Disciplines are supernatural powers known to Cainites. Vampires have a number of starting Discipline dots depending on their template.
The Beast resides within all creatures, from lice-ridden rats to powerful Kindred elders. The Discipline of Animalism allows the vampire to develop a close, intense connection with his primordial nature. He not only communicates empathically with the lower beasts, but also projects his own force of will upon them, directing the animals to do his bidding. Additionally, as the vampire grows in power, he can use Animalism to control the Beast within mortals and even other supernaturals.
A vampire who lacks this Discipline or the Skill of Animal Ken is repellent to animals. Beasts grow distinctly agitated in the presence of such a Kindred, often to the point of fleeing from or attacking the vampire. In contrast, Kindred with Animalism present a soothing aspect to lower creatures - indeed, animals are often attracted to them.
• Feral Whispers
This power is the basis from which all other Animalism abilities grow. The vampire creates an empathic connection with a beast, thereby allowing him to communicate or issue simple commands. The Kindred locks eyes with the animal, transmitting his desires through sheer force of will. Although it isn't necessary to actually "speak" in chirps, hisses or barks, some vampires find that doing so helps strengthen the connection with the animal. Eye contact must be maintained the entire time; if it's broken, the Kindred must look into the beast's eyes once again to regain contact.
Since Feral Whispers requires eye contact, animals that cannot see are not affected. Further, the simpler the creature, the more difficult it becomes to connect with the animal's Beast. Mammals, predatory birds and larger reptiles are relatively easy to communicate with. Insects, invertebrates and most fish (with the possible exception of largerones like sharks)are just too simple, their Beasts too weak, to connect with.
Feral Whispers provides no guarantees that an animal will want to deal with the vampire, nor does it ensure that the animal will pursue any requests the vampire makes of it. Still, it does at least make the creature better disposed toward the Kindred. The manner in which the vampire presents his desires to the animal often depends on the type of creature. A Kindred can probably cow smaller beasts into heeding commands, but he's better off couching orders for large predators in terms of requests.
If the vampire successfully uses the power, the animal performs the command to the best of its ability and intellect. Only the very brightest creatures understand truly complex directives (orders dealing with conditional situations or requiring abstract logic). Commands that the animal does understand remain deeply implanted, however, and may affect it for some time.
System: No roll is necessary to talk with an animal, but the character must establish eye contact first. Issuing commands requires a Manipulation + Animal Ken roll. The difficulty depends on the creature: Predatory mammals (wolves, cats, insectivorous/vampire bats) are difficulty 6, other mammals and predatory birds (rats, owls) are difficulty 7, other birds and reptiles(pigeons, snakes) are difficulty 8. This difficulty is reduced by one if the character speaks to the animal in its "native tongue," and can be adjusted further by circumstances and roleplaying skill (we highly recommend that all communication between characters and animals be roleplayed).
The number of successes the player achieves dictates how strongly the character's command affects the animal. One success is sufficient to have a cat follow someone and lead the character to the same location, three successes are enough to have a raven spy on a target for weeks, and five successes ensure that a grizzly ferociously guards the entrance to the character's wilderness haven for some months.
The vampire's connection to the Beast grows strong enough that he may call out in the voice of a specific type of animal - howling like a wolf, cawing like a raven, etc. This call mystically summons creatures of the chosen type. Since each type of animal has a different call, Beckoning works for only a single species at a time.
All such animals within earshot are summoned, but maychoose individually whether or not to respond. While the vampire has no control over the beasts who answer, the animals who do are favorably disposed toward him and are at least willing to listen to the Kindred's request.
System: The player rolls Charisma + Survival (difficulty 6) to determine the response to the character's call; consult the table below. Only animals that can hear the cry will respond. If the Storyteller decides no animals of that type are within earshot, the summons goes unanswered.
The call can be as specific as the player desires. A character could call for all bats in the area, for only the male bats nearby, or for only the albino bat with the notched ear he saw the other night.
|1 success||A single animal responds.|
|2 successes||One-quarter of the animals within earshot respond.|
|3 successes||Half of the animals respond.|
|4 successes||Most of the animals respond.|
|5 successes||All of the animals respond.|
••• Quell the Beast
As the supreme predators of the natural world, Kindred are highly attuned to the bestial nature that dwells within every mortal heart. A vampire who develops this power may assert his will over a mortal (animal or human) subject, subduing the Beast within her. This quenches all powerful, assertive emotions - hope, fury, inspiration - within the target. The Kindred must either touch his subject or stare into her eyes to channel his will effectively.
Mortals who lack the fire of their inner Beasts are quite tractable, reacting to even stressful situations with indifference. Even the most courageous or maddened mortal becomes apathetic and listless, while an especially sensitive individual may suffer from a phobic derangement while under the power's influence.
Different clans evoke this power in different ways, although the effect itself is identical. Tzimisce call it Cowing the Beast, since they force the mortal's weaker spirit to cower in fear before the Kindred's own inner Beast. Nosferatu refer to it as Song of Serenity, since they soothe the subject's Beast into a state of utter complacency, thus allowing them to feed freely. Gangrel know the power as Quell the Beast, and force the mortal spirit into a state of fear or apathy as befits the individual vampire's nature.
System: The player rolls Manipulation + Intimidation if forcing out the Beast through fear, Manipulation + Empathy if soothing it into complacency. The roll is made versus difficulty 7 in either case. This is an extended action requiring as many total successes as the target has Willpower. Failure indicates that the player must start over from the beginning, while a botch indicates that the vampire may never again affect that subject's Beast.
When a mortal's Beast is cowed or soothed, she can no longer use or regain Willpower. She ceases all struggles, whether mental or physical. She doesn't even defend herself if assaulted, though the Storyteller may allow a Willpower roll if the mortal's life is threatened. To recover from this power, the mortal rolls Willpower (difficulty 6) once per day until she accumulates enough successes to equal the vampire's Willpower. Kindred themselves cannot be affected by this power.
•••• Subsume the Spirit
By locking his gaze with that of a beast, the vampire may psychically possess the animal. Some older Kindred believe that since animals have no souls, only spirits, the vampire can move his own soul into the animal's body. Most younger vampires think it is a matter of transferring one's consciousness into the animal's mind. In either case, it's agreed that the beast's weaker spirit (or mind) is pushed aside by the Kindred's own consciousness. The vampire's body falls into a motionless state akin to torpor while his mind takes control of the animal's actions, remaining this way until the Kindred's consciousness returns.
Tzimisce seldom use this power, considering it debasing to enter the body of a lesser creature. When they do stoop to using it, they possess only predators. Conversely, Gangrel revel in connecting to the natural world in this fundamental way. They delight in sampling different animals' natures.
System: The player rolls Manipulation + Animal Ken (difficulty 8) as the character looks into the animal's eyes (only beasts with eyes can be possessed). The number of successes obtained determines how thoroughly the character overrides the animal's spirit. Fewer than three successes means the character must use Willpower points to take any action tha directly violates the instincts of the animal in question. With fewer than five successes, the possessing character behaves much like the animal - his soul is clouded with needs and impulses from the animal's spirit and body. Multiple successes allow the character to utilize some mental Disciplines while possessing the animal, as noted on the chart below.
|1 success||Cannot use Disciplines|
|2 successes||Can use Auspex|
|3 successes||Can also use Presence|
|4 successes||Can also use Dementation, Dominate|
|5 successes||Can also use Chimerstry, Necromancy, Thaumaturgy|
This power entwines the character's consciousness closely with the animal's spirit, so much so that the character may continue to think and feel like that animal even after breaking the connection. This effect continues until the character spends a total of seven Willpower points to resist and finally overcome the animal nature. This should be roleplayed, although to a lessening degree as Willpower is spent.
At the end of any particularly exciting incident during possession, the player rolls Wits + Empathy (difficulty 8) for the character to retain his own mind. Failure indicates that the character's mind returns to his own body, but still thinks in purely animalistic terms. A botch sends the character into frenzy upon returning to his own body.
The character may travel as far from his body as he is physically able while possessing the animal. The character retains no conscious connection with his vampire body during this time, though. The vampire may also venture out during the day, albeit in the animal's body. However, the character's own body must be awake to do so, requiring a successful roll to remain awake. If the character leaves the animal's body (by choice, if his body falls asleep, after sustaining significant injury), the vampire's consciousness returns to his physical form instantaneously.
Although the vampire has no conscious link to his body while possessing the animal, he does form a sympathetic bond. Anything the animal feels, the vampire also experiences, from pleasure to pain. In fact, any damage the animal's body sustains is also applied to the character's body, although the Kindred may soak as normal. If the animal dies before the vampire's soul can flee from the body, the character's body falls into torpor. Presumably this is in sympathetic response to the massive trauma of death, although some Kindred believe that the vampire's soul is cast adrift during this time and must find its way back to the body.
••••• Drawing out the Beast
At this level of Animalism, the Kindred has a keen understanding of the Beast Within. Whenever this predator spirit threatens to overwhelm the vampire's soul and send him into frenzy, he may instead release his feral urges upon another creature. The recipient of the vampire's Beast is instantly overcome by frenzy. This is an unnatural frenzy, however, as the victim is channeling the Kindred's own fury. As such, the vampire's own behavior, expressions and even speech patterns are evident in the subject's savage actions.
Gangrel and Tzimisce are especially fond of loosing their Beasts on others. Gangrel do so to stir their ghouls into inspired heights of savagery during combat. Tzimisce care less for who receives their Beast than they do for retaining their own composure.
System: The vampire must be in frenzy or close to it to use this power. The player must announce his preferred target (since it must be someone within sight, Drawing Out the Beast cannot he used if the vampire is alone), then roll Manipulation + Self-Control (difficulty 8). Refer to the table below for the results:
|1 success||The character transfers the Beast, but unleashes it upon a random individual.|
|2 successes||The character is stunned by the effort and may not act next turn, but transfers the Beast successfully.|
|3 successes||The character transfers the Beast successfully.|
If the attempt fails, the intensity of the frenzy actually increases. As the character relaxes in expectation of relieving his savage urges, the Beast takes that opportunity to dig deeper. In this case, the frenzy lasts twice as long as normal and is twice as difficult to shrug off; its severity also increases exponentially. Botching this roll is even more catastrophic; the heightened frenzy grows so extreme that not even expending Willpower curbs its duration or effects. The character is a hapless victim to the terrible fury of his Beast.
If the character leaves the target's presence before the frenzy expends itself, frenzy, the character cannot use or regain Willpower and becomes increasingly lethargic. To recover the Beast, he must find the person who now possesses it (who likely isn't enjoying herself very much) and retrap the Beast. The most effective way to do so is to behave in ways that make the Beast want to return - however, this isn't a guarantee that it will wish to do so. Alternatively, the character can simply kill the host (thus causing the Beast to return to the vampire immediately), but such an act costs at least one point of Humanity.
As the supreme hunters of the night, Cainites have senses that are unmatched by any mortal - many Cainites can smell an uninjured human's blood from yards away. Members of several clans - the Toreador, Cappadocians, Malkavians, Tzimisce, Salubri, and Tremere - have refined those senses to the point that their own senses outstrip Cainites' abilities to the same degree that Cainites' outstrip mortals'. Many vampires with high levels of Auspex cease to perceive events in the same way that mortals do. What a farmer's wife may think of a foul stench, a Cainite's nose breaks down into its component scents, identifying the source of the odor, its distance and its age.
Such vampires stop making value judgments about strong odors, harsh sounds or strange sights, instead taking such vistas in and considering their components individually. Vampires of such refined sensibilities are apt to lose themselves as they take in the physical world; bright lights can sometimes stun them as they consider the darkness, or harsh sounds as they examine a faint cry. Gatherings of Cainites whose members include those skilled with Auspex soon learn that secrecy is extremely difficult to maintain; a whispered conversation is audible across a courtyard to a vampire with high levels of Auspex. In fact, some elders take advantage of this trait and carry on public conversations from opposite sides of cathedrals while barely speaking loudly enough to be heard by mortals sitting next to them. Characters who wish to keep secrets in a group of such Cainites must resort to pasing notes back and forth or finding a private chamber in which to speak.
Auspex is said to be part of God's curse on Caine because it encourages vampires to obsess on minutiae. Rather than witnessing God's plan for creation - or another Cainite's plan for the future - the high-Auspex vampire occupies his time by dwelling on insignificant details. However, rare is the Cainite who cannot take advantage of Auspex in some fashion.
Seeing the Unseen: Auspex enables Kindred to perceive many things beyond mortal ken. Among its many uses, Auspex can detect the presence of a supernatural being who is hidden from normal sight (a vampire using Obfuscate, a mage cloaked with invisibility, a wraith) or pierce illusions created by the Discipline of Chimerstry.
Obfuscate: When a vampire tries to use her heightened perceptions to notice a Kindred hidden with Obfuscate, she detects the subject's presence if her Auspex rating is higher than his Obfuscate. Conversely, if the target's Obfuscate outranks her Auspex, he remains undiscovered. If the two scores are equal, both characters make a resisted roll of Perception + Subterfuge (Auspex user) against Manipulation + Subterfuge (Obfuscate user). The difficulty for both rolls is 7, and the character with the most successes wins.
Chimerstry: Likewise, vampires with Auspex may seek to penetrate illusions created with Chimerstry. The Auspex-wielder must actively seek to pierce the illusion (i.e., the player must tell the Storyteller that his character is trying to detect an illusion). Auspex-wielder and Chimerstry-wielder then compare relative scores, per Obfuscate, above. The process is otherwise identical to piercing Obfuscate.
Other Powers: Since the powers of beings like mages and wraiths function differently from vampiric Disciplines, a simple comparison of relative
ratings isn't applicable. To keep things simple, both characters make a resisted roll. The vampire rolls Perception + Subterfuge, while the subject rolls Manipulation + Subterfuge. Again, the difficulty is 7, and the character with the most successes wins.
• Heightened Senses
This power sharpens all of the vampire's senses, effectively doubling the clarity and range of sight, hearing and smell. While her senses of taste and touch extend no farther than normal, they likewise become far more acute; the vampire could taste the hint of liquor in a victim's blood, or feel the give of the board concealing a hollow space in the floor. The Kindred may magnify her senses at will, sustaining this heightened focus for as long as she desires. At the Storyteller's option, this may make hunting easier.
