Revised Toreador Stereotypes

The Camarilla


It can be hard to cope with the Brujah because in many ways they’re like us. They're attached to strong feelings from their mortal life. We're lucky. We're a attached to culture – and while you can debate the virtues of this dancer or that philosophy, for the most part culture is something you can point to, evaluate and look at from the outside.

The Brujah, poor souls, are connected to ideas. Have you ever held a pound of liberty? Gone around looking for a few yards of justice? Hopped next door to borrow a cup of honor? I didn't think so.

The reason the Brujah can’t get along with each other (or anyone else, for that matter) is that each one seems to be bound up with some personal, intangible crusade. They’re very particular. Two Brujah howling for “freedom" may have an entirely different interpretation of what "freedom" means. Younger Brujah often don’t have a very firm idea of what they mean when they cry for whatever virtue they’re championing. They just feel good making noise and watching the reaction.

That's where we come in.

If you painted a picture, you’d like the person who seemed to understand and encourage your work, right? Well, it's just the same with the Brujah and their "causes." Figure out what they want to hear. Say it. Now you have a comrade who likes to fight. Trust me, the rhetoric of revolution is a lot easier to chatter on about than theater criticism. Throw out a few catchphrases that sound good and mean nothing, and the Brujah eats out of your hand. Up your banners! Fight the power! You've nothing to lose but your chains!

(It helps a lot if they think you admire them. But that works with almost everyone.)


This is the most dangerous clan in the Camarilla, even worse than the Tremere. The Tremere are like a big fat python – nasty, but they die when you cut the head off. The Malkavians are like a swarm of piranha; getting rid of one only leaves a space for the next set of jaws.

Here’s what’s dangerous about the Malkavians: They’ve somehow convinced themselves that the alienation that comes from listening to the Beast is “true wisdom.” Given the choice between their living and dead halves, they pick death every time. I wouldn’t mind if it was a personal choice where they just went sun walking, but their lust for death goes deeper. It’s not just their own death, or the death of mortals that they seek: They attack the very foundations of order, structure and peace. They undermine, erode and erase – not for their personal gain, but because they’re servants of entropy, existing only to suck the rest of the world down into their madness. When everything that’s worthwhile has been extinguished, when the pulse of life hah been smashed and beauty can’t be recognized and the Beast has finally triumphed, the Malkavians will turn out the lights.

That’s how they see it, anyhow.

Lucky for us, the soldiers of disorder are not very orderly. This is their strength, since you never know where they’re coming from. It’s also their weakness, because not even they know where they’re going.

The best way to deal with Malkavians is to ignore them most of the time: They’ve got nothing you want, and they don’t perceive us as a threat. Since they‘re all batshit, you can sometimes trick or provoke them into violating the Masquerade, then either turn them over to the prince or blackmail them into doing your dirty work. Or some combination of the two options. Use your imagination. Be careful with this though: Blackmail is predicated on the survival instinct, and lots of Malkavians are too tar gone to have one. Of course, that tends to be a problem that solves itself, as long as they don’t drag you down with them.

What you really have to look out for is a Malkavian who has the ear of the prince. Their madness gives them insight to the madness of the world, and a prince may crave this information as he attempts to keep his city together. To their credit, some princes call actually use the devil’s tools to tear down the devil’s house, but too often those who try it find out the Devil didn’t want that house there anyhow.


If you want the prince to take something seriously, don’t tell him. Let it slip to a Nosferutu “by accident” like you don't understand how important it is. Once it works its works its way through the Sewer Rats to the prince’s ear, he’ll hang on their every word.

These guys deserve a lot of credit: It’s like they’re the Malkavians turned inside-out. Where the Malkavians carry a hideous curse inside an acceptable exterior, the Nosferatu have all their ugliness on the outside. A surprising number have found a way to cope with their Beast while maintaining something dignified and worthwhile inside.

On the other hand, there are a lot more who are so discouraged and enraged that their outer ugliness is, if anything, less vile than what they’re hiding inside. Those you have to watch out for, because they’re jealous. It goes beyond the simple envy of the ugly for the fine: They can’t tolerate the fact that we’ve stayed more human, and it makes them crazy.


