Encouraging introductory remarks.
Some Kindred, especially members of the Invictus, put a great emphasis on long-winded formal introductions that state their lineage as far as they know it. Members of other covenants might not see the need to provide that level of detail. Still, when you introduce yourself, it is common courtesy to disclose at least the following information:
- First name
- Last name
- If new in Kingsmouth: city of origin
If you do not disclose these information, some Kindred will think that you are overly secretive and become suspicous.
Clan and covenant descriptors
- Daeva: Serpent, Succubus, Rose
- Gangrel: Savage
- Mekhet: Shadow
- Nosferatu: Haunt
- Ventrue: Lord
- Carthian: The Revolution, The Movement, Firebrand, Vermin (derogatory)
- Circle of the Crone: Acolyte, The Mother's Army, Witch (derogatory)
- Invictus: The First Estate (Invictus and Lancea et Sanctum), The Conspiracy, The Conspiracy of Silence, The Ownership, The Establishment, Unconquered, The Man, The Old Man
- Lancea et Sanctum: Sanctified, the Church Eternal, the Second Estate (Invictus), Judge (derogatory)
- Ordo Dracul: Defiant, Dragon, Order, Order of the Dragons
These get mixed and matched for whatever sounds best. So, for example, Eric Driscoll might be a Revolutionary Haunt, while Raine Davis is a Savage Firebrand and Ulysses Gaines is a Lord of the Movement. All three are Carthians, they've just chosen a variation that sounds good with their Clan descriptor.
TitlesSee the next tab for more information on Kindred titles.
Clan titlesClan Titles are pretty much only ever Priscus and Whip. The Priscus is the most respected member of the clan - ideally the eldest, though it doesn't always work out that way. The Whip is the person who does all the hard work for keeping the Clan motivated, getting them to work together, arranging Clan meetings and soforth. The Priscus is frequently referred to as "X of X" - Haunt of Haunts, Shadow of Shadows.
Modes of Address
Invictus titles are somewhat more complicated than those of other covenants, because the Invictus use five distinct modes of address.
Formal address is the default: <Esteem> <Function> when talking to someone, and <Esteem> <Surname> when talking about them. This is the equivalent of "Mister President" when talking to Jed Bartlett, but "Mister Bartlett" when talking about him. ("Madame Chairperson" is another good example.)
Familiar address is for coterie-mates, close friends, and family members. <Esteem> <First name>, whether talking to or about them. "Mister Jed," for example.
Intimate address is for those you are or have been intimate with, usually lovers. <First name>
Submissive address is used for those you are trying to flatter, impress, apologize to, or those who are flat-out higher status than you in such a way as it would not be appropriate to treat them as equals. Most <Adjective> <Tribute> <Surname>. If there is no Title of Tribute, it is instead Most <Adjective> <Esteem> <Surname>. Get creative with the adjectives!
Disparaging address is used when you are actively seeking to insult, though it is designed such that anyone not of the Invictus would not notice. My <Adjective (optional)> <Tribute> <Surname>. The difference between 'Most' and 'My' is frequently subtle, and choosing an unwise adjective for the Submissive voice can turn the phrase mocking. For example, "My Aspiring Mister Rival" sounds polite, but Invictus will recognize it as a sharp smackdown to someone who is acting above their station.
Titles of Esteem
All Invictus have a Title of Esteem, often the most visible distinction between members of the Conspiracy and other Kindred.
Miss or Master for paiges;
Mister or Madam for full members;
Alder for elders (generally 150+ years old, or of blood potency high enough that they can no longer feed on human blood). Appends to any title of Tribute.
Sir or Dame for sworn Knights (see Titles of Function).
Meister for Meisters (see Titles of Function).
Titles of Tribute
Titles of Tribute are considerably rarer. It is relatively unusual for an Invictus with less than Status 3 to have one. It is extraordinarily rare for a Kindred who has achieved a title of Tribute to move away from the city in which it was awarded.
Lord/Lady, bestowed for an achievement of significant merit.
Baron/Baronness, bestowed for honor and valor above and beyond the call of duty.
(The Good) Viscount/Viscountess of <Domain>, bestowed for extraordinary service rewarded with permanent domain.
(The Honorable) Earl/Countess of <Domain>, bestowed for conquering a domain and earning the right to rule it in perpetuity.
(The Right Honorable) Marquis/Marquise of <City>, bestowed on an Invictus awarded a permanent place on the Inner Circle, usually for clearly altering the course of history in the city to the Invictus' advantage, and without whom all would have been lost.
