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The Camarilla can best be defined as a loose political organization of Kindred gathered together for the common goals of commerce, community and mutual defense. The Camarilla has few laws, only Traditions. For an organization that relies heavily on Tradition, there are few rigid policies; but those which are in place are inflexible in the extreme. Most proper behavior inside the Camarilla is defined by the Six Traditions, custom and the mandates of Princes.

The Camarilla is most concerned with the preservation of what is. The status quo, if you will. Those elder vampires that have achieved power and position at the top of the Camarilla seek to retain that power and position. The burgeoning middle class ancilla vampires that have fought, suffered, waited and taken their place in the hierarchy of the Camarilla likewise wish to hold on to the niche that they have eked out for themselves. They have lived long enough to know that when they reach the higher ranks (as they nightly strive to further themselves towards) they, too, will be protected by the same customs and Traditions that keep them rigidly locked beneath the feet of their elders now. Even the youngest neonates benefit from the Camarilla. They gain security. Security from the ravages of the mortal world, other vampires, hunters and the horrors of their new unlife. The Camarilla provides community and shelter where the neonate may live long enough to come to terms with the powers, the perils and the terrifying realities of his new existence.

At least in concept, the Camarilla is an international organization of vampires that governs every vampire in the world. Bound by the Traditions which dictate the creation, destruction and behavior of Kindred, the Camarilla opens its doors to vampires of any clan. Although all of the Traditions are enforced within the Camarilla, the prime concern of the Camarilla is the iron fisted and rigid maintenance of the Masquerade. Although vampires are vastly superior in power and skill to mortals, sheer weight of numbers would crush out vampiric existence, should humanity ever turn its attention that direction; particularly with modern advances in technology. Humans outnumber vampires some 100,000 to 1, and there are few Kindred up to such a challenge.

In actuality, the Camarilla does not govern every vampire in the world. Of the thirteen vampiric clans, only seven are formally allied with the Camarilla. Two clans (the Lasombra and the Tzimisce) have formed a sect, known as the Sabbat, in direct opposition to the Camarilla. Three clans have chosen to retain Independent status; and the Giovanni were formally written out of the Camarilla with the Treaty of 1528. Add to this mix the "antitribu" members of the standard Camarilla clans that leave to join the Sabbat and the growing numbers of Kindred that abandon the sect whilst declaring themselves Anarchs and the numbers of Kindred counted amongst the Camarilla might seem small indeed. But despite this seeming, the Camarilla is, without a doubt, the largest, strongest and most numerous organization of Kindred in the world. There are Lasombra and Tzimisce antitribu that have left the Sabbat in favor of the Camarilla and, as well, there are some numbers of Assamites, Caitiff, Followers of Set, and Gargoyles that have pledged their allegience.

The Camarilla controls almost all of Europe, much of the American continents and portions of Asia. While barely half of the vampiric clans belong to the Camarilla, it still boasts more clans than any other sect. And, although the other sects may have a ferocity, tenacity and will to victory that overshadows the jaded indifference of most of the Camarilla, the sect is in no immediate danger of collapse.

Although the Camarilla does not have a centralized government, the sect is ruled by the Inner Circle, a mysterious group that meets every 13 years to dictate doctrine and policy and to appoint the seven Justicars, who will serve as the hands of the Inner Council for the next 13 years. Each Justicar is given the right to select and blood bond several Archons to assist in their work. Aside from these agents, the Camarilla is ruled on a city by city basis by Princes. Each Prince claims domain over a metropolis and as much of the surrounding territory as he can control. The Prince of each city is supported, advised or (frequently) controlled by a counsel of elders known as the Primogen. Serving the prince are a handful of appointed officers who keep order, uphold the Traditions and carry out the wishes of the prince and primogen.

Most Camarilla vampires are much more concerned about the events in their own chosen home metropolis than they are in the affairs of Archons, Justicars and the shadowy members of the Inner Circle. Those who don't hold titles seek them, those who have power strive for more and the prince seeks to retain his authority within while maintaining a city that is strong enough to withstand attacks from without. The typical Camarilla vampire spends his nights avoiding those in power or trying to attract their attention and impress them, securing his haven, protecting himself from enemies both mortal and immortal and feeding. The romantic nights of intrigue, marble halls, mystery and ritual as distant as dreams. Most of these kindred are younger and look in fear and resentment upon the seemingly immutable and omnipotent elders.

