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Council of Vampires

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Count Duckula couldn't make it.
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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-knit societies, often European in origin. They serve as a kind of a ruling organ that 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.

Very common in settings with a Vampire Variety Pack, as a way for the different vampiric clans to discuss events that impact all of them. The end result is usually kind of undead Cosmopolitan Council, where the Slavic Classical Movie Vampire rubs elbows with the Chinese Vampire or similar bloodsuckers from other cultural traditions. Feral Vampires usually aren't invited, though.

May also overlap with Omniscient Council of Vagueness. If space is made for creatures that aren't vampires but are adjacent to them (like werewolves, ghouls, or mummies), you've got a Monster Mash.


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    Comic Books 
  • In American Vampire, the Carpathian bloodline is organized into several covens composed of bankers, rich tycoons, and Hollywood actors and they pretty much control all the rest of the vampirekind since they drove all other subspecies to near extinction. They don't have an absolute leader since their progenitor Dracula was locked up by the Vassals of the Morning Sun and they tend to rule themselves in separate mobs with each having their different agendas.
  • The Vampire Nation in the Marvel Universe is governed by Count Dracula and they are composed of several sects that once in a century gather in a meeting to discuss. This concept is relatively new as vampires have been part of Marvel for decades and have even fought with superheroes such as the X-Men and Captain America, but they never established a society of their own. This was retconned in 2010, which showed Dracula had ruled over a secret vampire kingdom with its own laws and customs that were heavily influenced by the Blade Trilogy. In The Avengers (Jason Aaron), there is a Vampire Nation in Chernobyl.
  • Raptors: The vampire council is running humanity behind the scenes, and are all European aristocrats who have settled in New York City. Pretty democratically too, since their leader has become an Orcus on His Throne obsessed with hunting new victims over the centuries and doesn't really care enough to micromanage the council.
  • Vampirella occasionally features groups like these that usually conspired to unleash Hell on Earth. In the Harris Publication, a very large vampire organization used the mob as cover and they were seated in Vatican, their leader being the elusive Black Pope, who worshiped the Mad God Chaos and sought to summon him on Earth so as to enslave mankind.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Blade Trilogy:
    • The various vampire "Houses". The antagonist of the first Blade, Deacon Frost, clashes with the House of Erebus 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 a "pureblood" (born as opposed to turned) 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.
    • In Blade: Trinity, another coven finds and awakens the original vampire, Dagon/Dracula/Drake in order to get an edge over Blade; he proceeds to reduce their leading council to his lackeys. Meanwhile, this coven (and possibly others, though it's unclear) has started rounding up humans to put them in medically-induced comas and farm them for blood, as a more efficient means of feeding.
  • In Underworld (2003), vampires are ruled by an elite council formed by the Elders, who presides over them and are responsible for deciding laws and political matters, as well as passing judgement on Vampires who have broken the Coven's laws. The Elders are the most powerful members of their race, and by their law, only one of them can rule for a period of time while the other two are asleep. Over the course of the series, the Elders are killed off, but the council manages to reorganize themselves without them. By the end of the fifth movie, Selene and her allies David and Lena have become the newest Elders.

