Ventrue Culture

“Regere sanguine regere in veritatem est.”
(“To rule in blood is to rule in truth.”)
—Clan Ventrue’s ancient motto

Ventrue_Logo.jpg
As the products of five millennia of noble upbringing, class and culture, the Ventrue place great importance on gentility. Ventrue etiquette can become quite complex, especially in Europe where deathless standards persist unto the modern nights. Things are often less formal in the New World, but only by comparison. Even the most casual of Old World cities usually seems stodgy and overly polite by modern standards. For the Ventrue, politeness means more than just carrying on with traditional ways and means. It serves some very important functions, especially when it comes to making sure that individual clan members can overcome their petty personal differences and respect the social structure. By nature, Kindred are excitable creatures, prone to holding grudges and overreacting to insults. Add in the average Ventrue’s regard for his dignitas, and politeness becomes not only a matter of manners but a matter of survival. Interacting with one another in a sophisticated, polite and admittedly distant manner helps alleviate the threat of flaring tempers. As a clan devoted to proud detail and tradition, the Ventrue have managed to accumulate a code of conduct large enough to fill several weighty tomes (not that they have ever collected them thus). “Suggestions” can be found that govern everything from what color clothing to wear at Board meetings to what kinds of presents to give at deathnight celebrations.

Credit for the pre-edited versions of much of this material goes to Amity Jones, Brian O., and the other folks at OWbN.)

Dignitas Clan Ventrue’s measure of worth within the clan.
Dignitas and Ventrue Status How dignitas corresponds to Clan Status.
The Structure Clan Ventrue’s internal hierarchy.
The Local Structure Clan Ventrue’s hierarchy within individual cities.
The Global Structure Clan Ventrue’s upper-most ranks and their chosen agents.
Awards Decorations granted to Ventrue for estimable achievements.
The Alph Awarded for pioneering new industries.
Archon Awarded for serving as an archon.
Cour de Lion Awarded for exceptional valor in the face of adversity.
The Cornix Awarded for slaying a Strix.
The Crescent Moon Awarded for slaying a Lupine.
The Daley Prize Awarded for putting down an Anarch insurrection.
Dobrynya’s Blade Awarded for slaying a Tzimisce.
The Enquerry Awarded for serving as a whip.
Exorcist Awarded for slaying a demon or infernalist.
House Membership in (or friendship with) an extended bloodline of Ventrue.
The Iron Circlet Awarded for demonstrating exceptional loyalty to the clan.
The Jade Society Awarded for successful dealings with the Wan Kuei.
The Laurel Crown Awarded for incredible achievements of unassailable dignitas.
Lightbringer Awarded for completing one’s agoge with great distinction.
Proctor Awarded for serving as a teacher and role model to younger clanmates.
The Puppet’s Hand Awarded for seemless manipulation of the Masquerade.
The Serpentine Egg “Awarded” for committing treachery on the clan’s behalf.
The Shepherd’s Cross Awarded for slaying a Ventrue antitribu.
The Silver Cross Awarded for slaying a Sabbat vampire.
The Sword Awarded for serving as primogen or prince.
Societies* Associations of Ventrue with shared interests and agendas.
The Assembly of Colors Diplomats and ambassadors to the other clans.
The Key Club An all-male society devoted to the seduction and conquest of female Kindred.
The Knights of the Blood Militant, purity-obsessed extremists who serve as the clan’s internal police.
The Livillan Society An all-female society devoted to seducing, manipulating, and destroying male Kindred deemed threats to the clan.
The Order of the Crimson Scepter Spies and investigators who gather intelligence on threats to Ventrue interests.
The Order of the Ermine Mantle An extended association of Ventrue princes.
The Order of the Hawk Royale A social elite who set the standard for grace, etiquette, and propriety within the clan.
The Order of the White Cross Vigilant defenders who dispatch martial support and strategic assistance to Ventrue domains in need of aid.
The Society of the Hague A legal society whose members study, interpret, and dispense advice on matters pertaining to Kindred and kine law.
The Sorority of Amastris An all-female society devoted to the advancement of women within the clan.
Achievements Specific awards granted to clanmates who cultivate exceptional influence among mortal society.
The Alumni Cultivating influence among academia and higher education.
Member of the Council Cultivating influence among government bureaucracy.
Member of the Holy Star Cultivating influence among religious institutions.
The Tartan Cultivating influence among business institutions and white-collar industries.
The Caduceus Cultivating influence among health and medical institutions.
The Harpy’s Favor Cultivating influence among high society.
Member of the Trust Cultivating influence among blue-collar industries.
Associates of the Society Cultivating influence among courts, law firms, and legal institutions.
The Society of Quill and Scroll Cultivating influence among the media.
Sergeant of the Blood Cultivating influence among the military.
The Eagle of Lagash Cultivating influence among occult groups.
Constable of the Blood Cultivating influence among law enforcement organizations.
The Compass Cultivating influence among political institutions.
The Order of Barbary Cultivating influence among gangs and street groups.
The Scipio Society Cultivating influence among transportation companies and institutions.
The Black Tartan Cultivating influence among criminal organizations.
Ventrue Clan Friendship What friendship to Clan Ventrue entails for other Kindred.
Tribunals The system of resolving internal disputes among clanmates.


Dignitas


For some Ventrue scholars, the clan only fully realized their role in the leadership of the race of Cainites during the early nights of the Roman Republic. It’s no wonder, then, that they take many of their ideas and ideals from their venerable Latin forbears. At the Republic’s height, great men accomplished great deeds and built an empire that spanned farther than any empire in mortal or Cainite history had. They fought wars, engaged in fierce political battles, and sacked cities for more than just the money or the power. They did it because their dignitas demanded it!

Dignitas is a hard word to define. It encompasses not only simple dignity, but also many of the Japanese ideals summarized in the word “face” (as in saving face). Dignitas is a person’s standing in society, his social stature and his honor. For Rome’s patrician class, dignitas was nothing less than the true measure of a man’s self, of his worth. It requires the person with such status to fulfill social responsibilities, particularly in leadership roles.

The Ventrue adopted – and in turn, helped promote – the concept of dignitas with a vengeance. In one simple word, it encapsulated everything that they had held sacred and important for millennia. The Ventrue see themselves as (and, in fact, they are) the patrician class of Kindred society – the nobles of good birth, breeding and behaviour who must act with honor and be treated with dignity. For many Ventrue, as with the early Romans, dignitas is all.

As a clan member rises in prominence, his dignitas grows with him. It is the sum of his accomplishments to date. The battles won, offices held, and alliances made all come together to increase a Ventrue’s dignitas. At the same time, conflicts lost, insults taken, and failures recognized all serve to detract from his status. A Ventrue’s dignitas can fall just as it can rise. For many Ventrue, the fear and anger associated with losing face outstrip the fear of fire or final death. In such a history-minded clan, the loss of one’s life pales in comparison to the loss of one’s legacy.

Increasing one’s dignitas is the true goal that most Ventrue spend their nights pursuing relentlessly. Talk of “noble obligations” and preserving the Camarilla sound good, and they are important in theory, but many Ventrue seek to aggrandize themselves on a personal level first and foremost. The Ventrue do not denigrate the concept with any sure way of calculating dignitas; they observe no “dignitas points” or awards system. It is intangible, like reputation or fame. Dignitas grows not only with success but with achieving that success in the right and proper way. A Kindred who reaches new heights of political influence through the standard course accrues more dignitas than one who does so at the expense of other Ventrue, the reputation of the clan, or simple decorum. Image, tradition, and values play as much of a role in determining dignitas as do money, influence, and temporal power.