One of the central strengths to the vampiric existence is immortality. Vampires need never worry about aging, sickness or death. All of eternity waits spreads out before the vampire. The passing of time that cripples individual mortals and even entire cultures the vampire is immune to. Knowing that their lives can effectively be endless, the wise vampire becomes very, very cautious about exposing himself to danger, not with centuries or millennia of life at stake. No sane vampire wants to endanger his nearly limitless lifespan any more often than is absolutely necessary. Gangland warfare, desperate shootouts, knife fights, bar brawls and duels to the death are absoltutely, mind-numbingly risky; particularly when there is so much to lose.

Unfortunately, the predatory call of the beast that lies within all vampires can not be completely silenced. So, most stable kindred seek to release their need for dominance and control by manipulation, plotting, intrigue, politicking and scheming. Almost all kindred are embroiled in one or more threads of control, deceit, manipulation and string pulling, some of which are planned and enacted over countless years and cities. The virtuosos of this decidedly vampiric art are the true masters of the night and all vampires that live long enough eventually learn the skills needed to play the game. Those who fail are eventually little more than faded memories.

Commonly Accepted Timeline of the Early Camarilla

1133Tremere's diablerie of Saulot. House Tremere begins a campaign to destroy all member's of the now defunct Salubri bloodline. The first destruction of an Antediluvian in over a millennium sent a backlash of shock and horror through the Cainite world. Only the mystical prowess of House Tremere and the complete disorganization of the remaining clans forestalled their own destruction.
1205Pope Innocent III instigates the Fourth Crusade, committed to rooting out heretics. The first step towards the Inquisition.
1231The formation of the Society of Leopold. The Inquisition steadily grows in force and begins to change the vampiric world forever. Initially focused on mortals and mages, the Inquisition eventually turns its attentions towards vampires. Neonates and younger vampires are the Inquisition's most frequent victims as the Elders refuse to acknowledge the growing danger or abandon their children to the fires of the Inquisition.
1381A revolt by mortal peasants in England against the local nobility, aided by disenchanted young Cainites, sows the seeds of the Anarch Revolt.
1394Pre-Camarilla: The first Inter Clan meeting is called by Meerlinda of Tremere to deal with the Anarchs. The Ventrue Hardestadt first proposes a league similar to the modern Camarilla.
1395Tyler's attack on Hardestadt. The Anarch Revolt begins.
1405Lasombra is rumored to have died at the hands of his Childe, Gratiano
1413Mekhet, the Tzimisce Antediluvian is attacked and reported diablerized by Lugoj.
1420Anarch movement solidifies. Vinculum (sometimes known as the Vaulderie) comes into common use.
1435The Ventrue Hardestadt forms a convocation of Elders (the Founders) to deal with the Anarch problem.
1439The Conspiracy of Isaac forms in opposition to Hardestadt's Founders.
1444Cappadocius diableriezed by Augustus Giovanni, galvanizing formerly hesitant Elders behind Hardestadt's plan as the fourth Antediluvian in 300 years falls to the fangs of power hungry Cainites. Similar to the tactics of House Tremere three centuries before, the Giovanni family begins a systematic search and destroy mission against all members of the Cappadocian bloodline.
1450The Camarilla officially forms.
1486Malleus Maleficorum distributed and the Inquisition is reinvigorated.
1493The Convention of Thorns. The Anarch Revolt ends. Clan Assamite punished for their involvement in the Anarch Revolt. Toreador Rafael de Corazon demands enforcement of the Traditions and the Fifth Rule of the Code of Caine--the Masquerade. Those anarchs who reject the terms of the Convention of Thorns flee, later forming the sect known as the Sabbat.

The discovery and colonization of the Americas had a huge impact on the vampiric community. Seen as a place of opportunity for Ancilla Camarilla Kindred to create their own domains and kingdoms and seen as a place where Elder Kindred could banish troublesome Childer, the Americas became the new battlefield for the war between the Camarilla and the Sabbat. While the 16th century saw most of the conflict on the European continent between the newly formed Sabbat and Camarilla, the 17th and 18th centuries saw the balance of wrestling for control shift into the new world. Industrialization brought the cities of the new world increasingly into conflict as they became essential and limited resources. The Sabbat won many victories in the 19th and early 20th centuries, taking city after city on the American East Coast. Only in the last 50 years has the Camarilla been able to hold and, in some cases, regain lost ground.

Guide to the Camarilla

Learn more about the Camarilla from the source, White Wolf's Guide to the Camarilla.

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