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VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION12FOREWORD For twenty years, you’ve been reading and listening to us talk about Vampire: The Masquerade. This time, we thought it was the community’s turn to talk. We approached a number of rabid Vampire fans from all over the world (some of which have since come to work for us), and asked them to tell us how this game touched their lives. This, then, is the real story of Vampire: The Masquerade. My passion for vampires and roleplaying personal In 1993, I stood in front of the White Wolf booth horror stories collided when I was given [the] 2nd at ...
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VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 1, 2 FOREWORD, For twenty years, you’ve been reading and listening to us talk about Vampire: The Masquerade. This time, we thought it was the community’s turn to talk. We approached a number of rabid Vampire fans from all over the world (some of which have since come to work for us), and asked them to tell us how this game touched their lives. This, then, is the real story of Vampire: The Masquerade. My passion for vampires and roleplaying personal In 1993, I stood in front of the White Wolf booth horror stories collided when I was given [the] 2nd at GenCon as Enzo Giovanni trying to get, by hook Edition Vampire: The Masquerade for my 16th or by crook, as much Pentex stock as possible — all birthday. in the hope of landing my first hobby game gig writ- Vampire: The Masquerade managed to enhance ing for my favorite intellectual property. Eighteen my imagination far beyond any other RPG: I got so years and one design career later, Vampire is still involved that I led the largest Spanish WoD on- the absolute standard of what’s exciting and cool line community, where creativity and dreams were in gaming. Without Vampire, tens of thousands of shared by hundreds of people. gamers would have never learned that there is a far greater world to imagine than that of hack and In my opinion and experience, Vampire: The slash. Masquerade has made history in vampire mytholo- gy, but more importantly, it has been a great source Shawn “Enzo” Carnes for inspiration, friendships, feelings, and love. Executive Director of Janitorial, Pentex Corporation Lorenzo Melchor (London, UK) 1992: I wear social stigma like a crown of shit. “Masquerade,” the green marble book whispers. I Make no mistake, the book you hold in your embrace the Eldritch leather chrysalis. Suddenly hands is a beast, at once beguiling and delightfully sex, drugs and rock’n roleplaying is more than just dangerous. It will seduce you into a life of dream- a play on words. I breathe free. ing as it did to me twenty years ago. I owe Vam- pire: The Masquerade, and its creators, much of 1995: The Umeå bomb-squad descends on Ely- my livelihood. I know that reads a tad gauche, but sium, robotic camera spots Anarch firebomb. Mor- it’s true. White Wolf’s storytelling game of blood- al panic ensues. They call us “The Army of The drinking immortals inspired me to build for its Abandoned” and I see how powerful we are. “This players a community and produce a successful trad- game will change the world!” ing card game. Vampire has left an indelible mark 2011: Looking in the mirror, I understand. The on my creative work and given me a career in the Masquerade didn’t change the world. It changed us. game industry, for which I am eternally grateful. Martin Elricsson (Stockholm, Sweden) Matthew Burke Founder, Camarilla Fan Club Vampires. Always in the collective imagination as charismatic and seductive people… and so it My first contact with Vampire was five years ago was. When I discovered Vampire: The Masquer- and it was one [of] the first RPG[s] I played. The ade it stunned me: so rich of shades, poetry, ad- group ended up being cancelled but later on I was venture, intrigues. It was as a treasure to discover. invited by a friend to play in a Vampire LARP And it made me feel as a child, it made me meet a game. That was three years ago and today I can lot of people playing together, year by year. Group- say that some of my closest friends are because of ing friends around a table, rolling [dice], acting as this game. It’s a hobby that never gets old and the [vampire] Actors in a LARP: well... it’s really won- reason why I have met many wonderful people all derful! It brought me a lot of new friends. Did it over the world and shared awesome time[s], laugh- change my life? Yes, sure! [I’m] positive. ter and good moments with them. Caterina “Lara” Casapieri (Milan, Italy) Maja Zaccara (San Paulo, Brazil) National Coordinator, Camarilla Italia Assistant Head Coordinator, One World by Night VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION i3ii, Vampire: the Masquerade has turned out to be In 1995, I’d fallen in with some friends I’d met a factor in some of my life-determining points over over a local BBS, who were big D&D players. They the last 20 years. From meeting my first long-term introduced me to Vampire: The Masquerade, girlfriend at a Camarilla session to picking up my which blew my mind. I realized everything had love for DJing again because of a Camarilla benefit changed when I got pissed off after my character (and eventually turning DJing into my full-time had gotten diablerized by another player’s char- profession), lots of good memories are attached to acter. This was a new medium for telling stories. V:tM. I can’t begin to list the number of life-long Everything snowballed from there. I’m now forced friends I made through the game, how it taught me [to] realize that I’ve been playing these games for RPGs could be about more than a dungeon bash, more than half my life. I wouldn’t be who I am and of course, the hours and hours of fun I had with now without them. I am honored and excited to it. help celebrate this 20th anniversary with so many other fans. David “DJ Hive” Benoy (Belgium) VampireParty.com Ian A. A. Watson Webmaster, Wolf-Spoor.org Fan Site Vampire: the Masquerade has given me the pos- sibility to meet people from all over the world who Back in the 90s, my little cousin invited me to love to embrace their childhood with a grown up watch Kindred: The Embraced at my uncle’s. Little version of “[playing h]ouse.” It has been a wonder- did I know how much Vampire: The Masquerade ful experience filled with fun and good times, both would positively influence my life. in character and out of character as we trek across I joined a WoD online community, which I the country, exploring archeological sites through helped to develop and turn into the biggest one a darker story. in Spanish. Amongst other things, I improved my Talia Hanselman (Israel) organizational, leadership, and mediation skills, quite impressive for a mild Asperger like me. Admissions Coordinator, One World by Night More importantly, I have met those who are nowadays my best friends. I have met the love of When I was first asked to write a blurb about my life. The 20th Anniversary is a life celebration how Vampire: The Masquerade changed my life for every fan. my initial thought was “How am I supposed to sum Dhaunae De Vir (London, UK) up my whole life in 100 words”. From The Eternal Struggle to The Masquerade, Laws of the Night and Mind’s Eye Theatre, this world has been an in- I realized I was gay in high school, but felt isolated tegral part of my life since the mid-nineties. What and afraid to tell my conservative father. Vampire started as a game around a table quickly became a provided escape into a world that understood the hobby, a lifestyle and culminated in a career and a stress I felt, pretending to be something I wasn’t. (I move from Sweden to the US where I met my wife joked that I lived Homosexual: The Masquerade.) and formed a family. The first 20 years of Vampire Eventually, I came out to my dad and, eventually, has given me the best and most defining moments he accepted me. of my life, and I hope that over the next 20 years I Vampire taught me ambition and courage. As an can be part of creating equally amazing experiences adult, I’ve achieved my dream of becoming a game for you all. designer and I’m out in the industry. The world is Jon “Swede” Selin growing more accepting, but I hope this new edi- Lead Game Designer, World of Darkness tion will find those who still need to masquerade. Link Hughes Systems Designer, World of Darkness i4v FOREWORD, I became a gamer instead of being a “gamer’s girlfriend” because of Vampire. In 1996, I watched I first discovered Vampire: The Masquerade in a Camarilla LARP in Austin, TX and bought my college and have not looked back, except in fond first RPG book the next day. Friends I made that memory of all of the friends I have made and the night are part of my life today and I have met oth- places I have traveled through what went from a er people around the world because of this game. counterculture to a culture all of its own. As the Most importantly, nine years later, I was invited to 20th Anniversary approaches, it hardly feels like join the company, then was given the opportunity that long for those of us who are still a part of this to be a White Wolf writer. That night, this game, world we have grown up with, shared with friends, changed the course of my life. For that, I will al- and developed into something deserving of such ways be grateful. jubilant celebration. I know I speak for not just myself, but all of the friends I have made when I Kelley Barnes Camarilla Club Director (2005-2010) give a sincere thanks to everyone out there who Freelance Writer made all of this possible and that we look forward to 20 more years in this endless night. Robert Crosby Vampire: the Masquerade has played a big part Head Coordinator, One World by Night in my life throughout the years. In 1991 it cap- tured my imagination when I was in high school. In 1995, while I was in college, I played in and I started playing Vampire in 1993 and was ran some of the greatest Vampire games. In 1999 I amazed! The freedom of character and story really met the woman who would become my wife when appealed to me. There is great potential in creating she joined a Vampire game I was running. In 2003 a world that challenges, not only the characters, I joined the online White Wolf community and it but the players. Instead of the characters being sec- wasn’t long before word spread that I could make ondary to the story, the story is a direct result of custom character sheets. Vampire has and will al- the players’ actions. I take great pride in turning ways be a great influence in my life. perceived realities on their head so that the play- Chris “Mr. Gone” Leland (Seymour, Indiana) ers never really know what’s next. The greatest re- ward is when the players finish a story and look like they just walked through a hurricane and they say […] 20 years later, Vampire is still relevant to “WOW!” us. It isn’t often that a game of pretend creates the David Martin opportunity to forge lifelong commitments, but Alpha, The Wrecking Crew I look at Vampire and see that’s exactly what it did. The fact that our group of fans continues to grow and expand shows that the respite we craved This book has taken me into some weird, beauti- 20 years ago is still needed, still valuable, today. ful places since I picked it up twenty years ago. Not So thank you, Vampire, for all the memories, the only that, but it changed my mundane reality into opportunities, the laughs and tears. Thank you a playfield of dark imagination. It taught me how White Wolf, for giving us another opportunity to by our creative will alone we shape the world. It revisit it, in such an amazing format. Happy 20th was, and still remains, the philosopher’s stone for Birthday Vampire. an urban alchemist. No other game has had such a lasting impact on my life, friendships and profes- Ric Connely Chairman of the USA Board of Directors, sional career. The Camarilla Fan Club Teemu Vilen Content Director, World of Darkness VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 5v,

Dedication Ken Meyer, Jr. Photo Shoot

Photography: Meredith Gerber and Zarli Win This book is dedicated to the Vampire, World of Darkness, and White Wolf communities. It is because Models: Kristi Davis, Chase Ferguson, Lorenzo of you that this book exists. Thank you. Melchor, Dhaunae De Vir, Shannon Withrow, and Matthew Ziegenfuss

Credits Special thanks: Aaron Voss for his firearms update, Ian A. A. Watson for his fearless transcription skills, Dave Poole and the

CCP Web Team for making the open development process pos- Authors: Justin Achilli, Russell Bailey, Matthew sible, and the entire V20 community that tirelessly playtested dur- McFarland, and Eddy Webb ing the open development process and gave us more feedback than we could have ever hoped for. 20th Anniversary Development Team: Justin Based on the work of Justin Achilli, Andrew Bates, Bruce Achilli, Russell Bailey, Shane DeFreest, Rich Thomas, Baugh, Chris Bjork, W. H. Bourne, Anne Sullivan Braidwood, Aaron Voss, and Eddy Webb Bill Bridges, Deird’re Brooks, Dustin Browder, Steven C. Brown, Phil Brucato, Zach Bush, Michael Butler, Brian Campbell, Jackie Foreword Contributors: Kelley Barnes, David “DJ Cassada, Sam Chupp, Ken Cliffe, Steve Crow, Richard E. Dan- Hive” Benoy, Matthew Burke, Shawn Carnes, Caterina sky, Graeme Davis, Joanne FitzRoy, Frank Frey, Sion Rodriguez y “Lara” Casapieri, Ric Connely, Robert Crosby, Martin Gibson, John Goff, Michael A. Goodwin, Geoffrey C. Grabowski, Elricsson, Talia Hanselman, Link Hughes, Chris Le- Andrew Greenberg, Daniel Greenberg, Heather Grove, Ed Hall, Chris Hartford, Robert Hatch, Jesse Heinig, Kenneth Hite, Sean land, David Martin, Lorenzo Melchor, Jon “Swede” Jaffe, Steven Kenson, Ellen Kiley, James Kiley, Jacob Klünder, Selin, Teemu Vilen, Dhaunae De Vir, Ian A. A. Wat- Alan I. Kravit, Danny Landers, Robin D. Laws, Michael B. Lee, son, and Maja Zaccara Ian Lemke, Carrie Lewis, Ari Marmell, Regina McKinney, James Moore, Clayton A. Oliver, Ronni Radner, Nicky Rea, Jim Riley, Editor and Indexer: Genevieve Podleski Sarah Roark, Dean Shomshak, Ethan Skemp, Sven Skoog, Luc- ien Soulban, James Stewart, Richard Stratton, Cynthia Summers, Creative and Art Director: Rich Thomas Adam Tinworth, Janet Trautvette, Stewart Wieck, Travis Lamar Layout and Typesetting: Ron Thompson with Craig Williams, and Fred Yelk Grant and matt milberger Vampire: The Masquerade Creators: Mark Rein•Hagen with Steven C. Brown, Tom Dowd, Andrew Greenburg, Chris Mc- Interior Art: Sam Arraya, John Bolton, Tim Brad- Donough, Lisa Stevens, Josh Timbrook, and Stewart Wieck street, John Cobb, Mike Danza, Guy Davis, Michael Gaydos, Rebecca Guay, Mark Jackson, Leif Jones, Paul Lee, Vince Locke, Greg Loudon, Larry MacDougall, Eddy’s Dedication Robert McNeill, Ken Meyer Jr., Jesper Myrfors, Wil- liam O’Connor, Christopher Shy, Ron Spencer, Rich- To Michelle. Without you, I would not have Vam- ard Thomas, Joshua Gabriel Timbrook, Andrew Trab- pire. Without Vampire, I would not have you. bold, John Van Fleet, and Kent Williams © 2011 CCP hf. All rights reserved. Reproduction without the written Character Sheet: Chris “Mr. Gone” Leland permission of the publisher is expressly forbidden, except for the purposes of reviews, and for blank character sheets, which may be reproduced for Community Developer: Shane DeFreest personal use only. White Wolf, Vampire, World of Darkness, Vam- pire the Masquerade and Mage the Ascension are registered trademarks

Tim Bradstreet Photo Shoot of CCP hf. All rights reserved.

Vampire the Requiem, Werewolf Photography: Meredith Gerber, Scott Harben, and the Apocalypse, Werewolf the For-saken, Mage the Awakening, Pro- Jamais Vu methean the Created, Changeling the Lost, Hunter the Vigil, Geist Clothing: Peter at Shrine Clothing the Sin-Eaters, Storyteller System and Storytelling System are trade- Models: Russell Bailey, Shawn Carnes, Shane DeFre- marks of CCP hf. est, Martin Ericsson, Greg Fountain, Reynir Harðarson, All rights reserved. All characters, names, places and text herein are copyrighted by CCP hf. Heidi Kirchgesner, Angela de Lune, Bianca Carter- CCP North America Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of CCP hf. Mallory, Stacey Mell, Angela Richter, Mike Tinney, This book uses the supernatural for settings, characters and themes. Sasha Travis, and Dhaunae De Vir All mystical and supernatural elements are fiction and intended for en- tertainment purposes only. This book contains mature content. Reader discretion is advised. Check out White Wolf online at http://www.white-wolf.com PRINTED IN CANADA. v6i CREDITS AND CONTENTS,

Need Contents Page TABLE OF CONTENTS BOOK ONE - THE RIDDLE

Introduction 5 Chapter One: A World of Darkness 13 Chapter Two: Sects and Clans 37

BOOK TWO - THE BECOMING

Chapter Three: Character and Traits 77 Chapter Four: Disciplines 127 Chapter Five: Rules 245 Chapter Six: Systems and Drama 257 Chapter Seven: Morality 309

BOOK THREE - THE PERMUTATIONS

Chapter Eight: Storytelling 345 Chapter Nine: The Others 369 Chapter Ten: Bloodlines 393 Appendix 479 VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 7, 8 CREDITS AND CONTENTS,

To W.H., M from your most devoted servant:any years have passed and I fervently hope that time will have

dulled somewhat the distressing memories you carry. I dare to send you this in a spirit of supplication; while your forgiveness is too much to ask, I crave at least your understanding. I owe you some kind of exAplanation for the events which so shattered your blameless life.lthough I exhibited precious little Menschwert before you and your companions, the flame of Humanitas still burns in my breast, albeit erratically. Time and nature both struggle to extinguish it, thus completing my descent into the Inferno of madness and bestiality. I must guard my soul well – as well as any priest – for any lapse in viIgilance lets in the Beast, with results which you yourself have seen. know it is impossible to atone; an eternity of pious prayer is too short a time. However, as a mark of penitence, I offer you the en- closed document, the act of which makes me a traitor to my own kind. I pray you may find something in its pages to help you understand the torment I inflicted upon you, and by understanding, perhaps, dis- pel some little amount of the pain. The tone, I fear, is somewhat dry; a soldier has little need for pleasing tricks of poesy to beguile a reader. I Ihave merely set down that which I know, as well as I may. owe you a debt which can never be discharged. If at any time I may be of service to you or your family, I am at your command.

SeVmpe.r STe.rvus,

1 VAMPIRE THE MASQCUHEARPATEDRE O20NtEh: ASENTNTIINVEGRSARY EDITION 9, 10 INTRODUCTION,

BOOK ONE: THE RIDDLE

I cried tears of love as I, with sharp things, sacrificed that which was the first part of my joy, my brother. And the Blood of Abel covered the altar and smelled sweet as it burned. But my Father said, “Cursed are you, Caine, who killed your brother. As I was cast out so shall you be.” VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 11, 4 INTRODUCTION,

Introduction

“No one holds command over me. No man. No god. No Prince. What is a claim of age for ones who are immortal? What is a claim of power for ones who deny death? Call your damnable hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming to hell with me.” - Günter Dörn, Das Ungeheuer Darin Let’s face it: If you’re reading this book, you almost the game, constantly connecting the dots between certainly have a history with Vampire, and with White real-world events and the intricate undead conspiracy. Wolf’s Storyteller games in general. We’re not going to This edition aims to tap into what made us fall in love spend word count on “What is roleplaying?” or other with Vampire in the first place. Whether your fondest elementary principles of the hobby — this is stuff you memories of the game are a day or a decade old, we already know, and if you don’t, there are tons of web- want to take you back to the time when the shadows sites where you can get that information. Instead, we’re loomed long and the vast potential of the terrifying, going to spend more space in Vampire: The Masquer- thrilling world of the Kindred first beckoned. We won’t ade – 20th Anniversary Edition on all of the stuff that’s be chasing metaplot through a library of supplements usable to you — all of the rules and setting that form or advancing any storylines. We want the pure, undi- the core of the Vampire experience, plus expanded luted essence of Vampire. Disciplines, scores of bloodlines (past and present), A Zeitgeist: Vampire exploded into hobby games in tweaked rules based on feedback from the Vampire 1991, and it very much evinced the gothic and punk community, and bits and pieces from here and there subcultures from which it drew, with their own roots that should prove useful. Sure, we’ll go over the central from the late 1970s through the mid-1990s. Remember concepts of Vampire, but after that, we’re going to be the classic archetypes and breathe new life into them: in high gear. skinheads, goths, street preachers, metalheads, punks, wild-eyed poets, gangsters, urban primitives, dapper

What This Book Is mods, eerie pagans, and every icon who made for a memorable character in this snapshot of time.

A Classic Experience: Call to mind the first time you A World of Darkness: Vampire evoked at once an picked up Vampire, when you first became immersed urban alienation and neo-mystic sense of belonging. It in the World of Darkness. A quick poll around the of- was high society and the low life. It was angst and mon- fice showed that none of us could stop thinking about strosity and sketchy drugs and a dangerous flirtation VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 5, with a femme fatale who dragged you into a Damned immortality of blasphemous power... and the urges of Live-Action the implacable Beast. Gargoyles and gothic architec- ture. Soaring skyscrapers and dilapidated tenements. Although Vampire started off as a game that takes Cops and junkies. Corrupt senators and seductive bo- place around a tabletop, over the past twenty years a hemian artistes. Razorblades and torn fishnets. Leather massive and thriving community of live-action role- jackets, a broken rosary, and a stolen revolver with the play (or “LARP”) has taken the game in whole new serial number filed off. Herein are the horrifying, Byz- directions. Many such troupes use our Mind’s Eye antine, lurid backdrops against which all of the dramas Theatre rules for their games or a variation of these of the Kindred play out, and we’re going to revel in tabletop rules, but there are plenty of others that use their decadent opulence and trenchant squalor. custom rules while keeping the Vampire setting to create their own modern gothic chronicles. There A Thank You: This year is the 20th anniversary of are even organizations like The Camarilla and One Vampire, and we certainly wouldn’t be here without World By Night that connect troupes in different cit- the loyalty and enthusiasm of the people who played ies into massive chronicles covering the entire globe. the game in its various incarnations throughout the Other LARP games have come and gone, each with years. Metaphorically, this book is White Wolf at a bar their own communities, but the appeal of dressing up with the long-time players and we’re sharing a drink, as one of the Kindred and acting out the machinations telling stories, and remembering why we became friends of the undead has been consistent throughout most of in the first place. Tell us about your character. Vampire’s history. In fact, if you’re reading this, odds are good that even if you haven’t played in a Vam- pire LARP, you’ve likely heard of them. Why has the appeal of dressing up and pretending to be a vampire

Oh Yeah, The Metric System lasted so long?

