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How DO you run a Camarilla game, anyway?

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I hope there's someone out there to answer my curiosity...

One thing I've noticed recently, thinking back over years of running and playing VtM, is that I've never actually played or run a straight Cammy game; it's always been either the Sabbat, the Anarchs or Dark Ages. The Camarilla has always seemed a bit of a storytelling strait-jacket to me by comparison,with its similar political structures and the Masquerade. And I don't have much of an idea of how to run one, or make a character that has a chance to survive in the politics of the Cam.

I may be suffering from a case of not seeing anything unless it's big and flashy, but how do you run a Camarilla game? What peculiarities are there to focusing on the politics of a city where the Masquerade is in force and direct action is somewhat limited? How do you keep players interested in a game where big and flashy events don't happen too often?

Basically, how does the Camarilla work from a gameplay perspective?

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From my own experience it works quite well, provided you like to play political and intrigue games. For my part, I ran a game for some friends a couple of years ago. They started up knowing nothing about the game IRL, and thus I took the opportunity to have them start up as recently released young vampires. Their primary challenge became to try and establish themselves within the community and the existing power structure. On top of that (or under it, if you will) I additionally had another larger plotline running, which I unbeknown to the players, started to involve them in at various points. A Sire asking their former Childe to deliver a message. Another clanmate asking for some assistance in robbing a museum etc. Also, they got to try and set up their own little things, and then deal with the results.

Basically you can do more or less whatever you want, even in a Camarilla game. What you can't do is go all "gung-ho" with your characters and have them spewing Disciplines all over the place and leave all kinds of evidence. One of the key parts IMO is that there are consequences to the player's actions. If they rob a museum, which other Kindred do they potentially insult? Have they covered their tracks well enough? Or are they suddenly in a situation where they need to find a way to derail a police investigation? Can they do it themselves? Or will they need help from someone else who have the right connections with the police?

Another key thing IMO, is for the players to remember that they don't have to do everything themselves. They are Kindred for Caine's sake! They pull strings and set up situations. They manipulate events and people, and they get other individuals to do their dirty work. Need to rob the National Museum but haven't got the first idea about how to break in? Don't bother doing the break-in yourself. Bribe someone to get you the floorplans and a diagram of the security system. Acquire some money and contact someone who can get a hold of a professional team of B&E specialists to steal what you want. It might cost you a favour or two, but you get the stuff you are looking to get, and you put some isolation between you and the people doing the stuff you want done. If they get busted, hopefully they won't even be able to finger you. Even if they'd want to.

Besides the above, you can of course also have all of your standard types of mystery. Who did it! type stuff. Who killed the Prince's favourite Ghoul? Who arranged that powerout during the Toreador Primogen's soiree (spelling)? "Who framed Roger Rabbit?" How do you frame someone else for your mistake? How do you get your pet politician elected for a specific position? How do you ruin the reputation of the Tremere Primogen?

There are infinite number of things that you can do within your Camarilla game. The real difference is how you go about pulling them off.

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