Blood and Bourbon
“So what are you, a Redbone or a Creole?”
“Is that a literal question, or is there a subtext to which I’m missing?” the pale blonde asks.
“Literal. If you’re not a Kaintuck, what are you?”
A laugh. “Not the literal I meant, but then my education in these matters has been necessarily truncated. Ventrue is what they said.”
Jocelyn looks downright bewildered. “So you’re a Creole, and your sire didn’t even tell you what that meant?”
“Actually, he never mentioned it at all, though it is among the least of his sins.”
—Jocelyn Baker, Toreador neonate, to Caroline Malveaux
The Kindred have their own dialect of specialized words and phrases. Vampires have a tremendous capacity for double-talk; what they say often means something other than its literal interpretation, or something in addition to its simple meaning. Certain words have evolved new connotations among the Damned, while others are unique to vampires and their society. The Kindred, set in their ways as they are, are loath to adopt new manners of speech or slang, and one can often determine a rough estimation of a vampire’s age by listening to the individual words she chooses.
Yat of the Big Easy
These terms are only used by the mortals (and Kindred) of New Orleans.
banquette: (bawn-KETTE). The sidewalk.
bokor: A vodoun priest or magician who practices black magic. Houngans can be bokors, but such is not common.
Cajun: A Louisianan descended from French-speaking Acadia (a corruption of the word “Acadian”); also describes other rural settlers, as well as food or music. Cajuns are white and can be found in New Orleans, but most live in rural Louisiana. Not to be confused with Creole.
crawfish: The New Orleans spelling and pronunciation of “crayfish”.
Creole: A free person of Spanish, French or African descent born in Spanish America; originally used in reference to whites of French and Spanish descent alone, but grew to encompass Africans after the Civil War; also used to refer to food or music.
gris-gris: (GREE-gree) A term for all sorts of charms, talismans, and other mystical items of vodoun.
hounfour: Inner sanctuary or altar room for the practice of vodoun, sometimes dedicated to a specific loa. Alternately, a more general term for any vodoun temple.
houngan: A priest of vodoun, fully initiated in all the rites and mysteries of the religion.
krewe: A club that sponsors festivals and events (ersatz Old English “crew”) such as Mardi Gras. Many are quite exclusive.
La Ville: “The town”; Cajun nickname for New Orleans.
lagniappe: (LAWN-yahp). Literally, “a little something extra;” any small gift from a local, like the 13th doughnut in a baker’s dozen.
loa: Spirits of divine origin that serve Bondye (God). They expect to be worshiped and respected, but can be imposed upon to grant favors in return.
mambo: Initiated vodoun priestess; female equivalent of houngan.
mulatto: The child of a black parent and a white parent.
peristyle: The building or outdoor area where vodoun ceremonies are held; often, but not always, bordering or very near the hounfour.
praline: (PRAW-leen). A candy made from cane sugar and pecans.
quadroon: A term referring to a person who is one-quarter black.
redbone: An ambiguous, debatably pejorative term for a person (or culture) of multi-racial status. In Louisiana, the term refers primarily to descendants of Melunegons (i.e., colonial area persons of mixed European, African, and Native American descent) that immigrated to rural southwestern Louisiana following its purchase from France. Over the centuries, the term (and the people it refers to) has come to overlap with both Cajun and Creole.
Rex: The King of Mardi Gras. Also, the krewe associated with Rex.
veve: A symbolic design representing one of the loa. These are used as both the focus of rituals and as a temporary altar. They can be found written or inscribed on various surfaces but are usually constructed with flour that is poured on the ground during rituals.
Vieux Carre: The French Quarter.
vodouisant: A believer in vodoun; a worshipper of the loa.
Kindred Speech, Common Parlance
Cabildo: The Primogen of New Orleans, taken from the early administrative council which governed the colony. Cabildo refers to the Primogen Council as a whole, not individual Primogen members. The term is also used to refer to any site where the Primogen convene a meeting.
Creole: A Toreador or Ventrue, or an elder of any clan, many of whom were Creoles in life.
