Vampire: The Masquerade
|Vampire: The Masquerade|
|Role-playing game published by
|Rule System||Storyteller System|
|Essential Books||Vampire: The Masquerade|
"And the Lord said unto him, "Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold."
And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him."
- – Genesis 4:15
"And in the end there was only water. My foolish children knew hunger. And loneliness. And fear. And it was good."
- – Erciyes Fragments, attiributed to Caine
Vampire: The Masquerade is an ex-defunct vampire-themed "Gothic Horror" roleplaying game published by White Wolf. Which might be entertaining IF it actually had any "Gothic Horror" in it. Unfortunately, due to the average neckbeard's and landwhale's emotional immaturity, the game tone usually ends up as either an angsty angsty BAAAAAWfest or "Snatch, but with Fangs," depending on the players. With the release of 5th edition or V5, that trend of emotional immaturity now comes with rules for players who are "uncomfortable" with certain intense content - in a horror-game (that is also clearly intended for an adult audience - or, at least, that was the original intent of Rein·Hagen). Much like Wizards' attempts to update and modernise D&D, this and other changes in V5's design (such as reigning in the power level, simplifying mechanics, and streamlining lore) have deeply upset the grognards.
- 1 The Story in a Nutshell
- 2 You're a vampire now, so what's next?
- 3 Age
- 4 The Curse
- 5 Vampire Sects
- 6 The Thirteen Vampire Clans
- 7 Fallen Clans
- 8 Bloodlines
- 9 Oddities
- 10 Regional Bloodlines
- 11 Disciplines
- 12 Ghouls and Revenants
- 13 Gehenna: the end of the Masquerade
- 14 Vampire V: And Then There Were None
- 15 Video Games
- 16 See Also
- 17 Links
The Story in a Nutshell
The accepted history of the Kindred is collected in the Book of Nod, which is like the Vampire Bible. The first vampire was Caine, the farmer whom God cursed for slaying his shepherd brother Abel. Caine wandered for a time, refusing to repent for murdering Abel three times, and each time receiving a new curse, which ended up with him nocturnal, harmed by sunlight, and subsisting on human blood. He created the vampiric Disciplines with the help of his father Adam's ex-wife Lilith and went on to create at least three spawn to share his gift/curse.
These first vampires lived in the First City as lords, and eventually as gods over the human populace. The three collectively created thirteen more vampires, creating a web of politics and infighting over Caine's favor that caused much grief and abuse for the humans (slaves fed special herbs for better taste of blood and being bled to death in banquets were commonplace) and the deaths of the Second Generation. Understandably, God got pissed off with the edginess and flooded the world(Basically just the Middle East as Tzimisce can attest, who took his herd to Ukraine), drowning the First City and killing most of humanity there. Caine and the Third Generation survived, the former cursing the latter for being a bunch of fuckwits who ruined the good thing he had going. The Third Generation shrugged and kept on making new vampires, passing on their curses to their childer and become the founders of the clans. The Third Generation became known as the Antediluvians ("Before the Flood") and Caine passed into myth and legend.
Vampires prowled the shadows for millennia, carving out positions of power for themselves wherever they could. Between the falls of Rome and Constantinople was the time of the Long Night, followed by the War of Princes as centralized power was lost. Then came the Inquisition in a show of HFY, Anarch Revolt popped up, which broke the power of the elders and saw the rise of the two major factions that would last into the modern day: the Camarilla and the Sabbat.
In modern nights, vampires are thought of as fiction. This is thanks to the efforts of the Camarilla to hide the truth and police their members' actions. Among the vampires themselves, the Antediluvians are thought of as fiction. This is, again, thanks to the efforts of the Camarilla to enforce the idea that they're all either truly dead or so deep in torpor they'll never wake up. As the last few generations are barely expressing any clan qualities, the Kindred fear that the prophesied Time of Thin Blood is coming, which heralds the Final Nights and the end of the world.
This is where you come in, neonate. Make yourself useful to someone in power and you might survive a few more nights.
You're a vampire now, so what's next?
First of all, being turned to a vampire don't change your personality. At all. You're still the same dude you were before you got embraced. Chances are you're not gonna remain COMPLETELY the same, as the kind of shit freshly turned vampires go through tend to leave emotional scarring, but still, you're not some fallen angel possessing a reanimated corpse.
Speaking of which, let's get the elephant in the room out of the way: your body is a corpse. A literal corpse, time of death being the moment your dying body was given vampiric vitae. Now to go down the list of what that entails, along with other shit what you should expect to deal with:
- Your body's cold, doesn't breathe and doesn't blink, which may raise suspicion from mortals you interact with. Best spend some blood to reanimate a few features once in a while.
- You cannot eat or drink anything but the blood. Again may be a problem if you're attending to a party or a dinner. If you are lucky, you can have traits that let you keep food and non-blood drinks, or force yourself to keep it until you can puke outside.
- Your sense of smell and touch is numbed to anything that is not a prey, and your sense of taste is non-existent. Have fun having awkward moments amongst humans when that slob lets out a quiet fart.
- Your skin produces no clear sweat or sebum, meaning no fingerprints and a grip as reliable as if you're using a talcum powder (terrible for swiping on modern touchscreens, though). You will sweat blood now, so, have fun dealing with that.
- No sweat and sebum also means no body odor. This also means you can get away with bathing or showering once a month or two, unless you wander through sewers, hang with hobos, fight in (or with) dumpsters, or cover yourself in the gore of your enemies (or pulverized parts of your own body). Which you probably would, as Elders often send you to do their dirty work. On the other hand, most animals instantly pick that you don't smell like a human despite looking like one - the normal reaction is either fear or aggression. On the plus side, dogs have a hard time tracking you by scent, because you literally don't have one. Learn some skills so as to not to agitate the local fauna.
- While heat doesn't make you sweat, vapor from the hot, humid air would condense on your cold dead skin even more than it does on warm-blooded humans. A vampire on a hot humid night is pearly with condensation, like a cold can of beer, so that's THAT angle covered; perpetually dry skin would draw MORE suspicion... though this does mean you'd probably sparkle in the daylight if you were capable of surviving it. Also, extreme stress CAN make you sweat, but you sweat blood; this is insanely creepy, a hunter magnet, and really hard to wash out of your clothes. (...and bed-sheets if you have
nightmares daymaresPTSD flashbacks while you sleep, but... see the entry below on Stasis for why this is extremely unlikely.)
- Your tears are also made of blood, which is even more creepy - consider it before making that sensitive poetic Toreador... and then do it anyways.
- On the note of heat, anything short of the "glowing-red" category does not hurt you, nor does extreme cold. Your dead flesh can freeze at below zero, slowing down and constraining your movement a bit, so it's advised to actually wear some practical clothes in winter.
- Your body dehydrates and becomes more lean. This means you'd lose some weight and size, so fat vampires are quite rare. For some reason this never affects breast size. One of the side effects of this (and lack of lung tonus) is that vampires lose buoyancy and swim about as good as a bag of bricks - then again, not needing to breathe makes this a minor problem, and with proper athletic training and/or vampiric disciplines you can overcome this limitation and even outpace normal humans in the water.
- No blood pressure means no erection, so no sex for you if you're a dude unless you spend blood to re-animate some mortal functions. If you're a vampgal, you still have heavily-numbed sensitivity, and you're cold as the grave, so even if you find some sick enough necrophile there's not much kick in it for you.
- You're tough as nails. Blunt force trauma is a mild annoyance to you, since you have no blood and liquid pressure. Blades and bullets, while still dangerous, are considerably less lethal. If someone manages to actually break your body down you don't actually die, but merely enter a catatonic state until you heal yourself to a functional state. You can be paralyzed by a stake through the heart, and while a lone vamp is helpless if staked, they still fare considerably better than if a normal human had a stake driven through his heart. You're also just as vulnerable as anyone else to fire and to the claws of and teeth of supernatural creatures like vampires, werewolves and demons (although flesh-crafted claws of Tzimisce or shape-shifted mages count as normal sharp weapons, just like the claws of normal animals). Regular weapons can still kill you for good, though, but it requires them to cut off (or explode) your head or completely destroy your heart, so it's heavily advised to not take shotgun blasts to the head, or catch RPG missiles to the chest.
- You've gained a few new weaknesses. You are now vulnerable to True Faith, an exceptionally blind and powerful belief in anything. (There are reports a banker scared a vampire brandishing a credit card and focusing in the power of credit. Yes.) Looking directly into the sun will end poorly for you, though you can survive and move in a very sluggish state if you don't actually face the sun and stay in the shadows.
- Speaking of healing, your dead body no longer regenerates naturally, which is a minor concern since you can use blood to heal injuries in seconds and even grow back lost limbs. Also note that your supernatural regeneration does not push foreign objects out of your body, so if someone emptied an SMG into your chest, best avoid metal detectors in airports until you find a surgeon to remove bullets. If you're Tremere or Tzimisce, you may be lucky to learn some low-level rituals that help you push foreign objects out or dissolve them, but outside that blood magic, only Elder-level disciplines can get rid of anything you got inside, ranging from bullets to stakes. Generally speaking, if you do end up in firefights a lot it pays to ghoul a surgeon, know another vampire who ghouled one, or learned a bit of surgery yourself.
- Diseases no longer harm you, but neither can you harm them, as your body have no immune system. If you feed off sick people you will become a disease carrier infecting everyone you feed off, which is generally accompanied with significant social stigma, if not outright ostracizing, in vampire society; even a Sabbat knows not to shit where they eat. Even common cold can lurk in your blood for months. Kindred spreading something dangerous like AIDS or hepatitis (or the Black Plague in the nights of old) may even be banished from the domain, and there are examples of blood hunts being called on unrepentant disease carriers. Be careful with what you eat.
- Your wounds don't bleed, no matter how wide or deep they are. All the blood you have is stored supernaturally in your heart.
- And speaking about the blood. You're a vampire. You need to drink blood to survive. Ideally human blood, but animal blood may suffice, although it's far less potent and may cause anger issues, and that's assuming your sire taught you you can sustain from animals (most sires don't). Blood of other supernaturals (at least those who have it) may work too, but it may have some side effects, like mage blood giving you an acid trip, and werewolf blood, though far more potent, can make you RAGE. Basically, drinking blood tastes like the mix of everything the victim ate and smoked. (some discriminating Kindred maintain herds with special diets and temperament) To help you with bloodsucking business you can magically grow fangs to bite people, and the bite itself is not painful, but in fact about halfway between a good sex and first heroine trip in terms of pleasure, so it renders the victim completely catatonic and probably with ruined underwear. Oh, and licking a bite mark completely heals it. Most humans tend to forget their first bite and a few minutes of memory around it, but long term victims lose this effect and often develop strong psychological addiction to vampire bites, which some kindred use to build loyal herds of bite junkies(plus it helps to maintain health standards in a tight-knit community). It's even better for you, and is basically the only real physical pleasure you're left with. Have fun with that.
- The blood you sucked from others is magically transformed into super-blood called Vitae you can use to instantly heal your wounds unless they're caused by things vampires are weak to, make yourself stronger, tougher or faster, restore your dead body to full human functionality (so you can temporarily scratch all the disadvantages of an undead body listed above) or just get up from your bed (or coffin if you're into it) every evening. Vitae is more "compact" than human blood and it stores better, so it's better suited for storing extra blood for combat situations (think mana potions), although drinking other vampire's vitae poses a considerable risk:
- Drinking Vitae creates a Blood Bond that ties the drinker to his victim for each night the drinker drunk the vitae. It starts with a mild sympathy with one bond and goes up to complete sycophantic enthrallment at three bonds. This works on both humans and other vampires, as well as some other supernaturals.
- Vitae is a powerful magical reagent coveted by occultists of all sorts, starting from vampire's own blood mages (Caine help you if a Tremere or Assamite got his hands on a droplet of your blood), to Hedge Wizards (un-awakened linear sorcerers) and awakened mages (who use it as an easy source of Tass), to demons and their cults, to rogue ghouls and certain kinds of vampire hunters, to random mortal mafia cartels who make super-addictive drugs out of it. This is a reason maintaining the Masquerade around other supernaturals is no less important than around normal humans: there is always a bigger fish.
- You're a nocturnal creature now, waking up after the dusk and going to sleep before the dawn. This means you have less time per day to work with that humans do. Despite spending all your waking time at night you don't have an inherent night-vision any better than normal humans do, unless you learn certain Disciplines. You can stay awake at daytime, but it takes quite a lot of concentration, and you're likely to be very sluggish, weak and lethargic when the sun is up even if you never face it directly. Not good for combat.
- You're also affected by the effect called "Stasis", that reverses a lot of changes to your body during your daysleep. Tattoos would bleach out, dyed hair would restore it's color, haircut would restore to the state in which you died and so on. It partly spreads to your mental changes as well, so on the one hand all the horrible stuff you go through only scars your psyche a bit when it realistically should have made you flip your shit and go insane years ago, while on the other hand it takes you more time and effort to learn and train than humans and other supernaturals take. Have fun getting used to the newfangled "Internets" and "Smartphones" if you are an Elder.
Fledgling: After the immediate Embracing of a mortal, the victim will become a Fledgling. The newly turned vampire must be able to stabilize The Beast within before gaining status. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the Sire to ensure that the Childe is even worthy of the Embrace. When the vampire has at least passed through the initial stages of vampiric existence and no longer needs the protection of the Sire, the Fledgling will often be viewed as a Neonate.
That's the idea, anyway. Not every sire & childe has this relationship, though. Some sires, mostly Gangrel and Brujah, just embrace their childer and then abandon them to the wolves, to see if they can survive on their own. If they don't die and prove themselves as survivors, they might take them in. Some bastards don't even bother coming back and see what happened to their childer. They are deadbeat parents like that.
Neonate: A Neonate is a recently embraced vampire that has passed through the initial stages of vampiric existence, the fledgling stage. It is the sire's responsibility to ensure that the childe does not embarrass itself or its sire in vampiric society. Derogatorily, a neonate is often called a whelp.
Neonates are generally lightly involved in the true machinations of undead society. They aren't powerful enough to really matter, and are consequently used primarily as pawns by their elders. Conversely, they still have an investment in the mortal world of the 21st century and are less likely to adhere to the feudal character of vampiric society.
Ancillae: Ranking below the elders but above neonates, the ancillae (sing. ancilla) are vampires who have proven themselves as valuable members of Kindred society. Certain ambitious younglings may achieve the rank prematurely. Ancillae often serve as aides and agents for elders or the court. Ancillae usually play their own power games as well, though these are of lesser consequence than the manipulations of the elders.
Due to the huge increase in world population over the past few centuries, the vast majority of vampires in the world are ancillae or neonates.
Elder: While there is no strict definition, one normally must be at least two centuries old, with appreciable claims to domain or a variety of other assets and far removed from their mortal past to qualify.
The choices and sacrifices they have made in order to survive so long instills a degree of amorality and slow caution; it is not unusual for elders to design plans that take decades or centuries before coming to fruition. Such beings are often cold, if not monstrous, and focused completely on their own interests and well-being, though a rare few struggle to maintain their human sentiments.
There is a long-standing cycle of jealousy, contempt and resentment between elder and younger vampires, being especially pronounced between sires and their childer. Elders often use their greater power and influence to oppress those younger than them out of fear of being outnumbered and because most vampires of such age believe they know what's best in the same way that mortal elders feel that theirs is the better way. Younger vampires naturally chafe under such treatment and grow jealous and resentful of the elders' positions and power. It was this cauldron of emotions that gave rise to the Anarch Revolt and all things thereafter.
Typically, elders of Europe are much older than those across the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the time Elders are the oldest active vampires in undead society.
Methuselah: A Methuselah is a fourth or fifth Generation elder who has existed for at least a millennium or more. Many of these elders are generally old enough to have known their clan Antediluvian personally, and usually serve as lieutenants in the Jyhad. The term is also used to refer to elders who have very little to do with the Camarilla or Sabbat: their machinations are far deeper, subtle, and terrifying. Methuselahs tend to fall into the borderline unplayable characters for Vampire: they often break the rules as they exist, (e.g., Mithras surviving his diablerie by Monty Coven).
A methuselah has several traits that betray him to those who know what to look after. Their speech is in general tinted with an accent of their native dialect, which, in general, has not survived the centuries. Their unconscious body movement has completely stopped and many could be confused with statues when they do not move. Many have also reached a point where the kine's blood can no longer nourish them, forcing them to feed on other vampires.
These guys have names such as Odin, Nergal, Huitzilopochtli, Cybele, Moloch, Baba Yaga, Byelebog, Enkidu, Mithras, Lazarus, Anath, Wepwawet, Tawaret, Mictlantecuhtli, Abraxes, Azazel, Illuyankas, Echidna, Tiamat and so on. You do the math.
For Vampire: the Masquerade, the flair is that Vampires come not only with amazing powers, but also with a capital "C" Curse. Eternal life and powers come with a price: The Beast. This "Beast", is, depending who you ask, either some dark thing possessing them, a dark part of their own soul, or the only remaining part of their soul: Freud's description of "Id" comes closest. Point is, it kinda has a mind of its own, and it's fucking stupid, like animal-level stupid. If a vampire is hurt or insulted or threatened or starved the Beast can take over control of his body and start ripping and tearing (which is called Frenzy), and if the Vampire is facing fire, or sunlight or some other extremely dangerous supernatural shit (like the True Faith) it similarly can take over control and run for the hills, often murdering its way through any obstacles (which is called Rötschreck). Suffice to say both cases are a really bad news in the society that values secrecy and tries to hide itself from humans and other supernaturals, and up to 90% of troubles players in V:tM run into are caused by either players themselves or other vampires flying into a Frenzy or Rötschreck and breaking the Masquerade.
Which brings us to Morality.
One of the best planned (but not well executed) part of World of Darkness was Morality. The game isn't about playing the most badass motherfucker on the block: it is personal horror combined with existential crisis of simply being a bloodsucking monstrosity a week after having a barbeque with family or kissing a loved one. Great, you are now a vampire, and you have your Id inside you howling to tear apart the world. How will you deal with it? Humans and many Vampires have their morality gauge set to Humanity for starters. In World of Darkness, morality rules have Ten Commandments of their own, each having a value of importance. Lightest crimes had 10, worst ones 1. As the smallest infraction is done again and again, morality rating fell to the lower value of the corresponding crime. Manslaughter for example, has a rating of 5. Which means regularly doing said crime will set you to 4, but won't go lower unless you commit intentional murder, which has a rate of 4, reducing you to 3, and so on.
As a Vampire breaks his morality code the Beast could attempt to gain more control over him, and as most vampires follow basic human morality (called the Path of Humanity) it's really easy for them to lose their Humanity at record speed, all with a murderous spirit hijacking their bodies from time to time, and murder being quite an immoral thing. Losing one's Humanity is always the bad thing, as it lowers vampire's ability to interact with mortals, makes his vampiric traits more apparent (pale skin, fangs, corpse-like appearance, even corpse smell at later stages), and at lower morality stages can cause mental derangements and even partial loss of control over his own actions (as GM can hijack low-Humanity vampire at any point). If the vampire manages to lose all of his Humanity (which is actually quite hard, as at low levels mundane sins no longer trigger the Beast) he devolves into purely bestial mindless monster called a Wight. The good news is that the beast being a fucking dumb animal have no concept of indirect actions, so it does not use, say, an orchestrated murder pulled through puppets as a possible alley of attack on vampire's Humanity, and any Disciplines that needs a semblance of intelligent action is no longer usable by the brute. The bad news are that they are extremely good fighters, and that the Elders know this and use it with younger vampires serving as their puppets. Have fun with that.
In case you're wondering how Sabbat manage to be... well... Sabbat, everyone that survives for more than a year follows alternative morality systems called Paths, most of which are weird and kinda crazy if you think through them, but they work at keeping the Beast in check, so who the fuck cares. That being said actually embracing the Path is a rather difficult thing to do, as the aspirant first have to lose almost all of its Humanity and then perform some Olympic-level mental gymnastics with a price of failing being losing itself to the Beast completely (and likely being hunted down by fellow Kindred if they fuck up). Aside from being hard and dangerous to embrace, Paths also have a number of disadvantages tied to the lack of ties to Humanity: those who follow the Paths cannot hide their undeath by spending blood, cannot act at all during the day (Kiss your ass goodbye when the hunter finds your haven following the trail of horror you left behind) and often have harder time resisting the Beast, but can actually control it to a certain extent once it takes over. Not all Paths are Sabbat-exclusive though...Path of Harmony for example celebrates natural balance, keeps humans in high regard(not as high as themselves but as part of nature and not something to be tormented) and accepts the Beast as part of their being.
In theory, many of these paths are quite logical and creative since the character can no longer feel equal to humanity and has to make changes, particularly cool ones practiced by Ventrue Sabbat such as "Path of Honorable Accord". This path for example, still forbids senseless murder of innocents, but allows killing for honor and defending Sabbat. Path of Caine, a very old path predating Sabbat itself orders its followers to adopt Caine's outlook on life, and diablerizing (murderfuckrapeabsorb) other vampires that don't agree with the player's morality (it should be noted that the Path of Caine is basically one of the most condoned by the Sabbat, who see themselves as the agents of Caine). Still it also ordered avoiding killing humans, rationalizing it as "If possible, leave the children of Seth alone and coexist with them". Emphasis on if possible, letting the player be a badass killer without devolving into a Sonic the Hedgehog-level Coldsteel edgelord. Of course, paths who are utterly evil still wanted to explain killing, such as Path of Death and Soul, rationalizing murder into "battlefield research". Bottom line, each "path" dealt with the question: "What niche does The Beast have in me?" Some appease it with observing killing, Honorable Accord suppresses it with conviction. Path of Evil Revelations, or Path of Orion/Harmony for example, "rides the Beast", letting it flow but direct its blind rage to suitable targets when it hits.
In practice, well... many Sabbat players (weedy skinny goth kids) make it an excuse of torturing, raping and killing mortals to impress the BDSM-curious landwhale who joined the game. Or explain your Giger fetishes with using the Vicissitude Discipline sexually. Needless to say, a Storyteller may not be popular when he summons Society of Leopold's finest hunters or the Technocracy when the players go on a blind rampage to justify being Sabbat.
For most of the Dark Ages vampires could more or less get away with whatever as long as they obeyed the following six rules:
- The oldest vampires are in charge, because they are the closest to Caine.
- Respect the master of a domain. If you can keep a domain it's yours; if you can take it from someone else it's yours.
- Only embrace with your Elder's permission.
- Until you release your Childer, its sins are your own.
- Don't kill your elders.
- Don't reveal the secrets of the vampires to non-vampires, lest you forego the protection of the previous rule.
This allowed vampires a large degree of freedom to dick around with, messing with mortals for the lulz. Eventually they got fed up with this and decided to rise up during the mid-13th century. The fires of the Inquisition burned bright, and it turns out that even the more powerful vampires struggle when a mob with torches (vampires flip their shit when confonted with fire) and pitchforks (one good stab and the vampire is turned helpless) is coming at them.
The Elders quickly came to a solution to this problem: throw enough of their Childer at the problem until it was solved and keeping the door shut in the meantime.
This backfired horribly. The younger vampires declare they had enough and band together not just to annihilate vampire killing lynch mobs, but also their Elders and try to become the rulers of the world. In ancient times, most vampires made their childer drink their blood in three sips, magically binding them to serve their elders. It's called a blood bond, and effectively enslaves the drinker. These Neonates didn't like this one bit, and paired with all the other abuse they've been receiving they started the First Anarch Revolt. They escaped the blood bonds via a ritual granted to them by Kupala, a demon bound to the land of Transylvania. Via a blood-red flower granted to the Tzimisce Lugoj Blood-Breaker he was able to create the ritual of Vaulderie, which allowed him to break the blood bond and instead create a bond between individual vampires by having them drink each other's blood. As a result they make for incredibly fanatical warbands, and started their revolt.
