- The Tremere are a young Clan, made up of mortal magicians who stole vampirism from Cainites almost five hundred years ago
- The small number of Anarch Tremere come from two distinct groups: one is a Lithuanian pagan bloodline of the Clan, the other is a dissident House led by Goratrix
- They are hated by the Camarilla and distrusted by the Anarchs, but are incredibly useful to the cause
Mortal magicians turned vampires with stolen Tzimisce blood and the soul of Saulot, the Salubri Antediluvian: the Tremere are a young Clan much more powerful than one might expect. However, even they have dissidents, and they have found a home among the Anarchs, finding their place with thaumaturgical secrets and ritual might.
The first of these groups is House Goratrix. After fleeing execution in 1308, the elder Goratrix created a conspiratorial cult of Embraced mortal magi, focused in eastern Europe. Goratrix first Embraced and Blood Bound a new Council of Six, whom she directed in turn to Embrace various other magi and students of the occult, focusing on a flatter “pyramid” where loyalty between sire and childe has been emphasised. The emergence of the Anarch Revolt, and the alignment of Clan Tremere with the Camarilla, brought with it knowledge of the Vaulderie; rumours say that Goratrix herself has undergone this rite to free herself from Tremere’s influence, and certainly it’s now widespread within her House. House Goratrix are hermetic blood-magicians using formal ritual to control their power.
The other group is the Telyavelic Tremere. Founded prior to the diablerie of Saulot, this branch of the Clan were established in Lithuania to steal the magical secrets of Tzimisce koldun. Instead, they fell in with the pagan peoples of Lithuania and learned of Telyavel, the protector of the dead. The local people saw the Cainites — nocturnal, bloodthirsty, and obviously magical — as incarnations or avatars of their death-gods, and the Tremere grew to believe them. They cast off the name “Tremere,” and simply became the “Telyavs”. While they had some infrequent contact with chantries outside of Lithuania, for the most part they remained patrons and predators to the villagers. This was not to last, however. In the late 13th century, the Ventrue warlord Jürgen the Sword-Bearer, childe of Hardestadt, destroyed one of the last remaining enclaves of the Telyavs. Since then, the Telyavs have gone into hiding, protected by their Gangrel allies, and only re-emerged with the spread of the Anarch Revolt, which they support both as a strike against the Ventrue and the hierarchy of the Clan they have left behind.
Both groups are hunted and hated by their parent Clan, but widely distrusted among the Anarchs. Nevertheless, the strength they bring cannot be denied, nor can their insight into the Camarilla’s only users of blood-magic.
Shepherds, Usurpers, Warlocks
Faced with undeniable signs that the power of magic was fading from the world, a small group of Hermetic magi sought to revitalize themselves through other means. In 1022, under the leadership of Tremere, they discovered the elixir of vampiric blood that gave them their desire. They became the first truly new clan: self-created, obligated to no one but themselves, and ready to carve out a place for themselves in the society of the Damned through their arts.
They were not welcomed. Plunged immediately into a conflict over lands and strongholds with the Tzimisce that came to be called the Omen War, the fledgling clan worked rapidly to develop new spells and rituals to protect themselves. The speed with which they created their new Discipline, Thaumaturgy, shocked other vampires. They accused the Tremere of gaining their power through diablerie and blasphemous Experimentation, and even of being responsible for the destruction of the Salubri Antediluvian, Saulot.
They were right, of course. Goratrix, Tremere’s right hand, conducted the ritual that transfigured herself, Tremere, and six other magi into vampires using the stolen vitae of Tzimisce and Ventrue Cainites. Tremere forced the Blood Oath onto his subordinates, and formed them into the top of a pyramid structure (with Tremere as Primus and the others as an Inner Council) before sending them back to their chantries to Embrace and Blood Bond their fellows.
Over the next century the Omen War with the Tzimisce continued on and off. With their mortal mages growing weaker and those newly Embraced unfamiliar with the powers of the blood, chantries as far as their stronghold of Ceoris were repeatedly ravaged. While Tremere and Inner Councillor Etrius pursued their own research throughout Europe in converting the hermetic arts into Thaumaturgy, Goratrix once again returned to her laboratories with her apprentice Virstania close at hand. After years of experimentation on captured Tzimisce, Nosferatu, and Gangrel, they succeeded in creating a Gargoyle in 1121, and by 1125 these creatures were serving as shock troops against the Fiends.
Nevertheless, the Tremere found themselves third-class citizens among the undead, beneath even the Low Clans. Whatever boldness Tremere had shown in entering the night was ignored by the staunchly traditionalist clans, and they were often forced from cities by princes who did not look kindly on their presumption.
Tremere’s response to this was further boldness. As he and Etrius rapidly acquired more vampiric lore they discovered the history of Caine and the Antediluvians, as well as the benefits of diablerie. Seeking to establish themselves as a clan proper, the Tremere sought a clan founder to diablerise and settled on Saulot, the enigmatic founder of the Salubri clan. In 1133, Tremere and the Inner Council discovered Saulot’s tomb in the Anatolian desert. Tremere diablerized the Antediluvian and promptly entered torpor, leaving the Inner Council to lead the clan and destroy the remaining Salubri.
