Vampire/Setting

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The Praxis

The Triumvirate - ruling body of the vampire Praxis - share power and are advised by a council of Primogen. The Triumvirate retain for themselves all the rights a Prince would normally have - the sole ability to make and enforce laws and uphold the Traditions, the right to appoint vampires to Praxis offices, among others.

Traditionally, seats on the Primogen Council include at least one member from each Great Covenant and one from each Clan - thus, the number of Primogen is always at least ten. In recent times, empty places on the Primogen Council are frequent due to assassination attempts and resignations, and the Triumvirate typically approve anyone willing to take the risk into the seat. While the Primogen almost always number at least ten, the number has moved up and down - and sometimes, a single vampire has held more than one seat on the council (and more than one vote, when such things are called for).

The power of the Primogen council is mainly for the convenience of the Triumvirate; while they can propose laws, the Triumvirate is under no obligation to make those proposals into a binding decree (although it has been seen as politically inconvenient for them to veto too often). They take care of a lot of the paperwork and pomp and circumstance in the city; if Court is held, it is typically one or more of the Primogen council who runs it, rather than one or more of the Triumvirate, who rarely appear in public. Most of the day-to-day duties of a Prince in most cities are abdicated to the Primogen Council, although the Triumvirate may always override the Council if desired. The Triumvirate of New Orleans has ruled the city for over two hundred years without a single change in membership; it is often rumored that they use the Primogen council as a herd, feeding from them while using Ordo Dracul mysteries, Lancea et Sanctum miracles, and Invictus oaths to avoid Vinculum. Many vampires wonder, in fact, if being a member of the Primogen council means submitting to a Vinculum to one or more of the Triumvirate - or whether the hungers of powerful elders are why the Primogen seats are often vacated unexpectedly and their members disappear so frequently.

The Triumvirate

Dylan McDermott as Dominic Aelius - An Invictus of Clan Ventrue, Dominic Aelius claims a Sire who was present for the fall of Rome to the Strix. None know how old he is - or whether that claim is true - but he has been powerful enough to hold power in New Orleans for more than two hundred years without falling to Torpor, and even if his origins are a lie, he must be powerful indeed. He detests the Carthian Movement above all other things, seeing his work with the Ordo Dracul and the Lancea et Sanctum as necessary to defend the Invictus from Carthian “progress”.

Lily Rabe as Theresa von Krieger - A Lancea et Sanctum Mekhet, Theresa von Krieger was a nun in life, it’s rumored - given the choice of death or the Embrace by a vampire who’d been in his Requiem for only three days. The newly-created vampire had long held lust in his heart for the nun; she accepted the Embrace, but within a year her sire disappeared - rumored to have been Diablerized by his child. Some have said they have seen burn scars all along her arms, where she reportedly burned the stains of her crime out of her aura - and, certainly, she is always seen in dresses with long sleeves, high collars, and wearing gloves. She hates the Circle of the Crone with a rabid, zealous fire - and hates the Ordo Dracul almost as much, barely tolerating Erica Hartford, but unable to remove her from the Triumvirate for reasons both political and practical.

Sarah Paulson as Erica Hartford - An Ordo Dracul Nosferatu, Erica Hartford bears her curse turned inward, rather than outward. She is hauntingly beautiful, but cold and disturbing in a way that is inexplicable but menacing all the same. She is outwardly gregarious, smiles and laughs in all the right places - but manages, through some indefinable quality, to convey an otherness, an alien quality that puts off even most Kindred. She is the Kogaion of the Ordo Dracul, the one member of that Order who holds -all- the secrets of the city’s Mysteries, and she bears that burden just as she bears the curse of her Clan - stoically, but with signs that it’s made her something other than normal. She doesn’t care for politics, but has forced her way onto the Triumvirate through sheer will and raw personal power to protect her Covenant from the prejudices of Theresa von Kriger and the Lancea et Sanctum - and if she has to point the wrath of her fellows in the Triumvirate at the Carthians or the Acolytes to do so, she will.

The Primogen Council

Gangrel - Isotta Tomasson, an Ordo Dracul. NPC.

Daeva - Lady Winter White, a Daeva of the First Estate.

Ventrue - Fadi Ely, an Invictus grand-childe of Dominic Aelius. NPC.

Nosferatu - Ghandara Sinclair, a Nosferatu of the Ordo Dracul, alchemist, healer, and proprietor of Sinclair's Botanicals.

Mekhet - Claudine Nevin, a Lancea et Sanctum grand-childe of Theresa von Krieger. NPC.

Lancea et Sanctum - Nicolo de Vercelis, an inquisitor, anointed priest and Lord of the Church Eternal.

Invictus - Currently vacant, previously held by Alder Marcus T. Perperna.

Ordo Dracul - Dr. Willard J. Helms, a Gangrel Professor of Sociology and Ethics at UNO.

