Clan Malkavian have for a long time been a space where negative stereotypes about mental health have been able to thrive. The systematisation of mental health conditions, and the labelling of them as “Derangements”, contributes to the widespread stigma against people with mental health problems. In Vampire larps in particular, Malkavians’ Derangements have often been portrayed in a frivolous and demeaning manner, played for laughs without regard for the feelings of others, especially those who may well themselves be struggling with the same mental health problems another player is attempting to portray. As a result, we have significantly changed the Malkavian Clan weakness away from systematising mental health problems and towards being consumed by uncontrollable prophecy. We have renamed Dementation in line with this, to be Revelation, changed the prerequisite to learn it, and removed Derangements from the game entirely. We may use some elements of the Derangement mechanics to represent other factors (specifically other Clan Weaknesses) but they are explicitly not related to mental health.Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Policy
- A Clan of prophets, seers, and visionaries blessed and cursed by their limited insight into the future
- They are bound together by a metaphysical Tapestry, which is apparently the source of their powerful intuition
Prophets and soothsayers, the Malkavians are plagued with visions of a hellish future of blood and fire. Some interpret them as divine retribution for the sins of Cainites and mortals alike, others as dire warnings to change what is inevitable. Over time, many Malkavians lose the ability to distinguish their visions from reality – but that does nothing to blunt their insight or the quality of their counsel. Although the Clan is a pillar of the nascent Camarilla, many Malkavians have joined the Anarch Revolt because their prophecies tell a very different story to those of the elders…
As with all the major clans, the Malkavians originated in the pre-Deluge city Enoch. Little is known about the clan’s early composition, only that their Antediluvian – variously called Malkav, Malakai, Micah, Marid, or even Moloch according to some whispers – was a seer Embraced by one of the Second Generation. Malkav was particularly close to two other Cainites: Saulot, the founder of the Salubri, and Set, self-appointed god to his Followers. Some accounts suggest the three shared the same sire, possibly Enoch.
Sometime after the Flood, Malkav was ambushed and murdered by their fellow Antediluvians. Many Malkavians believe that their founder persists, existing entirely within the “Tapestry” that connects the Clan. Some Malkavians speculate that Malkav literally is Clan Malkavian and that when Gehenna arises, their founder will devour the Clan whole and be reborn.
Many of the early Malkavians posed as city-gods, using their oracular powers to convince the population that they spoke and listened to the gods. In Greece and the lands of the Fertile Crescent, many of the early Malkavians prospered as oracles and soothsayers and later, their foresight placed them into the role of viziers and advisors to the ruling Ventrue of Rome. It was on behest of the Malkavian prophet Tryphosa that Camilla (Ventrue ruler of Rome) called for the war against Carthage and it was with the aid of Alchias, the Malkavian ruler of Syracuse, that the Romans proved to be successful in the end. Later, however, the Malkavians were blamed for the more unsuccessful emperors and when Rome finally fell apart, the Malkavians drifted away. Several Malkavians became attracted to early Christianity, seeing Jesus as the reborn Malkav or perhaps Caine who would end their curse. Some even claimed that Andreas, one of the disciples of Jesus, was secretly a Malkavian, tasked to find Caine to persuade him to finally ask for forgiveness from God.
The Long Night and the War of the Princes were difficult times for the Malkavians; still suffering from their fall from grace as an important clan after the collapse of Rome, many other Cainites feared and distrusted them. Humans, needless to say, also feared the oracular intuition of the Malkavians; many were persecuted more for this “witchcraft” than for vampirism. That is not to say all Malkavians suffered horribly; quite a few became advisors, seers, and jesters to well-placed and powerful Cainite Princes. However, the bulk of the clan lived up to the Low Clan status bestowed on them by Cainite society. Part of this age were also the Ordo, secret covenants of Malkavians who sought to utilize their abilities to predict the future and carry on the legacy of the Oracles of antiquity.
In recent nights, a split has developed within the Clan; visions of blood and fire are becoming more and more common, and fears mount that Gehenna (the Cainite version of the end of days) is imminent. Some consider that the only way to avoid a fiery end to all Cainites is for the Clans to unite, and they have united behind Queen Camilla of Toulouse, Tryphosa, Unmada and other elders to support the nascent Camarilla -they believe that a vampire, given its removed state from the natural cycle of life and death, can rewrite destiny and possibly master their own fate. Others believe in the futility of any struggle against fate, pointing to the inevitable nature of the looming Gehenna, and that vampires can merely choose the place where they will be consumed. Others again consider that freedom is more important than anything else, and that the Blood Bond is an abomination; in this, they are much like their kin.
Clan Malkavian is unique in that all its members share a metaphysical connection called the Tapestry. Said to be a collective bond with their Antediluvian ancestor, the myth goes that when “Malkav” was struck down in a great battle with Set, or perhaps as part of the uprising against the Second Generation, their blood stained the ground all around their dying body and their closest childer, the “Coronati”, lapped it up and in so doing spread the Antediluvian’s essence between them. It means that Malkavians can often identify one another intuitively, and even pass messages, clues and insights through the ether. Some Malkavians claim they hear the Antediluvian’s deathcry through this Tapestry, others instructions or nudges, and others nothing at all of their ancient progenitor. Whether any or all of them are telling the truth is an open question. Powerful Malkavians are able to put out a Call through the Tapestry, which often results in large gatherings of the Clan.
