Vannevar Thomas was born into an aristocratic family in colonial Virginia in 1729, and as an adult fought in the American War of Independence. When he was captured by the British as a prisoner of war in 1781, his sire saved his mortal life and Embraced him.
During his years as a neonate, Vannevar served as a dignitary for the Camarilla. On the eve of the French Revolution in 1789, he traveled to Versailles in an attempt to persuade François Villon and Marie Antoinette of the danger of the political situation in France. While he did not succeed in this task, he did make a number of important connections with other Kindred, including his future lover, the Toreador Suzanne Rochelle, the Warlord Karsh, Lucita de Aragon, and the architect Zelios, who Vannevar encouraged to travel to North America.
In 1849, he was sent to the West Coast by the Camarilla in order to secure the region for the sect, a task he has been dedicating his nights to ever since.
Vannevar is presented as a very powerful vampire, but his greatest strengths are his allies. Nickolai, a Russian Ventrue acting as his right hand, was apparently privy to sensitive information regarding very important Kindred, and thanks to these secrets, the pair managed to persuade Karsh into letting them stay in control of San Francisco. Other powerful allies of Vannevar were Benedict, the martial artist and Tremere primogen of San Francisco; Iwo, a Japanese wizard of some sort; and Hortator - some kind of Aztec warlock.
Vannevar Thomas and his domain of San Francisco were heavily featured in the novels Dark Prince and its sequel/prequel, Prince of the City; Thomas was actually the protagonist in the latter novel, which spans the city's history from the Gold Rush into the present day. The Beast Within, the first Vampire short story anthology, featured numerous stories set at least partially in San Francisco. These stories introduced an error in continuity, however, as some stories referenced Prince Vannevar Thomas while others named the city's prince as Jochen Van Nuys.
Several of these stories were reprinted in World of Darkness: Strange City, which attempted to reconcile this error by changing references to Jochen Van Nuys into references to Vannevar Thomas. However, in the Revised era, a different solution was found in San Francisco by Night, in which Van Nuys was revealed to have replaced Thomas' ineffective leadership of the city in 1996, while he himself was in turn later replaced by Sara Anne Winder. The Beast Within Revised Edition retained the references to Van Nuys as prince that were found in the original versions of the stories, implying that those stories happened after Van Nuys' coup.
Vannevar has held onto San Francisco from 1910 through the beginning of the 21st century, but he weighs many possibilities in latter nights, including settling for a strategic alliance with the Anarch Free State, betraying the Camarilla for an alliance with the Kuei-jin to secure a position in the New Promise Mandarinate, or even abandoning San Francisco entirely for Los Angeles, a prize for which he finds himself competing over with San Diego Baron Tara Kearney.
Abandoning San Francisco, Vannevar has now held domain over Los Angeles since the late 2010s with his lover Suzanne as Seneschal, leading the Camarilla in a protracted conflict with the Anarchs of the city. He is also struggling to cope with a derangement placed on him by Therese Voerman, a problem that was not clear to him or his court until a meeting with the recently rediscovered Zelios.