The world of undead is carefully hiding from foreign eyes and the few that know about its existence are content only with superficial data. Societies of vampires are represented to the uninitiated viewer as an extremely closed organization possessing poorly developed structures that are broken into a set of small associations. Despite an inaccuracy of similar judgement, most kindred don’t bother with these delusions nor do they support them.
Immortal societies have existed throughout the centuries, but the nature of the vampire is to resist attachment to certain organizational or ideological concepts. During this time, there were some large organized structures that were created. Some of them call these organizations Sabbaths – these groups have often been mistaken for pagan groups of witches by many medieval inquisitors.
Covens are a small association of immortals, urged to serve certain purposes, this is usually the general rule for all members and are considered to be an inseparable part of the community. Such Covens can be part of large Sabbaths, obeying their orders as well as be the isolated part of society or even hostile to their opponents. In this society and ruling circles of Sabbaths, this kind of destructive and dangerous behavior are not welcomed. However, many wealthy and ancient vampires often resort to the services of covens or even create them independently for their own plans.
The entirety of immortal society, including ancients and neonates, as a rule, are based on accurate and certain outlooks, their purposes, and are also based on cultures of various eras and civilizations from which they come from. Each society works not only within their own territories and spheres of influence, they also don’t limit other immortals and foreign society’s activity because of certain benefits that are available to them in doing so. Vampires have essential impact on mortal society; however they remain dependent on its cultural influence.
The Orthodox Theocracy
“God is the only being who, in order to reign, doesn't even need to exist”
- Charles Baudelaire
The Orthodox Theocracy is a conservative religious organization. A sovereign church-society lead by a Holy Crown. The undead Orthodox believe in their kindred bond with the Maker, which is upheld with bloody offerings; they build a society where mortals are sacrificial lambs and their immortal shepherds take their rightful place according to the will of the Maker. Theocracy presents a possibility of a natural reconciliation with your predatory nature not just for everyone who joined its ranks, but for believers from other societies as well. As such, it is seen as a righteous path by many vampires, since it not only justifies the process of hunting (and the vampires’ attitude towards mortals as feeding vessels), but also sanctifies it: according to the Maker, their purpose is to feed Him and all of His virtuous children.
The Crown is represented by an autocratic Patriarch and the Holy Synod, which mainly performs an administrative function. The Crown controls the parishes, missionary organizations, church courts and the holy Inquisition. Unofficially, its influence can also spread to certain other autonomous sects and orders. Each new hierarchical advancement, achieved by the undead, can give them a completely new ideological concept that will make them feel like a true initiate compared to those below them on the social ladder. Thanks to this kind of organization, this concept of advancement and this well-implemented interpretation of the universe, the Crown is able to maintain its influence on the minds of even relatively accomplished immortals.
The Orthodox Theocracy’s society is conservative and religious, many undead belong to numerous orders and missionary organizations; as a result, it can be likened to the European societies of the Dark Ages and more modern puritanical communities. The practice of offering sacrifices to the Maker, who created the immortals in His own image, has a special place in the society: elevated to a personal ritual in small groups (families), and to a bloody feast in the parish.
The Theocracy’s infrastructure is based on the objects of some of the mortals’ religious sects, which are used by the Orthodox to remain self-sufficient and stay in touch with the world. Just like in the days of old, the patronal complexes offer a perfect cover; thanks to the religious myths about the holy remains of various saints being kept in the patronal catacombs and guarded by its servants, the children of the night are never in danger of being exposed to sunlight.
Despite the general decrease of religious fervor, which began during the industrial revolution, The Orthodox Theocracy is still considered to be one of the most powerful communities among the vampires, thanks to its influence on numerous undead who search for ways to reconcile with their nature. The unique religion of the immortals gives ready answers to any number of questions with some of them presenting convincing evidence. The Orthodox puts a lot of effort to stay afloat, namely searching for credible evidence (which would meet modern requirements and support their religious sources), and destroying the social prestige of (or physically removing) the most notorious enemies of the church.