The Tremere remind me of those uptight, homely girls in high school who thought that since they weren’t getting any, no one else should have a good time either. Start with that kind of bitter, joyless priggishness. Marry it to a longing to control everyone who’s actually figured out how to have fun or do something noteworthy. Add an unhealthy dose of truly scary magic tricks. Let it simmer for a couple decades… and you wind up with the typical Tremere. They’re joyless, stagnant seekers after the power to turn everyone else into joyless, stagnant peons.

They’re very good at gaining power and completely inept when it comes to using it. They’re the kind of people who make an elaborate plan that looks great on paper. It disintegrates at the first touch of reality of course, but it should have worked. When this happens, the Tremere insist that the plan was perfect. It’s reality that’s wrong.

That’s why they’re so dangerous. They’ve got a peculiar combination of genius and stupidity that could let them seize the world in their brood-soaked fist, only to drop it down the steps and break it into shards. They’re brilliant numbskulls.

Luckily for us, they’ve organized themselves in one those swell lockstep hierarchies that look so good in the abstract. They think power is like a ladder you can only climb by knocking off the fellow above you, so they keep a tight rein on those beneath them through partial blood bonds. This makes a Tremere chantry like a string of dominoes. Knock over one, and all the ones behind it fall.

Many Tremere are suspicious and paranoid, but still naïve when it comes to manipulation. Do them enough favors and they think you’re a fool. Once you’re in that category, they take everything you say at face value – after all, the poor foolish Toreador could never put one over on the fucking brilliant Tremere, right? Even if their underlings suspect you, most never dare contradict The Boss. Half of them are hoping The Boss gets removed so they can move another step up the Big Rock Candy Ladder.

But don’t get cocky. Just because they can be easy fool doesn’t mean they like it, and once you’ve made a fool of them, they don’t have much to lose by fucking you up.

One final thing: Don’t put a blood bond on one. The elders will find out, they’ll find you, they‘ll suck out your soul and no one will ever know.


Ventrue are all right. By and large they like things the way they are, which means they’re quite good at keeping things from getting worse. Compare and contrast with the Tremere, who long to become “Big Brother” or the Giovanni, who want to turn everyone into their personal fuck-puppets, or the Malkavians, who want to upset the apple cart just to count the worms crawling out of the rotten ones.

There’s a lot of talk about Ventrue “control”, which is mostly smoke and mirrors. The Ventrue don’t “control” a police force to the extent that they dictate who walks every beat in one of “their” cities. They may have a ghoul doing paperwork, and they may have a blood bond on one of the lieutenants, but their greatest talent lies in cleaning things up.

Think about that for a moment.

When some neonate slips the leash and runs amok in Planet Hollywood, the Ventrue are going to be on it within an hour, tweaking the memories of the cops and the witnesses to match up their Patent Bullshit Story of the moment. (They’ve got hundreds of bullshit stories prepared, for just about every situation. I’ve seen an Internet archive – it’s on a database, presumably so Ventrue all over the world can just type in the parameters of the problem and obtain a list of “plausible explanations.”) They can sanitize that mess quickly, efficiently, and finally.

They’re also good at plans. Once they realize who led the restaurant, they find him, and they have him dealt with. Note that I didn’t say “take him out.” A lazy Ventrue might do his own dirty work, but “lazy” isn’t what the Ventrue look for in their childer. No, they prefer “sneaky” and “devious” and “cunning.” Thus, your average Ventrue is more likely to let the neonate think he’s gotten away with his little frenzy, until the Ventrue offers the option of either a blood hunt or a suitable ironic twist of fate. (They love suicide missions – generally they point ‘em at the Sabbat, but they do their share of sniping at the Tremere, the Setites and other Ventrue, and us every now and then.) They may take generations, but they have a great track record of playing the “Let’s you and him fight!” game.

They’re great at “before” and they’re great at “after.” What they have trouble with is “during.” They’re so used to the long view that they’re not so good at improvising. That's where we come in – especially since we’re generally better at seeing people as individuals instead of feedbags or insignificant insects.

The Sabbat


The leaders of the Sabbat are your old-school, medieval-Church-style, “ride through the moor under night’s blackest cloak and drink the blood of any who cross our path” type of vampires. They regard their own humanity as, by and large, an irritant. Some actually consider themselves “tools of the Devil” – God’s scourge upon a fallen world. Damned themselves, they serve to push others into or away from their own damnation.

