Förbund

Förbund

The Carthian Movement

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The Carthian Movement är en revolutionär sammanslutning som törstar efter en demokratisk arena för de invigda. De är ett nytt förbund och de allra flesta är nyfödda och oerfarna vampyrer och deras ledning väljs via omröstning. Givet den idealistiska prägel förbundet har, uppstår ofta stridigheter kring vilket styrsätt som egentligen är det bästa.

The Carthian covenant (or movement) is comprised mostly of neonates and ancillae bound together by one overriding concern: Fear. Whether it is fear of their elders, or of the rapid advance of technology, Carthians believe that, in order to survive in the new age of the twenty-first century, they must adapt and change the way things have always been done among the Kindred. This makes them a danger to elder kindred who rule by enforcing the idea that age is power, that the established order is not to be questioned.

Carthians domains are run quite differently from the domains controlled by other Covenants. They have adopted of many aspects of mortal government, such as Democracy, and the newer social innovations of mortal society. The Carthian ideal espouses every member having a voice, and everyone contributing to the betterment of all. The popular catch phrase among the covenant is: "Whatever it takes."

Carthians tend to cleave more closely to their mortal pasts than other vampires. This tendency, along with their willingness to work together against the oppression of the elders gives them a unique advantage and allows them to interact more effectively in mortal society which can provide them vast networks of mortal contacts and allies.

Carthians tend to move about more freely than other Kindred, often traveling to other cities, near and far, just to pick up on new ideas, trends or innovations. This makes the various Carthian groups much better connected than the more insular covenants which tend to remain static and ensconced within a single domain or city. And this gives the Carthians power as well. If another covenant moves against the Carthians of a given domain, they know (or soon discover to their chagrin) that other Carthians will soon arrive from other domains to support their brethren. The Invictus, Sanctified or Dracul within any domain know that they cannot count on such support from outside, indeed they might find other leaders of their own covenants supporting the Carthians as a way of expanding their own power from without.

Being a very young covenant the Carthian movement doesn't have nearly as many rituals and protocols as the First Estate or Sanctified. They do have "the Chain," a short ritual, usually initiated by the "Prefect" (the head of the Carthians in an area) at the start or end of any gathering, in which all present rise and hold hands for a moment to show that together they are strong, and the chain must not be broken.

Carthian coteries are also formed in interesting ways, one of the most common being when, during a meeting of neonates, some will see a need for something to be done (i.e. we need to take action against the Bishop because of his threat to our interests on sixth street) and they then seek out like-minded individuals willing to join to take action together. This method of leadership and coterie forming makes for short lived coteries

Such randomness and social adaptability is another reason elders justly fear and thus keep their eye on the movement. Of course there are usually more neonates than the elders have resources to watch.

Circle of the Crone

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The Circle of the Crone venerates a variety of female figures as an amalgamated creator of vampires, the Mother of all Monsters. It is a secretive and mystic group of Kindred, holding its own belief about vampiric nature and even its own Discipline.

Known as Acolytes, members of the Circle believe that vampires make up a natural part of the world and can learn, grow, and find enlightenment instead of wallowing in the guilt-ridden angst of the Church of Longinus, which focuses on penance.

As a result, Acolytes often find themselves dismissed as political outcasts and heretics of vampiric existence, especially in more religious communities.

The Circle believes that creation is power. Vampires must face their static condition and overcome it by creating and cultivating whatever they can. Acolytes also cherish testing themselves, believing that only by overcoming their physical, mental and spiritual limitations can they become something more than creatures of the night. This belief can also lead to persecution, as their strange rituals of testing can seem barbaric and even unholy to some Kindred.

The Circle practices a unique form of ritual known as Crúac. Study of these rituals requires a degree of devotion to the Circle's pagan gods, which requires a degree of cruelty that erodes a vampire's connection to his or her past life.