The Tremere continued their hunt of Saulot’s descendents while making alliances with Hungarian Ventrue against the Tzimisce. The Inquisition was particularly hard on them, however, and they lost many of their cults and chantries. During this time Goratrix used her influence and power in the French Courts of Love to try to corrupt religious orders, most notably the Knights Templar, in order to seize potent artifacts held by the Church and turn its hunters against her enemies. When this bid for power failed, and the Knights Templar were branded as heretics, Tremere awoke and summoned Goratrix to return to Ceoris to stand trial before the Inner Council. After being censured and stripped of her authority, Goratrix fled into the east, believing her assassination was imminent. Shortly thereafter Etrius moved Tremere’s torpid body to the Vienna Chantry, which became the new centre for the clan.
By the 15th century the Salubri were only a legend and the Tremere were completely acknowledged as a clan. The formation of the Camarilla signaled the Tremere’s rise to legitimacy, and the bulk of the Clan is firmly supportive of the new alliance.
House Goratrix is led by Goratrix and her Council of Six, including the Gargoyles’ creator Virstania. They regularly share the Vaulderie together, and encourage the rest of the House to do likewise. They aim to maintain a disciplined front of sire-childe loyalty, but this is threatened by exposure to the ideals of the Anarch Revolt.
The Tremere of Lithuania adhere to a modified Pyramid. Each generation drinks twice of the blood of the previous generation, thus bringing them to the verge of forming a Blood Oath with their sire’s generation. Typically, a number of Telyavs gather together to oversee the Embrace of a new number, thus ensuring a sufficient supply of elder blood to establish the hierarchical bond between generations. This, too, is being threatened by the Anarch Revolt and the Vaulderie.
House Goratrix is now spread throughout Bohemia, the Crimean Khanate, Hungary, Moldavia, Poland, and Wallachia; the Telyavs are focused primarily in Lithuania, but do have a presence in Poland also.
The Road of Humanity is common to both House Goratrix and the Telyavs. The Telyavs also often follow a modified version of the Path of the Watchful Gods, honouring the gods of Lithuanian polytheism, and some even walk the Road of Lilith.
Most Tremere gravitate toward cities, especially cities with universities or cathedral schools, and this is just as true of House Goratrix. The requirement to hide from the majority of their Clanmates means they tend to find themselves in the slums and ghettos. Those who do not live in cities tend to build small, secure lairs in which to conduct their research undisturbed, often near sites of magical power.
Most of the Telyavs use a chantry near Riga as their shared haven. This chantry is situated in a copse of trees atop a sacred hill, and remains one of the group’s best-kept secrets. While other Tremere know of its existence, only the Telyavs know its location. A few other chantries of this bloodline exist throughout Lithuania and Poland, but in addition to their chantries they often maintain secondary homes, which also serve as shrines for pagan worship.
House Goratrix fills its ranks with individuals who hunger for both knowledge and power: occultists, alchemists, theologians, philosophers, and scholars of all kinds. Neither age nor religion are any hindrance, although they do expect those they Embrace to accept their Hermetic-Neoplatonic theories if they wish to learn Thaumaturgy. At the same time, the House is pragmatic in its choice of members when need arises. Tremere Embrace warriors to lead their forces to battle, and courtiers and spies to represent the clan in the domains of the noble Damned.
In contrast, candidates for Embrace into the Telyavs come from the ranks of pagans. Many of them are priests and priestesses of the old religion, but some come from warrior stock, honed by battle against the various Ventrue-sponsored knightly orders that seek to Christianise their herds.
- House Goratrix: Auspex, Dominate, Thaumaturgy (choose a Lesser Path)
- Telyavs: Auspex, Presence, Thaumaturgy (The Path of Elemental Mastery)
House Goratrix: The blood of the Tremere holds difficulties and inequities not found in the other clans. Because of these failings, Tremere are easily made dependent on the blood of another. It takes only two draughts of another vampire’s blood for a Tremere to become blood bound instead of the normal three — the first drink counts as if the Tremere had taken two drinks. Likewise, their Vinculum ratings are always one higher than would otherwise be the case.
Telyav: The Telyavs bound their fates so tightly to their pagan herds that they took on some of the same fears and enemies. They are weak against Christian symbols and faith. Difficulties to resist frenzy are two higher than normal when confronted by a Christian enemy using True Faith as a defence. They recoil from the sight of the cross or other symbols of the Christian faith.
- Thaumaturgic Expertise (1)
- Rather than “in addition to the Path of Blood”, read “in addition to their starting Lesser Path” or “in addition to the Path of Elemental Mastery”, as appropriate
- Talisman (3)
- Countermagic (4)
House Goratrix-only Merits: