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Memories in the Blood [the Ur-Clans]

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  • Memories in the Blood [the Ur-Clans]

    So, after talking about the metaphysical importance of Unique Disciplines and Banes for Vampire, let's talk a bit about another part of the Kindred existence- the Common Disciplines.

    It is easy to neglect those Disciplines (like, metaphysically speaking, not gamewise). The reason is, that when one goes to start and categorize the different families of the Dead, or any other thing in that matter, it is easy to to examine the unique traits of that subject. In the case of vampires, we are talking about the Unique Discipline and the Bane, because (with the exception of the Dukhan) no Clan has two Unique Disciplines, sharing Unique Disciplines is much less common than sharing Common Disciplines, and Banes are, as I detailed in the relevant post, Clan specific. As such, it is very tempting to say that all Clans which share a Unique Discipline are related to one another are related in one way or another, just like how we claim that the Julii have some kind of relation to the Ventrue (or the Bekaak before their "incident"), or that the Amari are probably Mikhaili which stole some Gangrel blood. On the other hand, we also do the same about Clans which share their Common Disciplines- like how we claim that the Ventrue and the Gangrel (and probably the Mikhaili) are also all related to one another. Now, that means that by examining only the Unique Discipline and the Bane, we are missing much of the Clan's true identity- and the actual way that the Blood evolves through generations.

    Following my claim from the Unique Disciplines post, we can think about those Disciplines as eldritch things which try to embody themselves within the dead, creating Clans which feed them. However, we also know that through the adoption of Bloodlines, vampires can harness another Unique Discipline, embodying it within themselves and accessing its dark power. That basically means that the Kindred evolve towards adding new Disciplines (both Unique and Common), and sometimes, they even replace their Disciplines (to which we'll return later). As such, while it is tempting to think about Bloodlines as the veins which erupt from the black heart of the Clan, perhaps we look at it from the wrong angle- that the Discipline is not a point of divergence, but of convergence. Different dead things all develop the same strange power as they are drawn into it- the Julii and the Ventrue did not sprouted from the same tree. Instead, they were both drawn into the same black sun, competing with each other over its foul light. Clans with the same unique Discipline share identity, of course- but that's the thing. They share identity, as they aspire to embody the same concepts. They grow and adapt to fulfil the same niche, and as such, the Discipline is embodied within them. Sometimes, a Bloodline grows strong enough that it detach itself from its parent, becoming a Clan by its own right. Sometimes, a Clan grows weak, and eventually getting devoured by a stronger, more powerful Clan. That's the law of nature, after all, and those ideas were hinted all across Requiem for a long, long time.

    However, if the Disciplines are not the origin of the Clans, then what is?

    The Ur Clans. That's my answer, at least.

    But what are the Ur Clans?

    Well, like I said earlier, the Unique Disciplines are what the Clans embody in order to fulfil their niche. However, the base is still the couple of Common Disciplines, which can and are being shared between the different Clans. In that case, wouldn't it be appropriate to say that every such coupling of two Common Disciplines should represent some older entity? Something far older which rose in the dead wilderness, all hungry and mad? Those are what I call the "Ur Clans"- subjects of ancient, old power, from which many clans may have sprouted along the years. Those Ur Clans are the "origin of vampirism", as from that primordial soup the Kindred rose, adopting Clans by embodying the Disciplines of their liking. From those corrupted hearts Clans grow and into it they fall, and that may very well touch the idea of "Commoner Clans"- Clans which lack any Unique Discipline, like the Jiang Shi, and are still developing. They have just rose from their Ur Clan, and are yet to adopt a true Discipline, instead relaying on some other Common Discipline until they'll manage to embody their traits within them (they'll probably retain Celerity, and lose one of their other Disciplines, such as Obfuscate or Animalism. I'll bet on Obfuscate, and I'll explain later why).

    Now, if that's indeed true, than we can actually count how many such Ur Clans exist- for if we were to claim that the Unique Disciplines are, well, unique, and that they "hang above" the Ur Clans, then we shouldn't gain any new Common Disciplines. Instead, the number of Common Disciplines should be set, and so the list of Ur Clans should not change anytime soon. As such, we can compose the following list according to the Common Disciplines that the different Clans share, and in order to make things more convenient, I'm going to name each such Ur Clan after one of the more common Clans. In case that we have a number of Clans from the same Ur Clan, I'm just going to pick one and go with it. Taking it into account, the list of ur Clans should by: Type Gangrel, Type Nhang, Type Julii, Type Amari, Unknown A, Unknown B, Type Bekaak, Type Daeva, Type Mekhet and Type Nosferatu.

