Created By: johnnyfog on June 10, 2012 Last Edited By: Morgenthaler on May 28, 2015
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Council Of Vampires

Vampires get organized and hold conference calls

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A group of select vampires who make decisions, police other vampires, and uphold The Masquerade. They usually wear elegant and civilized outfits.

By the end of the 20th Century, the standard horror tropes of lone, disorganized vampires didn't make much sense. The rise of telecommunications and computers also coincided with the vampires getting their act together and forming tight-nit societies, often European in origin. They serve as a kind of a ruling organ which operates mostly behind the scenes, sometimes in conjunction with human agents or other vampire clans. With so many vampires cooperating with one another, the likelihood of world domination is increasingly obligatory; yet Vampire councils are uniformly against taking such action. As a consequence, there is often one council member who objects to all the secrecy, only to be swiftly slapped down.

(Originally titled Vampire Mafia, phrase borrowed from the Chiclets.)


Examples

Film
  • Blade Trilogy
    • The various vampire "Houses". The antagonist of the first Blade, Deacon Frost, clashes with the House of Elbus over its allegiances with mankind. Frost suspects he's not the first vampire to question the status quo, just the loudest. He's overruled by the other members, who look down on him for not being pure-blood vampire.
    • In Blade II another coven enlists the help of Blade through their human ("Barely — I'm their lawyer") agent, Karel Kounan, to stamp out a mutagen known as the "Reaper virus." It turns out the virus was accidentally created by the coven's leader, Damaskinos, while experimenting with replicating Blade's immunity to sunlight.

Live-Action TV
  • The Vampire Authority in True Blood is the ultimate authority over all vampires and has spent many centuries working to monitor the whole race. Using state-of-the-art technology and a secret police, the Authority controls every aspect of vampire society by setting law and settling disputes. Defying the Authority is punishable by death; most vampires fear it, though Russell Edgington mocks the idea.
  • Forever Knight has The Enforcers. We don't see too much of them, but they keep tabs on the other vampires and do what it takes to keep the Masquerade intact. The gentlest means they employ is hypnotizing humans to forget. Enforcers aren't as soft on other vampires, who face death for breaking the code of silence.
  • Discussed in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • The Order of Aurelius, led by The Master, pride themselves on being wholly divorced from the "human pestilence"; so much so, that Angelus mocks them for living in a sewer when they could be enjoying the finery of upper-crust England.
    • Similarly, Dragon-in-Chief Mr. Trick keeps trying to interest his boss Kakistos — an old-school vampire of Greek origin — in the virtues of technology, such as ordering human dinners over the internet in the same manner as pizza. He eventually grows frustrated with Kakisto's lack of innovation and leaves him to be slain by Buffy.

Literature
  • Twilight
    • The Volturi are especially zealous and have adopted a salt the earth approach to maintaining secrecy. They often send agents to destroy renegade covens and eradicate all vampires and humans on the scene.
    • S. Luk'yanenko's Watches also keep the vampires in check (by means of Equivalent Exchange, though).
  • V. Panov's Secret City - since his Masan are an almost literal Expy of Vampire: The Masquerade, their Camarilla fits the idea.
  • Y. Nabokova's series of vampire novels (think Russian mash-up of anything vampire and urban from Anne Rice to Twilight) - same idea.
  • Whitley Streiber's The Hunger and its sequels has the concept of a Vampire Parliament, where the world's vamps get together to discuss things like territories and breeding rights (breeding humans, that is).

Tabletop Games
  • Vampire: The Masquerade
    • The Camarilla (particularly the Elders among them). They're the ones responsible for the Six Traditions (especially the Masquerade), have quite the established hierarchy stretching back centuries, and deal harshly with those that break the Masquerade and the other Traditions.
    • The Sabbat, though they're a bit less concerned with maintaining the masquerade than the Camarilla, and the independent clan Giovanni, who draw their membership from one ancient inbred Venetian family and act like The Mafia.
  • The Vampire: The Masquerade's "successor" game Vampire: The Requiem has the five Covenants.

Video Games
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • A Medieval/Steampunk example happens in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind where there are three clans of vampires (Aundae, Berne & Quarra), at war with each other. Yes, you can join one of them in their fight.
    • One of the in-game books (Surfeit of Thieves) tells the story of a thief who was unlucky enough to end up trying to rob a meeting of one of these. Another of the books (Immortal Blood) tells the story of a vampire hunter who sought out vampires and was eventually sent after this sort of trope by his contact...who turned out to be a member and promptly fed on him ( he appears as a vampire lord in Skyrim, indicating that he was turned and became a vampire for at least a few hundred years.).
    • Oblivion contains a subversion; the count of Skingrad is a vampire, but absolutely detests them.
    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
      • It's an Open Secret that the court mage of Solutide is a vampire, but she's a textbook Boomerang Bigot.
      • One quest deals with a plot to turn the entire town of Morthal into this trope (with everyone in the town either becoming a vampire or a Sycophantic Servant/Cattle).
      • Dawnguard, the first DLC expansion, will have this as a major faction which you can join or fight against. The trailer also hints that the bloodlines from Morrowind will be making a return.


Community Feedback Replies: 26
  • June 10, 2012
    PaulieRomanov
    The Giovanni from Vampire: The Masquerade live and breathe this trope
  • June 10, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
    The Camarilla (particularly the Elders among them) would be a much better example when it comes to this trope in Vampire The Masquerade. They're the ones responsible for the Six Traditions (especially the Masquerade), have quite the established hierarchy stretching back centuries, and deal harshly with those that break the Masquerade and the other Traditions.
  • June 10, 2012
    LittleLizard
    A Medieval/Steampunk example happens in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind where there are three clans of vampires (Aundae, Berne & Quarra), at war with each other. Yes, you can join one of them in their fight.
  • June 10, 2012
    jlt314
    Suggestion to extend the draft to general masquerade police - a group of those on the masquerade (may include occasional muggles) who actively work to uphold it.

