Prinsecounsil : Challenges, Learning and Recognition

LogoClanGangrel

Introduction

This weekend, I’ve attended one of the biggest plays so far. A Counsil called by the Justicar in order to bring justice to the domains in Germany. Originally, I intended to simply go there as a guest, and make my own accusation against the Vampires leading our various Domains. However due circumstances, the entire evening turned around in a matter of days before the event actually took place, putting Oliver into a position that far exceeded his skills and expectations.

With this blog post, I hope to provide a glimps of the position Oliver found himself in, and how demanding it has actually been both on Oliver and myself as the player behind Oliver. I had clear expectations and ideas of what I wanted to achieve, even with the changes, but the actual situation……miles ahead of my skill level.

Nonetheless, Oliver survived, learned so many new things, gained so many new contacts, favours and most importantly: standing. However, because the entire event is so huge, I will not be writing out every little detail that has occured. I’ve been so occupied in things, that I’ve already forgotten the details on some, and I do not want to write down a book here with every sentence that has been said. The goal is to provide a glimpse of the troubles a host at the Counsil has to deal with.

Happy reading!


One week prior to the Counsil

Oliver had received the invitation for the Counsil, called by the Justicar, his Majesty Karol van der Voort. Oliver had never heard of such a thing as this Counsil, and was eagerly trying to reach some Gangrel that knew what this Counsil ment, and was actually planning on going there. After several unfruitfull attempts, Oliver finally got in touch with Flip, who was going and had a little bit of time to explain Oliver what was to be expected.

The two Gangrel met in Erding, near Oliver’s place, and talked about what the Counsil entailed, what was expected and how Oliver should behave himself. Flip took the time to explain that he was actually one of the hosts, and had to go on his way already to prepare the entire Counsil and make sure everything was in place and order.

Flip agreed to take little Oliver along, and teach him along the way what was absolutely required for the little Gangrel to survive the 2 days of the Council. Oliver had also received a message from René Fanget, asking if he would be able to hand over the sealed envelope that was included to Archont who would be present on the Counsil. Oliver replied that this would border near the impossible, but that he would not let a friend of Clan Gangrel down, and do his very best to provide this letter in the hands of the Archont. He also added that this would not be an easy task and require some…”effort”.

3 days before the Counsil

The pair decided to travel a few days before the Counsil took place, so they had enough time to settle down when they arrived and could prepare everything. Flip had revealed that he was going to be host for the Counsil. As they were traveleing from Erding over the Autobahn, the pair decided to take a small break at a park place 20km south of Hof. This would give them a moment to stretch their legs, and discuss any points that were still open.

Not sooner after they had parked the car, and went for a little stroll in the nearby wood, both of them were ambused by roughly 4 or 5 unknown Vampires. Without a warning, three of them threw themselves on Flip, ignoring Oliver. The fourth one stood at the side, overseeing the operation and the fifth one came for Oliver. Without a warning, the Vampire attempted to hit Oliver in the head. The speed at which he moved forward surprised Oliver who took a blow suddenly from the side, causing him to shake his head and growl at the Vampire. Not a second later, Oliver had his teeth placed in the neck of his attacker, causing damage and forcing the Vampire to retreat a few steps.

The Vampire who was standing on the side, smiled and joined the fight, approaching with superhuman speed, and slashing Oliver across his face with a claw. Growling and screaming of pain, Oliver leaped towards the Vampire, smashing him in his face, causing no visible damage, as the target smiled, and grabbed Oliver by his throat. Struggling to break free, Oliver grabbed his knife and planted it in the neck of his attacker, except the knife refused to break the skin of his attacker.

“You fight well for a whelp, but nonetheless, still a whelp”. With an unknown force, Oliver was thrown against a tree. The three Vampires that were on Flip, vanished into the shadows, taking Flip with them. The original attacker dissapeared too, and the last Vampire approached Oliver, kicking him in the ribs, launching him another few meters further. “Run ahead whelp, and tell your masters what has happened”. Then the Vampire dissapeared into the shadows as well.

Oliver, slowly recovering from his beating, made his way to the car they drove in. Seeing the key was still in the car, as they did not expect anyone else to be here, Oliver started the car and made his way to the location of the Counsil. The trip still took 2 hours, with Oliver driving as fast as the minibus of Flip allowed.

