This timeline contains fictional elements for an equally fictional LARP game of Vampire: The Requiem, run under the banner of the Mind's Eye Society.
Crucibles are the alignment of mystical forces to prompt rapid action and change, even among the normally stagnant kindred. They last for several years and then end, but the norms established during the Crucible carry momentum, shaping kindred behavior and events until the start of the next Crucible.
Actual Crucible: 1620-1628
Six Crucibles ago, Domains came together to form the Parliament, a common organization to craft agreed-upon standards for all kindred of the American colonies. They succeeded to some extent, and the new standards helped to usher in the “Halcyon Era.” Where a larger group of kindred might have failed, falling into squabbling, these founding fathers succeeded.
New standards came into accepted practice, most notably the absolute necessity of paying and owing Boons among kindred society. Those who did not were rejected, setting the groundwork for the basic rules that are accepted even to these nights for all reasonable and sane kindred. Anyone who did not participate in the system of Boons was considered untrustworthy, so to trust such an individual was negligent and naive at best, and treasonous at worst.
Domains were the path to power across the nation, and to be a serious contender for national political power, one had to be a Prince. Covenants were only slightly unnerved, since the vast majority of Princes were strongly loyal to a Covenant, so their power was not seriously threatened.
Actual Crucible: 1773-1777
Five Crucibles ago, things changed. The era of revolution was a powerful one. The previously established standards had taken hold, but the structures were not so firm. Parliament continued to gain power, but the Princes became less and less dependent on the power of their Covenants on a national level.
Invictus Princes rejected orders from their liege lords, and Archbishop Princes cited the Testament’s empowerment of each city with ever-greater frequency. Covenants were rejected like the kings of England by the Americans. Covenants declined; this proved especially frustrating to the two Covenants with the most developed national structures: the Invictus and the Ordo Dracul. Even to these nights, those Covenants seek to reestablish Covenant dominance at the national level. They have not proposed a structure that has been widely accepted, though. If any structure that placed Covenants at the top of the system nationally were to be accepted by the majority of kindred, that could change… especially during a Crucible.
Actual Crucible: 1861-1865
Four Crucibles ago, the power of Princes took another step forward, but the wisdom of the Halcyon Era and the relative unity of that period collapsed. Unity was shattered within the United States, and the kindred society reflected that shattered unity. A single leader took power, rising like a Caesar from the Senate to place himself over all others by late 1862. His power was short-lived, as the second Caesar assassinated the first within three years, just at the end of the Crucible.
This advancement by murder set the tone for the following decades, as Crucibles always do, and the period from 1865 to 1912 was a brutal one. Kindred prohibitions against violence outside of carefully-constructed rituals broke down, and assassinations were seen as a means to power. This was so devastating that the Masquerade was almost broken, repeatedly, especially in rural areas where legends of vampires were more readily accepted. Many of what mortals describe as lynchings were in fact the destruction of kindred, by both kindred rivals and by mortal Hunters who became very well-organized and powerful.
The early Ku Klux Klan had a secret mission to destroy kindred, spurred on by the rampant violence of the era, and the only salvation of the kindred was that the racist sub-group of the KKK took control of the Klan. Had hatred and racism not taken control of that group, they might be the most potent force of Hunters in the world tonight.
In those dark nights, Conspiracies formed, and kindred knew that this era of violence and destruction could not stand. No kindred, no matter how powerful, was safe, and incalculable knowledge and power were lost as enemies burned one-anothers’ histories, diaries, and journals, killed beloved retainers, herd and allies, and beheaded precious Childer or Sires. The horrors of this era cannot be overstated; hundreds of immortals perished and kindred society was almost destroyed in America by threats from within and without.
Kindred, as a whole, swore that they would never again allow violence to become the norm, for fear that it would escalate again as it did in these decades- and this time, kindred society might very well perish. Kindred looked back to the Halcyon Era for guidance, and re-created the Parliament. This time, rather than Princes coming to power, Conspiracies were the prominent force in Parliament. Cities had been burned, physical resources destroyed, allies slain- only information remained, and not much of that. Those with common goals and aspirations banded together to shape the new world.