Aside from breaches of the Traditions, the clan knows few crimes greater than impugning another member’s dignitas groundlessly. Ventrue take assaults on their stature very seriously. Spreading rumors, taking credit for another’s work, and insulting a Ventrue without just cause (publicly or privately) are just a few of the ways one can diminish dignitas. Doing so is a sure way to make an enemy for all of unlife, and it can indeed be cause for severe punishment or discipline. Centuries-long feuds continue tonight between elders who feel that some idle comment at a social gathering in the 16th century threatened their dignitas. Although this example is extreme, it is indicative of a greater trend. In some cases, Ventrue have actually petitioned elders or princes for permission to destroy young Kindred who insulted them foolishly in some way.

Being Recognized for the Right Reasons

Dignitas stems from the Latin word for “dignity” and in the modern nights is often described as “face” – as in, “saving face.” Ventrue culture places great importance on conducting oneself with poise, dignity, honor, and on establishing a sterling reputation among one’s peers.

Dignitas is a function of numerous factors: title, status, age, generation, ancestry, temporal power, achievements, and personal bearing. Any fluctuation in these things can influence a Ventrue’s dignitas, but it is how the Ventrue behaves through these fluctuations that also defines how much dignitas the Ventrue gains or loses, and how fast. Dignitas is the measure of a Ventrue’s self and his or her worth as a Kindred. The more respected a Ventrue becomes, the more that is expected of him or her.

Exactly what contributes to a Ventrue’s dignitas is difficult to measure, but the following factors can all have an impact:

• Social status (titles and positions held; known friends, associations, alliances, and enemies; Camarilla and covenant Status; membership in Ventrue societies)
• Breeding (age, generation, noteworthy Kindred ancestors, descendants, and other relatives)
• Temporal power (battles or conflicts won, mortal influence, wealth, Ventrue awards, other personal accomplishments)
• Personal bearing (grace, poise, dignity, politesse, keeping one’s word, deference towards one’s elders, personal honor)

Being Recognized for the Wrong Reasons

Dignitas can go down as well as up. Factors such as battles lost, insults taken, scandals or embarrassments, and a myriad of other offenses and failures all serve to detract from a Ventrue’s dignitas. Especially abhorrent acts (either personally or for the damage they cause to Ventrue interests) may result in public censure by the Gerousia at a clan gathering. Some gerousia may mandate the achievement of a specific task or goal if the Ventrue wishes to restore their good name: not all are so forgiving. Public censures are often accompanied by the stripping of titles, awards, and offices. A Sword could be broken, an Equerry might be slain, or a set of Golden Scales torn off the lapel.


Dignitas and Ventrue Status


Ventrue Status is the measure of a Ventrue’s dignitas and how much respect they have earned fron their clanmates. Status can go up or down depending on the Ventrue’s actions and accomplishments. Temporary scandals or financial losses might reflect a temporary drop in dignitas (until the Ventrue can recoup those losses) or might become permanent if the Ventrue does not resolve the situation.

Dignitas is heavily influenced by the methods which a Ventrue uses to attain and maintain power. For example, if a Ventrue has been caught lying, cheating, and using underhanded tactics to become prince of a city (such as by assassinating the old prince and forcefully seizing power in the aftermath), the Ventrue will receive only grudging respect for their accomplishment. If another Ventrue prince won their throne with honor and integrity (such as by reclaiming the city from the Sabbat or being recognized by the old prince as their rightful successor), they will command greater dignitas because they acquired power “the right way.”

Status (Ventrue) 0
You have not earned any meaningful degree of dignitas, and possibly none at all. You aren’t necessarily an active embarrassment to the clan (a function of Clan Notoriety), but you have done nothing to distinguish yourself to your fellows and your name commands neither respect nor recognition. You are en eiren or have not yet passed your agoge.

Example Ventrue: Christopher Guilbeau, Roxanne Gerlette.

Status (Ventrue) •
You have earned a small degree of dignitas and probably been recognized on at least a city level for holding some Status in your sect, though you likely do not hold any important positions. You have completed your agoge, satisfactorily met the clan’s expectations, and the Gerousia has taken some notice of you. You are probably an eiren or questor within the local Structure.

Example Ventrue: Anthony Brodowski, Reynaldo Gui.

Status (Ventrue) ••
You have earned a moderate degree of dignitas and are considered a rising star within the clan (at a young age) or an acceptably accomplished Ventrue (at an older age). Your name is respected among your city’s clanmates and may even be known on a regional scale, albeit as a more obscure one. You are considered sufficiently accomplished to have Embraced a childe or two and inducted them into the clan’s ways. You are probably a questor or aedile within the local Structure.

Example Ventrue: Gabriel Hurst, Becky Lynne Adler.

Status (Ventrue) •••
You have earned significant dignitas and led a Requiem of noted accomplishments. You may have a larger network of descendants who bring glory to your name or hold a prominent Camarilla position, such as primogen, regent, sheriff, or seneschal. You are are probably an aedile or gerousiastis within the local Structure and are moderately well-known on a regional scale. You may be an acquaintance or known servant of your strategos.

Example Ventrue: Marcel Guilbeau, Pierpont McGinn, Father Malveaux.

Status (Ventrue) ••••
You have earned considerable dignitas as a well-established elder within the clan. You are almost certainly a gerousiastis or praetor within the local Structure and are equally well-known throughout the Ventrue of your region—you could be on close terms with area’s strategos (or have designs to unseat them). Your name is somewhat known on a national scale and an obscure (but at least potentially recognized) one on a global scale. Wherever you go, your reputation precedes you, and you are closely watched—by some with jealousy, and others with interest.

Example Ventrue: John Harley Matheson.

Status (Ventrue) •••••
Your unassailable dignitas has cemented your position as an elder of the most elite class. You are likely a praetor if not strategos within the Structure, although Ventrue of this standing in particularly old cities may still “merely” serve as gerousia. Your name is well-known on a national scale and moderately recognized on a global one. Lesser Ventrue constantly analyze, criticize, and possibly proselytize your every word. You have likely achieved and maintained, for some while, both the highest standing and rank possible in the larger Camarilla.

Status (Ventrue) ••••• • to ••••• •••
You are an elder of legendary dignitas who has gone down in the clan’s history. Ventrue throughout the world know what you have accomplished on behalf of your clan and sect. When other Kindred hear the word “Ventrue,” yours is one of the names that comes to mind. Nothing is considered beyond your reach and you will be remembered long after your final death.

Example Ventrue: Augusto Vidal (••••• •).


The Structure


The Ventrue have been in government a long time, and have developed a love for organization (and an even greater love for rank and titles) second only to the Tremere. Despite this, a Ventrue’s rank within the clan does not determine his final standing among his peers. That is a matter for his dignitas; that nebulous composite of all of his successes, failures, family, luck, rank, and a myriad of other minutia that the clan obsesses over. It is even worth noting that Camarilla titles carry more weight towards dignitas than these clan positions (in all but the highest of offices), due the greater scope of respect they lend among the other Kindred. Regardless, these positions carry significant prestige and the Ventrue tend to compete heavily for them.