  • This probably doesn't exist in the Anno Dracula universe, although there used to be rumours about it. It was said that if a vampire ever went public, they would be Killed to Uphold the Masquerade by a mysterious council of powerful Elders (generally referred to as "the Number", because conflicting rumours called them "the Six" or "the Seven" or whatever). Since the Anno Dracula setting as we know it is firmly The Unmasqued World, this turned out not to be the case.
  • Whitley Streiber's The Hunger and its sequels have 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).
  • In S. Lukyanenko's Night Watch (Series), Watches also keep the vampires in check (by means of Equivalent Exchange, though).
  • Y. Nabokova's series of vampire novels (think Russian mash-up of anything vampire and urban from Anne Rice to The Twilight Saga) — same idea.
  • In the second trilogy of The Saga of Darren Shan, Darren's mentor takes him to be presented before the Council of Vampire Generals, which only meets every 12 years. There are around 400 generals and four Princes — Darren meets the vampire who is soon to become the fifth — whose rule is absolute. It's not all business — when the last of the vampires arrives for the council, they have a three-night Festival of the Undead, a wild party full of drinking, fighting, and ballad-singing.
  • V. Panov's Secret City: Since his Masan are an almost literal Expy of Vampire: The Masquerade, their Camarilla fits the idea.
  • The Shadowspawn: The titular vampiric creatures are ruled by the Council of Shadows, a ruling body composed of the leaders of the various factions that came together to forge their global empire in the first place.
  • One rules the Vampire Nation in Straight Outta Fangton. The Council of Ancients is full of all vampires over a thousand years or more and dominates all other members of their race. Notably, no one is particularly happy about this since they do nothing but leech (pun intended) off others of their kind but they're too powerful to defy.
  • The Strain and its sequels have The Ancients, a council of the very first vampires. The main villain, The Master, is an Ancient who has gone rogue because he's sick of staying in the shadows and wants to rise up and Take Over the World.
  • The rulers of the vampire nation in The Tome of Bill series are the First Coven, and all of the eldest members are implied to be Historical Domain Characters, including Alexander as in, Alexander the Great and The Khan (actually Ogedei Khan, Genghis' son)
  • The Twilight Saga: 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Nine Lords of Night in From Dusk Till Dawn are the elite of vampire hierarchy and the first of their kind. For centuries they ruled over the culebras (Mexican vampires) and Season 1's Big Bad Santanico Pandemonium served as their underling until she decided to break away from their control. When any vampire goes rogue, their leader Lord Amancio Malvado unleashes his Regulators — superpowered vampire warriors — to hunt down and bring them back for punishment.
  • 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.
  • The Vampiric Council in What We Do in the Shadows (2019) consists of high-level vampire aristocracy and celebrity actors who play vampires in media, each of whom are actually vampires, including Danny Trejo from From Dusk Till Dawn and Wesley Snipes of the Blade Trilogy series.

    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. On a local level, each city under the Camarilla is under the rule of a Prince, who appoints officers in the domain to aid his duties (from law enforcement positions such as Sheriff to trackers of social status/scandal/the vampire reputation economy such as Harpy). Such cities will also often have a Primogen Council, made up of representatives from the Clans in the Camarilla that the Prince deems have enough members in the city to require representation in their nightly affairs.
    • 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:
    • Morrowind
      • Has three clans of vampires (Aundae, Berne & Quarra), at war with each other. And 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 later in Skyrim, indicating that he was turned and became a vampire for at least a few hundred years.)
    • Skyrim: Dawnguard, the first DLC expansion, has the Volkihar Clan of Vampire Lords as a faction you can join (for the vampire path) or fight against (for the Dawnguard path), who are organized as a noble council with Lord Harkon as their leader. At the end of the DLC, you either wipe out the clan or replace Harkon as the new leader.
  • The Ascalon Club in Vampyr (2018) is an elite group formed by the richest and most powerful vampires in Britain that not only embody and enforce vampire law but are also said to influence the British Empire from behind the shadows. Only a handful of humans in high society know their true nature and should they prove their merits well, they are rewarded with immortality and welcomed into their ranks.

    Web Comics 
  • The elites in Charby the Vampirate have formed one and are trying to recruit the titular character.
  • The Twilight Council in Grrl Power does includes vampires and largely works to protect The Masquerade but also includes all manners of non-humans, such as werewolves, constructs, golems, demons, angels, aliens, sorcerers... and miscellaneous.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Castlevania (2017):
    • In Season 2, Dracula assembles a war council with vampire generals from all over the world. Unusually, he places two humans of trust in charge of the council as his most trusted followers.
    • Season 3 reveals that Carmilla rules her fiefdom of Styria alongside three other vampire women who view each other as sisters.