- A Clan of nomadic outsiders with close ties to nature
- They are ruggedly individualistic and generally sympathetic to the Anarch cause
The Gangrel are wanderers and outcasts, closely tied to both the wild places of the world and their own inner Beast. They accept and acknowledge their bestial nature more fully than most other Cainites, and live their unlives by rules of their own making – rare is the Gangrel who will willingly accept or impose limitations or bindings. They rarely stay in one place for long, and are generally suspicious of those they meet, thinking them weak-minded.
This is not to say that Gangrel eschew all human contact. While many prefer solitude or the company of loyal and predictable animals, they crave humans and their blood like any other vampire does. And like other vampires, they’re drawn to other predators in the complicated push and pull of the Beast. The main difference is that the Gangrel flaunts societal expectation, interacting with others on their terms. They talk only to whom they want to, live where they feel like it, and resist any attempts to make them do otherwise.
One of the stories about the Clan’s founder says that she was the one who codified the Road of the Beast. If so, this would make a lot of sense – one trait shared by many Gangrel is an extreme dislike of being told what to do. So it is that while there are prominent Gangrel in support of the Camarilla, many of the Clan – especially those on the Paths of the Devil, Liberation, or Veils – are fully in support of the Anarch Revolt.
The isolated existence of the Gangrel, their unusual appearance, and their tendency towards idiosyncrasy and individualism makes them easy targets for the Inquisition. Melding with the earth is little use in a city, or if mortal hunters are able to find the place you’ve chosen to hide. This provides another push towards the Anarch Revolt – the certainty and security of an Affinity is nothing to ignore.
There is little unified history of the Clan. Some speak of an ancient Dark Mother that was their originator; others of a war between demigods, or perhaps a blessing from pagan deities. While other Cainites cowered from the sun in small human settlements throughout antiquity, Gangrel roamed the wild places, sleeping beneath the Earth and fighting or trading with Lupines and other enemies.
In eastern Europe, they sided with the Tzimisce in the Omen War, fighting Tremere and Ventrue alike. In Scandinavia, they became the most populous Clan, simultaneously claiming descent from Odin rather than Caine, being chosen from among the slain by his Valkyries. Meanwhile in Constantinople, the Gangrel formed a Scion family and adopted to urban life so completely that they have formed a distinct bloodline of thieves, rather than hunters. They occupy the role of Low Clan in Europe, but are considered a key component of the Ashirra sect of Muslim vampires, whether fighting Christianity in Iberia or travelling in nomadic bands across the Middle East. There are as many origins as there are Gangrel, and perhaps that is the truest thing one can say of the Clan.
There is no organization universally accepted or practiced within the clan. While a city may have a tight-knit family of Gangrel following a strict, pack-like hierarchy, the next city over may have a group of Outlaws who barely recognize each other’s existence. Some may practice a dedication to clan against all others, while some particularly strong or arrogant Gangrel may see it as every monster for themselves. Respect is never simply given within the clan. If your sire respects another Outlaw, there is no reason you should respect them as well unless they’ve earned it. Hierarchy, if there is one, is built on blood and deeds, not tradition.
What little formal organization the Gangrel has is placed around the Thing or Gather, which are occasional meetings at which local and visiting Gangrel can exchange news, information and stories and decide on local matters. Things usually involve notice weeks in advance, as news travels more slowly among the limited network of the Gangrel. Once begun, Things usually involve the rites (either combat or boasting) demonstrating status to decide on leadership for the meeting. The rites can take days to accomplish, and must be redone for every Thing, as no two will have the same Gangrel meeting under the same circumstances. Once the hierarchy for the Thing is established, the business at hand can be dealt with. No matter the circumstances, Things always break up after a week.
Things can also be used to form Revels, which are essentially calls to battle. The Gangrel who participate in a Revel form parties to track down and destroy enemies, such as enemy Cainites, Lupines, or others who have dared to invade the clan’s territory.There are also meetings called Althings, or Great Gathers. As an Althing relies on a powerful Gangrel who is respected by most of the clan to be called, they are extremely rare. When one is called, any member of the clan who can must travel to the meeting place. There, similar rites of strength and status that are found in a regular Thing take place; however, there are no time limits to either the rites or the Allthing. Even more rare but related are Grand Revels, which are essentially wars and battles involving the entire clan. Both are considered to be signs of bad luck by most Gangrel – though many anticipate a Grand Revel being called for one side or the other of the Anarch Revolt.
