Malkavian Traditions

The Tradition of Mutable Traditions

The Malkavian's central, unifying tradition, if they have one, might be that mind and reality are as supple and malleable as clay - and just as much fun to play with. As the many people mold their minds into a cookie-cutter form that mimics what they see of reality, place that form into the kiln of absolutism, and scorch their minds into rigid, inelastic, brittle terra cotta. The petrified brain in turn affects the external world, calcifying reality into a singular form. The rigid reality in turn works on the minds of all beings born into it, molding them into the cookie-cutter form, beginning the whole cycle anew.
Malkavians don't hate the cookie-cutter form. They just know that form to be only one of many, and they grow impatient when reality stays frozen. Though Malkavians may express this thought in a myriad of ways, most of their actions point to some variation on this underlying theme.
If they have a traditional mission, it is to infect the rest of the world with their madness. Their pranks and mischief and outrageous atroccities are geared in one direction: to radically shake up the thinking of Kindred and mortal alike. To squeeze minds back into supple clay form, or shatter them in the process, by squeezing reality back into supple clay form, or shattering it in the process. This is a very dangerous game, because it puts one's very reality in jeopardy.
Malkavian Explanation: My mind! It's stuck in all thse echelons of reality! Mired in all the innuendoes I must take into account! My autograph book won't tell me who's been signing it. It's not my fault the pages are all ripped up."

The Tradition of the Broken Mirror

An old Malkavian saying urges "If you find you are falling into madness - dive." The blood of Malkav courses throughout the Malkavian vampire and loosens the restraints placed on the mind by a lifetime of societal conditioning. This results in deep magical insight and gret, magical powers.
To accept the new way of seeing, a Malkavian must give up his old way. He must surrender his attachment to his old world-image, which many accomplish, and to his own self-image, which many cannot accomplish. For this reason, the most common symbol of the Malkavian is a broken mirror.
Those who do break the mirror of their body-image, world-image, and god-image find a whole new world of possibilities. They take charge of thir perceptions and sesek new ways to shake up their remaining fixed notions. They don't have to, but it helps if they do it themselves, rahter than waiting for the Curse of Malkav to routinely devistate their minds, leaving them to pick up the pieces and to try assembling coherent thoughts.
As they break down and reconnect their minds and unsolder and rewire their expectations of reality, they come to approach their minds and perceptions as tools to be tinkered with. They become responsible for their own perceptions and the reality that results from them. They have found tremendous power in this formula.

Malkavian Explanation: "Bust up your reality tunnel! Be in charge of your own mind! Reclaim your glandular system, and reclaim your pineal gland! Program your own bio-computer, and reprogram the Main Frame! Boldy go into your own enigmas! And do it quick, because the light at the other end of your reality tunnel is heading toward you at a high rate of speed!"

The Tradition of Madness in the Blood

The flip side of the rapturous joy known to Malkavians who gleeefully smash their old ways of looking and knowing is the dark, malevolent anguish of Malkavians who resist the process that forcibly loosens their minds from old restraints. The Liberation of Malkav becomes the Curse of Malkav, and causes endless, unendurable agony.
They droop and screech and gibber and rage and withdraw and injure themselves and hurt others and go catatonic. All those actions seem insane, but understood in context, they become utterly and chillingly lucid: when unendurable inner pain rules, endurable outer pain can overthrow it. Temporarily.
When the inner pain becomes so great that the outer pain can no longer mask it, some Malkavians destroy themselves. Among immortal vampiric creatures who cling to unlife with fanatic zeal, the Malkavians arethe only clan with a high suicide rate. For those poor, mad Kindred, their old way of seeing the world was more important to them than their very existence. They had enshrined the self's beliefs in a position over the self. Other Malkavians who see the self-immolations of their brothers and sisters often double their resolve to break their mirrors, regardless of the ensuing pain.

Malkavian Explanation: Who took the ribbons from my hair? Why is everything so cloudy in here? Is nobody listening? Look at what's in tthe shadows. The same old monkeys!"

