- A Clan of monstrous experimenters convinced of their right to rule the land they are tied to
- They have overthrown their Antediluvian and are at war with their own Clan elders and the Camarilla
- They make monsters of their own using their ability to craft living flesh
The Tzimisce are philosophers, explorers, and monsters. They experiment and change constantly, seeking apotheosis through a constant iterative process of improvement. They take after the founder they destroyed, a roiling mass of rage, intuition, imagination, and creativity. At the same time, they are profoundly traditional – driven by an intense tie to the land and their right to rule it. They brook little dissent, while at the same time demanding total freedom from morality and ideology for themselves. Most of them have little patience for those who might point out the inherent contradiction there.
They are also one of the single largest groups of Anarchs. Inspired by the diablerie of the Ventrue Hardestadt at the fangs of the young Brujah Tyler, and Gratiano’s diablerie of the Lasombra Antediluvian with the help of the Banu Haqim, three Tzimisce came together to recreate the feat. Velya the Flayer, Myca Vykos, and Lugoj found Kupala’s Sacred Fire-Flower, heart of the demon, in a forgotten and desecrated monastery in the Carpathian mountains. They used it along with the blood of one of the Eldest’s childer to break their blood bonds, and thus performed the first Vaulderie. They led an assault on the Eldest’s resting place which ended with victory for the Anarchs, and with Lugoj diablerising the Antediluvian. Now many of the Clan’s elders in the crumbling Voivodate are at war with their childer, the Ventrue, and the Tremere, bolstered by their monstrous fleshcrafted war-ghouls and the loyal revenants of the Bratowicz family. These “Old Clan” holdouts are among the primary targets for the hungry fangs of the Tzimisce Anarchs. They want nothing more than to change Cainite society forever, spelling an end to fearful cowering in front of elders and Inquisition alike.
The mighty Tzimisce Antediluvian was an experiment by one of the Second Generation, who sought to expel all of his bestial qualities into a mortal through the Embrace. The new being was filled with their sire’s rage, intuition, imagination, and capacity for change. The nature of the “Eldest” is expressed through Vicissitude itself.
The Eldest left the Second City before Caine cursed his descendents, and travelled to eastern Europe. Deep beneath the earth, they found a slumbering demon named Kupala, and awoke it. Kupala taught the Eldest the deep magic of the land, and in exchange the Eldest and their brood freed Kupala from the bindings that the vile Lupines had laid upon it. All of Kupala’s chains to the mortal world were broken save two – one to the Carpathian mountains, and the other to the Eldest themselves.
When the Deluge came, and with it the Curse of Caine, the Eldest and their brood were already at war with the Lupines for what they had done on Kupala’s Night. Using the sorcery taught by Kupala, fleshcrafted war ghouls, and Gangrel allies, the Tzimisce were able to maintain control of their domain, founding a Voivodate that persists even into the Anarch Revolt. The Clan largely ignored Rome and focused instead on Constantinople, where noted scholars such as Myca Vykos and the Dracon furthered their knowledge in previously unheard-of ways. They rode the wave of the city’s spiritual movement claiming to resist damnation, and some even learnt to co-exist with mortals, at least for a little while.
The first true threat to Tzimisce feudal power in the Voivodate came from the Tremere, who captured and tortured Fiends to extract the secrets of vampirism from them, and twist them into Gargoyles. Alongside their Gangrel allies, the Tzimisce fought back, until the Ventrue under Jürgen von Verden of Magdeburg also invaded in the early 13th century. The Ventrue were driven back but the conflict with the Tremere continues to this day. The invasion of the Mongols and their Anda kin further weakened the Tzimisce Voivodate, but the elders managed to cling to power until the Anarch Revolt turned everything to chaos
Once an incestuous Clan with sprawling legacies of dozens, if not hundreds, of members tied by family and blood, the Tzimisce’s uprising against their Antediluvian and its childer has freed the Fiends to rule themselves as well as the world around them. Bound instead by ties of Vinculum to one another and Anarchs of other Clans, the Tzimisce still struggle for dominance and use hospitality to provide respite from this.
The Tzimisce have bred “revenant” families of ghouls over many generations to serve them, sufficiently inhuman that they can produce their own vitae but not so much that they cannot bear the sun’s light. Not quite human and not quite Cainite, they serve as mortal pawns and possible candidates for the Embrace. Four main families exist at this time:
- Bratowicz: loyal to the Clan elders and footsoldiers against the Anarchs, this family from the areas of Poland, Moldavia and Wallachia were bred as guardians, taskmasters, and Lupine hunters.
- Grimaldi: originally an Italian merchant family who expanded into Bohemia, the Grimaldi were introduced to ghouldom swiftly and bloodily and serve as agents in lands most Tzimisce prefer not to travel to. They have sided with the Anarchs, and primarily act to deal with mortal society.
- Obertus: A line of scholars and clerics from Constantinople who protect knowledge that would otherwise have been lost, and who had a strong base in Hungary after the end of Constantinople’s Dream. They constantly search for knowledge, even when it will likely do them more harm than good.
- Szantowicz: the eyes and ears of the Clan in the courts of Eastern Europe and the Ottoman Empire, this family is known for its abundance of wealth and inclination towards cruelty.
A revenant who receives the Embrace usually has different Clan Disciplines and a different Weakness than one would expect – but they do not technically form a bloodline, as their childer are usually completely ordinary Tzimisce unless they themselves are of revenant stock.
