Imagine, walking on a moonlight night, the faint lines of an old path guiding your steps. You come across an odd stone, one that seems out of place. Picking it up, you realize that you are standing among the ruins of an ancient civilization. You are filled with wonder as to who these people were and what great things they had achieved.
For those of our kind old enough, this is a matter of memory and not one of speculation. But, we may admire even so the efforts of mortals who with their brief lives seek knowledge and bring enlightenment across the ages.
It seems fitting then, on a night of such import to our Society that we contemplate and honor the birth and death of one was a Father of the Renaissance, and often called Father of Humanism. Perhaps it will inspire those whose earnest deliberations and votes will shape the next era of kindred existence.
This is the theme for the Salon of the Blood Conclave - A literary salon. A celebration of Petrarch - his contributions to history as a seeker of truth, a crafter of words and a man of enduring devotion.
Details for Contemplation
Italian Francesco Petrarch, Poet Laureate of Rome, was born July 20, 1304 and died July 19, 1374. Unlike his contemporaries who told tales of the feats of the past or myths of great conquests, Petrarch's sonnets focused on the emotions - the idea that life is about the living, not the past or the future.
On April 23, 1327, Petrarch fell in unrequited love with a woman who he saw walking to mass. A married woman to whom he never spoke a word of his feeling. Even after her death during the Black Plague of 1348, he continued to write sonnets about her. The collection of his works, the Canzoniere, has fallen out of favor in modern times. As has the Petrarch Sonnet given way to that of Shakespeare.
Literary-mind kindred often find themselves debating as to which is the preeminent form. One goal of this night's festivities will be to resolve this centuries old argument by the casting of ballots. Each attendee will be eligible to participate.
Art on Display
Madeleine Tonnerre, Daughter of Cacophony & Luminary, will grace the Salon with her voice.
Thomas Rankin, Toreador of Phoenix has donated a handcrafted book of Shakespeare's sonnets, enhanced with his particular gifts, which will be one of the Prizes awarded for winners of the Poet's Challenge.
Jentry Nix, Toreador & Advocate of Portland, brings a show piece of her Tattoo work for all to admire.
Marianne Dashwood, Brujah & Ambassador, will see if the atmosphere will inspire her to sing.
Templar Serenity Crane, Toreador & Sabbat, intends to provide a display of her photography from previous years. I am advised that viewing this may help individual kindred to better appreciate the value of Humanitas.
Play a Part - Challenges and Symbels
In keeping with the theme of this Salon, there will be several outlets for kindred to join in the celebration and seek tangible recognition offered by Patrons of this event. Some awards are listed below, other await revelation as the Salon approaches and during the event itself. What is a stylish gathering without a measure of mystery?
Do you aspire to be known among society as a master of the written word? Then accept this challenge:
Craft a sonnet in the form of your preference. You may choose from any of these topics: longing, desire, love or loss. Can you stir a memory of emotion with the eloquence of your writing?
Bring three copies of your sonnet to the salon. Judges will read, deliberate and select the best of all entries. The winning submission will be archived with the event's formal records. Preserved for ages to come when kindred reflect on the history of the Blood Conclave. In addition, the gift of a masterwork - created for this salon, imbued with most appropriate qualities will be delivered onto the Premiere choice of the judges.
Can you capture an audience with your voice? Do you have the confidence to make the effort? Then accept this challenge:
Seek either those who last took breath before 1600 AD or kindred who act as the Boonkeeper in their home city. Read or Recite a Sonnet of Petrarch or Shakespeare. If you find favor in their eyes they will grant you a token. The three kindred who accumulate the most tokens will take with them a prize of merit upon the conclusion of the evening.
Copies of Petrarch's Sonnets will be available in the Salon. You may pick one out if the impulse comes over you or choose one already dear to your heart and bring it with you to Tombstone. You may select more than one sonnet to share in the evening.
Those youngest in the blood are also the closest to their memories of Humanitas. To those neonates who are not of Sabbat affiliation, and currently hold no position, a Challenge of performance is offered:
Show those assembled a 'Taste of Greatness to Come'. The Conclave Salon is a stage for those who claim it. Will you be the Neonate who by superior quality of expression - as opposed to content - during your chosen performance in their field of skill, impresses the Harpy sitting as judge?
Elder Prince of Montreal, Thaddeus Moreau, sponsors this challenge and offers to the winner a non-transferrable Blood Boon.
Symbel of the Catty Tongue
Are you equal to the best talespinners in Society? Do you strive to fulfill the motto, "If you can't say anything nice, come sit next to me." Enter into this Symbel:
The Salon is where reputations are made and lost. One Kindred who proves the best, plausible rumor (or less excitingly a true secret), sharing their bon mot with one of the Tower Harpies present will win recognition as a Scandalmonger of exceeding skill.
Elder Prince of Washington D.C., Lin Huang sponsors this Ordeal. The Camarilla kindred who wins will enjoy the benefits of status awarded as is our custom. If the winner is of another affiliation, an appropriate tangible award will be granted.
The Symbel of Humanism
Are you a kindred who has recovered part of your soul? Or do you know the story of another who is such? Enter into this challenge.
Character is what you are in the dark. The Harpies seek a kindred to hold up as a role model of redemption. The best story of a vampire who has walked up the path of Humanitas. Enhance your chance of winning if you include a revelation, all unknown to others until this night.
Elder Brujah, Ezra of the Vanguard sponsors this Ordeal. The Camarilla kindred who wins will enjoy the benefits of status awarded as is our custom. If the winner is of another affiliation, an appropriate tangible award will be granted.
Boons on offer to those who impress in the challenges laid forth include the following individuals of note: Prince Amyntas, Luminary Elder Anadia Hughes, Prince Olaf Magnusson, Malkavian Elder Francis Sargent.
