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High Clan/Low Clan; Why was this a thing?

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  • #31
    It surprises me that it is seen as illogical that immortal creatures create societal distinctions to make themselves feel important and humilate creatures they think are beneath them.

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    • #32
      Yeah but they already have enough of those to make sense, "Neonate" "kine" "juicebox". No doubt the diverse vampires of the dark age had more colourful distinctions in their local municipalities. But High/Low clan as a widespread idea that's worth paying attention too? It doesn't serve the interest of anyone (except perhaps the Toreador)


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      • #33
        So on the subject of the High Clan/Low Clan divide, could this divide exist in other parts of the world, but perhaps with different Clans being considered "high" and "low"? For example in India the Ravnos would probably be considered a High Clan whereas perhaps the Brujah, Tzimisce or Lasombra might be considered Low Clans.

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        • #34
          DAV20 said such a thing; In Cairo for instance, the Settites are "high clan" (Though I have my reservations that such an unholy clan could maintain it's grip on the place over the millenia.)

          Ravnos in India though? That's a whole kettle of fish. First off, India's a huge mess of different folks, that subcontinent has near twice the amount of people than the entirity of europe in the modern day (and yeah there's some factors here that wouldn't come to play in the medieval, but the point still stands. I'm also not including areas that were India like Pakistan or Bengal) Second, The Ravnos have their own Caste system in India and perhaps the warrior caste's efforts are appreciated. My main issue is that, well, the Ravnos are only especially good against fighting Changelings, most clans do better than in terms of discipline spread, and the bloodline's issue with Vice and humanity should really keep them as outsiders 9 times out of 10.


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          • #35
            Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
            Yeah but they already have enough of those to make sense, "Neonate" "kine" "juicebox". No doubt the diverse vampires of the dark age had more colourful distinctions in their local municipalities. But High/Low clan as a widespread idea that's worth paying attention too? It doesn't serve the interest of anyone (except perhaps the Toreador)
            Well the whole thing is that Ventrue desperately do not want to see other vampires as equals.



            Which is the REAL reason that the Tzimisce and Lasombra were left out of the Camarilla. Too many chiefs that way.
            Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-16-2021, 04:29 PM.


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

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            • #36
              That seems rather out of character for them. Or at least, it's not in line with -how Ventrue would act if they were smart and worked in their best interests- and is far more -How out of touch liberals want to see the embodiment of their political enemy- which, I suppose, is an all to common method for Ventrue to get shafted. Realistically, Ventrue are going to have an intrinsic need to get as many people as they can on their side, or at least not turn them against them, because the best possible way to protect your very precious special herd is to ensure that you have as few enemies as possible in the first place. Open contempt is a really fucking stupid idea when your enemies are as powerful as you and you have an easily exploitable weakness (If you do have an easy feeding restriction and don't care, the rest of the clan will keep you in line for their interests)

              Ventrue will never threaten their bottom line. They will only take safe bets.
              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post


              Which is the REAL reason that the Tzimisce and Lasombra were left out of the Sabbat. Too many chiefs that way.
              I think you meant to say something else?

              But, if I go by what I think you want to say: I think the Tzmisce and Lasombra try very hard to repress Sabbat Ventrue. If left to grow, the clan would naturally dominate and probably de-radicalize the Sabbat. They're better leaders than the top 3 sabbat clans combined. Unless they're LARPing for St Gustav, those Ventrue have little to no chance of ruling the Sabbat.


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              • #37
                Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                But, if I go by what I think you want to say: I think the Tzmisce and Lasombra try very hard to repress Sabbat Ventrue. If left to grow, the clan would naturally dominate and probably de-radicalize the Sabbat.
                I'm reminded that the early books stated some things that were quickly forgotten in Revised. The first is the importance of the Brujah anti-tribu in the Sabbat, and that they are the leaders of the Loyalist movement which the Lasombra and Tzimsice constantly struggle against. And who are the closest allies of the Brujah anti-tribu? The Ventrue anti-tribu who are also key supporters of the Loyalists. It's not stated, but seems to be implied that the Ventrue provide the leadership to the Loyalists while the Brujah provide the numbers and passion. The Ventrue anti-tribu are also said to be a key factor in the sect's survival by retreating into Scandinavia originally, and being prominent Noddist scholars. They also seem to have been the instigators of the Second Sabbat Civil War.

