The smell of old leather and brittle paper permeate the air. You know from your own countless years of study that this familiar smell can only be a place of learning. As you enter you are awestruck by the sheer magnitude of the place. A giant chandelier hangs from the 20-foot ceiling reflected in the mirror like floor below, shining down on shelves of knowledge. You don't even notice amongst the silent passing of several scholarly Kindred that a quiet unassuming fellow has been waiting patiently behind you. "Where would you like to start?" he says with a grin.
~ The Inquisition ~
~ The Pyramid ~
~ Generations ~
Unique among the vampiric Disciplines, Thaumaturgy uses ancient magic's with the incredible potency of vampiric blood. While the Paths this amalgamation can take are almost without end, this unholy combination places severe restrictions on the power of any one path.
Blood Magic illustrates the nature of Thaumaturgy, and it is the first Path all Tremere learn. Indeed, it is so basic that most Tremere stop thinking of it as a separate Path and regard it as the essence of the Discipline. The five levels include powers of perception, the ability to manipulate others and one's self, techniques of stealing blood, and methods of attack. Some apprentices have noted that this is the Tremere doctrine for defeating a foe. This strategy consists of spying, taking advantage of the enemy's weaknesses as well as one's own strengths, using the enemy's strength against him, and then launching the attack.
Of course, not all Paths follow this format, but younger Tremere like to fantasize that when they have learned all the powers of all the Paths (as they imagine their elders have), they will uncover the very essence of power. Until they reach that point, they plod along, studying and practicing for years before advancing the least little bit.
What these neonates do not realize is that the number of Paths is not fixed. New ones can be developed and expanded for all eternity. The most common ones are the Lure of Flames, Movement of Mind, Weather Control, Path of Conjuring, Neptune's Might, Spirit Thaumaturgy, Elemental Mastery and Corruption. Others exist, and more will be invented.
Each level of a Path increases the magnitude of power a great deal. Thus, while one level of Weather Control only allows its owner to summon up a fog, four levels would allow her to call up a full-fledged thunderstorm. Each Path is limited to five levels. More extreme results, such as using Weather Control to summon a hurricane, would require the use of rituals.
Some Tremere have theorized that this limit is linked to the source of their magic. Thus, while mages use the magickal nature of reality manifested in Quintessence to work their rotes, vampires get their power wholly from within themselves. Rituals simulate that tie to the universe, however, and vampires cannot work the most powerful spells without them.
More knowledgeable Tremere have also suggested that this means vampires avoid the problems associated with "magick." Since they do not require the external ties that mages have, the avoid the paradoxes mages sometimes create when they warp reality. In the words of the mages, vampires carry their own reality around with them and are not bound by anyone else's limits.
~ TOP ~
~ THE INQUISITION ~
It is generally acknowldged that the Roman Catholic Church learned of the Kindred during the years of the Inquisition. Instituted in 1229, the Inquisition concerned itself with the suppression of various heresies spreading through Europe. Partially in response to the rise of the Catharist heresy in the south of France and northern Italy, Pope Innocent IV approved the use of torture in 1252.
There are tales that the Catharist beliefs were supported by many Kindred in the south of France, and that some of them fell into the hands of the Inquisition when their brethren were forced to confess their heresy. If this is so, it would explain much concerning the rapid escalation in the tyrannical practices of certain leaders of the Inquisition. Perhaps they had seen proof, with their own eyes, of evil incarnate in the world.
Whatever the truth of those events during the 13th century, all indications are that certain factions within the Church remains are aware of, and concerned about, the exixtance of vampires. Indeed, the Inquisition continues still, albeit in a different form and with a different name.
Today the Inquisition is an organization of scholars and researchers of the occult, as well as a clearing house for many of the greatest vampire hunters. While originally only an investigative committee for heresy, it became a ruthless organization devoted to the elimination and torture of undesireables, a tradition which it has not entirely renounced, Though the Inquisition is no longer supported or sanctioned by the Church, most of its members are from the Catholic Church. Though they have taken a new name, "The Society of Leopold," and say they are only interested in research, they are preeminent among the witch hunters. They are well aware of the best ways to immobilize and kill vampires, and keep most of the oldest records.
