Vampire: The Requiem
|Vampire: the Requiem|
|RPG published by
White Wolf/Onyx Path
|Rule System||Storytelling System|
|Authors||Justin Achilli et al|
Vampire: The Requiem is the flagship title of White Wolf's New World of Darkness line, and, as its name suggests, the counterpart to the Old World of Darkness's Vampire: The Masquerade. The changes include the following (naturally, both oWoD and nWoD fans believe their way to be the true way):
- Five clans replace the thirteen, each embodying broad vampire archetypes. Whereas Masquerade's clans had well-researched histories and tracked their lineages to the first vampire, the five clans' true histories are shrouded in myth, legend, and falsehood. Each clan also hosts numerous bloodlines, which are mechanically similar to Masquerade bloodlines.
- Seven covenants replace the Camarilla and Sabbat (five of which are intended for player characters) and are significantly more important to a vampire's nightly existence than clan. Some covenants have goals and outlooks that put them at odds with others (most notably the Invictus, representing the status quo, clash with the Carthian Movement, representing progress).
- Embracing a new vampire costs a dot of Willpower. Gone are the nights of the Sabbat's "mass Embrace" tactics in normal circumstances; while the Ordo Dracul has discovered a means for performing a mass Embrace, the vampires created during said mass Embrace often turn out...wrong. as in "you had better be prepared to run the fuck away as soon as it's done" wrong.
- Blood Potency replaces Generation. Kindred can increase their Blood Potency easier than they could Generation, but as a vampire's blood strengthens, they lose the ability to draw Vitae from lesser creatures; at the highest levels, a vampire can only gain Vitae from other vampires. Eventually, their blood overpowers them and they must enter torpor, during which time their blood thins and they tend to lose their memories (a phenomenon dubbed the Fog of Eternity). Because of this, nobody knows vampiric history for sure, even though some Kindred keep Requiem diaries of what they remembered (which can easily be in code or deliberately falsified, which is bad when the source vampire forgets the code or the truth).
- A new group of antagonists called the Strix are added. They aren't exactly vampires, but instead are shadowy, demonic owl-like beings that despise all forms of life and Humanity (to the point where they consider a Humanity 0 vampire too human) and claim to be a physical manifestation of the Beast. While they don't normally possess physical forms, they can possess corpses and unfortunate vampires to use as meat-puppets.
- Humanity is tweaked; in addition to the typical sins as breaking points, events that remind a vampire how inhuman he/she is can also cause a roll for "detachment", as it's now known. Reading your own obituary in the newspaper, existing longer than a century, seeing a culture that wasn't around while you were mortal- that sort of stuff.
There are all sorts of splats and expansions, including one for playing in the Roman Empire, one for various other historical settings (Ancient Egypt to WW1), one for playing as a ghoul, and one for the Eighties (seriously).
Now into its second edition (originally released under the title of "Blood & Smoke"), which gave vampires a fairly big boost. For example, they no longer only downgrade bullets to bashing; they downgrade all lethal damage to bashing unless they're full of bashing damage.
- 1 Vampire Necrology
- 2 The Clans
- 3 Covenants & Conspiracies
- 4 Disciplines
- 5 Ghouls
- 6 Larvae, Revenants, and Dhampir
- 7 Blood-Drinking Kin
- 8 Strix, The Birds of Dis
- 9 See Also
- First of all being turned to a vampire doesn't change your personality; at least, not right away. You're still the same dude you were before you get embraced, but chances are you're not gonna remain the same for long. The kind of shit freshly turned vampires go through tends to leave emotional scarring, but if nothing else you can still remember what it was like to be a human.
- That said, you're not alone in your head either; vampires call it "The Beast", a sort of super-savage Id that is pure predatory instincts. It's not evil so much as animalistic; it wants to eat when it's hungry, get away from things that scare it, and fillet things that piss it off. Whether doing any of the above is appropriate in any given situation is irrelevant to it, which can cause problems if the Beast feels the need to kill something in a public area. The Beast mostly makes its presence felt in the form of Frenzies, which are triggered by being exposed to fire/sunlight/banes, getting angry enough to lose control, or letting yourself starve. When this happens, the Beast tries to take control of you in order to get what it wants (e.g. kill the thing pissing it off, flee from fire/sunlight, or feed until it's not hungry anymore). The risk of provoking an anger-induced frenzy is one of the reasons why vampiric society values politeness as strongly as it does- the Beast is highly sensitive to competition.
- Hit Humanity 0, and you devolve into a Draugr- a barely sentient predator completely lost to the influence of the Beast. Anything resembling human thought or personality ceases, and all that's left is the basic urge to hunt and kill. As they are incapable of understanding the Masquerade, draugr have to be put down before they bring any unwanted attention to other vampires.
- Your body is a corpse. It doesn't rot, but it's obviously dead if anyone pays close attention- pale coloration, skin that's cold and clammy to the touch, no heartbeat, that sort of thing. You can burn precious Vitae to create "the Blush of Life", which warms you up and makes you look like one of the living. This is a luxury, not a necessity, but it can help with blending in. (If you have to eat with it on, try to find somewhere out of the way where you can puke it all up when the Blush wears off- the end result feels as unpleasant as it looks.)
- Incidentally, you can have sex, but only whilst using the Blush of Life. That said, it doesn't really compare to the visceral pleasure you get from drinking blood. The Kiss, as it's called, feels like a super-orgasm for both the vampire and the person they're feeding on.
- Speaking of which, that's a thing you need to do. Animal blood can feed you... but only for a short amount of time. Blood from other supernaturals can also feed you, but may have negative side effects, at least before your own blood thickens up.