The reality is that most of us who have Many other LARPs involving imagining a fantasy worked on Vampire are Americans, and we world, a historical setting, or a place set in the far fu- write what we know. But we have a lot of very ture. These games are fun in their own right, but they passionate European fans. Time and again require more costuming and props to communicate the through the process of writing Vampire: The setting to everyone and get them on the same page. Masquerade – 20th Anniversary Edition, we Because World of Darkness games take place in our were asked “Can you please stop using your modern world, today, there’s less of a leap needed to stupid Imperial system and put everything get everyone imagining what’s going on. It also means into metric?” a lower barrier to entry. A fresh player can show up in a T-shirt and jeans and play a young, rebellious Bru- Well, we did both. Where there’s an Impe- jah without breaking the flow for the other players. He rial measurement, we tried to put the metric can look up something on his phone or talk about re- equivalent nearby, so it’s one less thing you cent news while remaining in character. It’s easier to have to worry about when you’re in the integrate our world into the World of Darkness, which middle of diablerizing the Prince of Stock- makes it easier to jump in and start playing. holm. But this isn’t a math class — rather On the other hand, dressing up in an elaborate cos- than have scores of “62.35 liter” comments tume is lots of fun, and vampires can do that just as littering things up, we rounded them to the well. That Brujah in the T-shirt can argue politics with nearest manageable number. The conversions a Ventrue in a frock coat, while they are overheard by a aren’t exact, and they aren’t meant to be; like Nosferatu dressed in an elaborate cloak and mask, and a lot of things in Storyteller games, the rules it all makes sense. The clash of styles and history reso- are a little vague so there’s room for your story nates with the ancient-but-modern culture of vampires at the table. as a whole, instead of detracting from it. And the blend doesn’t even have to be historical — vampires from a wide variety of cultures and languages can plot and scheme against each other with equal aplomb. 6 INTRODUCTION, Finally, the eternal political tension in Vampire understands exactly what you’re doing. Even though means that there’s always someone to piss off, and the concept of a live-action game is a lot more main- there’s always someone else that can capitalize from stream now than it was when Vampire started, a game that. Many LARPs are either full-on open warfare be- can look suspicious, disturbing, or even frightening to tween the players or completely team-oriented against those who aren’t aware of what’s going on. Always be outside forces, but Vampire creates a constant churn polite to people outside the game. of loyalties, an ever-shifting web of intrigue and favor • Know When to Stop: If the Storyteller calls for that encourages conflict without constantly breaking a time-out or other break in the action, stop imme- out into bloodshed. Tonight’s social outcast might be diately. The Storyteller is still the final arbiter of all tomorrow night’s Prince, which means that players al- events in the game. Likewise, when the game is over ways have someone new to talk to, and someone else for the night, use it as a good opportunity to take out new to snub. your fangs and have dinner and drinks with the other

Safeguards players to swap war stories (and maybe engage in a lit-

tle braggadocio). Despite the wide variety of live-action games out there, there are some rules common between them to • It’s Only a Game: Live-action is for having fun. If ensure that live-action is safe and enjoyable for all par- a rival wins, if a character dies, if a plan goes awry, it’s ticipants and bystanders. not the end of the world. Sometimes folks like to get together outside the game and talk about it, and there’s • No Touching: All combat and physical interac- nothing wrong with that. But calling your clanmate up tion is generally handled through the rules. Players at four in the morning to ask for her assistance in your must never strike, grapple, or otherwise touch anyone Primogen bid is taking things too far. Remember, ev- during the game — some games allow some consensual eryone’s doing this to have fun. touching in specific instances, but you can never go wrong by not touching in the first place. It is the Sto- Live-action can be one of the richest and most satis- ryteller’s responsibility to call a time-out if one or more fying storytelling experiences, if handled maturely and players get overly rambunctious. responsibly. Many of us have been playing it for years, and have made a lot of life-long friends through playing • No Weapons: Props such as hats, period dress, and undead bastards out to screw each other over. Here’s to canes are great in a live-action game. Weapons aren’t. twenty more years of costumes, dental adhesive, and No knives, no swords, and nothing that even remotely political overthrows! resembles a firearm should be carried – law enforce- ment generally doesn’t take “but we were playing a game” as a good excuse. Even bringing fake swords, squirt guns, or foam-rubber weapons can lead to confu- What is a Vampire? sion and panicked phone calls from outsiders. If your In Vampire, players assume the personas of vampires character must carry a weapon, take an index card and — the immortal bloodsuckers of the horror genre — write “Gun” or “Sword” or whatever on it; during com- and guide these characters through a world virtually bat challenges, present the card to the Storyteller, who identical to our own. But these aren’t quite the vam- will adjudicate its use in play. pires you might know from Dracula or Twilight. The • Play in a Designated Area: Live-action is meant vampires that exist now — or Kindred, or Cainites, to be played in a home or other pre-designated spot. as they commonly call themselves — are both similar Don’t involve bystanders in the game, and make sure to and different from what we might expect. In many everyone in the area, or who passes through the area, ways, vampires resemble the familiar monsters of myth, VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 7, cinema, folklore, and fiction. However — as many an Blood is all-important to the Kindred, for it is both intrepid vampire-hunter has learned to his sorrow — the crux of their existence and the seat of their pow- not all of the stories about vampires are true. er. Mortal food, mortal air, mortal love — all of these • Vampires are immortal. True. While they can be things are meaningless to a vampire. Blood is the Kin- killed (a very difficult process), they do not age or die dred’s only passion, and without it, they will quickly from natural causes. They don’t need food such as hu- wither and fall dormant. Moreover, each vampire can mans eat, and they don’t need to breathe. use its stolen blood to perform amazing feats of healing, strength, and other supernatural abilities. • Vampires are living dead and must sustain them- selves with the blood of the living. True. A vampire • Anyone who dies from a vampire’s bite rises to is clinically dead — its heart doesn’t beat, it doesn’t become a vampire. False. If this were true, the world breathe, its skin is cold, it doesn’t age — and yet it would be overrun with vampires (and not just in our thinks, and walks, and plans, and speaks… and hunts media). Vampires do feed on human blood, and they and kills. To sustain its artificial immortality, the vam- do sometimes kill their prey — but most humans who pire must periodically consume blood, preferably hu- die from a vampire’s attack simply perish. To return as man blood. Some penitent vampires eke out an exis- undead, the victim must be drained of blood and sub- tence from animal blood, and some ancient vampires sequently be fed a bit of the attacking vampire’s blood. must hunt and kill others of their kind to nourish This process, called the Embrace, causes the mystical themselves, but most vampires consume the blood of transformation from human to undead. humanity. Our blood. • Vampires are monsters — demonic spirits em- Vampires drain their prey of blood through the use bodied in corpses. False… and true. Vampires are not of retractable fangs, which Cainites develop as soon as demons per se, but a combination of tragic factors draws they first become undead. Each vampire can also mys- them inexorably toward wicked deeds. In the begin- tically lick closed the wounds made by their fangs, thus ning, the newly-created vampire thinks and acts much concealing the evidence of their feeding. as she did while living. She doesn’t immediately turn 8 INTRODUCTION, into an evil, sadistic monster. However, the vampire Disciplines. Elders’ powers can often rival those of the soon discovers her overpowering hunger for blood, and fictional Lestat or Dracula, and the true ancients — realizes that her existence depends on feeding on hu- the Methuselahs and Antediluvians who have stalked manity. In many ways, the vampire’s mindset changes the nights for thousands of years — often possess liter- — she adopts a set of attitudes less suited to a commu- ally godlike power. nal omnivore and more befitting a solitary predator. • Vampires have sex. True. It’s a great way to feed, At first reluctant to kill, the vampire is finally forced but carnal pleasures don’t mean as much to the Kin- into murder by circumstance or need — and killing be- dred. Feeding, which vampires call “the Kiss,” is an comes easier as the years pass. Realizing that she herself incredibly intoxicating and erotic experience for Cain- is untrustworthy, she ceases to trust others. Realizing ites and their victims. Sex is great, but nothing truly that she is different, she walls herself away from the replaces the ecstasy of feeding for a vampire. mortal world. Realizing that her existence depends on secrecy and control, she becomes a manipulator. And The Embrace things only degenerate as the years turn to decades and Vampires are created through a process called the then centuries, and the vampire kills over and over, Embrace. Some vampire Clans Embrace more casually watching the people she loved age and die. Human life, than others, but the Embrace is almost never given so short and cheap in comparison to hers, becomes of lightly. After all, any new vampire is a potential com- less and less value, until the mortal “herd” around her petitor for food and power. A potential childe is often means no more to her than a swarm of annoying in- stalked for weeks or even years by a watchful sire, who sects. Vampire elders are among the most jaded, unfeel- greedily evaluates whether the mortal would indeed ing, and paranoid — in short, monstrous — beings the make a good addition to the society of the Kindred. world has ever known. Maybe they are not demons ex- The Embrace is similar to normal vampiric feeding as actly — but at that point, who can tell the difference? the vampire drains her chosen prey of blood. However, • Vampires are burned by sunlight. True. Vampires upon complete exsanguination, the vampire returns a must avoid the sun or die, though a few can bear sun- bit of her own immortal blood to the drained mortal. light’s touch for more than a very short period of time. Only a tiny bit — a drop or two — is necessary to turn Vampires are nocturnal creatures, and most find it ex- the mortal into a new vampire. This process can even tremely difficult to remain awake during the day, even be performed on a dead human, provided the body is within sheltered areas. still warm. • Vampires are repulsed by garlic and running wa- Once the blood is returned, the mortal “awakens” and ter. False. These are myths, and only a very small frac- begins drinking of his own accord. But, though animate, tion of vampires are even inconvenienced by them. the mortal is still dead; his heart does not beat, nor does • Vampires are repulsed by crosses and other holy he breathe. Over the next week or two, the mortal’s symbols. This is generally false. However, if the wielder body undergoes a series of subtle transformations; he of the symbol has great faith in the power it represents, learns to use the Blood in his body, and he is taught the a vampire may suffer ill effects from the brandishing of special powers of his Clan. He is now a vampire. the symbol. The Hunt • Vampires die from a stake through the heart. When all is said and done, the most fundamental False. However, a wooden stake — or arrow, crossbow difference between humans and vampires lies in their bolt, etc. — through the heart will paralyze the mon- methods of sustenance. Vampires may not subsist on ster until it is removed. mortal food; instead, they must maintain their eternal • Vampires have the strength of 10 men; they can lives through the consumption of blood — fresh hu- command wolves and bats; they can hypnotize the man blood. living and heal even the most grievous wounds. True Vampires acquire their sustenance in many fashions. and false. The power of a vampire increases with age. Some cultivate “herds” of willing mortals, who cher- Young, newly created vampires are often just a little ish the ecstasy of the vampire’s Kiss. Some creep into more powerful than humans. But as a vampire grows in houses by night, feeding from sleeping humans. Some age and understanding, she learns to use her blood to stalk the mortals’ playgrounds — the nightclubs, bars, evoke secret supernatural powers, which vampires call and theaters — enticing mortals into illicit liaisons VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 9, and disguising their predation as acts of passion. And yet others take their nourishment in the most ancient fashion — stalking, attacking, and incapacitating (or even killing) mortals who wander too far into lonely nocturnal alleys and empty lots.

The Nocturnal World of the Vampire

Vampires value power for its own sake and for the security it brings, and they find it ridiculously easy to acquire mundane goods, riches, and influence. A mes- merizing glance and a few words provide a cunning vam- pire with access to all the wealth, power, and servants he could desire. Some powerful vampires are capable of implanting posthypnotic suggestions or commands in mortals’ minds, then causing the mortals to forget the vampire’s presence. In this way, vampires can eas- ily acquire legions of unwitting slaves. More than a few “public servants” and corporate barons secretly answer to vampire masters. Though there are exceptions, vampires tend to re- main close to the cities. The city provides countless opportunities for predation, liaisons, and politicking — and the wilderness often proves dangerous. The wilds are the home of the Lupines, the werewolves, who are the Kindred’s ancestral enemies and desire nothing more than to destroy vampires outright.

The Jyhad

Some vampires seek to have nothing to do with their kind, choosing instead to exist and hunt in solitude. However, the civilization of the undead is a manipu- lative and poisonous dance, and few vampires are left entirely untouched. Since the nights of antiquity, Cainites have struggled for supremacy, in an ancient and many-layered struggle known as the Jyhad. Lead- ers, cultures, nations, and armies have all been pawns in the secret war, and vampiric conspiracies have in- fluenced much (though by no means all) of human history. Few things are as they seem in the vampires’ nocturnal world: A political coup, economic crash, or social trend may be merely the surface manifestation of a centuries-old struggle. Vampire elders command from the shadows, manipulating mortals and other vampires alike — and the elders are often manipulated in turn. Indeed, most combatants may not even realize for whom they fight, or why. Reputedly begun millennia ago, the Jyhad rages even today. Though skyscrapers take the place of castles, machine-guns and missiles replace swords and torches, and stock portfolios substitute for vaults of gold, the game remains the same. Kindred battles Kindred, Clan 10 INTRODUCTION, battles Clan, Sect battles Sect, as they have for eons. Chapter Seven: Morality describes Humanity and Vampiric feuds begun during the nights of Charle- the various Paths of Enlightenment that more alien magne play themselves out on the streets of New York and inhuman vampires adhere to. City; an insult whispered in the court of the Sun King Chapter Eight: Storytelling tells Storytellers how may find itself answered by a corporate takeover in Sao to build entertaining stories in which to involve the Paolo. The ever-swelling cities provide countless op- characters. portunities for feeding, powermongering — and war. Chapter Nine: The Others gives notes on the Kin- Increasingly, vampires speak of Gehenna — the long- dred’s (few) friends and (many) enemies. prophesied night of apocalypse when the most ancient vampires, the mythical Antediluvians, will rise from Chapter Ten: Bloodlines details a wide range of mi- their hidden lairs to devour all the younger vampires. nor bloodlines, Clan variations, and some of the strains This Gehenna, so the Kindred say, will presage the end of vampire thought lost to the mists of time. of the world, as vampires and mortals alike are consumed Finally, the Appendix provides addenda and miscel- in an inexorable tide of blood. Some vampires strive to laneous rules. prevent Gehenna, some fatalistically await it, and still others consider it a myth. Those who believe in Ge- Source Material henna, however, insist that the end time comes soon. Vampire not only pays homage to a long-standing and thriving genre, but has itself inspired countless vampire novels and movies over the past two decades.

How to Use This Book You can’t throw a rock and not hit a young adult series or a television show featuring vampires, but below are

This book is divided into several chapters, each of a few of the most important influences on the creation which is designed to explore and explain a specific area of Vampire. of the game. Remember, though, that in a storytelling Inspirational literature is almost too daunting to con- game, the most important “chapter” is your imagina- sider. Some of the most cited inspirations: Dracula, by tion. Never let anything in this book be a substitute for Bram Stoker; Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire your own creativity. Lestat, and The Queen of the Damned, by Anne Rice; Chapter One: A World of Darkness describes the Lost Souls, by Poppy Z. Brite; Brian Lumley’s Necroscope Kindred and the world in which they hunt. series; The Hunger, by Whitley Streiber; and I Am Leg- Chapter Two: Sects and Clans describes the 13 end, by Richard Matheson. The vampire plays a role in great “Clans” of Kindred and the organizations to the romantic poetry of Byron, Shelley, and Baudelaire, which they hold allegiance. and the Internet has thousands of sites of old myths and legends of vampires from around the world. Chapter Three: Character and Traits gives step- by-step instructions for creating vampire characters as There are also a ton of vampire movies as well. Bela Lugosi’s Dracula and Murnau’s silent Nosferatu are well as a description of the Traits that make them up. the granddaddies of the genre. Other good (or at least Chapter Four: Disciplines delineates the wide vari- amusing) films include The Hunger, Near Dark, Vamp, ety of mystical powers of the undead. The Lost Boys, Salem’s Lot, the Cristopher Lee Hammer Chapter Five: Rules provides the basic means of re- Horror films, and the anime flick Vampire Hunter D. solving the characters’ various actions. Coppola’s Dracula is not the best in terms of plot, but Chapter Six: Systems and Drama describes a pleth- does have lush cinematography. And for television, ora of ways to simulate everything from gentle seduc- you can’t go wrong with shows like Buffy the Vampire tion to brutal combat. Slayer, Angel, and True Blood. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 11, 12 CHAPTER ONE: A WORLD OF DARKNESS,

Chapter One: A World of Darkness

“The Children of Seth will always hate us again and again, for we are their predators. We are their Masters and they know this, deep in their soul.” - The Book of Nod The world of Vampire is a dark reflection of our own. In this setting, you will tell tales of morality and de- The shadows loom longer here, and the night is more pravity, of redemption and damnation. When you play reluctant to yield to day. Corruption runs rampant, Vampire, you enter this World of Darkness. Will you from the government through private corporations and leave it a better place when your time is done? Or will into the various subcultures that revel in these cultur- you take the path so many others have, leaving more ally bankrupt times. blight, ruin, and sorrow as your legacy? It is a world of contrasts, of haves versus have-nots. It all looks very much like the real world, as seen through an extremely stylized filter that turns up the contrasts Gothic-Punk between dark and light. The technology is the same as ours right now, but the people who use it are differ- The Gothic aspect of the setting is very much in the ent — darker, in personality and motive — and that literary tradition of the word. Gothic literature paints changes how the world functions. a world of anachronisms, barbarism, decay, madness, and a romanticized history that never existed. In the In this world, vampires exist, and they are very much ultramodern context of Vampire, we see it in the an extension of the tarnished aesthetic that shapes the churches whose spires soar skyward, in the avarice and World of Darkness. Whatever their origins, or what- treachery of the wealthy who enjoy great comfort, in ever they believe to be their origins, vampires are an the crumbling architecture of the cities and the way outgrowth of the people who populate this desperate nature reclaims the places forgotten or abandoned by environment. Vampires exist in the World of Darkness men. A tenement erected at the turn of the 20th cen- because they are the monsters among us, the products tury, fronted by dingy, fluted columns and infested with of a world so dark that only something truly horrible squatters, is a neo-gothic rookery. A merciless million- and captivating can challenge the depths into which aire’s estate on the edge of town is a modern castle, as the living residents of the world have plunged it. is his lavish penthouse in the bustling district where VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 13, mortals go to dance and drug away their cares. A mad runs in scale from the clash of cultures where domains priest offers succor to those members of his flock tor- overlap to the desperate, personal struggle of a mother mented by “monsters,” the ivy-choked cemetery where who can’t afford to feed her crying child or the struggle velvet-clad sensualists recite poetry and seduce the between a junkie and his drug of choice. Rebellion is shades of the departed, the graffiti-tagged warehouse everywhere, and just living another day to spit in the docks where the skinheads torment their victims: All face of what the long-shadowed World of Darkness has of these and more are hallmarks of the modern gothic to offer is an act of defiance. Everyone opposes some- experience. thing, and the punk element of the setting is the dra- Punk, on the other hand, refers to the context in matic fulfillment of that opposition. which people experience their world. It’s about an- Ultimately, you will decide the details the Gothic- ger, about getting in someone’s face and saying “No Punk ambience of your vampire stories. The setting more.” It’s about refusing to be ignored and stepping may pale in importance to the narrative events of your on some motherfucker’s toes to get your point across. chronicle, or the city and its components may become As a result, conflict is everywhere, from the gang wars like a character themselves. Whatever the case, your that plague the streets to the self-serving movements vampires are a product of their environment, and every in the back rooms of governments and corporations. It scene you and your troupe describe reflects this.

Theme and Mood

Over the course of playing a Vampire chronicle, you will explore a wide variety of story situa- tions, interesting characters, and challenges. In almost every case, these interactions will illustrate the theme of the chronicle that the Storyteller wishes to convey, and will involve the mood of impending reckoning. That generalization leaves room for creative interpretation, however, and each of your stories will be the truly unique result of theme, mood, and storytelling.

