“We are the Cups of Christ, come drink His Blood and be whole.”
In the dim-night-heavy Roman catacombs a group of servants and slaves worshipped Christ in secret for it was a time of purges and martyrs during terrible times.
It was in one of these meetings that the Christians were met by a terrible blood-drinking beast that went about thieving in the filth and darkness.
The beast came and stolen the life-blood of the Christians, one by one but neither of them cried out in terror, nor did any run away in fear for they kept their faith.
The beast of darkness was so taken struck at the peace of the Christians facing death that its heart was touched and it was suddenly ashamed of what it had done and how it had lived off blood stolen of others.
The beast knelt and accepted the Word of Christ and its heart became filled with the Blood of Lamb and all the sinfulness and blackness poured out of him as in a great flood. And the beast was saved and it held the Blood of the Lamb within its heart and its radiance warmed like a fire.
And the Penitent raised his voice is song and the spirits of the unquiet dead were roused and heard the Good Words and were blessed and they had the cool waters of the Holy Ghost on their tongues and they knew peace in death.
The Beast was healed and cast free of the curse of Eve so that it once again walked on two legs as a man and it was known as the Penitent.
And the flock saw the miracle and the transformation of the Penitent who was the cup of crudest clay which held the golden blood of Christ and they knew it was holy and they all raised their voices in worship of His glory.
The last of the Sangiovanni fled the burning of the Camarilla as the barbarians came to the gates of Rome. The Sangiovanni are known in many cities of Italy but in between the canals of Venice is their spiritual home.
As with mortal Christians, the Sangiovanni found sanctity in following the word of Christ and see themselves as fallible as mortals but also as a lineage of living grails, their monstrous origins transubstantiated miraculously through the mercy of Jesus Christ. They are merely night-dwelling blood-drinkers by accident, not design.
All other vampires are unholy servants of the Devil and who walk as men in Mockery of God and are deserving of His wrath.
This doesn’t mean that those beasts can’t be saved as the Mendicants have been, but they will never be allowed into the Mysteries as left by the Penitent. The Mendicants keep their faiths and testaments to themselves and will dwell with the beasts as Daniel dwelt with the Lions. God was merciful to the Penitent and healed him when he was repentant and accepted the Blood of Christ, and that’s how the Grails see both vampires and mortals – sinners.
Parent Clan: Mekhet
Nickname: Resurrectors, Mendicants
Covenant: The first loyalty is to Christ, the name and family. The Sangiovanni are both a Bloodline and a miniature, isolationist covenant. But this doesn’t help outside Italian cities and so the Mendicants practice prudence when in foreign places.
It is also important that Mendicants accept no one not from the family and trained in the clergy.
It is possible that an outsider may become familiar enough to convert to the Mendicant religious doctrine, but these vampires cannot be trained in the ways of Mortuum Anima for they never received the sacraments and training from when they were mortal.
The Sangiovanni often ally with the Sanctified but this, eventually, causes a single huge problem: they think diametrically opposite philosophies. The Sanctified believe that vampires must become devils that hound and torment the mortal flock that strays from God. The Mendicants believe that vampires must accept the Blood of Christ and stop being monsters and live as equals with mortals.
The Invictus are a bit too lordly for the Mendicant tastes but they often see the arrogance of the beast as one of the burdens they must endure as long as Invictus are to be valuable allies.
Ordo Dracul will not accept anyone who has given themselves to God for a vampire must find his own way through the world. To the Sangiovanni wilful atheism is hubris beyond measure. The older Mendicants are often uncomfortable when speaking to Dragons because the dragons are often very polite and thoughtful of the Mendicants.
Of late, a few young Sangiovanni have been seduced by the Order of Dragons due to their seemingly parallel ethos of struggle to command existing difficulties.
Carthians are another unapproachable area for Mendicants because the Cathians believe wholeheartedly that the Sangiovanni have a right to believe in God but faith must take a backseat to the rights of vampires. Despite this impassable gorge, Carthians are by far and large utterly enthralled by the ideals of vampire and mortal co-existence.
Mendicants join with the Carthians out of a desperate need for protection.
The general Crones are seen as pagan tree worshippers and thus are barely tolerated and utterly misunderstood.
There are a few Christianised and Gnostic Circles in Europe that are fast allies of the Sangiovanni – expecially under the intolerable weight of the Lancea Sanctum’s unofficial headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
Appearance: As the Sangiovanni become older their bodies corpses and albinos and hollows itself out, with filigree veins empty or black or red with blood making them appear carved from marble. Although not as horrible as the Nosferatu, the effect debilitates the entire physical structure of the Sangiovanni making them feverishly closer to the death they fixate over. The older they get the more inhuman they become.
The effects of their weakness are described below.
When the Mendicant’s dress in formal robes, that’s what they are simple brown robes and black robes for the priest leading mass. Apart from official discussions, leading mass, and meetings with senior priests, there is no actual need to wear robes – clothes will do as long as they are inoffensive. This is why Sangiovanni are not thought of as priests outside Italy.
Haven: being creatures of practical and theoretical sorcery, the Sangiovanni rely on large, uncluttered areas combining chapels and workshops called Necromanteions. Loft apartments, warehouses are perfect for this kind of work. Wealthier Sangiovanni enjoy the use of drained indoor swimming pools for their rituals.
Background: the Sangiovanni train in their priesthood for thirteen years before being released into the world not to convert but to protect their bloodline’s sanctity and learn about the world. It is more of a survival system – the Sangiovanni have had a huge drive in the past thirty years to modernise their knowledge and not leave it in the hands of overly extended mortal families.
Character Creation: the Sangiovanni go though an intense basic training: they must learn not only the tangled laws, proclamations, customs and rites and circumstance of their church; all Sangiovanni need at least one point of Status: Sangiovanni. All of them speak Italian as a first language but many are taught English as a necessary second language.
Bloodline Disciplines: Auspex, Mortuum Anima, Obfuscate, Resilience.
Weakness: The Taste of Bitter Ashes Sangiovanni suffer penalties to their Finesse Attributes’ rating’s dice pools. Sangiovanni cannot roll 10-Agains on Finesse Dice Pools and any 1s rolled subtract from successes. The Mendicants are often awkward physically and emotionally cold and this most commonly manifests as a painful bite.
The Sangiovanni Finesse penalty is ignored when the Sangiovanni is in Frenzy rolls.
The Sangiovanni are old and through the years since their inception, they have learned to shrug off the Mekhet weakness to fire and sunlight.