- Unlike in that other vampire RPG, your power isn't set in stone based on how far removed you are from some mystical progenitor. Instead, it's tied into how old you are and how strong the Blood has become in you. You start out as with a Blood Potency of 1 (usually), and you grow stronger with experience, time (1 dot every 50 years) or diablerie. This Blood Potency grants you greater access to your supernatural powers and augments many traits about you... but, as your blood gets more potent, your diet becomes rarified. Very soon, animal blood just won't cut it for you. And at Blood Potency 6, even human blood isn't strong enough; only vampire Vitae will do, although you can take a Merit to let you get your fix from other supernaturals. Obviously, this means a lot of vampires learn to be cautious when dealing with their elders least they end up as a snack.
- And needing vampire Vitae isn't a good thing even if you ignore the fact most vampires won't be willing to give theirs up; see, Vitae is addictive to anyone who drinks it. Worse, if you swig too many times from the same vamp you're subjected to the Vinculum, which is a sort of extreme artificial love that creates an all-consuming urge to serve that vampire. Think of it as an uber-crush crossed with an addiction and you won't be far off. Even if the thrall (the one bound by the Vinculum) hates his regnant's guts, he will find it nearly impossible to actually harm the regnant even through indirect means. Mercifully, this state only lasts for a year or so...but another feeding of Vitae from the regnant while it's in effect will renew it.
- Luckily, you can lower your Blood Potency by deliberately going into Torpor, a death-like sleeping state that can last anywhere from a day to a century depending on Blood Potency. However, the bizarre dream-like state that occurs with it had been known to cause memory loss, a phenomenon known as the "Fog of Eternity". Torpor can also be triggered by a stake through the heart or taking a large amount of damage.
Nobody knows exactly how the clans came into being or if they even have a common ancestor at all. In fact, the fluff strongly suggests that each clan is effectively its own species of vampire, with their common traits being a byproduct of convergent evolution rather than being a sign of any direct relation.
Regardless of their origins, each one reflects one aspect of vampirism in some way or another. Additionally, each clan possess a staggering number of bloodlines, each with their own unique abilities and weaknesses added onto the original clan's own. Most of the V:tM clans which didn't make the jump to V:tR have been reclassified as bloodlines if they haven't been removed (e.g. the Malkavian clan is now the Malkovian bloodline, as well as a peculiar mind-virus called Malkavia that drives any vampire that catches it hopelessly insane).
The Core Five
- Notable Bloodlines: Toreador, Erzsébet
- Favored Disciplines: Celerity, Majesty, Vigor
- Favored Attributes: Dexterity or Manipulation
The Daeva are beautiful, but the adage "beauty is only skin deep" is very much in effect for them. For all their lustful attitudes, superficial charm, and espoused love of beauty, they're emotionally dead even by the standards of other vampires. This emotional deadening in turn leads many of their number to grow jaded and hedonistic, seeking ever-greater ways of indulging their vices in a desperate attempt to remember what it means to feel again. At the same time, they are more than willing to exploit their beauty and charm to manipulate both Kindred and kine alike.
In 2e, their weakness was modified somewhat - now they have a tendency to grow addicted to a given person's blood if they feed on him/her more than once. The only way to break this addiction is via the death of the mortal in question.
They represent the vampire as a seducer and tempter.
- Notable Bloodlines: Bruja, Dead Wolves
- Favored Disciplines: Animalism, Protean, Resilience
- Favored Attributes: Composure or Stamina
The Gangrel are still the same nature-vampires they were in VtM, but in spite of their close connection to the Beast (or perhaps because of it) they have established themselves as scholars and philosophers of the Kindred's unique condition. That doesn't mean they won't tear you limb from limb if you piss one off, though.
While they've lost their vulnerability to Frenzying, they do have trouble thinking rationally at times as their minds become more bestial and they don't function very well in human or Kindred society.
They represent the vampire as a bestial hunter.
- Notable Bloodlines: Morbus, Sangiovanni
- Favored Disciplines: Auspex, Celerity, Obfuscate
- Favored Attributes: Intelligence or Wits
The Mekhet are particularly attuned to shadows and darkness and translate this attunement into a degree of finesse regardless of what they set their minds to. They're particularly adept at scholarly pursuits and infiltration but in many cases can branch out to do a little bit of everything. However, their connection to darkness also exacerbates the typical vampiric weaknesses to fire and sunlight, and with no natural talent for controlling animals or people they have to make extra effort to keep their interference in mortal affairs as shadowy as themselves.
Complicating this further is a tendency to develop banes more easily - esoteric weaknesses like growing confused when approaching a crossroads, or not being able to enter a house without being invited.
They represent the vampire as a creature of darkness.
Before the Mekhet knew about the embrace, they created more of their kind by finding the newly buried and working rituals to raise the corpse back to life by stoking the souls hatred. Most think of the Hollows as myths, but some still exist in the modern world, Mekhet who have no shadow and reflection, and can't be recorded in anyway.
The reason for this is that their Ka, the spirit double/vital essence and a part of their soul, is separated from their body. This is also their weakness instead of their regular clan weakness. See, the Ka hates being unable to really live and experience things so it harasses the Hollow. It can't manifest outside of a reflection in mirror, a voice from a speaker or cellphone, or a text message, but it uses these to screw over the Hollows relationships and try to get him into trouble in some way. Also, when the Hollow goes into torpor, the Ka doesn't, so have fun waking up to find out all your pals hate your guts and that you're the worst person ever one night.