The Tradition of Universal Madness

The Malkavians do not believe that they are alone in the process of building reality. They think that the world is a madhouse, and doubly mad for doubting it. Many feel that they are the only ones who can see clearly, because they are escape artists from the house of straitjacket sanity.

Malkavian Explanation: "In truth, we're all mad. How do we know we are sitting here talking reasonably? What would happen if we were really in an asylum somewhere, raving for the delight of spectators. Well, they would interpret that frightened look you have on your face and the way you are backing away from me as some meaningful remnant of your potty-training behavior! So they would probeyou with rude implements and shock you with electricity and slice off bits of your psychic selves in a effort to understand and 'cure' your madness! And what would happen then? You would suffer inexplicable problems that seem to lack a cause. How do you know that they are not doing that right now?"

The Tradition of Pranking

Of all the Malkavian behaviors despised by the other vampire clans, the most detested is their habit of playing elaborate, dangerous pranks. These jokes have ruined potent Tremere rituals, collapsed important Ventrue business deals, ruined pricelesss Toreador artifacts, made the rebellious Brujah look as self-important as the elders they attack, and even embarrassed the antivanity Nosferatu.
Some pranks are cruel and dangerous. Some are hysterically funny. Some seem completely pointless. Some are enjoyed even by the butt of the joke. And some are deadly. Many Kindred become enraged when they learn they were the butt of a Malkavian prank, but many are also secretly glad to come though it alive and whole.
The pranks seem pointless, and even the Malkavians say it's nothing they do on purpose - they just can't help it. But many Kindred, even elders, secretly credit a Malkavian prank with helping them resolve a critical dilemma or break through to a new level of understanding. Very few vampires reveal this, though. Admitting you see things in a more Malkavian way is grounds for suspicion, scorn and ostracism.
The Malkavian tradition of pranking comes directly from their erstwile Faerie allies, who sometimes give them magical, otherworldly assistance. There is an ancient Faerie tradition similar to Pranking that the Malkavians have picked up.

Malkavian Explanation: "Pop! Goes you weasels! I'm squashing your head! Now sit still! Thsis is for your own good, that I bring to you a bit of the Curse of Malkav. Remember, 'Curse' is 'Cures' spelt sideways! I'm just helping you look askew at your life. Or is it askance?"

The Tradition of the Malkavian-Arcadia Connection

The Malkavians are secretly being aided at the higest levels by the Faeries who stayed behind in earth's reality when most of their fellows fled. They see the Malkavians as a direct assault on the Wall of Sleep, the calcified reality structure that precipitated the loss of magic energy in Earth's dimension.
The Malkavians question the authority of objective reality with a manic energy and put cracks in the Wall of Sleep every time they create a powerful prank.
The Malkavians carry out Faerie pranks on all institutions that continue to prop up the structure of the Wall, assaulting mortal civilization, vampire society, scientific reasoning, recorded history, and anything else they feel binds the universe to a common reality.
Faeries have been known to funnel magic power to the Malkavians, teach them arcane Faerie lore, aid them in their times of need, and teach them greater pranks (often by playing tricks on the mad vampires).
Some Malkavians, like the mysterious Word Eater, are rumored to have evolved from man to vampire to otherworldly Faerie creature.

Malkavian Explanation: "It's fun to visit Faerieland. They understand me when I talk and, best of all, when I don't."

Breaking the Rules

In their moments of greater lucidity, Malkavians explain that, because they see more of the universe than other creatures, they have great difficulty explaining this concept to those who see only through clogging filters forced on them by the world-machine. They say they have trouble explaining the rest of the universe to the part of the universe that only knows part of the universe.
But, though they can't always explain the wonders they see, they can learn to exploit them. With study and training, they can slough off restraints like matter, distance, and even causality. They can go beyond mere magic into direcct manipulation of the universe, the way Faeries perform their magic. In short, they can break the rules. This talent is only available to the highest levels of Malkavian madness, though some Malkavians break through to it by accident during anguished fits of self-discovery.

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