Themes

Some themes are inherently part of the Vampire experience, and the Storyteller will either ex- pand on those or introduce his own into the mix. Here are the core themes of the game, to better illustrate the setting. A Beast I Am, Lest a Beast I Become: Vampire lets you play the monster and makes you mor- ally accountable for it. All of the protagonists are vampires: blood-drinking monsters who dwell in the shadows at the edge of society and subculture. Vampires have tremendous power, but that power comes paired with the Curse of Caine, which carries a Biblical gravity. Players have an emo- tional stake in these characters, and when we play the game, we see their dark side and watch them wrestle with morality. This timeless riddle implies that all vampires must fall eventually, but when and under what circumstances? These questions are at the root of the chronicles that we play. The Masquerade: It’s the very foundation of Vampire. Once the character is Embraced, they are drawn behind the curtain, and everything they know is changed. The Kindred try to keep the curtain closed, convincing their prey that monsters do not, in fact, hide among them. Inevitably, cracks appear in the façade and the Damned are revealed for who they are. What happens when this occurs? For more information about the Masquerade as a concept, see p. 22. The Sins of the Father: People rarely choose to become vampires. In most cases, a sire Embraces them without much regard for whether or not the individual wants to commit to an unlife of pre- dation, scheming, and horror. Likewise, the childe acquires the sire’s Clan, and thus his powers, weaknesses, and often predilections. This is all a great allegory for the Biblical idea of Original Sin, and deeply tied to the prevailing religious origin than many vampires attribute to the state of vampirism. God cursed Caine for murdering Abel and, as descendants of that first vampire, all 14 CHAPTER ONE: A WORLD OF DARKNESS, Kindred bear the stain of that primeval sin. This accountability, decided for each Cainite by the actions of her sire, pervades the vampire condition. A War of Ages: Elder Kindred hate younger vampires because they fear new generations will take away the domains they’ve fought for decades or even centuries to establish. Younger Kindred resent their elders for the ways they selfishly lord over their domains and refuse to allow the young to make a place for themselves. It’s like waiting for a promotion that will never come because the person in the position above you is never going to die or retire — and you need your job to stay alive. Kindred history is characterized by the haves versus the have-nots, most often in the form of the elders versus the neonates. The Anarch Revolt and the subsequent Inquisition were the apex of this struggle in history, but it plays out every night on more localized scales of Kindred community and influences the way all vampires interact in the World of Darkness. Inherent Conflict: Sect versus Sect. Clan versus Clan. Rebels versus the status quo. The Man versus the Beast. Everybody’s against everybody in the World of Darkness, and there’s never enough to go around. These conflicts color the other themes of the game, and what your sire has made you — in terms of Kindred, Clan, Sect, and outlook — automatically buys you a panoply of enemies. Conspiracy: Wheels turn within wheels. The Kindred as a race are skilled manipulators and deceivers, the better to enact their schemes while maintaining a veneer of deniability. A neonate striking out against a hated elder might actually do so at the behest of that elder’s rival, who in- cited the turbulent vampire with a clever ruse. Indeed, some Kindred wonder if the whole of the Jyhad is the machination of the Antediluvians, and whether any vampire truly has free will. Apocalypse: These are the End Times. The judgment of the Kindred, Gehenna, is coming. We don’t know when, we don’t know how, and we don’t even know what it’ll be, but all of the grim portents of our kind indicate that we’re careening toward our reckoning. Do we rage against the dying of the light, or do we fiddle while our contemporary Gothic-Punk Rome burns? Are all these elders really so vituperative over petty politics with the Biblical Rapture at the threshold? What will happen to the mortal world when the Kindred judgment is nigh?

Mood

Vampire stories can be complex and subtle tapestries that can evoke a variety of moods in indi- vidual chronicles. There are some, though, that are common to the World of Darkness. Sensual: It might be a pang of desire, or it might be an undeniable physical lust, but becoming a vampire is a sexual consummation, as is the act of feeding. We’re dead, sexy things and we’ll never grow old, and we have a license from our maker to indulge our every erotic urge. Mysterious: Fog and shadows shroud the landscape. This is the mood of Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon, of Hitchcock and J. J. Abrams. The imagination is aroused by the things that remain nebulous and hidden, and even the vampires that stalk the night don’t know everything that happens in the shadows. Dangerous: Nonstop action, full of intensity. The World of Darkness is a dangerous place, and death is always just around the corner. Just when you catch your breath, two guys kick in the door with guns in their hands. The life of the vampire is filled with drama and suspense. Eerie: There is an oppressive weight in the air, a sense of great evil that hangs over everything. Everything has a strange, unreal quality to it. The World of Darkness is full of the bizarre, and the vampires are not the only monsters around. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 15,

The Kindred that vampire just performed the Embrace, well, there’s no longer only one vampire there.

For the Kindred, cities are urban collections of ter- The trappings of the fledgling’s mortal life can no ritories and domains that stand as illuminated points longer support her. In the short term, the new vampire against the greater backdrop of the wilderness and the now requires blood to sustain herself, and surrounding places in between their safety. For vampires, the para- oneself with vessels of sustenance whom one loves will digm is almost medieval. The cities are their homes, and inevitably result in bloody ruin. In the long term, while everything that’s not a city represents some sort of dan- the new vampire will remain deathless, unchanged by ger. Outside the city are packs of savage Lupines, vast time, those around her will age, wither, and die. The fallow areas where there is no blood to be found, and easiest course, most sires agree, is simply to turn one’s the unquantifiable strangenesses endemic to a World back on the mortal life that no longer offers anything of Darkness. Modern technology eases those dangers but tragedy and a reminder of the damned state of the somewhat, but most Kindred are effectively trapped in undead. cities, where they gild their cages with elaborate games A Beautiful Corpse of prestige, social status, and vendetta. Once a vampire is Embraced, her looks are frozen in To that end, much of Vampire takes place in urban time. Her skin will be unnaturally cold to the touch environments. Why should the Kindred risk starvation and become paler as she ages, but she will look the in the untamed wild when those badlands confer no same in a thousand years as she does on the night of status upon their masters, and when a frenzied were- her Embrace. However, her body does not work like it wolf may well come rampaging across the landscape, used to. As mentioned previously, nearly all Kindred leaving dismemberment in his wake? Truly, vampires are unable to eat food after the Embrace, vomiting it are uniquely acclimated to city domains, and the cities up almost immediately — only blood will sustain them. are the places that hold the most of their most precious Over time, most of the vampire’s bodily fluids will be resource in vitae. replaced by blood — the Kindred sweats a thin sheen of blood when nervous, cries tears of blood when sad,

The Embrace and makes a god-awful mess during sex.

Upon the Embrace, the fledgling’s senses sharpen, Blood has other, unique uses for vampires. Besides displaying to her a richness of visual colors, auditory needing it for sustenance, Cainites can mentally direct distinction, tactile fineness, and olfactory alertness the blood to various parts of her body, “spending” it to that mortals senses are too limited to discern. The most perform a variety of feats. She can heal herself, mend- important of all, however is taste — taste becomes the ing scrapes, cuts, and slashes in moments. She can new Kindred’s primary sense, and with it she engages also enhance her physical capabilities, making herself the pursuit of a single taste to the exclusion of all oth- stronger, hardier, or more agile for a short period of ers: vitae. Mortal blood. The mortal dies, and in her time, and fuel the mystical powers at her command. places rises a member of the undead, a Kindred. With Her blood can also create new vampires through the this unholy rebirth comes a host of new potential, from Embrace, and enslave the minds of mortals and even the mystical powers known as Disciplines that Kindred other Kindred. Some vampires can also spend blood possess to the quintessential vampiric ability to use to appear human once again: make their skin rosy and blood for a variety of supernal purposes. warm, mimic breathing, and even allow her to have Thereafter, nothing is the same for the fledgling. She’s sex once again (although intercourse pales in compari- no longer mortal, but a new member of an elaborate so- son to the ecstasy of the Kiss). ciety of the Damned, who have their own complicated The Beast codes of behavior, their own customs, and seemingly endless rules and protocols that dictate who is subservi- Of course, there’s a downside as well. Inside every ent to whom and under what circumstances. Even for vampire lurks an impassioned, hungry creature that is those who rebel against the system — Anarchs, ungov- the opposite of the Man. It is the Beast, and the Beast ernable Autarkis, and any number of other rogues — a knows only three activities: kill, feast, sleep. It is the pecking order must exist. The only place it doesn’t is roiling, inchoate desire every Kindred feels to slay her when only one vampire claims the domain… and if prey rather than taking just enough. It is the inevita- ble urge to be what the vampire is — a predator who 16 CHAPTER ONE: A WORLD OF DARKNESS, doesn’t answer to the will of men or hide from their powerful creatures, certainly, but those powerful crea- numbers. When the Beast takes control over a vam- tures have put in place hierarchies of their own, and pire, she is said to enter a state of frenzy, directing the none of them have “share my jealously hoarded power Cainite into a response of fight or flight. with some newly Embraced whelp” at the top of their But the Beast isn’t a simple animal soul; it can be agendas. sophisticated. It knows that the war against the Man The elders have it all sewn up, it would seem. They is one that, given time, it will inevitably win. Thus, claim domains that they have held for decades, if not in young vampires, the Beast is often a savvy creature, centuries. The social hierarchies, no matter the Sect, are willing to take small victories here and there because occupied by cagey vampires who didn’t rise to the top by in the long term, they lead the Kindred down the path being companionable. The highest echelon of Kindred of greater degradation and subservience to the Beast. authority in almost any city is a spider’s web of tenured Tonight the Kindred destroys property, tomorrow she intrigues, vicious rivalries, and outright hatreds that can kills with reticence, the night after that she kills with boil over into physical violence and even Final Death. relish. By the time the Man has eroded and the Beast Add to this the fact that these entrenched elders are holds sway, there is little rational consciousness left to masters of manipulation and misdirection, and many the Cainite in question. Kill, feast, sleep is all that re- young vampires feel — not incorrectly — that they are mains in a vampire dominated entirely by her Beast. pawns. They are moved in a game played by hoary old monsters, and their every movement may not even be

The Aristocracy of the Dead their own. Does the brash young Brujah really hate the

The Kindred who believes he’ll forever be the tough- Toreador ancilla who snubbed her at a party? Or did est motherfucker in the place just because he drinks the Ventrue elder encourage his great-grandchilde to blood and can’t die is in for a rude awakening. Thou- hustle the inexperienced Brujah sire into introducing sands upon thousands of other vampires are compet- his progeny too soon into Kindred society in the hopes ing with him for that top-dog status. Vampires are that the Toreador would make a move? These are the VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 17, games the elder Kindred play with one another. These tage. They haven’t been dead as long as their elders, are the wheels within wheels in the spiteful war of ages and remain closer to the mortals from whom they only known as the Jyhad. recently parted. This means they still have a connection to mortal

The Jyhad trends, and in nights when even children have tech-

What sets vampires at each other’s throats? What mo- nology at their disposal, young Kindred do, too. Elders’ tivates them to construct the elaborate social systems age and stasis make them reluctant to engage with that allow them to stubbornly maintain their veneer of these new — and, frankly, frightening — technolo- humanity? What is the origin of the endless games of gies. Thus, the speed at which information travels is brinksmanship in which vampires contest one another? the neonate’s most valuable asset. In a single word, it is the Jyhad. From social media to web-based archives of city his- Vampires are inherently solitary creatures, lone pred- tory to data clouds that house all of the public records ators whose urges are selfish and destructive. When of civic transactions (including the name on the deed one vampire meets another for the first time, neither of the Tremere chantry…), the ability to seemingly of them can ignore the fact that the other is a rival for reach into the ether and pluck out vital information is the limited resources that he exerts himself night after an aptitude that confounds many elders. Consider that night to cultivate. Whether an individual is a mighty a given elder may have once held sway over scriptoria Sabbat Bishop or a lone Gangrel who subsists by not of monks who diligently copied manuscripts by hand being noticed, each Kindred on a primal level knows over the span of years, or even one who watched the that for every new vampire spawned, unlife becomes printing press slowly transform the western world. The more and more difficult, more and more dangerous. speed at which information disseminates is a modern horror that can cause even the most stalwart elder to In these modern nights of sophisticated Sects, long- blanch. Flash mob at the graveyard, which just hap- standing Clan politics, and the histories of cities that pens to be a craggy old Malkavian’s favored haven? define the fates of the Kindred who dwell there, this “No problem,” says the confident young vampire, primitive urge to hoard all available blood all for smartphone in hand. There has even been talk of vam- oneself finds outlet in conspiracy and gamesmanship. pires making their own social network. What one Kindred wants, another hoards, another has plans to steal, and still another can distract them all Just know what you’re getting yourselves into, and seize a momentary advantage. whelps. It is ironic that Cainites turn to a mortal political figure to summarize the perilous philosophies of the Jyhad, and, indeed, if Kindred interactions can be de- Social Distinctions scribed in terms of human perspective, the appropriate Various castes, appellations, and divisions distinguish word is Machiavellian. “A prince never lacks legitimate the Kindred. Most vampires belong to more than one of reasons to break his promise,” Machiavelli advises, and the following groups, and movement between them can “If an injury has to be done to a [rival] it should be so be as liquid as a neonate’s ambition or as calcified as an severe that his vengeance need not be feared.” elder’s habits. It all depends upon the domain and the Such perspectives are the bylaws of the Kindred’s circumstances. Note that these are allegiances or clas- eternal war against one another, and with centuries or sifications, not jobs. Titles and offices a Kindred may millennia behind the individual feuds in the Jyhad, it possess are something altogether different (see p. 24). is no wonder that the Damned play their cards so close to their chest. These are no mere territory struggles Age among short-lived mortal tyrants. These are the con- One of the ways that Kindred determine the social flicts that drive history. pecking order is through a combination of age and Generation (an indication of how far the vampire is

The Modern Advantage removed from Caine, the original vampire). Newly-

Although it may seem like the elders have all of the Embraced Cainites must prove themselves to older, best domains, young Kindred do have a certain advan- more established vampires in order to gain any sort of 18 CHAPTER ONE: A WORLD OF DARKNESS, recognition or standing. There is a small degree of mo- has long been debated whether this change is mystical bility, but a vampire primarily gains respect through or biological. Regardless, by the time a vampire reaches the passage of time and the attrition of his enemies. this age, the weight of millennia sets in, as well as an Fledgling: A fledgling is a newly-Embraced vampire increased paranoia. Those who are weak or take risks who has not yet been introduced to Kindred society do not survive to this age — only the most indomitable and formally emancipated from her sire. To this end, a attain the station of Methuselah. sire is responsible for the actions of his childe until he As a means of self-preservation, Methuselahs re- deems her able enough to handle Cainite culture on treat from the world. The constant struggle of facing her own. Some Clans shelter their fledglings for years the young who seek power through the blood of their or decades, like the Tremere, while others, like many elders grows numbing. Eventually one of the hungry Gangrel and Brujah, figure that once you’re a vampire, whelps will get lucky. Thus the only option is to retreat you’re on your own — tough shit if you can’t hack it. fully from society, and go into torpor. Some Methuse- The Sabbat — who sometimes call their hastily-Em- lahs remain involved in power struggles and the Jyhad braced fledglings “shovelheads” due to their bizarre of the Kindred, but do so from a position of complete Embrace rituals — are usually much more pragmatic: If anonymity. Still others do so from the cold sleep of the fledgling survives and does something worthwhile, torpor, moving their minions with mental commands, she’s not a shovelhead anymore. dream-visions, or centuries of conditioning. The fear Neonate: A neonate is a young vampire, one who of Jyhad, that no Kindred may truly call his actions his has not been Kindred very long. The main difference own, stems from the inexorable dread spawned by the between a neonate and a fledgling is that the neonate terrible potential of the Methuselahs. has been emancipated from her sire and otherwise is Antediluvian: Literally “before the flood,” the An- seen as an “adult” in vampire society. The line between tediluvians are believed to be those vampires of the fledgling and neonate is incredibly subjective, but usu- Third Generation (see p. 29) who are descended from ally once Kindred society stops thinking of a vampire Caine’s original childer. Rumored to be the last vam- as her sire’s appendage and more on her own merits pires “with mastery over life and death,” the Antedi- and actions, then she’s become a neonate. luvians are almost certainly in the grip of millennial Ancilla: Those Kindred who have a few decades or torpor, assuming they still exist at all. If these Biblical centuries under their belts generally fall into the loose, monsters still dwell on earth, they cannot possibly still subjective category known as the ancillae. They have resemble humans in anything more than physical form. paid their dues, understand (mostly) how Kindred soci- They have been vampires for so long that their urges ety works, and have probably accomplished something. and desires are wholly alien to human sensibilities, Ancilla is the rank between neonate and elder, imply- and even to those vampires who have been Kindred ing some degree of achievement in what local Kindred for “only” a thousand years or fewer. Some Kindred society deems appropriate. Of course, what counts as philosophies prophesy that the Antediluvians will rise “achievement” can vary wildly from Sect to Sect. A from their unquiet slumber and devour their wayward Camarilla ancilla would be considered soft and effete childer during an apocalypse known as Gehenna. Rad- by the Sabbat, while a Sabbat ancilla would probably ical — perhaps suicidal — believers in this prophecy be described as a raging maniac by Camarilla stan- advocate destroying the sleeping monsters where they dards. lie, if they can be discovered and destroyed at all. Elder: What constitutes an “elder” is similarly sub- jective, but it generally corresponds to a rough age Clans and Sects distinction of anywhere from 200 to 1000 years of be- A Kindred’s Clan is her lineage, the vampiric “fam- ing Kindred, with appreciable claims to domain and ily” into which she was Embraced. The Clans are dis- a variety of other assets to bring to bear in the Jyhad. tinguished by their Antediluvian founders. Kindred so- Typically, elders of Europe are much older than those ciety generally acknowledges 13 Clans tonight, though across the Atlantic Ocean. Elders are typically the old- some may have been lost to history, some may exist in est active vampires in undead society. secrecy, and some may never have been known. Some Methuselah: When a vampire reaches a particular Clans are highly organized, while others are utterly de- age, somewhere between 1000 and 2000 years of un- centralized. The only constant when speaking of Clans death, a profound change invariably overtakes him. It is that each has a unique ultimate progenitor, a set of VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 19, mystical aptitudes known as Disciplines, and a perva- The Lasombra are proud nobles who command the sive flaw. very essence of darkness and shadow — to the point of Those without a Clan are known as Caitiff. These worshiping it, some say. individuals are undeniably vampires, but they display The Malkavians are a Clan fractured by madness, no inherited characteristics from their sires (if, indeed, each member irrevocably suffering under the yoke of they know who their sires are at all). Caitiff are fre- insanity. quently shunned in Kindred society, as much for their The Nosferatu are hideously disfigured by the Em- lack of pedigree as their ignorance of vampiric social brace, so they keep to the sewers shadows and traffic in structures. the secrets they collect. A Sect is an artificial organization of vampires, usu- The Ravnos are nomads and tricksters who can force ally composed of multiple Clans that form a league or the mind to see what isn’t there, though they are slaves compact. In most cases, one’s Clan has immense in- to the vices they indulge in. fluence on one’s Sect, but exceptions do occur. Some Clans belong to no Sect at all, and in most cases, Cai- The Toreador enjoy every sensual pleasure the world tiff may be found among any of the Sects. has to offer, idolizing physical beauty and the adora- tion of their thralls. The interplay of Clan and Sect realities shapes much of a Kindred’s nightly experiences: A Camarilla Ven- The Tremere wield the supernatural power of their true’s understanding of her city is radically different sorcerous past, though they became vampires through from a Sabbat Tzimisce’s perspective. treachery and artifice. The Tzimisce are eldritch Old World lords who

