- A Clan of artists, mostly loyal to the Camarilla
- The Clan is also known for taking their passions too far, becoming obsessed
- Toreador Anarchs are rarely taken seriously by their elders
Toreador live by their whims. Do they feel like strolling in the gardens or tossing away a fortune on a game of cards? It’s the age of chivalry and Toreador are coming into their own magnificence. The worship of beauty in the Dark Ages, the fascination with mysticism, all these influences draw a Toreador like a moth to a flame. Sometimes Toreador are the moths. Other times, they’re the flames.
Toreador watch mortals play out their brief lives and often intervene. Drama adds zest to their unlives, their machinations tied into the tiniest detail. They are directors and mortals are the actors.
Toreador are the original hedonists, but with a tragic twist. They can never feel what they seek. They seek warm, mortal flesh to stave away the chill of undeath. They drink fine wine, though it tastes of dust, chasing the memory of bursting grapes on their tongue. They fill their homes with art and music, though they struggle to create it themselves.
For some Toreador, religion is their passion. They take it to extremes frowned upon by the Church, self-inflicting stigmata or flagellating their sins from their body. Yet they sin and sin again, living in the vacuum of God’s displeasure. After all, if Christ’s great gift is forgiveness, why waste that gift on a life of temperance? These vampires particularly feel the loss of grace.
To hear a Toreador talk, their clan is responsible for the entire history of art, from cave paintings to early Byzantine mosaics. As with many things involving Cainites, this carries a hint of truth, as Toreador have patronised and inspired many great artists throughout history.
If a Toreador was artistic in life, she spends her unlife pursuing the perfection humanity brings. However, because all Toreador lack something ineffable that mortals possess, they never achieve what they once did with a limited lifespan. It is traumatizing, but they never stop seeking it.
The Toreador long enjoyed their position as a High Clan, and they are at the centre of the Camarilla. Toreador Anarchs are held in considerable contempt by the bulk of their Clan, even the kindest taking the view that it comes from over-identifying with the concerns of mortals rather than considering the neonates’ and ancillae’s legitimate grievances.
It is said that the Clan’s founder Arikel was a mortal artist in the First City. Famed throughout the lands for her work, after her Embrace she painted a mural on which the past, present and future of Cainite society was depicted. When Caine saw a terrible future for his brood, he cursed her with the affliction that affects Toreador today – the art that she loved most dearly would now be her obsession and distraction above all things.
The Toreador had a strong presence in the early Minoan cultures of Greece. The Toreador attribute many of the classic tales as distorted versions of actual interference of mortals and Cainites (such as the tale of the Minotaur or the tale of Tantalus and Pelops). Their squabbling, however, weakened the first civilization of Mycenae, as childer drew their sustenance from the population, who in turn became too weak to defend themselves from foreign invaders. After the fall of Mycenae to the Dorians, the Toreador wandered across the Mediterranean, often seeking shelter among the Roman Ventrue or the Carthaginian Brujah.
At first, the Toreador supported both sides in their struggle, but when it became clear that Carthage would lose, many Toreador abandoned the city and joined the Roman forces, bringing with them tales of debauchery and infernalism that propelled the Ventrue to completely raze the city to the ground. The Toreador began to insinuate themselves into the city, often competing with the Ventrue and Malkavians. When Rome’s glory began to fade, one of them, the Toreador Mi-ka-il, deserted Rome to follow Constantine into Nova Roma, to construct the Dream that had failed in Rome, much to the shock of many Toreador Elders. Constantinople remained a beacon of Cainite power and glory, until the city was sacked by the Fourth Crusade in 1204.
In the War of the Princes, the Toreador were a High Clan, and their numbers were made up of minstrels, painters, poets and actors. Many Toreador insinuated themselves into the structures of the Catholic Church, primarily because the Church was the only supporter of art in these dark times.
From time to time, Toreador gather in loose collectives to refine their individual tastes and inspire each other. These gatherings are not for the faint of heart or feeble of wit. Passionate arguments over art, music, and theater are common, as are performances and impromptu art galleries. The art on display can originate from the Toreador in attendance or showcase the special talents of their protégés.
- France: The Courts of Love are dominated by Toreador, interpreting concepts of chivalry through the most poetic lens possible and making a virtue of courtly love
- Milan: the fashionista avant-garde here attracted the attention of the Clan a few centuries ago, despite the risks of the Inquisition
- Ottoman Empire: Michael the Patriarch ruled Constantinople for the entire Long Night, and the city remains a centre of Toreador power even as the “Nephilim” descended from Michael are replaced by the Rayeen al’Fen of the Ashirra
- Scandinavia: Skalds and artisans alike have been Embraced by the Toreador, and especially since the Christianisation of the area, Toreador have been prized advisors to Princes here
- Scotland: Prince Robert of Edinburgh is officially a vassal of the Ventrue Mithras, but in reality he and his fellow Toreador lords hold Domain in the cities of Scotland
- Southern England: the Fiefs of Canterbury and Winchester are likewise Toreador strongholds owing fealty to Mithras, albeit that Mithras’ hold is stronger here
A Toreador wants to be surrounded by art and lovely things, but is equally likely to seek out artists in garrets, or a patron of their own to help them afford their expensive taste. Toreador are true collectors, focusing their obsession on finding rare and precious items to add to their collections. They do the same with their retainers, curating the people around them.
Toreador are mercurial in their choice of childer, choosing by passion and conviction. It is not unusual for a Toreador to Embrace a favorite artist, lover, or muse to stay as eternal as they are. Unfortunately, the changeable nature of the Toreador leads to some cast-offs, as a sire tires of the childe they chose. This fosters resentment and some creative revenge plots.
Toreador are often entranced by beauty and art. When you encounter a piece of art, a performance, or something beautiful that you are particularly interested in or that you have never seen before, you must give it your undivided attention for a scene. Toreador can resist this urge by expending a point of Willpower. Although distractions like loud voices or a nearby scuffle can divert your attentions, Toreador dislike being interrupted while experiencing art and beauty, and will respond with anger — even violence or frenzy.
- Artist’s Blessing (1)
- Immortal Beauty (1)
- Greater Colours (2)
- Absent Sway (3)
- Ephemeral Rhapsody (3)
- Dancer’s Grace (4)