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How does a good ruler stay informed?

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  • How does a good ruler stay informed?

    Aside from boons to the nosferatu, how does a good prince or seneschal stay informed?

    Contacts are seemingly only mortal informants, what are good ways to form an information network among vampires?

    Any other advice?

  • #2
    Some ideas:

    Get a harpy to start snuggling your backside. Show them generosity, respect and that you are a leader worth following. The harpy will give you a direct line into Elysium gossip, and boost your own rep to boot.

    Identify your loyalists, and make them fill your gaps. There are always those who are afraid or awed by you, and they will want to prop up your powerbase, because they are part of it. Be their security, and they will give you their enemies.

    Make news! Be proactive. You know what is happening because you started it. The rumors on the floor, you started them. The secret dealings of others, you planned and brokered them. Everyone loves the image of the aloof prince with omniscient knowledge, but a good ruler acts, not merely reacts.


    Furthermore, I believe Carthage should be destroyed.

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    • #3
      Auspex users can find many things for you. Eavesdropping. Psychometry. Telepathy. Astral walking.

      Allies with their own contact network can feed you info.

      Bugging key areas. Tapping lines. Use resources and buy all companies running all public surveillance.

      There’s no reason you have to let anyone stay in the city. Make it an expectation that their rent is required. Either in the terms of info gathering or other services that help you and/or the Camarilla as a whole.

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      • #4
        The Prince "relies" (trust but verify) on the Seneschal, his or her progeny, thralls, and/or allies/pawns.

        Otherwise, it's either social connections and prestation or liberal use of Auspex, Dominate, and/or Obfuscate.

        My chronicle has eight primary Princes. The Malkavian has more levels of Auspex than rivals, so that one's easy. The older Brujah has a Nosferatu seneschal and an ear on the street, plus does favors for the Malkavian. The three Ventrue all work together, and have a very large number of pawns and catspaws that they regularly bring in for debriefings. The Toreador doesn't care so long as it doesn't disturb her domain. The Tremere is a Tremere. And the younger Brujah is too busy trying to keep her domain from exploding to bother gathering information from the greater metropolitan area -- but to the extent she does, it's because she whores herself out to the Malkavian.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
          There’s no reason you have to let anyone stay in the city. Make it an expectation that their rent is required. Either in the terms of info gathering or other services that help you and/or the Camarilla as a whole.
          This last bit is particularly effective with so-called "undesirables". Caitiff, Thin Bloods, the disgraced, and those of rare Bloodlines. Individuals who have little power or backing, that are often set adrift in the world. Never knowing when they'll be hunted down like vermin.

          Regardless of the leader's opinions of these Kindred, it is advantageous to have them in one's pocket. Grant them clemency - a place to call home in the city - in exchange for service. Show the slightest hint of mercy, and the desperate and displaced will fall over themselves to please their...savior. If other Elders in power in the territory openly despise them, the leader who harbors them will seem all the more magnanimous by contrast.

          Helping keep tabs on the rest of the city is a small price to pay for safety. That this will keep potentially disruptive elements busy is just the icing on the cake. As is giving them no reason to desire the company of Anarch agitators.

          Besides, the Sheriff always needs more hounds.


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          • #6
            Torture random people to death to gain information. Murder enough vampires that the ones who remain are easier to keep track of. Stab vampires in the face when they disagree with you over anything at all. And vampires who gossip, set them on fire.

            Information is important, but so is being untouchable and unknowable. Keep moving, know how to stay hidden, and watch and listen silently.

            As you gain information, use that to set people against each other in ways small and large. Get people to tell you their secrets.

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            • #7
              This reminds me of something I've occasionally thought about: how do Princes and such do normal vampire stuff like feeding while simultaneously staying close to their bodyguards and security? Do they have victims brought to themselves? That would mean Ventrue would have a very difficult time keeping their feeding restriction secret. Which would result in herd-attacks from rivals. Yet if they do hunt in private, wouldn't they be assassinated often while out hunting far away from their security?

              It's a complication that never seems to get brought up in games, where the Prince usually seems to be like a World of Warcraft quest-giver, forever in his office with an exclamation-mark over his head.

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              • #8
                Why do we fill out a bunch of information that seems needless when donating blood? Perhaps it’s a consensus created by Ventrue blood bank owners to filter.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for all the ideas, theyre all very good. Especially Grumpy's.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                    Torture random people to death to gain information. Murder enough vampires that the ones who remain are easier to keep track of. Stab vampires in the face when they disagree with you over anything at all. And vampires who gossip, set them on fire.
                    You want to wassail?


                    Because this is how you wassail...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jamiemalk View Post

                      You want to wassail?


                      Because this is how you wassail...
                      ^This.

                      I, for one, would rule that torturing someone at all - let alone to death - is sufficient to bottom out a vampire's Humanity. It's the textbook definition of a "heinous act".

                      It's not something I'd recommend a vampire risk doing once, let alone make it standard operating procedure. There's a reason hardcore torture fanatics among vampires tend to be Sabbat followers of alternative Paths, like Tzimisce of Metamorphosis or Bones.

                      (And no, getting a flunky to do it isn't a dodge. Were I the Storyteller, I'd rule that any vampire who knowingly orders the act to be done has effectively committed the act themself.)


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                      • #12
                        The typical local vampire community is only a few dozen Kindred. It is not hard for a single person to keep tabs on everyone else in such a small community. A typical Prince stays informed about his community the same way ordinary people do in a community of that size - you interact with people, forge alliances, use social pressure, and distribute favors. At that low level of politicking, everything depends on the personal charisma, dignity, competence, and people skills of the individual person (and the personal alliances he forms).

                        It's less about Machiavelli's the Prince, and more about Frans de Waal's Chimpanzee Politics.

                        There certainly are disadvantages because of the vampiric powers that others have, but princes are vampires too and likewise have advantages because of the powers they have. Auspex is huge. Presence and Dominate to get people to tell you stuff is good. Physical threats from Potence and the like work. Turning into a wolf or bat allows you to spy and track people. Animalism to provide you with animal servants that can do the same and talk back to you also works. Obfuscate allows you to observe unseen. Most of the Disciplines give you something to use.

                        Now there is a certain anonymity that comes from hiding in plain site among humans. But most Kindred are not autarchs who live alone and never interact with others of their kind. They are still social creatures and will interact with others of their kind to a certain degree. And the ones who do fall off the grid - well, why would you care about them anyway?

                        Given time, most things that are not absolute secrets are going to be picked up by others, if people care enough to pay attention.

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                        • #13
                          I think an information network is less of an NPC giving you a plot hook and more of several NPCs giving you puzzle pieces you have to fit together and react accordingly. Most cities have a limited number of influential groups, businesses, or locations. If you are the price you should be at least a majority share holder if not the complete owner of most of them. So the normal employees and ghouls will pass a lot of relevant data to the prince.

                          As Black Fox said vampire communities are tiny, like San Francisco would have like 6 vampires based on the mortal population ratio. So it is less of requiring an information network to keep track of things and more of paying attention to who is doing what during your shift at your night job.

                          Larger information networks only come into play when you are doing things like going to war with neighboring cities or are looking to expand your princely territory.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jamiemalk View Post

                            You want to wassail?


                            Because this is how you wassail...



                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks again... he won't torture people too much. I like to let out just enough info to stir others to action.
                              Last edited by Talvas; 12-24-2019, 07:40 AM.

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