For ages, the nomadic horsemen of the steppes held Europe in fear. The Matasuntha would have liked to have kept things that way. This line of Gangrel traces their origin back to a powerful elder named Matasuntha, who came from the east during the fall of Roman Empire, following the Huns, Goths, Slavs and other barbarian tribes. Gathering numerous Gangrel around her, her and her brood laid seige to Rome itself. Already weakened, the Camarilla lost a great deal of it's power (and many of it's members) to this terrible new threat from the east. And then, as suddenly as she had arrived, Matasuntha disappeared back onto the steppes. What became of her remains a mystery even to her bloodline, but the Matasuntha managed to claim domains throughout much of Eurasia.
Centuries later, when the Mongols and Turkish tribes came off the steppes, the Matasuntha rode beside them. The oldest members of the bloodline could still remember the collapse of the Roman Empire, and gleefully sacked the cities of Russia, China and the Middle East. Some even wondered if Matasuntha had been involved in organizing the Mongol hordes, but there was no concrete proof one way or another. As the Mongol and Turk armies built their empires, the Matasuntha spread out across eastern Europe, the Middle East and much of Asia. This did little to endear them to the eastern Kindred, many of whom still treat the "barbarians" with contempt and disdain. Unfortunately, the bloodline's glory has faded quite a bit since the days of the Golden Horde.
Like their mortal kin, the Huns, Bulgars, Mongols, Uzbeks and other nomadic steppe tribes, the Matasuntha are superb horsemen. Their mastery of Animalism, combined with several secret Devotions, gave them a considerable advantage in former nights. They could cover vast amounts of land in a relatively short time. But tonight, in an age of international transportation, their methods are antiquated. Why ride a horse when you can take a train, car or helicopter and get there faster? The fact that the open tundras, steppes and deserts where they claim their domains are barely inhabited also means that other Kindred have largely forgotten the Matasuntha. Its probably better that way...
While they are still relatively strong in areas like Hungary, their true home lies in the steppes of western and central Asia. In the most remote and backwater parts of Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Former Soviet Union and western China, elder Matasuntha dream about tearing down civilization again. They have seen the modern era, with Soviet warheads, terrorism and the Russian mafia. And they think it has potential. Fortunately, most members of the line are more interested in fighting each other and other horrors that exist out on the steppe. The younger generation in particular prefers to take advantage of the nice things that civilization can offer. Going into the cities, they sell their talents out to the highest bidder as mercenaries, gaurds and warriors of the highest caliber.
Parent Clan: Gangrel
Covenant: The majority of the Matasuntha are Unaligned, in as much as that they spend most time out on the steppes and away from other Kindred. In eastern Europe, both the Invictus and Carthian Movement have been known to attract Matasuntha mercenaries, though neither Covenant likely has anything to offer them in the long term. A few drift to the Circle of the Crone, bringing with them knowledge of Siberian and Mongolian shamanism, but most Matasuntha are fighter and not magicians. Ordo Dracul also has had some luck drawing Matasuntha, if only because of their strong geographic presence in Hungary. The Lancea Sanctum is somewhat weary of the bloodline, remembeirng too well the nights when the Huns laid siege to Rome itself. Still, a few Matasuntha (usually Orthodox) are members of the Lancea Sanctum.
Appearence: Almost all Matasuntha are drawn from the nomadic peoples of Eurasia. The oldest of them are of Hun, Bulgar, Slav, Visogoth and Mongol bloodlines. Kazakhs, Turkmen, Qashqai, Pashtun, Manchu, Uighurs and others have all found their way into the bloodline over time. There are even numerous Hungarians from the European end, the Hungarians being the modern descendants of the Huns. Ultimately most Matasuntha look Asian, and often are short, leathery and bow-legged. Many wear traditional clothing of their people, such as leather boots, the del and a felt hat. Others dress in more practical modern clothing, especially former Soviet military clothing. Practicality is more important than appearence. As nomads, they often carry as many belongings with them as they can.
Haven: Even moreso than other Gangrel, the Matasuntha are truely nomadic. Many of them wander across the steppes and deserts of Central Asia. When they need shelter, they simply meld with the earth. The fact that the area is so sparsely populated means that they must often accompany their mortal tribes men, if only for sustenance. Fortunately, the majority of the population in areas like Mongolia is still nomadic. Some Matasuntha do choose more permenant Havens, particularly in eastern Europe (but also elsewhere; Samarqand is rumored to have a few sedentary Matasuntha for instance). But even they rarely have elaborate Havens.
Background: The Matasuntha have traditionally been drawn from various nomadic cultures of the steppe and tundra, and often prefer to Embrace mortal relatives or descendants. In the past, warriors who proved themselves in battle, along with great leaders, were the prime choice. Occaisonally a scout, shaman, bard or messenger would find their way into the bloodline though. In modern nights, the line has had to look for other traits. Herdsmen and hunters who keep the old ways are given preference, but criminals, tribal warlords and former soldiers have also been chosen. Few, if any, Matasuntha have made their way to the New World. They are pretty much limited to Europe and Asia.
Character Creation: Not suprisingly, Physical Attributes are most highly valued by the Matasuntha. They tend to have high Stamina, Strength, Wits and Perception from living in the wilderness. As far as Skills go, Animal Ken is the most highly prized. Other important Skills include Survival, Athletics, Brawl, Intimidation, Stealth and Weaponry. Firearms is also fairly common amongst younger Matasuntha (within the last hundred years or so). Many Matasuntha also have some Social Skills, suprisingly, as they need to be able to haggle and tell stories. Merits tend to vary from individual to individual, though Mental and Physical Merits are far more common than Social ones. Resources and Haven are practically unheard of.
Bloodline Disciplines: Animalism, Celerity, Protean, Resilience
Weakness: In addition to the normal Gangrel weakness, the Matasuntha have the additional weakness of being unable to sleep in the same spot for more than three nights in a row. If they do so, they suffer a cumulative dice penalty on all Physical rolls they move to a new location.
Organization: Although some Matasuntha are solitary, most of them follow a very elaborate system of organization based on a complex series of etiquette, social status and tribal relation. Most often, the Matasuntha will travel together in small groups (called "on") based off relation or tribal affinity with one another. Sometimes they even accompany their mortal kin. In the days of the golden horde, some Matasuntha followed the Great Khan's armies in even greater and more organized numbers, but these days have long since passed. Outside of that, the most important bond is that of Anda, or blood-brothers.
Concepts: Bodyguard, horse breeder, hunter, lunatic dwelling on the steppes, messenger, mob enforcer, nomadic tribesman, Soviet military veteran, travelling musician, tribal warlord, wanna-be Mongol warrior