Carthian Movement

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The Carthian Movement (or simply the Movement) is comprised mostly of neonates and ancillae bound together by the desire for political reform, the search for a Kindred Utopia. Refusing to simply accept the status quo as inherently right or that medieval feudalism is the best system for governing Kindred, Carthians advocate any number of more recent -or more ancient- systems of governance. Communism, democracy, ethnocracy, kratocracy, logocracy, totalitarianism; there are almost as many ideologies as there are Carthians. The Carthian ideal often espouses every member having a voice, and everyone contributing to the betterment of all. As such, internally, Carthians are generally far more supportive of each other than other Covenants.

Carthians tend to cleave more closely to the mortal world than other vampires. This tendency, along with their willingness to work together against the oppression of those established gives them a unique advantage and allows them to interact more effectively in mortal society which can provide them vast networks of mortal contacts and allies.




The Kindred in charge of much of the night-to-night running of Carthian operations in a given city is known as the Prefect. In most every case, the Prefect is elected (in whatever form that takes) by a majority of other Carthians, with the exception of any active Myrmidon, who traditionally abstains from such voting. The Prefect is at once the spokesperson for the Movement in his domain, the “chair” and organizer of Carthian events, and the one responsible for making sure that no single faction member’s actions jeopardize the others. The Prefect must therefore have some public relations savvy, as it is to him tha the Prince inevitably turns when a Carthian is suspected of some wrongdoing. While the Prefect carries considerable sway among his confederates, he is not their leader in either name or truth, and most prefer the relationship that way.

  • Current Prefect:


The majority of incarnations of the Carthian experiment involve Kindred getting together and democratically parceling out both feeding rights and potential dispute resolutions. As such, the need quickly arises for an entirely “neutral party” to help maintain order and restore peaceable negotiations to the table, when necessary. A Carthian known as a Myrmidon fills this role. Although the Myrmidon works very closely with the Prefect, he is not the Prefect’s “right-hand man,” despite appearances to the contrary. Rather, he is the one who often acts as intermediary between two quarreling Carthians or between a Carthian and a non-Carthian of no political importance. Given the Prefect’s duties to the cause, the Myrmidon can and often does end up acting as the one enforcing the Prefect’s duties, simply by virtue of the fact that nobody else could do it without cry of foul.

  • Current Myrmidon:

Carthian Unity

Carthian unity is real, no matter what sneering petty tyrants from other covenants say. Sure, the Carthians are no selfless band of brothers, all for one and one for all in the grand musketeer tradition — Kindred are instinctive loners with a lot to gain from secrecy and a “me first” attitude. If nothing else, though, the Carthians have some key traits in common beyond the name and a preference for Proletariat Chic fashion.

The following four core beliefs are common to the Carthians, because, without these values, you’re just not in the Movement. There are some whose are passionately devoted, and there are some who are mostly along for the ride, but at least part of the program appealed. Otherwise, why not just screw it all and declare yourself unbound? (Admittedly, some domains have Carthian presences big and aggressive enough to take a “join or die” stance, but, for our purposes, we’ll consider voluntary membership.)

Philosophical accord is fine. Most Carthians, however, are in the Movement because it functions. The more it works for them, the more they believe in it. The more they believe in it, of course, the better it works.

Tolerance, Within Reason

One idea the Carthians support is the notion of an environment in which a broad coalition of ideologies can move, interact, exchange concepts, challenge one another without animosity and thereby become stronger.

Some Carthians believe in the God of the Lancea Sanctum. Some Carthians are aggressive atheists. Some Carthians are agnostic to the point of arguing that even if God exists, He’s irrelevant to the Requiem. Some Carthians claim that Kindred were mistakenly animated from dust by God’s tears as He wept for the fall of humanity, and that they can only escape their merited destruction by consuming the blood of his favored children, which he is (in their version of things) loath to spill.

If religion was the determining factor for every action taken by all those disparate vampires, they’d never agree on anything. But since they’re all Carthians, clearly their relationship to the Lord isn’t their fundamental motivator. This unity bypasses more than religious difference. Carthian Democrats who think a social safety net provides a more complacent herd class work beside Carthian Republicans, who think welfare leads to economic stagnation, the growth of the criminal underclass and, ultimately, more jobless jerks with shotguns and the free time to investigate their cousins’ mysterious disappearance.

