Elysium: The Elder War
"I am already dead. I have nothing left to fear."
He looks like a soldier, but he doesn't move like one, leaping across the alley and pouncing on you from above. He bares yellowed fangs as he tackles you to the ground, and your ribs crack under his weight. "Welcome to the Legion," he growls, and he lowers his mouth to your throat.
The Gangrel are dead, but they move with a fury of the living. They are creatures from the edges of the Empire, but those who find their way into Rome often become the most ardent servants fo the Inconnu. The Gangrel are beasts with a strength that would test the greatest of heroes, and there are few who can truly resist a Gangrel.
Rome is very different from the trackless wilderness that spawned the Gangrel. In their homelands, the Wanderers fought battles along with the same mortals the Gangrel took for food. Domain meant vast stretches of land teeming with prey, not tiny tombs and vague "feeding privileges." Alliances were made and broken for peace and war, not a hazy sense of political expediency.
It is with some surprise, then, that the dead have watched the Wanderers adapt. When they first entered Rome, many of the Gangrel simply wanted to tear it down, as Rome had torn down the tribes that spawned and fed them. Swiftly, however, the Gangrel realized the potential of the great city as a hunting ground, and they became drawn into its cults and its intrigues. Just as so many one-time enemies of the Eternal City, they were absorbed and integrated.
The Ventrue quickly invited the "conquered" Gangrel to dwell in their Roman underworld and serve in the Legion of the Dead. Writ large, the Gangrel have not regretted the decision, though those Ventrue who plot against the Senex have learned to fear barbarian claws. Meanwhile, the Toreador laugh softly about taming wolves, and the Nosferatu and Malkavians watch silently as ever, seeing the Gangrel grow stronger than their would-be masters ever intended and waiting for the inevitable rebellion of the barbarian Wanderers.
Tonight, the Gangrel are cunning urban hunters and terrifying street soldiers. Their power grows by leaps and bounds, and their influence is threatening to reshape the whole of the Inconnu.
The Tale of the Roman Gangrel
Gaul, 52 BCE. Julius Caesar stood in thick, bloody mud, the ground stained red as far as the eye could see. His men had done gory work, and he was pleased. Caesar's army had laid siege to th city of Avaricum for months, camping in the mist of a wasteland. Food was scant, and harassment by the Gauls was a daily occurrence. When the Romans finally breached the city's walls, they were merciless, slaughtering every man, woman and child within reach. Of a city of 40,000, there were fewer than 1,000 survivors.
When teh vampires of Gaul rose from the mud that night, their food supply was gone, and the ruins of the city were still burning. When Caesar's men decamped and marched away from the hill, those Beasts who survived followed. When Caesar's armies divided, the vampires divided with them, tracking them through the wilderness. The vampires had no home now. They were wanderers: Gangrel.
These Gangrel followed Caesar's armies like crows. When the Romans conquered, the monsters feasted. Between battles, when the men shared wine and stories around the fires, the Gangrel waited in loose earth nearby, for the moment when a soldier would step too far away from his fellows. Then, too, they feasted.
When Caesar marched his army back to Rome, many of the Gangrel camp followers settle din the Roman interior. yet, man of the Wanderers also wanted to taste Rome for themselves. Some plotted revenge upon Caesar's line and people, while others simply wanted to fill their bellies. Neither were welcomed at first by the Propinqui of the Ventrue, adn the vampires brawled with each other in the alleys of Rome for several years before peace was made and they were allowed entrance to Necropolis.
Everywhere the Roman armies marched, the Gangrel seemed to be waiting adn willing to follow the armies back. Gaulish and Pictish, Germanic and African — the Wanderers are everywhere.
The burning of Rome devastated the Wanderers as it did the Kindred, but it also created a demand for new bodies in the Legion of the Dead and room for Roman-born vampires to advance quickly in the Senex. While the other clans wept blood into the dust of their dead, the Gangrel began a program of rapid embrace, quickly becoming the most numerous of the foreign clans. When the Inconnu righted itself, it leaned upon their strong backs to survive.
To this night, the Gangrel embrace as a clan. When the clan needs new blood, several Wanderers take new childer, who are brought into undeath as a group and fostered by each of their sires in turn. This custom creates rivalries and bonds of fraternity that don't follow blood or political loyalty, and makes all Gangrel coteries more common than coteries composed solely of any other clan.
Wings: The Gangrel are most numerous in the Legion of the Dead, where their combination of numbers and physical prowess serve the law well. They seek the protection of the Peregrine Collegia less often than other foreigners, but the Peregrine Gangrel are a uniting force, and con sometimes win them the support of Wanderers in other Wings. There are almost no Gangrel sitting with the Senex; the Ventrue have seen to that.
The Wanderers' barbarism makes them poor students for the Cult of the Augurs, but those who survive to learn that Wing's strange rites are often able to contribute Veneficia of their own, drawing on the traditions and gods of their native lands. The Lancea et Sanctum steadily recruits more Gangrel, even as more and more new embraces come into the fold ready to accept monotheism.
Nickname: The Wanderers
Appearance: The Gangrel come from all the races of Rome and beyond. Most favor simple, functional clothing, but as great hunters, they known how to camouflage themselves amongst their prey. Many Gangrel are proud, however, and will dress to demonstrate or exaggerate their strength.
Havens: In these nights, most Gangrel sleep directly in the clay of the Necropolis. Some few have learned to sink into the marble or concrete of the living city above. Very few sleep in stone vaults or ceramic vessels, but they often claim the small territories given to the Legion all the same.
Background: Most Gangrel are embraced from foreign stock. They were rugged survivors in life, warriors or hunters of the Germanic forests, Arabian sands and Caledonian fields. Almost all of them are imposing physical specimens, and they often seem, according to Roman observers, as if born for the embrace — destined for nights of war and bloodshed.
Roman Gangrel Broods