A Machine of Blood and Persuasion

The Camarilla has spent centuries refining its hold on mortal affairs in Europe. While its influence is felt all across the world, its real base of power remains in the old heartland. This is where the Camarilla was founded and where most of its ancients spent their mortal days.

The biggest challenge to vampire rule over all of humanity has simply been the force of history. Every time an Elder establishes dominion over a human institution, something like the French Revolution, the Second World War or the fall of Communism comes along to disrupt everything. It’s hard for a vampire who hasn’t gotten used to the fact that the Austro-Hungarian Empire is no longer a factor in world politics to grasp how to influence EU trade policy.

For this reason, the control an Elder exerts in the world usually works through servants. If an Elder is good at spotting talent, she doesn’t have to understand the modern world. A ghoul will do it for her. She can put her immortal blood and vast financial resources to work through servants who were born to the world of today. The Elder’s task is to protect her domain from other vampires and to give her minions goals to work towards.

 

The Servants of the Camarilla

The Camarilla influences European politics through servants and organizations created by some of its most powerful members. However, few Elders really wish to spend their eternity poring over the minutiae of policy, so the organizations lobbying for the goals of the Camarilla are mostly left to fend for themselves. As long as they produce the desired results, the ghouls get the blood they need to feed their addictions. Perhaps once or twice a year, they report to someone and discuss future goals.

Indeed, most days a servant of the Camarilla is like any other political lobbyist. You studied international relations or perhaps communications. You’ve worked in politics, the media, NGOs, other lobbying organizations. At some point, you were recruited by a strange and horrifying immortal being who gave you a taste for blood that keeps you from aging.

But after that, you went back to lobbying. You have a new job now, but it’s very similar to the old job. You still get up in the morning, pay rent or mortgage, have lunch, go to meetings, gossip with colleagues.

The only thing is, now you serve the interests of the undead.

 

What Does the Camarilla Want?

Your job is to protect Camarilla interests in the European Union. What does that mean in practise?

Most of the time, you’re a business lobbyist advocating a socially conservative free trade agenda. As a rule of thumb, the Camarilla likes it when money goes where it wants but the people stay where they belong. The ideological specifics vary between the different organizations serving under the Camarilla umbrella, but old vampires have business holdings and you often end up defending them from regulation, labor demands and other nuisances.

Generally speaking, the Camarilla is not against social progress. Most Elders you deal with agree that electricity and running water are better than the shit-stained hellholes they spent their mortal days in. However, they also tend to think that it’s a good idea to keep at least a large portion of the population poor, desperate and struggling to survive. This makes hunting easier and keeps mortals occupied with their own problems. Problems caused by pollution are seen as a net positive, and global warming is a good development: Both contribute to a world where predators thrive.

Maintaining the Masquerade is also a key lobbying goal. You are tasked to oppose systems of surveillance unless they can be reliably corrupted and infiltrated. For example, a secret police is fine because corrupting it only requires turning a few key individuals. Widespread electronic surveillance is very worrying because its revelations can be so hard to control. Many Elders dislike it because their supernaural powers are so useless against it.

The personal whims of Elders also play an important part in the task list of a Camarilla lobbyist. Sometimes you have to deal with bizarre demands simply because an Elder feels like it. However, it’s important to remember that you’re not just any ghoul. You’re extremely valuable and highly skilled. You know that to the vampires you’re just a slave, but at least an important one.

Anybody who spends time doing the work you do will notice that for vampires, hypocrisy is second nature. The Kindred can sound noble and inspiring when they talk about their sacred task of shepherding humanity, but your job is to fulfil their actual wishes and you know that most of the time, they’re based on a simple if unstated idea of vampire supremacy. The needs of the Kindred come first, no matter how they try to obfuscate this fact.

 

Kindred Parties

The vampire world you experience is intriguing, beguiling, terrifying and ugly. Many of you desperately want to be part of it, but none of you are really blind to its terrors. You meet vampires once or twice a month. Sometimes you attend vampire parties. You don’t really live in the world of vampires on a day-to-day basis, but sometimes you catch a glimpse of what it’s like.

You’re aware that there’s a vampire underclass of some sort, but the vampires you interact with are typically the elite: Rich, cultivated and degenerate. You’ve heard words like “the Sabbat”, but they’re not really part of your world.

Usually, the worst that can happen is when you become involved in the intrigues of rival vampires. This is when the protection afforded by your organization and its sponsors really comes into play. Once you namedrop an Inner Circle member or a Justicar, you’re largely left in peace, unless the vampire making a power play is also a Camarilla insider.

In the last decade, namedropping famous vampires has felt more and more like a bluff. You hear from the Camarilla so little that if push really came to shove, you’re not sure if the help you need really exists. Many among you have started to feel that you need new sponsors. After all, right now any asshole Embraced yesterday can walk all over you.

 

What Do You Want?

You have a good life. Maybe you have a family, a few kids. A nice house. A good salary. All the perks vampire blood confers to ghouls. A job which makes you feel important. Sometimes, if you want to feel like a good person, you can even use your position to advance some kind of a social cause. The vampires don’t really care as long as their goals are fulfilled.

Unfortunately, your bliss is shadowed by the reality you know is seething under the everyday exterior of the world. The blood and brutality of the supernatural can rip your dreams apart any second. The question is, how to deal with this?

Maybe you need to become a vampire. Then you’d be a powerful immortal being yourself, no longer dependent on the whims of your masters. Perhaps you’ll be Embraced as a reward for good service, or maybe you should stop waiting and force a vampire to Embrace you. It’s hard, but not impossible.