Despite disagreements, Carthians put up with one another. They’re willing to admit that, while they think others are wrong, others may think they’re wrong. That’s no reason they can’t set their differences aside when it’s time to deal with a haunted Elysium, or an incursion of mortal refugees who are unpleasantly well-informed about Kindred or a Belial’s Brood coterie popping up from nowhere.

Working well together on big things leads to cooperation on smaller things, such as the one breather cop who’s distressingly resistant to corruption, or a threat to a favorite Rack, or a neonate who doesn’t know how to keep his fangs shut or just property taxes that are going insane, and dammit, I’m not paying to put any kids through school.

That’s the Movement in a nutshell. Theoretically, the Carthians’ factional disagreements should yield resentment, spite and murderous hatred. In practice, most Carthians would rather get along than fight about matters of personal choice. At least, they’d rather get along with other Carthians.

Collective Action

One powerful impetus for getting along is that Carthians are fans of collective action. Even something as personal as feeding is easier when you’ve got a couple of coterie-mates at your back keeping your meat from reaching the rear exit and guarding the door from prying mortal eyes.

A common Carthian precept is “The fear of showing weakness is, itself, a debilitating weakness.” In the Movement, you can admit to screwups and problems without shame (or, in any event, less shame). Carthians accept as a given fact that the Kindred condition is miserable. Calling it a curse dresses it up, but torpor and sun scorching and incessant evil urges and needing blood, blood, blood is miserable.

Being a vampire is a problem, a huge problem. It’s a problem too big for one scared and ignorant person to handle, particularly one who’s just starting out. The Movement is there to ensure its members don’t have to face being a vampire alone.

There’s a price for all this togetherness and mutual aid, and it’s paid when you’re no longer that weak fledgling and everyone starts coming to you for a sympathetic ear and, say, maybe a loan until he comes into some money and some help scrubbing cordite burns off the Honda’s upholstery. But, by that point, most Carthians are used to getting tapped for unexpected deliverance. Some don’t know any other kind of Requiem. For a few who really get it — often converts from more self-oriented covenants — looking out for another person, even an undead one, gives a kind of meaning to their existence that no degree of power, or security or occult knowledge can accomplish.

That said, the collectivism of the Movement also has a lot to offer those who seek only power, security and knowledge. Existential rewards aren’t universal, they’re rare — and only an option for those motivated to seek them.

Individual Rights

While duty to the Movement is job one (at least, the other Carthians think duty should be job one), once that’s discharged the Movement takes a hands-off attitude. Carthians don’t let members trounce the Traditions on a whim, but other than that, they don’t much care about any individual interests, obsessions and crusades its members pursue. There are Carthians who study occult texts, sites and incidents as fanatically as anyone in the Ordo Dracul. There are Carthians who pursue penitence and scripture with fervor one of the Sanctified would envy, if envy wasn’t a sin. Because the Carthians as a whole are aggressively secular, individual Carthian mystics can follow their beliefs without worrying about cleaving to some contrary covenant-wide party line.

For Kindred saddled with Predator’s Taint and prey-hunter ratios to encourage a lone-wolf approach, pursuing solitary studies or ceremonies may actually be more comfortable. Even a vampire who strongly backed the Circle’s beliefs might join the Movement instead because she prefers the Carthian approach, or because she just doesn’t want to share, explain or compromise her personal understanding of the myth of Xquic’s pregnancy and her relationship to the rulers of Xibalba.

It’s not all a bed of roses for such iconoclast individualists. A lone religious mystic doesn’t have to worry about being punished for heresy, but she doesn’t get the spiritual support of a prayerful community, either, or can go consult libraries amassed over centuries by undead theologians. If she’s willing to make that bargain, she can join the Carthians and know there are other vampires who will help her make rent, manage a herd and keep the police at bay. All the Carthians ask in return is that she perform the same kind of secular services now and again.

The great thing about the Carthians is that they don’t give a damn about anything but paying your dues. Of course, the unavoidable drawback to the Carthians is also that they don’t give a damn about anything but paying your dues.

