Clans and Bloodlines in Vampire: The Requiem
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In the role-playing game Vampire: The Requiem by White Wolf Game Studio, vampire characters belong to one of five fictional clans, each of which is representative of an archetype in vampire literature. It is assumed that each clan descended from a single progenitor, who passed to each of his descendants, or childer, his unique gifts and flaws.
The origins of the vampire species are mysterious. The idea of single source is not certain. Some have even suggested that each of the five main clans had a different origin.
Since Requiem was a reboot and re-imagining of White Wolf's previous game line, Vampire: The Masquerade, some of the clans and their traits are similar to clans that appeared in the previous line, though there are differences. In Requiem also, bloodlines play a more important role, with many vampires belonging to a minor bloodline that branched away from a major clan. Unlike the previous game, even members of bloodlines can be said to belong to the parent clan also.
Each clan is particularly gifted in three of the vampiric Disciplines. In terms of game mechanics, this translates as a reduced experience point cost to learn them. Each clan also possesses a specific weakness that is unique to them. Membership in a Bloodline adds access to a fourth specialty Discipline (sometimes one in which a different clan typically specializes, and sometimes unique and known exclusively to that Bloodline), as well as an additional weakness. For instance, Ventrue of the Malkovian bloodline are especially vulnerable to gaining Derangements as are other Ventrue, but additionally have one Derangement which can never be cured.
The Daeva evoke the image of vampires as seductive, decadent, sexually transgressive predators who blur lust and hunger together, equating the act of feeding with sensual pleasure. Unrivaled in their grace and passion, the Daeva attract worship and jealousy from Kine and Kindred alike, but their insatiable hunger for pleasure and sensations old and new, and the inevitable frustration of wanting to experience human emotions make a quick road towards personality disintegration and surrender to the beast.
Daeva are inherently gifted in the vampiric Disciplines of Celerity (superhuman speed), Vigor (superhuman strength), and Majesty (the ability to attract, sway, and control the emotions of others). Their clan weakness is an extreme difficulty in resisting indulging their vices. A Daeva who has an opportunity to indulge his favorite vice and fails to do so finds his resolve weakened (reflected in the game mechanics as lost Willpower points). Of course, indulging Vice carries its own drawbacks such as accelerated loss of humanity.
The Gangrel embody the idea of vampires as predatory feral demons. An upper level in the feeding chain with little or no interest in humans as anything other than food, they represent vampirism as crude predation and evoke ideas of basic instinct, untamed ferocity and freedom that are commonly associated with predators. Gangrel hunt alone or in packs and frequently adopt nomadic unlifestyles, rejecting the shackles of a pseudo-civilized unlife for bestial freedom. They favor the virtues of self: self-awareness, self-reliance and self-confidence, and often turn to introspective contemplation of their own beasts from which spiritual insight and supernatural power can be gained - the mad-eyed savages are frequently revered as vagrant wise-men with unique perspectives on the vampiric condition and are unrivaled in the ease with which they summon the beast forth and ride the frenzy. But this very same intimacy with the raging Beast might make it easier for it to erode the rest of a Gangrel's soul in the long run. It also makes their baser instincts cloud more reasoned thought sometimes, this is represented by penalties in some mental-based dice pools.
Gangrel are inherently apt at the Disciplines of Animalism (spirit based communication and control over the Beasts of nature and the Beasts within vampires' souls), Resilience (supernatural physical toughness), and Protean (shapeshifting).
The clan's symbol is a stylized brush-stroke rendition of a predator's eye, seemingly made up of various animals.
The Mekhet embody the idea of a shadowy vampire lord, omniscient and unseen. Nicknamed "Shadows" by the other clans, Mekhet are known for keeping secrets and knowing the secrets of others. Paranoid and alien, their insatiable quest for knowledge leads to both power and a spiritually corrupting indifference. For with the same ease a Mekhet investigates the source of a quote on a centuries-old tome, he will dissect a screaming subject to understand its secrets, speeding the Beast's grasp over him. As the Beast gains ground, a Mekhet's personality simply vanishes, leaving them frightening empty automatons.
Their uncanny ability for knowing that which they shouldn't is based on the ease with which they master the Disciplines of Auspex (enhanced senses), Celerity (superhuman speed), and Obfuscate (supernatural stealth). However, as suits their nickname, the Mekhet are even more vulnerable to the ravages of sunlight and fire than other vampires, suffering an additional point of aggravated damage when burned.