Arriving at the final destination, Oliver left the car and was suddenly feeling unwell, losing his consciousness. When the small Gangrel woke up, he found himself in a small room, sitting on a chair. No windows, just one door, a table and a person sitting in front of him, partially in the shadow. Oliver jumped backwards, growling and searching for a way out. Scratching the walls and pacing back and forth with no clear way out.

The person in front of him introduced himself as Lord Alburn. He started asking questions on who Oliver was, why he was here. As more information started to leak out of Oliver, the questions became more direct and precise as to what happened to Flip, who attacked him, where. This seemed to go on for an eternity, and was only interupted when Oliver showed signs of losing control for being locked up in a small room without any blood source or escape.

After three days, which seemed an eternity for Oliver, he was set free. Lord Alburn arranged transport for him to appear at the Counsil, which was today he told him. Oliver was given a satchel of blood for drinking along the way, and was given the reassurance that his Clans-brother Flip would be found, and that Lord Alburn would involve himself personally in finding and retrieving Flip.


The first night of the Counsil

Oliver left the car, as it pulled over at the location. As soon as the closed the door, the car drove off and dissapeared into the night. Approaching the location, Oliver immediately made his way inside, avoiding any attention from nearby passants. His face was still covered in wounds from the attack, and would only heal slowly.

When he entered the building, he saw Lady Lablanche standing at the end of the room, and what Oliver assumed to be the Archont sitting at a large table, overseeing the evening. The only other guest that was inside the room was Möbius, of his own Domain, and the Harpy’s Medea and Lilienfein.

Oliver made his was to Lady Lablanche, and introduced himself. Oliver also informed her that the second host would not be showing up, that unforseen problems occured, but were being taken care off. She asked if he was joking, at which Oliver stared her into the eyes, and walked away. Not much later he was asked to approach the Harpy’s and explain what had happened. Oliver explained as much as he could remember and what Lord Alburn was doing in the meanwhile.

Oliver was excused and thanked for sharing the information. Oliver retreated and talked with Möbius, but made his was back to Lilienfein afterwards. Crouching down next to her, Oliver asked what it ment for Flip now that he was abducted. Lilienfein explain that this was a serious problem for Flip, in that he failed to take the required precautions as Host of this evening, and was expected to be here. His abduction would do little on his behalf. Oliver thought about this for a moment and asked if there was anything that could be done to save the honour of his clan and friend Flip.

Being told this was not an issue for the Clan, but only for Flip, Oliver offered to take his place. Taken back a bit, Lilienfein asked if Oliver understood what this ment, and if he was willing to take over the consequences and debts this would incur on Flip. Without hesitation, Oliver agreed, and Lilienfein said she would talk it over and let him know.

Not much later, the other guests started to appear. One by one all the Princes, Elder and Ancilla of Germany entered the room. Jay also entered and greeted Oliver, asking if Ludoviga would also be attending. Oliver said he wasn’t sure, but would expect her to arrive for this. Not much later, she entered the room and immediately called over Oliver, who was “promoted” to carry her handbag again for the evening.

Not a moment later, Lilienfein approached and asked Oliver for his hand. Reaching out with his right hand, she asked for his left hand and gently guided him across the floor towards the Archont and Lady Lablance. Lilienfein introduced Oliver and said he would be the second host for tonight, taking over the responsibilities and debt of Flip. The Archont nodded it was okay, and Oliver started together with Lablanche to welcome the new guests.

The first thing Oliver did as soon as he had a moment free, was apologise to Ludoviga that he could not honour her request, but that he as host would find someone suitable for carrying her handbag. Ludoviga agreed, but requested that it remained in the blood, so Oliver set out to find a Gangrel to carry the handbag. His eye fell on the small Gangrel from Leipzig, and Oliver said he was supposed to guard this bag with his life, and follow Ludoviga.

When all the guests had arrived, both Oliver and Lablanche opened the evening, introducing themselves and setting out the plan of the evening. They announced the rules of the Counsil, what was expected and how Accusations for the evening were being collected by both hosts.

Oliver was not really the kind of host to hold long speeched or put much attention on all the different titles of people present. He did his best to remain respectful, use the proper names and addressation of people and get things done. This led to some complaining from Lablance, saying that Oliver should probably say things too. Oliver rebuked he would say something now and then, but that she was better suited at playing the open, public host, whereas Oliver was better suited for the smalltalk and getting things done.