While the role of individual rights is clearest in the case of those with individual obsessions, individual rights plays a role for Kindred who are less focused on specific, esoteric goals such as enlightenment or Golconda or claiming praxis. Citizen Kindred with a more night-to-night focus on getting by, being comfortable and attaining security grasp, pretty quickly, that every covenant asks you to jump through some hoops. The Carthians aren’t a free ride. But often, the price they ask (“help a brother out when he’s low”) seems a lot more palatable and simple than covenants that promise far more, but demand humiliation, servitude or spiritual pollution in exchange.

Duty to be a Complete Being

Along with a sober recognition of Kindred limits and a healthy appreciation for cooperation, the Carthian philosophy holds deeper levels. Even as its tolerance for diversity makes the Movement a haven for comfortable Kindred who just want to keep their heads down and stay out of trouble, there’s a contradictory urge for members to find a passion and pursue it. In Carthian lingo, this is called “mission” and “position.”


The Carthian Movement gives its members tremendous latitude of belief. The reason the Movement hasn’t been weighed down by inertia is its expectation that members act on their beliefs. That core belief is termed a “position” — some attitude or philosophy the individual not only likes or approves of, but which she thinks is important enough to merit the full attention of her Requiem.

Position is important because it makes Carthianism more than a social club or a clearinghouse for skills and favors. Position makes Kindred into something more than short-sighted bundles of vicious hungers. It provides a purpose, goals beyond slaking the Beast, and therefore keeps the Man ascendant.

It is important to understand that taking a position is not seen as just a sort of hobby therapy that helps vampires keep their heads together. Remaining a human and not a monster is an important byproduct of the process, indeed a necessary one, but unless your position means enough to you that you’d tend to it even at cost, it’s not going to work. Unless you’re genuinely committed to your cause, you’re going to degenerate anyhow, eventually.

This doesn’t stop certain desperate vampires from pursuing a cause without real belief, simply because they’ve got nothing better (or because a cause that could truly inspire them is too difficult or dangerous to pursue). In some cases, they even develop a real care for what began as a pose. More often, they burn out.

Providing existential nourishment is hardly unique to the Carthians. Indeed, every covenant provides positions, ranging from “serve the will of God through perfect monstrosity” through “transcend the shackles of your condition through perfect egoism.” The Carthian difference is that you get to pick the reason to your Requiem, instead of accepting one handed down by the ancient authorities.

As with so many Carthian advantages, this is double edged. You get to do it yourself, but you don’t get to stand on the shoulders of giants while you do. Instead, you stand side by side with those Carthians who believe as you do. Or, if you can’t find any, Carthians who are willing to help you just because you’re in the Movement.

Positions can be lone beliefs, but far more often they’re held in common with other Carthians. The Movement contains many “position coteries,” which function much like activist groups, or revolutionary cells. Some beliefs are popular enough to encompass several coteries within a city, or several Carthian groups within connected cities or (if a position is broad and strong enough, like “Kindred should be governed democratically”) multiple cities on a continent.


Having a deeply felt faith is a great first step, but it’s only the first step. Carthians have very little patience for those who develop elaborate theories and then sit on their asses, even if they’re sitting around elaborately discussing the theories they’re developing. Position is what you believe and that’s important. But it’s hollow without mission. Mission is what you do.

Every meaningful position implies concrete action. If your beliefs don’t prompt you to act, they’re either an empty pose or they’re irrelevant to anyone but you so who gives a fuck? Shut up already and make yourself useful!

This doesn’t always mean firebombing Elysium (though it can, and has). Most often, ‘action’ takes the form of proselytizing. Furthermore, there’s a tendency within the Movement to judge by effort as much as by results. The guy who spends a decade writing out his 400-page manifesto is accorded respect for being a serious thinker who made a statement, even if no one reads his book. Conversely, the Carthian gal who adapts superbly to a crisis and winds up Sheriff after a long and deadly weekend gets credit, too, even if she never set out to gain authority. The highest esteem, however, redounds on those who make a play, pursue it and achieve their goals. That’s the ideal of everyone who states a mission.


