The Brujah (pronounced broo-Hah) are one of the thirteen Great Clans of vampires which feature in White Wolf Publishing’s World of Darkness setting. Whilst outsiders view them as little more than a collection of rabble-rousing miscreants, there are many Brujah who uphold the more idealistic aspects of the Clan’s distant past.
Most legends agree that the Clan founder (who may have gone by the name of Troile the Elder) was a being of supreme logic and callous disdain. The story goes that after making the mistake of embracing a particularly rebellious youth for reasons unknown, the Childe went on to drink its “parent“ dry, gain his power and usurp leadership of the fledgling Clan.
Following the fall of the First and Second cities, the Brujah attempted to coexist with mortals in some semblance of harmony. To this end, they took an interest in the rising power of Athens. To their surprise, they found their collective intellectual side both stimulated and challenged by the great minds that the city was to become famed for in later eras. For a time all went well in Athens, and many influential scientific and philosophical revelations were made, but soon the Brujah’s hotheadedness led to a rivalry with the other major power in the region: Sparta, and its Ventrue masters. Many long wars were fought with Sparta, but eventually Athens fell to the superior martial might of their enemies, and most surviving Brujah left the city to seek a better life elsewhere.
The greatest success story in the history of Clan Brujah was the North African city of Carthage and the empire that it commanded. Instrumental in its rise to power, the Brujah built what was claimed to have been a paradise where humans and Kindred lived together in perfect harmony, where all were free to pursue whatever physical or intellectual goals they wished.
However, once again the Brujah butted heads with Clan Ventrue, this time at the head of the Roman Empire. A series of conflicts which would later come to be known as the Punic Wars ended with the sacking of Carthage, and the cementing of a bitter feud between the two Clans which endures to this very day.
The Dark Ages
The Dark Ages marked the beginning of Clan Brujah’s fall from grace. Whilst many of its members still adhered to the “warrior-philosopher” ideals of its early years, an increasing number of newly-created Brujah began to adopt radical beliefs. These ideologies, which frequently went against the grain of the more traditionally-minded members of the Clan, created many schisms within the Brujah. These divisions were only widened by the coming of the Renaissance and the widespread adoption of many ideals which would have previously been unthought-of. In particular, matters of contention over the many religions which sprang up throughout this period caused major fragmentation within the Clan.
Despite these troubles, the Brujah managed to hold enough of their members together to become one of the seven founding Clans of the Camarilla, although whether this was a good or bad thing is something that few can agree upon in modern nights (See main article: Camarilla).
The Victorian Age
By the time Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837, the Brujah had largely devolved into the Clan that they are today. Their impulsiveness had led to the introduction of a large number of young Brujah vampires who saw themselves (and their breathing counterparts) as oppressed by the elite of both vampire and human society, and wished to readdress the status quo. This led to increasing numbers of mortal revolutionary and socialist groups founded by the Clan, and in turn led other undead institutions to think of them as nothing more than cultural firestarters.
Recent times have been something of a mixed bag for the Brujah; whilst they are still seen as the obnoxious gang of malcontents that they were previously, they have managed make significant gains in vampiric society, although they have been dealt a major blow.
The Soviet Union
In keeping with their love of supporting the underdog, the Brujah threw in their lot with the Soviet revolutionaries which overthrew the Tzarist regime of Russia. Emerging from the conflict victorious, the Brujah quickly established themselves as undead rulers of the newly-created United Soviet Socialist Republic, and remained so for many decades. However, the awakening of the ancient Nosferatu vampire known as the Baba Yaga around 1990 put an end to that dream, and in a few short weeks Baba Yaga had destroyed the ruling council of Brujah and installed herself as absolute ruler of that nation.
The Anarch Free State
Sometime In 1943, the Brujah pulled off their greatest feat since Carthage: the creation of the Anarch Free State of Southern California.
In 1945 the city of Los Angeles was ruled by a powerful and despotic Toreador named Don Sebastian Juan Dominguez. When a group of young vampires were assaulted in a racially-motivated attack by a group of bigoted Toreador, a Scottish Brujah by the name of Jeremy MacNeil petitioned Don Sebastian to give justice for the victims. After Sebastian publically humiliated him, MacNeil gathered together the local Brujah along with the downtrodden dregs of the city and orchestrated a coup which saw the Anarchs rise to power; as a result, nearly every city from San Diego to San Jose joined with the Anarchs of Los Angeles.
