[ By Daniel Harms ]

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No one can join the Inconnu by asking; when the time comes, the Inconnu will contact the individual and extend an invitiation. To be accepted, a candidate must have a true desire to exempt himself or herself from the Jyhad, as well as the wisdom and the power to make the separation and to avoid further manipulation by one's fellows.

The closeness of the vampire to Caine is one of the major qualifications for the order. The applicant must be sixth generation or higher to join. If diablerie was used to gain the rank, the members will consider the number of years ago the act was committed and the motivation behind it; a few "youthful indiscretions" might be tolerated, while a more recent act will probably not be. (Performing diablerie just to gain entrance to the Inconnu is considered particularly bad form.) Though age is an important factor (the potential member must be at least three hundred years old), closeness to Caine is paramount.

These rules, however, are relaxed for those who have attained Golconda. Such Kindred are considered to have the requisite maturity and potential, and indeed are regarded with deep respect by other Inconnu. Usually a quester will come into contact with a member of the Inconnu during their search, and the organization will keep tabs on them afterward. All who complete their Suspire successfully are invited to join. (Ryan later told me that exceptions have been made for those who reach Golconda through the Path of Power and the Inner Voice (see SHTTS 64-65), though the individual is always evaluated beforehand.) Those who fail in their quest, however, will never receieve an invitation.

There is one other possible group that can enter the Inconnu -- those who have chosen at the apex of their Suspire to become human rather than reach Golconda. According to legend, such individuals have been allowed into the Inconnu when they have appeared, but currently there are no known human members of the group. [DH -- There probably never were any such members, Ryan asserted. Golconda, to his understanding, was an acceptance of one's nature, and anyone who wanted to become human at the end of the quest had failed already. Still, it could be asked how much a Baali knows of Golconda anyway.]

No matter how the person becomes a member, they will be met in private by two or three Inconnu who will extend an invitation. If refused, the Inconnu will continue to evaulate them and may once again extend membership within a century or two. If they agree, they are accepted as a member. To truly become a member in good standing, however, they must travel to Hunedoara Castle and take a solemn oath before the Council of Twelve to give up all role in the Jyhad and leave behind all other sect or clan loyalties, as well as any boons owed or given to vampires outside the organization. The clan leaders will break any Blood Bonds placed upon the individual, then place a magical mark upon them that will provide them with immunity from the fear and forgetfulness which Hunedoara Castle causes.

Though exemption from the Jyhad in itself might be seen as benefit enough, the association of elder Cainites within the order is also an important factor. Though no member of the Order is bound to come to the assistance of another save under the direct order of the Council of Twelve (which is very rarely given), friendship between members of the Inconnu is often strong enough that informal pacts of mutual protection come into being. In addition, those in the Order are more than willing to trade each other information, or even tutor others in disciplines, if given sufficient incentive.

One other convenient aspect of the Inconnu is its remission of its member's prestation. All bonds made before joining to anyone outside the Inconnu are considered null and void, and anyone called upon to fulfill them may claim exemption with little, if any, loss of Status. The Order does tend to avoid potential members who have a good number of debts, however.

There are very few rules by which a member of the Inconnu is expected to abide, and even fewer that are enforced. Members of the Order must remain apart from the Jyhad; this is the most important of all of the group's rules. Even contact with one's non-Inconnu childer should be kept brief and impartial.

The Inconnu is also dedicated to the preservation of the vampiric species. This does not mean, however, that an Inconnu member cannot destroy vampires in self-defense -- or truely, for any other reason. The Council is likely to give the individual the benefit of the doubt in these cases, so long as no Jyhad-based motivation can be found. Killing another Inconnu, however, is treated with the highest degree of severity, the offender usually being hunted down and killed.

A person can leave the Order by either requesting dismissal or being expelled by the Council of Twelve. For the most part, however, the Inconnu interferes little in its members' lives, so a Cainite can remain aloof for centuries and still be considered a member. The only possible reasons for expulsion are continued interference in outside affairs, or if the Council judges that the Kindred's continued presence would irreparably damage the organization or its members.

The Council consists of Cret, the Monitor of the Tremere, along with eleven of the most experienced Kindred within the Order. Councilors remain in their position until their deaths or resignations. New members are not elected, but chosen from a list drawn up by the Council. Age is an important factor, but the councilors also look for a person who will compliment their own abilities. Such a position is rarely saught; many members have turned down invitations to join the Council to pursue their own goals.

The Council's duties, at the present time, include collecting and correlating Monitor reports, dispensing justice, and aiding the Tremere Monitor in his duties. The Council could serve in a great number of capacities if needed, but prefers to keep their present, somewhat weak role. They realize that the Council's greatest power is its ability to rally the strong-willed and recalcitrant elders, and that any attempts to centralize the group's authority would alienate many powerful members.

One position often volunteered for is that of Monitor of a given city, state, or region containing fifty or more Kindred. Those outside the Inconnu often think of such a person as a nearly-omnipotent individual whose spies are everywhere. This is true, in a few cases, but the style of each Monitor varies widely, with many taking little or no interest in their areas. It is possible, in fact, for the territories of two Monitors to overlap considerably. For the most part, these people keep their presence secret, though a few announce themselves openly or even re-enter the Kindred society under an assumed identity. The latter are themselves closely observed by the Council watch for "lapses."

The duty of the Monitors is simple: report any unusual activity to the Council. This is generally taken to mean the appearance of new bloodlines, major supernatural incursions, and drastic power shifts within the Kindred community, but the exact definition of "unusual activity" is largely left up to the Monitor in question. Failure to notice or report a major occurrence, however, may result in some unpleasantness from the Council.