(His/Her Grace the) Duke/Duchess of <City>, bestowed on an Invictus who conquers a city and establishes a basis for long-lasting Invictus rule. Rarely awarded more than once in a city's entire history, and accords both permanent domain and a permanent place on the Inner Circle.
Titles of Function
- Advisor, a member of the Primogen council;
- Advocate, a public relations specialist;
- Almoner, who cares for the less fortunate;
- Amicus Curiae, a sort of archivist who makes formal record of important events, frequently serving as a sort of roving Notary-slash-Judex between multiple cities;
- Archon, a Hound;
- Au Pair, who trains neonates in necessary skills of etiquette and survival;
- Catechist, a member of the secret police (silent);
- Commissioner, a resource and investment manager;
- Councilor, a member of the city's Inner Circle (supersedes);
- Executor, a neutral party who travels to where the work is, to conduct important or controversial tasks such as overseeing Monomacy or preparing for a Grand Elysium;
- Glossator, a neonate who helps elders adjust to important changes in technology or thinking (silent);
- Groom, a keeper and trainer of herds, mortal or animal;
- Interpreter, a translator and subterfuge specialist;
- Judex, a judge and professional arbiter of disputes (supersedes; usually have prior experience as an Advocate, Interpreter, Notary, or Senator);
- Knight, a soldier sworn to an established Order of Knighthood;
- Librettist, a connoisseur of arts and entertainments, responsible for event planning or detecting forgeries;
- Meister, an acknowledged expert and instructor who oversees a Guild (appends to other titles of function, e.g. Meister Speaker);
- Minister, a Herald (supersedes; often trained as Interpreters or Speakers);
- Misericordia, a troubleshooter and cleaner who deals with major threats to the Invictus or the Traditions (silent);
- Notary, a professional witness who oversees oaths, oral journalists (requires the Notary Merit);
- Player, a professional artist or performer;
- Prince, the Kindred who holds Praxis;
- Priscus, the most respected member of a clan. Requires no training;
- Proctor, who enforces the will, decrees and orders of important Invictus throughout the covenant;
- Pursuivant, a bonded messenger;
- Reeve, a Sheriff (supersedes; usually trained as an Archon);
- Secretary, an administrator of Guilds at the city level, who advises Meisters in discipline and instruction and verifies any claim to a title of function;
- Senator, a philosopher and advisor, usually specializing in spiritual and occult matters;
- Seneschal, the second-in-command/major domo/grand vizier to the Prince (supersedes; usually trained as Speakers, Notaries, or Stewards);
- Soldier, a professional warrior, mercenary, or assassin;
- Speaker, a specialist in etiquette, diplomacy, and negotiation;
- Spy, reporting back inside information from every covenant, clan, bloodline, faction and court (silent);
- Steward, either a preserver of valuable artifacts, or a caretaker for elders in torpor;
- Technologist, a skilled investigator and occultist who studies vampiric capabilities;
- Vauntcourier, a nomadic role that acts like a grand-scale Harpy and Herald;
- Whip, who represents and motivates a clan (supersedes; often trained as Interpreters or Grooms).
When an individual holds more than one title of function, it is appropriate to use whichever title is relevant to your discussions at the time. An Invictus Priscus' own clan is more likely to address him as "Mister Priscus," for example, while others might default to "Mister Senator". There are two exceptions to this. First, Catechist, Misericordia, Glossator and Spy, are all 'silent' titles. Addressing someone as "Mister Spy" rather blows their cover, so these titles are very rarely acknowledged out loud, and never in casual conversation. Second, Councilor, Minister, Reeve, Seneschal, and Whip are all particularly respected positions. If an individual holds any of these, that title supersedes all others.
Baron Isaiah Cartwright, Lord of the Establishment, Councilor and Advisor, Regent of Derby; childe of the Good Alder Elizabeth Rachel Fullerton, Unconquered Lord of Lords, Viscountess of Harvard Square, Priscus, Judex and Notary; childe of Mister William Carter, Lord of the Conspiracy, Librettist and Patron of the Fireside Poets.
- Baron means he has served the Invictus above and beyond the call of duty.
- No Alder title means he is less than about 150 years old. "Mister" is his Title of Esteem.
- Lord = Ventrue
- of the Establishment = Invictus
- Councilor = On the Inner Circle. This supersedes all others, so "Mister Councilor" is the appropriate way to address him.
- Advisor = Also a Primogen. Mister/Baron/Councilor/Advisor = 4 titles, so he's /probably/ Status 3 or 4 Invictus.
- Regent of Derby = Controls territory in that part of the city.
