"Softly, my sweet, the angels call to me, singing me secrets of the end. Would you like to hear them also?"
In the histories recorded by the Agonistes, Giovanni Pater Patriae became a fixture of Venetian social circles during the rise of the merchant princes of the renaissance. A successful doctor of medival medicine, Giovanni moonlighted as a magician and prognosticator whose uncanny insights made him many powerfull friends. Commanding a powerful personal presence, Giovanni gathered around him a score of disciples to initiate into his craft. Giovanni taught a series of semi-heretical theologies, including rituals for commerce with the dead, and it is thought that his proficiency in this area is what attracted his Sire. The Sangiovanni claim that their founder kept his abilitis of communication and even commanding spirits into his unlife, passing on his skills to his childer. While many mistake these skills for a unique discipline, there are stories of allies Sangiovanni learning these powers, although modern Sangiovanni are loathe to lend their knowledge to those outside the line.
The founder's rise to power in Venice has often been descibed as meteoric. Few Venetian kindred survived his ascention and those that did say that Giovanni had an uncanny ability to outthink his opponents, and that his influence in the mortal world allowed him to outmanuever them while keeping his propriety. When atlast Venice was his, Giovanni established a sanctified parish, and was named Bishop by Cardinal Lorenzo del Firenze. Many in the Lancea Sanctum did not trust the new Bishop or the circumstances of his elevation in the Order. To make matters worse, while his parish was tight in his confidence, those outside of it knew almost nothing about the new Bishop, a condition that Giovanni strictly enforced. For 200 years spies tried their best to pierce the veil of San Giovanni, as his childer came to call him, but none had sharp enough wit to succeed.
But as all who rise are destined to fall, the weight of San Giovanni's power and secrecy became too much to bear. The Lancea Sanctum Inquisition, in collusion with elders of the Invictus worked to attack the mortal institutions that Giovanni had cultivated for himself. The result was the Cambrian Conflict. Venice's power was smashed by the hammer of the French, and German forces on the anvil of the Papal states. Giovanni was brought before the elders of the Inquisition, and the extent of his heresies were revealed to them. Under their punative ministrations, Giovanni and his childer were layed low but rather than put them to flame, the inquisition's leaders accepted their penance and allowed them back into the Sanctum. Indeed many modern Sangiovanni are members of the Sanctum's watch dogs, stealing secrets and putting down treatening heresies.
San Giovanni no longer rules at their head, having long fallen into torpor. Regardless the line remains intensly secretive, its leaders supposedly meeting in underwater grotto's beneath the streets of Venice, to discuss matters in private, while rumors of their practices bubble to the surface. Modern Sangiovanni are thought to be chosen from rich Venitian families who traditionally have ancient heredity liking them to Giovanni's original disciples. They are thought to still use blasphemous rituals to ply services from the dead. Modern Sangiovanni scoff at such rumors but they don't deny them either, rather prefering to remain an eternal mystery to outsiders.
Parent Clan: Mekhet.
Nickname: The Apostates.
Covenant: Nearly the entirety of the bloodline claim the Lancea Sanctum as their Covenant of choice. A few consistantly insolent childer stray and find themselves in other Covenants, but those that do are entirely on their own, renouncing any connection to their bloodtied. Some Sires will not allow even this, and resolve to rein their childer in, or or put an end to their blashpemous requiems in the process. Within the Sanctum they are often viewed as dangerous allies. Many elder Sangiovanni belong to the Lancea's inquistition, and young ones who claim otherwise could be lying.
Appearance: For originally being an italian, catholic bloodline, modern Sangiovanni appearances can be many and varied. The commonality among them is wealth. Sangiovanni childer have the funds to dress in the height of fashion, and often do. Others of a more devoted character may don the vestiges of their faith, presenting themselves as clergimen or monks. Even these kindred do not always eschew the trappings of their wealth and heritage, however.
Haven: Sangiovanni have havens that reflect their station, although they often have sumptuous living quarters, that reflect their "Catholic upbringing".
Background: Many Sangiovanni are embraced from rich families that are kept by the bloodine for just that purpose. While originally of italian descent, 500 years of intermarriage and cross-pollination across Europe and the Americas have expanded the genetic heritage of prospective childer so that a Sangiovanni could have nearly any range of modern ethnic background. It is rumored that the reason for this wide diverity was that these marriages were once being used to develope a ghoul family for the line, but like most Sangiovanni rumors, the success of this endeavor has never been proven.
What is a commonality among the Apostates is wealth. Whatever their make up, Sangiovanni families have amassed sizable fortunes over the last 700 years, and that wealth keeps the families tied to their masters. Even a prospective childe from an obcure family branch, may one day find that he had an 'old uncle Gio' who shows up with a sizable trust fund in his name.
Character Creation: While Sangiovanni embrace childer for a variety of reasons, most have Mental attributes as their primary, selecting from professional types or those of scholarly bent. Common skills include Academics, Investigation, Medicine, Occult, Politics, Larceny, Stealth, Empathy, Intimidation, Persuasion, Socialize, Subterfuge. Common merits include Contacts, Eidetic Memory, Encyclopedic Knowledge, Havens, Herds, Meditative Mind, Mentors, Resources, Retainers, and Status.
Bloodline Disciplines: Auspex, Dominate, Obfuscate, Resilience
Weakness: The Sangiovanni, like all Mekhet, are more susceptible to damage from fire or sunlight. In addition, as the bloodline is decended from the devoted disciples of San Giovanni, they also bear an increased sensitivity to the effects of vinculums towards others in their line. A Sangiovanni's first step of a vinculum towards another Sangiovanni feels and behaves like a second step. However, a Sangiovanni who drinks a second time from a regent does not incease the effects of her vinculum as it still takes three steps to seal the link. Kindred scholars who study the line believe this is why the line is as tightly organized as it is. Born into half wrought bloodbonds, all Sangiovanni childer are more likely to be loyal or deferential to their sires upon embrace. Not all remain this way however. While it is always easier for Sangiovanni to fall back into a vinculum, some childer will always resist blood enforced servitude. Those that do, often seek requiems in exile from their line.
Organization: The Sangiovanni line has a strict organization of sires and childer that is held together by the lines weakness towards vinculums, mostly those between sire and childe. Even so the Sangiovanni are not immune to sibling rivalry or other disfunctional relationships. Indeed their familial closeness tends to throw such disruptions into sharp relief.
Among the apostates, a few specialized titles and affectations exist. The keeper of a family line is entitled "Doge" or Duke. The Doge is responsible for that families wellbeing and hold approval over who may embrace from that line.
Concepts: Dark Priest, Penitant Yuppie, Doomed Seer, Eclastical Investigator, Occult Theologian.