The Mythology of the DamnedEdit
Exactly what causes the state of vampirism is a source of much debate among the Damned. Even though most Kindred agree on their point of origin, the idea itself is inherently unverifiable, and the points of contention even within the accepted dogma are numerous enough to fuel any number of holy wars.
First Vampire, First MurdererEdit
And the Lord said unto him, “Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
— Genesis 4:15
With these words, many vampires trace their origins back to Biblical times. Caine, son of Adam and brother
of Abel, slew his sibling in sacrifice to God, and in so doing was cast out, becoming the first vampire as God
withdrew His grace from the exile.
Thereupon, the tale diverges any number of times, but most Kindred scholars, eschatologists, priests, and
speculators agree on this first point. Caine, as the First Vampire, wandered the Land of Nod, where he eventually passed on his curse, Embracing those who would become known as the Second Generation. Their names are lost or vaguely known — the names most commonly agreed upon are Enoch, Irad, and Zillah — and they eventually begat the Third Generation, who would become the progenitors of what Kindred understand tonight as Clans. The chronology of Caine’s life, curse, and subsequent travails are recorded in the Book of Nod, a document as close to a “vampire Bible” as the Kindred are apt to come.
The book itself is as much myth as fact: Any number of editions of varying reliability have surfaced in the
millennia since Abel’s death, from crude clay tablets to the most widely accepted version, collected by the
renegade Aristotle de Laurent and disseminated by his protégés and allies. Even Aristotle’s version is suspect, as it contains Kindred apocrypha from a variety of sources, and the whole thing itself cannot possibly be original. Still, as an item of faith, it commands the hearts and minds of many Kindred, from fiery Sabbat priests to spiritual Camarilla disciples and devout Anarchs.
Long have the Kindred sought Caine himself, though the First Vampire hasn’t been reliably sighted outside
the Biblical times that provided his origin. Still, unverifiable Caine sightings have shown up throughout time, as Kindred seek for any symbol of faith to anchor their despair or dread. Likewise, fragments of the Book of Nod occasionally surface in various domains or among ruins that just happen to find their way back into Kindred possession.
The whole matter of Caine and the Book of Nod is a powder keg each time it rises to prominence in a given
city. The Camarilla generally believes the myth of Caine to be just that: a parable with perhaps some basis in truth, but largely symbolic. The Sabbat takes the whole matter quite literally, and their faith in doomsday
prophecies (many of which originate with the Book of Nod itself) causes no end of strife. The matter of Caine is indeed a religion among vampires, fraught with all of the zealotry, intolerance, devotion, pride, and fear that accompany all matters of faith.
How is it, then, that some foundation of the tale of Caine survives and even thrives among all Kindred? The answer is simple: The potency of a Kindred’s vitae reflects her distance in Embrace genealogy from the First Vampire.
Among vampires, the notion of Generation is a concept that describes how distant one is from the First Vampire. When a Kindred Embraces, her childe rises from death one Generation higher than she — one
more Generation removed from Caine. The Clan founders comprised the Third Generation, their progeny
became the Fourth Generation, their childer became the Fifth Generation, and so on and so forth up through the distant Thirteenth Generation prevalent in the modern nights.
This explanation creates confusion of its own, however. “Third Generation” ostensibly means that these
Antediluvians were three Generations away from Caine, but the prevailing mythology names only two. If Caine himself isn’t “zero Generation,” what is he one Generation removed from?
Generation determines a great deal about Kindred potential. Mastery of certain Disciplines relies upon a
certain threshold of Generation, for example, as does the ability to store vast quantities of blood within the
vampire’s body. Some ancient Kindred need to feed only when the desire takes them, so great are their reserves of vitae.
Diablerie: The AmaranthEdit
Along with advanced Generation comes a price, however. Generation equals raw power potential, and those of higher Generation seek the power of their elders. By slaking one’s thirst on the heart’s blood of a
vampire of lower Generation — drinking the vampire’s soul in a transgression known as diablerie — a Kindred can lower her own Generation.
