Coteries vs Guilds and YOU!

  • Cool, because this has given me some ideas of what i could do now IC

  • Hilt

    If I understand correctly (huge if, so, grain of salt), …

    Part of what is behind this discussion is an awareness that the Guilds themselves discourage the PVP aspects of a good vampire game. The fact of it being the Fighters, the Breach-Cleaners, and the Smarty-pantses (oversimplification for efficiency) kind of encourages PVE thinking.

    My perception is that this is inherent in the job descriptions. It’s a reasonable, intelligently designed social structure, and it is one that encourages cooperation and discourages us from tearing each other down. I mean, it’s not like a Hacker wants to make the fighters unable to protect her. It’s not like she wants to make the Fancies unable to clean up breaches. Right?

    So at the moment, if we want to amp up the vicious competition, we’re gonna have to either agree to play put a story arc where the Guilds collapse and we’re “reduced” to competing territorial gangs again, AND make claiming and undermining turf easier / cheaper… or… at least in very significant ways reduce the power and claim of the guilds. Like strip them of turf and strip them of granting seats on the Council (making the council just the top XX vote-getters period, with guild-heads not auto-getting stuff).

  • From what im understanding the guilds are the reserve or national guard. They only act when needed for the good of the city. Other than that every one is on there own and thats when coteries, personal allies come into play.

  • Lead Storytellers Administrators

    Very good analogy.

  • Hilt

    Last time I’ll mention this part (I think I’m hearing that I’m the only one who sees it this way, in which case fistbump and stuff).

    If we’re going with the Guilds being only rarely important, definitely-not-teams, and if we want smaller rivalling coteries to be more central, it seems wise to me to completely remove all territorial claims from the Guilds. Like make all the Guilds entirely non-geographic. Then let the coteries stake claims to turfs (like, for a hypothetical example, if some one owned a collective of artists, they might want to form a coterie that claimed the geographic region that collective was in, and then that space wouldn’t belong / be protected by their guild as a whole, but by them and their bros specifically). This has a particular sense-making appeal, insofar as it avoids associating the Guilds’ function with an area of the city: Do the Blade only protect us against physical threats in Blade regions? Like do the Hilt avoid messing with Occult stuff in Midtown? Are the Spine staying out of Mortal Influences in the Upper Rich Side, or whatever it’s called, being like “we only clean up Masquerade Breaches in this area?” No. They all do their thing over the whole city. Of course they do.

  • Lead Storytellers Administrators

    We are taking everything everyone says into account and welcome all suggestions, so this is noted! 🙂

  • Hilt

    May also wish to go this route for Seats on the Council:

    Right now it’s
    Officers + Guild CEO’S + General Election.

    Possible alternative
    Baron (but not officers) + the ## Leaders of those Coteries strong enough to insist that they get a seat and have others agree allow it. [ONLY.]


    1. Ceo’s have to back their shit up. They are only on the council if they’re also the head of a Coterie that has to be taken seriously.
    2. The officers are truly the Baron’s PERSONAL officers. They are hitching themselvesto one very specific wagon.
    3. The officers can be in other coteries, and probably will be if they want to have real power. The Baron will likely choose their officers from the strongest leaders, actually.
    4. This effectively locates the Baron in a specific coterie. Probably the most powerful one if they want to avoid getting iced.
    5. Coteries will now have to compete for representation. If you’re tiny and own only one street, you don’t get a vote. Make the number of seats juuuust scarce enough. This will have coteries challenging each other for their seats. “We of the Buttsecksors demand that the Chlamydia Koalas give us their seat.” War of fights and of influences happens, until one relents.
    6. This makes it an ACTUAL Meritocracy. Since everyone says that’s what they want, we can make it complete. No more of this semi-democratic shit that calls itself a Meritocracy. You want a vote in the republic, TAKE it. Take it all.


  • @onyx I would say let the guild have a small slice so they can meet, train and discuss guild related items. Remember guilds are for the city not for your gain. I belive as a whole we dont want the guilds having meetings in the night market, that will cause chaos. Each guild would need a small section or a office in some building. The guilds will not meet all the time but you never know when something happens and the city leadership needs one of the guilds to do some work, at that point they would contact the guild leader give them the lowdown. Then the guild leader would pass down the missiin or task to guild members. I dont really know if thats how it would work its just how i imagine it will.

  • @onyx That might not work because not all ppwer is physical. For example the way I see Tucker: seems to have a lot of influence in critical areas, has the ear of a lot of kindred, seems like he can make political changes by just talking to a few people to include territory changes. Thats how I see him as a player reading what he does, not as a character. If you take everything that you have read in the books of the past nightmarkets and present. Tucker can be a formitable opponents. The take what you have seen from Aidan past and present book entries. I magine it that your reading a book and there characters in the book. Who do you see been the most powerfull? For my understanding the coteries public or secret would be form by indivials with similar goals. Like a coterie that wants to take over the drug trade in the city, a group of hackers, a coteries that forms to take out the werewolf and keep them out like the Anubis group from Milwaukee that ended up been the personal guards of the prince because there leader said fuck this shit and took over as prince with just a few members to back him up.

  • Tried to give this some thought today, but take everything with the proverbial grain of salt.

    Guilds: Guilds seem to be a bit of a jumping off point. You come into town; you want to know and be known; you join a guild. Inter-guild politics are a thing and should be a thing, but when the city is on fire they come together because it’s -their- city on fire (whether they read that as the singular possessive or plural possessive may depend on their point of view) and take care of business. Intra-guild politics are also a thing, but must be done carefully (as all things probably should be done anyways), because if you destabilize a guild and something gets mucked up because of it, there’ll be plenty of fingers pointing right at you.

