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Vampire

The Premise

For killing his brother, Caine was banished from his homeland and cursed with the need to drink blood and the inability to bear the light of the sun. In his wanderings, he learned the powers of his blood and found a new home in Enoch, the first city. He created sired three progeny out of loneliness, but when they created a multitude of their own childer in spite of his wishes, Caine hid himself away and God sent the Great Flood to wipe them from the Earth.

Only a few of Caine's childer survived, and they who remained led the humans in building a Second City and invented for themselves a nigh-eternal political game called the Jyhad. When Caine returned, he discovered with horror that the Third Generation had slain the Second and installed themselves as god-kings of the humans. In his anger, Caine cursed these Antediluvians for the same crimes he'd committed and disappeared forever.

Many great societies have risen and fallen since the destruction of the Second city, and always were Caine's decendents present to observe, participate, and manipulate. In Carthage, Kindred were able to live side-by-side with kine until it was sacked by Rome. In the Dark Ages, a group of mortal mages seeking immortality were able to supplant the Clan Salubri as Clan Tremere. A large number of young vampires calling themselves anarchs were able to win free of their despotic elders, distracted as they were by the Crusades and Inquisition; these elders responded to this Anarch Revolt by creating a new organization: the Camarilla. It took decades of war, but the anarchs finally surrendered in 1493 at the Convention of Thorns; those few who refused spent a century in hiding before emerging as the Sabbat.

One night, you're drained of your blood by a vampire who (for her own reasons) chooses to Embrace you. If you're lucky, she sticks around to introduce to you your new unlife. Like Caine before you, you can't survive in the sunlight or without drinking the blood of living beings, but your existance will continue for as long as you can maintain it. What would you do with eternity? What will you?

A Good Idea

Read up on Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem. I borrow more from the revised second edition of V:tM than from Requiem, but they're both great ways to know what's going on here.

Traits

Clan

You share your sire's bloodline, called her clan. Each clan exhibits its own form of vampirism, giving its members their own particular bent, flaw, and favored Discipline.  Clan membership doesn't usually imply any sort of political organization or fealty (c.f. the Tremere), but Kindred of the same clan sometimes group together – the Nosferatu are often the only ones who can bear their clanmates. All clans, however, distrust the "thin-blooded" Caitiff, those Johnny-come-lately Kindred who have no clan; Caitiff suffer a +2 difficulty penalty on all Social rolls with Kindred outside their coterie.  See Clans for more information.

Sect

For player characters, the Camarilla is your choice.  Founded to govern and protect Kindred, the Cam does so primarily by enforcing the Traditions. Briefly, they are:
  • Masquerade Don't reveal the existance of Kindred to non-Kindred. The best way to survive is to stay hidden.
  • Domain Announce your arrival into another Kindred's territory, and respect their stake and their wishes within it. Likewise, be hospitable to those you allow into your domain.
  • Progeny Don't Embrace other Kindred without your elder's permission (usually the Prince). If you do sire childer, you're responsible for them and accountable for their mistakes.
  • Destruction The destruction of other Kindred is forbidden. Only the eldest (again, typically the Prince) may call a blood hunt.
Though primarily concerned with the Masquerade, the Camarilla have parleyed these Traditions into a society-within-society that's stood the test of time (so far). It allows those within it order in the form of domains and protection in the form of the laws of praxis. It even includes a courtly hierarchy of which Kindred may avail themselves:
  • The Prince rules his (or her, as the title is sexless) domain, often a a city or metropolitan area, with varying degrees of total control.
  • He's advised by the Primogen, a council of vampires often comprised of local clan elders and high-ranked faction members.
  • He's assisted by his Seneschal, the Prince's consigliare and chamberlain.
  • He and his domain are guarded by the Sheriff, sort of a chief of police and enforcer who acts on the Prince's authority.
  • He and the inhabitants of his domain are hosted by the Keeper of Elysium, who is (surprise) in charge of the periodic gatherings of Kindred in which no violence is allowed.
Other positions, such Harpy and Scourge, may or may not persist from city to city.

Rival sects, like the Sabbat and the Anarchs, are for Storyteller characters.

