This page should contain the basics of everything a vampire should know to not get killed for being rude.
Entering New Territory
Moving through the world as a vampire is a complicated matter and restricted by more than just traveling at night or inside a sealed box. It is a dance of politics, of submission and challenge. Generally speaking, moving into a new territory is done by first calling ahead and arranging permission to enter a Master's City/territory. This can be as simple as asking to come ahead, or as complicated as making deals to pacify the Master of the City first. The latter is generally used when your power is could be considered to rival that of the MotC or you represent some faction that could rival the MotC. Those who do not first negotiate their entry may find a chilly reception by the local Kiss, and possibly be hunted to death, a real death, for their breach of protocol.
This applies to all vampires who may spend time in a given MotC's domain, regardless of if they're Master vampires or Standard vampires. It makes sense from an altruistic standpoint, since a MotC can hardly protect those individuals they do not know about. It also makes sense from a more personal standpoint, since the MotC hardly wants to get blamed for some 'wet behind the teeth' whippersnapper (or crazy old redneck vampire that's never been in a city) running around chewing folks' heads off after breezing into town on the red-eye Greyhound bus.
The Church of Eternal Life also prefers early contact, mainly to prevent invoking the local MotC's wrath. Although the CoEL does provide Sanctuary for those who request it, they will hardly allow some loophole to force them to harbor a known criminal.
The Vampire Oath
Steeped in legend and mystery, the vampire oath is an exchange of fealty between a Master of the City and those of the Kiss who are staying in his territory. The general belief is that a non-master vampire will become a revenant, or cease to be able to live, unless they are oathed to a Master vampire. This oath allows them to rise at dusk and helps keep the Hunger controllable. The truth is something stranger, still.
What is accepted as utter truth is that without this oath, a MotC is free to seek out and have killed those vampires in his territory that have refused the oath. If you plan to be in the city for any length of time, and have not made arrangements otherwise (Before coming, joining the Church of Eternal Life, etc), then you are at risk of serious consequences.
Again, this practice helps prevent any rogue vampires from running amok (or local vampires from secretly going rogue).
How to Greet Someone More Powerful
Another step in the complicated dance of everyday vampiric life comes in the subtle signs of acknowledging another as more powerful than yourself. This does not just deal with the amount of cold, vampiric power that animates the vampire's corpse; It can involve official position in the Kiss, force of will, or even force of strength. Generally speaking, a vampire should find a way to expose their throat to more powerful vampire, as a sign of respect.
Although the CoEL doesn't follow the throat-exposing pattern, they do expect some degree of humility and respect for each other (and are willing to provide whatever social habits non-church vampires might expect of them for civility's sake).
Not Talking About Vamp Business in Public
Talking about Kiss or CoEL business where the public might overhear it is a giant NO. Members of the Kiss can be very secretive about their goings on, and this is only partially because of the questionable legality of some of the inner workings. Those who are found to be discussing Kiss business in public, or sharing things with those not trusted, are likely to find themselves on the wrong end of a MotC's sense of swift and strict justice.
Equally, the CoEL would prefer to be thought of as a Christian church that just happens to have vampires in their flock, instead of some vampire clubhouse. It should not be unexpected for them to suggest acts of penance for transgressors, or even excommunicate an individual, thus leaving them to the MotC's mercies (or lack thereof).
What Taking a Pomme de Sang Means
A Pomme de Sang, or Apple of Blood, is someone that a vampire has declared their protection over and taken as a source of frequent food. A Pomme de Sang is considered to be off limits for vampire feeding from any save the one who declared them Pomme, or one that has been given permission. Feeding from another's PdS, even an alternate feeding, is a challenge to the authority and power of the vampire that declared the Pomme de Sang.
While there is no limit on how many PdSs one may have, it should always be remembered that for each PdS, the vampire is expected to protect and care for them, and this often means in a monetary way as well. It has become customary that one approve their Pommes with the MotC before declaring them. PdS's are often given a higher standing in the Kiss than regular non-vampires.
The Church of Eternal Life does not practice this. In the CoEL's eyes, all humans who are willing to donate to the cause are effectively PdSs for all church vampires, yet all who are willing to donate to the cause are free to assist non-church vampires. As such, they don't call dibs on folks' necks.
What a Human Servant Means in the Culture.
Human Servants follow some of the same rules as a Pomme de Sang. However, a Human Servant should be treated as the vampire they are bound to, with all the respect and authority that comes with. A Human Servant has shared a vampire's life force and with it the benefits and risks of being bound to an undead being. If the Vampire dies, the HS usually dies. If the HS dies, they can take the Master with them. For all intents and purposes in the Kiss, a Human Servant is as much the vampire who made them as his own hand might be.
And much like with PdSs, the Church of Eternal Life generally frowns on marking humans or shifters as Human Servants. The more logical minded don't care for the idea of one person being eternally beholden to another person; Some of the more spiritual minded go so far as to theorize that Marked people were the Nephilim that invoked God's wrath and led to the Flood.
Things Worthy of an Automatic +Warn
The following actions are worthy of an automatic +warn and may bring about consequences to your character that include a gruesome death. Please be aware of these things, and understand how they may affect your character.
- Being in the City without prior approval and not belonging to Kiss or Church.
- Openly defying the MotC (including defying the MotC's known orders)
- Mouthing off to officers of the Kiss
- Vamp business discussed in public