|Nicknames:||Warlocks, Wizards, Mages, Usurpers|
|Disciplines:||Auspex, Dominate, Thaumaturgy|
Clan Tremere is one of the youngest vampire clans, having just come into existence during the dark ages. In the little time since then they have made incredible inroads within vampiric society and are arguably the most powerful clan in the modern nights. This is due in no small part to their strict hierarchy, secretive nature, and mastery of Thaumaturgy, all of which elicit suspicion, fear, and respect from other Cainites. The Warlocks stand as a pillar of the Camarilla and are one of its main defenders, despite the fact that they exist almost as a subsect. Some even go so far as to consider themselves the evolution of vampirism, citing their extreme versatility of blood magic and lack of a true clan curse. The Final Nights have many things in store for the Tremere, however, and the more powerful they grow the more their enemies gather.
The Tremere clan weakness consists of an initiation, which requires neonates must all drink from the blood of the seven elders of the clan when they are created. This means that all Tremere are at least one step toward being Blood-Bound to the clan, and therefore must watch their step very carefully when around their leaders.
The Tremere began as House Tremere, mages of the Order of Hermes named for their leader and founder, Tremere. At the end of the first millennia, the members of House Tremere realized the Hermitic arts were failing and found its immortality potions no longer working. Facing the possibility of losing everything, Tremere ordered research into alternate methods of sustaining their lives. House Tremere undertook numerous experiments, but it was Goratrix who devised a solution in his investigation of vampires.
In 1022, Goratrix invited Tremere and six of the founder's closest advisers to participate in the completed ritual, which promised true immortality. Whether Goratrix knew what would happen is known only by him and, perhaps, Tremere, but at the completion of the ritual the participants fell unconscious and were reborn as vampires, their avatars destroyed and magical abilities lost. The mages had gained their immortality but lost the power they lived for. Though the others would likely have slain Goratrix for his folly (or trickery), Tremere ordered them to halt and declared that they would remain at his side, leaving their chantries in the hands of subordinates while they discovered the powers of their new forms in secret.
In time the Tzimisce made war against House Tremere in retribution for the Fiends that had been made part of Goratrix's experiments. The Order of Hermes also became suspicious of diabolical practices being performed by the increasingly secretive House, but Tremere was able to dissuade them from investigating further. Finally, in 1037 Tremere gathered the seven newly-made Cainites and forced the blood bond upon them. He then declared to them that House Tremere would be restructed with a new pyramid hierarchy with himself at the top and them forming the Inner Council of Seven directly under him. They would slowly begin Embracing the rest of the House, with each initiate being bound to the Inner Council to ensure their loyalty. In time, all members of House Tremere would die or become vampires.
Over the next century the Omen War with the Tzimice continued on and off. With their mages growing weaker and those newly Embraced unfamiliar with the powers of the blood, chantries as far as their stronghold of Ceoris were repeatedly ravaged. While Tremere and Etrius pursued their own research throughout Europe in converting the hermetic arts into Thaumaturgy, Goratrix once again returned to his laboratories with his apprentices at hand. After years of experimentation on captured Tzimisce, Nosferatu, and Gangrel, he succeeded in creating a Gargoyle in 1121, and by 1125 the hybrids were serving as shock troops against the Fiends.
Nevertheless, the Tremere found themselves third-class citizens among the undead. Whatever boldness Tremere had shown in entering the night was ignored by the staunchly traditionalist clans and they were often forced from cities by princes who did not look kindly on their presumption.
The Tremere's response to this was further boldness. As he and Etrius rapidly acquired more vampiric lore they discovered the history of Caine and the Antediluvians, as well as the benefits of diablerie. Seeking to establish themselves as a clan proper, the Tremere sought a clan founder to diablerize and settled on Saulot, the enigmatic founder of the Salubri clan. In 1133, Tremere and the Inner Council discovered Saulot's tomb in the Anatolian desert. Tremere diablerized the Antediluvian and promptly entered torpor, leaving the Inner Council to lead the clan and destroy the remaining Salubri.
