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

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  • MyWifeIsScary
    started a topic High Clan/Low Clan; Why was this a thing?

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

    From an outside perspective, I get it; it was the 90's, common people got their history from shlock like Braveheart, and there needs to be some pulpy dichotomy so we can have punk in our setting. But from an in-universe reasoning, this is near-utter foolishness. Sure the Ventrue can save themselves from the pissed-off "second class" Nosferatu by having a Malkavian play counterspy or situating a Capadocian near them at all times but that's... needless effort, and totally reliant on ages being aproximately the same. Fact is if a vampire's old you fear and respect them even if they have the countenance of a six year old mortal, and it doesn't matter what clan the ancient's from, they're still an ancient. While they're not great at dinner parties, I can only imagine a city trying to make Nosferatu second-class citizens in a scenario where the Auspex proficient clans want to bully the Ventrue and Lasombra (which, in fairness, they might) since such clans have the most to lose from such an arrangement. Clanism is wonderful and all but arbitrary strata? No. Many of the High clans embrace low borns and many of the Low clans have great opportunities to embrace highborn mortals...

    Does anyone have better reasoning for this?

  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by James_Willoughby View Post
    One of the great problems with Vampire: the Dark Ages (and Vampire: the Masquerade, and so on) is that, over time, writing about the game world has slipped from concrete work on specific places, characters, and experiences, to generalised writing about clans. The high clan / low clan distinction is typical of this. It sounds like a functional idea on paper, but runs into all kinds of difficulties when coming into conflict with questions of how the world actually works.
    This is SO true.

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  • James_Willoughby
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    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.
    That's not correct. Feudalism is merely a medieval system of land tenure, which established certain rights and obligations associated with land tenure (or, possibly, a late medieval / early modern reinterpretation of earlier laws on land tenure, but let's not get into academic arguments). The point about feudalism is, of course, that it isn't oppressive, because it exists solely to give rights to subordinate people in legal arrangements over land. If you actually want to oppress people, you don't use feudalism, because you would be better off acting as a tyrant.

    Given the importance of domain, feudalism does have applications in Vampire: the Dark Ages, though these are not necessarily going to be the easy, obvious ones which I generally have seen applied in arguments online. Say that you're Mithras; you've just claimed all England as your domain. But what does this mean in practice? You can't realistically control those parts of England outside of your direct influence (which is, in reality, everything outside of London), so you subinfeudate, with the princes of towns like York, Gloucester, Canterbury, and so on being your tenants-in-chief; then these princes in turn subinfeudate further, demanding fealty from the princes in towns in areas in which they have influence. As Mithras, you don't really control most of your domain (because it's subinfeudated), but you wouldn't really want to, anyway, and you get people to look after your own interests, in return for a grant of domain.

    And, pulling this back to the main themes of the discussion, the point about feudalism, domains, and subinfeudation is that these serve as practical ways in which characters relate to each other in terms of meaningful social dynamics. Domain is a finite sense in absolute terms, but position is something that expands to the entire population. Remember what I said about feudalism granting rights? Everyone has a legally-defined position, and, under that system, even a serf has certain defined rights, which a king is bound to respect, not least because the rights of a serf define the rights of a king. There is, of course, a considerable power disparity between a serf and king, and similar disparities amongst the society of Cainites, and issues like domain and status will define how Cainite society functions. Even then, questions of age, experience, and power will likely be the defining factors. It should be pretty clear how any conflict should resolve when a fifth-generation Nosferatu is pitted against a twelfth-generation Ventrue. And, even if we can say that the Ventrue as a clan have more power, influence, and respect than the Nosferatu, that remains a generalisation, with the conditions and circumstances of individuals being more important than the situation of a clan as a whole.

    One of the great problems with Vampire: the Dark Ages (and Vampire: the Masquerade, and so on) is that, over time, writing about the game world has slipped from concrete work on specific places, characters, and experiences, to generalised writing about clans. The high clan / low clan distinction is typical of this. It sounds like a functional idea on paper, but runs into all kinds of difficulties when coming into conflict with questions of how the world actually works.

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  • MarkK
    replied
    Given her whole paragon of the road of humanity thing, no, I can't see her having condoned the Anarch Revolt as far as where it went. Possibly sympathized to a certain degree in its early days, but ultimately as it grew closer to the Sabbat it would ultimately become, decidedly not. And the violence of it in general would have put her off, sure.

    I do grant that if Julia could survive being a thorn in Hardestat and really the entirety of the Black Cross' side for the duration of the dark medieval era, she would have a solid shot of being enough of a survivor to make it out of the Revolt/Burning Times.

    I think if she lived she'd ultimately be saddened that both the Anarchs and Camarilla seemed to take parts of her ideals and do what would feel to her like a considerable distortion of them, which would likely further encourage her to remove herself from the war of ages and seek after personal enlightenment.

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  • False Epiphany
    replied
    Originally posted by MarkK View Post
    It would have been tragic but definitely on point irony for VtM if Julia ended up being killed by the Anarchs, considering how hard she fought for her ideals as far as shared power between vamps.
    Or not even Anarchs. I could see some of the Patrician Ventrue taking her out and blaming Anarchs for it. Possibly because they wanted to anyway, possibly because they (erroneously) saw her as encouraging Anarchs in their activities.

    I don't think she'd have condoned the violence of the Anarch Revolt. Hotter-tempered Anarchs, and probably ones from outside Frankfurt, could have figured she was "just another elder" coaching her opposition to the Revolt in more palatable terms. Or simply useless to the cause, and gosh, if she wasn't using that fifth generation vitae anyways...

    I think if any vampire was likely to get a "happy ending", though, it's Julia. Because unlike many idealogues she had power to back up her convictions and that matters most at the end of the night.

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  • MarkK
    replied
    Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post

    Julia Antasia is the best. I've always wondered what her future in the setting was, since we know Frankfurt is eventually ruled by other princes. Julia didn't treat any of her childer badly, and in fact went out of her way to give younger vampires a voice in Frankfurt's governance. I don't think she'd have been immediately threatened by Anarchs, but I think she'd have seen the wisdom in withdrawing into the shadows. Too many young vampires hungry for the vitae of their elders.

    So I figure she dropped out of the Jyhad to pursue her goal of meeting an Antediluvian, or perhaps sought Golconda. I could also see her joining the Inconnu and becoming the monitor of Frankfurt.

    Valerianus is another "good guy Ventrue" active during the Dark Medieval era who I'd add to that list. He likewise drops out of the Jyhad to pursue Golconda.

    So is Dominique Tourain. It's unclear when she was Embraced beyond sometime before the Anarch Revolt. She's the only (probably) high Humanity vampire I can recall off-hand who's part of the Sabbat. (Not sure she still would be by the 2010s given the sect's divergence from its roots.)

    It would have been tragic but definitely on point irony for VtM if Julia ended up being killed by the Anarchs, considering how hard she fought for her ideals as far as shared power between vamps.

    This is why I like to prefer to think she withdrew from the Jyhad to seek Golconda, yes *cough*

    I mean something certainly happens to her to take her out from the prominence she had in the vampiric world. She could have also been killed by the Inquisition. Again sad of course, given her championing of the road of humanity otherwise, but also something VtM likes to do.

    Given her relationship to Angiwar though, I don't find it implausible that she might have gone the withdraw from the visible world route.

    I think I like the idea that we don't know regardless. Not everything needs to be spelled out as far as room to come up with stories and ideas.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Yeah, I've done that. If you can't actually just end a conversation you shouldn't say you're leaving. However, it's also really rude just to leave a poster hanging.

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  • False Epiphany
    replied
    Originally posted by MarkK View Post
    Julia Antasia, Vencel Rikard, Belisarius, Anna Comnena, and a variety of other Dark Ages Ventrue, since that's who you seem to now be talking about in your varying shifts, managed to be powerful Ventrue just fine without being utter scumbags and managing to otherwise demonstrate conduct that came off like actually believing in things.
    Julia Antasia is the best. I've always wondered what her future in the setting was, since we know Frankfurt is eventually ruled by other princes. Julia didn't treat any of her childer badly, and in fact went out of her way to give younger vampires a voice in Frankfurt's governance. I don't think she'd have been immediately threatened by Anarchs, but I think she'd have seen the wisdom in withdrawing into the shadows. Too many young vampires hungry for the vitae of their elders.

    So I figure she dropped out of the Jyhad to pursue her goal of meeting an Antediluvian, or perhaps sought Golconda. I could also see her joining the Inconnu and becoming the monitor of Frankfurt.

    Valerianus is another "good guy Ventrue" active during the Dark Medieval era who I'd add to that list. He likewise drops out of the Jyhad to pursue Golconda.

    So is Dominique Tourain. It's unclear when she was Embraced beyond sometime before the Anarch Revolt. She's the only (probably) high Humanity vampire I can recall off-hand who's part of the Sabbat. (Not sure she still would be by the 2010s given the sect's divergence from its roots.)

