- A family of merchants-turned-necromancers who have stolen the power of one of the High Clans
- They remain scrupulously neutral in the battle between Anarchs and Camarilla, but perhaps their loyalty can be bought
- Giovanni are not available as player characters at this time, but it is possible for player action to change this
To those outside, Clan Giovanni puts on a great show of humility and friendship. However, within their cloistered walls, the family is cutthroat and incestuous, willing to perform vile acts in order to gain more power. They make no true alliances, but are willing to mouth pretty words in order to pacify other vampire clans. In the end, Clan Giovanni’s only loyalty is to itself. While the rest of the vampiric world judges the Giovanni for the destruction and diablerie of the Cappadocians, it cannot reasonably ignore the Necromancers — nor turn its back on the power that the young clan wields.
The Clan have conspicuously avoided joining or assisting the Anarchs, despite their leader having diablerised an Antediluvian barely fifty years ago. They seek the respect and power once due a High Clan like the one they destroyed; but the Camarilla will have no truck with them. In turn, the Giovanni refuse to fight their wars for them, while being shielded from the Inquisition by their allies among the Rosselini family of papal necromancers. Time will tell whether the Clan could be persuaded to side with either the Anarchs or the Camarilla; they will extract a high price from whoever wishes to court them.
The Young Ones, Necromancers
In 1005, in the hollows of Erciyes and under the shadow of Cappadocius’ torpid form, Augustus Giovani was brought into clan Cappadocian, directly Embraced with the blood of the Founder and under the watch of Japheth and Constancia. While the Embrace is relatively well known, what is not well known is the horse-trading before it.
As the Clan of Death, the Cappadocians followed their Founder in a quest to understand the mysteries of death and God, including Cappadocius’ plan to diablerise the Almighty. However, lacking knowledge about the soul (the Cappadocians’ use of Necromancy focused more on the act of dying than the events afterwards), the Founder began to shop for experts.
Enter the Giovani – “the young ones” – a family of prosperous Venetian traders who had for centuries depended on Necromantic skill to provide a business edge. Interested in expanding his family’s power and seeing vampirism as the route to doing so, Augustus Giovani had been studying the clans and entertaining offers from various vampiric elders for the Embrace. The Cappadocian offer was the most attractive, providing the lowest generation (as well as the most manipulable clan).
As a result, and despite the protests of Cappadocius’ eldest childer, the Antediluvian rose from torpor and provided Japheth with a small vial of his blood. Japheth reluctantly did so, draining Augustus and pouring Cappadocius’ donated blood into the throat of the drained Giovani.
Following his ascent into the blood, Augustus Giovani immediately began Embracing his own family. In the course of doing so, the Giovani became something between a bloodline and a cult within the Cappadocian clan. Acknowledged as the experts on Necromancy (and rapidly expanding the field), the Giovani maintained themselves slightly separate from the mother clan. This, as the Giovani claim, is because Augustus had planned to usurp his sire from before he was Embraced.
In 1444, these plans came to fruition. Augustus Giovanni’s childe, Claudius, formed a conspiracy to diablerise Japheth, the most beloved of Cappadocius’ childer. The Conspiracy of Isaac was a criminal force in itself, but ultimately a distraction – since Hardestadt and other founders of the Camarilla had turned their eye towards the diablerie of elder vampires, Augustus wanted a catspaw, an obvious plan to distract them while he went after the greater prize. In 1444, both plans were completed, with Japheth and Cappadocius dead and both leading Giovanni lowered a generation. The betrayal of Cappadocius and his childer is now called the “Bite” among Giovanni family members.