Occasionally, this talent provides extrasensory or even precognitive insights. These brief, unfocused glimpses may be odd premonitions, flashes of empathy or eerie feelings of foreboding. The vampire has no control over these perceptions, but with practice can learn to interpret them with a fair degree of accuracy.
Expanded senses come at a price, however. Bright lights, loud noises and strong smells present a hazard while the vampire uses this power. In addition to the possibility for distraction mentioned above, an especially sudden stimulus - like the glare of a spotlight or a clap of thunder - can blind or deafen the Kindred for an hour or more.
System: This power doesn't normally require the use of dice, instead being defined through the Storyteller's descriptions and the player's imagination. In certain circumstances, use of this power requires a die roll: for a normal Perception roll (the Storyteller may reduce the difficulty by the character's Auspex rating), to notice a subject using Obfuscate, or to perceive a threat. For example, in the last instance, sensing that a pistol is pointed at the back of the character's head may require a 5, while the sudden realization that a rival for primogen is planning her assassination may require a 9.
This power does not let characters see in pitch darkness, as does Eyes of the Beast (Level 1 Protean), but it does reduce difficulty penalties to act in pitch darkness from +2 to +1, and the character may make ranged attacks in pitch darkness if she can hear, smell or otherwise detect her foe.
•• Soulsight/Aura Perception
Using this power, the vampire can perceive the psychic "auras" that radiate from mortals and supernatural beings alike. These halos comprise a shifting series of colors that take practice to discern with clarity. Even the simplest individual has many shifting hues within his aura; strong emotions predominate, while momentary impressions or deep secrets flash through in streaks and swirls.
The colors change in sympathy with the subject's emotional state, blending into new tones in a constantly dancing pattern. The stronger the emotions involved, the more intense the hues become. A skilled vampire can learn much from her subject by reading the nuances of color and brilliance in the aura's flow.
Aside from perceiving emotional states, vampires use Aura Perception to detect supernatural beings. The colors in Kindred auras, while intense, are quite pale; mage auras often flare and crackle with suppressed power; werebeasts have strikingly bright, almost frantic, halos; ghosts have weak auras that flicker fitfully like a dying flame; and faerie creatures' radiance is shot through with rainbow hues.
System: The player rolls Perception+Empathy (difficulty 8); each success indicates how much of the subject's aura the character sees and understands. A botch indicates a false or erroneous interpretation. The Storyteller may wish to make this roll, thus keeping the player in the dark as to just how good (or bad) the character's interpretation is.
|1 success||Can distinguish only the shade (pale or bright)|
|2 successes||Can distinguish the main color.|
|3 successes | Can recognize the color patterns.|
|4 successes||Can detect subtle shifts.|
|5 successes||Can identify mixtures of color and pattern.|
The aura-colors-chart offers examples of some common colors and the emotions they reflect.
The character may view a particular subject's aura only once with any degree of clarity. Any subsequent attempts that result in failure should be considered botches. It is very easy for the character to imagine seeing what she wants to see when judging someone's intentions. After a full month, the character may try again at no penalty.
It is possible, though difficult, to sense the aura of a being who is otherwise invisible to normal sight.
••• The Spirit's Touch
When someone handles an object for any length of time, he leaves a psychic impression on the item. A vampire with this level of Auspex can "read" these sensations, learning who handled the object, when he last held it and what was done with it recently.
These visions are seldom clear and detailed, registering more like a kind of "psychic snapshot." Still, the Kindred can learn much even from such a glimpse. Although most visions concern the last person to handle the item, a long-time owner leaves a stronger impression than someone who held the object briefly.
Gleaning information from the spiritual residue requires the vampire to hold the object and enter a shallow trance. She is only marginally aware of her surroundings while using The Spirit's Touch, but a loud noise or jarring physical sensation breaks the trance instantly.
System: The player rolls Perception+Empathy.The difficulty is determined by the age of the impressions and the mental and spiritual strength of the person or event that left them. Sensing information from a pistol used for murder hours ago may require a 5, while learning who owned a set of keys found days ago might be a 9.
The greater the individual's emotional connection to the object, the stronger the impression he leaves on it - and the more information the Kindred can glean from it. Also, events involving strong emotions (a gift-giving, a torture, a long family history) likewise leave stronger impressions than does short or casual contact. Assume that each success offers one piece of information. While one success tells the character only that "a man held this pocket watch last," three reveal that he was petty, middle-aged and afraid. Four successes discover his name, and five or more reveal his connection to the watch as well as some of the things he did with it in his possession.
•••• Steal Secrets/Telepathy
The vampire projects a portion other consciousness into a nearby mortal's mind, creating a mental link through which she can communicate wordlessly or even read the target's deepest thoughts. The Kindred "hears" in her own mind the thoughts plucked from a subject as if they were spoken to her.
This is one of the most potent vampiric abilities, since, given time, a Kindred can learn virtually anything from a subject without him ever knowing. The Tremere and Tzimisce in particular find this power especially useful in gleaning secrets from others, or for directing their mortal followers with silent precision.
System: The player rolls Intelligence+Subterfuge(difficulty of the subject's Willpower). Projecting thoughts into the target's mind requires one success. The subject recognizes that the thoughts come from somewhere other than his own consciousness, although he cannot discern their actual origin.
To read minds, one success must be rolled for each item of information plucked or each layer of thought pierced. Deep secrets or buried memories are harder to obtain than surface emotions or unspoken comments, requiring five or more successes to access.
Telepathy does not commonly work upon the undead mind. A character may expend a Willpower point to make the effort, making the roll normally afterward. Likewise, it is equally difficult to read the thoughts of other supernatural creatures.
Storytellers are encouraged to describe thoughts as flowing streams of impressions and images, rather than as a sequence of prose. Instead of making flat statements like "He's planning on killing his former lover's new boyfriend," say "You see a fleeting series of visions: A couple kissing passionately in a doorway, then the man walking alone at night; you suddenly see your hands, knuckles white, wrapped around a steering wheel, with a figure crossing the street ahead; your heart, mortal now and hammering with panic as you hear the engine rev wildly; and above all, a blazing anger coupled with emotional agony and a panicked fear of loss."
Such descriptions not only add to the story, they also force the player to decide for herself what her character reads. After all, understanding minds - especially highly emotional or deranged minds - is a difficult and often puzzling task.
••••• Anima Walk/Psychic Projection
The Kindred with this awesome ability projects her senses out of her physical shell, stepping from her body as an entity of pure thought. The vampire's astral form is immune to physical damage or fatigue, and can "fly" with blinding speed anywhere across the earth - or even underground - so long as she remains below the moon's orbit.
The Kindred's material form lies in a torpid state while her astral self is active, and the vampire isn't aware of anything that befalls her body until she returns to it. An ephemeral silver cord connects the Kindred's psyche to her body. If this cord is severed, her consciousness becomes stranded in the astral plane, the realm of ghosts, spirits and shades. Attempting to return to the vampire's physical shell is a long and terrifying ordeal, especially since there is no guarantee that she will accomplish the journey successfully. This significant danger keeps many Kindred from leaving their bodies for long, but those who dare can learn much.
System: Journeying in astral form requires the player to expend a point of Willpower and make a Perception + Occult roll. Difficulty varies depending on the distance and complexity of the intended trip; 7 is average, with 10 reflecting a trip far from familiar territory (a first journey from North America to the Far East; trying to shortcut through the earth). The greater the number of successes rolled, the more focused the character's astral presence is and the easier it is for her to reach her desired destination.
Failure means the character is unable to separate her consciousness from her body, while a botch can have nasty consequences - flinging her astral form to a random destination on Earth or in the spirit realm, or heading for the desired destination so forcefully that the silver cord snaps.
Changing course or continuing to another destination requires another point of Willpower and a new roll. Failure indicates that the vampire has lost her way and must retrace the path of her silver cord. A botch at this stage means the cord snaps, stranding the character's psychic form in the mysterious astral plane.
An astral form may travel at great speeds (the Storyteller can use 1000 miles per hour as a general guide) and carries no clothing or material objects of any kind. Some artifacts are said to exist in the spirit world, and the character can try to use one of these tools if she finds one. The character cannot bring such relics to the physical world when she returns to her body, however.
Interaction with the physical world is impossible while using Psychic Projection. At best, the character may spend a Willpower point to manifest as a ghostlike shape. This apparition lasts one turn before fading away; while she can't affect anything physically during this time, the character can speak.
Despite lacking physical substance, an astral character can use Auspex normally. At the Storyteller's discretion, such a character may employ any Animalism, Dementation, Dominate, Necromancy, Obtenebration, Presence and/or Thaumaturgy powers she has, though this typically requires a minimum of three successes on the initial Psychic Projection roll.
If two astral shapes encounter one another, they interact as if they were solid. They may talk, touch and even fight as if both were in the material world. Since they have no physical bodies, astral characters seeking to interact "physically" substitute Mental and Social Traits for Physical ones (Wits replaces Dexterity, Manipulation supplants Strength, and Intelligence replaces Stamina). Due to the lack of a material form, the only real way to damage another psychic entity is to cut its silver cord. When fighting this way, consider Willpower points to be health levels; when a combatant loses all of her Willpower, the cord is severed.
Although an astrally projected character remains in the reflection of the mortal world, she may venture further into the spirit realms, especially if she becomes lost. Other beings, such as ghosts, werewolves and even rare magi, travel the astral plane as well, and can interact with a vampire's psychic presence normally. Storytellers are encouraged to make trips into the spirit world as bizarre, mysterious and dreamlike as possible. The world beyond is a vivid and fantastic place, where the true nature of things is stronger and often strikingly different from their earthly appearances.
There are House Rules on Celerity. Please check the House Rules thread on the forums for details.
Celerity is one of three core physical Disciplines that are common to most Cainites. Even those clans whose members don't actively favor Celerity (that is, who are not the Brujah, Toreador, and Assamites) find the power just too useful to do without. Celerity enables a Vampire to accelerate his reaction time up to speeds that the mortal eye can barely follow, letting him move more quickly or fell half a dozen foes in a few heartbeats. Some Toreador use Celerity to enhance their ability to perform physical arts such as dance; Assamites, Brujah, and most other clans use it to swiftly end fights, either by fleeing or by brutally dropping foes before they can react.
System: Vampires with Celerity can use the Discipline to take multiple actions in a turn without the normal penalties to their dice pools. These actions can include movement, enabling the Celerity-user to sprint at unheard-of speeds.
Each point of Celerity allows up to one extra action, and the vampire may se his entire dice pool for each additional action he takes. The character must spend one blood point per extra action taken per turn, and she may spend blood points beyond her normal generation maximum. For instance, an 11th Generation Brujah with Celerity 3 may spend three blood points per turn to gain three extra full-dice actions. The blood points must be spent at the beginning of the turn, and they cannot be mixed with any other blood expenditure.
Additionally, the actions provided by Celerity cannot be further divided into multiple action - the character may use her base action for multiple action as much as she likes, but each action granted by Celerity is "indivisible." Also, Celerity-granted actions must involve physical action. The Discipline does not allow vampires to translate a text or perform a Thaumaturgy ritual more rapidly.
Extra actions granted by Celerity do not take place until after each character has taken one ordinary action, so that everyone gets to act once before anyone acts twice. Everyone who is able to act twice does so before anyone takes a third action, and so on. The only exception to this rule is using Celerity to provide for emergency defense: A character may use a Celerity action to dodge or block even if he's already taken an action, for instance.
These extra actions may be taken to provide extra movement, allowing a character to move across a battlefield, room, or sunlit field very quickly. Each action can provide a full turn's movement.
The Ravnos are heirs to a legacy of illusion, and none can say exactly why. The elders of their clan, when properly approached, speak cryptically of ghuls and rakshasas, and the shapeshifting antics of their Antediluvian founder are the subject of many a dark campfire tale among the clan. But whatever the source, the nomadic Ravnos have a potent weapon in the form of their Discipline of Chimerstry.
Chimerstry is an art of conjuration; the vampire may draw upon her inner reserves to bring phantoms to life. These false images can confound mortal senses and sensory equipment alike. If the Cainite's power is strong enough, illusions created by Chimerstry may even baffle the heightened senses of the vampire. The Ravnos are fond of using this power to seduce, swindle or enslave mortals, effectively purchasing their victims' souls in exchange for a sack of bouillon that isn't there. Illusions created by Chimerstry may be detected by Auspex. They may also be seen for what they are by a victim who "proves" the illusion's falsehood (e.g., a person who walks up to an illusory wall, expresses his disbelief in it, and puts his hand through it effectively banishes the illusion).
Bear the following in mind: Chimerstry is not Obfuscate.
Chimerstry can't make anything "invisible." Unlike Obfuscate, Chimerstry does affect cameras, motion detectors and other technological sensing devices (but it won't trigger tripwires or pressure plates). Chimerstry derives from the Ravnos' ability to visualize an image and bring it to life and doesn't rely so much on the human mind's tendency to fill in the blanks, at least not to the extent that Obfuscate does.
This is a tough one — just because a character knows that a Ravnos can create illusions is not sufficient reason to disbelieve everything a Ravnos does. If the Ravnos draws a kris from her purse, it very well could be a real kris. Belief is not like a water faucet. Characters can't simply turn it on or off at will. On the other hand, a completely implausible illusion won't convince anyone. Either way, the fact that someone has a good reason to disbelieve a Ravnos' Chimerstry-created images does not mean those images will vanish. The false nature of such images is obvious to any who can penetrate the illusion, but the illusion will remain until it would otherwise disappear.
Chimerstry can cover as much area as the Storyteller deems reasonable. If a Ravnos wants to conjure an image of an ancient, tentacled deity rising from the ocean, he can. The illusion probably won't convince anyone, but there's no reason the image will fail to appear.
Horrid Reality vs. high Auspex
and Chimerstry work against each other in the same manner as Auspex vs. Obfuscate(see Vampire: The Masquerade, p. 152). If a Ravnos inflicts Horrid Reality against another Kindred who has Auspex at level five, the interaction occurs as described in the core rules. If the victim has more Auspex than the Ravnos has Chimerstry, the power fails automatically. Harsh luck.