Core beliefs: The Circle as a whole believes that to survive the great onslaught of eternal life, they must find a balance between opposing halves: the destroyer that their blood pushes them to be, and the Creator that they can be.

Ranks: The Circle nominally (as of pre-CotC sourcebook info) has only three titles that a member can hold. A Hierophant is the spiritual leader of the Circle in an area. The Acolytes are those of the Circle that have passed the rituals of testing of a particular Coven, and are thus fully initiated into her mysteries. Lastly, the Chorus makes up any Kindred or Mortals that are curious about the Circle, or hold strong beliefs similar to the local coven, but have not, or will not pass the initiation rituals.

Crúac: All full members of the Circle of the Crone (meaning CotC status 1+) can get access to the Mystic Ritual based Discipline called Crúac. To learn Crúac, or to continue learning Crúac levels or rituals, a character must be a *current* member of the Circle of the Crone with at least a True Covenant CotC status of 1 or more.

The Invictus

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The Invictus (lit. "The Unconquered") are vampires who believe that they are the rightful rulers of all undead. They are the temporal and spiritual inheritors of the Camarilla, the society of vampires who ruled the nights in ancient Rome. The First Estate, as it is known, is dedicated to preserving vampiric society—and maintaining the primacy of the Invictus within that society. They do this through human pawns, ruthless acumen, refined cunning and naked expression of power.

The Invictus is the landed aristocracy of the Damned. An elitist organization at its core, the Invictus teaches that power is everything and those who gain power deserve it most: within the Invictus, cunning, ruthlessness, and ambition are defining virtues. To some, especially neonate vampires, the Invictus is nothing more than an edifice of dusty old vampires clinging to empty traditions and the vacuous pursuit of power for its own sake. But power, as they say, is its own reward.

The Invictus strives to maintain order among the Damned and seeks to uphold the Traditions to the fullest extent possible. There is an air of cultivated refinement within the covenant, based in two thousand years of tradition and decorated by pomp and protocol. Detractors accuse the Invictus of using these things to deny their true natures. Any good Invictus meets these accusations with a sneer. It's not about denying what you are, to the Unconquered; it's about making the most of it. An Invictus vampire does not fling herself at you, claws out, to rip you limb from limb; she draws the beast out, like a strand of razor-wire, channeling that rage to make you pay, and pay, and pay…

Lancea Sanctum

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The "Sanctified," as they call themselves, embrace the theocracy of modern religions. In the neo-feudal political structure vampires have made for themselves, the Lancea Sanctum represent the Catholic Church, painting themselves as the moral authority for Kindred society. The main focus of this belief stems from the Sanctified document called the Testament of Longinus, ostensibly a semi-Biblical account of Longinus' wanderings and philosophies after his transformation. The Testament of Longinus is composed of five books. The Malediction of Longinus: A history of Longinus’ life, from birth through damnation. The Torments of Longinus: The story of Longinus’ Requiem, including the Embrace of the Monachus and the foundation of the Black Abbey. The Rule of Golgotha: A collection of laws and precepts describing the proper behavior and morality of Sanctified vampires, collectively referred to as the Rule. The Sanguinaria: The tale of the first Dark Apostles, including the Five Martyrs. The Book of Eschaton: Cryptic verses of prophecy foretold by Longinus.

The Sanctified have little doubt that they are the superior beings, because they have a direct connection with God, and they understand the nature of damnation. The Lancea Sanctum teaches that the damnation, while tragic, is also a state of being demanded by God and the Dark Prophet. It’s a curse, to be sure, but a sacred burden, like a battered and bleeding Christ bearing the heavy cross. The Kindred of the covenant know that they are condemned to exist as deathless beings outside the light, and they accept it. They also accept the bloodthirsty state of their condition, setting aside the constraints of a mortal life in favor of the true way, the predators way. That doesn’t mean their behavior dissolves into mindless brutality, however. No, most Sanctified know that a balance needs to be struck between the monster and the missionary, the beast and the bishop. Members of this covenant acknowledge they have been cursed by God. But they also point out that unlike the Devil, they were not cast into Hell. Instead, they walk the modern nights with their free will intact.

