Tzimisce

Nickname: Fiends
Clan Disciplines: Animalism, Auspex, Vicissitude

If Clan Lasombra is the heart of the Sabbat, Clan Tzimisce is the soul. Even other vampires grow uneasy around these eerie Kindred, and the clan's nickname of "Fiends" was given to it in nights past the horrified Kindred of other lines. The Tzimisce's signature Discipline of Vicissitude is the subject of particular dread; tales speak of crippling disfigurements inflicted on a whim, of ghastly "experiments" and tortures refined beyond human - or vampiric - comprehension or endurance.

This fearsome reputation often seems unwarranted at first. Many Tzimisce are reserved and perspicacious beings, a far cry from the howling war packs that compose much of the Sabbat. Most Tzimisce appear to be rational creatures, formidably intelligent, possessed of an inquisitive and scientific bent, and unstintingly gracious to guests.

Kindred who treat with the Tzimisce, though, realize that the Fiends' human traits are the merest veneer over something… else. For millennia the Fiends have explored and refined their understanding of the vampiric condition, bending their bodies and thoughts into new and alien patterns. Should it prove necessary, enlightening or simply enjoyable, Tzimisce do not hesitate to bend victims in similar fashion. While younger Fiends might be described as merciless or sadistic, elders of the line simply fail to comprehend mercy or suffering - or perhaps they do comprehend, but no longer consider the emotions relevant.

In nights past, the Tzimisce was among the most powerful clans in the world, dominating much of the region now known as Eastern Europe. Potent sorcerers, the Fiends dominated the region's mortals as well, in the process inspiring many of the horror stories about vampires. Clan after clan conspired to uproot the Tzimisce, but it was the sorcerous Tremere who finally succeeded. Indeed, as some tell the tale, the Tremere used captured Tzimisce vitae in their experiments to become immortal. For this, the Tzimisce hate the Tremere unrelentingly, and Tremere who fall into the Sabbat's clutches typically suffer a hideous end at the talons of the Fiends.

During the Great Anarch Revolt, the Tzimisce clan turned on itself, as younger members of the clan discovered mystic means of breaking the blood bonds ensnaring them in the service of their elders. In the ensuing struggle, the younger Fiends destroyed many of their elders and demolished what was left of their power bases. Certain Sabbat whisper that the clan managed to find and destroy its own Antediluvian progenitor, though the Fiends will neither confirm nor deny this tale.

Now the Tzimisce serve the Sabbat as scholars, advisors and priests. Many of the sect's practices originated in the customs of the clan. By exploring the possibilities and limits of vampirism, the clan hopes to discover the greater purpose of the Kindred as a whole. If this means the wholesale destruction of the archaic Antediluvians, the razing of the Camarilla, and the vivisection of millions of kine victims, well, all experiments have their consequences.

Sect

Most Tzimisce serve the Sabbat. A few powerful Tzimisce elders retain their independence; these are believed to be Inconnu. Almost no Tzimisce are in the Camarilla; even those Fiends unsympathetic to the Sabbat find the Camarilla's skulking among the masses to be distasteful.

Appearance

As masters of the Vicissitude Discipline, Tzimisce often have striking appearances - whether strikingly beautiful or strikingly grotesque depends on the whim of the Fiend in question. Younger Tzimisce, seeking to explore their inhuman natures, perform all manner of body modifications on themselves. Their elders, though, often affect flawless, symmetrical forms; the body is merely a passing useful machine, after all. Tzimisce faces often resemble masks of blank perfection, and the Fiends typically laugh little, though some have been known to chuckle during particularly elaborate experiments.

Haven

Tzimisce are exceedingly private beings, placing great value on the sanctity of the haven. In fact, the elan has an entire series of elaborate protocols based around hospitality. Guests invited into a Fiend's haven are protected with the host's unlife; trespassers are pursued to the ends of the Earth and punished in gruesome and lingering fashion. Surprisingly, Tzimisce havens, or "manses," are not necessarily comfortable or well-kept in the manner of Ventrue or Toreador dwellings. The amenities of mortals matter little to the Fiends.

Background

Tzimisce rarely Embrace capriciously; choice of childer reflects on the sire, and thus Fiends choose only those mortals who they feel have the capacity to improve the clan as a whole. "Brilliance" and "insight" are particularly prized; whether a childe's brilliance and insight manifest in scientific theory or serial murder is a trifling distinction.

Character Creation

Mental Attributes are most prized among the clan. Although descended from a background of nobility, the typical Sabbat Fiend is unconcerned with petty social interplay; thus, Social Attributes (with the notable exception of Appearance) are rarely primary. Knowledgea are favored, and Tzimisce are as likely to follow any Path of Enlightenment. Tzimisce often have Status (in the Sabbat), Resources and Retainers (ghouls).
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*Weakness**

Tzimisce are very territorial creatures, maintaining a particular haven and guarding it ferociously. Whenever a Tzimisce sleeps, she must surround herself with at least two handfuls of earth from a place important to her as a mortal - perhaps the earth of her birthplace or the graveyard where she underwent her creation rites. Failure to meet this requirement halves the Tzimisce's dice pools every 24 hours, until all her actions use only one die. This penalty remains until she rests for a full day amid her earth once more.

Organization

Despite the Tzimisce's pride in their heritage and customs, little organization exists among the clan. Sires and childer remain closer than most Sabbat vampires do, but in general each Fiend makes her own way in the world. One among the Fiends' number bears the ancestral title of Voivode; the Voivode is nominally the clan leader, though in practice he acts more as a "priest" or rite leader than a temporal ruler.