Circle of the Crone - Aurelie Fontenot, a Gangrel.

Carthian Movement - Conquista del Pan, a Daeva with membership in all five Covenants, known anarchist and instigator.

Seneschal to Dominic Aelius - Mahalia Molloye, an Invictus Ventrue. NPC.

Seneschal to Theresa von Krieger - Chen Campo, a Lancea et Sanctum Mekhet. NPC.

Seneschal to Erica Hartford - Dr. Hayder Allsopp, an Ordo Dracul Nosferatu. Allsop is a scientist, a biologist, of great talent but little renown outside the All Night Society. He tends toward wearing a labcoat even outside of his lab in the cellar of a nightclub he uses for territory, hunting grounds, and income - although he rarely manages to keep it clean. There are rumors that if you irritate Erica Hartford, she gives you to Allsop as experimental materials. NPC.

Werewolf Emissary - Kenregard the Third, a Cahalith Bone Shadow.

Changeling Emissary - Baak Mingzhu, a lunar Fairest of the Winter Court who also serves the Lost Freehold as Ambassador to the Praxis.

Beast Emissary - Aviya Provenza, a Lurker who Hungers for Prey. NPC.

Praxis Positions

  • Sheriff: - This position is one who enforces the law of the Triumvirate, loyal to them first and few after. Often, the Primogen Council will issue commands to the Sheriff, although they can be overridden by (and can never supercede) the Triumvirate. The Sheriff has the authority to destroy other Kindred when he deems it necessary in the line of duty, and to exert much influence in the process of investigating crimes against Praxis law.
  • Hounds: Appointed by the sheriff, these deputies assist the Sheriff and help him to police a large city, as well as adding extra muscle when he can’t handle a dangerous situation alone.
  • Scourge: As opposed to the Sheriff who enforces law, the Scourge enforces only punishments. When the Triumvirate decides someone must die, they send the Scourge to do the killing. This position is often as much a punishment as it is a reward - it offers no authority beyond following the direct orders of the Triumvirate, and much risk for very little honor or reward. No one likes an executioner.
  • Harpy: - In many cities, this position is informal - and indeed, many are called Harpies who are not appointed such, in New Orleans. The official Harpy of the city, however, is appointed by the Primogen Council, and reports to the city at large about the state of the Praxis, and information considered “need to know”...which may, often, include who’s embarrassed themselves, who’s on who’s shit list, and which member of the Primogen council has disappeared THIS month. The Harpy also serves to record official exchanges of Boons.
  • Talons: As a Sheriff has Hounds, a Harpy has Talons. Telling a Talon something guarantees the Harpy will know it - but many believe that the majority of the Harpy’s Talons are kept secret, ensuring said Harpy knows much more than anyone wants them to.
  • Keeper of Elysium: This position may be bestowed - but more frequently, it is simply declared. An Elysium is any place where violence is forbidden to the Kindred, and anyone strong enough to make such a claim and enforce it is that Elysium’s Keeper. Frequently, those declarations, when new, are tested...and it’s up to the Keeper to make sure no challenge goes unpunished.

Praxis Law

The First Tradition Shall Be Upheld.

In theory, this law should mean that all those who are not vampires should be kept from learning about vampires. In practice? Ghouls can be argued to be “of the blood” or not “of the blood” depending on the stance of the viewer. In New Orleans, the First Tradition is murkier still - the Triumvirate has declared that any signatory of the Shadow Accords can be considered “of the blood” for these purposes, and thus are exempt from being held to the Masquerade. In the past, signing a mortal to the Shadow Accords has been seen as an occasionally proper way to deal with a Breach of the Masquerade - if the mortal can qualify as a signatory, and the one who broke the Masquerade is in favor with someone powerful in the Praxis.

The Second Tradition Shall Be Upheld. Only the Triumvirate may grant permission to sire a childe.

This Tradition is enforced...inconsistently, throughout the past two or so centuries of New Orleans rule under the Triumvirate. Those in favor are often granted leniency; those who are not have had childer destroyed. Typically, those who Embrace without permission are forced into servitude, granting favors or vitae or submitting to Vinculum in punishment (sometimes, all three). Often the childe is included in the punishment. An example might be forcing Sire and Childe each to drink once from each member of the Triumvirate, provide one vitae per week for a year to each member of the Triumvirate, and serve in a dangerous or menial Praxis position for one year. While in theory the Triumvirate maintain the sole authority to grant or withdraw permission to sire childer, in practice they delegate this process to the members of the Primogen council.

The Third Tradition Shall Be Upheld.

