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The Clan Ventrue

The Ventrue are the back bone of the Camarilla, the clan most firmly comitted to the ideal of the sect. Perhaps this is because one of their own is given credit for first envisioning the Camarilla, perhaps it is becasue they honestly believe in the sect's ultimate good, but teh fact remains that the Ventrue are the clan whose identity is most firmly tied to the Camarilla's. The Ventrue boast more princes than any other clan, and seem to take special pleasure in organizing conclaves. Indeed, the Ventrue see participation in the Camarilla as a duty, and they are capable of going on at great lengths about it to other vampires whom they feel aren't pulling their weight. Such kindred usually retort with comments about teh clan's martyr complex, but the Ventrue take such slanders in stride. They know it is the lot of the noble to be unappreciated.

Always a clan of the aristocracy, the Ventrue these days are transitioning from Embracing the hereditary elite to enfolding the finatial elite instead. The clan has always flocked to power, and in these modern nights th epower is in the board room instead of the court. As a result, the Ventrue have become firmly enmeshed in speculative markets,industry and other fiancial arenas. They are well-aware of the power money has, and through their multitudinous mortal pawns they use that power exceedingly well. None of the other Camarilla clans can match the Ventrue in this field; few try anymore.

The Ventrue do admire breeding, and are among the most urbane, sophisticated and formal of the kindred. The clan has a plethora of traditions and customs, most of which are utterly nonsensical to other kindred, but which the Ventrue follow doggedly. Young Ventrue who question the wisdom of doing such tend to have the lessons beaten into them by their sires, who value directed initiative rather than independence.

Despite the guise of gentility the clan adopts, the Ventrue capacity for cruelty and rapacity is boundless. they may be polite, but they are nonetheless vampires - vampires at the top of the power pyramid of the kindred, no less. Kindness and other admirable qualities had nothing to do with getting them there; ruthless efficiency, burning ambition and tireless dedication did.


Strength and Influence

The Ventrue remain the most powerful clan in the Camarilla. Part of this derives from the fact that they are so much more intensly interested in the sect than thier peers are, but part of it also derives from the drive to power that seems to be the clan's unifying trait. In most Camarilla cities, the local power structure is riddled with Ventrue. Even those who don't hold official titles have their fingers in some important mortal pie or other, stock exchanges, financial institutions, city hall and the like are common areas of Ventrue interest.

One of the products of this Ventrue stranglehold on the local hierarchy is that there is often little room for Ventrue to ascend. They are kept in what amount ot eternal apprenticeships to undying masters, and many grow restive under the yoke. As a result, ther eis a curious dichotomy in Ventrue behavior patterns; normally the most conservative and urban of vampires, the Ventrue also have opened territories ( physical, such as a city retaken from the Sabbat, or financial, a la a new industry rising to prominence) in hopes of staking new claims.


Organization

The Ventrue have an exceedingly formal clan organization, but that formality has a surprising degree of flexibility of response built into it. The leadership of the clan, sometimes referred to as the "Board of Directors," has aproximatly 30 members fromall over the globe, though the most important are in New York, London and Paris. Meetings of the board are irregular but attendance is nighmandatory; with the power that the directors have at their command there's little excuse for not being able to jet to a convocation of the board from anywhere.

Less exalted Ventrue make due with a clan structure that seems equal part corporate entity and club. Each city with a Ventrue population hosts a clan headquarters, called a Board and frequently run out of either a gentleman's club or expensive office space. The Board also doubles as a corporation, and is the tool which the Ventrue exercise much of their finacial control on the local level.

One of the Ventrue's self-described strengths is the fact that everyone knows his place within the clan; all roles and chains od command are clearly and formally demarcated. Progress through the ranks is slow for younger Ventrue except in unusual circumstances; too much ambition or initiative is frowned upon by the clan elders.


Concerns

The Ventrue's primary concern is the Camarilla, namely, how to keep it going in the wake of the defection by the Gangrel. While the Ventrue never had much use for the Gangrel, common opinion held that they were extremely useful in defending against the Sabbat. With them gone, teh Camarilla stands weakened, and the Ventrue feel they must shoulder even more of the burden of supporting the sect. There is also worry over the successful Sabbat incursions on the east coast of North America, which the clan is trying to spread to the rest of the sect.

Within the Camarilla, the clan's greatest concern is the growing power of the Tremere, who seem poised within a few short decades to attempt to wrest command of the sect from the Ventrue. There's also the usual fretting about increasing anarch activity, but most ventrue tune this out as white noise. They've heard it all before, seen it come to naught and have no intrest in hearing it now.


Practices and Customs

The formal practices of the Ventrue are too numerous (and in many cases too nitpicky) to go into here; suffice it to say that tehy have a greta many. There are customs for who gets to drink first, who speaks in what order at the Board, what sorts of clubs can be used to house the Board, parties to celebrate Embrace dates and so on. Every move is circumscribed by tradition and precedent; innovation is smiled upon only so long as it doesn't interupt practice.

The most essential custom of the Ventrue, however, is that of assistance. In all things, the clan comes first, and any Ventrue can come to the Board or a clanmate for assistance. By long tradition, those Ventrue thus petitioned are obligated to come to their clanmates aid, reguardless of personal risk or preference. A Ventrue who fails in this obligation loses face within the clan, and can expect no help from any of his clanmates should he request it.

When it comes to the Embrace, the Ventrue are exceedingly selective. Only the creme de la creme will do for the Blue Bloods, the best of the mortal best in business, politics, the military and so on. Ventrue take care t6o instruct their chider in the ways of the Camarilla, seeing as some day it will be those neonates' duty to uphold the sect. Ventrue never really step too far away from their childer unless compelled by society or distance; the strong bonds between sire and childe are part of what helps inify the clan.

The Ventrue meet on the foirst TUESDAY of every month at the Board; Attendance is mandatory, and those playing hooky find themselves fetched by retainers of the "Chairman" (the local elder and head of the Board, usually also a member of the primogen council). The meetings are called Directorate Assemblies, though older Ventrue insist on calling them by older names in French, Latin and Greek. Directorate Assemblies resemble nothing so much more as a mortal board meetings, with financial and political data providing the bulk of the conversation. The meetings are also used to regulate clan standing, with "promotions" and "demotions" coming in the form of public praise or scorn from the Chairman or membership on select committees.