Vampires are divided by their clans, the blood lines that lead from an Antediluvian back to Cain. These are further divided into the High Clans, those of perceived noble birth with the divine right to rule, and the Low Clans, those of lesser blood whose Antediluvian’s crimes warranted greater punishments or tend to be on the outskirts of Cainite society.
Clans are simply the blood lines that influence how the curse affects a vampire. No clan is a monolith or united and a domain is made up of many clans all working together. While any given domain is more likely to have High Clans in position of powers this is far from always true and you will find members of the same Clan plotting against each other just as fiercely as they do everyone else.
The High Clans
Brujah are a clan of warrior-scholars noted for their fierce devotion to their philosophies. Their views were greatly shaped by the Greeks and they strive to have total mental and physical discipline. Trained equally in debate, politics and war the Brujah are formidable. Their weakness is both a blessing and curse, instead of feeling less after death the opposite is true, their passion is inflamed and their rage is as legendary as it is difficult to control. A unifying trait of the clan, instilled by most Sires to their Childer, is a strong dislike, some might even say hatred, of the Ventrue. The Brujah still blame them for the destruction of their great experiment, Carthage, and few can hold a grudge as hard as a Brujah.
Clan Weakness: Cannot resist Force Passion and immune to End Frenzy.
Innate Discipline: Celerity, Potence, Presence
Cappadocian, the Clan of Death, are a clan of scholars focused on completing the Clan’s Great Work. Cappadocians are obsessed with the study of death and transition. Long ago the Antediluvian, Cappadocius, encountered a lone traveler near the Holy Land that introduced him to the nameless God, and forever after became the obsession of all of Cappadocius’ projects. He realized he could not find the answers needed alone, and so created his clan to help him reach his goal, to meet and diablerize God. He founded Erciyes, his home and research center and bent the entirety of his Clan to this end.
Time, however, changes all things and the Clan diverged from Cappadocius’ goal. In the 8th century he called his entire clan to the Mountain Kaymakli. Two of his Childer and their lines attended, Japheth and Caias. Lazarus and his line, sensing the trap, stayed away. Cappadocius then led his clan through the caves under the mountain, asking them questions. Those that answered poorly were dismissed to wander the caves. After, the Antediluvian laid his curse upon the cave, for no Cainite to be able to leave and no child of Seth to enter. Cappadocius used this event, known as the Feast of Folly, to purge his clan of those who had lost their focus on his goal. This wound is still fresh, and many who trace their lineage back to Lazarus have lost faith with the rest of their clan.
Clan Weakness: Must apply pale, corpse-like makeup to their face.
Clan Weakness: Disturbing Presence
Innate Disciplines: Auspex, Fortitude, Mortis (All Paths)
Lasombra exist for only themselves. They believe that might makes right and they are willing to sacrifice anything, or anyone, to achieve their goals. Tied to the sea, indeed many claim to be the fabled “Sea People” that ravaged the Bronze Age Mediterranean, their Antediluvian resides in Sicily and claims the Sea of Shadows as its Domain. They are known by many names, Lau-Som-Bheu, Lucien, The Shadowed One, Laza Omri Baras among many, many others but most commonly simply as Lasombra. Lasombra, along with his clan, is integrally tied to the night, able to call and command shadows and worse from the Void to do their bidding. The Lasombra love learning, for knowledge is power, and many have tied themselves to the church of Islam or Christ and rise in power and standing as those institutions do.
Clan Weakness: Take 2 Aggravated Damage from Sunlight.
Clan Weakness: If you see a reflection of yourself in a mirror or non-transparent surface you must move so you can no longer see it (Reflection in windows does not count).
Innate Disciplines: Dominate, Obtenebration, Potence
Salubri are enjoying their last nights and are blissfully unaware of the destruction that will soon befall their Clan. Tremere will steal the Curse of Caine and consume Salot, their Antediluvian, and see the clan all but annihilated. That is yet to come, in the 10th Century the clan are few in number and secretive, but none are more respected by all than the Salubri. Much of the Clan and its founder are shrouded in mystery. It is known that Saulot was the most beloved of Caine and was a skilled healer who traveled far to the east seeking enlightenment. His Clan, like him, had supernatural abilities with healing and could mend not only the maladies of the body but those of the soul as well. Shortly after Saulot returned from his travels a new Clan of demon worshiping Cainites were not far behind and attacked the Second City. It was in this struggle that Samiel discarded the path of the healer and founded the Warrior Bloodline.
