A clan is a vampiric lineage. There are five major clans now extant: the Daeva, the Gangrel, the Mekhet, the Nosferatu and the Ventrue; others have risen and fallen over time. Members of clans all have certain things in common, from easiness with specific Disciplines to a particular weaknesses. Within the clans are smaller groups of specific lineages called Bloodlines; they share much of the defining characteristics of their parent clan, but have a number of unique abilities, access to specialised disciplines and are penalised with additional weaknesses in addition to their clan weakness. Overall the Bloodlines, to varying degrees, suffer from being Crippling Overspecialization variations of their parent clans.
Auto Cannibalism: Vampires addicted to Vitae (vampire blood) sometimes drink their own blood to stave off their craving. It almost automatically pegs them as Diablerists if others catch them doing this.
Bad Boss: Vampires can be this to their ghouls. It is not a good idea because, even though ghouls can stand decades of abuse they may eventually snap in unpredictable ways.
Bastard Boyfriend / Bastard Girlfriend: This is the vampire if their relationship with his/her ghoul is a "romantic" one. They can't help it; blood addiction, and the Viniculum (empathic bond it forms) dominates a ghoul's personality by default, effectively turning even the sanest, most pleasant person into a codependent wreck, not dissimilar to a drug addict in love with their dealer.
Cursed with Awesome: Even with all things considered, most players prefer this style of gameplay.
Deaf Composer: Kindred artists and cooks are this. Vampires are "dead inside" so their artistc expressions lack feeling and insight. Vampire cooks are worse because everything tastes horrible, except blood.
Dysfunction Junction: Imagine a club of comic book supervillains with barely restrained self-loathing and a side of their personality that automatically hates everyone else. Your average coterie, everyone.
Emotion Control: The Blood and Smoke version of Predatory Aura does this-by sending out the psychic pulse of the beast to play havoc with fight or flight instincts, a vampire can make people act really stupid.
Horror Hunger: Neonates can feel conflicted about the need to drink the blood of the living during their first nights. Blood, however, tastes really good though and eventually most of them get over this.
Poweful vampires (Blood Potency 7+) have a reason to be tempted to eat human livers. It works just like normal blood and eliminates the need to drink other vampires' blood.
When hungry and in the presence of blood they enter Wassail (Hunger Frenzy) and when it happens anything goes, even their loved ones.
The Beautiful Elite: Interestingly invoked: Many of their older bloodlines are ruler archetypes, even more than the Ventrue. Blood and Smoke points out that the Daeva are, in many ways, ancient demigods of death and sex, which is the reason for their natural charisma.
Interplay of Sex and Violence: They are hot (you should know this already) and their Disciplines make them great fighters, even if they are not intended to be. If you think hard enough this trope applies to them to a T.
Lack of Empathy: In a sense-they can feel for others, it's just that their blood makes them naturally selfish and self-interested.
Vampires Are Sex Gods: Daeva are Sex Gods. It helps that they may have descended from Ishtar the Babylonian goddess of fertility, war, love and sex.
Notable Daeva Bloodlines:
Anvari: Drug culture vampires who prefer to feed on people under the influence of opiates.
Carnival: Supernatural freaks with the power to make their "Freak" traits worse. Almost totally opposite from the clan's ideals of seductive beauty.
Children Of Judas: Depressed emo pariahs with the power to make others suicidally depressed. Can make mortals who committed suicide rise as vampires to prolong the emotional suffering.
Duchagne: A group of French sadists and hedonists that have power over the sensations of others.
En: Babylonian schemers and nobles in a symbiotic relationship with a demon called an alu, which fuses with their Beast as they join the bloodline. At higher Blood Potency, can Embrace mortals without spending Willpower dots, resist Viniculum, and slow the degenerative effects diablerie has on them, which lead to them being such a plague that only a race of anti-vampiric superweapons (possibly designed by VII) could get rid of them.
Eupraxus: The ultra-elite royal family of the Invictus, around whom the entire covenant is situated to protect. Luckily, they never ask for much that couldn't already be provided, because there's only seven of them and they could be wiped out in the span of a single night if the Invictus really felt like it.
Gulikan: Vampire Perfumers who can use scent as a medium for their vampire powers.
Nelapsi: A rare bloodline from Eastern Europe. Known as the Gluttons because of their curse of needing unnaturally large amounts of vitae to sate their thirst, and notorious for their strange behavior and love of using "hauntings" to terrify mortals.
Toreador: A homage to the Toreador clan of the previous game. Arrogantly fashionable, this bloodline takes the clan's hedonism and narcissism Up to Eleven.
Xiao: Two different bloodlines of emotion manipulators; California Xiao are sociopathic cult leaders who siphon the emotions of others, while Tianpan Xiao are overly emotional psychos who inspire wild mood swings in others.
The SavagesNicknamed Savages by the others and stereotyped as barbaric and stupid, but in their own way more noble than any other clan, meaning they are (probably) the nicest vampires around. You should note, however, that taking their niceness for granted is not a very wise decision since they are just as likely as any vampire to turn evil, have an intense connection with the Beast, very sharp claws and go berserk with little hesitation. They loathe the weak of mind, but value those with a strong sense of survival.In Mexico, indigenous Gangrel were cousins of and allied with actual Werewolves (a Shout-Out to the clan's inspiration in Masquerade); they were also proud warriors and law enforcers, furthering the good guy thing.Tropes associated with the Gangrel
Being Good Sucks: For vampires, anyway. The Defiance, a rumored process that allows Savages to shackle the beast such that they can never touch the Red Surrender again, also allows them to be intellectual and empathetic and in general more humane. And it feels awful, like denying part of who you are.
