Powers belonging to vampires of the Third Generation (those known as Antediluvians ) were narrower in scope than the powers possessed by their Second Generation sires. The predilections, aptitudes, and weaknesses of the Antediluvians were more stable than their predecessors’. These distinctions were passed down to the vampires they Embraced, marking each one as belonging to a specific lineage. Those lineages, known as clans, have defined vampiric society throughout history. Each vampire clan has certain characteristics. The supernatural powers carried in the clan’s blood defines them, as does the specific curse that afflicts members of that clan. These are passed down from sire to childe until the blood is weakened by being so many generations removed from the Antediluvians that it can no longer support these distinctions. These thin-blooded childer are known as Caitiff. They have no clan, and are considered outcasts by vampiric society.

Once Embraced, a fledgling vampire is both physically and spiritually altered. Her body dies and is brought back from the dead, and her blood is replaced with vampiric vitae. Many of these changes are specific to the clan into which she is Embraced , making her more like the clan’s founder. This effect is stronger in those with purer blood, and less obvious in those vampires who are many generations removed. The characteristics of the clan may appear as new quirks in an individual’s personality, faults in her temperament, or physical changes to her appearance. It also manifests in the powers a vampire can learn through the intrinsic qualities of her blood. Each clan has three disciplines that are native to its blood (listed at the top of the clan’s description). These disciplines, known as in-clan disciplines, can be learned without a teacher. To learn a discipline that is not one of her in-clan disciplines, a vampire must find a teacher.

On rare occasions, the vitae of a small lineage will diverge from the distinctive qualities of the parent clan. These lineages, called bloodlines , still bear notable signs of their progenitor Antediluvian, but may also carry distinctive markers and predilections, different supernatural powers, or a strange variant of the clan’s curse. Like clans, bloodlines reproduce predictably. All childer Embraced by a vampire of a particular bloodline will also have the distinctive qualities of that bloodline. Such childer cannot revert to their parent clan. By default, a bloodline has the same weakness as its parent clan but some bloodlines carry an alternate or additional weakness.

Some rare bloodlines, on the other hand, claim that they are not descended from any of the clans. They have their own distinctive markers and native disciplines, and are treated as oddities and freaks by members of the more legitimate clans. The descriptions given in this chapter define the clans and bloodlines used in the World of Darkness. Your Storyteller may use altered descriptions, more suitable to her setting or to the history of her chronicle. Be sure to speak with your Storyteller about any changes that may be in play for her game before you choose your clan.