In the Vampire: The Masquerade
roleplaying game, an Elysium
is a piece of neutral ground where vampires may go to congregate, converse and hash out business deals without fear of violence or exclusion. Every city -- at least every Camarilla city -- has at least one designated Elysium; larger cities often have several.
The concept of Elysium in Kindred society is believed to have been developed in southern Europe during the nights of the Roman Empire. Here we had (for the first time outside of the Middle and Far East) vast cities containing Kindred of many different clans, means and social status. These Kindred, needing neutral ground in which to conduct their business, created a document known as the Pax Vampirica and imposed it on certain buildings and areas, declaring such places to be "Elysia" (the plural form of Elysium). The exact text of the Pax Vampirica has been lost to history, but the gist is this:
- No violence is permitted on the premises.
- No art is to be destroyed on pain of Final Death.
- Elysium is neutral ground.
- Remember the Masquerade at all times. (The term "Masquerade" is a more modern invention, having come into vogue with the founding of the Camarilla. When the Pax Vampirica was created, this would have read something along the lines of "Do nothing which would reveal your existence to those not of the Blood.")
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the concept of Elysium lost its appeal for a while, but as the Dark Ages
worked to a frenzied pitch and cities began to dot the landscape of northern Europe, some princes
began to institute the Pax once again. The concept of Elysium really came into its own, however, with the Anarch Revolt
, and frightened elders once again needed a place to meet in peace. With the founding of the Camarilla, Elysium became an essential part of the Cainite
social life. There is an Elysium in almost every Camarilla city.
The Sabbat, of course, considers such concepts as Elysium to be more or less anathema, since it restricts individual freedom, and ritual combat is such a large part of Sabbat life.