Victoriana, Alternate years
A society of vampires that values a certain amount of order and control over its “species.”
The Camarillia is an organization created and maintained by ancient vampires in order to exert a modicum of control over their brethren. The official goal of the Camarillia is to maintain human disbelief in the supernatural in general, and vampires specifically. The idea behind this is that with humans holding vampires as mere superstation, they will leave their guard down, thus making them easier prey. Also, and more importantly, this attitude prevents any large-scale effort for vampire eradication from taking shape. Although the use of magic has declined among humanity over the past few centuries, technology has been becoming more and more potent to the point where some of the more attentive vampires fear it may soon become capable of producing potent anti-vampire weapons if its masters were to turn their attention to developing it towards such endeavors. Even worse, there are hints that magic is beginning to make a quite comeback among the fringes of human society. If mankind were to ever unite these two potent forces, they would be nearly unstoppable. Therefore the leaders of the Camarillia see it as even more important than ever that their brethren do nothing to upset the humans’ disbelief in their kind. The term they apply to this organized campaign of deception and sleight of hand is “The Masquerade.”
While The Camarillia does not come anywhere close to claiming all vampires as members, it has always claimed all vampires to be under its jurisdiction. Needless to say, this philosophy has been at the core of many vampire vs. vampire conflicts throughout the centuries. The main tenants of the Camarillia are twofold. One, that vampires should take care when feeding, so as not to kill their victims (this makes noise, i.e. leaves a body that attracts public and police scrutiny, plus the fact that its drained of blood hints at something unnatural to even the general populace, and attracts the attention of those who do know of the vampires’ existence. Even the disappearance and death of the homeless and the castoff of society would be noticed if it happened frequently enough.) Two, vampires should not display their supernatural nature in public. The use of their special powers should be reserved only for when truly needed, and in ways that won’t draw humanity’s attention to the monsters in their midst. Since these tenants make good practical and tactical sense on their own, many smart vampires follow them any way of their own accord. Most dumb vampires who ignore such ideas generally don’t survive long enough to come to the attention of The Camarillia anyway.
As a result of this, it’s very easy for The Camarillia to set up shop. They simply show up, announce their existence, and wait for interested vampires to sign up. Since this faction has the backing of some of the most powerful bloodsuckers in the world, and it advocates things their already doing anyway, it’s easier for most vampires to just ignore it rather than object. Plus, many vampires recognize it as an opportunity to join in the power games of the big boys, and therefore as a route to connections and power for themselves. So through apathy and greed, the two greatest allies of any vampire, The Camarillia insinuates itself into the vampire population. Since The Camarillia assiduously avoids causing problems among humans, most anti-vampire activity tends to pass it by. Even those anti-vampire organizations that are aware of its existence rarely trouble with its key members or organization. After all, their extremely powerful, but clearly not the greatest threat to humanity present. Worse, successfully eliminating The Camarillia would create a power vacuumed and practically an invitation for something much worse to fill its place. Once again, it’s simply easier to leave them in place, and mark them near the bottom of the priority extermination list. And the Camarillia elders can generally count on the rest of their brethren to continually replenish the ranks of higher priority targets without their even prompting. Thus, even the human vampire slayers serve the ends of the Camarillia, as those they target are often the enemies of The Camarillia.
The Camarillia really only becomes a center for conflict when one of two conditions happen. The first is when the local head of the Camarillia (know as a city’s Prince) tries to exert too much influence on the local population, becoming a micromanager. While it is the Prince’s privilege, and indeed joy, to use his power and influence to his own ends, he must always remember that his subjects have the souls of megalomaniacal anarchistic demons at their core. Even the most disciplined of them can only tolerate so much interference in their own machinations. When he/she tries to stick his hands in too many pies at once, then it creates a backlash, and vampire wars against vampire. This makes noise. Lots of it. This attracts vampire hunters and other supernatural entities to play their parts as well. The general result of this is that the vampire population is culled to a fraction of its size, until things quiet down. On the occasions where this has happened, the strategy of the greater Camarillia has been to allow this process to take its natural course, and then to recognize and co-opt the vampire savvy enough to bring stability in the end, and who is holding the reigns when the dust settles. Usually this works fairly well, but on a few occasions the surviving vampires have been unwilling to play ball, blaming the Camarillia for their recent problems, and effectively ejecting the organization. This is an annoyance, but the Camarillia is a farsighted organization and is willing to wait centuries, if necessary, for the political climate to change before attempting to reinsert themselves. On at least one occasion, this resulted in the destruction of every vampire in the city, and it was centuries before the undead were able to establish any residency there at all in the face of a vigilant human populace.
The second situation is when a group of vampires who hold the oposite veiws of the Camarillia colose to the rotted dead husk they call a heart. That is to say vampires that beleave that they should openly dominate the human populace in some form of vampire kingdom. These creatures revel in the darkest depths of their nature, and joyfuly anounce their existance to the world. Usualy these individuals are loners or minority decenters easily illiminated by thre Camarillia or some other group. However, ocasionaly enough of these kind get together to form an organized threat to both vampire and human society. This always makes noise…
London is a Camarillia dominated city. Baron Heinrich Von Gothe-Faustus is the city’s charismatic and highly pragmatic Prince. He has so far avoided the pitfalls of micromanagement. He rules with absoulte authority over every vampire in the city, but is very careful to make this point only when he has to. For the most part, all those that follow the tenants of the Masquerade are left alone. The Baron only medeles in the afairs of any given vampire if they have something he needs. He is a tyrant, but he takes great pains to be predictable in his demands. Even his enimies fear to depose him, less his replacement be harder to deal with. He’s also quick to involve his resourses in combating any problem faced by the vampire comunity as a whole, such as this recent Waspman, problem. He provided key assistance to the human organization that alowed them to survive long enough to gather the means to destroy the waspmen infestation, and thus was instramental in helping restore the safty and bounty of the vampires’ feeding grounds. In addition, it was his efforts on behalf of these crusading humans that kept the onus of the conflict with the waspmen from shifting to the vampire comunity as a general anti-supernatural backlash. Even his enimies acknowledge, grudgingly, that if not for Baron Von Gothe-Faustus, they might verywell be destroyed. So through stability and “benoevolance” the Prince has made it… “inconveanient” for virtualy anyone to “do without” him.
Until recently, the Camarillia’s main rival in London was The Court of Blood. It was a society of vampire supremacists lead by the enigmatic and super-powerful King of Blood. However, he recently disappeared, and without his leadership his followers went amok, and were rapidly dispatched by virtually every paranormal aware group present in London. While this has effectively destroyed the Camarillia’s main opposition in London, it has brought the vampire community as a whole to the negative attention of nearly every paranormal aware group present in London. Some of them such as Knights Templar do make a habit of eradicating vampires wherever they find them. It remains to be seen if there is any lasting fallout to be had from the disillusion of The Court of Blood.