The Ventrue internal clan hierarchy is known as the Structure and composes two semi-separate hierarchies the Ventrue organize around: One clan-wide set of posts reaching down long strings from the hands of the Directorate to give guidance to the entire clan, and a second layer of autonomous Boards in each city to provide a fast and flexible leadership efficiently coordinating the efforts of the local Ventrue. Other than scope, the main difference between them is that the local Board is a more “optional” entity (though prestigious none the less), and a number of Ventrue choose not to participate in it at all. Though these more independently-minded Kindred gain no enmity from their clan-mates, they can expect to receive less enthusiastic assistance from those who participate in the local structure.

The final confusing quirk of this multi-threaded system of positions is that the Ventrue are currently transitioning between two sets of titles that are used interchangeably: One based in the more modern corporate world, and one hearkening back to classical Greek and Roman influences. Kindred in general (and Ventrue in particular) are slow to change.


The Local Structure


Eirens/Associates

Minimum PC Ventrue Status to Obtain: 0

These are Ventrue, usually very young, who have signed onto the local structure but are as yet unproven. They lend their aid to the efforts of the Board as best they can, and enjoy the support and guidance of Kindred much more experienced then themselves in return.

Questors/Fore(wo)men

Minimum PC Ventrue Status to Obtain:

Questors are one step removed from the bottom of the pile. They are those Ventrue that the Board has elevated in recognition of their service and potential. These young Ventrue are usually given small tasks to oversee, with little or no explanation, and are treated as not much more than favored minions. It is not a glamorous post, but the Foremen are usually grateful for the opportunity to prove themselves and curry favor with their betters, and are often just as happy to trumpet their new prestige.

Aediles/Supervisors

Minimum PC Ventrue Status to Obtain: ••

When the Gerousia (or the praetor) see the need, they appoint a supervisor to assist them. Only the most vast (or difficult) of Ventrue strongholds require more than several aediles. They act as extensions of power, helping the Board (and/or praetor) to handle and track particularly busy or demanding areas. They are usually chosen from the ranks of the well-established, as they must be trusted to act decisively and skillfully without constant attention.

The Gerousia/Board

Minimum PC Ventrue Status to Obtain: •••

Most cities with any significant Ventrue population are guided by the Board. It is a council made up of highly respected Ventrue in the area, usually led by the member holding the highest Camarilla office in the absence of a local praetor. Membership in the Gerousia is solely by majority invitation of the existing members, and is held for life (excepting by the will of the Ephorate). The Gerousia serve a similar function as the Ephorate, but more visibly and on a much smaller scale. They oversee the local clan’s resources, act as local arbiters in intra-clan disputes (as well as conflicting investments), and generally provide leadership to the Ventrue of their domain. They hold one monthly public meeting each month, traditionally on the first Tuesday, and otherwise meet privately as needed.

The Praetor/Chair(wo)man

Minimum PC Ventrue Status to Obtain: ••••

Always an elder (unless there is no elder available) of unassailable dignitas, the praetor is the highest-ranking Ventrue within a local city’s hierarchy. The title is held in perpetuity (save for removal by the Directorate or strategoi in very rare cases). There is never more than one in a local area, and many cities lack a Ventrue of sufficient standing to attain even that. It is roughly equal in weight to the assembled Board, which they undoubtedly chair. The praetor personally provides the space for all of the Board’s meetings, chairs them, and breaks any ties. Beyond his rights and responsibilities to the Board, he acts as somewhat of an analog to the CEO for the clan’s operations in the city. When present, they take a more hands-on role in guiding the business of the clan than the Board can. This is more of a reflection of the greater respect afforded the praetor than any higher authority, though the lack of rule by committee helps. Being elevated to praetor is often more of a formality by the strategos, publicly recognizing what an elder has acquired in all but name on his own anyway.


The Global Structure


The Tribunes/Agents at Large

Minimum PC Ventrue Status to Obtain: ••

Where the lictors are the hands of the strategoi, the tribunes are their eyes and ears. Their membership contains a mix of clandestine and public agents, depending on the needs of the Directorate in any given area. Though technically directly serving the Ephorate, the tribunes always contact their masters and receive their orders through the strategos in whose territory they dwell. Their primary duty is simply to watch and report as necessary, though they may also be called upon to assist any strategoi or lictors visiting their domain. For simplicity, most tribunes are recruited in or near the same domain in which the Ephorate wishes them to serve (usually by recommendation of a lictor or strategos).

The Lictors/Troubleshooters

Minimum PC Ventrue Status to Obtain: ••

Much as the justicars assign archons to serve as their voices and hands; so do the strategoi assign lictors. A Ventrue of any significant standing can call upon their strategos for assistance, and a single lictor is often what they send in response. They carry the full weight of the strategos’ office (and therefore the Directorate by proxy) with them, and so often their arrival is enough to calm most intra-clan situations. The strategoi usually pick relatively young up-and-coming Ventrue to elevate to this coveted role, as this position often serves as a fast track (though certainly through a “trial by fire”) to the upper echelons of the clan. Each are almost always a specialist in some area of use to their strategos, trained to resolve a particular type of problem (martial, diplomacy, financial, Masquerade, etc.).

The Strategoi/Overseers

Minimum PC Ventrue Status to Obtain: •••••

The strategoi implement the will of the Directorate within a specific geographic area set by their masters, much like the justicars of the Camarilla (and with a similar freedom to interpret and act on them as they see fit), and guide the overall welfare of the clan in their territory. In times of crisis, the strategos must step in and enforce the Directorate’s policies, whether regarding Sabbat incursions, Anarch riots, or Cainite power plays that threaten Ventrue holdings. They have no official power over princes, of course, but they do have the Ephorate’s weight and influence behind them, which provides them with resources even beyond their own considerable assets.

Strategoi also arbitrate intra-clan disputes (particularly those between Ventrue of different cities) and bring the rare rogue Ventrue to the Directorate’s attention. All in all, the strategos’ powers are somewhat analagous to those of a Camarilla Justicar, although extending only to Clan Ventrue, of course. They are also the only Ventrue to have direct, possibly even face-to-face, contact with members of the Ephorate.

The Ephorate/Directorate

The Ephorate (also known as the Directorate) are the hidden hands that guide Clan Ventrue. They traditionally try to keep their number around 12, though only they know their full membership (as their identities are secret to all but the strategoi and perhaps a few other trusted agents). It is they who choose Clan Ventrue’s justicar and representative to the Camarilla’s Inner Circle (who is thought to come from their own ranks) and act as the final arbiters in conflicts between powerful Ventrue or over wide-reaching issues. They also sit in judgment over those most dire of intra-clan crimes; the murder of a clanmate or refusing the ethic of succor. These cases rarely reach them however, as most parties involved would rather not risk drawing the Directorate’s terrible ire by unduly bothering them.

The rest of the time, the ephors mostly oversee and guide the clan’s affairs and resources on a global scale, setting policies as necessary (such as the clan’s “official position” on any number of topics). Though almost none of their proclamations are “officially” binding, defying a group whose membership not only controls the ebb and flow of power within one of the Camarilla’s most unified clans, but is also sure to contain at least a few methuselahs, is considered unwise in the extreme. As leaders of the founding clan of the Ivory Tower, the ephors are never so gauche as to openly disregard the sanctity of the prince or his domain, but as the reigning masters of power through politics and subtlety, this is rarely an obstacle to their whim.


