The Gangrel are one of the thirteen Great Clans of vampires in White Wolf Publishing’s World of Darkness setting. Regarded as wanderers and vagabonds by the other Clans, they are nevertheless the Kindred most likely to survive in the wildernesses that lie between cities.
Gangrel tend to record their exploits through mostly oral traditions, telling tales whilst gathered in small groups. This makes their earlier history very difficult to determine, and virtually nothing of the Clan’s formative years is known, especially given their largely solitary and nomadic existence.
During the first few centuries of their existence, the Gangrel largely distanced themselves from the political powers of the time, preferring instead to call the open countryside their home. They did however, spread throughout the known world, although their influence amongst the mortal populations of the time seems to have been negligible.
The Dark and Middle Ages
The Dark Ages brought a great deal of strife for vampires of all Clans, although the rise of Clan Tremere brought the greatest turmoil for the Gangrel. Once the upstart Clan began to experiment on captured Gangrel, Nosferatu, and Tzimisce Kindred in an effort to create a subservient caste of warriors, the Gangrel sided with the Tzimisce in what was known as the Omen War. This war raged for many long years with no clear victor in sight, but the Anarch Revolt During the 1400s and the resulting establishment of the Camarilla - of which the Gangrel were one of the seven founding Clans - caused the conflict to slowly peter out.
The Catholic Inquisition during this time also caused many Gangrel from Christian provinces to quit their homelands and seek sanctuary elsewhere, although this was a hardship faced by vampires throughout society.
The Industrial Age
The advent of more advanced technology and its effects upon Clan Gangrel were severe. As more and more areas were industrialised, most members chose to simply retreat to the wilderness in the hopes that this phase of humanity’s development would pass. During this period, the Gangrel had virtually no contact with the bulk of human society, save when necessary to survive.
In current times, many Gangrel have by necessity adapted to a degree to mortal civilisation, although they remain for the most part outsiders. The greatest change the Gangrel have undergone in these nights however, has been their departure from the Camarilla: for reasons known only to themselves, the bulk of the Clan simply left the sect over the course of a month, and now the Gangrel function for all intents and purposes as an independent Clan.
Organisation and Structure
Due to the inherent nature of the vampires who form the Clan, the Gangrel have very little in the way of internal structure. Status is usually determined through bouts of physical combat or boasting contests with the loser acknowledging the dominance of the victor.
As its name might suggest, a Gather is a meeting of a handful of Gangrel in order to conduct business. The usual rites to establish status will be conducted first of all, and thereafter the Kindred will discuss the issues at hand. No matter what the outcome, Gathers are always short-term affairs, and usually disband after a week or so.
A Gather may also be used to initiate a Revel, the Gangrel equivalent to a call to arms. Revels consist of hunting packs of Gangrel, usually to protect territory or to hunt down wayward vampires, although like Gathers, these groups are temporary arrangements at best.
A variation on the Gather is the Great Gather, which may only be called by an especially powerful Gangrel known to the majority of the Clan. By tradition, any Gangrel who hears of a Great Gather must attend if he is able, though the calling of one is surely a sign that something of great import is occurring within the Clan.
Gangrel culture is fairly simplistic in nature, with most members preferring their own company to that of others. What little does exist largely revolves around the telling of tales, sometimes tall, with the ability to spin a yarn being seen as a positive attribute. Despite this, personal honour is valued above almost everything else when it comes to comes to a Gangrel‘s social standing.
Certain Gangrel are also known to have certain ties to the Romany people, aiding them in times of need and, occasionally, receiving assistance in return. This often puts them at odds with the Ravnos however, and the two Clans are long-standing enemies.
(See main article: Vampire (World of Darkness))
Unsurprisingly, the Gangrel usually choose initiates who have demonstrated a high degree of self sufficiency. Unlike some of the other Clans, the mortal chosen to be Embraced is not generally given a choice in the matter.
Once the new vampire has been created, its sire normally abandons his progeny, watching from the shadows to observe how the childe copes with its newfound vampirism; if it performs well, then the sire will present itself to the childe, then proceed to educate him in the ways of vampiric society and the power of his Blood. If not, then the best the childe can hope for is a swift death.
The Gangrel are very close to their feral side and this shows in their appearance as they age. As a Gangrel slowly loses its humanity through the terrible acts it must commit in order to survive, he will start to exhibit animalistic traits, such as cat-like eyes, pointed ears or even vicious claws. At first glance, an ancient Gangrel may well appear to be more animal than human.
(See main article: Vampire (World of Darkness))
The powers of the Blood which all Gangrel possess innately are those of Animalism, Fortitude and Protean.
- Gargoyles, a Bloodline created by the Tremere from Gangrel, Nosferatu and Tzimisce stock.