The Law of the Night
Written in the early 19th century to prevent a full-scale conflict between the vampire Praxis and the werewolf Protectorate, the Shadow Accords are a document overseen by the Council of Wardens, a group of immortal avatars and protectors of the land. The Accords govern the way the various supernatural worlds interact with one another, fostering an environment where they’re allowed to mingle or keep separate as they please.
The actual wording of the Shadow Accords is long, with many, many subclauses and specific rulings and clarifications, but the high points are below.
- Only the letter of the law may be enforced, not its spirit or interpretation.
- All Signatory vampires within the boundaries of the Accords must be a member of the vampiric Praxis. A vampire who forgoes the Praxis forgoes the Accords.
- All Signatory werewolves within the boundaries of the Accords must be a member of the werewolf Protectorate. A werewolf who forgoes the Protectorate forgoes the Accords.
- The Begotten may choose to become Signatory without being joined to the Hive; these members may independently Sign, rather than do so under the authority of the Apex. A Beast who forgoes both Hive and signature forgoes the Accords.
- All Signatory Changelings within the boundaries of the Accords must be a member of the Freehold. A Changeling who forgoes the Freehold forgoes the Accords.
- Over vampire Praxis, no will save the Accords is supreme to the Triumvirate; in the event of the Triumvirate’s fall, this clause shall be amended.
- Over the werewolves, no will save the Accords is supreme to the will of the Protectors; over each Pack, no will save the Accords and the Protectors is supreme to the Alpha or Alpha-equivalent designated by each pack unto themselves.
- Over the Begotten of the Hive, no will save the Accords is supreme to the Apex.
- Over the Changelings, no will save the Accords is supreme to the will of the Freehold.
- All signatories of the Accords have the right to appoint an Accorded Messenger; this messenger is guaranteed safe passage through general territories (but not private havens, sacred places, or lairs) for the purpose of delivering messages, so long as they do not instigate violence.
- If hospitality or safe passage is offered and accepted, no violence may be done to the one who accepts until the sun has both risen and set once. No powers or mundane methods may be used specifically upon the one granted hospitality or safe passage (by the one so granted upon the one who granted it) which harm, compel, or incapacitate.
- Any place designated Accorded Neutral Ground by the Council is considered to be under the rule of hospitality; all who enter are considered granted hospitality and safe passage in and out, to a distance of one hundred yards from the entrance or exit.
- If a Signatory is killed by another Signatory, the Signatory’s sponsor, or closest relative if independent, may demand weregild from the killer. If the sponsor/next of kin and killer cannot agree on a price, mediation may be called for by a person acceptable to both parties; if none can be had, a Warden of the Council will choose a mediator. In place of weregild, the Signatory or the Signatory’s sponsor may challenge the killer to single combat.
- Should a Signatory wrong another, the wronged Signatory has the right to challenge the wrongdoer to single combat.
- Combat may be to first blood, until surrender, or to the death.
- Each side may, in lieu of taking part personally, designate a champion. In a challenge to the death, if the champion is killed, so too will the one who designated said champion be executed.
- In the event of a challenge, the Signatories or their Sponsors shall pick a Second; this Second will be responsible for all communication between challenger and challenged, and between each party and the arbiter.
- Each Signatory or their Sponsor shall choose a neutral arbiter. If an arbiter cannot be chosen satisfactorily, the Council of Wardens will assign an arbiter.
- The arbiter will choose from a list of weapons. These weapons must be able to be used by both parties. The challenged party will choose a weapon; the challenger will choose the time and location. Any time or location that will result in a breach of secrecy to the mortal world at large or sure death to either challenger is forbidden; this explicitly disallows challenges during the day against vampiric opponents. The arbiter is the final authority on valid choices of times and places; if the challenging party cannot choose a suitable time and place, the arbiter will choose for them.
- Certain places can be designated as safe; these places are Accorded Ground, and all present are considered to have accepted hospitality from the Council of Wardens. Violence done against another Signatory in these places will open the offender to challenge under the Accords by the Warden in whose territory the Accorded Ground is located.
These Accords are based loosely but with full knowledge and intent on the Unseelie Accords from the Dresden Files.
The following are general policy, OOC, when it comes to the Accords:
- Characters with a major template who are not members of the Praxis, Protectorate, or other grouping whose members are included in the Accords by default are still assumed to have individually signed the Accords prior to coming on-grid. If you wish to not be a Signatory of the Accords, please inform staff during character generation in the +job generated for your approval, and note so in your +finger.