Kaintuck: A Gangrel, Brujah or Caitiff, rarely Nosferatu. The term was first used by (mortal) Creoles as a generic term for the American flatboat crews who plied the Mississippi before steamboats came about. The Kaintucks were notorious for being brutish, crude, obnoxious, and violent, and the Creole Kindred thought it a fitting term for the Gangrel and Brujah. The term has filtered into the common parlance, and some of the Kaintucks themselves use it proudly.
Krewe of Janus, the: A coterie of Kindred who enforce the Masquerade. In keeping with mortal krewe traditions, they keep their membership a secret. Although any vampire with a good grasp of the city’s politics can easily identify who is in the Krewe and who isn’t (and almost every Kindred knows that Harlequin is a member), many of the younger Kindred, especially Anarchs, have not yet had opportunity to find out. Numerous rumors exist about the Krewe, and to neonates it often seems like a half-bogeyman, half-Big Brother.
krewe: A coterie of neonate Kindred. Particularly common among the Anarchs of Mid-City.
Loup-Garou: Lupine. Plural Loup-Garoux.
Mosquito: A Caitiff. (They’re little, annoying, and they suck blood, right?)
Redbone: A Malkavian, Nosferatu, or Tremere.
Storyville: The Rack. Storyville was New Orleans’ famed quasi-legal red-light district, closed down by the Navy in 1917. It was the birthplace of jazz and, of course, a major hunting ground for the local Kindred, who got into the habit of using the name and kept it after Storyville closed down. It trickled down through the ancillae and into general Kindred usage.
Vieux Carre: Elysium, as well as the French Quarter.
Kindred Speech, Vulgar Parlance
Cottonmouth: A Setite
crawfish: Kindred who dwell outside New Orleans in rural Louisiana, where it is assumed they must sleep in the mud. Commonly refers to Gangrel and Nosferatu.
Elderville: The Garden District, where many elders make their havens.
hoodoo: Weird magic, supposed weird magic, strange and mysterious occurrences. Not to be confused with Voodoo or Voudoun; hoodoo is a generic term, while Voudoun is a specific religion and magic system.
Lestats: Blood Dolls and other vampire wannabes. Also called Ricers.
Ol’ Muddy: The Mississippi River.
praline: A particularly tasty, attractive, or alcoholic vessel.
General Kindred Slang
These terms are used by Kindred throughout the Camarilla and are not endemic to New Orleans.
The elders typically use these turns of phrase, which have existed since long before the Modern Nights. One is advised to use these words carefully—in some company, their use may be seen as humorously anachronistic, while in the company of Anarchs, for example, they may be misconstrued as the elders’ propaganda.
abactor: Literally, a “cattle thief;” a poacher.
Amaranth: Diablerie; the act of consuming another Kindred’s blood and soul.
avetrol: An obscure word for a bastard child. Among the Kindred, an avetrol is an illegitimate childe who the Prince permits to exist, even though its Embrace violated the Tradition of Progeny. Many Caitiff are illegitimate.
autarkis: A Kindred who remains outside the larger vampire society of a given city and often refuses to acknowledge the claim of a Prince.
Birds of Dis: The Strix.
Blood Oath: The blood bond (vide).
Canaille: The masses of humanity, especially the uncultured or unsavory. Typically connotes a reference to sources of sustenance.
Cainite: A vampire; a member of the race of Caine.
cauchemar: A vampire who feeds solely on sleeping victims.
cockalorum: A loud-mouthed iconoclast, or any weak vampire who acts the big shot.
comprador: A vampire who works for some other creature, such as a mage or even a mortal organization willing to uphold the Masquerade; also indicates the reverse (a supernaturally awakened creature in the service of a vampire).
consanguineous: Literally, “of the same blood,” especially regarding lineage. Usage: That vampire is consanguineous with the Ventrue Prince.
co-sanguineous: Being brothers in the Blood; sharing the same sire. Usage: We’re rumored to be co-sanguineous but my sire is actually Maxwell, whereas his is not.
cunctator: A Kindred who avoids killing whenever feeding from mortals.
draugr: The term for wights in antiquity; still widely used by some Gangrel.
fief: A domain; still the favored term among many Ventrue, even numerous young ones.
footpad: One who feeds from vagrants, derelicts and other dregs of society.
fledgling: A neonate; a newly created vampire under his sire’s protection.
gallant: A vampire who feeds from other vampires out of necessity or perversion.
gentry: The collective group of Kindred who prefer to prey at nightclubs, bars and other “red-light district” establishments.
