The Salubri were one of the original thirteen Great Clans of Kindred who feature in White Wolf Publishing’s World of Darkness setting. Before their downfall, they were one of the most learned of Clans, but events in their later history meant that many of their number turned to a more martial approach to unlife.
As with all of the original Great Clans, the Salubri began their existence in the First City, where their founder Saulot Embraced only the most compassionate and erudite of mortals in his quest to help both human and vampire deal with the hardships of their existence. These Kindred were for the most part held with great respect by their peers as healers and mediators, and for a time all was well with the Clan.
However, during the time of the Second City, Saulot grew dissatisfied with their lack of progress in finding a way to tame the Beast which lurks in the heart of all vampires, and set off Eastwards in a quest to find new methods. After wandering for many long years, Saulot eventually returned to his Clan, who were amazed to see that he had not only developed a third eye in his forehead, but had also mastered a path of enlightenment which would allow a Kindred to exist in harmony with his Beast. He dubbed this path Golconda, and set about the task of teaching it to his Clan. Soon, all who had progressed sufficiently on the road to Golconda developed the same third eye, and it became one of the defining features of the Clan.
This was a moment of great joy and celebration for the Salubri, a high point in their existence, but this joy was short-lived: a group of demon-worshiping Kindred known as the Baali had followed Saulot back to his Clan’s stronghold, and commenced a brutal assault. Saulot, normally an advocate of nonviolence, was of a different mind on this matter, and he actively encouraged his Clan to fight back against the invaders, who he viewed as abominations. This led to the splitting of the Clan, with some remaining as benevolent scholars, and others taking to the ways of the warrior, a division which was to echo down the ages.
The Dark Ages
After repulsing the attacks of the Baali, Saulot slipped into a long, deep sleep whilst the rest of his Clan went about their business, whether it be striving to attain Golconda or hunting down and destroying whatever Baali they could locate.
Everything was to change for the Salubri in 1133 however, when the upstart Tremere tracked down their founder’s haven and diablerized him, leaving the Clan essentially leaderless. The following program of genocide initiated by Clan Tremere, and the propaganda campaign which spread vile rumours on how the Salubri were in fact devil-worshiping heretics, resulted in the near-annihilation of the Clan, leaving only a handful of survivors to continue with Saulot’s teachings. Those few who escaped went into hiding to avoid the purge.
The Victorian Age
During this time, Clan Salubri was assumed by most to have been utterly destroyed, although by the end a handful joined the Sabbat, the second most powerful of the vampiric factions, in order to enact a revenge against Clan Tremere, who had been instrumental in founding the Sabbat’s opposite number, the Camarilla.
It should be noted that the zeitgeist of Victorian Times allowed several of the healer caste among the surviving Salubri to make powerful allies amongst the mortal population, as many humans of the time had developed a thirst for the knowledge of unique spiritual practices.
In the current age, the Salubri for the most part keep a low profile, quietly practicing their solitary meditations in an effort to achieve Golconda and their dead founder’s wish for his Clan. The exception to this is a previously unheard-of group of the warrior caste who have appeared from out of nowhere and joined the Sabbat for the purpose of exterminating the Tremere. These Salubri are vicious, brutal fighters who have been dubbed Furies by the others of the Sabbat. Whilst they willingly participate in the sect’s rituals, the Furies share virtually nothing in common with their belief systems, and are solely dedicated to the complete destruction of their ancient enemies.
Culture and Organisation
Being a largely solitary group of hermits, the Salubri have little to no real culture or organisation. Occasionally a Salubri may seek out another of his kind in order to exchange information, or perhaps seek guidance, but this tends to be the exception rather than the rule. Those who have joined the Sabbat tend to have little in common other than a thirst for vengeance against the Tremere.
For the most part, Salubri Embrace only those of a compassionate, noble disposition. They will proceed to teach the newly-created vampire about Golconda, leaving hints and clues about how it may be achieved, before having the Childer diablerize the Sire, the Childer being the culmination of a Salubri’s life work. A curious side effect of this practice is that Salubri tend to be of a very low generation, and hence potentially very powerful indeed.
Occasionally, a Salubri may instead gift the Embrace to someone of low moral standing, in the hope that the vampiric condition will redeem the person; this is only done with extreme care, however, as the vampire must ensure that his lineage and code of ethics will live on.