Actual Crucible: 1912-1917
Three Crucibles ago, things changed. Approximately 1912, American kindred felt a bit more idealistic, more focused on goals they could look forward to rather than fear. Hope began to overcome the exhaustion of the long era of fire, claw, and ash. Powerful kindred leaders met in Parliament, and they set common ground once again. They reaffirmed the commitment to the power of Boons, to the importance of the Traditions, and to the sanctity of Elysium. They exchanged grave vows to never again allow kindred society to try to settle its differences by vendetta or war, but rather to attack and defend socially through rumor and through catspaws.
Those who broke the rules were met with universal opposition. The only acceptable mass destruction was to end the unlives of those who broke the peace. After the troublemakers were destroyed, kindred returned to the Danse. Driven by the painful lessons of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, kindred created an ironclad set of standards that hold even to these nights. The power of their agreement began to weave its way into the magical “lay of the land”, the same undefinable forces that created Crucibles.
This was the beginning of the mystical effect we now call Cadence. Just as the power of the Traditions has become so inculcated in kindred that magical effects come from those Traditions, so it is with Cadence throughout America. By 1917, it was a mystically-enforced law that Clans, Covenants and Conspiracies would compete with one another, but never again would assassination, murder, and violence become the preferred solution. Those young, stupid kindred who tried to carve their path to power with claw and fire were summarily killed, even by their closest allies, as a threat to the overall peace on which the safety of every kindred depended.
Actual Crucible: 1960-1965
Two Crucibles ago, Parliament disbanded as a formal body, no longer holding regular meetings, structure or agendas. The underlying principles had been set into the infrastructure of the country, locked into the minds and bodies of the kindred within the nation, and Parliament was no longer needed for that purpose. Rather than let Parliament become a potentially tyrannical body, it was voted Parliament be resolved. On one hand, that earned those kindred a tremendous amount of respect, as wise, self-sacrificing leaders, willing to place the good of kindred over their own power. On the other hand, it also marked those same leaders as idealistic, perhaps even naive, for sacrificing personal power for the greater good. They are both lauded and derided for that decision even to these nights.
Without a formal structure like Parliament, the Conspiracies became less structured, but perhaps more powerful. These nights, no one knows how many Conspiracies exist. Traditionally, open leaders of conspiracies have been accorded more respect by many kindred than Covenant or Clan leaders – this is in part because of their wisdom, and in part because their numbers and assets are unknown. Attacking a Conspiracy may mean undermining a handful of kindred, or it might mean starting a social conflict against hundreds. Kindred, risk-averse as always, are very wary of the Conspiracies, and give respect rather than risk unnecessary conflict. With the previous dissolution of national covenant structures, Conspiracies remain the primary way for ambitious Kindred to amass a national power base.
Actual Crucible: 1988-1992
While the economy in the U.S. boomed, and the borders were becoming restricted, the citizenry began to take on a new view of heritage. They searched for their roots in order to better define themselves. This culture was reflected within the Kindred population as well. As early Crucibles forged power for the Covenant, City, then Conspiracy, the last Crucible returned focus to something that can’t change once embraced: Clan.
In this era, information networks and connections available through Conspiracies allowed family Dynasties and Lineages to be confirmed, created, or forged. Being able to define these kinds of pedigrees afforded several advantages – ties of loyalty to clan mates, information and teachings passed from generation to generation, and a support structure independent of Covenant or Conspiracy. Though the power of the Clans did not return as strongly as it was in ancient times, the Clan once again became an integral part of the Danse in America.
A five-year Crucible has just begun.
Early Chaos - The Reign of Prince Kerner - The Revolutionary Prince - The House Behind the Throne
While European kindred had passed through the area before, it was not until 1867 that the first permanent European kindred presence was established in Northern Iowa. A Sanctified Nosferatu named Sigurd Poulson established himself in Boone County in that year and for the decades that followed carried out a crusade against the immorality and godlessness that followed the railroads.
In the 1870s, other kindred arrived in small numbers, many carrying with them great aspirations of dominion over these lands only newly populated to such an extent that they could support more than a single kindred.
The conflicts were fierce and often violent. A good number of the fires reported in burgeoning towns between the 1870s and the early 1900s were the result of kindred assaults on one another. Many of the newly-arrived kindred died in the violence of this era and more than a few mortals became hunters after witnessing too much.
