Malkavians are called "Lunatics" for a reason: the blood of Malkav drives them incurably insane. One might say the clan suffers from this affliction; you might also say others suffer because of it. This damaged mindset means Malkavians do not see the same world anymore. The significant shift in mindset and worldview means Malkavians have a difficult time interacting with others, which means encounters with Malkavians can range from aggravating to life-threatening.
The insanity powers their signature Clan Discipline, Dementation, which allows a Lunatic to play with the minds and emotions of others at low levels, alter personalities and see behind the veils of reality at higher levels, or drive an entire city into a blood-mad frenzy at the very highest.
Malkavians have a strange ability to pass information between each other, a system sometimes called "the Cobweb," "the Malkavian Madness Network," or "Radio Station K-RAZY." They are thought to use this ability to coordinate the sometimes elaborate (and sometimes harmful) "pranks" they play on others. It is also the suspected way, combined with their peculiar perception of reality, that they learn peoples' secrets
For all of known Kindred history, there has been a plague. Those who suffered more acutely received the label "Afflicted." Those whose lunacy seemed to grant them a particular insight were instead called "Demented." An eighteenth century Ventrue named Lord Nicholas Polaski researched this phenomenon and traced it to a Kindred trapped in torpor known as Grigori Malkav. After decades of experiments, he concluded that the Affliction was some kind of bacteria, similar to syphilis or rabies, and named his theoretical pathogen malkavia.
Any vampire can contract Malkavia, which brings an incurable insanity to the Afflicted that has a greater strength when the Afflicted's blood is sufficiently potent. The Afflicted also gains access to a unique Discipline known as Dementation. Dementation appears to be powered by the Afflicted's insanity to the point where any method to suppress their derangements also suppresses their ability to use Dementation.
In first edition, the Ventrue also have a Bloodline called the Malkovians, whose clan curse is to be afflicted with a random incurable mental illness. They have no unique Disciplines, but instead they lose the Ventrue's clan affinity for Animalism and instead gain Auspex and Obfuscate alongside the traditional Ventrue powers of Dominate and Resilience.
|The Clans of Vampire: The Masquerade|
|Brujah||Gangrel||Malkavian||Nosferatu||Toreador||Tremere||Ventrue|| Daughters of
|Independent Clans||Fallen Clans|
| Absimiliard - Augustus Giovanni - Arikel - Cappadocius - Ennoia - Haqim - Ilyes |
Lasombra - Malkav - Saulot - Set - Tremere - Tzimisce - Ventru - Zapathasura