This vampire civil war started out pretty well, with the Anarchs receiving backing from the Assamites who didn't mind killing a bunch of Elders as long as they got to snack on their blood. The initial stages even saw the deaths of two Antediluvians: Tzimisce was diablerized by his great-grandchilde Lugoj (but not really) and Lasombra was diablerized by his childe Gratiano de Veronese (but not really).
At this point the Elders of the other clans started to get nervous and decided to band together under a common banner: that of the Camarilla. They started to kick the shit out of the Anarchs to the point where a truce was called in 1493 during what became known as the Convention of Thorns. Knowing that their fun was over many of the surviving Anarchs decided to throw in their lot with the Camarilla, but the Lasombra and Tzimisce were angry that the other clans wouldn't go try and eat their Antediluvians. This came to a head where a Tzimisce called Myca Vykos invited the Ventrue representative Hardestadt the Younger to eat a dick, and was kind enough to provide one by cutting off his own cock and balls and throwing them at Hardestadt's face. His final declaration was that he would be beyond any gender since he no longer identified with humanity and took the name Sacha Vykos. Vykos is now one of the most feared vampires of the modern nights, acting as the Sabbat's chief torturer. And given that this is the Sabbat, that should say something.
With this vivid statement the Camarilla's power consolidated, the remaining Assamites were pacified via a blood curse courtesy of the fledgling Tremere clan and the remaining vampires formed the Sabbat.
Now that the Camarilla got its shit together it could actually focus on its mission, which is... doing exactly what the Elders did back in the day. Exept this time it's all done in the name of the Traditions (see below) and the Masquerade. Sure, upholding the Masquerade means that a second Inquisition won't break out any time soon, and with the current age of camera phones being connected to the Internet at all times means that the job has become increasingly difficult, but the Camarilla is still run by the Inner Circle: a shadowy group of Elders who pull the strings behind the scenes. The Camarilla also denies the existence of the Antediluvians and Caine, mainly to make sure that no mass hysteria breaks out within the ranks the younger Kindred in the Camarilla (most of whom being less than 200 years old) or have them join Gehenna cults to try and fight the Antediluvians or outright join the Sabbat. Of course, once a Neonate finds out that they've been conned they're either old enough to have become used to the way things are and play along, or lash out and join the Sabbat.
In hindsight, Camarilla are the best weapon against Gehenna to some players. Avoiding senseless vampire deaths keep Antediluvians asleep as every dying Kindred nudges its forefathers with a psychic backlash, and avoiding Caitiff births help the order, as every dying Caitiff can disturb every Antediluvian, its blood belonging to all. This doesn't even take the human population and development of science and power of mortal hands ensure safety for vampire population letting them live in peace and avoiding mass panicking. Of course, Sabbat not lying on its ass and mass murdering, draining innocents roused vampire hunters and more, particularly Werewolves eager to destroy "leeches of the Wyrm", e.g vampires. And that definitely did not make Camarilla's job any easier suppressing the news.
But of course, Gehenna happened, so it's all moot now unless you are a Vampire 20 canon worshipper.
The Camarilla Traditions
Part of the Camarilla are the half-dozen Traditions that govern their society. These Traditions are strict but limited in scope, allowing the local Prince to rule their domain as they see fit. No two domains are ruled equally, but all observe the Traditions. Failure to do so would incur the wrath of the Camarilla, the neighboring domains or even those within the domain. The Traditions are:
- 1: The Masquerade
- The titular Masquerade entails that none of the Kindred may reveal themselves to the outside world. Knowing that a full-scale Masquerade breach would result in the world uniting against them out of fear and hatred and the subsequent destruction of the Kindred. Princes tend to spend a lot of time and resources covering up breaches of the Masquerade, and those who break it will be punished severely. This tradition is the most important one, especially in modern times. Reasons notwithstanding like police, potential lynch mobs and mortal authorities, there are Mages who actively combat vampirism(they can one-shot virtually any Kindred once powerful enough), Werewolves who see vampires as Wyrm's scum (good luck killing one with steel weapons) and most importantly, vampire hunters. There are vampire hunters who have a wide knowledge about how to kill Kindred. Then there are those who are ordained by the Pope himself. In a show of grimdarkness, those useful bloodbags sadly only manage to attack the most harmless, docile Camarilla Kindred living as an almost legal person, because Sabbat not only brutally hits back, but also turns the family of the hunter into vampires for spite. Either way, even the most powerful Kindred fear hunters.
- 2: The Domain
- A Domain is the area of influence of any given vampire. This is most commonly used to refer to a Prince's domain, which often encompasses a city. Some Princes consider this to be the only valid definition of the term, but the more liberal ones allow other vampires to hold smaller domains within their own, as long as they recognize the Prince's authority of course.
- 3: The Progeny
- According to this Tradition an Embrace may only be performed with the leave of the Prince, and failure to obtain this beforehand will result in the destruction of both the Sire and the Childer. In practice though only a few Princes enforce this Tradition strictly, and the ones that don't will have far larger populations within their Domains to the point of overpopulation.
- 4: The Accounting
- Parents are accountable for the actions of their children, and this is not different with vampires. Sires are required to educate their Children in the ways of the Kindred and failure to properly teach one will have the Sire punished the same way their Childer is, up to and including death.
- 5: Hospitality
- When arriving in a new city a vampire has to present themselves to the local Prince. In turn, the Prince will have to grant audience to such a visitor before deciding whether or not they are allowed to stay in their Domain. Some Princes will keep tight tabs on all of their visitors while others are content with letting them stay as long as they don't get involved with local politics and observe the Traditions.
- 6: Destruction
- Only the Elders of the Domain can sentence someone to death, and only the Prince may call for the Lextalionis, the Blood Hunt. Such a hunt is only rarely called and only against the most vile of criminals. A Kindred who has the Blood Hunt called on them has forfeited their life, making them fair game for other vampires. In a fair deal of cases the Diablerising of a target of a Blood Hunt is pardoned, and a good number of Princes will turn a blind eye to Blood Hunts coming into their Domain from an outside one.
The Sabbat rejects the notions of humanity, but they still needed a way to keep the Beast in check. To this end they invented the Roads of Enlightenment, which is known to some fans as the Roads of Edgelightenment. These inhuman alternatives often justify things like murder, torture, self-mutilation and other such extremes as a way to keeping your act together, albeit with justifications(Path of Metamorphosis emphasizes evolution via pain to justify torturing captives with Vicissitude, and Path of Night forbids killing of innocents but allows killing of evil mortals to "harvest their sin"). That doesn't mean all Sabbat are complete monsters; some Roads of Enlightenment tell the vampire not to murder humans for kicks. A very few of their founders are even on good terms with Humanity, like the Malkavian Vasantasena. In theory, the Sabbat are still on their mission to destroy the Antediluvians in order to save the world. In reality... things aren't exactly like that. And not just that in reality most of them don't really care about the Antediluvians or their machinations as long as they can slaughter and torture humans for fun, and commit as many atrocities as possible while maintaining a semblance of righteousness. Made even more solid when the only decent Sabbat, the Path of Harmony followers, getting exterminated around the time of Revised Sabbat Books were published, and the "Ritae", traditional pastimes of Sabbat aren't making it any easier: some of them reek of individual bravery, such as Fire Dance which is pretty badass by itself but most are usually sick contests of how to skin humans alive, enslave two humans and make them fight each other to death for lulz, regularly hang captured humans from a ceiling, drink them dry and bathe in their blood...and just ways to horribly abuse and torture whatever they catch. For a sect that seems to "ignore humans or deem them beneath their notice", it raises a bit of a flags in mature roleplayers' minds.
Even funnier is that the Sabbat openly wants to rule the world and subjugate the human race. Which is not very likely: not only is Sabbat territory limited to Latin America, most part of Canada, Spain and the poorer parts of the United States with no grasp on any country's mortal militaries (Ventrue dominates the US Army, which is the mightiest war machine on the planet), they also have to compete with the other supernatural powers of the World of Darkness. Pentex is everywhere and is their prime competition for who can be the most cartoonishly evil and the Technocracy has fingers in every pie and is advanced enough to explore other star systems, make Terminators on the side and was able to ONE-SHOT Zapathasura when he awoke using space mirrors and magical nukes (and that was only a fraction of the Technocracy's full power, while the ENTIRE Ravnos clan plus the Kuei-jin fought the dude for a night and a day) while the Sabbat's only contribution to that fight was pinning down their Ravnos pack mates and keeping them from joining their Antediluvian. And all that is discounting the Garou, Kuei-Jin, Hunters, Changelings, Mummies, the Traditions and the Crafts, the Fallen and the Earthbound, Malfeans that are the size of Godzilla and can sweep entire cities clean and... look, Sabbat victory is not likely. The Sabbat could have been a dark mirror of Camarilla, but in the modern nights they are little more than a swarm of borderline insane monsters autistically raging to beat imaginary monsters while committing atrocities beyond measure.
But that's not all. The Sabbat claim that the Camarilla are Antediluvian puppets ignoring the Masquerade as they see fit, and that only they are able to destroy the 11 remaining Antediluvians in order to save the world. In practice, the Sabbat is almost exactly like the Camarilla that they claim to hate. The Sabbat's inner circle, the True Black Hand, is directly serving the Antediluvians, they have their own Masquerade (the Lasombra vampires pay out Mexican authorities to ignore them, ghoul families (particularly Zantosa) clean up messes, and the Tzimisce pretend to not be vampires in their domains in the old world), and instead of being a beacon of freedom it's a tyrannical shithole whose mortal population would go extinct in a single week if the Sabbat could openly do what they want; even their vampires aren't "free", they are blood bound to their packmates in mental slavery...Which is the very thing they swore to end.
And those two Antediluvians that the Sabbat killed? They're not dead. Lasombra used his own diablerization in order to unshackle his soul from his body and enter the Abyss: he is now trying to merge with it. Meanwhile, Tzimisce has gone through a whole deal of stuff and is now currently a massive growth of flesh in the sewers of New York, biding its time. So, good going there, Sabbat.
The Code of Milan
Because the Sabbat is filled to the brim with assholes, edgelords, and other creepy fucks, early Sabbat leadership realized that they'd need a code to keep the whole bunch of them fuckers in line. As such, the Code of Milan was penned and ratified to get at least some sense of coherency without betraying the founding principles of the Sabbat. The statutes are:
- I: The Sabbat shall remain united in its support of the Sect’s Regent. If necessary, a new Regent shall be elected. The Regent shall support relief from tyranny, granting all Sabbat freedom.
- Simple enough: the Regent is the boss. It's the Regent's job to make sure the Sabbat has the freedom upon which it was founded, and if needed a new one can be elected. Note that the wording is vague enough to imply that the Regent may be overthrown in case the Regent is an ass.
- II: All Sabbat shall do their best to serve their leaders as long as said leaders serve the will of the Regent.
- Listen to the folks who tell you what the Regent wants you to do. This is in theory free of the tyranny of elders because again there's the implication of said leaders being able to be overthrown.
- III: All Sabbat shall faithfully observe all the auctoritas ritae.
- The Auctorias Ritae are the religious rites that form the basis that bind the Sabbat together. All thirteen of the rites (The Binding, The Blood Feast, The Blood Bath, the Creation Rites, the Festivo Dello Estinto, the Fire Dance, Games of Instinct, Monomacy, Palla Grande, the Sermons of Caine, Vaulderie, the War Party and the Wild Hunt) are observed by proper Sabbat and foregoing their use will get you into trouble.
- IV: All Sabbat shall keep their word of honor to one another.
- If you give your word, you've given your word. With so many assholes in one place you'll need a way to keep them in check. The Tzimisce are especially big on this.
- V: All Sabbat shall treat their peers fairly and equally, upholding the strength and unity of the Sabbat. If necessary, they shall provide for the needs of their brethren.
- Help your peers for the good of the Sabbat. Within reason of course: if a particularly dickish pack tries to exploit this they'll find that there are limits to this hospitality.
- VI: All Sabbat must put the good of the Sect and the race of Cainites before their own personal needs, despite all costs.
- Speaks for itself, but the threat's gotta be pretty big to get the entire Sabbat on the same side. Otherwise certain Kindred will be too busy being dicks.
- VII: Those who are not honorable under this code will be considered less than equal and therefore unworthy of assistance.
- Don't be a dick or your ass is grass.
- VIII: As it has always been, so shall it always be. The Lextalionis shall be the model for undying justice by which all Sabbat shall abide.
- Be an especially big asshole and you'll have a Wild Hunt (the Sabbat name for the Camarilla Blood Hunt) called on your ass.
- IX: All Sabbat shall protect one another from the enemies of the Sect. Personal enemies shall remain a personal responsibility, unless they undermine Sect security.
- Civil wars are bad, so if two Sabbat have beef it's their problem. This does mean that if you manage to stretch the meaning of "Sect security" you can make this rule work in your favor with some planted evidence calling for Monomachy.
- X: All Sect members shall protect Sabbat territory from all other powers.
- There's plenty of Camarilla and Anarchs who'd love to set up shop in Sabbat cities and they frequently try to do so. Few Sabbat need the encouragement to kicks a bunch of Camarilla/Anarchs in the dick, so this is pretty easy to enforce.
- XI: The spirit of freedom shall be the fundamental principle of the Sect. All Sabbat shall expect and demand freedom from their leaders.
- The counterpart of statutes I and II: leaders have to give freedom while the common Sabbat demand it.
- XII: The Ritus of Monomacy shall be used to settle disputes among all Sabbat.
- Monomacy is the sacred duel between two Sabbat, but a disturbing amount of them will want to use it just to kill folks without repercussions.
- XIII: All Sabbat shall support the Black Hand.
- The Black Hand, also known as the manus nigrum have made it their job to hunt down infernalists and demons to destroy both, which is considered laudable by the Sabbat. Tal'mahe'Ra or True Black Hand is a completely different animal, even having Mage and other supernaturals aiding it. They are the ones who work for Caine and Antediluvians, with no one in the Sabbat having an idea.
On December 21st, 1933 the Code of Milan was revised after the end of the Second Sabbat Civil War. This revision added three addenda to the Code, which are to be upheld in the same way as the original 13 are:
- XIV: All Sabbat have the right to monitor the behavior and activities of their fellow Sect members in order to maintain freedom and security.
- Aka "you can spy on everyone as long as it's for the good of the Sect." Yes, it's written vaguely for exactly that purpose.
- XV: All Sabbat possess the right to call a council of their peers and immediate leaders.
- Sometimes it's better to talk than to fight, which became obvious during the civil war. This gives all Sabbat to call such councils to defuse otherwise violent situations, but at the risk of having to deal with violent reprisals if the council was deemed to be bullshit. This wisdom did pay off, with the Third Sabbat Civil War lasting only 100 days and ended with diplomacy.
- XVI: All Sabbat shall act against Sect members who use the powers and authority the Sabbat has given them for personal gain at the expense of the Sabbat. Action shall be taken only through accepted means, approved by a quorum of Prisci.
- A counterweight to statutes VI and IX: if leaders do start like the hated elders the rabble now has the right to take them down... with approval of course.
In the Modern Nights, they have the spirit of the first Anarch Revolt mellowed into "live-and-let-live" schtick. So basically leftist libertarian vampires who keep their Humanity, and simply live free. They are now what the Sabbat were, what they aren't now, and what they should have remained as. They have a serious influence in California, and used to control Russia until Baba Yaga awakened. They are making a great come back in BJD, with many elders deciding to establish their own free states, such as Marcus Vitel (a former prince and Lasombra Antitribu, having sold Washington D.C. to the Sabbat, but eager and actually capable to take it back from Vykos, who most likely has the greatest pair of balls in the Sabbat, hopefully not literally), and
Montgomery Coven Mithras (an awesome Ventrue Methuselah, who was once worshipped as a god, ruled London since it was a Roman colony, survived the German Blitz of London, decimated a Garou pack looking to tear him a new asshole, survived getting Diablerized) deciding to establish London as a free state.
Vampires that roar FOR THE CLAN! Assamites, Followers of Set, Ravnos and Giovanni are considered independent clans, due to not being affilated with any sect. They share one common feature: All of these clans revere their Antediluvians, alienating them from the Camarilla, who (incorrectly) believes they do not exist, and the Sabbat, who hates the Antediluvians with gusto.
Existing outside of the regular Sect and Clan structure by either choice or lack of knowledge. Sometimes they stick to living on the fringes of civilization, while others set up shop in smaller towns and villages. The downside is that in such a situation the vampires are easy prey for the local Werewolves, unless the vampire is a mid generation (6th/7th/8th) Elder/Ancillae, in which case he/she can survive a attack by Werewolves. If the vampire in question is a Methuselah (4th/5th), then that Garou Sept the pack of Werewolves belong to is fucked. If someone is a Autarkis, expect them to be either really weak vampires, or overwhelmingly strong ones. The Assamites calls the Autarkis among their ranks "The Dispossessed."
From the Ghemalish/Enochian language spoken in the ancient biblical city of Enoch, Tal'mahe'Ra translates to English as "Hand Without Sun" or "Black Hand". After the destruction of the Earthly city of Enoch, the Tal'mahe'Ra began as an alliance between newly homeless Enochian vampires and Chakravanti mages; their initial base was the ghostly shadow of Enoch in the Underworld realm, in which they sheltered and worshiped the ancient slumbering Aralu vampires. In addition to vampires and mages, the membership of the Tal'mahe'Ra also includes liches, Abominations (werewolves turned into vampires), revenants, wraiths, and mummies.
The Inconnu are a bunch of Illuminati-on-Steroids-crossed-with-Obfuscate-10 grade conspirators. Inconnu is a French word meaning "incognito/unknown/stranger". The Inconnu have Monitors, who are vampires seeking Golconda and manipulate things behind the scenes. Members include a Malkavian who helped in the sacking of Constantinople back in 1204, the Prince of Switzerland and Liechtenstein Guillaume and even Vlad Tepes himself. Another such member is the Monitor of Istanbul, Mahatma, is a 4th generation Cappadocian who was trained in the way of Golconda by none other than Saulot himself. He now keeps an eye on Istanbul, training those whom he finds promising in the ways of Golconda while destroying those who pose a threat to the city's status quo or those who would draw attention from the Inquisition. Mahatma acts via intermediaries to do so, and even has an agent in the Prince's court. Istanbul is a complete cosmopolitan mess, with Sabbat tolerated amongst the Camarilla majority and even has some D'habi, the Baali Revenant family maintaining an estate somewhere along the Bosphorus (which would probably explain the strange, seemingly unused mansions along the coast IRL). On top of that, Pentex has its regional HQ there, and the city's got quite a few Silver Fangs and Bone Gnawers running around. So whatever the fuck those Inconnu are up to is some kind of bizarre mix of extreme vampiric political correctness, a weird experiment or utter ineptitude.
Their headquarters, Hunedora Castle, is a former Tzimisce castle in Western Romania. During the First Anarch Revolt the leaders of the Inconnu, the Council of Twelve, were out of options and as such saw themselves forced to summon a demon. The lucky fiend was Nikanuuranu, an Earthbound Fiend who agreed to a pact: mass human sacrifice and a drop of Vitae every year. This in turn results in the use of the Demon using its powers in the form of Portals 5 and Light 5 to hide Hunedora from sight and from being physically reached in order to protect the place. It's a pretty sweet gig: not only does Nikanuuranu have access to eight dots of all the Disciplines possessed by the Council of Twelve, he has a yearly massive donation of Faith (this is where the strength of the pact comes from: not from the powerful Vitae of the Twelve). On top of that, if one of the twelve pacters leave the castle grounds for any reason they have 10 minutes to get back. If they fail they immediately suffer Final Death. Of course, one wonders how such a heinous pact involving mass murder(which is pretty much a minimum 3 on sin scale, more likely 1) does not degenerate the vampires' Humanity to zero, who should be keeping it minimally 7 for even an attempt of Golconda...
A sect? Just kidding; the Hecata are not referred to as a sect in the published material, but they should be. In V:tM v5 White Wolf decided to sloppily unite all of the necromantic bloodlines together into a single "clan"; as the majority of necromantic bloodlines are Cappadocian bloodlines this could have made sense except for the fact that the authors also lumped in the Nagaraja, who are not a Cappadocian bloodline. Despite the inclusion of the Nagaraja, the authors still opted to confusingly misuse the established term clan instead of calling the Hecata what they actually are: a sect, a.k.a. an alliance of bloodlines. One benefit of the merger is that any member of one of the merged necromantic bloodlines can trade their previous bloodline weakness for the painful bite of the Giovanni. Further, all of the necromantic and obtenebrous Disciplines were combined into a single Discipline called Oblivion (which would have been cooler if the authors had not nerfed 3D obtenebrous tentacles down to cartoonish 2D shadows). The symbol of the Hecata is three-faced Hecate, Greek goddess of necromancy. The v5 material indicates that the Giovanni Antediluvian, Augustus, was diablerized; as the Hecata are still described as a "clan" though, and their default clan Disciplines are those of the original Clan Cappadocian, this all implies that Augustus was diablerized by a [female?] Cappadocian methuselah going by the name/alias Hecate.
The Thirteen Vampire Clans
Each Antediluvian made vampires of their own. These tended to carry curses put on them by Caine for the lulz. Also note that it is possible for clan members to join a group different from what the majority of their clan follows. Not all Toreador follow the Camarilla, as an example. But a lot do. And oh, you better believe shit will hit the fan for you if your clan is nearly all part of a Sect. Prepare to be laughed at if you're a Ventrue who tries to go Anarch, unless you have powerful connections since you'll have to set a hierarchy because of your nature. And God help you if you're a Tzimisce in anything but the Sabbat...except when you are a Koldun sorcerer chilling in Ukraine, or VLAD FUCKING TEPES chilling in America (Yes he paid Bram Stoker).
- Antediluvian - Haqim
- Signature Discipline - Quietus (I can kill youz gits even more sneaky like, hail Mork!, also creepy blood alchemy) What's an Ork doing here? Who left the hell/warp portal to 40k open?
- Sect - Independent/Camarilla/Sabbat/Dispossessed (Clan schism, previously Independent/Sabbat)
- Clan Weakness: Warriors: Vitae Addiction (must drink vampire blood) and the aura of a Diablerist, Sorcerers: Always register as a user of blood magic when using Auspex, Viziers: Obsessive/Compulsive, V20 Edition: Thanks to Tremere shenanigans, Assamites who drink vampire blood will find the experience equivalent to chugging drain cleaner, and those who try diablerie face "stuck in desert sunlight" levels of agony.
Located mostly in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Syria and Saudi Arabia. They are Middle Eastern Assassins who are scholars and noble vampires who look out for the weak, protect the homelands... and also kill other vampires and drain them of their blood and devour their souls,( which the Camarilla considers just about the worst sin a Kindred can commit). When they don't commit diablerie, they just freeload on other vampire's blood regardless. Not only is this addictive it also leads to being Blood Bound by drinking from the same vampire thrice. Of course nobody stops them from doing it because they're good at killing vampires and drinking your target dry makes slavery moot. So try all they might, while these Hashashin wannabes try to and really do believe in making a big show of their piety and selfless works, they can't really shake off that sign above their head that says ALERT - VAMPIRE CANNIBAL without even using Auspex. They need vampire blood because they were hunting down demon-Worshiping Baali vampires, and did it so well the Baali summoned the Decani, the 36 aspects of Namtaru, a fallen demon associated with disease and decay. And got cursed by the Tremere too somewhere along the way. Yeah, they tend to attract a lot of curses for a reason. Naturally, they use this to paint a story of wrongful persecution. That's their official excuse, anyway. Weirdly, they get blacker instead of paler as they age; the elders look like statues carved out of obsidian. Around the Final Nights, their oldest member besides Haqim, Ur-Shulgi canceled the Tremere curse within a week, and declared that from that moment on, all Assamites will worship Haqim through the Path of Blood, instead of Allah/God/Yahweh, or die a brutal death by Diablerie. This caused a division in the clan, with those who wished to worship God or wanted to stay the fuck away from Ur-Shulgi (especially since he may be or may be not demon-possessed) made their way to sects such as Camarilla and Sabbat, or becoming Autarkis, their sorcerers giving no small trouble to Tremere.
