Camarilla Court

Vampires are, first and foremost, solitary predatory creatures. Some might go decades or centuries before seeing or interacting with another one of their kind. Most prefer to hunt in solitude or walk with select groups of mortals. Yet, most Kindred also choose or are forced to interact with others of their kind at some point in their unlives; the movements of the Jyhad rarely leave even the most detached Kindred untouched.

Kindred Society is structured even more so than mortal society, along the lines of age and power. There are numerous offices, titles, positions, and responsibilities that circulate through any of the clans or sects. This is no more evident than among the upper echelons of a given city's Kindred population. The Camarilla, as the upholder of the Masquerade and the Traditions, has set itself up an elaborate model that is closely matched by other Kindred in some fashion or another. The societal structure of the Camarilla is referred to as The Court, and in many ways resembles the ancient Courts of Medieval Europe, yet with a Kindred twist on it. Many of the positions in the court confer great power, but at a prince, as for those who come to shake the structures of society usually come to find those who preside over it first.

The current Camarilla Court of Los Angeles can be found here

The Prince

To put it simply, the Prince is the Vampire who has enough power to hold domain over a city, codify the laws for that city, and keep the peace. Such a position is typically held by an elder, for who but an elder has the necessary personal charisma and power to take and hold domain in a metropolis? The title "prince" is simply just a title given to formalize a role, whether that role is held by a man or a woman. There are no dynasties of vampires holding their cities for centuries on end, no hereditary ascensions. Sometimes a prince may be called by title native to the land he rules, such as "baron," "sultan," "count," or even the less formal title of "boss." The Prince is the "leader" of the Camarilla within a given city, as the city is his or her domain. The Prince is the ultimate authority of the traditions, the final judge between kindred disputes, and the keeper of the peace.

The Primogen

The primogen are the assembled elders of each clan in a city. Most often, each clan has a representative primogen, but in some cities a prince can and will refuse to allow a given clan to place a member on this council of elders. In theory, primogen represent their clans among the political body of elders, but in practice the primogen are more often than not an "old vampires' club," and an incestuous nest of treachery and favor-currying. Primogen - the term refers to individual members as well as the collected body - convene at the prince's discretion. In cities with powerful and despotic princes, the primogen may be nothing more than a figurehead, while in other cities princes govern solely at the whim of the elder council.

It is worth noting that the Prince is often not the primogen for his clan. Although some Kindred claim that having duplicate clans involved in the political structure weighs matters in favor of that clan, no one is really in a position to change it.

The Sheriff

Most sheriffs are appointed by the prince and approved by the primogen. While the job description may vary from city to city, the sheriff's prime job is to be the prince's enforcer, the vampire who hauls offenders into court, keeps order on the streets, and generally stands ready to assist with the "muscle" aspects of ruling. Sheriffs may select deputies, who occasionally require the prince's approval.

The Harpies

These Kindred pride themselves on being the social managers of Elysium. They traffic in gossip and social maneuvering, and status is their coin. With the right or wrong word to a prince, they can make or break a vampire's place in the city. This position is rarely appointed outright; over time, those with the skills to be harpies tend to rise to the top. Most are unimpressed with displays of bluster and demonstrate remarkable insight into vampire nature. Bucking a harpy will assure one a place at the bottom most rung of the ladder in power for years to come.

The Whip

Primogen occasionally keep whips as assistants. Not much different from the whips in mortal government, the whip's job is to goad and encourage discussion and decision-making during clan meetings, and to keep the clan updated on their primogen member's doings. Whips are selected by the primogen.

The Seneschal

This is one position that many princes would like to do without, but which occasionally is necessary. One prince described the filling of this position to be akin to choosing which knife to put at her throat. A seneschal is meant to be a chamberlain, a second-in-command and an adviser to the prince. At any time, he may be asked to step into the prince's place if she leaves town on business, abdicates or is slain. Naturally, a prince wishes to have final authority on such an important position, and many have fought endlessly with their primogen over the subject. This is a dangerous position in more ways than one - familiarity with the subject can give one ideas…

The Keeper of Elysium

The keeper is in charge of what goes on in Elysium. A Toreador wishing to display her latest work, a Tremere wanting to give a lecture, or a Brujah scheduling an open debate on princely policies - all must clear things with the keeper, who can cancel or approve an event on the grounds of preserving the Masquerade. The keeper is responsible for ensuring that mortals do not enter the area during Elysium and that events run smoothly. Most keepers are appointed by the prince, often with the stipulation that their appointment is conditional until the qualifications are assured.

The Scourge

As the nights grow more and more violent and the cities fill with unknown Kindred, some princes have resurrected this ancient position. Essentially, the scourge patrols the borders of a princedom, seeking out and often destroying newcomers who have failed to present themselves. Caitiff, as well as the fledglings of the 13th, 14th, and 15th generations, have much to fear from the scourge. In some cases, even vampires who have followed protocol fall victim to the scourge, as princes reflexively react to fears of overpulation and espionage.

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