The Salubri are split between two bloodlines, the Healers who follow the teachings and ways of Saulot and the Warriors, who follow Samiel, and take up the sword to smite evil wherever it can be found. The Healers are all but incapable of causing harm and the Warriors all but incapable of refusing anyone in need and combined the two form the sword and shield that is the staunchest enemy of the Baali and Infernalists among the Cainites.
Clan Weakness: Must spend a Willpower Point to take an action that causes damage to another character. Exception - A person willing to be bitten and fed from.
Innate Disciplines: Auspex, Fortitude, Valeren Healing
Clan Weakness: Must spend a Willpower Point to refuse a request to aid someone in need. This applies once per day per person.
Innate Disciplines: Auspex, Fortitude, Valeren Warrior
Toreador are one and all obsessed with beauty, but what is beautiful lies in the eye of the beholder. The curse Caine levied upon their Antediluvian, Arikel, was cruel. He asked her to compose a painting showing the past, present and future of his kind. While Caine was enthralled with her portrayals of Cainite’s past and present, when he laid eyes on her painting of the future he became enraged and cursed her. The art she loved so dearly would now be her obsession and distract her above all things. All Toreador share this curse and, when they see something beautiful, are lost in the experience for a time. Many Toreador don’t see this as a curse at all and seek out such experiences, going down a desperate path to find new beauty before growing bored with what is currently around them. The Toreador are muses, artists, dancers and courtesans of peerless skill with members of their clan equally at home in the Courts of Princes, on stage, or the battlefield.
Clan Weakness: When in the presence of something the Toreador finds beautiful they become fascinated and distracted, watching the thing for at least 1 minute. Nothing can break this trance except for taking damage.
Innate Disciplines: Auspex, Celerity, Presence
Tzimisce, the fiends of the Carpathian Mountains are a brutal yet honorable clan tied intrinsically to their land. After the breaking of Enoch their Antediluvian, known only as the Eldest, settled in the Carpathian Mountains and, around them, their clan grew. It is rumored that it allied with an ancient fallen, the demon Kupala, and it is this alliance that tied the Eldest and its Clan to the earth. Most of the Tzimisce exist within the Tzimisce Voivodate, a loose confederation of domains in Eastern Europe and remain unchallenged through the 10th century. They rule their domains with an iron fist as the lords of the night and while they war with the werewolves that share their mountains yet remain truly unchallenged until the 12th century with the start of the Mesana War.
Tzimisce are fascinated with perfecting the physical form and see, with their discipline Vicissitude, flesh is their canvas. Many of the clan follow their own Road, the Road of Metamorphosis, which focuses the Cainites existence in constant experimentation and modification of themselves and others. Few clans are simultaneously as respected, feared and avoided as the Tzimisce for even fewer want to become the next subject in their flesh crafting experiments.
Clan Weakness: At character creation the Tzimizce is given 4 Dirt Tags which must be attached to pouches of dirt props. They must sleep with at least 2 of these pouches visible in game space around where they sleep. Failure to sleep surrounded by these Dirt Tags results in the Tzimisce being unable to spend Blood Points until they are able to sleep 5 continuous hours surrounded by them.
Innate Disciplines: Animalism, Auspex, Vicissitude
Ventrue are the nobles and knights of the Cainite world during the Dark Medieval. Eventually they will evolve into a Clan of CEO’s, merchants and politicians, but in the dark ages they strive to embody everything a knight or lord of Cainite kind should be. Strong, ruthless, cunning and honorable the Ventrue claim to have created the system of Fealty that ties Cainite kind together. There may be some truth in this, as few contest that they created the Road of Kings. The Clan’s true rise was with the Roman Empire. To hear them tell it, they were responsible for the creation of the greatest empire the world had ever seen, from behind the scenes of course. They laid low the degenerates of Carthage, the Brujah, Assamites and even Baali who ruled the Kine there openly, and who had fallen to worshiping demons and worse.
The Fall of Rome was a blow to the Ventrue, but only a minor one. Venture spread throughout Europe, ruling their own fiefdoms of Cainites and spreading the method of governance that has become the standard among Cainites. Incredibly hierarchical, the Ventrue like to know everyone’s place, preferably with themselves on top.
Clan Weakness: Choose a category of people that roughly cuts the game population in half. The restriction can be more, but not less, narrow. Categories such as gender, hair color, religion, or tradecraft are typical. While they can bite and drink from mortals not part of their chosen category they gain no Blood Points from it. This feeding restriction doesn’t apply to vampires and a Venture can drink from any vampire whether they are part of their selected group or not.
