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The Malkavian Clan: The Mysterious Spiral

on Mon Oct 09 2017, 21:38

You tell me you envy my insight. It comes at a cost. When you speak, I hear you through the cries of
everyone I’ve ever known who passed away. When I beg you repeat yourself, it’s because I cannot hear you over
the screams of anguish. Yes, that teaches me truths about the soul. But do you envy the lessons?

The year 1242 stands as a particularly difficult time for the Cassandras. In the mortal world, the classic Greek take on mental illness – that it came from organic causes– falls by the wayside. The Church’s stance that mental issues are stains on the soul, caused by ungodly behavior, is making great headway. This leads to scrutiny, which leads to misunderstandings, fear, and backlashes. Some of Malkav’s brood met Final Death during unexpected daytime exorcisms. Of course, these violent, unholy deaths only fanned the Church’s fire. The Malkavians see a great sickness, a catastrophic blight upon the people coming in time. They know this means further persecution of those outside the norm. Cainites objectify the Children of Malkav, seeing them as seer stones, divining rods, and crystal balls. Everyone knows the War of Princes is coming to an end; the ones that can see the winds of fate will know who is destined for victory, and what alliances to make. To some Princes, Malkavians are little more than Court fashion accessories they can use to boast their obvious awareness.

In most Courts, this meant the Cassandras were seen as a Low Clan. In these places, Malkavians were befitting only whatever respect they earned, not afforded recognition for their lineages. Clever Malkavians recognized this meritocratic sentiment and developed a system with which the clan could benefit. These Malkavian cults, these Ordo, sought to revive the clan’s ancient role as prophets. They experimented extensively, taunting their Beasts, flaying their skin, ingesting blood fueled with psychotropic substances, and otherwise tempting destruction for wisdom.

Sometimes, these dangers bore fruit. More importantly, these Ordo shared their knowledge extensively in order to make every member appear every bit the ideal font of wisdom. Malkavians don’t fight battles; they start wars. Throughout Cainite history, if you look to most major struggles, you’ll find a Malkavian at the epicenter. A Malkavian seer urged Roman Ventrue to devastate the Brujah stronghold at Carthage. The Brujah still hold grudges against the Children of Malkav; they refuse to acknowledge that their dealings with the Baali could have meant an end for all of Caine’s get. This is the Malkavian curse. No matter how wise, how intuitive, how insightful a Cassandra happens to be, human nature looks to pick apart the messenger to the message’s exclusion.

Sobriquets: Cassandras, Children of Malkav, Seers

Appearance: Sometimes, Malkavians look the part of madness. These rare examples tend to lead short existences, whether they die at the hands of the Church, Cainite society, or even as an act of mercy from their clanmates. If there’s one signature trait among the Cassandras, it’s normalcy. Malkavians learn quickly to blend with their surroundings, even if they couldn’t at time of the Embrace. Most were very plain people to begin with, however. The spark of insight presents in the mind, not on the flesh.

Haven: The Cassandras haven in places that look normal in their context. A Malkavian monk sleeps in a monastery, for example. They’ll do anything to blend in and not stand out. Rare is the Seer who keeps a lavish home, as most carry a deep-seated awareness that soon, fire will come. After the fire, they say, a deluge.

Backgrounds: Every Malkavian stands as an individual, so each possesses unique needs and interests. They Embrace in accordance with those needs. That lack of predictability affords the clan one of its greatest strengths. If one feature is common amongst prospective Cassandras, it’s an inherent calmness and sense of judgment. Finding lucidity presents great challenges for even the most stoic; passionate people make for explosive Malkavians. Of course, some Seers look to the oncoming crises with a sense of denial, and outright violent refusal. These Cainites look for the loudest, the brashest, and the most willing potential childer who will take up the sword of Dementation to defend the clan in the struggles to come.

Character Creation: Malkavians are a cerebral clan. Almost all favor Mental Attributes, and most favor Knowledges. The less stable favor Talents, with which they can manipulate and force change in the world around them. Many possess Allies, in case they need a quick save in the face of persecution. Enterprising Malkavians, particularly Ordo, foster Mentor relationships and Status in order to stage themselves as invaluable.

Clan Disciplines: Auspex, Dementation, Obfuscate.

Weakness: Malkav’s children each suffer from an imbalance of the humors that’ll never truly fade. At character creation, choose one derangement (see p. 352). This derangement can never be cured, and a Malkavian may only use Willpower to ignore it for a turn at a time. Even powerful gifts of the blood such as Valeren may only push it aside for a night. After such an effort, however, the derangement comes back in full force. For a week thereafter, the Malkavian cannot use Willpower to resist her derangement at all.

Organization: Malkavians cannot formally gather in large numbers, for fear of persecution. If a convocation of Cassandras ever came to pass, it would almost certainly see devastation at the hands of Brujah soldiers. Clan members each bear unique signs of imbalance. However, certain threads, certain vague hints of prophecy flash among most or even all members. Many assume this a coincidence, that clan members change their stories to make them sound alike. Others whisper that their dead progenitor seeks to return with secrets lost in the labyrinth of the mind.

Baali: We know the burden of truth at a high price. They overpaid.
Brujah: The tragedy is, we could have let them die. They’ll never forgive us for saving them.
Gangrel: Soon we’ll be seven together. Then we’ll be six apart, and they’ll be one alone. In the end though, we’ll all be one alone.
Lasombra: You don’t know the darkness like I do. To you, it’s a tool. To me, it’s everything.
Salubri: They aim to heal souls. Our souls are changed, not damaged. So their efforts are a fool’s errand.
Tzimisce: Fiends chew bitter flowers. Avoid them.
Ventrue: They value us only because they feel we’re useful. Make no mistakes; they’ll oppose us quicker than the Brujah when our prophecies stop coming true.
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