There are many strange things in the World of Darkness that, as they are now, pose threats to the human race, and yet are not, by their own natures, tools of the Darkness. For the sake of peace, some of the Nobility constitute themselves as diplomats to one of these foreigners, bending their magic into a nonhuman form in hopes they will bend in turn. Those who do this have joined an Embassy.
Embassies are essentially efforts to humanize or redeem a concept, or at least make it less hostile to humanity. Some of them permit easy access to other realms, as with Death, Ephemera and Ocean; others make it easy to deal with unusual creatures as peers, as with Arcane and Machine. Then there are Embassies like Fortune, that open relations with a preternatural power...
When a Princess first joins an Embassy, she becomes a Secretary. She must have an Inner Light of 2, and usually must also have a specific dice pool (Attribute + Skill) of 5 or more while transformed. A Secretary typically gains three powers:
- A personal power related to the Embassy’s domain, that the Secretary can use at any time, even in mundane form;
- A change in her transformed state, or access to a new transformation, that permits interaction with the Embassy’s domain;
- The ability to spend Wisps to give other people a part of the Secretary’s freedom in the Embassy’s domain.
Reaching Inner Light 4, and 7 in the Embassy’s dice pool, qualifies a Secretary to advance to the rank of Consul. This usually grants two powers:
- A new, greater personal power related to the Embassy’s domain, or a further change in the transformed state;
- An extension of the freedom the Consul could extend to others as a Secretary, or a second such freedom.
Finally, a Consul with Inner Light 6, and 9 in the Embassy’s dice pool, rises to the rank of Ambassador. Becoming a full Ambassador invariably reshapes a Princess’ magic in a significant way - a great change in her transformed state, the power to command the Embassy’s domain, and a beneficial alteration to her Charms are all possible. However this is a fundamental change to her magic and always comes with some sort of drawback.
A Princess joins an Embassy by accepting a fragment of its domain into her magic. Every Embassy, therefore, marks its members’ transformations in some way. For most Embassies, as already noted, the marks are linked to one of the powers the Embassy gives; but even when a link is absent, the Princess’ transformed state will always reveal her status. (When designing a new Embassy, note how the transformations of a Secretary, Consul and Ambassador alter to reflect their offices and privileges.) An Embassy also marks its members’ psyches, which are expressed in new habits, attitudes and tastes; attraction to the Embassy’s domain, or a resemblance to examples of it, are typical.
Embassies in the DreamlandsEdit
One advantage to joining an Embassy is swift travel in the Dreamlands. In all domains that have a strong connection to an Embassy, an actual embassy building appears. Fully staffed with Dreamlanders - though usually only a Chorus - who attend diplomatic conferences, socialize with high society and try to persuade political figures.
Any Princess who belongs to an Embassy is welcome at any of its embassy buildings. The staff treat her as appropriate for her position; only for the Chorus to forget her when she heads on her way. The staff will gladly provide her with information, office space and things of that nature. Depending on if she’s a Secretary, Consul or an Ambassador they might give her orders or obey her orders. Most of this is quite pointless; the real benefit is that a Princess can look up the details of every embassy building run by her Embassy in the files, and can use a Crawlspace to travel to any of them as easily as she does to her Queen.
Princesses cannot go further than the public parts of an embassy building unless they are a member of that Embassy. The Dreamlanders will make an exception if a Princesses who is a member of the Embassy vouches for her, however this is not without drawbacks. The embassy buildings are not just part of the Dreamlands; joining an Embassy is a change to a Princess’ magic and something of this seeps into the structure of an embassy building. Upon entering an unrelated Embassy a Princess must roll Stamina + Resolve, on a failure she gets a headache that lasts for around an hour, and inflicts a -1 to all Mental actions. If Princess is a member of an Embassy with a particularly incompatible concept this rises to -2.
The Queen of Tears claims absolute sovereignty over all but this is rather a big task for one woman, no matter how mighty. To facilitate her dominion she has divided her claim into numerous protectorates and appointed Regents and Governors to execute her will. All Protectorates are named after a mineral, not after the concept they govern.
Protectorates are the Alhambran equivalent of an Embassy, though the culture of a Protectorate is very different. The Privileges are either based around achieving dominion, or assume the Protector already has domin- ion. The three ranks – Secretary, Governor, Regent – are just that: ranks in the protectorate’s chain of command. Culture aside the difference between a Protectorate and an Embassy is simple: there is no difference. Once you peel away the superficial cultural differences Protectorates and Embassies are entirely the same thing.
By policy each Protectorate forms one hierarchy per location where it is active. Each hierarchy has one supreme leader, either a Governor or a Regent, and only one member of that rank may be stationed within that region. In Alhambra the Queen servers as the de-facto Regent for all Protectorates, though there’s usually at least one actual Regent around under a legal fiction that she’s merely a Governor (with the appropriate position in the hierarchy) or spending most of her time on leave but “willing to lend a hand”. Secretaries are forbidden to operate outside an established region though if their job is temporary they may be permitted to do so under the governance of another region, usually Alhambra itself.
The Court of Tears has a unique advantage in its Protectorates. In the many centuries Alhambra spent short of Enlightened manpower they developed a powerful Charm that can promote a Sworn to the rank of Secretary. The Sworn must meet all the usual requirements for the Protectorate except for Inner Light; instead they must possess three dots in Lacrima. Most Secretaries are Sworn, in fact it’s rare for a Princess to be invited until she qualifies to become a Governor. Sworn spend a point of Willpower to unlock Secretary Privileges that normally apply to the Transformed state for a scene. In theory this Charm could be used by the Radiant, but it is rightly considered an invaluable strategic asset and the court of Tears goes to great lengths to protect their advantage from their foes. The Charm was intentionally created to require Lacrima. Even understanding of the Charm is strictly limited, instead each Protectorate typically has one Bequest capable of admitting Sworn to its ranks that is kept under the tightest security available.