A Treatise on the Probable Origins and Physical Anomalies of Subspecies
Homo sapiens nosferatus

By Claudius Maximus, Clan Tremere

There are a great many mysteries concerning the origin of our breed, and certainly none moreso than the circumstances behind the genesis of the unfortunate and peculiar race known as the Nosferatu. The blasphemous acts that led to the affliction of these pathetic wretches are unknown; perhaps it is best they remain so. The Brujah, whose elder members are historians of no small repute despite their instability, have long held that the Antediluvian founder of the Nosferatu line was cursed by our Primal Father Himself. The precise nature of the crime committed remains in question, though it was no doubt monstrous. Based on my ecclesiastical research and extensive study of Nosferatu progeny, I have formulated certain theories.

Do not the Nosferatu share the ability of the Gangrel (another tragic line, but of them I shall speak later) to establish a rapport with the lower denizens of the planet? Verily, I have seen a Nosferatu crouched low amid her sewer haven, staring into a great rat's eyes for fully an hour. The Nosferatu communicate often and at length with their bestial comrades, and I believe that they have more in common with such creatures than with the humans from whom they have so tragically devolved. My own experiments have shown that Nosferatu skull and bone structures bear no small degree of resemblance to those of reptiles. As all of learning know, the reptile loathes the mammal as much as the latter detests the former. Is this, then, why the Nosferatu look upon other Kindred, and our clan in particular, with such venom and rancor?

Is it not indisputable that mortals who practice carnal relations with their own immediate kin beget progeny with deformities similar to, though not as pronounced as, those found among the Nosferatu? Certes, the creatures spend overmuch time huddled together in their dens and holes, and while my own base passions were purged from me by the purifying flame of the Embrace, the same may not be true of the Nosferatu. As a side note to the above, Diagram 23-D depicts some of my more curious observations regarding Nosferatu anatomy.

Based on the aforementioned evidence, I feel secure in postulating that either vile incest or coupling with beasts lies at the root of the clan's curse. Strange as it may seem, but things still stranger lurk in the world's corners, as the Lupines prove. Caine is a merciless father and does not lightly tolerate deviation among his grandchilder.

In any event, it is indisputable that whatever crime the Nosferatu forefather committed has been at least partially expiated upon the flesh of his progeny. While the Embrace for most of us is a blessed gift, endowing us with the boon of immortality and the elixir of potency, the Nosferatu are instead twisted and disfigured beyond human ken by the transferal of vitae.

In my researches, I have catalogued and amazing variety of bizarre deformities generated by the Nosferatu Embrace. The origin or link between these features, however, regretfully eludes me. Extensive vivisection reveals only that each of the creatures seems to be more twisted and grotesque than the last. It is a mystery to me why the race as a whole does not destroy itself in a paroxysm of self-loathing!

There seems to be no subspecies, familial patterns, evolutionary offshoots, sire-childe resemblances or other logical distributions of Nosferatu deformity. For every Nosferatu who loses digits to the Embrace, another sprouts two or three extra fingers per hand. For every Nosferatu whose eyes dilate to enormous, nictitating orbs like those of some deep-sea squid, another loses its eyes altogether to scabrous encrustations or cataracts. For every Nosferatu whose nose drops off into the dust, another's nose warps and elongates to three times its former length. I have recorded striations, maculations, tumors, warts, pustulant bags, orifices of unfathomable purpose, extra limbs or none at all, scales like a lizard's, even prehensile tails and patagia. I know not what to make of such strangeness and may only say that "there but for the grace of Caine go I."

Would that I could state that the Nosferatu temperament and character were somehow improved by the creatures' bodily purgatory. Alas, such does not seem to be the case. The Nosferatu are, to a vampire, graceless and crude. The refinements of the higher clans seem lost on the Nosferatu. Even their brute strength, which occasionally proves useful (see Diagram 5-P for anatomical details of Nosferatu skeletal muscle), is perverted by their brutishness.

Nonetheless, a certain low cunning pervades the Nosferatu character. The clan - for we of the Camarilla go so far as to grant the Nosferatu equal status in hopes of bettering the hapless race! - is infamous for its ability to garner and compile data of all sorts. I believe this penchant to be instinctual rather than premeditated, rather like bower-birds adorning their nests with all manner of gaudy debris. A Nosferatu overhears a half-understood snippet of information or gossip and then parrots it amongst his own kind without any real comprehension. Were this not so, then why -

[This manuscript was never finished and indeed seems to have been interrupted in progress by the untimely Final Death of Claudius Maximus. Our esteemed peer was discovered in his sanctum, strapped to his own dissecting table. It was evident that the instruments of Maximus' death were his own enchanted surgical apparatus, which had apparently been used to perform a crude caricature of a vivisectory operation upon Maximus himself (the accompanying organ displacement lends weight to this theory.) No positive identification of the perpetrator(s) could be found, but scrawled on the laboratory wall, in a fluid that Thaumaturgic examination has proved to be Maximus' own vitae, was the message, "I AM NOT AN ANIMAL. I AM SOMETHING WORSE!" The Manchester Chantry (and indeed all of Clan Tremere) mourns the loss of one of its most devoted researchers, and this matter will certainly be examined until satisfactorily resolved.]

(c) 1993, White Wolf. From "CLANBOOK:NOSFERATU" Used without permission, but I don't mean any harm. I'm just trying to sell more stuff for 'em. Yeah...that's it. I'm trying to make 'em all RICH!