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Why does the Invictus protect the Masqurade?

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  • Why does the Invictus protect the Masqurade?

    My question isn't about modern times so much as it is about how the Invictus started. The Camarilla fell, and then a group dedicated to the Masquerade came into existence. Why? Being in charge and protecting the Masquerade are two separate things. The easy answer is that a group wanted to be in charge and needed to justify why; we protect the Masquerade, the least you could do is give us your loyalty.

    But if protecting the Masquerade came first... why? Why is that their express purpose? What happened that necessitated the First Tradition becoming such a top priority?

    If there's any cannon explanation, cool. If not, headcannon is always accepted

  • #2
    The fun part of CofD is, there is no canon! But here's my personal explanation.

    Originally, there were no separate covenants. There was only the Camarilla, and it took care of every vampire in the Empire. Some people were in charge of protecting the Masquerade, other people were in charge of conquering new territories, other people were in charge of keeping the gods happy, and so on. All cogs in an enormous machine.

    …and then the core of the Camarilla collapsed, and all the individual governors in the outlying provinces found their overseers back in Rome had vanished and were no longer sending instructions. Suddenly there was no overarching government any more, just the individual groups trying to hold things together as everything slowly but surely fell apart.

    Eventually, the Invictus arose out of the ones who wanted to preserve the Camarilla's traditions first and foremost, bringing everyone back in line by any means necessary. No Masquerade breaches. No random Embraces. No making Revenants. Why? Because someone has to keep the vampires in line, and if we don't, then witch-hunts happen, and they're not going to be satisfied after killing a couple random neonates without common sense, they'll start looking for the rest of us, too. If you don't like it, well, some sacrifices will have to be made for the safety of everyone else.

    Some types of proto-Carthians, on the other hand, arose out of the ones who wanted to preserve the Camarilla's governing ideals rather than its laws. Every one of the Kindred should have a voice, and have the opportunity to let that voice be heard. To the Invictus, these ideals got sacrificed on the altar of maintaining safety and order—but many non-Invictus disagreed, and there were plenty of neonates pushing for different systems of government long before the Carthian Movement reared its head.


    • #3
      My only issue with this explanation is that my understanding (based on briefly skimming Requiem for Rome) of the First Tradition is that it was held out of shame and not fear. You hid from humanity because you should be dead. The fear aspect doesn't come until later.

      So what sparked the fear? A massive breach? Maybe trying to hide from the Strix?

      EDIT: with the strix, I'm referring to how the strix knew where all the havens were in Alexandria.
      Last edited by DubiousRuffian; 07-17-2019, 03:06 PM.


      • #4
        I imagine that tied into the general cultural shift when the Empire fell. Suddenly invincible Rome was no longer so invincible. The elders who had held power in their cyclical dynasties were ash. Lines of communication broke down and individual cities or areas had to fend for themselves. And suddenly individual humans became a whole lot more of a threat.


        • #5
          It's important to remember that 2e altered how strong the Masquerade is, so Requiem for Rome and the other 1e stuff kinda gets somewhat outdated as a result.

          Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
          But if protecting the Masquerade came first... why?
          Why would it come first? Would it not be more plausible that Invictus members would become powerful first, and then look for reasons to justify their continued rule? Especially seeing as the Invictus had a pretty tight relationship to the LeS, for whom the first tradition is a religious decree.


          • #6
            I'm probably missing core fluff here but to me its all part of the self preservation.

            The Invictus are the keys with the money. The Emperors, the Kings, the Queens, the Bankers. They control the purse and the aristocracy of society. When the Camrilla fell they naturally tried to take over that to. So why the Masquerade? Because who has the most to lose? Look at Revolutions in history, look what typically happens tot he ruling class. It normally gets exiled at best and out right membered at worst. If Humanity unites against the vampires because they learnt to much, its probably the Vampire CEOs they are coming for, not the Nosferatu Crone hiding in a sewer.

            All of kindred society benefits from the Masquerade, but its the Invictus who have the most to lose if everything collapsed a second time.


            • #7
              The Masquerade is a term that has had different meanings through Kindred history and in different cultures.
              In modern nights it's the act of hiding for self preservation and the preservation of Kindred society. How you hide is not important; only that you do.
              For the Camarilla, and the Julii in particular, the Masquerade was their attempt at playing humans. It had little to do with self preservation. Acting like a human among the humans in the streets of Rome, playing house god or ancestral ghost to Roman households, as well as emulating Roman debaucheries down in the Necropolis were all parts of the Masquerade. Many such acts would've been considered risks to the modern definition of the Masquerade. Upholding your Masquerade was part of upholding your humanity, not the shroud between the living and the dead.

