For those who are interested in role playing a character they have never played before because they don't have the opportunity to read one of the WOD core books, or even just for quick reference, here are guides to the common-most concepts and setting information for the various spheres and sub-spheres that we support on TRB.
So You Want To Be A Vampire?
Welcome to the guide to playing a Vampire. You're reading this because you're interested in becoming one of Caine's childer on The Rock Bottom, and we are glad you do. This guide will lead you along the path to becoming the newest bloodsucker on the block, and some general ideas on how to RP their cloak-and-dagger existence.
The Traditions are the rules that Masquerade/Camarilla/Vampire society is obligated to for existing. Consider them your Ten Commandments, only, there are six of them.
1. The Masquerade
Do not reveal to mortals that you are a vampire, or that they even exist.
2. The Domain
If you have a Domain (if you lord over a territory), then others must respect you within your Domain.
3. The Progeny
You cannot sire another vampire unless you have permission from your elders, on penalty of death of yourself and your childe.
4. The Accounting
You are responsible in full for your childer. Their sins are yours to endure.
Honor one another's domain. When you go into a new city, arrange for a meeting with the one who claims that city as their domain and introduce yourself. This courtesy is not an option.
Unless you are an Elder, you have no right to call a blood hunt.
History of Vampires
With your character being (presumably) a new vampire, they may or may not know, roughly, the following:
Caine (with an 'e') was the first Vampire. This indeed refers to the Biblical Cain, though in this reality Caine's specific curse was vampirism. Caine was intensely powerful, unfathomably so, and just as crushingly lonely. He sired a trio of vampires who we refer to as Antediluvians, which means pre-flood. These vampires are also known as second generation vampires, because they are one step away from Caine. The vampires these three sired, then, are 3rd Generation. Each generation removed from Caine (up to 16, but 14th Generation is when we get into 'thin blood') is slightly less powerful than the last.
Caine cursed the Antediluvians who are responsible for the clans and bloodlines that exist today. Each specific clan got a specific curse: the Malkavians are all incurably insane, the Nosferatu all detestably hideous as a physical reflection of their Curse.
Now let's introduce the idea of Gehenna, or the end of the world. Antediluvians are rumored by legend to be in a torpor to last ages, and when they rise, they will be hungry. Insatiably hungry and intensely powerful, and they will frenzy until they slake their bottomless thirst. Scary thought. To make matters worse, Caine is going to come back, judge all vampires, and mete out his justice and his fury on every last sorry son of a bitch who is around those fateful nights. This mythology is regarded by the Camarilla as little more than just that — stories. The Camarilla thinks that this whole idea of Gehenna is simply preposterous, and that one's vampiric forefathers should rise up as some kind of all powerful bogeyman is just as ridiculous, simply a lesser-educated vampires' misguided attempts at defining and shaping religion for themselves just as would any human to work 'sense' into their lives.
The Camarilla is an institution of vampires that enforces the Traditions you can read about above and maintains the Masquerade. They are a sect that has been around for ages and ages and they have a hierarchy designed to keep a close reign on all of their subjects. Even as a neonate you will have heard of the Camarilla and even been recruited into it (because you're a part of it whether you like it or not: other vampires cannot afford your mistakes).
Vampires lived with humans pretty alright, until the Inquisitions rolled into town. Those are exactly what they sound like. These days, the Masquerade is vehemently protected: conceal your identity as immortal, or meet Final Death.
The Beast: The Beast refers to the wonderful new horrible monster infused into your mentality and instincts when you are sired. Vampires are predators by the very fiber of their nature, and the Beast is pure, gnashing instinct. It is what drives a vampire to fall into torpor during the day, to feed, and also to frenzy.
Humanity: In its simplest sense, 'humanity' refers to your own moral code. Don't lie, steal, cheat, hurt other people — the usual. When you have what amounts to a murderous sociopath gnawing at your instincts, though, humanity is not an issue to be taken lightly. Because the experience of an embrace and adjusting to unlife is so very different and jarring, vampires usually aspire to the only moral and ethical code they ever knew (their humanity) and try to adhere to it.
Generation: Your 'Generation' refers to how far removed you are from Caine, the first vampire. If Caine sires Zillah, then Zillah is a 2nd generation vampire. If Zillah sires Bob, then Bob is 3rd Generation vampire. So on, and so forth. Each time a vampire is sired and the generation waxes, the raw potential of that specific new vampire wanes. Vampires made in present-day are usually 13th Generation. Recently, there have been 14, 15, and even 16th generation vampires, but their blood is 'thin' and they exhibit signs of being human, down to a heartbeat, in some cases. They are considered by some as a sign of the oncoming apocalypse, and some of these thin bloods even have visions of the same.
Camarilla: The Camarilla is an institution of vampires that enforces the Traditions you can read about above and maintains the Masquerade. They are a sect that has been around for ages and ages and they have a hierarchy designed to keep a close reign on all of their subjects. Even as a neonate you will have heard of the Camarilla and even been recruited into it (because you're a part of it whether you like it or not: other vampires cannot afford your mistakes). They do not believe in Antediluvians or Gehenna officially and even ridicule those who admit to do so.
Sabbat: The Sabbat could easily be considered a cult, and where it lacks the structure that the Camarilla has, the fervor and fanatacism to be found in it makes up for it all. The Sabbat is an organization that strives to prepare the world for Caine's return so that it may serve and fight alongside him when the Time of Judgement strikes. They fear the Antediluvians' return and intend to destroy them.
Anarch: Anarch is a name more or less given to the Anarchs rather than chosen by them. This political group is one who could give a damn about the Camarilla and doesn't respect or appreciate its 'you're with us or you're against us' attitude, all the while finding the Sabbat's fanatacism (or really anything else about it) entirely off-putting. The difference between Anarchs and Autarkis (those with no sect) is that they work together and, for them, the red carpet should not be funnel shaped: the Anarchs don't believe in the overstructured social hierarchy that Masquerade society would prefer and strives to have its kindred equal.
Autarkis: An Autarkis is not a sect, but it is an 'alliance', to to speak. It is one of yourself, and only yourself. Being autarkis is dangerous because you have no one to turn to, and people are going to want to know why you choose to hoof the nights alone. It's freeing, nonetheless, because you have no one to answer to.