Awards


Clan Ventrue grants awards to commemorate its scions for particular achievements or demonstrations of personal excellence. Almost all awards come in the form of medals, pins, insignias, and other physical symbols that may be worn at clan functions. Most awards are bestowed by the majority vote of a city’s Gerousia, although a few can only be granted a strategos or even the Ephorate themselves.

Sufficiently accomplished Ventrue can possess veritable chestfuls of medals, but they are not expected to wear every single one to the clan’s monthly gatherings: this is only done at formal occasions such as princely coronations, the presentation of childer, significant annual holidays and celebrations, and the like. Under more relaxed circumstances, it is considered within the bounds of good taste to wear up to several awards at once, usually tailored to the situation at hand.

Example: An aedile shipping magnate who wants to discuss business contracts with several gerousia might show up to a conference wearing his Sicpio (to advertise the success of his shipping businesses), his Iron Circlet (so they are reminded he places Clan Ventrue above all other interests), and the insgnia of House Antonius Major (so they are reminded he comes from a strong line of Ventrue who are a credit to the clan). He leaves behind his Silver Cross (the fact he’s fought the Sabbat isn’t as meaningful here) and his Couer de Lion (neither is his personal bravery).

Ventrue do not wear their awards at public Camarilla gatherings (the other clans have no business knowing internal Ventrue matters) or to informal occasions, such as private meetings with a peer or inferior. Semiformal occasions, such as monthly Board meetings or private meetings with one’s betters, warrant wearing a “modest” number of awards.

Awards are typically granted at gatherings of the Gerousia and physically bestowed upon the recipient by the praetor. If the praetor is absent, the next-most esteemed member of the Gerousia does so in their place (defaulting to the eldest gerousiastis if two or more gerousia are of equal dignitas). Awards are always publicly granted at the clan’s monthly gatherings, even if they have been privately bestowed earlier. It’s considered good for clanmates to see one of their own earn recognition for their achievements.


The Alph


The Alph was created during the Age of Exploration for Ventrue who backed commercially successful expeditions to the New World. The name refers to the tale of Kublai Khan and the Silk Road, considered by many to one of the most significant developments ever in trade. The Alph was the sacred river of Xanadu and flowed to a sunless sea: even tonight, Ventrue who receive the award symbolically anointed with water from a river along the original Silk Road.

In modern nights, the Alph is bestowed upon Ventrue who incorporate brand new industries into their domains. This award is one of the few chances for innovative young Ventrue to be publicly recognized for their accomplishments and remains a topic of sometimes fierce contention among clan gatherings. Younger Ventrue always seem to be amused when they are able to witness the interplay between a clanmate who received the Alph for “discovering” tea in the South Pacific and a modern pharmaceutical magnate.

The Alph has been awarded to past Ventrue for being the first to invest in notable kine inventions and discoveries, such as electricity or automobiles. In the modern nights it has been awarded for industries such as information technology and green energy.

Awarded for: Being the first Ventrue to successfully back a new industry, discovery, or other resource.
Presentation: Awarded the Alph in [year] for [insert accomplishment].
Symbol: The Alph is a two-tone silk ribbon worn somewhere on the torso. The two colors of the Alph are taken from the flag of the country in command of the noteworthy commercial venture. The British and British Colonial colors are red and white and the American colors are blue and white. (The change over from British Colonial colors to American was part of fierce feud that is still waged by some to this very night.)
Nominated by: A strategos.
Decided by: The Ephorate.
Awarded by: A strategos.


Archon


Current and former archons are entitled to wear a blue sash from the left shoulder to the right hip. Current archons wear sashes marked with with white trim. Archons to Ventrue justicars (current or former) wear sashes marked with gold trim.

This awarded is one of the most contentious ones within the clan: some Ventrue laud a clanmate’s service to any Camarilla justicar commendable, while others frown upon service to non-Ventrue justicars. These blue bloods consider an unmarked sash a proclamation that the wearer is a blood bound pawn to an elder outside the clan and should be treated as such. As a result, some Ventrue conceal their pasts as archons and simply refuse to wear the sash altogether.

Awarded for: Current or former service as an archon to a justicar.
Presentation: There is formal presentation for this award.
Symbol: A blue sash from the left shoulder to the right hip.
Current archons: The sash is trimmed in white.
Current or former archons to a Ventrue justicar: The sash is trimmed in gold.
Nominated by: N/A
Decided by: N/A
Awarded by: N/A.


Cour de Lion


Ventrue who distinguish themselves with great valor in the face of adversity may be awarded the Cour de Lion. Literally meaning “the heart of a lion,” this award can be earned more than once, depending on the situation and what the Ventrue has been pitted against.

Awarded for: Exceptional valor in the face of adversity.
Presentation: Cour de Lion
Symbol: A gold lion pin with a red ribbon.
For additional recognition: Pips may be pinned to the ribbon.
Nominated by: An aedile, gerousiastis, or paraetor.
Decided by: Majority vote by the Gerousia.
Awarded by: The praetor.


The Cornix


The Strix are ancient nemeses to all Kindred, but Clan Ventrue harbors a particular enmity against the Owls for their destruction of the original Roman Camarilla. The Owls are notoriously difficult adversaries to fight, much less permanently destroy, and any Ventrue who can accomplish (and prove) this deed is recognized for it with the Cornix. The award is named for a princess transformed into a crow by Minerva who resented the owl being her goddess’ sacred animal.

Awarded for: Personally killing a Strix.
Presentation: The Cornix, [name, location, or description of the kill; only the most significant kill is described at length, while others may simply be counted].
Symbol: The pin of an owl’s head.
Nominated by: Oneself
Decided by: Majority vote by the Gerousia.
Awarded by: The praetor.


The Crescent Moon


This award has its dubious origins in Berlin. Prince Gustav Breidenstein would assign Kindred he suspected of treachery the “honor” of hunting and killing the Lupines that beset his city. To earn the Crescent Moon, a Ventrue must personally slay a werewolf and bring back the beast’s pelt as a trophy. It is popular to make these into clothing or even rugs. Some Ventrue have even gone so far as to make taxidermies.

Lupines are known for their incredible regenerative powers, and a few particularly sadistic (or, arguably, foolish) Ventrue have been known to skin their prey alive so that they can bring back larger pelts. Ventrue who do so are viewed by their clanmates as sadistic if not aberrant, but the Crescent Moon commands no less respect for it. All Kindred know the considerable danger that claiming this award involves.

Awarded for: Personally killing a Lupine and bringing back its pelt. Additional kills replace the original “trophy” if they are considered more difficult.
Presentation: The Crescent Moon, [name, location, or description of the kill; only the most significant kill is described at length, while others may simply be counted].
Symbol: A red garter worn on the right arm secured with a silver crescent moon pin. Additional kills may be marked with rubies. The “real” symbol, however, is a garment, rug, or other trophy made out of the werewolf’s pelt.
Nominated by: Oneself
Decided by: Majority vote by the Gerousia (though this is little more than a formality when the Ventrue appears before them with a legitimate Lupine pelt in hand)
Awarded by: The praetor.

This award is also bestowed by non-Ventrue Kindred.


