While the public facets of the guild, House Valeio and the Crescent Academy, are important in their own right, the true heart of the guild is the Crescent Pact–the secret coven of vampires and the mortals who protect and serve them. From behind the scenes, the vampires in power pull strings and utilize the public assets for their own goals and survival.
When characters learn of the Crescent Pact, it is referred to as being brought “under the Veil”. Once there, characters may choose to either remain surface-level allies, or they may delve deeper and work their way through the ranks under the Veil.
Since the bulk of our plot-heavy RP is based around the inner workings of the Pact, you should consider it a priority to get your character involved in some capacity unless you are okay with only attending public RP indefinitely.
There comes a point when every single character in the guild is first informed of the Pact’s existence.
This initiation commonly takes place at monthly Pact meetings within the forest of Carcosa, but individual characters can also be initiated to the truth at any time as RP dictates.
However, they will not be considered officially pledged to the Pact until they complete the initiation ritual, with or without an audience.
There is a monolith within the forest which bears the handprints of every member of the Pact, overlaid with dried blood.
A ritual bowl of fresh blood from a creature that has been blessed by the Pact witches will be nearby. The new initiate will approach the Priest(ess) conducting the initiation ritual.
The priest will press a bloody handprint to the initiate’s face, before bidding the initiate to dip their hand within the bowl of blood and press their handprint to the stone to join the others.
While posing no harm to anyone who takes the oath, the ritual binds the Neophyte to the stone, where they can then be tracked through the use of blood magic in the event of escape or betrayal.
Once initiated into the Pact, characters are seen as Neophytes. This means they know the House’s secret and have agreed to both uphold the Veil and to protect other members of the Pact from outside threats.
Members need never advance past this rank if they don’t wish to. However, Neophytes have restricted access to some areas and events, such as being barred from Werebeast moots and Vampire gatherings, and only being allowed to attend the Inner Sanctum of the vampire Coven within the presence of a full member.
For those who do wish to delve deeper into the supernatural secrets of the Pact, they may choose to focus on either the Pack or the Coven–or both.
It should be noted that vampires are the top of the pecking order. Even the werebeast Pack answers to the Coven, and so a werebeast is also capable of attaining any rank within the Coven save for the vampire exclusive ranks.
The Pack of the Twin Manes
The Pack of the Twin Manes is a chaotic collection of werebeasts willing to serve the vampires who run the Crescent Pact. Due to their great strength, their primary role is defending the rest of the Crescent Pact from outside threats. Because of this, they constantly strive to prove themselves in combat, frequently challenging each other for leadership and sparring to keep themselves sharp.
Not at all a stagnant organization, the leadership of the Pack is constantly in flux. In order to ensure only the strong are recognized and that the whole Pack is constantly bettering itself, the Champion must maintain his or her position from month to month. At the monthly moot beneath the full moons, any Pack member may challenge the Champion for leadership, which is determined through a duel.
If no one elects to challenge Champion on a given month, a melee will be called instead, in which all werebeasts in the Pack engage in a chaotic battle. The victor of the melee will take the mantle of Champion for that month.
Unlike the coven which accepts mortals, the only way to become a member of the Pack is to become a werebeast. Mortals (and vampires) who aid the Pack in other ways are simply a part of the Crescent Pact–allies without being directly involved in the Pack itself.
Seeker – A mortal who is interested in becoming a werebeast. Seekers are not yet a part of the Pack, but are in search of a mentor to teach them the ways of the Pack–and ultimately grant them Hircine’s blessing.
Pack Member – The base rank for all werebeasts. The bulk of the Pack will never move beyond this rank unless they win a challenge against the Champion. Pack Members are awarded special duties based on their primary skills:
Hunters – Werebeasts most skilled in scenting, tracking, and bringing down prey.
Guards – Werebeasts most suited to protecting the Pack and handling threats.
Shamans – Werebeasts more in tune with their humanity, focused on healing and aiding the Pack.
Gamekeeper – Responsible for the management of all game within the Forest.
Ritemaster – Responsible for overseeing all formal gatherings, be they initiations of new werebeasts, organized hunts, rituals to Hircine, or conducting the monthly Pack Moots. The Ritemaster also serves as the primary advisor and assistant to the standing alpha. This position could be argued to be the true power behind the Pack, since while Alphas tend to come and go, a wise Ritemaster may hold onto their position for many moons to come. They cannot directly make decisions, but may report to the Pact leadership and lobby for policy changes.
Champion – The de facto leader of the Pack. Due to the chaotic nature of werebeasts, this position is incredibly tenuous since the Champion must defend his or her position every moon cycle. While expected to be a temporary position, Champions are still responsible for making decisions for the Pack and shaping its growth.
The Coven of the Dying Sun
The Vampires who lead the Coven of the Dying Sun control every single facet of both the public face of House Valeio and private facets of the Crescent Pact. This makes the Coven the heart of the guild and the primary destination for those who wish to get the most out of supernatural intrigue.
All vampires who join the Crescent Pact are considered to be members of the Coven at the most basic rank (Clergy). From there, they may advance within the Coven based on their own skills and contributions.
In addition, mortals are quite capable of becoming valued members of the Coven, since without loyal mortals, the Coven could not hide in plain sight. Mortals may serve in a variety of ways or may rise to become vampires in time, based on individual preferences. We are not in the business of turning mortals to vampires against their will, however–so if that is your goal, it needs to ultimately come from your character.
