"No other beings have as great an understanding of Death as we do. There is no great
mystery, no facet of existance that affects every moment more then the fact that existance always
ends. To understand this fully would render one omniscient."
No clan is more intent on maintaining a front of respectability than the Giovanni, and none is more repulsive at heart. Giovanni vampires are rich merchants, speculators and investors who spend most of their nights manipulating their vast assets from skyscraper offices. They spend the rest of their nights in crypts and mausoleums carrying out their dark and morbid rites.
Legend has it that the clan founder hoped to bolster his own power by Embracing a coven of Venetian necromancers. This coven was actually a tightly knit family named Giovanni who had strong trade interests in the Mediterranean region. The Giovanni repaid their sire for his gift by slaying him and all his other descendants. Vampires from around the world reacted with fear and horror, and many joined together to hunt these Devil Kindred. After almost a century of intermittent warfare, the clan made peace with its foes by promising to maintain a low profile and keep out of Kindred politics.
The Giovanni clan has apparently maintained its pledge to this day. Still, suspicion of this clan has continued to the present day. By staying neutral in Cainite battles, the Giovanni clan has had free rein to build its merchant empire. Now the clan's wealth is undeniable, but no one knows the purpose for which it employs this wealth. Few outsiders have ever taken part in the clan's necromantic rituals, so the purpose of these is likewise a mystery. Instead, suspicions and innuendoes have taken the places of facts and truth. If asked, most Giovanni would say they do what they do in order to gain a complete understanding and appreciation of the form they will have for all eternity. These Giovanni believe this form to be of one use - gaining power. Other Giovanni refer to the god-like feeling they get from having power over death.
Every member of this clan is also a member of the Giovanni Family. By long standing tradition Giovanni only Embrace those of their own mortal family, and most of their Retainers and ghouls are also of the same family.
Because all Giovanni are related by blood (in both senses), they are extremely loyal to one another, and betrayal by one of them is unthinkable. Certainly the Giovanni possesses the most reliable Retainers of any clan.
Clan Giovanni is one of the more rigidly controlled clans, and contact is constantly maintained between members of the clan. It is still ruled with an iron hand by its patriarch, Augustus Giovanni, the original leader of the coven when it was first Embraced. Augustus sees his control over the line as similar to that of a prince's control over a city, and requires those below him to adhere to the Rule of Creation: his permission must be obtained before the Giovanni Embrace can be gifted to anyone. However, some younger members of the clan are given significant leeway and freedom to pursue new control over corporations. Because the clan's influence in America is still limited, many of its members have been sent to the New World in recent years.
Appearance: Despite their horrid underground practices (or because of them), the Giovanni always maintain a demeanor of wealth and genteel respectability. They dress expensively and conservatively.
Clan Advantage: Because of the frequent need for blood, cadavers and access to medical equipment in their Necromantic studies, all Giovanni start with one free Health Influence.
Clan Disadvantage: Due to their obsession with Death, Giovanni cannot drink from a living vessel. Giovanni cannot purchase Herd. Giovanni may feed from Kindred without restriction.
Clan Disciplines: Dominate, Necromancy, Potence
Clan Prestige: The easiest way to gain Prestige among the Giovanni is by accumulating vast amounts of wealth. A more difficult way is by discovering new understanings of death, either through art or magic.
The Giovanni Viewpoint
"We take care of our own. There are no Giovanni Caitiff. We don't leave our
trash lying around on the street. The other clans would do well to clean up
after themselves, as we do not see the need to play housemaid. Capise?"
-Don Michael Antonio Giovanni, Prince of Las Vegas
The Promise of 1528
The diablerie of Cappadocius by Augustus Giovanni, caused a great backlash of negative sentiment and animosity in many of the other Clans, particularly those in the newly formed Camarilla. Like the Tremere, who had committed the same crime nearly three centuries before, the destruction of the Antediluvian, caused a great deal of animosity and resentment in the Kindred world. This fact, coupled with the Giovanni's strange necromantic rituals and shadowy and mysterious agendas led many of the Clans to unite in a worldwide purge of the Giovanni Clan. Wishing to stave off what seemed to be the inevitable destruction of the Giovanni, Augustus Giovanni withdrew the entire Family from the ranks of Kindred society and the Jyhad.
In the winter of 1528, after nearly 90 years of hostilites, several significant members of Clan Giovanni were able to convince a number of Elders from the Clans of the Camarilla to agree to a meeting to discuss the Giovanni issue and lay the matter to rest. Among the Camarilla Elders in attendance was Rafael de Corazon. Over the course of the ten night conference, Claudius Giovanni signed a formal agreement that had been drafted which guaranteed Giovanni nonintervention in all Kindred affairs. The Giovanni were free to go about their own business provided they did not involve themselves in any way with the intrigues of vampiric society.
As an addendum to the formal agreement, Rafael de Corazon demanded that once every 13 years a council of Elders from each of the Clans that signed the pact, except the Giovanni, would convene in Venice to check up on the Giovanni and discuss Kindred affairs. This council of Elders is now known as the Inner Circle of the Camarilla.
The Promise of 1528 is still valid and sacrosanct. Although the Giovanni and Kindred of the Camarilla occaisionally come into contact and may even do business, there are no Giovanni Kindred anywhere in the world that are formally accepted members of the Camarilla. Clan Giovanni maintains a strict policy of abstinence from the political manipulations and sect policies of the Camarilla. Similarly, the Camarilla maintains a laissez-faire policy towards Giovanni business.
If you are interested in learning more about the Giovanni Clan, go straight to the source
with White Wolf's Clanbook: Giovanni.
The Giovanni Clan Novel was fantastic! Finally a novel that gives some real insight into the twisted and depraved Giovanni. The novel also delighted me by touching on some of the Giovanni Clan's world wide plans and schemes that are outside of the normal dealings of the Camarilla. This book rocked so hard, that I finished it in a single day.