The Daley Prize


Ventrue take pride in maintaining order and have the fewest Anarchs out of any Camarilla clan after the Tremere. Shortly before the formation of the Ivory Tower, special recognition was given to clanmates who were particularly dutiful in combating the Anarch Revolt and maintaining order at all costs. Ventrue are discouraged from speaking of internal clan awards with other Kindred, but particular care is taken with the Daley Prize. Indeed, this award has no official name, as public recognition of its existence would only inflame resentment. It is informally known in modern nights as the Daley Prize in “honor” of Mayor Daley of Chicago, who broke up riots during the 1968 Democratic National Conventional with brutal force.

The award’s physical form varies from region to region but is always a popular modern instrument of repression. Ventrue have been awarded chains, pikes, jackboots, bayonets, stun sticks, nooses, and the like. Since it varies from Ventrue to Ventrue without pattern, Kindred outside the clan find it easier to ignore.

Awarded for: Putting down insurrectionary activities by younger Kindred that endangered local clan interests.
Presentation: Awarded the [weapon] in [date].
Symbol: There is formal symbol for this award, though if one is able to find a small pin or keychain with their weapon of choice it is appropriate to wear such.
Nominated by: A gerousiastis or praetor.
Decided by: Majority vote by the Gerousia.
Awarded by: The praetor.


Dobrynya’s Blade


The Ventrue who held domain in Hungary and eastern Germany during the Middle Ages fought countless wars against the Slavic East’s Tzimisce voivodes. This award reflects that ancient animosity.

Dobrynya’s Blade is named for a Slavic folktale wherein the hero Dobrynya defeated a dragon named Goryinch by cutting off one of its three heads. The beast swore submission and promised to trouble the local citizenry no further. Being a man of honor, Dobrynya accepted the word of his defeated foe. Goryinch soon broke its vow, however, and kidnapped the princess Zabava. Dobrynya had to hunt the dragon down again, but this time he cut off both of the beast’s remaining heads when he rescued the princess.

The moral to Ventrue is simple and obvious: dragons, be they creatures of myth or the clan that bears their name, can only be dealt with in one fashion. This award carries several further levels of distinction.

Blade of the First Night: The least prestigious awarding of Dobrynya’s Blade was historically given out for killing Tzimisce who held no lands of their own. In the modern nights this is the most commonly granted form of the award, as Ventrue elders consider nearly all Sabbat Tzimisce to be of this lowly status. (Younger Ventrue complain this is a case of “in my days we had to face real opponents” syndrome.)

Blade of the Second Night: This level Dobrynya’s Blade was awarded for destroying a koldun. The fiend’s use of magic must be confirmed either by eyewitness accounts or irrefutable evidence from the field of battle.

Blade of the Third Night Also called Zabava’s Deliverance after the princess that Dobrynya freed, this award was given for the destruction of a Tzimisce knez (roughly analogous to a regent or minor prince) with land and holdings of their own. This award is grated only rarely in the modern era. Simply killing a Tzimisce pack leader is not enough, but bishops and elder fiends are usually considered sufficiently important.

Blade of the Fourth Night: The rarest level of Dobrynya’s Blade was historically awarded by slaying a voivode—a Tzimisce overlord with sworn knezi. This award was granted only rarely before the formation of the Camarilla and is all but unheard of in the modern era. A Tzimisce of archbishop or higher standing in the Sabbat may be sufficient to earn this coveted award.

Blade of the Fifth Night: This level of Dobrynya’s Blade has yet to be awarded to any Ventrue. Historically, it would have been granted to any clanmate who slew a Tzimisce voivode with vassal voivodes of their own. Only a handful of fiends ever amassed this much temporal power over their clanmates, and though most eventually met final death, none did so at the hands of a Ventrue. Jürgen of Magdeburg hoped to claim this award during his two wars in the 13th century with Vladimir Rustovitch, Clan Tzimisce’s then-voidide of voivodes, but was ultimately unable to. In the modern nights, it is unknown what the criteria for this award would even be.

Awarded for: Blade of the First Night: The confirmed killing of a Tzimisce.
Blade of the Second Night: The confirmed killing of a Tzimisce Koldun.
Blade of the Third Night: The confirmed killing of a Tzimisce knez (historic) or bishop (modern).
Blade of the Fourth Night: The confirmed killing of a Tzimisce voivode (historic) or archbishop or higher rank (modern).
Blade of the Fifth Night: The confirmed killing of a Tzimisce voivode with vassal voivodes (historic). No modern equivalent was ever devised.
Presentation: Dobrynya’s Blade [date].
Symbol: Dobrynya’s Blade is represented by a sword-shaped piece of jewelry, usually as a pin worn behind the Silver Cross.
The Blade of the First Night is unadorned.
The Blade of the Second Night is marked by the addition of a ruby.
The Blade of the Third Night is marked by the addition of a sapphire.
The Blade of the Fourth Night is marked by the addition of a diamond.
The Blade of the Fifth Night never had its form decided.
Nominated by: Any Ventrue (including the recipient).
Decided by: Majority vote by the Gerousia. A Blade of the Second Night or higher also requires the approval of at least three current holders of the award. (This could be highly difficult for awards of the Blade of the Fourth Night, and technically impossible for the Fifth Night.)
Awarded by: The praetor.

This awarded can be granted concurrently with the Silver Cross.


The Enquerry


Ventrue are stereotyped for being hide-bound and traditional. Sometimes stereotypes are true. Nowhere is this more evident than with the Equerry.

Ventrue appointed to the position of whip are traditionally awarded a horse by their clan’s primogen. For much of the clan’s history, a horse was actually a useful gift. In the 20th and 21st centuries, it’s become a quaint anachronism at best and a burden or even danger to the recipient at worst (see below). Younger and less traditional primogen may gift their whips with cars instead of horses: they argue that cars are a much more useful and logical gift in the modern era. Most Ventrue elders, though, continue to provide their whips with horses because “that’s the way it’s always been done.”

Much can be read into the type of horse (and less often, car) given and the manner of its presentation. Whips who have served their clan with distinction may also be gifted with spurs, a saddle, or a bridle in recognition of their achievements. Whips who receive cars may also receive vanity plates or expensive accessories. (Indeed, riding gear can make a safe if dull choice for Embrace night presents to holders of the Equerry.)

Most whips probably wouldn’t complain about receiving a horse if the practice was purely ceremonial. It’s not. The use, upkeep, and health of the horse is traditionally still used to judge the whip’s performance. If the horse looks weak or sickly, the Ventrue may suddenly find his primogen and clanmates casting doubts over his ability to perform his job. After all, “If he can’t take care of something as simple as a horse, how can he be expected to take care of the clan’s interests?” Clan elders have been known to test their whip’s security precautions by attacking or kidnapping horses.

God help the whip whose horse actually dies in their care. While this isn’t immediate grounds for the whip’s dismissal, it is universally considered a sign of incompetence if not ill omen, and has resulted in more than one whip losing their position (and hard-won dignitas). Some particularly nefarious clanmates go so far as to kill the horses of whips they want removed: this underhanded tactic can also result in loss of dignitas for the horse’s murderer, but it doesn’t absolve the whip of blame either. The Nosferatu love this tradition, as it has afforded them countless opportunities for espionage and blackmail.

Under no circumstances is a second horse ever awarded. A horse that dies of natural causes after a long life is considered a favorable omen and most whips are only too-glad to finally be rid of the troublesome animals. (One would think this would lead to more whips killing their own horses, but a short-lived horse is viewed with disfavor however it dies.) Primogen have also been known to send a whip’s horse to the glue factory as a mark of displeasure, or even to force their humiliated clanmate to kill the horse themselves in recognition of some great failure or shame.