- Childe of, childe of = Knows his sire and grandsire, both of whom were Invictus. Solid and respectable lineage.
Enough detail has been provided to also parse his sire:
- The Good... Viscountess of Harvard Square = Rewarded for extraordinary service. Very respectable.
- Alder = Survived at least 150 years, and therefore was almost certainly not an idiot.
- Elizabeth Rachel Fullerton = Name.
- Unconquered = Invictus
- Lord of Lords = Ventrue Priscus
- Priscus = Yes, again. Braggart.
- Judex = Judge. Judge awarded the territory of Harvard University, what's more! This title supersedes all others, so the default address for her is "Alder Judex".
- and Notary = Oversees oaths. Bound to extraordinarily high ethical standards, vital to the covenant, always at least Status 3.
- Alder/Viscountess/Priscus/Judex/Notary = 5 titles, and several of them very impressive ones. Probably Status 5, possibly Status 4.
And /her/ sire...
- Mister. Given that his childe is an Alder, he must have died before reaching 150 years.
- No Title of Tribute, so the childe definitely outshone the sire.
- William Carter = Name.
- Lord = Ventrue
- of the Conspiracy = Yet another way to say Invictus
- Librettist = Patron of the Arts. Mister Librettist is his default address.
- of the Fireside Poets = Who he specifically patronized. The fact that they're listed implies that they're considerably more important than he is.
- Only two titles (Mister/Librettist) so he was probably only a Status 1 or Status 2 Invictus.
Lancea Sanctum titles
Ordo Dracul titles
Rank is determined by how many Coils you know. A Dragon always chooses one Mystery Coil, and may learn a number of Coils outside his Mystery up to his Status in the Covenant. Therefore, at most, a Dragon might learn ten Coils.
0 Slave 4 Initiate 8 Illuminus
1 Supplicant 5 Adept 9 Architect
2 Scribe 6 Master 10 Visionary
3 Scholar 7 Philosopher
Ascendant ...of the Curse
Voivode ...of the Empire
Wyrm ...of Terror
Treasure of Updana ...of Hunger
Ascendant Coil is secondary: "Burning" or "Fiery"
Voivode Coil is secondary: "Imperial" or "Royal"
Wyrm Coil is secondary: "Wild" or "Untamed"
Updana is secondary: "Bloody" or "Unfettered"
"I only know one Coil": Dedicated
"All my Coils are at the same level": Equilibrium
"I know rituals of another Covenant": Questing or Tested
"I'm showing off for the audience": Sublime, Transcendent, or Dreadful
"I am here against my will": Terrible
"I am lying or disguised": Forgotten or Withered
"Outsiders are listening": Subtle
"Enemies are listening": Invincible
"I need immediate aid": Esoteric
"We are in immediate danger": Sterling or Omnipotent
"I am favored" or "I am to be protected": Renewed or Remarkable
"My master wants you to destroy me": of the Fourth Darkness
Each Academy has certain positions that are almost always filled, even if one person must take on multiple roles. A Guardian is responsible for protecting the covenant's treasures, including its secrets and its sites of power. Ideally, there is a dedicated Guardian to protect each Wyrm's Nest. The Kogaion is the pre-eminent Guardian, the most honored member and defacto head of the Academy. She is entrustred with tracking all the Wyrm's Nests, ley lines, and Fonts of power. The Grand Wyrm is whichever Sworn has been with the Covenant longest - it's a largely ceremonial title, though it does come with some prestige. The Castellan is a sort of Dragon-only version of a Master of Elysium, responsible for taking care of the official chapter house. The Convener organizes the covenant meetings (Caucuses) held each month on the night of the new moon. Lastly, the Confessor is the conscience of the covenant, an individual who has forsaken the path of the Coils and dedicated themselves to providing moral and spiritual counsel. Very occasionally this role is given to a ghoul or trusted mortal.
Sworn of the Axe: Red or Scarlet Dragon
In addition, there are several unique positions per region. The Vigilant Dragon is the Sworn of the Axe's herald and record keeper. The Rampant Dragon or Grandmaster is the wisest of all the Axe-Sworn, and the head of the faction across the region. the Rising Dragon is his second in command. The Warden is responsible for any and all prisoners or non-Dragons captured or permitted on covenant property, and is frequently also the Castellan.
Sworn of the Dying Light: Blue, Azure, or Twilight Dragon
In addition, there are three unique positions: the Twilight Judge, who is the final authority in any Covenant dispute; the Provost, who chairs the Twilight Council and is its spokesperson to the other Sworn, and the Galliard, a Journeyman chosen to politely play Devil's Advocate to the rest of the Covenant.