Innate Disciplines: Dominate, Fortitude, Presence
The Low Clans
Assamite are best known as assassins and diablerists. Based out of their hidden fortress Alamut in the Middle East they are, in truth, guardians, warriors and scholars who seek to distance themselves from the War of Princes. The Assamites typically follow their Clan’s Road, the Road of Blood, that sets them to judge Cainites as worthy, or destroy the ones that are not. Many Cainites are found wanting. They are rarely seen in Europe, but when they are, death soon follows. This Clan is not available to players at Darkwood Nights and is ST only.
Clan Weakness: Always answers yes to Sense Amaranth
Innate Disciplines: Celerity, Obfuscate, Quietus
Baali are a bloodline of Infernalists and demon worshipers. The stories of their origin vary, even among their own kind, but three main groups have formed with each claiming a different progenitor; Nergal, Moloch, and the Unnamed. Each identifies, at least among themselves, as Nergalites, Molochites or simply the Unnamed. To hear a Baali tell it they do not worship demons. Instead they try to keep the ancient ones asleep by providing them with pleasant dreams. That atrocity and mayhem are their desires are irrelevant, if they wake all will perish and so they damn their souls to save the world. At least, that is what a Molochite would tell you, but few give any Baali the opportunity. Nergalites rarely seem to have a cause beyond wanton destruction and inflicting as much pain as possible and the Unnamed are rarely seen outside of their own kind.
Status: Considered Caitiff and Kill on Sight
Restricted: 20 Kismet
Clan Weakness: A holy symbol brandished at a Baali functions like an Irresistible Repel and they cannot enter holy ground. Examples of holy symbols are the Christian Cross, The Star of David, Chants from the Qur’an or a Thor’s Hammer pendant.
Innate Disciplines: Daimonin, Obfuscate, Presence
Caitiff are the Clanless, Cainites whose blood is so thin that the markers of Clan cannot manifest. Caitiff terrify the majority of Cainites, for the Time of the Thin Blood heralds Ghenna, the end of days when Caine will return once again and destroy all of his blood, if not the world. As such they are hunted and killed universally across the domains of Europe, for if they are allowed to persist, will hasten the destruction of all.
Clan Weakness: Must be 13th Generation and cannot lower Generation through XP or Kismet.
Clan Weakness: No In Clan Disciplines and must buy dots in Disciplines at the standard Discipline cost (2xp). At Character Creation choose 3 Disciplines that do not require teaching, and add 1 dot in each of these disciplines.
In Clan Disciplines: None
Dracian are the rogues, tricksters, drifters and troublemakers who wander the domains of the Princes. Few rulers like seeing one of these Cainites darken the door of their domains but few can argue with how useful they can be. Their Antediluvian is known by many names, but the one this clan shares is Dracian, their namesake. It was Dracian who convinced the others of the 3rd Generation to rise against their sires and destroy them. Not all talk, Dracian was the first of his siblings to devour his sire. Upon his return Caine, in his rage, cursed Dracian and all of his blood to forever be enslaved to their desires and vices, thirsting for them as they thirst for blood. The Clan fractured, Dracian disappeared to the east with those he found worthy, those who wanted to repent, those who were weak. Those who refused to submit to any authority, even Caine’s, traveled west and populated Europe as Clan Dracian. The Clan has a special hatred for Gangrel, who waged war on them during this migration and tried to exterminate them. Rare is a Dracian who won’t kill a Gangrel given the opportunity and rarer still for one to willingly work with one.
In the 10th Century the Dracian are involved in all things shady. Where crime flourishes, so do they, and while many Princes would rather banish them from their Domains they have a knack for making themselves just a little more useful than they are annoying. Their signature Disciplines, Chimerstry, makes them peerless illusionists and they liberally use this ability to trick others into doing, or giving them, what they want. The Dracian later unifies with the Ravnos from the east after the migrations of the Romani, however that HAS NOT occurred yet. In 900’s Europe the clan has no attachments to its Eastern philosophies or culture.
Clan Weakness: Cannot Resist Force Sin
Clan Weakness: Choose a vice at character creation from the following list: intimidation, deceiving, gambling, hedonism, violence, murder, recklessness, or theft. Whenever the Dracian spends a Willpower Point they must act upon their Vice within the next 10 minutes or else they lose an additional Willpower Point.
Innate Disciplines: Animalism, Chimerstry, Fortitude
Followers of Set hail from North Africa and call Egypt home. They claim their progenitor, the god Set himself, was not a child of Caine despite the similarities of their Curse. They seek to dismantle the work of Horus, civilization itself, by showing the weakness of the people that make it up. They trade in corruption, seeking to lay low leaders and commoners alike through providing for their vices until they become the obsessions that destroy them but all too often fall victim to their own trade. This Clan is not available to players at Darkwood Nights and is ST only.