Naturally, the elders hate and fear diablerie (though it would surprise many neonates and ancillae to discover how many elders attained their own Generational potency by destroying their own sires and elders). Also known as Amaranth, diablerie is the greatest crime a Kindred can commit against another vampire. … At least in some circumstances. In others, diablerie is not only permitted but encouraged. For example, a Prince who declares a Blood Hunt often decrees that those who diablerize the outcast will be pardoned.
Further, in the Sabbat and in certain Anarch domains, diablerie is an acceptable (and even honored) method of promotion and advancement. After all, if a vampire lets himself be diablerized, well, he must have been too weak to use that power effectively.
Understanding the GenerationsEdit
Although Generation conceptually has only a finite number of gradations, the significance of the Generations is more important than a mere ordinal number. Certain Generations correspond to certain social distinctions of the Damned, and a Kindred’s Generation may mark her for a vast and terrible destiny or as the harbinger of a dread fate.
The most widely acknowledged version of the Book of Nod claims the number of second Generation Kindred is three. In its chronicles, Caine Embraced these unknowable Ancients to dwell with him in his great
city of Enoch and give him succor. Given to the “Antediluvian” moniker of the Third Generation, those
Kindred who delve into such mysteries assume that the Second Generation was slain either during the Deluge or in the kinslayer times following the Flood. As one might expect, all those of age are reluctant to speak of their sires and the great strife that overcame them all. Undoubtedly, some know more than they are revealing.
Were any of the Second Generation still in existence today, they would be impossibly powerful beings. Some Clans claim that their progenitors are in fact members of the Second Generation rather than the Third Generation, as is commonly assumed of Clan founders. These claims are viewed as everything from prideful boasts to foulest heresy by those who place great stock in matters regarding Kindred origin.
Numerous terrifying tales of the Third Generation exist, though the names of only two, Lucian and Mekhet,
are widely known. Tonight, they are referred to as the Antediluvians, and they are the founders of the 13 great Clans. If any survive, they remain hidden, intentionally obscured by the depredations of the Jyhad. They may still exist, collectively or in some fraction of their original number, but now instead of openly warring as the Book of Nod recounts, they move in a deeper struggle. Indeed, Jyhad seems to be their primary engagement, as they jealously thwart whatever moves their opponents make.
The actions of the Antediluvians range from something as petty as the acquisition of a piece of artwork to grand schemes involving nations, and almost none are classifiable as the movements of Ancients while
they’re happening, so subtle are these inhuman master vampires. Those of the Third Generation must by this point be wholly other, split between those who would share the world with mortals and those who would remake the world so that it quivers beneath their gaze. Alternatively, some among the Third Generation may have reached Golconda or seek to help others of their kind attain this state. Of course, they, too, must play at Jyhad with the other ancients who do not wish this to come to pass.
Those of the Third Generation are terrible beings, with abilities and powers only guessed at by their lessers, having been Kindred for eons longer than they held mortal perspectives. Some say they can die the Final Death only if they choose or are slain by one of equal power. Is this, perhaps, the Jyhad — a maneuvering to see who shall be the last of their kind?
Fourth and Fifth GenerationsEdit
These vampires are known as the Methuselahs, and they are nearly as powerful and secretive as the Antediluvians. Those of the Fourth and Fifth Generations are most often the most powerful allies, agents, or pawns in the Jyhad, as their power perhaps nears the prestige of the Third Generation. As a result, their numbers have dwindled throughout millennia of conflict with each other and greater, darker entities. Few of this Generation remain active. Some may seek refuge among the Inconnu or Tal’Mahe’Ra to avoid the Jyhad and diablerie. The Inner Circle of the Camarilla is said to consist of multiple Methuselahs. Some critics believe that the true purpose of the Sects is to blunt the efforts of the Third Generation to manipulate the younger Generations. Although the power of blood of Caine falls off greatly this many Generations removed, those of the Fourth Generation are still extremely powerful, godlike in the eyes of a mortal or fledgling vampire.
Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth GenerationsEdit
Vampires of these Generations are the ones most commonly described as elders, and they remain deeply
involved in Kindred society. Their movements dominate the actions of the most populous Sects (at least to hear them tell it), and their numbers comprise the majority of local authorities. Those who remain in positions of visibility tend to be important figures: leaders of Clans or bloodlines, Princes, Primogen, Bishops, Archbishops, Anarch Barons, and the most notable Autarkis. Many 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. Colloquially, the members of the Eighth Generation seem to be the last Kindred described as elders by those even older than they. Perhaps it is because the majority of them were created before the modern age, and that is evident in their manner and bearing. Then again, perhaps it is very dry sarcasm directed toward everyone below the rank of an irascible Methuselah.
Ninth and Tenth GenerationsEdit
Although they are occasionally called elders, these Kindred just as often move with members of the younger Generations, especially in the New World. Members of these Generations are frequently called
ancillae, though this is often based on age and accomplishment 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 neonates and the true elders.
Eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth GenerationsEdit
The most recent Generations of Kindred are often called neonates. Most of the Kindred in the modern nights belong to these Generations — they may outnumber the elder Generations by four-to-one or more.
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. Most tellingly, these are the young Kindred who are most adept with modern technology. They are not only unfazed by but actually accustomed to information traveling at the speed of digital data, and would find a handwritten message dispatched on horseback to a superstitious peasant village 500 miles away unspeakably quaint and inefficient. These are the Kindred of the information generation, the ones using social media and computers and changing what it means to be a vampire.
Fourteenth and Fifteenth GenerationsEdit
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. Rumors persist about vampires siring not childer but children and other things never before wondered at in the Book of Nod. But the Book of Nod is definitely clear about one thing: The rise of the Thin-Blooded is one of the signs of the End Times, and Gehenna is nigh.
As vampires tell it, the time of Gehenna is the end of the world, at least for their race. The skies will rain blood and purge their numbers from the world. The slumbering Antediluvians will rouse themselves from
their primordial slumber and devour their childer. Caine himself will return and demand an accounting of his degenerate race, and God himself will strike the Kindred from the face of Creation into hell itself.
All Kindred fear Gehenna, whether they consciously believe in it or not. The reason is plain: Few of them
believed in vampires before they became Kindred, and the dawning horror that there is more in the world than the mortal imagination can fathom can certainly prove frightfully true even to the vain Cainite frame of mind.
Gehenna is not a question of if, but when. Only the most stubborn of Kindred could possibly ignore the litany of prophecies that spell out the conclusion of the End Times. The End is here. When is the End of the End?
The constant pressure of paranoia, apocalypse, Jyhad, and the existential horror of subsisting on human
blood is too much for some Kindred. Indeed, given eternity, who would want to spend it in the state of terror that surrounds the Kindred on any given night? In order to ease themselves out of the Jyhad and the predatory state of being, some vampires pursue the path of Golconda. According to rumor, Golconda is
an enlightened state somehow “beyond” vampirism, wherein the Kindred no longer must worry about the
Beast or its base hungers.
Golconda’s fabled state may eclipse its truth. Few Kindred know anyone who claims to have achieved Golconda, and fewer still have actually reached its lofty heights. None can say exactly what Golconda is, and it remains a matter of faith or an objective of philosophy more so than actual practice. Are those who have reached Golconda saints who have transcended what it means to be a vampire, or have they somehow managed to free themselves from the burdens of vampirism?
Is the vampire in Golconda beatific, or is she a monster without even those moral underpinnings that challenge the rest of the Cainite race? Those who have attained Golconda offer no answers.
This category has only the following subcategory.
- [×] VtM (1 P)