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  • Does anyone else dislike the Tzimisce?

    Personally, I find the Tzimisce groaning. RAW basically turns what could have been a cool idea and infects them with CoolDisciplineitis and turns them into torturers and freak shows.

    Personally, I *like* the idea of the Old World monsters, adhering to ancient codes of conduct, who are gracious and painstakingly polite and are tied to the land and its inhabitants. Sadly, Vicissitude turns them into "LOL now your bones are on the outside of your body for some reason and your flesh is globbed off because Dexterity + Body Crafts."

    Personally, I run them with Animalism, Auspex and Koldunic Sorcery as Clan Disciplines, because I enjoy the idea of the Magyar Sorcerers (Tzimisce) and the Hermetic Mages (Tremere) battling it out in some Shadow War to be far more appealing. I think it makes for a more compelling Clan and more compelling stories, where the Arcane realm is suddenly a battlefield, instead of just being the Tremere standing around earning favors by doing parlor tricks.

  • #2
    I'm not sure if this preface gets groan worthy... but my attachment to the Clans is heavily biased by my first experience with the game being Dark Ages.

    Instead of the modern nights Tzimisce who combined Vicissitude and Sabbat membership into being splatterpunks with no real functional connection to the lords of the night they used to be, starting in the Dark Ages gave Vicissitude more of a sense of the Tzimisce being a contrast to the Venture and Lasombras as the being "royal" Clans. The Ventrue felt like they idealized Charlemange's approach to the HRE: a new monarchy that wanted to be the next Rome with powerful rulers forcing order on the serfs and peasants. The Lasombra felt like they represented the underside of courtly intrigue and the hunger for power for power's sake. The Tzimisce felt... honest. They were brutal warlords in life, and brutal warlords in death. They dispatched with the lofty airs of the Venture, and the pointless politicking of the Lasombra. The violence of Vicissitude helped reinforce that impression. They were terrifying in a visceral and direct way without any need for pretense. Only those they considered peers earned any sort of respect and formalities.

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    • #3
      I am a huge Tzimisce fan. I think the Modern Tzimisce are barely worth their weight in blood.


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

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      • #4
        This is a topic that definitely has a range of opinions.

        One the one hand, you've got people like CTPhipps who are really into the Dark Ages depiction of the Tzimisce as Dracula-types and have an extreme dislike for the Modern Nights Tzimisce that focus predominantly on body horror and squick.

        On the other hand, you have a lot of Tzimisce fans who consider Vicissitude the single most important and interesting aspect of the Tzimisce, and will go "what's the point even?" if you try and imagine the Tzimisce without it.

        And then you've got folks like me somewhere in the middle, who finds the body horror aspect fun and doesn't want to see it go away necessarily, but doesn't like the entire Clan being reduced to that single stereotype either, and thus tends to carry some of that Old World culture into the Modern Nights with them. Might be why I enjoy Radu's "Modest Proposal" to Velya the Vivisectionist so much, since it almost takes this OOC debate and turns it into an IC discussion.

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        • #5
          I love the Tzimisci. I like their Dark Ages iteration, and I also like their modern iteration. They Tzimisci have changed more than any other clan over the last thousand years. The modern iteration also serves as nice counterbalance to the Lasombra. With the Lasombra, the full clan joined the Sabbat and brought all of their rituals with them. With the Tzimisci, the Old Clan didn't. So the Sabbat Tzimisci lost a chunk of their heritage and forged a new identity for themselves.

          I also like how the Tzimisci went from being lords in the Dark Ages to being the priests of the Sabbat. And the Lasombra went from being priests in the Dark Ages to being lords in the Sabbat.

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          • #6
            Random OOC story:

            Mi Castle Su Castle

            My all-time favorite Tzimisce character was inspired by the song "Hungry Eyes." I watched the music video of it and proceeded to make this as an NPC/PC for a short game with the premise that he was a member of the Tzimisce.

            The character, Jeffrey Jones, owned an apartment building. It was an extremely nice apartment building that was strangely cheap but in the bad part of town. It was heavily gated and had its own private security company but a very strange set of rules. Basically, you signed the contract only after extensive interviews and background checks. You also were very much at the mercy of the landowner in eviction but you had rent control and utilities covered.

            You lived very well if you put your life entirely in the landlord's hands, basically, and made a token offering every month.