Golconda: A fabled state of complete oneness with the vampiric condition; the true comprehension of both Beast and Man within a vampire’s soul, wherein balance can be found. Rumored to be similar to mortal Nirvana, Golconda is only very rarely achieved.
humanitas: The extent to which a Kindred still maintains her humanity.
inceptor: The founder of a new Discipline, a new bloodline or both. Such feats carry some measure of prestige among the Kindred.
leech: A mortal who drinks vampire blood but acknowledges no regnant.
Lextalionis: The code of the Kindred and the system for punishing transgression. It suggests Hammurabian or Biblical justice—an eye for an eye, and punishment in keeping with the grievance. Also refers to the tradition of the blood hunt.
lineage: A vampire’s bloodline; one’s sire and the line of sires before him.
Osiris: A vampire who builds a mortal cult following around himself, as a means by which he can better feed or influencethe mortal world.
Papillon: The red-light district; an area of a city that is punctuated by bars, whorehouses, gambling casinos and other places of debauchery. Also refers to a city’s prime hunting grounds, where mortal disappearances go largely unnoticed.
praxis: The right of Princes to govern; one’s claim to domain. Can also refer to a Prince’s matter of policy or individual edicts.
progeny: All of a given vampire’s childer, collectively. Less formal, and less flattering, is get.
rastacouere: A vampire whose identity (clan, age or covenant) is suspected of being less respectable than claimed. Example: A Caitiff who claims to be the childe of a distinguished Ventrue Prince.
retainer: Any individual who serves a vampiric master (whether under thrall or not). The term hails from a time when many vampires kept large estates with entire entourages of servants.
rötschreck: The “Red Fear”; a fear frenzy, usually instigated by the presence of fire.
siren: A female vampire who seduces mortals in order to feed from but not kill them.
Suspire: The rumored moment of epiphany a vampire experiences just before attaining (or failing to attain) Golconda.
Third Mortal: Caine, who was cast out and became the First Vampire.
whelp: Derogatory term for a young Kindred, originally used in reference to one’s own progeny.
whig: Contemptuous term for a vampire who retains interest in mortal trends.
witch-hunter: A mortal who searches out and destroys vampires.
The newest of terms, those rising out of the grime and crime of the Gothic-Punk streets, reflect both the times and the attitudes of tonight’s brash neonates.
alleycat: A vampire with no permanent haven, who sleeps in a different place each day. Also refers to one who feeds exclusively from the homeless.
banking: The practice of “withdrawing” blood from blood banks and hospital reserves. Such refrigerated blood has very little taste, but it provides some small nourishment nonetheless. Banking is frowned upon by older or more refined Kindred.
blister: A vampire “Typhoid Mary” who contracts a mortal disease and spreads it to the vessels upon whom she feeds.
blood doll: A mortal who freely gives blood to a vampire, gaining a perverse satisfaction from the Kiss and actively seeking out vampires to give it to them.
butterfly: A Kindred who mingles among mortal high society and prefers to feed from the rich and famous.
casanova: A male vampire who seduces mortals to feed but does not kill them. Most prefer to erase the memory of their presence from their vessels’ minds, if possible.
Change, the: The moment a person ceases to be mortal and becomes a Kindred.
cleaver: A vampire who tries to maintain the illusion of a human family life.
donor: Sarcastic term for a vessel, typically a mortal.
farmer: Derogatory term for vampires who prefer to feed from animals alone.
fief: A sarcastic term for a vampire’s domain or claim thereof, most commonly used in reference to a Prince.
head: A vampire who feeds on drug or alcohol-laced blood. Those with a fondness for specific drugs have their preference added as a prefix (e.g., crackhead, pothead, smackhead).
headhunter: A Kindred who hunts and feeds on other vampires.
juice: Human blood, often modified by a descriptor, usually one indicating either the origin of the blood or some chemical within the blood (e.g., “cranberry juice” indicates Irish blood, while “happy juice” is mortal blood laced with stimulants).
juicebag: Contemptuous term for mortals.
