Elysium

Elysium is not a Tradition of Caine, though it’s a tradition that goes back to even before the Convention of Thorns and the formation of the Camarilla. An Elysium is an area of the city—typically a building, but sometimes an area as large as a few blocks—declared to be a neutral ground for Kindred to meet and transact business. Since the tangled web of domains can result in even a brief chat in a corner coffee shop causing someone to take offense, Elysium serves a critical role in the Camarilla. It offers everyone, from powerful warriors to venal politicians, a place to interact without worrying about being attacked or violating someone’s Domain. Every city has at least one Elysium, while larger cities may have several.

No matter where it’s located, an Elysium is considered a part of the Prince’s domain that’s defined, openly declared, and administered by the Keeper of Elysium. Elysium has but two rules: no violence is permitted, and no destruction of art is permitted. The former rule is common sense, while the latter is a tradition largely promoted and enforced by the Toreador over the last several centuries.

As with all Kindred laws, of course, the rules of Elysium can be bent by enterprising Kindred. While some forms of violence are quite obvious—one simply can’t throw a punch in Elysium and expect to get away unscathed—more subtle forms, such as the application of Disciplines, may remain undetected. More importantly, though, the definition of “violence” is up to the Keeper of Elysium, who has wide latitude to decide if, for instance, using Auspex to detect those with Obfuscate is “violence” in a particular circumstance, or if a punch isn’t “violence” if it doesn’t cause any long-term injury. As for the prohibition on destroying art, if the Keeper isn’t a Toreador, the definition of what exactly constitutes art can be quite fluid. Some Keepers allow the Toreador to decide what is and is not art (at the cost of boons, of course), while others call all property on the grounds “art.”

While all Kindred recognize the value of Elysium, and most will readily act to preserve it lest they lose its protection when they need it most, Elysium is not an absolute. The most common means to break the laws of Elysium safely is to simply pay the Keeper of Elysium a boon to exclude certain nearby areas. Even if a building is Elysium, if its grounds aren’t declared as such, you may only need to lure someone outside to beat them senseless. In modern nights, the areas between an Elysium and its parking are themselves implicitly considered Elysium, but a crafty vampire of high status can sometimes argue otherwise.

Elysium can be generally suspended by the Keeper of Elysium or the Prince with a formal pronouncement, or if either give permission for an act of violence to occur there. A Keeper who regularly suspends Elysium or permits such violations risks losing her job for incompetence or malfeasance, however, unless these acts are at the behest of the Prince. In American cities, one typically isn’t considered to have violated Elysium if defending oneself from an attack or subduing someone else who is violating Elysium, though some Princes and Keepers are more restrictive in this regard (at least until boons come into play). The careful use of Dominate or other tactics can let you breach Elysium in “self-defense.” Finally, those who are unacknowledged or subject to the Blood Hunt don’t benefit from the protection of Elysium, though in the interest of fair play, most Kindred leave the unacknowledged alone if they’ve arrived to present themselves to the Prince.

The punishments for violations of Elysium are largely up to the Keeper of Elysium. The most common punishment is ejection and loss of status, but particularly egregious violations can result in violent retribution. It’s extremely rare, though, for a violation of Elysium to result in a Blood Hunt or execution unless you’ve already gained the Prince’s ire for other reasons. Repeated violators of Elysium are either banned from the city’s Elysium permanently or exiled from the city altogether. Naturally, anything more severe than ejection from Elysium requires the intervention of Prince, though most Princes have little love for those who threaten Elysium and are all too willing to take the advice of their Keepers on how to deal with them.

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