The Camarilla came about in an attempt to hold vampire society together against the power of the Inquisition in the 15th century. Under its iron guidance, the Tradition of the Masqurade grew from a cautious suggestion to the guiding principle of Kindred unlife. Even today, the Camarilla concerns iteself with the enforcement of the Masquerade, maintaining harmony between Kindred and kine, and battling the Sabbat, which it views as its direct opponent.
The Camarilla touts itself as the society of the Kindred, and it is partially correct. It is the largest sect of undead on the planet. Almost any vampire, regardless of lineage, may claim membership in the Camarilla. In truth, the Camarilla asserts that all vampires are already under its aegis, regardless of the wishes of the vampires in question. Over the years, the sect has attempted to extend its influence over other areas of vampire life, andeach time has had its hands roundly slapped for its insolence. Princes brook no interference in the affairs of their cities, while the ancient Methuselahs scoff at the temerity of the younglings who think they can play at Jyhad. In the end, the Camarilla’s influence begins and with protecting the Masquerade and ensuring Kindred-kine coexistence.
Practices and Organization
The Camarilla claims authority over all vampires, regardless of bloodline, but the vast majority of members represent the seven founding clans. It was their members who founded the sect, and only these clans regularly make up the Camarilla’s governing Inner Circle. Other vampires of different bloodlines may attend conclaves and meetings, but their voices frequently go unheard.
After the Anarch Revolt, the Camarilla placed itself squarely against the Sabbat, seeing itself as the only means to hold the war packs at bay. The Camarilla alone upheld the Masquerade and protected its own, while the Sabbat would as soon throw away the Traditions and everything sacred to sustain its paranoid dreams of Gehenna. Dissent is a luxury that cannot be afforded during times of war, and the Camarilla believes quite firmly that those who are not with the sect must be against it. However, for the frightened elders who make up the higher echelons, the Camarilla has quite a few enemies.
In these modern nights, the Camarilla is hardly the monolith that its proponents advertise it to be. Elders cling to their positions, refusing to relinquish them to those who have reached the age of consideration. Younger vampires feel left out of an organization they are expected to uphold, but which offers little to no reward for their efforts save the threat of punishment if they fail. Ancillae are trapped in the middle, unable to turn to either the younger or older vampires; taking up with the neonates means relegation to the lower strata of power, while attempting to fall in with the elders risks the appearance of overstepping boundaries and being crushed for insolence.
Many elders in the Camarilla’s upper echelons find themselves in the position of relics. A good many are unwilling or unable pick up the new technology that the young ones have mastered – cellular phones, laptop computers, Kevlar, phosphorus grenaded, sun lamps, Dragonsbreath rounds – and in the modern world, barely able to use a telephone or radio leaves these elders at a distinct disadvantage. Should they relinquish their positions and find themselves outside the halls of power, they become targets as their personal might lessens without the Camarilla behind it. A few gangs of ancillae with diablerie on their minds and the latest technology in their hands, and an elder might well find himself becoming obsolete in more ways than one. Therefore, in preemptive strikes of paranoia run rampant, the elders kill the best annd brightest who could some night pose a threat. The result is an organization that is cannibalizing itself, and one night it might regret the mistake.
The true hub of the Camarilla, this group meets in Venice once every 13 years to plan out the business and direction of vampire society – as much as any group can presume to dictate the doings of a race of immortal predators. Every clan is permitted one representative, usually the eldest member of the clan, as only the eldest may cast the clan’s vote. Others may be brought to the meeting and allowed to speak, but in the end only the elders may vote.
One of the Circle’s main purposes is the appointment of justicars, one for each of the seven Camarilla clans. Appointment is a long, drawn-out process, as each clan seeks to get its best in the plum spots. Often, when the shouting is over, the losers end up with young or relatively weak justicars who are ignored for their 13-year stints. Those who are eventually appointed are most often compromise candidates, or even obscure Kindred who the Circle believes can be manipulated. These latter types sometimes display a surprising amount of initiative, and may even bite the hand that feeds them.