No announcement yet.

Ten Tips to running the Tremere in V5

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Ten Tips to running the Tremere in V5

    Hey folks,

    These articles on how to run the changes to major characters and factions in V5 are proving to be some of my most-loved blog articles. For the next entry I'm going to be discussing the changes of, I've decided to go with Clan Tremere. Clan Tremere has arguably been hit the hardest of the 13 Clans in V5. The Tremere Pyramid has been decapitated with the deaths of the Council of Seven as well as destruction of the Vienna chantry. The Second Inquisition proved their bonafides by killing the most powerful known vampires in the world as well as destroying a place thought invincible to its magical defenses.

    Or did it?

    The Tremere have also been shattered in terms of unity as the most carefully structured and rigid Clan has since split into multiple competing Houses. These include House Tremere, House Carna, House Goratrix, and House Ipsissimus. Even their curse has changed with the Blood Bond something that Tremere can no longer inflict on their fellow vampires. Here's how to use these changes in your game.

    1. Bent, Bowed, but Unbroken

    The Tremere have lost the Council of Seven, been broken into feuding houses, and lost their primary chantry. They have also ceased to be the only source of Blood Sorcery in the Camarilla due to the arrival of the Assamites. This does not mean the Tremere are beaten, though. Indeed, in many ways, they are now more powerful than they were before. The organization has always been held back by its strict control. New chantries, members, and rituals are now being created all the time. The Anarchs now flood with members as the Camarilla needs all the help it can get. Blood cults have more than their fair share of warlocks. The Council of Seven feared losing control and new Paths but nothing prevents the Tremere from pursuing new avenues to power or position anymore. Tremere could not jockey for Prince or Primogen as well as serve their Clan interests. Now they can pursue power for themselves as well as Clan.

    2. My brother against me, my brother and me against the world

    The Tremere's broken state is perhaps overstated. Before the Tremere were held together like the Sith Empire. There was the masters and their apprentices who were constantly scheming against each other. The Tremere encouraged this infighting and even allowed duels to the death via certamen. The new Tremere are divided into feuding houses that contain many grudges as well as struggles over recruits. However, the Tremere are not so stupid as to forget that the enemy of one is likely the enemy of all. House Carna, House Goratrix, and House Tremere members will likely join together if an Assamite threatens one.

    3. You may have created us, man of evil, but we are free

    The entire Tremere Clan was partially blood bound to the Council of Seven. Effectively, this meant all members of the Tremere were effectively forced to serve the Clan's interests above their own. The biggest change of V5 is not the death of the Council of Seven and the breaking of those blood bonds but the fact that the Tremere cannot make blood bonds anymore period. They are free from the mind-control of their founders and for some, this will result in radical personality changes. After all, if you were forced to love someone for millennia and then discovered it was all a lie, how would you react? It also means that they cannot control any other Kindred via the Blood Bond and may have those they've enslaved turn against them.

    4. The Tremere no longer have a monopoly on Blood Sorcery

    This is something that has already been mentioned but it's important to understand the Tremere used to wield the vast majority of their authority by leveraging their power against other Clans. Need to track down a missing Neonate? Call the Tremere. Need to inflict a bloody curse on a rival Elder? Call the Tremere. Need a bunch of fireballs thrown at the Sabbat? Tremere again. The addition of the Assamites and breaking up of the Pyramid means that sorcery is far more widely available. The Tremere can't stamp down Neonates teaching their friends parlor tricks or assassinate the rare Embraced mage who develops an affinity for it. Blood cults, in particular, are spreading mysticism throughout the Kindred world. This means that while the Tremere have not lost any power, they must develop alternate avenues to enforce their will as they face something they've never had before: competition.

    5. Blood Sorcery has changed

    The Tremere, for all of their brilliance, were a fairly static group. The Council of Seven were all recruited from the Order of Hermes in the Dark Ages and their immediate progeny. They favored traditional Hermetic sorcery and distrusted deviations from this rigid formula. The rise of House Carna has resulted in a resurgence of Verbena-style witchcraft. House Ipsissimus works with the Anarchs because they are not technophobes. As such, they are a place where technomancers and biomancers can find succor. Nothing prevents Tremere wizards from incorporating the mysticism of blood cults like the Church of Caine, Church of Set, Mithranic Mysteries, and even Lilith worship into their magic as well. Blood Sorcery is now highly individualized outside of House Tremere and this is an advantage the Tremere are likely to take extreme advantage of. They may not be the only sorcerers anymore but they are still the best.