At least, that’s the theory. In practice, they’re trying to keep a short leash on a big pack of blood-addled Sabbat nutjobs. Sometimes a Lasombra or two slip into a “Camarilla city” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) and try to stir up some trouble. If one comes slithering your way, nod politely, act like you’re thinking about it, crank up the Presence so they trust you, then go get the prince and maybe a nice sheriff who can bust heads. You don’t want to get stuck in the webs of these particular spiders. They’re poisonous.

On the other hand, there's this nagging voice in the back of my head saying “How great of a manipulator can you be if everyone thinks you’re a great manipulator?”


Another group of Sabbat diehards that you'd be lucky to never encounter. In their own way, they’re fighting the Beast too, but not by taking shelter in their humanity (like us and most Setites) or by trying to balance the two (like the Gangrel and the Nosferatu) but by denying both. They don't want to be people or animals. They want to be machines. Blood goes in, thought comes out. That’s their ideal, their aesthetic. Pretty dry, huh? What's surprising is how many of them can create beauty, almost by accident. There is a certain thrilling something that can arise from perfect functionality, isn’t there?

The Independents


First and foremost, if you’ve heard the stories about Mozart: Yes they’re true, and we will never forgive the Assamites for it. He was the greatest genius of a brilliant age, but to them he was nothing but potent vitae in an inexperienced vessel. We’re pretty sure his assassin was a bastard called Muhannad Muzabir – it means “the Sword juggler.” I’ll show you a portrait from the Renaissance, if you want, and what we think is a more recent photo from an airport in Monaco. But if you see him, don’t think about going after him yourself. I’ll show you the pictures just so you can get away.

The Assamites are like a reversed mirror image of the Tremere. Where the Tremere are too smart for their own good, the Assamites are full of the kind of brute, efficient stupidity that built the Third Reich. They don’t have a complicated master plan, other than “drink vampire blood,”' so it’s very hard to tangle them up.

That said, there are some advantages to having a single-minded opponent. Primarily, they’re easily led and they wear their hearts on their sleeves. Plus, they hate the Tremere, which is worth points in my book.

Don’t even approach these guys if you’re close to Caine: Do all your assassin shopping through a thin-blooded vassal. If an Assamite even sniffs elder vitae, they’re prone to snap and go for the gusto. They’re not known for deferring gratification that way. Of course, given your condition, you’re likely to be someone else’s thin-blooded vassal…

One way to play these guys is to hire them on the sly against elder Tremere. (When I say “on the sly” I don’t just mean “hide it from the other Kindred.” Make sure the Assamites don’t know who’s footing the bill either. That way, if they lose, the Tremere can't pull the information out of that small-caliber Assamite brain.) Give the Tremere as much warning as you feel like (ideally by way of the Nosferatu), then sit back and see which bastard gets fucked and which does the fucking. If you’re feeling particularly brave, you can try to mop up the winner. I don’t recommend it unless you’re sure he’s down before you start kicking.

There’s another way you can take advantage of their simpleminded blood hunger, but it’s dangerous. Still, I know someone in New York who did it, and now she’s got a leashed Assamite to protect her from the Sabbat.

My friend was an honest-to-God master of disguise. She hired this Assamite to whack “Mildred von Santos,” supposedly a Tremere over in jersey. Part of the pay was a sip from her wrist. The assassin really should have known better, but he was addled by Presence, and he really wanted a taste of elder vitae and besides, she was just some Degenerate, no one to worry about, right? Only there was no “von Santos” – just my acquaintance in some really good stage makeup. I don’t even think “von Santos” means anything. Anyway, since she was ready for the attack and was far faster than a Tremere has any right to be, she conveniently fought her way free in the middle of feeding. Now the Assamite is two-thirds bound and doesn’t know it. A “lucky” ambush by the real Tremere left him weak enough that my friend's ghouls could hold him down and she could administer the third drink by force. Voila. It’s a pretty sweet deal, but I wouldn’t try this at home, kids.

