Origins of Clan Malkavian?

One day, God wanted to test how His creations understood the world He created for them. At this time, Adam and Eve had copulated; Caine and Abel walked amongst the Earth. Hence, God spoke unto Caine and Abel. He charged the mortals with the quest of finding a sacrifice that would bring them closer to the world and universe He had created for them. Caine sacrificed a plant; Caine showed that the life-sustaining elements on Earth would bring him closer to the Earth. Abel instead offered a sacrifice of a goat's blood, claiming that those who can manipulate those life-sustaining elements would bring him far closer. Caine promptly sacrificed his brother, thus moving up the hierarchy of the manipulators of the Earth. God spoke unto Caine. He explained that the blood Caine spilled was the key to power and henceforth Caine would remain on the Earth, drinking the blood of man to sustain longevity and seeking to pass the gift of the blood onwards.

Thus, Caine became the first vampire. He sought throughout the world to find others to carry on his new lifestyle. Legend has it that he initially embraced successfully only 13; these 13 became the second generation elder vampires.

One day, Caine wanted to test how his kindred understood the power with which he had endowed them. He called upon these 13 and charged them with a quest of finding a sacrifice that best exemplified their new standings on the Earth. Some sacrificed plants and animals to prove their individuality and also to honor Caine and Abel. One girl sacrificed her beauty to Caine. Another sacrificed her visible presence to live a life in the shadows. However, soon the turn came to Malkav; Malkav had no idea in his mind of what to offer, so he gave up his mind instead. Malkav sacrificed his mind to become closer to the Earth through a third eye of insanity, a clairvoyant view in the broken mirror of his psyche. Henceforth, all kindred of the Malkavian are blessed with some dementia, thus bringing them closer to the true understanding of the world.

(A clan from Vampire: the Masquerade, the role-playing game from WWGS)

"I dance the dance of the fool
And pray you find me mad
For if you lay hands upon the root
You'll know me, without illusion
And find me guilty of the truth"
- "Malkav's Words", The Book of Nod, collected by Aristotle deLaurent

Disciplines: Auspex, Dominate, Obfuscate
In recent years: Auspex, Dementation, Obfuscate

Clan Flaw:
One form of madness chosen at character creation that can never be removed through any means.

Clan Nicknames:
Kooks, Fools, Madmen, Crazies, etc., etc.

All attempts to trace the beginning of the Malkavian clan end in fragmented stories that never agree with each other, except in one detail: In life, Malkav was somehow more than a man. He was taken in to the ranks of the Kindred, and soon after that, his mind was shattered: Broken into a million pieces through some machination of Caine or a betrayal.
(Brackets {} are used to show that the true names of those are not known, or have been lost to the sands of time.)

"... he/{Caine} cursed him/{Malkav}, when that one defamed his image
...and doomed him/{Malkav} to insanity, forever...

" {Malkav} seized his parent in his hands
...and he bit like a dog into the neck of his parent.
And {the elder} screamed like a thousand jackals,
...And {Malkav} drew in the scream with his breath,
And he began to weep.
He wept for many nights,
And he wailed, and tore his hair like a woman...

After this, Malkav rose up with the others of the Thirteen to destroy the Three (their sires). A furious battle was raged, but Malkav emerged to beget childer and thus ensure that his own legacy of broken minds and shattered dreams would continue.

Malkavians are the lunatics, the maniacs, the men you see walking about looking down at the ground and shouting "No! Not me! It can't be me!", the women who hold their dead children to their breasts and hope that their love will bring the baby to life again, and the person sitting next to you right now.

I'm not insane. You're not insane. Malkavians aren't insane. In fact, they are the sanest people you will ever least from their standpoint. The constraints of normal reality just seem to deform in their vicinity, which might be the reason they are so fascinating to Fae and Marauders.

So why does it seem as if the entire population of Malkavians in two cities miles apart are in perfect mental harmony at times? Because of the Malkavian Madness Network. It is a cobweb of mental links between all members of Clan Malkavian, regardless of whether the individuals are aware of it or not. Some say the Network came to be because of a combined insanity. Some say it is there because the elders performed a great and complicated ritual to make it so. Others laugh at both reasons. And others laugh as well, but with their mouths closed and their mind open.

The Malkavians of the modern world are looked upon as being the most volatile of the Camarilla clans. They are prophets, troublemakers, police, and many other roles in the city. It all depends on what the Malkavian-in-question's Derangement is. If a certain Malkavian is completely obsessive/compulsive about cleanliness, then s/he will not be the local envoy to the Nosferatu. It is generally frowned upon for a Malkavian to become Prince of a city, due to their inherent "capriciousness."

In recent years, a change has come over the Malkavians. Their madnesses have turned slightly darker, slightly edgier. Instead of learning Dominate, they are picking up Dementation. It seems as if a great switch has been turned off, making darkness creep closer to the forefront of the mind. This change is said to be an effect of a combined insanity held by the Malkavians. Elders are blamed for the change taking place. But others are very quiet about what happened. And those are the ones you should look at...