Animals instinctively fear vampires and avoid their presences. Whips who fail to master the rudiments of animal training find their steed uncontrollable, and primogen often routinely demand that their whips display some skill in this area. Training an animal is but the first step in learning how to control kine. Surprise requests for “horse-riding demonstrations” are not unheard of. Younger whips find this tradition ridiculous at best; a clear example of how out-of-touch the elders are with the modern world. Particularly annoyed whips have used their horses for forays into off-track gambling and stud farming. The logic being that the damn thing is expensive and might as well earn its keep.

Many centuries ago, the French Ventrue Phillipe de Montaigne awarded the Equerry to his childe and protégé Jean L’Heretier. The horse went mad with fear during the ceremony, refused to approach L’Heretier, and trampled several members of the crowd in its attempted flight. This was embarrassing enough, but L’Heretier then went on to diablerize his sire several decades later. The story spread, and though some Ventrue consider it apocryphal, horses that go mad during an Equerry’s awarding are considered a sign that the whip will commit diablerie. Some Ventrue have been put to death on the basis of this evidence in more traditional domains.

When a former whip attains higher office in their city (primogen, seneschal, sheriff, etc.), they are traditionally recognized with an award that complements their original Equerry. This is usually a riding accessory or something fashionable for their automobile. The award is either made of or plated with a precious metal. If the original Equerry’s horse has passed away, it is considered appropriate to present the Ventrue with a small statue commemorating it.

Awarded for: Becoming a whip or being promoted from whip.
Presentation: Whip: Holder of the Equerry, [date], [optional: number of years served; many Ventrue leave this off if including it would indicate a stalled career or swift demotion).
Former whips: Holder of the Equerry, Esteemed (date)
Symbol: Whip: A horse or (less often) automobile.
Former whip: An award that compliments their original Equerry, made from precious metals.
Nominated by: N/A
Decided by: N/A
Awarded by: The Ventrue primogen (to whips), an appropriate elder Ventrue (to promoted whips; the prince if the prince is also Ventrue, the praetor if they are not).


Exorcist


Hunting demons and infernalists is a dangerous business. The forces of hell are often subtle and can corrupt everything they touch. Properly combating these foes is considered less of a one-time occurrence and more of a life-long pursuit. Knowledge of infernal powers can be damning when presented in the wrong light before polite society, but Ventrue who successful root out hellish influence and destroy the infernalist or demon responsible are recognized with the Exorcist award.

Awarded for: The confirmed killing of an infernalist or demon. Additional pips are added for each subsequent killing and are nominated and decided by the same process
Presentation: Exorcist, [description of the most significant kill].
Symbol: A silver pin of a crucifix imposes over a broken pentagram. Ventrue from non-Christian domains may award other symbols.
Nominated by: Any Ventrue (including the recipient).
Decided by: Majority vote by the Gerousa.
Awarded by: The highest-Status Sanctified priest (and sometimes Acolyte) among the Structure; the praetor if none are suitable.

This award is also bestowed by non-Ventrue Kindred.


House


Ventrue of truly outstanding dignitas who sire a bloodline of accomplished descendants may have their bloodline formally recognized as a house. Most houses only admit members on the basis of shared blood, but a few permit adoption. The name of the house is traditionally drawn from the recipient’s last name or the name of their sire or grandsire. The house sets its own protocols for induction, dress, manners, and other internal “family” customs.

Ventrue who come from already distinguished family lines claim a measure of their progenitor’s dignitas (blood will always tell), although it is far more prestigious to found one’s own house. Indeed, a house’s scions can found “cadet branches” that further enhance their parent house’s and ancestor’s dignitas. (Founders particularly prize childer who found their own houses, as that allows them to also be recognized as the cadet branch’s progenitor.) Non-member Ventrue who perform a great service for the house are allowed to bear the epithet “friend to House [name].”

A house has four components: a city where it makes its traditional seat; a founder who established the house; a progenitor who sired the founder (the childe is considered to owe much of their success to their sire); and a patriarch/matriarch who oversees the house’s interests and is acknowledged as its current head. The patriarch/matriarch can be the same Ventrue as the house’s founder, but this is not always the case. Many founders have met final death, succumbed to torpor, or simply disappeared over the years. The fact that their house can outlast them and carry on their legacy is one of the reasons that founding a house is accorded such profound dignitas.

Some of the more famous Ventrue houses include:

House Alexander
Seat: Paris. Progenitor: The Ventrue clan founder. Founder: Alexander. Patriarch: Philippe de Margaux (grandchilde of Alexander).
House Antasia
Seat: Frankfkurt. Progenitor: Tinia. Founder: Julia Antasia. Patriarch: Vinzenz von Stalburg (childe of Julia Antasia).
House Antwnyws Mayjur (Antonius Major)
Seat: Istanbul. Progenitor: The Ventrue clan founder. Founder: Antwnyws al-Akbar (Antonius the Elder). Patriarch: Mustafa bin Sephenet bin Antonius al-Asghar bin Antonius al-Akbar bin Ventrue (great-grandchilde of Antonius the Elder).
House Antwnyws Maynur (Antonius Minor)
Seat: Cairo. Progenitor: Antwnyws al-Akbar (Antonius the Elder). Founder: Antwnyws al-Asghar (Antonius the Younger). Patriarch: Sephenet al-Akbar (Sephenet the Elder; childe of Antonius the Younger). Cadet branch of House Antwnyws Mayjur.
House Arpad
Seat: Budapest. Progenitor: Heinrich von Volstag. Founder: Bulscu. Patriarch: Vencel Rikard (childe of Bulscu).
House Breidenstein
Seat: Berlin. Progenitor: Ehrentraud. Founder: Gustav Breidenstein. Patriarch: Gustav Breidenstein.
House Demetrius
Seat: Marseilles. Progenitor: Medon. Founder: Demetrius. Patriarch: Baylor (childe of Demetrius).
House Fabricius
Seat: Ravenna. Progenitor: Alexander. Founder: Gaius Appuleius Fabricius. Matriarch: Justania (childe of Gaius Appuleius Fabricius). Cadet branch of House Alexander.
House Hardestadt
Seat: Munich. Progenitor: Uncertain; Ehrentraud or Antonius the Elder suspected. Founder: Hardestadt. Patriarch: Hardestadt.
House Julius
Seat: Rome. Progenitor: Remus. Founder: Aulus Julius Senex. Patriarch: None. The House was completely eradicated by the Strix during the fall of Rome.
House Mithras
Seat: London. Progenitor: The Ventrue clan founder. Founder: Mithras. Patriarch: Licinius Marcus Verus (childe of Mithras).
House Valerianus
Seat: Vienna. Progenitor: Tinia. Founder: Publius Treblanus Valerianus. Patriarch: Konrad von Babenberg (childe of Publius Treblanus Valerianus).