Taking advantage of the chaos of the era, Augustus has begun a purge of the Cappadocians that is already bearing fruit. Aside from this goal, the new Clan’s focus is very much internal: as the bulk of its power comes from the hold it maintains over wraiths, the Clan of Death will be able to increase its power beyond conception by tearing down the Shroud between this world and the next. Augustus has already outlined plans to do so, with the most difficult goal being the acquisition of vast numbers of souls to enact the necromantic rituals necessary. Their resources are devoted to three goals:
- Increasing their necromantic knowledge, to make use of the necessary souls
- Increasing their financial clout, to acquire (whether through slavery or economic disaster) sufficient souls
- Eliminating the remaining Cappadocians and their Lamia guards, to prevent them from opposing the plan or telling others of it
Like few other Clans, the Necromancers have a top-down organisation where policy is made by a still-active Clan progenitor, Augustus. The family maintains an enormous palazzo known as the Mausoleum in Venice, where elders and fledglings alike dance to the whims of their ancient puppetmasters. Clan structure is itself familial, with the added complications that hedonism and vampirism offer. Ancestor worship, cults of guilt, and bizarre relationships in which fathers and grandmothers are their own issue’s childer make a mire of the Clan and family, and fracture many Giovanni long before they become Kindred.
Most Young Ones live with their mortal family. The truth about their unlife is known in varying degrees depending on the closeness of the familial relationships— And it usually comes down to hushed suspicions of leprosy or other skin conditions which should not be mentioned outside of the house. Family is a Giovani’s best haven regardless of their physical location. However, their steadily growing wealth means that they usually dwell in large houses with multiple rooms and separated kitchens. Several families take in servants and apprentices.
The medical practice of leeching, coupled with the support structure of a close-knit family, makes it very rare for a Young One to need feeding outside her haven. If that should happen, though, they usually feed away from home to avoid any kind of suspicion.
The key quality to ensure devotion is gratitude. Therefore, the group of founders (headed by Augustus) promotes a reward pyramid structure, where only those who deserve it the most are lifted from their lot and brought up in status and prestige through the Embrace. This approach means that children from powerful political marriages have been looked over in favor of someone from lower social strata — and as the Giovanni’s numbers grow, so does internal discontent.
Giovanni of the main family branch have usually spent some amount of time as a ghoul in a practice known as the Proxy Kiss. During this time, the Cainite-to-be learns about the treacherous and jealous reality of the vampire family. They learn ambition and an unhealthy dose of duplicity, in addition to the family history and customs. Giovanni rarely see much of the outside world on their own terms during the Proxy Kiss period, and often become insular and alienated, while at the same time eager to stand out among the other family ghouls.
- Embraced before 1444: Auspex, Fortitude, Necromancy: The Sepulchre Path (and can purchase The Mortis Path without a teacher)
- Embraced after 1444: Dominate, Necromancy: The Sepulchre Path, Potence
- Embraced before 1444: No matter how much blood a Giovanni consumes, their skin remains deathly pale, resembling a corpse. This forms a costuming requirement.
- Embraced after 1444: A Giovanni vampire’s bite causes excruciating pain in the mortals who receive it. When a Giovanni feeds upon a mortal, they inflict 3 points of damage for every blood they drain instead of the standard 2.
- Death’s Virtuoso (1)
- Necromantic Expertise (1)
- Ritual Master (1)
- Blood of the Ancients (2)
- Mook (2, post-1444 only)
- Power Broker (2)
- Ghostly Retainer (3)
- Not My Time (3, pre-1444 only)
- Pierced Shroud (3, pre-1444 only)
- Scion of Death (3)
- All My Friends Are Dead (1)
- Selective Memory (1, pre-1444 only)
- Shroud Inept (2)
- Falling Apart (3, pre-1444 only)
- Shadow Walker (3)
A note on age
There are two key dates to consider for Giovanni characters: 1005, which is the date of Augustus Giovanni’s Embrace and the absolute earliest point at which he might have Embraced someone else. It’s worth remembering that Augustus was 4th Generation at this point, so his childer would be 5th, but relatively weak for their Generation.
The other is 1444, the date of “the Bite”, after which point the Clan changed from Cappadocian to Giovanni and with it their Clan Disciplines and Weakness, except for those already Embraced by this point.