              When the Invictus formed, it was to recreate the Camarilla but also with the sensibilities of Kindred who lived outside the protection of the Camarilla and the Necropolis. They took up the tradition of the Masquerade but they either did not know what it actually meant or could not do it because it would've been suicide without the safety nets of a unified Covenant and the Necropolis below. It instead became what we consider the Masquerade in modern nights.
              Also remember that the first Tradition was the sovereignty of the Camarilla, not upholding the Masquerade. When the Invictus adopted the Three Traditions, they had to replace it and apparently opted for upholding the Masquerade. The Masquerade was an extremely important tradition in the city of Rome, and adding it to the Three Traditions made sense, even though they completely changed it.
              Another thing to remember is the Invictus' alliance with the Lancea et Sanctum. The latter had the Masquerade (the modern version) as a religious tenet, and the Invictus enforcing it would only strengthen their bond.
              And lastly, the classical Invictus MO lends itself pretty well to upholding the Masquerade. As such they might've just specialised in it to give themselves a more important role in all domains they had presence in, making themselves more acceptable to rival Covenants.

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              • #8
                Further to Tessie's comments, the Invictus arose out of the scrambled mess of the Roman Empire. The Camarilla itself was an institution of Rome. Rome--not the Empire. The Empire was a human institution that facilitated Camarilla reach in the form of the emissaries of the Senex and its members. The Senex itself apparently didn't care to plant little subsidiaries around the Empire, only to tax the locals in the form of blood-slaves and other currency.

                Thus when the Senex vanished and the Camarilla fell it fell into the hands (fangs?) of organizational components that were represented outside of Rome: the Lancea and the Legio. My read on the Invictus is that their original membership was bound together by ties to the Legio as enforcers of Rome, and some common Mithraic cult influence (which was widespread in the military by that point).

                To further bolster this speculation let me note that the Roman military was almost entirely "barbarian" by this point and the Legio would end up looking the same--it was to be kept out of Rome proper except for ceremonial and personal protection duties best left to the oldest and most-trusted members. Also, another name for Mithras was "Sol Invictus"... I think you can see where the link is. Plus, the central social tenant of Mithraism was that the cult reinforced bonds between men of honor and their oaths. This is exactly what Invictus oaths exist to do.

                After sketching all this my surmise is that the Invictus arose organically in the chaos of the late Roman Empire, was already in existence as an unliving reflection of the Cult of Mithras, and assumed positions of leadership outside of Rome in the absence of the Senex and anyone else with more strength of arms. They brokered a deal with the Lancea not long after it was clear that Rome belonged to the Chapel and Spear, creating a relationship of mutual support versus the risk of being submerged in the chaos of the migration period.

                What the emphasis on the Tradition of Masquerade actually represents, Tessie has already outlined.

                In short: the Invictus rules because it did so when no one else was available, it worked then, and it works now. How it ruled is something that modern knights would rather represent as monolithic, but certainly wasn't so in early centuries.

                Not glorious, but probably true enough.



                • #9
                  Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
                  My only issue with this explanation is that my understanding (based on briefly skimming Requiem for Rome) of the First Tradition is that it was held out of shame and not fear. You hid from humanity because you should be dead. The fear aspect doesn't come until later.

                  So what sparked the fear? A massive breach? Maybe trying to hide from the Strix?
                  The Invictus book suggests rather than a single big breach, it was many little ones. They say that each time you let mortals in on the secret, you cede ground to them. They are no longer dealing with a mysterious entity. They are dealing with a known factor, with known (or at least suspected) weaknesses. And from there, the mortal can make links towards the mysterious entity's allies.

                  The Invictus, p17, 'Revealing the truth about the existence of the Damned to any but the most loyal and secure retainers only weakens the position of the Invictus, and indeed all Kindred. An asset with knowledge of Kindred society becomes more susceptible to the influences of other covenants. Worse, they come to think of themselves as powerful by extension. Eventually, such awareness leads to betrayal, breakdowns or perilous curiosity. One night, some mortal comes asking questions about the occult or the Blood, or he calls crying in the middle of the night, unable to deal with the lies and the blood anymore. One day, the mortals think they’ll take what they want from their undead masters and come with shotguns and crowbars into the haven of an Invictus who thought immortality made him invincible. The Invictus know better.
                  Several familiar Invictus proverbs remind all Kindred: nothing can be gained by breaking the Masquerade that cannot be gained some other way. Whenever the Masquerade is broken, the transgressor has surrendered a field to the mortal world. Mortals can only ultimately gain by knowing the truth. Kindred can only ultimately lose by revealing themselves. Though every vampire is sure to make “a mistake of the Masquerade” on some night of her Requiem, every Invictus should be ashamed when she does. Every mortal who knows the truth is a living defeat.'