Awarded for: Founding a house; siring a house’s founder; overseeing a house; being inducted into a house; performing a great service for a house.
Presentation: Varies.
Founder: Founder of House [Name].
Progenitor: Progenitor of House [Name].
Matriarch/patriarch: Matriarch/Patriarch of House [Name].
Other house members: Scion of House [Name].
Friend to the house: Friend of House [Name].
Symbol: Varies. Most houses have their own forms of heraldry; signet rings bearing the house’s coat of arms or a ribbon showing the house’s colors are popular.
Nominated by: A strategos (founding a house); any member of the house (being inducted into the house; performing a great service for the house).
Decided by: The Ephorate (founding a house); the house’s matriarch or patriarch (being inducted into the house; performing a great service for the house).
Awarded by: The Ephorate (founding a house); the house’s matriarch or patriarch (being inducted into the house; performing a great service for the house).

This award is also “bestowed” by non-Ventrue Kindred, but is not recognized by a clan-wide body. Accomplished Kindred who have sired large enough broods may simply declare themselves a house. Many of these claims are recognized and accorded respect by the Ventrue.


The Iron Circlet


The Iron Circlet is awarded to Ventrue who have proven their loyalty to the clan at noteworthy personal expense or temptation. This award can be granted up to three times, but each level carries greater expectations for what such devotion constitutes: many holders of the Iron Circlet’s third and truly heroic level are only granted the award posthumously. Still, even that fact can enhance the dignitas of their childer and other relatives—blood will always tell, so the clan’s thinking goes.

Award for: Loyalty to Clan Ventrue at great personal expense or temptation.
Presentation: The Iron Circlet. If awarded more than once: The Iron Circlet, Twice- or Thrice-Devoted
Symbol: An iron loop attached to a blue ribbon worn on the left breast.
For twice-tested loyalty: A silver ribbon instead of blue.
For thrice-tested loyalty: A gold ribbon instead of blue.
Nominated by: An aedile, gerousiastis, or praetor.
Decided by: Majority vote by the Gerousia.
Awarded by: The praetor.


The Jade Badge


The historically rare award is becoming increasingly common in the modern era. The Jade Badge was first awarded at the conclusion of the First Opium War to Robert Pedder, Hong Kong’s night governor (prince). Prince Mithras of London created this award to honor Ventrue who protected the clan’s interests in the Far East. Since that time it has also been awarded to clanmates who advance the clan’s interests through any kind of dealings with the mysterious Wan Kuei (Kindred of the East).

Awarded for: Advancing clan interests with the Wan Kuei.
Presentation: The Jade Badge.
Symbol: A piece of jade carved into a pin or other piece of jewelry. Chinese characters carved into the symbol represent how the award was earned.
Nominated by: An aedile, gerousiastis, or praetor.
Decided by: A ranking member of the Jade Society.
Awarded by: The praetor.


The Laurel Crown


The Laurel Crown is drawn from Clan Ventrue’s involvement with the Roman Empire and was historically awarded to Ventrue for great political achievements within the framework of the mortal Roman government. The Laurel Crown fell into disuse after the fall of Rome but was revised during the 11th century to recognize significant diplomatic or political achievements on behalf of the clan.

Recipients of the Laurel Crown are judged against the accomplishments of past recipients. Aspirants can potentially qualify at multiple points throughout their Requiems, but many wait several centuries or more for the “perfect” opportunity as the award can only be bestowed once. Simply becoming prince of a city is insufficient to earn this exalted award: the Ventrue’s achievement must have a lasting impact on a truly global scale. Indeed, the Laurel Crown is highest honor that any Ventrue can receive short of elevation to the Ephorate.

Since the Age of Napoleon it has become customary to award the Laurel Crown to oneself (after the Ephorate’s initial consent, of course), much as Napoleon crowned himself emperor on his coronation day.

Of special note are the two Laurel Crowns awarded to Hardestadt and Julius Senex for their instrumental roles in founding the Roman and modern iterations of the Camarilla. These achievements are considered impossible for any clanmate to ever equal and were recognized with the creation an even more exalted award: the Golden Laurel Crown.

Awarded for: A singularly impressive diplomatic or political achievement of global import on behalf of the clan.
Presentation: The Laurel Crown
Symbol: A small pin of a laurel crown or laurel leaves.
Nominated by: Oneself.
Decided by: The Ephorate.
Awarded by: Oneself.


Lightbringer


Most Ventrue eventually pass their agoge, but only a small number manage to truly impress their elders with the domains they establish. The Gerousia may recognize a neonate with the award of Lightbringer if they feel the Ventrue in question is truly a rising star within the clan and bound for great things. This award can be a mixed blessing, as recipients are expected to continue to excel and their dignitas may fall if their upward trajectory appears to be slowing. The Ventrue do so hate disappointments. Once (and if) a Ventrue has been admitted to the Gerousia, Lightbringer is no longer publicly listed amongst their titles and awards: they have fulfilled the expectations placed on them.

Awarded for: Completing the agoge with exceptional distinction.
Presentation: Lightbringer
Symbol: A small torch or candle lapel pin/pendant
Nominated by: The Ventrue’s sire. If the Ventrue has no sire, an aedile or gerousiastis may nominate them instead.
Decided by: Majority vote by the Gerousia.
Awarded by: The praetor.


Proctor


Distinguished Ventrue who are sought out as teachers and role models for younger clanmates are sometimes recognized with the award of Proctor. There are no official duties associated with the title. Unofficially, Proctors may find their advice sought by sires and childer alike.

Awarded for: Respected clanmates who have proven to be role models and teachers for younger Ventrue.
Presentation: Proctor
Symbol: Silver medallion attached to a chain
Nominated by: An aedile, gerousiastis, praetor, or another Proctor.
Decided by: Majority vote by the Gerousia.
Awarded by: The praetor.


The Puppet’s Hand


The strength of Clan Ventrue has always lain in their control of mortals and mortal institutions. Many of the clan’s greatest victories did not come from personal combat between Cainites (even if some of the most storied ones did), but mortal servants witlessly fighting their undead masters’ battles, and (particularly in modern times) often without violence. This award recognizes that tried and true stratagem and is bestowed upon Ventrue who leverage mortal resources in particularly cunning or impressive ways to advance the clan’s agenda. This award was historically granted for military conquests, but nowadays it is given for more subtle uses. Actions that protect the Masquerade are held in particular esteem.

Awarded for: Leveraging mortal resources to significantly strengthen the local clan’s position.
Presentation: The Puppet’s Hand (date)
Symbol: A small metal hand suspended from a gold cord.
Nominated by: An aedile, gerousiastis, or paetor.
Decided by: Majority vote by the Gerousia.
Awarded by: The praetor.


The Serpentine Egg


The serpentine egg was historically awarded to Ventrue successfully committed acts of treachery on behalf of the clan. This tradition fell into lesser use after 1639 when the egg was anonymously given to the Ventrue primogen of Brussels as a deathnight present. A wave of similar awards followed in a successful attempt to humiliate particularly hypocritical Ventrue. Clan elders still claim the serpentine egg among their awards while younger Ventrue attempt to deliver them to rivals at politically disastrous moments.

Awarded for: Successful acts of treachery on behalf of the clan or an insult to mark Ventrue who are particularly hypocritical in their beliefs and actions.
Presentation: The Serpentine Egg (though often left unlisted)
Symbol: A ceramic painted egg. Preferably a Fabergé if one can be obtained.
Nominated by: Anonymously. Historically by an aedile, gerousiastis, or praetor.
Decided by: Anonymously. Historically by majority vote by the Gerousia.
Awarded by: Anonymously. Historically the praetor.