Dead Wolves: Wolf men mostly located in Northern Mexico, these were mortals who had potential to become Werewolves but were embraced before they could undergo their first Change. Have access to subtle powers that are affected by the moon. The bloodline is intended to serve as a bridge between the Vampire and Werewolf gamelines.
Mystikoi: An unusually intellectual group of Gangrel who seek enlightenment through spiritual communion with their inner Beast.
Oberlochs: Monstrous, degenerate, inbred rednecks that lurk around rural towns, will only embrace their close family members and do not hesitate to kill city dwellers.
Shepherds: Altruistic vampires that protect mortals from the excess of less disciplined vampires.
Taifa: Moorish vampires who see themselves as the defenders of Islamic culture. They have an ongoing blood feud with the Toreador bloodline over who is more artistic and cultured.
The ShadowsThe Mekhet, as their nickname implies, are silent vampires that gather forbidden secrets while lurking in the darkness which, by the way, are so entangled into their being that they can be considered one. If there something nobody should know you can be sure that sooner or later (most likely sooner) the Mekhet will discover and make use of it. Unlike the other clans they have nothing in particular that distinguishes their existence so to make up for this they can assume a variety of roles, from deadly spies to the enlightened scholars. They also have a tendency to pass themselves as wizards.Their clanbook introduces the Shadow Cults, which serves to emphasize the mage thing, but they're Not That Kind OfMage. It also introduces the possibility of Mekhet being able to embrace mortals after a few days of their actual death, but these individuals, have a higher chance of being raised as Hollow Mekhet, the clan's original form when they arose in Ancient Egypt. Instead of extra flammability, a Hollow lacks a Ka, meaning he doesn't cast a reflection...of any sort, meaning his voice lacks an echo, he doesn't cast a shadow, and recording devices (cameras, bugs, phones...) can't actually pick him up. This can be a bit of a double-edged sword.By the way, the Ka? It wasn't destroyed. In fact, that's the reason why they don't have a reflection-because the Reflection is usually somewhere else. And it never likes the vampire.Tropes associated with the Mekhet
A Wizard Did It: The clan was allegedly created by a magic spell involving a woman and her witch-pharaoh husband, Akhenaten.
Back from the Dead: Vampires in general are all back from the dead, but Mekhets can embrace corpses even if they have been dead for days. This process, called Post-Mortem Embrace, creates the Hollow Mekhet.
Dark Is Edgy: They are associated with Dark and Night, but... see below.
Dark Is Not Evil: No more evil than the average, though. The Mekhet, along with the Nosferatu, are tenebrous vampires, but they are also less prone to the whims of the Beast.
You can take this even further with the Khabit bloodline and the Cult of Set. The first are monster hunters par-excellant, specializing in spirits and ghosts. The cult tries to promote chaos to throw off the plans of vampiric elders and other monsters and prevent social stagnation in mortal society. So you can be a Darkness manipulating monster hunter who needs to drink blood...who devotes their requiem to putting down WORSE monsters.
Evil Twin: The Reflections of Hollow Mekhet. They universally resent their respective vampires for getting what they see as a lesser version of the curse, and thus enjoy making their counterparts miserable.
Glamour Failure: The Hollow Mekhet don't have Ka, the Soul of Sustenance, which, by the way, became the Reflection. Because of this they have no reflection nor shadow and their voices and images cannot be recorded by any mortal technology.
Master of Illusion: Downplayed with the Blood and Smoke version of Obsfucate-all it can do is play with invisibility...for everything. If a Mekhet does not want you to know, say, a table is there, you will not know.
Lotus-Eater Machine: The pinnacle of the art, Oubliette, causes the vampire's surroundings, no matter how out of sight they are, to come under the influence of Obsfucate. A clever Mekhet (and there likely isn't any other kind) can quickly become Paranoia Fuel without any trace of the actual Nightmare Discipline (and if the activating vampire is a Nosferatu...well..).
Ninjas: They have the abilities to be great Ninjas, so much the "Mekhet ninja" became a cliched concept in the VTR community.
Our Ghosts Are Different: The key to creating a Hollow Mekhet is Embracing someone who was going to leave a ghost in the normal course of events (ie, traumatic death, connection to life, all that jazz). For their parts, Reflections are similar to ghosts who have been sent to the Underworld (perfectly aware they're dead, able to grow and change in small ways), are mostly stuck inside mirrors or as living echoes or shadows, and eat carrion and stagnant water to regain their Essence.
Secret Circle of Secrets: The Shadow Cults. They seem to be drawn to create conspiracies and make secret cults around them. Lacking a sense of meaning in themselves, they impose meaning on the world around them.
Agonistes: Scholarly vampires that are driven to find the history behind the Kindred.
Alucinor: Dream Manipulating vampires. Tend to be plagued by bad dreams which drive them mad.
Brothers of Ypres: WW1 veterans that have powers based on the chemical weapons used in the war.
Itani: A group of assassins who use their own hate as a weapon.
Khaibit: Assassins and bodyguards most often associated with the Circle of the Crone. Claim heritage with the Egyptian god Set, who, although not Mr. Bright and Shiny himself, commanded his children to go forth and kill even worse things that lurked in the darkness. A common favorite for both the plug-and-play backstory for honorable warrior types and the Obtenebration Discipline.
