An Ancestor is the formal leader of a Court or a region among the Kuei-jin. He or she has the final say regarding policy for all wu falling under the Court's jurisdiction. Because of their political position, they are also the only ones who can negotiate with expatriate Cainite representatives in their areas.
Ancestorship of a Court or region is not automatic. A potential ancestor must undergo a rigorous test of knowledge, then combat, and finally of character. The test, called the Three Dialogues, in infamous for its difficulty, and many candidates don't survive to its conclusion. Those that do however prove to be the most capable leaders among their people.
Ancestors are Dharma 7+ Kuei-jin who had survived the Three Dialogues, as well as completed the Advanced Rite Naming the Ancestor. Not only does she gain the prestige and responsibility roughly equivalent of a Cainite Prince, he or she gains the following bonuses, which remain even when she steps down from the position to further pursue their Enlightenment:
- Can store 5 more Yin and Yang Traits that their Dharma level would normally allow.
- Can no longer willingly enter Fire soul, and gains a -2 bonus on rolls to oppose negative soul states.
- Can use Demon Chi to power Demon Arts without having to make a Shadow soul roll. Black Wind still needs a roll each round, but the difficulty of it drops to 6.
These are substantial bonuses. On the flipside, due to the highly political nature of the position leaving them stuck actually managing a region or even a Court, this is in many cases the end of a Character's journey. Unless one actually wants to progress to the next step on the Road Back of course...