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  • #16
    I think the upper Camarilla may get involved in city politics if your city is strategically important, or if, y'know, someone high up owes a favour or has a grudge and wants to meddle. But otherwise no.

    Boons being graded is something that was just assumed at my table but after a while I thought it was a bit... unnatural in hindsight. Now I consider it a term used for gameplay, kinda like "Three dots of Mentor"


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    • #17
      My view on the subject is that all the people saying, "If you declare yourself Prince and nobody stakes you for the sun then you're the Prince."

      Being a Prince is essentially about the willingness of everyone else in your peer group being willing to follow your orders. The thing is that it's probably about a dozen to a hundred or so people so it's a lot more intimate a sort of prestige than something where you are ruling over faceless thousands or millions.The thing is that I also think being a Prince is a combination of getting the next most powerful group of Elders in the city (or Ancilla) to back you up. This requires a combination of bribery and intimidation with the Prince who is in charge either being their puppet or so much stronger that they are unable to enforce their will even collectively.

      I will say that Justicars CAN remove Princes. My house-rule is that Justicars are the only people in the Camarilla who can remove a Prince and an Archon can only report them to their masters. Removing a Prince isn't necessarily a thing they do often but comes up when one does something stupid like making peace with Anarchs or protecting Thin Bloods. A handful of Princes are so decadent and cruel that the Justicar makes an example of them too but you have to be SPECTACULARLY awful to have them do that.

      For the most part, if a person too weak to be Prince becomes Prince then he won't be Prince long. The system is designed to weed out the weak and if the city can't pick a candidate then one will be eventually appointed.
      Last edited by CTPhipps; 02-28-2021, 05:21 PM.


      Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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      • #18
        Weak princes might also just become puppet princes to someone else. There are plenty of elders happy to let a stooge rule the city in their name while being the designated bad guy to angry Anarchs.

        When a justicar deposes a prince, I imagine they prefer to do so via conclave so the process seems as legitimate as possible. The gameline often seems to forget that every vampire at a conclave gets a vote, and that this is actually touted as one of the major perks of Camarilla membership. If a prince's subjects all vote them out under an affair overseen by a justicar, it is very hard for the now-former prince to argue they have a legitimate claim to rule anymore. The justicar probably works behind the scenes and threatens/bribes local elders to get their clans to vote a certain way if the conclave's outcome seems in doubt.

        Summarily removing princes from power is trickier. It ultimately depends how powerful the prince is and whether defecting to the Anarchs, Sabbat, or simply declaring their city independent (ala Siegfried in Vancouver) is a viable option. Jochen van Nuys only takes a politely-worded letter to remove as prince, but Gustav Breidenstein once staked the Tremere justicar for cheesing him off and shipped him back to Vienna with a sarcastic apology note. Some princes are powerful enough on their home ground to stand up to justicars, and removing them is an ambitious project rather than a summary decree.

        A justicar who really wants a powerful prince gone is likely to enlist the city's other elders, promise one of them the old prince's job, and plan what amounts to a Camarilla-sponsored group. Marissa in D.C. by Night is a good example of this: the justicars think she's exerting too much personal influence over the federal government, so they go to her lover Vitel and promise him the throne if he rules with a lighter hand. Vitel agrees, lures Marissa into an ambush by Camarilla archons, and blames her death on the Giovanni. The justicars don't have to prove to anyone that they're badasses, but arbitrarily executing princes is the sort of thing that turns other princes against them and leads to efforts to curtail their powers.
        Last edited by False Epiphany; 02-28-2021, 07:12 PM.


        Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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        • #19
          First, what is a Prince? That's the vampire in the city capable of browbeating, literally beating, horse trading, or appeasing the other vampires in the city to the point they have no issue with the statement, "I'm in charge". Or they're the pawn of and scapegoat for the vampire(s) powerful enough to say "he's in charge". Age, generation, contacts, de facto status, all the things vampires say go into it, it's generally all bullshit when it's time to pass around titles; might makes right, and nobody in a position to choose who holds the bag when shit goes down is going to make themselves obligatory bag-holder.

