The original undead were created by demons as both soldiers and an affront to the gods and goddesses during the last reckoning. Only a handful of undead savvy enough to survive the war and navigate the shattered world afterward went on to spread the curse.
Demons rarely make mistakes. Those chosen by them to receive their “gift” were depraved individuals that they knew would use their immortality to corrupt and turn others. Unfortunately for them, they were able to endure an apocalypse only to be slain at the hands of their progeny and sent to Hell to be reunited with their former masters. This second generation was wise enough not to let the same fate befall them and became the progenitors of the covens today.
The self-proclaimed aristocracy of the undead. Their name comes from a corruption of the Greek/Latin word for “executive” and “ruler”. Once a small and exclusive group lead by a court of nobles is now a veritable multinational legion of socialites governed solely by their matriarch Aurelia de Saint-Pierre. Her word is law and will is absolute. Those foolish enough to even think of defying her seem to disappear without a trace, including her former court members. There is only Aurelia and those beneath her.
The Strigoi have held the reputation as the most mysterious coven from the start. Unlike the other covens, the Strigoi Ancients do not interact directly with their kin. It isn’t even known for sure how many Ancients they have or ever did have.
The Tribunal of Elders communes telepathically with whatever Ancient collective there may be to know in which direction to lead the coven. Once a decade they rise from their crypts around Munich, Germany to convene and dole out directives to the archmages.
Every Strigoi lair—known as an arcanum—is run by an archmage. These undead earn their position by being voted for within an arcanum. Disputes are settled by the Tribunal of Elders, but rare is it for even the most bold Strigoi to show such pettiness to their superiors when the progression of the coven as a whole should be the main priority. The title of archmage is at times only ceremonial when leading an arcanum of less than ten members that would not even be granted audience with the Tribunal. However, archmages that head arcanums with membership in the dozens are of great power and prestige that hold more active sway over the progress of the coven than does the Tribunal.
Acolytes are the standard and most numerous rank. They awaken each night to continue their research and magical experiments meant to better the coven and prevent their annihilation in the next apocalypse. After fifty years of tutelage as a neophyte they begin to specialize in a more refined area of blood magic.
Neophytes are the newly initiated of the coven and the apprentices of acolytes. The Strigoi turn only those with magical potential, but seeing as undead souls cannot harmonize with the aether as human mages can, they convert to the teachings of blood magic. Strigoi remain in their lairs for centuries at a time without ever interacting with the outside world. Upon specializing in a particular field of blood magic—elemental, biological, or mechanical—neophytes may be required to make a rare journey to another arcanum that better suits their studies.
Although savage in appearance and mannerisms to those on the outside, the Carpathians have a rigid social structure akin to ants and bees that is held together through respect and not domination. They will turn almost anyone to keep their ranks high, but prefer those that are readily compliant and strong enough not to get put down on their first night. The Carpathians’ dogma against all who would shun them is one of the only lessons they teach and use it to keep the coven motivated.
Marauders seek out blood to share with the rest of their brethren and stray furthest from the nest to do it. Typically this caste make up the rank-and-file of the coven. Their task is simple: engorge on blood until bloated like a tick ready to burst and then return home to let the others feed from the excess. The bite of the Carpathians is excruciating even for their own kind, but enduring it is considered endurance training and a privilege.
Vindicators are the soldiers that are first to respond to threats or eliminate them before they begin at the command of the Ancients. They are fearless battle-hardened warriors that fight with guerilla warfare and shock-and-awe tactics. Despite being the very definition of fodder, those that do prove themselves worthy may receive boons from the Ancients in the form of gruesome body modifications useful for combat.
The Ancients are the most public of any coven perhaps next to the Archios. Their visage alone is enough to stop a mortal’s heart and they wouldn’t have it any other way. Sightings of the Carpathian Ancients can be attributed to countless legends across Eastern Europe and the Middle East, but sadly for them it is also the main cause of their dwindling numbers. They rarely communicate with one another and are highly territorial of their domains to the point of cannibalizing challengers to the throne.
“Outsiders” is a misnomer as they do not have an official name nor central organization to designate one. Every major city around the world has unwanted undead cast out as mistakes that band together to try and survive. Most operate as a communal family where an older member will play the role of mother or father to teach the others how to make it through one more night.
Sadly, most do not survive longer than what their mortal lives would have been. They make easy prey for the Carpathians, earn the Archios’ ire as a threat to their relationship with humanity, or take dangerous jobs as couriers and mercenaries for the reclusive Strigoi only to wind up as test subjects.