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 Orthodox—Still working on a name for these, but they began as a heresy of the Sanctum (see below), which embraced the idea of territory and the absolute rule of the Prince relatively recently. While naturally opposed to the Nephilim in principle, their political and social ties to New Castles power structure have made them allies. More details as I think them through.
The Progressives are, generally, made up of the following groups:
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.
The Muses—a highly social and mortally engaged group of vampires, they tend to be highly plugged into the current mortal scene far beyond what most vampires consider to be proper—associating with mortal family, friends, and even lovers. They earned their sobriquet due to their tendency to socialize at small music clubs and to constantly bicker about who heard about what cool band first. They are very receptive of new members joining them, and espouse most of the ideas associated with the Mutualists. Most of the elders believe, however, that it is only a matter of time before they grow up and join the Court. If the Sanctum is a dangerous ideology and ‘cult’ to the elders, and the Mutualists are a powder keg waiting to explode, then the Muses are nothing more than spoiled children. However, their ability to pass with ease among the mortal world and contacts throughout the city overriding and ignoring the traditional bonds of territory gives this group a level of power and influence even they are not aware of.
The Pagans—if possible, even more disorganized than the Sanctum and even less political than the Muses, the Pagans are an extremely loose coalition of vampires eager to further their “occult powers.” Some few have actually managed to harnass such power, while others are stuck in the “Black Magick” section of their nearest Borders.
The Spoilers are those groups that don’t fall neatly in the Traditionalists vs. Progressive dichotomy. Two of the groups are below.
The Young Turks—A loose coterie that are the childer primarily of the Blue Bloods. They were the young movers and shakers from the best mortal families who had the world before them, then they were embraced by the eldest and most powerful bloodlines in the city. None are more that 50 years old and most are quite younger. It took all of them awhile, but after the rush of their vampiric nature began to ebb and the initial excitement of being part of the “real power structure” faded, they realize just what a position they were in. Embraced for their energy and knowledge of the world, their role is quite simple—to serve. Unwilling to accept this, they have begun contacting each other and are seeking the best way to “liberate” themselves. They do not seek equality for all or other such nonsense, they merely wish to assume their “proper” place as the true masters of the city. That they may have to destroy their bloodlines and throw the city into chaos as part of this hasn’t really bothered them so far.
The Esoteric Order of the Dragon—probably the biggest mystery in all of the city, only a handful even know they exist. A secret society within a secret society, they claim no territory and no obvious members. What they are though, is a collection of those who seek to fully explore their vampiric natures to the absolute extreme, no matter where it takes them.
Whew, need a break. Will discuss the social elements and general history of New Castle later.