                But Revised dumped the whole Loyalist movement so it could concentrate on its crusade metaplot, so neither the Brujah AT or Ventrue AT were given much identity.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                  That seems rather out of character for them. Or at least, it's not in line with -how Ventrue would act if they were smart and worked in their best interests- and is far more -How out of touch liberals want to see the embodiment of their political enemy- which, I suppose, is an all to common method for Ventrue to get shafted. Realistically, Ventrue are going to have an intrinsic need to get as many people as they can on their side, or at least not turn them against them, because the best possible way to protect your very precious special herd is to ensure that you have as few enemies as possible in the first place. Open contempt is a really fucking stupid idea when your enemies are as powerful as you and you have an easily exploitable weakness (If you do have an easy feeding restriction and don't care, the rest of the clan will keep you in line for their interests)
                  The problem with this logic is that it is utterly against how people in power actually behave, work, or do. Egalitarianism has never in the history of mankind EVER worked as the primary behavior of people in power. Quite the opposite, people who attempt to spread their domains, do their very best to institute a permanent underclass and restrict their rights as much as possible. They attempt to accumulate and horde power in a minority rather than share it.

                  The Ventrue, who are the WORST of human rulers [because they are vampires and thus human dictator + Beast], are not going to behave differently from 13,000 years of precedent on how elite overclasses distribute power and rule empires.

                  Or the short version: The Roman Patricians fought tooth and nail to avoid sharing power with the Plebs, then the rest of Italy's city states, then Roman citizens altogether.


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

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                    The problem with this logic is that it is utterly against how people in power actually behave, work, or do.
                    Can you reference some actual academic source for such bold assertion? Because saying that no person in power ever treat others as equals, nor pretend to do so is quite a powerful statement, and I'm pretty sure it isn't true. I'm sure that both actual and pretense egalitarianism exist, proportions aside. And I'm pretty sure even that some really abusive rulers pretend to egalitarianism, so even the "They're Kindred So Evil" isn't a valid argument.


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                    • #40
                      The Ventrue, who are the WORST of human rulers [because they are vampires and thus human dictator + Beast], are not going to behave differently from 13,000 years of precedent on how elite overclasses distribute power and rule empires.
                      Julia Antasia, a Ventrue methuselah, headed up an entire in clan faction whose goal across the Dark Medieval was to try and restore the power sharing arrangement between clans of the Eternal Senate in terms of how she saw its potential. This was something of a Camarilla philosophical precursor in terms of the attitudes of "we should have a multi clan body." While a minority, they were sizable and powerful enough to make Hardestadt angry and leery of their influence, and ironically compared to the attitudes of, say, the more dominant at the time Black Cross Ventrue, their perspective ultimately kinda won (not in anything even approaching a complete sense, since the Camarilla in no way resembles a power sharing arrangement of equals as far as how its elders rule over its, you know, not elders, or even simply how its princes rule over its cities, but still, the influence is there simply in the idea of the Camarilla as a multi clan bloc that is ultimately ruled over by an arrangement between multiple clans as far as the inner circle, justicars and what have you).

                      As far as clans being monoliths in their political approaches, you want VtM to be one way, but it's the other way.

                      As a general note, if the Ventrue were as incompetent and hollow as you keep insisting they are (despite the actual setting material giving them any number of successes across.. history itself really), they would have ceased to exist as a clan rather long ago.

                      Since we're there.

                      Well the whole thing is that Ventrue desperately do not want to see other vampires as equals.
                      So as a clan, the Ventrue are no different than any other clan in the setting? None of whom with any real honesty, as far as some broad sense of things, regard any other clan as a genuine peer so much as, at best, a valued subordinate or a grudgingly respected threat?

                      Which is the REAL reason that the Tzimisce and Lasombra were left out of the Camarilla. Too many chiefs that way.
                      Where in printed setting material does it say this?
                      Last edited by MarkK; 09-16-2021, 05:22 PM.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                        Can you reference some actual academic source for such bold assertion? Because saying that no person in power ever treat others as equals, nor pretend to do so is quite a powerful statement, and I'm pretty sure it isn't true. I'm sure that both actual and pretense egalitarianism exist, proportions aside. And I'm pretty sure even that some really abusive rulers pretend to egalitarianism, so even the "They're Kindred So Evil" isn't a valid argument.
                        And yet feudalism certainly never has. Which the Camarilla is based around the principles of. The principles of feudalism depend on the idea of an elite caste of privilege ruling over a lesser cast of oppressed. There is the haves (Harpies) and the have nots (everyone else). Prestige and status would not be jockeyed for if not for the fact that domain and position as come from a wellspring that wishes to hold it over those who don't have it. It is also a finite resource.