- Notable Bloodlines: Baddacelli, Usiri
- Favored Disciplines: Nightmare, Obfuscate, Vigor
- Favored Attributes: Composure or Strength
Like in VtM, the Nosferatu are monstrous (usually this means they're ugly as hell, but in some Nosferatu it may take more subtle forms like an unnerving voice, a gaze that makes people feel violated, or a shadow that seems to move on its own- some are even so beautiful that they seem more like mannequins than people), but compensate for it with a knack for stealth and an alarming amount of strength when provoked. They're also good record-keepers and many Nosferatu are capable of communicating with ghosts. Of course, they are also experts at using the fear that they generate in others as a weapon.
In 2e, their Touchstones, mortal people they're close to that keep them tethered to their humanity, are now immune to their evil appearances, so there's that at least.
They represent the vampire as an inhuman monster.
- Notable Bloodlines: Malkovians, Gorgons
- Favored Disciplines: Animalism, Dominate, Resilience
- Favored Attributes: Presence or Resolve
Still the same stuck-up egotistical assholes that they were in VtM, and also the clan whose members are most likely to be either in positions of power or actively scheming to attain those positions of power. Their mind-control powers are just as good at helping them fulfill their ambitions as they were in VtM, but it also tends to make them particularly vulnerable to acquiring derangements. After all, power corrupts, even among the undead.
2e changes their weakness slightly to a greater risk of losing their Touchstones - the people or things that remind vampires what it was like to be humans. Losing these Touchstones weakens a vampire's ability to resist detachment, and if they're all lost the vampire feels a sudden and overwhelming urge to enter Torpor.
They represent the vampire as an aristocratic lord of the undead.
- Notable Bloodlines: Dunia, Rexroth, Stawa
- Favored Disciplines: Celerity, Obfuscate, Praestantia
- Favored Attributes: Strength or Wits
The Akhud are a clan most kindred regard as merely bogeyman and myths, having been wiped out long ago. They tell that the clan descended from the king of Gomorrah, which was destroyed along with Sodom by God for its wickedness. According to legend, the king of Gomorrah was Embraced and compelled his people along those of Sodom and the lesser cities of Admah, Zeboim, and Bela to commit great sins, ultimately leading to their destruction by fire and brimstone.
The sons of those cities' kings survived at the expense of becoming vampires themselves, and became obsessed with punishing the ones who led them into ruin. Eventually, a descendant of one of these lost kings' sons summoned a demon called Shaddad in a fit of desperation; the demon (who might have been a Strix) claimed that if all other vampires were slain, they would be granted a new Gomorrah to rule. They may be linked to VII.
Their weakness is that they have difficulty hurting other members of the clan, mortal descendants of clan members, and other vampires in vinculum to one of the Akhud intentionally. In first edition they also suffered a penalty on derangement rolls.
- Notable Bloodlines: Ventrue (rumored)
- Favored Disciplines: Animalism (1E), Dominate, Resilience, Vigor (2E)
- Favored Attributes: Presence or Resolve
The Julii ruled the Camarilla in the age of the Roman Empire. They invented the modern Masquerade, a derivation of the Mekhet concept, but merely hid the fact of their existence as creatures of the night, rather than completely disappearing from mortal view. They claim descent from Aulus Julius, childe of Remus, the twin brother of Romulus. Remus was never Embraced but had become a vampire in a pact with the Strix in exchange for serving them after Romulus left him for dead after their dispute over where to found the city that would go on to become Rome.
This clan disappeared over time, and by the time when the Visigoths sacked Rome in 418 AD they had been wiped out with the Camarilla. Their tenuous grip on their humanity (a side effect of the pact Remus made) probably contributed to their decline, as did their unwise decision to betray the Birds of Dis.
The specific similarities between the Julii and Ventrue and the fact that the Ventrue didn't seem to exist during the Camarilla's reign lead many to believe that the Ventrue are descended from the Julii, but anything that might hint at the truth has long since vanished to the Fog of Eternity. Some of the Strix might know, but they have no intention of revealing the truth of the matter.
In 2E, some of them did apparently survive through the fall of Rome and the Camarilla, but pretend to be members of other clans. Their clan weakness is now the Strigid Curse, where their Humanity score affects how well they can resist the powers of the Strix and other ephemeral beings.
The Winter Kings
- Notable Bloodlines: None
- Favored Disciplines: Animalism, Fortitude, Bereschligost
- Favored Attributes: Stamina or Manipulation
Once, the Mikhaili were the most powerful clan in Siberia. They were rare, but they boasted many elders and were said to have possessed very potent blood. But when the Gangrel arrived from the south and east, they began Embracing en masse in a desperate attempt to drive out the invaders- only to dilute their blood so badly that even diablerie could not restore its potency. Now the clan exists only as a cautionary tale warning against Embracing too frequently, though some say that Revenants created by Gangrel whose ancestors diablerized the Mikhaili show lingering traces of their power.
The original Mikhaili weakness was an uncontrollable urge to enter torpor from the spring to the fall; when they woke up from it, they were invariably starved for blood. On the off-chance any Mikhaili have survived their presumed extinction, their blood has thinned to the point that their Embraces can only create Revenants, meaning that it's still only a matter of time before the clan ceases to exist.
- Notable Bloodlines: None
- Favored Disciplines: Animalism, Protean, Resilience
- Favored Attributes: Stamina or Wits
The Pijavica (pronounced pee-yah-veet-sah) were a particularily strange clan, if they were even kindred. Upon embrace, the embraced would die, their extremities withered, and stomachs swelled massively. If the corpse wasn't simply cremated, it would burst open to reveal a mass of sentient blood. Over the course of 40 nights (provided they didn't die first- and most did, as they were very vulnerable to the weaknesses of vampires and could only subsist on spilled blood and blood from open wounds), the Pijavica "larva" transformed first into a gelatinous blob-thing, then into a shapeshifting mass of flesh, and then finally into a mostly-human looking vampire. They're believed to have died out by the 19th century, probably due to the sheer unlikelihood of their surviving long enough to assume their human form.
