Generally, a Seneschal is an influential vampire who is empowered by a Prince to act on his or her behalf on all matters except as they pertain directly to other influencial Kindred (such as Clan Elders or vampires with great Standing, where the Prince must act directly) or where the issue involves destroying the vampire of significance, whether an elder or a vampire of Standing or great status. At any time, he may be asked to step into the prince's place if he/she leaves town on business, abdicates, or is slain. However, all actions taken by a Seneschal may be revoked by the Prince.
They are always appointed by the Prince alone and are oftentimes either the childe or chosen successor of the Prince. In this way the Prince can assure that someone similar to them will rule in the event of their Final Death. As not all Princes wish to dwell on such a succession, not all appoint Seneschals.
Vampires can get away with bypassing a Seneschal to speak directly with his or her Prince, assuming that they
- know how;
- don't anger the Prince by bothering them with trivial matters; and
- are able to deal (in one way or another) with any resultant ire that the Seneschal might have for taking a matter over their head.
Each Prince generally has one Seneschal. The amount of power given to a Seneschal varies from Prince to Prince. Some Princes might purposefully select weak, easily manipulable Seneschals. Others might select someone strong whom they wish to "keep closer" as the saying goes about friends and enemies.