Clans have little in common with the mortal world and can

manipulate flesh and bone at a whim. The way Clans function varies. Some are closely knit, almost fraternal organizations with distinct agen- The Ventrue observe the noblesse oblige of vampire das and focused hierarchies. Others are little more society, though their entitlement and greed encourages than a predilection toward certain Disciplines and an them to seek ever more at the expense of others. exploitable flaw in the blood. Ultimately, what Clan The Caitiff have no inherent Clan society, support, means to each vampire is unique, and some Kindred or even characteristics; they are like orphans among may be very proud of their Clan while others don’t give the great families of vampires. it much thought. Ultimately, though, each Clan tends towards certain common behaviors, perceptions, or Sects roles in Kindred society. Sect — a vampire’s political and philosophical affili- The Assamites are silent masters of assassination, ation — is ostensibly a matter of choice. If a Cainite killing for hire and collecting blood for rituals to bring dwells in a Sabbat city, however, she’s almost certainly them closer to their progenitor. a Sabbat member whether she wants to be or not, and The Brujah were once philosopher-kings of an an- a vampire in a Camarilla-held city had better have an cient civilization, but are now rebels and rogues with a exquisite explanation if he chooses not to honor the fearsome inclination toward frenzy. word of the Prince. The Followers of Set venerate a chthonic God while Each Sect has a dogma and an objective its members seeking out the world’s secret places and protecting an- seek to attain. Being broadly distributed organizations cient artifacts. populated by creatures as selfish as vampires makes a The Gangrel are bestial and untamed, often coming Sect’s nature in each city a unique thing. Some Sect- to resemble the animals over which they demonstrate dominated cities might be paragons of their organiza- mastery. tion’s virtues, while other pay only lip service to Sect creeds. For more information on the Camarilla, the The Giovanni are an insular family of vampires who Sabbat, the Anarchs, and the Independents, see Chap- practice the art of commanding the dead while com- ter Two, starting on p. 38. For more information on the manding global finances, as they have since the Re- Traditions, see p. 22. naissance. 20 CHAPTER ONE: A WORLD OF DARKNESS, The Camarilla holds up the Traditions as the high- ship with the Camarilla owes to its recklessness and est authority, with a figure known as the Prince acting shortsighted brand of fiery fanaticism. The Sabbat be- as the ultimate authority to both interpret and enforce lieves that ultimately, vampires must assert their place those laws in each domain. First and foremost, the over the mortal world instead of hiding from it, if they Camarilla sees its role as maintaining the Masquer- are to survive the fangs of their creators. Part fanatical ade, but in domains with accomplished Kindred, the death worshippers, part millennial doomsday cult, the conflicts between them regularly bring the rest of the “Sword of Caine” is neither subtle nor tolerant. Traditions into consideration as well. The Camarilla The Anarch Movement is localized and sporadic, considers itself a well-heeled Sect of genteel vampires, without any real central organization outside the in- and the term Kindred originates with it, in the idea dividual cities where it establishes itself. In fact, the that all members of the Camarilla are peers in the same Camarilla considers the “Anarchs” under its own pur- august organization. Of course, the social hierarchy of view. The central tenet of the Anarchs is that rule by the Camarilla is an elaborate construct, and vicious elders is an outmoded concept, and that Kindred do- interpersonal politics and ancient grudges shape the mains should be governed by merit, with a fundamen- nightly affairs of the “Ivory Tower.” tal respect for the individual Kindred. Effectively, the The Sabbat holds an apocalyptic outlook, believing Movement seeks to redistribute the power in domains that the time for Gehenna is nigh, and the Ancients from the hands of the old elite into a more equitable will soon rise from their graves and devour their errant arrangement. While this may seem modern and rea- get. It has little regard for the Traditions other than sonable, that’s not how Kindred society works in most immediate self-preservation, and its domains are hell- domains, and those who already benefit from consoli- ish urban warzones where people may well have seen dated power find the idea laughable at best and treason- vampire activity but simply chalk it up to the weirdness ous at worst. As well, many Anarchs style themselves and horror of the World of Darkness. The Masquerade as revolutionaries, willing to do whatever it takes to (or “The Silence of the Blood,” as they call it) is tenu- strip power from the corrupt old guard who hoard it. ous in Sabbat domains, and much of its poor relation- These are no utopian domains of happy Kindred-kine VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 21, relationships. These are petty kingdoms ruled by in- is simply too powerful or otherwise ungovernable for dividual undead lords of whatever territory they can the local Sect to bring under its sway. These latter are seize. often terrifying, warlike when prodded, and nearly leg- The Inconnu is an enigmatic elder Sect about which endary in the domain. If you’re such a badass that you little is known. Indeed, it seems less of a cogent Sect can thumb your nose at every pack of Templars or Ar- and more of a confederation of Kindred who seek the chon strike team the local Kindred call in to force you state of Golconda, a sort of redemptive transcendence to toe the line, you’d make a fine Autarkis. of Damnation. The Sect rarely has more than one or two Kindred in any given domain, and territory ac- quisitions don’t appear to be part of its agenda. A few The Traditions territories belong to prominent Inconnu, and thus the Sect may be said to be dominant in that domain, but in Vampires observe a set of customs that exists some- most cases of Inconnu presence, a “Monitor” takes up where between being coded into their undead natures residence in another Sect’s domain to watch its affairs and a social contract that’s ratified every night among and pursue her own salvation. What the Sect formally the courts of the Damned. Not every vampire affords wants — if anything — remains unknown, and specu- the idea of the Traditions the respect they deserve — lation runs rampant as to their origin. Some believe the Sabbat in particular make bold claims about the that they are little more than a cult of would-be gods flaws of the Traditions and the weak wills of those who while others suspect that they are the remnants of an hide behind them — but in practice, most vampires ancient Roman conspiracy that pre-dates the modern observe the Traditions to some extent. This is most idea of Sects. true of the Masquerade, for as bold as the Sabbat or Anarchs may be, even they don’t have the concentrat- The Tal’Mahe’Ra is a bizarre paranoid conspiracy of ed might to stand against a world of mortals who learn a Sect that spends little time in contact with the other the secret that the undead walk among them. factions of Kindred society. Very little is known about the “True Black Hand,” and some Kindred consider Interpreting and enforcing the Traditions is the stories of its existence apocryphal. Its stronghold lies privilege and responsibility of the Kindred Prince. In in the Underworld, the realm of the dead occupied by some domains, particularly those of non-Camarilla ghosts of things long lost to the modern world. Its mis- Sects, both the titles and the Traditions themselves sion seems to be one of shepherding and protecting the may vary, but the core principle is found everywhere: world toward an end only it understands. Their vision That an undead authority makes the rules and woe to is similar to the First City as described in the Book of any who feel that they don’t have to heed them. Nod. The Sect holds no cities in the physical world as The First Tradition: The Masquerade its domains, though it maintains estates and other odd This is the most important Tradition, for its obser- nexuses where it breeds ghoul servants and sends its vance protects the race of Caine from discovery by a agents forth into the world. mortal world that would unite against them in fear The Independent Clans often function like small- and hatred. Many Princes and other Kindred authori- scale Sects themselves, with specific agendas in mind, ties spend a great deal of time using their influence or though this is not always the case. wealth to cover up breaches of the Masquerade, for the

Autarkis greater good of the Damned who may not even under-stand the peril in which they place themselves when

Not every Kindred belongs to a Sect, nor swears fe- they breach it. The Camarilla tends to err on the side alty to a Clan, Prince, Bishop, or other such entity. of the pragmatic, cultivating its power from the shad- These Autarkis often lead solitary unlives not unlike ows, but the Sabbat longs for a time when the Mas- hermits or outcasts. The lot of the Autarkis is unique querade is no longer necessary, when mortals are little in every case — what drove her into self-rule, and why more than blood-thralls born into the shackles of their does the local Sect allow an individual to flout its pri- vampiric masters. macy? In some cases, an Autarkis is beneath notice, as with a Nosferatu who keeps to his warrens on the out- The Second Tradition: The Domain skirts of town or an irretrievably damaged Malkavian Of all the Traditions, Princes often employ the widest who dwells in the Barrens. In other cases, the Autarkis range of interpretations when it comes to the Second 22 CHAPTER ONE: A WORLD OF DARKNESS,

The First Tradition: The Masquerade

Thou shall not reveal thy true nature to those not of the Blood. Doing such shall renounce thy claims of Blood.

The Second Tradition: The Domain

Thy domain is thine own concern. All others owe thee respect while in it. None may challenge thy word while in thy domain.

The Third Tradition: The Progeny

Thou shall only Sire another with the permission of thine Elder. If thou createst another without thine Elder’s leave, both thou and thy Progeny shall be slain.

The Fourth Tradition: The Accounting

Those thou create are thine own children. Until thy Progeny shall be Released, thou shall command them in all things. Their sins are thine to endure.

The Fifth Tradition: Hospitality

Honor one another’s domain. When thou comest to a foreign city, thou shall present thyself to the one who ruleth there. Without the word of acceptance, thou art nothing.

The Sixth Tradition: Destruction

Thou art forbidden to destroy another of thy kind. The right of destruction belongeth only to thine Elder. Only the Eldest among thee shall call the Blood Hunt. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 23, Tradition. Some Princes maintain that the Second Tra- The Sixth Tradition: Destruction dition applies only to those of their station, that a given The Blood Hunt — the Lextalionis — is the Princely city is entirely a Prince’s domain and that everyone in decree that declares another vampire persona non grata. it owes him fealty and perhaps tribute. Other Princes The right of Princes (or “elders,” depending upon the are much more liberal, granting each (acknowledged) interpretation of the Tradition) to call the Blood Hunt Kindred in her domain the power of sovereignty over effectively forfeits the hunted Kindred’s unlife; it is their own territory. Most Princes fall somewhere in the the ultimate punishment levied for the most grievous middle, acknowledging that each Kindred makes his of crimes. Indeed, it is used so sparing and so severely own fortune and has a right to authority in areas ac- in most domains that many Princes will even pardon cepted as his, but not complete autonomy. those Kindred who perform diablerie on a vampire un-

The Third Tradition: The Progeny der the Lextalionis.

Many if not most Princes require that prospective sires seek their permission before performing the Em- brace to create fledglings. However, some domains in- Domains of the Dead terpret “thine elder” to signify either the elder of one’s own Clan, or even one’s own sire. Note that such lib- A city’s Kindred society and even its mortal character eral domains are often the ones with the greatest Kin- depend a great deal upon which Sect holds sway there, dred populations, and often ones that come closest to or if any Sect holds sway at all. Camarilla domains such jeopardizing the Masquerade due to Kindred overpopu- as Chicago, London, and Paris look and feel a great lation. deal differently from Sabbat strongholds such as Mexi- co City, Detroit, and Montreal, which likewise have a

The Fourth Tradition: The Accounting different cast than Anarch cities like Los Angeles, San

This Tradition imposes a twofold rule. First, a sire Diego, and San Francisco. effectively owns her progeny until such a time as she Individual Kindred define these domains, of course, deems them fit to face Kindred society on their own. but simply learning which titles a city employs for its Second, a wayward childe brings trouble upon his sire’s high-status vampires can offer a wealth of insight to head, for the sire is responsible for the actions and con- the observer. For instance, if a Kindred learns that De- sequences of her childe until the point at which she is troit has an Archbishop, he’s pretty well assured that emancipated. This Tradition is simultaneously at the the city belongs to the Sabbat, while discovering that center of some Kindred’s policy of making their childer all of London is Prince Mithras’ domain lets the vam- earn their freedom through a long and arduous process, pire know that the city is one of Camarilla allegiance. and other Kindred’s policy of, “Fuck it; you’re a vam- The following titles describe the Sect alignment and pire now. Don’t ruin it for the rest of us or I’ll tear your duties of that title. Note that not every domain has heart out myself. Good luck.” a member of every given title. Indeed, some domains

The Fifth Tradition: Hospitality have many members with a given title, while in others,

certain powerful Kindred may hold numerous titles, or A Prince has the right to dictate who may stay in his there might be so few competent Kindred that each domain and who must leave or suffer punishment. This vampire must attend to multiple responsibilities. Tradition also imposes the responsibility on a trav- eling or relocating Kindred to present herself to the local Kindred authority and make herself known and Prince (Camarilla) accountable for any missteps. Again, this Tradition’s The preeminent vampire of a Camarilla city and enforcement falls to the whim of individual Princes. probably the most numerous position of ultimate au- Some are iron-fisted dictators who demand to know thority among Western Kindred, Princes are the rul- the comings and goings of all the Kindred in their cit- ers of given cities. Some Princes are tyrants or absolute ies, while others don’t mind so much as everyone heeds monarchs of the Damned while others are politically the other Traditions and doesn’t disturb the social or- feeble puppets propped up by more powerful support- der. ers, but the position of Prince is one acknowledged and even (grudgingly) respected by all vampires, even those not of the Camarilla. 24 CHAPTER ONE: A WORLD OF DARKNESS, A Prince’s duties and privileges are many, but the freedom fighter. A Baron forever straddles a fine line most important is the interpretation and enforcement between being a wise leader and a power-mad autocrat, of the Traditions, particularly the Masquerade. Beyond and the impractical nature of revolutionary ideology that, a Prince has any individual powers he can claim dooms many of them when the nightly affairs of the and uphold, such as declaring Elysium, calling a Blood domain need attention. Hunt, adjudicating disputes between residents of his domain, the right to claim a blood-tribute, and poten- Other Titles tially even the right to name, ignore, or even disband the Primogen. Camarilla Kindred of any age can in theory be Princes, but in Harpy: Harpies are the opinion leaders and the reality, praxis — the right of Princes to rule — goes trend-setters to whom other Kindred look when it only so far as the Kindred members of a domain respect comes to matters of taste, style, philosophy, or poli- and allow it. A weak or young Prince might be inef- tics. A Harpy’s word influences the domain’s attitudes fectual or even a laughingstock, while just speaking the and can be a powerful supporter of the status quo or a name of the aforementioned Mithras or Prince Lodin force for insidious change. Harpies are rarely appointed of Chicago might be enough to cause a shiver of fear directly (and Kindred rarely trust those who are). In- down the spines of those cities’ vampires. stead, a Harpy paradoxically becomes so by acting as The role of Prince is a complex and varied one and a Harpy. The Harpy’s role is often intertwined with much has been said about it, but ultimately, a Prince is domain politics, and it is a bold or foolish Prince who master of the domain. neglects those vampires who represent the cutting edge of popular opinion in her domain.

Archbishop (Sabbat) Keeper of Elysium: This is a largely honorific title,

though it has many practical responsibilities. The With many of the same powers as the Prince, the Keeper of Elysium assures that the customs of Elysium Archbishop is the closest analog the Sabbat has to that are observed, and is a caretaker of sites declared Ely- position. An Archbishop is different, though, in that sium by a Prince. the Sabbat is less concerned with enforcing the Tra- ditions and more concerned with waging its holy war Scourge: In this time, which many elders believe to against the Antediluvians and everyone else. Thus, be the Time of Thin Blood, the Scourge is responsible the Archbishop is part spiritual leader and part war- for destroying those vampires of 14th and higher Gen- lord, advancing the Sword of Caine’s agenda and es- eration. This is a position most often found in paranoid tablishing Cainite primacy. This last is a difficult task domains where elders believe that fighting the symp- to undertake, as it’s not simply a question of turning a toms of the Final Nights will stave off the coming of Sabbat city into a living hell and declaring that vam- Gehenna. pires rule; the fundamentals of the Masquerade and the Sheriff: The Sheriff is the Prince’s right-hand Kin- sheer weight of the mortal population means that is dred, responsible for the physical enforcement of a war to be waged in stages. Too many Sabbat fail to Princely decree. Some Sheriffs are diligent masters-at- understand this, especially among the young, and lose arms while others are thuggish, bloody fuckheads who faith in their leadership because they’re too impatient abuse their authority to torment those beneath their to play out the long-game Jyhad. This subversion of ig- station. A Sheriff may appoint Hounds to assist him norance is perhaps the Archbishop’s greatest challenge (or the Prince may appoint them, in the interests of to overcome. curtailing a Sheriff’s overt power). Primogen: Primogen is a flexible title. In some do-

Baron (Anarch Movement) mains, a Primogen is simply the eldest and most influ-

Much of Anarch philosophy decries the tyranny of ential Kindred of a given Clan. In others, a Primogen Princes, but despite their name, the Anarchs often rec- is a member of a council of advisors to the Prince. In ognize that leadership in a domain is necessary. Thus, some domains, Princes appoint the Primogen (and the Baron: a Prince in all but name and reputation. they may even appoint multiple Primogen of the same Many Barons take great pains to avoid Camarilla-style Clan, to keep that Clan divided) while in other cities, autocracy, but power can corrupt even the most zealous Primogen arise from among the most powerful mem- bers of that Clan or as a result of popular Clan politics. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 25, This is perhaps the most difficult of Camarilla titles for anonymous existence of the Alastors can be a difficult a new Kindred to understand. one, it does have its rewards, specifically a more-or-less Justicar: These are the judges appointed by the In- universal immunity to prosecution from local Princes. ner Circle to be the Camarilla’s eyes, hands and, if nec- The Inner Circle: The true hub of the Camarilla, essary, fists. It is the Justicars who decide the punish- this group meets once every 13 years to plan out the ment for those who have violated the Traditions on a business and direction of vampire society — as much as widespread level. A Justicar serves for 13 years, and her any group can presume to dictate the doings of a race of actions may be challenged only by another Justicar. immortal predators. Every Clan is permitted one rep- Archon: Each Justicar selects a number of minions, resentative, usually the eldest member of the Clan, as known as Archons, to act in his name as suits his pur- only the eldest may cast the Clan’s vote. poses. Archons are typically chosen from the upper Sabbat ranks of ancillae and occasionally elders of lesser sta- tion. Justicars occasionally choose Archons to carry Ductus: Leaders of individual packs, Ducti attend to the out specific missions, and prefer political savvy, in- operation matters of their charges, resembling gang lead- sight, and skill over standing and clout. An Archon’s ers or chiefs of small tribes. The title of Ductus is largely position typically lasts for as long as a Justicar wishes to honorific, according recognition to the most accomplished retain her, but no longer than the Justicar’s tenure. member of a pack. Some authority accompanies the title, but the Ductus who throws his weight around is likely to Alastor: If the Archons and Justicars are the law find his ass dumped unceremoniously in a trash bin, if not enforcement agencies of the Camarilla, the Alastors staked out to welcome the next sunrise. are the secret police. Moving unseen and unnoticed through the Camarilla, they serve a variety of purposes Pack Priest: Priests bear the responsibility for the at the Inner Circle’s command. Mostly, however, the spiritual wellbeing of their packs. Second in command Alastors hunt the most dangerous criminals to the Ca- to the Ductus, the Pack Priest officiates all the rituals marilla — those on the so-called “Red List.” While the observed by the pack, and often creates a few for the sole use of the pack. All packs have at least one Pack 26 CHAPTER ONE: A WORLD OF DARKNESS, Priest, though some rare and large packs have two. even within the accepted dogma are numerous enough In the event that the Ductus is eliminated, the Pack to fuel any number of holy wars. Priest becomes a temporary leader until a new leader can be appointed by the Bishop, Archbishop, or (in First Vampire, First Murderer autonomous packs) the pack itself. And the Lord said unto him, “Therefore whosoever Templar: Also known as Paladins, the Templars are slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” an elite force of bodyguards appointed by a Bishop or And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him greater leader. Templars serve a variety of duties, always should kill him. in a martial capacity. Most Archbishops keep a cadre of Paladins in their retinues to handle delicate matters — Genesis 4:15 best solved by a judicious application of violence. With these words, many vampires trace their origins Bishop: Bishops are those immediately below the back to Biblical times. Caine, son of Adam and brother Archbishop in Sabbat domains, with the same high- of Abel, slew his sibling in sacrifice to God, and in so level duties but much narrower scope. A Bishop may doing was cast out, becoming the first vampire as God be in charge of a single aspect of Cainite unlife in the withdrew His grace from the exile. domain, or she may be a more general spiritual leader, Thereupon, the tale diverges any number of times, inquisitor against diabolism, military general, or any but most Kindred scholars, eschatologists, priests, and other specific aspect of Sabbat agenda. Some Sabbat speculators agree on this first point. domains have no Archbishop, but are instead ruled by Caine, as the First Vampire, wandered the Land of a council of Bishops. Nod, where he eventually passed on his curse, Embrac- Priscus: Superficially, a Priscus is similar to a Pri- ing those who would become known as the Second mogen, but is never appointed by an Archbishop or Generation. Their names are lost or vaguely known Bishop; Prisci rise to the rank over time and according — the names most commonly agreed upon are Enoch, to no specific criteria. A Priscus, politically, is an advi- Irad, and Zillah — and they eventually begat the Third sor to the local Sabbat authority figures, with no formal Generation, who would become the progenitors of role in Sect politics but great practical influence. what Kindred understand tonight as Clans. The chro- Cardinal: Cardinals oversee Sabbat affairs in large nology of Caine’s life, curse, and subsequent travails geographical regions. As the superiors of the Archbish- are recorded in the Book of Nod, a document as close ops, Cardinals coordinate the Sabbat in their cities and to a “vampire Bible” as the Kindred are apt to come. direct them in the Jyhad. Further, it is their direct duty The book itself is as much myth as fact: Any number to bring any cities within their territory under the Sab- of editions of varying reliability have surfaced in the bat’s sway. Most Sabbat see their Cardinals no more millennia since Abel’s death, from crude clay tablets than once per year, if at all, as the duties of the office to the most widely accepted version, collected by the keep them in constant communication with Bishops, renegade Aristotle de Laurent and disseminated by Archbishops, Prisci, and the Regent herself. his protégés and allies. Even Aristotle’s version is sus- pect, as it contains Kindred apocrypha from a variety Regent: The Regent is the ultimate authority over of sources, and the whole thing itself cannot possibly all of the Sabbat, ruling the Sect from the Sabbat be original. Still, as an item of faith, it commands the stronghold in Mexico City. Each of the Archbishops hearts and minds of many Kindred, from fiery Sabbat or councils of Bishops is ultimately accountable to the priests to spiritual Camarilla disciples and devout An- Regent. archs. Long have the Kindred sought Caine himself, though

The Mythology of the First Vampire hasn’t been reliably sighted outside the Biblical times that provided his origin. Still, un-

the Damned verifiable Caine sightings have shown up throughout time, as Kindred seek for any symbol of faith to an- Exactly what causes the state of vampirism is a source chor their despair or dread. Likewise, fragments of the of much debate among the Damned. Even though most Book of Nod occasionally surface in various domains or Kindred agree on their point of origin, the idea itself is among ruins that just happen to find their way back inherently unverifiable, and the points of contention into Kindred possession. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 27, The whole matter of Caine and the Book of Nod is a Naturally, the elders hate and fear diablerie (though powder keg each time it rises to prominence in a giv- it would surprise many neonates and ancillae to discov- en city. The Camarilla generally believes the myth of er how many elders attained their own Generational Caine to be just that: a parable with perhaps some basis potency by destroying their own sires and elders). Also in truth, but largely symbolic. The Sabbat takes the known as Amaranth, diablerie is the greatest crime a whole matter quite literally, and their faith in dooms- Kindred can commit against another vampire. day prophecies (many of which originate with the … At least in some circumstances. In others, dia- Book of Nod itself) causes no end of strife. The matter blerie is not only permitted but encouraged. For exam- of Caine is indeed a religion among vampires, fraught ple, a Prince who declares a Blood Hunt often decrees with all of the zealotry, intolerance, devotion, pride, that those who diablerize the outcast will be pardoned. and fear that accompany all matters of faith. Further, in the Sabbat and in certain Anarch domains, How is it, then, that some foundation of the tale of diablerie is an acceptable (and even honored) method Caine survives and even thrives among all Kindred? of promotion and advancement. After all, if a vampire The answer is simple: The potency of a Kindred’s vi- lets himself be diablerized, well, he must have been too tae reflects her distance in Embrace genealogy from the weak to use that power effectively. First Vampire.