This is one Tradition whose enforcement is ironclad - every vampire who has been proven to have taken part in Amaranth (usually through scrutiny by a Mekhet Primogen and Theresa von Krieger) has been destroyed, even, once, a favored childe of von Krieger herself. Note that this Tradition does not outlaw the slaying of another Kindred, simply the devouring of its heartsblood - Diablerie, or Amaranth. Vampire on vampire violence is not against the Shadow Accords, nor any of the Praxis laws - and the Triumvirate frequently turn a blind eye to lesser squabbles, unless the victim is in favor with someone important. Frequently, the murder of a favored vampire is seen as a violation of the next law.

No Kindred nor Kine shall oppose the will of the Triumvirate. This law is usually taken to mean: If you make a rule among your Covenant, Coterie, or other organization that opposes a law made by the Triumvirate, consequences commensurate to the crime will occur. Past examples are a Keeper of Elysium who demanded payment from Dominic Aelius for damages to his premises when the Ventrue of the Triumvirate broke Elysium peace to behead someone he’d deemed a traitor - and the Keeper was stripped of his position and kept in torpor for two years; and a Coterie who sought to claim territory within New Orleans and declare it neutral ground outside Praxis law who were captured and publicly burned.

So long as it respects the Triumvirate, the Primogen Council shall not be dissolved.

The Primogen Council was founded in 1865, after the second Carthian Revolt, as a means of pacifying the Movement. The Council was originally meant as an olive branch - a way for the less-well-represented Covenants to have a say in the decisions of the Praxis. But, given that the Triumvirate appoints members to the Primogen Council, can award more than one seat to a single individual, and frequently picks their childer and grandchilder for seats? More often, the Council is simply used to further oppress the Carthians and Acolytes. Traditionally, each Clan and Covenant have had at least one member on the Primogen council, meaning the number of members is usually at least ten. Seats can be awarded, however, for any reason - and taken away for the same. Frequently, the Carthian Movement has had their complaints against the Triumvirate punished with the removal of seats from all members of the Movement, at one point dwindling the Council down to a mere seven seats. Currently, thirteen vampires, a Bone Shadow, and a beast sit upon the Primogen Council.

The Primogen Council does the majority of the day to day ruling of the Praxis. They enforce the laws, dole out territory, and give away Praxis positions. The lion's share of politicking is done amongst the ranks of the Primogen, and that both means that they have much power...and that their positions are fleeting.

The Shadow Accords shall be respected.

The Shadow Accords are a set of laws which bind all supernatural and supernaturally in-the-know who sign on in New Orleans. After a bloody conflict between the Triumvirate and several united packs of werewolves, the immortal Council of Wardens stepped in to act as mediating force and helped forge what has, for the past eighty years, been a lasting peace and a stabilizing influence. The Shadow Accords dictate punishments for violence between the groups, means and methods of bypassing restrictions on said violence, and procedure for settling grievances between supernatural communities and dealing with mortals. The Triumvirate has grudgingly accepted the success of the Shadow Accords, and defends them publicly even if there are rumors of Accords violations whenever an enemy or rival of someone important suffers.

Praxis Relations

Werewolves: Tensions between the Praxis and the Protectorate of the werewolves are still high, in many cases. Werewolves hold grudges well across generations - and some vampires were around when the conflict that gave rise to the Shadow Accords came about. Cordial relations do occur, however. Werewolves have been known to join Coteries, but the Praxis in general sees these wolves as bodyguards at best and pets at worst - even if they are smart enough never to say so to a werewolf’s face.

The Protectors: The werewolf contemporaries of the Triumvirate are seen as analogous by many vampires who don’t know any better. Although the idea of electing “leaders” may be foreign to many vampires (outside the Carthian Movement), many vampires would be even more surprised to learn how little formal leadership the Protectors exert. The relationship between the Protectors and the Triumvirate is, publicly, one of mutual respect and politeness.

Beasts: Beasts are seen by some vampires as strange cousins; by others as creepy unwanted visitors with presumptions of family. Others see them as a threat to the Masquerade, and the Heroes they spawn as vampire hunters who haven’t gotten around to the vampire part yet.

The Apex: Maria Tarrasconi, the Apex of New Orleans’ Primordial Dream, might see herself as a sort of distant mother to the vampires of the city - but the Triumvirate treat her like a dangerous, unknowable enigma. The informal, familial nature of the control Tarrasconi holds over her Beasts is alien to vampires used to the iron control of the Triumvirate.

The Council of Wardens: To say that the vampires of the New Orleans Praxis are scared of the Council of Wardens would, perhaps, be overstating things...but not by much. It is rumored that nothing happens in the city without the Wardens knowing, without them seeing - which means, theoretically, that they might know where every Kindred haven is. The rumor that they can command the earth, plants, animals, and purportedly even the iron and asphalt of the streets and structures of the city to do their will means that very few are willing to risk the wrath of the group that spearheaded the Shadow Accords and brought a tense peace to New Orleans.