A lesser-known fact is that the Inconnu also maintains Monitors for the various clans whose duty is to study their history, politics, rumours, and so forth. For the most part, these Monitors are mostly scholarly members of the clan in question. For the Tremere, the Setites, and the Giovanni, the situation is much different. Cret, the charismatic Ventrue who sits on the Council of Twelve, has taken up a post of Monitor of the Tremere, and he is often aided in his duties by other Councilors. The Monitors of the Giovanni and the Setites are less-valued though nonetheless important posts. The Council has debated whether the irregularities displayed by the Samedi bloodline warrant the appointing of their own Monitor, though the matter has remained inconclusive.

[DH -- Ryan claimed that no Monitor of the Baali existed, but I think that this had more to do with his own failure to spot any such individual than anything else.]

The Inconnu, like any organization, has often been split among its members. It differs from other associations, however, in that it is so diverse and decentralized that such differences cause no schisms, merely opportunities for lively debate and discussion. These factions come and go, depending on their pertinence to the situations at hand.

There are two groups, however, that have survived the centuries and who still pursue their separate agendas into the present age. The first are often grouped under the label "The Seekers". This faction sees the pursuit of Golconda as the highest task to which a Kindred may aspire. Those who have already attained Golconda, or who do not spend all their time in pursuit of that state, take it upon themselves to find those not in the Inconnu who seek it and help them upon their way. For the Seekers, the true fulfillment of the Kindred species will come when each member learns to accept his or her true nature.

On the other side of the question are the "Purifiers". Despite its title's sinister overtones, the members of this group are quite benign in their pursuits. Usually more rational in methods than their competitors, they believe that through science and magic, the Kindred can overcome their limitations while maintaining their unique nature.

Centuries ago, the two factions were relatively equal in number. Since the Age of Enlightenment, the Purifiers have grown in number, and in fact most of the Councilors now rank among them. Suppression is not in the nature of the Inconnu, however, so it is unlikely that any action will be taken against the Seekers.

Only the Council of Twelve knows the complete list of members of the Order. If a clan member wants to be put in touch with another member, it is customary to ask the Council, though other members might also direct them to the person desired.

Ahrimanes, Baali, Blood Brothers, Daughters of Cacophony, Giovanni, Samedi, Tremere -- No members of any of these exist within the Inconnu.

Assamites -- Only a few Assamites have joined, and none of these is under fifteen centuries old. All the heretics are despised by the clan.
Brujah -- The memory of the Carthage is still strong for many in this clan, but many of those Sired after the city's defeat have chosen to join the sect nonetheless, drawn by its emphasis on freedom.
Cappadocians -- It is believed that the Giovanni destroyed all the Cappadocians. However, if any of these do survive, the Inconnu might be the best place for them to hide.
Followers of Set -- Two or three renegades who have (supposedly) given up the ways of their founder have been inducted -- though not without some reservations.
Gangrel -- With their love of the wilderness and aloofness from Kindred society, the Gangrel are closest to the Inconnu spirit, and appear in greater numbers than any other clan.
Gargoyles -- It is possible that the first gargoyle has been inducted into the Inconnu, but if so no lower-level members have seen him for many years.
Kiasyd -- Only a few of this reclusive bloodline have joined the Inconnu.
Lasombra -- Following the destruction of their clan founder, many Lasombra felt the need to re-evaluate their priorities. Many of the "Old Guard" Lasombra joined the Inconnu, and a good number of these still follow the Path of Heaven.
Malkavian -- The Malkavians fit into the Inconnu with the same ease (?) that they do within the Camarilla or the Sabbat.
Nagaraja -- Few of these Kindred meet the generation requirement for the Inconnu, so only one or two at most have joined.
Nosferatu -- Both Nosferatu and Nictuku are welcomed within the Inconnu, though they are expected to give up their feuding upon induction.
Old Clan Tzimisce -- Just as with their Lasombra brethren, the Anarch Revolt caused many of these individuals to re-examine their priorities. Many of them have joined the organization, unsatisfied with living with their masters under the Oradea League. (For those using the "Old Clan Tzimisce" Internet posts, a good deal of these are fifth-generation House members who were passed over when succession was given to another of the founders' Childer.)
Salubri -- All Salubri who succeed in their quests for Golconda are allowed into the group, though their stay there is usually cut short when their Childer diablerize them. If the GM rules that any higher-generation Salubri still exist, they will most likely belong (and will be regarded with some awe by most of the rank-and-file).
Toreador -- Not as many Toreador have returned to the Inconnu as that group might have liked, but more and more of this Clan are finding Kindred politics to be a distraction to their art and see joining the group as the only way to gain true freedom. Predictably, few Poseurs have joined the group.
True Brujah -- A good number of this bloodline who are unaffiliated with the Black Hand are instead members of the Inconnu. Such members have, of course, given up on their feud with the childer of Troile -- or so they say.
Tzimisce -- Very few of these have joined the Inconnu, as their presence is lobbied against by the Old Clan, and few would meet the requirements posed by the sect at any rate. At least one Tzimisce member, Vlad Tepes, is known.
Ventrue -- It is difficult for most Ventrue to give up the idea of acquiring power over others, but a surprising number have nonetheless become members.

The Inconnu includes a wide variety of paths, with Humanity and the Via Bestiae (see V:TDA) being especially popular. Also common are the Paths of Harmony, Honorable Accord, Scorched Heart, and (in more recent years) Self-Focus. They tend to frown upon the Path of Caine and its forerunner, the Via Sanguinus, since they condone diablerie. Those known to be of the Paths of Typhon or Evil Revelations are never asked to join, as they would have a disruptive influence on the rest of the organization.