House of Caine
The Camarilla and Independents
With the recent demise of Prince Lodin of Chicago, Marcus Vitel is unquestionably the most powerful prince in the United States. Nonetheless, even he cannot handle all the powers and inﬂuences at work in the capital. Elders from around the globe spin their webs through their pawns in the embassies, corporations, lobbyist groups and anywhere else powerful mortals exert inﬂuence. The Kindred have no doubts as to the reasons for the inconsistencies in the policies of American leaders, in light of the number of master manipulators casually seeking to achieve their own ends.
Most vampires know mortals of national importance, and a few elders, such as Helena Taylor, a Tremere lobbyist, rely on these relationships for protection. If something happens to the friend of a government ofﬁcial, whether the Sabbat, the Camarilla or anarchs are to blame, the Masquerade itself is placed in danger. Kindred call this type of socializing, “keeping one’s ﬁnger on the button”.
On the other hand, the Kindred of Washington, D.C. are generally xenophobic, a sentiment attributed to a great degree to Vitel’s penchant for fanning the ﬂames of anti-Sabbat paranoia. Unannounced visitors are almost always dragged before Prince Vitel or simply removed from the city. Even those D.C. Kindred who don’t believe all of the Prince’s claims about the Sabbat threat have a siege mentality. Hunters, including mages, government agencies, the Inquisition, and packs of werewolves, prowl the streets of Washington.
Additionally, the vampires of Washington play more intense political games than the Kindred in almost any other North American city. Nearly every vampire supports as many ghouls as possible. Those with Dominate cleverly plant long-term suggestions in mortals so they can spread their inﬂuence in unseen ways. Perception is everything to the Kindred of Washington, and those who don’t believe in prestation shouldn’t bother entering Elysium. Word of any breach of etiquette will spread swiftly, as communication between D.C.’s resident undead is remarkably good. Those who don’t keep cellular phones, like the Brujah, carry beepers.
This listing of the city’s Kindred is not complete; Washington’s vampiric community remains in a constant state of ﬂux. Many of the city’s elders, especially among the Toreador, met their Final Death in 1968 and the years following — the victims of well-planned Sabbat strikes. A good number of the city’s leading vampires would be dismissed as neonates elsewhere. Immigrants ﬂow in to serve the interests of their masters, and the Prince quietly exiles undesirables. The vampires included here are some of the more important or longer-lasting Kindred within Marcus Vitel’s domain.
The Brujah have the potential to wield tremendous inﬂuence over events in Washington, D.C., yet they refuse to organize as a clan to exert their power. In certain sections of the city, especially Northeast, the Brujah have hunting grounds where almost anything goes. The Prince actually promotes violence and havoc in these areas in order to maintain feeding grounds where the possibility of violating the Masquerade is very slight. A few younger Brujah frequent the nicer clubs of Georgetown, and the Brujah-Toreador inﬂuence in Adams-Morgan has combined with the vibrancy of young residents to create an exciting environment.
Clan Gangrel has the least involvement in the politics of Washington, D.C. They see Washington as a major focal point for too many supernatural entities. Of all the clans, the Gangrel are the most puzzling to Marcus Vitel and Peter Dorfman. No one knows exactly how the Gangrel might react to a situation, and no one knows what the limits this clan are.
As might be expected, clan Malkavian is the big x-factor in Washington, D.C. Though none of the other clans give the Malkavians much consideration in the grand scheme of things, they are possibly the most dangerous clan in Washington. Scott Levin, its clan leader, operates as effectively on the information super- highway as he does in the Malkavian Madness Network. Then there’s Dr. Stephen Norton, the world’s greatest jewel thief — at least according to his own modest self- estimation. Dr. Jeffrey Granger controls the Bethesda Institute of Mental Health, an asylum filled with ex-CIA agents and criminals. Razor manages to openly defy all efforts to apprehend him in either Baltimore or D. C. If the Malkavians had any type of clan structure, they would be a threat to both the Ventrue and Tremere, but their strength may come from not having any structure. With the Malkavians, nothing is certain.
