The Tremere liches, often simply referred to as the Tremere, are a left-handed legacy of the Moros that originated with a line of vampires. They are simultaneously a legacy of Reapers and liches, with their ideology claiming the latter as a way to assist the former.
Legend has it that this family of vampires made a deal with an abyssal entity of some sort that taught them how to tap into the power of their victim's very soul. This ritual would essentially allow the clan to become daywalkers if they acquired the souls of awakened kine. Unfortunately, the acamoth purposely hid a crucial detail to the ritual, bringing about the extinction of the line as the spark of Gnosis within their Awakened victims' souls devoured the vampires from within. The taint of the Tremere endured in these mages, twisting their souls into a new and sinister legacy. This legacy was initially known as the "Tremere-inflicted" but eventually became known by the name Tremere, or "Tremere liches" to distinguish them from the vampires that cursed them.
Now, a different hunger plagues the Tremere. They don't need blood to sustain themselves, but souls, and particularly ones of those who have Awakened. When they don't have access to souls, their bodies rot and decay.
A mage must be voluntarily initiated into this Legacy by having his own soul severed by his teacher and replaced with someone else's. The soul link between instructor and pupil transmits the lich curse once the new soul is attached. Usually, the master then attaches the pupil's soul to himself, for Awakened souls last much longer than Sleeping souls. It is extremely rare for a young or even middle-aged mage to make this hideous choice. Usually, only those near the end of their natural life spans choose to become liches in hopes that, by unnaturally extending their lives on a diet of souls, they might unlock the key to Ascension and rise to the deathless lands of the Supernal World.
The Tremere themselves claim heritage to a sage from the time of Atlantis, who searched for the true nature of the soul. As the dragons (the incarnate souls of the Watchtowers in their cosmology), whose teachings Atlantis used to prosper, didn't offer any answers to him, he decided to find the truth alone. In the secret teachings of the barbarians who lived before and outside Atlantis, he uncovered a Sixth Dragon, the Dragon of Blood, whose secrets he tried to uncover in order to find the secrets of the soul. After the Fall unleashed hordes of monsters across the world, it was only after centuries that the Tremere's eyes fell on vampires. The Tremere thought their abilities flowed from a form of unified soul magic and wished to command it themselves. By threat and bribe, they convinced a few vampires to perform the transforming Embrace. Volunteers only died — the Awakened soul refused the Blood. But through these early bargains, the Tremere uncovered the legend of the Theban: an undead sorcerer capable of changing his own nature. However, when they found him, the creature enslaved them, turning them into creatures that fed on breath, not blood, and hungered for souls.
When the Theban sent them against a Bound from the time of Atlantis, five Tremere managed to free themselves and were cast into the threshold of the Abyss in Astral Space. They saw a thorny tree twist out of the chaos, and knew they had fulfilled the Tremere quest. They beheld the Final Watchtower of the Soul. The five survivors — the first true liches — did not carve their names upon it. The Watchtower sang their names, claiming them. A paradoxical Awakening ripened within them. It gave them magic without souls. They believed they had found the supreme source of magic; the Seventh Dragon, whose power unites the Subtle Arcana into one supreme Art. Once they prevail, their Watchtowers will conquer the Towers of Death, Fate, Mind, Prime and Spirit. They will crush the old dragons beneath their heels. Until then, they must reclaim every shard of lost knowledge. Until the day of Imperium, every soul, and every secret of the soul, belongs to the Tremere.
In their quest for souls, the Tremere have developed a highly rigid hierarchy. In their quest for dominion, they devoured and enslaved other Legacies that also dealt with the soul and created Houses to further their knowledge of soul magic. Bound together by The Sevenfold Oath, these Tremere Houses have hidden their true agenda from both the Seers and the Pentacle for ages.
- The Tremere liches are based off of the kindred Tremere, a clan of arcane vampires from the Classic World of Darkness. The Tremere vampires, in turn, were based on House Tremere from the game Ars Magica.