Ask twenty Malkavians what their clan's goals are and you will get twenty different answers, ranging from "We're a clan?" to "Destroy the walls that bind reality!" to "....(blank stares)" to "Hold on a moment. *looks off into space* No comment, I'm told."

Though there are many schools of thought within Clan Malkavian, there is one grand tradition that seems to unify the clan: "pranking." Pranks are used (seemingly, for who knows why the Malkavians do what they do) to bring down Kindred and others from the relative safety that a closed world-view brings. A prank injects a bit of insanity into an otherwise "boring" and ordered life. The pranks are used to open eyes...make the subject think he's going slowly insane, or seeing clearly for the first time. Every once in a blue moon, the "cousins" put an entire clan in the crosshairs to be the subject of their pranks.

"The cousins were in character, so to speak, the minute they walked into the gathering space. Even the locations were atypical, although they made a sort of sense if you think like a bastard. The children's library seemed like a really stupid place to hold a gathering, but when everyone started acting like the local Warlocks, it was kind of funny in hindsight."1

Role-playing Information:

Playing as a Malkavian:
There is one major rule to remember, should anyone decide to play as a Malkavian: The Derangement is not the Malkavian, and the Malkavian is not only the Derangement. There is more to a Malkavian than his insanity. There are hopes, dreams, aspirations, and goals. There is hatred, joy, animosity, ambivalence, and love. If a Malkavian is schizophrenic, s/he doesn't only hear voices from thin air. S/He hears what goes on around her/him as well. The voices from the air could drag him away from reality, but should not give him clues. A derangement should not offer an advantage...that's why it's a Clan FLAW.

Overused Concepts:
Teddy Bear Malks:
The cutesy kids that carry around a teddy bear or other stuffed animal everywhere. The problem occurs when "Mr. tEdDy told me that the man was going to hurt me." Unless the child has a Spirit Mentor, Oracular Ability, or uses Telepathy constantly, then "Mr. tEdDy" shouldn't be helping. One good way to fix the TBM situation is to make the entire personality a LIE. Make "Mr. tEdDy" hold a stake or grenade inside and get people to drop their guard because you are "harmless."

Banana Split Personality Malks: One personality is good and "normal", but the other is wildly insane, to the point of homicidal psychosis or catatonia. Or the other personality is a Teddy Bear Malk. Yes, I will tie those two together. Childlike regression is not a good choice for a split personality as it will tend to turn into a "Daddy? Mommy?" situation. Having a split personality is not a bad Derangement, but make the personalities reasonable, or have only one personality aware of the other.

New Idea for a Derangement:
Clan Identity Disorder:

"You! Malkavian!"
"I'm not a Malkavian, I'm a Ventrue."
"Good, because I'm a Sabbat spy, and I'm going to kill you, Camarilla scum!"
"Great! Let's go after Camarilla! I, the Tzimisce, support you!"
...Okay, not really this blatant, but the adamant knowledge that you are NOT a Malkavian, and you know you belong in another clan...just not the same one every night.

There are many other Derangements you can play, as long as you talk about it with the Storyteller.

TO THE STORYTELLER: Feel free to disallow a Derangement if you feel it will hurt the story. In this same vein, if a player has not been playing out his character's Derangement enough for you to see it, then feel free to dock him/her a Willpower, saying that they have sufficiently suppressed the Derangement with their will.

1These quotes taken from the Clanbook:Malkavian role-playing supplement published by White Wolf Game Studios. The Book of Nod is also published by WWGS.

More information about Malkavians, from people who play Malkavians, can be found at the Malkavian Web Page:
Tips on properly playing a Malkavian

Many players make the mistake of playing the Malkavians as comic relief or clownish vampires. All too often are Malkavians given ridiculous derangements such as the need to speak to a sock puppet.

The Malkavians, as written in White Wolf's source material, are to be terrifying and bloody. Justin Achilli, the developer of Vampire: The Masquerade, has written at length on the subject of how Malkavians are intended to be scary.

One of the tales written in their books talks about how Malkav, the progenitor of the clan, was blood thirsty and sadistic when Caine, the original vampire, cursed him with insanity. He did so with the intention that he would be forever alone because he would instill fear into the hearts of anyone he encountered.

An important aspect of any Malkavian is the particular brand of insanity s/he has. When creating a character, the player should do a little research into what sort of debilitating mental problems there are and choose one that the player feels s/he can accurately portray. This is intended to be a hindrance, so it should be somewhat crippling and inconvenient for the character. Remember that the derangement is the primary aspect of what a Malkavian is, so ensure that s/he has a good one that will instill fear in the other characters.

Avoid playing concepts that would make people laugh. Concepts such as mimes, people with sock puppets, or people who only communicate with Elvis lyrics.

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