The main income of the Orthodox is the donations and patronal taxes from the religious sects in the world of mortals, and from the Orthodox Church in the world of undead. The Theocracy’s influence spans farther than just the territories under its control; every large city may have a couple of acknowledged parishes, although this creates arguments and dissatisfaction among the high societies of other sovereign communities. Nevertheless, little is done to oppose the church, which amassed such popularity among the majority of the population.
“…Honors, dignities, marriages, divorces, everything is now vendible by this monstrous head of the Christian Church. Benefices and ecclesiastical dignities, which used to be, and ought to be, conferred on worthy men for the salvation of souls, are now disposed of by open sale. There is no sort of outrage or vice that is not openly practiced in the Palace of the Pope. The perfidy of the Scythians and Carthaginians, the bestiality and savagery of Nero and Caligula are surpassed. It is impossible to describe without trembling the monstrous lewdness, which is openly practiced in the Pope’s own palace, or the filthiness of his sons and daughters. On the last day of November Cesare Borgia arranged a feast for the Pope with fifty honest prostitutes, and a scene of most horrible debauchery took place… The cardinals are silent. The Pope has driven the greater part of the Roman nobility into exile and despoiled the ancient Lords of Latium in order to provide wealth and principalities for his incestuous brood of children and grandchildren, some of whom are yet infants in their cradles”
- Letter to Silvio Savelli, 1501
The Orthodox Theocracy is not without its charm: the blood rituals, conducted under the domes of spacious gothic chapels and cathedrals, establish a solemn atmosphere and have the air of antiquity and mystery around them. Just like in the human world, religious postulates can stagger the high society, but almost everyone realizes the scope of Church’s power and its depth of integration into the social spaces of the modern world.
The Aristocracy of Domini
“If extravagance were a fault, it would not have a place in the festivals of the gods."
Domini - the high life society which is proactively interacting with mortal civilization. Interested in enlightenment and free art, the Domini is more approachable to the mortal world. Using all available resources of modern civilization, vampires of the Aristocracy indulge in beautiful life after death.
The Organization is controlled by high-society; among the nobles and others Consuls, they are nominally the highest elected person within their own territories. They possess the greatest powers of authority, however compelled to act in the best interest of the aristocratic society in general, they can’t make important decisions without approval of the high council. Other members of the society have equal rights among their position.
Domini’s society, reminds society of the older republic in many respects. Generally it concerns social relationships of Patricians and patrons; though there are various ways to reach the top of vampire society. Not doing so, one could lose all wealth and power from their grasp. Despite the lack of many rigid restrictions and rules accepted in other societies, members of the Aristocracy are concerned about morals more-so than other immortals and it can directly affect the social and economic status of the people. The undead of Domini consider themselves as the face of vampire community. They are kind in demeanor and they try to conform to this image.
Domini territories are cultural, administrative and business centers of modern megalopolises most benevolent and open for vampires of other associations; the main rule for its inhabitants is to observe the regulating standards of behavior, well-known internal laws and the Dogma.
Key priorities in society are the genteel world outlook, civilization progression and the high value of culture and development of social and economic spheres. A main goal of such “noble” activity is to increase mortal population and expand the cities.
Domini, is perhaps the most well-founded and largest territorial formation that provides a wide range of products and services among all immortal societies. Many, even the most conservative vampires, secretly partake in the forbidden fruits of the various spheres leisurely. With the help from the Aristocracy’s finances, this entrepreneur immortal society doesn’t cease to expand.
“You would see there plenty of respectable people who have come in search of diversion, for which they pay as they pay for the pleasures of the theatre, or of gluttony, or they come hither as to some garret where they cheapen poignant regrets for three months to come.”
- Honoré de Balzac.
Despite visibility of liberalism and democracy, Domini is an example of classic immortal society where blood streams not from painful lacerations, but accurately cut veins of the mortal that are concealed in ecstasy. Because from the pacified victim, it is more convenient to drink. This also includes mortals that dare to interfere in Aristocracy business as well.
The Hort Packs
"That dog's ben through hell. You can't expect 'm to come out a white an' shinin' angel. Give 'm time."