Chimerstry is vampiric
Some people have strict definitions of what fits into traditional vampire tales. Their views may be as narrow as what Stoker's Dracula could do, or perhaps as broad as whatever appeared in European legends. Either way, strict definitions imply that a body of legend is obliged to stop growing at some point and never add anything new. This is not necessary or required. Anyone who's seen Lost Boys probably recalls the sequence with the rice disguised momentarily as maggots. This is a good example of Chimerstry in a vampire story — a very recent story, certainly, but how does a story's age invalidate it? Indeed, Chimerstry is a fine way to evoke psychological horror.
It's not that Chimerstry is somehow "not vampiric," but rather that it's rarely used in a manner that supports the themes running through Vampire. How can a Storyteller maintain a game of "personal horror" when the Ravnos conjures up stock-fantasy tropes or near-comical absurdities? In the hands of a clever Kindred, Chimerstry is a potent tool — it can be used to cover or prevent Masquerade breaches, to add subtle touches to a scene, to drive mortals (or other Kindred) to their mental limits and the like. It works best when its use isn't obvious. Use Chimerstry to reinforce the mood rather than break it.
• Ignis Fatuus
The vampire may conjure a minor, static mirage that confounds one sense. For instance, he may evoke a sulfurous stench, the image of a curtain, or the feel of raw silk. Note that although tactile illusions can be felt, they have no real substance; an invisible but tactile wall cannot confine anyone, and invisible razor-wire causes no real damage.
System: The player must spend a point of Willpower to create this illusion. It lasts until the Ravnos leaves its vicinity (such as stepping out of the room) or until another person sees through it somehow. The Cainite may also end the illusion at any time; this requires no effort, only the merest whim.
The Cainite can now create illusions that appeal to all the senses, although they remain static. For example, the vampire could throw a mirage over a dank basement, making it appear to be a sumptuous boudoir, although she could not create flickering candles or a flowing fountain. Again, the dweomer has no solid presence, although it's easy enough to make a filthy mattress on two sawhorses feel like a four-poster bed.
System: The player spends a Willpower point and a blood point to create the dweomer. These static images remain until dispelled, in much the same way that an Ignis Fatuus illusion does.
Not really a power unto itself, Apparition allows a vampire to give motion to an illusion created with Ignis Fatuus or Fata Morgana. Thus, the Ravnos could create the illusion of a living being, running water, fluttering drapes or a roaring fire.
System: The creator spends one blood point to make the illusion move in one specific way. She may change the image's movement only if she has done nothing but concentrate on the mirage since creating it.
This power, also used in conjunction with Ignis Fatuus or Fata Morgana, allows a mirage to persist even when the vampire cannot see it. In this way, Ravnos often cloak their temporary havens in false trappings of luxury, or ward off trespassers with illusory guard dogs.
System: The vampire need only spend a blood point, and the illusion becomes permanent until dissolved.
••••• Horrid Reality
Rather than create simple illusions, the vampire can now project hallucinations directly into a victim's mind. The target of these illusions believes completely that the images are real; a hallucinatory fire can burn him, an imaginary noose can strangle him, and an illusory wall can block him. This power affects only one person at a time; although other people can try to convince the victim that his terrors are not real, he won't believe them.
System: A Horrid Realty costs two Willpower points to set in motion and lasts for an entire scene (although its effects may last longer; see below). If the vampire is trying to injure his victim, his player must roll Manipulation + Subterfuge (difficulty of the victim's Perception + Self-Control). Each success inflicts one health level of damage on the victim; if the player wishes to inflict less damage, he may announce a maximum amount of damage before rolling the dice. This power cannot actually kill its victims (although a target with a heart condition may well die from fright); a victim "killed" by an illusory attack loses consciousness or enters torpor. All injuries disappear once the victim is truly convinced that she wasn't actually harmed by the Horrid Reality. Of course, such a cure may take a long time, or even psychological therapy. The nightmarish power of Chimerstry is nothing to take lightly.
Dementation is available to Malkavians only.
The special legacy of the Malkavian clan, Dementation allows the vampire to channel madness, focus it, and pour it into the minds of those around him. Though in former nights this power was practiced primarily by the Malkavians of the Sabbat, in recent years it has spread throughout the clan. Some Kindred speculate that this "infection" might be yet another move in the Jyhad; a few vampires, of particularly paranoid bent, even whisper that the Malkavians are to be harbingers of the Final Nights. The practitioner of Dementation need not actually be mad himself - at least initially - although madness seems to grant a certain insight into the key tenets of this Discipline. Few vampires ask the Malkavians to teach them this Discipline, although the Lunatics are almost always eager to "enlighten" others. In fact, some say that one cannot learn the secrets of Dementation without eventually going mad. Eerily enough, Dementation doesn't seem to inflict insanity on its victims per se. Rather, it seems to catalyze madness, breaking down doors into the hidden reaches of the mind and releasing whatever it finds there. The Malkavians claim that this is because insanity is the next step in the evolution of the mind - a necessary progression if one is to behold the truths of the universe. As such, they say, it is inherent to all minds, and evident only in the more highly evolved specimens of human or vampiric thought. Other Kindred pray the Malkavians are wrong, but find it difficult to dismiss such thoughts out ofhand, particularly because Dementation works as well on vampires as it does on mortals…
• Incubus Passion
The vampire may stir his victim's emotions, either heightening them to a fevered pitch or blunting them until the target is completely desensitized. The Cainite may not choose which emotion is affected; she may only amplify or dull emotions already present in the target. In this way, a vampire can turn mild irritation into frothing rage or dull true love into casual interest.
System: The player rolls Charisma + Empathy (difficulty of the victim's Humanity score). The number of successes determines the duration of the altered state of feeling. Effects of this power might include one- or two-point additions or subtractions to difficulties of frenzy rolls, Virtue rolls, rolls to resist Presence powers, etc.
|1 success||One turn|
|2 successes||One hour|
|3 successes||One night|
|4 successes||One week|
|5 successes||One month|
|6+ successes||Three months|
•• Haunt the Soul
The vampire may stir the sensory centers of his victim's brain, flooding the victim's senses with visions, sounds, scents or feelings that aren't really there. The images, regardless of the sense to which they appeal, are only fleeting "glimpses," barely perceptible to the victim. The vampire using Dementation cannot control what the victim perceives, but may choose which sense is affected. The "haunting" effects occur mainly when the victim is alone, and mostly at night. They may take the form of the subject's repressed fears, guilty memories, or anything else that the Storyteller finds dramatically appropriate. The effects are never pleasant or unobtrusive, however. The Storyteller should let her imagination run wild when describing these sensory impressions; the victim may well feel as if she is going mad, or as if the world is.
System: The player spends a blood point and rolls Manipulation + Subterfuge (difficulty of his victim's Perception + Self- Control). The number of successes determines the length of the sensory "visitations." The precise effects are up to the Storyteller, though particularly eerie or harrowing apparitions can certainly reduce dice pools for a turn or two after the manifestation.
|1 success||One night|
|2 successes||Two nights|
|3 successes||One week|
|4 successes||One month|
|5 successes||Three months|
|6+ successes||One year|
••• Eyes of Chaos
This peculiar power allows the vampire to take advantage of the fractured wisdom hidden in insanity. She may scrutinize the "patterns" of a person's soul, the convolutions of a vampire's inner nature, or even random events in nature itself. The Kindred with this power can discern the most well-hidden psychoses, or gain insight into a person's true self. Malkavians with this power often have (or claim to have) knowledge of the moves and countermoves of the great Jyhad.
System: This power allows a vampire to determine a person's true Nature, among other things. The vampire concentrates for a turn, then her player rolls Perception + Occult. The difficulty depends on the intricacy of the pattern. Discerning the Nature of a stranger would be difficulty 9; a casual acquaintance would be an 8, an old friend a 6. The Malkavian could also read the message locked in a coded missive (difficulty 7), or even see the doings of an invisible hand in such events as the pattern of falling leaves (difficulty 6). Almost anything might contain some hidden insight, no matter how trivial or meaningless. The patterns are present in most things, but are often so intricate they can keep a vampire spellbound for hours while she tries to understand their "message."
•••• Silence the Sane Mind
By merely addressing his victims aloud, the Malkavian can drive targets into fits of blind rage or fear, forcing them to abandon reason and higher thought. Victims are plagued by hallucinations of their subconscious demons, and try to flee or destroy their hidden shames. Tragedy almost always follows in the wake of this power's use, although offending Malkavians often claim that they were merely encouraging people to act "according to their natures." Unfortunately for the vampire concerned, he runs a very real risk of falling prey to his own voice's power.
System: The player spends a blood point and makes a Manipulation + Empathy roll (difficulty 7). One target is affected per success, although all potential victims must be listening to the vampire's voice. Affected victims fly immediately into frenzy or a blind fear like Rotschreck. Kindred or other creatures capable of frenzy, such as Lupines, may make a frenzy check or Rotschreck test (Storyteller's choice as to how they are affected) at +2 difficulty to resist the power. Mortals are automatically affected and don't remember their actions while berserk. The frenzy or fear lasts for a scene, although Vampires and Lupines may test as usual to snap out of it. The vampire using Voice of Madness must also test for frenzy or Rotschreck upon invoking this power, although his difficulty to resist is one lower than normal.
••••• Howling Lunacy
The vampire pulls the madness from the deepest recesses of her target's mind, focusing it into an overwhelming wave of insanity. This power has driven countless victims, vampire and mortal alike, to unfortunate ends.
System: The Malkavian must gain her target's undivided attention for at least one full turn to enact this power. The player spends a blood point and rolls Manipulation + Intimidation (difficulty of her victim's Willpower). If successful, the victim is afflicted with five derangements of the Storyteller's choice. The number of successes determines the duration.
|1 success||One turn|
|2 successes||One night|
|3 successes||One week|
|4 successes||One month|
|5+ successes||One year|
This Discipline involves influencing the very thoughts and actions of others through the vampire's own force of will. Use of Dominate requires that the Kindred capture his victim's eye; as such, it may be used against only one subject at a time. The extent of this control depends on the particular power being applied.
While truly potent, Dominate powers can be exacting to perform. Commands must be issued verbally; after all, direct mindto- mind contact is the purview of Auspex. Still, some simple orders may be made with signs - for example, a pointed finger and forceful expression to indicate "Go!" If the subject doesn't understand the vampire (she doesn't speak the same language, the order doesn't make sense, she cannot hear his words), she won't comply with the directive, no matter how mighty the Kindred's supernatural will.
Not surprisingly, Kindred who use Dominate were often willful, controlling individuals in mortal life. Indeed, it's quite possible that this is what drew the vampires' sires to them in the first place. After all, the Giovanni, Lasombra, Tremere and Ventrue clans who specialize in this Discipline consider strong will a definite benefit. Due to this tendency toward control, characters with high Dominate scores may be unable to spend experience points to increase Abilities such as Empathy.
The vampire locks eyes with the subject and speaks a one-word command which must be obeyed instantly. The order must be clear and straightforward - run, cough, fall, yawn, jump, laugh, sneeze, stop, belch, follow. If the command is at all confusing or ambiguous, the subject may respond slowly or perform the task poorly. The subject cannot be ordered to do something directly harmful to herself, so a command like "die" is ineffective.
The command may be included in a sentence, thereby concealing the power's use from others. This effort at subtlety still requires the Kindred to make eye contact at the proper moment and stress the key word slightly. An alert bystander - or even the victim - may notice the emphasis; still, unless she's conversant with supernatural powers, the individual is likely to attribute the utterance and the subsequent action as bizarre coincidence.
System: The player rolls Manipulation + Intimidation (difficulty of the target's permanent Willpower). More successes force the subject to act with greater vigor or for a longer duration (continue running for a number of turns, go off on a laughing jag, sneeze uncontrollably).
With this power, a vampire can verbally implant a false thought or hypnotic suggestion in the subject's subconscious mind. Both Kindred and target must be free from distraction, since Mesmerize requires intense concentration and precise wording to he effective. The vampire may activate the imposed thought immediately or establish a stimulus that will trigger it later. The victim must be able to understand the vampire, although the two need to maintain eye contact only as long as it takes to implant the idea.
Mesmerize allows for anything from simple, precise directives (handing over an item) to complex, highly involved ones (taking notes of someone's habits and relaying that information at an appointed time). A subject can have only one suggestion implanted at any time.
System: The player rolls Manipulation + Leadership (difficulty equal to the target's permanent Willpower). The number of successes determines how well the suggestion takes hold in the victim's subconscious. If the vampire scores one or two successes, the subject cannot be forced to do anything that seems strange to her (she might walk outside, but is unlikely to act like a chicken). At three or four successes, the command is effective unless following it endangers the subject. At five successes or greater, the vampire can implant nearly any sort of command.
No matter how strong the Kindred's will, his command cannot force the subject to harm herself directly or defy her innate Nature. So, while a vampire who scored five successes could make a 98-pound weakling attack a 300-pound bouncer, he could not make the mortal shoot herself in the head.
If a vampire tries to Mesmerize a subject before the target fulfills a previously implanted directive, compare the successes rolled to those gained during the implanting of the first suggestion. Whichever roll had the greater number of successes is the command that now lodges in the target'ssubconscious; the other suggestion is wiped clean. If the successes rolled are equal, the newer command supplants the old one.
••• The Forgetful Mind
After capturing the subject's gaze, the vampire delves into the subject's memories, stealing or re-creating them at his whim. The Forgetful Mind does not allow for telepathic contact; the Kindred operates much like a hypnotist, asking directed questions and drawing out answers from the subject. The degree of memory alteration depends on what the vampire desires. He may alter the subject's mind only slightly - quite effective for eliminating memories of the victim meeting or even being fed upon by the vampire - or utterly undo the victim's memories of her past.
The degree of detail used has a direct bearing on how strongly the new memories take hold, since the victim's subconscious mind resists the alteration the vampire imposes. A simplistic or incomplete false memory ("You went to the movies last night.") crumbles much more quickly than does one with more attention to detail ("You went to the nine o'clock showing of the new Leonardo DiCaprio movie. You thought about getting some popcorn, but the line was too long so you went right into the theater. The couple next to you kept whispering through the film until someone else shushed them. You liked the movie well enough, but the plot seemed weak. You were tired after it ended, so you went home, watched a little late-night television, and went to bed.").