Understanding the Generation Generations

Among vampires, the notion of Generation is a con- cept that describes how distant one is from the First Although Generation conceptually has only a finite Vampire. When a Kindred Embraces, her childe rises number of gradations, the significance of the Genera- from death one Generation higher than she — one tions is more important than a mere ordinal number. more Generation removed from Caine. The Clan Certain Generations correspond to certain social dis- founders comprised the Third Generation, their prog- tinctions of the Damned, and a Kindred’s Generation eny became the Fourth Generation, their childer be- may mark her for a vast and terrible destiny or as the came the Fifth Generation, and so on and so forth up harbinger of a dread fate. through the distant Thirteenth Generation prevalent Second Generation in the modern nights. The most widely acknowledged version of the Book This explanation creates confusion of its own, how- of Nod claims the number of second Generation Kin- ever. “Third Generation” ostensibly means that these dred is three. In its chronicles, Caine Embraced these Antediluvians were three Generations away from unknowable Ancients to dwell with him in his great Caine, but the prevailing mythology names only two. city of Enoch and give him succor. Given to the “An- If Caine himself isn’t “zero Generation,” what is he one tediluvian” moniker of the Third Generation, those Generation removed from? Kindred who delve into such mysteries assume that the Generation determines a great deal about Kindred Second Generation was slain either during the Deluge potential. Mastery of certain Disciplines relies upon a or in the kinslayer times following the Flood. As one certain threshold of Generation, for example, as does might expect, all those of age are reluctant to speak of the ability to store vast quantities of blood within the their sires and the great strife that overcame them all. vampire’s body. Some ancient Kindred need to feed Undoubtedly, some know more than they are reveal- only when the desire takes them, so great are their re- ing. serves of vitae. Were any of the Second Generation still in existence

Diablerie: The Amaranth today, they would be impossibly powerful beings. Some

Clans claim that their progenitors are in fact mem- Along with advanced Generation comes a price, bers of the Second Generation rather than the Third however. Generation equals raw power potential, and Generation, as is commonly assumed of Clan founders. those of higher Generation seek the power of their el- These claims are viewed as everything from prideful ders. By slaking one’s thirst on the heart’s blood of a boasts to foulest heresy by those who place great stock vampire of lower Generation — drinking the vampire’s in matters regarding Kindred origin. soul in a transgression known as diablerie — a Kindred can lower her own Generation. 28 CHAPTER ONE: A WORLD OF DARKNESS,

Third Generation Generations. Although the power of blood of Caine

Numerous terrifying tales of the Third Generation falls off greatly this many Generations removed, those exist, though the names of only two, Lucian and Me- of the Fourth Generation are still extremely powerful, khet, are widely known. Tonight, they are referred to godlike in the eyes of a mortal or fledgling vampire. as the Antediluvians, and they are the founders of the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth 13 great Clans. If any survive, they remain hidden, in- tentionally obscured by the depredations of the Jyhad. Generations They may still exist, collectively or in some fraction of Vampires of these Generations are the ones most their original number, but now instead of openly war- commonly described as elders, and they remain deeply ring as the Book of Nod recounts, they move in a deeper involved in Kindred society. Their movements domi- struggle. Indeed, Jyhad seems to be their primary en- nate the actions of the most populous Sects (at least gagement, as they jealously thwart whatever moves to hear them tell it), and their numbers comprise the their opponents make. majority of local authorities. Those who remain in po- sitions of visibility tend to be important figures: lead- The actions of the Antediluvians range from some- ers of Clans or bloodlines, Princes, Primogen, Bishops, thing as petty as the acquisition of a piece of artwork Archbishops, Anarch Barons, and the most notable to grand schemes involving nations, and almost none Autarkis. Many of the Princes of European cities tend are classifiable as the movements of Ancients while to be of the Sixth Generation. Princes of American cit- they’re happening, so subtle are these inhuman master ies tend to be of the Seventh or Eighth Generations. vampires. Those of the Third Generation must by this point be wholly other, split between those who would Colloquially, the members of the Eighth Generation share the world with mortals and those who would re- seem to be the last Kindred described as elders by those make the world so that it quivers beneath their gaze. even older than they. Perhaps it is because the majority Alternatively, some among the Third Generation may of them were created before the modern age, and that have reached Golconda or seek to help others of their is evident in their manner and bearing. Then again, kind attain this state. Of course, they, too, must play at perhaps it is very dry sarcasm directed toward everyone Jyhad with the other ancients who do not wish this to below the rank of an irascible Methuselah. come to pass. Ninth and Tenth Generations Those of the Third Generation are terrible beings, Although they are occasionally called elders, these with abilities and powers only guessed at by their less- Kindred just as often move with members of the ers, having been Kindred for eons longer than they younger Generations, especially in the New World. held mortal perspectives. Some say they can die the Members of these Generations are frequently called Final Death only if they choose or are slain by one of ancillae, though this is often based on age and accom- equal power. Is this, perhaps, the Jyhad — a maneuver- plishment more than Generation. Most were created ing to see who shall be the last of their kind? in the modern era, and thus are somewhat alien in

Fourth and Fifth Generations temperament to the older Kindred. In more ways than

one, they bridge the gap between the neonates and the These vampires are known as the Methuselahs, and true elders. they are nearly as powerful and secretive as the Antedi- luvians. Those of the Fourth and Fifth Generations are Eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth most often the most powerful allies, agents, or pawns in Generations the Jyhad, as their power perhaps nears the prestige of the Third Generation. As a result, their numbers have The most recent Generations of Kindred are often dwindled throughout millennia of conflict with each called neonates. Most of the Kindred in the modern other and greater, darker entities. Few of this Gen- nights belong to these Generations — they may out- eration remain active. Some may seek refuge among number the elder Generations by four-to-one or more. the Inconnu or Tal’Mahe’Ra to avoid the Jyhad and Born within recent memory, the Kindred of these Gen- diablerie. The Inner Circle of the Camarilla is said to erations are products of societies that have received the consist of multiple Methuselahs. Some critics believe benefits of, and been victims of, rapid change. Most that the true purpose of the Sects is to blunt the efforts tellingly, these are the young Kindred who are most ad- of the Third Generation to manipulate the younger ept with modern technology. They are not only unfazed VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 29, by but actually accustomed to information traveling at an enlightened state somehow “beyond” vampirism, the speed of digital data, and would find a handwrit- wherein the Kindred no longer must worry about the ten message dispatched on horseback to a superstitious Beast or its base hungers. peasant village 500 miles away unspeakably quaint and Golconda’s fabled state may eclipse its truth. Few inefficient. These are the Kindred of the information Kindred know anyone who claims to have achieved generation, the ones using social media and computers Golconda, and fewer still have actually reached its and changing what it means to be a vampire. lofty heights. None can say exactly what Golconda is,

Fourteenth and Fifteenth Generations and it remains a matter of faith or an objective of phi-

losophy more so than actual practice. Are those who There are exceedingly few Kindred of these Gen- have reached Golconda saints who have transcended erations, and none beyond. Indeed, those of the 15th what it means to be a vampire, or have they somehow Generation have failed to sire any progeny. Their managed to free themselves from the burdens of vam- blood is far too thin, and they are too removed from pirism? Is the vampire in Golconda beatific, or is she a Caine, to be able to pass on the curse. Rumors persist monster without even those moral underpinnings that about vampires siring not childer but children and other challenge the rest of the Cainite race? things never before wondered at in the Book of Nod. But the Book of Nod is definitely clear about one thing: Those who have attained Golconda offer no an- The rise of the Thin-Blooded is one of the signs of the swers. End Times, and Gehenna is nigh.

Gehenna Other Denizens of the

As vampires tell it, the time of Gehenna is the end of the world, at least for their race. The skies will rain World of Darkness blood and purge their numbers from the world. The slumbering Antediluvians will rouse themselves from Vampires aren’t the only supernatural creatures to their primordial slumber and devour their childer. stalk the shadows of the World of Darkness. The dark- Caine himself will return and demand an accounting ness belongs to many other mysterious and horrific en- of his degenerate race, and God himself will strike the tities, some of whom also prey on mortals, while others Kindred from the face of Creation into hell itself. exist among them or even protect them… sometimes. If any generality can be made about these others, All Kindred fear Gehenna, whether they consciously though, it’s that the Kindred don’t know much about believe in it or not. The reason is plain: Few of them them. The converse is equally true, and any interac- believed in vampires before they became Kindred, and tion between the race of Caine and the other monsters the dawning horror that there is more in the world who prowl the night is going to be tentative and suspi- than the mortal imagination can fathom can certainly cious, if not downright hostile and violent. prove frightfully true even to the vain Cainite frame of mind. For more information on these antagonists, see Chapter Nine. Gehenna is not a question of if, but when. Only the most stubborn of Kindred could possibly ignore the litany of prophecies that spell out the conclusion of Hunters the End Times. The End is here. When is the End of What remains of the Inquisition — the post-medieval the End? “hammer of witches” endowed by the Church with the means and authority to stamp out heresy and diabolism

Golconda — still exists tonight, albeit in a much changed format.

The constant pressure of paranoia, apocalypse, Jy- Tonight, the Inquisition and other vampire hunters had, and the existential horror of subsisting on human hunt the creatures of the night with firearms as well as blood is too much for some Kindred. Indeed, given faith, and with an uncanny insight that makes under- eternity, who would want to spend it in the state of estimating these individuals very dangerous. Govern- terror that surrounds the Kindred on any given night? ment agencies also keep an eye on the movements of In order to ease themselves out of the Jyhad and the the undead, and even unaffiliated groups have a keen predatory state of being, some vampires pursue the interest in the supernatural occupants of the world path of Golconda. According to rumor, Golconda is they share. These agents are all mortal — at least, so 30 CHAPTER ONE: A WORLD OF DARKNESS, the Kindred hope — though some possess knacks or abilities that can only be described as supernatural.

Werewolves

One of the reasons the Kindred keep to their urban domains is that the wilderness beyond the glow of the city lights harbors the Lupines. These savage creatures appear to be mad with rage, changing into their wolf- form seemingly at will and lashing out violently when someone rouses their ire. Some even believe they can step wholly out of the world and into a realm of moon- shadow, where vampires may not follow. They wage an ages-old war with the Damned that few Kindred un- derstand tonight, though they certainly comprehend the catastrophic violence the wolf-men are able to in- flict. Indeed, even a young Lupine seems to be at least a match for an entire coterie or pack of vampires, so wild are they in combat, and so resilient. A few bold groups of vampires hunt Lupines for thrill or duty, but when the prey is something that has the ability to strike down even a potent elder, wiser Kindred choose the path of avoidance.

Magi

As Shakespeare once said, “there are more things in heaven and earth… than are dreamt of in your phi- losophy.” So it is with the magi, exceptionally gifted mortals who have the ability to simply will their desires into being. In simplest terms, the magi wield “magick,” but there is more to it than that: They possess a cosmic understanding and acumen that eludes even the sor- cerous Tremere and the seekers of secrets among the Followers of Set. As Kindred understand it, the magi are mortal and thus comparatively fragile, but few wish to put to the test the incomprehensible wiles of an en- lightened witch who has the power to slay a Cainite with a thought or who can summon a gout of holy fire to scorch a vampire to cinders from within. The magi seem to have various orders and schools of magick among themselves, but these distinctions are largely irrelevant to vampires, who feel that the witches see them as a sort of commodity to be collected or as a mystery to be dissected and mastered.

The Wild Ones

Nature spirits, faeries, the Good Folk, the Others. Whatever the local term for them is, they are the alien outsiders who have claimed dominion over the strange corners of the world since before Man was sophisticat- VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 31, ed enough to sense their passing. They are a strange confederation of legends, possessed of inscrutable goals Lexicon and unknowable desires. A Kindred who crosses paths with one may depart with only a vague sense of good The Kindred have their own dialect of specialized fortune, while the next time he earns the attention of words and phrases. Vampires have a tremendous ca- the fae, he may lose his very identity. If any general pacity for double-talk; what they say often means statement may be made about the Others, they seem something other than or in addition to its literal inter- to belong to two different courts of philosophy, but pretation. Certain words have evolved new connota- neither of them has any consideration for vampires, so tions among the Damned, while others are unique to dealings depend entirely on each creature’s caprices. vampires and their society. The Kindred, set in their Fortunately, the faeries have no overarching interest ways as they are, are loath to adopt new manners of in vampiric affairs. If, by some tragedy, they take an speech or slang, and one can often determine a rough interest, the vampires may well find themselves victims estimation of a vampire’s age by listening to the indi- of cruel jokes or deadly vendettas. vidual words she chooses.

Common Parlance Ghosts These words are in common use among all echelons

Vampires aren’t the only denizens of the World of of Kindred society. Darkness to persist beyond the event of death. There is Anarch: 1) A member of the Anarch Movement. 2) a Veil between the worlds of the living and dead, and Any Kindred rebel who opposes the tyranny of elders. any number of ghosts, spirits, shades, wraiths, and other remnants of the unquiet departed attend to their unre- Anarch Movement, The: The Sect within the Ca- solved matters this side of it. Some Kindred compre- marilla comprised of Anarchs who want to reform or hend the mysteries of wraiths, such as the necromantic overthrow the rule of the elders. Giovanni and perhaps a few macabre Tremere or enig- Barrens, The: The areas of a city unfit for life, in- matic members of the True Black Hand, but even these cluding graveyards, abandoned buildings, industrial vampires deal with the restless dead on their own terms wastelands, and areas of irreversible urban blight. rather than those of the ghosts themselves. Sages, schol- Becoming, The: The moment one passes from be- ars, and eschatologists among the race of Caine believe ing a fledgling into “full” vampire status as a neonate. that the ghosts have a complex and immortal empire of In the Camarilla, one may not Become until her sire their own beyond the Veil, and that those with whom deems her ready and gains the Prince’s approval. the Kindred come in contact are those somehow exiled Book of Nod, The: A collection of Kindred legend from the realms of the Underworld. Certainly, Cainites and history. kill enough of their vessels to create no few ghosts of their own, and it’s often a cold confrontation with real- Beast, The: The inchoate drives and urges that ity when one discovers that he’s haunted by the shade threaten to turn a vampire into a mindless, ravening of his last bloody conquest. monster. Blood: A vampire’s heritage; that which makes a

And Everything Else vampire a vampire. Usage: I doubt her claims to such

esteemed Blood. Demons. Devils. Mummies. Shapeshifters. Golems. Creations of abused science or perverted natural law. blood bond: A mystical power over another individ- These and more might occupy some tenebrous corner ual engendered by partaking of a particular vampire’s of the World of Darkness, wielding powers heretofore blood thrice; accepting blood from a vampire is an ac- unseen by the Kindred or perhaps known only to cults knowledgment of her mastery. or secret societies. Whatever nightmare form a horror Caitiff: A vampire of unknown Clan, or of no Clan takes, it’s probably out there, seething, hating both at all. Caitiff are typically of high Generation, where the world of the living and the shadow world of the Caine’s blood is too diluted to pass on any consistent Damned. Tread carefully, Kindred. characteristics. Camarilla, The: A Sect of vampires devoted primar- ily to maintaining the Traditions, particularly that of the Masquerade. 32 CHAPTER ONE: A WORLD OF DARKNESS, childe: A vampire created through the Embrace — Hunger, The: The urge to feed. For vampires, the the childe is the progeny of her sire. This term is of- Hunger replaces all other drives with its own powerful ten used derogatorily, indicating inexperience. Plural call. childer. Inconnu: A Sect of vampires who have removed Clan: A group of vampires who share common char- themselves from Kindred concerns and, largely, the acteristics passed on by the blood. There are 13 known Jyhad. Many Methuselahs are rumored to exist among Clans, all of which were reputedly founded by mem- the Inconnu. bers of the Third Generation. Jyhad, The: The secret, self-destructive war waged coterie: A small group of Kindred, united by the between the Generations. Elder vampires manipulate need for support and sometimes common interests. In their lessers, using them as pawns in a terrible game the Sabbat, coteries are called “packs.” whose rules defy comprehension. diablerie: The consumption of another Kindred’s Kindred: The race of vampires as a whole, or a single blood, to the point of the victim’s Final Death. Vam- vampire. According to rumor, this term came about in pires may lower their Generation permanently through the 15th or 16th century, after the Great Anarch Re- this abhorrent practice. volt. Sabbat vampires scorn the term, preferring the domain: The area of a particular vampire’s influence. word “Cainite” instead. Princes claim entire cities as their domains, sometimes Kiss, The: To drink blood, especially from a mortal. allowing lesser vampires to claim domain within. The Kiss causes feelings of ecstasy in those who receive elder: A vampire who has experienced at least two it. or more centuries of unlife. Elders are the most active Lupine: A werewolf, the natural and mortal enemy participants in the Jyhad. of the vampire race. Plural Lupines. Elysium: A place where vampires may gather with- Lush: A vampire who typically feeds from drugged out fear of harm (although some Sects, such as the or drunk mortals in order to experience their inebria- Sabbat, respect Elysium less than the Camarilla does). tion. Elysium is commonly established in opera houses, the- Life, The: A euphemism for mortal blood. Many aters, museums, and other locations of culture. Kindred regard this term as affected and effete. Embrace, The: The act of transforming a mortal into Man, The: The mote of humanity that a vampire a vampire. The Embrace requires the vampire to drain maintains; the spark of mortality that distinguishes her victim and then replace that victim’s blood with a him from the Beast. bit of her own. Masquerade, The: The habit (or Tradition) of hid- Final Death, The: When a vampire ceases to exist, ing the existence of vampires from humanity. Designed crossing the line from undeath into death. to protect vampires from destruction at the hands of fledgling: A newly created vampire, still under her mankind, the Masquerade was adopted after the Inqui- sire’s protection. sition claimed many Kindred unlives. Gehenna: The rumored Armageddon when the An- Prince: A vampire who has claimed a given expanse tediluvians will rise from their torpor and devour the of domain as her own, generally a city, and supports race of vampires and the world. that claim against all others. The term can refer to a Generation: The number of “steps” between a vam- Kindred of either sex. In the Sabbat, this Cainite is pire and the mythical Caine; how far descended from called the “Archbishop,” and in Anarch cities she is the First Vampire a given vampire is. called the “Baron.” ghoul: A minion created by giving a bit of vampiric Rogue: A vampire who feeds upon the vitae of other vitae to a mortal without draining her of blood first Cainites, out of necessity or depravity. (which would create a vampire instead). Sabbat, The: A Sect of vampires that rejects human- haven: A vampire’s “home”; where she finds sanctu- ity, embracing their monstrous natures. The Sabbat ary from the sun. is bestial and violent, preferring to lord over mortals rather than hide from them. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 33, Sect: A group of vampires arguably united under a Gentry: A Kindred who preys at nightclubs, bars, common philosophy. The three most widely known and other establishments of the “red-light district.” Sects currently populating the night are the Camarilla, Golconda: A fabled state of vampiric transcendence; the Sabbat, and the Anarch Movement. the true mastery of the Beast and balance of oppos- sire: A vampire’s “parent”; the Kindred who created ing urges and principles. Rumored to be similar to her. mortal nirvana, Golconda is greatly touted but rarely vessel: A source of vitae for sustenance or pleasure, achieved. primarily mortal. Humanitas: The extent to which a Kindred still maintains her humanity.

