Top Down Power StructureEdit
The Kindred as a species only support so much influence in a given domain. In any given city, only one vampire can be Admired (Status 5). In most cities, this pinnacle of achievement is reserved for the Prince. In some Praxis the Prince may recognize an ancient or power behind the throne or some great hero as 'above the law', or 'unstoppable'. These Kindred may gravitate into this coveted 'top spot', but Princes who are unable to sway themselves back into the key of public opinion are likely to lose their Praxis.
There can be up to five Respected (Status 4) spots available in most Kindred Domains. Kingsmouth is currently a very small Domain, and thus has only four such spots. Those who fill them are respected as the most powerful Kindred in the city, and it is expected that these positions will be filled either by Prisci or by Covenant leaders. At the current time, Kingsmouth empowers each Covenant leader as a Primogen.
A Clan whose Priscus does not hold one of these coveted Respected (Status 4) spots is openly seen to be less valued than one that does. The same is true for the Covenants and their Primogen. This means that up to ten Kindred are battling for up to five spots, creating inevitable political conflict.
To be a fully functioning city, there must be at least three members of each clan (or five members of only four clans) and a Keeper of Elysium, as well as a permanently established Elysium. Cities that fail to meet either of these two criteria are penalized one 'top spot' each, meaning that the smallest domains, with no permanently established Elysium and lacking sufficient representation of the blood will have only three Respected (Status 4) positions available.
In a domain of any given size there are only twice as many Valued (Status 3) positions supportable by the public power structure. As this is often the highest a given kindred will ever reach coming into the city, the vast majority of the day to day power struggles happen here. The Valued kindred of the city vie against one another for seats on the Primogen Council, for positions of power handed down by the Prince, and for the benefits such position provides. They have universally done something of recognition and been long acknowledged within the city in which they reside. They are the go-to middle-men of the city, and any Priscus or Primogen who is not Respected should be at least Valued.
Most Kindred become Recognized (Status 2) by the time they have resided in a Domain six months. Any who remain only Acknowledged (Status 1) after this time have undoubtedly offended someone important, or shown themselves to be a drain upon rather than an asset to the city.
Speaking About StatusEdit
“Status” is an out-of-character game term. It quantifies perceptions that exist in character, but no Kindred would describe herself (or anyone else) as having “Status 2,” and players should avoid using such terms as much as possible. Chapter Two’s description of City Status provides a few terms that correspond with the trait’s various dot levels (see p. 133), but a few other phrases can be of use. The terms below can be woven into in-character conversation seamlessly and can even be used in out of character conversations between players to remain in the habit. These words are generally capitalized so that their system implications are clear. The phrases in quotations are other ways to convey the same information.
• Acknowledged (or “of low standing or rank”)
•• Recognized (or “of some standing or rank”)
••• Valued (or “of significant standing or rank”)
•••• Respected (or “of high standing or rank”)
••••• Admired (or “of preeminent standing or rank”)
For Example: For declaring Status, one would state that: “Mister Flash is Acknowledged by Clan Gangrel.”; “Raine Davis is Valued in the domain of Kingsmouth.”; “In the eyes of the Invictus, none is more Admired than Leon Vogel himself."
The Effects of Status, and Starting PlayEdit
When starting play, Kindred should generally not be of station higher than 2. This is the basic guideline given to Devs for all kinds of Kindred Status (Clan, Covenant, and City). One of the most important aspects of Status is the social power it holds over others. While all status gives a measure of authority, the powers of Status stack. Most importantly, when dealing with Kindred, you will often run into cases where clan, covenant, and city status conflict or align. An elder who outranks your neonate by three status in each of those three sections of kindred society holds your requiem in the palm of their hand, bringing to bear a whopping nine bonus dice against you. (This is capped to five bonus dice, actually, because nothing can give more than a +5 circumstances bonus.) Their attention is overwhelmingly flattering, their disapproval is a crushing blow, and even casual remarks from them can boost you or destroy you. These stackings become less impacting as the relations dwindle, but even the Daeva Priscus, who is likely to have high City Status, holds a great handle on the conversation against some Neonate Gangrel. All status you hold in common with another Kindred is worth one bonus die in social rolls with that Kindred. They can hurt you more, and they can help you more, the more you have in common.
