The custom of vampiric boons predates the Camarilla, originating with the Mesu Bedshet long before the Anarch Revolt. Vampires, as eternal creatures, rarely have long-term need for items such as money or other trinkets. When you can Dominate someone to let you have their possessions or use Presence to sway wealthy “patrons,” what real power do these things have between vampires? Certainly, these items are useful, but when one is facing the prospect of hundreds of years of eternal life, something that isn’t unique can lose a bit of lustre — and something that’s easy to acquire has little value as a bargaining chip.
Using personal boons as currency is ingrained into vampiric culture, and most Anarchs are canny enough to see the necessity of participating in such an economy, even if they don’t like it. Anarchs tend to be significantly stingier about offering boons to Camarilla members, as they risk both betrayal and punishment if discovered, but stranger things have happened. At times, prestation resolves issues where violence would cost Anarch lives or territory. For that alone, it is worthwhile.
The system of favours and debts creates an invisible web of reliance that helps to ensure weaker vampires are protected by stronger ones whom they owe — but also opens those weaker vampires to be used as pawns. It’s a delicate business, particularly among the Anarchs.
Boons between Anarchs are recorded by the Reckoners. This formalisation of relationships between two predators allows for the social structure of the Anarchs to exist without too much internecine violence. All Cainites involved in the deal must be amenable to the boon, and any stipulations or clauses carried on the boon must be stated when it is recorded. The vampire who owes a boon is typically referred to as the debtor. The vampire who owns the boon is known as the creditor, as they offered services in promise of a future payment.
Notably, young or powerless vampires cannot be bullied into owing a boon to an elder merely because of the vast gulf of physical and social power that exists between them. A service must be provided or a real insult must be levied to result in owing a boon. Lazy Cainites who try to pick low-hanging fruit will find that the Reckoners scrutinise their transactions very carefully. The vampire who attempts to erroneously claim to save another’s life will find others angry at them for devaluing boons.
A debtor can only permanently rid herself of a boon by repaying it or formally ignoring the favour, risking the wrath of the Reckoners. Regardless of the standing of the creditor, if the debtor ignores a major, blood, or life boon, they always lose status — nobody likes a vampire who brushes off someone who just went through serious hardship on their behalf.
Creditors who accept a boon typically require one stipulation: “You cannot physically harm me for the duration of this boon.” All stipulations must be recorded by the Reckoners and are enforced by said office.
Types Of Boon
Boons are broken down into five categories of increasing value, as follows:
- Trivial Boon: A trivial boon is a simple favour owed for receiving a minor service, political consideration, or forgiving a social faux pas. This type of boon is freely offered and accepted. Payment of a trivial boon should involve simple one-time favours or services that take no more than a single night to complete. Examples include:
- Covering a potentially embarrassing social faux pas in front of the Reckoners
- Warning someone about a potential danger to them
- Supporting a political or social agenda that doesn’t undermine your own position
- Assisting with a task for the evening, such as providing security for a meeting
- Leveraging one of your Disciplines to aid your creditor’s cause
- Minor Boon: A minor boon represents a favour that requires a significant amount of time or effort, but little risk. Payment of a minor boon should involve simple one-time favours or services that take no more than a month to complete. Examples include:
- Helping someone find safe passage through a hostile city
- Leveraging Backgrounds and Influences on someone’s behalf
- Revealing crucial information
- Disposing of a threat without risking life or blood
- Teaching low levels of common Disciplines (Animalism, Auspex, Celerity, Dominate, Fortitude, Obfuscate, Presence, or Potence)
- Major Boon: A major boon represents a large debt that requires a good deal of time or resources to pay, which may involve risking your personal political or social capital. Payment of a major boon should involve one-time favours or services that take no more than three months to complete. Examples include:
- Leveraging your backgrounds and influences to someone else’s agenda
- Teaching the creditor advanced levels of common Disciplines or low levels of an uncommon or rare Discipline (Chimerstry, Obtenebration, Protean, Quietus, Revelation, and Vicissitude)
- Revealing a major secret that is potentially very damaging
- Purchasing a major business, building, or land
- Aligning yourself with a political or social agenda that potentially harms your own position with your Road and allies, such as supporting someone’s bid to become a Councillor
- Blood Boon: A blood boon is a sacred debt that can only be repaid by shedding blood on behalf of the creditor. The debtor will betray allies, ruin their reputation, or place themselves in a potentially life-threatening situation in order to further the agenda of the creditor. Examples include:
- Coming to another’s aid and suffering grievous injury
- Betraying secrets of one’s Clan or Road, including teaching proprietary Disciplines (any not listed above)
- Assisting in a political coup by force, and killing allies to see it done
- Holding off a fearsome enemy so the creditor can flee
- Murdering a rival or enemy of the creditor, knowing that you might be marked for death if you are caught
- Life Boon: A life boon is a rare boon that should only be given in circumstances when a vampire saves another vampire from an external threat that would have destroyed the debtor’s life. A powerful vampire cannot simply threaten a weaker vampire and claim a life boon for not following through on those threats. Owing a life boon can be tragic, as it puts the debtor in thrall to the creditor until they have saved them from Final Death. Examples include:
- Protecting a fugitive (who might be a Camarilla-supporting elder) on behalf of your creditor
- Protecting your creditor from Anarch justice to the bitter end
- Hiding a terrible crime, such as infernalism
- Saving the life of another vampire from an enemy at significant risk to your own life
Boons and the Vinculum
It is rare for members of the same Affinity to exchange the lower levels of Boons, not least because of the warm feelings engendered by the Vinculum. This is also true more widely between Cainites that have shared the Vaulderie together. A Vinculum rating of 1 generally means you will freely perform services equivalent to a Trivial Boon without seeking recompense; at rating 2, you will do this with Minor Boons; at rating 3, Major Boons, and so on. Some Anarchs take this as a prompt to only engage in the Vaulderie with those others in their Affinity, while others take the exact opposite view.
Boon Breakers and the Reckoners
A boon breaker is a vampire who has refused to pay a boon owed. Stigmatising a Cainite for this reason is the worst punishment a Reckoner can levy. The Reckoner must first publically give the debtor a chance to repay the boon. Should the debtor not complete this task to the Reckoner’s satisfaction, they declare the rogue vampire a Boonbreaker and convey the following social effects:
- All boons owed to and from a boon breaker are null and void. The vampire now exists as a rogue on the edges of society.
- As long as the vampire suffers from the moniker of Boonbreaker, she carries the negative status Disgraced.
- Often, creditors owed by a boon breaker will hunt down and kill their former debtor.
A boon breaker may appeal to the Reckoner who punished them for mercy, once they have shown a willingness to address their crimes and pay their boon. A Reckoner who forgives boon
breakers too often will find their fellow Reckoners monitoring their actions a little closer.
Should the Reckoner refuse mercy to a Boonbreaker, the former debtor may attempt to appeal to the Head Reckoner. The Boonbreaker may tell their story and offer evidence. The Reckoner who awarded the negative status has the option of defending their actions. At the end, the Head Reckoner will publically announce their decision.
Should the Head Reckoner overturn the Boonbreaker’s negative status, the remainder of its term now falls upon the awarding Reckoner to suffer. Should the punishment be upheld, the Boonbreaker now suffers an additional six months.