Vampires, known to one another as Kindred or Cainites, possess many of the characteristics that they are given in folklore and popular culture. They are ageless undead, vulnerable to sunlight, and are possessed of a ceaseless thirst for blood. Not all vampire folklore holds true, however: the Kindred are unaffected by garlic, silver, or running water, and are only repulsed by crosses and other holy symbols if they are wielded by a person possessing great faith.
The Kindred are driven by a ceaseless, predatory hunger, called the Beast. The beast can pull them into a state of feral blood lust called frenzy. The only thing preventing the Beast from completely subsuming the vampire's personality into its own animal desires is the vampire's tenuous grasp on their Humanity. However, Humanity is anathema to what is needed for a vampire to endure: any act of violence, from wanton murder to the act of feeding on a mortal, strengthens the Beast. Every vampire must thus walk a tightrope between starving the Beast by denying themselves the blood of the living, and thus making themselves susceptible to the Beast's frenzies, or indulging the Beast and further losing their already fragile hold on humanity.
Kindred possess the capacity to use the blood they have consumed to regenerate from wounds that would be fatal to a mortal, as well as to boost their own physical capabilities, but the most potent abilities of the Kindred are their Disciplines: mystical abilities that amplify their own undead powers, or work magical effects unique to each Discipline. Each vampire's capacity for certain Disciplines is inherited from the vampire that created them, their sire, who inherited it from their sire, and so on. These lineages of blood, the clans, represent one of the most fundamental divisions of Kindred society. Each clan has a weakness of its own however; for example, the Nosferatu are all cursed with a monstrous appearance, and the Gangrel have physical animalistic traits.
For centuries, the nocturnal society of the Kindred have been divided into several sects. The Camarilla, seeks to conceal itself within the shadow of mortal society, and enforces the Masquerade to maintain the fiction that vampires are only creatures of myth. The Sabbat embraces their state as monsters, and indulges its members' baser instincts and their desire to rule over mortals in cities where they hold sway. The Anarchs attempt to maintain independence not only from these two sects, but also from the oldest vampires: the elders.
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