However, they still do not know very much about the Kindred of today. Mainly they study old records and engage in endless speculations, and at times they embark on hunts and hold trials. They rarely kill their suspects, at least not right away, but hold elaborate trials first. Their eventual aim is to rid the world of the supernatural.
The Inner Circle of the Camarilla has decreed that they are to be avoided at all costs - better to give them nothing to study rather than give them the whole world something to focus its attention. A collection of crackpots is much easier to deal with than a band of martyrs. The Inquisition has retained much of its old reputation and is widely despised and feared. None but the most naive believe that they have truly "reformed," especially those vampires who lived through the first period of prosecution. Many anarchs take every chance they can to torment, lure and embarrass members of the Inquisition, despite the decrees made by the Inner Circle.
However, the members of the Society of Leopold possess several protections against vampires. They are learning to use various holy objects to weave protections against vampiric powers. Additionally, they can call upon the aid if many different groups when they seek "witches."
Among the most influential members of the Society are the Dominicans, who can trace their involvement back to the first Inquisition, which they partially oversaw. Many Kindred fear continued Dominican involvement, forgetting the circumstances and climate that contributed to the Inquisition. They also forge the fact that St. Thomas Aquinas, the renowned philosopher and theologian, was a Dominican during that period. The exact interest and concerns of the Dominicans remain unclear today.
There are also reports of a radical splinter group within the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, who are in the midst of a controversy with the Holy Office. Rumors persist that this may have some connection to the destruction of some Kindred in Algeria about five years ago. A former Jesuit brother by the name of Sullivan Dane is believed to have been responsible. Dane may have been able to use the Algerian incident as proof to some of his former Jesuit brothers that the Kindred threat was real, not imagined by him. He and some of his brethren are reputedly at odds with their superiors and the Holy Office over the matter.
~ TOP ~
~ THE PYRAMID ~
The Tremere comparison to a pyramid likens every member to a single block that helps support, while being supported by, the whole. Respect for the structure is expected at all times. Although not above rewarding the occasional rebel whose actions and initiative prove beneficial to the clan, the clan is quick to punish those whose behaviour weakens the structure.
Each level of the Pyramid contains Seven Circles of Mysteries. Each must be mastered before the vampire is eligible for advancement to the next rank.
From the beginning of your days as a member of Clan Tremere, you find yourself subject to a rigid path of hierarchy from which you cannot escape. This is what is known as the Seven Circles of Mystery; through which you must advance in order to gain increased power and privileges in the Clan.
This is the order of the Circles, which should give you an idea of where you rank in the grand scheme of things. Apprentice - Regent - Lord - Pontifex - Councilor. The first tier of the Clan is the rank of Apprentice. You must advance through the levels, beginning as an Apprentice of the First Circle of Mystery until you have reached Apprentice of the Seventh Circle of Mystery. Once this position has been achieved, pending an opening in the hierarchy, you may advance to the rank of Regent of the first Circle of Mystery and so forth.
It is important to know, both as a holder of higher rank and as one who aspires to a certain rank, that an opening of a position is not always necessary. There is also Certamen. Note that at ranks higher than Regent, this means is often fatal for the one who fails.
Apprentices are exactly that. Apprentices. Their purpose is to learn about the Tremere and the ways of the Clan. Their skill level varies greatly across the Circles of Mystery. Suffice it to say, given what I have already told you, Clan Tremere is composed mostly of Apprentices as there are limited positions of further rank.
As for the ranks of Regent and beyond, they are more concerned with the administration of the Clan and it's political engines. Regents supervise local Chantries, Lords supervise the actions and ambitions of the Regents, Pontifices (sing. Pontifex) supervise the Lords and the Councilors supervise the Pontifices. It is a complex system of who watches the watchers, but ultimately at the pinnacle of the Hierarchy is Tremere himself.
Now, as I said, the majority of the clan is made up of Apprentices of varying rank. All of whom are guided by their given Regent, with whom each apprentice must meet with once a week for evaluation and direction. Apprentices at the beginning of their journey are highly monitored where as one who has reached the Seventh Level are nominally independent. The Regent will usually select one apprentice from the ranks of the Seventh Level to become his or her personal assistant. This apprentice often, but not always, enjoys influence and power almost equal to the Regent.
