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Broken Masquerade and the covenants

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  • Broken Masquerade and the covenants

    Kinda inspired by the announcement of shattered masks.

    How would the covenants react when the masquerade breaks down and the humans discover vampires? Could some benefit from it?

  • #2
    The Masquerade is more of a concept than a status quo in Requiem, so the short answer is that it wouldn't truly happen. Evidence of the existence of vampires exist in enough numbers in CoD. A lot of people just know they exist, and a lot more simply refuse to acknowledge this.

    So you have first to delineate what "Breaking the Masquerade" would mean. It could mean a city where there is no secret anymore to the existence of vampires as a whole, or it could mean such a heavily world-shaking occurrence that humanity shakes off its general numbness at least for vampires.

    On the first case, it depends a lot on the city, but unless something else is behind this, the vampires are probably on control still of the situation. The Invictus could hide in the shadows or capitalize in the situation to formalize their position as the vampire's First State. Probably people wouldn't like to see them in a position openly important, so they wouldn't pull this unless they're sure they can go Tyrant mode in the city, but just as lesser officials responsible for the "Undead minority" they would already bring the mortals and their institutions to recognize their position and rights. Lancea et Sanctum is likely to take this opportunity to sort of rejoin the Church, bringing a time of serious religious upheaval on both mortal and Kindred faithful, but ultimately cementing their position as a valid faith. Though the end result can vary wildly. Carthians would probably mingle extensively with mortal movements on politics, probably not even surviving as a Covenant, but instead as a web of Vampires that harness something from their involvement with politics. On the other side, the Ordo Dracul is likely to change very little and avoid mortal scrutiny, only adapting where they really failed to keep secrecy of their studies. Some of them that evade unsavory experiences or are bold enough to think they won't be discovered, though, are likely to engage in Academic relationships. The Circle of the Crone would vary a lot, depending on how they take the local pagan community and how this community take them. Some members can embrace the opportunity to follow more ethic beliefs or, at least, beliefs they relate more than the local Circle, so there could be some evasion from their numbers, but it is unlikely that the average Crone will shake hands with the average Wiccan.

    Now, the second case will be determined by the event that caused such a reveal, and to how each Covenant will capitalize such event. On the long run, though, they are likely to perish in their current form. They can survive as less global but more strictly defined organizations, like clubs, conspiracies, or even "closed" communities. But overwhelmed by mortal society, Vampires are likely to be absorbed at a reasonable degree into that larger society. There will be profound social transformations, for sure, but Covenants as we know them would cease to be.

    In both cases, the Tradition of Masquerade would actually survive. Because it isn't about a greater secret, but about the personal ones. It is about the predator not leaving the shadow before attack. Many vampires would hide, and others would still try to avoid revealing too much about themselves. Most would, in the end, try to keep as much secrets about themselves as they can for the ease of feeding.

    Sorry if I seem too straightforward, or if I don't get you. Autism isn't a forgiving condition.


    • #3
      Assuming total loss of the Masquerade the first step is getting some sort of meeting of humen and kindred representatives, where as the Carthians would probably be all for that the Invictus have evidence stashed away from all those times someone had to cover up a killing (the Where the bodies are buried merit supports this theory) and could make life very difficult for some of those who brake rank and the Lancea et Sanctum believes the Tradition of Masquerade to be the will of God and will seek to save it at all costs. It should also be noted that it is not in the intrests of many governments to acknolage the existence of kindred as they would then be required to police and protect a group that can fall into a killing frenzy, needs to feed on blood to survive, can control and read minds and has a lot of influence to sell the victims of their condition narrative rather than the curent system where vampires ignore their civil liberties and kill anyone who might want to mess things up.
      Assuming things still go public the Carthians will try and present themselves as the friendly vampires who just want to live like humans but with the system now supporting vampires as well, the Ordo would probably try and argue that they are the most able to find fixes to the problems that vampire nature is giving law makers (in 1e the coils would have been very helpful in that regard) and rebrand their work, the Circle would probably need to reinvent themselves to survive but that's what they're about so they would, the Invictus would reluctantly come out of the shadows where they needed to and influence government policy where they could while tring to keep their grip on power or gain more (maybe by running for office) and the Sanctum would probably suffer a collective crisis of faith that splits it amongst those who try and keep to the old ways and those who believe that this is the new will of God.
      Each domain being different this would be a painful change for all parties.