    Now, it should be noted that for those Ur Clans, some are more successful from the others. For example, Type Gangrel contains four different Clans- Gangrel, Ventrue, Hypatians and Mikhaili. Type Daeva and Type Mekhet contain two each (if we were to count Strange Shades' version of the Grettir). The rest of the Ur Clans share only their titular Clans, with Unknown A and Unknown B having no representative in either canon or in Yossarian's STV material. However, it should be noted that Unknown A has Animalism and Celerity, while Unknown B has Animalism and Vigor- and as you may notice, Unknown A shares two of the three Disciplines of the Jiang Shi. I mean, sure, they could also fit Type Mekhet (and it would make much sense) or Type Amari, but here we need to choose between a Ur Clan with no Clan and an Ur Clan with two Clans (not to mention Type Amari. Believe me, that Ur Clan does not need any help in that regard), so it makes sense that's we'll go with Unknown A if possible. However, it is the Blood we are talking about, and it may very well be that while Unknown A have spawned the Jiang Shi in an attempt to gain a Clan of its own, Type Mekhet would use the opportunity to try and take over it- not to mention Type Amari. Yeah, that Ur Clan is crazy.

    Now, while that is all nice and well, it still doesn't give us much to work with- I mean, sure,. we have described each of the Ur Clans and tied them to the relevant Clans, but nothing much beside it. Why should we introduce an whole new concept for something which does not need it?

    The reason? We need it. And why?

    Bloodlines. That's why.

    You see, the main reason for this whole thread is a discussion in Better Feared, where their version of the Yagnatia seems to have some connections to the Julii. Not only that, this Bloodline is actually described better as a "Julii with Nightmare" than "Nosferatu with Dominate"- and that made me thinking- could we possibly manage to track down which absorbed Clans have died out through the years by looking through the Discipline spreads of Bloodlines? And if so, how should we map them to each other? How difficult it would be top reconstruct those Clans which were lost from the Bloodlines which were left behind?

    It won't be easy, but to some degree, it is possible.

    So with that in mind, I've went to examine the Bloodlines and see if we can see traces of previous Ur Clans within their structure. In order to do so, I've first declared that any Bloodline which has two Unique Disciplines and the same Ur Clan as its parent Clan is probably a true product of the said Clan (which is pretty natural). Also, I've decided that any Bloodline with three Common Disciplines which shares two of those Disciplines with the relevant Ur Clan is also from the same Clan (with some exceptions)- the reason is not that it is not likely that those Bloodlines belong to other Ur Clans, but that it is practically impossible to us to know which one is the true Ur Clan (the exception is the Khaibit, as we know which Common Disciplines they kept from 1e). Third, any Bloodline which replaces one of its Common Disciplines while gaining another Unique Discipline is probably a remain of an older Clan, which carries the variant Ur Clan and the Unique Discipline of interest. Fourth, as some Clans mix their Blood together to form new Bloodlines which have both their Unique Disciplines and one of their Common Disciplines, I'm goi8ng to count them as belonging to the new Ur Clan, even if due to a convergent evolution (which is unnatural yet possible). Finally, Bloodlines which do not require a Clan yet have their own Discipline spread of at least three Disciplines are treated as their own Clans which have been somehow had their blood "thinned" and became Bloodlines.

    Ok, so after going through this research, what have we found?

    Some very interesting things, actually.

    Among all of those Clans which answer the criteria we established to track down Lost Clans, We can see that Type Gangrel currently have no potential candidates for other such offspring. That, in a way, actually makes sense- this is, after all, the most successful Ur Clan, with four different detailed Clans. It makes no wonder that it have no dead relatives, as for some reason this Ur Clan is an apex predator. Like, between the Gangrel and the Ventrue, that fact shouldn't really surprise anyone, I think. The only other Ur Clan with zero Lost Clans is Type Mekhet, which is probably a more shady one and still somewhat successful, as it have both the Mekhet and the Akhud- so yeah, I could see why it won't sprout more Clans. It probably prefers to stay at the edges, becoming very specialized and only when it is sure that it could win, it would sprout a new Clan (hence why I think it is planning to take over the Jiang Shi if it didn't made it. Type Mekhet is such a bastard, isn't it?).

