Nights of the Kindred
The Prima Invicta
This isn’t the New World Order. It’s the Old World Order. It’s the shadow vampire government. It’s blood banks too big to fail.
The Prima Invicta are the entrenched vampire estate, a conspiracy of the Damned that pierces every layer of mortal and Kindred society. Ever seen a dog’s heart taken over by heartworms? It’s like that. Worms wriggling unseen in the heart of the animal.
The vampires of the Prima Invicta view themselves as sleeping lions (put yourself in the right place and wait for the gazelle to come traipsing by). Really, though, they’re like tumors: fat sacks of blood in the worst places possible, positioning themselves so they get a Herculean dose of the body’s blood supply. They’re a cancer.
And, like the worst cancer, they’re everywhere.
This is how it works: The offer, when it goes out, is simple: “Do you want to belong to the Prima Invicta? Do you want the things you could never have before?” They appeal to desire. To sin. To need.
They push on those pressure points. They find the right people in the right places, and they turn them. This gives them a damn good spread. And yes, it really means they’re everywhere, like roaches or the common cold. Big banks? Universities? The FBI? The CIA? Microsoft and Apple? Anywhere money, blood and sin can get them influence, they take it. They take it even if they don’t need it because this is about the long con, the big game, and what they don’t need tonight they might need tomorrow night, or ten years from now.
It also means you can’t really escape them. You fuck with the Prima Invicta, and they’ll know. They’re a faceless boogieman. They’re the Body Snatchers with robust bankrolls. They can make anything happen.
The Prima Invicta considers itself to be the end all and be all of vampire society, and there is some validity to their hubris. It is the largest Sect of Kindred, after all, and nearly any city on the globe likely has some Prima Invicta presence. A Kindred who walks into a new city and looks for the local vampire population will, more often than not, find a Prima Invicta court. This expansiveness is partially due to the fact that the Prima Invicta says that any vampire, regardless of Clan or bloodline, may go to a Prince and claim membership in the Prima Invicta. It’s also partially due to the fact that the Prima Invicta claims that all vampire society falls under its authority, regardless of what other vampires believe. Many Kindred find it easier to sit in the shadow of the Prima Invicta than debate the point.
As a result of their conflict with the Sabbat, and with Vampires becoming common knowledge, in modern nights the Prima Invicta is crumbling, losing a few bricks here and there while it proudly proclaims itself to be strong and whole. The elders cling to their power bases, growing increasingly paranoid that other Kindred are Sabbat infiltrators or Carthian sympathizers. Neonates feel more and more like serfs to the elder nobility, asked to protect and uphold an organization in which they have little hope of advancement but plenty of opportunities for punishment. The aevum end up in the worst position: unable to break the glass ceiling of elder dominance, but given enough scraps of power to make the younger Kindred sharpen their knives in jealousy.
The neonates and younger aevum have an increasing advantage — modern technology. Elders find themselves unable or unwilling to master the tools and concepts of the modern nights, especially cybernetics, constant surveillance, unlimited access to the internet everywhere, and the combination of the three: recording devices inside of most of humanity’s heads, always uploading everything they see to a social media network where Vampire on human violence can be seen by everyone. They fall further and further behind in a world where even children know how to vlog and media becomes increasingly fragmented. Therefore, the elders increasingly lash out at things they don’t understand, destroying loyal servant and treacherous childer alike.
Some Kindred speak that name as a curse. Others say it with envy. To the members of this society of vampires, however, their name is the proudest boast imaginable. Empires rise and fall but they remain the ‘Unconquered’ — the eternal masters of the night, ruling vampires and mortals alike.
In many cities, the Invictus are the lords of the night. Other Kindred bow before them, use their archaic titles and follow their formalized rituals. The Invictus are the secret influential power behind vampiric and mortal institutions alike, steering rulers and guiding authorities overtly and covertly. No tool of influence is off limits to them. The Invictus whisper in the ears of corporate executives and claim powerful mortal politicians as their vassals. They blackmail enemies with untraceable, insidious agents in the shadows and frighten allies into subservience with nebulous, terrible threats from on-high. The Invictus lies and promises, bullies and seduces, empowers and undermines, cajoles and oppresses, creates and destroys. The Invictus shapes the night and defines the lines of civilization.
Some Kindred become bitter. “It isn’t fair,” they say, that an elite society of undying monsters should hold so much power and keep it from younger hands. They must be cheating. Resentful younger Kindred think of the Invictus as the ultimate greedy, self-centered Establishment: the ruling class that did nothing to deserve such power, but does anything to keep it.
The elders of the Invictus disagree. When they deign to notice such complaints at all, they say they earned their power long ago and prove they deserve it every night. They spent centuries clawing their way up the ladder of power. Let the insolent younglings do the same. When they have built a fortune — when they have battled witch-hunters and horrors stranger than vampires, when they have survived the murderous plots of their rivals to seize power for themselves — then let them talk.
