Wednesday, June 10, 2020

V5: Vampire Values

This is something I made to help me with a  project* that never fully gelled. But it's a neat thing in its own right, and so I figured I'd share it with you. 

The Left-Right axis represents how much emphasis the typical vampire of that category feels towards his clan. The far left is "Leave me alone" and the far right is "We are brothers".

The Up-Down axis represents how much respect members of that clan have for rules, traditions, and authority. The very top is "Hidebound traditionalist" and the bottom is "Screw you, I do what I want."

Special thanks to my Lovely Assistant Adrian for helping me pretty up this graph.
Graph designed at

From left to right, and top to bottom:
  • Tzimisce: Traditionally, fiends want to be left alone to do their own thing, and they will fight anyone who makes them conform. However, they adhere so strongly to their own customs and traditions that they will fight a friend, or protect an enemy, rather than break them. 
  • Lasombra: The magisters believe in order -- their order, to be precise. Unfortunately, so does every other Lasombra, and in a clan which believes in survival of the fittest, turning on each other is inevitable. However, one does not just wage war willy-nilly; no, there are proper ways to engage in internecine conflict.
  • Ventrue: Don't try to separate the Ventrue from the Camarilla. The blue-bloods are the Camarilla, and they won't let you forget it. To attack them is to the attack the clan is to attack the Camarilla, and so if you want to take one down you had best be subtle, cunning, and have the backing of as many fellow Camarillians as possible. 
  • Ba'ali: I hate the Followers of Set and so the Ba'ali are the super-evil baddies in my VtM world. Infernalists are hated by both Camarilla and Sabbat, and so the philosophy of "We must hang together or we will all hang separately" is definitely in play. Furthermore, even though demons are typically backstabbing individualists and therefore opposing covens may feud if they serve different masters, by and large the Ba'ali are fanatical servants to their masters and their causes. 
  • Pyramid Tremere: Ironically enough, the Tremere built a tightly-knit organization much like Ba'ali to survive their first centuries as a clan due to all of the other clans wanting to kill them for their ursupation of Saulot's line. This organization further stratified when they helped form the Camarilla during the Spanish Inquisition. As such, they are very loyal to both clan and sect, but blood has primacy. 
  • Non-Pyramid Tremere: After the destruction of the Vienna Chantry by the Second Inquisition in 2008, the Pyramid shattered and the clan was thrown into disarray. Without the strict internal hierarchy, individual warlocks compete heavily for the lore, artifacts, and secrets that the united Clan once possessed, fearing their clanmates as much as their enemies. Shattered Pyramid Tremere can and do exist in any quadrant, depending on which House they back and what they do to survive. 
  • Toreador: The artistes and degenerates don't so much love the Camarilla the stability it brings. After all, it's hard to be artistic and indulge in bacchanalia when the city is burning and there's no one to appreciate your art. That said, there is frequent infighting between clan mates, as good adjectives for them are "catty, bitchy, and backstabbing."
  • Brujah Idealists: Often as old as they are rare, the "intellectual rebels" of the clan hearken back to their old days as warrior-scholars and philosopher-kings of Greece. They are moderately conservative in terms of both clan loyalty and adherence to authority, which in an odd way makes them "bold, punk rebels" against the majority of their clan. 
  • Banu Haqim: This position is more of an averaging than anything else. What was once a highly unified clan of strong Tradition has now schismed due to the rise of Ur-Shulgi, the reversal of the assassin's blood curse, and parts of the clan affiliating with the Camarilla. Weirdly, in an attempt to make them less of a Muslim stereotype, V5 has done just that by turning them into feuding groups a la the Shia and the Sunni. So they are highly loyal to their groups and traditions, but the groups and traditions of others are the enemy. 
  • Gangrel: Pretty much the clan of lone wolves, the animals can best be described as "If we don't like the way things are, we'll just turn into wolves and live in the forests for a few centuries, and you can't do anything about it because we're outside your jurisdiction." They follow their own code, and to hell with you. 
  • Malkavian: The lunatics are all over the board and cannot be pinned down in any way other than "unpredictable", so they exist at 0,0 because I needed to put them somewhere. 
  • Nosferatu: The lepers are the canonical example of "my clan, right or wrong, and to hell with the rest" as from as far back as first edition they have been described as ignoring sect differences in favor of clan loyalty. Sabbat, Camarilla, Anarchs? Doesn't matter. A Nos is a Nos and they all hang together against the world, sometimes playing the sects against each other for the benefit of the clan. 
  • Caitiff: "Everybody hates me and abuses me. I wish I could overthrow the system, but no one wants to associate with me and I'm pretty powerless, so I'm going to keep my head down and hope they ignore me."
  • Hecata etc: First they were the Cappadocians, then the Giovanni, and now they're known as the Hecata. Named after Hecate, the multi-faced Greek goddess of magic, they are a sect in themselves and comprise multiple bloodlines (Giovanni, Harbingers, Samedi, Lamia, Nagaraja, etc) with all the associated infighting that brings. They're also not much liked by the other clans due their preoccupation with necromancy and the fact that a deal struck with one is not necessarily a deal honored by another bloodline, let alone the clan as a whole. In short, they fight among themselves like the Lasombra (only with less style and restraint) and try to keep their heads down like the Caitiff so they don't get slapped down by the larger sects... all while trying to increase their power, and that of their bloodline (and, unavoidably, their sect) until they are again a force with which to be reckoned.
  • Inconnu: These powerful vampires have somehow managed to remove themselves from the eternal struggle that is unlife, and spend their nights doing their own thing (pursuing hobbies and studies, achieving Golconda, watching the other undead squabble like children, etc). They want to be left alone, and other than that no two are alike. Think Methos from the Highlander TV show, only far less personable. 
  • Brujah Iconoclasts: This is where the vast majority of the rabble exist. "Burn it all down, man! Tear down all the structure, all the hierarchy that keeps the Man in power! Traditions are just rules that anchor you to the past,  and we live in the now! Only in anarchy do you find true equality, and if anyone says otherwise, beat the crap out of them! Especially those bastards of our clan who say otherwise!"
  • Ravnos: Known as charlatans, thieves and liars, this clan is basically hated by everyone and blamed for everything that goes wrong, so of course they're going to stick together, thumb their nose at authority, and do what it takes to survive. You would think that would result in highly ritualized and codified clan traditions, but the paradox-seekers are just as likely to regard them as hindering nonsense which blinds them to the truth  of reality as the customs of others. 

* The project was based on "If I have X amount of status within the Camarilla, how much status does that give me within my own clan and in the eyes of other clans?" I figured that before I could derive that I would need to see how much stock other clans put in status with the Cam, with others, etc, and that's how the chart came about.

I still think there's merit to this project, but it's too complex to turn into a simple formula of "If you are of X clan with Y status, then you have A status within B clan", so this chart serves as a sort of guideline in that regard. For example, a Ventrue would view a Nosferatu with high Camarilla status in the same regard that he would view a member of his own clan, but the Nosferatu clan would not do the same. They would, however, appreciate clan loyalty when they see it, and treat him with the courtesy of "He might be a bastard, but he stands by his own and I respect that."  A Tzimisce might arrive at a similar result via a different method ("You are petty and controlling, but you honor your traditions as do I"), a Gangrel wouldn't care and if forced to do anything would probably bugger off, and a Brujah would see him as The Enemy and give him no respect at all.

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