    Now, the Ur Clans which have generated at least one Lost Clan are Type Nhang (which have a Majesty variant), Type Bekaak (with Auspex), Unknown A (which have either Auspex or Majesty) and Unknown B (which have Protean). Now, the reason for the uncertainty in unique Discipline for Unknown A is that this Bloodline is that Parliamentarians, which are Clanless (and as such, we do not know what is the "true" Unique Discipline. It may very well be that Unknown A have tried to spawn them as a Clan, yet either they were quickly devoured, its hold over them wasn't strong enough, or maybe that they will eventually become a Clan- yet it would take some time and evolution until they'll manage to cement their Blood.

    For Ur Clans which have at least two Lost Clans, we have Type Julii and Type Nosferatu. Now, the Type Julii are interesting, as they are the Macellarius and the Yagnatia- which are only in this category because they currently do not belong to their original Clan, which practically proves the whole point of that exercise. While the later is less interesting in that respect (they have Dominate, so they are basically Julii), the Macellarius are interesting because they maintain their Carnem Disicpline in the STV update- which could mean that while they are currently a Ventrue Bloodline, assuming that they won't "devolve" into Julii once more they could potential grow to become a new Type Julii Clan with a new Unique Discipline. Again, it is more likely that if they'll detach themselves from the Ventrue that they'll become Julii once more, but the idea of Clans dying out and being eaten only for new Clans to rise from within the guts of their enemies is very Vampire, IMO.

    The next Ur Clan is Type Daeva- this one has three Bloodlines which fit the criteria, two of which share a Disicpline: Auspex. The other one, which is Protean based, is the Noervegi of the STV version, which makes sense as the Grettir in that version are a Type Deva Clan- which brings nothing new. But the other Bloodlines are the Khaibit and the Penumbra- two Bloodlines that we know to have affinity to strange Blood Magic (Cruac specifically). The Daeva is, after all, a priestly Clan in many respects, and it makes sense for a passionate Blood Witch to be a part of that Clan, and the fact that two Bloodlines with the affinity to the spirit world belong to the same Ur Clan only support that theory, and makes me think if they could be the remains of the Lilitu Clan which was mentioned in Half Damned (so yeah, we actually found a Lost Clan! Yeay for us!).

    So, we've been through most of the Ur Clans- what is left?

    Ah yes, Type Amari.

    The damn Type Amari. No wonder no one likes them.

    Among all of the Bloodlines which may contain the potential for a Lost or New Clans, 12 are Type Amari. That's crazy. Like, this Ur Clan, while only having a single Clan, is so damn successful. It just keeps sprouting new Bloodlines at every second (like, seriously, what's up with Vampire writers just throwing Obfuscate and Resilience everywhere?). That could either mean that Type Amari prefers quantity over quality (which is probably true), or that something very, very fishy is going- and in order to know what's up, we need to check it more thoroughly. Now, among the 12 candidates, one has the special Armor based Discipline from 1e (which is probably its own Clan), one has Majesty, two have Dominate, two have Protean, three have Auspex and two have both Auspex and either Dominate or Protean. That's just insanely favors Auspex, Protean and Dominate. Now, Protean makes sense- after all, the Amari themselves have Protean, so those Bloodlines are probably Amari remains which have resurfaced somehow. However, one of those, the Vadyvle, is actually a result of a convergent evolution, a combination of a Ventrue and a Nhang... even though it does not explain from where Obfuscate have came from. Like, the other one is a Gangrel Bloodline- and the Gangrel ate the Amari, so it makes sense, but could it be that the Amari have somehow crossed the whole way from Siberia to Africa in order to get eaten by the local Nhang? That's crazy. On the other hand, it is far more likely that the Ventrue have eaten the Amari, and their Blood was awakened when the Bloodline's founder was stole the Nhang's magic.

    On the other hand, it could be that those are not the Amari- like I said, some of the Bloodlines do have Dominate, so maybe there was yet another lost Dominate Clan which was Type Amari which was absorbed into the Ventrue, and the touch of Protean have awakened it? From yet another point of view, a lot of the Type amari Bloodlines are the result of mixed Blood- the Vadyvle, the Licinii, the Icelus... it seems that Type Amari is just the Ur Clan into which all of the "trah" falls down, when anomalies of nature rise. Heck, even the Aamri may very well be a bastardization of the Mikhaili and the Gangrel. Basically, it could very well be that Type Amari is the hybrid Clan, into which many of the "leftovers" ends up after the Blood unnaturally mixes. On the other hand, we can see a strong preference towards Auspex, which may hint on some other possibility- that there was an Auspex Type Amari Clan, which ended up lost and eaten by other Clans. And considering that two of which are Nosferatu Bloodlines and two are Ventrue Bloodlines, it may very well be that we know who ate them. Also, the Sta Atu could be the remains of that Clan- or of the Amari. Or both. The Blood is weird, after all.