- Antediluvian -
IlyesTroile, and don't you forget it.
- Signature Discipline - Potence, but many Clans can use it (HAHA, TIME TO JUGGLE DUMPSTERS)
- Sect - Camarilla/Sabbat/Anarch/Tal'Mahe'Ra/Inconnu They. Are. Everywhere.
- Clan Weakness: Prone to Frenzying easier.
Drawing on both the Lost Boys and Buffy tradition of scumbag vampires and a more romantic, Byronic tradition in freedom through wanton depravity. The Brujah are thugs, anarchists, revolutionaries, and other downtrodden, or people who were so inclined before they got the power to do all they dreamed about. Carthage was originally a grand, mostly-successful social experiment of theirs for a human-vampire Eden, then the Ventrue either crushed it out of jealousy or led a series of regretfully unavoidable wars to cleanse both Carthage and the Brujah themselves of Baali infestation, which already made Carthage hell on earth. The old Brujah were scholastic thinkers with powers to punch the shit out if you and would be considered intellectuals. Just don't tell them Carthage was no utopia but infested by Baali so much even other entities like mages took notice.
The new Brujah are like those punk teenagers who wear anarchist t-shirts but have no idea about the theory of Marxism, except they can also beat you to death with your own car when they want to shut you down when you start winning the argument. Generally considered rabble by others, they form the backbone and the majority in the Anarch movement. Did some major shit in history with Carthage, and haven't do shit since. Sure, they managed to carve out California and some adjacent territory as the Anarch Free State, where no Camarilla or Sabbat could tread easily. Then the Kuei-Jin decided to roll into town like a motherfucker, and the Free State got mangled pretty bad. The complete opposite of getting shit done. One of their subclans, an African Legacy, need a controlling hand or authority of sorts in a city or they resort to indulging in activities like rape and murder. And there is NO SUCH THING as the True Brujah.
- Antediluvian - Set/Typhon
- Signature Discipline - Serpentis (Powers based on Egyptian gods, such as Set, Ra, Apep, and so on)
- Sect - Anarch (formerly Independent)
- Clan Weakness: Extreme sensitivity to sunlight: even a brightening sky will burn them. Also, abuse of Serpentis will cause Serpentine mutations.
This clan's mainstream belief is that Set was the progenitor of all Kindred, which is fucking stupid, but then again considering the other theories some have postulated for why vampirism exists, it's not THAT bad a theory (and hey, there are actual, honest to Ra mummies kicking around the WoD, so it has some legs).
The most popular and well-known legend goes like this. Straight from the revised clanbook, here it is.
In the ancient times when the gods lived on Earth and ruled Egypt directly, the sun-god Ra grew old and decided to retire. Ra chose his great-grandson Osiris as his heir and successor. This did not sit well with Osiris’ brother, Set. Our progenitor was the mightiest warrior among the gods. Every night he guarded the sun-barque as it passed under the Earth from the gates of sunset to the gates of dawn. Every night he battled Apep, the Great Serpent of Darkness, so that the sun might rise again. Did his valor count for nothing?
Set’s jealousy and wounded pride drove him to murder his brother. He fashioned a beautiful coffin proportioned exactly to Osiris’ body, and said he would give this princely gift to whoever would fit in it. All the gods tried the coffin in vain. Then Osiris took his turn. Immediately, Set and his 72 accomplices slammed the coffin’s lid, nailed it shut and threw it in the Nile. Osiris drowned. When the goddess Isis, Osiris’ wife and sister, used her magic to retrieve her husband’s body, Set took more permanent measures: He hacked his brother’s body to bits and scattered them about Egypt. Patiently, Isis gathered the fragments, reassembled the body of Osiris and used her magic to conceive a child by her dead husband.
When their child Horus grew to manhood, he challenged Set for the kingship of the gods. Some legends speak of mighty battles between gods and armies. Other tales describe their strife as a farcical court case, full of low tricks and silly contests. One way or another, Horus prevailed. Horus lost an eye in their strife; in revenge, he castrated Set. Osiris, meanwhile, became King of the Dead just as his son became King of the Living; and the Pharaonic dynasties henceforth claimed to rule by descent from Horus the Avenger. As compensation, Ra gave Set two foreign goddesses as concubines and made him god of storms: “He will thunder in the sky and make men afraid.”
When the other gods acclaimed Horus as their new king, Ra turned on his faithful defender and cursed Set to live in darkness forever. Then the gods thrust Set into Duat, the dark Underworld of the dead, and the river of death whose waters come from the Primeval Ocean itself. Here Set fought the great serpent Apep once more. He slew the Worm of Darkness and ate its heart. With Apep’s death he took on Apep’s dark wisdom and learned secrets hidden from the beginning of the world.
When Ra created the world, he gave it life through his own semen, creating gods and the souls of human beings alike. Souls differed in size but not in kind. Jealous Ra lied to all his children. He told them that he was mightiest of all things, creator of the universe, when he merely shaped a tiny portion of the Primeval Waters.
Now, however, Set knew the truth: All souls could grow as mighty as their tyrant father and become creators themselves. Set returned to the world by stealth. The Primeval Waters carry life as well as death. Every year, the gates of the world open to let the Primeval Waters bring new life through the yearly inundation of the Nile. Set disguised himself as a water-serpent and slipped through the gates with the rushing waters. He swore to overthrow Ra — not for revenge but for compassion, to liberate the souls Ra held in bondage. Despite the power gained from Apep, Set still had to hide from the sun; he could not break the curse of Ra. Nor did he truly live, for he had tasted the waters of death.
As he walked the night, however, Set found twelve human disciples to hear his message of rebellion against the tyranny of the gods. The disciples swore to follow Set. To seal their oath, they used a warrior’s rite: They mingled their blood with Set’s in a bowl and drank from it, swearing thus to become brothers and sisters in the coming struggle. Set even granted them equal shares in his own divine power. They too would become gods. As the last disciple drank, however, the company of the great gods appeared.
The treacherous Moon, whom Set trusted to keep silent, told the other gods about Set’s return. Ra the tyrant decreed that all who joined Set’s cause would share his banishment from the Sun and his castration, and that having sealed their pact in blood the thirteen would feed on blood alone. Now Set learned what flawed vessels humans were. His twelve disciples wailed at the curse and begged for mercy, saying that Set misled them. Their betrayal outraged Set. (He always did have a short temper.) He swore that if they would not help him fight the gods, after all he had given them, he would destroy them as well, though it take him a million years!
And so, from the curses of Ra and the power of Apep, Set and his twelve disciples became the first vampires. In time they learned to pass their curse and their power to other mortals, becoming the founders of the thirteen clans. Set remained the greatest of the thirteen, for he had been a true god and the source of the power wielded by his treacherous disciples. The others never forgave their benefactor for witnessing their treachery and their cowardice. Set’s childer remained faithful to him: He learned from his mistakes and chose more carefully. The childer of the other First Vampires schemed against their sires. We, the Mesu Bedshet, Children of Rebellion, remain loyal — and this is as gall in the mouths of Set’s rivals. They taught their childer to hate and fear Set and his clan; they invented fables to hide how they themselves became vampires.
This is but one of the many, many legends that Setites use to explain their origins.
Very very insidious, they spread corruption throughout decaying slums of the poor, and decadent halls of the rich. Their tongues exist merely to spread lies, to ensnare and entrap their victims... almost like a serpent. This is all part of their grand design, and worship to their gods (that's right, while some cults only worship Setite Antediluvian in whatever form it takes, some also worship other gods alongside him, e.g. Cult of Typhon Trimegistus, but their patron is always their founder), for when all is miserable, their Antediluvian will come back, and according to their belief, will grant them freedom. Planning to reawaken their Antediluvian, which is also a big no no, one doubly so for the Sabbat, because superstition is that when the Fathers awaken, they will slake their thirst with the blood of all their Childer. Basically, nobody likes them for being strange snake-fapping weirdo cultists trying to bring about the apocalypse. Since they are by habit and blood people involved in vice and corruption, they tend to get in trouble at some point with the law, mortal and immortal. They exist in the form of cults, worshipping various gods who they believe as the masks of the Antediluvian that once called himself Set to the Egyptians, such as Typhon, Mars, Bacchus, Pluton, Apep, Shiva, Jormungandr, Loki, Tezcalipoca, Echidna and much, much more. Some of his childer has names like Wepwawet and Tawaret, which some would recognise as other Egyptian gods. Sadly, this clan was handled very poorly during Gehenna, which is a shame, because there is so much that you can do with those guys. They are criminally underrated vampire versions of Word Bearers.
In recent nights, the Settites have realized the snake thing is a bit stupid looking, and went for the thing scummy slick people tend to do, and start acting like they found 'God.' They now started calling themselves the Ministry, and claimed to always be this way. Also, they tried to join a group they could leach off of, in the Camarilla, but all their egyptian Elders were blown up in a fire bomb. [All according to plan] As such, they got rejected by their prom date, and started hooking up with the Camarilla's emo little brother, the Anarchs to get back at them.
- Antediluvian - Ennoia - Allegedly the same woman who started the Lupine (werewolf) race, a idea that cannot be farther from the truth.
- Signature Discipline - Protean (Shapeshifters)
- Sect - All sects have a lot of Gangrel members, with a good chunk of Gangrel being Autarkis. Camarilla members are getting rarer each night, though.
- Clan Weakness: After every Frenzy, they gain animalistic features. This curse first manifests itself as bestial behavior, then moves on to beastly appendages portruding out of the Vampire's flesh. This makes Masquerade harder to maintain, of course.
Nature vampires, with many shapeshifting/animal control powers. Want to talk to that bird who saw something? Go ahead. Summon wolves to tear some dude's jugular? Knock yourself out. Doesn't sound like much, but animals normally hate and fear Kindred, because they can sense they are undead monstrosities, except Gangrel. Chillaxing with your dudes is pretty neat, especially when they warn you and fight for you.
Despite living in the wilderness frequently (but also cities, after all, it's an urban jungle, right?) and generally being homeless they are not hippie types. These guys are like the other version of Nature, the one that features a cute baby seal pup being torn in half by two killer whales fighting over the meat. Though they can be hippy types too, so don't let that stop you if you want to roll a hippy vampire, but remember that only neonates prefer to become hippies, because their elders were the barbarians that despoiled myriad civilizations like Sumer, Egypt, and Rome through the countless millenias. Those elders were the Mongols, they were the Gauls, they were the Norsemen, they were the Huns, and so on.
The Migration Period was heaven for them, for those elders wanted to ravage civilization ever since the concept appeared.
The curse of Gangrel is, they eventually become furries, either to their delight, or to their despair. Unlike popular belief, in modern nights, every six Gangrel out of ten live by the code of HFY, while the other four, generally antitribu, enjoy becoming furries. Ironically, the best scholar in modern nights is also a Gangrel named Beckett who literally experiments with himself like running under sunlight to see how he fits in nature and hypothesizes on vampirism such as being a relict evolutionary offshoot of humanity in form of a predatory species.
They are bitter eternal enemies of the Ravnos clan for several reasons. Disregarding all the myths aside that came before this event regarding their progenitors, one of those reasons was the poaching of Rroma tribes, and another one, is this event: a Lithuanian Gangrel elder named Intam, found something that might have cured all vampires from their curse, something that could have reverted them back to mortals. It might have been successful actually, or not. This was important for Gangrel, as they, with quite a lot of exceptions, despised their animalistic features, because these features caused their humanity to usually degenerate quicker than a normal vampire, and eventually become the thralls of the Beast. Sure, you can pick a Road/Path, but it won't be like Humanity. Some Ravnos assholes overheard it, and decided to stop this elder, because Ravnos glorify their undead state, and despise anyone who wants to return to mortality or transcend their undead nature. As you can guess, they killed Intam. When Gangrel overheard that their chance at salvation was taken away, they went batshit insane, and immediately started to RIP AND TEAR all Ravnos they could get their hands on.
Gangrel Antitribu are, as you might expect, even less attuned to their humanity, animals in all but name really. Gangrels have also a shitload of bloodlines due to inherent mutability of their vitae. One of them makes their homes underwater, and they look like the residents of Innsmouth. They have a mutual respect with the Nosferatu, due to the fact that both of the clans are inherently monstrous. Some legends of the Gangrel and Nosferatu say Ennoia and Absimilard often hunted together. Except unlike Absimilard, Ennoia doesn't hate her descendants explicitly, she just doesn't care anymore.
Cappadocius (HIS BLOOD FELL OFF THE BACK OF A TRUCK, OKAY, NOW STOP ASKING QUESTIONS.)Augustus Giovanni
- Signature Discipline: Necromancy (spooky magic) or Oblivion (Necromancy + Obtenebration)
- Sect: Independent (They don't need the others. Except when they do.)
- Clan Weakness: Their Kiss hurts like a motherfucker, looks bad and heals slowly.
Spagetti and Corpses, boss. The Italian Vampire Mafia. No, we're not kidding. Probably the second wealthiest clan, bar the Ventrue, with Lasombra and Toreador following behind. And that's just the tip of this delectable iceberg. Dealing in vice, corruption, and trafficking with souls. Literally a family as well as a bloodline, it's the only Clan that exclusively Embraces within the same mortal family. Puts up a prim and proper appearance to the public, and to other Vampires. They take a lot of mortal traditions from the ages very seriously still (being originally a merchant family from Venice). They are even serious about their Catholicism and going to church on Sunday - so on top of everything else being gay, an atheist or worst of all Protestant are all good ways to get on their shitlist.
Of course, there is a reason they're notorious among the Kindred: at that church, there's real blood in the cup, and an orgy among the pews in between litanies about and prayers to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yup, they're all incestuous bitches. And it only goes downhill from there. Necrophilia and bestiality are a perfectly accepted pastime within the family. Kissing cousins is the rule. And no, the entire family is not Embraced, just in case you thought there was an out. They're so messed up that by the time one may actually get selected for the Embrace, the horrors of vampire life are no real biggie. It's like your most perverted hentai come to unlife. As you can imagine, this doesn't at all help their dealings with the outside world, and they have to be careful not to give anyone the impression otherwise. Nobody likes them for being shit-for-brains bullies: they pretty much are fucked in social interactions where they don't have the equivalent to a gun at someone's head, and being founded by a notoriously-depraved Diablerist doesn't do them any favors. Now, to their credit, they DID broaden the gene pool a bit, by incorporating certain families into their own. But of course, they're anything but normal. Would you like your sister-aunt-granddaughter-wife to be from the German death cultist/necrophiliac/arms dealer family? Or would you prefer her to come from the Scottish cannibal banker family?
As for their TRUE resource, it's not money, but souls. The dead. They take both tracks - they deal with the spirit world "I got youse, you fucking ghost, and now youse gonna to tell me everything!" kind of necromancy, and the literal "Beloved brother, just because you're dead now doesn't mean you won't still be eating me out..." zombie raising kind of necromancy. Also not a Founding Clan, they stole their vampirism from a cooler clan (the Cappadocians, a Clan of humane and charitable vampire necromancer monks) back in the medieval ages and then proceeded to wipe it out. And to suggest they missed a few is heresy. That's not to say you would be wrong... Also trying to end the world by collapsing the human world into the spirit world so that they can lord over the endless darkness of the Long Night forever and promptly blew up the whole clan when a gate to the Underworld formed. In summary, the words of the Nosferatu and the Ventrue describe them the best: "Down in the sewers we see a lot of shit, but never so much as when a Giovanni heads our way." and "Our stillborn siblings, who never developed a sense of right and wrong or what not to stick your cock into."
- Antediluvian - Lasombra - KIA (or at least the elders would like to believe)
- Signature Discipline - Obtenebration (An endless void of eternal shadow to help you out! Then you learn it's kind of alive...)
- Sect - All Sabbat. Trust me, there is no Antitribu in their rank. Trust Me.
- Clan Weakness: Can't see their own reflection. Sounds not that bad, but... well, just keep reading.
Those creepy fucks started as ancient era pirates under the leadership of the Antediluvian Laza-Omri-Bara, and have always been drawn to the endless, dark oceans. They plagued Egyptians as Hyksos, Romans as well...pirates, and everyone else until they could set roots in Spain, and eventually become aristocratic vampire conquistadores and privateers save for some kinder, less dickish Lasombra who set roots in the Islamic world and kept it from falling apart, particularly Turkish cities of Adana and Antakya(Antioch).
One of the few 'aristocratic' clans in the Sabbat, and thus eternal rivals to the Ventrue. It's an obsession to such an extent that some people whisper the Lasombra only took charge in the Sabbat because the Ventrue ran the Camarilla. Had more power back in the Dark Ages, but still a threat today. The rivalry goes back a long time - Lasombra sought out power positions in the Church (and they still do have members in there, and all Sabbat titles are derived from the Catholic hierarchy), Ventrue sought out positions in the king's court. When Ventrue held power in the kingdoms and duchies, Lasombra sought power in the republics and bishoprics. Where Ventrue sought out the Army, Lasombra joined the Navy. Where Ventrue may have aided ZIPRA (Rhodesians) in the Rhodesian Bush War, Lasombra may have aided ZANLA. Or both. Point being, they are parallels in many respects. That's not to say they are merely cynical users of their power - indeed, the infiltration into both the Catholic Church and the Caliphate came to a head during the Reconquista, with the clan splitting down religious lines (though interestingly, the Arabian Lasombra are still mostly Christian and refuse to convert, and no one wants to risk making them, and Lasombra Muslim Ashirra are not Sabbat monsters, but benevolent Muslim overlords). In short, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Their signature calling card is their ability to control the very powers of darkness and shadow. The realm they draw this from, the Abyss, was just a catch all term for their powers, until they investigated deeper. Now we indeed know it is a realm in and unto itself, and to the consternation of other clans, they can't really go there. Used as neutral meeting ground or other such activities, it's one of the Clan's strongest allies. Of course, they're not the only denizens there... and there are hints that the realm has been imbued with the essence of Lasombra himself, and his Childer merely did him a favor by freeing him from his earthly form. Generally, they're raging assholes who think they know everything, which, again, makes them pretty much mirror-versions of the Ventrue. Most think they're born to rule leading to a ruthless meritocracy, whereas Ventrue "work" for it by sucking up to their elders every night. Their clan weakness is also legendary, in that they can't fucking see their own reflection. It extends to everything conceivable - the clothes they wear also disappear in mirrors, they can't be seen by video cameras, they won't show up in developed photographs, they won't even show up as reflections on glass. They only way they know how they look is to sit down for a portrait every few years or so. That, and they often use ghouls as handmaidens to make sure they're looking lovely. God help any ghoul who doesn't fix said problems, which is weird since they tend to hate ghouls with a passion. So in short, the only way they know they have boogers sticking out of their nose is if they stick a finger in themselves. It's one of those "seems like a minor nothing weakness until you really stop to think about it" things. Another minor weakness is they take additional damage from sunlight, but if you're facing that, you're kinda fucked anyways. The main power in the Sabbat's "military/administrative" positions, they're the only reason the Sabbat can even remotely organize itself or fund its own operations. Hilariously, they currently operate out of Mexico City due to its size and sky-darkening pollution. In ancient times they only embraced those who show enormous promise to operate under pressure, which stays until now, except for gangbangers who go mass embracing like Tyranids.
Tl;dr shadow fetishist gothic Spanish hotties and social Darwinist corrupt priests wearing ALL BLACK. Hawt if you are into that sort of thing, I know I am.
- Antediluvian - Malkav - Presumed dead, his blood mixed with the ground water all over the Middle East. (More likely he's in your head right now. Yes, you!)
- Signature Discipline - Dementation ("So you think I'm crazy? Well you're right... and you'll find out just how crazy soon enough!")
- Sect - Mostly Camarilla
- Clan Weakness: They all have some form of neurosis, madness or insanity. Some can still function, while others are too far gone and institutionalized.
Seers and prophets, they have offered their words of counsel to the Camarilla for millennia. Would be pretty cool, except most of the time, it's random fucking gibberish with a rare insight hidden in sentences. That's because to a vamp, every single Malkavian is incurably insane in one way or another. And this is where the controversy hails from, with the term Fishmalk.
The term Fishmalk comes from people who played them as comical lunatics - and there are plenty of people who are tired of this overdone way of playing Clan Drusilla. That's not to say that you can't do Fishmalks right - the wonderful game Bloodlines had an excellent take on the concept, which retained all of the awesome with legitimate inferred comedy (though not overt and clownlike), along with wonderfully crafted lulz and spoilers that only make sense on the second playthrough, such as mumbling "Helter Skelter" when you meet a vampire named Skelter without asking his name, scaring the fuck out of him.
As mentioned before, they are the seers and prophets, and that's partly because all Malkavians are connected to a kind of... thing called the Malkavian Madness Network, or the Cobweb. Its partly how they can see the future, the past, plots, and other portents of doom, even if they or anyone else have no idea what the fuck it means. All that is known by the other Clans is that you do not want to fucking know what the hell is in the Cobweb/Malkavian Madness Network/Radio Station KRAY-Z - some speculate it's either the cause of their madness or a way to contain it from reaching critical and brain raping everyone around them, while others even believe that it's the Antediluvian Malkav himself, transcending the material world to a plane of pure madness. And there's a good reason no one really bothers trying - anything that connects with it gets mind raped, Dark Heresy style. Certain Kindred believe that the Malkavians are the physical manifestation of Malkav, and by allowing for the creation of as many Malkavians as possible Malkav's mind will be stretched too thin for the Antediluvian to be a threat. Even those poor Malks too insane to be able to care for themselves are sometimes kept alive, if only to try and bring this about (turns out that this theory is correct, but in a different way). During Gehenna Malkav does have a physical form of his own: a dozen little girls with glowing eyes who all speak in unison.
This is what their signature discipline Dementation allows them to do to others - they inflict their madness onto a victim, from making them think they are a frog, to making a cop shoot innocent bystanders to cover a getaway because the cop suddenly sees monsters from Doom overrunning the streets. Do take note that it can be ANY mental flaw. That means any range of sexual psychoses are also fair play. You show those Toreador-loving hambeasts in your group that this is World of Darkness, not Twilight. In an odd bout of things, both the Malkavians and Vampire players speculate that they may actually be getting trolled by their Antediluvian. There was an event once where all Malkavians in the world lost their ability to use Dementation and instead suddenly acquired Dominate. After it reverted back, Malkavians started calling it The Great Trick. Truly, the MMN is a great thing. The Instant Messenger feature seems to be also a factor more recently, since they will sometimes all across the country drop whatever the fuck they were doing and converge at certain places at the same time. Don't really have that many subclans, and the Antitribu in the Sabbat are far crazier, often immobilized outside of battle. Well, they for some reason retained Dominate instead of reacquiring Dementation from The Great Trick. Though they can still let their madness affect reality in subtle ways that make you hope to God you're dealing with one of the ones that doesn't have homicidal tendencies. And if you do... well, imagine one of the (MUCH) more crazy and violent iterations of the Joker with the ability to see the future in some way. Or better yet, Vaas Montenegro from Farcry 3 would fit a perfect Sabbat Malkavian.
- Antediluvian - Absimiliard (Hide yo kids, hide yo wife)
- Signature Discipline - Obfuscate (So stealthy you're completely invisible, but actually a mind trick. Fuck cameras, man.)
- Sect - Camarilla/Sabbat, They pay lip service to both sects, but Clan always comes first.
- Clan Weakness: Looking really fucking ugly, and this cannot be fixed.