It should be noted with the exception of the Synod, the Imperator, and the Imperatrix, the bulk of the ranks are ‘equal’ from the perspective that they each have distinct duties and are not in competition with each other.
However, there is a logical progression that needs to happen for some roles. Mortals need to advance from Acolyte, to Supplicant, to Sacristan before they can become Anointed and be taken as a vampire’s thrall. Likewise, vampires must be settled in a specific role before they are eligible to take thralls.
For the sake of the Coven, the entities worshipped are Molag Bal, Clavicus Vile, Mephala, Hircine, and Nocturnal. Not every individual vampire has to revere every single entity on a personal level, but they do have to be tolerant of them and their worshippers.
Acolyte – Mortals who have advanced from Neophyte status by choosing to walk the path of the Coven. Acolytes do not yet have a full understanding of what it means to serve vampires and need to be educated in the Coven’s ways, and are essentially there to learn and prove themselves. May only enter the Inner Sanctum under supervision.
Supplicant – Mortals who have chosen to advance further in the Coven’s eyes by willingly providing blood. This may be to one individual vampire or to any who seek it, based on the mortal’s preferences. Casually referred to as blood servants, Supplicants are the literal and proverbial life blood of the Coven, providing the nourishment which allows the vampires to stay safe in the shadows. Supplicants are valued and protected, and to unduly harm one carries a weighty penalty. May only enter the Inner Sanctum under supervision.
Sacristan – Mortals who serve as the caretakers of the Inner Sanctum and aid the vampires of the Coven however they can. They have achieved a level of trust and standing within the Coven by proving they are willing to sacrifice their own life force to keep the Coven safe. At this point, the Sacristan may choose either to continue providing blood, or to stop if they feel it impairs their duties. As trusted mortals, Sacristans may come and go from the Inner Sanctum as they please.
Anointed – The highest rank a mortal can achieve within the Coven, having bound themselves by blood to a vampire to serve as their Thrall. The Anointed are considered an extension of their vampiric master, and harming one is considered a direct attack upon another vampire. They often work as assistants, guards, messengers, or companions for their masters. While they seek to aid the Coven as a whole, they place their master foremost in all things. As trusted mortals, Anointed may come and go from the Inner Sanctum as they please.
Clergy– The base rank for Vampires who have chosen to join the Coven. They are the foundation of the Coven, and many choose never to ascend higher, particularly if they are not overly interested in political maneuverings. Clergy are placed into categories based upon their primary skill sets:
Priest/Priestess – Religious-minded vampires who aid in carrying out the religious rituals within the Inner Sanctum, from prayers and rituals to sacrifices and initiations. Priests are also the healers capable of mending mortals and vampires alike.
Knight – The protectors of the Coven; vampires skilled in combat and defending their charges.
Intriguer – Vampires easily able to blend in to mortal society who deal in politics, deception, spying, and diplomacy. Intriguers are the manipulators of the Coven, easily able to steer the will of others through means both charismatic and supernatural. They may make a mortal forget they ever saw anything they shouldn’t have, or they may orchestrate a deal for the Coven’s own designs. This position is unsuited to lines incapable of hiding their affliction or those prone to rage and bloodlust.
Archpriest/Archpriestess – Responsible for managing the lower-ranking priests in the regular maintenance of the Inner Sanctum’s religious artifacts, altars, and rituals. The High Priest in particular presides over important rituals, from Anointed ceremonies to vampiric weddings to ritual sacrifices. Typically a vampire, but qualified Anointed are allowed to hold this position.
Abbot/Abbess – The one responsible for managing the members of the Clergy, ensuring they are tasked appropriately and given duties that both enhance the coven and display their unique skill sets. Typically a vampire, but qualified Anointed are allowed to hold this position.
Held by Brenya Valeio
Redeemer – A vampire tasked with all matters related to corporal punishment, execution, interrogation, and torture.
Inquisitor – The secret lawmakers and spies within the Coven. To reveal oneself as a member of the Inquisition, even among the Coven, is punishable by death–for they exist not to bolster their own egos, but to maintain order at any cost. Their identity does not matter; all that does is the fact they are very present within the Coven, and they are watching.
The Synod – The vampires of this rank are the most influential in the entire Coven. They serve as the council of rulers who make decisions for the whole of the Coven. Their will shapes the policies and laws passed down through the rest of the ranks.
Canoness – The sole public member of the Inquisition is the Canoness, who serves as the public face for the otherwise shadowy order. The Canoness is the one to go to in order to report misconduct, treason, veil breaking, etc. This is a position that can only be held by a member of the Synod.
Held by Eisheth Varro
Hierophant – Responsible for overseeing the Coven’s secret holdings, namely the Reliquary and the Forest. The Hierophant also procures and contains anomalous materials and entities for use by the Coven. This is a position that can only be held by a member of the Synod.
Held by Lelith Zenunim
Templar – The holy vampiric knights who enforce Coven law. The Templar is also directly responsible for guarding the Reliquary and researchers within it, which is off limits to the majority of the Coven. This is a position that can only be held by a member of the Synod.
Held by Terrell Valeio
Imperator/Imperatrix – The direct leadership of the Coven. The Imperator and Imperatrix listen to the advice of the Synod and approve or deny the motions they set forth.
Held by Dion Valeio & Amalthea Syrine
A meeting of the Synod in the Forest.