At the dawn of a new Crucible, the hostility of the previous era at last ebbed and faded away. The local kindred, tired of the violence, largely united behind an Unconquered Lord named Gerhardt Kerner.
Prince Kerner, in order to cement the peace, bequeathed to each Clan certain territories across Story and Boone counties in perpetuity. Private agreements concerning these deeds are rumored to have been a central part of how Prince Kerner acquired Praxis.
Clan Daeva was given Cerro Gordo County. (1910 Population ~25,000)
Clan Gangrel was given Webster County. (1910 Population ~34,000)
Clan Mekhet was given Story County. (1910 Population ~24,000)
Clan Nosferatu was given Boone County. (1910 Population ~27,000)
Clan Ventrue was given Marshall County. (1910 Population ~30,000)
During the earliest years of the Praxis, kindred affairs were largely centered around the city of Fort Dodge, one of the largest and most rail-accessible cities in the domain.
Prince Kerner's reign was one of peace for the most part. However, in the waning years the changes that had taken place in the mortal world began placing great pressure again upon the local kindred. Territories that were initially of relatively close population and value had changed dramatically.
By the close of WWII, with focus once again returning to local affairs, many of the Clans were clamoring for a reworking of the territories that were supposed to have been awarded in perpetuity. The matter proved a hot topic and one not easily resolved even by Prince Kerner's careful diplomacy. No one wished a return to the violence of the previous era, but a sufficient number were categorically opposed to changing grants that were supposed to have been given in perpetuity.
By the beginning of the early 1960s, with the matter not yet resolved after nearly two decades of discourse and greater inequality than ever in place it seemed that violence might again erupt. This was only foreclosed by the beginning of a new Crucible and Prince Kerner stepping down.
Everything was once again up for grabs.
In the aftermath of Prince Kerner stepping down, a young and charismatic kindred rose to power promising an end to the old ways and old feuds in favor of a new order and greater freedom for the kindred of northern Iowa. It was a time of new hope for many who were discontent with the old order.
This new Prince broke the old deeds that had created such discord, but did not stop there. The Prince advocated for the end of power and influence by Clan or Covenant. This revolution would overturn not just some, but all of the old ways of doing things to make room for something new and modern.
As the changes began to pile up, many came to believe that the new Prince had gone too far, uprooting many of the structures that kept society strong and in place. They formed together a coalition with the intent of overthrowing the new Prince, but were betrayed by one of their own.
In the aftermath of the conspiracies exposure, the Prince promised to route out such counter-revolutionaries who sought to return Northern Iowa to the old ways that had created such discord. The most prominent of the plotters were killed outright, while others were placed into torpor or burdened with great debts to the Prince.
Over the years that followed, the Prince became more and more paranoid and tyrannical, seeing plots to overthrow the new order even where they did not exist. A number of purges took place and even some of those closest and most loyal to the Prince were slain.
By the 1980s it was clear to the kindred of Northern Iowa that something must be done. Too many had died or been placed in torpor for no real cause that it was a greater threat to do nothing than to simply wait to be destroyed capriciously anyway. In 1988, this coalition at long last put down the Mad Prince and paved the way for a new order.
In the aftermath of the destruction of the Mad Prince, there was great uncertainty as to who should take charge and how much of the changes instituted by the former Prince should be retained. Within a few years almost all of the changes had been reversed with a new conservative insistence on the stability of the old ways and how they had worked for kindred for centuries.
Still, no one Prince was allowed great power. Indeed, the Praxis changed hands regularly over the past 25 years. Quiet deals were worked behind the scenes though and even though no one Prince held power for long, it became clear that those of a particular House or those indebted to them were the only ones who were allowed to hold Praxis. Rather than a very public and prominent control, the domain had come to be quietly managed by those of common blood and allegiance.
A new Crucible has arrived with the dawn of a new year. Whether the quiet hands behind the throne can retain power in a time that promises great upheaval remains to be seen.
Cassandra's Conquest - Dynastic Rule - The Tyrant Prince - Instability
Northern Iowa was a lawless land prior to the arrival of Cassandra and her Childer. A very few kindred preyed upon the railroad workers, traders, and early immigrants, but there was no society among those kindred.