They didn't even hide the inspiration for these guys, it's right in the name. The Nosferatu are hideous freakshow vampires. It just doesn't stop. Every Nossie will, shortly after they are Embraced, turn into a fugly mess that is impossible to hide without supernatural aid. Some still manage to look quite nice (Mitnick from Bloodlines), some look like they got their face burned off but are otherwise alright (Gary Golden, Bertram, also from Bloodlines), and some look like Nurgle gave them an extra long hug (Imalia, also from Bloodlines, who calls it the "Texas Chainsaw Mascara look"). One particular Nosferatu has a massive bone beak for a mouth, for example, named Cock Robin. Whispered that it has to do with what your character's worst flaws and beast's worst projection, but who knows? An example is by how most members are chosen because of skills and such for the Embrace, there is another category they like to Embrace, which is vain people who get by in life thanks to their looks alone. Called Cleopatras (from the vain woman in the movie Freaks who earns herself a suitably horrible fate), the Nosferatu sometimes Embrace said people as a form of angry/laughing revenge, or because they feel that said person was given a brain and they need to learn how to use it and develop character. Either way, because of this disability, being seen is normally a form of Masquerade breach, though of course, slouching around at night can give some form of protection - with some you'd have to be really close to see what's wrong with them, so don't be scared to have your Nossie do anything above ground! Just stay away from streetlights or brightly lit clubs, and keep that hoodie on.
They spend their time largely lurking in the shadows everywhere because of their condition. Forced to live in the fucking sewers, but actually relatively decent guys. Relatively, of course, because of things like that whole Cleopatra thing. They and the Toreador hate each others' guts generally, the Nossies because the Toreadors are vain, shallow, beautiful pricks. In this, of course, they're right. Their main Clan Discipline, while not unique to them, is Obfuscate, which is basically D&D invisibility by way of making people derp out and think you're not there. Even immortals and supernaturals are vulnerable to this, and require detection abilities higher than your Obfuscate level to be able to see you. Watch out for cameras though. For those poor souls who are bitter and who hate what they've become, there is a temporary reprieve, via a not high level Discipline called The Mask of a Thousand Faces, which lets them deceive people's perceptions into seeing them how they used to look like, and eventually however they want to look like. So you could be kissing some lonely hot chick who was a little too eager to do it with an average at best/10 that you are, and she could be some freaking ugly vampire, and you'd never know! As you can imagine, Cleopatras try to learn this skill as soon as possible. Thanks to their dealing in stealth, they have become the big information brokers among the Kindred and even regular people. And boy oh boy is business booming. No matter how much they despise them, vampires at some point know they will have to go to the Nosferatu for that little bit of edge. And the Nosferatu know - are passive at best supporters of the Camarilla, and openly state they are loyal to clan first. This even extends to the Antitribu, who somewhat regularly talk with their loyalist brethren. Run a massive worldwide information network, SchreckNET, available to all Nosferatu. As said, clan first. Also, said SchreckNET has another purpose...
Their Antediluvian, Absimiliard, is a thing the Nosferatu don't like to talk about. He is one of the greatest bastards WoD ever had, and that is saying something. Unlike many of the Antediluvians, who usually consider anything lesser than a Methuselah a light snack, Absimiliard utterly hates his clan, and would like nothing better than to wipe it out. He had some, but only some Childer. Only one, The Matriarch, who is speculated to be Baba Yaga herself, managed to break the blood bond that enslaved her to Absimilard's will, and fled. And since all Nosferatu who know can trace their lineage back to the Matriarch, what happened to the other Methuselahs of Absimiliard? Welcome to the Big Fear - the thing that keeps Nossies up during torpor. The Nictuku, 4th generation childer of Absimiliard himself, all programmed to kill all non-Nictuku Nosferatu. After Baba Yaga ran for it, and Embraced many people, Absimiliard set his other Childer on a crusade to wipe the errant bloodline out. How far does it go? Those sewers, remember them? They don't live there only because they're ugly - Nossie sewer fortresses are a great place to build gun turrets, traps, electrical arc pits and anything a 4th generation vampire might die of. And SchreckNET was first started as a means of sharing sightings on the Nictuku. The best part? That fear is not baseless at all - Baba Yaga herself, an insanely powerful Methuselah with iron claws among other things, bit the eternal dirt nap in 1990. The same Baba Yaga who was able to maintain a power dampening field over all of Russia for decades (think, the supernatural Iron Curtain). So when Nossies are in fear, there is a damn good reason. And if you're another clan, you better be wary too. They are supposed to be mostly asleep, or take the form of innocent children. Seeing one, as with seeing any Elder who is unaccounted for, is regarded as an extremely bad omen. The fact that Baba Yaga is gone, and that more have been sighted, is one more reason people believe Gehenna is coming. They have a mutual respect with the Gangrel, due to the fact that both of the clans are inherently monstrous. Some legends of the Gangrel and Nosferatu say Absimilard and Ennoia often hunted together. Except unlike Ennoia, Absimilard hates the shit out of his descendants.
- Antediluvian - Ravana/Zapathasura/Ravnos (Dead for reals)
- Signature Discipline - Chimerstry (Sneaky sneaky illusion magic and card tricks)
- Sect - Independant/Shattered
- Clan Weakness: A drive to commit crime.
Mainly independent, took a massive hit in 1999. Gypsy/Hindu vampires; instead of frenzy, they have urges to commit a crime of choice. Generally treated with all the respect and gratitude of real life Gypsies. Also their Antedeluvian woke up during the Week of Nightmares, darkened the skies, and sucked Bangladesh dry. The Kuei-jin counterattacked, with a stalemate where three Boddhisatvas clashed with the fucker in the Bangladeshi jungles for a night and a day, eventually threatening to breach the Masquerade and reveal the supernatural to the world. Ravana's rampage only ended when it was literally nuked, then blasted by the Technocracy using orbital arrays - they bounced super-concentrated solar rays from the still-lit side of the Earth, resulting in its complete incineration and incurable madness throughout the clan. Survivors are rare, and depressed. Grimdark.
- Antediluvian - Arikel
- Signature Discipline - Presence (look at me and feel hot!)
- Sect - Mostly Camarilla, strong Anarch presence
- Clan Weakness: When they see something pretty they have to keep staring at it (this includes, but is not limited to, an appealing sunrise), and leak chromosomes if they are not surrounded by pretty stuff (Yes, this means if you are in the prettiest alley, you are getting the shaft. Unless you are in Prague or something).
Drawing upon the tradition of vampires as dark romantic lovers before it was irreversibly contaminated by Twilight, the Toreadors are vampire equivalent of the popular girls at your high school possessed by Anne Rice. Are massively obsessed with art and beauty, if you ever watched Red Dwarf then The Cat is perfect example of a Toreador, and also they will never let you join them, you nerd. Hate the Nosferatu for being ugly, their members in the Sabbat are serial killers or disgusting artists that would give the Tzimisce a run for their money. Their name means "bullfighter", because they originate from Cretan priestesses that fought bulls. Really get a shitload more hate than they probably deserve, though really no more annoying than any other "social" vampire clan. Plus they aren't wishy-washy asshats, and have proven to be useful in combat Crunch, and have spawned several capable warriors. (Particularly the Islamic sect called Rayeen-Al-Fen "Patron of Arts" raised a lot of warrior philosophers with high Humanity)Clan weakness is the tendency to stop and regard an artwork lost in bliss.
- Antediluvian -
Saulot/Tzimisce smoothieIMPOSSIBLE, WE, BULWARK OF THE CAMARILLA, WOULD NEVER DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT AHAHAHAHAHA. Tremere
- Signature Discipline - Thaumaturgy (Blood Magic)
- Sect - Camarilla (those who had undergone Vaulderie as part of joining the Sabbat suddenly came down with a nasty case of turning to ash, but those who didn't are still around)
- Clan Weakness: In the V20 edition, it only takes two doses of vitae rather than three to chain them to a full blood bond. The elders are quick to
exploit this vulnerability among their lessersGIFT NEONATES A TASTE OF GLORIOUS ELDER BLOOD IN THE NAME OF MAGNANIMOUS SOLIDARITY, AND ONLY FOR THAT REASON!
Greatest bastards in V:tM, up there with the Giovanni, Setites, and Tzimsice, although the latter two is undeniably more badass, while Tremere and Giovanni are the hate sink clans. They were once a house of the Order of Hermes (from Mage: The Ascension) until their leader Tremere decided he wanted to be a vampire after getting his first grey hair because their potions of immortality stopped working. then, they became vampires by killing lots and lots of Tzimsice and making an elixir out of their blood. So, of course, the Tzimsice were fucking pissed, and immediately went to war with the shitty wizards of Tremere. What did the Tremere do? They created Gargoyles, from the flesh and blood of the dead Nosferatu, Gangrel, and Tzimsice. Guess what? They earned two more enemies, and Tzimsice got even more pissed. Then, the scumbags managed to diablerize Saulot(who actually played them, since his intention was to stop the Tzimsice Antediluvian, more on that on Crucible of God section in Gehenna) and almost destroyed the Salubri, the token good teammate of all vampires. Tonight, the Salubri Antitribu are butchering the shit out of them for this. They also put a blood curse on the Assamites, earning yet another enemy. These nights, all those clans want nothing more than the destruction of the Tremere. Vies against the Tzimisce, Lasombra, and Ventrue for most epic Superiority Complex and the numerous experiments they've performed using the listed clans' members over the years. Their main weakness is that they have a social structure that has zero rates of promotion and attempting to leave or do anything without a superior's consent results in you getting the leash tugged tight. However, the trade-off is access to one of the most feared disciplines, Thaumaturgy. Blood Magic to non-members, it allows them to control blood, their own or others', to powerful and fantastic ends, and eventually use it to cast your usual Hermetic magic from the classic Telekinesis, Conjuring and Fireballs (which is really scary to all vampires including the Tremere who uses it) to more exotic things. There's a reason the Camarilla keeps a hold of them despite the fact Clan Tremere's loyalty goes no further then Clan Tremere and their founder was a
despicable diablerist TRUTHFUL AND HONEST ANTEDILUVIAN WHO ONLY WANTED THE BEST FOR VAMPIRE SOCIETY. Any reports of torture chambers or usurping captive vampires' powers and doing sick experiments are vile rumors by the soul-sucking Salubri and vile Tzimisce. Because of this nobody likes the Tremere but they're kept around because of how powerful they are, and the Tzimisce, surviving Salubri and even the Caitiff upon whom the Tremere love to experiment would love to deliver some payback. Surprisingly, Clan Tremere is also notorious for how easy it is to infiltrate. The sheer amount of bloodlines who can pass a blood test (with magic, no less!) and thus pass off being Tremere starts at certain three-eyed evangelists and goes around the block, twice... But then it's not without sense as the first Tremere vampires were made with a mixed potion of different clans, so it's not hard to attune to their blood checks.
Clan Tremere crashed and burned around Gehenna when Saulot said "Fuck this" and re-possessed Tremere's body, destroying most of the clan's strongholds. Then the Tzimsice Antediluvian awoke, and turned the survivors into horrifying creatures. Only Etrius, Goratrix (sealed in a mirror) and Tremere (Usurping Goratrix's body when Saulot kicked him out of his own body) survived, and later, they joined the dead ranks of their clan. Tremere's end in particular during the Crucible of God is exactly what he deserved. Seriously, assholes deserved it all.
- Antediluvian - Tzimisce, "the Eldest"
- Signature Discipline - Vicissitude (Fleshwarping)
- Sect - Sabbat, with a good chunk being independent
- Clan Weakness: Have to sleep on at least two handfulls of their native soil.
(Pronounced zuh-MEE-see) "Artist" vampires, who define art as fleshmolding hapless mortals/vampires/themselves into Moreau-esque nightmares. Every single one of them suffers from a superiority complex; expect Bond villain or serial killer personalities. They worship a giant cathedral made of living/unliving flesh that can move around somehow (it is Tzimisce himself). Also, to a greater extent than any other clan, expect lots of Eastern European Old World types obsessed with hospitality (really, if a Tzimisce, especially old one, invites you for a tea and chat, that's exactly it, no dirty tricks) and speaking in "vampire vords" - think 'the Count' from Sesame Street, except that he warps Birdie into a fleshy nugget if pissed off or fuses Ernie and Bert together a-la I have No Mouth and I Must Scream. This is also the clan Dracula belongs to (although he's a pretty cool guy for a Tzimisce and doesn't do any of the fleshwarping shit). They have a weird form of going Independent, a subclan called 'Old Tzimisce,' who just do whatever they want in their Eastern European castles, not really giving a shit about Sabbat politics. Etymology points out to an ancient Greek surname, Tzimisces.
- Antediluvian - Veddhartha/Ventru
- Signature Discipline - Dominate ("Look into my eyes and do as I say.")
- Sect - Only Camarilla, or so they like to say.
- Clan Weakness: Have to drink from an annoyingly specific kind of victim: natural blondes, people over 50, women who fell in love but didn't marry, alcoholics, virgins above 20 and so on.
Rich, Ralph-Lauren wearing asshole vampires. Think Gordon Gekko from Wall Street, except instead of going to jail like a pussy, Gekko mind-controls the investigators, drains the guys who ratted him out dry, and pins the murders on a drifter. Tend to be the ones in charge in the Camarilla because until the Tremere showed up no one really wanted the job of dealing with the shit that vampires do which breaks the Masquerade, and their mind-control powers and general dickery helps with that. Tend to be very selective with the Embrace, and a Neonate can expect to receive extensive and grueling training before being presented to the Ventrue at large, mainly to make sure that they don't fuck up and make their sire look bad. Internally they're a mix of Mean Girls meets the most backstabbing of corporate culture: the Ventrue make sure to pick people who'd thrive in such an environment. They used to be nobility in Europe, but now they're merchants. Except their Antitribu, who like to play SCA crusader dress up.
The above thirteen Clans were not the initial thirteen Clans that ran around. Through machinations and clever plotting two of them have been wiped out and replaced by another Clan.
- Antediluvian: Cappadocius (a.k.a. Ashur?)
- Signature Discipline: Necromancy (the OG necromancers)
- Sect: Independent (their destruction predates the Camarilla and the Sabbat)
- Clan Weakness: Corpselike appearance, or painful bite
Necromancers, scholars and all-round bros with genuine concern for humanity and God, Clan Cappadocian preferred to stay away from the other Clans and focus on expanding their knowledge and power. Vampires of the "I wake from torpor and read for the next hundred years" variety. They expanded their ranks by Embracing known scholars or promising noblemen and -women. This entrenched them firmly into monasteries, universities and courts of Europe. However, they made a fatal mistake when Embracing a family of merchants and ghost summoners called the Giovanni, and it all went downhill from there. No openly Cappadocians survive to this night except ONE incredibly powerful 4th Generation Golconda-seeking lord of Istanbul named Mahatma, mainly because of intense Giovanni effort to make sure this is the case, and probably because in the World of Darkness, being a decent, friendly and harmless vampire scholar gets you killed horribly. Still, it's a foolish kindred indeed that counts out ancient necromancers. See Samedi and Harbingers of Skull for proof.
In V:tM v5 White Wolf decided to reintegrate all of the Cappadocian bloodlines back into a single clan, but instead of calling the clan by its original name they renamed it as Clan Hecata, only it is more of a sect than a clan as it also sloppily includes the Nagaraja necromancers who are not a Cappadocian bloodline.
- Antediluvian - Saulot
- Signature Discipline – Obeah, (Valeren if you are Sabbat)
- Sect – Independent (or Sabbat if you aren't a bitch)
- Clan Weakness: Can't feed from a vessel without consent, can't feed with consent for later Salubri. Any Salubri with at least two dots in Obeah/Valeren will grow a third eye in their foreheads. Generally, this third eye can be closed, but there are some who cannot close them, making them walking Masquerade breaches unless they wear a headband or something.
What are the Salubri? The mainstream Salubri were Monk Vampires constantly seeking out the vampire version of internal zen of Golconda, with a second, "warrior caste" that were Undead Vampire Paladins harnessing ANGELIC POWERS. Why don't you see them anymore in the modern nights? Blame the fucking Tremere. Before the Dark Ages the Salubri were highly regarded and cities always had one of them on a council because of how close they were to their Humanity. At the time the Tremere were still very much a new bloodline comprised of high generation vampires and were still very hated because they cheated their way into becoming Cainites. However, eventually Tremere himself and his closest buddies found out about Diablerie and found the location of Saulot, the Salubri's Antidiluvian. After diablerizing him as Saulot intended (see Crucible of God below), Tremere told all his friends and Childer to find a Salubri and start eating, all the while spreading a propaganda campaign about how The Salubri were all wolf in sheep clothing style psychopaths who worshipped Satan and committed diablerie so often they made Assamites say “yo, chill the fuck out.” Some surviving Salubri hid in the Muslim world, and now they're known as "Al-Amin" or "the trusted ones" by the rest of the local Kindred community. Some went to Africa, and degenerated into true soul suckers. Some joined to Wu Zao, their brethren in the east. Some became wanderers and drifters. And so the highly regarded Salubri were eventually hunted into near extinction, their remaining numbers “rumored” to be around seven with all the sires having their Childer Diablerize them, note the rumored because everything about the Salubri is mired in rumor and myth at this point. And so the Salubri passed into legend, until recently...
You see, around the 20th century, a Salubri healer named Adonai completely lost his shit, went over to the Sabbat side of things and forcibly mass embraced some mortals to hulk out and MURDERFUCK some Tremere. Meet the resurrected (the first Warrior Caste was around the Bronze Age, extinct fighting Tzimisce and Baali) Warrior Caste Salubri, who are the literal opposites of the other Salubri, don't limit their numbers and are badass fighters who will fuck all your shit up, then go out and murder a werewolf for kicks after raping a Tremere chantry and picking their teeth with their bones. Of course being the opposite means they can't feed from others with consent, but that's not an issue since you know, Sabbat. They HATE the Camarilla because their inacation led to their clans near extinction and they utterly loath the Tremere with a passion as undying as they are.
Both regular Salubri and their Sabbat counterparts technically use the same Discipline but depending on the editions you use it's either Valeren or Obeah (V20 treats them as separate) both deal in controlling pain and injury and depending on which version of the Discipline you're either healing pain or dishing it out in large portions. As mentioned there's all sorts of rumors about them, maybe they're the progenitors of the Baali, maybe not, maybe they're extinct, maybe not. People are even claiming Saulot's not dead so who even knows what's going on there, maybe ask the Tremere if you've got a death wish.
Because of various reasons, there are multiple smaller-scale types of Vampires world-around with their own little tweaks and circumstances that may or may not originate from one of the larger Clans. Typically a Bloodline is a sort of "small clan" whose population can roughly fit in a train cart or two and the general view on whether something is a Clan or a Bloodline generally depends on peer view and usually, if a Clan has an Antediluvian backing it. For example, the Dark Ages Clan Salubri are now considered a Bloodline while their Clan Status were given to the Tremere after the Tremere's successful Campaign of genocide resulted in every other Clan seeing more use in befriending them over the pacifistic little queers with three eyes and healing magic. And also because the Salubri are likely down below one or two hundred members in the present.
Conversely the Ravnos Clan were all but extinct post-1999 after their Antediluvian woke up and wrecked havoc upon India and decided, for whatever reason, to troll his own Clan to death by inducing a massive frenzy down the Generation lines which led to about 70% or so of the entire Clan going to hell with the majority of the survivors being either too high-generation to be largely affected, too isolated to cause any damage or being part of the Sabbat with a pack capable of staking them when they start tossing furniture at anything sentient around them for no apparent reason. Despite this, they are still considered a Clan by the majority of Vampires for various reasons including that they are not completely gone, nobody is trying to usurp their position, not everybody has gotten the memo that they're endangered, the Ravnos themselves call themselves a Clan and nobody cares enough about status quo-es to give a damn about who calls themselves what.
Out-of-universe the reasons for why a Bloodline exists generally vary between lore reasons and because White Wolf didn't think the existing Clans were shiny enough, so let's add in Demon-fappers, zombies and Vampire/Faerie hybrids!
- Antediluvian - Ennoia
- Signature Discipline - Spiritus (Pre-Revised and V20) or Protean (Post-Revised)
- Sect - Nominally Sabbat in modern nights
- Clan Weakness: Unable to Embrace in the traditional sense, cannot create Ghouls or form Blood Bonds.
Have you ever asked yourself "what would happen if a writer for a popular tabletop RPG would watch too many Catwoman movies"? Me neither, but here's the result! An all-female Bloodline of kawaii neko desu~ ^_^ Okay okay, the cat parts are more of a theme than an actual physical trait, but the fact that someone still thought this was a good idea hurts. In essence, some Gangrel somewhere got the fancy idea to make some manner of ritual to turn herself into a new breed of Vampire and invited her fellow cat fanatics to join in with her fancy idea for an all-female (including the "spiritually female" according to V20 Dark Ages) group of crazy vampire cat ladies on the margins of Kindred society, which is all the backstory we need. Their Discipline, before the revision, was a mixture between Protean and talking to spirits of animals or draining traits from them.
- Antediluvian - Ennoia
- Signature Discipline - Protean (suspected)
- Sect - Independent
- Clan Weakness: Cannot rest for long.
Created by a Gangrel Methuselah named Dobrul the Brave, he wandered the world until finding the Mongols. Developing an immense respect for their warriors, he embraced a few and appointed them the spirit warriors of the steppe, watching over the Mongol tribes and protecting them from outward threats (which are common in the World of Darkness). Their heyday was the time of Kublai Khan, during which they openly appeared in China. However, after the Khan's death the Anda began to decline much like the Mongol hordes themselves, with none known to exist this night.
- Founder: Azaneal (2nd Generation vampire)
- Signature Discipline: Obtenebration (Summon shadowy tentacles from the Abyss etc.)
- Sect: (Baali) (plus infiltration as Lasombra into associated sects)
- Clan Weakness: Addiction to Obtenebration, or lack of reflection
Without Obtenebration the Lasombra are just bland somewhat grimdark shadows of the Ventrue (pun intended), whereas Baali evoke a rich Cthulhu-mythos flavor, so more than one White Wolf author realized that shadowy Obtenebration belonged in the hands of the more interesting Baali; this was such a good idea that it happened independently twice: once as the Angellis Ater ("Black Angels") (the Lasombra Apostate bloodline), and again as the Azaneali (a Baali bloodline); later authors combined the two into a single bloodline, with the founding member being an ancient named Azaneal. Working from material in the The Black Hand: A Guide to the Tal'Mahe'Ra, Azaneal is actually the name of the demonic spectre of the partially diablerized Second Generation vampire who is currently possessing the body of a Fifth Generation Baali methuselah. Azaneal of the Second Generation is implied to be the Sire of the Lasombra Antediluvian, and he is probably also the Sire of the Baali Antediluvian.
- Antediluvian - Possibly Saulot or Cappadocius
- Signature Discipline - Daimonion (Satanic shit)
- Sect - Independent, some sect infiltration present
- Clan Weakness: *Very* vulnerable to True Faith, killed on sight by everyone upon discovery, and as Daimonon level rises their appearance becomes more demonic up to zero appearance like Shaitan.
The go-to clan for extreme edginess, Lovecraftian levels of horror and unadulterated, pure evil on the surface, but has hidden depths few can enjoy. Somewhere back in the ye good olde days, the happy clans suddenly faced a new threat consisting of an absolutely huge Bloodline of Vampires blatantly worshiping Demons and telling the rest to conform and die, making an enemy with every other Clan in existence, particularly the Assamites and Salubri on a bloody campaign of world conquest. In general they are considered evil in the extreme for appearing to try destroying the world, with their modern retarded counterparts adding to the suspicions. Because of this, even the more blatantly immoral Clans like the Followers of Set, Tzimisce and Ravnos make enemies with them. You know you done fucked up when Sabbat, the edgiest immature vampire sect in the setting kills you on sight and devotes a secret inquisition to root out *anything* resembling Baali.
Exactly how they came to be is unclear, but it's generally thought when Saulot(or Cappadocius/Ashur) was taking a walk down Asia, he decided to annihilate a monstrous clan of people who fucked their children, mutilated themselves and sacrificed blood to keep eldritch horrors under the earth sated, and dropped blood on the pit of corpses he filled by slaughtering everyone because what the hell. Three survivors emerged, and swore hateful revenge. Ironically this was the start of the rollercoaster of shit ride as the said cultists were doing those atrocities to keep the demons satiated thus keeping the world intact.