One of the things that needed to be “done”, was collecting accusations. As the evening had been progressing, and a few guests, including Prince Kohlhase, complained that nothing was progressing, Oliver made his move as host. Entering the middle of the room, Oliver started out nice and friendly, but became more direct with his speech. He reminded all present of the purpose of this evening, and why we were all here. He ended his speech with the request that he would like to hear the first accusation within 5 minutes of ending his speech. At this point, Prince Markus Anselm von Salm-Kyrburg stood up and started talking, approaching Oliver and reminded him that he was perhaps on the level of Prince for the evening, but that after these 2 days he would be a simple Neonate again, and that in our community such behaviour was no easily forgotten. Oliver kept staring at the Prince, not backing down, but not saying either.

As the evening progressed, Oliver got into various conversations with the guests present. Focussing his attention on the various Princes present, Oliver had personal conversations with most of them, often asking their opinion on his behaviour so far, and if they would be so kind to give advice on how he could proceed further with the evening and what to watch out for. The same happened with the harpy’s present. Several times, Oliver took the time to approach them and explain the current problem he was dealing with and what the best course of action would be.

One of the problems was Princes that were not present. This was a problem and an insult to the Counsil, and a solution was being sought. At first the hosts agreed that no replacement was allowed. This latest was changed on wish of the Archont, where replacement for a few was given when support from the existing Princes was granted and the hosts themselves were okay with it. This resulted in Ludoviga being the Prince of Ober-Bayern, but three other domains were not allowed to be represented.

Oliver made the mistake here, due not being informed, telling Ludoviga in a small conversation that she could not sit here. She told him that she would sit here, and not move. Oliver went back, and was approached by Jester, saying that it was okay she sat there. Oliver said he wasn’t aware of being given this info, but after clearing out the details, it was fine.

However, when the hosts decided that no more replacements were allowed, the decision was made to collects the flags of those Domains not present. Oliver removed each flag one by one, collecting the sigil and handed it over to the Archont so the message could be brought back to the Justicar, as to which Domain failed to fullfil it’s responsibilities. The domain of Magdeburg proved to be difficult, as one Vampire stood in front of Oliver and told him to let the Sigil hang. Olive told him to move in a harsh tone, and took a step forward when the other didn’t move.
At this point, the Vampire hissed at Oliver, causing Oliver to retreat several steps. Being not pleased with this behaviour, he wanted to step forward again and forcefully remove the Vampire, when one of the Harpy’s stood up, reminding the Neonate of his place and that he was being disrespectful to the host, the council and his domain. At this point he moved away and Oliver removed the final Sigil, handing it over to the Archont.

Oliver talked to this Neonate afterwards outside, alone, and made it perfectly clear: This neonate insulted him, tried to make him look like a fool in the middle of the room. Oliver came directly to the point and asked why. The answer was to keep the Sigil of Magdeburg there as long as possible, which Oliver could respect. But he was not pleased with this behaviour, and made it clear that the Neonate in question owed Oliver a big favour for his behaviour and small show he displayed there. Both agreed and Oliver said he could stay for the Counsil without further consequences and this matter was solved.

Oliver also had a small conversation with the Archont when everyone was busy sorting out their tasks an accusations. Gently sliding the letter he had been carrying the whole time across the table, Oliver said that this was a favour he owed someone and that the contents of the letter could be benefitial and should be read, perhaps passed on, but that he would leave it to the discretion of the Archont. The Archont nodded and read the letter that was written by Fanget, folding it afterwards and hiding it in his jacket. Oliver did not ask further, but considered his task fullfilled.

((The remained of the evening is various conversations and what is the actuall setting of the counsil, the first accusation. Huss is being accused of the murder on Corelli, Archont on the previous Counsil. Although the entire speech itself and the remainder of the evening was great, I will not write out these details further. They are important for me, but the blog post would simply become too large when I write this out. It’s a shame for those who could not have attended, but I will leave it as this))


The second night of the Counsil

The second night of the Counsil was one where the accusatations actually started to take place. The Archont reminded everyone why he was here, and what the purpose of this entire evening was.

As the evening progressed, the accusation against Huss remained, and was debated over and over again with examples, argments for and against, but on the whole, nothing was really moving. The original accusation got derailed when Huss himself accused Cornfeld, Prince(ess) of the Domain Berlin for being involved in the murder on Archont Corelli, which was withdrawn again later.

This lead to a back and forth arguing over the entire evening. Oliver and Lablanche discussed what would be the best course of action, as leaving the Archont without actual accusations or convicted Vampires would send out an extremely bad signal towards the Justicar. And that was the last thing both hosts had in mind. So together with the harpy’s and the Archont, a plan was constructed for the evening:

  1. A vote would be cast about the guilt of Huss
  2. A vote would be cast wether an accusation can be withdrawn
  3. Each Clan will be heard to their stance on the original accusation
  4. When #2 was answered with “no”, the accusation would be delt with.