          Hence why, for all the circle-jerking about noblesse oblige, right to rule, and the importance of formality the Ventrue engage in their nonstop farcical crusade to rule cities, Ventrue Princes generally come in two flavors: ancillae and methuselahs. That is to say, too young to recognize the full implications of having a perpetual target on your back or too power-hungry to care, or powerful enough to not give a shit about the perpetual target on your back. The ones with their heads screwed on right long since figured out one can still rule a city while someone else has the perpetual target on their back.

          Second, what's the Camarilla? In practice it's more of a treaty organization or confederation than anything else. Say what you will about Justicars and Archons, they're there to manage the big shit and aren't going to care what goes on individual cities except in the case of major fuck-ups or multiple-city sieges. Cities of key strategic importance are going to warrant more attention than others, but that's as far as it goes.

          What matters more to an individual Prince isn't what some fuck-off Justicar or Archon thinks of them. As long as the Prince is keeping the city relatively in check, even rival or enemy Justicars/Archons aren't going to come sniffing around for excuses to depose a Prince. It just isn't worth the time, effort, or risk. What matters is other Princes, especially neighboring Princes. They're the ones individual Princes and apparatus will have to work with on nightly affairs like keeping tabs on enemies, managing blood hunts and Masquerade breaches, communicating prestation, and mutual defense when the shit hits the fan.

          Chuck the Ventrue names himself Prince of Boise. Great, well done. Chuck better have good relationships with vamps in Seattle, Portland, and SLC because those are the only cities within quick flying/driving distance -- and through some very lupine-friendly territory, no less.

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          • #20
            A random bit of amusement but it's interesting to compare Chicago's various Princes.

            1. Maxwell: Maxwell was a powerful Prince of old blood and with a strong backer but eventually got overthrown because Helena pushed back against the Brujah and the Ventrue hated the idea of not being in command even when a Neonate was leading them (Lodin).

            2. Lodin: Lodin was largely a puppet Prince for centuries as he was flamboyant enough to be the center of attention for Anarch resistance to his reign but powerless without the Primogen's help. He was also well-liked by the Ventrue in London and the Camarilla as a whole. He also had a Blood Bound army of Ventrue childer.

            3. Critias: Critias headed up the Council of Primogen for about 20 years and what do you call the Eldest and most powerful of a Primogen? The Prince. However, Critias never assumed the title directly and they decided to put Joseph Peterson in charge.

            4. Joseph Peterson: I can't help but think he was meant to be another puppet prince but Peterson didn't have the same level of charisma or power to be a proper target. In the end, his limitations made him get overthrown far earlier than expected.

            5. Kevin Jackson: Due to a combination of the Beckoning and other things, he's probably far more powerful than any Prince other than Critias (and even more than him since the latter is now toadying to him). However, he's not really been tested either.
            Last edited by CTPhipps; 03-02-2021, 07:05 PM.


            Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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            • #21
              The idea that the camarilla has.. legitimacy is perhaps i think one of the greatest mistake I think people make. There is no legitimacy in the camarilla. It is functionally a criminal conspiracy. Now like much of the theatrics are all about Showing one's power. You don't have some sort of ritual to prove you are prince as because that power is external. Rather you have your elaborate "I AM A MOTHER FUCKING PRINcE" party in your Elysium to show you are power.

              So he anounces himself a prince, invites people who he wants to impress with his power or support him to his "I'm a prince party" he may hand out boons ("you come to me on the day of my Praxis and ask for a favor.. so be it.."). The prince must create his own legitimacy by power. And its not 100 percent I am sure pre v5 there were Elders who legitimately did not consider any New World Prince a Prince for example.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Lian View Post
                The idea that the camarilla has.. legitimacy is perhaps i think one of the greatest mistake I think people make. There is no legitimacy in the camarilla. It is functionally a criminal conspiracy. Now like much of the theatrics are all about Showing one's power. You don't have some sort of ritual to prove you are prince as because that power is external. Rather you have your elaborate "I AM A MOTHER FUCKING PRINcE" party in your Elysium to show you are power.

                So he anounces himself a prince, invites people who he wants to impress with his power or support him to his "I'm a prince party" he may hand out boons ("you come to me on the day of my Praxis and ask for a favor.. so be it.."). The prince must create his own legitimacy by power. And its not 100 percent I am sure pre v5 there were Elders who legitimately did not consider any New World Prince a Prince for example.
                I think the issue is the fact that the Camarilla's legitimacy is the legitimacy of fear. At least prior to the Anarchs carving their niche, if you declared yourself Lord of Milwaukee, then you WOULD be getting a visit from the Camarilla eventually.



                Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                  I think the issue is the fact that the Camarilla's legitimacy is the legitimacy of fear. At least prior to the Anarchs carving their niche, if you declared yourself Lord of Milwaukee, then you WOULD be getting a visit from the Camarilla eventually.

                  I don't think archons show up for every Prince who loses power. If it becomes Sabbat or anarch that's an issue. but the other way around is about you swimming with the sharks. You show them you can swim. YOu are a prince by power if you do not have the power to show you are a prince you aren't. If you want to play a game where titles are backed up by farcicle aquatic cerimonies Changeling is right there.

                  There is no legitimate succession, only power.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Lian View Post


                    I don't think archons show up for every Prince who loses power. If it becomes Sabbat or anarch that's an issue. but the other way around is about you swimming with the sharks. You show them you can swim. YOu are a prince by power if you do not have the power to show you are a prince you aren't. If you want to play a game where titles are backed up by farcicle aquatic cerimonies Changeling is right there.

                    There is no legitimate succession, only power.
                    If what you are getting at is that the Camarilla will not spend a lot of time gate-keeping who claims the title of "Prince" as long as they uphold the Masquerade, calls themselves "Camarilla" when asked whatever they feel in their unbeating heart, and otherwise don't make a mess of things, I generally agree with you.

                    But I think you're getting a bit too hung up on the word "legitimacy." It seems like you're applying it in a kind of social political sense regarding what is a source of just and moral authority for a government. But "legitimacy" from the context of vampires might mean something rather different. Remember that the Camarilla is essentially neo-feudal, and feudal, or "old boys club," notions of "legitimacy" could be understood as being applicable to some extent. Part of that is yes, might makes right. But also snobbish notions about propriety and heritage that may not keep a random upstart from claiming the title of Prince, but might have significant impact on their relations with the Princes of neighbouring Camarilla Domains, their potential rivals.

                    And separately, having some sense of "Camarilla legitimacy" as discussed above, making sure to maintain a Masquerade and make sure your Domain doesn't become a Problem, exists. I don't think the claim "there is no legitimacy, only power" holds up entirely, to the extent that the Camarilla will have standards of what qualifies as a "legitimate" Camarilla domain, with a Camarilla Prince that follows Camarilla Traditions. It might not be a ton of effort for a vampire to go with the flow, but making the decision not to can have serious consequences. Even if it doesn't mean that a Justicar comes calling to knock you over some night when they don't have a bunch of other stuff going on, it means you have a harder time finding outside help if the Sabbat decide to roll into your town.

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                    • #25
                      But does a prince want to be you?

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                        2. Lodin: Lodin was largely a puppet Prince for centuries as he was flamboyant enough to be the center of atteniton for Anarch resistance to his reign but powerless without their help. He was also well-liked by the Ventrue in London and the Camarilla as a whole. He also had a Blood Bound army of Ventrue childer.
                        I would argue Lodin was not a puppet Prince. He was just a weak Prince. He simply had the misfortune to become Prince in a city where there were a lot of exceedingly old vampires of potent blood. He was relatively weak, but that is not the same as being a puppet. Lodin was often an administrator for policy determined by the Primogen, but he was obviously gaining relative power every decade and by the time CbN was published, he could divide the Primogen council to his way on a lot of issues. He had his own agenda and made progress on it which a puppet could not.

                        I see Lodin as being the equivalent of those kings in Europe that helped make the transition from a medieval monarchy bound by feudal oaths to a monarchy that had assumed powers of sufficient taxation, curtailed the nobles' privileges, and expand his power. I think a comparison to Louis XI of France would be good. It's just that Lodin had not yet succeeded by the time of CbN - but he was getting there. Lodin clearly had real leadership skills which a puppet would not. And he had ambition. One reason he had so many problems is that his ambition and growing power would cause the Primogen to smack him down, but he always recovered.

                        When Lodin became Prince, he was a neonate with several decades of experience. By the time of CbN's publishing, he was an ancillae and could claim a surprising number of victories - seizing praxis from Maxwell, being accepted by the Primogen, defeating Modius, defeating the Anarchs in '68, and finally defeating Maldavis. He had also seemed to cultivate a lot of allies among his fellow Ventrue Princes and was an acknowledged power within conclaves. He often made mistakes, but he learned from them.