These assholes, somehow figuring enough of their condition to not walk in sunlight, decided that the best way to spend eternity was to keep worshiping the...things which might be Earthbound, or Malfeans and somehow the Baali resulted in direct opposition of that tribe's reason for existence(Save for Moloch, but we'll get to that). In general the Baali are thought to have had three Methuselahs (4th Generation) Vampires leading them and they were largely turned extinct somewhere after the Dark Ages when Christianity was established enough that anything that didn't have a cross as its holy symbol was put to the torch. Their other havens in the Middle East got the shaft by the surge of Islam which managed to annihilate nearly all Baali that remained in the Arabian peninsula when Muslim Assamites shanked every last of the fuckers with a stake and left them in the sun after seeing their horrid practices (keeping a pit of rotting corpses tends to be hard when Arab civilization develops sanitation and you can't disguise the smell). In retribution, the Baali summon the Decani, the 36 aspects of Namtaru, an Earthbound demon and curse the Assamites with a thirst for blood.
So yeah, the "Children" Baali worship have qualities that somehow allude to both different entities. Since we know Baali contacted and harnessed he power of Namtaru, suffering under pure sunlight is a guaranteed Earthborn, we can assume the Baali worship Earthborn demons... Right?
But then, Black Hand: Guide to the Tal'mahe'Ra suggests the "Children" of the Baali may be the Malfeans, horrid entities dwelling in a phase of deathless Lovecraftian sleep. These beings have physical bodies in self-created tombs in the earth, but their souls and minds exist in the Labyrinth, forever dreaming. Most Baali seek to keep the Malfeans' consciousnesses from reuniting with their terrestrial bodies through sacrifices and depravity though some try to wake the entities. If this lore were correct, it would suggest, as the Wraith corebook does, that the Malfeans are indeed physical manifestations of the pain of death itself (literally taking on the form of flesh and soul forever severed). Also, Malfeans use a "Hive Mind" for their minions, and Baali's oldest (even pre-vampirism) morality is Path of the Hive which suspiciously sounds similar. So the Baali may be a tragic group of people trying to stop Malfeans before Saulot(or Ashur) thought about riding in and doing a Nice Job Breaking It Hero. As a final argument, Earthbound don't need depravity, they need Faith, channeled, organized religious fervor, so Baali committing horror rituals to keep entities satisfied means the entities they satisfy are Malfeans.
Except one of the three Baali sects, the Moloch's children called Molochim show some interest of being played without going sick fuck a la extreme. Molochim use the strange moral code called Path of the Hive, avoid killing and endangering mortals without reason, believe Abel to be the original vampire and think of themselves God's shadow on earth committing necessary atrocities to keep Malfeans asleep. Hell, abusing innocents and feeding forcefully from them is a Level 4 sin(which means MORE SINFUL than humanity's own values) which should speak volumes in a fucked-up world. Sort of like tragic villains, the True Black Hand and even a few mages actively cooperate with them to keep the BBEG's sleeping in the beyond because once the Malfeans are afoot, all politics would fly out of the window with a shitstorm that would make Gehenna look like a Disneyland story.
The few modern day Baali usually stay hidden in some isolated coven or infiltrate the Tremere for protection. Some theories suggest that the reason they do what they do, namely pissing everyone off and trying to turn the 3rd millennium into the 41st, is because all the evil deeds keep the "Children" asleep. This is backed by the fact that the Baali symbol is an upside down version of Lucifer Morningstar's personal symbol, but the timeline is a bit vague regarding the issue. The Earthbound posed as the gods of ancient Phoenicia and the Baali were said to be their worshippers, so Lucifer's actions must have taken place during the height of the Sumerian empire. In this time Lucifer empored the Baali to be his initial agents, only for the whole thing to fall apart in a millenium or two. There's also the chance that this is bullshit because what the Baali have done empowered them more than anything and post-1999 in particular there are multiple Earthbound as well as Fallen openly operating left and right after escaping the Abyss; and the Baali have done jack shit to change, if not going worse in edginess.
In any Gehenna scenario they fail to achieve anything and are trampled by the political changes.
Basically, most modern day Baali are stereotypical Hollywood Satanists, but in the middle ages, they were threefold: Edgy Gothic Satanists, Lovecraftian researchers for True Names of beings, and disgusting Hive-Minded literal insect worshippers who would make captives swallow maggots they would feed on the insides, and burst forth as flies and/or use their flesh and blood for the Swarm.
Baali elders have the ability to transform vampires of other bloodlines into a Baali bloodline; such a convert is known as an Apostate, and they get to replace one of their Clan Disciplines with Daimonion.
- Antediluvian - None
- Signature Discipline - Sanguinus (Some sort of Hivemind)
- Sect - Sabbat
- Clan Weakness: Cannot Embrace, the pain felt by one is shared by all. Aren't very smart either.
Before the Tremere Antitribu were on the receiving end of a burning man curse some apparently worked with some Tzimisce Kolduns to create the perfect shock troops. Created in groups of 3 to 10 the Blood Brothers are designed to be both powerful in a fight and loyal to their leaders, without much in the brains department. As part of this purpose they are given a shared consciousness of sorts to allow them to work better as a unit. The members are made to look the same via the use of Vicissitude. Their personalities are scrubbed as well in favor of obedience and a penchant for violence: while anyone can be made into a Blood Brother it's easiest to use people who are thuggish to begin with. Because of this Blood Brothers have trouble acting on their own and require the need for a Sabbat master to serve. They do so eagerly to the point of sycophancy, which is useful to some Sabbat but deeply unnverves others. In another creation story Blood Brothers are made from Kine, not Kindred. Specifically, the ritual requires 10 children less than 7 years old. These children have to be Ghouled to the same vampire, who too will die during the ritual. The children are pampered and loved by their Domitor while at the same time tortured by the ritualist until their minds are utterly broken and they love their Domitor more than anything. After a three-month period the children are required to watch their Domitor get killed, and have to deliver the killing blow themselves. At this point the ritual reaches its peak, the children die, their minds merged and the combined mind is put into the bodies. Most of the children will likely not survive, and those who do are made into a single entity spread over many bodies: a pack of Blood Brothers. What the actual FUCK, White Wolf.
Blood Brothers use Potence and Fortitude to excel in combat, but thanks to their acces to Sanguinus they are able to share their minds, heal each other across a distance, donate their limbs to one another to give their kin more arms, legs, eyes and mouths but leaving the (temporary) donor a limbless potato, can decrease their Generation for a short while to allow the spending of more Vitae and even warp together into a single fleshy monstrosity of great power. Aside from their master they have loyalty only to one another: the Blood Brothers become increasingly agitated when apart from one another and hate to see each other as "different" to the point where they want to dress in exactly the same way. As long as they're together they'll find just about any Haven agreeable to live in, and while they aren't prone to scheming or unsanctioned violence they will bring several more mouths to feed to the table. Strangely enough there's nothing preventing you from having a really smart Blood Brother.
The game doesn't do much with the Blood Brothers: the few pieces of art we've seen of them has the members all looking like a bunch of violent skinheads that are way too touchy-feely with one another. The Blood Brothers are not designed to be player bloodlines for all but the most niche games, but make for excellent tough mooks in a Camarilla, Anarch or even Sabbat game. Even then, don't expect to see a lot of them: to use the ultimate power of Sanguinus, the Coagulated Entity, all members have to be at least of 8th Generation, which is not only unlikely it also makes for some powerful eating once the thing goes down. If you really want to pay a combat-focussed character in a Sabbat game take a look at the Brujah(or Ventrue or even Salubri antitribu) instead, or if you want to go the body horror route play a Tzimisce instead.
- Antediluvian: Veddhartha
- Signature Discipline: Sadhana (Hindu Thaumaturgy)
- Sect: Some in Tal'mahe'Ra, others in unnamed alliance with other Hindu vampires in India
- Clan Weakness: Variant of Ventrue feeding restriction
- Antediluvian - None
- Signature Discipline - Melpominee (Singing. I shit thee not)
- Sect - Mostly Camarilla, formally Independent
- Clan Weakness: Hear music in their heads all the time. Imagine having a song stuck inside your head for decades on end: IT GETS ANNOYING.
So somewhere during the Renaissance either a Toreador got the hots (a relatively common thing) for a fairie or something and disappeared with some of these showing up some time later or a Malkavian fucked a Toreador or something and this was the result. Whatever the case, it's a fairly modern all-female Bloodline who's gimmick is singing or fucking with sound such as by making a noise seem to be coming from somewhere else than where it is (do you mean "Ventriloquism"?). Their weakness is that they constantly have music stuck in their heads which makes it hard to focus and increases their difficulty with Perception rolls. In a game about personal horror, they probably nail it the best given that it's very possible that they'll have to live centuries with Rebecca Black constantly reminding them of the daily calendar; it's a wonder they're not all mad after their first fifty years of existing. Used to have males, named Sons of Discord, but quietly killed them off (and probably munched) somewhere after Revised.
- Antediluvian - None
- Signature Discipline - Visceratika (Stone Powers, cumulating in being able to tank the sun all day long when not moving)
- Sect - Mostly Camarilla, some rebels are Independent
- Clan Weakness: Looking like gargoyles makes them walking Masquerade breaches, are also susceptible to mind control.
Once again back in the good olde days just after Tremere (the guy, not the Clan) had Diablerized Saulot and were making up plans to play "Surprise Genocide" with his Clan; the Tzimisce got the Gangrel and Nosferatu on board with declaring war against the Usurpers who had stolen immortality by Diablerizing one of the most important characters in Vampire History as well as kidnapping a Tzimisce Elder from his haven to experiment upon. Naturally, the Tremere was one small Bloodline at this point against three now very angry major Clans. And just after getting the Mages equally pissed who disowned the warlocks; so they had to play their cards VERY carefully and VERY cleverly, there was no room for fucking up a second time. Being squiggly little pansies who saw more value in being able to count in the Dark Ages than they saw to being able to put up a good fight, they started kidnapping innocent civilians and buying slaves(We are looking at you, Vienna Ventrue), and random Kindred (a VERY bad move considering Clan loyalty trumped factions back then) and use their fancy Blood Magic into turning them into Gargoyles to do all that frontal fighting nonsense for them as loyal and mindless servants of the Usurpers. The good news is, this worked; the Tremere survived until they helped the Ventrue form the Camarilla and thus got an entire sect backing them so they could work in peace to the powerful Clan they are today. The bad news is that the Gargoyles weren't quite as mindless as the Tremere originally intended and some of them started to violently break out of the Chantries and form rebel groups focused on freeing their brothers and sisters from Tremere bondage or just leave off somewhere isolated to live out eternity without a collar around their necks; either way the Tremere aren't happy about that and that's enough for most. Unlike most, the Gargoyles aren't usually considered much of a Bloodline by most because most don't realize they are, in fact, Vampires; understandable enough given that they are walking blocks of stone. They cannot interact with mortals on much of any level whatsoever and are walking Masquerade breaches should they show off that they are more than just a statue.
Tremere made an apologetic pact with the clans they used for gargoyles in modern ages: no new gargoyles are to be made, and those that were slaves are given a choice to leave: most left, some stayed because maybe living standards were a-OK. Still, who knows what's out there(You get to see one in Bloodlines)...
- Antediluvian - Cappadocius
- Signature Discipline - Necromancy (of a different variety from the Giovanni)
- Sect - Sabbat
- Clan Weakness: Looking like walking corpses, outnumbered, plus the Giovanni will eagerly plot their destruction.
Remember the Cappadocians the Giovanni killed off? The experts on Death and everything that it had to do with? Turns out it takes more than a few fires, genocide campaigns and their Antediluvian locking them below ground to finish them off completely. Back in the Ottoman Turks' time, there was an event called "Feast of Folly", where Cappadocius locked up the Cappadocian vampires that:
- were illiterate
- were not charitable
- did not help humans with public works (It does wonders to build churches and mosques and hospitals when you can lift entire trees)
- were irresponsible dickheads
Cappadocius threw these into the catacombs of his clan and locked it crying blood, leaving them to prey on each other and die off from thirst. Then he went to the mortal population, and told them to pack up and leave and he cursed the place. Then again when you read above, it takes more than a bit of retarded lockup to destroy thousands of Kindred, even if they are irresponsible dicks. Those that didn't go crazy or die did some crash course research down there and left their imprisonment with a spell that opened a passage to the Underworld, where they promptly stuck for centuries. Somewhere in 20th Century they managed to dial some Scythian shaman of the dead from their old clan who outslept in torpor all the clusterfucks of the previous millenium and only recently awakened, and she reversed the spell, releasing them into material world.
Once they got back to the real world and realized just how fucked they've gotten with no one lifting a finger to help them they were, understandably, pissed off and decided to join the Sabbat for a bit of back-up while they began discretely picking off the Giovanni one by one; which is making said cousin-fuckers shit themselves. They also have a grudge against the Camarilla for signing a contract with the Giovanni of the "you leave me alone, I leave you alone" variety thus selling out the few remaining Cappadocians out as the Giovanni got free reign to scratch them off their to-do list. Supposedly not a single one of them have embraced since they reappeared in the world, which is relatively stupid given their goal of counter-wiping out a relatively powerful Clan (though sometimes it's implied they lost their original bodies and possessed corpses upon return, thus being incapable of embracing), and their allegiance with the Sabbat is mostly on paper only. They care very little of the Sabbat's goals and the Sabbat have very little to do with their vengeance-crusade against the guidos; both are completely fine with this so long as they see eye-to-eye on what they do and leave each other to their own hobbies. They look like dessicated, preserved corpses. They can't do shit to hide it, unless they learn Obfuscate, good thing for them the Sabbat doesn't care about the Masquerade. That is, if you believe their boasts: the Sabbat has an extensive cleanup crew and the Elders know not to stir up a world full of superpowers. If the mages won't fuck their shit up, humanity itself would.
- Antediluvian - Lasombra (varied in V20 Dark Ages, Lasombra in V20)
- Signature Discipline - Mytheceria (Riddle-Magic combo'd with faerie shit)
- Sect - Sabbat
- Clan Weakness: Look distinctly non-human, and touching any kind of iron makes them have to roll to avoid frenzy. Actual damage from the stuff inflicts aggravated damage.
Somewhere during the Dark Ages, some Mage managed to con a Lasombra Methuselah into buying his mystery brew and having a taste. This turned him tall, pale-white with black eyes and with skin that glows in moonlight with capacity of seeing faeries and their magic for what they are. After several decades or so of being locked up for being weird, the first Anarch Revolts happened and he and the few Childer he had were let out after the supposed death of the Lasombra Antediluvian and promptly joined up with what would become the Sabbat several years later and settled down somewhere around Belgium or so. They're fairly apolitical and most just wanna stay in their libraries or chase after curious artifacts and be left alone, so despite their Sabbat-allegiance, most don't have much of anything against the Camarilla and are content reading human and cainite books for centuries (One of them loves a Gutenberg Bible and warns the borrower that he will skin him if he damages the book). Most think of them as weird (they're nicknamed "Weirdlings") and want little to do with them, even the Changelings stay away from them since the few who have approached have come back with tales of being tortured for fun and/or for the Kiasyd's experiments. In the V20 Dark Ages their story was retconned into them being the result of a successfully embraced faerie, thus leaving their options a lot more varied in both terms of Disciplines, origin and sects; but at the cost of the previously-established lore. Again, in the Lore of the Bloodlines book, they were retconned again, explaining the existence of two "kinds" of Kiasyd: the original ones, successfully embraced faeries and later called Maeghar; and the new ones, descending from Marconius, who created a concoction by mixing dark glamour of the fae, several bloods and by gaining the blessing of the dark faeries Thallain. That alchemist, then, gave the potion to his sister and he drained her, all this while being in the Abysss, becoming the first of the new Kiasyd.
- Antediluvian - Cappadocius (through Lamia)
- Signature Discipline - Necromancy
- Sect - Independent (though beholden to the Cappadocians)
- Clan Weakness: Their Kiss inflicts a Black Plague-like disease that is deadlier to men than women (easier to resist) that kills in days. Vampires who drink from a vessel infected with the disease become carriers until all of the Lamia-infected Vitae is purged from their bodies.
No, not like that.. They are vampires dedicated to the service and protection of the Cappadocians. Their sire and namesake was a priestess to Lilith, the Dark Mother. Lamia claimed to be a daughter of Lilith (making her the stepdaughter of Caine!) who was Embraced by a Cappadocian called Lazarus. When she died Lamia was given a vision by the Dark Mother and given a purpose. She and her line would serve and protect the members of Clan Cappadocius, with their unlives if need be. They never were a big bloodline, part because of the service and part because their bite carried a potent version of the Black Plague. The Lamia were almost exclusively women trained in the ways of combat. This makes them ideal bodyguards, especially with their Fortitude and Potence Disciplines. They in turn were treated as royal retainers by their masters, creating a sort of vampiric master/maid dynamic. Their loyalty proved their downfall however, with Lamia being killed by Augustus Giovanni himself and the last Lamia being killed in 1718 as part of a Camarilla blood hunt.
- Antediluvian - The Crone (Caine's old teacher)
- Signature Discipline - Ogham
- Sect - Independent
- Clan Weakness: Humans feel very uncomfortable in a Lhiannan's presence, they are easier to detect with Auspex and if they leave their territory for more than a week they become agitated and their dice pools shrink (minimum = Lhiannan's Stamina).
Goddamn hippie vampires. The story goes that their founder bonded with a nature spirit to protect the trees. She was the Crone a mysterious figure who taught Caine how to perform blood bonds. This turned her into some kind of vampire in her own right. While the Crone was eventually staked by Caine and is set to return with Gehenna, she did sire Childer of her own. The downside is that due to her nature creating a new Lhiannan not only creates offspring less potent than their sire, it also diminishes the sire. Lhiannan were picky in whom they embrace: only those with enough respect for nature or of enough pagan zeal would draw their attention, and certainly nobody of the Abrahamic faiths. Lhiannan Childer received good educations before being sent out to fend on their own, with the havens of Lhiannans being nearby, without them communicating much. This proved to be their downfall as pagan ways were cast down by the march of Christendom, and around the 14th century they were considered to be destroyed, aside from occational Gangrel claims of runes that were drawn in blood on trees.
- Antediluvian: None
- Signature Discipline: Nihilistics/Oblivion (weaponized Oblivionic energy)
- Sect: Independent
- Clan Weakness: Need to consume vitae and flesh, or a painful bite.
Death mages of the Indian subcontinent, the Idran were a collective of Chakravanti Awakened who set out on a quest for greater knowledge of necromancy, to command death as none did before. Mix some Setite blood in a pool, parts of a Spell of Life from a mummy, and throw in Idran mages who slit their throats, and you get the first brood of Nagaraja. (The word Nagaraja translates from the Hindi language literally as "Snake Regent", or poetically as "Wyrm King".) The spell however could not erase the karma of choosing to sever their avatars and embrace the Curse of Caine, and so they arose with a hunger for flesh alongside the endless hunger for blood. Some of these newly created sorcerers pledged their loyalty to the mummy, joining a sect known as the Tal'mahe'Ra, and from there the bloodline grew within and without. The ones within the dead city of Enoch advance their necromancy, feed from ghosts, and travel back to the lands of the living to embrace and recruit. Others wandered out of the East, embracing sparingly, scattered to the wind in handfuls.
The ones serving the Tal'mahe'Ra however would hunt the errant children for almost an eon. Storms happening inside the Shadowlands left many of them fucked up, and a truce was drawn: the outcasts would tell their children of Enoch, and the option was always given for them to return. A Nagaraja only needs to walk for 3 nights in the Shadowlands to arrive at Enoch's great gates anchored with soulchains in the Tempest sea. Of course, cannibal necromancers inexorably linked to the Shadowlands and magic, they give the Giovanni a run for their money on the Necromancy front, but again are too few in numbers to be considered competition. The Giovanni do keep tabs on them, especially if they discover one in a city they inhabit. Needless to say, they are a serious threat to the Masquerade unless they get a hold of a mortuary with bodies that won't be missed. The curse the wracks them means their bodies rapidly decay and decline for every night they abstain from eating flesh or viscera, or for some Nagarajas, bones too. For every pint of blood they drink, a pound of flesh must be eaten. They're gifted with massive, razor like teeth filling their mouth, meaning they usually stay quiet in polite conversation.
In V:tM v5 the Nagaraja were sloppily merged with the Giovanni, with the first benefit being that instead of needing to consume flesh Nagaraja now have the Giovanni's clan weakness of merely having a painful bite; the merged clan is called Clan Hecata. The Discipline of Nihilistics, which enables Nagaraja to disintegrate targets with Oblivionic energy, was combined with Necromancy and Obtenebration into a Discipline called Oblivion, which means that the Nagaraja "Wyrm Kings" now appropriately have Abyssal tentacles!
- Antediluvian - Ennoia
- Signature Discipline - Protean
- Sect - Independent
- Clan Weakness: Cannot drink from animals, and will only drink from non-Samí people unless there is no option available.
A Gangrel offshoot, the Noiad are a bunch of grumpy Kindred serving as the divine protectors of the Sámi, the native people of northern Scandinavia. They see the Northern Lights as a manifestation of the will of the gods and guide their people accordingly. They also served as protectors against mundane and supernatural threats. The Noiad existed openly amongst their people, who see their protectors as divinely-appointed. However, because of their views they see all interlopers as threats that will be turned away or killed. When it became clear that the march of Christendom could not be stopped, the Noiad drove their people further and further north, past where the land could sustain them and promptly starved to death, dying alongside their protectors with their fear of change and the outside world. Think grumpy old grandfathers afraid of those newfangled technologies cranked up to 11.
- Antediluvian - Cappadocius
- Signature Discipline - Thanatosis (Decaying shit into ashes)
- Sect - Independent, some stake with the sects
- Clan Weakness: Look like rotting corpses.
Remember earlier when I said there were "Zombie Vampires"? Yeah, these guys are them. Harbingers of Skulls' other variety. Harbingers are dry corpses, these guys are rotting corpses. Because of their decayed looks they are massive Masquerade breaches if they're ever seen by anything not supernatural and can potentially cause them anyway if some cop happens to find pieces of rotten flesh having fallen off and calls crime investigators to the scene to have a closer look at it. Thankfully, they have Obfuscate. Led by some fancy fellow calling himself "Baron Samedi" somewhere around the Caribbean; these guys either originate from Cappadocians who didn't answer Cappadocius' call of judgement, or was the experiment of a Giovanni spell of binding a freshly embraced mortal's soul to a corpse. Perhaps strangely enough, while neither the Samedi nor the Giovanni much like each other, they don't automatically try to have each other killed either, Baron Samedi even supposedly met Augustus Giovanni and walked out unscathed. Or at least still undead, so we bet more on Cappadocian deserters from judgement. Some Samedi work as mercenaries for both the Sabbat and the Camarilla and a rare few have joined the sects entirely, but most simply stick around in their place of origin and leave it at that.
- Antediluvian - Brujah (Ilyes)
- Signature Discipline - Temporis, Potence
- Sect - Independent
- Clan Weakness: Their capacity for emotion goes down the drain: all Conscience and Conviction rolls are at +2 difficulty and buying Virtues and Humanity/Paths costs double.
The True Brujah are an odd bit of fluff in a quantum state of canonicity. See, the original Antediluvian of the Brujah, Ilyes (known anachronistically as "Brujah"), got jacked by the hermaphroditic vampire Troile. The True Brujah claim that they are the direct descendents of Brujah, while the clan that usurped the name Brujah were sired by Troile. The Trujah have the weirdest of the Signature Disciplines, Temporis, which is control over the flow of time. White Wolf realized that this was a really fucking stupid power for vampires to have, and put their foot down (the only acceptable use of Trujah is to emulate DIO). During the course of the End Times book Gehenna, Ilyes stated that Troile was his only Childe and the True Brujah turned out to be nothing more than a bunch of stiff, emotionless, boring academics who stumbled across Ilyes' long lost Temporis discipline (which is why the Brujah got stuck with "Potence, kinda" and Celerity. Ilyes claims Celerity is just watered-down Temporis with time slowdown focus) and got an egotistical stick up their ass about it. Ilyes announced that he FUCKING HATES THE TRUE BRUJAH for claiming he made the mistake of siring more than one Childe and proceeded to wreck their shit. Lulz.