Certain scholarly Malkavians have formed themselves into groups they call Ordos, mystery cults dedicated to exploring the range of scrying abilities offered by the Discipline of Revelation. They believe that these visions and prophecies have the power to overcome the Beast. There are two main Ordos currently in existence, the Ordo Aenigmatis and the Ordo Ecstasis.
The Ordo Aenigmatis (Order of Enigmas) believes in the power of symbols and mysteries. For those of a religious bent, they believe the word of God is encoded in all things, ready to be read by the right set of eyes. Others ascribe mathematical significance to the universe, believing that understanding the underlying numbers will provide an understanding that will help them control and hone the insights of their Antediluvian. They hold that:
- Symbols exist everywhere
- Not all symbols are relevant
- All symbols are important
- Every Enigmatic bears part of the load
- One cannot decipher all the symbols
- Some symbols are too dangerous to decipher
- No symbols are too dangerous to decipher
On the other hand, the Ordo Ecastsis (Order of Ecstatics) believe that the Beast can be goaded, punished, and stoked into providing deeper understanding of the primordial elements of the universe. Through passion, hedonism, and physical torture, they drive their insight to levels remarkable even for their Clan. They hold that:
- All things are One
- The body is a prison
- Prisons keep us from knowing All Things
- We can distract the prison guards by shaking the bars
- We can escape
- We must always return
- Sometimes, we never return
Rumours abound of a third group, the Ordo Maleficus (Order of Evil), who delve deep into the occult mysteries of infernalism and demonology to sharpen their insights. Whether they are simply misunderstood followers of the Road of Sin, literal demon-worshippers, or a cautionary tale is not widely known or even discussed.
As mystery cults, each Ordo is highly secretive about its membership and practices. Punishments for betraying the secret rites of these groups are uniformly brutal.
- Ottoman Empire: In Greece and the lands of the Fertile Crescent, many of the early Malkavians prospered as oracles and soothsayers. Their descendents are there still, serving as viziers and advisers to Princes of the region
- Papal States: The Malkavians have always had a strong presence in Rome. It was the mighty Tryphosa who counselled the Ventrue Prince Camilla to lead Rome against Carthage and eradicate the demonic influence. Indeed, Tryphosa’s contemporary Cybele bound the infernal beings into the earth there. Malkavians have been at the right hand of the Roman Ventrue ever since, a place well-earned. And, of course, dread Ankou spawned a line of haruspices who believe that the secrets of the universe can be witnessed in a microcosm by scrutinising the bodies of the recently dead
- England and Wales: The elder Malkavian Seren holds Domain over south Wales as Baron of Gloucester and Mithras’ vassal. Called Ealdgyth in life, she was married to both Gruffudd ap Llywelyn (first and last King of Wales) and, after her husband’s death and her own Embrace, to Harold Godwinson (last crowned Anglo-Saxon King of England). Many of her brood take great pride in prophesying the deaths of rulers and the end of dynasties. They are common – if sometimes unwelcome – throughout Mithras’ territory.
The Cassandras haven in places that look normal in their context. A Malkavian monk sleeps in a monastery, for example. They’ll do anything to blend in and not stand out. Rare is the Seer who keeps a lavish home, as most carry a deep-seated awareness that soon, fire will come. After the fire, they say, a deluge.
Every Malkavian stands as an individual, so each possesses unique needs and interests. They Embrace in accordance with those needs. That lack of predictability affords the clan one of its greatest strengths. If one feature is common amongst prospective Cassandras, it’s an inherent calmness and sense of judgment. Finding a way to balance intrusive oracular visions with the present moment presents great challenges for even the most stoic; passionate people make for explosive Malkavians. Of course, some Seers look to the oncoming crises with a sense of denial, and outright violent refusal. These Cainites look for the loudest, the brashest, and the most willing potential childer who will take up the sword of Revelation to defend the clan in the struggles to come.
You suffer from visions of apocalyptic disaster and premonitions of wide-scale destruction. The universe is wrong somehow, and divine justice will return to make everyone suffer. You have waking nightmares and visions of a hellish future of blood and fire. You must use all of your will to tell the difference between the real world and the one that haunts you. Every time your Willpower decreases, you lose a little more of your ability to distinguish prophecy from current events, and you sink further into these nightmarish visions. If you run out of Willpower, you fall into torpor.
- Cassandra’s Curse (1)
- Prophecy is in your blood. Anyone foolish enough to taste even a drop of it acquires the Gehenna Prophet Flaw for the next 24 hours. If someone drinks your blood for three consecutive nights, they gain this Flaw permanently, though it can be bought off normally. In addition, the presence of other prophets strengthens your power over them; you gain a +2 wild card bonus to your attack test pools when targeting a character that possesses the Gehenna Prophet Flaw or Malkavian Clan Disadvantage
- Expanded Consciousness (1)
- Malkavian Time (2)
- This relates to the Tapestry. There is no such thing as the “Madness Network”
- Labyrinthine Mind (3)
- Your mind is full of all the prophetic visions you have ever had, and any character who attempts to non-consensually pull information out of your mind risks losing themselves in these visions. Firstly, you receive a +3 bonus to your defense test pool when resisting Dominate, Revelation, and Thaumaturgy: Path of Corruption. Secondly, characters who attempt to pull information from your mind gain the Gehenna Prophet Flaw for the next hour
- Signs and Portents (3)
- Sophistry (4)