The evening progressed where first it was determined by all Princes that Huss was guilty. Even when he was considered just a tool, he would still bear responsibility. This combined with the formal answers of each Clan, resulted in Huss being detained by the Archont and taken to the Justicar for further questioning.

The Counsil determined that once an accusation has been made, it could not be withdrawn. This resulted in the original accusation against Cornfeld to stand again, and the people supporting it, not able to withdraw their support. Of course this lead to a heated debate that had to be interupted by the hosts. Everyone was given 20 minutes to formulate their votes and talk with others in whether Cornfeld was to be found guilty. The result turned out to be “Not Guilty”.

This lead to tensions between various factions, and would surely lead to more struggles in the future.

The most critical part for Oliver came at the end of the evening. As the Counsil was nearing it’s end, the part came where the Archont asked the Harpy’s to collect the opinions of every Prince present on the performance of both hosts. This was the moment where Oliver would either survive the Counsil, and gain the required status that comes with it, or be deemed unworthy and killed on the spot.

As time crawled by at a pace which seemed to be eternally slow, Oliver grew more restless. He knew he had made mistakes the previous night, and that this could be used against him. On the other side, he also had many good conversations with the various princes and people present. At one point, Medea asked Oliver to accompanie her towards Frau Cornfelt, and answer a question: “Why did you step in for Flip on this event?”. Oliver answered that he considered Flip a friend, and that he would do anything he could to protect him and uphold the honour of his Clan. This seemed to please her, and she replied the answer was satisfactory and that she was pleased with his performance this evening.

As the Harpy’s information was complete, they took the room and beckoned both hosts to come closer, towards the middle of the room. Medea spoke for Lablanche and told her she did well.
Lilienfein spoke for Oliver, and told him it was very brave and couragious what he had done, to step in for Flip like that. That despite his extemely young age, Oliver had performed really well according the princes, even when he could probably not name all of them present even.

Both harpy’s announced that Oliver and LaBlance posses the skills required to hold a gathering on the highest level of social standing, and that anyone in the Camarilla of Germany should take an example on these two.
Both also received a favour with Kohlhase and Cornfeld for their performance of the evening.

As these words were said, a tremendous load fell of Oliver’s shoulders.
Now he just had to help out Jester with finding Flip again, and spend 2 nights in the woods with Ludoviga, for insulting her over the 2 nights……..From the Drip into the Rain…….


Summary

What can I say 😀
I knew the consequences when I offered to take over the host position, and the difficulties I would throw myself in. Still, this has been one of the most successful evenings so far, and I can proudly say that I’ve walked away from this Counsil with so much more.

So many favours collectes, so many new contacts made as well as getting on a better standing with several of the Princes in Germany for Oliver, who let us not forget, is a 1 year old Vampire, Welp in the Clan of Animals.

I was scared, several times. Every time I had to interupt one of the Elders because a break was needed, my heart was beating in my throat…..The nerves needed for this are tremendous.
Unless you have done this…..it’s too much to describe.

Also the position. At one side it’s like “Wow, I’m sitting next to the Archont”. But then it’s “Damn, I’m sitting next to an Archont”, and “Shit, he’s looking at me”. These are moments where your character goes through every hell possible. Because he doesn’t know what the right reaction is, but he doesn’t want to screw up either.

And the etiquette….
I’m not the leading example with Oliver when it comes to this, but boy……Do I get to remind so many people of their mistakes they made, and will I do my best to get back at them 😀

Addendum

A question I was asked: “Why is this so exhausting?”
Well, the answer to that is that it becomes overwhelming. You’re dealing with characters so much more powerful then you, and often multiple at once.

An example was when i left the table. Ludoviga comes to Oliver, asking something, while he’s on an errand of the Archont, needs to deal with Lablanche, and has another Prince asking his attention and 3 Neonates creating trouble. At this point you need to set your priorities and deal with who is important in order, and see which situation needs immediate defusing.

It also doesn’t help you are chasing information and agenda’s, while playing out your own agenda. People also try to get under your skin, and the constant translation from German into English for me so I can follow what is going is extremely hard when you’re tired from lack of sleep. Combine all that together, and you’re simply at 0 energy at the end of such an evening.

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