Bloodlines

“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

Samedi.jpg
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 Notes: For those players who aren’t aware, bloodlines are pretty different beasts in VtM and VtR.
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.
I prefer 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 consequence in terms of game mechanics.

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 (until recently) Samedi 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.


Game Effects


Joining a Bloodline

Kindred may join bloodlines as allowed by their Blood Potency dots. A character may join their sire’s bloodline (if any) at Blood Potency 1. At Blood Potency 2, a vampire with whom they share a blood tie may act as avus. At Blood Potency 3, any vampire of their clan may act as an avus. At Blood Potency 4, a vampire not of their clan may act as an avus. An avus is a sort of mentor. Acting as an avus into a bloodline requires feeding the prospect at least 1 Rouse check’s worth of vitae. This carries all normal risk of blood bonds. At Blood Potency 6, vampires may create their own, unique bloodlines. This is to say, all bloodlines were founded by Kindred of Blood Potency 6 or greater. A character may only be part of one bloodline. There is no known way to leave a bloodline once joined.

Powers

All bloodlines have one or several associated Disciplines.

Scions: When a vampire joins a bloodline as a scion, they choose one of the boodline’s associated Disciplines. For every dot the vampire has in that Discipline, the vampire immediately gains one of its Devotions. Whenever the vampire gains another dot in that Discipline, they also gain a second, free Devotion. These Devotions can either be Common Devotions or Rare Devotions unique to the bloodline.

If the vampire has no dots in any of the bloodline’s associated Disciplines, the vampire gains a single dot in one of its Disciplines.

If the vampire’s chosen associated Discipline is not in-clan for the vampire, it immediately becomes so. One of the vampire’s prior Disciplines thereafter becomes non-clan for them.

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 do not immediately receive any extra Devotions for, but they can still learn any Rare Devotions the bloodline 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 what would considered a severe version of a normal bane. For example, one ancient Malkavian bloodline takes damage from sunlight as if its members’ Blood Potency scores were five dots higher, 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.


Bloodlines List


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
Anda: Gangrel typically
Baali: Unknown
Blood Brothers: Brujah, Tremere, Tzimisce typically
Children of Osiris: Any clan
Daughters of Cacophony: Malkavian, Toreador, Ventrue typically
Gargoyles: Orphans only
Jocastians: Malkavians only
Kiasyd: Any clan
Lamia: Orphans only
Lhiannan: Gangrel, Malkavian, Tzimisce typically
Mithridati: Ventrue only
Mnemosyne: Malkavians only
Nagaraja: Orphans only
Nephilim: Toreador typically
Nictuku: Nosferatu only
Noiad: Gangrel only
Salubri: Orphans only
Samedi: n/a, part of the Hecata clan
Telyavs: Gangrel, Nosferatu, Tremere typically
Tlacique: Gangrel, Lasombra, Setites typically
True Brujah: Orphans only

Requiem Bloodlines

Agonistes: Banu Haqim, Lasombra, Malkavian, Salubri, Hecata typically
Anvari: Setites, Toreador, Ventrue typically
Allucinor: Malkavian, Tremere, Salubri, Hecata 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: Malkavian, Nosferatu, Hecata, Ventrue typically
Melissadae: Gangrel, Nosferatu, Ravnos, Tzimisce typically
Morotrophian: Malkavian, Nosferatu, Ventrue typically
Mortifiers of the Flesh: Any clan
Nahualli: Lasombra, Malkavian, Ventrue, Ravnos typically
Nelapsi: Brujah, Toreador, Tzimisce typically
Oberlochs: Gangrel, Nosferatu, Ravnos, Tzimisce typically
Players: Gangrel, Malkavian, Tremere, Ravnos typically
Qedeshah: Brujah, Malkavian, Toreador, Salubri 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…

Bloodlines

Blood and Bourbon Calder_R Calder_R