When I left The Republic last July, I spent several months without a clan until eventually joining the ranks of Yggdrasil. During that time, I had several vampires and vampiresses seek my counsel regarding clans. More specifically, these vamps wanted information about clans that would suit them and their personalities and also some wanted information about clan life in general. I’m sure some were coming to me in order to get justification of their stance that clan life was stupid, assuming that since I had just left it that I was no longer a proponent of such. Since I’ve served in clans in various capacities ranging from just a member to the leader of two clans, I decided to take some of the advice that I’ve been handing out to various members of the RavenBlack community and condense it down to one happy little guide.
What a clan should be’.
In this city, the label clan is essentially slapped on any entity that contains several members working together for a common cause. Bloodlines are a similar entity, and some bloodlines do indeed pool their resources together as well. For the sake of this guide, I’m going to ignore the bloodline entities that perform actions similar to a clan and strictly discuss those organizations that willingly accept the label of clan.
A well rounded and operating clan should contain most if not all of the following structures within it: A school to teach new members, concrete procedures in place to handle all financial matters, a war training center, an area dedicated to the collection of intelligence, some semblance of security, and measures in place to handle all the entertainment needs of the various members. Is it possible to ‘get by’ without some of these areas? Yes. Is it possible to perform substantial growth without them? Not so much. It has been my personal experience that all of these areas fit together to really create the whole clan experience for its members. The first clan I was a member of had an extremely efficient and well run school. It just didn’t have any of the other components in place with any type of efficiency, and so the clan turned into a nice feeder program for other clans for a good year. The best school in the world could exist, but if there is nothing beyond it, the members will grow tired and go somewhere else. Believe it or not, most clans do not create a team of warriors in order to go razing villages and raping the women and children. They create it for the defense of its membership. A clan can be as neutral as it wishes to be, but if attacked, they still need to have the ability to defend itself or it is nothing more than a glorified floor mat. What is the use of having a philosophy if the group is unable to defend it?
A decent clan should also have a strong leader who isn’t afraid to say what needs to be said in order to ensure clan safety and growth. If they see an issue, it’s their responsibility to fix it. A good clan should have measures in place to ensure fairness, and a clan leader should be able to step away from their relationships and see things as they truly are. Clan work is business’the relationships are pleasure. If all of these components are in place, then the clan will be in a pretty good position to be able to truly live their personal philosophy. If not, then the potential for rough seas ahead does exist, in my personal opinion.
So, you’re shopping for a clan’.
Clan shopping can be fun for everyone, from the newly turned to the city veteran. The first thing to keep in mind is that a clan can have an amazing reputation in the city, but if your personal philosophies contradict the clan philosophy, you will not be successful within that entity. In addition, as far as the clan experience is concerned, you will get out of it what you put into it. If you expect to join a clan and then do nothing, don’t complain when your clanmates rarely speak to you or you never get promoted.
Here is a list of five important things to keep in mind when joining a clan and entering its school.
Listen to your instructors. If you’re told that your next power to study for is Celerity 1, don’t show up with a pretty new BattleCloak. If you’re working towards Stamina 1, your teacher will NOT be impressed that you killed that hunter dead and are now 4,000 coin richer, although you now have 45 blood rather than 445. Any school worth its weight is not only judging you on how well you complete your tasks, but if you’re capable of showing discipline and following instructions as well. And if you do one of these things and the teacher giggles, puts their hand on your shoulder, and says, ‘Oh well, it’s okay,’ run screaming from the halls as fast as your little legs will carry you. Allowing you to walk all over them is a huge sign that the clan is not well rounded or strong, and their desperation is showing.
Make your voice heard. You could be an extremely attentive student and be working on your tasks and making headway, but if you are not showing up a few times a week to let the teachers know what you’re doing, they will assume you are doing nothing. I had a student back when I was the leader of The Republic. I didn’t hear anything from her in 4 weeks, and so I made her key card unusable. She called me throwing a fit because she had been out working on her second level of Celerity and didn’t understand why she wasn’t able to get back into the school building. If the teachers don’t know what’s going on, they will assume it’s nothing. So speak up so everyone can hear you.