Even in its simplest applications, The Forgetful Mind requires tremendous skill and finesse. It's a relatively simple matter to rifle through a victim's psyche and rip out the memories of the previous night, without even knowing what the subject did that evening. Doing so leaves a gap in the victim's mind, though, a hole that can give rise to further problems down the road. The Kindred may describe new memories, but these recollections seldom have the same degree of realism that the subject's true thoughts held.
As such, this power isn't always completely effective. The victim may remember being bitten, but believe it to be an animal attack. Greater memories may return in pieces as dreams, or through sensory triggers like a familiar odor or spoken phrase. Even so, months or years may pass before the subject regains enough other lost memories to make sense of the fragments.
A vampire can also sense when a subject's memories were altered through use of this power, and even restore them like a hypnotist draws forth psychologically suppressed thoughts. However, the Kindred cannot use The Forgetful Mind to restore his own memories if they were stolen in such a way.
System: The player states what sorts of alteration he wants to perform, then rolls Wits + Subterfuge (difficulty of the target's Willpower score). Any success pacifies the victim for the amount of time it takes the vampire to perform the verbal alteration, provided the vampire does not act aggressively toward the victim. The table below indicates the degree of modification possible to the subject's memory, depending on the number of successes gained. If the successes rolled don't allow for the extent of change the character desired, the Storyteller reduces the resulting impact on the victim's mind.
|1 success||May remove a single memory; lasts one day.|
|2 successes||May remove, but not alter, memory permanently.|
|3 successes||May make slight changes to memory.|
|4 successes | May alter or remove entire scene from subject's memory.|
|5 successes||May reconstruct entire periods of subject's life.|
To restore removed memories or sense false ones in a subject, the character's Dominate rating must be equal to or higher than that of the vampire who made the alteration. If so, the player must make a Wits + Empathy roll (difficulty equal to the original vampire's permanent Willpower) and score more successes than his predecessor did.
Through sustained manipulation, the vampire can make a subject more pliant to the Kindred's will. Over time, the victim becomes increasingly susceptible to the vampire's influence while simultaneously growing more resistant to the corrupting efforts of other immortals. Gaining complete control over a subject's mind is no small task, taking weeks or even months to accomplish.
Kindred often fill their retainers' heads with subtle whispers and veiled urges, thereby ensuring these mortals' loyalty. Yet vampires must pay a high price for the minds they ensnare. Servants Dominated in this way lose much of their passion and individuality. They follow the vampire's orders quite literally, seldom taking initiative or showing any imagination. In the end, such retainers become like automatons or the walking dead.
System: The player rolls Charisma + Leadership (difficulty of the target's permanent Willpower). Conditioning is an extended action; the Storyteller secretly determines the number of successes required. It typically requires between five and 10 times the subject's Self-Control score. Targets with more empathic Natures may require a lower number of successes, while those with willful Natures require a higher total. Only through roleplaying may a character discern whether his subject is conditioned successfully.
A target may become more tractable even before becoming fully conditioned. Once the vampire accumulates half the required number of successes, the Storyteller may apply a lower difficulty to the vampire's subsequent uses of Dominate. After being conditioned, the target falls so far under the vampire's influence that the Kindred need not make eye contact or even be present to retain absolute control. The subject does exactly as she is told, so long as her master can communicate with her verbally. No command roll is necessary unless the subject is totally isolated from the vampire (in a different room, over the phone). Even if a command roll fails, the target will still likely carry out part of the orders given.
After the subject is fully conditioned, other Kindred find her more difficult to Dominate. Such conditioning raises others' difficulties by two (to a maximum of 10).
It is possible, though difficult, to shake conditioning. The subject must be separated entirely from the vampire to whom she was in thrall. This period of separation varies depending on the individual, but the Storyteller may set it at six months, less a number of weeks equal to the subject's Willpower score (so a person with 5 Willpower must stay away from the vampire for just under five months). The subject regains her personality slowly during this time, although she may still lapse into brief spells of listlessness. If the vampire encounters the target before that time passes, a single successful Charisma + Leadership roll (difficulty of the target's Willpower score) on the part of the vampire completely reasserts the dominance.
If the subject makes it through the time period without intervention by her master, the target regains her former individuality. Even so, the vampire may reestablish conditioning more easily than the first time, since the subject is forever after predisposed to falling under the Kindred's mental control. New attempts require half the total number of successes that the last bout of conditioning did.
At this level of Dominate, the force of the Kindred's psyche is such that it can utterly supplant the mind of a mortal subject. Speaking isn't required, although the vampire must capture the victim's gaze. During the psychic struggle, the contestants' eyes are locked on one another.
Once the Kindred crushes the subject's mind, the vampire moves his own consciousness into the victim's body and controls it as easily as he uses his own. The mortal falls into a mental fugue while under possession. She is aware of events only in a distorted, dreamlike fashion. In turn, the vampire's mind focuses entirely on controlling his mortal subject. His immortal body lies in a torpid state, defenseless against any actions made toward it.
Vampires cannot possess one another in this fashion, as even the weakest Kindred's mind is strong enough to resist such straightforward mental dominance. Only through a blood bond can one vampire control another to this degree.
System: The vampire must completely strip away the target's Willpower prior to possessing her. The player spends a Willpower point, then rolls Charisma + Intimidation, while the subject rolls Willpower in a resisted action (difficulty 7 for both). For each success the vampire obtains over the victim's total, the target loses a point of temporary Willpower. Each success the subject gains over the vampire's total equals another die she adds to her roll on the next turn. It's often only a matter of time before the victim falls under the vampire's power. Only if the attacker botches can the subject escape her fate, since this makes the target permanently immune to any further Dominate attempts by that vampire.
Once the target loses all her temporary Willpower, her mind is open to the vampire. The vampire rolls Manipulation + Intimidation (difficulty 7) to determine how fully he assumes control of the mortal shell. Similar to the Animalism power Subsume the Spirit, multiple successes allow the character to utilize some mental Disciplines, noted on the chart below.
|1 success||Cannot use Disciplines|
|2 successes||Can use Auspex|
|3 successes||Can also use Dominate, Presence|
|4 successes||Can also use Chimerstry, Dementation|
|5 successes||Can also use Necromancy, Thaumaturgy|
The character may travel as far from his body as he is physically able while possessing the mortal. The vampire may also venture out during the day, albeit in the mortal form. However, the vampire's own body must be awake to do so, requiring a successful roll to remain awake. If the vampire leaves the mortal shell (by choice, if his body falls asleep, through supernatural expulsion, after sustaining significant injury), his consciousness returns to his physical form in an instant.
Once freed from possession, the mortal regains mental control of herself. This can happen in an instant, or the victim may lie comatose for. days while her psyche copes with the violation.
The vampire experiences everything the mortal body feels during possession, from pleasure to pain. In fact, any damage the victim's body sustains is also applied to the character's body (although the Kindred may soak as normal). If the mortal dies before the vampire's soul can flee from the body, the character's body falls into torpor. Presumably this is in sympathetic response to the massive trauma of death, although some Kindred believe that the vampire's soul is cast adrift during this time and must find its way back to the body.
The Kindred can remain in the mortal's body even if his own torpid form is destroyed, though such a pathetic creature is not likely to exist for long. At each sunrise, the vampire must roll Courage (difficulty 8) or be expelled from the body. If forced from the mortal body, the vampire tumbles into the astral plane, his soul permanently lost in the spirit world. Nor may a vampire trapped in a mortal body be "re-Embraced"; if the Embrace occurs to such a creature, he simply meets Final Death.
There are House Rules for Fortitude. Please check the House Rules forum.
All vampires possess a preternatural constitution that makes most normal damage inconsequential. Fortitude bestows a resilience and vigor far beyond even normal vampiric toughness. Kindred with this power ignore the mightiest punches and barely feel hails of bullets. This Discipline also helps protect against sources of damage even vampires fear, such as sunlight, fire and terminal falls. Gangrel, Ravnos and Ventrue possess this potent ability. Gangrel enjoy the benefit of Fortitude as a matter of course, but Ravnos and especially Ventrue delight in the power's psychological effects. It's not unusual for a Ventrue to take a "fatal" blow, giving his opponent just enough time to register the vampire's smile before the Ventrue finishes off the shocked victim.
System: A character's rating in Fortitude is automatically soaked from any normal damage (bashing and lethal) that the character takes. A character with this Discipline also automatically soaks most kinds of aggravated damage, except for sunlight and fire, which are soaked only by the character's rating of Fortitude (characters without Fortitude may not soak aggravated damage). So a vampire with Fortitude 3 automatically soaks three points of aggravated from a werewolf claw, and has three dice to soak aggravated damage by sunlight or fire.
Refer to the Necromancy page.
This uncanny power enables Kindred to conceal themselves from others' sight. By simply wishing to remain unseen, a vampire can disappear, even if he stands in full view of a crowd. The immortal doesn't actually become invisible; he simply deludes any observers into thinking he has vanished. Additional uses of Obfuscate include changing the Kindred's features and concealing other people or objects.
Unless the vampire purposefully makes himself seen, he can remain obscured indefinitely. At higher levels of power, the vampire may fade from view so subtly that those nearby never register the point at which he "left."
Under most circumstances, few mortals or supernaturals can penetrate Obfuscate's cloaking fog. Animals, operating on a more instinctual level, often perceive (and fear) the vampire's presence even if they can't detect him with their normal senses. Children and other innocents to whom deception is foreign might also be able to pierce the deception, at the Storyteller's discretion.
The Auspex Discipline enables Kindred to see through Obfuscate. Even that is not guaranteed, however.
Since Obfuscate affects the viewer's mind, Kindred cannot use this Discipline to cloak their presence from mechanical devices. Video recordings and photographs capture the vampire's image faithfully. Even so, such is Obfuscate's ability to bend the mind that someone using a recording device will not see the immortal's image until she views the footage at a later date, if even then.
Several clans - Assamites, Followers of Set, Malkavians, Nosferatu - use this power, but it stands as the hallmark of the Nosferatu. A number of elder Kindred believe Caine, or perhaps Lilith, bestowed the clan with this Discipline to compensate for the hideous physical deformities its members suffer.
Most Obfuscate powers last for a scene or so, or until the vampire ceases maintaining them. Once evoked, they require very little mental effort to keep in place.
• Cloak of Shadows
At this level, the vampire must rely on nearby shadows and cover to assist in hiding his presence. He steps into an out-of-theway, shadowed place and eases himself from normal sight. The vampire remains unnoticed as long as he stays silent, still, under some degree of cover (curtain, bush, door frame, lamppost, alley) and out of direct lighting. The immortal's concealment vanishes if he moves, attacks or falls under direct light. Furthermore, the vampire's deception cannot stand concentrated observation without fading.
System: No roll is required as long as the character fulfills the criteria described above. So long as he remains quiet and motionless, virtually no one but another Kindred with a high Auspex rating will see him.
•• Unseen Presence
With experience, the vampire can move around without being seen. Shadows seem to shift to cover him, and others automatically avert their gaze as he passes by. People move unconsciously to avoid contact with the cloaked creature; those with weak wills may even scurry away from the area in unacknowledged fear. The vampire remains ignored indefinitely unless someone deliberately seeks him out or he inadvertently reveals himself.
Since the vampire fully retains his physical substance, he must be careful to avoid contact with anything that may disclose his presence (knocking over a vase, bumping into someone). Even a whispered word or the scuffing of a shoe against the floor can be enough to disrupt the power.
System: No roll is necessary to use this power unless the character speaks, attacks or otherwise draws attention to himself. The Storyteller should call for a Wits + Stealth roll under any circumstances that might cause the character to reveal himself. The difficulty of the roll depends on the situation; stepping on a squeaky floorboard might be a 5, while walking through a pool of water may require a 9. Other acts may require a certain number of successes; speaking quietly without giving away one's position, for instance, demands at least three successes.
Some things are beyond the power of Unseen Presence to conceal. Although the character is cloaked from view while he smashes through a window, yells out or throws someone across the room, the vampire becomes visible to all in the aftermath. Bystanders snap out of the subtle fugue in which Obfuscate put them. Worse still, each viewer can make a Wits + Alertness roll (difficulty 7); if successful, the mental haze clears completely, so those individuals recall every move the character made up until then as if he were visible the entire time.
••• Mask of 1000 Faces
The vampire can influence the perception of others, causing them to see someone different from the immortal himself. Although the Kindred's physical form does not change, any observer who cannot sense the truth sees whomever the vampire wishes her to see.
The vampire must have a firm idea of the visage he wishes to project. The primary decision is whether to create an imaginary face or to superimpose the features of another person. Manufactured features are often more difficult to compose in believable proportions, but such a disguise is easier to maintain than having to impersonate someone else. Of course, things get simpler if the Kindred borrows the face but doesn't bother with the personality.
System: The player rolls Manipulation + Performance (difficulty 7) to determine how well the disguise works. If the character tries to impersonate someone, he must get a good look at the subject before putting on the mask. The Storyteller may raise the difficulty if the character catches only a glimpse. The chart below lists the degrees of success in manufacturing another appearance.
Actually posing as someone else carries its own problems. The character should know at least basic information about the individual; especially difficult deceptions (fooling a lover or close friend) require at least some familiarity with the target in order to succeed.
|1 success||The vampire retains the same height and build, with a few slight alterations to his basic features. Nosferatu can appear as normal, albeit ugly, mortals.|
|2 successes||He looks unlike himself; people don't easily recognize him or agree about his appearance.|
|3 successes||He looks the way he wants to appear.|
|4 successes||Complete transformation, including gestures, mannerisms, appearance and voice.|
|5+ successes||Profound alteration (appear as the opposite sex, a vastly different age, extreme change of size).|
•••• Vanish from the Mind's Eye
This potent expression of Obfuscate enables the vampire to disappear from plain view. So profound is this vanishing that the immortal can fade away even if he stands directly before someone.
While the disappearance itself is quietly subtle, its impact on those who see it is anything but. Most kine panic and flee in the aftermath. Especially weak-willed individuals wipe the memory of the Kindred from their minds. Although vampires are not shaken so easily, even Kindred may be momentarily surprised by a sudden vanishing.