    6. Know the Players, Know the Masters

    Karl Schrekt is the current leader of House Tremere's Camarilla contingent and has apparently assembled his own Council of Seven together. This is less impressive than the 4th and 5th generation members it previously sported but Karl is 5th generation himself. He is apparently not suffering the Beckoning and thus is one of the most powerful vampires outside of the Middle East. He wishes to restore things as they were and may have the power to do so, even if it takes centuries. Carna is a significantly weaker 8th generation vampire but holds a cult of personality around herself as well as wields the power of the Book of the Grave-War. She is 600 years old and also a tremendously powerful vampire by the standards of the New World. Is Goratrix (secretly Tremere) still the leader of House Goratrix? If so, both Carna and Schrekt live by the grace of their Founder who apparently approves of the split. House Ipsissimus has no leaders as they simply desire freedom to wield magic as they like. Nothing prevents the PCs from founding their own Houses, though, beyond their willingness to stand alone.

    7. Vienna was almost certainly an inside job

    The Second Inquisition has inflicted massive damage on London, the Giovanni Mausoleum, Mexico City's Sabbat, and the city of Montreal's Sabbat. They are capable hunters that include many long-standing veterans from the Society of Leopold as well as Special Affairs Division. However, Kindred have always used the mortals who hate them against their enemies. Mithras manipulated the hunters of London according to THE FALL OF LONDON and the Giovanni Mausoleum was struck with the help of the Hecata. While it is only a matter of suspicion, there are many people who could have helped the Second Inquisition hit the Vienna chantry.

    8. The Tremere's enemies are weakened too

    The Tremere's collection of enemies can be summarized as: The Salubri Antitribu, the Gargoyles, the Tzimisce, the Tremere Antitribu, the Assamites, and other Tremere. Ironically, the Tremere's incredibly bad luck have given their foes absolutely no room to take advantage of it. The Sabbat have suffered heavy losses at the hands of the Second Inquisition and gone off to fight in a war that occupies their full attention. The Assamites, now known as the Banu Haqim, have joined the Camarilla so they have officially made peace with their former foes. The Second Inquisition and Beckoning has also stymied the other Clans as well, leaving the Tremere a surprising amount of room to expand their influence too. Hell, even the Order of Hermes lost most of its masters in the Avatar Storm, and thus the average Hermetic knows about as much about the Tremere as a modern Muslim knows about Tamerlane. They are a dark chapter of the order's history and best forgotten.

    9. The Pyramid is smaller, not gone

    The Tremere Pyramid has not been dissolved. Even with all the defections to the Anarchs, House Carna, House Goratrix, and blood cults--there are still many who find the old way of doing things just fine. Indeed, the casualties in the Elder ranks means that the Pyramid has many new openings for the ambitious as well as ruthless. Two qualities that the Tremere have always prized and its members usually possess in abundance. As such, it remains one of the most powerful and dangerous Kindred organizations in the world. Renegade Tremere may have more breathing room but it can still exert great force on those that attract its attention.

    10. Now is the time to seize power

    As one person who would make a great Tremere once said, "Chaos is a ladder." The Tremere remain some of the most educated and well-trained of Kindred. This may change with their newfound freedom to Embrace and teach their progeny as they see fit. With so many Elders Beckoned or killed, the power of sorcery can be utilized for one's own gain. The system of V5 actually contributes to this as restricting Disciplines to 5 levels means that a Tremere ancilla can potentially be among the most powerful mages in the world. There are older things out there and those with Disciplines that defy conventional rules but not so many that the day is not there to be taken. You just have to kill to get it.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-10-2020, 10:27 PM.

    Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

  • #2
    What's your opinion on running Tremere in a campaign set before the clan flaw changed? How would you run the Tremere clan flaw with the mechanic of bane severity?


    • #3
      Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
      What's your opinion on running Tremere in a campaign set before the clan flaw changed? How would you run the Tremere clan flaw with the mechanic of bane severity?
      My take on the subject is that the V5 change to the Tremere's Clan Flaw is that it is one that happened in-universe. The Tremere are all Blood Bound to the Council of Seven before the attack on Vienna and then after the attack, the Clan's blood mutated or was changed by some unknown ritual (perhaps an act of Goratrix/Tremere). Those the Tremere Blood Bounded suddely were freed and the Tremere could not Blood Bond anyone else.

