caitiff adj : despicably mean and cowardly n : a cowardly and despicable person
EtymologyOld French caitif ‘captive’, a varient of chaitif (French chétif), from a Proto-Romance alteration of Latin captivus ‘captive’.
- a captive or prisoner
- a villain, a
coward or wretch
- Late C14: For, certes, lord, þer is noon of us alle / Þat she ne haþ been a duchesse or a queene. / Now be we caytyves, as it is wel seene, / Þanked be Fortune and hire false wheel — Geoffrey Chaucer, The Knight's Tale
- 1989: ‘There are plenty of Huns who have defected to the Romans, seeking gold and a quiet life. One of my first tasks as paramount chief is to bring those caitiffs back and crucify them.’ — Anthony Burgess, The Devil's Mode
The Masquerade is a fictional term found in White Wolf Game Studio's Vampire: The Masquerade books and role-playing games.
A masquerade is a facade, intended to deceive and conceal. The vampiric Masquerade is a shared conspiracy of the Camarilla (the largest grouping of vampire sects) to keep their existence unknown to mortal human beings.
The Masquerade began in the 15th century as a response to the Inquisition. Even though there was an ancient tradition of self-concealing among vampires in the Dark Ages, in many cases common people knew or suspected their existence and their works (for example, the Tzimisce had vast dominions in Eastern Europe and many human serfs that were aware of the nature of their masters). In any case, most people superstitiously believed in many supernatural entities including vampires.
However, as the Church became more and more powerful, the Inquisition chased and destroyed many vampires, until they became convinced that the only way to survive would be to deny their own existence.
The Masquerade was taught as law in the Camarilla from then on, and took advantage of the Age of Enlightenment, by reinforcing the idea that vampires are a fruit of ignorance and superstition. By the 19th century, most educated people in the West laughed at the suggestion that the vampires of old legends were real creatures.
In the timeframe of Vampire: The Masquerade (end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st), the human non-player characters that might run across vampires performing typically vampiric acts will usually disbelieve their own eyes. The Masquerade requires that humans who know about vampires be promptly killed or otherwise rendered unable to spread the news. It also means that a vampire that breaks the Masquerade will have to fix it or face severe punishment.
AnarchsThe Anarchs are a fictional sect of vampires in Vampire: The Masquerade. Although they are technically members of the Camarilla, they reject the Camarilla's top down power structure, and aim to change it into the grand protector of kindred it claims to be. The name refers to the misconception that they support creating anarchy instead of order. This misconception is encouraged by the vampire elders, who hold most of the power in the game world.
In the revised rulebook; the Anarchs, the Sabbat, & the Camarilla are listed as the three main sects that Clans belong to.
Membership of the Anarchs is wide and varied, but the majority of its members are drawn from the clans of the Camarilla and the Sabbat. Whilst it is possible for members of independent Clans or Bloodlines to join, they are less frequently counted amongst the Anarchs numbers.
FormationDuring the 14th Century there was a gulf in power between the Elder European vampires and their childer, who were often seen as disposable pawns by their progenitors; this was displayed during the Inquisition when many Elders left, or sacrificed their childer to the flames in an attempt to escape such a fate themselves. Tensions increased until the 15th century when an attack on the Ventrue Elder Hardestadt by the Brujah Tyler ignited a pan-European conflict known as the Anarch Revolt. This continued for over a century, the Lasombra Antediluvian itself falling to its fury. The revolt ended in 1493, when the newly formed Camarilla offered an olive branch to the hard-pressed Anarch movement, suggesting that they join and they would be then protected from the majority of reprisals to their actions. The Anarch leaders readily agreed to this, and a great deal of Anarchs joined the fledgling sect; however many Anarchs, particularly those of the Lasombra or Tzimisce clans refused to join, heading off on their own, later to become the Sabbat.
OrganizationThe Anarchs are often organised into gangs with no greater structure than that. However some areas are moderated by a Baron, roughly the equivalent to a Prince of the Camarilla, only with less power and a more precarious position. The more coherent Anarch societies also find places for undervalued and unappreciated 'officers' such as Emissaries and Sweepers.