                        From the very beginning the Camarilla has been a gerontocracy that is defined by age, generation, and force of Disciplines. Examples of egalitarianism also wouldn't invalidate the point either I think. Because the issue is that rigid power structures are inherently non-egalitarian and vast amounts of philosophy debate not this point but whether it is a acceptable trade off for prosperity and safety.

                        Still, if you want me to admit that I am making a overly broad statement, certainly. I don't think we've seen any example of a non-heirarchal non-tyrannical vampire city, though, least of all enforced by the Ventrue. Furthermore, I do believe that European feudalism as practiced by them is kind of based around oppression because of the simple logic of Sterling Archer.

                        How the Ventrue view the world



                        That's just my .02.

                        Which the TLDR version is: The Ventrue, Toreador, and Tremere would probably be less hated if they weren't such elitist snobby assholes but they are and like it that way.
                        Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-16-2021, 07:57 PM.


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

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                          Or the short version: The Roman Patricians fought tooth and nail to avoid sharing power with the Plebs, then the rest of Italy's city states, then Roman citizens altogether.
                          I think this is a strange assertion because historians mostly agree that the big reason Rome ended up ruling the Classical world around the Mediterranean is that the Romans were really good at sharing power (relative to other groups). The Plebians were brought into the Senate. By the era of Roman history most of us know about (the Late Republic), the conflict between Patricians and Plebians were at an end and irrelevant. The conflict that brought down the Republic, that between of the optimates and populares, were much more complex than pitting one group versus another. The Romans routinely had "new men", the novo homo, rise to power. And Rome gradually expanded citizenship, at a time when that had real meaning, throughout Italy and elsewhere.

                          Now of course there were conflicts, brutal wars, and other things all about this. It didn't happen without pushback. But the Romans, and the elites within Rome, were known to be far more willing to share power than any other Classical state. It's why it was they and not the Carthaginians, the Greeks, or anyone else became the universal empire. The fact that there was pushback and conflict doesn't change that. That the Romans fought the Social War, defeated their opponents, and then essentially gave the people they just defeated everything they wanted anyway was not typical of the states of the Classical World (or any other time).

                          The Ventrue of course are still vampires and they want to be top dogs. They aren't good guys. Yet everything in the setting tells us that they do have some sense of noblesse oblige, and that they have a rather enlightened sense of self-interest compared to others. I think that is a major reason the clan seems to have been one of those that weathered the Anarch Revolt the best, and were the ones who managed to get a bunch of other clans to form the Camarilla. In contrast, the elders of the Lasombra and Tzimisce were so resented by their neonates that once freed of the blood bond they exterminated most of them (and who in turn began repeating such bad behavior that no less than three Sabbat civil wars resulted).

                          The major reason for this, IMO, is that the early destruction of their antedeluvian deprived the clan of a protector, and it forced his childer to work together and cooperate. It caused a clan culture of the Ventrue channeling their conflicts and power struggles into a more productive and less self-destructing manner. And that spills over into their dealings with other clans at times. They ruled Rome with the Malkavians. In the Dark Ages, they were aided a lot by the Cappadocians. They were instrumental in bringing the Camarilla together and ended up (mostly) reconciling (enough) with the Brujah who had hated them as blood rivals for over 1500 years. And in the Camarilla, you can probably say its a joint project between them and the Toreador. They were the ones, after all, that pushed the idea that all vampires of all clans were Kindred. That doesn't mean that there aren't exceptions, mistakes, blow ups and so on. But the Ventrue have a very good track record in the setting.

                          Now their culture isn't unique. Many clans have some kind of clan culture that encourages some kind of cooperation. One can argue all the original seven clans of the Camarilla have that to a degree. That may explain why it was these that came together. But the Ventrue seem to have an edge in that and a much stronger reputation for doing so over all. They don't need to be perfect in this regard. It's a matter of relative degrees, and the Ventrue have it enough that its pertinent to the setting.

