The Invictus are a covenant that believes they are the rightful rulers of the Kindred. Lords and ladies of the night, the First Estate (as they call themselves) wield money, human pawns and political influence as tools to accomplish their goals. While its members are varied, they are united in one common goal - the acquisition of power.
The earliest Kindred document mentioning the Invictus is a grant of hunting rights, made in AD 84. During this time, the Camarilla still ruled Rome, and as the leaders among the Senex the Invictus were the de facto rulers of the Camarilla by extension. When that organization fell, the Invictus filled the power vacuum with overwhelming speed before it could be claimed by other vampires. Jealous Kindred say the Invictus deliberately overthrew the Camarilla, but found that it was not quite as powerful as it thought.
An excerpt of one of Gaius Julius Caesar's private letters reveals more of the origin of the Invictus. Caesar wrote he had a dream, and in this dream his uncle Sextus Caesar came to him with a document to sign that read the Invictus would rule over the night as Caesar ruled over the day. Sextus reminded Caesar it was his duty to his ancestor to sign the document, and Caesar complied. When he finished, Sextus disappeared once more leaving Caesar befuddled.
The Middle Ages - which the Invictus refer to as the "Heroic Age" - were when individuals and dynasties performed great deeds for the Covenant, cementing their place in the Kindred power structure. In 1142, with the blessing of the Lancea et Sanctum, they formed the Holy Night Empire to parallel the Holy Roman Empire, complete with its own Nachtkaiser elected by Princes of important Realms.
At the head of each city sits the Inner Circle. This is typically comprised of the oldest (and theoretically most superior) Invictus members of the city, and it is they who direct their colleagues and subordinates to further the First Estate's plans.
Titles of Esteem:
- Master/ Miss - A recently embraced and not released neonate.
- Mister/Madam - Term given to accepted Invictus after release.
- Alder - Term given to those that have aged beyond the average of the city's population.
Titles of Tribute:
- Lord/Lady - Bestowed upon a kindred for honorable service to the covenant.
- Baron/Baroness - Bestowed upon a Lord or Lady who has distinguished herself on several occasions.
- Viscount - Bestowed upon kindred whom is given permanent domain within the territories of the Invictus.
- Marquis/Marquise - Bestowed upon a kindred whom is given a permanent place on the inner circle of a city.
- Duke/Duchess - Bestowed upon a kindred who is held responsible for conquering a city and establishing a strong base of power for the Invictus.
Titles of Function:
- Advisor - Member of the Primogen. Alternately a graduate of the Advisors' Guild with courses in study in politics, academic debate, expression and emotional manipulation.
- Advocate - Public Relations Specialist and covenant Spies.
- Almoner - A charitable profession to care for the "less fortunate" of Kindred and Kine society.
- Au Pair - A tutor of basic vampire survival, etiquette, and Discipline use.
- Commissioner - A covenant member trained in distribution and coordination of resources to ensure the stability of investments within the invictus of a domain.
- Councilor - A member of the Inner Circle of a City.
- Groom - An Invictus who cultivates Herds for other members.
- Interpreter - A Specialist in matters of subterfuge and translation.
- Judex - A judge and arbiter of disputes.
- Knight - An Oathsworn soldier with membership in an Order of Knighthood (Sir or Dame Knight)
- Librettist - A professional connoisseur of arts and entertainments.
- Meister - The head of a Guild and acknowledged expert and instructor in a field.
- Notary - A professional witness to declarations and recitations of Oaths. May be called on to authenticate the content and context of any vow/ oath they were borne witness to.
- Player - A professional artist or performer.
- Secretary - the govenor of Guilds in a city.
- Senator - A professioinal philosopher and advisor. May provide counsel on spiritual or occult matters as well. almost always has a specific field of study.
- Speaker - A covenant member skilled in diplomacy
- Steward - A preserver of valuable artifacts.
- Technologist - An expert in the study and application of Disciplines including experimental development of new Devotions, categorization of bloodline specific powers and observations of other abilities.
Advancement in the Invictus is based on merit. The Invictus who rise to the top are the ones who have done the greatest benefit for the covenant (or who have effectively crushed all their opposition). Gaining influence and power, conquering territory for the covenant, and eliminating Invictus enemies all help the neonate earn advancement. Naturally, the higher one climbs, the more enemies one makes. In fact, an Invictus without a few powerful enemies is probably not an Invictus worth noticing.
Invictus earn power through exchanging favors, shows of fealty and swearing oaths, all in a complicated system of rules and etiquette. Invictus life is dominated by backroom deals, secret alliances and betrayals.