Thus the Kindred of the Lancea Sanctum conclude that they are to serve as object lessons to humanity; they are the price of sin. By preying on mortals they remind them that life is fleeting and nothing compares to the Heaven the worthy attains. To this end, the Sanctified zealously bear the weight of damnation as they revel in their monstrous nature, knowing that they are part of God's Great Plan. They see the Glory of Heaven as the ultimate carrot for humanity's salvation.

Ordo Dracul

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Nicknames: The Defiant (within the covenant), the Dragons, the Order (or Order of the Dragon, outside of the covenant)

Concepts: Venturesome archaeologist, charismatic occult study group leader, underground bare-knuckle boxer, cold-fish doctor, quirky writer, failed suicide

You want to join the Ordo Dracul because: You want to cheat death — properly. You think you can be better. When you were alive, you yearned to be a vampire. You believe that being a vampire could be wonderful, and you want to find a way. You want to become alive again, but so much better than human. You find the occult world terrifying. You are afraid of what you might become.

The big picture: The dead scientist who experiments on humans, werewolves, and fairies in a sterile white laboratory. The occult archaeologist who rifles through the tombs of the terrifying beasts of old. The chillingly plausible preacher who leads his disciples into self-mutilation and surgical alteration. The robed cultists whose rituals depend on the sacrifice of angels. These are the Ordo Dracul. They are the Order of the Dragon, the children of Dracula himself.

They adopt mystical names, play at arcane ceremonies, forge underground fighting rings, start cults, explore places they should not go. The Ordo Dracul knows more about the hidden world than perhaps any other group of vampires. If they do not always share the things they’ve learned with each other, they still have a source of knowledge and experience that ensures the other covenants keep them around.

Like the Lancea et Sanctum, the self-styled Dragons seek knowledge through seeking out artifacts and text. But while the Sanctified seem to collect it to keep it or destroy it, the Dragons, instructed by their cold leaders, whom they call the Kogaions, collect it to learn about it and make use of it, no matter how dangerous it might be. It has to have a purpose. Nothing the Ordo Dracul learns is without a use. Everything works towards tightly defined goals: the betterment of the vampire condition, the amassing of an individual’s supernatural power, and the defeat of God.
Like the Sanctified, the vampires of the Ordo Dracul teach their neonates that God ordained that they be vampires; but in their eyes, this makes God an enemy. They spit in the face of God’s injustice. God is senile, they say. God is mad. God must be torn down from his throne. They would fight angels themselves to weaken God’s hold on the Damned. The goal is life, but not simple human life: the life of an immortal, unleashed by the curse of mortality and the curse of undeath alike. The spiritual disciplines taught by the Order, the Coils, don’t quite get a vampire there, but it’s a start. And a start on the road to transcendence is enough.

But what then? What happens when the vampires shed their curse and have only power? Will the hunger also be gone? The Order of the Dragon doesn’t have the answer to that, yet. But they yearn to find out, and when they do they will learn what they can, and they will look up to Heaven and they will spit in the face of God.

Our practices: We vampires of the Ordo Dracul seek to improve ourselves, and the Coils of the Dragons are just one way we do so. Some say we unearth things that perhaps should not have been discovered. We say that the only discoveries we should not pursue are those that, when unleashed, turn and destroy the creator — but there’s really no way to know what will happen until we get started, hmm? (Not long ago, a Sanctified Bishop in London blamed the Dragons for bringing back the Owls. The Kogaion of London smiled and did not deny it.)

A Kogaion of the Dragons is oddly secure in her place. While all the other covenants are wracked with infighting, the
Dragons seem almost to avoid the role of Kogaion, pushing our most senior members into the role almost as some sort of punishment, Vampires of other covenants find this hugely confusing. But even the most enthusiastic Kogaion finds that the secrets she must learn to hold the position are burdensome, and eventually, maddening.