Cassandra arrived in 1870 with two Childer and declared the lands and towns that dotted the region her own. For the first few decades the claim was one without backing. Yet over those few decades Cassandra's brood grew in number and set deep roots in the region's burgeoning cities. Conflicts arose between the independent kindred across the land and this fledgling establishment which led to deaths on both side. By 1911 though, all of the independent kindred of northern Iowa had been driven out, destroyed, or brought under the Cassandra's yoke.
Once Cassandra and her brood had absolutely dominion over the kindred of the land, a time of apparent peace came to the domain. The peace was not as it seemed though. With all other kindred driven out, destroyed, or brought under the yoke, Cassandra's childer and grand-childer began to turn upon their own.
Cassandra herself, content that she had brought a place where her family could rule and be secure for a time, went into eclipse in 1920, turning the Praxis over to one of the two Childer she originally arrived with. That Praxis did not last long though as Cassandra's other Childe plotted and seized the throne, placing their broodmate in torpor alongside Cassandra.
In the decades that followed Cassandra's line found itself divided among the Covenants and often plotted along those lines. Confident of the security of their family and its blood, their other interests arose as more driving matters for the danse macabre. A series of five Princes came and went, all of Cassandra's line. This lasted until change came again to northern Iowa with the fall of the last Prince of Cassandra's blood, now known across the domain as the Tyrant Prince.
The kindred now only known as the Tyrant seized Praxis in 1964. The Tyrant was a grandchilder of Cassandra and a fierce proponent of shaking up the old order that had made the family line complacent. The Tyrant feared that with the family so intent upon their own internal feuds, the kindred not of Cassandra's line were growing too powerful and would eventually threaten the family.
The Tyrant clamped down on family and non-family alike. They brutally imposed order, ending some of the feuds that plagued the region, but pushing some even deeper under ground. And while the Tyrant brought the semblance of peace, their heavy hand eventually brought about exactly what they feared the most.
Kindred continued to arrive throughout this period as many of the cities of the domain swelled in population. This new influx, mixed with others who had remained or come under the yoke of Cassandra's line during the decades of their dominance, made the ruling family a clear and distinct minority.
Under heavy leash and prone to being violently removed, these other kindred came together across clan and covenant lines to plot and overthrow of Cassandra's line. This they accomplished in 1987. In addition to the death of the Tyrant, many others of Cassandra's line were routed out, dug up, and put out to meet the sun. Whether Cassandra herself met this fate or not is unclear.
With the Tyrant overthrown and Cassandra's line uprooted from the land, the kindred of northern Iowa were free to establish a new order, but the nature of that new order proved elusive.
From 1987 to 2013, covenant has vied with covenant and clan with clan for dominance of the domain. Some experiments with rule under alternative models than Princeship have risen and fallen just as quickly. Everything has been tried, but nothing has succeeded for long.
As a new Crucible dawns in 2013, can the kindred of Northern Iowa break from the dysfunctional pattern of chaos that has overcome the domain and establish some new order? If so, what will it be? If not, what fate lies in store for the kindred of the land? And what if Cassandra and her line are not entirely as gone as they appear?
Native Kindred - Early Conflict - Uneasy Peace - Open War - A Cold War
Long before the arrival of European kindred to these parts, there were native kindred. These kindred moved among and between the native Americans of the land as living legends. Theirs was not a unified and codified society in the same fashion as the European kindred. Many Native stories may point directly to kindred or even stranger things.
The changes that occurred in these lands was tremendous during this time. Native Americans were increasingly driven from the region or bottled up on reservations. Immigrants flooded and transformed the land. With the mortal immigrants came kindred immigrants, first one or two, but eventually more.
The Native kindred were largely not inclined to abandon their lands, nor bend knee to the newcomers. They did not know or accept the Traditions of the kindred immigrants and lived largely as they wished. This led to great conflict.
It was during this time that some of the native kindred began to undertake the Second Death and become Sta-Au (Ancient Bloodlines pg. 31). A few sacred places became tainted by this process, transforming into the Land of Worms. These Twice-Dead accepted the burden of the Second Death in order to protect the native kindred who remained.