Courtesies of the Salon
If the Harpy records an offer of prestation from one kindred to another as an apology for bad manners or violation of our social mores while in the walls of the Salon, this same guest will also pay Prince Amyntas a boon for impugning his hospitality and breaking the peace of this social event.
All kindred, regardless of sect, path or philosophy are welcome to be present in with-in the confines of the Salon. That invitation will be swiftly and firmly revoked, with prejudice, by delegates of the Head of Conclave security. Along with banishment from the Salon, the individual in question will owe the Primus Inter Pares and the Royal Harpy the appropriate Prestation required to forgive the social faux pas.
The disparate philosophies and beliefs of those in attendance may strain the self-control of more intemperate individuals. Know that all kindred are welcome with in the confines of Salon - so long as they respect the peaceable intent of the gathering. Not Elysium, there are no barriers initiating an act of violence but there will be consequences of significance that unfold.
Should you have questions, you are invited to contact myself or any of the Patrons of the Salon.
If you maintain the old ways and forms, I will receive notification of your planned attendance with pleasure.
Curator, The Petrarchean Salon
Harpy, City of the Violet Crown
Harpy, the Blood Conclave in Tombstone
Malkavian, House Llyenddiaethau
House Llyenddiaethau, Matriarch - Anadia Hughes
Elder Prince of Montreal Thaddeus Moreau, House and Clan Tremere
Elder Prince of Washington D.C. Lin Huang, Clan Nosferatu
Elder Ezra of the Vanguard, Clan Brujah
Seneschal Amira Kanaan, Clan Assamite
Toreador, Jesse Callaghan III of Kansas City
Toreador, Jentry Nix of Portland, Tattoo Artist
Toreador, Thomas Rankin of Phoenix, Bookcrafter
Boon Keepers in Attendance
Ambassador of San Diego, CA - Marianne Dashwood. Acting as principal arbiter with the Anarch Movement
Confirmed Intention to be Present in Tombstone, AZ
Harpy of Charleston - Dicky Coughlin, Clan Brujah
Harpy of Seattle - Brenda Battlesea, Clan Malkavian
Harpy of Orange County - Merry Johansson, Clan Brujah
Harpy of San Francisco - Cecily Jasper, Clan Tremere
Ambassador of Brooklyn - Kyle Morgan
Confirmed Intention to be Present in Phoenix, AZ
Harpy of Phoenix - Judith Anderson, Clan Tremere
Harpy of San Domingo - Amir I. Aurelius, Clan Assamite
Harpy of Richmond - Namurr, Clan Assamite
Ambassador of Case Grande - John O'Malley
Wanna Have Some Fun?
The goal of this Salon is to offer an inclusive framework that will create moments of RP for all the players present. To that end:
Would your PC like to suggest a Symbel or Activity to be add to the Salon?
Would your PC like to be a Judge or prize-granter for one of the contests?
Does your PC have a deep, abiding desire to be one of the more visible Co-Hosts?
Does your House want to step up and be a Patron of this curated Salon?
(Remember there is risk along with potential reward for high visibility roles!)
If you would like to have your PC sponsor a Symbel at Conclave, but are looking for a theme-appropriate idea - or just any idea, here are two concepts currently open to IC Sponsors to put up the Status reward....
"Character is what you are in the dark."
If your PC would like to sponsor part of the Symbel of Humanism (see the Challenges & Symbels section above) for a specific group (i.e. Clan or best Neonate, etc.) please email me. Niche Sponsors for the Ordeal are welcomed.
"If you can't say anything nice, come sit next to me."
If your PC would like to be a patron for part of the Symbel of the Catty Tongue (see the Challenges & Symbels section above) for a specific group (IA, Anarchs, etc.) - in terms of a reward or boon, please email me.
Thanks to Eric Mattson for helping to craft these two RP ideas.
A Game That Anyone Can Play
Do you portray an opinionated PC who wants to pick a side, or argue for arguments sake?
During the Salon there will be opportunity for every kindred present to cast a ballot for Petrarch or Shakespeare (as referenced IC above) with a goal of determining who the collective group finds to be the master poet.
The outcome of this vote is also the subject of a "Betting Book" (which is an OOC system for IC story development.)
Each player who wants to bet on the outcome of the Poet's vote signs up with a boon level of their choice and chooses between Petrarch and Shakespeare. We'll match up people as long we have unpaired participants on both sides, but if you want to find a Betting partner on your own, that's keen. From there, you are invited to craft the story of your 'difference of opinion' - does this cause an old argument to bubble up? Did you come to blows in the weeks just before the Salon when the theme was announced? Will you throw down in defense of your chosen side in the Salon proper? Does your PC simply have no idea who these two dudes are, but if So-and-So likes them they really must suck - and you are being contrary on principle?
At the evening's end the PC on the winning side gets the boon put up by their opposition partner.
And... there are no rules about how you influence people to cast their votes. Call in lessor debts, pay them out right, cajole, influence, beg. Get creative. The idea is to have a game influenced by everyone which creates intimate impact when it comes to the results. Participation in the "Betting Book" option is entirely voluntarily, as is casting a ballot.
Want to have a member of the opposite sect owe you a debt? Here's the chance to make it happen - documented and undeniable in the Harpy's records. You can enter into as many pair-offs as you like.
"Betting Book" Sign ups are being managed on this google sheet.
If you as a player have ideas that can enhance this event or if you are having trouble figuring out how to get involved, please send me an email to the address above and we can brainstorm together. This offer is also open to players of Non-Camarilla PCs where a plausible backstory can be developed (with ST approval of course).
Players who want to help organize and take ownership of an aspect of this Salon are welcome to join the FB planning group Salon