System: The player rolls Charisma + Stealth; the difficulty equals the target's Wits + Alertness (use the highest total in the group if the character disappears in front of a crowd). With three or fewer successes, the character fades but does not vanish, becoming an indistinct, ghostlike figure. With more than three, he disappears completely. If the player scores more successes than an observer's Willpower rating, that person forgets that the vampire was there in the first place.
Tracking the character accurately while he appears ghost-like requires a Perception + Alertness roll (difficulty 8). A successful roll means the individual can interact normally with the vampire (although the immortal looks like a profoundly disturbing ghostly shape). A failed roll results in +2 difficulties (maximum 10) when attempting to act upon, or interact with, the vampire. The Storyteller may call for new observation checks if the vampire moves to an environment in which he's difficult to see (heads into shadows, crosses behind an obstacle, proceeds through a crowd). When fully invisible, the vampire is handled as described under Unseen Presence, above.
A person subject to the vanishing makes a Wits + Courage roll (mortals at difficulty 9, immortals at difficulty 5). A successful roll means the individual reacts immediately (although after the vampire performs his action for that turn); failure means the person stands uncomprehending for two turns while her mind tries to make sense of what she just experienced.
••••• Cloak the Gathering
At this degree of power, the vampire may extend his concealing abilities to cover an area. The immortal may use any Obfuscate power upon those nearby as well as upon himself, if he wishes.
Any protected person who compromises the cloak exposes himself to view. Further, if the one who invokes the power gives himself away, the cloak falls from everyone. This power is particularly useful if the vampire needs to bring his retinue through a secure location without drawing the notice of others.
System: The character may conceal one extra individual for each dot of Stealth he possesses. He may bestow any single Obfuscate power at a given time to the group. While the power applies to everyone under the character's cloak, his player need only make a single roll. Each individual must follow the requirements described under the relevant Obfuscate power to remain under its effect; any person who fails to do so loses the cloak's protection, but doesn't expose the others. Only if the vampire himself errs does the endowment drop for everyone.
Obtenebration is available to Lasombra only.
The bailiwick of the Lasombra, the Obtenebration Discipline grants its users power over darkness. The precise nature of the "darkness" invoked is a matter of debate among the Keepers. Some believe it to be shadows, while others, perhaps more correctly, believe the power grants a Kindred control over the stuff of her soul, allowing her to coax it tangibly forth.
In any event, the effects of Obtenebration are terrifying, as waves of enveloping blackness roil out from the vampire, washing over their targets like an infernal tide. Blatant uses of this power are obvious breaches of the Masquerade - of course, as Obtenebration is proprietary to the Sabbat, any Camarilla neonate or ancilla caught using the Discipline had better have an impeccable explanation.
Note: Lasombra vampires can see through the darkness they control, though other Lasombra cannot. Dreadful tales of rival Keepers struggling to blind and smother each other with the same wisps of darkness circulate among young members of the clan, though no elders have come forth to substantiate these claims.
• Shadow Play
This power grants the vampire a limited control over shadows and other ambient darkness. Though the vampire cannot truly "create" darkness, she can overlap and stretch existing shadows, creating patches of gloom. This power also allows Kindred to separate shadows from their casting bodies and even shape darkness into the shadows of things that are not truly there.
Once a Kindred takes control of darkness or shadow, it gains a mystical tangibility while under the vampire's manipulation. By varying accounts cold or hellishly hot and cloying, the darkness may be used to aggravate or even smother victims. Certain callous Lasombra claim to have choked mortals to death with their own shadows.
System: This power requires no roll, but a blood point must be spent to activate it. Shadow Play lasts for one scene and requires no active concentration. Kindred cloaking themselves in shadow gain an extra die in their Stealth dice pools and add one to the difficulties of ranged weapon attacks against them. Vampires who use the darkness to make themselves more terrifying add one die to Intimidation dice pools. Opponents plagued by flapping shadows and strangling darkness subtract one die from soak and Stamina dice pools. Mortals, ghouls and other air- breathers reduced to zero Stamina in this manner begin to asphyxiate; vampires lose all appropriate dice but are otherwise unaffected. Only one target or subject may be affected by this power at any given time, though some modicum of concealment is offered to a relatively motionless group.
The unnatural appearance of this power proves extremely disconcerting to mortals and animals (and, at the Storyteller's discretion, Kindred who have never seen it before). Whenever this power is invoked within a mortal's vicinity, that individual must make a Courage roll (difficulty 8) or suffer a one-die penalty to all dice pools for the remainder of the scene, due to fear of the monstrous shadows.
•• Shroud of Night
The vampire can create a cloud of inky blackness. The cloud completely obscures light and even sound to some extent. Those who have been trapped within it (and survived) describe the cloud as viscous and unnerving. This physical manifestation lends credence to the tales of those Lasombra who claim that the darkness is something other than mere shadow.
The tenebrous cloud may even move, if the creating Kindred so wishes, though willing this requires complete concentration.
System: The player rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty 7). Success on the roll generates darkness roughly 10 feet in diameter, though the amorphous cloud constantly shifts and undulates, sometimes even extending shadowy tendrils. Each additional success doubles the diameter of the cloud (though the vampire may voluntarily reduce the area she wishes to cover). The cloud may be invoked at a distance of up to 50 yards, though creating darkness outside the vampire's line of sight adds two to the difficulty of the roll and requires a blood point's expenditure.
The tarry mass actually extinguishes light sources it engulfs (with the exception of fire), and muffles sounds to the point of indistinguishability. Those within the cloud lose all sense of sight and feel as though they've been immersed in pitch. Sound also warps and distorts within the cloud. Even those possessed of Heightened Senses or Eyes of the Beast suffer +2 difficulty penalties for most actions. Additionally, being surrounded by the Shroud of Night reduces Stamina-based dice pools by two dice, as the murk smothers and agitates the victims (this effect is not cumulative with Shadow Play). More than one unfortunate mortal has "drowned" in darkness.
Mortals and animals surrounded by the Shroud of Night must make Courage rolls per Shadow Play, above, or panic and flee.
••• Arms of the Abyss
Refining his control over darkness, the Kindred can create prehensile tentacles that emerge from patches of dim lighting. These tentacles may grasp, restrain and constrict foes.
System: The player spends a blood point and makes a simple (never extended) Manipulation + Occult roll (difficulty 7); each success enables the creation of a single tentacle. Each tentacle is six feet long and possesses Strength and Dexterity ratings equal to the invoking vampire's Obtenebration Trait. If the vampire chooses, she may spend a blood point either to increase a single tentacle's Strength or Dexterity by one or to extend its length by six feet. Each tentacle has four health levels (and is affected by fire and sunlight as a vampire) and soaks bashing and lethal damage using the vampire's Stamina + Fortitude. Aggravated damage may not be soaked.
Tentacles may constrict foes, inflicting Strength +1 lethal damage per turn. Breaking the grasp of a tentacle requires the victim to win a resisted Strength roll against the tentacle (difficulty 6 for both).
All tentacles need not emanate from the same source - so long as there are multiple patches of suitable darkness, there are sources for the Arms of the Abyss. Controlling the tentacles does not require complete concentration; if the Kindred is not incapacitated or in torpor, she may control tentacles while carrying out other actions.
•••• Black Metamorphosis (Modern and Victorian)
The Lasombra calls upon his inner darkness and infuses himself with it, becoming a monstrous hybrid of matter and shadow. His body becomes mottled with spots of tenebrous shade, and wispy tentacles extrude from his torso and abdomen. Though still humanoid, the Lasombra takes on an almost demonic appearance, as the darkness within him bubbles to the surface.
System: The player spends two blood points and makes a Manipulation + Courage roll (difficulty 7). Failure indicates the vampire cannot undergo the Black Metamorphosis (though he spends the blood points nonetheless); a botch inflicts two unsoakable health levels of lethal damage on the vampire, as darkness ravages his undead body.
While under the effects of the Black Metamorphosis, the vampire possesses four tentacles similar to those evoked via Arms of the Abyss (though their Strength and Dexterity ratings are equal to the vampire's own Attributes). These tentacles, combined with the bands of darkness all over the Lasombra's body, subtract two dice from the Stamina and soak dice pools of opponents physically touched in combat, for as long as the vampire remains in contact with the victim. The vampire may make an additional attack without penalty by using the tentacles (for a total of two attacks, not one additional attack per tentacle). Additionally, the vampire can sense his surroundings fully even in pitch darkness.
The vampire's head and extremities sometimes appear to fade away into nothingness, while at other times they seem swathed in otherworldly darkness. This, combined with the wriggling tentacles writhing from his body, creates an unsettling sight. Mortals, animals and other creatures not accustomed to this sort of display must make Courage rolls (difficulty 8) or succumb to a panic that amounts to Rotschreck (though it is inspired by the darkness rather than fire). Many Lasombra cultivate this devilish aspect, and the Black Metamorphosis adds three dice to the invoking Kindred's Intimidation dice pools.
•••• Night Shades (Dark Ages)
The Vampire may now manipulate the shadows to create a whirling circle of moving shadows. Within the circle, all opponents, and allies who don't have a dot within Obtenebration, suffer +3 difficulty to initiative rolls, and lose one dice from ALL pools. With one success, the circle is 10ft in diameter, each success past this first success adds 5ft to the diameter.
System: Wits + Occult, Difficulty 7
••••• Tenebrous Form (Global)
At this level, the Kindred's mastery of darkness is so extensive that she may physically become it. Upon activation of this power, the vampire becomes an inky, amoeboid patch of shadow. Vampires in this form are practically invulnerable and may slither through cracks and crevices. In addition, the shadow-vampire gains the ability to see in utter darkness.
System: The transformation costs three blood points and occurs over three turns. The vampire is immune to physical attack while in the tenebrous form (though she still takes aggravated damage from fire and sunlight), but may not herself physically attack. She may, however, envelop and ooze over others, affecting them in the same manner as a Shroud of Night, above, in addition to using mental Disciplines. Vampires in Tenebrous Form may even slither up walls and across ceilings or "drip" darkness upward - they have no mass and are thus unaffected by gravity. Rotschreck difficulties from fire and sunlight do increase by one for vampires in this form, as the light is even more painful to their shadowy bodies.
Mortals and others not used to such displays who witness the vampire transform into unholy shadow require Courage rolls (difficulty 8) in order not to suffer the debilitating terror described under Black Metamorphosis.
Vampires endowed with this Discipline possess preternatural strength. Potence enables vampires to leap tremendous distances, lift massive weights and strike opponents withterrifying force. Even the lowest ranks of this power gift the Kindred with physical might beyond mortal bounds. More powerful immortals have been known to leap so far they seem to be flying, toss cars aside like tin cans, and punch through concrete as if it were cardboard While the mental Disciplines are awe-inspiring, Potence's brute effectiveness is formidable in its own right.
Clans Brujah, Giovanni, Lasombra and Nosferatu are the primary possessors of this Discipline. Still, members of other clans often make a point to search out someone who can enlighten them in the ways of Potence.
System: The player rolls all Strength-related tests normally, but then adds an automatic success for each point he has in Potence. Thus, the character succeeds at most Strength feats without needing to make a roll at all. In melee and brawling combat, the automatic successes are applied to the damage roll results.
This is the Discipline of supernatural attraction. Kindred who develop Presence can inspire zealous fervor, devoted passion or unspeakable terror in mortal and immortal alike. This subtle power is one of the most useful Disciplines a vampire can have.
Presence is notable since, unlike virtually all other Disciplines, some of its powers can be used on entire crowds at a time. The vampire may bring large groups under her sway, so long as her face is visible to those she wishes to affect - Presence doesn't even require eye contact. Further, this Discipline transcends race, religion, gender, class and (most importantly) supernatural nature. In theory, the powers have the same chance of affecting a Methuselah as they do a cab driver. In practice, while Presence can sway virtually any immortal, older and more canny Kindred are much more likely to notice the influence and resist with preternatural will.
Quite aside from its deliberate uses, Presence conveys upon the vampire an indescribable mystique. She stands out in any crowd, drawing the interest (and often desire) of those around her even when she's merely standing still. The higher the vampire's Presence, the greater this allure and the more powerful its impact on others.
Anyone can resist Presence for one turn by spending a willpower point and succeeding on a willpower roll (difficulty 8), but the affected individual must keep spending points until he can no longer see the vampire (or, in the case of Summon, until the effect wears off). The simplest way to deal with this is to turn around and stop looking. Those who don't understand that they're dealing with supernatural influences (as is the case with most mortals) seldom think of this tactic, but it's a simple assumption for clever vampires. Vampires three or more generations lower than the wielder need only spend a single willpower to ignore the Presence for an entire scene and need not roll willpower to do so.
The major drawback of Presence is that it controls only the emotions. It causes others to feel a certain way toward the vampire, but does not give her outright control over them. While people weigh strongly the orders that the vampire declares, their minds are still their own. Suicidal or ridiculous directives don't sound any more sensible just because the person giving them is unusually fascinating. Still, inspired eloquence or significant wealth used in combination with this Discipline can enable the vampire to urge others along a desired course.
The Brujah, Followers of Set, Toreador and Ventrue clans are all adept in this Discipline. The Ventrue are arguably the most skilled with its application, however, due to their ability to use Presence and Dominate in efficient combination.
Awe amplifies the sublime magnetism this Discipline gives the vampire. Those near the vampire suddenly desire to be closer to her and are very receptive to her point of view. Awe is extremely useful for mass communication. It matters little what is said - the hearts of those affected lean toward the vampire's opinion. The weak want to agree with her; even if the strong-willed resist, they soon find themselves outnumbered. Awe can turn a chancy deliberation into a certain resolution in the vampire's favor almost before her opponents know that the tide has turned.
Despite the intensity of this attraction, those so smitten do not lose their sense of self-preservation. Danger breaks the spell of fascination, as does leaving the area. Those subject to Awe will remember how they felt in the vampire's presence, however. This will influence their reactions should they ever encounter her again.
System: The player rolls Charisma + Performance (difficulty 7). The number of successes rolled determines how many people are affected, as noted on the chart below. If there are more people present than the character can influence, Awe affects those with lower willpower scores first. The power stays in effect for the remainder of the scene or until the character chooses to drop it.
|1 success||One person|
|2 successes||Two people|
|3 successes||Six people|
|4 successes||20 people|
|5 successes||Everyone in the vampire's immediate vicinity (an entire auditorium, a mob)|
Those affected can use willpower points to overcome the effect, but must continue spending willpower every turn for as long as they remain in the same area as the vampire. As soon as an individual spends a number of willpower points equal to the successes rolled, he shakes off the Awe completely and remains unaffected for the rest of the scene.