PhilosophiesThe Anarchs have a multitude of philosophies within their ranks, ranging from poorly thought out violent rages against the Camarilla, attempts to change it subtly or democratically, to those who when offered a sniff of power return faithfully to its ivory tower.
In Vampire: The Masquerade, most vampire clans belong to a sect, either the Camarilla or Sabbat (some vampires and clans are independent). Vampires who belong to a sect other than that of their parent clan are generally called "antitribu", though this term is occasionally reserved specifically for offshoot bloodlines belonging to a different sect than their parent clan.
For example, a Lasombra who joins the Camarilla would be referred to as a Lasombra antitribu, as his parent clan claims allegiance to the Sabbat (however, no Lasombra uses the term for their own clan). Likewise, a Brujah in the Sabbat would be considered a Brujah antitribu. However, there are certain offshoot bloodlines of Brujah, specifically True Brujah, that claim allegiance to another sect without being considered antitribu.
Members of independent clans who join one of the sects are treated differently with regards to diplomatic status and title. Independent vampires who live in or commute regularly to Camarilla territory do not have special names. Others, who break away from their parent clans, especially those that choose to side with the Sabbat, could be considered antitribu.
The Assamites and Setites both have divergent bloodlines affiliated with the Sabbat, who could be called antitribu (though the Setites more often go by the name "Serpents of the Light"). Members of the Ravnos clan allied with the Sabbat are also often called antitribu, though they are not a separate bloodline.
A large portion of the Assamite clan (from several bloodlines) has also broken away from their parent clan and permanently sworn allegiance to the Camarilla. Rather than being called antitribu, however, they are called "schismatics", named for the schism between them and their home in Alamut. Others have fled to the Sabbat, to join their antitribu brethren.
Recently a group of Salubri have joined the Sabbat, claiming antitribu status and expressing a hatred of the Camarilla, especially the Tremere, who they claim destroyed their Antediluvian. These Salubri antitribu exhibit powers of combat, once attributed to the extinct warrior Salubri.
AutarkisAutarkis is a fictional term in Vampire: The Masquerade books and role-playing games. It is used to describe vampires who turn their back on the Jyhad, refusing to serve a sect, Camarilla or Sabbat, or associate with their Clan.
Black HandThe Black Hand are a fictional sect of vampires, composed of several clans and bloodlines, from White Wolf Game Studio's Vampire: The Masquerade books and role-playing games. The name comes from their symbol, an inverted black hand print. The sect is often confused with the Sabbat itself and another mysterious sect, the Tal'mahe'Ra.
In essence, the Black Hand is a sect within a sect, made up of the most dedicated and capable Sabbat members. Part paramilitary, part religion, part survivalist militia, these vampires wholeheartedly believe that Gehenna is coming. They do all they can to prepare for the rise of the Antediluvians.
Blood huntIn White Wolf Game Studio's Vampire: The Masquerade books and role-playing games, a blood hunt is the persecution of a vampire by the rest of the vampiric society in order to kill him. Another name to a blood hunt is the word Amaranth, in reference to the flower. In the past, an Amaranth flower was given to a vampire who will be killed a week before the hunt began as a warning.
The blood hunt must be officially declared by the local prince. Once the order is given, it is customary to allow the vampire to flee the city. This mercy is extended until midnight, after which any vampire is free to hunt down and destroy the persecuted subject. On occasion, a reward might be offered to the one who delivers or kills the victim.
Any vampire who helps the subject of a blood hunt in any way is considered an accomplice and may himself become an additional target.
In some cases it is traditional to let the victim's sire, who is then allowed to perform diablerie on his childe, perform the execution.
CaitiffCaitiff are a fictional group of clanless vampires in Vampire: The Masquerade, a role-playing game by White Wolf, Inc.
Lacking patrons or allies, holding no real power as a group, Caitiff are held in contempt by the Camarilla. The Sabbat's Caitiff are treated as a clan; known as Pander, a title whose namesake is a politically powerful and clanless vampire Joseph Pander, they find direction through the Sabbat.