It's said a prominent member of the Ordo Dracul had extensively studied Pijavica "larvae" to determine how they reacted to being exposed to different types of blood, but both the research and the researcher were destroyed after a local pack of werewolves expressed their displeasure over the use of their blood for her experiments in the Uratha's...usual manner. The only traces of her work now are just some half-finished notes and smashed specimen jars.
Their weakness is the Mutative Curse, where they take penalties to their social and mental attributes when their blood potency is below 4 and penalties to their physical attributes when it's above 7.
|The Clans of Vampire: The Requiem|
Covenants & Conspiracies
With no Camarilla to give the Kindred a unifying organization to rally around anymore, Kindred instead identify with different Covenants, organizations that are in effect a cross between a political party, a nation-state, and a religion. While the Covenants' goals and ideologies are often greatly divergent if not mutually irreconcilable, their unwillingness to threaten the Masquerade keeps their conflicts bloodless and infrequent more often than not. On the other hand, internal strife within covenants is not unheard of either and can in some cases be more intense than conflicts between different Covenants.
The Core Five
The five core Covenants from the core rulebook.
The wide-eyed idealists of the vampire world, the Carthian Movement see no reason why the status quo should remain unchallenged and are intent on challenging its concentration of power within the hands of a small number of elders. Needless to say, ideas like "democratic rule" and "acceptance of change" has made them bitter rivals of the Invictus, who see them as little more than rabble-rousers. The fact that they themselves can't agree on what the status quo should be replaced with doesn't help. But on the bright side, their affinity towards mortal laws and ordinances somehow allows them to gain special boons via their own "laws".
Circle of the Crone
A quasi-pagan Covenant that pledges its loyalty to a goddess-like figure they refer to as the Crone. While the specifics of their beliefs vary widely between its different sects (as do the other deities and spirits they venerate), they all agree that vampirism is a natural state of existence and that any vampire who wishes to seek enlightenment can do so if they are willing to suffer for it. That said, their practice of Crúac - a form of ritual blood magic that occasionally requires sacrificial victims to work - has raised more than a few eyebrows in vampire society for its tendency to rouse the Beast, and the fact the Strix can use it too can only be described as suspicious.
The closest thing to the Camarilla of VtM, they consider themselves the rightful leaders of vampiric society, while everyone else considers them to be a bunch of insufferable pricks. While they give lip service to the idea that they're a meritocracy, in practice the elders of the covenant hold all the power and have a vested interest in making sure that if the younger members try to advance in position it'll only happen on their terms. They may be oppressive and tyrannical, but even their rivals begrudgingly admit that they do a good job of keeping the Masquerade going. Plus, they've got a ton of cash and influence built up over the ages, which the vampires on top get to enjoy for all it's worth. They were descended from the remnants of the Senex, the leadership wing of the old Camarilla, and even in those nights their main interest was in keeping as much power for themselves as possible.
Lancea et Sanctum
Christianity for vampires. According to their traditions, they descend from Longinus, the Roman centurion who pierced Christ's side with a spear as He was dying on the cross (see the Gospel of John); when His blood dripped upon him, Longinius was cursed with vampirism for his faithlessness and cruelty. Being religiously inclined doesn't mean that the Sanctified are pacifists or averse to their nature as vampires; on the contrary, they see their damnation as a necessary part of their role as a way of putting the fear of God into mortals and are notoriously zealous in their drive to convert unbelievers within vampiric society. This is made much easier for them by virtue of their practice of Theban Sorcery, which is best described as a blend of magic and miracles. The Lancea first came to prominence within the Camarilla during the Roman Empire, though for much of the Camarilla's history it was as distrusted among Roman Kindred as Christianity itself was among the kine.
If you hadn't guessed by the name, Dracula himself founded this Covenant. Compared to the more religious or political bent of the others, its focus is more on the relatively scientific aspects of vampirism- more specifically, its search for a way to transcend the natural limitations of vampirism. Towards this end, it has developed a set of esoteric teachings called the Coils of the Dragon; while they have yet to fully transcend their vampiric state, the Coils are indisputably effective at mitigating many of the typical vampire weaknesses (e.g. a greater ability to resist Frenzy, reducing the damaging effects of sunlight during dawn and dusk, reducing the consequences of high Blood Potency, etc.) They're absolutely obsessed with furthering their studies of the vampiric condition and don't particularly care about who they hurt if it means another step closer to perfecting themselves. Ironically, this means the vampire splat best able to make themselves into something that's less dangerous to ordinary, innocent people is also the least interested in doing so- their goal is to become better monsters, not regain their mortality.
The Infernalists of VtM without the organization, Belial's Brood is little more than a pack of devil-worshipping madmen that have voluntarily given themselves up to the Beast. Although they are divided into numerous factions with their own competing ideologies, they are all crudely united in their disregard for everyone besides themselves and their single-minded thirst for destruction. Imagine Sabbat with a Baali streak.
In 2e, their nature is expanded on somewhat; to become a member of the Brood, a potential member must be Claimed. This is an extremely dangerous process in which the member becomes a draugr but has a Beast strong enough to control their conscious minds without the typical side effects of causing them to degenerate into mindless predators. This process also prevents the new Brood member from performing the Embrace successfully- any attempts to do so will either fail or create draugr.