Kuufukuji: A group of Vampiric monks who use training and discipline to resist the urge to feed.
Mnemosyne: Nearly a true Hive Mind with memory based powers.
Morbus: Disease carriers that spread disease in order to survive.
Norvegi: A secretive Bloodline of mercenaries and assassins, capable of projectingspikes from their body, with which they can syphon blood from their victims. The catch? They have no fangs, so that's the ONLY way they can feed.
The Players: The designated Butt Monkey in Kindred society, vampires who wanted to be what the media saw vampires to be so badly they developed Majesty. Their powers are extremely fickle, however, and if they fail to work, there's a good chance the intended target will see them as a "poseur" and never fall for the allure again. Some Kindred fear them, because anything that weak has to have a nasty surprise...
Qedeshah: A line of Mama Bear nurses, thoroughly the opposite of Hello, Nurse!. Attempting to induct men into the bloodline ends with a failed Squick.
The HauntsThe Nosferatu embody the nightmares of the Damned. There's always something unsettling about them. It can be their voices, their smell or even their very souls - regardless, the Nosferatu are really hard to like, and it's not really their fault; the Haunts' blood is conducive of Primal Fear, and they make people afraid by simply existing near them. The Haunts are always shunned or at least tolerated by the other vampires, the price for being aliens among their own kind. They counterbalance this with considerable strength, espionage mastery (rivaled only by the Mekhet) and sheer horror. As much as the other clans would like, they won't and CANNOT be ignored (unless they want to, of course).Similar to Mexican Daeva, they are considered bastards, but for a different reason: the original Mexican Nosferatu, called Xolotli, caused themselves to become extinct and it's implied that most modern day Mexican Nosferatu are of Spanish Embrace.In India, the Nosferatu that are not associated with any bloodline are part of the sudra varna. If you're a Rakshasha, you're a kshatriya.Tropes associated with the Nosferatu
Abhorrent Admirer: If they fall in love, but that doesn't happen very often (or so we hope).
Averted in Blood and Smoke-a person they'd actually love would be a Touchstone, and thus immune to their Clan Weakness. Which, given how everyone else not a vampire is still vulnerable, leads to another trope.
Evil Smells Bad: It's quite possible for Haunts to have no physical anomalies, but to have a peculiar and unsettling smell. This would be the "Potent Perfume" manifestation.
Gonk: Nosferatu compared to the other clans. Animal-headed Nossies to regular Nossies, as well.
The Grotesque: Not every Nosferatu is necessarily grotesque, but this trope is quite common among them.
Emphasized in Blood and Smoke; the clan writeup bitterly remarks that while they have become Fear, Fear drives people away despite what it often wants.
Hellish Pupils: One possible manifestation of the curse. It's called "Hungry Eyes" in The Beast that Haunts the Blood and other creepy Eye Tropes may apply as well.
Invisibility: Obfuscate, one of their core Disciplines which makes them even more frightening.
Master of Illusion: The Blood and Smoke version of Nightmare gives them this ability. They can even manufacture hallucinatory people to talk for them, although the fear it is meant to engender always creeps in.
Malevolent Masked Men: The Unyielding Mask merit. Some Nosferatu wear masks that may hide their deformities (if they have any), but it also may intensify their creepiness. Oh yeah, the mask must be carved onto their faces.
Necromancer: In the classical sense. The Nosferatu are more touched by death than most; they have Merits that make it easier for ghosts to manifest around them, make it easier for them to strike the dead, and even allow them to serve as a ghost's Anchor.
Nightmare Face: No matter how fetching it is - Nosferatu are nightmares given flesh, and they can't escape that.
Adroanzi: Scary Black Vampires with Green Thumb powers. While being literally Black people who are Vampires, the bloodline is rooted primarily African tribal cultures and tend to be the type of monster that goes out of their way to eat Blaxploitation stereotypes.
Galloi: Androgynous adherents of Cybele who bathe in blood to become beautiful. It works way too well.
Gethsemani: A bloodline that can only recruit from mortal stigmatics, heavily associated with the Lancea Sanctum. Suffer from intense masochistic urges and their power of Stigmatica lets them make mortals spontaneously bleed blood with special magical powers.
Noctuku: Savage cannibals. While a normal vampire's drive to feed on blood is stronger then a heroin addiction, this bloodline experiences an even stronger urge to eat the meat of other vampires.
Morotrophians: Shut-ins with agoraphobia who can control almost every aspect of the institutions they inhabit and who typically favor monasteries, nursing homes, insane asylums and hospitals as dwelling places.
Rakshasha: Truly monstrous Indian Kindred who believe themselves descended from the same named demons.
House Telamones: Sinister architects of elaborate underground bases, they take the job of James Bond Supervillain Goon and run with it as far as inhumanly possible, going so far as to build identical clones of the bloodline's leaders in case of assassination.
Yagnatia: Vampires of Russian nobility. Most are actually very attractive; their Nosferatu curse manifests as an aura of horrible dread surrounding them.