      • #4
        One thing to be considered is the very notion of a Domain.

        If the reveal affects only a city or a few cities, then it is fully covered by the Domain. Such a case could already exist, and probably do exist on some small communities, maybe even inside larger cities. In such a case, the rules of the Domain would adapt to deal with Kindred coming or leaving, or there would be some interesting situations with vampires ignorant of the rules about secrecy where they are now.

        But on a full scale scenario, the concept of Domain will change radically. Each one will either go Clandestine, Formal or Dissolve. A Clandestine Domain would be one where vampires keep their own power structures in the shadows, but now with those structures and their constituents being known and persecuted by mortal authorities. Such a Domain would change to resemble more of a criminal organization than a shadow government.

        A Formal Domain is recognized by mortals and officially constituted. It can be integrated in the previous law system of the mortals, acting as some kind of organization, and in that case would loss most of its powers since the vampire population would have to primarily follow the standard system of society. Or it can retain its power and function by sheer power, be it military or political power, and exist as an official government by itself. That would bring the same vicissitudes that any government have to deal with, like defending borders, being or not recognized by other institutions, and taking or not an actual territory, deciding what to do with non-vampire population falling in its purview, and so on and so forth.

        Dissolved Domains are simply that. As the vampire population start to heed the circumstances and laws of the mortal society, they can see less of a necessity or possibility of keeping their govern, and simply drift to niches and places in mortal society, even if sometimes clandestine places, like organized crime. The very idea of Domain, at least in the big concept of a city, crumbles without any more usefulness. Domain as a cultural practice of Kindred, to have your own territory and not liking other undead messing with it, can still exist as normal.

        Sorry if I seem too straightforward, or if I don't get you. Autism isn't a forgiving condition.


        • #5
          In appreciation of VtR's greater domain-focus, I suspect that greater vampire reveal would be at first more limited to a given city or domain. Invictus and Lancea work hard and maintain networks of contacts to respond to serious masquerade breaches with an array of measures intended to discredit, distract and destroy individuals and evidence that could uncover them. This keeps the real leaks small and manageable.

          Think, essentially, of any conspiracy theory out there: there will be groups that fervently believe that it is true, and even carry evidence that they are convinced with greater distribution would convince the world of X or Y by Z. The existence of vampires would be exactly the same--a group of true believers would aggregate around the evidence and work to get it "out there" while the vamps work both licit and illicit systems to stamp it down. A flare-up of "truth" could last a little while, before it gets crushed and the survivors are incorporated into a Hunter conspiracy. Ironically, the less-connected a region/Domain is, the longer it would take to stamp out the leak and the fewer resources would be available to do so.

          I suspect the most dangerous and persistent masquerade breaches for the modern day would occur in places such as parts of Eastern Europe and other developing economies that are just connected enough but still sufficiently isolated that the ordinary citizens rely on word-of-mouth networking to really understand their world. Digital media is easy to manipulate, easy to discredit, and subject to media new-cycles that can be finessed to very quickly bury breaches.

          That said, it may be the case that there are LOTS of people in a given area or Domain who "know" vampires are real, think they've even encountered one, but don't share such confessions out of fear of social consequences. This is, in fact, one of the reasons for the Lancea to stay closely connected to highly-structured churches or their equivalent: they are often the first places (historically speaking) for individuals in distress to seek counselling. Counselling that can quickly ring alarm bells for the local Prince to detail a Dominate squad.

          <<"Vampires do not exist.">> Four-words, leading to an immediate effort by the poor subject to rationalize their experience as something--anything--else.

          All this is a long way of saying that the Covenants would react on the small scale first, before you end up with Vampiricus Sapianus an entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica. If the damn bursts you'd still have firm efforts--especially effect in the West where people think they have everything figured out--to keep a lid on and enable the control systems to nibble away of the "knowledge". Meanwhile, the "deep state" in various parts of the world absolutely knows vamps and other supernaturals are out there, considers such knowledge above the pay grade of elected officials, and deals with supernaturals as colleagues and contacts.