    Originally posted by MarkK View Post
    But that aside, doing an at length multiquote refutation of someone's post, while then telling them outright they are bad at arguing, then saying "but I'll drop out now" feels like trying to say "I'm allowed to tell you why you're wrong and bad at posting, but now since I also said 'I dropped out', you're forbidden to reply to what I said."
    I agree. I've seen a lot of internet debates play out this way, and even ones in my own personal circles. A debate goes on, one person decides they want to end their participation in it, and then posts a reply to the other person's points before saying, "dropping this," "moving on now," "finished here," etc. Rather than genuinely seeking to drop the matter, it comes off as wanting to win the debate without continuing to have the debate, by dint of getting in the last word.

    On the flip side, I once saw a debate on another forum where one of the posters said "I wrote a long post defending my position, but then I deleted it because I'd rather end our debate here. Don't think I'm likely to change anyone's minds who hasn't already been convinced." I thought that was a pretty classy way to end the discussion.

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  • MarkK
    replied
    I'm arguing the Ventrue are jerks because they're an oppressive feudal overclass. How is that green cheese? I mean if you want to state they are the heroes of the Dark Ages, go ahead and we can just state that we're completely at odds and will never reconcile.
    Your attempt to argue that such is what the Ventrue are requires ignoring that they are depicted with a varied range of attitudes and approaches. Your confusingly reductive attempt to now say that disagreeing with you means someone is arguing the Ventrue are heroic further underscores how you approach even being disagreed with. You continue to attempt to reduce both VtM and disagreeing with your opinions in ways that require ignoring both VtM and the actual contents of the posts disagreeing with you.

    It's saying the moon is green cheese because your response to noting "here are all the ways in the actual game material the Ventrue were something else" seems to get no reply from you other than "nuh uh" or "the only reason you could be saying that is that you think the Ventrue are heroes."

    The sum and complete total of my argument is the following: "It makes sense for the Ventrue to declare themselves [and their rivals] High Clans and other Clans Low Clans because of this jerkassery."
    The sum and total of your argument requires pretending a bunch of printed game material for the game, Vampire the Masquerade, never happened. Specifically in this case that now, on top of all the other examples, is that according to your post, the sole reason for the High and Low Clan distinction existing is because the Ventrue said it did. All the other high clans said it did and bought into it just fine. When a clan had an opportunity to call themselves a high clan in their own territory, they seized it just fine.

    I'm bewildered this is a controversial statement.
    I'm bewildered you talk about a game in a way that ignores actual content of that game, so I have no idea what to tell you.

    I feel like your issue here is me now. Which isn't good for discussion. I'm sorry I have hurt your forum enjoyment.
    If I have an issue, it's that multiple posters will talk about game content from VtM, and you will disagree with them based on things that are not from the game they are trying to talk about, or otherwise require acting like the things they talk about don't exist.

    Also, for the rest of your statement, we're discussing the High Clan and Low Clan subject but also discussed the Ventrue in general and how the distinction might still exist in the modern nights. You act as if the subject can't be addressed in multiple eras.
    I am acting as though the game Vampire the Masquerade contains an organization called the Camarilla, which contained seven clans at founding who had an equal share in the structure of its power hierarchy, as demonstrated from actual things that happened and were written in the game, Vampire the Masquerade. The sheer simple factual development that the Ventrue entered into a power sharing arrangement with multiple former "low clans", giving them figures of authority who could laughingly override "high clan" princes makes for that the distinction lost all force. If the high clan/low clan distinction had any remaining teeth to affect the operation of the Camarilla, particularly from on high, the Justicars would not have existed in the way that they did. That's just the game.

    The Prince of Paris [i.e. the most powerful Ventrue in the world]
    Rudolph Brandl [i.e. scummiest Ventrue in the world]
    Hardelstadt the Elder
    Even Jugen's story is about how he's ultimately betrayed by his fellow Ventrue, brainwashed, and made into a body double.
    Julia Antasia, Vencel Rikard, Belisarius, Anna Comnena, and a variety of other Dark Ages Ventrue, since that's who you seem to now be talking about in your varying shifts, managed to be powerful Ventrue just fine without being utter scumbags and managing to otherwise demonstrate conduct that came off like actually believing in things. As though neither clans nor people are monoliths, no matter how you insist they are. Monstrous Ventrue and more sympathetic Ventrue do not cancel each other out. They simply mean that the clan has more range of portrayal than you are willing to admit they have. Despite again, the actual content of the game.