Old Form

kine: A term for mortals, largely contemptuous. The The elders typically use these turns of phrase, which phrase “Kindred and kine” refers to the world at large; have existed since long before the modern nights. One everything. is advised to use these words carefully — in some com- pany, their use may be seen as humorously anachro- Leech: A human who drinks vampire blood, yet ac- nistic, while in the company of Anarchs, for example, knowledges no master. they may be misconstrued as elders’ propaganda. Lextalionis: The code of the Kindred and the system Amaranth: The act of consuming another Kindred’s for punishing transgression; the blood hunt. It suggests blood, q.v. diablerie. Hammurabian or Biblical justice — an eye for an eye, and punishment in keeping with the grievance. ancilla: A “proven” vampire, between the elders and the neonates. Plural ancillae. lineage: A vampire’s bloodline; the Kindred’s sire, sire’s sire, etc. Antediluvian: A member of the dreaded Third Gen- eration, one of the eldest Kindred in existence. Methuselah: A vampire who has existed for a mil- lennium or more; an elder who no longer participates antitribu: An “anti-Clan,” or one who has turned her in Kindred society. Methuselahs are rumored to hail back on the Sect that her Clan has founded (usually by from the Fourth and Fifth Generations. joining the Sabbat). Some antitribu have evolved into new bloodlines. neonate: A young Kindred, recently Embraced. Autarkis: A Kindred who remains outside the larger Papillon: The red-light district; the area of town vampire society of a given city and often refuses to ac- punctuated by drinking establishments, brothels, gam- knowledge the claim of a Prince, Archbishop, or Baron. bling houses, and other locales of ill repute. The prime hunting grounds of a city, where the disappearance blood oath: See blood bond. of mortals goes hand in hand with the area’s general Cainite: A vampire; a member of the race of Caine. seediness. Canaille: The bovine masses of humanity, especially progeny: All of a given vampire’s childer, collectively. the uncultured and unsavory. The Canaille are viewed praxis: The right of Princes to govern; the Prince’s primarily as a source of sustenance. claim to domain. This term also refers to the Prince’s Cauchemar: A vampire who feeds exclusively on matters of policy and individual edicts and motions. sleeping victims. regnant: A Kindred who holds a blood bond over consanguineous: Literally, “of the same blood,” gen- another. erally denotes lineage. retainer: A human who serves a vampiric master. Cunctator: A vampire who avoids killing when de- This term is almost archaic, referring to a time when livering the Kiss; one who takes so little blood as to vampires kept vast entourages of mortal servants as avoid bringing about her prey’s death. part of their estates. domitor: A ghoul’s master; one who feeds her blood Siren: A vampire who seduces mortals in order to and issues her commands. drink from them, and then only takes a small quantity Footpad: One who feeds from derelicts and other of blood, so as to avoid killing them. chaff of society. Footpads may not maintain permanent Suspire: The rumored epiphany experienced just havens. prior to the attainment of Golconda. 34 CHAPTER ONE: A WORLD OF DARKNESS, Third Mortal, The: Caine, who was cast out and Casanova: A vampire who seduces mortals to take became the First Vampire. their blood, but does not kill them. Casanovas typi- thrall: A vampire under the effects of a blood bond, cally erase the memory of their presence from their having drunk another Kindred’s blood thrice. vessels’ minds (see Cauchemar). vitae: Blood. Change, The: The moment an individual ceases to be a mortal and becomes one of the Kindred. whelp: A derogatory term for a young Kindred, origi- nally used with exclusive reference to one’s own progeny. Damned, The: The race of Cainites; all vampires. Wight: Human; man; a mortal. donor: A sarcastic term for a vessel, typically hu- man. Witch-hunter: A mortal who searches out and de- stroys vampires. Farmer: A term of mockery for vampires who refuse to feed on human blood, instead taking sustenance Whig: A contemptuous term for a vampire who pos- from animals. sesses an interest in mortal trends and fashions. fief: A sarcastic term for a vampire’s domain or claim

Vulgar Argot thereof, most commonly used in reference to a Prince.

These terms are slang, the modern equivalents of head: A Kindred who feeds upon those who have im- older turns of phrase which have fallen out of favor due bibed alcohol or drugs, so as to vicariously experience to their association with the elder ranks. These words the same sensations. Those Kindred who prefer indi- are associated with the younger Kindred, who seek to vidual drugs have their “poison” prefixed to the term establish their own vampiric cultures. head (e.g., methhead, dopehead, smackhead). Alleycat: A vampire who keeps no permanent haven, Headhunter: A vampire who hunts and feeds from but sleeps in a different location each night. This term other Kindred (see Rogue). also refers to a vampire who feeds exclusively from the juicebag: A contemptuous term for mortals, indicat- homeless, vagrants, and other elements of low society. ing that their sole use is for sustenance. Also “juice banking: The practice of “withdrawing” blood from box.” blood banks and hospital reserves. This blood has little Lick: A vampire; one of the race of Kindred. taste, though it will sustain a vampire, and elder Kin- dred eschew this base indulgence. A Kindred who en- Rack, The: The hunting ground of choice, includ- gages in this practice is known as a Banker. ing bars, nightclubs, drug dens, whorehouses and other bacchanalian locales, where mortals go missing all the Black Hand: A mistaken misnomer for the Sabbat as time (see Papillon). a whole used by Camarilla vampires (the Black Hand is actually a faction within the Sabbat). Rake: A habitual visitor to the Rack, especially in the interests of feeding (see Gentry). Blister: A vampire “Typhoid Mary” who contracts a mortal disease and spreads it to each vessel upon whom Sandman: A vampire who feeds only upon sleeping he feeds. victims. bloodline: 1) A vampire’s heritage (see lineage). 2) slumming: The practice of feeding from derelicts, A pedigree of vampires similar to a Clan, but that can- the homeless, and other dregs of society; one who does not trace their creation back to one of the Third Gen- this regularly is known as a Slummer. eration. Stalker: A mortal who hunts down and destroys blood doll: A mortal who freely gives her blood to a Kindred (see Witch-hunter). vampire. Most blood dolls gain a perverse satisfaction Tease: A term for a female Casanova. from the Kiss, and actively seek out vampires who will turf: 1) A modern affectation used in reference to a take their vitae. domain. 2) The area under a given gang’s influence. Butterfly: One who mingles among the mortal high- Vegetary: A term of contempt for one who drinks society element and feeds exclusively from the famous exclusively from animals (see Farmer). and wealthy. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 35, 36 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS,

Chapter Two: Sects and Clans

"All the Kindred hid from one another and from the humans that surrounded them. In hiding we remain today, for the Jyhad continues still." - The Book of Nod In the first nights, so sires tell their childer, the 13 play peculiar characteristics, and a few vampires have grandchilder of Caine who survived the strife of the deviated from their Clan in noteworthy fashion. Most First City begat progeny in their own images, passing such things can be simulated through simple roleplay- on their mystic arts and magical curses. Thus were ing, or through Merits and Flaws (p. 479); for example, founded the 13 great Clans of Kindred that haunt the while the childer of the mighty Hardestadt might all world to this very night. Century followed century, display the same feeding restriction or obsessively fo- and each Clan developed its own history, traditions, cus on control, they do not differ significantly from and lore. As the Jyhad raged and the Antediluvians Ventrue as a whole. In a few cases, bloodlines actually retreated into the wastelands, the childer of the Clans manifest different Disciplines or weaknesses; these are assumed lordship of the night for themselves. noted in Chapter Ten. This chapter presents the 13 Clans, each claiming descent from a mythical Antediluvian, that comprise the majority the Children of Caine. Because the Clans Clans and Characters align themselves by Sect, we first cover the political groups in which the Clans often find themselves. Play- Storytellers can choose to limit players’ selec- ers may select their characters’ Clans from one of these tions of Clan. In a Camarilla city, for ex- 13 templates, from one of the bloodlines or variants ample, the vast majority of Kindred hail from presented in Chapter Ten, or may choose to be Clan- one of the seven founding Clans. While an less (Caitiff). Each Clan has certain distinguishing Assamite or Tzimisce can be worked into such powers and weaknesses, which a member of that Clan a chronicle, this requires some extra effort on automatically adopts. the Storyteller’s part, and we encourage Sto- rytellers to be as open or restrictive with Clan

Bloodlines selection as they feel they need to be.

Lineage is very important to the Damned. Vampires descended from particularly illustrious sires often dis- VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 37,

The Camarilla

Traditional Strongholds: Chicago, New Orleans, to create the Camarilla, and they have a seat on the Vienna, London, Paris Inner Circle (see p. 26). Vampires of other bloodlines The Camarilla is also known as “The Ivory Tower,” can attend conclave and meetings, but they are treated and the Sect lives up to that moniker. Created in the as minority voices or simply ignored. 15th century, the Camarilla was formed to preserve After the Sabbat formed, the Camarilla opposed and protect vampire society against the decimation them as the only way to preserve and protect the Mas- brought on by the Inquisition as well as the power drain querade and its own Kindred. As the Sabbat threw presented by the War of Princes during the Dark Ages. away the Traditions and all pretenses of humanity due The leaders of the Camarilla ruthlessly enforced the to their paranoia about Gehenna, the Ivory Tower Tradition of the Masquerade, elevating it to the Sect’s stood its ground and declared the Sabbat as enemies of highest law, a priority they continue to pursue even the Sect. Since then, the Camarilla has been in an al- in modern nights. These so-called “Kindred” seek to ternating cold and hot war, trading territories like two maintain a quiet harmony between vampires and hu- warring nations, and anyone who does not stand with manity — a goal constantly threatened by the Sabbat. the Camarilla against the Sabbat may be considered to The Camarilla considers itself to be vampire society, be aiding the enemy. and there is some validity to their hubris. It is the larg- As a result of this ongoing conflict with the Sabbat, est Sect of Kindred, after all, and nearly any city on in modern nights the Ivory Tower is crumbling, losing the globe likely has some Camarilla presence. A Kin- a few bricks here and there while it proudly proclaims dred who walks into a new city and looks for the local itself to be strong and whole. The elders cling to their vampire population will, more often than not, find a power bases, growing increasingly paranoid that other Camarilla court. This expansiveness is partially due to Kindred are Sabbat infiltrators or Anarch sympathiz- the fact that the Camarilla says that any vampire, re- ers. Neonates feel more and more like serfs to the elder gardless of Clan or bloodline, may go to a Prince and nobility, asked to protect and uphold an organization claim membership in the Camarilla. It’s also partially in which they have little hope of advancement but due to the fact that the Camarilla claims that all vam- plenty of opportunities for punishment. The ancillae pire society falls under its authority, regardless of what end up in the worst position: unable to break the glass other vampires believe. Many Kindred find it easier to ceiling of elder dominance, but given enough scraps sit in the shadow of the Ivory Tower than debate the of power to make the younger Kindred sharpen their point. knives in jealousy. Over the centuries, the Camarilla has moved to The neonates and younger ancillae have an increas- make good on its claims of global dominance, but with ing advantage — modern technology. Elders find limited success. Vampires are territorial by nature, and themselves unable or unwilling to master the tools and there is a world of difference between a Prince sup- concepts of the modern nights: smartphones, tablet porting the idea that a Justicar claims total authority computers, concealable body armor, portable weap- over the globe and Archons showing up at the borders onry, social networking. They fall further and further of her domain and demanding total obedience. Elder behind in a world where even children know how vampires who remember a time before Sects scoff at to blog and media becomes increasingly fragmented. what they see as “neonate audacity.” Still, the fires of Some young Kindred co-opt these tools and use them the Inquisition continue to burn in many elders’ mem- to further the preservation of the Masquerade, but oth- ories, and many are willing to give up a few rights to ers wonder why they can’t take the power that the el- continue preserving the Masquerade and assure their ders so jealously guard — not only political power, but safety against mortal society. the very blood in their veins through the foul act of Camarilla cities are not as cosmopolitan as the Sect diablerie. Therefore, the elders increasingly lash out at asserts. While Kindred of any lineage can claim mem- things they don’t understand, destroying loyal servant bership, most come from the founding Clans of the Ca- and treacherous childer alike. marilla: the Brujah, Gangrel, Malkavians, Nosferatu, The enemies of the Camarilla have taken notice, Toreador, Tremere, and Ventrue. These Clans helped and bide their time. 38 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS,

Practices Generally, conclaves are called because of the ac-tions of a powerful individual (such as a Prince) or due

At the heart of the Camarilla lie the Traditions, and to a serious breach of the Traditions, but once called, at the heart of the Traditions lies the Prince. Whether any Kindred may bring a grievance to the conclave and in name or deed, the Prince enforces the Traditions have it addressed. Entire domains have been reshaped within their domains and punishes those who violate by conclaves: wars declared, blood hunts called, and their law. Many Princes hold a regular court, which Princes politely encouraged to suddenly retire. The function as a combination of social affair and legal pro- Traditions are also interpreted here, and amendments ceeding. At court, vampires gossip, politick, and gain or precedents might be added. Princes might be given favor with the Prince, and the Prince and his officers emergency powers or special dispensation to deal with handle matters of the law and render judgment or en- particularly unruly problems (such as a local Sabbat in- act policies. festation). When a vampire is found guilty of high crimes (such Not all conclaves are convened due to a problem, as an egregious breach of the Masquerade, the diablerie however. Some Justicars schedule regular conclaves of another Kindred, or offending the Prince), the Prince to allow for more long-term policy discussions and to can call for the Lextalionis – the dreaded blood hunt. handle less immediate but still pressing cases that have The Prince declares the hunt in his court, and the word accumulated over the year. Many Camarilla Kindred filters down through his Primogen to the Clans. All use the opportunity to fraternize with others of their who hear the call must participate (although “partici- position or lineage, and some view as a chance to blow pation” can simply mean staying out of the way when off some steam and party. Over the years, however, se- the hunters come through). Once in a while such a curity has become tighter and tighter due to concerns hunt is called to hound the criminal Kindred into ex- about the Camarilla’s enemies, and more and more ile outside the city’s borders, but more often than not only key elders seem to be able to attend and have the hunt only ends when the hunted suffers the Final their voices heard. Death. Some Princes even turn a blind eye to the act of Amaranth during such a hunt. But not all legality centers around discipline and punishment. The currency of the Camarilla (and many The View from Without other independent vampires that deal with the Cama- rilla) is a system of favors and debts. Such debts (or The Sabbat “boons”) are not only given and incurred, but are also The world has spun ever closer to Gehenna, and traded between vampires in a healthy, invisible econo- these so-called “Kindred” are woefully unpre- my. The boon you owe to the Brujah Primogen might pared for the final nights. They will be torn apart, ultimately be paid off to an elder of the Malkavian the whole time bleating their delusions of Clan, so vampires are always careful about whom they superiority. owe favors to. Because ignoring a boon can threaten this entire economy, any hint of rebellion against the The Anarchs system is met with an overwhelming response by the I don’t hate them because they’re in charge. I Harpy and the rest of the local vampires. hate them because they’re a bunch of psychotic,

Conclaves power-hungry assholes surrounded by mindless sycophants that hope that political power comes

Conclaves are the center of global Camarilla politics, from the end of a dick. serving as the highest court of Camarilla legislation, a high-level session of Sect-wide policy, and a political The Independents rally all rolled into one. Only called by a Justicar, all They say they rule over all Kindred? The Romans Kindred that the Camarilla claims authority over can had something similar going, and things will end attend a conclave, and the proceedings can be over in up the same for the Camarilla. I only deal with a few hours or stretch on for many weeks. Given the them because they’re the largest pool of clients. open-door policy of conclaves, security is an issue, and the location of a particular conclave might not be an- nounced until a few days beforehand. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 39,

The Sabbat

Traditional Strongholds: Detroit, Miami, Mexico are certainly more overt with their acts of destruction City, Montreal, Madrid and elaborate games of terror. Opposite the Camarilla stand the Sect of inhuman Because of these tensions, the Sabbat is hardly a uni- vampires known as the Sabbat. Most of the vampiric fied entity, and the Sect is home to numerous factions factions believe that the so-called “Sword of Caine” of vampires united under the Sabbat’s banner. One of is a collection of mindless barbarians and ultraviolent the most feared is the Black Hand, a special militia hid- fiends, or even demon worshippers bent on bringing den within the packs of the Sword of Caine. All mem- Satan to earth. As such, the Sabbat are vilified all bers of the Black Hand bear a distinguishing mark — a throughout vampire society. permanent, mystical sigil on the palms of their right They’re right to fear the Sabbat, but not for those hands. Although this brand may be concealed or made reasons. over, it may never be removed — once you’re in the Hand, you’re a member until Final Death. The Sabbat While the “Kindred” (a term the Sabbat despise) also has its own Inquisition, a small faction of Cainites of the Ivory Tower cower among mortals and cling to charged with rooting out heretics and infernalists. If outdated Traditions, the Sabbat prefer to indulge in it labels someone as an infernalist, the accusation is their vampiric nature. They refuse to wear the tattered unlikely to be denied, and the faction uses torturous rags of humanity or to act as slaves and cattle to their tactics to gain the confessions it needs. elders. Besides, vampires are clearly and openly supe- rior to mortals — do humans lie down with cows and The Loyalist faction believes that it is the “true” call them brother? As such, Sabbat vampires consider Sabbat, claiming that each vampire is his own master. mortals to be tools and food at best, and have little tol- They preach that the freedom to do whatever you want erance for “Cainites” who pretend to be human. They belongs to all vampires, and they tend to act against are inherently alien and literally inhumane. their leaders’ orders just because they feel they should. There is also the Status Quo faction, who accepts the But the Sword of Caine isn’t just a collection of gore- nature of vampires and knows that shaking the foun- streaked psychotics running around shopping malls dations of the Sabbat serves only to distract it from its with chainsaws. They reject humanity as a moral basis greater goal. The Moderates oppose the encroachment for their lives, so they have turned to other alternatives. of rules and guidelines that have no place among such They adhere to a wide variety of Paths of Enlighten- creatures as vampires, resting between Loyalist dogma ment (see p. 313), philosophical tenets that force the and Status Quo conservatism. Finally, the eldest mem- Beast into a narrow channel and allow the Cainite to bers of the Sabbat belong to the Ultra-Conservatives, maintain a day-to-day existence that resembles stabil- those who favor centralization and authoritarianism in ity (if not sanity). Further, the Sabbat not only rebel order to turn the Sabbat into a military force against against morality, but also against their own inclina- the Antediluvians and the Camarilla. tions towards solitude. They frequently join together into packs that act as one part religious cult, one part The thread that holds the Sabbat together is a reli- political faction, and one part combat unit. gious zeal to tear down the Antediluvians. When packs or ideologies threaten to explode into all-out civil war, Between moral devotion, pack loyalty, and the need the Sabbat manage to pull together around their com- to rebel, Sabbat cities are devoid of the calm, quiet so- mon hatred for the Camarilla (who they view as pup- ciety of the Camarilla court. Tensions are always high pets of the Antediluvians). The entire Sect claims that in Sabbat “dioceses,” and the Cainite’s surroundings of- Gehenna is coming, and that they must prepare for ten reflect their explosive natures. In cities controlled those end times when the Antediluvians awake and by Sabbat, murder, robberies, rape, and assault are com- destroy the world. When the time comes, the Sword of monplace. The Sword of Caine threatens every city it Caine will save the world and take their rightful places possesses, insinuating itself into urban landscapes until as the vampiric lords of the night. they become nothing but raw resources for the eternal crusade. Although the Sabbat might not be any more And the Sabbat has proven to be a serious threat to “evil” than some of the elders of the Camarilla, they the Camarilla. Neonates disgusted with staring at the same elders every night dangling power eternally out 40 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS,

The Code of Milan

I. The Sabbat shall remain united in its support of the Sect’s Regent. If necessary, a new Regent shall be elected. The Regent shall support relief from tyranny, granting all Sabbat freedom. II. All Sabbat shall do their best to serve their leaders as long as said lead- ers serve the will of the Regent. III. All Sabbat shall faithfully observe all the auctoritas ritae. IV. All Sabbat shall keep their word of honor to one another. V. All Sabbat shall treat their peers fairly and equally, upholding the strength and unity of the Sabbat. If necessary, they shall provide for the needs of their brethren. VI. All Sabbat must put the good of the Sect and the race of Cainites be- fore their own personal needs, despite all costs. VII. Those who are not honorable under this code will be considered less than equal and therefore unworthy of assistance. VIII. As it has always been, so shall it always be. The Lextalionis shall be the model for undying justice by which all Sabbat shall abide. IX. All Sabbat shall protect one another from the enemies of the Sect. Personal enemies shall remain a personal responsibility, unless they undermine Sect security. X. All Sect members shall protect Sabbat territory from all other powers. XI. The spirit of freedom shall be the fundamental principle of the Sect. All Sabbat shall expect and demand freedom from their leaders. XII. The Ritus of Monomacy shall be used to settle disputes among all Sabbat. XIII. All Sabbat shall support the Black Hand.