The Chain

At almost every Carthian gathering, at some point in the evening, some Kindred (usually the Prefect) steps forward and requests that everyone present take part in a long-standing custom that Carthians call the Chain. The entire rite (such as it is) is over in a matter of moments, so even the most turbulent of Kindred usually acquiesce to their involvement. The idea is simple. All the Carthians present gather in a circle, and following a few inspirational words from the Prefect, each passes a single artifact that is esteemed by the local Carthians to the Kindred beside him, thus forming a symbolic chain representing that what one Kindred does affects all others. The symbolism is blunt but effective. Each vampire in the circle is beholden to the next and responsible for another, but not directly. In this way do the Carthians remind themselves of their outlook, common goals and objectives. Artifacts can be anything, such as a relic of a fallen Carthian leader, an effigy of an enemy or a personal possession of someone soon to be drawn into the Carthian ranks.

Independence Day

The Carthians, being fans of democracy in all its forms, hold a special fondness for Independence Day. The term can be misleading, however, seeing how the celebration day itself is not always on the American holiday, the fourth of July. In countries other than the United States, such as Mexico and France, Carthian vampires typically celebrate on the same date mortals do, so the fifth of May is nearly as common a date of observance, for example. In actual Carthian-dominated domains, the Kindred celebrate the night their dream of a new world came to pass. The victory of an alternate political model is both rare and wondrous in the world of the Damned, and the Carthians revel in remembering the night of its advent. When free to do so, Carthians can get quite rowdy, and their parties are truly legendary.


Carthians are not unorganized: they are diversified. The Carthian Movement, as a covenant, includes many different political activists and philosophers, but these disparate factions are not necessarily incapable of working together or organizing. The central belief of the Carthian Movement, the idea that is common to the majority of Carthian factions, domains and members (even though this is not an idea that unifies them) is this: Kindred social systems should modernize to include broader bases of power.


Individualists, sometimes referred to as "solos", hold individual agendas sacred above all else. For them, the covenant represents an organisation that will shelter them and allow them to pursue their own goals. They may or may not become actively involved in assisting in covenant affairs, depending on whether or not it seems convenient, profitable or just plain unavoidable. This is due to the fact that, according to most Individualists, no member should be forced into a duty which might undermine their right to choose. A smart Individualist knows that routinely refusing to assist other members is not a good way to make friends, and will apply just enough effort to avoid being ostracized. A good portion of Carthians consider themselves Individualists, though they generally exist on the fringes of the Movement.


All Carthians enjoy the freedom to explore new ideas; change is at the core of the Movement's creed. Individualists certainly capitalize on this freedom, clinging to it as their instrument for reform. Collectivists, however, see the blueprints for change in a different light. For a Collectivist, great change comes with a price tag: cooperation. Realizing one's goals, particularly the more lofty ones, often requires assistance. A Collectivist values an individual's ideas but prioritizes advancement of the covenant as a whole. The Movement is what gives them their sense of comfort and security. It is more than just a refuge for the neonate and unaligned; it is an engine for change to benefit all of Kindred society. This is a Collectivist's sacred duty.


People conform to political ideals in varying degrees and Carthians are no exception. For many of them, Individualists and Collectivists are the extremes. There is an entire spectrum of values between the two ideologies. A Kindred may be sympathetic towards one school of thought over another, but is unwilling to commit themselves entirely to their way of thinking. Unity and communion are the core of a Collectivist's values; realizing one's personal goals is the highest calling for an Individualist. A Moderate is a realist. Moderates like the idea of pursuing their own ideas. They like freedom from the imposition of being bound to serve the covenant. They also know that, realistically, nothing will get accomplished if they all live like hermits. A Moderate is willing to sacrifice a little of their personal freedom for the sake of the collective. Compromise and assistance is looked at on case-by-case basis as they weigh out "what's in it for me" with "what are the consequences if I don't".

Other Factions

Not all Carthians can be easily categorized as Individualists, Collectivists or something in between. Sometimes this is because they feel that the most important argument is not in whether to value individual or collective values. An individual might feel the pull of a cult of personality within the covenant's ranks or perhaps align themselves with those of a very specific mindset. These Carthians fall into sub-factions of the Movement that have their own variations of identity, agendas and methods of pursuing those agendas.

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