      Bane severity wise, the Tremere would be at 1-2 points Blood Bound to the Council of Seven, which effectively means they're Blood Bound to the concept of the Tremere as a whole. So the breaking of that means that many could re-evauate their entire concept of self and loyalty to the Clan.

      Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
        What's your opinion on running Tremere in a campaign set before the clan flaw changed? How would you run the Tremere clan flaw with the mechanic of bane severity?

        Not CT, but the easiest way to do this is to tie it to the Bond Strength. A Tremere is always considered to have +Bane Severity in levels of their Bond Strength? Might be overdone though since the full, mechanical part of the bond doesn't set in until third drink (which is deault Bond Strength 3). Maybe make it so that the first drink automatically bonds mechanically ,and they're treated as having +Bane Severity in Bond Strength, so a minimum of 2 for most.


        • #5
          I will confess that I know little about V5, and last time I dabbled in Vampire was the late 90's. *But* I have played a lot of Ars Magica, and I see some paralles between ArM5 Tremere and V5 Tremere. Bend but unbroken is the key idea.
          Quick Recap: ArM1 there were no Houses yet, ArM2 hints of Tremere experimenting with undead, ArM3 (the White Wolf edition) introduced Tremere Vampires, ArM4 the Tremere wiped out the vampiric faction, then ArM5 nothing happened here just some dragon wars. In Mage the Awakening, the Tremere are Liche Magi.
          There is a point behind my ramblings. No matter what game they are in, the Tremere always manage to reinvent themselves and remain unified. I strongly reccommend two Ars Magica books; Houses of Hermes-True Lineages (which details House Tremere) and Against the Dark (the Transylvanian Tribunal). Different game, different concepts. But these can provide a great source for Tremere ideas that will surprise and delight players.
          The point to that is that, no matter the game or edition, matters not if they are monsters or magi, certain themes remain consistent.
          * Strong will, passion, and deedication
          * Loyalty to House and Order (or here, to Clan and Camarilla)
          * Dedicated to creating and maintaining order.
          * Proto-fascism. Roman style. Not modern style. The Tremere want to rulle the world because only *they* know how to make it better.
          * Total dedication to one another. This means subordination to the heirarchy, ruling those under you with wisdom, and a willingness to sacrifice self for each other (not for outsiders though).
          * Very organized and meticulous.
          * Survivors to the end. Bent, bruised, but unbroken.

          As a side question, what is the ultimate fate of Tremere himself in your timeline (for this game). I am running an M20 game, and recently introduced Tytalus as having returned from a faerie forest. I believe that in both WoD and ArM, ther were brothers (or students of the same mistress, Guorna the fetid).


          • #6
            Originally posted by Marko Markoko View Post
            As a side question, what is the ultimate fate of Tremere himself in your timeline (for this game). I am running an M20 game, and recently introduced Tytalus as having returned from a faerie forest. I believe that in both WoD and ArM, ther were brothers (or students of the same mistress, Guorna the fetid).
            CT Phipps' Answer to Vienna's destruction

            In my games, it's canonical that the person who destroyed Vienna was Tremere himself. The Antediluvian brought down the wards and defenses of the Vienna Chantry in order to allow the Second Inquisition to go in and slaughter as many as possible. To the Second Inquisition's credit, they cut through the mundane Tremere defenses, ghouls, and gargoyles easily as well as killed dozens of sleeping Elders. Many who had used Awake with Mornings Freshness still got slaughtered by True Faith relic-wearing soldiers carrying assault rifles. The SI never got close to the actual Council of Seven before they withdrew but they didn't have to.

            This was all a cover for Tremere to bury the Worm-Thing (Saulot) under the rubble of the chantry with the bomb that he dropped ontop of it. The Worm-Thing is now buried under hundreds of tons of rubble, returned to torpor but alive. The sacrifice of his former disciples was a small price to pay or so Tremere thinks.

            What is Tremere up to?