Addenda to the Code of Milan

XIV. All Sabbat have the right to monitor the behavior and activities of their fellow Sect members in order to maintain freedom and security. XV. All Sabbat possess the right to call a council of their peers and imme- diate leaders. XVI. All Sabbat shall act against Sect members who use the powers and authority the Sabbat has given them for personal gain at the expense of the Sabbat. Action shall be taken only through accepted means, approved by a quo- rum of Prisci. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 41, of their reach have openly joined the Sabbat. Every Prince grows increasingly terrified that one night the Sabbat will show up in his Elysium and murder him. Various cities that have stood as Camarilla strong- holds for years are contested or have fallen into Sab- bat control. As the nights roll on, the Camarilla has been forced into harsh measures, killing vampires with known (or even suspected) Sabbat affiliation outright. Some Kindred use this increasingly hard-line stance to help remove rivals or better themselves in the eyes of their sires, but for every Sabbat Cainite killed, more join their ranks.

Practices

Everything in the Sabbat points back to two key (and often conflicting) principles: freedom and loyalty. Their set of laws, the Code of Milan (see p. 41), rein- forces these two points. Cainites are free to do what they wish, but they must always remain loyal to the Sword, because only the Sect can protect free vampires from manipulative elders, especially the Antediluvi- ans. Two of the most influential Clans of the Sect, the Lasombra and the Tzimisce, are believed to have de- stroyed their Antediluvian progenitors and diablerized them, setting the example for the other Sabbat vam- pire Clans to follow. But principles and fervor don’t always hold the Beast at bay. Just like the Camarilla, the Sect contains its own rivalries and political maneuvers, as well as reli- gious and philosophical conflicts that can become just as bloody. These conflicts constantly tear at the Sword, often setting them back from their goals as much (or more) than their enemies do. Although the Sect has organization and structure, each Cainite has too many conflicting loyalties to support a rigid structure. The Sabbat is constantly struggling against itself, only com- ing together when an enemy appears. The core of the Sabbat is the pack, a collection of vampires bound by Vinculum (p. 288) and common interest. Packs are such an integral part of Sabbat soci- ety that Cainites without a pack are often viewed with suspicion and distrust. Each pack usually fights within itself until some authority rises to the top, such as a priest to conduct rituals and a Ductus to lead in secular matters. Higher positions exist (see p. 27), but unlike the Camarilla where all power stems from the Prince, in the Sabbat positions tend to build upon the packs. Some dioceses forego higher positions entirely, choos- ing to have the packs manage and police themselves (often with very mixed results). 42 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS, Outside of the Lasombra and Tzimisce, most Sabbat allow Cainites to blow off some steam and reconnect vampires consider themselves to be the “anti-Clans” or with other vampires before heading back down a road antitribu of their parent Clans. Some pervert the expec- towards mistrust and internal conflict. The goal of these tations of their Clans, while others take the core ideas rituals is not only to help create solidarity among Sab- of their lineage to their most monstrous extreme. A few bat vampires, but also to push the boundaries of their have even become new bloodlines, manifesting differ- vampiric bodies and test their capabilities for war. ent Disciplines because of their place within the Sab- Some example ritae are available in the Appendix bat. (Antitribu are covered in Chapter Ten, p. 428.) (p. 507).

Rituals

Unless they are hasty war-time “shovelheads” that are Embraced, hit over the head with a shovel, and forced to dig their way out of their own grave, most The View from Without Sabbat vampires go through Creation Rites designed The Camarilla to prove themselves True Sabbat. The rite forces the vampire to prove himself to his new sire or pack, often A Sabbat city is like a third-world country run by in a way that strips away much of his Humanity, turn- demon worshippers. Trust me – we’re doing the ing the fledgling from a weak, pathetic human into a right thing hunting those bastards down. proper monster worth of the Sect. The Anarchs Out of mockery of human religious belief, many of the rituals (or “ritae”) and conventions of the Sabbat They dress up blood bonds and religious fanati- are perversions of those of the Catholic Church. One cism as “freedom.” Some of the newer recruits of the most notable is the Vaulderie (p. 288), a cor- dig the violence and the bad boy attitude, but I see ruption of the Eucharist in which Cainites pour their what’s really going on. blood into a chalice and then each drinks the commin- The Independents gled vitae in order to strengthen their loyalty to each One day they’re your friend, and the next they’re other. They also participate in a wide variety of other trying to rip your face off because you said the rituals. Fire, blood, and violence are common themes wrong thing. If you have play ball with the Sab- in their “ritae,” and the rituals involved range from fire bat, play hard or go home. dances to ceremonial killing to the corruption of exist- ing games and sports into excuses for violent, bloody slaughter. Their unlives are tense and hostile, and ritae VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 43,

The Anarch Movement

Traditional Strongholds: Los Angeles, San Diego, That doesn’t meant that Anarchs are against organi- San Francisco zation, however. Despite their name, not all Anarchs Nominally a faction within the Camarilla, most “An- are actually anarchists; many seek to change the Ca- archs” are still under the authority of the Ivory Tower. marilla or the Sabbat into some sort of new structure, The Camarilla would say that the Anarchs are under usually based on mortal governmental ideas. Most of the protection of the Sect, while the Anarchs would these structures tend to revolve around some form of likely call it oppression. Still, many in the Anarch democracy, but variations of neo-feudalism and even Movement understand the usefulness of the structure, fascism have been tried (with varying success) through- with only the most radical calling for total withdrawal out the Movement. One of the few things that Anarchs from the Camarilla. The Anarchs seek to change the seem to agree on is that at some point there needs to Ivory Tower from within, turning it into the benevo- be someone at the top, and that vampire is commonly lent Kindred society it so often claims to be. called the Baron (p. 25). What needs to change? Ask twelve Anarchs, and But it’s only been recently that the Anarchs have you’ll get thirteen different answers. They agree that been able to have any kind of common identity. After change needs to happen, but they aren’t collectively the Second Anarch Revolt in 1944 that led to the cre- committed to any particular plan. Common threads ation of the Anarch Free State in California, the Revo- pop up, such as the redistribution of power from the lutionary Council decided to adopt a set of principles elders to all vampires, and for political authority to be of self-governance for the Free State before dissolving based on merit rather than age. Whether those chang- itself — the “Status Perfectus,” or “The Perfect State.” es come through passionate debate in Elysium or guer- This was a revolutionary document, the first to state rilla action against specific elders, however, depends on the Anarch dream clearly and unequivocally in mod- the Anarch in question. Unlike the Sabbat who rebel ern times. It called on Anarchs everywhere to protect because vampires should be superior, the Movement’s one another, regardless of Clan affiliation. It promised goals are at least nominally egalitarian. a Kindred nation free of political oppression and elder Naturally, it’s that very sense of equality that makes prejudice, and swore to extend that freedom to all Kin- the Anarch Movement so dangerous to vampire soci- dred everywhere. They declared that free will, or “lib- ety. This resistance to change isn’t unique to the Ca- ertas,” is an inherent part of Kindred spiritual nature, marilla; elders in the Sabbat or the independent Clans and that all vampires must work to free themselves have just as little desire to relinquish their power, and from the forces that would rob them of their libertas. ancillae have worked equally hard to be next in line for Some Anarchs disagree with parts or the whole of the the elders’ station. If the Anarch rhetoric takes hold, Status Perfectus, but it has proved to be a massively in- all that work will have been for nothing. So it’s not fluential document for the Movement, and the closest surprising that Anarchs spend much of their time frus- the Sect has had to a unifying set of principles. trated, and they tend to adopt a siege mentality. Regardless, what the Anarchs lack in organization, Despite their integration within the Camarilla, the they more than make up in passion. From the most Anarch Movement is essentially a Sect, although they in-your-face angry neonate punk to the most eloquent don’t have the level of organization that would keep and soft-spoken intellectual, Anarchs are collectively them from being on the same level as the Camarilla, driven, which provides a momentum that most Kin- Sabbat, or the independent Clans. The only thing that dred simply aren’t used to. Even more terrifying to unifies them is that they know what they don’t want to most vampires, the Anarchs appear to actually believe be. That’s helpful as a rallying call, but doesn’t work in what they say. Elders try to pass it off as naiveté or well as an organizational chart. Moreover, structure inexperience with the Jyhad, but these young vampires quickly leads to stagnation, and that’s exactly what the seem to accomplish things that centuries of manipula- Anarchs are against. tion and power couldn’t do. And change terrifies those in power. 44 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS, The Anarch Revolt from centuries ago is flaring back manity while Camarilla cynics believe it to be the folly up in the modern nights, and many Anarchs think the of youth, but the Anarchs don’t care. They frequently time has come for them to take the night back. play games and pull pranks on each other (and on oth- er unsuspecting Kindred), both as tests of courage and

Practices as a way to blow off some steam.

Some Kindred mistakenly think of the Anarch Some Anarchs disapprove of the games and the Movement as just a collection of newly-Embraced pranks. They say it brings down the level of the dis- Brujah raging against their betters. They are often sur- course. They say it makes it harder for the Movement prised to learn just how cosmopolitan the Sect really to be taken seriously. They say that these games and is. For every loud, brash neonate that wants to tear pranks are dangerous, and that they threaten the Mas- everything down, there’s a sober, thoughtful ancilla querade. Worst of all, they say that they’re all just a committed to the Movement’s ideals. The Anarchs waste of time, time better suited for bringing about wouldn’t have lasted as long as they have if they were the glorious revolution of vampire society. And sure, all rebels without a clue, or if they were only a handful playing tag with 9mm pistols is pretty dangerous, even of Clans wrapped up in their passions. Diversity, the if you tell everyone not to aim for the head. Baiting very thing that causes such disorganization, is also one elders in Elysium into frenzy probably is making it of the greatest strengths of the Movement. harder for the Baron to conduct his debate with the Unfortunately vampires often default to establish- local Prince. Staging accidents and pretending to be a ing dominance among themselves, and such a diverse corpse around a mortal likely is a hair away from break- collection of Cainites needs something to help show ing the Masquerade. the pecking order. For Kindred bent on proving that But the young Anarchs say “Fuck it; eternity’s too merit should be the guiding principle of vampire gover- short.” And so the games continue. nance, status is not only an incompatible concept, but actively offensive to some Anarchs. Instead, Anarchs rely on whether they have personally heard of another Anarch, instead of what some other vampire said was The View from Without important. As a result, the Status Background for An- archs relies on reputation: a combination of self-pro- The Camarilla motion, word-of-mouth, and outright braggadocio that They, at least, understand that their place is gets the Anarch recognized both inside and out of his within the Ivory Tower, but their destabilizing own barony. It doesn’t correspond to a political title or influence can be a problem. Best to keep them a measure of authority — there are untitled vampires quiet, one way or another. (such as the notorious prankster Smiling Jack) with a universally higher reputation than Kindred who claim The Sabbat the title of Baron. Whether this recognition confers re- They have the right idea, but they aren’t willing to spect or disdain is a secondary concern; as Oscar Wilde give up their comfortable Humanity in order to go said, “There is only one thing in life worse than being to the next step. There’s some potential recruit- talked about, and that is not being talked about.” ment material there, but they break easy.

Games and Pranks The Independents

Unlike the blood-splattered games that the Sabbat We should all hold hands and be brothers? use as part of their ritae or the forced civility of Ely- Hardly, young Cainite. My Clan had fought hard sium, the Anarchs genuinely like to have fun and joke to stay outside of your Jyhad, and I will not give it with each other. They believe that Kindred existence up because you tell me I am not fair. shouldn’t be all backstabbing and bloodletting, but rather about enjoying each night to the fullest. Sabbat fiends consider this idea to be a disgusting show of hu- VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 45,

The Independents

Traditional Strongholds: Alamut (Assamites), Cairo (Followers of Set), Venice (Giovanni), Kolkata The Clans (Ravnos) The independent Clans have almost nothing in Over the past few centuries, the fatal dance between common except their unwillingness to join a Sect en the Camarilla and the Sabbat has changed vampire so- masse. Each Clan has a different role in the Jyhad, and ciety. Their bloody Jyhad has shaped the secret history each pursues its own goals. Standing apart even from of the world, destroying millions of mortal lives in the each other, they keep their own laws outside of those process. However, there are some Clans who witness of the Sects. both Sects tear at each other’s throats in the name of The Assamites their ancient feud and decide that they would prefer to watch from the sidelines. The Assamites (who call themselves the Children of Haqim) are a Clan of murderous vampires. For many These four lineages can claim their place as proper years they acted as independent assassins, contracted Clans, but share a strong disinterest in getting involved by the Sects (or anyone who gave them blood) to mur- in the war between the Camarilla and the Sabbat. der targets. Of all the independents, the Assamites are Granted, individual members of these Clans (usually the most feared, both for their role as assassins and the younger Kindred) show up in the ranks of both Sects rumors of their thirst for the blood of elders. from time to time, but the elders of the independent Clans have their own goals in mind, goals that would Although they have traditionally acted as mercenary conflict with allegiance or loyalty to a Sect. assassins, in the modern nights some of the Children of Haqim question whether an allegiance with one of the Of course, independent Kindred are vampires first and Sects might not be more beneficial for them. Ultimate- Clan members second; they don’t all possess mindless, ly, however, most Assamites follow the will and the unwavering devotion to the ideals of their Clan. Most orders of Alamut, their ancestral stronghold, as well as of them focus on their personal goals first, whether or their own internal laws, known collectively as the Laws not they coincide with their Clan’s goals. This has the of Haqim. The most loyal of the Assamites believe that side-benefit of confusing outside Kindred even more, other vampires are a plague that needs to be extermi- since it’s never clear whether a particular independent nated, while others claim that individual Kindred need will act with their Clan’s interests in mind, their per- to be judged (and perhaps killed) based on their own sonal interests, or some hybrid of the two. (She may sins, not merely because they are vampires. even pretend to serve one set of interests while secretly serving another). Individual independents are always For more on the Assamites, see p. 48. wildcards, with no set of laws or politics forcing them The Followers of Set into a clear, defined path. The Followers of Set have different reasons for refus- At least, that’s the outside perspective. ing to join a Sect. They consider themselves to be part It’s believed that the elders of the independent Clans of something much older than either the Camarilla or are active in greater numbers than those that domi- the Sabbat, and dismiss the idea that goals established nate the Sects. One Clan has an Antediluvian that has since antiquity should be cast aside merely because been actively assisting their goals for centuries. An- some vampires started calling themselves by a new other seems to benefit from murdering other Kindred. name a few centuries ago. They claim that their faith The terrifying Methuselahs of a third are rumored to be dates back to the very start of civilization, and that this waking and possibly organizing their childer for some ancient trust is far more important than politics. terrible purpose. As for the fourth…. That doesn’t mean that the Setites aren’t above Regardless of the rumors, the independents continue playing the mercenary between the Sects. Their Clan as if nothing is wrong, working with and against their lives and worships in secret places, and this gives them Clans in the same measure as any Sect vampire. If they access to dark favors and a wealth of knowledge that are indeed the pawns of their ancient masters, they act they can offer to any vampire willing to pay the right as if they are ignorant of it. price. Many Kindred know the trap that dealing with the Setites entails, and yet time and again Cainites 46 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS, come to them, each time swearing that it will be the ies alike, where most Princes and Archbishops have last. Each favor traded or addiction fulfilled brings the learned that it is better to let them pass through than Setites one step closer to their ultimate goal: the resur- to deal with the headaches that come from trying to rection of Set himself. prevent them from entering. For more on the Followers of Set, see p. 52. As such, the Ravnos are completely indifferent to the politics of the Sects, or indeed to politics of any kind.

The Giovanni Many outside observers consider the Ravnos to be too

The Giovanni are a Clan in multiple senses — not chaotic to have a meaningful impact on the Jyhad as a only do they share common vampiric blood, but most of whole – and the Ravnos nod their heads and continue their new Embraces come from the mortal descendants doing what they want. The Clan believes that one of other Clan members as well. The Necromancers are day their Clan founder will awaken and destroy all of known to pursue two goals — learning the secrets of the other Antediluvians. Until that day, they wander the dead and acquiring mortal power and wealth — without allegiance, and see no reason to change. both of which help their Clan as a whole. Only a few For more on the Ravnos, see p. 64. trusted elders know that their founder, Augustus Gio- vanni, seeks to use the knowledge and power of the Clan to destroy the Shroud that separates the realm of the dead from this world. As such, the Giovanni don’t have any need for The View from Without Sects. They survived the past several centuries all on The Camarilla their own; they don’t need protection from the mor- tals through any flimsy Masquerade. They have their They are clearly up to something. A trickle of own family to act as allies, resources, and internal en- these “independent” Kindred end up joining the forcement, so they don’t need help. What can mem- Ivory Tower, but too many more do as they will, bership in a Sect give to them that they can’t already with no laws or society to contain them. They get through deals, trading, and occasional espionage? cannot stand up to us on their own, but they are They have a Promise that keeps them from interfer- powerful enough to shift the balance of things. ing in the affairs of the Camarilla (and vice versa), but The Sabbat overall the Giovanni are extremely self-sufficient and stand totally outside the authority of the Sects. That, These Clans claim that they’re free? Bullshit. combined with their mastery of Necromancy, makes They’re just as much the puppets of the Antedi- many vampires very, very nervous. luvians as the Camarilla. No point trying to kill a Giovanni in his mansion or a Setite in his temple, For more on the Giovanni, see p. 56. but when the world ends, they’ll fall just like

The Ravnos everyone else.