    You don't actually make a point by saying some Ventrue have some redeeming qualities then ignoring all the ones who don't. That's not good arguing. That's not good benefit to the Storytellers and players reading this thread for inspiration.
    The point is noting that the clan was portrayed with more nuance than you claim it was. Showing examples of that is how that existed. Some Ventrue were monsters. Some were not. You attempt to use the monsters to define the entire clan by. You ignore whole chunks of a gameline while making really reductive statements about that gameline. I would think it's pretty good to demonstrate that subjects can be talked about without reducing them to one note stereotypes. Stories are more interesting when they can have some depth and complexity, instead of being a series of shallow, flat, one note caricatures. Certainly at least that's my own view on storytelling. You seem to disagree with this so fervently that not only do you demand that the Ventrue be taken the way you want and that the game material where they aren't be ignored, that you have verged on telling other people that believing differently means they are bad at storytelling otherwise. At the very least to the point where you refuse to acknowledge when people say that they do not believe in your binary definition of that a poster has to think the clan are monsters, or otherwise they think the clan are heroes. As though there is no middle ground between those positions, despite the game presenting one in its actual material.

    You are otherwise so invested in the idea of the Ventrue being exactly what you think they are that you seem unable to engage with anyone disagreeing with you, instead dismissing their posts as "well then you want the Ventrue to be heroes". No, I want the Ventrue to be taken as they are in the game material, a group of people with widely varying portrayals of approach and attitude under an overall thematic, instead of some reductive facile stereotype.

    What's interesting is plenty of published game material agrees with taking this approach. There are in fact attempts at length to go on about how clans aren't monoliths or stereotypes, but you seem to feel that when the writers outright plead for players not to view the clans that way, well, you were right and the people writing that sort of thing in VtM were wrong.



    Yeah, exactly what I said. Ventrue are jerks with a vested interest in appearing higher and bigger than they are.
    That's certainly what you think the Ventrue are. The game, for quite a while, attempted to portray them with more depth than you are willing to admit it did, despite the content of the game. It is reductive and dismissive to say that even the act of noting this can only mean there is a binary of saying the Ventrue are heroic or monstrous. No one but you and that other guy are saying that as far as the opposite sides you take, illustrating how you each reflect an extreme that in the end has nothing to do with the game you are talking about.

    But I get this is not a conversation you like. So I'll drop out.
    The only thing I "don't like" is when people talk about a thing in a way that treats the actual details of that thing as nothing but ignorable options. It makes the idea of being able to talk about a thing become pointless.

    But that aside, doing an at length multiquote refutation of someone's post, while then telling them outright they are bad at arguing, then saying "but I'll drop out now" feels like trying to say "I'm allowed to tell you why you're wrong and bad at posting, but now since I also said 'I dropped out', you're forbidden to reply to what I said." Which is interesting. I don't know why you feel the need to reduce disagreeing with you to only be possible if someone takes personal issue with you, but however you feel you need to process that, I suppose.
    Last edited by MarkK; 09-17-2021, 01:21 PM.

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  • MyWifeIsScary
    replied
    Alright, Here's my issue.
    For the Ventrue, declaring other clans to be "low" is a bad idea, because it would be bad for them, mostly because Nosferatu are scary and you can't trust the Toreador to keep watch for you. So the Ventrue would never declare high/low clans because it's not at all in their interest (unless by "low clan" they just went with the clans everyone hates anyway and which aren't in much of a position to do you considerable harm, IE the Ravnos, or the Ravnos, or the Ravnos, Or the Tzmisce, Or the Assamites if you're far enough away from them to get away with it.

    For all my Ventrue praise, The Nosferatu would absolutely shred them if pushed far enough. Coincidentally they're also the best ally for the Ventrue, bar maybe the Malks. So any arrangement that puts the Nosferatu at odds with the Ventrue? Eh, no. Makes no sense.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by MarkK
    So they're exactly the same as every other clan in Vampire the Masquerade when they achieve power over other vampires? Of course, that's not quite fair, as both the Ventrue, and every other clan, will more often than not have the basic sense to understand that their rule needs to contain some kind of mix of both carrot and stick, but apparently we're not talking about actual VtM at this point.
    Yeah, there's no heroes in vampire. Did you think I was claiming there was? The Ventrue are the haves and the others are the gotta gets.