As with everything else that the Tremere had done to this point, the result was a mixed blessing. Due largely to Meerlinda's efforts, the Tremere were entrenched in many Cainite courts, their services as mages making them indispensable to princes across Europe. They were now accepted as one of the Low Clans, albeit considered usurpers, distrusted warlocks, and known diablerists. A vicious propaganda campaign painted the Salubri as infernalists and soul-stealers, granting them some credit, and even those who knew better largely sat back while the Salubri were hunted to near extinction, for their arrogance had made them many enemies among the other clans.
In 1202, the Order of Hermes finally discovered what had become of House Tremere and sentenced them to death, resulting in a Wizard's March. The Massasa War, as it would eventually be called, never officially ended, but neither side had the resources to sustain the war and it subsided after a few decades, only to sporadically begin anew years later.
The Tremere continued their hunt of Saulot's descendents while making alliances with Hungarian Ventrue against the Tzimisce. By the 15th century the Salubri were only a legend and the Tremere were completely acknowledged as a clan. The Inquisition was particularly hard on them, however, and they lost many of their cults and chantries. During this time Goratrix used his influence and power to try to corrupt religious orders, most notably the Knights Templar, in order to seize potent artifacts held by the Church and turn its hunters against his enemies. When his bid for power failed, and the Knights Templar were branded as heretics, Tremere awoke and summoned Goratrix to return to Ceoris to stand trial before the Inner Council. After being censored and stripped of his authority, Goratrix fled into the east, believing his assassination was imminent. Shortly thereafter Etrius moved Tremere's torpid body to the Vienna Chantry, which becomes the new center for the clan.
The formation of the Camarilla signaled the Tremere's rise to legitimacy. Though the Tremere did not suffer greatly from the Anarch Revolt, the spread of Thaumaturgy among the Anarch by the Tremere antitribu was a dire threat to the clan. The Warlocks used their sorcery to facilitate communication and coordination of the Elders needed to support such an endeavor, and played a pivotal role at the Convention of Thorns when they placed a curse upon all of Clan Assamite, preventing them from drinking the blood of Cainites without extreme danger. At the same time the Tremere antitribu were also cursed so that anyone who partook of the Vaulderie would be branded by a mark visible to "true" Tremere. Such mighty feats were said to have been led by Tremere himself, who rose from torpor for the event, and the entire Inner Council. However it was done, the Assamites would never forgive the Tremere.
In the 18th Century rumors are finally confirmed that Goratrix has joined the Sabbat and is gathering the majority of the Tremere antitribu to form House Goratrix. Though the Tzimisce ensure they never become influential within the sect, the Betrayer's efforts bring them closer together in an ironic imitation of the main clan.
During this time the Tremere continue to spread throughout Europe and North America, with considerably less success in Africa and Asia. Despite this expansion the clan maintains its hierarchy, and the web of communication that leads back to Vienna and the Inner Council steadily grows.
The Victorian age sees a rise in occultism among mortals, and the Tremere are quick to capitalise. Infiltrating the many secret societies that spring up among the upper and middle classes, they draw childer, servants and herds from them. This also allows the Tremere to practise their talents more openly (although still within the strictures of the Masquerade) - what once might have got an incautious magus burned at the stake for witchery, mortals are now excited and enthralled by the concepts of divination, conjuration and communing with spirits.
In 1998, the Tremere antitribu are wiped out. After being called to a chantry in Mexico City, they are completely destroyed in an unknown ritual. If any of the antitribu remain, those who did not attend the gathering, they are undoubtedly in hiding. For more information, see the and Nights of Prophecy supplements or the entries for Tremere and Goratrix.
More problematic is the increasing number of free Gargoyles that are making themselves known within the Camarilla and those that are clamoring for more freedoms and rights despite the Tremere's attempts to keep them under their control. Far worse, the Tremere are beginning to take notice of a growing instability in Thaumaturgy with frightening similarities to the failure of the Hermetic arts that spurned Goratrix's experiments and the transformation into vampires. The curse placed upon the Assamite clan has failed, with subsequent efforts to renew it unsuccessful, and the Assassins are hunting them with renewed vigor even as a new faction of sorcerers and scholars seek membership within the Camarilla. The advancements made by the Tremere seem to be met by further setback, and little reassurances is given from the top of the pyramid.