The LordsThe Ventrue are the true Lords of the vampire race and they rule it with an iron fist. Since their embrace they are powered by the desire to dominate the weaker ones (which from their point of view is basically everyone). They are also the driving force behind every political activity among the vampires. You can find them anywhere and they're usually high-placed because of their innate ability for rulership, manipulation and, of course, a good dose of their will-crushing stare.No matter what context they're in, they're usually depicted as evil, domineering capitalists who wipe-out or enslave indigenous peoples. They are specificallysingled-out as the ones who led the conquests of Mexico, Egypt (as the leaders of the Romans!), Russia, and really, everywhere.Tropes associated with the Ventrue
The Beastmaster: Animalism, one of their core disciplines. The reasoning behind this is that they are kings and queens of mortals, vampires and beasts alike.
Bondage Is Bad: The clan has no ties to bondage itself, but since Dominate correlates to... you know Domination, it's been mixed into some official artwork, and there's a character in their clanbook bluntly called The Dominatrix. You get the idea.
The Caligula: It's quite easy for them to become one to the point that every Clan Bloodline is a variation of this trope.
Architects of the Monolith: Vampires with powers related to cities. Able to play with traffic lights or imprison a victim inside the city limits.
Bron: Arthurian themed Vampires cursed by the Holy Grail to become literal Fisher Kings in their own realms. Divided between Christian and Pagan branches (those who associate themselves with King Arthur and the Holy Grail and those who associate themselves with Pagan mythology such as Bran the Blessed).
Geheim: Vampires chosen from the ranks of Austrian nobility, they can use their own blood to power a strange form of alchemy. They lost much of their status and influence when they cast their lot with the Nazis in WWII.
Malkovians: Spiritual Successors to the Masquerade's Malkavian clan. Both bloodlines are incurably insane and will cause insanity in others. Can have a bizarre effect on reality, or at least appear to.
Macellarius: Affably Evil obese gourmet vampires, who are compelled to draw Vitae from meat; their unique Discipline actually lets them eat raw flesh, and even gain power from eating the living. Their enormous feasts are famed for the disgusting aftermath...
Melissidae: Bee-themed Vampires. Their bodies are used as hives for swarms of bees and they produce a honey-like Vitae that will enslave any mortal or Kindred to the bloodline's Hive Mind. In the distant past the rest of Kindred society held a universal truce that was honored by all factions in order to hunt the bloodline to extinction before it could enslave the whole world. The holocaust was not as successful as the Kindred believed and a few members of this bloodline are still at large.
Nahuali: Aztec themed Vampires who try and find a balance between their human and bestial sides. Unique in that their clan's unique discipline only has four dots, as their founder was killed before he could finish it.
Rotgrafen: Vampiric viking pirates who revere Loki and Hel, and fear fire.
The FoundersThey're expies of the Ventrue (or is it the other way around?). Created by the Strix, servants of the god Mars, in return for sweet, bloody glory. The clan was wiped out when the Julii started to humanize as a whole. There's a few ideas about how both the Ventrue and Gangrel may have descended from them, among other theories.
Beneath the Earth: They hung around Roman villas and streets, but they did their sleeping in the Necropolis.
Blue Blood: They were aristocrats in Roman undead society and in the beginning of the clan's existence they only embraced people of their mortal families i.e. descendents of the Caesars. This tradition dwindled over the years, but they still embraced only Roman citizens.
Hypocrites: The clan was marked by their displays of glory, power, decorum and tradition, but in reality they were growing deranged and depraved. As the Requiem for Rome sidebox puts it.
"They are brutes who preach civility. They are decadents who decry perversion. They hold court in glory, yet crumble into madness with time. And though they speak of freedom, they cannot find it for themselves."
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Their weakness is that they lose their minds more quickly and more violently than other vampires. The difference between them and the Ventrue is that they suffer a penalty on Humanity Degeneration rolls, not mental Derangement ones.
Notable Julii Bloodlines:
Licinii: A bloodline formed from a mixing of Julii and Nosferatu blood, resulting in a noble family that bore the Nosferatu Curse. They all bear crippled or twisted limbs as a result, and other pure-blooded Julii mock them for their weakness.
The Covenants are nations, political parties and/or religions. They are the cornerstone of the vampire society and have been part of it for hundreds of years. While a vampire can't change their Clan, they can change their Covenant and, of course, enjoy the benefits and suffer the drawbacks of doing so.Note: While bloodlines are a function of Clan, not Covenant, some Bloodlines descend directly from a prominent and specific member of a Covenant. Combined with the often-small size of a bloodline, the majority of members will belong to their founder's covenant.
The Carthian Movement
The youngest of the main five Covenants, the Movement believes that vampires need to adapt to meet mortal systems. Sometimes this means instituting secret allegiances with mortal power sources, other times it means completely rebuilding the vampiric system of government to reflect a new political model. Often viewed as the rabble of vampiric society and considered at direct odds with the Invictus. Oddly, while the Carthians may have their hearts in the right places, there's a history of Carthian experiments going to pieces in a radical fashion.Tropes associated with the Carthian Movement:
Hive Mind: Some Carthian coteries undertake the full blood bond and dress identically to simulate the experience of a hive mind. There's even a Carthian Devotion that allows them to create a true hive mind.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Carthians want a system of government that reflects mortal systems. Understandable. Unfortunately, some of their experiments start to go the way of all revolutions...
If that's not enough, the Movement has its own well-intentioned extremists, the Anti-Obstructionist Army. They're basically vampiric terrorists who believe that the influence of Kindred (either through the Embrace or ghouling) stultifies mortal creativity, and take radical action against those who interfere too much with mortal society.
