- inconnu: an unknown person, stranger; alien
The Inconnu is an extremely secretive sect of vampires. Virtually nothing is known for certain about them, but some of the most popular theories claim the group is a coalition of Methuselahs that exists to manipulate both the Camarilla and Sabbat from behind the scenes, made up entirely of ancients who have forsaken the Jyhad in order to pursue Golconda, or a powerful cult tied to the Antediluvians. Even the sect's age is disputed, with some believing it dates as far back as Rome.
Whoever the Inconnu truly are, proof of their power is evident in the fact that they are able to remain so well hidden despite centuries of investigation and speculation. The only visible facet of the sect seems to be the Monitors, who watch vampiric events while avoiding direct interference.
Long ago, as the peoples of the Adriatic began to organize themselves into small city-states, a coalition of the vampiric clans (Ventrue, Lasombra and Malkavian) infiltrated the sanctity of the world of mortal men. Throughout the Greek-speaking world, this coalition of the Undead secretly backed the ruling democracies which came to dominate the eastern Mediterranean, both militarily and culturally. Within a few brief decades, the league of undead had come to manipulate the Greek peoples, the Phoenicians, and the Etruscans.
It was with the success of the Greek world’s prosperity fresh in their eternal memories, that the coalition turned its attentions to these Etruscans, the adventurous sea-fearing merchants of the Mediterranean. In this tribe, the Undead found their new seat of power, behind which they would secretly rule the whole of the civilized world.
|“|| We leave the Eternal City because its heart has long since ceased beating it dies - and you, the lords of a once-glorious city, hide in its shadows, lost in a maze of your own construction. When our kind looks back to these times, to the death of yet another era, they will see your accomplishments and wonder what went wrong. But never, as you conceal yourselves, will they know who was responsible, to whom praise or condemnation should be addressed. Your deeds, both great and vile, will be lost to posterity, and all they will call you will be Incognitos.
- Michael's last speech to the Cainites of Rome on the eve of his departure
Upon the founding of the Seven Cities on the Hills, the coalition fractured into a loose federation, each clan backing the oligarchies of particular cities. The men of these cities, in their mortal ignorance, made war with one another, but the undead puppeteers’ coalition continued in the shadows. It was not until the founding of the city of Rome that the coalition once again reunited and in time, by the guidance of these immortal statesmen, the city of Rome grew to be a great seat of power, the capital of one of the world’s greatest domains. The Eternal Senate of Cainites controlled the great Senate of Rome, and in that, controlled all of Rome itself.
It was during this era of great power in Rome that an enemy faction for both the Undead coalition and mortal men alike, arose from the cosseted northern coast of the African continent. Carthage, a city founded by a people long ago neglected and forgotten by the Roman coalition, was rising to a state of power which threatened the absolute dominance of Rome, backed by a vampire clan called Brujah. When the coalition had long ago moved their interests to the Etruscans, who in turn later became the Romans, they lost concern for another people, The Phoenicians of the East. The Brujah embraced this tribe and under their patronage, the city flourished.
The Brujah, in hopes of re-founding the First City, welcomed into their city a handful of immortals from the clan Toreador, and under their new masters the Carthaginians’ society was cultivated to a state of high civilization.
Rumors that the people of Carthage sacrificed their children to the Brujah, who drank their blood and deceived their people under the guise of the deity Ba'al quickly spread to the coalition of Rome. In a series of wars, now known to history as the Punic Wars, the Roman coalition destroyed Carthage, and the Brujah and their few Toreador guests fled to barbarian lands. After the fall of Carthage, however, many of clan Toreador flocked to Rome which resulted in a period of true artistic enlightenment, while the Lasombra clan lost interest in the coalition and moved west into the Iberian lands. Clan Ventrue, having been the driving force of the Republic, settled into the position of benefactor.
The exact date has been lost in the void of time, but sometime after the reign of Caesar Augustus, the Toreador allied with the Malkavians and overthrew the Ventrue, wresting control of the Empire. It was during this period in history that the Toreador-Malkavian coalition led Rome to conquer to Tzimisce-controlled territories of Dacia and Ventrue, meanwhile, had traveled north, into the lands of the Germanic barbarians, and in time aided by the Tzimisce, pushed these barbarians under the leadership of Alaric to attack the Roman Empire, which had been steadily crumbling since the ousting.
The coalition was reformed after the fall of the Empire, consisting of Ventrue, Malkavian and Tzimisce, though the Toreador refused, holding a childish grudge against the Ventrue for toppling their toy empire.
Time passed and the Dark Ages were ushered in by pious monks claiming impending apocalypse. The coalition yearned for the glory of the days of the Republic, and attempted to back several potential replacements, including the French Merovingian dynasty. It was, however, in the Roman Catholic Church that they found their future. In every shadow throughout the Papal lands the undead lurked and schemed at a frantic pace, often finding that their manipulations had cross those of another. "The Order" as they now called themselves, worked secretly and silently, becoming more of a sect of hermits that anything else. It was because of this new secretive demeanor that other undead christened them "Ignoti", meaning "The Unknown." They harboured a grudge against the Dream of Constantinople and strove to supplant it and the Trinity of vampires who claimed dominion over the Byzantine Empire.
There have been several explanations for the Order’s self-seclusion; the fear which resulted from the diablerie of Saulot of Clan Salubri by the newly formed Tremere, the diablerie of the Lasombra Antediluvian, and the Anarch Revolt. Amongst the Elder vampires of The Order, the terrifying fear of diablerie became an ever-present threat to their immortality, as diablerie was now a viable way for younger, more zealous Neonates to gain instantaneous power. The agents of The Order withdrew from the pursuit of material matters in favor of seeking higher truths, an enlightened state known to the undead as Golconda.