Leave your ego at the doorstep. There are so many times that freshly turned vampires and vampiresses are so overwhelmed with their newly found senses that they develop this insanely large ego and the thought process that they are larger than life. They have no concept that the teacher at the door, 99% of the time, could turn them into a living corpse in 10 minutes or less if they chose. The chances of you knowing a better way of doing things than the vampires teaching you are slim to none, so stash that pretty little ego at the door upon entry to a clan school. There’s plenty of time to reattach it to your brain when your ass is big enough to sustain it.
Confidentiality is a must. Once you enter a clan school, you agree to keep all information that you receive confidential. This agreement will extend into the main clan. There are opportunists abound, and there are a lot of spies that exist around the city. You never know when you may be telling someone you think is innocent information that is feeding directly into an enemy clan. This means that you should not be telling everyone you know all the deep hidden secrets of the clan that you are petitioning. Yes, that includes your sire and extended bloodline. A pretty simple gauge of both clan and bloodline exists with this topic. If your sire or higher members of your bloodline continuously attempt to get clan information from you, then those vampires are not as nice as you seem, it may be a good idea to start your exit strategy from that family. Likewise, if your clan teachers and leaders are continuously attempting to get confidential information about your bloodline from you, then they are not a very good clan. Legitimately run and respected clans and bloodlines are aware of the separation between each entity and would not attempt to hold your participation in either over your head for information about the other. Any entity that does sucks. Period.
Your teachers will take you as far as you want to go’but they can’t do it for you. A good clan school is going to be difficult to get through. You may fail a mission or two even with the best teachers. Gaining the coin to earn some of the powers will be frustrating. The actual quests themselves may be even more frustrating. But all of it is necessary to struggle through, because without actually dealing with the struggle, it will be extremely difficult to really teach anyone else. Many clan schools will hand over coin to pay for a lot of the powers that you will be earning. In my opinion, although this may give you a sense of short term excitement and an easing of the frustration, in the long term, it will hurt you. The city will not just hand you everything on a silver platter, and a quality school will not breed that belief in you. So, if you’re a member of a clan school who just dumps piles of money on you, consider leaving. Why? Because if the only method of motivation is to pay you, then a: they are probably lacking in other areas of motivation, and when the powers are all received, what will you get then, b: they are viewing their clan as a numbers pit and are just trying to get as many powered up and in the ranks as possible for various reasons (ranging from bragging rights to serving you up as cannon fodder in wars), and c: You just won’t really be getting a quality education, which includes success and failure. The real city is not a happy place with dancing squirrels and midgets tossing money around. It just isn’t.
So, you’re now a member of the main clan’
Congratulations! You’ve made it through the clan school or have been accepted directly into the main hall of the clan of your choice. You’re powered up and you’re prepared for anything the clan throws your way. Generally, most members of a clan are always focused on what the clan entity can do for them, and forget about their roles and responsibilities. Here are several things to keep in mind regarding clan life.
You get out of it what you put into it. Yes, I’m repeating this one because it’s huge. Don’t do all the work to make it into the clan, sit on your ass and do nothing, and then piss and moan because no one talks to you, or you’re not doing enough. Do something and realize the difference.
A clan leader worth his or her weight cannot physically speak to you every single day. This was the biggest complaint I heard as a clan leader and it takes on various incarnations. ‘You never talk to me anymore,’ ‘No one likes me,’ ‘Are you mad at me?’ Well, the pure reality of any situation is that a clan leader will talk to you more during your transition into the clan to ensure that you are getting all the concepts you need, but eventually, the frequency of conversation will trail off a bit. Why? Well, consider the big picture. Most clans have anywhere from ten members and up, with most having anywhere from 20-50 including school students. Can you talk to 20-50 vampires a night? No? Neither can the clan leader. Then add to the mix the fact that clan leaders probably have spouses and families like you do, and then add to the mix the fact that clan leaders have to rub elbows politically with other clan leaders to keep your asses safe, and it just becomes a complete impossibility that you will hear from your clan leader daily. To expect it is completely unreasonable.
If you will not complete the tasks that you have been assigned, do not expect the clan leader to give you more responsibility or the ‘cool’ jobs. Yes, some clan work is tedious and boring, but someone has to do it. The best way to get more responsibility or to get put into the more fun job projects is to do the boring assed job you’re given when you start without complaint. Why? Because eventually, some other clan member will show up that you have seniority over, and THEY will be given the boring job, and you will have shown your clan leader that you’re a team player and be given the fun stuff or the special project that you’ve always wanted.