Since they are clanless, they do not specialize in any particular discipline, but have the freedom to learn any discipline or develop their own. However, finding a mentor for such a pursuit can be difficult.
Clanlessness can stem from many circumstances - the sire rejected the individual, the embrace went wrong, their blood is too thin to develop the peculiar characteristics of the sire's clan, or the sire was also a caitiff.
Some take great pride in lacking a clan, claiming to be descended directly from Caine. Since Caine was the first vampire, he lacked the flaws of his descendants who founded various clans and bloodlines. Caitiff tend to be thin-blooded; far removed from Caine, 13th generation or worse, they can be viewed as omens of Gehenna. Most clans tolerate the Caitiff, as long as they maintain the Masquerade, honor the traditions, and stay out of politics. Still, there are exceptions to this rule; Muktar Bey, the Caitiff Prince of Cairo, has ruled for over 500 years.
Passages of the Book of Nod allude to the Time of Thin Blood, when the clanless will come to rule. The increasing number of Caitiff and their strange powers and insights into the Jyhad has many elders worried.
CamarillaThe Camarilla is a fictional sect of vampires in Vampire: The Masquerade. The Camarilla are composed of seven clans, and are the largest organization of vampires, and possibly of any supernatural creatures, in the World of Darkness. The symbol of the Camarilla is an ankh hanging from a necklace.
FoundationThe Camarilla was founded during the 15th century (the first meeting cited was in 1450) in response to the Inquisition and the Anarch Revolt. Largely, it was formed by the desperation of the vampire elders of its seven main clans as a means to marshal their powers into a united front and beat back the Anarchs. This it managed to do after forty years of fighting, and the Anarch Revolt was officially ended at the Convention of Thorns in 1493. Nevertheless, some Anarchs refused to give up peacefully, and created the sect known as the Sabbat, with which the Camarilla is still at war.
In the modern setting of Vampire: The Masquerade, the organization is headquartered in Vienna, Austria. The Camarilla is composed of seven main Clans, though the Camarilla considers that all vampires are, subject to their laws and rules, regardless of whether they want to be or not. The core group of seven clans dropped to six when the Gangrel officially became independent in 1999. Other bloodlines often affiliated include the Daughters of Cacophony, the Lasombra antitribu, and the Samedi.
Recently, a second, smaller Anarch Revolt has started. This new Anarch faction has taken power on much of the West Coast of the United States.
The third edition of the game has a different clan composition and puts more emphasis on political diversity within the Camarilla, and gives hints as to the eventual dissolution of the Camarilla, which is not yet considered archaic and exists even to the declared end of the Vampire: The Masquerade line of products by White Wolf. The third edition is not fundamentally different from the other editions, but does include more that was once published extraneously to the earlier rulebooks in associated game products.
PhilosophyCamarilla policy is that vampires should try to fit in with and hide from the rest of humanity, as to easily feed on them. For this reason, they created a web of lies and misinformation, called the Masquerade, to make the public believe that supernatural beings like vampires could not possibly exist.
The Camarilla also believes that the only way the vampire species can survive in these modern nights is if it unites - any breach of the Masquerade by any vampire risks exposing the entire race. Both viewpoints are fundamentally opposed by the Sabbat.
The Camarilla also enforces the Eldest as ruling class over the younger vampires. When in the Dark Ages one Elder claimed land as his and all other vampires had to obey his ruling if traveling his lands. In modern nights the Camarilla still holds to this tradition. The ruling Elder of a so called domain, usually a human metropolitan and surrounding areas, is called the Prince. His rule is essentially that of an autocrat-all power, executive, legislative, and judicial, rests with the Prince. The six fundamental rules of the Camarilla grant the Prince the right to destroy other vampires, grant or deny the right to hospitality and allow him to decide whether or not a vampire is allowed to create offspring. Besides the Prince usually the oldest Member of each of the Clans holds a fair amount of power and the title Primogen. The Council of the Primogen usually advices the Prince, but since in modern nights many vampires live in one domain, sometimes a primogen or even more, hold a power similar or even surpassing the power of the Prince.