The Nosferatu lurk about beneath the feet of the powerful people, the movers and the shakers, the Washington insiders. Rats clamber through the vast labyrinth of sewers, old bomb shelters, and metro and ancient subway systems. For them the old trickle-down theory really works — all the shit eventually reaches the bottom. And in this bureaucratic nightmare of a pompous city, there’s a helluva lot of shit.
The Nosferatu get everyone’s secrets and all the dirty laundry. Want to know what happened in Iran-Contra? Ask the Nosferatu. Need to know who’s really responsible for Whitewater? Ask the Nosferatu. They control the metro system. They search through the trash. They know the dark, secret underbelly of D.C. They know which Bone Gnawers had a bit too much vampire blood to drink. They can tell you the location of the Setite temple and the latest area of Sabbat inﬁltration. Of course, everything has a price or requires a favor. Knowledge isn’t free.
Of all the clans, the Nosferatu have the strongest grasp on the danger that threatens the city. They stick together, even if they get on each other’s nerves. Their main problem is a lack of leadership.
The clan Toreador invented Washington, D.C. At least, that’s their story. French clan members sent L’Enfant to design this young capital as a work of art and a new stronghold. Visionary Toreador elders dreamed of creating an entire country that would serve as a model for the future. But before they could solidify their claims and eliminate opposition to their plans, the French Revolution caught them up in its turmoil.
By the time the Toreador regained their footing, Clan Ventrue had staked claim to the capital of the United States. The Toreador saw ﬁt to let the Ventrue pretend to control Washington, while they took over the important cities in the new country: the state capitals. Before the Toreador knew what had happened, the Civil War began and they were on the wrong side. When the dust settled, the Tremere ruled Washington, D.C. and the power of the states was broken.
During the reign of Prince Marissa, the Toreador made repeated attempts to reclaim the city. Each time, the Ventrue would stab them in the back and try to take advantage of the conﬂict; but the ultimate victor was always Marissa. Then, during the 50s, the Tremere witch purged the city of her major Toreador opposition. By the time the Toreador had recovered, they were unable to do much except glare in fury when the Ventrue leader, Marcus Vitel, seized the power they desired. His subsequent purge of their leadership, combined with devastating attacks by the Sabbat, destroyed the clan. The elders in Europe have chosen to ignore Washington, D.C., leaving it in the hands of a young Toreador named Chas Voyager and his small group of followers.
For most of Washington D.C.’s history, Clan Tremere has dominated events. Prince Marissa outmaneuvered Ventrue, Toreador and Brujah challengers to her power. Although she was a woman, the elders of the clan respected her abilities. Meerlinda never fails to remind Peter Dorfman, the head of the Washington Chantry and Pontifex of the Mid-Atlantic region, that until he becomes Prince of Washington, D.C., he will never be as important as Marissa was. She doesn’t have to taunt him, though. Peter Dorfman will seize power at any opportunity.
The city’s Tremere are divided. Although they appear to have a uniﬁed front, most insiders know the truth. Dorfman spends more time plotting war against the Western Pontifex, Powell, than running his own Chantry. Most of the members of the clan have their own plans to replace Dorfman. Even if the Tremere Chantry had the power to overthrow the Prince (and it might), dissension in the ranks would probably doom the attempt.
Clan Ventrue nominally runs Washington, D.C. Several members of the clan respect Prince Marcus Vitel and hold him as an example of the ﬁnest type of Ventrue. Other Ventrue inside and outside the city suspect that something’s not quite right about this prince, who manages to keep the Sabbat in check and successfully put the Tremere in their place. However, the Ventrue rest easier during the day rationalizing away the Prince’s wide range of Disciplines and ancient blood. Most don’t want to think about the fact that only three members of the clan left alive in Washington, D.C. predate Marcus’ reign. They would be more concerned if they knew that all but two inﬂuential members of the clan in the city are Blood Bound to the Prince.
Some older Ventrue who visit the city dislike the regular meetings of the Prince’s primogen, claiming that it seems like some sort of concession to anarchs, although they appreciate the fact that the Ventrue have a seat on the Council as well as having the Prince. Vitel tries to discourage members of his clan from coming to Washington, D.C. because of the terrible savagery of Garou and Sabbat attacks.