V5 Chronicle Tips
Ten Tips to Running the Second Inquisition in V5
3. Ten Tips to Running the Sabbat in V5
4. Ten Chronicles for Sabbat PCs in V5
5. Ten Tips to Running the Camarilla in V5
My Top Ten Lists for Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition have proven pretty popular and I thought I would do another list about the most popular faction in the game. The Camarilla has gone through some of the most dramatic changes since its inception while maintaining its fundamental core. They are the ivory tower elite, the rich, the powerful, and the eldest of the vampire race. They pull the strings from the shadows and jockey for position among themselves even when they should unite against mutual threats.
The feudal system of the Camarilla continues past the disastrous Council of Prague and Third Anarch Revolt. It has gained great power and lost much simultaneously. New Blood is not necessarily welcomed but has greater opportunities than ever to claim the power abandoned by Elders drawn to the Middle East.
1. The Camarilla is exclusive
The biggest change that has happened to the Ivory Tower is the fact that the Camarilla is no longer pretending at representing all Kindred. It has instead adopted the policy that it is an exclusive club that one must earn the right to membership in. In practical terms, you need sponsorship of existing members to be allowed into the same clubs and Elysiums that were previously open to all undead. Thin Bloods, Caitiff, and the other dregs of undead society need not apply. Even then, though, there are exceptions as Prince Helena Panhard keeps a Thin Blood as a "Primogen" just to amuse herself.
The Camarilla was seemingly weakened by the expelling of the Brujah and loss of the Gangrel to independent status but this is no longer the case. They have absorbed the Banu Haqim and half the Lasombra clan into their ranks. This has resulted in them maintaining their original membership number as well as dramatically cutting down on the infighting. At least on the surface. Vampires being vampires means these newcomers are eager to seize power and prestige for themselves as much as any other Ivory Tower elitist. Both have brought flesh allies, contacts, funds, and resources with them. Also, the Camarilla didn't lose its loyalist Brujah or Gangrel that chose to stay within its ranks. Just because they don't have a Justicar or Inner Council member doesn't mean they are not well-represented.
3. The Camarilla has achieved dramatic victories
The Camarilla has more or less retaken all of the land on the East Coast of the United States that it lost to the Sabbat in 1999, with the important exception of Washington D.C (see below). It has furthermore taken the cities of Mexico City and Montreal, two of the Sabbat's greatest strongholds. Furthermore, Miami and Rio have also half-fallen to the Camarilla, though they maintain vast Sabbat presences. They have even established a presence in Tokyo, which means that the length and width of the Ivory Tower's shadow has never been larger. Victory on all fronts. This, of course, is a lie.
4. The Camarilla has suffered humiliating defeats
The Camarilla's successes are matched only by its losses. The fall of Vienna didn't just cripple the Tremere, it also struck a blow against one of the strongest bastions of Camarilla force. The purge of London also removed any doubt the Second Inquisition could be stopped by the Camarilla and its vampire-less streets remain a monument to Kindred arrogance. Furthermore, the Camarilla badly misjudged the Anarchs and lost both Las Vegas as well as Berlin to their fangs. Marcus Vitel sits on the throne of Washington D.C. as its "Anarch" Emperor. Throw in the assassination of a vampire widely regarded as the leader of the Camarilla, Hadestadt, by one of its own Archons, Theo Bell, and the prestige of the organization has suffered. This is a greater blow than the losses themselves.
5. The Camarilla has embraced mysticism, religion, and superstition
The Camarilla has always had a hypocritical relationship with ancestor worship, Gehenna Cults, Noddism, and religion. Technically, one of the earliest secular organizations, it denied the existence of the Antediluvians in public while demanding Neonates recite their lineage back to Caine. Recent events have removed the pretense. Cults to Mithras, the Cainite Heresy, Menele, Michael, and others have left the parlors of crumbling mansions to be spread in Elysiums across the Ivory Tower. The Camarilla no longer denies the existence of the Antediluvians even if they do not necessarily admit Gehenna is ongoing. Crazier groups and blood rituals also remove one of the once greatest differences from the Sabbat.