If you insist upon keeping your phone turned off (aka, not logging into YIM or staying invisible), then you cease to have the ability to complain about no one ever talking to you. This is self explanatory. I’ve watched vampires since my arrival in the city go on these major rants about people not talking to them, yet no one can tell they are even there. If your phone is turned off, quit bitching and turn it on. If you go to complain to a clanmate or clan leader about them not talking to you, and they say your phone is never on, and you counter with ‘but still, you should be trying to get in touch with me,’ do not be surprised if the other person punches your egotistical self in the eye. Period.
A clan leader will only put up with so much drama. The more you do for them, the more they’ll put up with. If you’re giving them more drama than your production warrants, you aren’t going to get sympathy. You’re going to end up with your locks changed.
All of the leaders of a clan have those positions for a reason and deserve the respect of the membership as much as their positions warrant. I couldn’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen new members enter a clan, decide that because a ‘pire isn’t the top dog they don’t deserve respect, and just give section leaders a huge pile of shit all the time. The heads of the department were put there BY the top dog to perform a duty for a reason. Being an absolute shit to them because they aren’t the head guy is just going to piss the head guy off. Which leads me into the next’
‘If you have an issue with the way a leader or clanmate is doing their job or acting, expressing the issue in a calm manner to the clan leader will get you further than throwing a temper tantrum. Nobody likes a whiner, so leave the tantrums to the two year olds.
Clan leaders like members who do their work independently. If you come to the clan leader needing help more than twice, it’s interpreted as a method to get face time with the leader. This is not putting you on the map like you think it is. It’s ruling you out as leadership material. So don’t do it.
Sometimes, vampires won’t like you, will be mean or snarky, or will disagree with you, and they just might be your clanmates. Get over it. Everyone isn’t going to like each other, so if you cannot co-exist with those that you don’t enjoy very much, leave the clan. Forcing the leader into an eternal state of babysitting takes away from the clan as a whole, because then the clan leader is not focusing their attentions on the things they should be.
Follow the directions you are given to a T. You may feel like you’ve found some better and quicker way to do something, but 90% of the time, you’ve just made someone’s work harder as a result, or even put your clan at risk. Your clan leaders know the bylaws that operate the city and the procedures in place are there for a reason. If you think you truly have discovered a better way, present it to the leadership BEFORE doing it. They’ll be able to tell you if it’s truly a better way, or if you’re going to screw everyone over in the end.
Never forget who got you where you are. You’ve finally made it to clan leadership. You’ve finally started your own clan and you’re the top dog. Or, you’re still in your clan of origin and just got total kudos in front of everyone for a job. At this point, a lot of ‘pires conveniently forget about those vampires in front of them who gave them the knowledge and confidence to get where they are. No one in this city has done it all without anyone else. If you truly think you’ve gotten where you are with no assistance at all, you are lying to yourself. Period. Give credit where credit is due and give it with grace. Those folks who pushed you up deserve no less.
Do your part or you’re hurting the whole. A lot of times, members join a clan for the protection, and then sit on their duff and don’t build themselves up. If you do not have the basic skills and equipment to defend yourself or assist in the defense of yourself, then you are a liability to the clan. Period. I’m sure every clan leader has had the member who won’t grow or build (either because they don’t ‘believe’ in fighting or they just are too ‘busy’ to do it), but then they get hit by another vampire in the city and expect the clan to just take care of it. So there goes out the defense team spending their hard earned resources on behalf of some asshole who won’t build themselves up enough to even assist. Liability central.
- Be honest. If you honestly don’t know how to do something, find out before you destroy the project. If you just don’t have the time necessary to do something, don’t volunteer to be on the team. By not being honest about your skills and time constraints, you have created more problems for everyone else because of your attempt to not upset the clan leader. Honesty is always the best policy.
And so there you have it. Like always, I tell the truth so you don’t have to’not like you planned on it, anyway.
Exceptionally well written and on the money! It`s so very refreshing to read something which rings true so strongly. Based upon my own clan-experiences, I agree with it in its entirety.
vamps(vampsaretramps) Bound to a Treasure(Morgana1800) Yggdrasil
I would take exception only with a couple of pointers there - but on the whole, that list is bang on. I have pointed a few people here, so they can see that it’s NOT just me who harps on about this sort of thing ;-) thanks for the insights.
Murrz Ramirez The Phoenix Lord Scions of the Phoenix