The organization of Belial's Brood can generously be described as loose, with the strongest member of a given clutch taking the role of the clutch's leader (or Apex). Unlike the other covenants, they have no place for politicking, eschewing it in favor of the simpler principles of "whatever the strongest vampire says goes" and "anyone can be the Apex if they can kill the current Apex unaided in a challenge".
Next to nothing is known about them; even their name is a presumed one based only on the image of the Roman numeral they leave behind after their attacks on other Kindred, which have no discernible pattern or motive that anybody can identify. Bizarrely, their members never run the risk of Frenzy when meeting other Kindred, and even when forced to speak the truth through supernatural compulsion its members can't explain what VII really is. Even mind-reading attempts reveal nothing but an image of the Roman numeral "VII."
Some say they are sleeper agents, acting as normal vampires until compelled to kill by an unknown signal, returning to their old lives with no memory of their actions afterwards. Others link them to the Akhud, and others still believe they have somehow been subverted by the God-Machine and are deployed to eliminate vampires that interfere with Its inscrutable plans. They may have some kind of connection to the Strix since they always attack within three days of a Strix's appearance, but nobody knows if they're allies or enemies to the Owls.
The Camarilla was the ruling covenant of Roman Kindred during the time of the Republic and Empire until it fell to ruin during the Visigoths' sacking of Rome in AD 418. It was divided into four wings: the Senex (the government and nobility), the Legio Mortuum (the police and military), the Cult of Augurs (the priests and soothsayers in theory, but in practice they were mostly con artists and false prophets), and the Peregrine Collegia (immigrants, felons, slaves, and other such outcasts and undesirables), with an offshoot of the Peregrine Collegia barely recognized as the Lance et Sanctum (what would later become the Lancea Sanctum). They maintained three Traditions, which have survived in a heavily modified form into modern vampiric society: Dominion (the Camarilla rules the world and divides it into domains as they see fit), Destruction (only the Camarilla's Senex can sentence Kindred to Final Death), and Amaranth (no Kindred may commit diablerie).
|Disciplines of the Clans|
Disciplines are the main powers used by the Kindred to impose their will upon the night. Many of these are based on powers taken from Vampire: The Masquerade, if not in name then certainly in theme. Something that Requiem does explore further is that certain Disciplines are more common than others. These five common Disciplines (Animalism, Celerity, Obfuscate, Resilience and Vigor) can be learned by just about every vampire without the need for a teacher. The only difference is that the three out-of-clan common Disciplines cost an additional dot of Experience to buy. Each Clan has their own unique Discipline that reinforces their theme. These can also be self-taught by vampires of that Clan, but out of Clan training not only requires a willing teacher of that Clan, it also requires the Vitae of a vampire who possesses this Discipline of at least the level the student wants to learn (note that this does not require the vampire to be of that Clan). And yes, this carries the usual risks of ingesting Vitae.
The five common Disciplines all appear twice amongst the five Clans. Given that there are ten different combinations of two possible, with the third Discipline being unique to the Clan. While this would give ample opportunity to pick a set of five of these combinations so that each Discipline appears twice, White Wolf made the mistake of picking two identical combinations (Animalism and Resilience) for both the Gangrel and the Ventrue. Way to go, guys. The five common Disciplines are:
- Animalism: Control over animals and at higher levels humans and Kindred alike. Animals can be talked to, summoned or raised as a familiar, while kin and kine an be cast into a frenzy. At the highest level a vampire can mark a territory as their own, granting them bonuses and penalties to their enemies.
- Obfuscate: Allows a vampire to fade from view and memory alike. At higher levels this can also extend to objects, make themselves utterly disappear, or fill in the blanks with something else. At the highest a vampire can infuse an area with shadows and illusions, making everything in it vanish or not appear for what it is.
- A trio of Disciplines form the Physical Disciplines: each of them enhancing the vampire's physical abilities in some way. They all have some sort of persistent, always on bonus and a couple of effects that require the expenditure of Vitae. These Disciplines are:
- Celerity: The power of GOES FAST. Adds your Celerity to your defense against attacks that you can see coming, and can spend Vitae to perform great feats of speed (but can't attack twice).
- Resilience: This lets you be so dead that it increases your Stamina for the purpose of damage soaking, and it lets you soak everything that's not sunlight. Spend Vitae to subtract Resilience from all incoming damage not dealt by your Bane or the sun.
- Vigor: Super strength! Add your Vigor to your Strength for extra lifting and super jumps. By spending vitae you can increase your damage output (but can damage your weapon) and juggle dumpsters and cars like a champ.
Then there are the five Disciplines of the Clans:
- Auspex: The Beast's senses cranked up to 11, this lets you read a room for emotions and intent, figure out someone's secrets, employ psychometry, read minds and astrally project. This suits the purposes of the sneaky Mekhet just fine.
- Dominate: Via eye contact (and it works if the victim sees the vampire's eyes, even through sunglasses and tinted windows) a vampire can impose their will upon a victim. From here a vampire can issue orders, implant a command, alter memories or even outright possess the victim. Perfect for the demanding attitudes common amongst the Ventrue.
- Majesty: The one-dot power, Awe, lets you shine a spotlight on yourself and from there charm people, play with their emotions and enthrall them, with other powers in this Discipline enhancing the core power. Very useful but not very subtle, just like the diva-like Daeva themselves.
- Nightmare: Starts with the casting of an aura of dread around the vampire and lets them cause small terrifying illusions. From there it all goes up: directly cause fear, fill a person's mind with terrors visible only to them, inflict powerful hallucinations or cause terror so strong it can potentially kill. A natural power to have for the revolting Nosferatu.