- Antediluvian - Varies
- Signature Discipline - Varies
- Sect - Mostly Sabbat
- Clan Weakness: As their parent clan.
The "Anti-Tribe" are those vampires who have gone against the grain of the mainline clan. Collectively known as the Antitribu, they consist of the iconoclasts within their own clans and banded together to make sure that they aren't picked off by their annoyed kin. The Antitribu include:
- Brujah, Gangrel, Malkavian, Nosferatu, Toreador, and Ventrue who think the Camarilla ain't shit and joined the Sabbat. The Brujah are by far the most common of these Antitribu.
- Tremere who chafe under the yoke of the Pyramid and went to do their own thing under the leadership of Tremere's former right-hand man Goratrix back in the 18th century. This did not sit well with the Tremere, who cursed their renegade kin so that all Tremere who had undergone the Vaulderie were marked with a symbol of treason upon their foreheads, only visible to Tremere. This was followed by an event in 1998 where a great curse turned all those Tremere to dust, but the ones who hadn't undergone the Vaulderie escaped this fate. In 1999 Saulot won his centuries-long battle with Tremere kicked the guy out of his body and into Goratrix', who then destroyed his upstart disciple.
- Another split in the Tremere happens sometime in the 2010s when a small-time primogen out of Milwaukee named Carna gets ahold of a tome of blood magic called Book of the Grave-War, which gives her the ability to break Blood Bonds, like the ones tieing her to the Tremere Pyramid. Having been given the rawest deal by the Pyramid since the 1410s, she books it for the Anarch Free State in California with the Book and a crew of followers, creating House Carna. By 2018 she's amassed a decent power base and is slowly reworking the Tremere's traditions, using neo-paganism and witchcraft as a foundation with a distinct progressive-feminist bent. She's also terrified that the Pyramid will finally try to track her down for her defection. Then the Second Inquisition practically nukes the Inner Council in Vienna and the Camarilla start pulling all of their higher-ups into a conflict with the Sabat in the Middle East. So, bullet dodged! And now we don't have to justify rolling up Anarch Tremere anymore! Woo!
- Assamites who consider their own clan to be compromised but are still dedicated to their mission to fucking up the Antediluvians. The mainline clan is surprisingly cool about this, and the two groups never draw swords against one another.
- Ravnos who reject the culture of the mainline clan and went to do their own thing. There is still a great degree of honor between thieves, and the Ravnos consider giving their word sacred.
- Setites who reject the snake fetishism and worship of their parent clan. They set up shop in the Caribbean and replaced all the Egyptian iconography of their clan with a Voudoun-inspired style and started to call themselves the Serpents of the Light. They are still all about the vice.
- Tzimisce who don't feel like joining the Sabbat and just want to do their own thing. This is the Old Clan Tzimisce and stick to their castles in eastern Europe outside of the affairs of Kindred society. They consider Vicissitude an abomination and instead practice Koldunic Sorcery, which grants them all sorts of magical powers, although their elders secretly use Vicissitude as well. Because of their insular nature the Camarilla, Sabbat and the Tzimisce as a whole are fine with leaving them alone.
- Lasombra has a small number of European elders who believe that the Camarilla have a better shot at defeating the Antediluvians than the Sabbat does. These individuals are rare, and those who live long are rarer still. The most notable example of such a Lasombra to pull off his stunt is Giangaleazzo, the Archbishop-turned-Prince of Milan, whose spectacular defection (burning all the sick fucks in a mansion while shit-talking them how they are monstrous retards) earned him the respect of the Camarilla and a high spot on the shit list of the Sabbat. Then there is the Ashirra (Islamic Kindred) housing considerable Lasombra in Mecca and Medina, Suleiman ibn Abdullah, who met Mohammad himself, saw his True Faith and dedicated himself to protect Humanity and Islamic lands. Pretty cool guy, good luck taking him on in a True Faith 10 burning city.
- Giovanni Antitribu don't exist. Sure, there's always a couple of troublemakers and upstarts who need to cool their heads, but vitae is thicker than even blood and such hotheads are kept in check by the family, and at worst made to sit down for a talk to clear the air. After such talks there will be no more trouble, but the books are vague on if this is because of the interpersonal skills of the family leaders, the use of large amounts of the Dominate discipline or because the troublemaker is... removed.
- Antediluvian - Varies
- Signature Discipline - Varies
- Sect - Whoever'll take them; as such they're the most common with the Anarchs, and a few Sabbat under Joseph Panders.
- Clan Weakness: None, but often being a Caitiff is enough trouble as-is.
Caitiff aren't a clan so much as a lack of clan. If a Kindred abandons and disowns his childer before teaching them about their new condition, the neonate is considered caitiff, bereft of the clan's support structure and reliant on what little goodwill he can scrape from the shadows. Another type of Caitiff is becoming more common in the modern nights: new vampires are sired who don't express clan traits. With nothing to better inform them, they develop psychosomatic weaknesses based on what they think "should" harm them: garlic, running water, crosses, y'know. Their existence has always been feared as the harbinger of the Final Nights; the Camarilla treats them as second-class at best and the Sabbat treats them as cannon fodder until a cool guy named Joseph Panders tore shit up in a Sabbat civil was and intimidated the Sabbat itself into accepting them.. These Kindred, especially of the 14th and 15th generations, are interchangeably called "Thinbloods" for their weak Vitae and difficulty in passing on the Curse. Caitiff don't have clan Disciplines, so they don't get a discount or markup for acquiring or improving them. This can make fighting a Caitiff dangerous since they can spring all sorts of Disciplines on you that you cannot plan for, unlike with the more predictable other Clans. This is mitigated by the fact that Caitiff are almost always of a very high generation, making them unable to use the more potent abilities of a Discipline.
Caitiff are frequently hunted down because they are seen as the heralds of Gehenna. This turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy; the constant creation and destruction of new Kindred in the Final Nights called to the Antediluvians through the blood since the death of every vampire nudges its sire all the way up to the Antediluvian who is roused by thousands of psychic pokes. This lead to the awakening of Zapathasura, who took most of his clan with him when he was destroyed.
- Antediluvian - Varies
- Signature Discipline - Varies/as per parent clan (V20), Thin Blood Alchemy (a combination of bootleg chemistry and old style potion brewing) (V5)
- Sect - Mostly Anarchs, though some live in the camarilla as yes men (see below).
- Clan Weakness: Being stuck running with low tier clan powers (lvl 4/3 for 14th/15th respectively), less blood pool to play with, plus whatever your parent clan flaw is (V20). Being everyone's bitch, being a Z-tier vampire (though that has some benefit), being stuck with cookery as your power (V5).
Do you not feel oppressed enough running as a Caitiff? Or do you just like an underdog? Thin blood might be for you. While in V20, not every thin blood is a caitiff by default, they seem to get the same treatment due to being considered both a sign of the end times and probably a little bit of jealousy due to the 15th generation vampires being able to find it easier to tolerate things like the sun. Almost all thin bloods between 14th-16th generation (though one, Smiling Jack's Childe is around 11th gen) and often come with a reduced usability for their blood pools and having to spend extra blood to do basicly anything except wake up. Bloodlines 1 had a thin blood community in E, Lily, Julius, Rosa and Copper, a poor bunch of fucks who mostly got turned and abandoned by their erstwhile sires for being bitch tier vampires.
Then we get to V5, which changed thin bloods massively, almost to the point of being a different supernatural entirely, more akin to a halfway house between ghoul and vampire. First off, all thin blood are caitiff by default, their blood too weak to show either clan traits or even a lot of typical vampire traits. Second of all, they have no disciplines except one: Thin blooded alchemy, which is like a bargain bin replacement for the usual powers you'd get as a kindred, allowing them to mix blood with all sorts of bizarre shit to do many things kindred can do by just focusing, with some weird abilities thrown in for good measure. Thirdly, they have their own merits and flaws now. Merits they can take include slowly metabolising food, seeming alive or even being able to walk around during the day (sans powers of course, but its something), but with the drawback of flaws including no fangs, actual clan curses or being unable to heal like a vampire, and thats not mentioning all the other reasons it sucks to be a thin blood (kill on sight in many camarilla cities, being pushed around by anarchs, being used as a disposable ghoul with the tenuous promise that you might be able to diablerise a criminal and become a clan member). When in that position, most people either try to become mortal again, or diablerise their way into becoming a gen 13, full fledged vampire, losing all their thin blood merits (including their alchemy), but in exchange for existence not sucking ass for every moment of your life/unlife/halflife, just for most of it.
- Antediluvian - Osiris (as per their claim: there are no other sources regarding Osiris' identity or lineage)
- Signature Discipline - Bardo
- Sect - Independent (technically they *are* a Sect, but they're small)
- Clan Weakness: As per their clan of origin, plus their blood becomes inert and sterile and they can neither Embrace nor create or sustain ghouls.
One of the most famous stories from Egyptian mythology is how Set was a dick to his brother Osiris. Except this is not a myth: it actually happened. But the details are off. Osiris was a scholar and philosopher in the court of a Pharaoh (which one is forgotten). Embraced by a vampire looking to exploit his knowledge, Osiris was horrified by what he had become. Instead of killing himself though he decided to make the Beast his bitch. Through rigorous study and moderation he managed to start on the path to Golconda. Except that before he reached it Osiris was murdered by his brother Set, chopped up and spread across the lands. Osiris' sister (whether she was a vampire or not) reassembled him and revived him from death. This feat took its toll however: Osiris was no longer capable of creating Childer, but this did not stop him from pursuing his path (considering Osiris' dick was lost... some fancy double-entendre there). Any Kindred that wants to join them is allowed to (aside form the Setites, but they don't want to) after some testing, and those who pass and renounce their old bonds will be welcomed into the fold. The Children of Osiris are a secretive bunch however, sticking to the shadows instead of acting in the open. Given their relationship with the Followers of Set this is the smart thing to do. Basically a literally "good" vampire sub-clan, they cannot embrace humans or murder. Every last one disappeared in Gehenna, ascending to Heaven.
- Antediluvian - Varies
- Signature Discipline - Varies
- Sect - Sabbat
- Clan Weakness: Same as Caitiff, but the Panders at least have SOME rights.
The Caitiff of the Sabbat came together in 1957 under the leadership of Joseph Pander. Sick of being treated like shit by their kin, this eventually sparked the Third Sabbat Civil War. Pander had devised a ritual called One of My Tribe, which severs a Kindred from all ties that work via lineage, making one a true Caitiff. This is potent enough to sever Malkavians from the Malkavian Madness Network, and might in theory even protect someone from the effects of the curse put upon Tremere having undergone the Vaulderie or the link between an individual and Tzimisce via the blood/Vicissitude. Over the course of 100 days a mix of violence and diplomacy eventually saw the Panders (what they started calling themselves) officially recognized as a part of the Sabbat, much to the chagrin of several existing clans. But the Panders had proven themselves to be loyal and as such were recognized as equals. Joseph Pander is still alive to this day: as a Priscus of the Sabbat he has no formal power but a great deal of influence, which suits him just fine. Even then, there's a lot of kindred within the Sabbat who'd love to see him dead, but nobody's managed to off him just yet. In turn, he's smart enough to not jockey for too much power and prefers to stay out of of the limelight, making the rounds with his pack and acting as a sagely old Kindred to the younger generations, proving to older vampires that even a Caitiff's star can rise high.
Certain vampires stick to specific regions in the world
- Antediluvian - August Personage of Jade (aka God)
- Signature Disciplines - Dharmic abilities that use Qi
- Sect - Independent (They stick together, both in Asia and on America's West Coast)
The "vampires" of Asia, they are reincarnated in an unusual way to give them a second shot at life. They're the player characters in a Kindred of the East game.
Relatives of Kindred in a way, and not relatives in another. Same Celestine named God cursed them but in a different way. Unfulfilled Asian people rise from the grave as cannibalistic monsters, but replace Qi (life energy) in varying ways according to their spiritual refinement. They start with human flesh, get refined until they can draw energy from blood. Then further refining makes them draw Qi from people's breaths, and finally, simply absorb ambient Qi from the world. Make blood points into Qi and you get the point.
As for generation, all of them start at 1, namely Dharma. 10 Dharma means ascendance and re-entering the cycle of reincarnation. Three 9 Dharmic Kuei-Jin kicked the shit out of Zapathashura, though badly mangled in the process, so you be the judge of their power.
The Kuei-jin start as flesh eating Oni-like Asian monsters, and get herded by higher-ups and slapped some sense into them until they become more civilized, at which they are introduced to courts with their own goals and ways of life. Sunlight doesn't "burn" them in a sense, they just rot and start falling apart. One passage in Zapathashura's death mentions not even 9 Dharma Boddhisatva can resist concentrated sunlight.
Unlike Kindred, their Curse is more of a personal quest than a constant situation. They can ascend, return to reincarnation cycle if they complete their Dharma. Ming Xiao from Vampire: Bloodlines is a hot piece of ass that can transform into a tentacle monster to molest the player character, we wish we made that up.
- Antediluvian - Differs depending on their Legacy
- Signature Disciplines - Abombwe, Dur-An-Ki
- Sect - Independent (They stick to Africa)
The Laibon are an interesting gameplay choice. Basically they are normal vampiric clans changed by Africa's ambient magic over thousands of years. Even clan weaknesses are mutated: Guruhi, the first offshoot of Nosferatu aren't ugly at all: their attractiveness degree reflects their mood and they play the role of Ventrue, ruling African Kingdoms by night as Ventrue are kicked out(Rhodesia comes to mind). Naglopers, offshoot of Tzimisce just need any African soil to sleep in. Osebo, Brujah's African descendants need the presence of a local ruler to follow else they will feel like beating people up. Ishtarri, Toreador's African mutation, change their shape like mortals: going fat when drinking too much blood, or looking muscular if spending experience in strength. Kinyonyi are the offshoot of Ravnos, who somehow are cursed with being unwelcome and hated if they stay too long even if they didn't do anything. Akunanse are Gangrel offshoots who start taking the features of local animals the longer they stay there. The Bonsam are the second offshoot of the Nosferatu, quasi Gangrel-Nosferatu mix with normal appearance save for horrifying "true form" transformations. The Impundulu are necromantic Kindred that were made with local witchcraft, forced to feed only from their mortal sisters, the Bomkazi witches. The Shango are Assamites who went native, and the Xi Dundu are Lasombra who clash with the local Guruhi elders.
Moreover, African culture has a different, dualistic moral code. Aye(Heaven), and Orun(Earth). The laibon's appearance changes according to each (Guruhi appearance depends on mood).
|The Clans of Vampire: The Masquerade|
|Independent Clans||Fallen Clans|
|Absimiliard - Augustus Giovanni - Arikel - Cappadocius - Ennoia - Haqim - Ilyes |
Lasombra - Malkav - Saulot - Set - Tremere - Tzimisce - Ventru - Zapathasura
Or cool vampire superpowers. Without these, vampirism would just be "Schere's Disease" with the only advantage being a prolonged lifespan.
Below are the 17 core Disciplines. Clans all have access to at least two of these that are common amongst other clans, with all but a few having a third one that's unique to them. Most "unique" clan disciplines can be learned by other clans, although they require more XP, a teacher and sometimes drinking the blood of someone who already knows that discipline. That being said knowing "out-of-clan" discipline can lead to false identification, which could go either way, especially given some clans with the most interesting disciplines are on the "kill-on-sight" list for many other clans, and you may have no time to explain that you're not actually a Sabbat scum or Caine-damned Usurper.
- Animalism: Control over animals, possessing them an drawing out the primal fear in vampires and humans alike. Also keeps animals from freaking out around you and instantly giving you up to vampire hunters.
- Auspex: ESP including supernatural intuition, heightened senses (enhanced vision is a must unless you know Protean, as vampires have no innate night-vision) aura vision, psychometry, telepathy and astral projection. Without at least two dots in it you'd feel blind in most investigative and half the combat situations. Also the primary counter to illusion disciplines like Chimestry and Obfuscate. Let you see ghosts and tell vampires and other supernaturals from humans at a glance, which really helps to avoid running into trouble.
- Celerity: Vampire super-speed that adds extra actions per turn. The combat discipline, as it turns vampire into a living blender if he's even half competent in the noble art of stabbing the shit out of people. In the more combat-oriented scenarios it's considered broken as fuck and homerule-nerfed to the ground. In less combat-oriented scenarios, though, high vitae cost of using it makes Celerity pretty much useless, as well as potentially breaking the Masquerade.
- Chimerstry: Illusions capable of affecting any normal sense, starting with simple static images to illusions so potent illusionary fire can burn someone to death. At higher levels this can permanently alter objects, and at the highest published level Chimerstry can spawn a universe.
- Dementation: The power of madness, starting with emotions being stirred all the way up to outright insanity from a single person to entire cities going mad in one burst. Higher levels include the ability for a stubborn Malkavian to make his/her delusions real, such as denying the existence of a material object to the point that it becomes intangible to the vampire.
- Dominate: Traditional vampire mind control powers, and they often require eye contact. Even at lower levels it makes hunting a walk in a park (sometimes literally). At the higest of levels you can possess people with this. You can have other people carry out your will with this, but it suppresses their independent thought so don't expect to get more than basic tasks out of your victim. Includes ability to redact memories, which is in high demand in the Camarilla's endless quest to cover all the inevitable breaches of the Masquerade, so if you learn this expect more responsibilities to be thrown at you by the Elders, although they do come with a healthy dose of power and prestige.
- Fortitude: Vampires tend to be tough enough as-is, but with Fortitude they can become supernaturally so. This adds dots to Stamina to soak Bashing and Lethal damage alike, but more importantly Aggravated damage like Lupine claws and teeth, fire, magic, sunlight and such. One of the Antediluvians had this discipline leveled up so high he could safely walk under the sun.
- Necromancy: Death magic of all kinds. It can command ghosts and interact with the land of the dead, as well as use potent death magic. It has many paths, see below for all their uses.
- Obfuscate: Invisibility and mimicry powers. It doesn't actually make you invisible or change your appearance, it just tricks people into not seeing you or seeing you as something else. This is incredibly useful to those clans who look like corpses. Beware that cameras can still see you as you really are, as do vampires with Auspex and about half of other supernaturals, and it have finite (if long) range, so sneaking up on a sniper may take some expertise in actual sneaking.
- Obtenebration: Sinister shadow-based magic that lets you sneak around, create shadowy tentacles, become a shadow version of yourself and manipulate the shadow-stuff of the Abyss. No, not the one from Demon: The Fallen. Or the one from Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Or the Tempest from Wraith: The Oblivion. There's a LOT of Abysses in the World of Darkness and they're all different, okay?
- Potence: Vampire super-strength. Aside from making all your close combat hurt like a motherfucker it have almost limitless potential when combined with other skills: from jumping three stories high, to punching through walls, to dismantling locked doors, to breaking handcuffs, to wrestling down Frenzying/Rötschrecking Kindred before they could break the Masquerade, to forging the cold metal with your bare hands. If you want a combat character who's not a minmaxing Celerity twink and can actually contribute to non-combat stuff you go Potence. Of important note, it does not grant you some required additional powers to super-strength (well, until you reach elders-level stuff, which you probably wouldn't), so for example you cannot punch a hole through a brick wall with your bare fist without high level Fortitude, because your fist is less durable than brick and would break first, and you cannot use a car as effective weapon even if you have enough strength to lift it effortlessly, because conservation of momentum still exists and you weigh far less than a car, and would probably fly along with the car in mid-air should you toss it sideways rather than in an arc.
- Presence: Vampire animal magnetism. You can turn into some rather hot stuff and make people do what you want, without ruining their initiative or independent thought like Dominate does. Also unlike Dominate it does not require eye contact or even line of sight, and if you have both can help you make your future mind-zombies make that eye contact to begin with. Whether Dominate makes people your obedient but stupid personal living zombies this one turns them into your adoring worshipers that can and would go overboard in their desire to please you. Overuse tend to turn people (including other vampires) into creepy stalkers who kill all your friends to get more of your attention, so proceed with caution.
- Protean: Vampire transformation powers: seeing in the dark (by transforming your eyes), growing deadly claws and/or giant fangs, sinking into the ground, turning into wolves or bats, turn into mist and so on. Claws that deal aggravated damage(shit vampires run from) in particular seem to be the most sought-out ability, and given they're only two-dot, it became quite common for every single goddamned combat character to learn them as soon as they get some Gangrel contacts. Higher levels make you into mist, or even A GODDAMN SUN.
- Quietus: The assassin powers of the Assamites. A mix of sneaking and poison powers mixed in with the ability to spit Vitae like acid. At the highest level you can affect entire generations of vampires this way.
- Serpentis: Snake powers and powers associated with snakes. Also the ability to remove someone's heart and put it in a jar for safekeeping or blackmail. The most potent of Methuselahs can do this on the spot and even turn into giant snakes made of darkness.
- Thaumaturgy: Blood magic that can do just about anything. See below for its many applications.
- Vicissitude: Fleshcrafting that allows you to make anything, so long as it's made of meat and bones. Infamous for allowing all sorts of edgy body horror, but can also turn you into a murder machine, a sapient puddle of Vitae, turn your blood acid for better or worse and even breathe fire. Also the most difficult core Discipline to pronounce and spell. Rumored to be demonic (or at least Deep Umbral) in origin, universally hated by everyone, and the most likely discipline to get you killed on sight unless you're Sabbat. The highest published level allows the spectre of a vampire whose body was completely disintegrated to slowly reform their body atom by atom.
Many of the various Bloodlines have their own unique Disciplines that grant them unique powers that are not accessible to the core Clans.
- Abombwe: Animalism's African cousin, more dedicated into giving self animal powers than fucking with others.
- Bardo: Taught to the Children of Osiris, Bardo gives one a mastery over their own humanity. Carries an extra Egyptian flavor minus the snake stuff that the Setites use. In addition to stuff to help them hold onto their humanity, they get a couple of cool defensive powers and ways to counteract other vampires’ stuff.
- Daimoinon: Creepy demon stuff used by the Baali. Includes curses, mastery over fire and even summoning demons.
- Dur-An-Ki: Quietus mixed with Thaumaturgy, has lots of paths like Tremere blood wizardry. Specialty of Africa.
- Flight: The fourth Discipline used by the Gargoyles, it's not really a discipline and more of a measure as to how fast a Gargoyle can fly.
- Melpominee: The singing powers of the Daughters of Cacophony. Dominate meets Dementation in one handy package that allows a vampire to sway others to their will and even shatter things with a scream.
- Mytherceria: The fey powers of the equally fey Kiasyd. This includes detecting truth and seeing what is real, hiding things and powerful mind powers at the highest levels.
- Obeah: Used by the "true" Salubri and gives them the power to heal and protect, as well as mastery of the soul at higher levels. At the second level a Salubri grows the clan's signature third eye on the forehead. This Discipline is what the Tremere used to slander Clan Salubri because it allows them to pull the soul out of a body, leaving out that the Salubri use this power to mend damaged souls.
- Ogham: The nature Discipline of the Lhiannan. Part nature power, part runes of blood, this Discipline allows the user to communicate with spirits and even drink the life from the very Earth below them to empower them (but not via blood points).
- Sanguinus: Known to the Blood Brothers, this allows them to communicate with one another, divide injuries between them and even pull off their limbs to add to one another, eventually allowing them to form a great gestalt body of flesh and limbs.
- Spiritus: The signature Discipline of the Ahrimanes, this allows them to talk to spirits, summon spirit beasts and even give them abilities of animals and grants them a feline war form.
