Description: The Nagaraja exist as a testiment to the dangerous - but sometimes profitable - nature of magical experiments. Centuries ago a few Euthanatos mages, consumed with curiosity and an appreciation of death, used vampire blood in their experiments and ended up turning themselves into Kindred. Since their magic was no longer available to them, they developed vampiric disciplines in order to continue their work. Necromancy was a given, although their Necromancy practices differed from the Necromancy the Giovanni would develop. The Nagaraja were able to recall enough of their old magical ways to develop Thaumaturgy, though they never mastered it as a clan discipline. The Nagaraja also developed a unique discipline to tap into the world of the dead in a way the Giovanni might envy, if they knew about it.
Although the Nagaraja are able to Embrace others, they have always remained a small bloodline and they exist covertly; they spend most of their time in the lands of the dead, going so far as to set up havens there. They have two major reasons for remaining secretive about their very existence. The first and largest reason is that they serve a very hidden organization, the True Black Hand, so they cannot afford to reveal themselves. The second reason is that they must eat flesh as well as consume blood in order to exist as regular Kindred, but most Cainites find such dietary restrictions horrendous. Their abiding interest in the dead and in gruesome experimentation also tends to upset other Kindred, or, in some cases, to arouse too much interest.
Allegiances: The Nagaraja are entirely dedicated to the True Black Hand. They pose as members of other sects if it is required but for the most part the Hand does not risk it; the Nagaraja's cannibalism sticks out too much. Most of the time they gather information and perform experiments; they might get involved in torture if it is needed.
Founder: It is believed that a few Euthanatos mages ended up as Kindred and started the bloodline; it is likely that a small cabal of Euthanatos were effected by the same botched experiment. (The clan understands that these founders were not trying to turn themselves into Kindred and that the outcome was an accident, for who would willingly exchange the power of True Mages for those of Kindred?) These founders go unnamed and are largely unknown, probably lost to history or withdrawn deep into the Shadowlands. It is not even clear what generation they were.
Weakness: The Nagaraja have to eat flesh from a fresh corpse each night or they start to feel weak. If they go on for too many nights, they will not be able to defend themselves physically from threats.
Disciplines: Auspex, Necromancy, Nihilistics
Game Concerns: The vision of the Nagaraja changes between second and third edition. Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand, a second edition book, gave history and definition to the Black Hand that had been referenced in other products, and the Nagaraja were first presented in its pages. In that book, the Black Hand was alive (well, sort of) and still kicking in the Underworld; it was small but it was hanging in. Given their roots, the Nagaraja developed Auspex, Necromancy, and Nihilistics, a unique clan discipline based largely on dealing with spirits. Third edition insisted that the True Black Hand was effectively wiped out when their fortress was obliterated in the Shadowlands. A few members survived and the Nagaraja were among them. The third edition Storyteller's Handbook, however, lists their clan disciplines as Auspex, Dominate, and Necromancy - for whatever reason, their unique discipline was left out.
This leaves the Storyteller with a few decisions to make. First, are you going to use the Nagaraja? They are a very small and specialized bloodline that might not fit in with the chronicle. It is also important to remember that they are associated with the True Black Hand in both editions; if you're not going to use or allow the Hand, then the Nagaraja are probably out. Second, will the Nagaraja be available for players? They just might not fit with your vision or your needs. Finally, you have to decide which version of the Nagaraja to use, especially since the third edition version gives them different clan disciplines.