During these years many Native kindred were killed, and so too were many of the immigrants. The immigrant kindred had to work very hard to maintain the Masquerade in the face of the Native kindred. Many were the mortals who learned of the supernatural during these years. Indeed, it was the mortal awareness--and the danger that came with it--that brought change.
By the start of 1912, mortal hunters posed a grave threat to all the kindred of northern Iowa, native and immigrant alike. The native kindred had found that the mortal immigrants did not accept that the living legends had a place in the world as the Native Americans had. These mortals came with fire and in large numbers to burn out anything supernatural that threatened their dominion.
The kindred immigrants were likewise nearly overcome by this time by the rise of hunters who had seen too much and become too knowledgeable because of the conflicts of the previous several decades. Whole families and secret organizations hunted kindred with no concern as to whether they were native or of their own stock.
These dangers led to the establishment of a formal peace between the native and immigrant kindred in 1912. The native kindred agreed to accept at least the First Tradition and both sides went into hiding as best they could hoping to outlast the memory of those mortals who plagued both their sides.
The world did not remain still during this time period though and both sides wound up in occasional conflict. More often than not this came through the growth of the population of incoming kindred and their desire to quietly manipulate and control the growing mortal masses as they spread across the land, even further dwindling the territories the native kindred could hold apart.
Eventually, the peace would come to an end...
In 1960, a new Prince arose among the immigrant kindred who thought to extend their Praxis upon all of northern Iowa, including the lands that had been left to the native kindred in agreements made decades before. Many of the hunters were gone, or at least diluted and lost amid the masses. With the great swelling of kindred population among the immigrants, the Prince thought that surely they could handle what few native kindred remained.
The Prince and senior members of the Court struck first, boldly laying claim to towns that had for long been left to the native kindred. At first there was no resistance and it seemed that whatever native kindred were left would simply roll over or flee entirely. This theory was disproved in 1962 when the right hand of the Prince was slain and numerous other attacks against the Prince's kindred took place as well.
Where the Prince had looked for open and easy conflict, the native kindred had prepared to mount a brutal insurgency, attacking from hiding with an endless string of sabotage and opportunistic attacks against any resource left unguarded. Mortal connections were targeted as well as less powerful kindred themselves. Only occasionally would the native kindred surface for something like an open fight and all such confrontations occurred on their terms.
It also became clear in the years that followed that the native kindred were not alone. They had cultivated allies among other native supernaturals in preparation for such a betrayal. These allies proved instrumental in using strange powers and abilities that the kindred had limited experience with. Still, for all the native strikes against the Prince and Praxis, inroads were being made in exerting some dominion over the previously off-limits lands.
By the mid-1980s, the war between kindred and others had once again raised the attention of mortals. It turned out that not all of the secret societies which knew of the kindred had died out over the past few generations. Some remained and with the new exposure that inevitably happened during the war, these hunters took the opportunity to strike, claiming lives on both sides.
In response to the renewal of hunter attacks on both sides, as well as the damages inflicted upon both sides, the war petered out by the late 1980s. No formal peace was established and some incidents still occur every year or two, however there is no longer an open war.
Whether the cold war of the past quarter centery can endure with the arrival of a new Crucible is far from clear...
The Secret Academy - Civilization Arrives - The Schism - Pax
A coterie of three kindred arrived in Northern Iowa in the summer of 1861, seeking refuge from the turmoil of human warfare and of kindred upheaval during a Crucible. The three were members of the Ordo Dracul, dedicated to advancing the Great Work. They sought the peace of these relatively uninhabited lands in order to engage in their studies without distraction.
The three formed what would become the Zalmoxis Academy, named after a transformative figure in Romanian mythology. The Zalmoxis Academy would be dedicated to the Wallachian Rite, adhering strictly to the Rites of the Dragon.
In adherence with the examples set down by Dracula in the Rites of the Dragon, Academy members were required to hide themselves as unaligned kindred, or members of other covenants. The most certain way to keep the Great Work safe is to not acknowledge even the presence of the Ordo Dracul as a covenant.