- Protean: The power of nature itself. This lets a vampire hide in the ground (or any earth-like material), grow natural weapons or armor and at the apex become a cloud of Vitae-devouring smoke, pierced only by a pair of bright yellow eyes. This comes naturally for the wild, predatory Gangrel.
Various other minor Disciplines exist, but most if not all of them are exclusive to specific Bloodlines or have been forgotten over the ages.
As in Masquerade, a Ghoul is a human who's been fed vampire blood to turn them into an unaging toady. Unlike in Masquerade, being a ghoul is a whole lot less fun, and far less of a free power-up for humans.
See, vampire blood - Vitae - is incredibly addictive. It's like cocaine mixed with liquid orgasm. But more than that, it carries a mystical compulsion, making you increasingly enthralled to the vampire you drunk it from (known as the regnant). Drink three times from one vampire, and you're addicted to it. And this blood bond, this Viniculum, is all but impossible to break on your own - it'll go away on its own if you don't drink that vampire's vitae for a year, but the Vinculum creates an artificial but intense love for your regnant that compels you to do whatever they command you to, whether you want to or not. Mortals are most susceptible to this, but other supernatural beings are vulnerable as well. In vampiric society, it's commonly imposed on other vampires as a form of punishment.
To turn somebody into a ghoul, a vampire feeds them a point's worth of Vitae and spends a point of Willpower - naturally, they tend to wait until their future ghoul has a full-blown Viniculum developed in order to ensure their loyalty. Once that happens, bam, they're a ghoul. They immediately stop aging and gain a single dot in Celerity, Vigor or Resilience - exactly which Discipline is chosen by their vampiric creator. They can learn further Disciplines, but at double the cost of a vampire learning them, although they're considered Blood Potency 0, can only spend 1 point of Vitae per turn, and their "Vitae Pool" is equal to their Stamina dots. They can also burn Vitae to augment their physical prowess and to heal wounds, just like a vampire.
Ghouls need to feed regularly, as only the presence of vitae in their system sustains their existence; this requires drinking a point's worth of Vitae from a vampire, with either the vampire or the ghoul spending a Willpower point to "charge" the Vitae, once per month. They can technically "fast" by simply not using their Powers - so long as a ghoul has at least 1 unspent point of Vitae in their system, they still count as a ghoul, no matter how long it's been since they last fed - but if they ever have to spend their last Vitae point, then they immediately lose the powers of the ghoul. The state itself isn't lost permanently; a fresh drink of Vitae will bring them back to the eternal night, but they can't use any of their Disciplines, and time starts catching up on them. As in, they age a year for each day they go without feeding. And if they do manage to find fresh Vitae, they don't reset the clock, they just pause it at a new point.
Needless to say, the longer a ghoul has been around, the more dependent they are on drinking Vitae - age will turn them into dust if they've been alive long enough.
That's not to say that rogue ghouls don't happen. Usually, it's because somebody else killed a ghoul's master and left the ghoul alive, or a vampire wasn't able to renew the Vinculum on his ghoul and the ghoul ended up defecting to another vampire's service. But any Hunter cell stupid enough to try turning themselves into ghouls to become better vampire hunters, a la the Society of Leopold? They're up shit creek without a paddle. Or even a boat.
Ghouls who lack a vampiric master will take desperate measures to get their fix, up to and including killing vampires for their Vitae. While these cases are uncommon, they happen enough for most vampires to realize that they should never underestimate what their servants can do if left to their own devices.
In 2nd edition, these rules are tweaked slightly. For starters, that monthly feeding of preservative Vitae no longer requires either party spending a Willpower point after the initial ghoul creation, and they can't be knocked unconscious by Bashing damage. That's the good news. The bad news? A ghoul whose failed to upkeep themselves can't halt the decay by taking just one sip of precious Vitae anymore. Nope, now they keep aging until they've ingested Vitae equal to the Blood Potency of the last vampire they drank from before they missed their monthly dose.
The 1e "Ghouls" sourcebook also covers things like Ghoul Families - akin to Masquerade's Revenants, animal ghouls, and plant ghouls. These were re-introduced in the 2e "Half-Damned" sourcebook.
Larvae, Revenants, and Dhampir
Larvae appeared in 1e and are basically a nod to the Sabbat's love of Mass Embrace as a weapon in Masquerade. A larva was only partially embraced (Willpower point insted of Willpower dot), and as such rises from its grave as a Blood Potency 0, Humanity 0 monster - more of a blood-drinking, sun-fearing "rage zombie" than a vampire proper. They can mature into proper vampires if they diablerize one or manage to survive 50 years. Until then... they're basically extremely dangerous to everybody, and very hard to control.
Revenants are a 2e invention who arguably have replaced Larvae. Less of a clan and more of a mistake, Revenants are "spontaneous vampires", occasionally created when someone with vitae in their system dies or is exasanguinated by a low Humanity Kindred. They are a miserable lot, constantly bleeding out their vitae during daysleep and in a nearly permanent state of Hunger Frenzy because of it. They have all the weaknesses of vampirism and very little of the strengths, and they are often forced to become walking Masquerade breaches out of necessity. Unless, of course, some other vampire decides to fully Embrace them, giving them a clan and with it, some degree of ability to use their lemons to make lemonade. A small handful of revenant "dynasties" exist on the fringes of vampiric society, but they often struggle to stay afloat due to the difficulty many of them have in performing their version of the Embrace. Their only compensation is Chary, a crude Discipline that allows them to hold onto Vitae slightly better.