While the Camarilla is indeed ruled by the old and enforces their right to rule, the sect still maintains the impression, that it is the one, true organisation for all vampires. Whenever there is a greater social tension in an area, the Camarilla might send an one of its enforcers, the Justicars, along with his servants, the Archons, to the scene. There is one such Justicar from each Clan appointed for a 13year term. During meetings, called Conclaves, every vampire, even the young, may speak if they have two advocates. While this creates the impression that the Camarilla officials have an open ear for anyone, the Justicars usually have the obligation to keep a solid 'status quo'. So, before and during Conclaves many boons are made and collected to gain as many influential advocates as possible, so that the Justicar is convinced that one is the best govern the domain.
Views on AntediluviansThe official stance of the Camarilla on the matter of the Antediluvians, and Gehenna, is that it is nothing more than superstition. They say that the Antediluvians do not exist. This is in stark contrast to the Sabbat, who claim that Gehenna is approaching and that all vampires must prepare for it by readying to fight the Antediluvians.
After the Week of Nightmares, in which the Ravnos Antediluvian woke, certain upper echelon members of the Camarilla came to realise that Gehenna was an imminent possibility; however, the Camarilla's official stance did not change. This was especially notable when the Camarilla refused to lend aid to the Justicar Xaviar when he encountered what he believed was an Antediluvian, after which he led the Gangrel clan out of the Camarilla.
Vampire: The RequiemIn Vampire: The Requiem, White Wolf's Vampire game in the new World of Darkness setting, the sects have been replaced by smaller "covenants". However, the Camarilla is occasionally referred to as a society of long ago that united all vampires, before it fractured into the covenants. Likely this was a subtle statement by the game designers that, though they have moved on, they have not forgotten their old game line.
More specifically, the Requiem history states that the Camarilla existed during the Roman empire, endorsing the idea of vampires rising to public dominion of the human world. The Masquerade is stated to have emerged after the collapse of the Camarilla due to an uprising of Anarchs.
The Camarilla was divided into four wings: the Senex, the Legio Mortuum, the Cult of Augurs and the Peregrine Collegia. The Senex were the leaders and patricians, the Legio Mortuum were the military wing, the Cult of the Augurs were the religious wing and the Peregrine Collegia were the commoners.
ClansIn Vampire: the Masquerade, a clan (often spelled Clan, with capitalization) is a group of vampires "related" by blood; i.e. the vampiric equivalent of an extended family or lineage. A clan is usually a large group, acknowledged widely in the vampiric society, and not a small offshoot (which is called a bloodline).
It is assumed that each clan descended from a single progenitor (called Antediluvians in Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Dark Ages, who passed to each of his descendants, or childer, his unique gifts and flaws. However, in the original World of Darkness, it is also assumed that each of these Antediluvians came from a common source: commonly accepted to be Caine, the first murderer.
The Book of Nod names certain clans as the original thirteen; the Kingship Clan (Ventrue), the Clan of the Beast (Gangrel), the Moon Clan (Malkavian), the Clan of the Hidden (Nosferatu), the Wanderer Clan (Ravnos), the Clan of the Rose (Toreador), the Night Clan (Lasombra), the Clan of Shapers (Tzimisce), the Snake Clan (Setites), the Clan of Death (Cappadocians), the Healer's Clan (Salubri), the Clan of the Hunt (Assamites) and the Learned Clan (Brujah). Other fragments have alluded to the possibility of there being other clans who did not survive into the final nights.
Each clan within a domain will send a representative, called a Primogen, who is usually the eldest and most powerful member of the clan, to attend the prince's advisory council.
InconnuThe Inconnu is a fictional sect of vampires in the role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade. Supposedly the oldest known sect, the origin, goals and even very existence of the sect are largely unknown to the supernatural population at large. The inconnu has been linked variously to Infernalism, Golconda, Saulot and a host of other conspiracies. Several cities in the World of Darkness have Inconnu monitors, mysterious elder vampires who do little, other than watch the events of their chosen city.