Lick: A vampire; one of the race of Kindred.
pedigree: A sarcastic term for lineage, typically used to make fun of another vampire’s Kindred family tree (or the self-importance drawn therefrom).
rake: A habitual visitor to the Rack, especially in the interests of feeding (q.v. gentry).
ripper: Modern term for a revenant, based upon the condition in which such creatures typically leave their victims.
sandman: A vampire who feeds solely on sleeping victims (q.v. cauchemar).
slumming: The practice of feeding from derelicts and other dregs of society.
stalker: A mortal who hunts down and destroys Kindred (q.v. hunter, witch-hunter).
tease: A female casanova (q.v. siren).
turf: Modern term used in reference to a domain; can also refer to the area under one gang or coterie’s influence.
unbound: An autarkis.
vegetary: A term of contempt for one who drinks exclusively from animals (q.v. farmer).
These words are in common use among all echelons of Kindred society.
Acolytes: A common nickname for members of the Circle of the Crone.
barrens, the: The areas of a city unfit for life or hunting, including graveyards, abandoned buildings, industrial wastelands and areas of irreversible urban blight.
Becoming, the: The moment one passes from being a fledgling into “full” vampire status. One may not Become until her sire deems her ready and gains the Prince’s approval.
Black Hand: Another name for the sect known as the Sabbat.
Blood: A vampire’s heritage; that which makes a vampire a vampire. Usage: I doubt her claims to such esteemed Blood.
Clanless: A more politically correct term for Caitiff.
cloister: A city or other large domain that’s “gone dark,” where Kindred can’t (or won’t) communicate in or out.
Damned, the: The race of Kindred; vampires.
domain: A physical region or more abstract territorial boundary ruled (ostensibly) by a single Kindred authority. Princes claim entire cities as their domains, and often allow lesser vampires to claim domain within.
domitor: A ghoul’s master; one who feeds her blood and issues her commands.
Dragons: A common nickname for members of the Ordo Dracul.
elder: A vampire who has survived for over three centuries; also a term of respect.
Elysium (ell • ISS • ee • um): A location used for Kindred gatherings and declared a neutral, “no violence” sanctuary by the Prince. Elysium is commonly established in opera houses, theaters, museums and other locations of culture.
Embrace: The act of turning a mortal into a vampire. The Embrace requires the vampire to drain her victim and then replace that victim’s blood with a bit of her own.
Final Death: A Kindred’s real, true, ultimate death; when her unlife ceases and she never again rises as a vampire.
First Estate: A common nickname for the Invictus.
fledgling: A newly created vampire, still under her sire’s protection.
frenzy: A berserk state in which the Beast takes total control over a vampire. Rage, fear and hunger are the most common triggers of frenzies.
generation: The number of “steps” between a vampire and the mythical Caine; how far descended from the First Vampire a given vampire is.
Gehenna: The mythical Armageddon when the Antediluvians will rise from their torpor and devour the race of Kindred and the world.
ghoul: A mortal fed Kindred Vitae and possessed of various supernatural abilities, though far weaker than most vampires.
Golconda: A fabled state of vampiric transcendence; the true mastery of the Beast and balance of opposing urges and principles. Rumored to be similar to mortal Nirvana, Golconda is greatly touted but rarely achieved.
Harpy: A Kindred in a position prominent or estimable enough to raise up or put down others in vampire society.
haven: A vampire’s residence; where one finds sanctuary from the sun.
Herald: A spokesman for the Prince.
herd: A collection of mortals from whom a vampire feeds regularly.
Hunger, the: The urge to feed, as with any living creature. For vampires, however, the Hunger replaces all other drives with its own powerful call.
hunter: A mortal who seeks out Kindred and destroys them.
Inconnu: A sect of vampires who have removed themselves from Kindred concerns and, largely, the Jyhad. Many Methuselahs are rumored to exist among the Inconnu.
Invictus (in • VICK • tuss): One of the largest of the Kindred covenants, which believes in rule by a vampiric “elite” made up mostly of elders.
