The Camarilla's bitter rival is the dread sect called the Sabbat. Originally the remnants of the shattered anarch packs, the Sabbat has evolved - or devolved - into something much deadlier. The Sabbat would "liberate" all vampires from the chains of the Camarilla and their sires. The ultimate Social Darwinists, the Sabbat espouses the tenet of vampiric supremacy - the doctrine that, because vampires are highest on the food chain, they should not hide from mortals, but instead dominate them outright. This attitude toward humans often manifests itself in actions that appear horrific and cruel by mortal standards; accordingly, the Sabbat is often branded a sect of violent evildoers by outraged Camarilla vampires.
Two clans lead the Sabbat. The Lasombra clan is the most prestigious and is dreaded for its members' control over the stuff of shadow. Its ally and occasional rival is the Tzimisce, a clan of twisted scholars and sorcerers infamous for cruelty. Tzimisce are said to have the power to warp and mold their own and others' flesh and bone.
Some younger vampires strive to remain free of both Camarilla and Sabbat control. These vampires style themselves "anarchs" in homage to the warriors who led the great revolt of the 15th century. For the most part these modern anarchs are ragtag bands of Brujah and Caitiff predators, though all clans are represented in their ranks. The Camarilla treats them as it would termites - individually insignificant, but potentially crippling if allowed to breed and fester.
Four clans choose to remain neutral in the great Jyhad, bartering their services to (and jockeying for power with) Camarilla and Sabbat indifferently. These are: the Assamites, a deadly clan of vampire assassins based in the Middle East; the Followers of Set, a dark cult of vampires devoted to the worship of the snake-god Set. (However some of the Setites have in fact joined the Camarilla). The Giovanni, an insular family of incestuous necromancers and financiers; and the Ravnos, a nomadic line of Gypsy charlatans and thieves. Recently a large number of Gangrels have been leaving the Camarilla and becoming Neutrals.
The lost spirits of the dead are known as wraiths. The wraiths are caught between life and death unable, for various reasons to move on. Not everyone becomes a wraith after death, and it is unknown where their souls may go--to a final resting place, perhaps they reincarnate, or maybe they are simply consumed by the force that all wraiths fear--Oblivion
The wraiths dwell in a vast twilight reality of many levels and facets. The largest, where the majority dwell, is known as the Shadowlands. The Shadowlands are twisted reflections of the living world they exist alongside. Wraiths can see and hear the actions of the living, but can rarely touch them. The living realm (the so-called Skinlands) is separated from the invisible world of the dead by a barrier known as the Shroud, a barrier that the wraiths can see across, but rarely reach through. The cities of the living exist alongside cities of the dead.
Werewolves (politely referred to as Garou), defenders of the earth mother Gaia, fight a losing battle against the upcoming apocalypse. A dying species of shamanistic shape-shifters, they believe that things can be made better if you fight hard enough.
Without a doubt, the World of Darkness is filled with other types of creatures, all ready, waiting and watching for the chance to improve their situation at almost any and all costs.
The easiest way to envision the World of Darkness is simply to go and stick your head out the door. Imagine what the scene in front of you would look like without any color. The buildings surrounding you are in a state of disrepair and more than a few windows are boarded up. Looking towards the city center, you can see the tall gray monoliths of skyscrapers and office buildings. Just down the street, a junkie is being beaten to death by a group of thugs dressed in leather jackets and chains. His cries go unheard. The very essence of the World of Darkness is summed up by the phrase "gothic-punk".
The "gothic" half of the equation is meant to describe the physical attributes of the setting. Architecture is stuck in an age of spired, stone cathedrals, concrete skyscrapers, and omnipresent gargoyles. Streets and sidewalks are just slightly too narrow, giving the entire city an unpleasant feeling of crowding. Parks are almost unheard of, having been paved over long ago to put up a new office building or a parking lot. There is next to no color anywhere. The general atmosphere is of despair, and of bleak acceptance of the inevitability of one’s death.
However, there is a large segment of the population that fights back at the established power structure - much larger a segment than in our own world. It is from this group that the "punk" half of the "gothic-punk" combination arises. Many people, players and storytellers alike, tend to focus greatly on the "gothic" aspects of the setting, and ignore the "punk" aspects. This is a grave mistake, because "punk" is integral to the horror that is Vampire. The World of Darkness is plagued by horrible crime. It is a rare night when even a small city can claim to have had no murders. Every street corner houses a gang of thugs waiting to rob, rape, or kill the next person to walk by. The World of Darkness is truly a place where "what goes around, comes around". There is no one in the World of Darkness who can claim innocence or true goodness. Selfishness, suspicion, and spite are everywhere, and felt by absolutely everyone. There are no Boy Scouts to help old ladies across the street or door-to-door canvassers asking for donations to save thousands of lives in the World of Darkness.
Vampire is a game about personal horror, which is all about the investigation of a character’s psyche. To really get inside the head of your character, you must try to visualize the world in which he or she lives. The specific circumstances may vary from character to character, but the nature of the world remains constant. The World of Darkness is a bad place to be born, a bad place to have to live in, and a bad place to die. It is a place no one from our world would ever in his or her right mind want to go to. Do Vampire justice and envision the World of Darkness in the way it was meant to be.
|Winnipeg||Real World||World of Darkness|
|Days of Precipitation||170(approx.)||215(approx.)|
|Pollution||Mild||Medium - Heavy|
|Occurrence of criminal acts||65,379||250,378|
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