    Well, that's it, isn't it?

    Well, one more things before we wrap things up.

    Let's talk about Commoner Clans.

    Among all of the Bloodlines, we have two which could indeed be Commoner Clans- the Moroi (which have all Common Disciplines) and the Scions of the First City (which have a very unclear origin and no parent Clan). Now, while the first are likely a form of Twice Cursed which were absorbed as a Bloodline and may have the potential to rise as their own Clan eventually (and later embody some unique Discipline), the Scions are interesting because the reason that no one knows to which Clan they belong may be because they originally were their own, Commoner Clan- however, when they embodied their Discipline (Auspex), instead of letting go of one of their Common Disciplines (which would define their Ur Clan), they became a Bloodline. That is what we call a metastable state- that is, they are found in a point in which they look stable and seem stable, yet the energy of this state is indeed very high- while becoming a Clan should be a much more stable state. Now, when left alone, a metastable state could last for all eternity- which could be why they have remained in that strange "transition" position for such a long time. However. all it takes is one, strong enough fluctuation in order to bring down the whole system- and have them collapsed into a Clan which embody Auspex, and is either Type Gangrel, Type Bekaak or, AGAIN, Type Amari.

    You can guess which one it would be. Damn Amari.

    On the other hand, as we remember, Type Amari does indeed have that strange affinity for Auspex- and with that Clan being stuck at a metastable state for such a long time, it could explain some things about them- so in fact them collapsing into a Type Amari Clan would actually have a good reason.... for a change.

    And that's it! Hope you enjoyed reading this post! I'll probably make a few more about the Vampire state, especially if Yossarin and his group would keep bringing some more awesome material to Vampire :P

    Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

    "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

    I now blog in here

  • #2
    Also, just to sum up the Lost Clans we found through the Ur Clans Theory-

    Type Nhang: Majestry-Celerity-Resilience

    Unknown A: Auspex-Celerity-Animalism

    Unknown B: Protean-Animalism-Vigor

    Type Deva: Auspex-Vigor-Celerity

    Type Nosferatu: Majesty-Obfuscate-Vigor, Auspex-Obfuscate-Vigor

    Type Amari: Bhumisparsha-Obfuscate-Resilience, Majesty-Obfuscate-Resilience, Dominate-Obfuscate-Resilience, Auspex-Obfuscate-Resilience (a lot of which were absorbed into the Nosferatu, as it seems)

    So yeah, potentially 20 new Clans. Fun! Also, A fair share of lost Auspex Clans, for some reason- and here I thought that Dominate was the bastard which stole everything it could from its Clans and then threw them to the junkyard. That sneaky Auspex is doing to Dominate what Pikachu did to Porygon -_-

    Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

    "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

    I now blog in here


    • #3
      The only flaw I can see is that evolution trends toward more adaptability, humans have become so adaptable that we can keep almost all of our members alive even part the point where they don’t eat or breath unaided, so unique disciplines should be the least evolved plus I don’t understand what you think would happen if a common discipline was to advance to unique? Would Obfuscate wipe out all but one of the clans that has it?
      Otherwise very good.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Live Bait View Post
        The only flaw I can see is that evolution trends toward more adaptability, humans have become so adaptable that we can keep almost all of our members alive even part the point where they don’t eat or breath unaided, so unique disciplines should be the least evolved plus I don’t understand what you think would happen if a common discipline was to advance to unique? Would Obfuscate wipe out all but one of the clans that has it?
        Otherwise very good.
        Life diverges. Death converges. I see no problem with all of the vampire "species" having their own form of evolution which leads them towards being "Kindred" from the many different forms of death it could sprout. Also, in here I haven't said anything about common Disciplines turning unique- but some Disciplines, like Dominate, seems to "cull" their Clans for some reason.

        Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

        "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

        I now blog in here


        • #5
          Originally posted by LostLight View Post
          Life diverges. Death converges. I see no problem with all of the vampire "species" having their own form of evolution which leads them towards being "Kindred" from the many different forms of death it could sprout. Also, in here I haven't said anything about common Disciplines turning unique- but some Disciplines, like Dominate, seems to "cull" their Clans for some reason.

          Because level 5 is possession, possession leads to body-hopping - and what do body-hopping vampires reminds us of?

          edit: It's even worse if a clan has Dominate and Animalism - or at least some old, now mostly lost variant powers that involved infusing beasts with one's consciousness.
          Last edited by Baaldam; 01-05-2022, 02:20 PM.