The covenant’s elders would also point out how many younger vampires take that advice. For now, the covenant’s aevum and neonates bow and serve their elders. The young ones are paying their dues and learning the trade of power. In them, the elders say, behold the Princes of cities yet unborn. The path is hard and progress slow — but those who prove themselves truly Unconquered shall win power and glory forever. For, one night, every elder must relinquish his seat for a time. Every elder must eventually trust his estate to another while he lays in deathly torpor. Every elder must find others to trust, and where else should one look for integrity and success but within the Invictus? Eventually, all power must be shared with those who have survived the nights and aged to excellence. They shall be lords of the night. They shall be masters of Kindred and kine. They shall never be defeated.
The religious wing of the Prima Invicta, the Lancea Sanctum, claims it was founded by Longinus, the Roman centurion who fulfilled an ancient prophecy by thrusting the Spear of Destiny into the side of Christ on the Cross, revealing the Lord’s divinity even as it damned Longinus. More importantly, the cruel act exposed the lifelong sinner to the true nature of the Damned. Longinus realized at that moment, and later through the intercession of angelic messengers, that while he and others like him might forever be denied the blessing of God and the salvation He offered through His son, Jesus, the Damned were not God’s enemies. Unlike Lucifer and his host, they are not cast into the pits of Hell to spend eternity locked away from the earthly and heavenly realms. Instead, they are given free reign in the world of the living to carry out their divine purpose: The Damned are to be an example to the kine of the price of sin. They are to prey upon mortals so that the kine will understand that life is brief, and is only a shadow of the glorious Heaven that awaits. They are to accept their damnation with pious devotion, knowing that it is God’s Will, despite the weight of the burden. Those who are able to do this truly are known as the Sanctified, and become members of the Lancea Sanctum. Those who join the Lancea Sanctum venerate their accursed state, bearing the terrible weight of Longinus’ sins in penitential obedience to him and to God, the Creator. The Sanctified do not shy away from their divine duty to uphold the example of Longinus, to abide by his laws, and to serve for eternity as he prescribed. In their minds, the Sanctified have chosen the only proper road among many and so place themselves above all other vampires in the eyes of God, damned though they may be.
Most members of the Prima Invicta recognize the truth of the Testament of Longinus, and accept what they have become, understanding that even in damnation there is purpose. The relationship between the Political wing of the Prima Invicta, the Invictus, and it’s Theocratic wing, the Lancea Sanctum, is based on synergy — each excels at that which the other would rather not be bothered with. Deference should not be confused with a lack of respect, however. Each covenant believes the other fills an important role, but each believes its own role to be somehow more important. Of course, individual Kindred may find either covenant’s role simply more attractive, whether for the archaic beauty of cathedral glass lit up in the dark or the perfect moment that passes as an immortal monster awaits permission to rise from his knees.
Typically, the Sanctified play up the role that the Invictus has played in the solidification of vampire society and temporal power, casting Invictus elders as the heroes in midnight sermons and parables. The long history of cooperation and subtle intrigue between the two covenants causes conflicts tonight to be frequently regarded as flukes caused by local individuals who don’t properly understand the dynamic the covenants are supposed to share.
The Camarilla, also known as ‘The Order of the Thorned Wreath’, are called upon when (mainly Prima Invicta) Kindred are threatened, and when trouble looms from without, it is the Knights of the Most Honorable Order of the Thorned Wreath who inevitably step to the fore and defend the Kindred. Professional soldiers, spies, investigators, and rescue specialists, bound by a strict oath of humble self-sacrifice, these Knights are feared and admired in equal proportion.
Created in the 15th century, the Camarilla was formed to preserve and protect vampire society against the decimation brought on by the Inquisition as well as the power drain presented by the War of Princes during the Dark Ages. The leaders of the Camarilla ruthlessly enforced the Tradition of the Masquerade, elevating it to the covenant’s highest law. Now that the existence of Vampires is known, the Camarilla seek to maintain harmony between vampires and humanity — a goal constantly under threat.
Tonight, the Camarilla numbers its membership in the high hundreds, with chapters all around the globe. Certain chapters of the Order have been instrumental in the conquest of domains, while other chapters have become the linchpins of Invictus defense strategy in cities of rule. A good many Knights earn the titles of tribute afforded only to great heroes and conquerors.
• [To be determined]
•• [To be determined]
••• Buying ranks in either the Dominate or Majesty Disciplines costs less now due to the fact that the Sect has so many within the group willing to teach: the cost is new score x 5, and new score x 4 if the Discipline is favored.
•••• If the character loses a dot of Humanity, even during play, that character gains five experience points. However, set those experience points aside—none of them may be used by the player to upgrade that character’s Humanity score.
••••• At this stage, the world is the vampire’s blood-filled oyster. She can have pretty much anything she wants with minimal effort: any Social Merits now cost new score x 1.