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  • The Premascines

    I'm currently running a Vampire game that will play through events from 1138 to the Final Nights.
    One of the key NPC's is Giovanni (Well, he's Cappadocian right now, but you get the idea) and it got me thinking of the Premascines and my slight issue with them.

    I always found the idea of the Premascines interesting but something about them didn't make sense to me.
    Are we to believe that all of the pre-bite Giovanni are swimming around Venice looking like drowned corpses and have cut themselves off (or have been cut off) from the rest of the clan's nightly affairs?
    I just find it hard to believe that a chunk of the clan just gave up all of their worldly ambitions and status in the clan and retired to the canals after a certain date.

    What makes it even more odd is the way they are spoken about. I get the distinct impression that they are somehow displeased with the post-bite Giovanni and wouldn't be on very good terms if the two should meet.
    Why? Surely there were those Giovanni-Cappadocians who were all for Augustus's usurpation.
    In fact if we are to believe that the Giovanni consumed Clan Cappadocian from within then it must of in fact been at the hands of those we now call Premascines.

    Am I missing something?
    Last edited by Andreas Rayne; 09-02-2019, 02:53 PM.


    Miley Cyrus is obviously a Nephandi and a Cultists love-child. *Shudders*

  • #2
    It's not that they gave up their worldly ambitions, they just took the smarter elder path of "do it from the shadows". The Premascines are watched from the side because they are basically Cappadocians with the Giovanni name. They have the old school clan curse and access to Mortis naturally. Younger Giovanni don't trust that.

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    • #3
      My head canon:

      I think of Premascine territory in the canals as a sort of penal colony/POW camp for those who were spared from the purge for some idiosyncratic reason. I know canon sources claim they exist entirely underwater, but there may be small (or not so small) underwater caverns and tunnels where they can exist more normally.

      I imagine there must have been those embraced by Giovanni who nonetheless weren't altogether onboard with destroying the original clan. They had personal loyalties among the old clan. For example, some may have hidden a Cappadocian lover from the Giovanni purge, or just weren't a fan of genocide.

      Some non-Giovanni Cappadocians who either agreed to remain neutral or aided the Giovanni may have been quietly spared in exchange for their service. Some Infinitores would have been quite pleased to see Cappadocius destroyed. They never fully forgave him for the Feast of Folly. Venice, however, couldn't allow these turncoats to wander freely for political reasons.

      Then there may be those Cappadocians who were too powerful for the Giovanni to hunt down without an all-out effort, and the diversion of unacceptably large amounts of clan assets to the task. They may have been offered a guarantee of safe conduct as long as they remain within a limited area. Their unlives are spared, and Venice saves the effort of hunting them. The Giovanni can always go back later to finish the job.

      The commonality between all these disparate individuals? They all managed to find a separate peace with Augustus. Their reward? They weren't destroyed. The catch? Their movements are limited, and they are under constant watch.

      In theory, at least. How one guarantees no prisoner can escape from a vast, underwater kingdom bordering on the open sea has never been adequately explained.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Kael03 View Post
        It's not that they gave up their worldly ambitions, they just took the smarter elder path of "do it from the shadows". The Premascines are watched from the side because they are basically Cappadocians with the Giovanni name. They have the old school clan curse and access to Mortis naturally. Younger Giovanni don't trust that.
        But surely they didn't all decide to go underground?
        And also by that logic isn't Augustus himself "Cappadocian with the Giovanni name"?
        This idea that all Giovanni from the first embrace to the last one right before the diablerie of Cappadocius all of a sudden have to make themselves scarce just doesn't fly with me.

        Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
        The commonality between all these disparate individuals? They all managed to find a separate peace with Augustus. Their reward? They weren't destroyed. The catch? Their movements are limited, and they are under constant watch.

        In theory, at least. How one guarantees no prisoner can escape from a vast, underwater kingdom bordering on the open sea has never been adequately explained.
        This is where my problem stems from.
        The way it is written it sounds like ALL the pre-bite Giovanni are down there, regardless of if they had reservations over Augustus's scheme or not.

        And this is why I feel like I'm missing something.
        As I read it at some point after the destruction of Clan Cappadocian the Giovanni who brought the clan down (and they must have been pre-bite Giovanni conducting the cull because Augustus would never have been able to embrace enough post-bite to take down a clan) were told "thanks very much for all your hard work, now if you don't mind I want you all down in the water from now on whilst I repopulate the clan with vampires who don't look like walking corpses".
        It's hard to believe powerful cainites who risked their unlives to tare down the old order to establish themselves as the new would settle for such a thing.