            Unbeknownst to the residents, the place was heavily wired and bugged with security cameras everywhere as well as Auspex as his Primary Discipline. The owner wished to know everything about his people and used that to manipulate them. The animals in the building were all loyal to him as well, dogs, cats, and if there were rats then they always stayed out of sight. He eventually learned the Out of Clan Discipline of Presence. Dominate was too crude for him but he wished his tenants to LOVE him.

            Jeffrey had plans beyond ruling one apartment building, though. He eventually had the owners of the nearby grocery store murdered so he could buy out their business. From there, he set up a delivery service to his apartment building. He bought out the Chinese restaurant across the street and gave discounts to delivery to the apartment. He couldn't acquire a nearby public school but was considering getting a private school established and LOVED home schooling families.

            You see, the goal of Jeffrey Jones was that eventually these people would never leave his territory. They would have everything they needed provided to them and he could always know who they were, where they were, and what they did. To gather hundreds of hours of footage of them from birth until death. He fed on them, yes, and cultivated them as a herd with easy ways to access their homes (he has the keys) and knowing when they ate, slept, and defecated.

            No one would ever threaten them and he would protect them but they were, of course, the sweetest blood that they offered to him in tribute.

            Jeffrey Jones was a Tzimisce Anitribu of the Camarilla who had one simple desire: to own his tenants. Body and soul. That every night, he was SURROUNDED by his territory and people like a warm coffin.

            Other vampires...just wouldn't understand.

            DO NOT TRY AND MOVE.
            Last edited by CTPhipps; 05-05-2022, 10:10 PM.


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

            Forum Terms of Use
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            • #7
              I find them rather frustrating, because they don't quite do their job of being playable Wamphyri. Vicissitude is too powerful in direct combat, and too weak as a prep-time-power. If you actually look at what the Wamphyri can do, they have roughly three or four dots worth of Requim Protean, and the ability to create powerful warbeasts if they have a long, long time to work in a laboratory. They have zero, absolutely zero, ability to warp other people's flesh in direct combat. Their powers are better represented by Protean and some sort of Thaumaturgy ritual that can only be used in conjunction with Protean and which requires a laboratory.

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              • #8
                Honestly, Vampires+Cronenberg-y/Barker-y body horror is a solid idea combo. Not one to all tastes, sure, but there is a certain "yeah, you could totally combine those things and find certain horror-y stylistic and thematic resonances in doing so" vibe deep down. For all that the modern conception of the Tzimisce might feel shallow to some, there is at the heart of that an evocative concept with strong legs to stand on and spin out from. Which is probably a big ol part of why the modern iteration has the fairly vociferous fans that they do (and being real, ones who have no idea what Whampyri even are as far as what is getting a response out of them. "Vampires+Body horror" is an idea that can live well outside that source material). Even if it is shallow (which can be argued, I'm just saying, even if you lean that way), one of the forever strengths of VtM and part of why it hit so hard is, well, the sheer presence of its style and imagery, grotesque and otherwise. The modern Tzimisce express that, in their own way, even if it might be considered by some to be a simplistic way. They give a lot for people into that kind of thing to play around with and perhaps even find depth in, if they choose.

                And I say that as someone who has run yeeeeaaaaaaars of Dark Ages campaigns, so as an ST I certainly have my preferred flavour of Tzimisce as far as how I use them in my own games. I just get why the modern Tzim have spent.. what, 4 editions of present day VtM now? (they barely existed in 1e) in more or less their same shape (Vic as alien astral disease for instance didn't really change how the main body of the clan expressed themselves, it just threw in a very particular why for it). Like the Assamites, the Setites, the Ravnos, any number of clans have had comparatively huge shifts in attempted approach (or attempted blowing them up no less) up and down the line. The modern Tzim continued to trade just fine in the material as "them monstrous body horror vampires" and still be clamoured for. They're bizarre and grotesque and frankly some edgelord-y stuff, and yet also accessibly and comprehensibly so. It's worth considering thus that there's something to that on a level of gaming craft. It might not thrill you, but truly, there's so much worse things out there as far as gaming things people like.
                Last edited by MarkK; 05-05-2022, 11:15 PM. Reason: grammar

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                • #9
                  Well, I’ll add my voice to those who love Old Clan Tzimisce but aren’t particularly interested in the newer Clan. I love the ultra-traditional, territorial, honorable yet cruel elders of the Clan and would want to use them in a modern game as well. The sadistic body horror stuff doesn’t do it for me, in fact some of the material on them almost seemed to fetishize torture, which was a bit creepy.

