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The Conclave

So it goes like this. Vampires, by their very nature are solitary creatures. Lone hunters. When they see another of their own kind, most of them, especially older vampires, can only see a rival for the juicier prey. A business rival, someone who has the power to tempt their own people away from the fold. In short an enemy. In the dark ages, during the rise of religion, this mind-set nearly destroyed the vampires as a race. People still hung onto the old superstitions and watched for the creatures that lived in the darkness. As such the new religion of Christianity found these "Vampires" easy prey. There were no rules and as such a vampire was generally easy to spot and identify. Then along came the flaming torches and pitchforks.

So an enterprising group of vampires got together and formed the conclave. They set up a series of laws to hide the species and backed them up with unprecedented punishments. The resounding success in Europe meant that the new "conclave" methods spread like wildfire. Then there was a population boom of vampires as now it was easier to survive. This was one of the factors that contributed to the inquisition. Then the laws were expanded to protect its members as well as to protect the whole race. Since then there has been very little change in the ranks of the conclave. The same feudal hierarchy is in place and the laws have seen little if any change.

Hierarchy

Each cell of the conclave tends to be centred around cities as they have the highest concentration of easily hidden feeding. As a result these cells are often referred to as "the conclave of (insert cities name here)". Each of these cities is ruled by a prince. How this prince is chosen varies from city to city and from prince to prince. In some cases it is whoever can survive the fight for the throne and in other cases it is steeped in ritual and tradition. However the new prince is chosen, they are often the most powerful and the most influential vampires in the city which means that they are the best people for the job.

Each of these princes are given autonomy, they are expected to govern inside their own cities walls and to ensure that the laws of the conclave are kept and that the higher ups donít have to worry about the problem. Some conclaves are there for specific reasons. Dover protects against invasion from the continent. Newcastle and Carlyle protect from the savage vampires of the north. Coventry exists as a prison for people the conclave would rather forget. And so on.

However the Prince also answers to a regional Prince. This position is a lot more carefully governed. Given out by the prince of the country to those people he sees fit.

The prince of the country however is again kept by the most powerful in the country.

From there it is less certain. It is rumoured that the prince of the country answers to the continental prince who in tern answers to the council of seven. However no-one has ever claimed to meet one of these illustrious beings so that is pure conjecture.

Conclave Law

There are very few laws in the conclave, but the punishments tend to be harsh. There are some small variations between cities and as with everything else, the Princes word is final.

Crime & Punishment

Crime Punishment
Failure to obey the orders of someone of a higher rank in your own bloodline. Also anyone who the prince gives authority to Anything from a telling off to being declared outcast
Behaviour that threatens the myth of Vampires Almost always death
Treachery against the Conclave Almost always death
Killing a conclave vampire when not in a recognised duel Death
Hunting or holding your haven in another persons territory without their permission Fine to banishment

Law enforcement and the Inquisition

The Prince of every city is responsible for enforcing the law in his or her own city. This is most often delegated to a trusted second and this position is most often referred to as the High Watchman. Under them there exists their own network of watchmen. Every High Watchman has their own methods but their remit generally falls under the banner of law enforcement and they answer to their Prince. This position is traditionally held by clan Gwetheryfella. However the conclave elders realise that this is open to some abuse and favouritism. So they established a separate law enforcement agency that exists outside the Conclaves normal structure. This organisation is called the Inquisition. Their structure works on a very similar line as the hierarchy of the conclave in general in that there is an Inquisitorial council for every country, with one Inquisitor for each clan. They have the equivalent rank of a country Prince and it is them that act if a regional Prince needs removing. Under each of these five Inquisitors there is a network of agents, whose job it is to investigate crimes against the Conclave on a more epic level. They root out conspiracies and plots. They have the equivalent rank of a Prince. The arrival of any of these people is a frightening event as they have autonomy and only answer to the Prince of the country that they are in. Some choose to report to the Prince of the city and give them the results of the investigation and allow the Prince to take it from there. However they donít have to. Their bodies are sacrosanct as the death of any Inquisitorial agent will result in the wrath of the entire Inquisition being brought down on that city where they went missing until the culprit is found and punished.

Territory

The manner of running a city is run just about the same way wherever you go in England. A person may request a territory to live or run as a business. Every Vampire is expected to make the Prince aware of what they are running so that people donít end up fighting over individual territories or businesses which could result in the public being made aware of our presence. These territory requests are submitted and administered by another deputy of the Prince, commonly referred to as the Chancellor. The Chancellor takes in the requests. Decides which requests are viable and uncontested and will then submit the list to the Prince for ratification or denial. The Vampire in question must then run the territory, failure to do so may result in this territory being removed. Only one territory can be run by any one person at any one time. If a person has more than one territory they must assign people to the running of that territory if they want to gain the benefits of the territory. This is typically a ghoul or subordinate vampire.

(System note: Each territory is assigned a Resources rating and Herd rating. Resources is how much money per month can be scraped off the top by you or your subordinate without causing too many problems, and the Herd rating is a measurement of how much "safe" hunting can be done there without attracting attention or having people falling over due to blood loss.)