- Jack London, White Fang
The Hort Packs follow primitive rules of survival and natural selection, preserved since the ancient times. This age-old existence means that there is no need for any sort of intricate hierarchy, and the undead Hort either roam the world alone or band together into small families with nominal leaders and hermits. Like hungry city vultures, they wander through the slums, looking for prey that strayed from its flock, even hunting those tainted by illness or food poisoning (the Hort are not fussy about their food). All the while, the labyrinths of the city alleyways hide their lairs, silently bearing witness to the primordial rituals of the Packs.
Relatively recently the Hort Packs have joined forces with the Great Gathering, the main governing body, to form a unified society. The Packs, whose representatives have no desire to burden themselves with laws or human morality, never really desired to join the modern Veche (a people’s assembly in medieval Slavic countries), nor did they want to search for common ground with other large societies. Rather, this union was a necessity, a response to the threat of other societies’ growing power. In a Veche the word of each and every one carries weight, although the outsiders can vote only on the inner-family matters. To make decisions on a more global scale that concern the whole Hort, the Great Council is called, where only pack leaders and the most powerful of loners gather.
The Hort society resembles scattered groups of predators. In the days of old, there would often be territorial conflicts (some of them persist even to this day), but since the Packs have joined the Society, the territories became safer, which had a positive impact on the loners’ status. Some small families still try to avoid even the most commonly acceptable norms of “humane” interactions with mortals, which shows the attitude of the entire Hort society. The keepers of traditions have a special place in the Packs: they preserve the pagan legacy of the ancestors, carry out primordial rites (linked with ancient ancestral animism and fetishism) and protect the Hort from the informational influence and the outward propaganda.
The Packs’ territories are located in backwater provincial towns, city’s outskirts or the industrial areas of the metropolis. Not the most pleasant areas to have a walk in, not the freshest blood to sample; many think that it’s difficult to find any sorts of resources other than cheap labor, affordable low-quality food or mortals, armed and often banding into groups. These confined and hazy slums are a home to those who are used to surviving in the troubled dilapidated neighborhoods, as dense and dark as the ancient depths of the northern forests. Here live the vile children of the Packs, wearing robes that conceal their image, as they hide in the dark and search for sustenance.
With the introduction of modern technologies, many things became easier and the Great Gather ceased being a problem even in view of territorial distance and the great number of participants. Technical specializations became the most popular ones in the Packs; nevertheless, one can meet immortals of numerous other professions and hobbies, not directly related to the survival in the modern city. All of this has fused with the tribal way of unliving, which emerged from the ancient times and was carefully preserved by the elders of the Packs.
The Packs don’t have a unified centralized economic system. Many of them work as independent private groups, providing services in IT, procuring and protection of information. Hiring them is also widely widespread – a team of specialists, for an appropriate payment, will do any kind of dubious work (or betray you, if something more valuable is offered). However, a certain amount of income from private individuals is allocated to the Great Fund, used only in extreme cases for the benefits of the whole society; other than that, every family is on their own and is financially independent from the society.
“Empathy, evidently, existed only within the human community, whereas intelligence to some degree could be found throughout every phylum and order including the arachnids. For one thing, the emphatic faculty probably required an unimpaired group instinct; a solitary organism, such as a spider, would have no use for it; in fact it would tend to abort a spider's ability to survive. It would make him conscious of the desire to live on the part of his prey. Hence all predators, even highly developed mammals such as cats, would starve”
- Philip K. Dick, Do androids dream of electric sheep.
The primordial traditions of the Packs, their habitat and natural selection are considered by some to be pointlessly harsh in modern times. Nevertheless, many admit that perhaps, it was these factors, and the ability to survive and adapt to difficult conditions, that gave the Packs one of the most notable places in the Society (and ensured the absence of competition for the niche they occupy). They don’t cling to the human morality or the external beauty of the once mortal shell. Instead, they instinctually prefer intimidation, claws and fangs compared to the persuasion and seduction, which is pointless in the cruel world they inhabit.