Notable Carthian Bloodlines:
Barjot - A Gangrel bloodline of wanderers and vagabonds. Their blood is so tightly bound by mystic ties that members need to be around each other. For this reason their numbers are miniscule, less than 20 all told. Considered revolutionaries and firebrands even by other Carthians, they are nonetheless seen as Carthians "by default", as the founder of their line believes in the cause, and they are too organized to be considered unaligned.
Deucalion - Deucalion, a descendant of Prometheus (or so the story goes), asked the Oracle of Themis how to repopulate the Earth after Zeus flooded the world. He was told to throw stones over his shoulder, and behind him they became people, unlike the previous race of humans, who had been sculpted from clay and were too weak. Despite being named after a figure from Greek myth, this bloodline of Ventrue is relatively new, and composed of members who believe they alone are "flawless" vampires—that is, the known weaknesses of the blood do not affect them. They are, more or less, supremacists (and indeed are nicknamed Skinheads by others, though racial and sexual prejudice is quickly schooled out of a neonate), believing that they are supreme, that the Ventrue (also without flaw—or so they think—but possible to corrupt) stand just beneath them, the Nosferatu, Daeva, and Gangrel beneath the Ventrue, and the Mekhet at the very bottom. They are also scholars of bloodlines, as they wish to study the myraids flaws of the blood to better know how to alleviate them. Most Deucaliones are Carthians, as they are attempting to spread a revolutionary idea, though some have joined the Invictus and Ordo Dracul.
Zelani - Another tiny bloodline, currently limited to a single coterie. Founded by a woman who was, more or less, the victim of a vampiric home invasion, the Daeva offshoot has a psychological flaw of being unable to enter others' homes—rather like the old legends, much to their (initially uneducated) founders' surprise. They threw their hat in with the Carthians, or so their founder says, when the movement was young, and she went into torpor after they assumed meritocratic control of the city she was in. She rose again only recently, and was immediately elected Prime Minister of the Kindred society there. She—and her childer—seem to have a knack for knowing things they shouldn't, being in the right place at the right time, and predicting future.
The Circle Of The Crone
Pagans with fangs. The Acolytes believe that vampires are perfectly natural creatures, derived from a maternal figure known as "the Crone." This Crone has faces in all polytheistic faiths, and the Circle revere her in a series of guises. Needless to say, as their beliefs say that all parts of being a vampire are natural, this can lead to some bloody rituals... though the Acolytes make sure never to fall too close to the Beast. One of the two users of Blood Magic amongst the Covenants, they practice the art of Crúac.Tropes associated with the Circle of the Crone:
Ancient Conspiracy: Crúac has been passed down by Acolyte to Acolyte for millenia, however they are so divided that the covenant barely counts as one.
The Hecate Sisters: The Acolytes take on a number of ritualistic archetypes, and among them are the Virgin (a woman who's never killed and serves as a reminder of Humanity), the Mother (a figure of comfort and manipulation), and the Crone.
Straw Feminist: The Daughters of the Goddess faction has some... interesting ideas on whether or not men can truly revere the Crone.
This Is Your Brain on Evil: Crúac actually stifles a Kindred's Humanity. There are five levels of it, and with each one you learn, your maximum Humanity goes down one. So, an Acolyte skilled in three levels of Crúac can never raise their Humanity about seven.
Wicca: Emphasized in the Crone book. There's even an entire bloodline that emerged from the fact that the progenitor didn't realize that Wicca isn't in and of itself an ancient tradition.
Wicked Witch: All of its members can be considered Wicked Witches, but the title fits much better if you are a Nosferatu.
The Acolyte with the role of the Crone is one, for sure.
Notable Circle Bloodlines:
Asnâm: Daeva mystics who attempt to unlock the power of the god they believe resides within them, using mortal followers to gain this power. They believe that their power comes from Palden Lhamo, a figure from Tibetan history and myth. There are at least three versions of exactly how their power is related to her: their founder performed diablerie upon her; he submitted to her and she turned from Buddhism into becoming a monster once again, granting him power in exchange for becoming her first servant; and that she beat him like a government mule and sent him running. The first story was espoused by the founder, until he fell into Torper in the early 20th century; the second is favored by a splinter sect (yes, a sort of bloodline within a bloodline). The last, despite not having an explanation for how the founder then created the bloodline, does have some interesting evidence—very few Asnâm who go into Tibet come out again, and the two who have won't talk about what happened...except that what they found worshipped the Buddhist Palden Lhamo, knew all about the Asnâm, and was mad as hell.
Carnon: The Carnon, a Gangrel line that emerged relatively recently, were an accident. The founder, a new-made member of the Circle, confused Wicca, cultural anthropology, and Circle beliefs with fact, fashioned himself and his blood in the image of an "ancient god", and went on a thrill-kill-fuck spree that ended in his final death (and several confused childer). To those he sired, though, it didn't matter if he was right or wrong—what matters is that when his excesses eventually drew attention, he survived for three days with hunters hot on his heels. Modern members are more measured, but they are still given to excess and hedonism. The Carnon become more bestial in body, not just mind, when they lose Humanity, eventually becoming a walking Masquerade breach.
Childer of the Morrigan: Once the generals and war-chiefs of the Crone, now the Morrigans are more templars, advisors, and guardians, and there is debate within the Circle as to whether they are needed even for that. The Childer know, however, that the day will come when they are truly needed once more. These Gangrel are almost universally Acolytes; those few who are not are ostracized or seen as traitors. The Stormcrows follow a specific ancient war-goddess, though, and when local Circle activity breaks with what they believe the Morrigan wants, they will often go their own way. Though confident warriors, the bloodline succumbs to depression easily.
