Generations, Bloodlines, and Clans

Written by: Sanguinarius
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Thought for the day: What do you mean by the "purity" of one's blood? That sounds kinda ... almost racist or something?? Not sure.

If vampirism is a disease:

Passing a disease on to other "generations" of people does not weaken the "strength" of the disease, or the purity of it:

Fred has "Disease X" (this could be AIDS; the 'flu bug; Hepatitis C; herpes; bronchitis; the alleged vampire virus; the ebola virus; or anything else: viral or bacterial), and he passes it on to Sally, who passes it on to George, who passes it on to Norman, who passes it on to Alex, who passes it on to Sue, who passes it on to Jane, who passes it on to Clyde, who passes it on to Samantha, who passes it on to Sylvia, who passes it on to Thomas, who passes it on to Richard, who passes it on to Harold, who passes it on to Alexandria, who passes it on to Ken, who passes it on to Barbie (erk!!! – shame on him! *giggle*), who passes it on to Joan, who passes it on to David, who passes it on to Elmo, who passes it on to Kermit, who passes it on to Scooter, who passes it on to Sam, who passes it on to Al, who passes it on to Ziggy (hmm, must be a computer virus), who passes it on to Jessica, who passes it on to Michael, who passes it on to Peter, who passes it on to Paul, who passes it on to Mary, who passes it onto Anne. This all could take place in a period of 6 months, or it could be as long as 90 years; the time element is not a factor. The disease is no less potent or effective when Anne (the last person in the "generations") contracts it than it was when Fred (our "first generation" guy) contracted it.

If vampirism is genetic:

The trait is not going to weaken over time. For instance people who are Caucasian (white) today, are no less Caucasian than their ancestors 5 generations, 10 generations, 15 generations, etc., ago., provided that they don't intermix with other races*. But, even if they do, they still maintain their genetic traits, which they pass on, and which could, under the right circumstances, re-emerge just as strong as they once were in their ancestors, though perhaps occurring less frequently in the culture as a whole.

So, in short, it's sloppy and uninformed thinking to believe that a "First Generation" vampire's bloodline should weaken as he makes vampires, who make other vampires, who make other vampires, etc. Fifteen generations down the road, you'll have a "15th Generation vampire" (can we say duh? *giggle*). Popular thinking holds that this vamp is going to be virtually powerless and "watered down" in comparison to, let's say, "Cain" (to use a V:TM example), who is "First Generation". This just cannot be so, either speaking in terms of disease or genetics – or even, for that matter, spiritual/demonic possession (or whatever you wanna call it: paranormal parasites or symbionts or anything else; i.e., inhabitation of a physical host by a non-physical entity), to play the devil's advocate (sorry...bad pun).

Some info regarding "Generations" of vampires:

It is very important to know that there is a school of thought in popular, modern vampire lore which holds that a vampire's powers grow greater with age.

A newly created vampire is – and must necessarily be – younger, in terms of "vampire age", than the vampire who created him/her; regardless of their actual, biological ages.

Ergo, the newly created vampire's "Sire" is more powerful than the new vamp. And the new vamp's Sire's Sire will be more powerful than the Sire. And HIS Sire will be more poweful than HIM. And so on and so forth.

White Wolf took these concepts and used them in Vampire: The Masquerade. The V:TM creators and writers developed the above ideas, and altered them a bit in order to better apply the concepts into the game. They did this to create order in the "reality" of the V:TM world. Also so that players and Storytellers could better identify vampires in the game, and set up and explain their characters, – the information on which characters NOW CAN BE ASSUMED AND KNOWN MERELY BY APPLICATION OF A PHRASE: "XX Generation Vampire". One sees or hears that phrase (and it's the same thing for "Clans" – see next section), and they instantly have some fairly accurate idea of what to expect (barring, of course, any twists, turns or loops that the Storyteller throws at them) in regards to said vampire.

Some info regarding "Clans":

Like I said about the Generations, V:TM writers merely took the various vampire concepts, and applied them to the game, giving them additional structure required for ease of playing the game. For "Clans", they took the different vampire stereotypes that existed (ex., undead, ugly, and back from the grave; suave and debonaire aristocracy; and every idea in-between), and structured these concepts in order to apply them to the V:TM game, for ease in playng, and in identifying in a word or phrase, whole concepts and explanations.