Followers of Set

Uh yes, the feared and vaunted “masters of corruption.” I was intimidated until I realized that “corruption” is a catchphrase. It’s like in the 70s when “authoritarian” meant “our dictator” while “totalitarian” meant “their dictator.” It’s like when the CIA talks about “termination with extreme prejudice” or a personnel officer talks about “de-utilizing an employee.” Or when we call ourselves “Kindred,” suppose.

Anyhow, what “corruption” means is “getting back in touch with that human stuff.” Let’s look at what the Setite’s notorious “corruption” shtick consists of, shall we? Oh gee, sex? Oh, that’s not any kind of throwback to mortal days. Drugs? There’s another tool in their box that has the musk of humanity all over it. Knowledge? Possessions? These are all cravings of the human half, not the Beast.

Most of the Setites you’re likely to meet are almost as familiar with their human serves as you or I. They’re just not as tasteful and stylish. They can be creepy, icky freaks, but they’re creepy human freaks nonetheless.
That describes about 80% of the Setites – sybarites trying to cling to the human pleasures that we get for free with our founder’s curse. But there’s a hard core to the Setites, and they’ve drifted free of their humanity. Them, you have to watch out for. The Malkavians have bought the lie that madness lies in wisdom; the most dangerous Setites believe humanity is weakness. These few deal in pleasure not because they seek it themselves, but because they want to inflict it on others while hogging all the… what, evil? Baseness? “Corruption”?… for themselves.


Your typical Giovanni likes banging his sister so much that he won’t quit even after she’s dead. Worse than that, they’re up to something that makes necro-incest look like a Sunday church social. We havent been able to pin down exactly what the clans ultimate plan is, But it involves death. Lots of death. If our intelligence is good, Rwanda was just the prologue.

Lots of people think the Giovanni aren’t a threat because there aren't too many of them. While that’s true, keep in mind that it doesn't take many cancer cells to make a healthy body sick. Not all of them are named Giovanni, either. Keep an eye peeled for the Pisanob in South America and (the ones no one is supposed to know about) the Milliners in New England.

The good news is that no one’s going to do a lot of boohooing if you kill one. The bad news is, sometimes that’s not a solution. Giovanni have a nasty tendency to come back as ghosts. Not all of them, not even most of the time – but just often enough to keep you honest. Of course, the ghost Giovanni immediately hook up with the Lick Giovanni to form a happy little revenge squad.

Killing one isn’t safe, then. They may just pull their beyond-death trick and finger you to their goomba cousins. If you get the drop on one, then, the wise move is to stake him but not kill him. Once he’s in torpor, prop his arms and legs up so that all the blood drains into his torso, then cut off the limbs and cauterize the stumps. Poke out the eyes while you’re at it. That way, even if the stake comes out, he’s in no condition to make trouble.

What do you do with this blind, sleeping Giovanni torso? If you want to play hardball, you can swap him back to his brothers like a baseball card, but I don’t recommend it. Give him to your prince, if you feel like it. Or if you know someone with a taste for Amaranth, you can probably get a good price. Diablerie is the other way to make sure he doesn’t come back across.

Still, staking and chopping a Kindred can be quite a chore, especially a Giovanni with all kinds of spooks looking out for him. The much, much easier way to mess with the Giovanni is to play against their big weakness: Cousin-fucking. Since these swine keep it all in the family, it doesn’t take a lot of research to find likely candidates for unlife. Find them when they’re mortal and blood bond them. If they get Embraced, the bond goes with, making the Giovanni neonate so much easier to deal with.

(By “deal with” I mean betray, of course.) It’s more likely that the Giovanni elders will sense your bond and refuse the Embrace, in which case you’ve also won by forcing them to go with their second choice.

We’ve been doing this so aggressively on the Riviera that the family branch there won’t let their kids outside the compound to play. Fine by me: Their next generation don’t be blood bound, they’ll just be terminally naïve a have no social skills. There’s a recipe for success.

All kidding aside: The Giovanni are bad news. Their primary interest is in taking what little humanity they ever had, tossing it down the toilet and using the rest of the world to wipe their asses.


Ravnos? What Ravnos?

They were interesting while they were around, and I have to say it was pretty amusing watching them go to town on one another, but I think you could round up every tear that’s been shed over their disappearance and comfortably fit them in an upended contact lens.

