- caste: The word Caste is derived from the Portuguese word casta, meaning lineage, breed or race. The term "caste", when used in human culture, is usually in conjunction with the social division in Hindu society, particularly in India.
In Vampire: The Masquerade the term caste is usually used to indicate bloodlines that exist within a clan. Castes are technically bloodlines, but they are not considered distinct from their parent clan. The term was originally used to refer to the Salubri of various stripes, but has since been used for other clans. The major uses have been:
- The Assamites have sorcerer, vizier, and warrior castes.
- The Eastern Ravnos have various jati, which serve as both mortal castes and vampiric castes. These jati are the classic varuna (colors) of Hinduism: Kshatriya, Brahmin, Shudra, Vaishya and Dalit. The Shudras are ghouls rather than vampires, and the Brahmins are the only caste that qualifies as a distinct bloodline.
- Indian vampires in general divide themselves into castes, roughly along Clan lines. The Daitya, Danava and Malkavians are considered Brahmin; Assamites, Brujah and Tzimisce are considered Kshatriya; Nosferatu and Gangrel are Shudra; and Toreador are Untouchable. Normally these Clans only Embrace mortals from their given caste, but exceptions occur. Only the Ravnos are spread across multiple castes.
- The Salubri are divided between Healer and Warrior castes, with rumors of a Watcher caste. In addition, the Wu-Zao have Temple Thief and Scholar castes.