“bright is the moon high in starlight
chill in the air cold as steel tonight
call of the wild
fear in your eyes
it's later than you realized”
-- Metallica, “Of Wolf And Man”
Description: Most vampires stick to the cities: that's where most of the people are, and the werewolves, the natural enemies of Cainites, don't have as much power there. The Gangrel are the major exception. They tend to be closer to nature than any other clan, wandering from place to place. Their clan disciplines make it easier for Gangrel to travel than other vampires; long before cars were invented, many Gangrel developed the power to turn into a bird or a wolf. This also comes in handy for fleeing the Lupines; even though many Gangrel would welcome friendship with the shapeshifters, the werewolves have learned over the centuries that vampires can't be trusted.
Allegiances: The Gangrel tend to be solitary wanderers more often than not. Since they begin to take on animal features when they frenzy, the Gangrel start to have trouble socializing with others; often, it's just simpler to live alone. Because of this, many Gangrel are independent and could care less about the squabbles of the Kindred. When close to civilization, Gangrel often side with the Camarilla. In the Sabbat, Gangrel are divided into two major groups: the Country Gangrel keep away from the densely populated areas but the City Gangrel actually treat the cities like they would forests or jungles. Some Gangrel can also be found among the Anarchs and the True Black Hand.
Founder: The Gangrel's Antediluvian stands out in the myths in a few major ways: first, unlike most of the Antediluvians she is known to be female. Secondly, while many Antediluvians are called "Malkav" or "Nosferatu," the Gangrel Antediluvian is not simply called "Gangrel" - her name sounds far more personal and it is given in many accounts: Ennoia. Some tales claim that Ennoia was a descendant of Lilith; many tales claim that she was somehow related to the Lupines and the Gypsies. Often, these tales claim that she gave birth to werewolves and that it is through her other children that the Rom come. Interestingly enough, it seems that the Gangrel often find themselves caught up in the intrigues of the Lupines and the Rom, as well as the Ravnos. Since all of these groups have nomadic tendencies, they all have reputations as wanderers and outsiders. It may be that these groups began with Ennoia and will share some common destiny in the future. In any event, no one knows what Ennoia has become over the millennia, nor can any claim to have seen her recently. Since she is most likely the ultimate beast made flesh, most would not want to be in the position to see her now.
Weakness: Every time they frenzy, Gangrel take on a different animal feature (whiskers, claws, webbed feet, what have you). City Gangrel tend to take on the features of animals that are common to cities, such as dogs and rats. Eventually, these animal traits will make it more difficult to interact with others; it is just more difficult to deal with people when you look, smell, and/or sound inhuman. Animals, on the other hand, might find the animal features to be pleasing. In any event, animal features are not supposed to grant any benefits or additional hinderances unless the Storyteller allows it.
It is useful for the player of a Gangrel character to think about animal features beforehand, rather than during a game session, after the character has frenzied. The manifestation of animal traits does not tend to be random; there is a kind of pattern at work, though no one knows why. Gangrel often take on the features of animals with which they are most familiar, or of animals that have a special significance to them. Many Gangrel seem to develop along a theme, taking on features that belong to a specific type of animal.
Some ideas for animal/insect features include: scales (various sizes, colors, patterns), slimy and smooth skin like an amphibian, eyes of an animal (slitted, compound, ocelli), exoskeleton (chitin), wings (insectile, feathered, etc.), stinger, antennae, teeth (choose type), ears (choose type), muzzle, snout, fur (specify color, pattern), feathers (specify color, pattern), tail (choose type), beak (choose type), talons/claws (choose type), mane, patches of animal hide (choose type), whiskers, altered voice (growling, croaking), quills, animal nose (choose type), animal tongue (choose type), horns (choose type), hooves
A City Gangrel, for example, might start out manifesting dog traits: pointed ears, dog eyes (which reflect light and have far less white area around the iris), fur, tail (length and style can be chosen based on a breed), claws (which would not do aggravated damage without the use of a power like Protean), muzzle, whiskers, and a dog nose. The player decides which traits will manifest first; most people start with the smaller changes that are easier to cover up, until those options run out. If the player makes a good list, then they'll have a quick reference guide to their Gangrel for some time to come. The list above has eight different traits, good for eight different frenzies.
Disciplines: Animalism, Fortitude, and Protean are the normal Gangrel clan disciplines. Country Gangrel have the regular clan disciplines, but City Gangrel develop Celerity, Obfuscate, and Protean.
Gaming Concerns: The Gangrel are the ultimate traveling characters and are great choices for solo chronicles (set up with one player and one Storyteller). With Animalism, they can call dinner to them wherever they are at and with enough levels in Protean they can travel faster and forgo the need for shelter. The Gangrel's animal features should never be forgotten, however. Some features can be hidden with clothing and glasses but after a while they will not be able to be hidden well enough. Mortals will notice such things and they will freak out nine times out of ten. The clan weakness should not keep Gangrel from having any allies at all - supernatural creatures like the Nosferatu are used to seeing the strange (and ugly) side of life - but it should be a hindrance.
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