- Temporis: This grants the vampire mastery over the flow of time. Yes, you too can ZA WARUDO the shit out of the World of Darkness. Much like the Sphere of Time in Mage: The Ascension it starts with seeing the flow of time and rapidly escalates things from speeding yourself up, slowing things down, age things up with a touch, step out of time or outright send themselves images of the future to change it, proving that Vampire runs on Multiverse Theory.
- Thanatosis: The Discipline of the Samedi, which uses death in its aspect of decay. Decay flesh, wither limbs, inflict necrosis, create zombies or turn to ash and (at higher levels) move around like normal. Pretty much all the powers are either underpowered or outright terrible.
- Valeren: The Discipline of the "warrior" Salubri, seen as the clan's Antitribu in the modern days. It too grants the third eye of Saulot at the second level. It can heal and cause pain with a touch, as well as protect and use their third eye to strike true. Higher levels give the user incredible combat powers and angel-like abilities such as being welcome in the local city so that hunters are told off by mortals.
- Visceratika: The mastery over stone and earth used by the Gargoyles. They can camouflage themselves with this power, detect anyone's location inside a building, meld with stone, toughen their skin and move around freely between any form of rock, stone and concrete to allow them to move unseen.
Technically disciplines, but they have versatility and applications on par with magical paths from the Sorcerer splatbook. Almost all of them have unique powers on a 1-5 dot scale, allowing them to learn all sorts of terrible powers. Unlike actual disciplines, however, Blood magic is not an innate part of the Beast but an acquired skill similar to the linear magic of unawakened human warlocks modified to run on blood rather than willpower (although some paths use both). As a result when the Beast takes over control it cannot use Blood Magic, which puts practitioners at a major disadvantage in fights if they happen to lose control; which is quite easy given even insults can trigger Frenzy, and taking damage have a decent chance of frenzying even steel-willed kindred. Speaking of acquired skills, in case a mage is embraced and his Avatar is shunted to next incarnation, the currently dead vampire ex-mage can spend half of his former life's XP points to Blood Magic. Types include:
Many different clans and bloodlines practice this, often with their own ethnic variations. The masters are, of course, the Cappadocians and Giovanni.
- The Ash Path interacts with the land of the dead, allowing the Necromancer to peer inside, touch stuff there, visit the place or make it difficult for ghosts to visit the material world.
- The Bone Path is that of zombies: make the dead move, turn them into (shitty) servants or warriors, rip the souls out of people or stick a soul into a recently deceased body. Sure, it'll still decay as normal but the soul can use the body for a week or so.
- The Centaph Path interacts with the Shadowlands, the place between the worlds of the living and the dead. This allows them to interact with the recently deceased and generally fuck up the shit of Wraiths.
- The Corpse in the Monster grants mastery of the undead form, allowing a Necromancer to make themselves more dead for a while or avoid damage, make an undead target a bit more alive (like for example needing to shit) and the most powerful ability allows for the temporary suppression of their status as a Vampire. This requires a staggering 12 points to be spent in one go, and you do NOT want to botch this roll lest you die.
- The Grave's Decay weaponizes the physical entropy that Vampires are immune to. It allows the Necromancer to decay bodies, decay the limbs of enemies, cause diseases on otherwise immune Vampires or even rot a Vampire's body away where he stands.
- The Path of the Four Humors can do all sorts of nasty stuff with these old classics: damage becomes a lot more potent, soak more damage and exhale a cloud melancholy that makes mortals try to kill themselves and sinks Vampires into torpor.
- The Sepulchre Path allows the Necromancer to see, summon and command the undead. The five-dot version allows them to bitchslap ghosts without being attacked back.
- The Vitreous Path command the energies of death. This involves entropy, decay, allows the Necromancer to eat ghosts and has a potent cry that deals aggravated damage to mortals, Vampires and ghosts alike.
What clan Tremere took with them when they split from the Order of Hermes. The various paths are:
- Elemental Mastery deals with inanimate objects: speak with the spirits of inanimate objects, animate objects to whoop some ass or outright summon Elementals.
- Green Path is plant magic, simple as that. Learn from plants, make stuff grow, manipulate vines, create a powerful Haven or command the trees to go forth and whoop some Kindred ass.
- Hands of Destruction is rumored to be demonic in origin. Whether this is true or not, it is still a potent Path capable of rotting things with a touch, create acid or age mortals into dust, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade style. As the name indicates, all powers on this Path require a physical touch.
- Lure of the Flames is rightfully feared by many Vampires because of its ability to permanently kill them. It deals damage over time however, so while it cannot kill a Kindred in one go up to three levels of aggravated damage per turn is nothing to scoff at. Above all, however the Lure of Flames is scary because any uncontrollable fire scares the shit out of the Beast inside every vampire, causing Rötschreck. Do note that Thaumaturgist casting the Lure is not immune to Rötschreck either, nor are his kindred allies, which can lead to some hilarious shenanigans. Good thing there are rituals that can reduce or even outright suppress the fear of fire for a time, but none of those rituals are easy or even safe.
- Mastery of the Mortal Shell grants you the ability to mess with the bodies of your enemies and even control them.
- Movement of the Mind is telekinesis, simple as that. You can move stuff around, with the more powerful versions being able to throw things around. Three dots should be enough to lift a fair number of Vampires, though picking up that bulky Brujah dude (>100 kg/200 pounds) requires four. Oh, and at three dots you can use it to fly.
- Neptune's Might is an odd duck given the general lack of connections to water that Vampires have. Still, this is a potent Path capable of seeing into the past, create prisons or walls, mess with the blood of people (by turning it into water) or at five dots just rip the water out of someone's body. That last one is also really useful for drying your clothes. Upon reaching third level a practitioner may opt to specialize in either salt or fresh water, lowering the difficulty of one while raising that of the other.
- Path of Blood manipulates Vitae. It is one of the most fundamental paths for the Tremere and the most commonly studied one.
- Path of Conjuring allows you to summon stuff. Unusually the power remains the same throughout the levels, instead increasing the scope of the one dot ability. You start out with simple stuff (lead pipes, stakes, rocks), but as you level you can make objects permanent (always start with at least two dots in this Path unless you like spending large amounts of Willpower on things), summon complex stuff like weapons and vehicles, banish it back and even summon living (if mindless) things like animals and even people. To stop it from being completely OP you have to know how to create something without conjuring to make it with conjuring, so no rocket launchers out of thin air, unless you're a professional gunsmith with a military clearance. There's also a key limitation that you cannot conjure things bigger or heavier than you, although there's a ritual that let you bypass it in case you want to squash your enemies with road-rollers (it's really the only justifiable way of using it).
- Path of Corruption does just that. It fucks with the minds of its victims, turn people gainst one another and create potent addiction.
- Path of Mars cries havoc and lets slip the dogs of war. This makes their attacks a lot more powerful, increases their stats and conveys the powers of this Path on allies.
- Path of Mercury lets you teleport safely within your sight, unsafely to the distant places you're familiar with and telefrag yourself into distant places you're not familiar with.
- Path of Shadowcrafting is a blood magic version of Obtenebration that reaches into the Abyss to summon and manipulate shadows with less tentacles and more spooky scary focus. Notable for being specifically designed to troll Lasombra.
- Path of Spirit Manipulation is the Sphere of Spirit but for a Hermetic wizard.
- Path of Technomancy is a rather new one, but with a badass concept: CYBER VAMPIRES. With this Path they can figure out technology, destroy devices, encrypt data to supernatural degrees (Vampire DRM!), access devices without touching them and at the five-dot capstone SEND THEIR MINDS THROUGH THE INTERNETS and engage in PSYCHIC VAMPIRE HACKING. Shadowrunners wish they were this awesome.
- Path of the Father's Vengeance is Vampire Bible Magic. Taking from the Book of Nod this Path is primary used to punish Vampires when they get out of line. It reveals blood bonds, reduces someone's Appearance to 0 for a night (for Toreador this might as well be the Final Death), forces a Vampire to live on ash instead of blood for a week or makes them extremely susceptible to light to the point where flashlights can kill them. But the most dreaded of all is Valediction, which returns a Vampire to their original Generation for a week. This greatly reduces their power and makes them a lot easier to kill for a high-Generation Vampire and steal their powers.
- Path of the Focussed Mind has a number of magic Zen powers, allowing you to focus and think better.
- Path of the Levinbolt is a collection of lightning powers, from shutting down electrical devices and giving small shocks to commanding the power of Thor, tossing around lightning bolts that are difficult to soak.
- Weather Control is... well, what do you think? This can conjure up weather from fog, breezes and temperature changes all the way to major temperature changes, storms and lightning strikes (10 dice of lethal damage, bitch!)
Regular Thaumaturgy is blood magic given form by experimentation and research. Dark Thaumaturgy is instead granted by demons that vampires can make pacts with in exchange for these Paths. This is a shortcut to power, one that leads to the dark side and makes one a Infernalist. As such, employing Dark Thaumaturgy is risky as just about any Kindred: in the Camarilla the Tremere have the monopoly on magic and don't like it when someone treads on their turf: to the Sabbat Infernalism is a very big no-no and the Anarchs lack the resources and knowledge for Dark Thaumaturgy. As part of the pact to obtain it, all of the Paths have a price to pay that affects either the Infernalist or limits the usefulness of the Path under certain conditions. Like its normal counterpart, Dark Thaumaturgy has a number of paths that each do something different:
- Fires of the Inferno is more or less the Lure of Flames, except the flames are a sickly green. Said green flames taint the user's aura, making them even easier to identify as an Infernalist.
- Path of Evil Revelations or by its original name, Video Nefas, lets you see the future, into the spirit world and the souls of mortals and use this knowledge to shape demons.
- Path of Phobos has to do with inflicting fear upon others in increasingly horrible ways to the point where said fear can be feasted upon as if it were Vitae. This also makes the user suffer horrific nightmares.
- Path of Pain inflicts pain, shields the user from pain and can even make a vampire's blood rip them apart from the inside. As a price the user becomes addicted to pain.
- Path of Pleasure lets you inflict great pleasure on a target, eventually rendering them stunned and even catatonic.
- Path of Spirit allows for the conjuring of demons and damaging all kinds of spirits.
- Path of Summoning grants the ability to summon powerful demons, but this taints the area in which one is summoned.
- Path of the Defiler spreads corruption of the spirit, playing to the fears and inadequacies of people to the point where you turn someone's self-loathing into a deformity. This does make one jealous and possessive of their victims.
- Path of the Unspoken grants access to knowledge: you can learn it from books, the voices of entropy, talk to peoples' shadows and evne make someone drop from the collective consciousness at the cost of memory lapses.
- Taking of the Spirit allows for the draining of Willpower: the higher the rank the more Willpower you drain. This makes the user an arrogant magalomaniac.
- Tyranny of the Wyrm or by its original and far more badass German name, Die Herrschaft Des Wyrm, is a unique Path that does not traffic with normal demons. Instead it parlays with the three-headed dragon himself. And no, this is not Azhi Dahaka that the Tzimisce seek: this is none other than the Triatic Wyrm of Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Created by a Hessian Malkavian cabal, it serves a power greater than even the most potent demons: the very essence of the Universe's destructive third. After the Path's creation all of its practitioners were betrayed to the Wyrm by Harold the Engraver, one of the members of the cabal, who later disappeared. His writings are remarkably well-conserved, allowing for the creation of many new Infernalists in the area. This Path allows for the manipulation of Malfean demons, letting them possess either the Infernalist's targets of the thaumaturgist themselves, granting anything from constant pain and suffering to a massive boost due to being possessed by an aspect of a Maeljin, which for those of you not vested in the ways of Werewolf is both a REALLY BAD IDEA as well as REALLY BAD FOR ANYONE FACING THE POSSESSED. The Path does have one big weakness: its instability. If the victim understands that it's being played they get a Wits + Occult roll against the Infernalist's Willpower and dots in the Path: if the victim wins the curse bounces onto the Infernalist. On top of that, a blessing from someone with True Faith immediately removes any ill effects caused by the Discipline. As for what became of Harold the Engraver? Nobody knows, but there is a powerful Malkavian (probably a Malkavian Apostate) on the Pentex Board of Directors, making him a servant to the Wyrm. He happens to have the name Harold Zettler,
which gets a lot more ominous when you realize what the German word for engraver is...(Ja, Zettler bedeutet "Engraver" auf Englisch)(Actually, Zettler seems to be an outdated term for a job performed in a weaving mill: someone who transfers threads onto another machine so they get incorporated into a larger weave. Whether this is a piece intentional or accidental irony is up for debate.)
Sadhana is a Hindi word meaning Thaumaturgy; it is basically just Thaumaturgy as practiced by the Danava and other Hindu bloodlines such as the Nagaraja, Daitya, Ravnos, and even the Salubri of the Watcher bloodline who remained in India after Saulot departed from there. As rakta-sadhus ("blood-workers") primarily worship Shiva, Sadhana also includes some Dark Thaumaturgy paths and rituals.
A bunch of groups have their own "Insert-Name-Here Sorcery", even the Anarchs.
- Assamite Sorcery: Used exclusively by the Assamites, this brand of magic grants them Weeaboo Fightan Magic.
- Koldunic Sorcery: Practiced by the Tzimisce, this brand of magic demands not just mastery, but perfection. It grants you mastery over one of the elements like you're the Avatar. No not that one or that one: it's the bald monk child one. Five dots per element, each with both utility and potent possibly Masquerade-shattering powers.
Vampire ritualistic magic that requires incantations, ingredients and preparation rather than vitae and the force of will (although blood is a very common ingredient). Technically speaking anyone can use it, but in practice Blood Magic users keep it to themselves (although they do often share rituals between schools, so having Tremere using necromantic rituals or Assamite sorcerer performing Koldunic ritual is not that unusual). There's literally thousands of rituals pretty much anything - from finding your lost keys to imbuing the blade with a green fires that eat through anything, to emulating pretty much any discipline effect, to avoiding tax collectors (or siccing them on someone you don't like), to creating Frankenstein monsters. Generally speaking the more powerful the ritual is the more exotic and/or immoral are the actions and ingredients required, down to self-mutilation and mass human/kindred sacrifices, although some necromantic rituals manage to break through the morality event horizon even at level one. Notable for creating "Vampire Batman" archetype that relies on a deep bag of tricks a few dozens of rituals and a lot of preparation can provide. Especially infuriating when Storyteller makes an antagonist of this type.
Ghouls and Revenants
Whenever a vampire feeds his blood to a human, his aging stops, and he can use a watered-down (2 generation less, since Caine's own ghoul, Jabal, Master of Servants uses 3rd generation as his blood potency...) version of the vampire's disciplines. However, once the blood reserve of a ghoul is zero, aging is back with a year per day. Needless to say, ghouls are a danger to the Masquerade and a liability if their loyalty is suspect. The good new is that ghouls are affected by the Blood Bonds just as kindred are, so a ghoul who drank the same vampire's blood three times in three separate nights becomes his slave, which makes loyalty problem quite rare, as only exceptionally strong-willed subjects can resist the Bonds even for a short time. The bad news is long-term Ghouls develop watered down version of Frenzy alongside watered down versions of clan weaknesses and eventually random mental disorders and tendencies for some sick fuckery even Sabbat would find abhorrent.
However, it also displays a serious gateway for the mortal to ascend in the world of eternal night. Vlad Tepes in oWoD is a badass Romanian warlord that staked vampires and harvested their blood for strength, ultimately bullying a TZIMISCE of all vampires into embracing him, diablerizing his sire and telling him to fuck off which he did like a bitch. If you are following this, it also brings a dangerous source of power for vampire hunters. Make of that what you will...And yes, Society of Leopold's elite know this and drain whatever vampires they can for longevity and durability. Again, humanity develops another way to destroy and absorb ancient powers without their drawbacks.
When two ghouls conceive a child, it's a revenant, with a (small) inborn blood pool of the parent clans with a mild divergence between mother and father. Tzimisce have several revenant families which the player can mow down in Vampire: The Masquerade Redemption. Baali also have their own ghoul revenant bloodline, D'habi, who somehow have an estate in Istanbul of all places.
We do not know whether additional vitae will pump up their blood pool.
Gehenna: the end of the Masquerade
As all things die, so did the Vampire: The Masquerade setting. The End Times book for Vampire brought us four different Gehenna scenarios of varying scope and awesomeness, giving the players four different balances of violence/diplomacy settings for their tastes.
Details on Gehenna were printed and set in 2004. With the rise of YouTube at the start of the next year ontop of increased spread of CCTV and camera phone, all of which bring major problems for the Masquerade, it’s doubtful the setting could have lasted much longer than it did.
God has had enough of Camarilla, Sabbat, Anarchs and Inconnu fucking everything up, abducting and raping the lives of countless innocents. Seeing Zapatashura getting his shit kicked in by a nerdy Technocrat directing a bunch of satellites and a few bombers dropping their payloads, God gives up on Caine repenting and goes "Fuck it", deciding to wipe out all vampirism in one fell blow, declaring humans fit to inherit the world and that all monsters deserve death for trying to stop them. Without even disturbing his human children in their sleep, he blasts the planet with a red deluge of invisible (to humans) mists, coming from Anthelios, the red star that influenced all White Wolf settings' plotlines.
And just like last time there is a Noah. This time he's a fundamentalist Christian Gargoyle wearing sunglasses and has a half-vampire Mary Sue ward of a young girl and tells you to meet at a church or temple of Abrahamic faith. Then the duo tell the players to sit and wait, and the players watch the mist bombarding Earth, slowly withering all vampires into nothing. All Kindred outside of the church lose their Disciplines, become unable to keep blood down and their generation keeps going up until they die.
Now God starts to test the players subtly: Are you repentant? Do you feel remorse? Do you wish to be human again? Would you sacrifice yourself for a loved one? Of course the questions come in situations such as a suicidal man who wants to jump off the roof. Will you risk death by sunlight or Withering to save a tormented soul? Obviously God (or the GM) should understand and judge the player and his intentions. Such troubles should plague all players such as a situation demanding they leave the temple, have loved ones beg for their help via the phone, and other dark events testing your heart and humanity. The book says even a 10 level Path of Enlightenment following beast should be given choices to feel remorse. So it's God being your shrink, and you are the patient who needs an epiphany in 40 days.
At the fortieth day, the east wall collapses, letting in sunlight. Those who feel remorse and wish to be human, are suddenly feeling heartbeats and flush of life. Those who harbor evil burn to cinders in a painful way. The Gargoyle, who never questioned God's will and would do anything for it, even kill children, is also burnt to ashes.
Wormwood is more of a calm, placid, social-focused LARP session or a relaxed social roleplay game with little place for combat. But it's compatible with other settings and is amazingly wholesome and focused on reconciliation, a rare oasis in an Edgy gaming market.
Fair is Foul
Lilith is back, baby, and she is mad. Gathering the craziest, most rejected fuckers in the setting she plans to kill Caine. The Crone (Caine's old teacher), Brujah (Ilyes, not Troile), Malkav's human sister and Lucifer Morningstar are just one of the few guests Lilith hosts in her garden of wonders. Long story short, she carves Kaballic runes under a city to move some alleys, uses some sea monsters for lulz, and tries to call on Abel to forgive Caine and kill him. You can betray Lilith to Laza-Omri-Bara (Lasombra) so that he consumes her and the garden. If you are stupid enough to help this colossal asshole you get eaten as well, something which you'll deserve. If Lilith wins, Caine dies and his killer has vengeance taken upon them sevenfold by God, but the players can survive by submitting to Lilith and dwelling in her garden for the rest of their lives. The rest of all vampires are dead a-la Wormwood.
Just like Wormwood, when properly played, it can be done without even ruffling the Masquerade. It's more combat-oriented though.
The Masquerade is broken. The Ventrue iconic character Jan Pieterzoon gathers the players to kill what turns out to be the Tzimisce Antediluvian running amok. Once they succeed, the world realizes that oh shit vampires are real. The players meet several vampire celebrities (including famous dickflinger Sasha Vykos) and go on a world-spanning race against the clock to kill the remaining Antediluvians. But they all wake up and order all vampires to some location in the Middle-East for judgement. Humanity loses its shit and keeps a peery eye from afar, not wanting to upset the blood-sucking abominations just yet. As it turned out the Sabbat was right: the Antediluvians found their children wanting and murdered most of them. The surviving neonates were firmly ordered to get their shit together. A bitter irony is that this mass execution is very likely a self-fulfilling prophecy *because* the Sabbat have been a bunch of monsters committing crimes that had triggered the Deluge in ancient history.
At this point it's the players' job to find the reborn Saulot and a vial of blood containing the blood of Caine, which would normally destroy any vampire drinking it. Saulot downs it anyway, an angel appears, accepts Saulot's penance and wrecks the collective shit of the remaining vampires. (5 points of aggravated damage everyone so if you are more than halfway wounded, kiss your ass goodbye, else leg it as God lays the smack down on vampires...)
Crucible of God
The most realistic, combat-heavy and plot-hole filled scenario. It needs some duct tape to patch things, but when it's plot-holes are filled and some of the stupid shit that the scenario harbors are flushed down the toilet, it makes for an amazing scenario. Crucible of God sees the planet transfomed into something out of the early days of the Age of Strife. The Masquerade is broken, and it breaks HARD. Humanity, as a whole, is shocked, and after seeing the sudden and once-hidden threat, they prove Durga Syn's words at Convention of Thorns right, and lash out in fear, exterminating Kindred wherever they find them. As it turns out vampires are no match for entire SWAT teams with phosphorous rounds and high-tech equipment and they are slaughered in droves. The elders, subtle and dangerous as ever, respond with sabotaging human life and civilization everwhere. No more electricity, no more sewage systems, hell, some elders even get their hands on nuclear warheads. Think about that for a minute, though any player that unleashes a nuke will have his humanity obliterated as not even edginess can even out what he/she/it did. There is also The Withering, a mystical occurence that suddenly causes the blood of all Cainites to thin.
This conflict eventually results in WWIII, a war between Cainite and Kine, that keeps going equally bad for both sides. Until all the deaths, all the massacres, all the slaughters finally rouse the Antediluvians... and they wake up, turning the war against Humans and Cainites alike. Basically, all the Antediluvians save some few ruin the planet and dot it with their sick fiefdoms where they rule humanity:
- Absimiliard fucks up Russia, and finally exterminates the Nosferatu with the beasts he bred in the depths of the oceans. He rules Russian Kine and Kindred alike with an iron fist made out of terror. His reign turns Russia as a whole to a worse place than the Tenochtitlán (Mexico City's precursor, once ruled by the Baali Methuselah Nergal under the name of Huitzilopochtli), Chorazin (A former city in Israel cursed by Jesus in the Bible, yet another piece of land Nergal, a horrifying Malfean ruled), Mashkan-Shapir (Nergal again) Carthage (BLOOD FOR BA'AL HAMMON!), and Transylvania under Tzimisce Voivodate reign & Kupala's shadow. As you can see, deprived of Baba Yaga's protection and tightly clenched in Absimilard's fist, Russia is well on it's way to becoming another case of First & Second City, where mortal and immortal alike slaver for an Antediluvian. Worse, his plans after consuming his fellow Antediluvians are nothing less than the conquest of the entire world. Can you imagine? Hitler, Stalin and pretty much all tyrants this world ever had (with the possible exception of Caine) got nothing on this motherfucker. He looks like a misshapen creature out of Cthulhu Mythos, as expected of the progenitor of the Nosferatu. He is easily one of the most frightening things in the scenario, not just because how he looks, but because of his inhuman depravity and cruelty, that can only be matched by either Tzimisce(and not even he wanted all humanity to be tortured into eternity, but took a child or two for education and had the common sense not to drain his herd) or Lasombra(who was generally an edgy bitch brooding about the endless seas).