- Humans who do not have Supernatural merits or a minor template are assumed to not be Signatories of the Accords. However, any mortal with Occult 3, Brawl 4, Firearms 4, or Weaponry 4 can be considered to be well-informed or dangerous enough to be accepted as a Signatory by the Council of Wardens. If you wish to be a Signatory upon coming onto the grid, note it in your character generation +job.
- Those who wish to sign onto the Accords after character creation may do so; they must meet one of the qualifications above (Major Template, Occult 3, Brawl 4, Firearms 4, or Weaponry 4) or be sponsored by another Signatory (individual or group). Joining a group who is in its entirety a Signatory (such as the Praxis, the Protectorate, the Hive, or many Mystery Cults) does not require the individual to sign specifically. To become a Signatory, open a +request to staff.
Shadow Accords FAQ
Q: Do I have to sign the Accords?
A: No! However, not signing comes with lots of downsides and not a lot of upsides.
Q: How do people outside the city see the Accords?
A: As fucking weird. Many vampires who aren't natives of New Orleans see the Triumvirate as actively promoting breaking the Masquerade. However, three powerful Princes in such a close alliance is also weird - and not worth picking a fight with. Protectorates aren't common practice for werewolves, either - but since the main unit of leadership in New Orleans and without is the Pack, and Packs are mostly left to their own devices, it's seen as less controversial there...except when a Spirit signs the Accords and is forbidden from being hunted in Siskur-Dah. For Beasts, cohesive, regimented bureaucracy isn't something they use for themselves, but they're typically used to slipping into other peoples' odd sets of rules, and it goes easier for them.
Q: How do mortals sign the Accords? How do people know if other people are Accorded?
A: Each of the Wardens maintains a sort of "public listing". These listings are available in various places throughout the city, often shifting locations, but easy enough to track down via the supernatural communities. To sign the Accords or double-check someone's claims of Accorded status, one simply makes an appointment at a Warden's office and signs the listing - a process which takes quite awhile, as duplicates of the signers' own hand-signed signature needs to be kept in every Warden's personal records, and in those of the Triumvirate, Protectorate, and Apex. Mortals who wish to sign the Accords must demonstrate supernatural prowess, knowledge, or some notable ability. (Typically via Occult 3 or a combat skill at 4.)
Q: How do vampires sign the Accords? What happens if a vampire doesn't sign?
A: By introducing themselves to the Triumvirate and being granted hospitality in the New Orleans area, vampires are automatically considered signatories of the Accords. They may only avoid this by avoiding the Praxis as a whole - which comes with consequences should they be discovered trespassing in the city. A vampire who does not sign the Accords is seen as a rogue, and has no protection against violence (from vampires or otherwise) save what she can provide for herself.
Q: How do werewolves sign the Accords? What happens if a werewolf doesn't sign?
A: Werewolves who form packs and claim territory are required by the Protectorate to join said Protectorate and sign the Accords - by declaring their pack and claiming territory, they are automatically entered into the List of Signatories. Werewolves who come into the city but do not claim territory are not required to join the Protectorate or Sign - but are seen as nomads and drifters. What is a wolf without pack or territory, after all?
Q: How to beasts sign the Accords? What happens if a beast doesn't sign?
A: The Apex has assistants - her Tarrasconi agents act as mercenaries, secretaries, couriers, and worshipers. When a new beast comes to town, if they don't make an effort to go unseen, they are typically approached by one of these if they do not link to the Hive and given the opportunity to sign the Accords via the Apex herself. Otherwise, they may join via the Warden's office, like mortals. A beast who doesn't sign the Accords and makes trouble is typically treated like a dangerous rogue - and an embarrassment. This can be dangerous. The only downside for a beast who keeps their head down and doesn't sign, however, is not being made immune to the Apex's Hive trait of Heaviness.
Q: How do changelings sign the Accords? What happens if a changeling doesn't sign?
A: By introducing themselves to the Freehold and being granted hospitality in the New Orleans area, changelings are automatically considered signatories of the Accords. They may only avoid this by avoiding the Freehold as a whole - which comes with consequences should they be discovered trespassing in the city. A changeling who does not sign the Accords is seen as a rogue, and has no protection against violence (from other changelings or otherwise) save what she can provide for herself.