Dhampir are the rare result of a vampire-human pairing. As vampires are naturally sterile, a dhampir can only be created either via powerful blood sorcery or in the extremely unlikely event that a human with an unborn child is turned (male or female, though it happens somewhat more often in the latter case) without the baby being stillborn. Dhampir have limited forms of supernatural abilities known as Twists and Malisons, but the former can't be controlled consciously and the latter requires the blood of the dhampir performing it to work. Furthermore, the vampiric parent's Clan influence frequently leaves permanent psychological scars even if the dhampir is wholly ignorant of his half-damned heritage:
- Daeva dhampir struggle to form social bonds with others, and even when one is forged they are prone to sabotaging those relationships in a form of social self-harm.
- Gangrel dhampir are restless and prone to wanderlust. They have little patience for niceties and obligations, and can grow shockingly violent if they feel like they're being tied down.
- Mekhet dhampir are paranoid, and they try to fight it by gathering information about everyone around them. In many cases, this turns into a sick form of voyeurism based on stealing people's secrets and breaching their privacy.
- The disgust that the Nosferatu generate is turned inward in their dhampir offspring, leaving even the most well-adjusted Nosferatu dhampir wracked with self-loathing. The inferiority complexes thus produced often push others away from the dhampir, leaving him even more entrenched in his hatred of himself.
- Ventrue dhampir go through life with a sense of thwarted entitlement; the world ought to be their oyster, but for whatever reason their goals are always ever so slightly out of reach. Naturally, this tends to make them domineering and arrogant as they try to force others to bend to their will without the easy out of Dominate.
Unusually, dhampir also have an innate connection to the workings of fate and possess an uncanny ability to sense the supernatural above and beyond that which pertains to the Kindred. Because of this, it is not unheard of for a dhampir to end up making allies with other supernatural beings, especially when destiny ends up nudging them in that direction. Though it's a stereotype that many dhampir become vampire hunters, this is less of a result of their cursed blood and more of a byproduct of the average vampire being a really shitty parent.
Vampires who aren't Kindred, brought-up in the book Wicked Dead. Their Blood Potency is 0, so each time they meet a "true" vampire, they cower in fear. Thousand Years of Night also introduced some new beings that hunt the kindred for their own reasons.
Actually several kinds of blood-drinking shapechanging supernatural beastie from the Phillipines, with one variety from World of Darkness: Antagonists and three from Night Horrors: The Wicked Dead. All share the common trait of being Technically Living Vampires, and thus suffering no effect from sunlight other than reverting to their human form during the day. The "vanilla" Aswang is a race of exclusively female blood-suckers who never smile with their teeth because they have four pairs of canine teeth instead of the human two pairs - they reproduce by having sex with human men, producing perfectly normal human sons and aswang daughters. At night, they revert to the forms of ugly, haggish versions of themselves with claws and elongated, fang-like teeth, who use their hypnotically beautiful voices to lure prey into their reach, as they must feed regularly or be trapped in their monstrous form even during the day. The Halimaw assumes the form of a demonic winged humanoid at night and feeds with its mawful of jagged fangs and ripping claws, as well as being prone to suffering from a split personality that makes it actually delude itself about being human during the day. The Tik-Tik becomes a monstrous blood-sucking bat/mosquito hybrid. The Sigbin becomes a fang-mouthed hornless goat that lulls people into a trance by clapping its oversized ears together. All forms of Aswang are hated by the Kindred, as they don't make any attempt to uphold the Masquerade and so "real" vampires have to work harder to cover up for them.
A (mercifully) unique ghost who hunts down and murders people who have survived conflict in order to feed on their cut-short lifespan.
Ghosts so desperate to experience life once more that they possess human beings, even knowing that this will A: damn them to an incessant craving for human blood and flesh whilst they are so incarnated, and B: result in the inevitable destruction of their host body.
An ancient cult composed of witch-priestesses of the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca in his aspect as a god of malice and discord. Each one is a woman who has suffered a stillbirth (which, ironically, makes them the opposite of the honored-if-dangerous ghosts of women who died giving birth that they take their name from) and was found by the other Chihuateteo and offered a way to give the tragedy meaning and never have to face the spectre of death personally again. Should she accept (and destroy something dear to her to show her willingness), they initiate her into the order and she becomes a claw-fingered spectre that looks like the unholy lovechild of a human and the world's largest owl. With her new vocation, she gains the ability to turn into one or gain an owl's talons as well, the secret Rites of the Crossroads they use to cause their god's holy strife, Age Without Youth, and the Disciplines of Majesty and Obsfucate, as well as a Beast of her own. She can't generate Vitae herself despite being fully alive (she has to steal breath instead), and her Beast is a tame one (it only risks frenzy in response to anger and is easy to bring to heel before it gets that far), but Kindred wise in the ways of Strix look at the Chihuateteo and wonder. Also, they're Mexican ultranationalists (rather fitting, since their benefactor was one of the most revered members of the Aztec pantheon and was said to be the patron deity of the Aztec kings).
You ever seen that tongue-eating aquatic bug that shows up in fish? This is basically that, but it infests humans and animals. Victims are slowly mind-controlled and ultimately become rotting, blood-drinking zombies who literally shit out their own guts, now filled with more cymothoa eggs, spending their last few days (hours) guarding whichever water source they've infected with their larvae. And the host is fully conscious throughout the whole process, in case it wasn't horrid enough yet.
Blood-drinking monsters that appear as regular humans, but use Auspex and the Empusa has one leg made of bronze and a donkey's leg, while that Lamia has a snakes lower body. Other than these, they're no different from other vampires.
Emotion eaters who feed on self-loathing and body issues. Getting fed on by them causes a person to look more and more beautiful... at the cost of their life force, leading as many times as not to a beautifully preserved corpse. Ironically, the Vitae so gained is stored in fatty deposits, meaning that the Fomorsae are, to the last vamp, horrendously obese and ugly themselves. They are extremely touchy about this.