    Guilds have been the central point of play for much of this chronicle because they have needed to be. Second Inquisitions, Sabbat incursions, and Camarilla attacks all require a co-ordinated defense along multiple fronts. As the attacks and immediate threats die down, the guilds -should- be called on less and less. Yes, membership is still important, and keeping up guild power is important for when the next Camarilla/Sabbat/Inquisition/Elder Thing comes into town, but in times of relative peace the guilds won’t have much to do.

    Coteries: Congrats you got into a guild, or you made a big show of staying out of them. Now you need to start laying your plans to conquer a city block/district/Branton/the USA, these are how you accomplish this. Want to renovate downtown and make it yours? Well, look for a Ventrue to fund you and join the coterie, bring in a Brujah to keep the streets civil or controlled by a single gang (preferably the Brujah’s of course), a Toreador for the aesthetics, and some other folks who want to make Downtown their new home together. Because Lord knows you won’t be able to keep it by yourself once it’s been turned into the best spot in Town again.

    We have been in survival mode for a while with this, that, or the other thing, and now we might be coming out of it, which means it is a great time for coteries to start taking off. It’s going to be shaky and rough, there’s lots of territory suddenly open and land rushes can be violent, but eventually turf will be staked out. (Or not publicly staked out if the coterie is more subtle about things).

    On the relationship between the two: Guilds and coteries can both exist in game, but I feel like there may be a need for a distinction to be made. Guilds are meant for city defense, so if the city is under attack the reserves are called; but if you mess up and botch a feed, you might reach out to the Spine and say “I need someone who can cover up an accident and I’m willing to pay. Who you got?” But it’s not really Spine’s problem. But a coterie might set themselves up as the “Breach Busters” who you know can deal with cleaning messy feeds with body bags, news coverage, and police cover-ups. (Just an example)

    In order to facilitate this, the two things I’ve thought of is decreasing guild controlled areas to a single “hex” on the map, and shiftin the governmental balance.

    An example of decreasing guild control, Spine might control midtown proper, but none of the surrounding areas. This indicates guilds are important enough to control important areas, and hard pressed members might be able to find a meal there once in a while, but they are no substitute for a real coterie.

    The change in governmental balance will happen naturally as the coteries form and wants to seize more power for themselves. Guilds elected guild representatives, but if/when 5 or 6 coteries are vying for the 4 elected seats, the politics of getting someone in becomes much more interesting.

    On xp spends: I think xp spends should be allowed for both coterie and guild things, because power is more than just physical and we see that in the every night role play. If Wes (just and example) has purchased lien 2 for the Spine, he would then have some power over the guild, even if he wasn’t the leader by either deference from others or threat to let the security of the area lapse for the others. (Say by having rumors start running around the area about the other members that would cause problems). This allows for further power dynamics to form, since even if someone holds the “leader” position of the guild they may not truly hold the most power.

    Sorry for the long post, but figured I’d get my two cents in. love hearing what others think about these ideas too!

  • I see a lot of administrative headaches with this, if only in book-keeping.

    I get - and fully embrace - Touchstones. We started with book number (1-3), moved up to 4-6. They play a very important role. but it also means approx. 100-130 to keep track of, which robs them of their impact. I try to personalize mine as best I can, and am gratified by the responses.

    Coteries will be a huge web of participants, publicly or privacy, turfs, assets - rivalries. Plus the overlay of Guilds.

    So the question must be raised - how manageable is this?

    The questions of “not enough xps to go around” will loom. If there’s not enough attention and investment to make the coteries vibrant, then will players decline to join? That’s been an issue in Guilds - resistance to invest because everything is already so expensive and it’s hard to see the payoff as well as the necessity.

    That’s the challenge. I’m absolutely up for it, and will wholeheartedly support whatever goes. I’m already in some, so not really a transition. I’m just trying to anticipate the broader adjustment.

  • Hilt

    @zeke Oh I didn’t mean physical force only. Not at all. I was also thinking of that character, and how the ssystem I was proposing would actually make him more formidable. Would darken it up and all.

  • Hilt


    Give the coteries their own xps.
    Coteries whose members do something cool get 1-3 expees depending on how much they do or whatever. These xp can only be spent on coterie assets.

  • @onyx yea what could be consider cool? Is it good for the coterie or for them selfs

  • Hilt

    @zeke ST discretion. Boom, solved.

  • @onyx well shit everything is always at the mercy of the ST gods

  • Lead Storytellers Administrators

    @onyx I’m not jumping in to stifle any debate, this is all good stuff to air. But I did want to point out that the guilds elect their own leadership with no input from Felicia, so these seats are decided by the members of their respective guilds. Want a seat from any of them? Then take over the leadership of that guild and the responsibilities that entails, because even if there is no work to do at certain points they still need to be ready for whenever there IS something important.

  • Hilt

    @nik 100% agree. Was only thinking that removing Guild seats and giving Coterie seats would both encourage strife and help people move their focus away from the Guilds.

    Big disadvantage to that idea that I see: Makes it harder for ST’s to curate / manahe who is on the council for the good of the story and community. I mean that in the cool way, where I’m grateful that y’all do that for us.

  • Storytellers

    @onyx logistically since the guilds are essentially a function of the city government, it makes sense that they would have a seat on the parliament. Coteries on the other hand, being formed outside of any officially recognized purpose, would not have a guaranteed spot at the table. Any representation on the parliament by a coterie would be obtained from an at large seat (or by a coterie recruiting a guild leader for the purpose of having a say in parliament discussions)

  • Plus there are issues of being public or private that a coterie has and a guild doesn’t. I would suspect a good chunk of coteries WANT some secrecy. You put yourself out in the public spotlight, and rivals know precisely who and what you are - and where.