•• Dread Gaze
While all Kindred can frighten others by physically revealing their true vampiric natures - baring claws and fangs, glaring with malevolence, hissing loudly with malice - this power focuses these elements to insanely terrifying levels. Dread Gaze engenders unbearable terror in its victims, stupefying them into madness, immobility or reckless flight. Even the most stalwart individual will fall back from the vampire's horrific visage.
System: The player rolls Charisma + Intimidation (difficulty of the victim's Wits + Courage). Success indicates the victim is cowed, while failure means the target is startled but not terrified by the sight. Three or more successes means he runs away in abject fear; victims who have nowhere to run claw at the walls, hoping to dig a way out rather than face the vampire. Moreover, each success subtracts one from the target's action dice pools next turn.
The character may attempt Dread Gaze once per turn, though she may also perform it as an extended action, adding her successes in order to subjugate the target completely. Once the target loses enough dice that he cannot perform any action, he's so shaken and terrified that he curls up on the ground and weeps. Failure during the extended action means the attempt falters. The character loses all her collected successes and can start over next turn, while the victim may act normally again.
A botch at any time indicates the target is not at all impressed - perhaps even finding the vampire's antics comical - and remains immune to any further uses of Presence by the character for the rest of the story.
This power bends others' emotions, making them the vampire's willing servants. Due to what these individuals see as true and enduring devotion, they heed the vampire's every desire. Since this is done willingly out of love (albeit a perversion of it) instead of through sapping the subjects' wills, these servants retain their creativity and individuality.
While these obedient minions are more pleasant and spirited than the mind-slaves created by Dominate, they're also somewhat unpredictable. Further, since Entrancement is of a temporary duration, dealing with a lapsed servant can be troublesome. A wise Kindred either disposes of those she entrances after they serve their usefulness, or binds them more securely by a blood bond (made much easier by the minion's willingness to serve).
System: The player rolls Appearance + Empathy (difficulty of the target's permanent Willpower); the number of successes determines how long the subject is entranced (see the chart below). The Storyteller may wish to make the roll instead, since the character is never certain of the strength of her hold on the victim. The vampire may try to keep the subject under her thrall, but can do so only after the initial Entrancement wears off. Attempting this power while Entrancement is already in operation has no effect.
|1 success||One hour|
|2 successes||One day|
|3 successes||One week|
|4 successes||One month|
|5 successes||One year|
This impressive power enables the vampire to call to herself any person whom she has ever met. This call can go to anyone, mortal or supernatural, across any distance within the physical world. The subject of the summons comes as fast as he is able, possibly without even knowing why. He knows intuitively how to find his summoner - even if the vampire moves to a new location, the subject redirects his own course as soon as he can. After all, he's coming to the vampire herself, not to some predetermined site.
Although this power allows the vampire to call someone across a staggering distance, it is most useful when used locally. Even if the desired person books the next available flight, getting to Kyoto from Milwaukee can still take far longer than the vampire needs. Obviously, the individual's financial resources are a factor; if he doesn't have the money to travel quickly, it will take him a far greater time to get there.
The subject thinks mainly of reaching the vampire, but does not neglect his own well-being. This is less of a consideration if he only has to cross a room, unless he must get through a gang of gun-wielding punks to do so. The individual retains his survival instincts, and while he won't shirk physical violence to reach the vampire's side, he won't subject himself to suicidal situations.
The summoning dissipates at dawn. Unless the subject is trained to continue toward the vampire after the first call, the immortal must summon each night until the target arrives. Still, as long as the vampire is willing and able, she is assured to greet her desired subject some night - as long as nothing happens to him along the way, of course.
System: The player rolls Charisma + Subterfuge. The base difficulty is 5; this increases to difficulty 7 if the subject is virtually a stranger. If the character used Presence successfully on the target in the past, this difficulty drops to 4 - however, if the attempt was unsuccessful, then the difficulty is 8.
The number of successes indicates the subject's speed and attitude in responding:
|1 success||Subject approaches slowly and hesitantly.|
|2 successes||Subject approaches reluctantly and is easily thwarted by obstacles.|
|3 successes||Subject approaches with reasonable speed.|
|4 successes||Subject comes with haste, overcoming any obstacles in his way.|
|5 successes||Subject rushes to the vampire, doing anything to get to her.|
At this stage, the vampire can augment her supernatural mien a thousandfold. The attractive become paralyzingly beautiful; the homely become hideously demonic. Majesty inspires universal respect, devotion, fear - or all those emotions at once - in those around the vampire. The weak scramble to obey her every whim, and even the most dauntless find it almost impossible to deny her.
People affected find the vampire so formidable that they dare not risk her displeasure. Raising their voices to her is difficult; raising a hand against her is unthinkable. Those few who shake off the vampire's potent mystique enough to oppose her are shouted down by the many under her thrall, before the immortal need even respond.
Under Majesty's influence, hearts break, power trembles, and the bold shake. Wise Kindred use this power with caution against mortal and immortal alike. While Majesty can cow influential politicians and venerable primogen, the vampire must be careful that doing so doesn't come back to haunt her later. After all, a dignitary brought low before others loses his usefulness quickly, while a humiliated Kindred has centuries to plan revenge.
System: No roll is required on the part of the vampire, but she must spend a willpower point to activate Majesty. A subject must make a courage roll(difficulty of the character's charisma + intimidation) if he wishes to be rude or simply contrary to the vampire. Success allows the individual to act normally for the moment, although he feels the weight of the vampire's displeasure crushing down on him. A subject who fails the roll aborts his intended action and even goes to absurd lengths to humble himself before the vampire, no matter who else is watching. The effects of Majesty last for one scene.
Protean is available to Gangrel only.
While other Cainites huddled in caves and villages with mortal populations, the Gangrel stomped about for thousands of years conquering the world as they knew it. They adopted mortal tribes and migrated with the herd and harvest, following their human prey from grassland to grassland. Gangrel nomads benefited from their own Discipline of Protean, a secret of the Blood that meant they did not have to keep within half-a-night's run from the shelter of a hut or cave. For millenia, the Gangrel kept this Discipline secret and private so that members of no other Clan could learn it. Gangrel legends say that the other Clans believed them to be gods of the steppe, immune to the sun's scorching rays.
In thses nights, the secret of Protean is no longer entirely the property of the Gangrel. Other Clans have unearthed the Discipline's secrets and passed them from Sire to Childe, but no bloodline has the flair for it that the Gangrel do. Protean allows a Cainite to change his body's form to aid in his nightly hunting, and in escaping his enemies ((both physical and spiritual)). The ability is a reflection of God's curse on vampires because it peels away the layer of protection and civility provided by a vampire's human shape. It displays the Beast in the vampire using it and keeps him from denying it or hiding from it.
As a character's shape changes, the use of certain Disciplines may become impossible. A Cainite in mist form cannot use Dominate, as it depends on eye contact, for instance. While general guidelines are provided, the final decisions in this matter rest with the Storyteller.
• Witness of Darkness
The vampire with this ability can see normally in ordinary darkness - even a cloudy, moonless night is as bright as an overcast day to the character. However, the Discipline does cause the character's eyes to glow a visible red, which unnerves most mortals who see it.
System: Activating the Discipline is a free action, but it takes a full turn to take effect. While Witness of Darkness is in effect, the character suffers no dice pool penalties based on ordinary darkness. It is impossible to disguise one's inhuman nature while using this ability. However, while the Discipline is active, the player adds one die to Intimidation dice pools against mortals who are not acquainted with the supernatural.
•• Talons of the Beast
A Cainite with Talons of the Beast can extrude wicked claws a few inches long from each fingertip. Despite the power's name, the claws are far more dangerous than those of a mere wolf or bear. They can tear through chain armor and still dig deep into flesh. Wounds inflincted upon mortals by Talons of the Beast never quite heal; Cainites find that vitae alone is insufficient to heal them. Some vampires exhibit other minor changes when activating this power. Eyes might turn a chalky white, blood might seep from the palms, or the character might be unable to keep their fangs retracted.
System: Activating the Discipline is a free action, but it takes a full turn to take effect, and the player must spend one blood point. Wounds inflicted by the Talons of the Beast do Strength + 1 dice of Aggravated damage.
••• Interred in the Earth
Many Gangrel claim to be descended from an ancient warrior-goddess called Ennoia, and some even purport to be pagan subterranean gods themselves. This ability is one of the reasons they can do such a thing. The vampire usuing it takes advantage of the Cainite affinity for the grave by sliding their body into the earth itself, as though stepping into a tomb for the day.
The Gangrel cannot move around once he is entombed in the earth; in fact, he cannot even be dug up. He is immaterial and merged with the soil around him. Any attempt to dig him up will eventually fail, as the roughly man-sized blob of earth cannot be moved or pierced without powerful magic. However, the ground above their resting place is disturbed and overturned, as though a mortal were considering planting a garden there, so those who are knowledgable in such things can uncover the place of entombment.
The vampire must have direct contact with the ground itself in order to use this power. A wooden or stone floor blocks their melding into the dirt. They also cannot use this power while standing on a large piece of rock. They can inter themselves in earth, not stone. The power provides perfect protection against the sun's rays, and the heat of ordinary fire above. The character can be considered to be six feet under the earth for such purposes. The Animal may chose to remain conscious while interred, though when the sun rises this becomes more difficult, as always.
The very existence of this power sets paranoid Cainites to thinking. If powerful vampires remain in Torpor for centuries, and many of the eldest Cainites are assumed to be able to inter themselves, then there could be hundreds of elders buried in the earth, and they could emerge from Torpor nearly anywhere at any time. Surely the emergence of a multitude of such creatures would be a harbinger of Gehenna. The ancient masters of the Roman nights are said to have known a ritual to lock such slumbering ancients in their earthly prisons. This secret apparently involved salting the earth with a special mixture of alchemical powders. It was used to greatest effect after the destruction of Carthage, when Brujah and other elders were locked under the soil of North Africa.
System: The player spends one blood point, and the character concentrates for a full turn, taking no other action. Once activated, the character is essentially immune to all attacks. The character can use Auspex and other purely mental abilities while interred, but they may not activate any Discipline with a physical effect.
•••• Form of the Beast
A vampire with this ability can turn himself into a wolf or a bat through the magic in his blood. Rumor has it that some Gangrel can transform themselves into quite different wild forms, but most Cainites are limited to these two forms. While wearing a different shape, the character retains his own mind and will, but his physical characteristics change, and he cannot invoke all of his Disciplines. His sense increase in acuity when he is a wolf, however, and he can fly at 25 miles per hour when he is a bat.
System: The player spends one blood point for the character to transform over three turns ((during which he can take no other actions)). At the Storyteller's discretion, the player may spend three blood points ((instead of just one)) to have the character transform in a single turn. The vampire's physical Attributes, Manipulation, Appearance and Perception change to match those of the animal's. The character also gains any attacks or special abilities ((such as flight)). The character activate only those Disciplines whose manifestations do not depend on him having human features. ((Most Thaumaturgy and Mortis powers are out, for instance)). Transforming back into the vampire's natural form costs nothing, but it takes three turns.
••••• Body of Spirit
Most vampires who can use this power or have seen it in use believe that the character who invokes it, turning himself into mist, is abandoning his humanoid form for one composed entirely of spiritstuff. This impression is consistent whether the Cainite is christian or pagan. The mist body the character wears is seen as the truest expression of his innermost nature. However, the mist is physical rather then some kind of ghostly spirit form. The character's perceptions expand through the mist, and every gust of wind ripples through his being. His vision is focused on the center of the mist ((that is where his eyes seem to be, to him)), but with brief concentration, he can see or hear from any part of his mist form.
The character becomes a small cloud of mist, perhaps four feet in diameter. He can move about at the equivalent of his walking pace. He can fit anywhere that a misty cloud might go, and she can pass through most cloth, up a chimney or through a crack under a door. As a cloud of mist, the character is less vulnerable to the depredations of the sun, though it still burn him. Even the strongest winds cannot disperse his form. They can and do push him around, however, if he cannot find a barrier behind which to hide.
System: The player spends one blood point, and the character takes three turns to transform his body into mist. As with Form of the Beast, the player may spend three blood points to have the vampire transform in a single turn. To resist the buffeting effects of strong wind, the player rolls Potence ((not the characters natural Strength)), with a difficulty ranging from 6 ((mild breeze)) to 10 ((gale-force winds)). Each turn, he may have to roll again to have the character move against the direction in which the wind pushes him. On a calm night, the mist may move about at the character's regular walking or jogging speed.
Sunlight and fire do burn the vampire in mist form, but they cause one less level of damage and it's much easier to find shelter in mist form. The character's perceptions are normal except as described, and sufficiently stimulating experiences can lead her into Frenzy and Rotschreck. The character is ammune to normal physical attack ((except for fire and sunlight)), and he cannot affect anything physical in the world about him while he is in mist form. He can use Disciplines that do not require a physical component, however.
Quietus is available to Assamites, only.
Quietus, the Discipline of silent death, is practiced by the assassins of Clan Assamite. Using the principles of poison, vitae control and pestilence, this blood-based Discipline focuses on the destruction of its target through varying means. Quietus does not always cause a quick death; the Assassins rely upon its secret lethality to hide their involvement with their victims.
• Silence of Death
Many Assamites claim never to have heard their targets' death screams. Silence of Death imbues the Assamite with a mystical silence that radiates from her body, muting all noise within a certain vicinity. No sound occurs inside this zone, though sounds originating outside the area of effect may be heard by anyone in it. Rumors abound of certain skilled Assamite viziers who have the ability to silence a location rather than a circumference that follows them, but no proof of this has been forthcoming.
System: This power costs one blood point to activate, which maintains a 20 - foot radius of utter stillness around the Assamite for one hour.