The official storyline for V:TM ended before much was revealed regarding the Inconnu. They were the last secret left unanswered. The Inconnu were elders (Methuselahs) who wished to withdraw from Kindred politics (the Jyhad), kindred seeking Golconda, and hunted clans and bloodlines like the Salubri.
Kindred of the EastKindred of the East is a role-playing supplement by White Wolf Game Studio to their Vampire: The Masquerade line. The vanguard of White Wolf's "Year of the Lotus" theme (which created "Eastern" counterparts to all of their major product lines in the World of Darkness), this rich sourcebook is a stand-alone setting, requiring only secondary rules to be fully playable. The setting spans Asia, allowing players to play the so-called Kindred of the East, vampires of Asia.
Characters in Kindred of the East (or Kuei-jin, as they call themselves) are vampires as depicted in classical Japanese, Chinese, and Indian Hindu, Taoist, Shinto and Buddhist mythology. Unlike the vampires traditionally associated with Dracula or Caine, Kuei-jin were once mortals who died with the burden of unfulfilled Dharma or duties. Tortured in Yomi for their inadequacies in life, their souls successfully escaped and returned to their bodies. Now half-alive and half-dead, Kuei-jin must live by stealing chi from mortal victims to sustain themselves while trying to fulfill their Dharma. The most convenient form chi can be stolen in is blood, leading to their vampiric tendencies, but they cannot create new vampires. Practically all Kindred distrust the Kuei-jin. The Kuei-jin are also known to war with the other sects for territory.
Kuei-jin are beings torn by inner conflict, and the themes of the game relate to this heavily. Unlike Western vampires, Kuei-jin are revenants and thus spiritual beings in nature.
Yin vs. YangThe classic opposition of yin and yang are important to Kuei-jin not only for philosophical reasons, but because this dichotomy also delineates the two forms of chi they can potentially ingest. An imbalance of yin or yang chi in their system can lead to dire consequences. Yin-imbalanced Kuei-jin become corpselike zombies suffering from a lack of emotion. At its worst, yin-imbalance reduces a kuei-jin to a Hopping corpse. Yang-imbalanced Kuei-jin suffer wild mood swings and impulsive lusts for food, sex, and other forms of stimulation. Possibly the strangest consequence of yang-imbalance is the ability to have or sire children. Such children are called dhampyrs, and are mortal half-vampires.
Hun vs. P'oA Kuei-jin's stint in the hells of Yomi divides the mind into two parts: The Hun, or high mind, that is the seat of rational thought, and the P'o, or demon mind, that exists to satisfy its own base urges (usually at the expense of the Hun). As former wraiths, a Kuei-jin has a splinter of the forces of Oblivion in its soul. While many Kuei-jin see their P'o as a curse, it is important to note that without the P'o, they would never have escaped hell in the first place. Furthermore, Kuei-jin who stifle and contain their P'o utterly become cold, calculating individuals who lack any ideological spark; such stagnancy can be devastating when the weight of karma (spiritual consequences of actions) is on one's shoulders.
Mortal vs. SpiritThe Kuei-jin stand between the mortal world (which they can never fully return to) and the spirit world (which they cannot fully embrace). Many Kuei-jin struggle to find a balance between these two worlds that suits the precise nature of their Dharma.
DharmasA Kuei-jin's existence is a quest for enlightenment. In their search for karmic resolution, different Kuei-jin follow different paths to ease their karmic discomfort. The Dharmas, five philosophies accepted by the greater Kuei-jin community as potential paths, each emphasize a particular aspect of Kuei-jin existence:
- The Howl of the Devil Tiger: The Dharma embracing the P'o.
- The Way of the Resplendent Crane: The Dharma embracing the Hun.
- The Song of the Shadow: The Dharma embracing Yin.
- The Path of a Thousand Whispers: The Dharma embracing balance.
- The Dance of the Thrashing Dragon: The Dharma embracing Yang.
In addition to these primary dharmas, a number of Heretical Dharmas have also come into existence. Not accepted in Kuei-jin society, these paths nevertheless find some followers:
- The Face of the Gods: A Dharma embracing both Hun and P'o.