They're also the exception that proves the rule of Blood Potency 0, since they do have one or higher points in it... and they know Dominate.
Arabian mages who have gained immortality, as well as alchemy and a few other powers, at the expense of cannibalism. They're also... not undead. In fact, they probably have it better than Kindred.
Beings that appear as a vampires dead love reborn. When a vampire drinks their blood, they are overwhelmed by a feeling of euphoria and believe themselves to be alive again. This is usually followed by them trying to walk in sunlight and them getting burned by it, with the really unlucky dying.
Chinese "hopping vampires", formerly human mages as well. They only have access to Celerity, Resilience, and Vigor, but in return they're not destroyed by anything other than fire (upon "death," they teleport to their graves, torpid, at full health). They are like ghosts in that they cannot stray too far from their anchors, otherwise they'd teleport back. Of course, they can use living beings as anchors.
There's actually two varieties of them, one from Wicked Dead (aforementioned), and one from Blood & Smoke/2e, who are more like a clan of true Kindred, not being as invulnerable to everything but far more mobile and better adjusted to vampiric society.
The latter would be a sixth great clan, were it not for the fact that (A), they need two deaths, one of a person that is completely pure of heart, to raise another of their number, and (B), the Kiss of the Vampire is denied to them (it feels more like a particularly painless frostbite when they chow down), so they have to be really clever and subtle about feeding, and (C), when low on Vitae they appear more visibly corpselike (mold begins growing on their flesh and they become cold to the touch). On the bright side, they can still do the grave teleporting thing, and can change the location of their "grave" if needed (although that requires the death of another pure-hearted person to do so). They specialize in the Animalism, Obfuscate, and Celerity Disciplines.
Despite their weaknesses compared to more traditional Clans, there's cities where the Jiang Shi have thrived and even joined with the other Kindred - it's not like the whole "two deaths to do an Embrace" thing is anywhere near the worst thing Kindred in general have to do to keep living.
These guys eat memories, if the name didn't clue you in, they do this to try and replace their own vanishing memories. They appears people with gray, cracked skin, completely black eyes, and long, narrow tendrils instead of fingers.
A Malaysian variety of vampire that can exist as a relatively normal human during the day. At night, its head lifts up from its body, dragging along its internal organs and leaving its hollowed-out body behind as it goes hunting. To keep the body from rotting whilst the head and guts are away, it has to pickle it, and so even in human form it tends to stink of vinegar (or sometimes booze). It loves the blood of pregnant women and children, and so it prefers to go after these prey. It can be killed by burning it, exposing its head-and-guts form to sunlight, or stuffing its hollowed torso full of blades, broken glass, thorns, etc. so that it tears its entrails apart when it squeezes inside at dawn.
A sadistic end, perhaps, but unfortunately perhaps the best; the bite of the Penanggalan contains a vicious wasting illness that often kills people the vampire would much rather leave alive (and in particularly bad cases, even Embraces them spontaneously as new Penanggalan). The only known cure is the initial vector's liver-something they are understandably reluctant to part with, even given their power to regenerate.
The odd one out, since it's a machine that was never alive in the first place. The Rizzetti Apparatus is an old clockwork device from the heyday of Victorian Science, one of the first blood transfusion devices ever created (if not the first). It never went into full production, though; besides its titular inventor being murdered by his first patient, there's a very rare vital component of coral (and the bacteria that live in it) that only grows in one very specific lagoon. Worse, the impurity filtering process invariably puts said impurities in the blood donor, killing them. As for the patient, not so much-in fact, the bacteria-filtered and infused blood is not only never rejected, but supernaturally potent. The patient ceases to age, and for a while, is effectively in the prime of youth. Then the bacteria invariably reproduce faster than the body can keep under control, becoming an impurity themselves, one that consumes the patient's blood. To survive, they need another transfusion. And another. And another...
Sons of Phobos
People who practice ancient greek blood magic to extend their lifespans by consuming hearts. Then they found out that consuming a vampire's heart extend their life a lot more than a human heart, and would allow them gain their powers if they also consumed their vitae.
Strix, The Birds of Dis
In its natural state, a Strix is an owl-shaped mass of living darkness (although they can disperse themselves to fit through tiny cracks) which siphons Vitae from the living by stealing their breath. Like vampires, they are vulnerable to fire and sunlight, but instead of taking damage from them they act as impenetrable barriers. They are rarely seen in groups, and the sighting of a parliament of Strix is an omen of impending disaster.
The Strix envy the living, and can possess corpses to experience the pleasures of a physical form. Vampires are perfect hosts in this respect- they can feed more efficiently than a random dead body, they're full of Vitae, and most Strix just hate vampires enough to do it on principle. A Strix-possessed vampire can only be identified in one of two ways: the yellow gleam in its eyes when they catch the light just right, and their immunity to the effects of fire and sunlight (the vampire's soul is dormant when possessed and the Strix is shielded from its bane so long as it doesn't leave the host). Under Auspex, a possessed vampire's aura is indistinguishable from the aura of a vampire who has committed diablerie.
Stronger Strix may sometimes possess the living as well, but the general disregard they show for the well-being of living hosts turns them into corpses rather quickly anyhow.
The Strix claim to be closely related to the Kindred and may have even created them, but every Strix seems to have a different story as to their connection so nobody knows for sure. All Strix consider this relationship to be self-evident, though, and they get vindictive if it's denied.
They consider any attempt by a vampire to cling to Humanity as a denial of their monstrous nature, and approve of only the most debased of vampires and draugr. Even then their approval is only begrudgingly given, as they hate how vampires have a physical form when they do not.