•• Scorpion's Touch
By changing the properties of her blood, an Assamite may create powerful venom that strips her prey of his resilience. This power is greatly feared by other Kindred, and all manner of hideous tales concerning methods of delivery circulate among trembling coteries. Assamites are known to deliver the poison by coating their weapons with it, blighting their opponents with a touch, or spitting it like a cobra. An apocryphal account speaks of a proud prince who discovered an Assamite plotting her exsanguinations and began to diablerize her would-be assassin. Halfway through the act, she learned that she had ingested a dire quantity of tainted blood and was then unable to resist the weakened hashashiyyin s renewed attack.
System: To convert a bit of her blood to poison, the Assamite's player spends at least one blood point and rolls Willpower (difficulty 6). If this roll is successful, and the Assamite successfully hits (but not necessarily damages) her opponent, the target loses a number of Stamina points equal to the number of blood points converted into poison. The victim may resist the poison with a Stamina + Fortitude roll (difficulty 6); successes achieved on the resistance roll subtract from the Assamite's successes to affect the target. The maximum number of blood points an Assamite may convert at any one time equals her Stamina. The number of successes scored indicates the duration of the Stamina loss.
|1 success||One turn|
|2 successes||One hour|
|3 successes||One day|
|4 successes||One month|
|5 successes||Permanently (though Stamina may be bought back up with XP)|
If a mortal's Stamina falls to zero through use of Scorpion's Touch, she becomes terminally ill and loses immunity to diseases, her body succumbing to sickness within the year unless she somehow manages to increase her Stamina again. If a Kindred's Stamina falls to zero, the vampire enters torpor and remains that way until one of her Stamina points returns. If a Kindred is permanently reduced to zero Stamina, she may recover from torpor only through mystical means.
To afflict her target with the poison, the Assamite must touch her target's flesh or hit that target with something that carries the venom. Many Assamites lubricate their weapons with the excretion, while others pool the toxin in their hands (or fleck their lips with the poison, for a "kiss of death") and press it to their opponents. Weapons so envenomed must be of the melee variety - arrows, sling stones, bullets and the like cannot carry enough of the stuff to do damage, and it drips off in flight. Players whose Assamites wish to spit at their targets must make a Stamina + Athletics roll (difficulty 6). No more than two blood points' worth of poison may be expectorated, and a Kindred may spit a distance of 10 feet for each point of Strength and/or Potence the character possesses. Assamites are immune to their own poison, but not the blood-venom of other Assamites.
••• Dagon's Call
This terrible and recently rediscovered power allows an Assamite to drown her target in his own blood. By concentrating, the Assamite bursts her target's blood vessels and fills his lungs with vitae that proceeds to strangle him from within. The blood actually constricts the target's body from the inside as it floods through his system; thus, it works even on unbreathing Kindred. Until the target collapses in agony or death throes, this power has no visible effect, and many Assamites prefer it because it leaves no trace of their presence.
System: The Assamite must touch her target prior to using Dagon's Call. Within an hour thereafter, the Assamite may issue the call, though she need not be in the presence or even in the line of sight other target.
Invoking the power costs one Willpower point. The Assamite's player makes a contested Stamina roll against the target's Stamina; the difficulty of each roll is equal to the opponent's permanent Willpower score. The number of successes the Assamite achieves is the amount of damage, in health levels, the victim suffers. For an additional point of Willpower spent in the next turn, the Assamite may continue using Dagon's Call by engaging in another contested Stamina roll. Damage from Dagon's Call is considered lethal. So long as the Assamite's player continues to spend Willpower, the character may continue rending her opponent from within.
•••• Baal's Caress
The penultimate use of blood as a weapon (short of diablerie itself), Baal's Caress allows the Assamite to transmute her blood into a virulent ichor that destroys any living or undead flesh it touches. In nights of yore, when Assamites led the charges of Saracen legions, the Assassins were often seen licking their blades, slicing open their tongues and lubricating their weapons with this foul secretion.
Baal's Caress may be used to augment any bladed weapon; everything from poisoned knives and swords to tainted fingernails and claws has been reported.
System: Baal's Caress does not increase the damage done by a given weapon, but that weapon inflicts aggravated damage rather than normal. No roll is necessary to activate this power, but one blood point is consumed per hit. For example, if an Assamite poisons his knife and strikes his opponent (even if he inflicts no damage), one blood point's worth of lubrication disappears. For this reason, many Assamites choose to coat their weapons with a significant quantity of blood. If the Assamite misses, no tainted blood is consumed.
••••• Taste of Death
A refinement of Baal's Caress, Taste of Death allows the Assamite to spit caustic blood at her target. The blood coughed forth with this power burns flesh and corrodes bone; some Assamites have been reported to vomit voluminous streams of vitae that reduce their targets to heaps of sludge.
System: The vampire may spit up to 10 feet for each dot of Strength and/or Potence he possesses. Hitting the target requires a Stamina + Athletics roll (difficulty 6). Each blood point spewed at the target inflicts two dice of aggravated damage, and there is no limit (other than the vampire's capacity and per-turn expenditure maximum) to the quantity of blood with which a target may be deluged.
Serpentis is available to Setites, only.
The Followers of Set do not consider themselves cursed by God, or even vampires in the sense that the other Children of Caine are. Serpentis, their Discipline, was granted to them by the god Set himself. The nature of the clans relationship with Set prevents them from sharing their secrets with other vampires. Only on very rare occasions do they deign to teach its nuances to so-called Cainites, and such students are invariably initiates of the Setite cult. Followers of Set laugh off the suggestion that Serpentis might represent a curse from God. The most they will admit to is that they represent the serpent in the Garden and are a curse on humanity, rather than being cursed themselves. More often, the Followers of Set say that Serpentis allows its users to assume a semblance of godhood. Perfection of Serpentis bring the Setites closer to the metaphorical serpent shape that they identify with their founder/god. Astute scholars note the many similarities between this ability and the Protean power of the Gangrel and wonder to themselves what the relationship between the two clans founders might have been.
• The Eyes of the Serpent
Myths of the cobra and asp as well as the Greek Medusa ascribe hypnotic ability to them, and Set's first gift to his childer is a facsimile of that power. Should the character catch the gaze of a mortal or Cainite, he can beguile them with his gaze and render them immobile. He cannot give them commands or instructions this is the province of Dominate but they cannot move, nor speak above a whisper. The target remains immobilized until the character looks away even so much as a glance breaks the trance.
System: Initial getting the targets attention requires the player to make a Manipulation + Etiquette roll (difficulty 4). If the target is already looking at the vampire, however, (they are engaged in conversation, for instance) no roll is necessary.
The ability works automatically on mortals.
To use it on a vampire of any generation, the player engages in a contest of Willpower (difficulty 7). Both parties roll, and if the Setite's player wins, the target is immobilized. If a potential victim knows not to look at the Serpent, no force in the world can make her do so, except for distraction. A successful Manipulation + Etiquette roll (difficulty 10) can allow the vampire to catch the targets attention for long enough to entrance her, but a failure or botch on this roll gives his intentions away and ensures that the victim avoids his gaze for the rest of the scene.
•• Tongue of the Asp
Sets next gift enables his get to turn their tongues into weapons reminiscent of a snakes forked tongue. It extends in length by more than a foot, making it a viable weapon fro close-in fighting, and the more so since it becomes sharp, wickedly barbed and tainted by the vampires unholy blood. Wounds caused by the Tongue of the Asp do not heal normally.
System: No roll or blood expenditure is required, and although the power takes a full turn to activate, the character may do other things while it does so. The tongue does Strength damage in close combat, but the wounds it causes are aggravated. The player rolls Dexterity + Brawl to strike with the tongue as normal. Should the vampire inflict one or more health levels on the target, she may feed from him on the next turn as though she had bitten him with her fangs.
A strike from the Tongue of the Asp does not necessarily immobilize a foe, but the target is caught in the pleasure/pain of the Kiss as soon as the vampire begins to drink her blood.
••• Skin of the Adder
Every new power of the Discipline of Serpentis brings the vampire closer to the god-form of Set himself. The Skin of the Adder brings this blessing to the vampires undead skin, using vitae to strengthen it and thicken it. His form also becomes more snakelike, though it is still obviously humanoid.
System: No roll is required, but the change takes three turns and costs one blood point. If the player spends three blood points at once, he can reduce this time to one turn. While wearing the Skin of the Adder, the character is scaly, mottled and clearly monstrous.
This power reduces soak difficulties for all damage to 5. In addition, the player can use Stamina to soak aggravated damage from claws and fangs (though not from fire or sunlight) even if the character does not have Fortitude.
Additionally, the vampire is more limber and his joints become capable of dislocating without damage. He can fit through any opening large enough to admit his head, and he can dislocate his jaw to allow one more blood point to be consumed per turn of feeding.
•••• Form of the Cobra
Some Cainite myths describe Set's true form as that of a gigantic cobra, hundreds of feet long and as thick around as a great whale. This ability lets one of Sets childer echo his founders nature by transforming himself into a huge cobra, eight feet long and nearly a foot thick, weighing as much as the character ordinarily does. The cobra is strong and swift, and it has a sense of smell better than any mortals.
Additionally, its bite carries a poison that is fatal to humans and animals (but which has no effect on Cainites). The character looses the ability to speak while in this form, but he can communicate with others in the same form. For the Followers of Set, the Form of the Cobra is a sacred state, one akin to apotheosis. Many of the most devout of the clan those elevated on the secret Road of the Serpent use this form in dark rituals to Set.
Set teaches that law is a lie; a deception of the tyrant-god Osiris, and in the Form of the Cobra, his follower is free to experience the savage truth. In dealing with outsiders, Followers of Set reserve the Form of the Cobra for mortal combat only. Letting the profane see the sacred form of their god is not something to undertake lightly. Those Serpents less inculcated with traditional beliefs are somewhat less restricted in their use of the form, but not greatly.
System: The player spends one blood point, and the transformation takes three turns. As with Skin of the Adder, that time can be decreased to one turn if the player spends three blood points at once.
The vampires Attributes remain identical, but the player gains two dice to any dice pool involving scent and loses two dice pools involving hearing. She also gains a similar two-dice bonus to Dodge and climbing dice pools. As a creature roughly a foot in diameter, the vampire has an easier time moving around in tight spaces, and he can escape from many prisons that are meant to hold a mortal or vampire.
Activating this transformation in a single turn gives her a free chance to escape from a grapple, as her form writhes and contorts unexpectedly. The vampires bite does the same damage as it would in human form, but she does not have to grapple her target before biting. The venom does seven levels of aggravated damage to any mortal the vampire bites, but no special damage to Cainites. Unless the vampire decides to reverse it earlier, the transformation lasts until dawn.
It costs no blood to reverse, but it takes three turns to revert to human shape.
••••• Cheat the Scales of Anubis
Egyptian legend has it that the god Anubis weighs the hearts of the deceased on his great scale. If the heart is not in perfect balance with the feather placed on the other plate, it is considered to be weighted down by sin, and the soul of the deceased is fed to the Devourer and destroyed.
Setite faith sees this story as a corruption of the dark truth: Anubis acts as a gatekeeper for the tyrannical Osiris, who rules the afterlife. Those who have proven their souls strength by being willing to reject the laws that made them slaves (hence those who have sinned) are destroyed before they can enter the afterlife and overthrow the tyrant-god. If Set and his followers are ever to reverse this state of affairs, there must be a way for the strong to get around Anubis' scales.
This power allows a master of Serpentis to do just that by removing his heart (as well as his other vital organs) from his body entirely and wrapping his flesh in a protective cocoon. The power, more akin to a ritual, can only be performed in the dark of night either after the moon has set, before it has risen, or during the new moon and only on oneself. It takes a few hours to complete. Once the Setite has removed his heart and other vital organs, he must place them in specially prepared clay urns (called Canopic jars). After that, servants can bury or hide them away.
After the vampire has removed all his major organs, his vitae and undead flesh combine to wrap him in a dry, scaly shroud that is nearly impenetrable. Only a small opening over his mouth remains in the shroud. The character then falls into a sort of torpor. Only feeding him his removed internal organs can awaken the character. Once that is complete, it takes about one minute for the cocoon around the Setite to crumble to dust.
The enshrouded vampire is virtually impossible to harm no known direct force from inferno to high-afternoon sunlight, can do him damage while so wrapped.
However, the extracted organs are vulnerable, most especially the heart. Exposing it to fire or sunlight causes the vampires instant and terrible immolation, destroying him. Although terrible, this destruction is actually part of the ritual in which the vampires followers burn his organs before a statue of Set. By meeting the Final Death in this way, a Follower of Set reaches Anubis without a heart and hence able to pass him by without ever undertaking the test of the scales, entering the afterlife as a powerful agent of his god.
It is possible to undertake this ritual only part way, something usually done for one of two reasons. The first is to assume the
fully enshrouded form for protections sake, which some Setites do when they are traveling. Their ghouls carry them as cargo in a ship or caravan and then feed their master his organs when they arrive at their destination. The other option is to stop the ritual with the removal of the heart. The vampire is perfectly able to move about without his heart, but he becomes immune to standard staking or diablerie. However, if an enemy gets hold of the Canopic jar containing the extracted organ, the vampire is in serious trouble. Not only does it provide a powerful ritual connection to the vampire, but a simple flame or glint of sunlight can destroy the vampire outright, and driving a stake through the organ drives the Setite into torpor.
System: To undertake this ritual power, the vampire must have time to herself (assisted by acolytes, perhaps) and be acting on a moonless night. The power fails at any other time. The player makes an extended Dexterity + Medicine roll (difficulty 7) for the character to undertake the ritual.
Each roll means an hour of activity, and the ritual ends in failure if the moon or sun rises before the player achieves the necessary successes (five to remove a heart, 12 to achieve the mummified form). A failure on this roll has no effect other than to extend the process another hour. A botch entails a catastrophic failure that ends the ritual and causes two levels of aggravated damage to the vampire. Any vampire who witnesses the process is subject to Rotschreck (difficulty 6).
The enshrouded body of a Setite is completely immune to harm. No source of injury save perhaps the might of a Methuselah or Antediluvian can do direct physical damage. The organs, however are extremely vulnerable, and even the slightest sunlight or flame destroys them outright. The jars are opaque, but easily broken open. Except for the heart, destroying an organ causes an unsoakable level of aggravated damage to the vampire. Destroying the heart destroys the vampire outright. The removed organs are rich with vitae. Most contain one blood points worth (which reduces the vampires overall blood pool), and that blood remains fresh indefinitely in the withered organ-meat. A ghoul or vampire who consumes a Setites removed organ takes one step toward the blood oath as normal. The heart contains two blood points and a vampire consuming it is attempting diablerie against the Setite. Once the two blood points are drained from the heart, the attacker passes straight to the hearts blood and her player must make a strength roll as normal, save that the difficulty is 7. Staking the heart, stakes the Setite if he is still active.