The Regent is responsible for all things related to the Chantry on a municipal level. Regents are required to meet with their Lord, at his or her Chantry once a year to update him or her with recent events and the plans and aspirations within their province.
These meetings, and those that follow with higher ranks are valuable since they offer the Lord the opportunity to assist the Regents by coordinating the efforts of several Regents towards the same cause. This often involves apprentice exchanges, who act as the representatives of the other involved Regents. As far as these meetings go when applied to the higher ranks, the merit of the effort undertaken will determine how far the ripple goes through the Clan. It is not unheard of that a particularly astute Apprentice devises a plan that at it's culmination, has spread up through the ranks to the Councilors and has been distributed throughout the clan.
Lords are responsible for the administration of all the Regents in their realm. This usually consists of 7 Regents per Lord. The size of the realm varies from that of a small portion of a country to small continents, depending on the population and density of Tremere presence. The Lords are required to meet with their Pontifex once every three years to further co-ordinate the efforts already begun by their peers and their Regents.
While there are only 49 Tremere who hold the position of Pontifex, they govern vast geographical areas. They are responsible for monitoring and manipulating government, industry, religion or some other sphere of influence within their Order. Pontifices are required to travel to their Councilor's chantry to pay them formal obeisance and discuss future plans once every seven years.
The Councilors, of which there are only 7, govern the vast body of Clan Tremere. Each Councilor has been assigned a specific region of the World over which to supervise and develop. It is rumored that they are in constant telepathic communication with each other, however, only those close to them would know this. The Councilors meet with each other once every 10 years at the ancient Chantry in Vienna.
~ TOP ~
chapter, I will discuss the procedures and tenants involved in training
a new Apprentice and the qualifications for advancement for said
Apprentice. Particularly in regards to advancement, the strictures
should be followed to the letter as most Regents insist, however, the
exact nature of these strictures are flexible for each Regent depending
on the value and accomplishments of the Apprentice in question.
~ TOP ~
~ GENERATIONS ~
Tradition holds that Caine, the Biblical slayer of his brother Abel, is the sire of all Vampires. This tenet engenders the much controversy within the Cainite community, for none still exist who can claim with utter certainty to have met Caine. Certainly, those of the Second Generation would know, but they're not talking. Some of the Fourth Generation who yet exist claim to have met a being who may have been Caine, though this could simply have been a powerful Cainite of the Second Generation.
It is an unresolved question -- a mystery of heritage.
The existing translations of the Book of Nod, the sacred book of vampire mythology, place the number of Second Generation vampires at three. Caine in his sorrow created them to live with him in the great city of Enoch. Little is known about these beings. As one can assume, based on the Book of Nod, that they were slain during the Deluge or the First War following the Flood. As one might expect, ancient Vampires are reluctant to speak of their sires and the great strife that overcame them all. Undoubtedly, some know more than they choose to reveal.
It is believed that seven members of the Third Generation are still active, though the names of only two, Lucian and Mekhet, are widely known. In common argot, they are referred to as the Antediluvians, and they are the founders of the 13 vampire clans. All remain hidden in the working of the Jyhad, a war that has lasted nearly as long as recorded history. The war continues, but now instead of open fighting on the battlefields, the Antediluvians use subterfuge, guile and outright deceit. Their primary activities seem to be tracing the activities of each other and thwarting whatever moves their opponents make.
Like their sires, Caine's grandchilder are powerful beings, with abilities and powers only guessed at by their descendants. Some say they are the last vampires to have true mastery over the powers of life and death, and can only die Final Death if they choose it or are slain by one of equal power. Is this perhaps the Jyhad? A maneuvering to see who will be the last of their kind?
Fourth and Fifth Generations
These vampires are known as the Methuselah's. for they are nearly as powerful and secretive as the Antediluvians. Those of the Fourth and Fifth Generations are most often the pawns of choice in the Jyhad, as they may have political power among the Cainites. As a result, their numbers have dwindled significantly, as they fall in one scheme or another. Accordingly, few of this generation remain active, and many have distanced themselves from vampire society out of fear of the Jyhad and Amaranth. Still, some of the more powerful princes are of the Fifth Generation. And there are among the Fourth Generation, feeling themselves under the threat from the Antediluvians, who have made attempts at organizing all vampires under their rule -- to date all such attempts have failed.