                  Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                  Jeffrey Jones was a Tzimisce Anitribu of the Camarilla who had one simple desire: to own his tenants. Body and soul. That every night, he was SURROUNDED by his territory and people like a warm coffin.

                  Other vampires...just wouldn't understand.
                  I love this character concept and have long wanted the Tzimisce to be in the Camarilla.

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                  • #10
                    (It feels like we just did this .... )

                    They were my favorite clan for a while, especially back in the early days of Vampire: The Dark Ages (@1996 - 1999). I do think Vicissitude is sometimes - even often - over-played, but I've honestly found that to be true for all of the "Special Sauce" Disciplines (Thaumaturgy, Necromancy, Quietus, etc.).
                    As I've mentioned elsewhere, I prefer drawing more on some of the Eastern European cultural influences, including how they sometimes map to other places, as well as a lot of the more mystical trans humanism/trans-vampirism from Requiem's Ordo Dracul book, and certain aspects of urban xenophobia/cliquishness/isolationism. And I've always just liked Dracula. (I like Frankenstein and the Wolfman more, but Dracula is still cool.)


                    What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                    Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                    • #11
                      They fill their intended niche. Otherworldly evil, body horror and twisted visionaries. I don’t understand why people who wish Tzimisce were more like Ventrue and Tremere didn’t just roll Ventrue or Tremere. It’s okay to not like the clan. Why waste the efforts trying to reinvent them to be something you like, especially when they already have an established, 30-year-strong fan base? Just seems weird, like wishing Gangrel weren’t so wild, and maybe did art instead.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sergeant Brother View Post
                        I love this character concept and have long wanted the Tzimisce to be in the Camarilla.
                        Likewise to both.

                        (At some point about 15+ years ago, I just decided that everyone was a member of the Camarilla - and the Anarchs, really - and the Sabbat were a bunch of cults who were much more focused on their Paths than they were on Clans.)

                        And yes, in hindsight, I think Rob Hatch had a bit too much of a fixation on the torture aspect.

                        Originally posted by Garygeneric View Post
                        Just seems weird, like wishing Gangrel weren’t so wild, and maybe did art instead.
                        I once knew a guy who did wood carving with chainsaws. I always thought it would make an interesting aspect to a Gangrel character. (Said guy also looked like Grizzly Adams, owned a pair of wolf-dogs, and a giant tarantula.)


                        What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                        Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                        • #13
                          Is this a bait thread?

                          If its not, guess I'll answer seriously.

                          Tzimisce are interesting because of their body horror motif and mechanics, point blank. They were an inversion of the typical unvaried, unexciting of the "Dracula" trope. They used to exemplify the inherent strangeness of vampirism at their basest facet. Like Heavy Arms points out, they were brutal warlords of the land, who had their subjects, whether human or else, as their own play-doh playthings. They didn't need "favors" as masters of their own realms. Many other clans needed favors from them. And if you think body or eldritch-influenced horror don't make for compelling stories, I guess you never read stuff from H.P Lovecraft or the numerous others that have been inspired by his work before.

                          The Tzimisce in their clanbooks (from what I remember from reading them long ago) were great exploration pieces on body horror, especially the Paths they used to have (RIP Paths) to go with characters you made from their clan.

                          The Tzimisce Antediluvian [Tzimisce] was also one of the most badass Antediluvians there was. Without Vicissitude, half the feats [Tzimisce] did throughout VTM franchise wouldn't have been possible.

                          But alas, the Tzimisce are basically milquetoast as of now. The current writers basically (essentially) divorced them from the Sabbat and made them Anarch-aligned when they never were, and also made them into a cheesy "lol hoarders dragon dracula modern-day landlord trope" now. Also with the new "morality system" (the Twilight Saga system, as I personally dub it), Tzimisce now must have Touchstones.. which is character breaking because Tzimisce are one of the clans who historically NEVER cared about abiding by humanity or seeing a single human as being more important than themselves (because Touchstones force you to be a superpowered babysitter and a low-hanging fruit for the ST to make contrived drama, by making scenarios in which the Touchstone gets arbitrarily put in danger.. but usually, from what I hear from instances in which V5 is played, Touchstones are just literally forgotten most of the time. lol).

