The Kindred

The Basics

Let's start with the basics. You've noticed your lack of a pulse, and your inability to eat food right? Good.

FAQ

Vampires must sustain themselves on the blood of the living: Fact.

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For the Kindred—that's our word for vampire—the act of feeding becomes highly sensual. The vessel feels ecstatic when it happens, and the feeding vampire undergoes a heady rush as well. Certain (pussy) vampires sustain their undeath by drinking the blood of animals, but rarely for long, as either their tastes or the needs of their cursed bodies force them to seek human blood.

Vampires are “immortal”: Myth and fact.

Although vampires do not appear to age, and some survive for centuries, the Kindred use the word “undead” rather than “immortal.” Vampirism is a curse, not a blessing. It does carry with it great power, but the state of being a vampire also brings with it numerous detriments, not the least of which include the internalized rage of the Beast and feeding on human blood.

A vampire’s prey becomes a vampire: Myth.

You do not necessarily become a vampire if you’re bitten or killed by a vampire. It takes a conscious act of will, known as the Embrace, to create a new vampire. Indeed, a vampire leaves little to mark her passing if she is careful. All a vampire must do to hide the wound left by her feeding is to lick it when she’s done.

Vampires have every manner of supernatural power, such as turning into animals, flying and wielding the strength of a dozen men: Fact.

While these powers are not universal, vampires have unique abilities known as Disciplines, which can grant individual undead capabilities such as these and more.

Vampires can have sex: Fact.

You can, but you won't enjoy it. The need for blood replaces all other biological drives.

A wooden stake destroys vampires: Myth.

Vampires aren’t destroyed upon being staked, they’re held in stasis. A vampire’s body slowly withers and turns inward while trapped in this state, desiccating and becoming ever more corpselike.

Vampires don’t show up like normal people on camera or in mirrors: Myth, generally.

This particular quirk is only exhibited by a certain clan, the Lasombra. If you ever meet one, well, he's probably Sabbat so why don't you be a good boy and kill him for us. :)

Sunlight burns vampires: Fact.

Well we sure as shit don't sparkle. As part of their curse, vampires recoil at the touch of the sun, its vital rays scorching their undead flesh. Vampires typically spend the daylight hours in the cold sleep of undeath, and only the most resolute can shake off the weight of the day’s forced slumber for even a short time.

Garlic and running water repels vampires: Myth.

Such notions are nothing more than old wives’ tales, cultural biases or perhaps the banes of certain bloodlines of Kindred.

Vampires are repulsed by crosses and other holy symbols: Myth — almost.

While such is not generally the case, the devout sometimes do affect the Kindred with miraculous aspects of their faith.

Vampires are monsters: Umm…

This is a complicated one. In the beginning, the newly-created vampire thinks and acts much as she did while living. She doesn’t immediately turn into an evil, sadistic monster. However, the vampire soon discovers her overpowering hunger for blood, and realizes that her existence depends on feeding on humanity. In many ways, the vampire’s mindset changes — she adopts a set of attitudes less suited to a communal omnivore and more befitting a solitary predator.

At first reluctant to kill, the vampire is finally forced into murder by circumstance or need — and killing becomes easier as the years pass. Realizing that she herself is untrustworthy, she ceases to trust others. Realizing that she is different, she walls herself away from the mortal world. Realizing that her existence depends on secrecy and control, she becomes a manipulator. And things only degenerate as the years turn to decades and then centuries, and the vampire kills over and over, watching the people she loved age and die. Human life, so short and cheap in comparison to hers, becomes of less and less value, until the mortal “herd” around her means no more to her than a swarm of annoying insects.

I'm not going to lie you. But it's part of who we are. In time, you'll notice that the vampire elders are dicks, regardless of clan, sect, circumstance, or personal conviction. In due time, we all will become some of the most jaded, unfeeling, and paranoid — in short, monstrous — beings the world has ever known.

The Beast

Right, so you're young forever, you've got superpowers, and god damn it people like you. What's the downside? Well, in a word, it's the Beast.

