The city I am envisioning will be chopped and divided up into numerous sub sects, none of which can truly claim dominance or even preeminence in the city as a whole. As I mentioned previously, the city is, geographically at least, chopped up into dozens of domains and subdomains. Some of these are massive swaths of territory, others no larger than a handful of blocks. Each is “officially” controlled by one individual, though often they are the domain of a coterie or a brood. Those who do not have claim to their own turf tend to serve those that do. Conflict over territory—both by those seeking to claim their own as well as those seeking to expand what they already have—leaves the city in a state of near permanent chaos. The Princes primary duty, in addition to keeping the masquerade, is to keep these conflicts to a dull road, lest open warfare once again leaves the city in ruins.
Above these minor fiefs, however, lie other, cross-city groups which can most easily be described as covenants—though this is not a term generally applied within the city. Less the multinational sects of the base game, these are all far more homegrown and localized “supra-coteries” generally consisting of numerous individuals from across the city, brought together for common interest, common goals, or just to be somewhere and do something other than squabble in alleyways. The two best ways to envision these covenants, I think, is both politically and socially.
Politically, the city is divided into two general factions, the Traditionalists and the Progressives. In general, the Traditionalists represent the old guard, and are the dominant force in the city. While each of the coteries that make up the Traditionalists differs in their views of what is “Tradition” each agrees to two general rules. What things were, so shall they be, and the Prince is the Lord of All. In short, there is a “proper” way for a vampire to behave—it includes, but is not limited to, obeying the Prince, protecting the Masquerade, getting permission to embrace, having and respecting territory, respecting ones elders and betters, etc. The Progressives are far more divided, and tend to have much more contradictory goals. In general, however, they seek greater freedom for the individual, both politically and spiritually. They wish to minimize the bonds of territory and blood, to allow greater contact among the damned, and to minimize the power of the elders over the young.
Again, these are generalizations, not absolutes.
The Traditionalists are, generally, made up of the following groups:
The Blue Bloods—An informal alliance of 3 of the eldest bloodlines in town, they currently control the largest swaths of territory (even if that has been chipped away over the centuries). While perhaps having the power to put one of their own on the throne of the city, they prefer to work with whoever the current Prince is, rather than taking the title for their own. When one things of “elder vampires” or “classic traditionalist” (the kind of people who, if they were alive, would use “summer” as a verb) it’s these guys. Their support for the Prince however, is contingent on the Prince acting in the proper way at all times. The last court that many a prince has had was marked by their distinct absence, as their withdrawal of support signaled to his enemies that his reign was over.
The Nephilim—To many, a craze brood of fallen Vampires—they believe they see the truth—that Vampires have been rejected by God and chose to serve Satan until Judgment day. They have their own perverse embracing practices, and advocate a complete separation from all of humanity, except for the hunt. They rarely, if ever, “socialize” with others, even of their kind. The sole reason many believe they have survived for so long in the city is the fact that they tend to worship the Prince as the embodiment of Satan himself, the Anti-Christ. They are willing to fight, kill, and die at his command. While not the most cunning of operatives, they do provide the Prince with an “army” of foot soldiers. Their loyalty, however, lasts only so long as the Princes life and authority does—a fallen Prince’s allies can expect no succor from them. If the withdrawal of the blue bloods support indicates a Prince’s reign is over, the appearance of the Nephilim’s support proves a new Prince’s reign is about to begin.
The Sanctum (aka Cathari)—a highly mystical and somewhat Gnostic group of Kindred, they reject the trappings of authority and territory in the quest for higher truths. Many actively seek Golgonda, and withdraw from the world as a whole—at least politically. Well, not many, only those who are “true believers.” It is actually a relatively large coterie, with the bulk of it’s membership coming from the younger population, who are left standing around wondering “is this it?” While there are a handful of popular and influential members, none can truly be called a leader of such a diverse group, unlike the Bishop of the Orthodox and the family leaders of the Blue Bloods and the Nephilim.
Mutualists—made up almost entirely of fringers and other minor Vampires, they agitate for a complete removal of all territorial limits beyond those of ones haven and the freeing of all areas for hunting. They also seek the removal of the Prince—a position that has failed the city time after time—and his replacement with an elected council. Needless to say, they are also extremely unpopular for these beliefs. They do have some credibility, though, having suffered the worst under the previous Prince, and being among the first to support the new. Their dogged street fighting and survival against the Nephilim onslaught won them a few admirers, and in gratitude the Prince has granted them a small, if poor, territory as well as ignoring the bulk of their poaching.
Whew, need a break. Will discuss the social elements and general history of New Castle later.