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  • Ur-Than
    started a topic About the Unaligned

    About the Unaligned

    So... it's something I have had on my mind for quite some time, but Im' not sure it'll come out in a structured way.

    Requiem's political structure is quite different from the Mascarade's setting since it is both far more fractured (with 5 Covenants) and yet perhaps even more integrated at a city's level (each Covenant can attract some Vampires), and having a power structure backing you up is probably one of the best - if not the only way - to not only survive but prosper among the All-Night society.

    But what about the Unaligned ? Unlike Mascarade were powerful Clans double as Cult/sort of sects like the Baali or the Followers of Set and the Assamites, the Clans in Requiem are a lot more loose coalitions than power structure. While some cities probably adopt the Primogen institution with all that it entails for their Clans locally, it doesn't seem to be as wide-spread as in Mascarade, as far as I understand.

    All of this makes me think that being Unaligned in Requiem is far worse than in Mascarade : not only domains may be far more fractured because some Covenants may have to share powers, meaning that what is and isn't accepted may change from a neighborhood to the next in the most volatile cities - and that's even without thinking about the fractious Covenants like the Circle or the Carthians, which can easily devolve into infighting when in power. So Unaligned are at the bottom of the ladder and they have basically only themselves and perhaps their coterie-mates to lean on.

    Which makes me think that Unaligned can be divided into three categories :
    • The old and powerful vampires who have accrued enough power, influence and respect to leave or refuse to join the Covenants and still basically be the ruler of their fiefdom
    • The neonates who still don't know which Covenant they want to join and are basically allowed to roam free for a time because they are neonates and thus not that important in the grand scheme of things
    • Ancillae who are trying to build up their own mini-Covenant/Cult/Sect and prefer to do so without having to look over their shoulders for noisy covenant-mates and superiors making sure that Orthodoxy is respected among them.
    How do you use the Unaligned in your games ? Are they even present or are the tensions of the Covenants just too juicy to not use (and why use an Unaligned to oppose the Invictus when you have the Carthians, right ?)

  • Lysander
    replied
    The only unaligned we used in the past was a Gangrel ancient who became a prince who gained the respect of the Carthians and The Circle Of The Crone because he kept the Invictus & Lancea Sanctum out of there city.

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  • Baaldam
    replied
    Originally posted by Father Enoch View Post
    I think I'm going to go with monteparnas' input. They said that as long as the Princes have a secure power base and some way of establishing contact, they should still retain at least some status in their respective Covenants.
    It's a good starting point for certain, main matter is how much of a presence either covenant has, if any, in their shared city or their degree of contact/correspondence with them as a whole.

    Originally posted by Father Enoch View Post
    Sorry, I must have forgotten to add the Covenants. The Ventrue was Invictus, and the Mekhet was in the Ordo Dracul.
    It's fine, my point was more that i didn't get a feel of the convenants in their character or description. My first suggestion was Invictus and Carthians because those are usually the more secular/political/mundane of the covenants in pursuits/outlook (Invictus Oaths & Carthian Law notwithstanding).

    Now that you cited, yeah, Ordo Dracul - or at least a group sharing many of the interests in geomancy, alchemy, places of power and arcane methods of physical-spiritual transformation/transcedence - does make loads of sense for a Tong, or any secret/esoteric society with buddhist/daoist underpinnings, like one may find by dozen in any Wulin/Murim/Wuxia-inspired media, in fact.

    But i would suggest you take a look at their respective covenant books, for little bits that might have influence on them, in the past or present, or bits they might diverge/deviate from.


    Originally posted by Father Enoch View Post
    By the time WW2 was on the verge of starting, both realized they were the only ones left who still knew each other, who still respected each other, and who felt anything other than indifference to each other. When Japan invaded Shanghai, they left together for North America.
    Also, on a little historical footnote so to speak, i'd like to point out Shanghai's takeover by the japanese happened quite a few years before WWII proper.
    Last edited by Baaldam; 06-16-2022, 06:54 AM.