Inside every vampire lurks an impassioned, hungry creature that is the opposite of the Man. It is the Beast, and the Beast knows only three activities: kill, feast, sleep. It is the roiling, inchoate desire every Kindred feels to slay her prey rather than taking just enough. It is the inevitable urge to be what the vampire is — a predator who doesn’t answer to the will of men or hide from their numbers. When the Beast takes control over a vampire, she is said to enter a state of frenzy, directing the Kindred into a response of fight or flight.

Staving off the beast isn't complicated, but it's harder than it sounds. You have to act human. Try to avoid being a dick. Emotion, empathy, compassion are anathema to the beast, and they don't come easily to us, now that we're dead. Fake it 'til you make it, I guess.

But the Beast isn’t a simple animal soul; it's sophisticated. It knows that the war against the Man is one that, given time, it will inevitably win. Thus, in young vampires, the Beast is often a savvy creature, willing to take small victories here and there because in the long term, they lead the Kindred down the path of greater degradation and subservience to the Beast. Tonight the Kindred destroys property, tomorrow she kills with reticence, the night after that she kills with relish. By the time the Man has eroded and the Beast holds sway, a vampire is truly little more than a demon wearing a mask of dead flesh. He… it may still think, but this malevolent intelligence is aimed at nothing but killing, feasting, and sleeping.

What's truly disturbing is that some, especially vampires of the Sabbat, choose this. Out of despair or anger or perhaps some other unfathomable reason, they choose not to fight the inevitable and consign themselves to the oblivion of the beast.

Whatever—your soul is your own affair. Just know that if you violate the Masquerade in this city, you will be ash before you can retract your fangs.

The Jyhad

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What sets vampires at each other’s throats? What motivates them to construct the elaborate social systems that allow them to stubbornly maintain their veneer of humanity? What is the origin of the endless games of brinksmanship in which vampires contest one another?

In a single word, it is the Jyhad.

Vampires are inherently solitary creatures, lone predators whose urges are selfish and destructive. Yet the modern world forces us to form communities. Some say we were never meant to live in cities, and the industrial revolution seriously fucked things up by forcing us to follow the blood to crowded communities.

When one vampire meets another for the first time, neither of them can ignore the fact that the other is a rival for the limited resources that he exerts himself night after night to cultivate. Each Kindred on a primal level knows that for every new vampire spawned, unlife becomes more and more difficult, more and more dangerous.

In these modern nights of sophisticated Sects, longstanding Clan politics, and the histories of cities that define the fates of the Kindred who dwell there, this primitive urge to hoard all available blood all for oneself finds outlet in conspiracy and gamesmanship. What one Kindred wants, another hoards, another has plans to steal, and still another can distract them all and seize a momentary advantage. It is ironic that Cainites turn to a mortal political figure to summarize the perilous philosophies of the Jyhad, and, indeed, if Kindred interactions can be described in terms of human perspective, the appropriate word is Machiavellian. “A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise,” Machiavelli advises, and “If an injury has to be done to a [rival] it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.”

Such perspectives are the bylaws of the Kindred’s eternal war against one another, and with centuries or millennia behind the individual feuds in the Jyhad, it is no wonder that the Damned play their cards so close to their chest. These are no mere territory struggles among short-lived mortal tyrants. These are the conflicts that drive history.

During your time in Las Vegas, you will inevitably get drawn into some scheming and politicking. It's inevitable. Just remember, the Camarilla's and Prince Benedic's power in this city is absolute.

The Camarilla and the Sabbat

Las Vegas is a Camarilla city. This is a matter of fact. The Sabbat likes to send shovelheads in to keep us on our toes, but they are no real threat. The vaults used to protect money in some of the casino's along the strip are more secure than vaults designed to protect people from nuclear disaster. The security forces we used to protect them rival the armed forces of some nations.

With the Camarilla being such an overwhelming presence in this city, you would do well to know a little more about it.

The Camarilla is also known as “The Ivory Tower,” and for better or for worse, we live up to that moniker. Created in the 15th century, the Camarilla was formed to preserve and protect vampire society against the decimation brought on by the Inquisition as well as the power drain presented by the War of Princes during the Dark Ages. The leaders of the Camarilla ruthlessly enforced the Tradition of the Masquerade, elevating it to the Sect’s highest law, a priority they continue to pursue even in modern nights: the wolves' lives are made much easier by the ignorance of the sheep.