The Invictus is dominated largely by its elders. Consequently, much emphasis is placed on tradition. Young Invictus and most outsiders see the covenant as hidebound and anachronistic. The elders argue that following the old ways make sense - like the covenant itself, these notions have withstood the test of time, which makes them inherenty superior to modern ideals.
There is an air of refinement within the covenant, perhaps cultivated by its members to distract them from the realities of being a vampire. Invictus members are typically smartly dressed, well spoken and educated. Very rarely does a member resort to anything as unseemly as brawling. Instead, they practice a deadly dance of one-upmanship, acid quips and not-so-subtle intimidation. Still, it is this veneer of grace and civility that attracts many young members to the covenant, who have had their fill of being rudely shoved around by their fellow Kindred.
Oaths of Fealty:
- Blood-Tell Oath-The Blood-Tell Oath is the simplest form of supernatural Blood Oath. The swearing Kindred writes something in his own blood, expending a single Vitae, and the person to whom he is swearing expends a Willpower point. The text remains fresh until the oath is broken. As long as the blood remains fresh, it can be consumed to provide one Vitae, or tasted to test a Kindred’s qualities of blood. Doing so risks blood addiction in the normal way. Can be learned in a single night for 5xp.
- Oath of Blood Knives-While the threat, or even certain knowledge, of discovery will dissuade some Kindred from breaking an Oath, others are willing to brave the anger of their superiors, sure that they can run or hide. The Oath of Blood Knives imposes mystical punishment at the moment of violation, ensuring that an Oath-breaker cannot get away without penalty. Requires, Auspex 2, Dominate 2, Protean 1 and 10xp.
- The Oath Unsworn-Similar to Oath of Blood Knives with one minor difference. This Blood Oath does require the target Kindred to be in the presence of the vampire using the Devotion for as long as it takes to recite the text of the Oath. Requires Auspex 3, Dominate 2, Protean 2, and 12xp.
- The Oath of Burning Blood-The Oath of Burning Blood is perhaps the most powerful of the supernatural oaths of avoidance. While most versions of the Blood Oath give a Kindred good reason not to break his Oath, the Oath of Burning Blood actually makes it hard for him to do so, in addition to punishing him severely if he does. Requires Auspex 3, Dominate 3, Nightmare 2, and 12xp.
Oaths of Performance:
- The Oath of Running Blood- The simplest of the supernatural oaths of performance, like the Blood-Tell Oath, requires a mystic trick that can be taught to any Kindred in a single night. While swearing the oath, the Kindred bleeds a single Vitae into a suitable vessel, generally a clear bottle of some sort, and expends a point of Willpower. Requires 3xp.
- The Oath of the Bloody Hand- The Oath of the Bloody Hand provides the swearer with minor benefits, but also imposes significant penalties if the Oath is broken. Requires Blood Potency 3+, Covenant Status Invictus 1+, and 10xp
- The Oath of Blood Focus- Some Kindred wish to fully dedicate themselves to a particular end, and the Oath of Blood Focus is one of the more extreme means of doing so. Uniquely among the Blood Oaths, this Oath is always taken voluntarily. If a Kindred is truly devoted to a given goal, this ritual provides several benefits with few, but drastic, drawbacks. Requires Blood Potency 3+, Covenant Status Invictus 1+, and 5xp.
- The Oath of Blood Alliance-The Oath of Blood Alliance is the simplest supernatural mutual oath. The trick to swearing it can be learned by any Kindred in one night, and knowledge of this Oath is ubiquitous among the ancillae of some domains. One party to the Oath swears to perform a service, and the other party promises a reward. Requires Covenant Status Invictus 1+ and 4xp
- The Oath of Blood Service-The Oath of Blood Service is the most common longterm mutual Blood Oath, and, even so, is very rare. The servant swears to perform a particular service every night for a set period, and in return receives a benefit from the lord. Requires Auspex 3, Majesty 3 and 12xp
- The Oath of Blood Loyalty-The Oath of Blood Loyalty is the strongest mutual oath that two Kindred can swear, and places one forever in a subordinate position to the other. On the other hand, as compared to the Vinculum, this Oath guarantees, as far as is possible, mutual loyalty, and so there are many in the Invictus who regard this Oath as far more honorable than the cruder bonds of simple blood. Requires Auspex 3, Majesty 4 and 20xp.
Creeds and Heresies
For the Invictus, the highest goal is power for power's sake. The system of courtly etiquette and rules help to enforce order and teach the young their role, but all that is simply to achieve the Invictus goal of absolute and unassailable power over the night.
- p 38-9
Carthian Movement · Circle of the Crone · Invictus · Lancea Sanctum · Ordo Dracul