The Carthians are modern
The Carthians as a movement have only been around, officially, since the shattering of Europe in the Great War. While the seeds of the Movement reach farther back in history, the Covenant as it is known in modern nights is a relatively new concept.
The Carthians explore mortal ideas
Carthians actively experiment with human social and philosophical constructs and attempt to integrate them into Kindred Society. Kindred are witnesses to history in a way mortals can never be, they have watched governments rise and fall and the Carthians believe they can take those lessons and apply them in a way humans simply don't have the lived experience to replicate.
The Carthian Movement is secular
Individual Carthians may or may not have religious beliefs, but the movement as a whole looks past such differences. They don't suppress the Circle of the Crone and they're not opposed to the Lancea et Sanctum. Their overall goals can coexist with most any religious doctrine, and Sanctified Carthians are pressured by the Movement to look past an Acolyte's differences to focus on their shared Carthian ideals.
The Carthians come from, and influence, all walks
The Movement is young. The members aren't. Kindred from ages past have awoken from Torpor to find that the Movement is to their liking. Liberty may only be building into a real political power in recent nights, but it is a concept that kindred and kine alike have aspired to across the world and throughout ages.
The Four Ideals
Tolerance, within Reason
The Movement is a broad coalition with many internally competing concepts. This is by design. The freedom to challenge ideas and traditions is a crucible through which those concepts can be either strengthened or weeded out. Despite any disagreements, Carthians put personal differences aside and work together on bigger problems. Cooperating on the big things breaks down barriers and leads to more cooperation on smaller things. Carthians would rather get along than fight about matters of personal choice.
Why get along with people whose philosophies you are diametrically opposed to? Because there is power in numbers. Being Kindred causes enough problems, the Movement is there to ensure you don't have to face being a vampire alone. In the movement, you can admit to mistakes, Carthians accept that the Kindred condition is miserable, and don't hold eachother to impossible standards. They'll have your back when that Masquerade breach gets out of hand, because everyone makes mistakes, and in future nights you'll be paying it forward.
The Movement doesn't care about anything but paying your dues. Help a brother out when he's low. As long as you do that, you can emulate the Buddha or make sacrifices to Yad-Thaddag in your free time as you like. Just don't become the problem other Carthians end up having to solve.
The Duty to be a Complete Being
The Movement lets its members believe in whatever they want. The Movement requires that its members actually get off their ass and do something about it. Every Member has a personal mission, and that mission provides them with purpose, long-term goals, and keeps them from falling into stagnation or capitulating to the Beast. The Carthians don't hand down moral philosophy and purpose to get its members through their Requiems, it expects its members to carve their own paths.
Relations with Other Covenants
The Invictus and the Carthians are not easy bedfellows. That isn’t to say that the two covenants are always at odds, though. Quite the contrary. Both are secular, so they speak a common language of unmuddied politics, and both are often willing to make deals to ensure the smooth function of a domain. Invictus Kindred aren’t nearly as interested in dominating every vampire as they are in ensuring safe and prosperous futures for themselves. Carthians often find themselves forming pacts of non-interference with the Invictus, and the Invictus are rarely the ones who violate those pacts.
Problems between the covenants most often arise when the Carthians see fit to protest the workings of the Invictus within its own boundaries, attempting to force the Inner Circle to allow its lesser vampires rights and freedoms beyond those outlined in their Oaths of Fealty. Perceived (or actual) abuse of less powerful Kindred within the system of the Invictus often spurs selfless (or opportunistic) Carthians to action, and can lead to serious conflict. The duty-bound vampires of the Invictus are, after all, the property of their superiors. When the Carthians decide to interfere with the Invictus vampire, the Carthians are invading the territory of the elders, whether the Carthians realize it or not.
Lancea et Sanctum
Much more tolerant of Carthian experimentation than the Invictus, the Lancea et Sanctum still finds itself at odds with the Movement in many domains. Most Bishops will accept (and even encourage) the attendance of declared Carthian members in the Sanctified churches, hoping that the teachings of the Lancea Sanctum will eventually convert the wayward Kindred and lead them to a brighter future. Coincidentally, this is almost exactly what the Carthians who attend the masses are hoping will happen to the Sanctified vampires once they, in turn, are exposed to the ideology of the Movement.
The problem with this relationship is that it’s nothing more than temporary tolerance. Sooner or later, somebody either decides that the other covenant’s members aren’t changing fast enough or, worse, that they’re too good at conveying their way of thought to one’s own membership. When that happens, as it inevitably does, the two groups break with one another and rarely mend their ties. Forbearance sours into acrimony, and former allies become bitter rivals, forcing their mixed membership to choose sides in a rapidly deteriorating relationship.
Circle of the Crone
Few dedicated Carthians even understand the Circle of the Crone. It’s not that they’re religious, or that many of them steadily refuse to hide their religion, even in the face of discrimination. Holding true to one’s beliefs is something that the Carthians have a deep, abiding respect for, and they find the tenacity of the Circle quite appealing. The Circle’s passive acceptance of oppression (in fact, their apparent urge to provoke it) is what confuses Carthian Kindred. More often than not, an offer to relieve members of the Circle of painful circumstances will fall on deaf ears. They almost never want things to change for the better, at least not the way the Movement does.
Even more curiously, the Circle of the Crone may align itself with the Carthian cause under the most dangerous circumstances — during an anti–Carthian pogrom, for instance — but will quickly abandon the Carthians when the peril passes. It’s as though the Circle encourages its members to test themselves, and the Carthians are acceptable allies only when their friendship increases the difficulty of the test (or, on rare occasions, helps the Acolytes survive it). Many Carthians quickly grasp this feature of the Circle and either learn to take advantage of it or do their best to ignore it.
The Ordo Dracul, of all covenants, is the easiest for the members of the Carthian Movement to get along with. Viewed by most, perhaps erroneously, as nothing more than a secular, scholarly organization, its members are often respected for their perceived intellect and wisdom. Although a minuscule number of members (or former members) of the Order number among the adherents of the Carthian Movement, the two covenants often enjoy a relatively civil dialog. If there is anything about the Ordo Dracul that invokes the displeasure of the Carthians, it’s the Dragons’ tendency toward isolationism and esotericism. Their unwillingness to share information and their reticence in political maneuverings sometimes strikes the Movement as unnecessarily obstructive.
Alliances with the Ordo Dracul are almost always strict arrangements of trade: items and information that appeals to the Order are bought and sold in exchange for political support, territorial access and occasional harboring from oppressive forces. Formal alliance is not entirely uncommon, but it’s relatively common knowledge that any relationship with a member of the Ordo Dracul will go only so far as long as you remain outside their covenant.
The Firebrands of New York