Sins Against the CityEdit
Status Deeds - Sins Against the City
••••• Speaking ill of the city or its leadership in public
•••• Failing to attend regular gatherings of the local undead; actively disrupting a gathering of the local Kindred
••• Hindering a local industry or resource; killing a local mortal in a suspicious manner without good cause; a Prince and Harpy exchanging City Status awards with one another more than once a year; ordering about or sanctioning a Sanctified character when the Lancea Sanctum is ascendant (unless the one doing the ordering is Sanctified, a Prince or a Harpy, see p. 292); refusing to change one’s vote among the Prisci or Primogen as a result of Daeva, Nosferatu or Ventrue eminence.
•• Accidental public violations of the Traditions; deliberate private violations of the Traditions; murdering prominent local mortals without dire need; actively disobeying city superiors (those whose status outweighs your own).
• Deliberate public violations of the Traditions; wanton slaying of mortals or destruction of property; betraying resident Kindred to outsiders (e.g. lupines, foreign vampires).
Treat these levels of sin much like one treats morality issues. If a Kindred is only Status 2, they can get away with criticizing the city leadership. No acknowledged member of the city, however, can get away with deliberate public violations of the Traditions, or betraying resident Kindred to Outsiders. Any of these acts are justification for stripping status.
On the flip side of that coin, deeds performed for the city should net the Kindred Status gains. When the out-of-hand Mafia is brought back to heel, the Kindred responsible gains Status. When the plague of rats infesting poor neighborhoods and destroying the easy-to-feed-from populace of forgotten humans is ended, the Kindred responsible is awarded Status. When a Kindred Criminal is brought down and delivered staked to the Sheriff, the Kindred responsible is awarded Status. But Kindred are very much tied to the moment, despite their long lives, and the sentiment is always 'what have you done for me lately'.
A Kindred active for 6 IC months gains one dot of status in the city, so long as they are Acknowledged and this status dot does not cause them to exceed 3 dots, or require them to bump an active Valued Kindred from the roster. Likewise, a Kindred who does not participate in Kindred Gatherings, who is not visibly active in the Sphere for a period of 3 IC months, has their City Status cut in half. When their final status dot is cut in half, they are forgotten, and no longer an influence in City Politics.
Since City Status is so fluid, it is never paid for with XP.
The Prince and the two main Harpies of a domain are unique in that they have points as well as dots of City Status. Like those of Willpower, these points can be spent for a variety of effects. They replenish on the first night of every calendar month. If for some reason an individual stops holding a position that grants Status points, the character immediately loses access to their effects. If another character ascends to the vacant position, the new officer may use only the points that remain unspent for the month. An election or appointment doesn't refresh the pool until the beginning of the next month.
To see how many Status points a Prince or Harpy has, see the sections on the individual positions below. Points of City Status can be spent to award another character a permanent dot of City Status, or to remove one. No Prince or Harpy can grant more than one dot to a single character within the same calendar month, but the official can remove more than one dot at one time (at a cost of one point per dot in either case).
No Prince or Harpy can affect her own City Status with these points. They can affect each other’s traits, however, granting each other more than one dot over the course of a year is a sin against the city.
• The Prince: The Prince’s Status points are equal to his personal City Status (after taking into account any bonuses provided by the position of his clan and covenant, see below). In addition to spending Status points to grant or remove dots of City Status (as described above), the Prince has special power over the first dot of City Status that another vampire has. Granting that initial dot represents the Prince’s sanction of a Kindred to hunt in the city. The Prince can grant that first dot to any character who otherwise has no City Status, and at no cost to the newly Acknowledged vampire (in experience) or to himself (in Status points). As Kingsmouth currently has no Prince, the Prince's Harpy is empowered to grant this Acknowledgement.