                          The big problem with CTPhipps arguments here is that he's not addressing the arguments actually made. He's interpreting them as something else and then attacking that. Therefore when someone says something like "the Ventrue cooperate with each other" or "the Ventrue are willing to share power with others," he responds with "No, the Ventrue aren't radical egalitarians who govern by consent!" That's not what people are saying, but he keeps ignoring that and repeating it. The statement that Ventrue are known to cooperate and even share power is not the same as they are radical egalitarian anarcho-syndicalists. Nobody is saying they are. They are just saying the Ventrue typically share enough power and cooperate with others that they are able to obtain consent to their own leadership in a way that other clans don't, or do less well overall.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                            The big problem with CTPhipps arguments here is that he's not addressing the arguments actually made. He's interpreting them as something else and then attacking that. Therefore when someone says something like "the Ventrue cooperate with each other" or "the Ventrue are willing to share power with others," he responds with "No, the Ventrue aren't radical egalitarians who govern by consent!" That's not what people are saying, but he keeps ignoring that and repeating it. The statement that Ventrue are known to cooperate and even share power is not the same as they are radical egalitarian anarcho-syndicalists. Nobody is saying they are. They are just saying the Ventrue typically share enough power and cooperate with others that they are able to obtain consent to their own leadership in a way that other clans don't, or do less well overall.
                            Yeah, except no, that is not my argument at all. It's pretty much the exact opposite of it.

                            My argument is the Ventrue are a group that cooperates with the Toreador, and later Tremere (in place of the Lasombra) to do their best to make sure that there is a rigid hierarchy of blood in the Dark Ages. They are a people who benefit from establishing a "in crowd" and an out crowd. If I just thought the Ventrue couldn't share power then I wouldn't be arguing for High Clans vs. Low Clans at all. The issue is they have a vested interest in this distinction and I'm confused why there's an argument that they wouldn't be invested in maintaining this artificial distinction. All of the Ventrue cooperation with them of "superior blood" among the High Clans that you're arguing for is HOW the High Clan/Low Clan distinction is maintained.

                            I am not arguing the Ventrue don't know how to share power and prestige, I am arguing they do it well to force the majority of low clan vampires under their heel.

                            This is all about them being the head of the In-Crowd and they need support of other clans to make an Out-Crowd.

                            My whole argument is that the High Clan/Low Clan thing is an important part of Ventrue culture in the Dark Ages.

                            Edit:

                            In simpler terms, I'm arguing that a huge part of V:TM is about the artificial and weird heirarchies that the powerful make in the game. You can't remove them or even compromise them very much because so much of the game is built on it. It's also not terribly unrealistic to history.
                            Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-16-2021, 08:54 PM.


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

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                            • #44
                              In simpler terms, I'm arguing that a huge part of V:TM is about the artificial and weird heirarchies that the powerful make in the game. You can't remove them or even compromise them very much because so much of the game is built on it. It's also not terribly unrealistic to history.
                              The content of your posts to this point contradicts the idea of claiming that this is what you have been posting, from calling the Ventrue the worst of rulers, to saying they somehow squeezed the Lasombra and Tzimisce out of the Camarilla out of fear and jealousy that they would be rulers in it, as opposed to the reasons that the Lasombra and Tzimisce did not want to join the Camarilla (which again, where does the game say the Ventrue did that in an actual book for the game? I'm not asking rhetorically). Your posts read as though they distort the idea that there's been a bunch of work in the writing to portray even the Ventrue with some measure of nuance and spread of perspective and approach and rationale. To this point they have read as not much more as seeming to want to go on at any given opportunity about how the Ventrue clan are a bunch of inept power mongers trying to grasp themselves badly over anything in reach.

                              To even simply keep in the Dark Medieval without even touching the modern era, the era your read of is increasingly baffling as far as setting material, the Black Cross Ventrue (who wanted to dominate other vampires) are not the Antasian Ventrue (who wanted power sharing relationships with other vampires based in a senatorial structure) who are not the Antonian Ventrue (who shared power with the Tzimisce and Toreador while delegating significant measures of their own to their Scion Clan Families) who are not the Danava (who are well woven into the complexities of India's power structures and cultures in their own way) who are not the Cult of Mithras (who are a religion based on adhering to a particular self professed incarnated god as much as they are a clan) who are not the Hijazi (who are well woven into the Ashirra), and who none of them are various Ventrue who existed outside of those particular blocs or bloodlines as either individuals or entire broods/alliances.

                              If at some point you wanted to talk about what you say you wanted to talk about, your posts instead seem to pretty much just be extended screeds against a specific vampire clan that when people reply to disagree to, you ignore the content of their doing so.

