The idea of the clans, each a different type of vampire coexisting, always struck me as genius. I checked out the earlier RPG Ars Magica and its Hermetic Houses after the fact, but (and I freely admit nostalgia) I like the clans better, as the different kinds of wizards seem less sharply divided. The clans bring in different archetypes, approaches, “character classes” and a lot of political complexity and conflict right away.
(I’ve never been too keen the term Clan, however, coming from Edinburgh, a city where half the shops on the High Street are forever swathed in tartan tat...)
Being ancient and remembering rulebooks that only included the Camarilla clans, I tend to prefer them to the independents and Sabbat, because I feel they cover most of the classic vampire types pretty well. Vampire: The Requiem features variations on the archetypes of the Gangrel, Nosferatu and Ventrue, and the Daeva are the common ground between Brujah and Toreador (ignoring the Toreador and Bruja bloodlines) while the Mekhet are close-ish to the Tremere although the Ordo Dracul is probably closer. This just leaves the Malkavians to sneak in as a bloodline and as a flaw in the Ventrue, and they were always the odd ones out anyway, in a number of ways. (I’ve had less trouble from Bloodline PCs than Malkavians.)
But who comes first? Well, actually they come first in the alphabet of the Camarilla: Clan Brujah.
Man is to be found in reason, God in the passions.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Notebook K
Why? Well, as I noted in the V20 retrospective, I was a big ol’ Near Dark fan, so the clan of mean-spirited vampires caught my attention right from the start.
They acquired a noble lineage dating back to the maybe-enlightened-maybe-not rule of Carthage later on, and I always liked their variety, that there was always room for smart and classy ones as well as roaring berserkers in leather jackets - and I may have been wearing a leather jacket a lot at the time too. They’re also one of the least centralised clans, so individual characters are among the least defined by clan as a political entity or power set. So they’re generally vampires first and Brujah second.
They’re the kinds of vampires I respond to most, when I think “vampire”, the norm to drift from and the home I tend to return to when considering a new character.
They also have a really weird bloodline, but never mind.
Toreador come second because they’re similarly close to my default for vampires, but their clan weakness (as defined in the first edition, since updated in a way I like in V20) was a bit annoying.
And this means that my favourite Vampire: The Requiem clan is the Daeva, for much the same reasons. (Although I really like the Requiem Nosferatu having the option to be visibly monstrous or look normal but still be somehow unnerving...)