Jyhad, the: The secret, self-destructive war waged between the generations. Elder vampires manipulate their lessers, using them as pawns in a terrible game whose rules defy comprehension. Also called the Danse Macabre, Great Game, Eternal Struggle, and host of other sobriquets.
Kindred: The modern (and most frequent) term by which vampires refer to themselves and their race. According to rumor, this term came about in the 15th or 16th century, after the Great Anarch Revolt. Sabbat vampires scorn the term.
kine: A term for mortals; the phrase “Kindred and kine” refers to everyone.
Kiss: Both the act of biting and taking blood from a mortal, as well as the pleasure it provides both participants.
Lancea et Sanctum (LAN • kay • uh et SANK • toom): A covenant of vampires, made up of vampiric religious zealots who honor the Roman centurion Longinus, whom they have adopted as a form of “patron saint” for the act of testing Christ’s divinity.
Life, the: A euphemism for mortal blood. Many Kindred regard this term as affected and effete.
Lupine: A werewolf.
lush: A vampire who typically feeds from drugged or drunk mortals in order to experience their inebriation.
Man, the: The humanity a vampire maintains (or tries to); the spark of mortality that distinguishes him from the Beast.
Masquerade: The efforts and system of laws required by the First Tradition to hide the existence of vampires from humanity. Designed to protect the Kindred from destruction at the hands of mankind, the Masquerade was adopted after the Inquisition claimed many Kindred unlives.
Master of Elysium: The Kindred responsible for places of Elysium, who also makes sure that everything is prepared, that nobody fights and that word gets out about events.
Methuselah: A vampire who has existed for millennia; an elder who no longer exists among the greater whole of Kindred society. Methuselahs are rumored to hail from the Fourth and Fifth Generations.
neonate (NEE • oh • nate): A young vampire.
Ordo Dracul (OR • dough drah • KOOL): A covenant of vampires known for its mystic studies and desire to transcend the vampiric condition.
poacher: One who feeds in another Kindred’s domain without permission.
Primogen (PRIM • oh • jen): An elder who advises the Prince of a domain (also plural).
Prince: A vampire who has claimed a given expanse of domain as her own, particularly a city, and supports that claim against all others. The term can refer to a Kindred of either sex.
Rack: The best parts of the city in which to feed, including nightclubs and other loud, crowded areas.
regnant: The Kindred who holds regency over a thrall; the dominant member of a blood bond.
Requiem: The Kindred condition; the whole miserable, cursed song of a vampire’s unlife, whether singularly or metaphorically.
rogue: A vampire who feeds upon the vitae of other Kindred, out of necessity or depravity.
Sabbat, the: A sect of vampires that rejects humanity, embracing their monstrous natures. The Sabbat is bestial and violent, preferring to lord over mortals rather than hide from them.
Sanctified: A common nickname for members of the Lancea et Sanctum, singular and plural.
Sect: A very large group of Kindred arguably united under a common philosophy, composed of multiple covenants. The two most widely known sects are the Camarilla and the Sabbat.
Scourge: A personal hitman of the Prince; assassin, leg-breaker, capo.
Seneschal: The Prince’s right hand and assistant.
Seven: A clan, covenant or other group of vampires that detests the Kindred race and seeks to destroy it, its own members excepted.
Sheriff: The Kindred responsible for enforcing the Prince’s laws and dictates.
sire: A vampiric “parent,” one who has Embraced a childe; alternatively, a verb, meaning “to Embrace.”
Suspire: The rumored epiphany experienced just prior to the attainment of Golconda.
Theban (THEE • ben) Sorcery: A mysterious form of blood magic practiced primarily by members of the Lancea et Sanctum.
thrall: One who is bound to a regnant; the enslaved member of a blood bond.
torpor: A death-like sleep into which Kindred fall if they are injured severely or starved for too long. Kindred can also enter torpor willingly to escape the world for a time.
Traditions: The six primary Kindred laws, passed down through the ages and observed inviolate due to the Kindred condition.
vessel: Any source of blood for the Kindred to feed on; usually but not always used to refer to a mortal.
Vitae (VIE • tay): Blood, particularly the blood of a vampire.
Whip: One who keeps his clanmates in line in order that they be taken seriously.
wight: A vampire who has lost all Humanity and exists in perpetual frenzy.