            Tremere is still running around in Goratrix's body in Northern Mexico and is recruiting select Tremere from House Tremere, House Carna, and House Ipsissimus in order to serve as his personal agents as well as researchers. He's divided the Pyramid in order to make it harder for Saulot (or whatever the Worm-Thing is) to control. It was also his use of Blood Sorcery 10 that allowed him to make it impossible to Blood Bond Tremere so that he could prevent the Worm-Thing from dominating them that way. He changed the Clan's Bane by enacting his own curse on them.

            Tremere is not a particularly heroic figure and is doing this primarily because he's terrified of being a slave. He fears he's been a pawn of an Antediluvian his entire career and that he can't even trust his own thoughts. His paranoia has grown as well with belief that his hidden enemies include Saulot, Tzimisce, Kupala, and possibly himself. It gets worse because Tremere is running low on the power boost to 3rd generation that he artificially gave himself by sacrificing 90% of the Tremere Antitribu in 2004. He already feels like he's weakening back to 4th generation and becoming vulnerable to outside influences. Worse, whenever this happens, he starts feeling a call to the Middle East like so many others.

            Oh and his 3rd Eye opens...

            Why Karl Schrekt?

            Why is Karl Schrekt the head of the Tremere clan versus someone like Peter Dorfman? Assuming that he wasn't in the Chantry with the Council of Seven. The answer is that Tremere wants Karl in charge of the "Loyalist" faction (Tremere has no need of "loyalty" despite what traditional wisdom says--if you're strong enough to overthrow your superior then you should). Karl would be annoyed to find out that Tremere isn't particularly impressed with his mental faculties. Karl is a Puritan witch hunter and fanatically loyal to the Tremere and Camarilla's "ideals" (despite neither really having them).

            Tremere wants someone like Karl in charge essentially just to keep the infrastructure of the Pyramid intact while also being willing to step aside when and if Tremere decides to return to take over again. He actually views Karl's loyalty with disdain. Tremere respects rogues like Carna and Doctor Mortius. Mind you, when Tremere returns Carna and Mortius will be given the offer to "join or die." If they accept the former then they'll probably be given positions on his NEW Council of Seven. Being treacherous and power hungry is a pair of qualities to be ADMIRED.

            Poor Karl is basically Tremere's substitute Smithers since Etrius "died."

            Are the Council of Seven dead?

            It depends on how you define "dead." After all, if Tremere is powerful enough to destroy the Vienna Chantry's defenses then how powerful is whatever is possessing his body? Surely, it would have seen Tremere's plans coming, wouldn't it? The Council of Seven are almost certainly husks of their former selves, perhaps possessed by Saulot's deceased lieutenants or maybe just brainwashed by their new god, but they are no longer needed as the leaders of the Tremere clan.

            Or maybe they've just joined their master in torpor until it decides to wake up...
            Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-10-2020, 10:36 PM.

            Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.


            • #7
              Honesty again. I do not know what two-thirds of what any of this means. But I am interested in learning because I think it would be useful for my Mage game. My gaming group are a bunch of oWoD fans. The main member whose house we play at is a *huge* Vampire fan. But none of them have progresses past Revised edition in any of the games. I *think* the guy knows some V20 mythos. And I am pretty sure he knows little to nothing of V5 lore. So I am seeing a dual opportunity, one is to surprise and entertain the players and the other is a rich vein of folklore I can maybe adopt.
              I am a Tremere fan because I am a big Ars Magica fan. Unlike most Ars players though, I have no animosity towards White Wolf and see the Tremere as sharing essential qualities throught different variations of reality. The Tremere of the Mutiverse, some are vampires, some are wizards, some are wizard vampires, some are lich sorcerers, and some are just honest mortal necromancers.

              So Tremere the founder is... not dead. I hesitate to say alive. But being "not-dead" gives me some story ideas. How is Tytalus going to react when he discovers his little brother is still around?

              Honesty again. I am not keen on investing in V5 material. I am mainly interested in Mage. But using Tremere's followers as antagonists is too tempting and I do not want to muck it up. If I were to buy just one book for this purpose, V20 or V5, which book should that be?

              Or, if you want, you can correspond with me as an assistant GM plot writer and feed me ideas one at a time.