Gorgons: So called because they claim descent directly from the mythical monsters, this bloodline of Ventrue actually makes use of serpentine imagery to the point where it has a totemic importance them; if they are not in contact with a snake, they are badly weakened, and if they are, they can use a unique discipline to empower themselves. Over time, they begin to take on serpentine features. The Gorgons had once held great power in the known world, but had begun to wane by the time the majority of their number drifted to the Circle of the Crone, and in time vanished, before apparently reappearing in the modern nights.
The Mara: Dwelling in the lightless or murky waters, the Mara are a frightening Gangrel bloodline of devout and ascetic believers in an esoteric faith system. Their religion is most similar to one of the goddesses of the Circle of the Crone, and they probably consider themselves as being, more or less, Acolytes. It's not known if their inability to gain sustenance from blood consumed while they are not completely submerged predates the line's tendency to spend their unlives underwater, or if it was caused by it.
Not to be confused with the Henley poem or the "Nelson Mandela and rugby" movie of the same name. The First Estate is considered one of the oldest covenants, with records of their territories stretching back to the days of Rome. They are vampiric feudalists and aristocrats, believing in the value of meritocracy and the great chain of being. Their houses and lineages are institutions that are powerful, but seen by others as being calcified and unmoving (at least, until someone dies). Responsible for the current system of praxis used by most domains.Tropes associated with the Invictus:
Ancient Conspiracy: They're called the Conspiracy of Silence in Blood and Smoke for obvious reasons, and are an overall Reconstruction of the trope. Corruption is expected and common, but the actual goal of their puppeteering is actually something that doesn't require a lot of sway-keeping the safety of vampires intact. Because of how flexible and relatively easy that goal is, they have a lot of failsafes against overall breakdown that makes them extremely competent at their jobs.
Annunaku: Truly ancient, this breed of Gangrel gain strength in their favorite haven, which they call their Demesne. They believe strongly in hospitality, the sanctity of one's domain, and so on, making them an excellent fit for the Invictus. In turn, they are weaker when away from home, though in a place where they know they are accepted or in the company of friends, this can be alleviated.
Kallisti: Narcissistic beyond even the stereotype of Daeva, cold, and manipultive, the Ravagers delight in fomenting social chaos and discord among the Kindred they know. It's not done out of any sort of grand plan or devotion. They are, more or less, full-blown sociopaths, and most were before their Embrace. They do it because unlife is boring, and it's fun. This would seem to make them antithetical to the careful social order of the Invictus...but for their blood's complete inability to form a Vinculum on vampires, making them the perfect prey for a peckish elder...
Lynx: The youngest bloodline in the Invictus—only officially becoming a bloodline a mere three months in the game world at the time the covenant splatbook was released—these Mekhet are not even structured like a traditional bloodline, instead describing themselves as a blood web. The Lynx are fascinated by connections and networks, and not just of the digital sort—they are psychologically reliant on being connected to their preferred network.
Malocusians: Similar in ways to the Annukanu, the Malocusians are descended from the Ventrue, and this seems to have made all the difference. Rather than being physically weakened outside of their chosen domain, they have a psychological aversion to even leaving their home, and find it a test to do so for any period of time. Their bloodline power allows them to transform their Haven into an extension of their bodies.
Sotoha: Japanese in origin, but settled mainly in the New World—in fact, they are descended from one who may be the first Japanese man to be Embraced by a European vampire, but most of the modern clan is not ethnically Japanese—the Sotoha have adopted a code similar to bushido and adhere to it fervently, believing in submission to their lord (i.e., the vampire who Embraced them) and total control of their emotions. However, their devotion to calm and control means the Beast becomes more opportunistic. Sotoha frenzies do not just end—it takes a prolonged effort.
Spina: The Spina take Passive-Aggressive Kombat to extremes only an immortal creature with access to blood magic and a tendency towards obsession can—and they do it so masterfully it can become You Fight Like a Cow. Unlike many who claim adherence to the Invictus, as most Spina do, these Daeva do not seek to rule; they instead see themselves as those who judge the rulers, providing necessary (and always polite) criticism.
They kick ass for the Lord. The Lancea Sanctum believe that Longinus, the centurion who stabbed Christ's side, was damned to unlife when the Messiah's blood fell on his lips. After wandering in the desert, an angel revealed to Longinus that vampires were damned to serve as a warning to mankind and to harrow them into righteousness. The Sanctified adopt Christian trappings, but they're a generally Abrahamic covenant, with creeds covering Judaism and Islam.
Canis Latinicus: It doesn't matter what explanation you use, that title just won't decline.
Actually, Requiem For Rome gives us an explanation. Originally, they were called the "Lancea Et Sanctum," the Lance and Sanctuary. For some reason, people started to forget to add the "Et," so it just became "Lance Sanctuary." It's not just grammatically incorrect, they don't even use the same gender tense!
Church Militant: Many Sanctified have elements of this, but the Exorcists (who hunt other supernaturals) and the Godslayers (who believe that "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" bit means there are other deities, and it's their duty to kill them) are definitely up there.
Icarians: Believers in the idea of the church-ruled state, the Icarians plan to rule the Lancaea Sanctum and then ensure the Lancaea Sanctum rules every domain it can. Their desire to do so, and surprising impatience to achieve this goal, leads to dissatisfaction with any smaller achievements or even wasted time (despite the near-agelessness of vampires).