    Originally posted by MarkK
    When your attempt at speaking in generalities ignores the actual makeup, significant details, distinctions and nuance of the clan you are speaking of, you are less speaking in generalities and more creating for yourself the subject you want to talk about and ignoring anything that shows otherwise. Your point is nothing more than saying that so long as you ignore how an actual clan worked, you can totally say how a clan worked. That doesn't make sense. What you are doing is the equivalent of saying that the moon is made of green cheese, so long as you can talk about it in generalities.
    I'm arguing the Ventrue are jerks because they're an oppressive feudal overclass. How is that green cheese? I mean if you want to state they are the heroes of the Dark Ages, go ahead and we can just state that we're completely at odds and will never reconcile.

    The sum and complete total of my argument is the following: "It makes sense for the Ventrue to declare themselves [and their rivals] High Clans and other Clans Low Clans because of this jerkassery."

    I'm bewildered this is a controversial statement.

    Originally posted by MarkK
    Then what you are saying makes increasingly less sense with the idea that you have ever been talking about the contents of the game Vampire the Masquerade as opposed to the contents of the game Vampire the Masquerade that exists in your head, in addition to not really making sense with the contents of your posts to this point as far as there being consistency between them. You do not seem to be able to talk about the contents of the game, Vampire the Masquerade, in a way that engages with or acknowledges that content before, let's say, the 5th edition corebook. The High Clan/Low Clan distinction stopped mattering in any truly powerful way after the Anarch Revolt. To talk about the post Anarch Revolt situation and attempt to link it to the high clan/low clan thing cannot make any real sense, because the Dark Medieval no longer existed as a setting at that point.
    I feel like your issue here is me now. Which isn't good for discussion. I'm sorry I have hurt your forum enjoyment.

    Also, for the rest of your statement, we're discussing the High Clan and Low Clan subject but also discussed the Ventrue in general and how the distinction might still exist in the modern nights. You act as if the subject can't be addressed in multiple eras.

    Originally posted by MarkK
    Your argument requires ignoring not simply myself, but what other posters have noted as the content of the actual game material. Plenty of Ventrue buy into the idea of noblesse oblige and such things just fine.
    Yes, some do and the vast majority do not.

    The Prince of Paris [i.e. the most powerful Ventrue in the world]
    Rudolph Brandl [i.e. scummiest Ventrue in the world]
    Hardelstadt the Elder
    Even Jugen's story is about how he's ultimately betrayed by his fellow Ventrue, brainwashed, and made into a body double.

    You don't actually make a point by saying some Ventrue have some redeeming qualities then ignoring all the ones who don't. That's not good arguing. That's not good benefit to the Storytellers and players reading this thread for inspiration.

    Originally posted by MarkK
    Like all clans, the Ventrue have a clan identity, in this case one being invested in the idea of rulership, a hand on mortal authority, dignitas and its equivalents, and projecting the idea of a noblesse oblige however much it is a false front that they undermine with their own hypocrisies (which makes them no different than any other clan undermining the identity they project with their own hypocrisies). That flavours how they will act, it doesn't define it in some absolute form that supports your attempted generalities.
    Yeah, exactly what I said. Ventrue are jerks with a vested interest in appearing higher and bigger than they are.

    But I get this is not a conversation you like. So I'll drop out.

    Good luck guys and I will continue to follow this fascinating thread.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-17-2021, 11:01 AM.

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  • MarkK
    replied
    The Ventrue are extremely good at keeping themselves in power but their oppression results in them constantly having to crack the whip and brutalize the underclass.
    So they're exactly the same as every other clan in Vampire the Masquerade when they achieve power over other vampires? Of course, that's not quite fair, as both the Ventrue, and every other clan, will more often than not have the basic sense to understand that their rule needs to contain some kind of mix of both carrot and stick, but apparently we're not talking about actual VtM at this point.

    We're speaking in genralities and if you get to specifics then you absolutely lose the whole point. However, certainly above you are going to find plenty of biases and prejudices that explain why the High Clan/Low Clan distinction exists.
    When your attempt at speaking in generalities ignores the actual makeup, significant details, distinctions and nuance of the clan you are speaking of, you are less speaking in generalities and more creating for yourself the subject you want to talk about and ignoring anything that shows otherwise. Your point is nothing more than saying that so long as you ignore how an actual clan worked, you can totally say how a clan worked. That doesn't make sense. What you are doing is the equivalent of saying that the moon is made of green cheese, so long as you can talk about it in generalities.

    The distinction you have drawn vanishes if you perceive my argument as saying the Ventrue are oppressive tyrants and yet very good at keeping the vampire masses down. A bad ruler is not necessarily one that gets overthrown and the Ventrue have been winning for the past 800 years.
    Your argument requires ignoring not simply myself, but what other posters have noted as the content of the actual game material. Plenty of Ventrue buy into the idea of noblesse oblige and such things just fine.