This Discipline is an exclusive development of the Samedi bloodline, and it is tied intrinsically to the Stiffs’ identity and history. Although Thanatosis appears to deal closely with death and the energies of decay, no Giovanni have ever claimed mastery of this power. The clan would undoubtedly be most interested in learning this Discipline. However, the Giovanni view the Samedi with distrust and loathing, while the Samedi take on the Giovanni is usually expressed by muttering a curse on the clan and spitting blood. Thus, the possibility of an exchange of information approaches nil.
• Hag’s Wrinkles:
The character can expand or contract her skin and the outer layer of fatty tissue that underlies it. This can be used to change the character’s general appearance or to create pockets like a kangaroo’s pouch for the concealment of small objects. This power is most effective when used by characters whose skin condition is already deteriorating, as additional distortion is less likely to be visible. If a character other than a Samedi or Nosferatu uses this power, large wrinkles or bulges may be readily visible in her skin.
System: This power requires one turn to shape the wrinkles and the expenditure of a blood point. If the power is used to distort a character’s features, the Samedi player must roll Stamina + Performance (diff. 8, or 7 if the Secondary Skill: Disguise is substituted for Performance). Success raises the difficulty to visually identify the character by one and lasts for one hour per success rolled. If the character is attempting to hide a small object (a wallet, a letter, a small pistol), the roll and duration are the same, but all rolls made to see if the object is detected (for example, a pat-down search or a security guard’s visual inspection) are at +2 difficulty.
This power allows the character to cause supernaturally rapid decomposition in a living or undead target. The victim loses skin and hair, teeth loosen, blisters and cysts appear, and fungus develops. Needless to say, the psychological impact of this power can be as devastating as the physical.
System: This power first requires that the character touch his intended target. The player then rolls Dexterity + Medicine (difficulty of the target’s Stamina + Fortitude) and spends a blood point. Success inflicts one health level of lethal damage on the target and removes one point of the victim’s Appearance. This Appearance loss returns to the vampire at the rate of one point per night, but is permanent for mortals (though plastic surgery can correct mortal’s physical disfigurement). If a mortal suffers three or more health levels of damage from repeated uses of this power in one scene, gangrene or other ailments may occur.
This power can also be used on plants, in which case the target becomes blighted and withered. It cannot, however, be used on inanimate objects such as cars or wooden stakes.
••• Ashes To Ashes:
Ashes to Ashes allows the character to transform herself into a thick, sticky powder, about a double handful in volume (what would be left after a cremation). The character takes no damage from sunlight or flames while in this form, and most physical attacks are ineffectual. However, the character is only dimly cognizant of her surroundings while in ash form, and separation of the ashes can prove catastrophe when the Samedi tries to reform.
System: The transformation to ashes requires one turn and the expenditure of two blood points. While the character is in ash form, the player must make a Perception + Alertness roll (difficulty 9) for any scene in which she wishes her character to be aware of her surroundings. Reforming from the heap of ashes takes one turn. If the character is in a confined space (such as an urn), she explodes from it in a suitably dramatic manner as she brings herself back to full size.
If a Samedi is scattered while in this form, one health level and one blood point are lost for each tenth (roughly) of the character that has been dissipated. Five blood points are required to heal each health level lost in this manner. At the Storyteller’s discretion the Samedi may be missing limbs or vital organs (though never the head or the heart) until the missing health levels are healed.
Many vampires, accustomed to their forms remaining ageless, have been aghast to discover the effects of this power. Withering allows the Samedi to shrink and warp a victim’s limbs, rendering them immobile and causing extreme pain. Some particularly vicious Samedi take shrunken parts of their opponents as trophies for use in ritual magic.
System: The Samedi must touch the limb he intends to shrivel. The player spends a Willpower point and rolls Manipulation + Medicine (difficulty of the victim’s Stamina + Fortitude). Three successes are required for this power to shrink a limb. With one or two successes, the victim takes one health level of bashing damage, which may be soaked normally, but is otherwise unaffected. (If the Withering attempt is successful, the subject suffers no health level of damage, but rather the withering of the limb itself.) The effects of Withering fade after one night if a vampire or other supernatural creater is the victim, but mortals (including mages) are permanently afflicted unless some type of supernatural healing is used.
If this power is used on an arm or leg, the limb instantly becomes useless. If this power is used on an opponent’s head, mortal victims die instantly. Kindred lose two points from all Mental Attributes while their heads are shrunken and are unable to use any Disciplines except Celerity, Potence, and Fortitude. Multiple uses of this power on the same appendage have no additional effect.
Although its effects appear similar to those of Putrefaction, the impact of Necrosis on affected characters is much greater. Necrosis causes living (or undead) tissue to decompose and slough off, exposing bones and organs and leaving the victim open to infection.
System: The Samedi must make contact with the victim. The player spends two blood points and rolls Dexterity + Medicine (difficulty of the target’s Stamina + Fortitude). The victim takes a number of health levels of lethal damage equal to the number of successes rolled and suffers additional effects as listed below.
1 success: No additional effects.
2 successes: Lose a point of Appearance.
3 successes: Lose a point of Appearance and Dexterity.
4 successes: Lose a point of Appearance, Dexterity, and Strength.
5+ successes: Lose two points of Appearance and one point of Dexterity and Strength.
Attributes lost in this manner are regained when all damage from the Necrosis attack is healed. If a victim is reduced to zero Strength or Dexterity, he is unable to move except for weak flailing and crawling but may still use Disciplines and spent blood points normally.
Standard Thaumaturgy is available to Tremere, only. Other clans with their own branches of Thaumaturgy are Setites (Anku), a branch of the Assamites (Dur-an-Ki), and very few Lasombra (Abyss Mysticism) and Tzimisce (Koldunism).
Vicissitude is available to Tzimisce, only.
Vicissitude competes with the Madmens gift of Dementation for the title as the most harrowing power of the unliving. Cainites of Clan Tzimisce consider this Discipline their true gift, which allows them to reshape living or unliving flesh. Neonates might call attention to the similarities between Vicissitude and Protean, but ancillae and those who are familiar with both the Gangrel and Tzimisce recognize the truth.
Protean allows a Gangrel to manifest certain aspects of the Beast for the world to see. Vicissitude by contrast, allows the Tzimisce to visit his foulest perversions upon otherwise innocent victims and present them for the world to see. All Vicissitude powers require at least a moments physical contact. Some require considerably longer periods of time, in order to physically sculpt flesh and bone into the proper shapes. Vicissitude cannot be used to heal damage, though. That takes vitae, in the case of vampires, or time, in the case of mortals. And some of the reshaping that Tzimisce perform upon their victims takes time to heal into its new form, in the same way that a broken bone must reknit, and it might do so at an odd angle if it is setincorrectly.
Typically, changes made by Vicissitude are permanent, with a couple of caveats. First, a victim of lower generation than the Cainite using Vicissitude can heal any changes as though they were aggravated wounds. Second, Vicissitude can be used to undo changes wrought by that power but such a thing might take time and a great deal of work. Finally Vicissitude cannot permanently undo the horrid aspect of a Nosferatu, the deathly pallor of a Cappadocian, the inky blackness of an elder Assamites flesh or the animalistic features of a Gangrel who has frenzied overmuch. Those features are intrinsic aspects of the victims blood and return after a days rest. Vicissitude is part of Gods curse on Caine because it replaces the ability to create and nurture new living things with the hideous compulsion to reshape Gods creation in a twisted new image.
Those Cainites on the Road of Heaven rarely use this power, but it is popular among former butchers and peasants, as well as those who grew up in the shadow of Tzimisce holdings. Some Tzimisce fanatics follow a Road of Metamorphosis that uses Vicissitude as part of its holy (or unholy) sacraments. They are even said to worship in a horrific temple known as the Cathedral of Flesh.
• Malleable Visage
A Fiend with this power may alter his own bodily parameters: height, build, voice, facial features, hair and skin tone, among other things. Such changes are cosmetic and minor in scope no more than a foot of height can be gained or lost, for example. He must physically mold the alteration, literally shaping his flesh into the desired result.
System: The player must spend a blood point for each body part to be changed, then roll Intelligence + Body Crafts with a difficulty of 6. To duplicate another person requires a Perception + Body Crafts roll with a difficulty of 8 instead. Five successes are required for a flawless copy; fewer successes leave flaws ranging from minute to glaringly obvious. The player may increase his Cainites Appearance trait with Malleable Visage, but the difficulty of the Intelligence + Body Crafts Roll is 10, and a botch permanently decreases the Attribute.
For those who do not habitually flesh craft themselves, these changes in Appearance are permanent. To Tzimisce and other rare Vicissitude wielders, Appearance can vary wildly from sunset to dawn. It is limited only by the Cainites imagination and his generational trait limit.
•• Transmogrify the Mortal Clay (Fleshcraft)
This power is similar to Malleable Visage, but it allows the Cainite to perform drastic, grotesque alterations on other creatures as well as himself. Only flesh (including muscles, fat and cartilage, but not bone) may be transformed. The power is permanent on mortals, but vampires may spend blood points to heal the transformation.
System: The vampire must grapple or restrain the intended victim, and the player make a successful Dexterity + Body Crafts roll (difficulty variable: 5 for a crude yank-and-tuck; up to 9 for precise transformations under stressful conditions). Increasing anothers appearance is done as described under Malleable Visage. Reducing the ttribute is considerably easier (difficulty 5) though truly inspired disfigurement may require careful work and a higher difficulty. In either case, each success increases or reduces the Attribute by one, though the transmogrifying Cainitemay elect not to use all his successes.
Players who wish their vampires to heal their disfigurements must spend blood points equal to the total successes, regardless of the total Attribute loss or gain. A vampire may use this power to move clumps of skin, fat and muscle to provide additional padding where needed. For each success scored on a Dexterity + Body Crafts roll (difficulty 8), the vampire may increase the subjects dice pool for soaking attacks by one, at the expense of either a point of strength or a health level, at the vampires choice.
••• Rend the Osseous Frame (Bonecraft)
This terrible power allows a vampire to manipulate bone in the same manner that he shapes flesh. In conjunction with Transmogrify the Mortal Clay, this power enables the Cainite to warp a victim (or himself) beyond recognition. When used alone, it can inflict traumatic injury. Tzimisce often use this power to transform dogs and other beasts into slachta, monstrous war-ghouls used to guard havens or strike terror into foes on the battlefield.
System: When using this power in conjunction with Transmogrify the Mortal Clay, the player makes a Strength + Body Crafts roll (using the previously delineated difficulties). Cainite victims who wish to heal their disfigurements must do so as if they were aggravated wounds, even though no actual levels of damage were done. The Cainite may use Rend the Osseous Frame as a weapon, without the complementary flesh crafting arts.
Each success scored on the Strength + Body Crafts roll (difficulty 7) inflicts one level of lethal damage to the victim, as his bones rip, puncture, and slice their way out of his skin. Vampire victims may soak the lethal damage, but their bones are still warped and misaligned. This may cause problems with movement or sight for example, and putting the bones back is also treated as healing aggravated wounds. A vampire may use this power on himself or others to form spikes or talons of bone, either on the knuckles or feet as offensive weapons or all over the body as defensive quills. In the former case, the recipient takes one level of lethal damage. In the latter, the subject takes a number of levels of lethal damage equal to five minus the number of successes. (A botch kills a mortal subject, or sends a vampire into torpor.) This damage may be healed normally. Knuckle or foot spikes inflict Strength + 2 lethal damage in combat, while defensive quills inflict a hand-to-hand attackers strength in lethal damage unless the attacker scores three or more successes on the attack roll. (The quill-bearing defender still takes damage normally.) The quills also add two to all damage rolls for grapples or body slams.
The most fearsome attack possible with this power collapses the victims ribcage, piercing her heart with her own bones. While this does not send a vampire into torpor, it does cause the affected vampire to lose half her blood points, as the seat of her vitae ruptures in a shower of gore. Mortal victims die instantly. This attack must be declared before the attack is rolled, and it requires five successes on the [Strength]]] + Body Crafts roll to succeed. The victim still loses the blood points if she soaks all the lethal damage.
•••• Awaken the Zulo Shape
The traditional war-form of the changeable Tzimisce voivodes is the zulo shape, a hideous monstrosity a full eight feet in height with sickly greenish-grey scaled skin and powerful arms tipped with jagged black nails. A row of spines sprouts from the zulos vertebrae, and the eternal carapace exudes a foul-smelling grease.
System: The zulo shape costs two blood points to awaken. All Physical Attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Stamina) increase by three, but all Social Attributes drop to zero, save when dealing with others also in the zulo shape. However, a vampire in zulo form trying to intimidate someone may substitute Strength for a Social Attribute. Damage inflicted in brawling combat increases by one due to the jagged ridges and bony knobs creasing the creatures hands.
••••• Ascendancy of the Sanguine Humor
A vampire with this power can physically transform all or part of his body into sentient vitae. This blood is identical to the vampires normal vitae in all respects. She can use it to nourish herself or others, create ghouls or establish blood oaths. If all this blood is imbibed or otherwise destroyed, the vampire meets Final Death.
System: The vampire may transform all or part of herself as she deems fit. Each leg can turn into two blood points worth of vitae, as can the torso; each arm, the head and the abdomen convert to one blood point. The blood can be reconverted to the body part, provided it is in contact with the vampire. If the blood has been utilized or destroyed, the vampire must spend a number of blood points equal to what was originally created to regrow the missing body part.
A vampire entirely in this form may not be staked, cut, bludgeoned or pierced, but he can be burned or exposed to the sun. The vampire may ooze along, drip up walls and flow through the narrowest cracks, as though she were in Tenebrous Avatar form. Mental Disciplines may be used, provided no eye contact or vocal utterance is necessary and if a vampire in this form washes over a mortal or animal, that mortal must make a Courage roll (difficulty 8) or fly into a panic.