        Miley Cyrus is obviously a Nephandi and a Cultists love-child. *Shudders*

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Andreas Rayne View Post
          Are we to believe that all of the pre-bite Giovanni are swimming around Venice looking like drowned corpses and have cut themselves off (or have been cut off) from the rest of the clan's nightly affairs?
          You think swimming is all the Premascines get up to down there?

          That's adorable.

          These are old-balls vampire necromancers with unrestricted access to vast spaces under one of Europe's most venerable and culturally significant cities (that was at one point the center of a vast trade empire AND had the neutrality to escape centuries of continental entanglements). Even if we don't assume there are underwater caverns down there - which there could be, in the World of Darkness - there's plenty of mysterious occult shenanigans they could be preoccupied with. Safe from most mortal or immortal interlopers, and they just so happen to have a rich Clan pulling strings to keep any divers or official mortal underwater work to be kept away from the really important Premascine stuff.

          To top it all off, they have the twin layers of protection afforded by their underwater nature AND Clan Giovanni's pact of neutrality, to guard the Premascines from Jyhad interference.

          What couldn't they be doing down there?


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          • #6
            Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
            You think swimming is all the Premascines get up to down there?

            That's adorable.
            Obviously I was over-simplifying

            Perhaps my problem stems from a simple misunderstanding. I've always read it as if the Premascines were put down there out of a sort of embarrassment at best, or as a punishment at worst.
            The text never gave me the impression that it might be THEIR idea to be there.
            If it is that solves the issue.
            Although I'd still expect there to be those who chose not to reside under Venice.

            And then if you take into consideration that in some material some Giovanni manifested the painful bite and lack of a deathly pallor BEFORE Cappadocius's diablerie, there are probably "Premascines" who don't fit the stereotype of walking corpses so would have no need to hide...

            I've got a headache...
            Last edited by Andreas Rayne; 09-02-2019, 05:46 PM.


            Miley Cyrus is obviously a Nephandi and a Cultists love-child. *Shudders*

            Comment


            • #7
              There are a lot of odd things about the Giovanni as a result of bits of their lore being created at different times. We have the original Borgia style decadent necromancers of the original Player's Guides, the original Clanbook which added a lot, the Dark Ages Cappadocians that established more backstory, and then later material. There is a lot of retroactive continuity as a result, and not all of it actually makes sense.

              Then there are lots of gaps in the history that never get mentioned. Cappadocious was diablerized in 1444. That is in the same era as the supposed diablerie of Lasombra (1405) and Tzimisce (1413), and the Anarch Revolt was between 1395 to 1493. Yet we never hear anything about Cappadocian anarchs and how the Giovanni conspiracy interacted with them. For all practical purposes, wouldn't other vampires simply consider the Giovanni to be anarchs as opposed to an entirely different category? If this is ever addressed, I'm not familiar with it.

              If you are finding the fiddly bits to be a problem for you, I recommend you just keep the elements of the clan you like, but develop its history in a way that makes better sense for you. While I think the core concept of the clan is strong, and I like a lot of its lore, the clan is the one I have made the most adjustments for use in my own chronicles. Some of it is mechanical (my Giovanni have the original Cappadocian Discipline sets and Clan Weakness, but also have the flaw Grip of the Damned as a second curse) and some of it is getting the history to line up in a way that makes better sense. The status and activities of the Premascines is one of them.

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              • #8
                As far as who has what curse, the most thoroughly explored canon example of a clan's weakness changing are the Banu Haqim. When clan curses change, especially from outside forces, it doesn't seem to happen evenly across the entire clan, predictably based on clan faction or bloodline, or even in a one-way direction - that is, a sire who has the new curse can, in theory, embrace a fledgling who winds up with the old curse.

                ...but this weakness doesn’t seem to have a clear pattern or cause. -Giovani Weakness, VDA20, p85
                For the majority of vampires, there was a simple progression. The Cappadocians had a deathly pallor. The Giovani had the same, except the closest to Augustus, who had a painful bite. After Cappadociaus was diablerized the painful bite flaw seems to have spread through the Giovanni clan, while the pallor seems to have receded.

                However, there were many exceptions. There could be old clan Cappadocians who wound up with the painful bite flaw because whoever levied it mis-aimed a bit. There could be Giovanni who had the painful bite before Cap was destroyed, but replaced it with the pallor sometime later. There could even be Cappadocians who had the more broadly available Grip of the Damned flaw prior to the diablerie, and lost the deathly pallor after.