    I'm saying the ruling clans all set themselves up over the non-ruling clans and the Brujah eventually fell out of that. Vampire Clans and their positions changed based on their place in the world and culture. The Brujah eventually fell from importance, the Tzimisce and Lasombra were overthrown in the Anarch Revolt, and the Cappadocians were destroyed. The Ventrue and Toreador eventually accepted the Tremere into the ruling class.

    The Assamites are only a ruling Clan in the Middle East and outside Europe.
    That's post-Dark Ages, though.
    Then what you are saying makes increasingly less sense with the idea that you have ever been talking about the contents of the game Vampire the Masquerade as opposed to the contents of the game Vampire the Masquerade that exists in your head, in addition to not really making sense with the contents of your posts to this point as far as there being consistency between them. You do not seem to be able to talk about the contents of the game, Vampire the Masquerade, in a way that engages with or acknowledges that content before, let's say, the 5th edition corebook. The High Clan/Low Clan distinction stopped mattering in any truly powerful way after the Anarch Revolt. To talk about the post Anarch Revolt situation and attempt to link it to the high clan/low clan thing cannot make any real sense, because the Dark Medieval no longer existed as a setting at that point.

    The Dark Medieval: The Brujah were a high clan. They did not actually stop being a high clan for the entirety of the Dark Medieval. They certainly had members that didn't want to be anymore. They certainly were noted as fighting to hold onto the distinction. But they were still a high clan. The Lasombra and Tzimisce were high clans across the dark medieval. The Cappadocians were destroyed until after the Dark Medieval. The Tremere were not wholly accepted into the "ruling class" until after the Dark Medieval. Nothing you are talking about happened in a substantial way in this period.

    It's a weird feeling to have to try to explain that the Dark Medieval is a period that exists in the books Vampire: the Dark Ages and its supplements, Dark Ages Vampire and its supplements, and Dark Ages Vampire 20th Anniversary and its supplements, all of which basically span a stretch of time from the late 12th to early 14th centuries as far as their active time periods and relevant ability to define those time periods. It's starting to read like you either have not understood this until this point or are actively ignoring it, and frankly I have no idea what to do with that.

    When people are talking about the Low Clan/High Clan thing, those are the books they are talking about (well, not Vampire the Dark Ages, the low/high clan thing as portrayed in Dark Ages Vampire is more or less nonexistent in them and was a later retcon as far as having any real substance), because outside of them, the only time that stuff otherwise comes up with any real weight of relevance in the modern setting is essentially a couple of loresheets in V5.

    It's similarly weird to have to say this: pre vampire 5th, the Camarilla is a bloc of multiple clans, all of whom have a share/say in ruling it in terms of the manner in which the Camarilla expresses rule, being distributed amongst the scale of its power distribution. The simple fact that the Brujah, Tremere, Nosferatu, Malkavians and Gangrel got their own justicars, who could override a "high clan" prince just fine and before whom said "high clan" princes deferred and scraped just fine is a demonstration of said clans being built into its power structure, however overall oppressive it was. Which is to say, the various non Ventrue/Toreador/Tremere clans were built into enforcing the power structures of the Camarilla from on high just fine. That's just the game. That's just the basic facts of the game, Vampire the Masquerade. The manner in which the Camarilla expressed oppression was not "2 or 3 clans over the rest."

    No, they were however a group of vampires who were the most influential and respected above those who were not.
    In terms of the overall content of the books and supplements of the Dark Medieval era as portrayed through VDA, DAV and DAV:20, the Ventrue had neither the most influence nor the most respect in the Dark Medieval. They had a distinct share of it and were powerful. Various others were just as powerful. That's just again the game, Vampire the Masquerade.

    Anyway...

    Yes, just like...*drum roll* feudalism. The King of France vs. the King of England vs. The King of Aragon. All of these people are peers (High Clan) while their subjects are not.
    You attempted to talk about the high clans being clan alliances organized under the Ventrue to create an out crowd, that's what your post was. I noted that this does not work with how the High Clans actually functioned in the game and were depicted, even amongst themselves, as far as what actual alliances there were, the reasons they existed, and the things the high clans were most busy with. This reply is a non sequitur to that.

    I like the Tzimisce over the Ventrue and feel like the latter are vanilla compared to the Lasombra. If I had to rank the Clans, I think the Ventrue are not really the best ruling Clan but you seem to think I have a perosnal vendetta against them.
    For a guy who claims to not be biased against something, you regardless have a lot of posts saying how something sucks in a way that often seems to have no tangible intersection with the material in which that something exists and is presented.