The CRUOR Corp
“They (corporations) cannot commit treason, nor be outlawed nor excommunicated, for they have no souls”
- Edward Coke
The CRUOR Corp is a global corporation, established during the times of industrial revolution, known to mortals as a sole monopolist-owner of large companies that make household appliances, food and pharmaceutical products for mass consumption. Amongst the undead CRUOR is known as a society of immortals who delved into the secrets of the blood, and its influence and effects on the objects both living and inanimate. By practicing Theurgy, - ritual magic, - vampires slowly change the consumers and few immortals can predict the consequences of these experiments.
The corporation is controlled by a board of directors – either the undead or authorized human representatives. All companies within the Cruor Corp have their own organizational structure and conduct their own business in trade, security, research and production. Aside from a small (compared to the other vampire factions) sovereign territory, the domains of the corporation include commercial, industrial and research centers all around the world. The main bulk of the CRUOR employees are humans, who might hold high posts while knowing nothing about the true goals of the corporation.
The society of CRUOR is filled with cold rationality, practicality and cynicism. Representatives of CRUOR, both in their own interest and in the interest of the corporation, have created an effective society that promotes accumulation of knowledge and influence in the spheres of consumption and activity, which are important for the undead. Regardless of age and personal power, you are only valuable as long as you are useful. Continuous signs of weakness (physical or mental) are unseemly of someone in such a high position and will deprive you of status, disregarding all your achievements. All of the undead act in the interest of the corporation and in exchange they receive some security, provisions and resources for a respectable undead life. Those who are unable or unwilling to participate in the corporation’s business lose their membership, all privileges, and under certain conditions, risk Final Death – The CRUOR Corp meticulously guards its secrets and their divulgence can harm not just the economy, but the safety of the corporation as well.
The outlook of CRUOR’s buildings and districts is a bizarre unity of the post-modern style and elements of the Theurgical magic, its true purpose unknown to the mortals, who consider them charming parts of the interior and exterior. Functional Theurgical symbols on the walls of the corporation’s buildings and their harmonious combination with modern design often attracts the attention of mortal designers. Humans, who work for CRUOR (which is considered to be very prestigious), think of these symbols as a part of the corporate atmosphere and eagerly use them to decorate their clothing or jewelry.
Despite the Corporation having one of the most powerful positions in the Society of immortals, their numbers are relatively small and the power of the CRUOR lies in the ever-going research of blood magic (including its ritual and alchemical branches), effective inner organization and high quality selection process – a vast staff of highly qualified and diverse mortal personnel provides an opportunity to observe potential new candidates for the Embrace. The corporation’s influence on humans through its products causes some concern among the other undead; however, other than increased addiction to the CRUOR products, there have been no significant changes observed.
CRUOR receives its biggest share of resources by interacting with the world of mortals and promoting their business in practically every part of the world. Among the mortals the CRUOR products are famous not only for their quality and efficiency (which is particularly relevant in pharmaceutics) but also for their availability for wide sections of the population. Each company specializes on producing items for a contingent with certain income; however, the CRUOR quality is always higher when compared to its rivals. In the world of the undead, the corporation’s economy consists of artifact trade, services of the Theurgical nature, conduction of ordered research and analysis, and execution of various contracts.
“There is a story of a jealous and infamous man who, to avenge himself on a rival, contracted an incurable disorder, and made it the common scourge and anathema of a divided bed. This atrocious history is that of every magician, or rather of every sorcerer who practices bewitchments. He poisons himself so that he may poison others; he damns himself so that he may torture others; he draws in hell with his breath so that he may expel it by his breath; he wounds himself to death so that he may inflict death on others; but possessed by this unhappy courage, it is positive and certain that he will poison and slay by the mere projection of his perverse will.”
- Eliphas Levi
Accepted by the CRUOR concept of efficient management, where a separate undead or a whole company are valuable only while they do their job, displayed its reliability numerous times. In many ways, it is thanks to that alone, that this relatively small society manages to hold one of the most important positions in the world of immortals and is able to conduct advanced research while maintaining a high level of secrecy.