|The Clan of Winter
The Clan of Winter believe themselves to be a dying breath trapped in the body of a frozen corpse, and they have existed in the cold, inhospitable corners of the world for as long as stories have been told around campfires. The wild areas of the world are usually home to more powerful supernatural creatures, but the ice bloods have learned to become masters of the endless nights of the primordial winter.
While many clans over the centuries have been called cold-blooded, none can rival the disconcerting nature of the Błędnica. Indwellers can literally freeze with a touch, and crave the warmth and breath of their victims along with the blood. No other clan can survive as easily in the extreme temperatures of glacial passes and arctic tundras- nor would most want to.
An old woman lived with her three children, two sons and a daughter. It happened that the mother observed a change in her daughter's manners; then the girl went out alone, and did not return. One night-day, the old woman was all by herself and had lain down to rest beneath her fur coverlet, she remarked a thing like a shadow gliding across the doorway, and beheld her long-lost daughter. Perceiving the amowt (hood) worn over her head, which was unusual, she asked her to come and sit at her bedside. The mother admired her beautiful clothes, and the amowt covering the daughter’s face instead of carrying a child. She remarked the cold of her hands through caribou mittens, and a low cry came from within the hood; the mother asked her, “Why does my daughter hide her face and make such noises?” But the daughter answered her, "Beneath this hood is not your daughter. Hide now thyself beneath thy fur-lined coverlet."
The mother accordingly did so; but peeping through a small opening, and was dreadfully alarmed at seeing the hood removed. Her skin was the color of snow and lips stained with blood. The old woman watched her drink from the neck of a salmon, laying it beside the stove as a gift and return to sit. Having replaced her amowt, she asked her mother to look up again, upon which the latter asked her, "Where is thy dwelling-place, child?"
The daughter whispered, "My house lies far from here, a cave of snow and ice, but I am not of human race, so none of you must ever think of coming to see me," she added, and left, never to be seen again.
Who are the Błędnica?
Clan Błędnica is an old, isolated clan of arctic vampires. They embrace rarely, favoring only the youngest and strongest hunters they can lure away from remote, pragmatic human communities. Clan leadership is almost non-existent, as life amid the endless, empty wilderness is harsh enough, and few kindred are interested in lofty ideologies or complex hierarchies. Individual Błędnica broods will claim a human community as their domain and become fiercely territorial. If more than two or three broods congregate for long, the contested human community is likely to be decimated as a point of pride.
These vampires claim to be spirits inhabiting frozen corpses, indwellers of the dead, and hunger for warmth, as much as the sustenance of blood. They see themselves as a natural and necessary part of life- the physical embodiment of the dangers of the primordial winter. Believing themselves to be a force of nature, they act and expect to be treated as such and rarely find fault in drinking their prey dry.
The name of their clan has become central to folklore found in Russia, Serbia, and Poland, however it stems from the tundras of North America, where these vampires have hunted the last breath of the Inuit peoples since before the beginning of the masquerade. “Błędnica” is a slavicization of the clan’s mythic progenitor, Vleutnitsaaq, “Snow-woman-legend.”
Less diverse than other clans, the Błędnica still vary from region to region and individual to individual.
Havens and Prey
This kindred maintains a solemn connection to the natural world, and views protecting the kine in their domain as the sacred duty of any herdsman. They may serve the local human community as purveyors of medicine, magic, or solace, using their captivating presence to teach the young about custom, taboo, and ritual. Such Błędnica spend decades grooming their domain to best serve their needs, while protecting the humans from spirits, werewolves and other supernaturals.
Isolated Błędnica often cast off the comforts of the modern world to explore the endless, cold wilderness. They feed mostly on large game, forming packs of foxes or wolves around themselves as guardians. They may join with roving gangrel packs for a time, but the two clans have never been friendly. Błędnica see the gangrel as savage beasts invading their territory, while Gangrel see the Błędnica as aloof icicles, better suited for an eternity in torpor.
Cold is a constant companions to the Błędnica. While they are better able to endure the cold than other kindred, their craving for warmth is almost as powerful as the beast itself. Tough, brutal loners, some błędnica become little more than hunger and death among the falling snow. When sated, these kindred can function in human society for a time, but as their vitae runs cold again, they are quick to let the beast rip free.
Animalism: The Błędnica view this discipline as proof of their connection to the natural cycle of life and death. They also often need this discipline, as there are far more animals in their domain than people. Havens, too, can be few and far between. Animalism is used to ensure a mobile and available source of blood and warmth, as well as providing protection to the vampire's haven.
Presence: A Błędnica can use presence to entice and enthrall their prey. Humans who live on the fringe of society are cautious and pragmatic, and it will usually take more than a few kind words to get one alone. Błędnica will use this discipline to separate a team of hunters or make sure their unusual habits are overlooked by the townsfolk they visit.
Gelidus: The signature discipline of the błędnica and a strange one. Gelidus allows the Błędnica to manipulate the warmth in the world around them and in other creatures, even seemingly heatless vampires. They use this discipline to slow enemies, freeze objects, and strengthen their own flesh against harm. Some tremere theorize that Błędnica are a distant branch, or possibly a creation of ancient Tzimisce sorcery, but that seems unlikely.
Even for vampires, the Błędnica are unnervingly cold beings. Carved from the frigid tundra, the Błędnica suffer an endless craving for warmth, almost as powerful as the beast itself. At hunger 4 or above, Błędnica lose the equivalent of their bane severity from physical dice pools, as their vitae begins to freeze.
Clan Compulsion: Ravenous
A Błędnica's craving for warmth is all consuming and so, consume they must. Until they reduce their hunger to zero or the scene ends, the vampire labors under a two-dice penalty to all dice pools.
Other Credits: Clan Błędnica Corebook Formatting