          The president getting up and delivery a televised "vamps are real, y0" speech would stir things up, but he's clearly insane, right?

          Major damage control could easily be a mid-to-late campaign arc, if you want.



          • #6
            There's failing in the Masquerade - and then breaking it like a boss, i guess.


            • #7
              Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
              The Masquerade is more of a concept than a status quo in Requiem
              You know when you read something and forgot where? Yeah, well, I had read your post once and then...poof, no recollection of it. However, the idea of Vampires being the Rothschild and Rockefeller of the world; presence, acknowledge, and yet surrounded by mystery and debate; that idea just blew my mind. Stories were suddenly much more horrific, epic, and easy to sustain. PC's blow up a house? Old-me got nervous over how to simulate the real world reaction; terror attacks get noticed and comprehensively investigated. But now? The conversation is two sides, desperately trying to make sense over the others insanity. To the one breaking the Masquerade, it is as if they are showing a creationist a globe and being told it is just Big-Atlas misleading them, while the resister sees their otherwise logical comrade overcome by a belief that vaccinations cause autism. I know it was always wrote like this in the book but this is the first time it clicked with me:

              A vampire eating in front of a smartphone is just not evidence if you don't want to believe.

              That is how the Masquerade survives.

              So yeah, cheers for blowing my mind Monteparnas. Sorry my praise got delayed by faulty memory.


              • #8
                Well, here's a question that I have about this all. Would that loss include the mind-blurring effect of the Kiss and the Lost Visage? The Masquerade is something that's more than a social construct, but also something rooted in vampire physiology. Vampires hide because its their very nature. When a vampire dies, their body decays to the correct age. When vitae is spilled, it breaks down in a matter of seconds. You can't catch a vampire on video, so no amount of smart phone cameras will catch them, and very few remember being bit, and most mental disciplines involve some measure of subtlety / memory wipes so their use can't be noticed.

                I feel like that the reaction of the covenants will be based on if this is just a... lets say for the sake of simplicity, an archmage used truth magic to cover the world with a "you will believe these broadcasts about vampires being real" spell. People just know vampires exist. There will be witch hunts, there will be difficulty feeding as a number of people get afraid of the night life. An upswing of hunters popping up. That said? For the regular vampire, its just business as usual, though. These average vamps won't be outed by anything more than rumor, or they'll hunt by Obfuscate, or no one will believe the Daeva is a vamp, because just look at how awesome they are, totally not a blood sucking abomination.

                The Invictus will react by creating stronger services for covering up breaches or subverting local neighborhood hunter-watches. All the better to get favors from others.

                The Lancea et Sanctum will probably preach about the importance of covering your tracks more. Missteps have more immediate consequences, and you need to learn how to use your natural abiilties more.

                Carthians probably will move to make deals with the local governments, getting laws passed to make vampirism just a disability that comes with legal protections.

                Acolytes and Dragons, as the covenants least likely to get involved in things beyond protecting their interests, likely won't bat an eye beyond being more cautious of hunters, or relishing the challenge of it.

                Now, if there was some magical changes to vampire biology so that the Kiss, the Lost Visage or the other lie-effects started failing? That would likely cause a much larger reaction in people and covenants. The Lancea et Sanctum would likely take the largest hit here, losing members in droves, while those that remained become much more zealous and hard line, and falling into splinter factions like mad. How could they not, when the very basis of their religion is proving to be mutable and a lie? The Invictus, the so-called Keepers of the Masquerade, is still all about power. They would likely have issues with what's going on, reorganizing themselves, but they would likely still bill themselves the same. Accidents happen. Who's going to be called in to clean up any messes? These guys. Its an opportunity to still remember where all the bodies are buried. Literally. Carthians and Crones likely will react the same as above, while the Ordo Dracul will have a field day with figuring out what was going on. They'd probably start kidnapping vampires and humans in droves to run their experiments and get more answers.