Sworn of the Mysteries: Black or Sable Dragon
<Name>, Black Dragon Lord, Dedicated Scholar of the Empire - "I am Sworn of the Mysteries, and I have Voivode 3."
<Name>, Savage Red Dragon, Companion Scribe of the Untamed Empire - "I am a low-ranking Sworn of the Axe with one coil in the Mystery of the Voivode and one Coil of the Wyrm."
<Name>, Master of Equilibrium - "I have six Coils, all at 2. I am not Sworn."
<Name>, Esoteric Initiate of the Wild and Terrible Curse. - "I have four Coils, my Mystery is the Ascendant but I also know a little Wyrm, and by the way I'm being forced to be here and I reeeeally need some help."<Name>, Supplicant of Untamed Equilibrium - "I have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm claiming a coil that cannot exist, and I'm therefore probably an infiltrator."
Let's take Lucinde du Bethune as an example, because she belongs to the two covenants most fond of elaborate titles. Lord Lucinde du Bethune, Defiant and Unconquered Lord of Lords, Adept of the Burning Empire and Advocate, Ruling Councillor, Regent of Chapman Fields and Ramsay; childe of Constanza del Fuente, Dragon Lord; childe of Millicent Beaufort, Lord of the Movement and Prince of Kansas City. or, alternately, Lord Lucinde du Bethune, Lord of the Order and the Ownership, Ventrue Priscus, Adept of...
So what does all that mean?
1) Lord as a prefix tells you that she has distinguished herself within the Invictus. The fact that it's not 'Lady' tells you something about the woman in question.
2) The lack of 'Alder' tells you that she's a neonate or an ancilla - more than 50 years old, but less than 150.
3) Lucinde du Bethune is her name. That part is easy.
4) Defiant = Ordo Dracul (or Order, in the second example)
5) and Unconquered = Dual covenant, Invictus. In both instances the Ordo Dracul is listed first, indicating her status is higher in that covenant.
6) Lord = Ventrue
7) No color = not one of the Dragon-Sworn.
8) Lord of Lords/Ventrue Priscus = The most respected member of her Clan in the city, giving her the authority to speak for them.
9) Adept = Knows five Coils.
10) Burning = Coil of the Ascendant, secondary.
11) Empire = Coil of the Voivode is her Mystery. So 'Adept of the Burning Empire' means she knows five Coils, distributed between those two Mysteries, with more in Voivode than in Ascendant.
12) Advocate = Invictus title, recruiter for the covenant.
13) Regent of Chapman Fields and Ramsay = claims those territories, and is responsible for anything that happens within them.
14) childe of x2 - Lucinde knows her lineage a couple of generations back. She wasn't abandoned to fend for herself: she was taught the rules of Kindred society and given a good grounding.15) Her sire is Ordo Dracul; her grandsire is Carthian. These are counts against her in the Invictus, even if her grandsire was a Prince. A lineage that is not Invictus is better than no lineage at all, but significantly less worthy than one with Invictus ancestors.
Boons are Kindred currency. Money doesn't matter much to most Kindred; blood doesn't travel well. The All Night Society runs on favors.
A TRIVIAL boon is worth a night's work; as much money as you've got in your wallet; a phonecall or introduction; the use of a common discipline. It is something that does not cost you anything permanent, or put you in any more danger than you would regularly experience.
- Three trivial boons can be combined to equal one minor boon.
A MINOR boon is worth a week's work; as much money as you've got in your bank account; a recommendation or sponsorship; the use of a unique discipline. It is something that poses you a minor inconvenience, but does not have long-term ramifications for you.
- Three minor boons can be combined to equal one major boon.
A MAJOR boon is worth a month's work; as much money as you can acquire if you were to empty your bank account and sell your car, house, and/or kidney; a broken promise or betrayal; teaching for a unique discipline. It is something that poses you a major inconvenience, and carries the risk of permanent setbacks.
A LIFE boon is priceless. It is awarded only to someone who has saved your life when otherwise you would most certainly have died; it represents a debt that can never be repaid.
- You cannot force someone to owe you prestation. That part is always an agreement. Either, "I'll owe you a minor boon if you'll take care of this for me," or, "If you want me to do that, it'll cost you a minor boon."
- Many Kindred (especially the Invictus) believe that an apology is meaningless without prestation attached (because you're saying sorry but you're not offering compensation). The same is frequently held true for "Thank you." In such cases it is almost always a trivial boon.
