A blood moon casts a crimson light over the land beyond the forest and something fearsome howls its agony into the night. The Tzimisce call these lands their ancestral home. Since time out of mind the Fiends have been masters and lords of the domains of much of Eastern Europe. But theirs is a proud, selfish Clan for which tradition goes only so far despite their aristocratic origins. In fact, the Clan claims to have destroyed its Antediluvian, and in the wake of that momentous event, helped establish the foundations of the Sabbat.
Tzimisce practice a strange Discipline known as Vicissitude that allows them to twist the skin and bone of their victims. In many cases, they refine their fleshly arts by practicing upon themselves, but they just as frequently use it upon their lackeys and retainers, turning their boyars and szlachta into monstrous thralls. Vicissitude itself is a much misunderstood Discipline, and debates over its origins occasionally plunge the Clan into vicious partisan rivalries.
Clan Tzimisce is a Clan of extremes, and long, cold nights spent in remote castles have turned the Fiends’ perspectives both greatly inward and outward. Mystics of the Clan study a philosophy of metamorphosis, seeking to discover what lies beyond the state of vampirism. An alien attitude of spiritual secularism characterizes many Tzimisce. Young members of the Clan often find themselves detached from the historical role of the Fiends as terrifying landed lords, and throw themselves wholly into a cause of their own choice, whether as Sabbat zealots, fleshcrafted horrors, or transcendental koldun sorcerers.
Sect: The Tzimisce are longtime but largely detached members of the Sabbat. They were instrumental in the Sect’s nascence, and remain one of its most numerous Clans.
Appearance: Given their ability to manipulate their physical appearance with Vicissitude, Tzimisce look however they want, and they often want to provoke or frighten. Some prefer extreme modifications and experimentations with their bodies that leave them looking only vaguely humanoid. Others seek to redefine and even transcend the limits of their forms, rebuilding themselves in the images of angels, monsters, nightmares, and things even less recognizable.
Haven: Young Tzimisce are often Sabbat Priests or Ducti ,and prefer to maintain communal havens with their packs. They encourage the pack to live in fearsome locations, such as beneath a hospital or morgue, or in the dank recesses of a mausoleum. Elders of the Clan sometimes have ancestral holdings in the Old World, and the image of the vampire on the craggy mountain in a crumbling castle owes much to Tzimisce lords. Rarely are these ancient holdings kept to any modern standards of comfort, but their lords are strangely hospitable to invited guests (and terribly intolerant of uninvited bores).
Background: Elder Tzimisce, particularly those of the still-landed nobility in hoary old domains, may have family lines from which they Embrace, or they may restrict their occasional siring to the terrified villages suffering in thrall beneath their estates. New World and younger Tzimisce aren’t as discriminating and are more practical. Indeed, many Tzimisce fledglings are little more than shock troops, Embraced and warped to the limits of their frames to cause revulsion and revel in bloodshed until put down.
Character Creation: Few Tzimisce know moderation, and thus often favor Physical or Mental Attributes, usually with one extraordinarily high Trait. Knowledges are usually favored, though Skills are valued as well. Mentor, Allies, Domain, and Retainers are all quite appropriate to Tzimisce, as are narrow — almost overdeveloped — Disciplines. Their alien mindsets often lead them to follow Paths of Enlightenment. The ghastliness to which many Tzimisce are often exposed during their fledgling years sometimes results in complicated derangements.
Clan Disciplines: Animalism, Auspex, Vicissitude
Weaknesses: The Tzimisce are inextricably tied to their domains of origin, and must rest in the proximity of at least two handfuls of “native soil” — earth from a place important to her as a mortal, such as the soil from her birthplace or the graveyard where she underwent her Embrace. Each night spent without this physical connection to her land limits all of the Tzimisce’s dice pools to one-half, cumulatively, until she has only a single die in her pool. The penalty remains until she rests for a full day amid her earth once more.
Organization: The Fiends are, on the whole, mistrustful of other Kindred, especially others of their own Clan. As such, Tzimisce organization, such as it is, has a high regard for solitude. It is against their nature to be inclusive, and thus they have to work at being Sabbat (though this is less difficult for younger Tzimisce of at least somewhat modern outlooks). This is also a key reason so many of them undertake Paths of Enlightenment: to give their xenophobia purpose, but also to provide some common point of reference with others on the Path.