Too bad whatever drove them berserk didn’t have time to curse the Tremere, the Giovanni and the Malkavians while he was at it.


Really, I used to think this clan was on object lesson in the dangers of losing one’s human self to the Beast, but I have to say, they don’t seem worth the trouble. Sure, they develop snaky eyes or cloven hooves or whatever. Sometimes it almost seems like they’re turning their Beast selves outward so they can keep their human selves secure. Scratch the surface and sometimes you find someone fairly balanced, interesting and stable.

So they’re not a consistent, terrible menace like the Malkavians or Giovanni. That doesn’t mean they’re good for much, unfortunately. They’re uncivilized, which means they don’t have a lot to offer us except maybe that nifty dirtnap trick.

They’re uncultured and crude, but they’re awful good at running things down and tearing them to pieces. It’s not what you'd call a “Masquerade-friendly” skill package, but it’s one with undeniable uses. Back when they were in the Camarilla, you could make some Gangrel contacts by throwing them a bone now and again. To be blunt, hunting clean in the city was as hard for them as it is easy for us. In the time it took one of them to stalk, corner and ingest from some wayward sailor or scabby whore, one of us could generally get a dozen willing mortals lining up for the privilege. We were blood rich, they were blood poor. Many deals were made.

Now, however, they’re no longer official members of the Camarilla. This means they gained the right to completely drain long-haul teamsters and truck-stop hookers, but lost the right to come into a city and not have some paranoid prince give them the third degree if he catches wind of them.

I'd love to know who talked them into that deal – someone mighty persuasive, I imagine. I bet he was a bridge salesman during his living days. I wish we could claim credit for it, but we can't. Nope. No sir. We had nothing to do with it. Not one thing.

So now they’re less blood poor, perhaps. Instead, they’re politically poor, with no justicar to took out for their interests and damn few favors owed by primogen.

As it happens, political influence is the one thing we’ve got more of than blood.

What a happy coincidence.



There’s all kinds of stories about “mages” and “mystics” who can bend reality to their will with little more than a thought. Personally, I ain’t seen it. I ran into one guy once who could make slot machines pay out every time, if he felt like it. When he was working his “luck,” his aura would get funny, like he was throwing off sparks. Curious, I decided to get a little closer and have a taste. His vitae was just like every one else’s. Didn't seem to be such a big friggin’ deal.

On the other hand, the Tremere tried to put up a chantry on the outside of town once. Not only did it vanish without a trace, it took the Kindred who knew about it six months to realize it was gone. Everyone just fucking forgot a coterie of four Warlocks had gone up to see what was going on. People only remembered it when the clues became overwhelming. So what I'm thinking now is that the jackpot joker I swigged on was a neonate mage. Like you, he had some fun tricks and was pretty cool by mortal standards, but small potatoes overall. I think that out on the city limits, they’ve got the main course.


Picture an eight-foot-tall shag carpet soaked with blood: yours. Add in a self-enforcing Masquerade that makes every mortal who sees one start gibbering and hallucinating about chainsaw-toting maniacs, gangbangers, rogue cops or whatever other urban legend works best. Now make it so that every time you hurt one, it heals quicker than you can say “Oh shit, you’re not going to tear me another new asshole, are you?”

Congratulations. Now you have some slight inkling of what Lupines are like. If you go out in the woods, you run the risk of having one of death’s own guard dogs pounce on your ass and use you for a target practice. By “woods” I mean anywhere without streetlights. Lucky for us, the shapechangers are allergic to cities, by and large.

I remember the day Gene Wharton, a Gangrel from way back, got turned practically inside out and hung on the doors of Miami’s Elysium. I took one look and thought “Now that’s what the Masquerade is for. Fuck the mortals; I’m hiding from the werewolves!”


These things seem to be kind of like soul parasites on human beings. They hate all of our kind, which is a damn shame because they seem drawn to civilization like moths to fire. Sound like anyone you know? I heard a pretty amusing story about a cat fight between one of our clan and some fae noble back in the court of the Sun King. Both of them wanted to be “girl with the most cake” for some painter who saw the vampire by night and the fae chick by day. It ended with a confrontation, like every good story. The faerie got drained dry as earth. The Toreador went absolutely bugshit crazy, forever. The artist never painted again.

That’s how things tend to work out with the fae. Pretty stories; ugly endings.


Usually you don’t have to worry about ghosts. They can’t do too damn much. Once your sight develops a little more, you’ll probably start spotting them here and there, but after a couple decades, they’ll be like billboards; if you notice them at all, it’s only the really weird ones. I’ve heard I stories of victims coming after some vampire who couldn’t keep the distinction between “feedbag” and “`body bag” clear, but I’ve never experienced it myself.

Lately it seems like I’ve seen more of them around, though I can’t think of any massive disaster that would produce lots of spirits. Even that typhoon in India should have mostly made trouble over there. Still, the odds are good that ghosts are the least of your worries.

The Walking Dead

Sometimes a ghost gets really fed up with its own impotence and finds a way to climb into its old body. Then it claws its way out of the grave and starts whaling away on whatever it was that bugged it so in life. Basically what you’re looking at here is a Brujah who doesn’t need blood and doesn’t care about sunlight. Scary stuff.


When Europeans went into China and Japan, a few curious Kindred tagged along. To the best of my knowledge, none of them made it back.

China has “vampires” it seems, but they’re not like us. They aren’t the Children of Caine. By all reports they’re more resistant to sunlight, tend to feed differently, and they’re not nearly as numerous. What they lack in numbers, though, they make up for in attitude. They hate us almost as much for being Western as the Lupines do for being… well actually, I don’t know anyone who’s survived being around a Lupine long enough to know why they hate us.

Now there’s a passel of these weirdoes in California, giving those poor bastards in the “Anarch Free State” something besides the Camarilla and the Sabbat to worry about. If we’re lucky, we can trick the anarchs into allying with the Sabbat so that the Cathayans will pick on them as the “dominant vampire sect” in the Americas. Caine only knows they’re the most fucking obvious.

The one advantage we have over them is this: We’re contagious and they are not. They apparently don’t Embrace, so they don’t reproduce. This is good, because it gives us a numerical advantage. It’s bad because the Cathayans tend to have their acts together from the word go. They come back from the grave with powers that would take a Cainite decades to achieve.


I’ve been getting some confused reports about a new, secretive and above all powerful organization of mortals. Variously called hunters or “the modern Inquisition,” they’ve launched an undeclared war against anything that casts spells, sucks blood or changes shape.

At first, I wasn’t too concerned. I figured a few neonates had gotten themselves staked or burned out. It happens, but it’s not a tragedy.

Then I heard that these “hunters” had some sort of paranormal power backing them up. There were stories about them vanishing from sight, reading minds and setting things on fire with their bare hands. I wanted to think it was just mass hysteria, but the reports were too frequent and too coherent.

Annabelle out in Vancouver managed to capture one. She overwhelmed him with Presence, fucked his brains out, blood bound him – the whole nine yards. He should have been willing to kill or die for her pleasure, and it seemed like he was. She invited me out to take a look and talk to him myself. Unfortunately, before I could get there, all hell broke loose. Here’s what I gathered from her one childe who survived: Annabelle was going to do some negotiating with a local anarch’s ghoul. She didn’t trust the ghoul, so she told her “pet hunter” to be alert and watch out for treachery. He nodded, and it seemed like he wanted nothing more than to serve and protect.

Now, Annabelle was old and cunning enough that no mortal ship-rigger could fool her with a simple lie, understand me? But as soon as the ghoul walked in, the hunter blinked, shook himself, and attacked her. He was armed with nothing but a candlestick, but (again, according to her childe) the candlestick set her clothes on fire when he hit her.

So in about thirty seconds, this blood bound human had shaken off the Presence of an eighth-generation Toreador and killed her with a single blow.

Scared yet? It gets better. The childe was watching with Auspex, and his aura was gold, like a halo. No hint of how he broke the bond, got through her conditioning or turned a common chunk of meta1 into flaming death.

The icing on the cake? Whatever is making humans into supercharged killing machines is real generous with its gifts. Where you or I have to beg permission to Embrace a single mortal, whoever (or whatever) is creating hunters seems capable of imbuing dozens at a time. At this race, they’ll outnumber the combined Camarilla clans within five years, and all Kindred worldwide within eight.

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