                        His main problem was that Critias, Inyanga, and Khalid was a fairly solid block against him in a Primogen council that had its disagreements, but always agreed to act as one to whatever vote passed among them. Any change that affected the Primogen council's make up could transform Lodin immediately from a relatively weak Prince to a relatively strong one.

                        Modius was a puppet Prince. And it could arguably be said he was Lodin's puppet Prince.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                          Modius was a puppet Prince. And it could arguably be said he was Lodin's puppet Prince.
                          The funny thing about Modius is that I've had a lot of fun using him as a "Lethal Joke Character" where the PCs assume he's easily defeated. Then I unleash the Dominate. The sad fact about Modius is he's a joke of a Prince due to his city being a place that has fallen into horrible circumstances but if he were to move to Chicago (and submit to Lodin) then he'd be a pretty potent Elder and a respectable Harpy. He refuses to abandon his worthless Domain, though, so he's an utter joke.

                          One game had me reveal that Modius isn't even the architect of all his own woes but that he was Dominated by Lucian (A 2000 year old Gangrel, weak blood or not) into being the Prince as a distraction. That way Lucian could carry out his own machinations and schemes without anyone paying attention.


                          Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                            The sad fact about Modius is he's a joke of a Prince due to his city being a place that has fallen into horrible circumstances but if he were to move to Chicago (and submit to Lodin) then he'd be a pretty potent Elder and a respectable Harpy. He refuses to abandon his worthless Domain, though, so he's an utter joke.
                            I could also see him as a pretty effective Anarch, or at least backer of Anarchs, if he were to do that. 1e Chicago has Modius' in the same coterie as Hinds' socialists. Most of them had unfavorable attitudes towards him, but he was still part of the coterie, and was a credible rival to Lodin in the early 20th century.

                            If he were really determined to fight Lodin, I could see him moving to Chicago and serving as the Anarchs' inside man on the elders' movements. I don't think he could depose Lodin by himself, but he could have been a valuable asset to Maldavis during the Council Wars, and possibly been able to parlay that into a position like seneschal in the new administration. He'd be disliked by most Anarchs, but Maldavis and the older Anarchs would recognize his value. The city's non-primogen elders and "high clans" wouldn't be thrilled over Maldavis as prince, but having someone like Modius in a position of authority would help mollify them. In time, he might have even been able to depose her by leveraging distaste over a Caitiff Anarch prince. The primogen ultimately don't value Maldavis as anything more than a tool and would probably have been fine replacing her with a more "respectable" prince if Modius showed he was willing to follow their orders. Which Annabelle probably could have convinced him to.

                            Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                            I would argue Lodin was not a puppet Prince. He was just a weak Prince. He simply had the misfortune to become Prince in a city where there were a lot of exceedingly old vampires of potent blood. He was relatively weak, but that is not the same as being a puppet. Lodin was often an administrator for policy determined by the Primogen, but he was obviously gaining relative power every decade and by the time CbN was published, he could divide the Primogen council to his way on a lot of issues. He had his own agenda and made progress on it which a puppet could not.
                            I think it's true that Lodin may have been more successful than his detractors give him credit for. He's able to make friends with Queen Anne, beats Modius during their early power struggle, successfully uses conclaves to then turn Modius into his puppet, and gained respect throughout the Camarilla for his handling of the Anarch rebellions in the '60s. Lodin's power was steadily increasing throughout the 20th century, to the point that he started Embracing large numbers of progeny without the primogen's permission (i.e., actually exercising a prince's privileges), and even that wasn't enough to turn them against him until he crossed a line by Embracing Annabelle's descendant's boyfriend. The Council Wars were basically the primogen's attempts to rein him in by proving they could install another prince if they wanted to. Which they did. Maldavis would have beaten him if he hadn't admitted defeat and begged them to stop supporting her.

                            I think Lodin would have rebelled again in the future, which the primogen clearly considered a possibility when they kept Maldavis alive. But at least in '91, his ambition to rule as prince in his own right had been dealt a serious setback.
                            Last edited by False Epiphany; 03-02-2021, 08:52 PM.


                            Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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