The Prince can similarly strip a character who has (or has been reduced to) City Status 1 of her last dot. He does so by casting the character out of the city or by clearly implying he no longer cares for her fate (this is distinct from an actual blood hunt). In the very rare cases when he feels an entire group has betrayed the city (or his rule), a Prince may declare an entire clan or covenant unwelcome in his domain. All members of the group who have City Status 1 immediately lose that dot at no cost to the Prince’s Status points, but those with higher City Status must be stripped of it dot by dot as usual. Eminent and rival clans and the ascendant and contender covenants are immune to such sweeping declarations (see below).
• Too many or too Few Princes: There can usually be only a single Prince in a city, but there are instances when two or more rival Princes claim domain over a city and they refuse to recognize one another’s claims. In this case, calculate the total City Status dots of all active characters who support each contender. The contender with the highest total gets Status points and their related abilities. Other contenders cannot grant Status and their supporters are liable to face loss of personal Status by the winner’s decree — one reason why Kindred contenders for the throne usually keep their ambitions closely guarded.
In cities with no single point of authority, the highest City Status of any of the individual Kindred involved in the ruling council (or similar body) equals the points that are at the disposal of the council to spend. Allocating them usually requires a prior arrangement among council members and the Storyteller. A majority vote might be needed, for example, or it might be decided that anyone may access the points whenever they want to and without consultation.
• The Prince’s Harpy : The Prince can appoint a Harpy at his discretion, empowering a Kindred to grant his esteem (or to remove it). The Prince’s Harpy retains her own personal City Status dots, and gains Status points equal to the Prince’s own City Status (even if that means she has more points than dots). The eminence or ascendancy of the Prince’s clan or covenant affects his Harpy’s Status points, while her own affiliations affect only her City Status dots. Although the Harpy’s pool of points starts at the same number as the Prince’s, it is distinct — the Harpy and Prince do not share points. The Prince’s Harpy can spend them to bequeath or remove City Status dots from others, and can also act as a first arbiter of prestation, with the Prince acting as the final arbiter if one of the supplicants disagrees. Of course, 'going over the Harpy's head' could result in some bruised feelings to a member of the city with Status points to spare. She cannot serve as Prince, Priscus or a Primogen. In Kingsmouth there is currently no Prince. Instead, the Primogen Council appoints the Prince's Harpy, in the Prince's name.
• The Prisci: The eldest (or most respected) members of each clan stand as the domain’s Prisci. No Kindred without appropriate Clan Status can serve as a Priscus, and if there is a dispute over who a clan’s Priscus is, the contender with the highest combined amount of Clan Status and City Status is the victor for the purposes of all Prisci votes. If two or less members of a clan have been visible or active in a domain over the previous three months, the other Prisci do not have to accept a Priscus from that clan.
The Prisci have no impetus to agree or cooperate, other than that they can empower a Harpy of their own. For a domain to have a second Harpy, there must be at least two Prisci who do not also hold the title of Primogen. Without that number, the city is simply too weak to support a second Harpy. A character must gain the support of a majority of the Prisci who are not also Primogen to be named their Harpy. If a majority of such Prisci cannot agree, they cannot name a Harpy. No Priscus can serve as a Harpy.
• The Prisci’s Harpy : Once selected by the Prisci, their Harpy retains her own Status dots and gains Status points equal to the highest City Status among the Prisci supporting her (even if that means having more points than dots). She can spend them to grant and remove City Status dots to and from others in the domain, and can also act as an arbiter of prestation. The Prisci’s Harpy cannot serve as Prince, Priscus or a Primogen.
• The Master of Elysium: The Master of Elysium has no City Status points of his own, but can remove dots from Kindred who perpetrate violence within Elysium or who otherwise violate the institution. He does so at his sole discretion and may remove up to one dot per week from any single Kindred (and may do so to as many Kindred as he sees fit as long as they have violated Elysium in some manner).
Ascendence and EminenceEdit
When a Clan gains more influence than all others, it becomes Eminent. When a Covenant becoms more influential than all others, it becomes Ascendant . This grants unique mechanical benefits, which are different depending on what the Clan or Covenant is.