Werewolves are universally feared by vampires as ruthless, efficient killers, and more than one vampire claims to have witnessed a single angered werewolf bring down an entire coterie of Kindred. Insular and xenophobic, the werewolves despise the Kindred; the precise reason behind this loathing is unknown, but a vampire caught by a werewolf is assuredly in dire peril.
Vampires must step lightly and be ever mindful of the Masquerade; were the human race as a whole ever to turn its attention to the Kindred, the Children of Caine would be quickly wiped out. Superstition is the vampires' best weapon. By enforcing mortals' disbelief, by cultivating a smug belief in reason, by dismissing vampires' presence as the fancies of children and lunatics, the Kindred allow the mass of kine to do the work of shielding them from the few mortals who do know that vampires walk the night.
Rumored to have its origins in a medieval death cult, the Sabbat is greatly feared by Kindred who do not belong to it. The Sect is monstrous and violent, and no longer clings to any trappings of human philosophy or morality. Members instead revel in their vampiric unlives. Sometimes referred to as the Black Hand, the Sabbat actively seeks the overthrow of the traditions, the destruction of the Camarilla, and the subjugation of humankind.
Vampires are inherently creatures of the city, though some claim this is a matter of decision rather than nature. Urban landscapes offer everything a Kindred could want: near-infinite supplies of blood, enough contact to satisfy the most social of vampires (and enough seclusion to satisfy the most isolationist), and refuge from the werewolves who linger in the rural lands beyond the city lights.
Officially, the Camarilla does not recognize the existence of the Antediluvians or Caine. It reasons that these vampires, if they ever existed at all, have long since suffered the Final Death, and those who allude to them are publicly derided.
Some Kindred believe that a Reckoning is at hand, that the powers of Heaven are preparing at last to judge the vampires and what they have made of the world. Others speak of the Winnowing, or Gehenna, the night when the most ancient vampires will rise to consume their progeny, taking their lessers' cursed blood to sate their own hunger.
For millennia the Tzimisce have explored and refined their understanding of the vampiric condition, bending their bodies and thoughts into new and alien patterns. Should it prove necessary, enlightening or simply enjoyable, Tzimisce do not hesitate to bend victims in similar fashion. While younger fiends might be described as merciless or sadistic, elders of the line simply fail to comprehend mercy or suffering.
Gehenna, so the Kindred say, will presage the end of the world, as vampires and mortals alike are consumed in an inexorable tide of blood.
Vampires have long been feared as rapacious monsters of the night - terrible black forms sweeping out of the darkness to steal infants from their cribs and ravish the blood of innocents. Vampires are also creatures of deadly beauty, immense passion, and predatory sensuality. The most important characteristic all vampires share, though, is their damnation. More important than any lineage, clan, sect, or cause is the fact that all vampires are undead predators. Fealties and duties fall second to the inescapable urge of hunger.
Meetings with demons, immortal mummies, zombielike walking dead, mystical spirits, shapeshifting animals, sentient gargoyles, angels and less definable entities have been claimed and sometimes documented. The only certainty to emerge from these statements, however, is that the World of Darkness is as terrifying as it is cosmopolitan.
While the job description may vary from city to city, the sheriff's prime job is to be the prince's 'enforcer', the vampire who hauls offenders off to court, keeps order in the streets, and generally stands ready to assist with the 'muscle' of ruling.
The Kuei-jin seem to have little in common with their Western brethren. Rumors of demonic powers surround these Asian visitors, and their enigmatic behavior and foreign mindset leave many Western Kindred ill at ease.
Nosferatu are survivors par excellence. Few creatures, mortal or vampire, know a city's back alleys and dark corners like the Nosferatu do. Additionally, Nosferatu have mastered the crafts of sneaking and eavesdropping; they make a point of keeping up with current gossip and affairs, not merely for pleasure, but for survival. Information brokers without peer, they can command high prices for their knowledge.
The Sabbat has recently increased its activity, actively vying for Chicago, Atlanta, Washington DC, and other elder-controlled cities. Animalistic monstrous, the sect has swarmed like locusts over the East Coast and southern borders of the United States. Its influence in Canada has also increased, and it appears as if the Sabbat is realizing a grand enfilade, surrounding the United States and cutting off all access except that which it grants.
The largest sect of vampires in existence, the Camarilla concerns itself with the Masquerade, thereby hoping to maintain a place for Kindred in the modern nights. The Camarilla is an open society; it claims all vampires as members (whether they want to belong or not), and any vampire may claim membership, regardless of lineage.
Most Sabbat express bilious contempt for the vampires of the Camarilla, whom they see as cowardly wretches unable to accept their predatory natures.