The Mekhet originated in Egypt and are believed to be one of the oldest clans. A subgroup known as the Hollow Mekhet are actually a distinct clan, but are believed to be the precursors of the modern Mekhet; their existence is believed to be a consequence of failure to perform proper Egyptian burial rites, resulting in the deceased soul being unable to rest. This myth would appear to explain the Hollow Mekhet's distinct clan weakness: each Hollow is haunted by a malevolent spirit, which is visible anytime the Hollow passes a mirror as a reflection which moves independently. This "other half" despises the Hollow Mekhet and constantly schemes against it, though its incorporeal nature limits its ability to interfere to little more than mischief and distraction - at least at first.
The clan's symbol is an hourglass inside a crescent moon, all contained within a sunburst.
Nosferatu vampires are the repulsive, yet fascinating, alien monsters of legend (such as Count Orlok of their movie namesake). They either have an inexplicable inhuman air about them or are outright grotesque. This unique outward manifestation of their monstrous nature results in a difficulty to engage in social interactions not involving intimidation, this is mechanically represented by penalties in some Social-based dice pools. The relationship a Nosferatu maintains with his obvious inhumanity and its social implications varies greatly, ranging from crippling self-pity to ecstatic pride; some hide their hideousness while others revel in it, marveled at what they have become, and each one explores his own otherness uniquely.
Given the obvious implications for breach of the masquerade their peculiarity creates, Nosferatu excel at stealth, and consequently are expert spies and information traders. They are especially gifted in Vigor (superhuman strength), Obfuscate (supernatural stealth), and their unique Discipline, Nightmare, that taps into a target's worst fears forcing it to live them.
The clan's symbol is a clenched fist, surrounded by maggot-ridden skulls.
Ventrue are regal vampires who value power and dominion to the point of obsession, self-styled "lords of the night" they represent vampirism as a metaphor for maddening power, like Bram Stoker's Dracula. Obsessed with power and hierarchy, the Ventrue seek dominion over others with all their actions and in all their relationships. They often enthrall, control and embrace from the elites of human hierarchical structures, including politicians, union leaders, businessmen, and crime bosses. This obsession with power has tainted their blood with a propensity to insanity that reveals the corrupting, maddening effects of power. This is mechanically represented by a greater difficulty in resisting derangement rolls.
The Ventrue clan's tendency towards dominance is reflected in their clan Disciplines of Resilience (supernatural physical toughness), Animalism (control over the beasts of nature and the Beast within a vampire's soul), and their unique Discipline of Dominate (mental control over humans and vampires alike).
The clan emblem of the Ventrue is a scepter inside a crown, superimposed over an inverted isosceles triangle.
The Akhud are presented as one of three possible versions of VII.
The Akhud clan weakness makes them unable to knowingly harm or betray other members of their clan or the mortal descendants of their founder. Additionally, the Akhud are tormented by the whispers of the demon Shaddad, represented mechanically by a small penalty to derangement rolls, as well as a penalty to resist frenzy in any scene in which they speak, write, hear or read the name Shaddad.
The Akhud's clan disciplines are Celerity (superhuman speed), Praestantia (superhuman dexterity), and Obfuscate (supernatural stealth).
Additionally, supernatural differences between the Akhud and normal vampires prevent them from triggering or being affected by Predator's Taint, allowing them to detect vampires and protect them from mind reading attempts.
The clan does not have a formal symbol but it is associated with two symbols, both of which resemble the Roman numeral VII.
The Betrayed are presented as one of three possible versions of VII.
This version of VII is actually split into six clans with their own set of Disciplines, favored attributes, and weaknesses: House Alexander, House Grigorivich, House Irinavici, House Marisovich, House Petrovnavich, and House Semeonovic. These clans all originated with a Russian kingdom that was once protected by Kindred patrons, but were eventually attacked by them. Each House is instigated to claim vengeance for this kingdom by their Specters, the spirits of the noble women slain by the Kindred. The Houses have been known to war with each other as often as they war with Kindred.
Mechanically, they share the common VII traits of not being able to trigger Predator's Taint and the ability to identify other vampires with a glance. Additionally, each Specter gives members of the six Houses a unique power, as well as another weakness.
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The Julii were an ancient Roman Clan detailed in the Requiem for Rome setting. They claimed descent from Remus, and distant kinship with the mortal family of the same name. They were the wealthiest and most powerful clan in Rome, claiming credit for the creation of the Camarilla and its formalized Masquerade. The clan was closely associated with the Senex (sitting among them by right of blood), and younger members often spent some time in the Legio Mortuum. The Julii were wiped out by the Strigoi spirits (probably in retaliation for the extinction of the Traditories) and interclanic conflict millennia ago and are presumed to be extinct. They might be ancestors of the modern Ventrue.
