Playing Bloodlines

The bloodlines described in this chapter are rare, or in some cases, entirely extinct in the modern nights. Does that mean that such characters are not viable for players to portray? Not in the least. Playing the last surviving member of, say, the Telyavic Tremere is an opportunity for great drama. It just requires that the player and the Storyteller be ready for the kinds of situations that creates.

It could be argued, then, that a player who creates such a character is just trying to be “more unique” than other vampires. Possibly, but so what? If the goal is to tell a compelling story, to focus on the characters that are, by default, more interesting than any others (that is, your characters), then why not create something that doesn’t exist anywhere else? If you feel compelled to play a Blood Brother that has somehow broken the bonds of the circle and achieved autonomy, then do it (with Storyteller approval). Just be aware that doing so makes a statement about the World of Darkness that playing a Toreador painter does not — and maybe that’s not a bad thing.

History and Vampires

While modern neonates have little understanding of how their elders survived in past centuries, some vampires still active tonight remember the Cappadocians, the Lamia, and other such bloodlines. As such, it’s appropriate to note that the Camarilla and the Sabbat were both created after the fall of some of the Clans. Up until the middle of the 15th century or so, vampire society broke the Clans down into two groups: High Clans and Low Clans. The High Clans were the Brujah, Cappadocians, Lasombra, Toreador, Tzimisce, and Ventrue. The Low Clans were the Assamites, Followers of Set, Gangrel, Malkavians, Nosferatu, Ravnos, and Tremere (still considered usurpers for what they did to the Salubri). The bloodlines that did not survive beyond (or much beyond) the Dark Ages — the Anda, Cappadocians, Lamia, Lhiannan, and Noaid — have stereotypes and quotes drawn from these groups, rather than the Camarilla and Sabbat.

The Bloodlines

The Variations of the Blood

The rest of this list deals with minor bloodlines and other variations on the Clans. For the most part, these are offshoots of the main Clans that differ only in outlook or culture. In other cases, some game mechanics (generally weakness or Clan Disciplines) change. These subtle differences might not be visible to outside observers, but they are part of what makes Kindred society so diverse, and so confusing.

The Laibon Legacies

The Laibon are vampires, in the Cainite sense of the word. They possess vitae. Their childer are each of thinner blood than their sires. However, they hail from Africa and eschew the Caine mythology. Each line of Laibon has its own creation myth. The Setites often use the term Laibon for themselves and the other Laibon bloodlines use the term for Set’s followers. However, most European vampires believe Set was one of Caine’s Third Generation, so they’re considered a clan to mainstream Cainite society.

The Drowned Legacies

Are the Drowned Legacies Cainites? They claim to be Kindred, at the very least, though few vampires can testify to the veracity of their being so. According to the Drowned Legacies, they control Kindred affairs in South America, and have done so for generations. Their secret rule allowed them to largely avoid Camarilla and Sabbat purges, where open defiance would have led to their destruction, as it did their indigenous forebears. In these nights, few Drowned ancillae or neonates come from the stock of native peoples. Fewer still would trace their origins to Caine, or review the Book of Nod as anything other than pulp fiction. They have their own histories, their own lineages, and their own traditions. Yet, the predominance of Catholic faith in South America causes a pocket of flared interest among some Drowned, who attempt to link up their history with that of the 13 Clans. This pocket grows with each passing night.

Since Cortés and Pizarro staked their claims, the Legacies started Embracing the invading Spanish and Portuguese. South America’s vampire culture rejected clinging to a feeding and breeding stock ravaged by European disease and war. They adapted with the times where many of their kine failed. In some cases they vowed to avenge their ancestors. In more, they were content to merge into the nascent Camarilla and Sabbat, learn what they could of the Sects, and ultimately operate beyond either organization’s control. The ease with which a vampire could claim lineage to the Brujah, Toreador, Ravnos, or Setites surprised the Legacies, cementing their longterm subterfuge.