Clan Weakness: Take Damage from Sunlight even if fully covered and cannot reduce Agg Damage from Sunlight by any means.
Innate Disciplines: Obfuscate, Presence, Serpentis
Gangrel are the closest to their Beasts and to nature itself. There are many stories surrounding the Antediluvian of Clan Gangrel, Ennoia. Most Gangrel hold that she was THE Ennoia and was directly embraced by Caine, not one of the 3rd Generation that rose against their sires. Gangrel tell the tale of how, tricked and betrayed by Dracian, Ennoia was cast out of Caine’s city and forced to live outside the walls of civilization with the beasts. Instead of falling Ennoia adapted. She became a wanderer and as she became closer to the wild things she became more like them. This passed to all who share her blood. This betrayal has led to a blood feud between the two Clans and rare is a Gangrel that will not kill a Dracian on sight. The Gangrel wander the wilds of Europe, one of the few Clans more comfortable outside the cities than within.
The Gangrel are brutal and value independence and resilience above all else. The typical Gangrel Embrace sees the prospective childer attacked, killed, embraced, and their corpse stuffed under a rock or log while they go through the change. They awake, alone, hungry and a Cainite with no knowledge of who or what they are and no one available to provide answers. Their Sire may return in a year, or ten, or not at all, but if they do and find the childer alive they take them in and teach them of their Clan. Many Gangrel are found by members of other Clans and instead raised by them, if not destroyed, and the wild Gangrel look upon these “pet” Gangrel with disdain.
Clan Weakness: Every time a Gangrel frenzies for any reason other than being targeted by the “Frenzy” or “Terror” Powers, the Player must come to the next game with a new animal feature as a makeup requirement for that Character.
Common features are fur, unretractable fangs, slitted eyes, scales, claws and tails but are not limited to this.
A Character may limit features gained in this way to 5, however if the Player wishes more can be added.
Innate Disciplines: Animalism, Fortitude, Protean
Malkavian are an enigmatic and deeply disturbed Clan. Their Antediluvian, Malkav, was a seer in life and continued to be one after their Embrace. Rumors say that Malkav, Saulot, and Set were close before the flood and shared the same sire, Enoch, however this is only one of many tales. Most agree that Caine cursed Malkav and their blood with the madness that now afflicts them, however stories vary widely around why. Some tales make Caine out to be the monster, breaking Malkav’s mind for a minor slight or a fortune that displeased him while others lay the uprising of the 3rd Generation at Malkav’s feet, saying they gave false visions and prophecies that resulted in the uprising and so were cursed. What is known is that, one and all, something in the minds of each Malkavian is well and truly broken and the world that they see and experience isn’t always the same one the rest of us do. This crack in perception can be shared, through their Dementation Discipline, and leads them to see and connect things others never thought of. Despite its blessings it truly is a curse, and their inability to distinguish reality from their perceptions makes them mistrusted at best in Cainite society, although none can dispute their prophecies have a habit of coming true.
Clan Weakness: Immune Remove Mental. Must choose 1 of the following powers at Character Creation: Apathy, Confusion, Fear, Feral Mind, Force Passion, Force Sin, Hallucinate, Immobilize, Madness, Nightmare, Paranoia, Remove Memory (Last ten minutes), Silence, or Sleep. They cannot resist this power and take this power anytime they spend Willpower Points.
Innate Disciplines: Auspex, Dementation, Obfuscate
Nosferatu are the most obviously cursed of all of Caine’s children, for each is disfigured and obviously inhuman. Their Antedliuvian, Absimiliard, was a skilled and beautiful hunter, as vain as he was powerful. He, in turn, was hunted by the 2nd Generation and subsequently embraced. The event left him with a tiny facial scar, a scar that marred his perfection and inflamed his vanity. His wounded pride led to resentment, then hate and he was the first to kill his sire and started the revolt against the 2nd Generation. Caine, in turn, levied his most terrible curse. Absimiliard and all his blood were twisted into new, hideous, forms none would ever again call beautiful.
Few clans hold together as tightly as the Nosferatu. While they may fight and scheme among themselves they are outcasts one and all and, in that, they find their solidarity. They exist in the fringes of society, both Cainite and Kine, and so are privy to all sorts of information that otherwise goes unnoticed. Consummate information brokers, spies, and enforcers the Nosferatu are respected throughout Europe and few Princes will dare spurn them, even if they would rather not look upon them.
Clan Weakness: Disturbing Presence.
Clan Weakness: Wear obviously disfigured and inhuman makeup/props/costumes. No powers can remove these features outside of their own Obfuscate.
Innate Disciplines: Animalism, Obfuscate, Potence