The existence of a neonate in the Dragons is a constant test. Elders send them to find artifacts and texts before the Sanctified squirrel them away. Sometimes they are sent into dangerous situations just to see how they handle pressure. It’s often the neonates who are the first to enter what we call “Dragon’s Nests,” the places of power that exist in dizzying variety.

Werewolves, magicians, fairies, ghosts, spirits, angels, and other creatures all create spaces, deliberately or accidentally, where the supernatural powers of the world concentrate themselves. We can’t always get anything out of these places, but when we find one, we nearly always try. Sometimes, if a neonate has been disappointing, a trip to a nest can be the final data point in an analysis as to whether he is even worth keeping.

All this means that while we Dragons don’t know a vast amount about other supernatural forces, we know more than most of the other covenants. More than knowing, though, the Order acts on its knowledge. We continually put ourselves in dangerous situations, because if our existence is worth bettering, it is worth risking.

When we are in power: Of the five major covenants, the Ordo Dracul is the one least likely to hold power over a Kindred domain. In the few places where the leaders of the Kindred are Dragons, the Kogaion is usually pretty laissez-faire about the intrigues of the other covenants. It’s not that we are weak, it is that these things are of little concern to us, which often infuriates rivals. A Dragon prince (or Voivode, if he wants to be traditional about it) is often the strongest, and most magically adept of all the vampires in the domain, and quite capable of dealing with assassins and enemies without any help. He just doesn’t care about why he has enemies and assassins. This can drive the leaders of the other covenants insane with impotent rage and make a Dragon’s domain a potential flash point.

When we are in trouble: Persecuted Dragons seem almost invigorated by the experience. We are made stronger by everything we experience: We are improved. Push a Dragon down and soon you will be devoured.

Where we came from: Dracula. He was the first Kogaion of the Dragons, the attributed writer of the Rites of the Dragon, that troublesome hymn to undeath that still circulates tonight among the Kindred. The Ordo Dracul, without ever gaining his permission, took his name. But then, asking permission was the very opposite of Dracula’s lessons. No vampire even knows what he was really like. All that is known, outside of the Rites, is that he was once Vlad Tepes, the Impaler, hero of Wallachia. In the closing nights of 1476, as his assassins closed in on him at the end of his third reign, he cursed them and cursed God, and God heard him. That night he became a vampire with no sire, the most famous of all the revenants.

Among the Kindred, knowledge is found; and it was a vampire of the Ordo Dracul who found out that Dracula wasn’t the first to be so singularly Cursed, and wasn’t the last. But then, that’s the modus operandi of the Dragons: They find these things. If the Dragons are a threat to the other covenants, it is precisely because they continually reveal truths about the vampires.

The Order uses these truths as weapons — they always have. But at the same time, in threatening the truths to which the more traditional covenants have long held, they make the Kindred strong. And they always have. Right from the beginning, the vampires of the Ordo Dracul have sought to be better monsters: more efficient, more powerful, colder, harder, and so much more intelligent.

Belial's Brood - Baloney

VII

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The Unaligned

The Unaligned are those Vampires who have chosen to follow no defined Covenant. They are the unbound. Among the normally staid and conservative Kindred, they are the free-thinkers, the iconoclasts. Some are rebels, deliberately flouting the conventions of their elders. Others merely wish to go their own way, unrestricted by what others think or demand of them, but choose not to make unnecessary waves. Some are fiercely independent and would rather face the Final Death than suffer the chains of obedience and fealty within the neo-fuedal order that represents modern Kindred society.

The Unaligned are often described as a Covenant but, if they are, they are a Covenant with no rules, no conventions, no leaders and no followers. Being unaligned is not without its risks. Often one's associations and connections within Kindred society provide protection and support that can mean the difference between unlife and the Final Death. The unaligned eschew most such connections and thus stand alone against the night and its many dangers.

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