Though the blood of Caine begins to dilute somewhat at this distance, those of the Fourth and Fifth Generation are still extremely powerful. It can be assumed that they have reached their maximum potential in two or three Disciplines.
Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Generations
Vampires of this Generation are powerful enough to think they can resist the workings of their elders, and so remain deeply involved in Kindred Society, They control the Camarilla (at least they think so), comprise the majority of the princes, and are the Primogen of many cities. Those who remain in positions of visibility tend to be important figures: leaders of clans or bloodlines, or Princes of great cities. Most of the Princes of European cities tend to be of the sixth generation. Princes of American cities tend to be of the seventh or eighth generations. Members of these generations have most commonly reached their maximum potential in one or two Disciplines. Interestingly, the members of the eighth generation seem to be the last Kindred viewed as "elders." Perhaps it is because the majority of them were created before the modern age, and that is evident in their manner and bearing.
Ninth and Tenth Generations
Though they are sometimes called elders, these Kindred often associate themselves with members of the younger generations. Members of these generations are frequently called ancillae, though of course this is based on age more than generation. Most were created in the modern era, and thus are somewhat alien in temperament to the older Kindred. In more ways than one, they bridge the gap between the anarchs and the elders.
Eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth Generations
The most recent generations of Kindred are often called neonates. Most characters belong to these generations. They are still powerful creatures, but the special gifts of Caine's blood (the unique powers and abilities) are rarely found here. Born within recent memory, the Kindred of these generations are products of societies that have received the benefits of, and been victims of, rapid change.
Fourteenth and Fifteenth Generations
There are exceedingly few Kindred of these generations, and none beyond. Indeed, those of the 15th generation have failed to sire any progeny. Their blood is far too thin, and they are too removed from Caine, to be able to pass on the curse.
~ TOP ~
1 – The
The position of the Regent is mandatory. The duty of the Regent is to communicate with the rest of the Clan and establish a vision or long-term goal for the Chantry. The Regent is responsible to direct the Clan towards achieving such goals spanning a wide variety of tasks. These range from preferred paths of study to the arrangement of apprentice exchanges from other chantries. Overall, it is the Regent who has to answer for the actions of the members of the Chantry to his or her superiors and so they are given more or less free reign in running their chantries. The upper echelons care little of the means so long as the goal is accomplished to satisfactory standards. Should the Regent continuously fail in his or her tasks, it is likely that they will be replaced. Clan Tremere does not handle failure very well at all.
However, while the price for failure is high, the benefits and prestige this position offers makes it a position highly sought by all Tremere. The unfortunate part is that there are only so many chantries available to the Clan and upcoming positions are few and far between.
The Regent also has very little to do with the face to face relations of the other Clans and the Prince. Such details are left to the Primogen who is better equipped to handle such situations.
The position of the Primogen is also a mandatory one. The duty of the Primogen is to take the directions of the Regent and put them into actual practice. Though the Regent is rarely seen, the Primogen of the Clan is the most visible member of the Clan. He or she is the one relied upon to maintain and nurture relations with the other clans and the Prince of the city as well as smooth over any altercations between. Only the most serious matters should be brought to the Regent for resolution, and even these bear a certain amount of discretion concerning matters that may infringe on the authority of the Regent. While some chantries rotate their Primogen with a given schedule, this practice is relatively new and is frowned upon by the Elders of the Clan.
Most of the night to night duties are shared between the Primogen and the Chamberlain, if one is appointed. Each shares responsibility for the outcome of their actions and decisions to be judged by the Regent.
The admittance of new apprentices to the Chantry is supervised by the Primogen and upon their judgment they are either turned away or brought to the Regent for acknowledgement. Upon acceptance by the Regent, the new apprentice is then scheduled to meet with the Prince and required to make the appropriate oaths of commitment and loyalty.
