The true origins of the Oikodomoi have been lost to the Fog of Eternity, but popular myth dates the Bloodline to the classical age of Greece, possibly even predating Longinus himself (obviously not a view shared by Lancea Sanctum members).
Antigonus Polytropos was a sculptor of great renown long before he was ever embraced into the eternal requiem. He trained in Argos under a wise teacher, creating works of clay and stone that greatly impressed his contemporaries. His Aphrodite, it was thought, could rival the work of Praxiteles and his Titans, a challenge to Lysippos’ great heroes. Such praise spread like a plague within the mind of Antigonus. Surely, if such a young talent could rival the art of the masters, his creations could outshine those of the gods themselves. It was this hubris that lead to his downfall.
His masterpiece as to be a statue of Galatea, her pristine naked form springing to life before the startled eyes of Pygmalion. Each figure would stand more than 50 podes, the entire piece to grace the entrance a new university planned for Argos. His work would be revolutionary, but sadly his muses were all too common. Carving human forms into marble was a task he could do in his sleep, but no figures so large had ever been this dynamic. He needed models to pose for him, not just in the planning stages he felt, but as the work was birthed from the rock itself.
He chose his close friend and fellow sculptor Achaeus as his Pygmalion, and went though some 70 women before he found the one whose form seemed closest to Galatea. Close however, was not close enough. Even with the young beauty’s human perfection, she was not quite tall enough, not quite full enough and, to be blunt, not as statuesque as she should have been. Even Achaeus, for all his talent, could not truly capture the mix of shock, fear and joy that needed to be in the face of the mythical sculptor. To make matters worse, he demanded the models keep their pose as he worked, sometimes for 15 hours straight as he worked day after day. It was Achaeus who gave out first. His foot slipped, and as he picked himself up, he questioned the wisdom of his presence at all. This was all the prompting the frustrated Antigonus needed to snap at his lifelong friend. With chisel in hand he leapt toward Achaeus, and did not realize what he was doing until his friend lay mangled on the floor bellow him. His Galatea screamed and began to run, but the artist stopped her, and tools in hand, demanded she return to her place so that he may at least continue on her form. She did as he demanded, and he returned to work.
Over the next several years, Antigonus worked on, going through models as they aged or tired of his attitude. He never killed again, and no one ever spoke of Achaeus or where he had disappeared to, but in his mind there could be nothing but the work. He began to focus more and more on the imperfections of the models, and the fact that each successive one would look less and less like the originals. He tried pushing their features in place by hand, but he could not change the work of the gods. He also became frustrated with his own form, because it was obviously too weak and improperly equipped to complete the masterpiece in his mind.
From the shadows, one who had watched him for years decided it was time to make the once-young artist more than just a man. As a creature of the night Antigonus found new inspiration. He could command his models to move just as he wished, and when extra strength was needed, he need only concentrate on a work, and his still pulse would come to life at his command, giving him strength or speed. In all, he spent 100 years finishing the work.
All his earlier works paled in comparison to his new masterpiece, he became disgusted by their mere existence. He destroyed them, one by one, or had his models destroy them with their own hands. As this happened he realized that he could only create so much with still works of art. It was life he truly wished to sculpt.
He began with himself. Simple alterations at first. A straighter nose, a taller frame, a younger face, and soon he found he could mold flesh as easily as the gods molded clay into man. He had created Mystechni, and his childer would carry on in his pursuit of physical perfection.
Parent Clan: Ventrue
Covenant: Oikodomoi can belong to any covenant, although they are held in particularly high regard by the Ordo Dracul, those that are aware of this reclusive line’s existence. They view Oikodomoi as exemplars of Vampiric potential to improve beyond the static undead state of existence. In truth, Mystechni is much less permanent than the Coils of the Dragon, only lasting a matter of minutes in most cases, but it is the potential to create something greater that attracts covenant members to the Builders. Any Oikodomos not living up to his potential, or worse yet, squandering his powers on trivial or petty matters (in the eyes Dragons anyway) are viewed with contempt at best, and sent to final death for their insolence at worst.
The Lancea Sanctum also has a draw for Oikodomoi, especially Greek Orthodox branches of the ancient covenant. Such members tend to downplay the more extreme uses of their powers, and emphasize their desires to become perfect vessels of God’s will, punishing those who defy Him with physical maladies on a Biblical level.
Finally, some Builders are drawn to the free-form religion that is the Circle of the Crone. With many diverging views about the Goddess’s true form and purpose, they are free to build themselves in the images of their faith, and share their gifts with others hoping to find a greater understanding of the world. Those true to the Bloodline’s Greek origins often view themselves as avatars of Athena, and it is their job to breathe life into the clay of man and vampire alike.
Appearance: Most are amazingly normal and unassuming in all respects, although some master Mystechnis take on forms of preternatural beauty or freakish horror.
Obviously, those who chose the latter options risk the Masquerade in so many ways. Most of those are rarely seen in public anyway, preferring to keep their art confined to those who would appreciate it. More and more however, new Bloodline members are finding the antisocial appearances to be avant guard.
Haven: Laboratories, studio apartments, morgues or catacombs – anywhere dark, secluded and ready to create art is considered an appropriate home. Oikodomoi tend to find havens near large cities, but not in them. Underneath the streets or on the outskirts of town, the Builders prefer to exist on the edges of society.
Background: Initially the bloodline was limited to the Greeks, the earliest known members coming from Athens in the 10th Century. As the bloodline spread, new cultures were welcomed into the fold. The only common factors among inductees are an inhabitable need to create or an eye for beauty (although each has his or her own definition of the word).
Character Creation: Those with high manual Dexterity or social Manipulation are often favored by the Builders, but Strength is an Attribute often needed to force others to understand art’s potential. Members are often skilled in Crafts, Medicine, Science and Expression, and sometimes ply their art on their Herds.
Bloodline Disciplines: Animalism, Dominate, Resilience, Mystechni
Weakness: Aside from being particularly prone to derangements, as all Ventrue are, and the risk of Humanity loss when using Mystechni on others, Oikodomoi all share a very specific form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Fixing minor imperfections must be given highest priority, no matter what the situation. While they won’t try to cure every paraplegic they see or restlessly pursue a cure for cancer, they will stop to straighten crooked picture frames, come out mussed hair or re-button an improperly fastened shirt. These must be minor and easily fixable imperfections, but no matter what the situation, they must be attended to first. Unfortunately, Builders are all too aware of the world’s faults, and are given a +1 on awareness rolls dealing with minor imperfections (whether they want it or not, the bonus only applies when their weakness could be invoked) and must spend two Willpower points just to resist the temptation.
Organization: Although not organized in the traditional sense, Oikodomoi tend to share a mutual respect for each other as artists, offering critics and suggestions when desired. Understanding the possibility of breaking the Masquerade that is inherent with their techniques, some take it upon themselves to seek out and silence any security breaches, whether that means removing a mortal’s ability to communicate, or sadly, bringing a fellow Builder to final death. At least their art will increase in value.
Concepts: Artist, surgeon, athlete, mad scientist, veterinarian, priest.