All went well for the first few decades, with the small coterie hiding its presence to those few kindred who stumbled through, but by the start of the 20th century the previously empty lands were filling with settlers and with them came even more kindred. Times were changing and the Zalmoxis Academy would have to change with them.
Shortly after the dawning of the 20th century, kindred had become common enough in the lands of Northern Iowa that the danse macabre began in earnest. A Prince rose, claiming the lands for his own and kindred accepted his praxis. Over the course of this period, several Princes reigned, but it was clear that civilization had taken root in what was once a frontier.
The Zalmoxis Academy slowly gained members during this period, whether they were childer of the founders or newcomers recruited to advance the Great Work. What all shared was secrecy and orthodoxy. The Dragons of the Zalmoxis Academy did not proclaim themselves as such, hiding among the other covenants or claiming to be unaligned.
During this period of growth and the expansion of covenant and clan contests across the region, the Zalmoxis Academy faced its first real test. At times its members found themselves at odds with each other within the Court, caught up in political affairs. The Great Work was not the sole interest and affair of Academy members.
The Sworn of the Mysteries attempted to mitigate these new concerns. It was decreed that no member of the Zalmoxis Academy could hold a position as Officer of the Court for that would be an even greater distraction from the Great Work. Academy members were encouraged to stay out of the affairs of the danse macabre as much as possible.
While the decree worked for many years, some felt stifled by this policy and believed that it was only through assertion of their collective influence that the Academy could secure the necessary resources and independence to truly focus on the Great Work. This faction within the Academy would eventually move to create change in both the Academy and across all of Northern Iowa.
With the dawning of a new Crucible, the faction within the Zalmoxis Academy desiring change thought that their time was at hand. Three of their members worked together quietly and wound up securing important positions within the Court in 1963, violating the decree of the senior Sworn of the Mysteries.
This open challenge brought great conflict within the Academy. Those who had attained political power refused to relinquish it and used their new found influence on behalf of the Academy, though the maneuvers remained secret. Negotiations were attempted, but failed. Threats were made on both sides, with those who had taken political power threatening to break from secrecy and establish a new and open Academy if it came to it.
The Grand Wyrm of the Academy, the eldest of the founding three stepped in at long last. The Grand Wyrm had kept out of the affairs for the most part, focusing on overseeing the running of the Academy and their personal studies rather than dealing with internal politics. Now the Grand Wyrm decreed that the schismatics would remain under the Zalmoxis Academy, yet would be allowed to carry out their experiment for a span of 25 years, ending in 1990, so long as the secrecy of the Academy was preserved, after which the full impact would be evaluated. All parties accepted, even if some did so begrudgingly.
The political backing, however private, did bring new opportunities to the Zalmoxis Academy during this time, but it also drew new attention to its more politically active members. In 1978 one of the three original schismatics was ousted as a member of the Ordo Dracul infiltrating the Invictus. Many questions were asked and it was only the Academy's own private intervention (and the destruction of the exposed individual) that saved the Academy from broad public exposure.
Despite this the experiment continued on, though it did so with considerably greater caution. The public response from Academy members was that there were no Dragons in Northern Iowa, nor were they welcome particularly after their infiltration of one of the four covenants present and the thefts of its secrets.
Not all kindred of the domain believed that the slain individual had acted, or was, alone. The suspicions of other kindred were aroused and would endure to the modern night.
In 1990 the Zalmoxis Academy reviewed the experiment in full. A compromise was reached whereby some select few would be allowed to involve themselves in external kindred politics, but they would do so at the cost of great personal risk and regular scrutiny from other members of the Academy for any risks that might be posed to the Academy itself.
With the Schism officially ended, the Zalmoxis Academy reached a new state of peace. Each Dragon was encouraged to take up an Oath as soon as they progressed to a reasonable place in their studies. The Axe oversaw security for the Academy, the Dying Light carried out the bulk of the research, and the Mysteries handled policy for the Academy.
Two of the original founders of the Zalmoxis Academy slipped into torpor voluntarily during this period of peace and stability, leaving only the original Grand Wyrm awake. The Grand Wyrm grew tired though and with the stirring of a new Crucible decided it was time for them to enter eclipse as well as part of their personal study.
The next few years will again be a time of change for the Zalmoxis Academy. What will come of it remains to be seen.