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  • Father Enoch
    replied
    Sorry, I must have forgotten to add the Covenants. The Ventrue was Invictus, and the Mekhet was in the Ordo Dracul.

    I think I'm going to go with monteparnas' input. They said that as long as the Princes have a secure power base and some way of establishing contact, they should still retain at least some status in their respective Covenants.

    Leave a comment:


  • Baaldam
    replied
    Originally posted by Father Enoch View Post

    One Prince was an English Ventrue who came to China in the 1850s to sell opium and the other was a Chinese Mekhet fighting in a nationalist group to kill the English and stop the opium running. They became rivals and nearly killed each other several times. Then, as the decades wore on, the Mekhet watched her group devolve into a gang that took over the opium trade instead of stopping it. The Ventrue was so successful his sire kept sending him back to Shanghai until he started to see it as a second home... Which he had poisoned with opium for years. They not only lost respect for their sides, but their close associates eventually fell to either the fighting or other misfortunes and were replaced by strangers who held them in contempt. The Mekhet's inability to kill the Ventrue was blamed on her gender, and the Ventrue was mocked for being unable to kill the Mekhet in spite of her gender.

    By the time WW2 was on the verge of starting, both realized they were the only ones left who still knew each other, who still respected each other, and who felt anything other than indifference to each other. When Japan invaded Shanghai, they left together for North America.

    Big question is - what covenants were those, if any?

    Because from your description their kindred connections seemed to be pretty much adjacent to mortal society. Either of them could have been Carthian, Invictus, in some localized covenant or neither, just playing into local kindred cliques & coteries connected to certain communities (british, chinese, merchants, opium-contrabandists/peddlers, tongs, etc). Even competing factions within the same covenant is perfectly possible within this rough sketch of a mutual backstory (and might explain much of the badmouthing behind backs, difficulties with mutual destruction, shifting/muddled priorities and more).

    Still very much open for grabs, depending on how much you want to invest or not in that part of the duo's story to expand them or come up with plot hooks.
    Last edited by Baaldam; 06-15-2022, 11:33 PM.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    I'm thinking that as a term "unaligned" matters primarily for the sake of playing and portraying younger vampires who specifically eschew Covenant membership. I think when you have the perspective and agendas of an elder vampire, it might be more accurate to start looking at you as a very small Covenant.

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  • monteparnas
    replied
    Originally posted by Father Enoch View Post
    So as long as they still "bring something to the table," to use an old mobster quote, and represent themselves as Covenant members, they're still at least considered Covenant members, but not necessarily high ranking ones?
    Most likely and for all eternity.

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  • Father Enoch
    replied
    So as long as they still "bring something to the table," to use an old mobster quote, and represent themselves as Covenant members, they're still at least considered Covenant members, but not necessarily high ranking ones?
    Last edited by Father Enoch; 06-14-2022, 04:30 AM.

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  • monteparnas
    replied
    Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
    Being Unaligned means you are affiliated to no covenant. Individuals exist that have no party affiliation and yet may be quite politically active, when not possessed of considerable political clout, in spite of it. Because knowing people who know other people does not exactly require one to be part of any formal allliances or groups.
    Being politically active without having any party allegiance is quite common in true multi-party environments in comparison to two-party ones. That connects to my post on the first page where I talk about how people may perceive the question differently in the US than in some other countries.

    While in a city where only two covenants hold true power, or they divide themselves in two distinct and somewhat cohesive blocs, it may be almost impossible to take part in local politics without taking a side, in cities where at least three covenants hold sway and have impact on politics, being unaligned and still politically active, maybe even quite significant, wouldn't be a rare occurrence.

    Originally posted by Father Enoch View Post
    Now I'm wondering, How long can you withdraw from Covenant politics before you're considered Unaligned again?
    Outside of a single city, the idea of a Covenant matters more than your actual participation in politics. What unify covenant members across the world isn't so much their interplay across boundaries, but their willingness to represent their group and idea in their own city. If they are to be expelled, it is on the Covenant within the city to do so.