According to the few fractured accounts of their doings, Antediluvians possess virtually godlike power. According to Kindred legend, there were 13 original Antediluvians, though some have allegedly been destroyed. Their eternal struggle, the Jyhad, touches all Kindred, and innumerable layers of manipulation and deception make the plots of these Ancients almost imperceptible.
A woeful modern development, thin-blooded Kindred have appeared in recent years. The blood of Caine is so weak in them that some are rumored to be able to bear the light of the sun and partake in mortal food. Many Kindred scholars look upon the influx of these vampires with fear, remembering passages in The Book of Nod that make reference to the 'Time of Thin Blood.' This time is said to presage the coming of Gehenna.
Few things are as they seem in the vampires' nocturnal world; a political coup, economic crash, or social trend may be merely the surface manifestation veiling a centuries-old-struggle. Vampire elders command from the shadows, manipulation mortals and other vampires alike - and the elders are often manipulated in turn. Indeed, most combatants may not even realize for whom they fight, or why.
The civilization of the undead is a manipulative and poisonous dance, and few vampires are left entirely untouched. Since the nights of antiquity, the Kindred have struggled for supremacy, in an ancient and many-layered struggle known as the Jyhad. Leaders, cultures, nations and armies have all been pawns in the secret war, and vampiric conspiracies have influenced much of human history.
A prince does not 'reign' over a city. His role is more like that of an overseer or magistrate than that of a monarch. He is the judge who settles disputes between Kindred, the ultimate authority on the traditions as they relate to his city, and the keeper of the peace. Above all, his concern is the Masquerade and its preservation.
One of the most wondrous and terrible properties of Kindred vitae is its ability to enslave nearly any being who drinks of it three times. Each sip of a particular Kindred's blood gives the Kindred in question a greater emotional hold over the drinker. If a victim drinks three times from the same Kindred, she falls victim to the state known as the Blood Bond. Put simply, blood bond is one of the most potent emotional sensations known.
Blood is all-important to the Kindred, for it is both the crux of their existence and the seat of their power. Mortal food, mortal air, mortal love - all of these things are meaningless to a vampire. Blood is the Kindred's only passion, and without it, they will quickly wither and fall dormant.
Whispers in Sabbat covens and Camarilla salons alike speak of turmoil in the East, of armies of Clanless rabble, of vampires whose blood is so thin that they cannot Embrace, of meetings with mysterious elders whose vast power betrays no discernable lineage, of black crescent moons and full moons red as blood. All, say the believers, are omens that the Final Nights are approaching, and that the end of all things is nigh.
Fanatics to the Last, Sabbat vampires gladly throw themselves into the fire for their sect, falling on their foes in legions, tearing their enemies apart just as a pack of wolves brings down its prey.
Reputedly the 'father of all vampires,' Caine is more myth than reality in the modern nights. Some of the Methuselahs, as well as certain members of the Sabbat, claim to have met a being who referred to himself as Caine, but the story has filtered through so many individuals and layers of the Jyhad that no one can precisely tell where truth ends and fabrication begins.
Unlike the Camarilla, the Sabbat recognizes the existence of the Antediluvians, though it rabidly opposes them. According to Sabbat propaganda, the Antediluvians pull the strings of the entire world, and it is this malignant control they oppose. They see the Camarilla as pawns of the Ancients, and oppose its members politically as well as physically.
The World of Darkness is a place where immortal monsters pull the strings of humanity. Violence and despair are common here. The world is bleak, but escape is an ever-present commodity - perhaps too present...
Anarchs are vampires who reject the Traditions of Caine and the dictates of the elders who enforce them. Ironically, elders grudgingly afford Anarchs some degree of status, due to the anarchs' ability to obtain power in spite of the elders' opposition. Anarchs are also respected for their passion and drive, which few elder Kindred, mired as they are in their age and dissatisfaction, can muster. Ultimately, however, most Kindred see Anarchs as jackals, scavenging their unlives from what slips through the elders' fingers.
Once there were few Caitiff, but the post-WWII period has seen a sharp increase in their numbers. Some elders whisper direfully of the 'Time of Thin Blood' that signifies the imminence of Gehenna.
Whispers circulate through the Kindred world about 'lesser' clans or 'bloodlines' that branched off from their parent genealogies somewhere in the nights of history.
Rumored to have its origins in a medieval death cult, the Sabbat is greatly feared by Kindred who do not belong to it. The sect is monstrous and violent, and not longer clings to any trappings of human philosophy or morality. Members instead revel in their vampiric unlives. Sometimes referred to as the Black Hand, the Sabbat actively seeks the overthrow of the traditions, the destruction of the Camarilla, and the subjugation of humankind.