- Haqim rules Middle East with the reasonable fairness he always wanted, being once a human swearing to hunt Cainite corruption. Under his rule, the Middle East actually becomes better than what it was. Compared to Absimilard's Reign, Haqim turns Middle East into an echo of Eden. He had the best start in Gehenna, as his clan was a well-oiled war machine that worshipped him and was already prepared for Gehenna. They wasn't lacking in sword, sorcery, guns, jets, tanks, ships, or supplies etc. The Assamites then purge the infidels of their own (who are either Web of Knives or the Schismatics, depending on how Haqim is portrayed) and other clans under Haqim's direction, who steadily regains his power. After his awakening, all who was blood-bound to an Assamite becomes bound to Haqim himself, through the power he has over his own vitae. Despite this, Haqim never consumes the willpower and free will of his descendants, and his human/kindred servants live pretty much OK. What a cool guy. Then everything goes to hell after something takes him out. What, did you expect him to win in a Grimdark world?
- Ennoia becomes the Apex Predator by merging with the planet, turning into nature itself. However, her transformation wasn't complete, so she has to eat people all over the place, the shit that she already did for at least ten millenia, something that annoys her until the end of Gehenna, when she completes her transformation and achieves godhood, no longer needing to devour blood and souls. She is one of the two Antediluvian survivors of Gehenna snugly melded into the planet. Good riddance.
- Laza-Omri-Bara darkens the WHOLE PLANET with a cover of shadows, drinking all the souls that die during that month. Needless to say, plant life is all but extinct, and a new Ice Age has begun. One month after his appearance, he finally dies, the shadow that was his body turns into blood and rains down, almost drowning the earth in it. No one knows what the fuck happened to him, and no one WANTS to know what the fuck killed him. Our bets are on the sun itself, which in World of Darkness has supernatural properties.
- Troile is missing in action, due to being buried under Carthage alongside Moloch. Oof.
- A unknown Antediluvian named Shaper helps you out, her goal being transcending the vampiric state and achieving godhood. She might be the Toreador Antediluvian, operating under a alias. She succeeds in her goal by diablerizing Absimilard, transcending the vampiric state. One of the WoD's greatest bastards was thus destroyed by her, leaving no trace of his existence, not even his soul, other than the atrocities he committed upon the world.
- Malkav fucks up reality through his childer and mortal thralls, and tears Consensus a new asshole... Imagine how much chaos it causes, when the numbers of the Awakened and Marauders skyrocket. Think Silent Hill, except this time, the entire world is subject to reality-bending madness and horror, instead of one single town.
- Set is already dead, appearantly. So all the Setites off themselves to be with him.
- Ventrue is apperantly dead too. To be fair, all the swank and rulership going to hell, he is better off dead.
- Cappadocius dies after the Sixth Great Maelstrom, which happens before Gehenna.
- Augustus gets his ass kicked, being a blood-stealing Guido who thinks he can outsmart Eldritch humanoid horrors resulting as expected.
- Tremere is currently inhabiting Goratrix's body.
- Ravnos wasn't sane enough to use Chimerstry to survive the Spirit Nukes, appearantly.
- The fates of Saulot and Tzimisce will be explained below, for they are integral to the plot.
Do not sneer at the fact that most Antediluvians are missing and dying for reasons that never specified, for it was written that way to make you fill the blanks. For example: Did Ur-Shulgi, childe of Haqim and suspected infernalist killed his sire? Did Lasombra soaked sunlight for a month via Fortitude and didn't botch his roll for a month, or was he betrayed by his loyal slave, a Malkavian Methusalah named Louhi, one of the most accomplished masters of Thaumaturgy, who might have been possessed by Malkav himself? Although there are no excuses for the lack of Ventrue, Set, Cappadocius and Troile. (Toreador Antediluvian too, but she might be the Shaper.) Anyway, sometime after the ascension of the Shaper, Tremere himself approaches the players with a plan to save humanity. It would involve hijacking the minds of all of Humanity, including vampires, by utilizing its true name then ordering everybody to walk into the sunlight. Of course, Tremere himself and the players would not be affected, which would make him the most powerful of all vampires. But hey, that's not the problem right now. The party travels to Utah, Salt Lake City where they break into the headquarters of the Mormons, who somehow just finished on creating the family tree of all of humanity. Using this family tree encryted on a CD and blessing it with magic, Tremere decodes Humanity's true name and starts to work his ritual, to use the greatest ritual ever created. And then, this happens...
- "Blood to blood, Let my sight encompass every son of Adam and daughter of Eve. Let every Child of Caine or Abel or Seth hear my voice. I have your name! I have your lineage! I have your soul!"
- "It is done. Hear me, Children of Adam. I command... Be of me."
There is one little wrench in this clockwork though. You see, Tremere turned himself and his kin into vampires via Tzimisce blood. Salubri and other blood sources came later. The thing is, Tzimisce can control anything that possesses his blood. Only now did he take control of Tremere, when he was at his most powerful and most vulnerable. Just as planned. Tzimisce changed the ritual a bit: before Tremere gave his command, he took over and instead of connecting all of Humanity he connected it to himself, making everyone in the world a part of Tzimisce.
OH SHIT does not BEGIN to cover what this does.
Survivors of this trainwreck of a world start being warped into horrible fleshy abominations as Tzimiscemania runs wild. Tremere himself warps into a horrific Vozhd that only barely gets put down by the party. By now, every human and vampire became one with Tzimsice save the player characters, who were protected thanks to the ritual, with only one exception:
He foresaw all those events millenia ago and prepared himself accordingly, although there were events that surprised even him. He sacrificed himself and his Clan to the thirsting fangs of Tremere, for the sake of this last move of the Jyhad, for the sake of not just vampires and mortals, but for the World of Darkness as a whole, to stop Tzimisce, who would otherwise be the eternal victor of the Jyhad. He tells the players to believe in God, believe in the potential of humanity, and believe in themselves, before all is either saved, or consumed. He gives them a small moment to make their peace with each other, and with their fate. After saying their last words, the coterie, aided by Saulot, prepare to get shit done. The ritual starts, players and Saulot let themselves be devoured by Tzimisce via the Tzimisce blood in Saulot's veins, but they aren't consumed yet. Several Willpower and Humanity rolls later, through the power of HFY, the players somehow manage beckon the Wrath of God, and channel it to Saulot, the Lamb of God, who then uses it to destroy Tzimisce. However, Saulot and the players perish due to being the conduits of God's wrath. All other vampires, who had become one with Tzimsice (basically every vampire on earth, save Ennoia and Shaper, who managed to transcend the curse of Caine) perish too. Perhaps for the first time in the history, The Get of Caine finally did a good thing to the world, instead of fucking it up as always, by saving the earth and going extinct. Humanity is changed back into their old forms, but they keep having nightmares about their changes and there are still bands of flesh-warped beasts in the wild. Meanwhile the players get ressurected by God just after the destruction of the Tzimisce Antediluvian, their hearts beating once more. They also receive quite the boost in power as a sign of God's favor. It is now their choice whether they want to make the same mistakes as their forebearers or create a better, new world out of the ashes of old, and guide humanity towards a greater purpose, bringing unity and sense of purpose in a way that only an immortal and wise leader can bring, on this new age.
There is another epilogue to all the endings however, should the GM continue the legends. In a shallow grave somewhere out in the Middle-East a man digs himself out and curses the heavens for not letting him die... but all he hears is the mocking laughter of God as the Jyhad begins anew. Make of that what you will.
Vampire V: And Then There Were None
The announcement of fifth edition Vampire was met with a mix of excitement and wariness. V20 was still going strong, and even if it would take a while for the next edition to be released it meant that the current one is dying. Some people were encouraged by the announcement that Kenneth Hite of GUMSHOE fame had been hired as the lead designer, and then immediately discouraged when he said that White Wolf had already vetoed several of his ideas. May 2017 saw the release of the first pre-alpha playtest and... people were not impressed. Sure, it was only a pre-alpha but the retooling of the game was significant. Great changes to how damage works, how the blood pool works, how Hunger works, how Frenzy and associated compulsions work and what skills are like (the same physical/mental/social split of Chronicles of Darkness instead of the Talents/Skills/Knowledges split of yore). And the Brujah clan's weakness was literally called 'Triggered.' Overall the game feels like a dumbed-down version of earlier editions, but since it was only a pre-alpha there was still hope.
As for the metaplot... well, vampire society has gone to shit when NSA found out the vampires' parallel internet and the entire world's mortal governments found out the vampires exist. The Second Inquisition, made up of the Leopold Society which now carries Papal approval along with every alphabet soup intelligence agency across the world, found out about SchreckNet and is now hunting the Kindred like dogs in a covert war. The intelligence agencies know what they're up against, though they hide it from the public and elected leadership by using post-9/11 anti-terrorism measures as cover for operations and red tape. After a massive raid and destruction of Vienna Kindred blamed on ISIS, the vampires are forced to hide even deeper, with the Camarilla closing it's doors except to only "exceptional" kindred, resorting to messenger birds, dead drops and graffiti for communication. The Anarchs aren't as low tech opting for burner phones and throwaway emails and have become the most welcoming faction for any new Kindred without a home, and Sabbat, for reasons we mentioned earlier, got curbstomped hard (apparently the whole edgy "cattle kine" rhetoric doesn't survive a welcoming shout of "FBI OPEN UP", copious amounts of Willy Pete and napalm rounds by SWAT descending in broad daylight). And all the elders of 8th Generation or lower are suddenly being drawn to the Middle-East, and Sabbat survivors are fighting Camarilla and Ashirra (Muslim Kindred) in the middle east. It's not the end of the world, but you can see it from here It's very much the beginning of a Nightshade situation but much more drawn into it's own setting. The lore was mostly explained in the V5 corebook and Beckett's Jydhad Diary but the first taste was in the pre-Alpha test module "The Last Night". Unfortunately the test is one of the most god-awful railroaded messes ever released by White Wolf, and that's discounting all the virtue signaling in there. Not to mention that one of the premade characters for the scenario literally was a serial killer that could only feed from children. White Wolf has form in this.
The core rulebook for Vampire V was released on August 2 2018, and early reactions are pretty damn negative: All the artwork has been replaced with corny photo shoots like in the semi-official Mind's Eye Theater LARP books because the head of the new White Wolf was a Vampire LARPer in its heyday, there's an absolute dearth of material compared to V20 (there are no rules for Sabbat or Anarchs in the corebook, for starters with the former seeming to be wiped out/forced into deep hiding in lore), none of the clunkiness of the crunch was fixed, and the fluff actually encourages being the kind of edgy, psychotic, superficial asshole that made White Wolf players a fucking running joke in the community. This is, naturally, the same book where they spent an entire page warning the reader against "having fun in a problematic manner" after a bunch of lunatics interpreted an example roll as a Nazi dog whistle. Which is even more humorous when you can go back to the previous editions and see references to Skinheads and Neo-Nazis being said to be commonly among the ranks of the Sabbat Brujah, as well as Nephandi and Tremere influence on the Third Reich.
The Camarilla splatbook that came out after would become the straw that broke the lolcow's back for one simple and very important reason: They retconned the anti-homosexual purges in Chechnya, a real-life atrocity, that was in progress at the time of writing, as a vampire cover-up plot. Sure, they've made less-than-tasteful allusions to real-life events before, but even when Wraith did a splatbook about the Holocaust, they at least had the good taste to put all their effort into being respectful, because even the company that published Freak Legion knew where to draw the line. The previous editions even had a rule not to talk about current events or even recent events. These fucking LARPers claimed that real people involved in the killings were totally sick vampires just for some cheap angst and an unoriginal plot hook.
Paradox has pulled all copies of the Camarilla and Anarch splatbooks for a full rewrite, and every single manager has been thrown out ass-first and replaced with seatwarmers. White Wolf as a game development company no longer exists; they are now a glorified holding company, folded into Paradox's corporate structure, that will license their properties to other publishers (read: Onyx Path, who are currently working on a V5 update to Chicago by Night, by-the-way) for future World of Darkness books. That's how much of a trainwreck White Wolf has become, they can't be trusted to write their own material anymore. Unconfirmed rumors are that Ramzan Kadyrov (the head of the Chechen Republic) is pissed and is considering a lawsuit, and that one distrubutor of White Wolf products has been arrested in Russia (of which Chechnya is a federal subject), meaning that not only have these fuckheaded retards destroyed their own company, they may have kickstarted an international incident.
Two attempts were made to port the game format over to the PC.
Redemption was a low-system but (for its time) high quality 3D game which had a game mechanic that was a Diablo clone all but in name. The protagonist started as a human crusader fighting against East European pagans who got injured and seperated from his comrades, doing several errands until a Brujah embraced him, after which he kept tracking down the nun that healed him back when he was alive. It had a very interesting plot and timeline; the game time started in the Middle Ages Prague, and ended up in New Year's Eve, 2000, in New York.
However, it has a very repetitive flow, consisting of dungeons with three or four levels with increasing encounters of several vampires per 20-30 meters. At the dungeons' final levels you kill a boss, blah blah, story advances, you make a Humanity choice and so on until you face a FOURTH GENERATION TZIMISCHE VOIVODE that wants to rape the world.(And rapes the party unless you know freeze spell and kill him over the flesh portal)
Honestly, the game mechanics was almost nothing related to the tabletop game: disposable discipline scrolls that didn't use blood, a teleportation spell that took the player back to town called "Walk the Abyss" and many other features directly ripped from Diablo 2 alongside with tomes for learning Disciplines. Yep, Diablo 2 with Vampires. And guns, when the plot progresses to modern ages. If these don't bother you then it's worth a shot with a word of warning being the slow start where you'll have a hard time hitting anything and the FUCKING Tremere Chantry in the mid-to-late Dark Ages section of the campaign...Just spam dexterity and "to hit bonuses" and supplement the lack of strength with Potence and Celerity. You'll be fine. And don't bother with modern guns, keep the Ainkurn Sword on your main character at all times, and the game is a cakewalk. If you've GOT to use ranged weapons, give powerful single shot guns to your companions as they can't use auto-fire because retard AI. Or just give them modern crossbows and bows.
Its shining grace was that a multiplayer game, a complete tabletop scenario could be made from scripts and a bit of careful sandbox construction, spawning furniture, scripts, items and missions. It even had two pre-made perfectly fun multiplayer games.
Tl;dr. 100 Dexterity, Ainkurn Sword, tome of Blood Rituals from Haus de Hexe level 3 and Black Gloves from Setite Temple Level 1 for your companions make you win automatically.
Bloodlines, while enjoyable and faithful to the fluff, suffers the same problem as Knights of the Old Republic II and Soulstorm in that it takes 1GB+ worth of fan-made patches, mods, and restored content to make the game work.
The story is Los Angeles, you being an accidentally sired vampire whose sire is executed. The Prince of the city spares you because the Anarch leader stood up for your neck. So it's your job to start small, beat back the Sabbat, talk to Anarchs and Kuei-Jin and learn that a mysterious artifact is stirring up the city.
And baby, it's epic. It even has the usual Vampire intrigue and dickery, though you still get railroaded until the final decision. Also you get to meet The Man Himself, though you only figure it out near the end after you pick certain dialogue options with him (or are Malkavian).
Even then, some shit just couldn't be fixed, despite all the heroic bastards who to this day work on fan patches. The game runs a pre-HL2 version of the Source Engine despite being released after HL2 due to shitty contracts from Valve and Activision, and it shows. Characters fly if you so much as spit at them, prostitutes can teleport, the game still crashes randomly, there are serious memory leaks, NPC vision is completely broken, and on and on and on. Huge chunks of the game were cut before they could be finished, not to mention the stuff that they flat-out didn't have time for. To top it off, the final act of the game devolved into a John Woo film complete with a Matrix-style shootout in an office building. If you built up your character as a smooth-talking diplomat or stealthy ninja, the game became unwinnable as hordes of AI goons armed with the best weapon in the game reduced you to a pile of smoldering ash unless you had very high Fortitude.
The ending is Monster-a-go-go. Yes, really.
Despite all that, the game is rather fun up until the end sections, where you could tell the pace was kind of slowing down and winding up - you could really, really tell when they were more pressed for time. The voice acting and writing are top notch (for the main characters anyway; the background voices sound like someone hired their cousin to come to the studio and read off a script), the locations memorable, character animations during conversations were generally better than Half-Life 2, which had a superior version of the engine (though they locked you in, unlike HL2, and their eyes skitter around like dice in a cup), the main and side quests can mostly be solved in multiple ways, and each vampire clan feels distinct (with Malkavians being extra lulzy and pseudo-spolierish). Pity, it had to suffer from Half-Life syndrome. And seriously, fuck Activision. The fact they put it up on Steam and GOG for twenty dollars is a mockery in many ways. They gutted a great game from being significantly better, don't fucking pay them for it.
Fans patched the game to as good as it can be, as well as made some mods with the same story and new gimmicks like The Final Nights where you can play as Baali, Laibon, Samedi, Salubri and other bloodlines with a much more hardcore ruleset, or Companion Mod (which is also integrated into many other popular conversions but not The Final Nights) where you can keep, well, companions through helping them out (like Ash and Hunter Yuki) or through Dominating their brains out. Also the prince gives you the right of Embrace for your Ghoul Heather (with full voice acting). So you can storm Venture Tower with 4 vampires raining machinegun fire and Disciplines. Finally, starting from v.4.0 the Clan Quest Mod contains a completely fan-made story arc in a completely new Sabbat controlled location. Along with tons of new voiced characters, a chance of joining the Sabbat and diablerize other Kindred.
VtM: Coteries of New York
Pretty much a visual novel set in the Vampire The Masquerade setting. Can choose to play as Brujah, Toreador or Ventrue. It provides a very atmospheric introduction to the setting and the Camerilla as a faction, as well as some high quality art and colorful characters. However it is lacking in length, the player choices affect very little, and the ending is an extremely abrupt cliffhanger. The scenes are fast paced, engaging and clever, but the overarching story fails to fit these pieces together in a satisfying way. This makes for yet another Vampire game that is frustratingly close to greatness, but falls sadly short.
VtM: Shadows of New York
Sequel to VtM: Coteries of New York.
There also was an MMORPG being made by the guys who made EVE Online. It was supposed to be released around 2015 and would've focused on political and social interactions. It was canceled in The Week Of Nightmares, about a day after an anon on /v/ leaked some internal alpha screenshots. And now, thus, all chances at a good VtM game are dashed... truly, this is Gehenna. There is even glimpses of in motion footage in the WoD documentary (it's mostly bleh outside of that), which look great for ah MMO of the time especially in an internal Alpha. The best we had was the effort being put into "Project Dogmat", a vampire MMO that tried pulling plenty of similar qualities from the mythos/World of Darkness MMORPG whilst still functionally being a different setting. But unfortunately, it died.
Paradox Interactive of Europa Universalis fame now owns the rights to the World of Darkness and have released a new game "inspired by choose your own adventure books" titled Vampire The Masquerade: We Eat Blood. Here's the blurb from the press release:
In Vampire The Masquerade: We Eat Blood you’re a young artist who wakes up at night to find you’re no longer human…but exactly what are you and why are you so ravenously hungry for blood?!? Told entirely through an innovate mobile messaging perspective, We Eat Blood is a sharp, mature, and terrifying story about your first nights as unwilling predator and prey. Will you join ancient vampire conspiracies, or will you turn the tables on oppressive authority and seek your own future? The temptation is real. The game is written and illustrated by Zak Sabbath and Sarah Horrocks.
Let's just say that the game wasn't very good and the author was outed as a sexpest, leading to it being pulled from online retailers.
The second Bloodlines game was announced by Paradox for a March 31st, 2020 release. It was announced using a trailer with no gameplay and minimal gameplay details, developers proudly announcing they'd be injecting personal politics into it - par for the course with an IP operated by Onyx Path - and including pronoun selection in character creation, much like the Battletech game, which would be fine, since options are cool. Additionally, Cara Ellison (best known in /v/-territory for getting Hotline Miami 2 banned in Australia by writing an article half-truthfully claiming it had a rape scene) is on the writing team, leaving some people with concerns. The head writer of the original game are at least on the team as well, and it also will have mod support at launch according to the Devs. Chris Avellone (of Fallout 2/New Vegas and Planescape: Torment fame) was on the writing-team in it's inception, but it was stated by Paradox that through "iterative writing" all of his contributions have gone the way of the Dodo - this was said in response to allegations coming out against Chris Avellone, from several women on Twitter (basically that he had "acted predatorily", whatever that means), which saw him booted from many big-name studios. Furthermore, Paradox fired Narrative Lead Brian Mitsoda (who had worked on the first game) without explanation or compensation, lowering whatever hopes were left for the game even more. Even with the usual PC boogeyman, the first impression of Bloodlines 2 is that of yet another Current Year Video Game™ mixed with the usual head-up-its-own-ass-ness of White Wolf trying to adapt to current trends, especially after very underwhelming first gameplay. The game will include trigger warnings for quests as an optional feature one can activate, which is at the very least quite stupid, considering it's literally a horror-game about horrible things, and what' more, literally being an abomination against all that is good, and an incarnation of the dark, uncomfortable nature of human existence - warning people about that there might be horror in such a game, that is also rated "M" and has the usual ESRB content-warnings is.. Yeah. Malkavians are also being downgraded, because some people think it's offensive to portray the mentally ill that way (but it doesn't stop them using the so crazy you can talk to a stopsign gag of the original to sell preorder DLC).
Notable so far is that you start as a Thin Blood and have to earn your clan (though whether you can opt to stay one and complete the game this way is unknown at the moment of writing), and that the standard edition pre-order gives you Blade's outfit.
Most of the traditional Camarilla Bloodlines will be playable with the notable exception of the Nosferatu and Gangrel. This might be because both bloodlines have a tendency to become walking masquerade violations, which makes the blending-in-with-the-herd aspect of the game nigh-impossible. Which would in turn force the game designers to make alternate routes for those clans, so instead of doing that they just relegated the two clans to NPC-only status for now. However, it's equally likely that the two clans are getting held back so they that can be released as DLC shortly after the game launches - they have already promised two DLC and one expansion - rather than for gameplay reasons, especially since Gangrels only become walking Masquarade violations after they frenzy a bunch of times making their omisson from the playable line up rather more suspect then the Nosferatus. It might also be due to the timeline/canon they're going by, since depending on which one you choose (they're quite the clusterfuck with all the re-releasing of VtM), Gangrel may or may not be part of the Camarilla. Either way, all future DLC will be released free.
The setup (as of April 2019): Seattle, Early 2020. Fifteen years on from Bloodlines, the West Coast is still feeling the fallout of the Ankaran Sarcophagus Incident and the destruction of the LA Camarilla. On one foggy night, a swarm of Kindred descend onto Pioneer Square, committing a Mass Embrace upon the pedestrians unfortunate enough to be out and about. You were one of those poor bastards, of course. A short while later, you're carted before the local power players as the key witness of the attack and will be executed shortly afterward. As the room devolves into petty squabbling, a fire engulfs the building and you barely make it out alive-ish. So, now here you are, plopped out like a naked baby in the woods with barely any idea of what to do next. Oh, and you're a goddamn thin-blooded Caitiff, too! Wow, you really are fucked. Essentially the same start as the original Bloodlines, barring the whole thin-blooded thing.
Vampire: The Masquerade — Night Road
Available on Steam, it's a self-contained "Game of Choices" vidya. Surprisingly for a simple click-based text game, it has major depth and a very smooth Adaptation of VampireV. You play a courier for the surviving Kindred, driving through the midnight roads and avoid the Second Inquisition (which has the common sense to even deal fairly with harmless, non-murderous vampires) as you do jobs for money, blood, fast cars and power. Your character sheet is realistic tabletop stuff, along with Willpower points to re-roll botches and hunger checks, and you get to do the good old tabletop style game with dice rolls based on your stats. Think of it as a single-player tabletop Vampire game session. Linear but what can you do.
- Vampire: The Requiem
- World of Darkness
- Week of Nightmares
- Kindred of the East
- World of Darkness website
- World of Darkness wiki
- Unmoderated WoD Chat
- Mister Gone's Character Sheets
- A fan-made MMORPG based on the ideas of Vampire: The Masquerade