Or maybe you just need to reaffirm your service to the Camarilla. Once you have a closer relationship with the Elders, they will protect you, the same as before.

You’ve seen enough of the vampire world to be seduced by it, but perhaps the blood no longer holds the attraction it once had. You feel disgusted with your own addiction, or maybe you’ve even grown some moral convictions. Is there any chance of getting rid of your Camarilla sponsors?

The downside is that vampires are immoral, vindictive immortal beings with terrifying powers that can warp a person’s mind. The upside is that they’re arrogant assholes who have a habit of taking their servants for granted. How long would it take for them to notice if you jumped ship? Not just you personally, but if your entire organization went to work for someone else?

The reality of the situation is that you can’t stop working for the Kindred without another supernatural sponsor. If you try, you die. However, you’ve worked in politics long enough to know that the vampires are not the only game in town.

 

The Organizations

 

The Eichel Group

A lobbying and public relations company with a head office in Luxembourg. The Eichel Group is owned by the aristocratic Von Eichel family. Many Von Eichels serve Camarilla insiders, especially the Ventrue, as ghouls, and some have done so for hundreds of years.

The current incarnation of The Eichel Group was created in 1961 to funnel Camarilla money into political campaigns, to provide advisors for mortal politicians and to lobby Camarilla interests. The company’s profile is unabashedly conservative to the point of being royalist. It’s very well connected among European nobility and has a number of clients among old money families whose interests are indistinguishable from those of vampires.

Among the Camarilla lobby organizations, The Eichel Group is the most prestigious. However, if you want to become a vampire, you won’t have much chance if your name is Von Eichel, as Embracing the servants is seen as unseemly among the Ventrue elite.

European Security Forum

A lobbying organization serving the interests of a number of security companies such as G4S. The Forum, created in 1988, is funded by its member companies but secretly works for the interests of the Camarilla. Many Camarilla insiders have significant financial holdings in the security field.

The London-based Forum holds conferences, publishes papers and maintains a stable of experts who can opine on European security issues in the media. It also lobbies politicians, usually framing its business advocacy in social terms.

When it was created, the Forum inherited the legacy of earlier Camarilla organizations that had had a security focus. It’s traditionally been maintained by the offices of the Justicars, although in recent years the Forum’s contact persons have been junior Archons.

Among Camarilla lobbyists, the Forum has a reputation as a good place to be if you want to become a vampire. Sometimes the Justicars Embrace Forum ghouls to work as Archons-in-training.

European Cultural Council

A cultural foundation and a lobby organization working for European integration in the cultural sphere. The Council is very well funded, having been founded in 1949 with Toreador money, originally to subsidize the restoration of cultural artifacts damaged in the Second World War.

Today, the Geneva-based Council gives large grants to large cultural projects such as films, festivals, art exhibitions and art schools. It lobbies politicians in favor of a pan-European, Federalist cultural agenda. It has a knack for inserting itself into all kinds of issues outside its core field.

As a Camarilla organization, the Council works to preserve the Masquerade on a preventive basis, using its power in European cultural institutions to find and suppress anyone who seems to have the wrong kind of knowledge, while lifting up the harmless and the clueless.

The Council has a reputation among Camarilla lobbyists for having the best parties and the nicest perks, but it’s also seen as a little scary because of it’s role in ferreting out Masquerade breakers.

Wright+Moreau Strategies

Founded in 2014 by experienced European Union political lobbyists, Wright+Moreau Strategies immediately went to the top of the companies hired to advocate for market liberal reform, lower taxes and less regulations. A relatively small company based in Strasbourg, W+M boasts a number of ghouls who originally worked for some of the other Camarilla lobbying organizations.

One of the most aggressive lobbying companies operating in the EU, W+M screens its clients very carefully and has a decidedly elitist aura. It’s founders have sought an unusual degree of media attention for servants of the Kindred, often in support of politicians such as the French president Emmanuel Macron.

W+M caused a stir among Camarilla lobbyists because of the suspicion that its founders tried to get away from vampire influence. However, the Camarilla has yet to retaliate against it in any way, so it’s possible that the company’s founding happened at the direction of a Camarilla Elder.

The Lifeblood Initiative

A Copenhagen-based NGO working to standardize the practises of blood banks across Europe. The surprisingly well-funded Initiative also engages with other issues that impact health concerns related to blood banks. It’s money doesn’t come from the Camarilla directly, but rather from a number of pharmaceutical companies who also use its philanthropic image to advance their own agendas.

The Initiative is an old Camarilla front, originally created in 1867 to take advantage of the fact that blood transfusions provide a useful cover for vampires who want to feed inconspicuously. It’s current name is from 1972, and came with the organization’s new focus on lobbying to make blood bank practises more vampire-friendly across Europe. Its benefits to the Kindred are on a decidedly elite level: An Elder might have access to its services, but a Neonate usually won’t have any idea.

Among Camarilla lobbyists, the Initiative is seen as the low-status workhorse doing important but unglamorous work. It’s common that the other organizations poach its most promising ghouls. Many of those work work in other Camarilla organizations started in the Initiative.

 

(Note: There’s also a sixth character group. However, in the interests of maintaining surprises in the larp, we’ll only tell you that they will have a central role to play in the larp. If you wish to play one of these characters, you’ll have to go with the knowledge that they’re lobbyists the same as all the others, but mortal.)