                So, no, not all pre-bite Giovani are floating around the Venice lagoon. Those who retained the deathly pallor are much more likely to have chosen to do so. Think about it. The clan does not have Obfuscate as an in-clan discipline. If you look like a walking corpse, life on the surface isn't so easy anyway. Just like how a few Nosferatu choose to live standard, above-ground lifestyles, but most find it less effort to exist mostly in hiding.

                Oh, and if you were an old clan Cappadocian who lost your pallor, and gained the painful bite would you go out of your way to explain that you really should be purged? Of course, not. There are probably a handful of crypto-Cappadocians hiding within the Giovanni.

                So, if you're looking for a neat and tidy answer to exactly who is swimming around and who is living above water, there may not be one.

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                • #9
                  They're 600+ year-old vampires of guaranteed 8th-6th generation since they almost certainly ate their own fair share of Cappadocians during the purge. Collectively, they have guaranteed access to Potence, Fortitude, Auspex, Dominate, and every Necromancy path except the really obscure proprietary and vodun stuff. You can lay money they picked up Obfuscate from someone, at some time, to cope with their degeneration, too. And if they went whole hog on the purge, they probably picked up methuselah's thirst early too, since diablerists succumb to it sooner than later.

                  Augustus is an idiot, but he isn't stupid. Keeping the smartest, meanest, and most useful Giovanni from the pre-bite days around to serve as a power base is just the smart thing to do -- and no, it isn't just about locking the throwbacks away where they can't do any damage. Remember, Gino's premascine, and he's not even of Augustus' lineage in the first place.

                  So, you have a bunch of vampires old and low generation enough, and with the right disciplines guaranteed, to not even have to leave their havens within their clan's seat of power to assert influence over whatever they damn well please. So, why would they? Especially when they have a whole buffet of neonate and ancilla Giovanni running around upstairs, they can snack on practically at will without anyone saying a damn word out of fear.

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                  • #10
                    Thank you all for your replies.
                    It's given me food for thought and stopped me obsessing over a solid answer, which after all is how it should be. There's no fun without wiggle room.
                    I think I'd gotten it into my head that it was some kind of exile. I never stopped to think that perhaps the Premascines had chosen that way of unlife.
                    It's also freeing to think that not all of the pre-bite Giovanni are down there.

                    On a side note as Black Fox pointed out, I'd never stopped to think how much is missing in terms of Giovanni history, especially the distinct lack of information around the time of the Anarch Revolt.
                    I wonder if that was an oversight or was intentional?


                    Miley Cyrus is obviously a Nephandi and a Cultists love-child. *Shudders*

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Andreas Rayne View Post
                      On a side note as Black Fox pointed out, I'd never stopped to think how much is missing in terms of Giovanni history, especially the distinct lack of information around the time of the Anarch Revolt.
                      I wonder if that was an oversight or was intentional?
                      From a Holmesian perspective, the clan committed some pretty heinous acts of genocide, since they managed to kill off a whole clan. Imagine what it would take to, tonight, exterminate every last Toreador or every last Malkavian. For somewhere between a few decades and a century or two, it must have seemed to the rest of the Kindred world that the Giovanni were a bloodthirsty mob dedicated to only one thing: hunting down the Cappadocians.

                      Let's not forget the Cappadocians were a High Clan, in most domains existing under the protection of their Prince, when they themselves didn't hold praxis. So, close up, the purge must have been messy. Traditions must have been violated, or at least ignored. A purge spanning multiple continents must have drawn some attention from hunters. Domains must have been trespassed upon, if only to investigate whether any Caps were present. Just think of how many times the Tradition of Destruction was violated. Plus, how often must the Giovanni have destroyed someone they thought were associated with the Caps or Lamia, only to discover later it was just a Ventrue or Brujah who didn't bother activating blush of life. (Especially, given how many Roads and Paths would have not encouraged pretending to be human.) For a short while, the Giovanni must have seemed as bloodthirsty as the Assamites, if thankfully more focused.

                      These are the sort of war stories no Giovanni would want to recount. It would be too easy to accidentally admit to a crime another vampire would refuse to forgive. As for non-Giovanni, how many elders would like to chat about the time they threw their trusted advisor and friend to the wolves to save their own neck? Make it hard to recruit new allies, you know?

                      From a Doylist perspective, the story of the Anarch revolt is a messy place to mention the Giovanni. Let's say the publisher has given you an assignment to write up a history of the Anarch Revolt, and how the Sabbat grew from it. So, you write about the Camarilla, the Anarchs, and the Sabbat. That's who was involved, right? The clans not directly involved in any of those sects just kind of get ignored. In any piece of writing there must be some economy of detail or you'll begin every story with "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and the world was without form and void...".