Mortifiers of the Flesh: The Sanctum's take on Opus Dei, the Mortifiers believe that the body and soul are separable, that flesh is sinful, and that the soul is immaculate. By causing pain, they not only drive out the Devil, but find the limits of the flesh... and so may one day find where it ends and the soul begins. Though originally Daeva, any vampire of sufficient Blood Potency can become a Mortifier with a tutor.
Osites: Ecumenical as far as the Lancaea Sanctum goes, these Mekhet study the secrets of death, and so are quite happy to work with the "pagan" researchers of the Circle or the Ordo Dracul. They believe that within the bodies of the dead there remains a fragment of the self left from when the soul broke free. By studying these remnants over long periods of time, they hope to see and understand the mechanisms of the universe God created.
The Ordo Dracul
Yes, thatDracul. The Dragons are vampiric transcendentalists, who believe that Vlad Tepes was Embraced and managed to become something more than a vampire. Inducting his three "brides" as his first students, Dracula went on to found a secret society dedicated to studying and enhancing the Kindred condition. By pragmatically analyzing what makes vampires the way they are, they can gain control over such nagging inconveniences as the necessity for blood, the panicked reaction to sunlight and fire, and the inclinations of the Beast. Mind you, they tend to have strange ideas of medical ethics...Tropes associated with the Ordo Dracul:
Badass Bookworm: The Sworn of the Axe are the knights of the Ordo Dracul, but still expected to hold to the same intellectual standards as the rest of the Dragons.
Eldritch Abomination: One faction, the Chthonians, believes vampires are Lovecraftian beings in training. They tend to be a bit... off.
Place of Power: They regularly seek out "Wyrm's Nests", places where there's high weirdness afoot. Mind you, this often leads them to Loci, Hallows, and Haunts...
Rage Against the Heavens: As a natural byproduct of blaming God for the Blessed with Suck aspects-they cheerfully admit to wanting to spit in His face and run away laughing because they've earned the right.
A Kindred only Buddhist Sect from Thailand has the same views as the Ordo but use an entirely opposite method to pursue the same goal, it even uses the rules for the Coils as the basis of their own Treasures. The sourcebook provides a possible storyhook for these two groups meeting and attempting to integrate.
And there's a minor covenant, the Society of the Accord, who seek to reach an understanding with their Beast through negotiation. Their Treaties are oddly similar to the Coils... and utterly incompatible with them.
Notable Ordo Dracul bloodlines:
Azerkatil: Though mostly aligned with the Ordo Dracul, these Nosferatu were bred to hunt down and destroy Dracula. What seems strange on the surface becomes reasonable (sort of) upon examination: from their perspective, they were able to use the Order to expand their influnece west from Turkey, allowing them to search farther for Dracula. From the perspective of the Ordo Dracul, the so-called Dragonslayers are model Dragons. They are the embodiment of change and experimentation, and were a direct result of Dracula's journey to Adrianople.
Dragolescu: Fascinated by death, these vampires, originally Ventrue, were once honored and powerful within the Ordo Dracul, respected for their ability to communicate with the dead and responsible for much of what the coveneant knew about Wyrm's Nests. The founder, however, descended into insanity. He became a Nazi sympathizer, believing that Hitler was Dracula reborn. His madness lead him, at the end of the war, to an act that the Ordo Dracul could not forgive: subjugating himself to spirits. The powers the bloodline used meant that the Dragolescu would never be trusted again...but they were too valuable to destroy.
Libitinarius: The Morticians, Mekhet who have refined their blood, are academics, scholars, and researchers who study vampiric sleep and torpor. They are, if not trusted, then at least allowed to main other vampires' safety in their torpor and help to make the practice less traumatic. They are not, however, as unique as they like to pretend—any vampire, if they are willing to put forth an effort, may learn their "special" discipline. This is, as might be imagined, a well-kept secret.
Moroi: Despite their relatively small numbers, these vampires are mostly unknown, and the Ordo Dracul intend to keep it that way. Reputedly developing on their own from both Gangrel and Nosferatu in a remote area of rural Romania, they were visited by Dracula, who shared his knowledge and spoke with them on many topics. The Hunters, as they would one day be known, promised to serve him if he ever had need and called for them. Some time after he vanished, they reappeared, having hunted down and slain many of those who attempted persecution of the Dragons in the covenant's early, vulnerable years. Those who joined the covenant have since been used as hunters and assassins. Those who did not were either hunted down...or escaped. Brutal and malicious, the mingled blood of savages and haunts has produced a perfect killing machine—but the machine is decidedly imperfect at doing anything else.
Tismanu: The spiritual voices of the Ordo Dracul, these vampires originate within Wallachia's Christian monasteries. They are heavily linked to the Eastern Orthodox religion, much like the Lancea Sanctum is linked to Catholicism. The first members of the line were visited by Dracula himself in their early days, and found his goals of transcendence nobel, which is the reason they are aligned with the Ordo and not the Lancea Sanctum. Many Tismanu work as confessors for the Ordo, which means that they agree to abandon their own progress on the Coils in order to focus on acting as councilors or therapists to other members, which keeps them sane in the face of the more brutal things the Ordo Dracul requires. The Tismanu have a unique Discipline called Eupraxia, which gives them a variety of special abilities to better serve in their roles as priests.
Vedma: Vampires who live at the edges of society and personify the Baba Yaga myths. Most are women, but some are men, and all grow feral-looking and gnarled at the time of their Embrace. The Vedma serve as brutal tutors for the Ordo, and will only teach those whom they deem worthy. They must drink animal blood to fuel their unique Discipline, Zagovny, which allows them to recreate some traditional powers of witches and warlocks.
Also known as Seven, Se7en or Clan Akhud. A covenant and sometimes a clan or some other group that are alien and monstrous even by Kindred standards. They don't provoke the beast when meeting Kindred, they're known mostly by graffiti left at crime scenes and are a total enigma to the rest of Kindred society. When the origin being used defines them as a clan they're Clan Akhud, and have a literal demon trapped inside them instead of the Beast that afflicts other vampires. The other "canonical" (such as it is) origins are that they're a completely different variety of vampire with Russian origins. Or they're a failed creation of the Sanctum turned brainwashedmoralists.Tropes associated with the VII:
Anti-Villain: What the Akhud and the Betrayed versions see themselves as.
Always Chaotic Evil: Not unique in New World of Darkness terms in this respect but the only real rule for using them is that they are nothing but this trope. The weakness for the Akhud clan is similar to the Tremere in Old WoD where My Species Doth Protest Too Much types can't fight against their peers. Unlike the Tremere version this is inherent to their blood and applies to mortal descendants of their founder.
It's kind of the other way around, since the Akhud clan are My Species Doth Protest Too Much types by default to the rest of Kindred society, and couldn't betray each other even if they wanted to.
Black and Grey Morality: This being Vampire: The Requiem, they're firmly the former and the players are the latter. May even be their actual motivation.
Instant Expert & Instant Marksman Just Squeeze Trigger: The Akhud's primary unique discipline Praestantia instantly gives them skills in a number of areas, all of them violence related. It also allows them to cancel actions that would fail and improves their defence a bit.
Mind Rape: An alternate Discipline for use with one of their origins not only grants them this, but it becomes key to their modus operandi
Ominous Owl: The one thing anyone is sure about them - the appearance of the Strix always precede their operations...when the Strix aren't there for other reasons. But hey, it's something.
The Plan: Pick one thing from the list. Odds are its here.
Psychic Powers: The Psychogenic discipline that is Canon when using the Sleepers origin.
Retcon: Averted, Whitewolf allegedly intends to keep them mysterious and will not confirm any specifics. Allegedly...
Serial Killer: The Kindred consider them this, it may even be true...
Shrug of God: White Wolf has emphasised that VII could be anything, even if it contradicts established Canon, see Retcon above.
Reoccuring villains, the Striges are shadowy, birdlike specters that have haunted the Kindred since Ancient Rome. They claim to be the embodiment of the vampiric beast, and seek to make Kindred less human. Initially, they exterminated the Julii clan in Ancient Rome for breaking a deal with them, but recently, have been released into the world bereft of any purpose. Well, apart from the fact that they're heralds of disaster-if many of them gather in a single place, something really bad is going to happen there.
Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: Most Strix reproduce through mitosis, which has the unfortunate (for them) side effect of splicing off their own hard-to-get Shadow Potency. Most Strix do not have the power Contagious Genesis, which allows them to splice off a vampire's power to create more Owls.
For the Evulz: They have no motivation at the moment, beyond pure, selfish, hedonism. Even the whole "herald of disaster" bit is something they do subconsciously.
Changed in Blood and Smoke-the race has lost its purpose, but individual Strix have free will to chose their own goals, and usually do. This is For the Evulz as often as not, but a few have saner motivations.
Glamour Failure: When possessing someone, their eyes glow like an animal's caught in light. However, they are clever enough to exploit this, and can make non-possessed people display this as well.
Intangible Man: In their true forms, anything not a blessed weapon simply passes through them, not harming them in the slightest. This has a downside, though-their forms are held together through their mental will, and if you knock Willpower down to zero, they dissolve. Permanently.
As of Blood and Smoke, they have normal Corpus (spirit health) instead. It's also impossible for them to heal over time if you figure out their banes and hurt them, they have to spend precious Willpower to do so.
Less of a clan and more of a mistake, Revenants are "spontaneous vampires", occasionally created when someone with vitae in their system dies or is exasanguinated by a low Humanity Kindred. They are a miserable lot, constantly bleeding out their vitae during daysleep and frequently suffering Hunger Frenzy because of it. They have all the weaknesses of vampirism and very little of the strength, and they are often forced to become walking Masquerade breaches out of necessity.Unless, of course, some other vampire decides to fully Embrace them, giving them a clan and with it, some degree of ability to use their lemons to make lemonade.
Vampires who aren't Kindred, brought-up in the book Wicked Dead. Their Blood Potency is 0, so each time they meet a "true" vampire, they cower in fear.
Ghûls: Arabian mages who have gained immortality, as well as alchemy and a few other powers, at the expense of cannibalism. They're also... not undead. In fact, they probably have it better than Kindred.
Fomorsae: Emotion eaters who feed on self-loathing and body issues. Getting fed on by them causes a person to look more and more beautiful... at the cost of their life force, leading as many times as not to a beautifully preserved corpse. Ironically, the Vitae so gained is stored in fatty deposits, meaning that the Fomorsae are, to the last vamp, horrendously obese and ugly themselves. They're also the exception that proves the rule of Blood Potency 0, since they do have one or higher points in it... and they know Dominate.