[Let’s Study V:tR] The Carthians

Posted: December 7, 2011 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Let's Study, Roleplaying Games, Vampire: the Requiem, World of Darkness

The Carthians are a Covenant dedicated towards changing the nature of the vampiric social order for the better… at whatever cost.  As daring firebrands fuelled with a conviction bordering on fanaticism, the Carthian vampire is an individual with big ideas and big plans for how things are done.

To understand a Carthian, one has to understand that vampires are Embraced into a society that is largely feudal in nature.  The default power structures are those that are old to the point of being alien in the modern nights.  Whether it’s the feudal systems of the Invictus, or the Church-like power structure of the Lancea Sanctum, these models of government reek of obsolesence to the Carthians.

Nothing riles a Carthian up more than hearing “But that’s the way it’s always been done.”  Carthians challenge the status quo, willing to adopt new models of rule and society in hopes that the Kindred as a whole will benefit from a more enlightened rule from more modern times.

Unfortunately, the Carthians are a divisive, factional Covenant, populated with countless sub-groups pushing for their own pet model.  This results in a lot more noise than actual unity, with each city’s Carthian faction espousing a different sort of political structure and change.

It is little wonder then that the elders of the city tend to view the Carthians with little amusement.  They’re vocal, dangerous, and outright charismatic.   By espousing newer methods they gain the trust and faith of the younger generation, filling the heads of the newly embraced with all sorts of rubbish that the Elders neither appreciate or comprehend.

Rage Against the Machine

Viewed from the lens that vampiric existence is hollow and lonely, having a covenant like the Carthians is a powerful force for injecting a much needed purpose to the lives of the damned.  By pitting themselves against the established order, younger vampires find a reason to get up and fight, to involve themselves in the thick of Kindred politics.

The emotional benefit of the Carthians is a powerful one, “I matter because I can change Vampire society.”  In essence, it provides younger vampires with a reason to live.  It’s a powerful idea, one that has fuelled many a martyr and a patriot, and it’s the kind of eternal ideal that can serve to fuel a vampire through many years of his unlife.

Punk is undead

However, if there is one tragic flaw among the Carthians, it would be the fact their very own unlife is their enemy. Vampires are static creatures who have difficulty coping with change and the advancement of ideas.  They cannot help but view the world with the same lens that they had when they were alive, and so with each passing year, the Carthians most powerful and oldest members, start crossing over to the enemy whether they like it or not.

The change is insidious, but it is there.  Younger Carthians view their elders with disbelief and contempt, as political ideal that were radical then are now passe.  Much like an old, burnt out rock star, the elder Carthians are reduced to anachronisms and their influence crumbles rapidly when the younger generations stop listening.

Ultimately the Carthians come off as well-meaning, yet tragic individuals.  Their goals are lofty, and even admirable, but the very nature of their vampiric state causes them to eventually become out of synch with the world.  Add the issues of factionalism and infighting and you end up with a mob of rabble-rousers, whose efforts may end up being washed away by the next wave of upstarts who have sufficient will and influence to implement the next big thing.

This is not to say that they’re not influential however.  With their pull on the recently Embraced, it’s not difficult to see just how utterly frightening the Carthians can be to the other Covenants and to those in positions of power.  They wield the power of the masses, and can quickly muster the kind of manpower to seriously threaten the unlife of many of the other Covenants should push come to shove.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Carthians, the sourcebook is available from DriveThruRPG for $19.19 or roughly PHP 845.00

  1. dirty yasuki says:

    I like how you described the Carthians as being similar to the background story of the cartoon show Codename: Kids Next Door. That is intriguing. Very good review.

  2. […] a reason to continue their unlife from the political activism and social engineering exploits of the Carthians, others turn to more primal motivations.  These Kindred look to ancient practices and old world […]

  3. Hikkikomori says:

    Row, row, fight the power!

  4. One of the important points to note with the Carthians is that they are not all Anarchs. They are far more diverse and open. You can have any form of political structure with these guys. Plus it is entirely feasible for a Carthian to be a member of the Circle or of the Sanctum. I think this concept of being different from feudalism can be far more exciting than just ‘we’re communists’.

    • Hi Kris,

      I agree with this. I think the Carthian “Experiment” as explained in the supplement does a much better job at communicating this particular diversity as opposed to the write-up they had in the corebook. There’s mention of them being diverse, but the Socialist / Communist angle is the one most commonly used to demonstrate an alternative means of government for vampire society.

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