The Cappadocians were once one of the thirteen Great Clans of vampires which inhabited White Wolf Publishing’s World of Darkness setting. A collection of scholars and priests whose members were obsessed with all aspects of death, they were eventually overthrown by the necromancers of Clan Giovanni.
Unlike many of the other Antediluvians, the Cappadocian Clan founder, Cappadocius, was a solitary being who saw the Embrace as an opportunity rather than a curse. Wishing to pursue his interest in exploring the mysteries surrounding the ending of life, he spent most of his early years studying the phenomena alone: it was not until he realised that he could not achieve absolute knowledge of the subject by himself that he decided to Embrace another, thereby setting the creation of his Clan in progress.
Expanding their scope to also encompass the study of human civilisation, the Clan - which by this point had become quite sizeable - conducted the only military operation in its history, in order to seize the fortress-monastery of an ancient Malkavian on Mount Erciyes, Turkey. They then set about expanding and adapting the structure to better serve them as a safe place in which to conduct their meditations.
During these early years, the Cappadocians also expanded their membership to become the single largest of the Great Clans, a fact which went unnoticed by their founder. They occupied several other major monasteries, and spread across the entirety of the known world, with some members even breaching the shroud between the world of the living and that of the dead, casting their influence much farther than any clan before them.
The Dark Ages
Finally discovering the size of the Clan, and the unsuitability of many of its members, Cappadocius was disappointed and resolved to rectify the situation. Summoning his Clan in its entirety, he led them to a series of vast tunnels and caverns beneath Kaymakli in Anatolia, then proceeding to ask each of his descendants a series of questions; those whose answer was incorrect, he sent off into the subterranean maze, and emerged with only those he believed to be worthy of his cause. Leaving the labyrinth, Cappadocius sealed it with the words “Let no Childe of Caine ever leave through this passage; Let no son of Seth ever enter.” Those entombed within would starve and fall into a death-like coma.
Having trimmed his Clan down to a more appropriate size, Cappadocius then went on to expand his scope of study even further, and Embraced a family of Venetian necromancers by the name of Giovanni to better understand events following death, as well as the actual process. This was to prove the end of the Cappadocians as, unbeknownst to Cappadocius, the head of the family, Augustus Giovanni, had ambitions far beyond simply the study of the afterlife.
After a great deal of deception and subterfuge, Augustus struck, wiping out a large number of the Cappadocians in short order, and diablerizing (drinking the life blood of another vampire to gain his power) Cappadocius himself. Once he had secured a non-aggression pact with the nascent Camarilla, Augustus then directed the efforts of his followers into annihilating the remainder, and secured the Giovanni's position as one of the Great Clans. In all ways, the Cappadocians as a clan thereafter ceased to exist.
Culture and Organisation
Like their founder, most Cappadocians tended to be reclusive scholars (a fact which was at least partially responsible for the growth of the Clan to such an enormous size that Cappadocius felt the need to purge its numbers) and as such had very little in the way of proper culture. What respect was given to members, other than their age and generation, largely arose from how learned they were about their subject matter. However, it should be noted that most Cappadocians possessed a certain religious streak to their backgrounds, with Christians providing an inordinately high membership.
The bulk of Clan Cappadocian society revolved around the Sire-Childe relationship, with other interactions kept to a minimum except in those occasions where it was necessary or desirable to share knowledge.
The Cappadocians tended towards Embracing those who possessed a scholarly, inquisitive nature. However, many were chosen from the ranks of those mortals who dealt with death on a daily basis, such as morticians, priests and physicians. This choice served to keep their numbers strong in those with an intimate knowledge of the mortal coil, whilst still retaining a greater scope of views upon the subject.
Many Cappadocians were also taken from the ranks of the lesser nobility, serving as aides and advisors to those in positions of power within the other Great Clans. In this role, they were granted access to a far wider range of subjects than would otherwise have been the case.
Whilst the Giovanni attempted to destroy the Cappadocians to a man, there exist several branches of the Clan in the world today, along with others who have since been exterminated. The most important are given below.
A predominantly female bloodline and unique amongst the Clan of Death, the Lamia acted as the guardians and martial arm of the Cappadocians. Despite being ferocious warriors, they fell to the treachery of the Giovanni along with their parent Clan.
The Samedi are a small bloodline in the modern nights, apparently originating in the Caribbean and having strong perceived ties to the religious practice of voodoo. Many of their members are known to act as assassins-for-hire. Every single one of these unfortunate creatures resembles a decomposing corpse, with chunks of rotten flesh periodically slipping off their bones as they age. It should be noted that there is a deep-seated enmity between the Samedi and the Giovanni, although so far the Samedi have proven powerful enough to resist any attempts at eradication by the necromancers.
Harbingers of Skulls
The Harbingers have only recently made their appearance in the modern nights and, whilst few suspect it, are the true remnants of the Cappadocian Clan thought long-since destroyed. A small bloodline, they are comprised of those who managed to escape the depredations of the Giovanni by either lying low or fleeing across the shroud into the Underworld. They have allied themselves with the Sabbat, although this is less a case of agreeing with that sects ideals, and more of having a common enemy in the Camarilla.