    In isolation, then, it becomes a personal matter. They're member as long as they consider themselves members. Unless Covenant members come and add complexity to their station, there is no reason for them to be forced by outside factors. They're as much bearers of the flame as they want to be, as able to use their Covenant-relevant knowledge as they retain it, as able to develop it in new ways as they're capable of with the resources they have at hand (which can be considerable if they're Princes).

    Even asking for more outside the city without getting involved in politics is, again, a simple matter. Unless the Covenant at large wants to interfere in their city, it has no reason to deny properly requested resources or information, specially requested by a Prince. See, if they're not harming the Covenant in any way, they're an asset just by station and position.

    Now, it doesn't mean they have the highest Status in the Covenant possible, not even in their city. That depends on the balance between their former status, their current station and their correspondence connections outside the city. If they're powerful and well placed they may have a high status by default, if they're in a backwaters place, virtually forgotten and don't even try to contact others once a decade, they may have a low standing in all but name (or even in name).

    You should focus more on how much Covenant politics will the players bring to the city. Or other newcomers, if you will. In such a scenario it wouldn't be impossible for the Covenant to grant more internal power and resources to their new envoys than to the Princes. Depending on how things are, an envoy could confront a Prince right away and, depending on the outcome, strip them of status. Or the newcomer could just be unaware that the Prince is a member, which doesn't necessarily means the Prince isn't a member.

    Also, you can simply decide they're effectively not members anymore because no one remembers and no one cares, not even themselves. If they're unwilling to conduce anything in the city pertaining to the Covenant, nor use its unique resources in any capacity, the question if they're still members is moot.

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  • Father Enoch
    replied
    Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
    Well, it all depends - do they want to leave their covenants in the first place? Cutting ties with a local court or branch does not exactly mean you lost interest in the covenant as a whole has no contacts related to them in other places.

    So, how did they cut ties, why, and for how long are all things that can matter a lot in the equation for either of those elders.
    One Prince was an English Ventrue who came to China in the 1850s to sell opium and the other was a Chinese Mekhet fighting in a nationalist group to kill the English and stop the opium running. They became rivals and nearly killed each other several times. Then, as the decades wore on, the Mekhet watched her group devolve into a gang that took over the opium trade instead of stopping it. The Ventrue was so successful his sire kept sending him back to Shanghai until he started to see it as a second home... Which he had poisoned with opium for years. They not only lost respect for their sides, but their close associates eventually fell to either the fighting or other misfortunes and were replaced by strangers who held them in contempt. The Mekhet's inability to kill the Ventrue was blamed on her gender, and the Ventrue was mocked for being unable to kill the Mekhet in spite of her gender.

    By the time WW2 was on the verge of starting, both realized they were the only ones left who still knew each other, who still respected each other, and who felt anything other than indifference to each other. When Japan invaded Shanghai, they left together for North America.
    Last edited by Father Enoch; 06-14-2022, 04:33 AM.

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  • Baaldam
    replied
    Originally posted by Father Enoch View Post

    Now I'm wondering, How long can you withdraw from Covenant politics before you're considered Unaligned again? I'm working on a chronicle about a city with co-Princes. Each of them was a member of a different Covenant, but both of them left their old courts in Shanghai to claim a domain in North America. The point is that they've been the only two Kindred (that they know) in their city for decades, and when the players arrive in the city to claim their own domain, the presence of the co-Princes is hopefully a surprise.

    Now I know Covenants are nowhere as tightly controlled as the sects in Masquerade. And obviously, PCs can't be expected to keep track of every member of their covenant in the world, but how long can two Vampires, even Elders, isolate themselves and still claim status? How long can they stay in their own little world until their Covenants... Just forget about them?
    Well, it all depends - do they want to leave their covenants in the first place? Cutting ties with a local court or branch does not exactly mean you lost interest in the covenant as a whole has no contacts related to them in other places.

