Introduction: What are Clans?
Clans are the most basic social structure in Vampire: The Requiem. As currently understood, all Kindred belong to one of the five acknowledged clans: Daeva, Gangrel, Mekhet, Nosferatu or Ventrue. Members of each clan inherit a clan-specific array of abilities and weaknesses, from a propensity to excel at certain Disciplines to a weakness or weaknesses inherent to all members the lineage.
A clan is, in a manner of speaking, a vampire's blood relations. And much like any family, not everyone gets along. As many vampires spend their requiem avoiding or opposing their "family" as spend their un-lives following and supporting their clan precepts and goals.
What makes a Clan?
This is a question which has occupied Kindred scholars (and others) for thousands of years. Why do certain traits accrue to certain vampires and how are said traits passed from sire to childe through the blood? What makes a clan differ from Bloodlines? Is it simply a matter of numbers? When a bloodline reaches a certain population does it naturally become a Clan? (And which bloodline is going to be the first to test this hypothesis? Especially since it may require the creation of thousands, if not millions of new vampires.) Since each bloodline has a founder, was there once a very first Daeva?, a primal Mekhet? How were they different from today's vampires? You will not, I fear, find the answers here. But the questions are worth asking.
As a note, the "youngest" clan, the Ventrue, trace their lineage to a known vampire in Imperial Rome. However there is some dispute over whether she was, in fact, the clan's progenitor or merely a politically savvy vampire who diablerized her sire and, basically, made a name for herself. Was she one of the last of a dying clan who somehow managed to save her lineage from oblivion? Was she a member of a proto-Ventrue bloodline of a now-forgotten clan who managed the leap to full clan status? We will likely never know.
Are there other Clans?
The only possible answer to this question, currently, is... maybe. Since all known clans trace their origins to Europe and the middle east, it is quite possible that other clans may have developed in Asia, Africa or the Americas. It is certain that tales were told of vampire-like beings in such places long before Europeans "discovered" these lands. Were they members of now lost or forgotten clans (and do any members, or associated bloodlines, of such clans still exist)? Or were the inspirations for such tales merely widely-travelled members of still-extant clans? Again, we may never know.
All that can be said with any certainty is that the pre-Roman history of the kindred is shrouded in the mists of time making any definitive answers about ancient kindred history all but impossible to discern.
The Five Clans
Each clan covers a broad range of vampiric archetypes.
- The Daeva, for instance, are both seductive and predatorial, evoking the image of vampires who glide through society as debonair hunters, much like Lestat in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles.
- The Gangrel encompass the theme of the lone, savage and brutal hunters, much like the vampires of the Blade series.
- The Mekhet are conspiratorial occultists, vampires who hide in the shadows gathering lore and knowledge while manipulating others from afar.
- Nosferatu vampires are the alienated or disfigured monsters of legend (such as Count Orlok of their movie namesake).
- The Ventrue represent vampires possessed of an aristocratic, 'lords of the night' sensibility, like Bram Stoker's Dracula.
This category has the following 8 subcategories, out of 8 total.