    In the Dark Ages, the Ventrue are just one High Clan among many but they're eventually going to cast down the Tzimsice with the help of the Tremere before the Anarch revolt finishes them off.
    That didn't happen as far as the actual game material. The only people who meaningfully cast down the Tzimisce, were the Tzimisce, wiping out their own elders. No, let me step back from that. Where in printed game material does it say that the thing you say happened, happened?

    They're going to ally with the Toreador (who actually overthrew their 4th generation ruler in DARK AGES: TOREADOR the novel
    You have mistaken the French Toreador for being All The Toreador, much as you have mistaken the Black Cross Ventrue for being All The Ventrue.

    While I'm there, which 4th generation Toreador ruled all the Toreador in the Dark Ages period then?

    and weave together the core of the Camarilla from their fellow peers.
    Who included the Gangrel, Malkavians, Nosferatu and Brujah. They all got their own justicars.

    They're good at gaining power and holding onto it.
    You have a considerable swath of posts to this point saying the exact opposite of this, speaking of the Ventrue generally as blind, witless dupes being outplayed and getting by on being propped up by other clans as their pawns.

    The Ventrue are not incompetent, they're tyrants.
    Pre 5th? The Ventrue, such of them that ruled directly, had variation in the styles in which they ruled just fine, within the overall structure of the Camarilla. And again, that's just the game material. Oh, the Ventrue were certainly manipulative, hypocrites, played groups against each other, and all the other awful little things that vampires do to grab for and maintain power, but again that's... also every other vampire not the Ventrue engaged in power games.

    Bad rulers in the sense of the fact you don't want to be under their boot. I always emphasize the Punk in Gothic Punk and the Ventrue are the Kingpin and Norman Osbourne.
    Your one note stereotype take on the Ventrue is kind of your own problem (though it sure helps me understand why you are partial to vampire 5th, I give you). The game, pre 5e, worked really hard and at length to give them more personality and substance than that. You have mistaken "I always emphasize" for "what the game says" or certainly decided "I always emphasize" lets you ignore people pointing out stuff right from the game that doesn't agree with your take on things. Some Ventrue are tyrants. Some are not. Some Ventrue rule oppressively. Some Ventrue rule more even handedly. Some Ventrue don't rule at all. Some Ventrue believe in their own creed. Some don't.

    Like all clans, the Ventrue have a clan identity, in this case one being invested in the idea of rulership, a hand on mortal authority, dignitas and its equivalents, and projecting the idea of a noblesse oblige however much it is a false front that they undermine with their own hypocrisies (which makes them no different than any other clan undermining the identity they project with their own hypocrisies). That flavours how they will act, it doesn't define it in some absolute form that supports your attempted generalities.
    Last edited by MarkK; 09-17-2021, 10:32 AM. Reason: The founders coterie feels like something there is varying in game junk on.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by MarkK View Post

    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).
    Uh, that was a joke. The context of said statement being, "High Clans and Low Clans being like high school cliques."

    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.
    The Ventrue are extremely good at keeping themselves in power but their oppression results in them constantly having to crack the whip and brutalize the underclass.

    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.
    We're speaking in genralities and if you get to specifics then you absolutely lose the whole point. However, certainly above you are going to find plenty of biases and prejudices that explain why the High Clan/Low Clan distinction exists.

    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.
    The distinction you have drawn vanishes if you perceive my argument as saying the Ventrue are oppressive tyrants and yet very good at keeping the vampire masses down. A bad ruler is not necessarily one that gets overthrown and the Ventrue have been winning for the past 800 years.

    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'm saying the ruling clans all set themselves up over the non-ruling clans and the Brujah eventually fell out of that. Vampire Clans and their positions changed based on their place in the world and culture. The Brujah eventually fell from importance, the Tzimisce and Lasombra were overthrown in the Anarch Revolt, and the Cappadocians were destroyed. The Ventrue and Toreador eventually accepted the Tremere into the ruling class.

    The Assamites are only a ruling Clan in the Middle East and outside Europe.

    That's post-Dark Ages, though.

    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.
    No, they were however a group of vampires who were the most influential and respected above those who were not.

    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.
    Yes. The King of France vs. the King of England vs. The King of Aragon. All of these people are peers (High Clan) while their subjects are not.

    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.
    Given I am arguing High Clans and Low Clans exist which is in the books and the people against me are arguing its stupid, you're going to have to unpack how its the detractors following the books.

    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.
    There's no sports teams in Storytelling.