Further events, such as the diablerie of Cappadocius by his progeny, the Giovanni, a family of Necromancers and ghouls, led members of the Order into a final retreat to Hunedoara Castle, in Eastern Europe. Being attacked by the Tremere and their Gargoyles, the Order even went so far as to summon a demonic spirit which shielded Hunedoara Castle by means of dark incantation.
Over the course of history, many from all clans grew weary of the Jyhad between the Sabbat and the Camarilla, and have forsaken their Blood Bonds to each, finding a home in the protection of the Inconnu.
Agents of the Inconnu have very few rules by which they are expected to abide, and even those they are expected to follow are rarely enforced. There is, however, one rule which must never been broken; agents of the Inconnu must remain apart from the Jyhad. Even such mundane activities as congenial contact with non-Inconnu childer is expected to be brief and disinterested.
Though the Inconnu have pledged their unending support to the preservation of the vampiric species, members are not forbidden from destroying vampires in self-defense, or any other reason. Killing Inconnu brethren, however, is treated with the highest degree of severity, and the offender is hunted down and himself destroyed.
Like most sects in Kindred society, the Inconnu has been split amongst its members several times. Unlike the sects of the Sabbat or the Camarilla, however, because the Inconnu are so decentralized, such differences in ideologies do not cause schisms. Most factions surface and disappear, taking little effect on Inconnu society as a whole, however, there have been four factions which have survived the centuries and pursue their own agendas into the present age.
The Seekers strive to achieve Golconda, essentially vampiric ‘Nirvana,’ as the highest form enlightenment. Seekers who have attained Golconda already, or those who do not devote their sole existence to the attainment, often take it upon themselves to seek out and find others attempting Golconda, and aid in their way. To the Seekers, the true fulfillment of the Kindred species will manifest itself when all have achieved Golconda and accepted their nature.
Though their title would imply a sinister nature, the Purifiers are a faction as benign as their Seeker counterparts. The Purifiers, however, are the more rational of the two factions, embracing the modern age rather than shunning it. This faction boldly holds that through the implementation of modern sciences and arcane magic, Kindred society will overcome their limitations.
The Immaculates, in contrast, believe that only by embracing and accepting the vampiric nature can one finally transcend it. They often abandon Humanity entirely, stepping onto a Path of Enlightenment and rising to perfection on that path. Typically, such a creature follows a path of faith — many Immaculate are adherents to religious or spiritual Paths such as Metamorphosis.
Comprised of Inconnu that have been inspired by modern ideas, the Haunted see themselves possessed by a spirit of rage, greed and hunger - the Beast. The Haunted state that they must starve and weaken their Beast, abusing it at every opportunity. They do not accept the vampirism is a sin, or that they are cursed. They believe instead that they are inhabited, and must find a way to torture, destroy, or eject their spiritual passenger before the Beast consumes them.
Not much is known about the internal organization of the Inconnu. According to rumors, they answer to a central Council of Twelve in the Carpathians, who in turn over see a complicated web of Monitors that watch several supernatural institutions and locations. Traveling agents of the sect are named Equites.
Due to the lack of an internal policing body, like the Sabbat’s Inquisition, the threat of diablerie is a constant fear for members of the Order. Most within view this action as a barbaric, immoral means to attaining their chosen path to Golconda, and some even hold that diablerie is a backwards step to vampiric enlightenment. However, percentages of diablerists within the Inconnu are higher than any other sect, and this is a direct result of the relaxed decentralized governing environment.
Joining the InconnuEdit
One cannot simply join the ranks of the Inconnu by asking; when one has expressed a true desire to exempt himself from the Jyhad, as well as displayed the wisdom and power to make the separation from one’s previous unlife, the Inconnu shall extend an invitation.
Generational age (the proximity in generation to Caine) is one of the deciding qualifications for membership within the Order. (A generation of six or older has been set.) Should diablerie have been used in order to gain rank, the Order considers the number of years ago the act occurred, as well as whether or not said act should be considered a "youthful indiscretion." Closeness to Caine is essentially paramount.
Potentials are met privately by two members of the Inconnu, who extend invitation. Before embarking on membership, all bonds made before inception to the Order are severed and considered null and void.
Known Inconnu Edit
The following characters are mentioned as Inconnu at various times.
- Caesar Magister Nicepherus
- Dondinni, Monitor of Genoa
- Elijah, a sixth generation Gangrel
- Guillaume, Prince of Switzerland
- Mahatma, Monitor of Istanbul
- Rashid, Monitor of Frankfurt
- Rebekah, Monitor of Chicago
- Vlad Tepes, allegedly
- Bianka, sent by the Inconnu to keep the Camarilla inside the Box in As One Dead
- The Twelve, a coterie of ancient Inconnu who reside in Hunedoara Castle.
Version Differences Edit
Like many ideas that originate in the First Edition of Vampire: The Masquerade, the Inconnu become more mysterious and less defined over time. Originally they are explicitly referred to as a global organization with its headquarters in Hunedoara Castle, which acts as a training ground for Golconda. In addition, they have a network of Monitors located throughout the world.
In Constantinople By Night, the proto-Inconnu are mentioned as a sect of Roman vampires who are actively involved in the downfall of Constantinople. Bitterly regretting their mistake, these vampires forswear Jyhad and fade into the darkness.
With the advent of the Revised Edition, Inconnu becomes more of an adjective than a noun. The most extensive description of the Inconnu is found in the book Lair of the Hidden, which updates the Hunedora castle setting. Revised implies that there is much less organization to the Inconnu, and that the term is a blanket adjective applied to any elders who drop out of Jyhad and hide regardless of their reasons for doing so and regardless of any organization for doing so. The Inconnu of Hunedora are effectively trapped there, and do not have that many connections with the world at large.