                      At some point a writer has to focus on their main points and accept that they can't fit every idea into every piece. Since the Giovanni are rarely among the top 3 players in the history of that time, they rarely made the cut. They shouldn't feel too bad, they aren't alone. What did the Danava think of the Convention of Thorns? Their associates in the True Hand must have mentioned it in passing. How did the Ashirra react to the formation of the Camarilla? They must have been aware of it, given they share borders at multiple places. For that matter, what did the Order of Reason think about all this? A continent-wide organization of vampires would have been big news. Even if they were premised on keeping the big secret, there must have been some discussions about whether to step in when they realized the Tremere were on board.

                      So, the Giovanni just sort of fall through the cracks. Look on the bright side. What were the Lasombra of Spain doing during the Giovanni Chronicles?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Andreas Rayne View Post
                        On a side note as Black Fox pointed out, I'd never stopped to think how much is missing in terms of Giovanni history, especially the distinct lack of information around the time of the Anarch Revolt.
                        I wonder if that was an oversight or was intentional?
                        I'm pretty sure nothing was written about it because from a story perspective, the Anarchs and their themes are superfluous to the Giovanni and their themes, so the writers didn't give any thought to it. But it is a huge oversight if thinking about things from a historical perspective.

                        In my own chronicles, I have it that there were Cappadocian anarchs. And one of the drivers was the real fear they had for their founder since he had already destroyed a lot of his own clan during the Feast of Folly. If the founder did it once, then it was entirely possible he'd wake up again and wipe out another large batch of "disappointing" children. Who wanted to risk that? So Augustus played a double game. He had a lot of younger Giovanni join the anarchs and help kill other Cappadocians, while he and his eldest childer pretended they were loyal. Since Cappadocious had his own bizarre reasons to support Augustus' plan, he was fine with this. It is entirely possible that much of the "Giovanni" killing Cappadocians were actually Cappadocian Anarchs and Elders killing each other off. Then Augustus "joined" the Revolt by diablerizing Cappadocious and going after the remaining elders. Hurray, said the Anarchs, here was another "hero" along with Gratiano and Lugoj.

                        However, by the time of the Camarilla's foundation, it was becoming obvious that these Cappadocian anarchs weren't really anarchs. Augustus was pretty much acting like an elder, and the Giovanni were closing ranks, not joining the anarch packs of other clans, and killing off just the other Cappadocians, but not their own elders, and not the elders of other clans. Instead, it was some kind of internal bloodline coup taking place within a Cappadocian civil war. This was confirmed in the Promise of 1528 where the Giovanni declared they weren't anarchs and they weren't Sabbat and wouldn't interfere with any other vampires business as long as they were left alone to do whatever they wanted with the Cappadocians. Having enough enemies of their own, the Camarilla agreed. (It is entirely possible some Giovanni and Camarilla vampires wanted the Giovanni to join the Camarilla, but hardliners within the Camarilla torpedoed that out of vestigal loyalty to their old Cappadocian friends. And thus the "Devil Kindred" myth was born. Disappointed, the Giovanni went out to say they were never interested in joining.)

                        As a result, both the Camarilla and the Giovanni had incentive to view what happened with the Cappadocians as something distinct and different, and their narratives just excluded all the bits that didn't fit.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
                          What did the Danava think of the Convention of Thorns? Their associates in the True Hand must have mentioned it in passing. How did the Ashirra react to the formation of the Camarilla? They must have been aware of it, given they share borders at multiple places. For that matter, what did the Order of Reason think about all this? A continent-wide organization of vampires would have been big news. Even if they were premised on keeping the big secret, there must have been some discussions about whether to step in when they realized the Tremere were on board.
                          Well thanks, now I'm going to have to write and run THAT chronicle!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                            And one of the drivers was the real fear they had for their founder since he had already destroyed a lot of his own clan during the Feast of Folly. If the founder did it once, then it was entirely possible he'd wake up again and wipe out another large batch of "disappointing" children. Who wanted to risk that?
                            It's for this reason that I assume the Cappadocians weren't a particularly populous Clan, at least compared to others. The Graverobbers unlived in immortal fear of their founder deciding to enact another purge. Likely enough, Cappadocians trended towards infrequent Embraces, with Sires being extra mindful in their choice of Childer.

                            Scholarly and unambitious as they were, the Clan of Death probably felt little incentive to generate large broods.

                            As such, enacting a purge against them may not have been as difficult as it might have been for, say, the Toreador or Brujah.


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