- Boons are usually registered with the Harpy/ies. This has three benefits.
- When you call in the boon, the other person can't say, "What boon? I don't owe you any prestation! What are you talking about?"
- You can trade boons, so that you wind up holding prestation over someone more useful to you.
- The Harpies tend to think well of people who are active. If you give and receive prestation frequently, you are more likely to rise in status than someone who never gives prestation out, or someone who does not engage with the system.
- When a boon is called in, you don't get to say, "Nah, I don't want to do that." Refusing to honor the prestation you owe is social suicide, because it means you get branded a boonbreaker or oathbreaker. Everybody knows that your word can't be trusted, that you won't honor your commitments, and chances are pretty good that you'll become a social leper that nobody wants to deal with. Frequently, the Harpies will strip you of status as a result.
- It's sometimes possible to weasel out of things, like by saying, "I agreed to do that, but I didn't agree when to do it. It'll be done by December. 2018." Technically, if the other person did not specify when it needed to be done by, this is not welshing. But while it won't brand you as a boonbreaker, it will brand you as a weasel. And we know how much people like weasels.
- If you believe the person calling in prestation is asking for too much, the Harpies are there to arbitrate what is and is not reasonable.
To TRADE boons, all you have to do is make an agreement. Let's say that Impromptu NPC holds a minor boon over Vampire Bill. Debonair Rival would love to hold prestation over Vampire Bill. In fact, he's trying to gather up enough prestation to hold a major boon, so that he can force Vampire Bill to betray a covenant secret. He knows that it will probably cost Vampire Bill status in his covenant as a result, and that tickles Debonair Rival all kinds of pink. He's also canny enough to know that when he calls in his favor, he should say to Vampire Bill, "And you won't reveal my involvement with this, or that this is a matter of prestation."
Debonair Rival offers a minor boon to Impromptu NPC in return for the minor boon she holds over Vampire Bill. Knowing that there's a grudge match between the two and sensing a profit, Impromptu NPC bargains a little, and comes away with Debonair Rival owing her one minor and one trivial boon. Vampire Bill now owes her nothing at all - instead, he owes Debonair Rival a minor boon. Vampire Bill doesn't know this, though, allowing Debonair Rival to potentially spring a trap on him.
Alas, Debonair Rival is not quite as smart as he'd like to think he is, and did not negotiate with Impromptu NPC for her silence. She goes to Vampire Bill and tells him that Debonair Rival is buying up prestation over him... but that she holds four trivial boons over Debonair Rival, and would be happy to sell them to Vampire Bill for two minor boons. Vampire Bill negotiates her down to five trivials, but she should be able to get that sixth when she goes back to Debonair Rival...
Owing boons means that you are indebted to somebody. This carries certain risks, but it also offers a number of benefits:
- You have an insurance: If you owe someone a favor, they want you to live. Dead people don't repay their debts.
- You are an investment: The more powerful you are, the more your boons are worth. A trivial boon from Isaiah Cartwright, for example, is worth considerably more than a trivial boon from Porcelain. It might even be worth more than a minor boon from Porcelain. So that person you owe has a reason to want to see you succeed, because in effect, they've invested in you.
- You acquire some leverage: Your debtee has an incentive to treat you with respect, at least in public. If he doesn't, other Kindred might become wary to give boons to them, which might hurt their ability to trade.
- You generate goodwill: Offering a boon that you maybe didn't have to offer is a leap of faith. A small one if you offer a trivial boon, a substantial one if you offer a medium boon. It tells the other party: 'I want us to be friends/allies, and I'm willing to invest into this relationship.'
- All of the above: Offering a major boon instead of anything less than a major boon gives the other party significant sway over you, enough to make you betray a clan or covenant mate. Doing so is a very strong statement. It says, 'I'm prepared to give you significant leverage over me, and I trust you not to abuse that power.' Any Kindred in their right mind will respect that gesture. If you do it in public, and your debtee goes on to mistreat you, you can be sure that the harpies will take note and chastize your debtee accordingly.
- You are an active member of Kindred society: If you only hoard boons without owing some as well, the Harpies will not think of you as an active member of Kindred Society. (Hint: that is bad.)
Kindred will sometimes deduce your clan from the colors of your cloths. Some consider it good etiquette to adhere to the these color codes. For some, the colors of your cloths is a statement about how you stand toward your clan. Some consider it rude if you 'stomp on their colors' without being a member of the clan yourself.
- Daeva are red and gold
- Gangrel are red and brown
- Mekhet are indigo and silver
- Nosferatu are black and green
- Ventrue are blue and gold