- The Flame of the Rising Phoenix: A Dharma embracing both Hun and Yang.
- The Spirit of the Living Earth: A Dharma embracing both Yin and Yang.
- The Tempest of Inner Focus: A Dharma embracing balance.
- The Scorpion Eaters: A Dharma embracing the P´o, whom can consume only Tainted Chi and yet are not Akuma.
Finally, some Kuei-jin turn their backs on enlightenment entirely, instead swearing fealty to the Yama Kings (the rulers of Yomi) to become Akuma, the demon people. Bartering their souls for power, Akuma enter Faustian deals with the Yama Kings and pursue only power.
The Middle KingdomKuei-jin are the most visible shen (supernatural creatures) of the Middle Kingdom (modern Asia), but are not alone. Unlike Western Kindred, they have close ties with the spirit world. They must also compete with the hengeyokai (Shapeshifters of the East, as it were), mages, and gaki.
SabbatThe Sabbat (also known as Sword of Caine) are a fictional sect of vampires, composed of several clans and bloodlines, from White Wolf Game Studio's Vampire: The Masquerade books and role-playing games. Their symbol is an inverted, spiked ankh. Named in reference to the times of the Anarch revolt, when ravening groups of vampires were assumed to be witches sabbats.
Tal'mahe'RaThe Tal'mahe'Ra are a fictional sect of vampires, composed of several clans and bloodlines, from the Vampire: The Masquerade books and role-playing games. The sect is often confused with the Black Hand.
The so called True Black Hand is very secretive and mysterious, with infiltrators in many other sects. Dedicated to bringing about Gehenna and the return of the Antediluvians, these vampires hope to serve the ancients and gain positions as favoured servants.
The extent of Tal'mahe'Ra power and infiltration is debatable, due to the very nature of the sect. In any case the question may be considered academic as the heart of the Tal'mahe'Ra was eviserated at the start of the Sixth Maelstrom in the shadowlands. The surviving servants have quietly blended into the sects they once infiltrated.
The Clans composing this sect are the Old Clan Tzimisce who are on a neverending quest to eradicate the "evil entity Vicissitude," the True Brujah who wish to avenge their Antedeluvian Ilyes, who was diablerized by his childer Troile, who is the founder of the mainstream Brujah clain and finally the Nagaraja, necromancers who claim to have invented the Vaulderie long before the Tzimisce. The individual Clans are often scoffed at or shunned entirely, causing some to wonder if it was simply three freak bloodlines coming together in some pathetic attempt to validate themselves.
The Shadow Crusade of the Sect, a campaign against Vicissitude which they claim to be some horrid parasitic entity contracted by the Tzimisce Methusulah Andeleon while in plane of reality known as the Deep Umber, came to a halt when their base of operations, the shadow realm answer to the classic Enoch, was destroyed. They chose that place not only for its historic value, but also because a group of four Methusulah hide within it, in Torpor. While their spirits are visible through Auspex, they are impossible to find. It is later realized that it was not Enoch, but the illusion created by at least one of the Torpid ancients to better mask his presence. In the end, the Shadow Crusade was crushed, as Vicissitude was revealed to be an active piece of the Tzimisce's Antedeluvian, their holy Enoch was nothing and the revenge of the True Brujah was denied. The surviving members skulked away into obscurity.
In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, the player has a chance to pick up a fabled blade of the Tal'mahe'Ra in the Hallowbrook Hotel.
- Dean Shomshak & Sarah Roark, Time Of Thin Blood (White Wolf Game Studio, 1999, ISBN 1-56504-245-X)
- Justin Achilliet al., Vampire: The Masquerade (Revised Edition) (White Wolf Game Studio, 1998, ISBN 978-1-56504-249-0)
- Justin Achilli & Richard E. Dansky, Guide To The Camarilla (White Wolf Game Studio, 1999, ISBN 156504262X
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- Steven C. Brown & Jeff Starling, A Players Guide to the Sabbat (White Wolf Game Studio, 1995, ISBN 1-56504-042-2)
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