                              Yeah, except no, that is not my argument at all. It's pretty much the exact opposite of it.
                              This is you:

                              Well the whole thing is that Ventrue desperately do not want to see other vampires as equals.
                              This is you again:

                              The Ventrue, who are the WORST of human rulers [because they are vampires and thus human dictator + Beast], are not going to behave differently from 13,000 years of precedent on how elite overclasses distribute power and rule empires.
                              This is you again:

                              Which is the REAL reason that the Tzimisce and Lasombra were left out of the Camarilla. Too many chiefs that way.
                              Moving on from there..

                              My argument is the Ventrue are a group that cooperates with the Toreador, and later Tremere (in place of the Lasombra) to do their best to make sure that there is a rigid hierarchy of blood in the Dark Ages. They are a people who benefit from establishing a "in crowd" and an out crowd.
                              Your argument is then that the Ventrue (and the Toreador I suppose) behaved no differently than the Lasombra, Tzimisce, Cappadocians, and Brujah who all held place within the High Clan designation and in various ways worked to hold onto it and enforce it (and this is without touching on how clans like the Assamites behaved when they were the ones in power in a given region instead, i.e. as people who did their best to make sure there was a rigid hierarchy of blood, who benefitted from establishing an in crowd and an out crowd). Also the Ventrue's big ol show of cooperation with the Toreador specifically in Europe, the Grand Court, ultimately was eclipsed by the Toreador Courts of Love. Cooperation in the Dark Ages, as far as actual setting material, the thing people are trying to talk about and explain to you, had far more developed takes on who cooperated with, undermined, feuded with, allied with, or simply attempted to rule over who than you are presenting in your efforts to single out one clan and for some reason denigrate over all others.

                              I am not arguing the Ventrue don't know how to share power and prestige, I am arguing they do it well to force the majority of low clan vampires under their heel.

                              This is all about them being the head of the In-Crowd and they need support of other clans to make an Out-Crowd.
                              The Ventrue were not in charge of the in crowd in the Dark Medieval. It is incorrect to the setting to think they are. They were one group within it, varying between vying for power with every other group in it, to fracturing along arrangements with some groups in it against other groups in it, and all that itself would vary wildly from region to region. The High Clans were not some kind of precursor Camarilla.

                              While we're there, one of the entire central things of the War of Princes (which DAV made a thing at the same time it made the High Clan/Low Clan stuff a thing as far as looking at one while ignoring the other) were that the High Clans were very much at war with themselves, both across clan lines, within clan lines, in the face of what was assumed to be previous alliances of the Long Night, in the name of new and previously unthought of alliances, as expressions of aggravated feuds between specific methuselahs or elders, and so forth.

                              That's just my .02.
                              Your .02 seems based in looking at a variety of content printed for the game Vampire the Masquerade and either ignoring it/ignoring it being pointed out by others or acknowledging only small parts of it exists to be read as selectively as possible.

                              Which the TLDR version is: The Ventrue, Toreador, and Tremere would probably be less hated if they weren't such elitist snobby assholes but they are and like it that way.
                              Your take on actual game material for Vampire the Masquerade pre the 5th edition of Vampire the Masquerade interacts at times very fitfully with the content of that game material then and seems mostly based in your desire to idealize some clans while insisting on the worst possible portrayals of others as defining, while basically just straight up not acknowledging any material that shows other than your statements as apparently even existing.
                              Last edited by MarkK; 09-17-2021, 02:20 AM.

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                              • #45
                                Ventrue: Bow before me peasants I'm better than you.
                                Malkavian/Nosferatu Oh look your stuff was smashed when you weren't looking. Who could have done it?
                                Ventrue: Who dares? Isn't it obvious I'm better than everyone? It must have been one of you two! I'm going to teach you your place. Where are you again? Show yourself!
                                Malkavian/Nosferatu. Oh look your Herd are being killed off or stolen.
                                Ventrue: I'm going to ask the Toreador to find you while I hide in my backup...
                                M/N: Oh look, that's the last of your herd. There seems to be mortal authorities gathering around your... burning haven. Oh, it looks like a few Gangrel are here to see you. We'll leave you too it.

                                IDK how else I can get it through your skull that snobbish-stupid Ventrue aren't going to last a week. You seem to have a very good habbit of completely and utterly disregarding reason.

                                A politician's goal is to be likeable. That's how they get elected, that's how they attract and keep vassals, that's how they don't get junta'd. A social primary with Presence doesn't act like they've got a stick up their butt. Of the Clans that survive to modern times, apart from the Tzmisce, None of them are much weaker than any other. Every single one of them is potentially a great threat to the Ventrue, and the Ventrue can only rule successfully by keeping as many of these vampires on their side as they can.


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