Achieving prominence during the Venetian Renaissance, the Giovanni family built their fortune on the rise of the middle class and the ready profit of banking and Mediterranean trade (and the criminal enterprise that came with it). However, with the family’s rise came hubris, as its paterfamilias sought ever more power, and with that hubris came horror. With his earthly power at its apex, Augustus Giovanni turned to the arts of controlling the dead, and in doing so, gained the Embrace from a forgotten Antediluvian. With a conclave of conspirators, the Giovanni plunged a now-forgotten Clan into oblivion and built their own legacy on its corpse.
Since those first nights, the Giovanni have accepted no limits on their ambitions, despite opposition from Kindred outside their Clan and a well-deserved reputation as “Devil Kindred.” They studied forbidden arts, becoming formidable in the nigrimancy that allowed them power over the spirits of the departed, and degeneracy followed in the wake of unclean ritual. To this night, the Giovanni are known for the insular nature of their Clan and the incestuous practices by which they populate it. A few outside families and factions fall under Giovanni auspices, but the vast majority of the Clan comes from the debased mortal family. The family remains successful despite all of their ghastly peccadilloes, and has amassed a vast wealth through crime, politics, and the secrets of the dead that keeps them in their position of degraded opulence.
In public view, the Giovanni make a great show of humility and respect. Part of this gentility is a habit of centuries, still in place from when the other Clans hunted the usurping Necromancers (and to preserve their hardwon neutrality from the conflict between the Camarilla and the Sabbat). Another part of it is the velvet glove hiding the iron fist of their nature, remarkable for forcing ghosts, minds, and bodies alike to bow to their needs. To hear the Giovanni tell it, Princes and Archbishops alike owe them favors, and anyone with something to offer may earn their patronage.
For the most part, the Giovanni participate little in the Jyhad, pursuing their own agenda of cultivating wealth and building a foundation of power in the lands beyond the veil of death. Outsiders rarely comprehend the goals of the Necromancers, but only the most trusted of the Giovanni know that the Clan wants to plunge the world into a state where the dead and the living commingle. And with their mastery of Necromancy, the Giovanni would be positioned to rule it all.
Appearance: Outwardly, Giovanni dress with subtlety and taste. Much of the Clan comes from the original mortal family, and have not only olive Italian complexions, but some amount of inherited family features. Those outside the immediate family often appear “of a type,” and in the traditional garb of their regional family branch.
Haven: The family wealth of the Giovanni is evident in their havens, which may take the form of villas or lavish estates. The Necromancers often have valuables invested in their havens as well, such as galleries of fine art or displays of jewelry. Many Giovanni also maintain secondary havens, where they may have elaborate necromantic crypts or just flats where they can lie low if necessary.
Background: Giovanni of the main family branch have usually spent some amount of time as a ghoul in a practice known as the Proxy Kiss. During this time, the Kindred-to-be learns about the treacherous and jealous reality of the vampire family. She learns ambition and an unhealthy dose of duplicity, in addition to the family history and customs. Giovanni rarely see much of the outside world on their own terms during the Proxy Kiss period, and often become insular and alienated, while at the same time eager to stand out among the other family ghouls.
Character Creation: Giovanni vampires often have outgoing, professional Demeanors that hide unpleasant Natures warped in their upbringing. Social or Mental Attributes are usually primary, though some of the “soldiers” of the family prefer Physical Attributes. Emphasis likewise usually falls on primary Knowledges or Talents, depending on proclivity. A split in the Clan sees those who favor the practicality of Backgrounds (particularly those tied to wealth and exerting influence) diverge from those who prefer the forbidden puissance of Disciplines. Few Giovanni could be described as well-rounded.
Clan Disciplines: Dominate, Necromancy, Potence
Weaknesses: The Kiss of a Giovanni vampire causes excruciating pain in mortal vessels who receive it. If the Giovanni isn’t careful, her vessel may die of shock and agony before being wholly exsanguinated. When a Giovanni feeds upon a mortal, she does twice as much damage as the Kiss of another vampire would inflict. For example, if a Giovanni takes one point of blood from a mortal vessel, that victim would suffer two health levels of damage. As a result, they tend to use blood banks and other means of feeding that don’t fight as much.
Organization: Like few other Clans, the Necromancers have a top-down organization where policy is made by a (presumed) still-active Clan progenitor, Augustus. The family maintains an enormous palazzo known as the Mausoleum in Venice, where elders and fledglings alike dance to the whims of their ancient puppetmasters. Clan structure is itself familial, with the added complications that degeneracy and vampirism offer. Incest, ancestor worship, necrophilia, cults of guilt, and bizarre relationships in which fathers and grandmothers are their own issue’s childer make a mire of the Clan and family, and fracture many Giovanni long before they become Kindred.