Vampires in the World
Vampires are perhaps the most subtle of the supernatural factions. They are intensely political, both among themselves and in relation to others, though many are skilled in combat or other styles of play. Despite often working together against external threats, vampires are solitary predators and rarely trust one another without the use of supernatural means to ensure their own safety. Older vampires oppress the young, the young seek to gain the power of the old, and vendettas can last centuries without resolution.
In Gaslight, Vampires are their own faction. They typically masquerade as mortals and pursue their own ends through the manipulation of others, as well as working together to face threats to vampiric society as a whole. In some cases vampires ignore the clauses of secrecy althogether, though they do this at their own risk - if a mortal or another supernatural doesn't end them, a vampire keen on protecting their own existence will surely consider it.
There are two major political sects in the Vampire faction, and these two sects are at war. This often means that the younger members of each sect will battle one another directly, while elders will acknowledge one another as rivals and oppose one another through more discreet and unusual means.
See Playing Vampires for more information.
The Camarilla seeks to maintain their humanity to at least a passable extent, and to uphold the Masquerade that protects Kindred from the persecution of humanity through ignorance and secrecy.
The Sabbat seek to revel in their predatory natures, ruling over Humanity and rebelling against the sleeping Antediluvians.
Clans are groups of shared blood and heritage, who can trace their lineage back to a common ancestor of the Third Generation, known as an Antediluvian. Clans each have a shared familiarity with three specific Disciplines, as well as a shared weakness and a set of stereotypes attached to themselves as a result of their Embrace tendencies.
Under all but the rarest of circumstances, those sired by a member of a given Clan are also members of that Clan. Clans are differentiated from bloodlines by number, influence, and shared history that reaches back far enough to note an Antediluvian progenitor.
- Assamites are warriors and scholars who seek to distance themselves from the Jyhad, and often viewed as assassins and diablerists by the other clans. While some individuals ally with the various sects, Clan Assamite as a whole remains independent. The majority are based out of the Middle East, and remain well away from most Kindred affairs.
- Brujah are often considered uncultured rebels and thoughtless anarchists. Despite this, many Brujah are philosophers and activists, trying to maintain the scholarly inclinations of their Clan's history. Passion and emotion are a major part of every Brujah's existence, as the clan curse drives them towards short temper and fiery outbursts.
- Followers of Set (Setites) originate from Egypt, and believe that their founder was the god Set. An independent clan, their motivations revolve largely around resurrecting their fallen antediluvian. To that end, they are experts in the use of deceit and corruption, and often cater to the vices of mortals and other Kindred alike. For a price, of course.
- Gangrel are fiercely individualistic and often considered the most feral and predatory of the Kindred. They are only loosely organized, and trend towards reclusion and animalistic natures. They are also known to be capable warriors, and have a great understanding of the Kindred Beast. The Gangrel are one of the seven founding clans of the Camarilla.
- Giovanni are a Clan and a mortal family alike, with the Embrace only being given to those born or married into the former. They are another Independent Clan, with a focus on mortal money and influence as well as the accumulation of Necromantic power. They are highly mercantile and willing to deal with just about anyone, but are typically only loyal to Clan Giovanni.
- Malkavians are Kindred cursed with insanity, yet receive terrifying and powerful insights as a result of their madness. One of the seven founding clans of the Camarilla, Malkavians are highly individualistic, but trend towards investigatory roles and those that alter the perceptions of others.
- Nosferatu become hideous and inhuman monsters upon their Embrace, but their ability to gather and sell information is second to none. Their skill at stealth and subterfuge often makes dealing with them worth the usual antisocial tendencies. The Nosferatu are one of the seven founding Clans of the Camarilla.
- Ravnos are a clan known for being tricksters and wandering charlatans, using their skills with illusion to deceive and steal. They are each tied to a specific and personal vice, and are known to be tied to the Rroma. An Independent Clan, the Ravnos have a strong sense of Clan solidarity, and will generally support one another if one of their own is mistreated.
- Toreador number among the Clans that founded the Camarilla, and are known for being artists of all sorts, inexorably drawn towards beauty. They can also be some of the most callous and caustic of Kindred society, and their tendency towards social skill makes them as dangerous in the social arena as their swiftness does in the physical.
- Tremere are the youngest of the founding Clans of the Camarilla, but are incredibly powerful despite this. Originally a house of Mages, Clan Tremere is known for usurping the power of an older clan through Diablerie, and for a skill at blood magic that puts other clans ill at ease. Their Clan structure is exceedingly hierarchical, so much so as to require new Embraces to bind themselves to the elders of the Clan.
- Ventrue consider themselves the oldest Clan, as well as the rightful leaders of Kindred society. They are often tied to nobility and mortal power, leading mortals and ghouls as they desire to lead Kindred. As a founding Clan of the Camarilla, they are one of the sect's staunchest supporters. Their refinement, however, extends to their tastes - all Ventrue can only feed on specific types of mortals.
- Caitiff are Kindred who lack any given Clan, and are often considered to be so thin-blooded as to have no discernable lineage. They are typically reviled as the dregs of the dregs and harbingers of Gehenna, though some of them scrape by on the underside of Kindred society or make their own ways in the world.
- In case you're missing your favorite Clan, or wondering why a specific Clan was excluded from play, you may find more about that in this section. We tried to accommodate as many players as we could, but there are gameplay issues that have to be considered here.
- A place of Elysium is considered a neutral ground for vampires; no violence is permitted and grievances should be left at the door. This agreement is often honored even between Sects, but while an Elysium provides a safe place for vampires to gather, social mistakes or insults can often have repercussions beyond the walls of the safe places.
All Kindred struggle with the Beast, an inhuman id that reacts to hunger, anger, and fear. If given the chance, it will take over a Kindred and leave them a mindless killing machine. The Beast is staved off through Morality Paths; ways of controlling the Beast and maintaining a sense of self. Morality paths also have an effect on the vampiric curse, as those with stronger morality find it easier to wake and to interact with humans. While Humanity is the most common path, there are other more alien outlooks available to Kindred.
In Gaslight, the Roads common to the Dark Ages are perhaps easier to play and maintain for a character, though more modern Paths are available to characters as well.
The most common of the Roads and Paths are listed below:
- Humanity - Kindred following the Road or Path of Humanity cling to the morality and virtues of life as a mortal human being, which is antithetical to the urges of the Beast. This is considered the natural and most common way for a Kindred to cope with the Beast. The Camarilla adheres to this most thoroughly, and looks on those who follow other Paths with suspicion.
- Beasts - Kindred who follow this Road focus on controlling their Beasts through simple, feral lifestyles, sating the Beast so that they maintain some semblance of sentience.
- Heaven - Followers of the Road of Heaven believe that vampires are part of God's plan, and should act appropriately. Adhering to God's will and denying demons and sin are crucial to this Road.
- Kings - Those who follow the Road of Kings believe in the right of Kindred to rule over mortals, but also to protect them. Honor and power are the lynchpins of this Road.
- Sin - Kindred adhering to the Road of Sin believe that they are damned beings, and should act accordingly. Virtue and the agents of virtue must be stymied, and the Beast is controlled by indulging in every dark desire a Kindred might have.
- A Discipline is a trainable supernatural power possessed by a vampire, fueled by blood and capable of incredible feats. Many Disciplines are thought to have been handed down by Caine or Lilith themselves, although some are thought to have been invented by Antediluvians. The innate skill for any given Discipline is typically handed down from sire to childe, though any given vampire is thought to have the potential to learn any given Discipline through dedicated study with one who understands it thoroughly.