6. The Camarilla has made its enemies stronger
Rafael de Corazon would be (and probably is) disgusted with the failures of intrigue that his organization has suffered in recent years. Despite the fact it is made of some of the greatest Machiavellian schemers of all time, not all of its members are Caesars or Sun Tzu. Some are Caligulas or Richard II's. The Camarilla has made some of the worst blunders in its 600 year history during the past two decades. This may be due to the Beckoning some of its wisest minds or it may just be due to having so much success it got complacent. The Camarilla is responsible for the Second Inquisition due to attempting to use US government agencies against the Anarchs as well as Sabbat. It alienated the moderate Followers of Set (or "Ministry") into joining the Anarchs by denying its invitation after the assassination of its delegation. It cast out the Brujah over the actions of one in a foolish overreaction. It has also alienated other younger Kindred by closing its ranks and focusing on low-tech communication. Pride goeth before the fall even among Kindred.
7. The Camarilla pretends at eschewing technology
The Camarilla has decided that Kindred must remove their internet footprint and avoid using modern technology while conducting Kindred business. This has alienated many Kindred Embraced in the past few years that think of it as going without running water or electricity. As always, the Camarilla has rules for me and rules for thee, though. In a Camarilla city you should expect to see Elders delivering hand-written invitations by courier, pneumatic tubes, or even carrier pigeon. Switch-boards and things from John Wick should be common. However, that doesn't mean their ghouls aren't using cellphones or laptops for their masters. Camarilla Ventrue still invest in Silicon Valley and younger members make their fortunes there to buy themselves into the elite. As with many Camarilla rules, it is theater primarily. The pretext allows Princes more latitude to find a reason for the Sheriff to punish troublemakers, though.
8. The Beckoning is a blessing and a curse
The exact number of Elders Beckoned to the Middle East is anyone's guess but it is small enough to deny the phenomenon exists but large enough to affect the power base of Camarilla society. Using Chicago by Night 5th Edition as a default example: Elders Inyanga, Khalid, Menele, and others were Beckoned while others like Critias or Helena avoided it. This has created new openings for younger Kindred like Kevin Jackson to rise to power. This and the exile of "lesser" Kindred has created a safety valve that means there's more room to rise up to higher ranks within the Ivory Tower. It is still a gerontocracy but one where there's been a power vacuum created by Ancients calling them or the Sabbat fangs that await them in the Gehenna War. It should be noted that Beckoned Elders don't necessarily vanish completely. Enough remain in contact with the Camarilla via phone or messenger that they can share how badly the Gehenna War is going. Even if they can't explain why they are fighting it or for who.
The Camarilla is moving to becoming a more international institution even as it burns bridges with many of its former allies. What was once ancient "Here be Monsters" lands are now just a phone call or plane ride away. The Ashirra, long considered a no man's land for Kindred, has formed a formal treaty with the Camarilla. This means large portions of both Africa and the Middle East are now available to visit even as the Gehenna War wages around them. Alliances with Blood Cults, the Hecata, and other groups are also things an enterprising Prince or Archon might pursue.
10. The Camarilla plays the Long Game
The Camarilla is not overly worried about the Second Inquisition, the resurgence of the Anarchs, or even the Masquerade in the 21st century. They are used to playing the long game and plan to deal with their enemies subtlety rather than head on. In the coming years, the Camarilla will attack the Church, CIA, NSA, FBI, and other groups through their funding as well as reputations. They will buy up property in Anarch territories and subvert its members with bribes. They will divide and conquer by pitting their enemies against one another. They will reward whoever betrays their enemies and offer position to the survivors. In the end, they don't have any ideology to protect but ruling the world and who wouldn't want to join the group that does?