    For the sake of example, in a previous chronicle i played a Dragon who existed as a nomad in South America for about half a century - and he was a majorly respected and connected member of the OD because of it, as it resulted in whole decades dedicated to maping obscure wyrm's nests, their qualities and what creatures to make deals with or confront to get access to them across that part of the continent, pretty much paving the way for the establishment of many cells or facilitating regional diplomacy, when not converting up to them mostly solitary broods of kindred, seting up communications channels between dragon cells across cities, states or countries and more.

    So, how did they cut ties, why and for how long are all things that can matter a lot in the equation for either of those elders.

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  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by Father Enoch View Post

    Now I'm wondering, How long can you withdraw from Covenant politics before you're considered Unaligned again? I'm working on a chronicle about a city with co-Princes. Each of them was a member of a different Covenant in Shanghai, but both of them left their old courts in Shanghai to claim a domain in North America. The point is that they've been the only two Kindred (that they know) in their city for decades, and when the players arrive in the city to claim their own domain, the presence of the co-Princes is hopefully a surprise.

    Now I know Covenants are nowhere as tightly controlled as the sects in... The other game. And obviously, PCs can't be expected to keep track of every member of their covenant in the world, but how long can two Vampires, even Elders, isolate themselves and still claim status? How long can they stay in their own little world until their Covenants... Just forget about them?
    You can name Masquerade, it's not a dirty word.

    Logistics are mostly based on individual memory and biases in regards to the situations, but void the specifics that come with that, it mostly comes down to "Whenever it becomes narratively interesting."

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  • Father Enoch
    replied
    Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
    Last game I played there was an unaligned among the city's Primogen in fact - simply put because he was too old, powerful, knowledgeable, and potentially insane for the prince or covenant leaders to safely ignore. No one wanted him there, but it was very much a "keep friends close, but your enemies closer" case, where you don't want the headache of the old beast harassing you due to unintended intervention in one of its obscure agendas, projects & obsessions or slighted by the others voting some major decision without accounting for its opinion first.
    Now I'm wondering, How long can you withdraw from Covenant politics before you're considered Unaligned again? I'm working on a chronicle about a city with co-Princes. Each of them was a member of a different Covenant, but both of them left their old courts in Shanghai to claim a domain in North America. The point is that they've been the only two Kindred (that they know) in their city for decades, and when the players arrive in the city to claim their own domain, the presence of the co-Princes is hopefully a surprise.

    Now I know Covenants are nowhere as tightly controlled as the sects in Masquerade. And obviously, PCs can't be expected to keep track of every member of their covenant in the world, but how long can two Vampires, even Elders, isolate themselves and still claim status? How long can they stay in their own little world until their Covenants... Just forget about them?
    Last edited by Father Enoch; 06-13-2022, 11:35 PM.

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  • Baaldam
    replied
    Vampires who are unaligned might just as well lean more on clan lines or more personal connections for information, support and socialization in general might be said, many do.

    Last game i played there was an unaligned among the city's Primogen in fact - simply put, because he was too old, powerful, knowledgeable and potentially insane for the prince or convenant leaders to safely ignore. No one wanted him there, but it was very much a "keep friends close, but your enemies closer" case, where you don't want the headache of the old beast harassing you due to unintended intervention in one of its obscure agendas, projects & obsessions or slighted by the others voting some major decision without accounting for its opinion first.

    What as an aside could also led to a number of younger kindred who felt leery of tying themselves up to anyone covenant gravitating towards this primogen and each other, forming a sort of "ghost power bloc" of their own by virtue of association.

    Being Unaligned means you are affiliated to no covenant. Individuals exist that have no party affiliation and yet may be quite politically active, when not possessed of considerable political clout, in spite of it. Because knowing people who know other people does not exactly require one to be part of any formal allliances or groups.
    Last edited by Baaldam; 06-13-2022, 10:06 PM.

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  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    More importantly, it's not so much about raw power as it is tools in the box.

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