              • #8
                I was mentioning this in another thread the other day, but it only makes sense if Vienna were an inside job. You had a ton of elders with really high Auspex and none of them saw imminent destruction and decided to flee with the numerous rituals or other failsafes they had at their disposal. Completely makes sense if Tremere as Goratrix or the Worm thing managed to blind them to the attack, but if it's just humans, at least a portion of the leadership should have seen something coming, even if it was vague, a few would have gotten out.

                I much more prefer it being Tremere sacrificing the antitribu in the revised era ritual to blind them to the attack and maybe release them from the bonds, but the worm thing works too. I'd be surprised if they actually managed to destroy the worm in the drone strike, considering what it took to kill Ravnos. If they had managed to destroy it, Vienna would be a crater. That might be an interesting plot hook, the worm thing living below Vienna starting to mentally manipulate other vampires or humans around the area to fill the gap left by the destruction of the chantry.


                • #9

                  The split of the houses is a ploy. The Tremere were unpopular and seen as monopolistic bullies, and the sects were changing drastically; what more can you do but split up the Tremere?

                  Though the peons do not know it, All houses answer to Vienna's council of seven (Which is less-bombed than believed)

                  House Tremere remains within the shrinking Camarilla
                  House Carna aims towards new territories (often former sabbat territories) and territories where the Tremere are deeply unpopular. (side note: They're more hermetic than advertised)
                  House Ipsimus gives the Tremere a spot to work with within the expanded Anarch domains.
                  House Goratrix, obviously, exists to work within the sabbat.

                  Minor houses may exist for specific circumstances or as genuine rebels to be crushed by the Tremere of the big four houses. The Tremere have extended their tendrils everywhere on their path to Thaumaturgic domination.

                  Other notes:
                  Assamite sorcerers are very few, and the houses do their best to drive them out.
                  The growth of Anarch sorcery was part of the initial driving force to put houses in anarch territory, through the Camarilla cut-down and anarch expansion made it an absolute necessity.
                  Minor spats are encouraged between houses, serious spats are strongly curbed.
                  The Tremere still have excellent control over many retainers through dominate and resources.
                  I'm not going to discuss the new mechanics of disciplines or blood sorcery because I don't want to be banned. But all this stuff is the most likely scenario regardless of if you use V5 mechanics or not.

                  Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.


                  • #10
                    He Phipps what is your take on playing with V5 Fluff but V20/M20 rules on everythint except clan bane? Do you think now Tremere could take the boon about being immun to blood bound because of their curse changed?

                    As I am from Austria I need to clarify two things.
                    First my native language is german and so please point out if the english I write is broken so I can improve.
                    Second I do not own VTMV nor any line after M20 because it is not out there and I wait for the translation.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Koronus View Post
                      He Phipps what is your take on playing with V5 Fluff but V20/M20 rules on everythint except clan bane? Do you think now Tremere could take the boon about being immun to blood bound because of their curse changed?

                      Gonna throw it in there: I think the V5 clan bane is Temporary. The old bane will re-assert itself soon.

                      Now, on this weakness, on one hand I suspect you just can't take it for gameplay ballance and it's not a real issue npcs have, On the other hand if that's wrong and you take this merit and things revert...
                      I'd say you could take the Merit as a Tremere for 7 points rather than the usual 5.

                      Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                        The Tremere Pyramid has been decapitated with the deaths of the Council of Seven as well as destruction of the Vienna chantry.
                        We'll see. I doubt if either Etrius or Meerlinda are that easy to get rid of.

                        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                        Vienna was almost certainly an inside job.
                        My money's on Grimgroth. He did almost exactly the same thing to Mistridge


                        • #13
                          Wait. Grimgroth and Mistridge are part of Vampire lore also? I knew that Mistridge is part of Mage lore. I did not know you had Grimgroth too, and I was unaware of the Vampire connection.
                          I only recently acquired the Mistridge book for Ars Magica. White Wolf. Third edition. 1992. There is an ad on the last page for "werewolf the Apocalypse, coming in August".
                          Is Grimgroth a vampire and also "not dead"?


                          • #14
                            Grimgroth is/was a member of the Tremere Council of Seven.

                            The die is cast. - Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon


                            • #15
                              Fascinating. I did not know that Vampire drew so heavily from Ars Magica.
                              Am I correct in presuming that this Council of Seven are/were the leaders of the Tremere? Who are/were the others? Or more specific, who remains that was taken from Ars Magica lore? Felix Necromius would be an interesting one.