Twenty-seven years ago Vampire: The Masquerade was released in 1991, and it’s been through a few iterations thus far along its journey. Our RPG show, Vampire: The Masquerade – L.A. By Night is diving into the Vampire: The Masquerade’s Fifth Edition and the World Of Darkness it resides in. If you’re as excited about it as we are, but aren’t familiar with the universe, here’s a crash course get you up to speed.
In the show L.A. By Night, no main-cast character is playing Clan Tremere, which probably marks this show as a rare gem among Vampire games. Clan Tremere has been a staple, and highly popular (also hated) clan since they were first released. Their draw was simple: they had magic. The versatility of their magic meant they grew infinitely more powerful than other clans the longer the game had run. With all the balancing finesse of D&D 3.0, it often sparked jokes among players on why, or how, this clan simply never ruled the entire world. Their mechanical versatility and power aside, Clan Tremere was one of the *best* written clans in the history of Vampire. The clan allowed authors to explore the nature of magic and myth from cultures all across the world, bringing light to an incredibly diverse mythos.
When you combine an entire world’s history of occultism and then add a unified clan with a political agenda—it is an easy sell. I differ from many VtM storyteller’s in that I often recommend Clan Tremere as one of the best starting clans for new players. The ability to make your character unique, add flavor and magical styling, and have clan support is a perfect home for players lost in the World of Darkness. With new players (and curious) players in mind, here’s a primer on the state of Clan Tremere in V5!
The Power Of The Pyramid
Vienna; capital of Austria, the city of music, and home to the impenetrable magical chantry of Clan Tremere. The Prime Chantry has served as the personal home for the founders of the clan for centuries. Warlocks concentrated their power with magical wards, gargoyle minions, and libraries upon libraries of artifacts and ancient grimoires from around the world. Within the clan, characters both revered, and feared the Prime Chantry—being sent back meant either secret training or the removal of your character. From this spot, seven more chantries fed into, and from there seven more each, and seven more to each of them… outward into the world until Clan Tremere would reach a magical number of vampires to rule.
Then 2008 happened. In a massive attack by the Second Inquisition, the Prime Chantry was decimated and the Tremere leadership with it. This assault is the defining moment for the entire setting of Vampires 5th edition. The Second Inquisition hobbled the most powerful clan in the entire setting and covered it up with a terrorist strike. Now, with a vacuum of power to fill, every clan Tremere character has a chance to scale the Pyramid and achieve their own destiny. Yet how did a group of mortal hunters and government humans ever take down a chantry that has withstood assault for centuries? The most popular theory is that they didn’t. Ever the clan of conspirators, it makes perfect sense for Clan Tremere to feign a strike and appear weakened…
What’s In A Warlock
Now more than ever, the “Mercenary Warlocks” of V5, practice their magic and hunt for mysterious lore in an eternal search for answers. With the leadership gone missing, any sense of cohesive guidance is tenuous at best, and characters are free to pursue their own agenda. Before they were vampires, most members of Clan Tremere dabbled in the occult—from Tarot to Tea reading to garden variety witchcraft. Once they pledge their eternal loyalty to the clan, they are given real magical power. Cursing their enemies to igniting their foes on fire with a snap becomes childsplay eventually, but where did this power come from?
In the 18th century, the founders of Clan Tremere were Mages from the Order of Hermes. A group of will-workers who had the power to bend reality to their whim. Tremere himself (a tad egotistical individual who named his entire house after him), started to age and fear death. Despite having lived for a few centuries already with alchemy potions and elixirs of life, magic could only take them so far—they needed a permanent fix. They hunted across Europe and found a clan of evil, soul-sucking infernalist (re: demon worshipping) vampires called Clan Salubri and decided to steal their immortality. In a great ritual, Clan Tremere tried to rid the world of the evil vampires and extend their lives and it worked! Kinda.
In a last laugh, the demonic clan Salubri ensured the Tremere were all bound by the Curse of Vampirism and lost their reality-bending magic. It has been only through sheer noble determination that Clan Tremere has overcome the curse and work a new form of blood based magic called Thaumaturgy.
Clan Tremere can fall into multiple Lore-Sheets, but one that highlights the drastic changes of V5 to the clan is Carna. This is an ironic twist of fate considering over a decade Clan Tremere kept every bit of magic for themselves. Instead the Anarch Tremere underneath Carna welcome all into their ranks and attempt to push the clan to become more modern. Some Tremere call them rebels, making Carna’s followers usurpers in a clan of usurpers, but they also represent the very ingenuity of the clan.
Followers of House Carna may find themselves hunted by the Tremere Clan old guard, but gain crazy abilities to circumvent their clans Bane or ignore Blood Bonds of other Vampires. Thanks new methods of looking at old rituals, House Carna can pull off some Unorthodox Rituals and cast magic without spending their precious Vitae. Even the slightest hint that it is possible to earn back a sliver of their long lost lineages means that House Carna might just be onto something. Plus Clan Brujah can join it! (Descendents of the Karl Shreck classic Lore-Sheet may have a problem with this…)
By practicing their magic in unorthodox ways and welcoming diversity into their ranks they’ve found strength
What clan of Vampire: The Masquerade do you identify with? Tell us in the comments below!
More Vampire: The Masquerade Gaming goodness!
- GM Tips For VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE’s 5th Edition Relationship Charts
- A Look Back at VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE’s Various Incarnations
- PRINCE’s GAMBIT Compresses The Immortal Intrigues of VAMPIRE Into A Half Hour
Image Credits: Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition
Rick Heinz is the author of The Seventh Age: Dawn, and a storyteller with a focus on LARPs, Wraith: The Oblivion, Eclipse Phase, and many more. You can follow game or urban fantasy related thingies on Twitter or Facebook.