Which is easier: "You meet a vampire on the street. He's a fifth generation Malkavian. He throws a chihuahua at you, and runs off screaming 'Follow meeeeeee!'." [OK, so I'm a lousy Storyteller; I don't play the damned thing; I don't know what sorts of things they do in the stories.]


"You meet a vampire on the street." – Followed each time by a lengthy, eight minute explanation of how old the vampire is, what kind of powers he's got, what things he's capable of doing, what he looks like, his personality, etc., etc. Then, after this cumbersome briefing is concluded some 8 minutes later, the Storyteller FINALLY gets around to being able to continue the story / action: "He throws a chihuahua at you and runs off into the night screaming, 'Follow meeeeeeeee!'."

At which point (I think), YOU, the player, get to do YOUR action or turn or whatever. (Do you dodge, or catch the chihuahua? Sorry, had to ask... *giggle* And what generation is the chihuahua, anyway? *Sangi ducks and runs*)

Now, this whole event of meeting the vamp and having a chihuahua thrown at you and all, – if it were to occur in real time, in reality, – would take approximately, oh, maybe 30 seconds or a minute at most. But, after taking eight minutes to explain all about this vamp (everything the players need to know, that is), – when the Storyteller could have conveyed the same info in the single, simple phrase, "Fifth Generation Malkavian", and immediately continued with the game (thusly giving things a much more real-time aspect), it tends to destroy the continuity of the game and its progression forward.

As popular, modern vampire lore and belief has heavily influenced Vampire: The Masquerade; Vampire: The Masquerade has, in turn, heavily influenced popular, modern vampire lore and belief.

And most of the young 'uns who were born anytime later than, oh, 1980 or so, were born into the Brave New Way of thinking about vampires that did not exist prior to 1976, when Anne Rice published Interview with the Vampire (or even later; it took a while for Anne Rice and others to catch on in the public mind to the degree that she and they influence and permanently altered people's thinking and beliefs ever afterward!). And, further, most of those nowadays who like vampires, believe there are vampires, etc.:

  • Don't read any of the older vampire fiction, or watch any of the older vampire movies.
  • Don't have much interest in vampires beyond Anne Rice's, V:TM's, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's, and any number of other modern vampire authors's "Beautiful People" Vampires.
  • Don't read the old folkore and nonfiction vampire research books (which detail belief in the Undead, rather than the subculture of "real vampires", which has only recently "come out of the coffin").
  • Don't question WHY the Modern, Popular Vampire "is" [thought to be] the way it is believed to be. – It has simply never occurred to them that the vampire was ever anything different than what they "know" it to be, as percieved in this modern day.
  • Don't care to find out any differently.

Those who are well-read in the history, folkore, origins, and evolution of the vampire (or, perhaps more accurately, the perception of how the vampire is), – which includes, by necessity, the vampire in fiction, movies, and other entertainment – know (or can figure out if they think about it; the information is there – they just have to piece it together) where such ideas, concepts, and beliefs as Generations of Vampires, the different Clans, fangs – esp. retractible fangs! – and various vampiric powers and abilities came from, and how they came about. Anne Rice is the Pope of modern vampire belief, and Vampire: The Masquerade is the Church; the other major influential (read: best-selling; popular) vampire writers and movie producers are the Cardinals, Priests, and Deacons. And, as the Church held a monopoly on religion, thought, beliefs, etc., in the Middle Ages, so, too, do the modern vampire writers hold a monopoly on the perception and continuing evolution of the belief of the vampire.

ALL races have intermingled; there is no such thing as a truly "pure bloodline". Mr. Grand High Poohbah of the KKK, for instance, might have only white folks in his family for even the last 600 years, but before that – maybe 10,000 years ago, even – before people developed the concept of "race" or "separatism", and it didn't matter who they bred with, just so long as they bred and passed along their genes, I guarantee you those ancestors of his from way, way, way, way back are not all "white". – Even if it just happened once, that one ancestor in his lineage took a fancy to an exotic foreigner, and in an acute fit of horniness, had a child by him/her. Tell THAT to the Grand Lizard. lol!