It could be said that the Camarilla is the Masquerade and the Masquerade is the Camarilla. The Camarilla exists because if mortal world were to find out about the existence of our kind, it would unite against us in fear and hatred. Many Princes and other Kindred authorities spend a great deal of time using their influence or wealth to cover up breaches of the Masquerade, for the greater good of the Damned who may not even understand the peril in which they place themselves when they breach it.

The Masquerade is also where the Camarilla and the Sabbat have their differences. The Camarilla tends to err on the side of the pragmatic, cultivating its power from the shadows, but the Sabbat longs for a time when the Masquerade is no longer necessary, when mortals are little more than blood-thralls born into the shackles of their vampiric masters. In their eyes, it is beneath a predator's dignity to pretend to be it's prey. They think hiding makes us weak, and when the end of the world comes and the antediluvians rise to eat all their childer, we're going to be nothing but dead weight in the ensuing blood war.

Fuck the Sabbat. They think we enjoy hiding? Do they think I enjoy it when a traffic cop on a power trip harasses us and I sit there and take it knowing that I could tear out his spine before he could even react?

Let's just leave it at this: the Sabbat would like to rule humanity openly…someday. We Cammies are sure going to be sorry when the world ends in 1764, wait no, 1824, wait no, 1900, wait no, 1999, wait no… But right now, even Sabbat elders follow the Masquerade. Think about that.

The Traditions

The Masquerade is not our only tradition; it is only our first. Our traditions are as follows:

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The First Tradition:The Masquerade

Thou shall not reveal thy true nature to those not of the Blood.
Doing such shall renounce thy claims of Blood.

I'll repeat it again in case you're slow or something. Keep your head down.

The Second Tradition: 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.

This is more complicated than it initially seems. Technically, all vampires in Las Vegas are in Prince Benedic's domain. However, the Prince sometimes sees fit to respect domains claimed his subordinates, with the understanding that that kindred makes his own fortune and has a right to authority to the area he has claimed, but he does not have complete autonomy and his word never overrides that of the prince.

The Third Tradition:The Progeny

Thou shall only Sire another with the permission of thine Elder.
If thou createst another without thine Elder’s leave, both thou and thy Progeny shall be slain.

Kindred birth control. More vampires around means the hunting spots are more crowded and there's less blood around for the rest of us. There's also the simple fact of the matter is that kindred overpopulation will lead to masquerade violations. The more neonates, the greater the odds that there will be at least one idiot in the bunch. All Camarilla princes, Prince Benedic included, take this rule very, very seriously.

The Fourth Tradition: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.

If a Kindred is granted permission to sire, he is responsible for the actions of his child for a time. It is in this time that the Kindred is taught the truth about his nature, how to hunt, feed, use his disciplines and so on. As I explained my initial comments, I'm writing this now as insurance in the event that your sire was a deadbeat.

The Fifth Tradition: Hospitality

Honor one another’s domain.
When thou comest to a foreign city, thou shall present thyself to the one who ruleth there.
Without the word of acceptance, thou art nothing.

A Prince has the right to dictate who may stay in his domain and who must leave or suffer punishment. This Tradition also imposes the responsibility on a traveling or relocating Kindred to present herself to the local Kindred authority and make herself known and accountable for any missteps.

We might give you a night or two to settle in but we will be expecting you at Benedic's court sometime soon, one way or another.

The Sixth Tradition: 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.

The Blood Hunt — the Lextalionis — is the Princely decree that declares another vampire persona non grata. The right of Princes to call the Blood Hunt effectively forfeits the hunted Kindred’s unlife; it is the ultimate punishment levied for the most grievous of crimes. Indeed, the perpetrator is deemed such a thread to Kindred society those Kindred who perform diablerie on a vampire under the Lextalionis will be pardoned.

Outside a blood hunt, killing another vampire is strictly prohibited. With the whole Jyhad thing, its usually a really bad idea to let vampires kill other vampires, not if we want to keep the Camarilla functioning.

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