- Bohemia, Crimean Khanate, Hungary, Lithuania, Moldavia, Poland, Wallachia: these areas were united under the banner of the Voivodate, a loose confederation of Tzimisce domains, until the coming of the Mongols and their Anda kin. Since then, even after the Mongols have receded, Tzimisce control has been much looser, and contested by the Tremere and Ventrue in particular
- Ottoman Empire: Constantinople was a centre for the experimenters and creators among the Fiends, questioning the very concept of Damnation. Working with the Brujah, Malkavians, Nosferatu, and Toreador, Tzimisce here sought to co-exist more or less peacefully with mortals.
- Bratowicz: Road of the Beast, Road of Bones, Road of Lilith, Road of Metamorphosis
- Grimaldi: Path of Chivalry, Road of Humanity
- Obertus: Road of Bones, Path of Chivalry, Road of Metamorphosis, Path of Thorns
- Szantowicz: Road of Desire, Road of Lilith
Most Tzimisce keep their haven in whatever constitutes luxury for them. They stand as regal by their own definitions. This almost always means surrounding themselves with massive subjects and herds, wherever they happen to roost. Due to their tie to the earth, if they leave their homeland, they will find some way to establish a bond to their new home.
Traditionally, Tzimisce drew from among the most suitable members of their own nobility, prizing loyalty, fierceness, and strength above all other qualities. To this end, they prefer to Embrace ghouls, and they have established whole families of revenants to serve that purpose. Tzimisce rarely Embrace foreigners, and when it happens, they are truly exceptional. Metamorphosists, however, will sometimes eschew tradition, seeking out those who inspire them with their spiritual perfection, while some among the younger generations delight in the aesthetic possibilities of strangers.
- Bratowicz: Animalism, Potence, Vicissitude
- Grimaldi: Celerity, Dominate, Fortitude
- Obertus: Auspex, Obfuscate, Vicissitude
- Szantowicz: Auspex, Presence, Vicissitude
The alterations that can be made to a character’s body using Malleable Visage, Fleshcraft, and Bonecraft may represent costuming requirements. If you are unsure, please contact the team.
The Tzimisce are inextricably tied to their domains of origin, and must rest in the proximity of at least two handfuls of native soil — earth from a place important to her from her mortal days, such as the soil from her birthplace or the graveyard where she underwent her Embrace. Each day spent without this physical connection to her land inflicts a cumulative -1 penalty to all of the Tzimisce’s attack test pools (maximum -5). These penalties remain until she rests for a full day amid her earth once more.
Tzimisce of revenant stock have the above weakness, and also one determined by their family:
- Bratowicz: The Bratowicz are monsters at their very core, spurred on by hot tempers and lacking a concept of self-control. For the purposes of determining the need to test for frenzy or powers that interact with Beast traits (such as Quell the Beast), they are always considered to have 1 Beast trait higher than their current total. For example, a Bratowicz with 2 Beast traits must test for frenzy as if she had 3 Beast traits. As this is a penalty and not an actual Beast trait, it cannot be reduced or eliminated by powers or effects such as spending time with someone who has the Animal Ken skill. This penalty has no effect on Morality loss.
- Grimaldi: All Grimaldi intrinsically fixate on a particular Cainite. You must choose a member of your Affinity that you shall treat as having a Vinculum rating of 5. Should this individual die or if you are separated from them at length, you will fixate on a different Cainite. If you do not have an Affinity, you must select another Cainite in your proximity. Once selected, you will treat them as if you had a 3 point blood bond to them. Should this individual die or if you are separated from them for 2 months, you will fixate on a different Cainite.
- Obertus: This family’s weakness is an obsessive search for information. Once an Obertus has been exposed to a puzzle or trail of knowledge she does not possess, she will ignore all other responsibilities. You gain the Impatient flaw when prevented from continuing your search for information and the Intolerance flaw toward anyone trying to distract you from your goals.
- Szantowicz: This revenant’s family weakness is obsession with pleasure and sensation, becoming easily addicted to any sort of hedonistic good time. If you fail to engage in a pleasurable sensation or ignore any of your other addictions and vices, your maximum Willpower is reduced by 1 for the remainder of the evening.
- Blood of the Tzimisce (1)
- Polymorphic Demeanour (1)
- Emptiness of Faith (2)
- Revenant Stock (2)
- You were born into one of the Revenant Families, and have altered Clan Disciplines, Preferred Roads, and Weaknesses, as above. Being a Bratowicz costs 4 points rather than 2 as most Bratowicz have sided with the elders against the Anarchs.
- Szlachta (2)
- Vozhd (3)
- Koldun (4)
- The Fiends’ close bond to both the land and the demon Kupala allows some of them to bind and coerce spirits of nature. When you acquire this merit, you gain the discipline Koldunic Sorcery. You can purchase The Path of Elemental Mastery and one other sorcerous path of your choice, based on your character’s homeland. These paths are learned without a teacher and are considered out-of-clan powers for all purposes (including purchase costs).
- Humble Gardener (1)
- Revenant Family Weakness (2)
- You cannot take this and the Revenant Stock Merit.
- Scar Tissue (3)
- This Flaw creates a costuming requirement to show the “walking mess of scars”
- Tzimisce with the Koldun Merit may take this Flaw if they wish
- Tzimisce with the Revenant Stock Merit from the Grimaldi family may not take this Flaw