    Literature:
    • S. Luk'yanenko's Watches also keep the vampires in check (by means of Equivalent Exchange, though).
    • V. Panov's Secret City - since his Masan are an almost literal expy of Vampire The Masquerade, their Camarilla fits the idea.
    • Y. Nabokova's series of vampire novels (think russian mash-up of anything vampire and urban from Ann Rice to Twilight) - same idea.
  • June 10, 2012
    Bisected8
    Also in The Elder Scrolls;

  • June 10, 2012
    Earnest
    Mafia is pretty evocative of organized crime, which not a lot of examples will include. Maybe Vampire Council?
  • June 10, 2012
    johnnyfog
    How about Council of Vampires, as the flip side to Council Of Angels?
  • June 10, 2012
    TonyG
    The Cuban animated feature Vampiros en la Havana features vampire mobsters who run blood speakeasies in 1930s Chicago.
  • June 10, 2012
    chicagomel
    I'd say Forever Knight probably counts with The Enforcers. We don't see too much of them, but they keep tabs on the other vampires and do what it takes to keep the Masquerade intact.
  • June 10, 2012
    Bisected8
  • June 10, 2012
    johnnyfog
    ^x6 We got vampire councils, we got vampire mobsters, we got vampire enforcers... Uh oh, maybe you're right; should this be split into Masquerade Enforcers and Council Of Vampires?
  • June 11, 2012
    AgProv
    Ref. Whitley Streiber's concept of a Vampire Parliament, where the world's vamps get together to discuss things like territories and breeding rights (bredding humans, that is).
  • June 11, 2012
    zarpaulus
    Vampire the Masquerade also has the Sabbat, though they're a bit less concerned with maintaining the masquerade than the Camarilla, and the independent clan Giovanni, who draw their membership from one ancient inbred Venetian family and act like The Mafia.

  • June 12, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Moonlight had a cleaning service, a for-profit company run by a vampire which comes in to clean up bloody messes before the Muggles see them.
  • June 12, 2012
    nitrokitty
  • June 12, 2012
    Phenolatukas
    I have a problem with this trope.

    How can vampires hold conference calls when they don't show up on camera? Hah!
  • June 12, 2012
    DarkPrince
    @Phenolatukas: Maybe there are infrared cameras...
  • June 12, 2012
    Earnest
    ^^Oooh, ooh! They just put on tons of face paint, or better yet, mo-cap suits! Then they can pick cheesy avatars. =D
  • June 12, 2012
    zarpaulus
    ^^^ They don't always fail to show on camera, and in some cases (Moonlight of instance) digital cameras can photograph them when film can't.

    After all, vampires are centuries older than photography, most of the myths don't have anything to say on the subject.
  • June 12, 2012
    Ekuran
    Compare Supernatural Elite. It might also be headed by a Vampire Monarch.
  • July 4, 2012
    ArkadyDarell
    Hmm. Not sure if this would count, but the indie game Immortal Souls has a Mega Corp of vampires and other shadow creatures called the Isis Corporation, headed by the eponymous very old Egyptian vampiress. They wear badass business suits and spend their time keeping the shadow creatures and their various supernatural gangs reasonably in check on the one hand, the local human Church Militants from killing all the shadow creatures on the other hand, and normal humans from finding out all this is going on.
  • May 15, 2013
    DrLunar
    In the Anita Blake series, vampires are ruled by a group that's actually called the Vampire Council.
  • May 27, 2015
    Morgenthaler
    Subtrope of The Necrocracy.
  • May 27, 2015
    Chabal2
    • Averted in Preacher, where the one Classical Movie Vampire turns out to be a complete poser with contact lenses, and his fellow "vampires" are only wannabes he feeds on. Cassidy, who's long since adapted to his condition with animal blood (from the supermarket even) ties him up and leaves him to fry at dawn.
    • Discworld has the Black Ribboners, a group of vampires trying to adapt to modern society by replacing the addiction to blood (with coffee, photography, plotting...). For the most part, they're successful, though some of their members aren't too bright (the vampire who gets work at a stake factory, a garlic farm...).
    • Warhammer has vampires divided by bloodlines, though they have no need to uphold a masquerade, as they rule over Sylvania.
  • May 27, 2015
    Generality
    • The Dresden Files has four "courts" of vampires corresponding to different stereotypical treatments of vampires. Each group secretly controls some aspect of modern human life and is characterized by massive Chronic Backstabbing Disorder.
      • The Black Court consists of classic undead, Looks Like Orlok vampires, and have all of the powers and weaknesses outlined in Dracula, which in-story was created specifically to spread awareness of how to fight them. As such, only a few Black Court members are still alive, and they're the most savvy and powerful.
      • The Red Court consists of batlike creatures who wear human shells. They have similar powers and weaknesses to the Black Court, but to a lesser degree. They run various underground organizations like brothels and drug cartels.
      • The White Court are humanoid psychic vampires who feed on emotion. Each house is concentrated on a different emotion, with the Raiths, most commonly seen in the books, being basically Horny Devils who feed on lust. They own the pornography industry. All of it.
      • A Jade Court has been mentioned, presumably covering Chinese Vampires, but has not yet been shown.
  • May 28, 2015
    Arivne
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=0ufkvuvqpl7nyi0qvorcbtyg