- Bohemia, Crimean Khanate, Hungary, Lithuania, Moldavia, Poland, Wallachia: The Gangrel are well-established throughout the forests and mountains of eastern Europe, having historically sided with the Tzimisce against both Tremere and Ventrue. However, the “Honourborn” Gangrel of Lithuania and Poland serve as guardians for the embattled Telyavelic Tremere, alongside their other duties of killing supernatural monsters of all sorts, carrying trophies to mark their successes, and proudly sharing tales of their adventures.
- Iberian Peninsula: The Taifa are a branch of Muslim Gangrel, scholarly warriors still fighting against Christianity even as the Reconquista is almost complete. Some, however, chafed under the yoke of Caliphate rule, and worked with English Brujah to develop the Path of the Devil in response.
- Ireland: Many Gangrel spend their unlives in the wild parts of Ireland, coming into conflict with both the Ventrue of the south and the Brujah of the north from time to time.
- Italian Peninsula: A group of Gangrel calling themselves the Monstrous Few seek to cultivate ties with Lupines, Shining Ones, mortal will-workers and so on, finding common cause in the night against the Inquisition. This is a high-risk endeavour that fails more often than it succeeds, but still the Monstrous Few persist.
- Ottoman Empire: The Taifa have a presence here, and Constantinople is home to the Greek Gangrel bloodline. Alongside this, the nomadic Wah’Sheen wander the deserts and wastelands of the Empire.
- Scandinavia: The Gangrel are the most populous Clan in Scandinavia, and the primary keepers of the Einherjar tradition. The lands of Scandinavia are well-suited to the Gangrel temperament, with their isolated fjords, mountains and wilderness, and promote pragmatism and a disdain for Cainite politics.
- Wales: Wales has long been a favoured haven of Clan Gangrel, since the wilderness affords good hiding and the cities and towns offer prosperous hunting.
A Gangrel sleeps anywhere they damn well want to. That’s not to say all Outlaws live in the dirt and under the water. Havening underground is costly, so most Gangrel have a real haven somewhere on the outskirts or outside of civilization. Lone hunting shacks, watch posts, outlaw camps, and fur trader outposts all function well for Outlaws. For the nomadic Gangrel, moving with a herd like travelers, highwaymen, or pirated vessels is not uncommon, though it can be more challenging.
Note that these locations are rarely totally free of human contact. Even the isolated woodman’s shack may be visited on occasion. Animals work for some, but it’s very rare that a Gangrel can live entirely without human vessels. Some Gangrel need the wild hunt, running after a harried prey through village streets and along empty roadways. Some prefer husbandry and herd tending. Some live like spiders, luring in prey. The point is, the Gangrel does it however they please, and damn anyone who tries to limit their predilections and preferences.
As humans living outside of normal society, most potential Gangrels’ lives were difficult but they survived against the odds, and so it is no different for them as a vampire. They may have been Embraced with no ceremony, little romance, and no explanation, but no matter. They survive and endure in ways no other vampire could. They were hard and right and different in the ways they lived and loved before death. In that way, the transition to Cainite is considerably more seamless. A Gangrel does not mourn their humanity; people never had much room for them anyway.
The brutality of grabbing a human off the road or from the tavern and into the night to breathe their last is sensible to the Gangrel. Doing it any other way would be passionless and cruel. Abandoning a new whelp isn’t done out of selfishness or callousness, but to ensure the new childe will survive the long nights ahead. Most Gangrel sires are watching from the shadows, and so it isn’t usually actual abandonment. It’s hard to see the intimacy of what a Gangrel does from the outside, which is how they prefer it.
All Gangrel have one animalistic physical feature. For example, you might have hawk’s eyes, scales all over your skin, or a lion’s mane. Every time a Gangrel frenzies, they temporarily gain an additional animalistic feature. Temporary animal features recede when the vampire sleeps for a day, but a Gangrel’s permanent animal hallmark never fades. It can be hidden by clothing, or by powers such as Obfuscate, or temporarily removed by powers such as Vicissitude, but it will always return when the vampire sleeps.
- Note that this forms a costuming requirement using prosthetics, contact lenses, makeup or similar, unless concealed as above.
- Aquatic Predator (1)
- Protean Blood (1)
- Seasoned Traveler (1)
- Sanguine Indulgence (2)
- Rending (3)
- Shape of Beast’s Wrath (3)