The Shepherd’s Crook


Ventrue despise clanmates who dare call themselves antitribu. Some elders have gone so far as to deny that these Sabbat-aligned Ventrue are even Ventrue at all, given their noted propensity for Auspex over Majesty: they are instead clanless Sabbat attempting to strike at clan’s pride. Not all elders agree with these sentiments, but the clan does award the Shepherd’s Crook to Ventrue who “cull the flock” and destroy pretenders to their noble blood.

Awarded for: The confirmed killing of a Ventrue antitribu.
Presentation: The Shepherd’s Crook [year].
For simultaneous awarding of the White Cross and the Shepherd’s Crook: Shepherd of the Silver Cross
For simultaneous awarding of the Shepherd’s Crook and the Order of the Silver Cross: Shepherd of the Order of the Silver Cross, Distinguished
Symbol: A small shepherd’s crook or hook, usually attached to the Silver Cross, but sometimes worn separately. It is often painted crimson when a Ventrue earns their Crimson Piping within the Order.
Nominated by: Any Ventrue (including the recipient).
Decided by: Majority vote by the Gerousia.
Awarded by: The praetor.

This awarded can be granted concurrently with the Silver Cross.


The Silver Cross


This award is bestowed upon Ventrue who have destroyed their first Sabbat vampire in battle and provided proof the deed to their local gerousia. Eyewitness testimony from an elder clanmate is considered the gold standard where proof is concerned, but is often untenable; eye witness testimony from non-clanmates may be accepted but is faintly looked down upon. Some Ventrue have even been known to allow non-clanmates to deliver killing blows to Sabbat vampires so that they can prove their first kill under more favorable circumstances. The various ceremonies for awarding the Silver Cross vary from city to city in style and grandeur. Asking, “So how was your Cross awarded?” is a subtle way of obtaining insight into a clanmate’s background.

Awarded for: The confirmed killing of a Sabbat vampire by the Ventrue.
Presentation: The Silver Cross (date)
Symbol: A small silver cross pin on the lapel of a suit coat or the collar of a dress.
Nominated by: Any Ventrue (including the recipient).
Decided by: Majority vote by the Gerousia.
Awarded by: The praetor.


The Sword


Clan Ventrue draws much of its culture from ancient Rome and Ventrue who become primogen for their clan are awarded a sword to mark that achievement. The reputation of the recipient becomes tied to the Ventrue conducting the ceremony, and primogen who fall into disgrace can initiate a chain reaction that threatens the stability of the local Structure. The entire clan thus has an interest in keeping their primogen on the “straight and narrow” and this award serves to reinforce the Third and Fourth Traditions among the Ventrue.

The new primogen is allowed to choose their own sword as a mark of their increased authority within the clan. Much can be read into the type of blade they choose, and comparisons are inevitably made with Ventrue who have chosen similar blades in the past. The scimitar, for example, has a poor reputation in many Western domains and a disastrous reputation in Iberian ones. Shields and armor also make popular tokens and Embrace night gifts for primogen who have already been presented with the Sword.

A gathering of Ventrue who have all been awarded the Sword is sometimes referred to as a “praetorian guard.” Recipients who have shown particularly devious or duplicitous natures are also sometimes referred to as “senator” in reference to the murder of Julius Caesar by a mob of Roman senators (but never to their face). Another common insult to demean holders of the Sword is by calling their blade a “knife.”

The awarding of the Sword should under no circumstances be confused with bestowing knighthood. This point of honor has been clarified more than once with bloodshed.

Ventrue who obtain the exalted position of prince are also awarded with the Sword. Ventrue princes are expected to add a further badge of recognition to their blade’s hilt: this is typically gold, due to its connotations with wealth and prosperity, but there are also princes who enjoy even more precious metals such as platinum or palladium.

Awarded for: Becoming primogen or prince.
Presentation: Awarded the Sword, [date], [optional: number of years served].
prince: Awarded the Sword, Renowned [date], [optional: number of years served].
Symbol: A sword selected by the Ventrue it is awarded to. Most princes and primogen also commission signet rings bearing personal heraldry.
prince: A small gold or platinum badge with the Ventrue clan symbol attached to the hilt of the sword. This can be a permanent attachment, such as welding, or can be attached through simpler means, such as a golden ribbon.
Nominated by: N/A
Decided by: N/A
Awarded by: The praetor. If the recipient already is their city’s praetor (sometimes the case), it is awarded by the strategos. If the recipient already is a strategos (less often the case), it is awarded by an elder strategos or one of the Ephorate themselves.


Ventrue Clan Friendship


Any Ventrue of eiren or higher standing may nominate a non-Ventrue to receive a Christos award, which recognizes them as a formal ally of the clan (mechanically, this requires Clan Friendship (Ventrue) ••). A majority vote by the Gerousia decides whether to grant the award, and the praetor has the right to veto the nomination before a vote even occurs.

If a sufficient number of gerousia are in favor, the recipient must agree to accompany several Ventrue (typically including the aedile) to a confidential meeting of unknown purpose at an undisclosed location. The prospective recipient may bring no one else with him. If the recipient refuses to go with the Ventrue to complete the ceremony, the award is withheld. This request is looked upon as a final test of the recipient’s character: after all, if he doesn’t trust the Ventrue, why should the clan trust him?

Recipients of a Christos award may be invited to attend monthly Board meetings, presentation ceremonies, and other clan-exclusive gatherings. They may also receive some awards and be inducted into certain societies. Individual Ventrue know them as friends to the clan and will treat them accordingly in personal dealings. Recipients who wear their Christos medal openly can expect to be recognized as allies even by Ventrue who do not know them personally (though god help the vampire who steals a Christos medal from an actual friend to the clan). A second, even rarer variation of the award exists, known as the Polychristos award. Less is known of what privileges it entails, but the requirements are quite onerous (Clan Friendship (Ventrue) •••)

A Christos award itself is a silver pin that depicts the symbols of the recipient’s clan and Clan Ventrue interlocking with each other. A Polychristos award is made from gold. The name of the award bestowed varies by the recipient’s clan.

Clan Award Name English Meaning Rarity
Assamite Christos Dolofonos Useful Assassin Rare
Brujah Christos Efpaideftos Useful Scholar Uncommon
Follower of Set Christos Ofis Useful Serpent-Devil Uncommon
Gangrel Christos Thirion Useful Beast -
Lasombra Christos Skiazo Useful Shadow Very Rare
Malkavian Christos Trelos Useful Madman -
Nosferatu Christos Lepros Useful Leper -
Ravnos Christos Kleptis Useful Thief Rare
Toreador Christos Triantafyllo Useful Rose -
Tremere Christos Magos Useful Wizard -
Tzimisce Christos Teras Useful Monster Very Rare

There is no Christos award for the Sangiovanni, although records that an award called “Christos Ptoma” (Useful Corpse) was once very common. At some point during the Renaissance, it dropped out of usage entirely, and few elders will speak as to why. So far, efforts to create a new award for the Sangiovanni have been rebuffed by clan elders. Some mutter “one alteration was enough.”

Another award that has fallen out of usage is “Christos Monokeros” (Useful Unicorn). Clan elders fall silent and refuse to explain the history of this award or why it has fallen out of use.

There are no awards for Kindred of unique bloodlines, but if one of these individuals truly deserves such honor, they are known simply as “Christos.” This does not apply to Caitiff as there is no award for the clanless.

Ventrue Culture

Blood and Bourbon Calder_R Calder_R