While more hands-on that the purely administrative position of Regent, this too is a position highly sought by apprentices for its prestige and power.
The position of the Chamberlain is purely discretionary depending on the needs of the Chantry. The Chamberlain, when appointed, takes some of the burden from the Primogen in matters of acquiring supplies and apparatus for the laboratories as well as the daily administration of the more mundane effects of the chantry (paying bills, making arrangements for expansions etc.) The Chamberlain becomes the defacto guide in matters of etiquette and education, acquiring tomes and other items required by various apprentices in their studies. If such items are borrowed or on loan from another kindred or chantry, the responsibility for their condition and the return of such items fall squarely on his or her shoulders.
Often apprentices look beyond this position in favor of that of the Primogen or Regent since the position is only a minor bureaucratic one, and often forget that such a position, while not difficult to attain is often excellent preparation for a higher position.
Secretary to the Regent
Depending on the status and position of the Regent, this position can be mandatory or discretionary. A high ranking Regent usually has more on his or her plate than they can keep track of and a secretary is a luxury that can not be done without whereas a minor Regent usually only takes on what they can handle.
While purely bureaucratic and scheduled, this position has its rewards when it comes to notoriety and contacts throughout the Clan. On a daily basis, the Secretary to the Regent deals with peers on an equal or higher level of authority and rank than their employer and they become known to such persons, particularly if they are good at what they do. While in Clan Tremere magical and Thaumaturgical knowledge is necessary, office and bureaucratic skills are highly prized in this position. Such a position is often highly sought since association with such high ranking Tremere can prove beneficial in the future career of any Tremere, let alone the prestige of being a confidant of a high ranking Tremere with access to the secrets of the Clan.
Apprentice to the Primogen
The apprentice to the Primogen is very similar to that of the Secretary to the Regent and is just as necessary or discretionary depending on the needs of those in power. However, the duties of the Apprentice to the Primogen are more involved in the chantry proper as compared to the duties of the Primogen. Often the apprentice is required to attend to the Chamberlain as well since the needs of the chantry mandates such a position as this. One might call this position a glorified gopher or lapdog considering that this is their primary function, running errands and the like.
However, the Tremere holding this position often wields the same authority as the Primogen and/or the Chamberlain although to a much lesser degree. The Apprentice to the Primogen cannot make any final decisions regarding chantry matters, although they can offer to bring it to the attention of his or her superiors. This position is often the easiest of all to achieve since the requirements for it are only the trust of the Primogen in the abilities of the candidate to accomplish the duties outlined above.
The Master of Rites
The position of The Master of Rites is often recommended since the attention of the Regent and Primogen are focused on more important matters but is by no means necessary. The duties involved in this position is to take the directions of the Regent on matters of preferred path and ritual study and implement them in the chantry.
position is just as difficult to attain as that of the Primogen and the
Regent since it requires a vast knowledge of Thaumaturgy and Rituals as
well as skill in teaching such knowledge. Usually, this position is held
by a Tremere with equal rank as that of the Regent and the Primogen and
is highly desirable. The access to knowledge in this rank far exceeds
that that can be expected by a mere apprentice.
The position of the Senior Apprentice is completely discretionary and only recommended in the largest of chantries. While on the surface it may appear to be completely superficial and hollow if not redundant, the holder of this position has access to all of the ruling party of the Chantry. This person acts as the ear of the ruling party to the other apprentices and by its nature, should be kept from common knowledge. This individual maintains several possible demeanors depending on the situation of the given chantry.
Occasionally, the Senior Apprentice keeps a low profile, gathering information for the ruling party in secret, or they become the confidant of the other apprentices, listening to their problems or concerns and offering advice on how to deal with the situation and then reporting it to the ruling party for further consideration. In effect, this position can be compared to that of the Secret Service to the President of the United States or the KGB to the President of Russia.
The only drawback from this position, due to its secretive nature, is that it comes with no recognition outside that of the immediate superiors and can offer no prestige outside of that restricted circle. However, the benefits to be gained are often worth the trouble.
~ TOP ~
This site features graphic vampire and personal horror related to the role-playing game Vampire the Masquerade. Visitor Discretion is Advised.