Kindred Power Structure
A run-down of Who's Who in the Rotten Apple
At the Top: The Prince, His Seneschal, and the Council of Primogen
The Prince is the Supreme Ruler of New York City. His Domain is absolute, his Word is Law, and to defy him usually means a swift Final Death. The Prince has absolute authority on settling disputes, awarding territory, designating feeding grounds, and granting Embrace rights, although he delegates many of these responsibilities to his subordinates. When speaking to the Prince in Court, it is customary to address him in terms of the utmost respect and deference: "Your Grace" and "My Prince" are the most common forms thus used.
The Seneschal speaks with the Prince's full voice and authority; as such, she is the city's de facto ruler on most nights. Her primary responsibility is to handle the Prince's day to day affairs—this includes all the decision-making for which the Prince is ultimately responsible, although if an issue is deemed to be of sufficient importance, the Seneschal may forward it to the Prince directly. The Seneschal is in charge of acknowledging neonates and prosecuting the Blood Hunt against criminals and unwelcome visitors. "Madam Seneschal" is the appropriate form of address to use with her in Court.
The Primogen serve as advisors to the Prince. Their primary role is to keep him apprised of the overall state of the city. They seldom interact directly with the Kindred populace at large, acting mainly on reports from subordinate Kindred who have that responsibility.
Positions of Major Importance: Prisci, Master of Elysium, and Reeve
Each of the five Clans is represented by a Priscus. In theory, it is the duty of a Priscus to represent the interests of his or her Clan: they are expected to handle mundane issues and minor disputes on their own, and to voice concerns of higher importance to the Primogen. In practice, this is rarely how the system actually works. Prisci do not serve their posts voluntarily; they are named by the Primogen without their counsel or permission. As such, most Prisci do not act mainly out of any altruism toward their own Clan. Instead, they are typically either ruthless political animals who use the post to serve their own ends, or unfortunate slackers who are looking to shirk their responsibilities as much as they can get away with. There is no standard form of address for talking to a Priscus; each post is handled differently.
The Master of Elysium is in charge of ensuring that Kindred have a safe place to congregate away from the prying eyes of the kine. Most forms of destructive behavior are forbidden in Elysium, but violence and vandalism are punishable by Final Death. It falls to the Master to manage the day to day situation of each location that the Prince names to be Elysium, and to make certain that the laws of Elysium are enforced. To that end, he is authorized to expel minor offenders and to destroy major ones.
The Reeve and his deputies enforce the Prince's Law all throughout his Domain. Kindred who violate the Traditions—those who reveal the nature of vampires to the kine, Embrace without permission, or commit Diablerie—can expect an unpleasant visit from the Reeve. It also falls to the Reeve to address external threats to the Kindred population at large; as such, the Reeve is one of the more experienced Kindred when it comes to handling other types of supernatural beings. That said, the Reeve is not the personal bodyguard of every Kindred in the city, and in most cases he does not punish the destruction of one Kindred by another.
Positions of Minor Importance: Herald, Groom, Harpies, and Hound
The Herald is tasked with making certain that the Kindred population at large is in the know about matters which concern them. She is responsible for sending invitations to Court meetings, and for delivering important information to those who are deemed to need it. She also facilitates contact between new childer and the Seneschal for the purposes of introductions, as well as contact between neonates and their respective Prisci.
The Groom provides a very specific service: safe access to high-quality blood. It's the Groom's job to maintain the city's network of blood dolls, to provide refreshments at sanctioned events, and to offer safe and easy emergency feeding to Kindred who need it. This last service is not free, of course, and Kindred outside of the Invictus especially can expect to be charged a premium for access to quality blood dolls on an emergency basis.
It's the job of the Hound to hunt down and destroy any Kindred who is living in the Prince's Domain without his acknowledgment and permission. Those who duck the Herald and Seneschal, who avoid being introduced, or who try to live too far under the radar can expect a visit from the Hound. The Hound also assists the Reeve in defending the Domain from external threats, and is generally the first person the Seneschal looks to when it comes to prosecuting the Blood Hunt.
Harpy is not an official position, but it's often thrown about as if it were. Harpy is a term for a socially savvy Kindred who has taken it upon herself to point out the shortcomings of others. They are brutal in a conversation and ruthless in rumor-mongering. Who exactly qualifies as a Harpy is subjective, but most Kindred tend to know it when they see it. No one likes Harpies, but their presence in any Domain is a time-honored tradition that any upstanding Kindred will hasten to defend—lest they incur the wrath of the Harpies themselves. Speaking with a Harpy is ill-advised, but avoiding speaking to a Harpy is seen as cowardice and will be met with even further mockery.