All righty, I'm back at it!
Lovely picture on page 24
. Two vampires are standing on the edge of a building, a female vampire to the left, a male to the right. Behind them...Las Vegas, maybe? I think I recognize one of the glimmering buildings as a casino. Let's start with the man--short brown hair, very nice black suit, red undershirt that borders on a bloody crimson color. He's good-looking enough, but just looking at him alone, I couldn't guess his Clan. Now, the lady to his left, red hair, delicate heels, a flowing white 'harem' outfit...this is one of those times my previous familiarity with the tabletop might be handy. I'm guessing she's a Setite, a member of the vampire Clan that worships Set, or based on her beauty, she might be a Toreador. The man, in that context, and assuming it's Vegas in the background, is either a Giovanni or a Ventrue. Anyways, if you're reading along and aren't familiar with any of what I just typed, no worries! It's a picture you can enjoy regardless of context. My only critique is that the woman looks out of place; her clothes don't "fit" the setting. Granted, vampires are prone to anachronism I would think, so perhaps that's why? Either way, upon first glance, I don't get a gothic-punk vibe from her. I do from the guy, just a little bit.Page 25
begins Chapter Two, which is labelled "An Introduction to the World of Darkness." There's a note that there's a huge amount of lore from previous tabletop editions, the fiction novels, card games, etc., and that this LARP book is going to distill this down and make changes for LARPing as needed. Okay, good to know! It's possible my canon knowledge might not be as helpful going forward if changes were made.
This page begins by talking about the Jyhad. The Jyhad, in vampire-terms, is the ancient game of politics played among vampires. It emphasizes power and influence, and that ideally, vampires prefer not to kill enemies when they can just humiliate them instead. Long story short? The Jyhad is pretty brutal, and nearly every vampire is part of it, struggling for status, and not always by choice. Worst part is that vampires have long memories, so elders in particular wage pretty harsh internal war with their foes.Page 26
details three factions of vampires. These aren't the same as Clans; these are about political affiliation.
We have the Camarilla
, which clings to principals of Humanity. But don't be deceived; they aren't exactly nice
. They follow their Traditions, they keep themselves secret from humans, and they play at politics with each other. The Camarilla's got this archaic feudal system thing going on, with a Prince ruling over various others in their domain (and a Prince can be of any gender!). The following clans seem to be part of the Camarilla for this LARP as founding clans of this sect: the Toreador, the Ventrue, the Nosferatu, Brujah, Malkavian, and Tremere. The Gangrel Clan were a founding Clan, but they chose to leave the Camarilla. Clan Assamite seems to have risen to take their place, but they aren't a founding Clan. If my tabletop memory serves, they were an independent Clan (no sect allegiance!) of assassins who primarily liked to kill other vampires. Interesting that they are part of the Camarilla; I never felt the Clan as a whole fit with with any particular sect very well, but hey, that's just me! My first thought upon reading this was a vague wonder about how hard it must be for a Clan to leave the Camarilla. I mean, it's a huge political machine, right? Try to imagine a group of USA Democrats suddenly deciding "we are taking what we learned here but aren't being Democrats anymore. We are going to go be something else. And that something else isn't going to be Republican or Independent." That's sort of how hard I imagine it is for a Clan to have left the Camarilla. Then again, I'm not super familiar with any of the "Gangrel leave the Camarilla" metaplot; I only know enough to play the tabletop true to that concept if need be. Who knows? Maybe my first impression is dreadful.
Now we have the Sabbat
. These vampires don't give a flying rat's ass about their Humanity. They're all about being vampires. They revere the first vampire, Caine, and they believe the Clan founders, known as Antediluvians (Caine's grandchildren, if you track lineage purely on vampiric conversion) will awaken one day to devour all their descendants. Scary stuff. Their hierarchy isn't feudal. Think "Catholic Church" but instead of it being good and moral, turn the Evil Dial up to 11. The Lasombra and Tzimisce Clans are the founding Clans of this sect, but anyone can actually join it. Hypothetically. My first impression is that the Sabbat doesn't really feel like a "player" sect; they come off as antagonists. If you want to really play an honest-to-villain evil vampire, though, the Sabbat is what you want. The romanticism of vampirism doesn't seem to be here from a casual read.
Lastly, the Anarch Movement
. These are vampires that got fed up with "elders get to rule all the things" mentality of the old days. Cue a giant vampire war. They technically lost, and they were bound by the Convention of Thorns to knock it off. They only have to obey the Camarilla tradition of the Masquerade (keeping themselves secret from humans), though, so...could have been worse. The Anarchs that didn't bow down at the Convention of Thorns became the Sabbat. You can see how the Sabbat's roots aren't all bad, but it's definitely been twisted over time. Most Anarchs just aren't interested in playing in ancient political games or waging the Jyhad. Any member of any Clan can be an Anarch; everyone's welcome if they keep the Masquerade. My first impression from the text is that the Anarchs are a decent enough sect and probably a nice way for new players to dip their toes in the water (like if they're worried they wouldn't know/be able to play all the Camarilla traditions). I like the Anarchs, but I actually haven't gotten to much play them in the tabletop games I've played. *sad Bly*