|Note: Philadelphia's kindred society varies significantly from what's typical in the books, even if the books hold true for much of the rest of the world. Please be sure to read the setting information before applying. Concepts that hold true to "traditional" vampire culture are certainly allowed, even encouraged, but beware that such characters may face uphill battles in Philly. If that the story you want to tell we embrace that here, just be prepared.
Starting shortly after the founding of Philadelphia, and continuously up until 1891, the city was ruled by the same man: Prince Frederick Adelgrief. He was a despotic ruler who was widely despised but effective, which meant that he held onto his position despite a general sense of unrest among his people. Of course, those he considered friends and those who enjoyed power under his leadership had a different perspective, but they were few.
Even for the kindred, though, nothing lasts forever. In the Summer of 1891 there was a coordinated coup in which Prince Adelgrief, almost all of the Primogen, and many of the other kindred who most fervently supported and benefitted from his rule were killed in a single night, with more following in the nights after. Most of his supporters who survived did so by fleeing the city. The population of the domain of Philadelphia was cut almost in half, and when the dust settled most of the vampires who were left were more flexible in their mindset, more firmly rooted in their humanity, and interested in trying something new in the city of Philadelphia.
Unsurprisingly this action was born among the Carthian Movement, but it wasn't limited to them, for it found support among all the covenants as well as the unaligned, and contained members of every clan. Even members of the Invictus who felt they were held back by the structure that existed at the time either secretly supported the action while publicly condemning it, or simply supported it outright.
This change in power was led and organized by a mixed race black and Lenape woman named Saagochque, a Nosferatu member of the Circle of the Crone who had been mostly overlooked for decades while she quietly built a coalition and base of power under the noses of the currently rulers of the city. In the aftermath of the Philadelphia revolution she became Prince, though she uses the title Sakima, a word from the Unami language of the Lenape language for a chief. In modern Philadelphia many kindred have all but forgotten her real name, and much of the city's kindred population simply calls her Sakima in much the way they might use a nickname for a beloved grandmother. Many of the youngest and newest kindred in the city might go years before realizing it's her title, and not her name.
To say that Sakima Saagochque's domain is not a traditional one is an understatement, but she still enjoys broad support in modern nights as a result.
Some of the ways in which Philly differs from traditional domains include:
- The title of Sakima is technically an elected one, in that the leadership of the clans is permitted to replace her with a majority vote at any time. She was replaced for a period of six months when she left the city to attend to a private matter in 1967, and when she returned her replacement resigned and she was voted back in. Three attempts to vote her out of her position all failed, and the vampire who called for the vote in each case faced no consequences for questioning her leadership.
- Sakima views clan as significantly more important than covenant, and treats covenants more like quaint hobbies engaged in by the kindred to keep them from getting too bored.
- Beyond just clan, family is important in Philadelphia. While usually this means blood family, the official stance is that any vampire officially adopted by a family is no different from blood. Coteries are generally regarded as family units.
- Private land ownership is simply not a thing. Clans have leadership in the decision making for all of the territory in the domain, and can delegate that authority much as Sakima does to them, but this delegation never goes beyond the family level.
- Ghouls and blood bonding aren't forbidden at the domain level, but is frowned upon except in cases where there's little choice other than the blood bond or death for a mortal. Casual cruelty toward mortals and heavy reliance on thralls tends to be looked down on by Sakima and most of the clan heads.
- Neonates from within the Carthian Movement founded the Bloodsuckers Local 76, a neonate's union that allows membership by kindred under age 50 who agrees to the union's rules, and bargains collectively on their behalf. The union is openly supported by Sakima, and membership is common which gives the union a good deal of sway. Vampires who "age out" of the 50 year requirement are allowed to maintain membership.
Philadelphia certainly still has its strife. Its more flexible and egalitarian leadership invite both internal disagreement, which is plentiful, and outsiders who view its structure as a weakness and Philly as a prize waiting to be taken. Violence and plotting among Kindred are no less common than they are in other places, and possibly more so -- Philadelphia's people aren't known for being non-confrontational, after all. They are, however, known for being fiercely proud of the strange domain, and are often willing to fight bitterly to maintain it.
Welcome to Philly.
First Clayton Powers, the Keeper of the Bala Cynwyd Elysium, disappeared. Then he came back with scales on him! People have done research identifying them as Nereids, vampires who have had their will subsumed by some entity in the deep. A vampire named Rihat seems to be involved, and he's in town causing trouble, like driving cars into Elysium in order to deliver a message. Rumor has it he's also looking for the library of Adelgrief, the city's former Prince, presumably for related reasons.