The Tremere are the most strictly organized clan bar none, and every member knows where they stand in authority amongst their peers. This creates the illusion of total unison and cooperation for other Cainites, who rarely know anything of the Tremere hierarchy or inner politics. Their Antediluvian, Tremere, sits at the top of the pyramid and supposedly directs the entire clan, though very few have ever seen him or witnessed his hand in action. Many do not believe he is even a real person, but perhaps an ideal of the Tremere cause or a symbol of their unity. Beneath him the importance of the number seven is given as each successive rank down is comprised of seven to a power positions, beginning with the
- Councilors, the members of the Inner Council of Seven and the true rulers of the clan, each of whom is responsible for directing clan efforts in a particular portion of the world. Each councilor appoints seven
- Pontifices. A pontifex oversees a large region, such as parts of a nation or groupings of smaller countries and islands, and in turn oversees seven
- Lords. Each lord is responsible for a small country or group of states and uses their influence and knowledge to sway the Tremere in their domain, specifically the
- Regents, the most visible figures of Tremere authority. A regent runs an individual chantry and is charged with the well being and training of
- Apprentices, the youngest and most numerous Tremere. Apprentices must spend much of their time training, serving some need within their chantry, or playing the politics of the clan as best as their inexperience allows. Some never advance beyond this rank, either because they are more interested in Camarilla politics or their own affairs to rise among the Tremere or because the lord of the region sees no need to create a new chantry and regent.
Circles of MasteryEdit
Each rank, save for the Inner Council itself, is further divided into seven levels called circles of mastery. One's circle of mastery denotes one of several characteristics that have earned them prestige and further responsibility such as skill in Thaumaturgy, years of experience and hard work, successful political machinations, or simple favoritism. The higher one's circle of mastery the more authority and power they have access to, but they are also expected to provide more for the clan and given less tolerance for failure. Those of the fifth circle or above are also commonly called "high" members of their rank, such as high apprentice or high lord. Promotion and demotion is dealt by members of higher rank, though tribunals may also be called where accomplishments and failings are examined. The pursuit of promotion is one of the most motivating factors within the clan for its members to excel and obey Tremere doctrine, though advancement is rarely as simple as that.
The Tremere pyramid teems with conspiracies since the creation of the clan and the feud between Goratrix and Etrius. These houses of Clan Tremere are by now little more than cults of personality at their worst, but are distinct colleges of magic or philosophy at their most valid. The Clan consists of an unknown number of houses; some claiming only a handful of members, while others -the House of Tremere- claim every childe of the clan. Many of these societies are tolerated as long as they do not threaten the foundation of loyalty to the clan.
Known and accepted societies are
- Astors, a secret organization that hunts traitors and infiltrators within the pyramid
- Brothers of Absinthe, who believe in the usage of certain drugs to elevate their consciousness and awareness in Dreams
- Children of the Pyramid, who revere the spiritual concept of the Pyramid
- Elite, a group of Tremere that believe that they are the next step in vampiric evolution and are dedicated to show the supremacy of the Clan
- Guardians of Traditions, who stand opposed to any change in policy and oppose all modern technology and conventions
- Quaesitori, a remnant from House Quaesitor that act as independent judges
Besides them, there exist groups like the Eyes of the Serpent, which is a cell from the Followers of Set and the Illuminated Brotherhood and the Order of the Wrm, which are rumored to have connections to the demonic Baali. Membership in one of these societies can be punished with Final Death once it is known, and so, these cults hide among the other members of the Clan. Other societies die out of a lack of interest, sucha s the Humanus League or the Golden Path of Harmony.
Clan Variants Edit
Tremere antitribu Edit
Upon their first Vaulderie, a Tremere antitribu receives a very painful mark on their forehead that can only be observed by another Tremere, marking them forever as a traitor to the clan. Within the Sabbat, the Tremere antitribu had a very low profile and rarely advanced in the ranks, mainly out of the grudge that many high-ranking Tzimisce had against them.
As of 1998, the Tremere antitribu no longer exist.
|Disciplines:||Auspex, Dominate, Thaumaturgy|
Telyavelic Tremere Edit
The Telyavelic Tremere were a bloodline of the Tremere in the Dark Ages. The founders of this bloodline split from their parent clan when they were sent to learn the magic of eastern European pagans (which resembled Koldunism in some ways). Those Tremere converted to the worship of the deity Telyav and developed their own animistic branch of Thaumaturgy, Sielanic Thaumaturgy.
|Disciplines:||Auspex, Presence, Thaumaturgy|
Not a bloodline per se, but rather an unusual acqusition born out of need, the Trimira are a branch of Indian Tremere that bolstered their ranks within the hostile land by introducing non-Tremere Kindred (usually low-ranking Ravnos and Nosferatu) via the blood bond to the Inner Council to ensure their loyalty.
Aside from the clan hierarchy, Tremere are sometimes grouped into political factions and houses, which range from cults to distinct colleges of magic or other intellectual pursuits. These groups are generally highly informal and maintain their own organization, if any at all, and some may even at odds with one another. To the rest of Cainite society, however, they always present a unified front. Given their history as usurpers and power-grabbers, they are obsessed with the image and reputation of their clan. The Tremere are one of the primary pillars of the Camarilla in the modern nights, arguably second only to the Ventrue in terms of the support and influence they possess (most of this power comes from the Tremere's near-monopoly of Thaumaturgy, but also from the encouragement for individual Tremere to place clan interests high on their list of priorities).
The clan is synonymous with blood magic, a fact that they use to instill fear and envy in others. While they are surely not the first thaumaturges in Cainite history (despite claims to the contrary), their paradigm is one of the most flexible and expansive. The Tremere differ from the other thaumaturges by adopting a uniquely scientific approach to magic, and they encourage active experimentation - the result being a staggering array of thaumaturgical paths and rituals. Of course, no single individual knows every application of blood magic and such knowledge is one of the main forms of barter within the clan.
The Tremere are very selective in who they Embrace and normally do so with a mind for the clan's needs, a condition reinforced by the fact that the local regent must give permission for an individual to be sired. Individuals of strong will or aggressive personalities are normally sought, provided they have a clear head and can learn to be a part of the greater whole that is the clan. Candidates were scholars in life, and many dabbled in the occult to one extent or another, though that is not a prerequisite. Of course, there are "rogue" Embraces for the usual reasons, love, political gain, or accident. Regents often have these mistakes killed immediately, with suitable punishment levied against the sire, but there are always exceptions.
Soon after being Embraced, Tremere neonates are made to drink the blood of the Inner Council through a ritual called the Transubstantiation of Seven, bringing them one step towards a blood bond to the clan's leaders and ensuring some degree of loyalty to their peers. Afterwards their training begins, even as they continue to grapple with their transformation into a vampire, memorize the Traditions, learn to feed, and so on. These factors lead to a high rate of failure in newly Embraced Tremere, who may go mad or commit suicide.
Bloodlines and AntitribuEdit
In truth, the Tremere are a bloodline of the Tzimisce, as it was the blood of Fiends that was used to create them. Regardless, there are no bloodlines of Tremere in the modern nights, as the clan's uniformity does not allow deviations. In the dark ages there was a small bloodline known as the Telaveyic Tremere that was influenced by pagan practices and arose in Lithuania, but they are long extinct. Furthermore, there are no longer any Tremere antitribu, but occasionally there are Tremere who defect to the Sabbat. Unlife is harsh and typically short for them - marked by the sigil of the Betrayer, they are constantly hounded by both their former clan and the Tzimisce.
The Tremere backstory is heavily based on Ars Magica, and the original House Tremere appeared as a Hermetic house in that game system. As the World of Darkness progressively diverged from Ars Magica's medieval Europe, certain elements of the backstory become problematic.
For Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition, the Tremere clan weakness (often regarded as one of the least punitive of the original game) was revamped. The Tremere in V20 suffer a greater affinity for blood bonds of all kinds; a blood bond only takes two drinks of blood for Tremere, and they gain +1 towards all Vinculum rolls.