Disciplines

These supernatural powers are learned extensions of the very curse which causes Kindred to need blood and fear the sun. You need a teacher to learn the first dot of any Discipline except your favored Discipline. See Disciplines for more information.

Vitae

Your control over the power of your blood. Vampires use Vitae to power their supernatural abilities and to activate Disciplines.

At character creation, Vitae begins at •••.  Ratings represent a Kindred's control over her Vitae, not her quantity of it.

Health

Growing and changing is part of living, and with that comes natural healing. But you're dead, kid, and your corpse doesn't heal itself. You've got two options for getting those health levels back: healing with Vitae, and healing by feeding. Both are detailed below.

Being undead, your body can withstand a lot more punishment: you can soak lethal damage with your Stamina and you only take half damage from bashing attacks (rounded down) after soak. Even when you take damage beyond Incapacitated, you simply enter torpor. Unfortunately, you're susceptible to aggravated damage.  For vampires, it comes from sunlight and fire.  Mark it in your Health as a star (*). Aggravated damage can't soaked or be healed with a Vitae roll – it is healed only by feeding.

Experience

Here's the augmented Experience table.
TraitCost
New Ability4
New Discipline8
New Merit3
AttributeCurrent Rating X 5
AbilityCurrent Rating X 3
DisciplineCurrent Rating X 7 (5 if clan favored);  X 6 if you're Caitiff
MeritCurrent Rating X 2
VitaeCurrent Rating X 6
HumanityCurrent Rating
WillpowerCurrent Rating

Being Kindred

Vitae

When you use your Vitae, roll your rating as a dicepool.  If you botch, you enter frenzy. If you're hungry, you make Vitae rolls at +1 difficulty.

If your Vitae is ever greater than your Humanity, the difficulty for all social interactions (even with other Kindred) rises by the difference and the difficulty of Humanity rolls increases by one. You also lose access to your Flush of Health Merit, if you have it.

You roll Vitae to use your supernatural abilities: activating Disciplines, boosting your Physical Attributes, and healing yourself.

When you roll Vitae to use a supernatural ability (but not to resist frenzy), you may voluntarily give up a speck of Humanity to lower the difficulty of the Vitae roll by 1, to a minimum of 0. This represents a voluntary degeneration of your human side as you give in to your undead nature.

Disciplines

Just like in the movies

Storytellers wishing to simulate more cinematic play may allow players to roll (Vitae + Discipline) when activating a Discipline. This counts as a Vitae roll.
Assuming no resistance, activating a Discipline requires a Vitae roll at difficulty equal to the Discipline's rating (e.g. activating Protean •• is difficulty 2). If you don't score enough successes, you fail – you don't get to choose to activate a lower level of the Discipline just because you have the successes for it. See the Disciplines page for more information.

Boosting Physical Attributes

To boost your Physical Attributes, make a Vitae roll and distribute your successes as temporary bonus dots amongst your Physical Attributes.  These dots last until the end of the scene.  If you want to redistribute your bonus dots, you have to make another Vitae roll, which supplants the previous one.

Example: Your first Vitae roll nets you one success, which you put into Strength. If you make another Vitae roll the next turn and get three successes, you lose that bonus Strength dot even if you don't put any of your new dots into Strength.

Healing with Vitae

Once per scene, you can spend an entire turn focusing your Vitae to heal your corpse. Make a Vitae roll and remove one level of bashing or lethal damage for per success. This is absolutely a violation of the Masquerade, so you might want to do it out of sight of prying eyes.

Feeding

Make no bones: you're a monster who sustains her existence by stealing and drinking the blood of the living. Hope you like the taste of pennies. (Just kidding – to Kindred, the taste of blood is better than a life filled with good sex and delicious pizza.)

Whether you're attacking homeless in an alley or seducing a boytoy you've brought home from the club, the effect's the same. Once your fangs break the skin, they no longer resist your Kiss (if they did before) and they bliss out for the remainder of the scene; if you lick the wound, it heals magically. Every turn you spend drinking from your subject deals them a level of lethal damage in the form of blood loss.

Any time you drink more than one level of blood at a time, however, you run the risk of... let's call it "overindulging." This is when the temptation becomes too much for your Beast; unless you succeed at a Willpower roll, you're forced to keep drinking. You'll drain your victim of an extra level of blood the pleasure of it – meaning you can't use that blood for other purposes – and you have to make the same Willpower roll again to stop yourself from drinking another level. This continues until you stop yourself or your victim runs out of blood. Botching any of these Willpower rolls triggers frenzy, meaning you'll tear your meal apart.

Healing by Feeding

Besides feeding to "reset" yourself, you can feed to heal yourself of damage. For every level of blood you drink, you may remove a level of bashing or lethal damage, just as you'd spend successes to heal yourself with Vitae. You can only do this once per night.

Aggravated damage complicates things. You can only heal one level of aggravated damage per night, and only if you have no bashing or lethal damage on your Health track. Healing each aggravated level requires that you drink levels of blood equal to your total amount of aggravated damage. If you have three aggravated levels, for example, it requires three levels of blood to heal the first of them, two to heal the second, and one to heal the last. Feeding in this way is the only way to remove aggravated damage.

Hunger

You need to feed at least every [Vitae] days. Thus, if you feed on Monday and your Vitae is 3, you'll have to feed again on Thursday. Feeding in this way requires only that you drink one "level" of blood (that is, that you inflict only a single level of lethal damage on a victim). You can "reset" your hunger countdown early, if you choose.

If you don't feed on the last day of your countdown, you wake the following night with terrible hunger pains. Take a level of lethal damage as your body begins to consume its own moisture and immediately make a Willpower roll to resist frenzy, difficulty equal to the amount of damage currently in your Health track. You'll wake this way each night, receiving an additional level of lethal damage and checking for frenzy each time, until you feed or until you enter torpor. When you finally do feed, you must feed to heal yourself of the damage inflicted as well as to sate your hunger (e.g. spending three days hungry requires you to drink four levels of blood – one to sate your hunger and three to heal the damage it wrought).

Feeding from Nonhumans

Animal blood is far less nourishing than that of humans. Feeding on livestock, wild animals, or the like only refreshes your countdown for a single night, which means tomorrow you'll be right back where you are now. What's worse, even getting that single night of refreshment requires that you drain dry a number of animals equal to your Vitae + 1, though your Storyteller may rule that particularly large animals like cows or big dogs (or small ones like rats and birds) are worth more (or less). (However, see the Efficient Metabolism Merit.) Finally, Kindred with a Vitae greater than ••••• derive no sustenance from animal blood.

Kindred blood, on the other hand, can be even better than mortal blood. Each level of blood taken from vampires whose Vitae exceeds your own is worth two levels to you. This means that you risk overindulging whenever you feed from those with higher Vitae, but Kindred may resist the pleasure of the Kiss with successful Willpower roll, allowing them to fight back if they choose. Alternately, Kindred who wish to "donate" their blood to their fellows may simply open a wrist and bleed into the recipient's mouth, thus avoiding the Kiss (and the temptation of overindulgence) altogether. Also see blood bond and diablerie.

Old blood, taken from plasma bags or human corpses or an elegant and disgusting punchbowl at Elysium, is never as good as fresh blood, and many elders refuse to drink it. It's like a week-old meal eaten cold from the fridge: you're not hungry anymore, but you're not going to ask for seconds. A level of old blood refreshes your countdown for one night only.

Frenzy

You enter frenzy when you botch a Vitae roll or when you're provoked into frenzy and fail a Willpower roll to resist. You can postpone frenzy induced by a botched Vitae roll until the beginning of the next scene by making a reflexive Willpower roll at the same difficulty as the Vitae roll you failed or botched (or the number of 1s you rolled, whichever is greater).  If you botch the Willpower roll, you enter the sanguinary frenzy.

While in frenzy, you lose all compunctions against violence (if any) and wail on the object of your anger until it subsides. You're limited to purely physical methods of attack, but you can't take multiple actions, you can't make Vitae rolls – the Beast is in control, now – and executing special tactics or even differentiating between friend and foe is impossible. On the plus side, you ignore wound penalties (including Incapacitated), you're immune to Rötschrek, and difficulties to Dominate you are made at difficulty equal to your Willpower (as though you'd resisted with all successes).

Frenzy ends when the situation that triggered it (or the scene in which it was triggered) ends. After turns equal to your Vitae, you may attempt to end your frenzy early with a Willpower roll, difficulty 3.

Sanguinary Frenzy

When you botch your Willpower roll to postpone frenzy, you enter sanguinary frenzy. Your hunger countdown immediately drops to zero and you will attack all in your vicinity as your Beast gorges itself. If a victim resists, you'll attempt to tear her apart; otherwise, you'll savagely feed on her until you succeed at a Willpower roll, then move to your next victim. Once you've drunk from (not attacked) at least as many victims as you have dots of Vitae, you may attempt to end your frenzy as usual.

Blood consumed during sanguinary frenzy does sate your hunger – that is, you aren't hungry once the frenzy's ended – but can't be used for other purposes. Any Kindred blood consumed during sanguinary frenzy has the usual chance of creating a blood bond.

Rötschrek

When faced with deadly sunlight or fire, you may succumb to Rötschrek. Your Beast seizes control and sends you into panic-driven flight. In Rötschrek, you lash out at anyone or anything in your way, regardless of personal attachments and affiliations, and you move at top speed along the quickest, most direct route away from the source of your fear.

When Rötschrek is triggered, make a Willpower roll (though you cannot roll more dice than your Vitae rating), difficulty based on the intensity or amount of sunlight or fire. If you succeed, you swallow your fear for a number of turns equal to your successes, after which you'll have to make another roll to resist (assuming you didn't get out of Dodge). Should you fail your roll, the Red Fear forces you to run until you find safety, though you'll attack anything that gets in your way for as long as it continues to prevent your flight.

Blood Bond

Drinking a vampire's blood creates a supernatural profound emotional connection to the Kindred. The drinker, called the thrall, feels a powerful and absolute devotion to her regnant which not even the most powerful uses of Dominate can overcome. This supernatural enslavement is called the blood bond.

The blood bond exists in three distinct stages.
  • After a thrall's first drink, social rolls to oppose her regnant are made at +1 difficulty, and she must make a Willpower roll at that difficulty – that is, one – in order to disobey her regnant's commands.
  • After a thrall's second drink, the social opposition penalty and Willpower difficulty increase to her regnant's Vitae rating.
  • After a thrall's third drink, she can no longer oppose or disobey her regnant. She will do absolutely anything, including suicide and beyond, for her master.
The first two stages of blood bond last for about a month. The final stage is permanent.

In addition to the blood bond, it's important to note that Kindred vitae is supernaturally addictive. Even a taste instills a profound need for more in the drinker. In mortals, this is an addiction that cannot be overcome, and it's wrecked uncounted lives.

Torpor

When you take non-aggravated damage beyond Incapacitated, you enter a deathlike coma called torpor. You remain in torpor until you're fed a level of blood, at which point you awaken desperately hungry; unless you're immediately fed enough additional levels of blood to bring you to Crippled – that is, one extra if your Incapacitated level was bashing or lethal damage, or seven if it was aggravated – you enter sanguinary frenzy. For this reason, it's dangerous to awaken torpid vampires unless you have a ready supply of blood.

A vampire may enter torpor voluntarily, often hoping to sleep through the current age and awaken in a better one. When so entered, she may be awakened by being fed a level of blood (as above, though she's only hungry to the point of frenzy if her Health is currently below Crippled) and by no other means. Otherwise, she'll sleep for decades equal to her Vitae, at which time she'll may awaken by rolling Vitae, difficulty 3. If she fails, she loses a dot of Vitae and the process repeats. She may, as always, choose to fail this roll. Vitae reduced by torpid slumber cannot drop below •••.

Vampires in torpor have their hunger countdowns put on hold, ensuring that they awaken ravenous only if they entered torpor by way of injury.

Staking

A stake through the heart doesn't kill a vampire. Instead, she's paralyzed until the stake is removed. She remains conscious while staked (and may still use Auspex) and her hunger countdown continues. Once she reaches the point of hunger, she may choose to resist frenzy as usual, but this nightly choice is between remaining conscious while immobile or mentally berserk while immobile. She will continue this process until she enters torpor from damage.
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