                          Not only that, Vicissitude doesn't even exist anymore in V5. Its been rolled into Protean (which basically means it doesn't really exist). That's why I even first tacked this thread as a bait thread, because the ideology you have towards Vicissitude is one shared by the new writers of VTM, thus Vicissitude being already removed.. why complain about something that doesn't exist for a clan anymore?

                          Not only that, the type of Tzimisce you talk about are literally already a clan variant already (Kolduns, pre-V5). Even then, Kolduns can and do use Vicissitude. As a matter-of-fact, I don't even think Kolduns are a thing in V5 anymore and I don't even think Koldunic Sorcery even exists in V5 either (as in, varied different forms of Blood Sorcery. Dynamicism and Diversity in Disciplines shafted for formulaic "streamlining").

                          Hell, Tzimisce don't even have Auspex anymore; which to many other pre-V5 Tzimisce fans, was integral to the function of letting the Tzimisce being ultimate purveyors of their land, along with being scholar-seer-warlords. Now it got replaced with... Dominate? Such a replacement clues to the fact whoever made the change, did not understand the Tzimisce (something other posters in other threads on this topic have pointed out).

                          So 2/3rds (Auspex and Koldunic Sorcery) of the thing you like about the Tzimisce don't even exist for them now, unless you were inferring this thread, as a V20 thread? If not this being specifically a thread about V20 and before, why complain about Vicissitude when it doesn't exist in a true non-pseudo form as it does now?

                          Wouldn't it make sense to complain that Blood Sorcery diversity is gone and that Auspex was removed from the Tzimisce?
                          Last edited by Shakanaka; 05-05-2022, 11:17 PM.


                          Jade Kingdom Warrior

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post

                            Likewise to both.

                            (At some point about 15+ years ago, I just decided that everyone was a member of the Camarilla - and the Anarchs, really - and the Sabbat were a bunch of cults who were much more focused on their Paths than they were on Clans.)

                            And yes, in hindsight, I think Rob Hatch had a bit too much of a fixation on the torture aspect.
                            I’ve done something similar, with most Clans as members of the Camarilla and the Anarchs existing mostly within the Camarilla.

                            I also have a version of the Sabbat as being almost entirely Clanless. This Sabbat rejects the idea of Clans as being inherently divisive in keeping young vampires from uniting against the elders and even as the taint of the Antediluvians. With rare exceptions, almost all Sabbat vampires who belong to a Clan are elders were were around during the Anarch Revolts and even they don’t acknowledge their Clan or organize based on it. For centuries, almost every Sabbat vampire has been embraced through the mixing of blood, leading to Caitiff or, in some cases, unusual bloodlines.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post
                              Is this a bait thread?

                              If its not, guess I'll answer seriously.

                              Tzimisce are interesting because of their body horror motif and mechanics, point blank. They were an inversion of the typical unvaried, unexciting of the "Dracula" trope. They used to exemplify the inherent strangeness of vampirism at their basest facet. Like Heavy Arms points out, they were brutal warlords of the land, who had their subjects, whether human or else, as their own play-doh playthings. They didn't need "favors" as masters of their own realms. Many other clans needed favors from them. And if you think body or eldritch-influenced horror don't make for compelling stories, I guess you never read stuff from H.P Lovecraft or the numerous others that have been inspired by his work before.
                              This is actually pretty much the nail on the head why the Tzimisce have always been a square peg in a round hole. Because they're not alien and can never be alien. Vampire: The Masquerade is intensely mono-focused on GOTHIC horror while HP Lovecraft is about COSMIC horror. The two can be combined as Grumpy RPG Reviews can and has done but the important thing to remember is that the vampires are never the alien ones.

                              V:TM is a game intensely monofocused on sin, damnation, remorse, guilt, and losing your humanity. Even the Sabbat and the other "evil" vampires are all about rejecting their humanity but ultimately, their morality is intensely IMPORTANT and so is their status as damned monsters. Which is absolutely impossible in cosmic horror. The game makes it clear that even Path followers never actually successfully become truly alien, they just reject it.

                              And why would the Tzimisce be particularly alien versus any other vampire?

                              It isn't exactly an interesting character type either. "My character doesn't have comprehensible motives" isn't a good roleplaying opportunity.


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

                              Forum Terms of Use
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