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The Tzimisce Clan: The Dragon's Claws

on Tue Oct 10 2017, 20:39

Do not fear, little mortal. The earth feeds you, you feed me, I feed the earth.
This is the order of things; it is natural.

Vampire. Like the shadow of an osprey looming over the field mouse , the word alone conjures fearsome imagery in the hearts of men: tall, darkly gracious fiends of aristocratic bearing, forlorn castles athwart craggy mountainsides, and primeval forests swaddled in mist through which hungry shadows haunt the night. These are the Tzimisce, sometimes called Fiends; the vampires of vampires, the eternal bogeymen stalking the nightmares of mortals. The wilds of Eastern Europe are inseparable from the legends of vampires, and the Tzimisce ruled these lands since before mortal memory.

The Carpathian Mountains are their bones, its soil their flesh, and they share their vitae with it — just as the kine share theirs with the Tzimisce— in a perpetual cycle of life and unlife. The koldun recall a time when Tzimisce dwelt in the Second City, but ached with sickness, a longing for a home he had never seen. He exiled himself, following a call to these mountains. So it has always been, the two indivisible; here, no history excludes them, no kings may rule above them, and no enemy can contest them. Or so the Tzimisce believed.

The Tzimisce sense of superiority allowed the Tremere to go uncontested for far too long; now the Usurpers and their Gargoyle soldiers trespass upon Tzimisce lands and engage openly on the fields of battle. Never ones to ignore a strategic advantage, the Ventrue raid across Hungary’s eastern border into Transylvania and launch crusades into the pagan northlands, looking to seize Fiend territories. The Mongol horde provides some respite as it boils through mountain passes into the west, forcing their enemies to face them in the field while the Fiends watch safely from mountain strongholds above. A quiet war brews within the clan, only forestalled by the clan’s ancient tradition of hospitality, as the elders call for a return to the old ways while the younger generations push for change. Revolution seems just around the corner for the Fiends.

Sobriquet: Fiends, Devils.

Appearance: In ages past, the Tzimisce were the most regal of clans, tall, unbent and broad like the mountains they dwell upon. They elevated only the choicest of mortals, drawing directly from their own ghoul families to ensure strong frames and proper dispositions, which were then further idealized through the vagaries of Vicissitude. As war creeps into their lands, though, the Fiends find themselves forced to compromise their preferred forms, replacing limbs with weapons and assuming their monstrous battle-shapes for greater and greater periods of time. Some younger Fiends found liberation through modification and embrace shapes others would consider alien and bizarre, following their own path into the future.

Haven: Most Tzimisce keep their haven in whatever constitutes luxury for them. They stand as regal by their own definitions. This almost always means surrounding themselves with massive subjects and herds, wherever they happen to roost. Due to their tie to the earth, if they leave their homeland, they will find some way to establish a bond to their new home.

Background: Traditionally, Tzimisce drew from among the most suitable members of their own nobility, prizing loyalty, fierceness, and strength above all other qualities. To this end, they prefer to Embrace ghouls, and they have established whole families of revenants to serve that purpose. Tzimisce rarely Embrace foreigners, and when it happens, they are truly exceptional. Meta-morphosists, however, will sometimes eschew tradition, seeking out those who inspire them with their spiritual perfection, while some among the younger generations delight in the aesthetic possibilities of strangers.

Character Creation: Tzimisce equally prize Mental and Physical Attributes. While the image of the Tzimisce warrior cutting a gory path through a battlefield is a common (and accurate) stereotype, the clan also boasts its share of scholars, priests, monks, and sorcerers, meaning any given Tzimisce might favor any Skills, Talents, or Knowledges. For a clan defined by its relationship to the land it rules, Domain is by far the most important Background. Herd is vital for any Tzimisce; one cannot call oneself a ruler without subjects. Road of Kings is most common among the Fiends. The Road of Metamorphosis is populated almost entirely by Tzimisce, though they are still very much a minority.

Clan Disciplines: Animalism, Auspex, Vicissitude

Weaknesses: Tzimisce draw their mandate to rule from the very land itself, but this comes with a price. A Tzimisce must rest with at least two handfuls of native soil — that is, soil from a place of importance to them, usually their home or their grave. For each day of rest without it, halve all dice pools (round down), cumulatively, until the pool reaches one die. A full day of proper rest with her native soil will restore the dice pools to their normal value.

Organization: Tzimisce abide by ties of family and blood; they are an incestuous clan with sprawling legacies of dozens, if not hundreds of members. The eldest afford the most respect and the maneuvering among the childer for attention and affection brings new meaning to the phrase “sibling rivalry.” Outside one’s own legacy, it is important to recognize other Tzimisce as rightful rulers — they are, after all, blood of the land too — but no family is willing to submit to another. This constant struggle for dominance creates an uneasy tension among Fiends. Because of this, Tzimisce recognize a necessary tradition of formal, unflagging hospitality. Almost in defiance of their basic natures, man or vampire welcomed into a Tzimisce’s home can expect safety and basic comfort, so long as the guest commits no affront to the host’s graciousness.

Anda: These newcomers remind us of Gangrel, but understand loyalty and family. I would like to know more.
Brujah: I respect their prowess, but not their cause. Which cause? None of them.
Gangrel: Unruly and unkempt, but as close to brothers as we will ever have outside our own.
Ghouls: Useful, sometimes even worthy of respect. So long as they are ours.
Tremere: Nothing worth discussing. Soon others will only speak of their memory. Then we will kill them as well, and the Tremere will simply never have existed.
Ventrue: Theirs is no true authority; they have no mandate to rule. They have played this charade for too long; they will kneel now or suffer for their insolence.
Lupines: Do not underestimate these beasts; they have their own connection to the land, which makes them very dangerous.
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