ST note: The following is brief, general knowledge. If you want to know something more for a character concept, feel free to ask, but further in-character knowledge might require in-character justification (e.g., membership in a certain sect, being old enough to have heard about it as it happened, or simply a Lore skill focus).
Membership in one of the sects is not mandatory; besides the Independent Alliance and Assamites, some individuals and small groups remain as hermits and outcasts.
The largest sect of vampires, members of the Camarilla follow six Traditions and structure themselves somewhat like feudal monarchies.
Nicknames: The Ivory Tower, “the Cam”
Philosophies: Your elders are your betters. Princes are absolute monarchs unless they piss off the Primogen or violate the laws of the sect. Blood is thicker than everything.
Laws: The six Traditions:
- The Masquerade: Thou shalt not reveal thy true nature to those not of the Blood. Doing so shall renounce thy claims of Blood.
- Domain: Thy Domain is thine own concern. All others owe thee respect while in it. None may challenge thy word while in thy domain.
- Progeny: Thou shalt only sire another with the permission of thine elder. If thou createst another without tine elder’s leave, both thou and thy progeny shall be slain.
- 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.
- Hospitality: Honor one another’s domain. When thou comest to a foreign city, thou shalt present thyself to the one who ruleth there. Without the word of acceptance, thou art nothing.
- 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.
Global structure: The Inner Council, consisting of the sect’s seven Founders, appoint one Justicar per pillar clan, each of whom acts as roving judge, jury, and executioner. The Justicars’ many deputies are Archons, and an Archon’s deputies are Servires. A special agency of Josian Archons, answering directly to the Assamite Justicar, are tasked with rooting out heresy and Gehenna cults. In addition to this legal structure, there is a military consisting of Myrmidons led by the Imperator; some of these are criminals granted amnesty for military service. The Inner Council, Justicars, Imperator, and the occasional Conclaves of Princes and other luminaries have various levels of authority to make laws for the whole of the Camarilla.
Clan structure: The Camarilla is very much organized around Princes and clans. Where there are no recognized (read: Camarilla) Princes, only clan has any meaning.
Membership: The Brujah, Gangrel, Malkavian, Nosferatu, Toreador, Tremere, and Ventrue clans are considered to have founded the Camarilla. With the exception of the Gangrel, they are honored as its “pillar clans”; the Gangrel walked out during the early nights of the Red Star and were replaced by Assamites fleeing their clan’s internal revolution. While Clan Gangrel have returned to the fold, they have not been afforded their prior prominence and place in the global power structure. Most other clans have some members within the Camarilla but have no real power.
The Anarch Movement
Rebels, revolutionaries, and modernists.
Philosophies: As many as possible, but the commonality is this: Fuck elders. Fuck blood slavery. Fuck injustice and oppression. Everyone has libertas—free will, with a side order of rational thought and equal part in government. Fight for your rights.
Laws: Eh. Maybe? Depends on whom you ask and where you’re standing.
Global structure: What part of “Anarch” didn’t you understand? Still, Anarchs supposedly stick together in a pinch, even if there’s no structure to it. Their largest organization was the Anarch Free State, which from 1944 until 1998 held southern California. (The Anarchs got as far as San Jose; the Camarilla held San Francisco.)
Gang structure: While every coterie and territory chooses its own organization (or lack thereof), biker-style gangs are common enough to warrant mention.
Membership: Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough.
An army of religious fanatics who believe that Caine was blessed rather than cursed by God and that he will return and reward the faithful when the world ends.
Nicknames: The Sword of Caine, The Church of the Dark Father, “Cainites”
Philosophies: Embrace your vampirism as a gift from God. The Antediluvians disobeyed Caine, puppetmaster their clans, and will rise and consume their progeny when Gehenna comes if they are not destroyed first. Diablerie is fine; “Elders” are for eating. Blood bonds are slavery, but the vinculum is freedom.
Officially, there is one true religion and all else is heresy. However, this still leaves plenty of room for differences. A certain amount of doubt is tolerated under the belief that faith will come in time. A variety of Paths of Enlightenment are officially authorized— Humanity is denigrated but accepted as a necessary starting point—and the Sabbat is divided into a variety of political factions with different ideas about how to proceed.
Laws: The Code of Milan (not the original three-book text, but a one-page summary)
Global structure: A dark and twisted reflection of the Catholic Church. The Regent is Caine’s voice to the faithful; below him, Cardinals control vast swathes of the globe, while the ~13 Prisci serve as advisors to the Regent and mediators between the factions. For internal security, the Inquisition fields a handful of roving packs that root out heresy at every level. For external security, the Black Hand is, in modern nights, an elite group of special-forces agents responsible for such missions as assassinations and espionage, with the right under the Code of Milan to demand Sabbat aid.
Pack structure: It is worth noting that the Sabbat is organized around tight-knit, sovereign coteries called “packs” to an extent rivaling even the most hardcore of Anarch gang territories, and every member of the Sabbat is a member of a pack first. This is for two reasons: First, the Sabbat is theoretically about freedom from elder control and has a high number of roving coteries answerable to no local authorities—traits it shares with the Anarchs. Second, it has the vaulderie, a group rite that breaks all blood bonds while creating a slightly lesser (but similar) bond between each of the participants. Thus, all packs are cemented by something akin to mutual blood-bonds.
Membership: Founded and still mostly populated by the Lasombra and Tzimisce, but like many fringe religious cults, they recruit outsiders and fanatics of every stripe.
The Independent Alliance
The Independent Alliance is not a sect in the same sense as the others presented here; it has no shared philosophy, it has no global power structure, and even in cities that have signed on, the clans mostly govern their own affairs, with only an Emissary from each clan to the other to observe and advise. They are also too newly-formed to have developed any traditions or bureaucracy past that specified in the Treaty of Alliance.
More background can be found in “History Lesson” and the actual rules governing the Alliance can be found in the Treaty of Alliance: