Bloodlines

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“I have heard it said that the Embrace is like the original sin, that it passes from sire to childe, and from that childe to his own progeny, the taint of undeath remains the same throughout. What such defeated and pious doggerel fails to take into account is the power of the Blood itself. We are not bound by the sins of the father. We can change each individual sin, make it one of our own choice.”
Dr. Miranda Estes, Malkavian Ordo Dracul scientist, Beyond Post-Mortem

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While every vampire belongs at least ancestrally to one of the thirteen great clans, some Kindred diverge from those lineages into their own unique bloodlines. These “sub-families” can wield exotic powers unknown to other Kindred, but pay for them with additional curses and weaknesses.

GM’s Note: For those players who aren’t aware, bloodlines are pretty different beasts in Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem.
In Masquerade, bloodlines are effectively mini-clans. Players choose one for their PC to belong to during character creation, in lieu of a regular clan, and that’s what they play for the rest of the game.
In Requiem, bloodlines are akin to D&D’s prestige classes. PCs begin the game as one of the base clans, and can later join a bloodline. They still remain Kindred of their parent clans.
The GM prefers Requiem’s approach, as it makes membership in bloodlines a character choice which PCs can make in-game rather than an out-of-game player choice. It confronts new players with fewer options they need to immediately pick from. Lastly, it enables PCs to remain members of the core clans (with all the history, plot hooks, and extended family members those entail) while still getting to enjoy the “cool factor” of belonging to a bloodline.

Definitions of Bloodlines

Social Bloodlines

Some bloodlines exist as purely social divisions. Certain Kindred prefer to identify themselves as descendants of some esteemed vampire from centuries past, instead of being just an ordinary Malkavian, Nosferatu, Gangrel or whatever. Other bloodlines come about because of shame. A Kindred suffers some disgrace in the eyes of clanmates, and that disgrace passes to their childer and their childer in turn. An elder who joins an atypical covenant for their clan, and draws their childer in likewise, might also cause other Kindred to call their descendants a bloodline. Such “bloodlines” have no mystical or supernatural consequences.

Mystical Bloodlines

When most Kindred talk about bloodlines, they mean a lineage whose nature or inclination genuinely differs from that of its parent clan. True bloodlines stand out because they suffer a different or additional blood-borne weakness. Bloodlines often possess Devotions entirely unique to their members, which they jealously guard from outsiders. There are two types of mystical bloodlines: scions and orphans.

Scions are Kindred who belong to a bloodline and still belong to an identifiable parent clan. The Kiasyd (long associated with the Lasombra) and the Telyavelic Tremere are good example scion bloodlines. Scions suffer the weakness of their bloodline and their parent clan, but can develop Devotions associated with their bloodline much more easily.

Orphans are Kindred who do not belong to an identifiable parent clan. The Salubri, Gargoyles, and True Brujah are good example orphan bloodlines. Orphans suffer their bloodline’s weakness instead of their parent clan’s weakness. They often share unique Devotions among themselves, but they have no inherently greater aptitude for learning these Devotions. Essentially, bloodlines are “replacement clans” for orphans.

Some bloodlines have a mix of scions and orphans. Others are composed exclusively of one or the other.

Permutations of Bloodlines

Joining a Bloodline

Any true-blooded Kindred may join their sire’s bloodline at the moment of Embrace. Sometimes this happens and sometimes it doesn’t; no one is completely sure why, although theories abound. Some sires want their childer to join their bloodlines, while others don’t. Typically, joining a sire’s bloodline is considered a mark of favor or prestige, and sires are proud of childer who carry on their bloodlines. Conversely, a childe’s “failure” to join a bloodline may be viewed as an embarrassment and/or weakness on the sire’s or childe’s part.

If a vampire isn’t Embraced into a bloodline, they may join one later though an avus. An avus is a sort of mentor. Their Blood must be at least as strong as the prospect’s. Acting as an avus into a bloodline requires feeding the prospect some of the avus’ own vitae, which carries all of the normal risk of blood bonds. Many bloodlines have elaborate and sometimes dangerous rituals to initiate new prospects. One of the most common involves draining the prospect of all of their vitae and replacing it with the avus’ as part of a “second Embrace.”

Vampires may also create their own, unique bloodlines. This feat is normally only possible for elders of the seventh generation or lower. The act of founding a bloodline carries great prestige in Kindred society: it’s seen as having enough will and power to impose an imprint of one’s self onto the Blood, forever.

A vampire may only be part of one bloodline. The only known way to leave a bloodline once joined is for a vampire to found their own bloodline.

Powers

All bloodlines have one or several associated Disciplines.

Scions: When a vampire joins a bloodline as a scion, they gain one of the bloodline’s associated Disciplines as an in-clan Discipline. If all of the bloodline’s Disciplines are already in-clan for the vampire, they become more adept at one of the bloodline’s Disciplines. The vampire may also learn any Devotions exclusive to the bloodline.

Orphans: When a vampire joins a bloodline as an orphan, they replace their prior in-clan Disciplines with all of the bloodline’s associated Disciplines. They may also learn any Devotions the bloodline only teaches to its members.

Weaknesses

All bloodlines impose a unique bane on their members.

Scions suffer their bloodline’s bane in addition to their clan bane. Scions’ banes are more pronounced and restrictive than their clan counterparts, and are considered a severe version of a normal bane. For example, one ancient Malkavian bloodline loses access to Disciplines during the day, and one group of Gangrel can only feed from Kindred, from the moment its members adopt the lineage.

Orphans simply replace their clan bane with their bloodline’s bane.

List of Bloodlines

Most Kindred can join most bloodlines: the below list notes the typical clans that a bloodline attracts, but there is no reason a Malkavian can’t join the Ahrimanes or a Ravnos can’t join the Nephilim.

A few exceptions, noted with an “only,” can only be joined by Kindred of the specifically mentioned clans (or only accept orphans).

Masquerade Bloodlines

Ahrimanes: Brujah, Gangrel, Ravnos typically
Alexandrites: Ravnos only
Ananke: Malkavians only
Anda: Gangrel typically
Baali: Unknown
Bashirites: Ravnos only
Blood Brothers: Brujah, Tremere, Tzimisce typically
Children of Damballah: Setites only
Children of Osiris: Any clan
City Gangrel: Gangrel only
Crusaders: Ventrue only
Daitya: Setites only
Danava: Ventrue only
Daughters of Cacophony: Malkavian, Toreador, Ventrue typically
Gargoyles: Orphans only
Giovannini: Hecata only
Jocastians: Malkavians only, though disputed
Kalderash: Ravnos only
Kiasyd: Any clan, though Lasombra are the most numerous
Kolduns: Tzimisce only, though disputed
Lamia: Orphans only
Lhiannan: Gangrel, Malkavian, Tzimisce typically
Maeghar: Orphans only
Mariners: Gangrel only
Mithridati: Ventrue only
Mnemosyne: Malkavians only
Nagaraja: n/a, part of the Hecata clan
Nephilim: Toreador only
Nictuku: Nosferatu only, and hotly disputed to exist
Noiad: Gangrel only
Old Clan Tzimisce: Tzimisce only
Phaedymites: Ravnos only
Phuri Dae: Ravnos only
Phralmulo: Ravnos only
Sahir: Banu Haqim only
Salubri: Orphans only
Samedi: Hecata only
Sybarites: Ravnos only
Telyavs: Gangrel, Nosferatu, Tremere typically
Tlacique: Gangrel, Lasombra, Setites typically
True Brujah: Orphans only
Viziers: Banu Haqim only
Volgirre: Toreador only
Warrior Setites: Setites only
Wu Zao: Orphans only

Requiem Bloodlines

Agonistes: Banu Haqim, Hecata, Lasombra, Malkavian, Salubri typically
Anvari: Setites, Toreador, Ventrue typically
Allucinor: Hecata, Malkavian, Salubri, Tremere typically
Architects of the Monolith: Malkavian, Ventrue, Tzimisce typically
Baddacelli: Gangrel, Nosferatu, Tzimisce typically
Bohagande: Gangrel, Setites, Tremere typically
Bron: Lasombra, Salubri, Ventrue typically
California Xiao: Brujah, Malkavian, Ravnos, Toreador typically
The Carnival: Malkavian, Ravnos, Toreador, Tzimisce typically
Children of Judas: Malkavian, Ravnos, Setites, Toreador typically
Dead Wolves: Gangrel typically
Duchagne: Brujah, Ravnos, Toreador, Ventrue typically
En: Banu Haqim, Brujah, Lasombra, Ventrue typically
Galloi: Nosferatu, Tzimisce typically
Gethsemani: Lasombra, Nosferatu, Ravnos typically
Gullikans: Setites, Toreador, Tzimisce typically
Kallisti: Malkavfian, Setites, Toreador, Ventrue typically
Khabit: Banu Haqim, Lasombra, Setites typically
Kuufukuj: Malkavian, Nosferatu, Salubri, Tzimisce typically
Macellarius: Hecata, Malkavian, Nosferatu, Ventrue typically
Melissadae: Gangrel, Nosferatu, Ravnos, Tzimisce typically
Morotrophian: Malkavian, Nosferatu, Ventrue typically
Mortifiers of the Flesh: Any clan
Nahualli: Lasombra, Malkavian, Ravnos, Ventrue typically
Nelapsi: Brujah, Toreador, Tzimisce typically
Oberlochs: Gangrel, Nosferatu, Ravnos, Tzimisce typically
Players: Gangrel, Malkavian, Ravnos, Tremere typically
Qedeshah: Brujah, Malkavian, Salubri, Toreador typically
Raskshasa: Gangrel, Nosferatu, Ravnos, Tzimisce typically
Rötgrafen: Brujah, Gangrel, Lasombra, Ventrue typically
Sta-Au: Any clan
Taifa: Gangrel, Malkavian, Nosferatu typically
Therion: Any clan
Yagnatia: Gangrel, Nosferatu, Tzimisce, Ventrue typically
• More to come…


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Bloodlines

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