To this day, the Anarch Free State stands as an achievement of the vampiric underdog although, unless some other undead sect threatens its borders, it is little more than a collection of squabbling undead street thugs obsessed with little more than their own turf and other gangs. Whilst this was a somewhat collective effort by many young Kindred, many Brujah still hold the creation of the Anarch Free State as one of their greatest moments.
Culture and Organisation
To understand the culture of the Clan as a whole, one must first understand the mentality of an individual Brujah. Every single one has been gifted with unlife as a result of their passion, and this passion usually has something in connection with a social or societal ideal. In addition, every new vampire that a Brujah creates has their own passions magnified as a result of the Clan blood which now flows through their veins.
This means that each Brujah feels that their own ideology is the only “correct” one, and makes the introduction of new ideas problematic for a Brujah, hence the reason why there are so many members of the Clan who squabble over what amounts to very small differences in their aims.
Despite this, there still exist a small percentage of Brujah who uphold the values of the original Clan, and strive for perfection of both the mind and body. These Brujah embody everything about the term “warrior-philosopher.”
What this means in practical terms is that the Brujah can be roughly divided into two different factions, the Iconoclasts and the Idealists.
- These are the “standard-issue“ Brujah, the ones mostly likely to be met on the street. Iconoclasts tend to be younger vampires, give their opinion loudly, and are always ready for a brawl. They are what other Clans think of when asked to describe a Brujah.
- The Idealists are usually the older Brujah, and the ones most likely to be proponents of the Clan’s traditional goals, those of honour, wisdom and martial prowess.
As a result of the above, the Brujah maintain next to no formal Clan cohesion; what few gatherings they have are known as either Rants or Raves.
- Rants are informal Clan get-togethers where the Brujah make their opinions heard. Whilst regarded as a Clan event, anybody - whether they be mortal or undead - may have have a say, if their voice is loud enough.
- Named after the late-night music festivals of 1990s England, raves are more social gatherings than Clan meetings, although given the nature of the average attendee, they more often than not devolve into Rants.
Due to their hotheadedness, the Brujah usually recruit their ghouls from like-minded humans; members of their university faculty, street gang or pressure group are all desirable ghouls for a Brujah. How they treat their ghouls can vary drastically however; a militant PETA Brujah may treat his ghouls with uncharacteristic tenderness, whilst a lifelong student of the history of his Clan may psychologically abuse his servant until they can recite by rote an obscure one thousand page text on the history of Troile.
As with all Kindred, Brujah ghouls come from as many different backgrounds and societies as the vampires who compose the Clan.
Whilst a Brujah may select a Childe from the same group that he recruits his ghouls from, there is an equal chance that one may decide to Embrace a mortal on a whim: seeing an impassioned mortal, the Brujah’s natural impulsiveness sometimes simply takes over, and after a while the Sire usually gets bored of his new offspring and leaves him to the tender mercies of life as an uneducated vampire. This is the main reason why there are so many young Brujah whose ideologies conflict with that of their undead brethren (See main article: Vampire (World of Darkness))
As a result of their fiery tempers, the Brujah find it much harder than other Clans to resist frenzy, the short-term state wherein a vampire loses all control and succumbs to the power of the beast within. In vampiric society, the act of frenzy is seen as a “giveaway” to the mortal population of the existence of the Kindred, and so many Brujah who have suffered a frenzy are simply exterminated in order to keep the existence of the undead from mortals.
As has been already stated, the Brujah have a higher-than-average chance of abandoning their offspring, and as such, many new Brujah are simply equipped to deal with the frenzy (or taught how best to avoid it), and are summarily executed by their own society. This is yet another reason why the Brujah are regarded as a Clan of psychotic street fighters.
- True Brujah: although not technically an offshoot and more of a parallel Clan, the True Brujah are those descended not from the Kindred who diablerized Troile, but from the Third Generation vampire himself. Unlike their counterparts in the Clan proper, the True Brujah are emotionally detached to the point of disinterest, although it must be noted that they will hunt down any member of the regular Clan which they encounter with an almost fanatical zeal.
- They are known to have command of a Discipline (as the powers of the Kindred are known) named Temporis. This Discipline is unique to the True Brujah, and allows them to affect time itself. In contrast to the Discipline of Celerity, which merely allows the vampire to move and act at a speed unachievable by others, Temporis grants the user the ability to cause its targets to repeat the same action multiple times, view the outcome of his own action, or, at higher levels, to travel short distances back in time (See main article: Vampire (World of Darkness))
- Troile, the Antediluvian founder of Clan Brujah.
- Jeremy MacNeil, the Brujah responsible for the creation of the Anarch Free State.