    I like the Tzimisce over the Ventrue and feel like the latter are vanilla compared to the Lasombra. If I had to rank the Clans, I think the Ventrue are not really the best ruling Clan [from a Storytelling or player perspective] but you seem to think I have a personal vendetta against them. In fact, the Ventrue are tremendously important to the functioning of the game. The Ventrue are people that I absolutely love as "The Man." The people who are the scheming Dons, bosses, corrupt corporate executives, and guys in power suits threatening to bulldoze the orphanage to make their Starbucks. In Cyberpunk 2077, the Ventrue are the Corpos and you can't play an Edgerunner without them to oppose or be hired by.

    In the Dark Ages, the Ventrue are just one High Clan among many but they're eventually going to cast down the Tzimsice with the help of the Tremere before the Anarch revolt finishes the Tzimisce off as a ruling power. The Ventrue are going to ally with the Toreador (who actually overthrew the Ventrue's 4th generation French ruler in DARK AGES: TOREADOR the novel) and weave together the core of the Camarilla from their fellow peers. They're good at gaining power and holding onto it. The Ventrue are not incompetent, they're tyrants.

    Bad rulers in the sense of the fact you don't want to be under their boot. I always emphasize the Punk in Gothic Punk and the Ventrue are the Kingpin and Norman Osbourne.

    Anyway, I like the High Clan/Low Clan distinction.

    YMMV.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-17-2021, 08:49 AM.

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  • MyWifeIsScary
    replied
    They have Dominate and Presence, I can't help but love them.

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  • MarkK
    replied
    Originally posted by Ignithas View Post

    I think I lost brain cells reading that. Yeah sure, Ventrue are giving everybody - no matter their use - power so they can have all vampires on their side. They are the beacon of equality and the thought that they could gain power by exploiting other vampires would be disregarding reason and such Ventrue would be snobbish-stupid.

    This is pretty much the same logic as "Jeff Bezos would be stupid to mistreat his workers. He is dependant on them and people won't buy amazon products when they know that he is awefull to some people".

    While MyWifeIsScary is essentially the reverse of CTPhipps in idealizing the Ventrue past what the game material actually supports instead of denigrating the Ventrue past what the game material actually supports, there is a basic idea in his post that is correct just fine.

    Pre 5e the Camarilla Ventrue understood just fine that they had to share power to be capable of everything from advancing their own agendas, to simply surviving. That's the core concept of the Camarilla. A group of clans that came together and established a power sharing hierarchy in the name of enforcing the Masquerade so that the Inquisition would not destroy their particular group of vampires. By simply default of the game material, the fact that the Camarilla is ruled by a multi clan inner circle, who have their will enforced by a multi clan setup of justicars, means that the Ventrue share power and willingly entered into an arrangement where they would do so, with clans other than the Toreador and Tremere, from the Malkavians to the Nosferatu. People can want to ignore that, but at that point they're not talking about Vampire the Masquerade, they're talking about the version of Vampire the Masquerade that exists only in their heads.

    Now, is the power sharing arrangement they joined into one that through its structure distributes that power in an inequal manner, favouring elders over younger vampires, and encouraging cities to be ruled by autocracy or oligarchy or some hybrid of both, uncaring of the actual clan membership (so long as they are Camarilla clans) of the prince and their primogen so long as they rule in said style? Sure. That's the Camarilla. But it is regardless based in being a multi clan bloc that has acknowledged they are being ruled by a multi clan bloc that consists of more than 2.5 clans.

    As for the Dark Medieval? Some Ventrue wanted to rule as masters of all. Some Ventrue didn't. The High Clans were regardless a distinction, not an organization, who were busy waging war on each other while also waging war inwardly in their own clans in many cases as far as the War of Princes, as much as they were occupied with trying to make sure some Low/High Clan distinction stayed what it was. Nor were the Ventrue alone in buying into the idea of it (every single high clan did). Nor were the Ventrue alone in doing crap things in name of that belief (every single high clan did). Nor did that some Ventrue bought into it prevented other Ventrue from not buying into it.

    The core problem of these posts is attempting to say there is a 1:1 relationship between the Ventrue clan and whatever terrible capitalist figure or historical group and use that to ignore the content of actual printed game material. Once upon a time VtM worked really hard to say clans were more nuanced than how a couple of people seem to want to talk about them. Sure, Jeff Bezos is a piece of crap. The Ventrue are not Jeff Bezos, is the problem. Or certainly that is not all of who and what they are.
    Last edited by MarkK; 09-17-2021, 08:16 AM.

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