The Julii have the same clan Disciplines as the Ventrue: Animalism, Dominate and Resilience. Unlike the Ventrue, the Julii clan weakness imposes a penalty on degeneration rolls rather than derangement rolls.
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Briefly mentioned in Requiem for Rome, Traditories is the only name given to a clan that was supposedly destroyed by Aulus Julius and his followers sometime before the foundation of the Camarilla. The name Traditories is not the true name of the clan, as it was erased from history. The Traditories were accused of serving the Strix. They may also have survived as the modern Ventrue clan.
While there is no mention of the Tremere (originally a Vampire: the Masquerade clan) in Vampire: the Requiem, they are mentioned in Mage: the Awakening as having been a group of vampires who made contact with mages interested in defying death, and were destroyed by those mages to create the Legacy of soul-stealing necromancers that now bear the name Tremere. It is not clear whether these original Tremere were a Clan or a Bloodline, nor to what Clan that Bloodline might have belonged.
A bloodline is a fictional category of vampires, from White Wolf Game Studio's role-playing games Vampire: The Requiem. While the term clan refers to considerably populous and well-known groups, bloodline refers to smaller groups. In most cases, a bloodline is an offshoot of a clan, possessing similar features and abilities with some significant twist.
The childe of a member of a bloodline always belongs to that bloodline's parent clan. To become a member of a bloodline, the childe must join one through force of will, though in some cases this can happen unconsciously. When brought into a bloodline consentually, the established member bringing the new member in is referred to as an avus. A vampire can only join bloodlines that split off from her own clan, but she is not limited to her sire's bloodline if her sire belongs to one. Vampires of sufficient age and potency of blood may create their own bloodlines rather than joining ones already established; the process is irreversible, and no vampire may belong to more than one bloodline. The advantage of creating or joining a bloodline is easier access to one or more new Disciplines, or vampiric power; the disadvantage is that bloodlines invariably have an additional flaw or weakness that sets them apart from the parent clan.
The list of bloodlines mentioned in Vampire: The Requiem follows.
|Daeva||Amara Havana, Amrita Bhaga, Anvari, Asnâm, The Carnival, Children of Judas, Duchagne, En, Erzsébet, Eupraxas, Gulikan, Kallisti, Kinnaree, Kuufukuji, Malintzin, Maxtla, Mortifiers of the Flesh, Murales, Naditu, Nelapsi, Platina, Septemi, Spina, Toreador, Xiào, Zelani|
|Gangrel||Abhi Dhvana, Abhi Jina, Anavashra, Anubi, Annunaku, Barjot, Bohagande, Los Bucólicos, Brujah, Carnon, Chichimecas Muerta, Childer of the Morrigan, Dead Wolves, Empusae, Les Gens Libres, Gull, The Hounds of Actaeon, Larvae, Mabry, Mara, Matasuntha, Moroi, Mystikoi, Nepheshim, Oberlochs, Shepherds, Sta-Au, Taifa, Tanner, Vedma|
|Mekhet||Agonistes, Alucinor, Ananta Naga, Bak-Ra, Brothers of Ypres, Család, Cuiatl, Hiranya Naga, Iltani, Jade Skirts, Khaibit, Kuufukuji, Libitinarius, Lynx, Mayarap, Mnemosyne, Morbus, Norvegi, Osites, Players, Qedeshah, Sangiovanni, Sons of Khalil, Sta-Au, Tismanu, Yaol|
|Nosferatu||Acteius, Adroanzi, Azerkatil, Baddacelli, Burakumin, Calacas, Caporetti, The Cockscomb Society, Galloi, Gethsemani, Heironómana, Lygos, Mezquinos, Morotrophian, Noctuku, Nri-chaksha, Order of Sir Martin, Pit Haunts, Rakshasa, Telamones, Usiri, Yagnatia|
|Ventrue||Adrestoi, Aja Dhrsta, Anastasio, Apollinaire, Architects of the Monolith, Beni Murrahim, Bron, Canda Bhanu, Carmichael, Cassians, Las Cocas, Corajoso, Del Amarr, Deucalion, Dragolescu, Geheim, Gorgons, Gough, Hawthorne, Icarians, Licinii, Macellarius, Malkavian, Malkovians, Malocusians, Melissidae, Nahualli, Nassar, Rötgrafen, Sons of Cade, Sotoha, Veck, Veracruz, Zehtner|