The Ravnos are masters of illusion, compelled by The Anarchs their blood to indulge in vice. Their primary allegiance These guys get it. They can stand outside the is to themselves, though some consider their Clan to Jyhad, make their own plans, and people listen. be almost as important. Compared to the other inde- That’s freedom, man. Too bad I can’t trust any pendent Clans they are very loosely organized: partially of these fuckers as far as I could throw them. due to their diaspora all over the world, and partially due to a very un-vampire like wanderlust that pervades the Ravnos. They travel to Camarilla and Sabbat cit- VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 47, The childer of Haqim, known as Assamites to the Appearance: Older Assamites often come from Middle rest of the Kindred, are a silent knife in the dark, an Eastern and North African cultures, though more and order of bloodthirsty assassins who participate in the more young Assamites come from a wider de- secret wars of the undead by operating as killers for mographic. In traditional hire. Outside the purview of the Sects, the Assamites environments, the As- are true independents and mercenaries, hiring out to samites prefer garb whoever can pay their blood-price and ungoverned by appropriate to reli- the will of Prince or Priscus. By the time a mark realizes gious or Clan custom. that he’s being hunted by an Assamite, it’s often far too When in public, how- late. Needless to say, this makes the Assamites both ever, Assamites wear feared and reviled by many of the other Clans. whatever the locals In truth, the Assamites are more than simple thugs do, allowing them to and killers. Theirs is a complex but insular Clan predi- fulfill their contracts cated upon the three principles of wisdom, sorcery, and without anyone no- diablerie. Most Assamites that other vampires encounter ticing anything are members of the warrior caste, however, so Kindred amiss. An society has painted them all with that brush. For their part, the Assassins have done nothing to stop this misun- derstanding. If it helps them acquire contracts and it oc- cludes the true nature of their Clan, the better for them. Long ago, the Assamites were brought to heel by a powerful curse to curb their bloodlust, levied by the Tremere at the behest of the Camarilla. They cannot taste the vitae of vampires without it causing them harm. In their ongoing quest to lower their Generation and bring themselves closer to their holy figure, Haqim (whom some outside scholars claim was of the Second Generation, while others insist he was a judge appoint- ed by the other Antediluvians), the Assamites must re- fine the blood of Kindred into an alchemical solution. Were it not for this mystical yoke, the Assamites would surely be unchecked on a crusade of unholy diablerie. Nickname: Assassins Sect: For the most part, the Assamites tend to be independent, letting the Sects hire them to operate on their own terms. That said, some Assamites believe an allegiance with the Camarilla or the Sabbat would al- low the entire Clan to stand more strongly. 48 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS, Assamite’s skin grows darker with age (as opposed to oth- of reverence and terror. Individual and local cells of As- er vampires, whose skin gets paler); particularly ancient samites known as falaqi frequently have license to act with Assamites are almost ebony in complexion. autonomy, but “turncoats” against the higher cause are rare. Haven: Assamites often share communal havens with others of their local cell, remote structures that allow the Assassins to watch the larger domain from a Stereotypes distance. These havens are generally well appointed, Brujah: Where they are blatant, we are subtle. but not so lavish that the whole place can’t be moved And that is why they are a broken Clan and we are on short notice. Individual Assamites also tend to keep ascendant. personal hideouts of a much more humble nature, for when they need a place to lay low. Followers of Set: Humility before God is itself divine, but certainly not humility before their unclean god. Background: Those Embraced into Clan Assamite tend to fall into two distinct types: The “provincial” members of Gangrel: When the blade bites deeply, they die as the Clan fit whatever their locality is, and can blend seam- readily as all other Kindred. lessly in with the people around them. The higher-profile Giovanni: They value their independence as we do, “jet-setters” transcend cultures, bolstered by their ability but they squander it in unholy debauchery. to handle interpersonal and intellectual challenges. Lasombra: For all their posturing, they are quick to Character Creation: Physical Attributes tend to be pay our fees and hire our knives. primary, with some Assamites favoring Social Attri- butes to help them get close to their prey. Talents and Malkavian: In the parable of the scorpion and the Skills are equally favored, but Knowledges may help frog, they play the roles of both doomed creatures. the wise Assamite in a pinch. Few Assassins cultivate Nosferatu: But for their desperation to be included extensive Backgrounds, and instead specialize in an among the society that shuns them, they would make array of Disciplines that heighten their competence. puissant rafiq. The most accomplished Assamites follow the Clan’s unique Path of Enlightenment, and those who don’t Ravnos: Make yourself known to them and they will often have to spend a great deal of effort maintaining acknowledge their place. their Virtues and Humanity. Toreador: We kill to honor our God. They kill to Clan Disciplines: Celerity, Obfuscate, Quietus avenge a wittier remark. Weaknesses: Due to the Tremere blood-curse, Tremere: Possessing the power of Solomon makes should an Assamite consume the blood of another them none the wiser for it, and vengeance will be ours. Kindred, she suffers one automatic level of unsoak- able lethal damage per blood point imbibed. Diablerie Tzimisce: They bear old grudges against us; meet attempts result in automatic aggravated damage, one them with a wary eye. health level per point of permanent Willpower the vic- Ventrue: Vultures picking at the corpse of a long- tim possesses; the would-be diablerist gains no benefits gone nobility. (including Generation reduction) if he survives the process. In addition, Assamites must tithe some of the Caitiff: Every culture must have its Judas goat. profits from their contracts to their sires or superiors Camarilla: A tower built in Babel by Icarus. (generally around 10 percent of all such earnings). Sabbat: They profane what is holy and pretend it is Organization: An insular, hierarchical organization shapes an eminent glory. much of Assamite custom. “The Old Man on the Mountain” — the master assassin who makes his haven in the moun- Anarchs: The wisest of the tribes — because they tain fortress of Alamut — is the ultimate authority, and the know when to admit they don’t know. Clan heeds the orders that trickle down to them with a mix Quote: Your blood is anathema to me, but the act of spilling it brings me closer to Haqim. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 49, The legacy of the Brujah is one of halcyon greatness agents of change in a society long crippled by stasis. As marred by their own fiery natures. Theirs was the glory rebels, it’s in their nature to challenge the status quo — of ancient Carthage, but Ventrue treachery in ancient though sometimes, without adequate opposition, they Rome brought the dream to an end. Since then, the embody the status quo themselves. It works out fine, Brujah have borne a grudge. because there’s always a hot-blooded Brujah waiting in Tonight, the Brujah the wings to bring down an uppity Clanmate grown are rebels and too comfortable in the role of rebel-turned-dictator. provocateurs, More so than any other Clan, the Brujah still feel thebat- swingingflames of the passions that once inspired them as mortals. hooligans and Clan Brujah loves a cause and is quick to act on a stirring speech, accusation of injustice, or a call to arms. This connection to passion can be a blessing, but inspiration can also yield to the madness and hunger of the Beast. No wise Prince turns his back on the Brujah, and rare is the Brujah who would allow herself to be manipulated or pandered to. A Brujah is her own master, first and foremost, and those who would bring her to heel face a terrible task. A Brujah who thinks she’s getting the short end of the stick will tear an enemy to ribbons first and maybe remember to ask questions later, no matter if he’s a Primogen or a mortal authority. Some Kindred historians claim that the Brujah have parlayed their ancient betrayal into a role as agitators against the very order that they help support. Others claim the Brujah have long since submitted to the will of that same order, being little more than loyal opposition rendered impo- tent. Most Brujah don’t care either way, as long as someone needs a good ass-kicking and they can be the ones to deliver it. Nickname: Rabble Sect: For all its rebellion, Clan Brujah generally considers it- self a member of the Ca- marilla. Young Rab- ble sometimes look to the wildness of the Sabbat, but elders 50 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS, assert that the Ivory Tower provides a fine structure tear it all down, while Idealists enjoy solving problems against which to rage. through theory. This last harkens somewhat to the classi- Appearance: Many Brujah affect styles and manner- cal roots of the Brujah as philosopher-kings, and most Ide- isms that reflect an attitude of rebellion. Multicolored alists are among the ranks of Brujah ancillae and elders. hair, shaven heads, spikes, rivets, fetish gear, and t-shirts with bold slogans might appeal to a Brujah. While not Stereotypes every Brujah wears the “uniform,” the Rabble often enjoy adorning themselves in outfits intended to provoke. Some Assamite: Fast, invisible, fanatical, and they young Brujah prefer mobile devices as their tools of resis- want to drink my fucking blood? Sounds like a tance, and can summon a riot at the touch of a screen. good case for doing unto others. Haven: Brujah may feel kinship to a city, but they rare- Followers of Set: The apple doesn’t fall far ly develop such ties to individual locations. Thus, at any from the tree, and the tree should have been given time, a Brujah probably has a half-dozen or more chopped down long ago. hideouts, safehouses, and flats available. These are often Gangrel: Much respect, so long as we agree it’s shabby and ill-kept until the Brujah needs them. Brujah mutual. havens might also have mortals who follow the Brujah’s ideology or his cult of personality. This works out fine: It Giovanni: If you have to deal with one of these never hurts to have a spare vessel in an emergency. nasty dagos, you’ve already lost. Background: As creatures of passion, Brujah often Lasombra: No habla Ventrue with a different hat on. Embrace without really thinking much about it, and Malkavian: Trust one? No. Find some common their childer tend to be a disparate lot. Sometimes, the ground with one? Maybe. Rabble Embrace those who share a similar outlook or enthusiasm for a cause as the prospective sire. Other Nosferatu: It’s better to have one telling you shit about times, they inflict the Embrace on those of opposite ide- someone else than the other way around, so be cool. ology, cursing a rival with vampirism as punishment. Ravnos: I’ll bet I can throw one further than you can. Character Creation: Brujah are usually — though Toreador: If you can catch one, see if he’ll blow not exclusively — drawn from mortals with violent you. They might as well be good for something. or ungovernable personalities. Their Natures and De- meanors are often similar, as Brujah have little use for Tremere: If one of these witches starts looking at guile. They lean toward physical Attributes, with So- you weird, you’d better hope you can get close to cial and Mental about equal afterwards. Many favor him before your blood catches on fire. Skills and Talents, but most respect the Knowledges Tzimisce: Nasty old bats with claws where their that make them more than just thugs. Contacts, Allies, junk used to be. But at least they’re usually honest. and Herd are common Backgrounds. Ventrue: Boot, meet face. Clan Disciplines: Celerity, Potence, Presence Weaknesses: The same passions that inspire Bru- Caitiff: Teach them something and maybe they’ll jah to greatness or depravity, left unchecked, can send return the favor. them into incandescent rages: The difficulties of rolls Camarilla: It mostly works when we punch it to resist or guide frenzy (p. 298) are two higher than into heading the right direction. normal. Additionally, a Brujah may never spend Will- power to avoid frenzy, though he may spend a point of Sabbat: Giving your soul to the devil makes you Willpower to end a frenzy that has already begun. a servant, you choads. Organization: Certain causes rise and fall in Brujah Anarchs: Get on the bus and let’s tear this fashion, but some of the more tenured are those who call Prince a new asshole together. themselves Idealists and Iconoclasts. Iconoclasts want to Quote: I’ll give you a head start. You’re the tortoise and I’m the hare — a pissed-off, fuck-the-world hare with a score to settle and a thirst like the devil’s own. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 51, Addiction, debasement, corruption, and desperation they all but guarantee themselves a return visit from strike fear into many Kindred who worry that theirs those who seek them. will become an unlife of ruin, but to the Followers of The Followers of Set are as much a chthonic reli- Set, these and more are the tools of gion as they are a Clan, though the faith includes the the trade. Pimps, pushers, and Clan. Its mythology is complex and convoluted, an im- priests, the Setites cater to penetrable pantheon of god-monsters. At the apex of the needs of the desperate, this worship stands a syncretism of the Egyptian Lord and convert them to a ni- of the Underworld Set and the Greek hydra Typhon, hilistic cause in doing as much spiritual guardians of secret places as they are so. Whether one needs the “liberators” of other’s souls. To outsiders, this is all flesh, money, drugs, or blasphemous religious affectation, but to devout Set- dark secrets, the Follow- ites, the cult and cause are real, and their dark lord ers of Set can pro- works his will through them. vide it, and when they do so, Needless to say, the politics of desperation and the placation of evil gods place the Serpents on the outside of Kindred society. The Setites are fine with this. The Kindred can often find themselves in need of what the Followers of Set purvey, and the extra “service” of secrecy is one the Setites are happy to provide — at a premium. The Setites offer a devil’s deal, but on their own terms. That way, when they collect their due and feed blood and souls into the maw of the Typhonic beast, all of its sacrifices have been given willingly. Nickname: Setites, Serpents Sect: Externally, none of the Sects will have the Followers of Set. Internally, the Setites sometimes describe themselves in terms of both Sect and Clan. They have no real im- petus to join either the Camarilla or Sabbat, and their goals are different from those of the Anarchs. Appearance: Many older Setites hail from the North African and Mediterranean ethnicities native to the Serpents’ historical territory, but they freely Em- brace from among the mortals of their adopted homes. Some long-standing Setite temples are tied to loca- tions where “Egyptian” Serpents might seem out of place, but where some aspect of serpent mythology is 52 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS, present, as in Mesoamerica or even far-flung Nordic lo- rible Methuselah who claims to be the childe of Set cales, and thus draw their membership from local popu- himself at the head. If this is true, then the Clan’s lations. Red hair is considered a mark of Set’s favor. higher agenda probably originates here, but the Setites Haven: Where their hidden temples stand, the Set- themselves remain silent on the topic. ites make their havens, either individually or commu- nally. These may be anything from “churches” with Stereotypes never-before-heard-of denominations or they may be Assamite: They aren’t so different from us, and it outright cults that have to hide their existences. The scares the hell out of them. secretive Serpents sometimes hide individual havens in places where other Kindred don’t often go, such as Brujah: We could have saved their precious insular ethnic neighborhoods, abandoned domains, Carthage, but in their pride, they chose an eternity of “the rough part of town,” and so forth. Some Setites ridicule and failure. also haven in secret mystical places that have value to Gangrel: Don’t mistake their sullenness for noble the Clan, guarding them from outsiders. savagery. They have vices, just like anyone else. Background: Prospective childer for the Followers of Giovanni: They distract themselves with methods Set often spend some time involved with a Setite cult, and neglect their goals. so they’re indoctrinated in the mysteries of the Clan before becoming one of its Kindred. They may come Lasombra: Behind many successful Lasombra is a from any cultural origin, though many are outsiders, debt to the temple. loners, or otherwise marginalized by society, which is Malkavian: They make excellent allies because no often what led them to the forbidden fruits offered by one pays attention to them, and by the time they’re the cult of Set in the first place. due their share, all they can do is gibber. Character Creation: Sires choose those who demon- Nosferatu: Forge a relationship or you’ll find your- strate acumen in Social and Mental Attributes, as the self dragged before a Prince or Archbishop with them Clan needs its proselytizers and its priests to be charismatic as witnesses. and quick-witted. Knowledges are almost always primary, though Talents may be so instead, especially among those Ravnos: Sorry, I don’t take credit. From you. Serpents engaged in dealings with others. Setites focus Toreador: Cha-ching. on Backgrounds that give influence over others whether subtly or overtly, making Allies, Contacts, Influence, Re- Tremere: One in a hundred realizes what we might sources, and sometimes Retainers popular. do together. The rest are up their own asses. Clan Disciplines: Obfuscate, Presence, Serpentis Tzimisce: The Dragon is not the only Serpent Weaknesses: Given their origins in darkness, the Ser- among the Damned. pents react negatively to bright light: Add two health Ventrue: Let them hate us publicly, so long as they levels to damage caused by exposure to sunlight. Setites keep buying. also lose one die from dice pools for actions taken in bright light (police spotlights, stage lights, flares, etc.). Caitiff: How easily the trod-upon becomes a convert. Organization: Setite organization is mostly local, Camarilla: Hypocrisy is great for business. with a single temple or network of cults representing Sabbat: Take one step forward, two steps back, set a city’s Serpent presence. Setites in the cities rarely self on fire, kick own ass. Preen. scheme among each other, preferring to face outward threats in unity rather than the schismatic self-interest Anarchs: An idealistic cult of personality that some- of the Sects. Whispers persist of a massive temple de- time succeeds in spite of itself. voted to Set located somewhere in Africa, with a ter- Quote: I know what you need. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 53, A glint of red eyes in the darkness, the scent of a that political games and social structures do nothing predator’s musk, a flash of fangs, the sound of flesh for the primal Gangrel. tearing: These mark the presence of the Gangrel. More Appearance: Personal presentation is often not high than any other Clan, the Gangrel resemble the beasts on the list of many Gangrel priorities, and a Gangrel’s associated with the legends of vampires: bats, wolves, appearance is often more and other creatures of darkness. Indeed, the Outland- a matter of circum- ers may develop the ability to transform themselves stance than it is of into these and other, more primal forms. active decision. The Gangrel have other characteristics in common with The Clan’s weak- animals as well. Many shun the elaborate social constructs ness can contrib- of both Kindred and kine. A number of them prefer to ute a great deal to move alone or as a member of small packs or coteries. Most their appearance, are tough and, when pressed, ferocious. And when Gan- as does an extend- grel succumb to the depredations of the Beast, they are left ed unlife in the with some feature redolent of the animal kingdom. places where As a Clan, the Gangrel are wary and aloof. Most would they make prefer to spend their nights stalking prey or wilding ontheirthe rooftops than minding Princely edicts or lobbying for recognition of domain. Theirs is a tense relationship with vampire society, and Outlanders are among the most frequent to turn Anarch or Autarkis. In some localities, the Gangrel have collectively abandoned membership in any Sect — insofar as the Gangrel truly ever do anything collectively. The Jyhad seems less pronounced among the Gangrel than it is among other Clans, and the Outlanders have little regard for the eter- nal conflict. Differences between Gangrel more often fall along the lines of domain and feeding rights than they do on generational mistrust, and the things that concern young Outlanders are matters that concern Gangrel ancillae and even elders. Still, one would be hard-pressed to consider the relationship among Gangrel of different generations amicable, except in isolated sire-childe situations. The Beast is ever suspicious of those who would take sustenance from it. Nickname: Outlanders Sect: The Gangrel at least nominally belong to the Camarilla, but the Clan has always had a vocal fac- tion that spurns membership in any Sect. They claim 54 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS, havens, which are frequently short of modern conve- Organization: Regional groups of Gangrel occasion- niences. ally assemble in convocations that draw from ethnic or Haven: Gangrel often lair where they can, taking cultural influences. These are informal affairs, geared refuge when the sun threatens to rise. Those who do more toward sharing information and revelry than maintain permanent havens often lean toward the util- advancing any cogent agenda. Aside from these infre- itarian: Everything from a cave to a covered alley to an quent gatherings, almost all Gangrel organization is illegal squat may serve as a Gangrel haven, usually with very local where it exists at all, from pairs of sire-and- little demarcating them as any sort of personal territory childe through terrifying packs centered around one (until it’s too late for the unfortunate interloper). accomplished Outlander. Background: Gangrel sire childer like they seek prey: Stereotypes after long hunts during which the prospective childe doesn’t even know she’s being followed. Creating a Assamite: Pull off the fucking head and the body will die. fledgling means sharing limited resources, so each sire- Brujah: I wouldn’t call what we have “trust.” More childe relationship is unique and significant. Outland- of an understanding that we have a common enemy. ers Embrace because they choose an individual, not out of whim or recklessness. Those who earn their at- Followers of Set: If it smells like carrion, I don’t tention are hardy, whether physically or emotionally. want any part of it. Character Creation: Sufficiency is the Gangrel hall- Giovanni: I try to make it a habit not to keep talk- mark, and many have outsider or loner personality ing to things once I’ve killed them. archetypes. Physical Attributes are far and away most Lasombra: I’m not afraid of the dark, so you’d bet- frequent, as are Talents with a smattering of Skills and ter have something else underneath that cape. Knowledges. Many Gangrel focus on Disciplines rath- er than Backgrounds, preferring to rely on themselves Malkavian: Ten gallons of bullshit in a one-gallon jug. more than others. Gangrel almost never have signifi- Nosferatu: When they get nervous, get the fuck cant Resources, Influence, or Retainers. out of there. Clan Disciplines: Animalism, Fortitude, Protean Ravnos: If she starts calling you her brother, pop your Weaknesses: Every time a Gangrel frenzies, she claws and make your point. It’s the only way she’ll learn. acquires a temporary animal characteristic (which may replace an existing temporary one). A patch of Toreador: Assume that they want something from fur, a brief torpor after feeding, or skittishness around you when they lower themselves to your level. crowds — all of these may mar an Outlander after fren- Tremere: Fight or flight with the grayfaces. Choose zy. Characteristics acquired in Gangrel frenzies need carefully. not only be physical – they can be behavioral as well. Players should work with the Storyteller to determine Tzimisce: When I see a carcass eaten through with what new animal trait is acquired (whether the frenzy worms, I’m smart enough to know it’s rotten. involved the fight-or-flight impulse may be relevant). Ventrue: If you like answering to a master, you Over time, or in an exceptional situation, a particu- can do worse… but not much. lar animal feature may become permanent, with the next frenzy adding a new feature. A good guideline is Caitiff: Unless they pull their weight, who needs to require each frenzy-gained trait to have some effect another mouth to feed? grounded in system terms (such as the temporary re- Camarilla: Any port in a storm, I guess. duction of Social Attribute dots or a permanent loss of Humanity), though some Storytellers may allow narra- Sabbat: Self-righteous evangelical garbage. tive-only traits that can shape the story. Anarchs: Almost. They almost get it. Quote: This is not a place for you, and it is too late to turn back. Run, little man. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 55, Achieving prominence during the Venetian Renais- In public view, the Giovanni make a great show of hu- sance, the Giovanni family built their fortune on the mility and respect. Part of this gentility is a habit of cen- rise of the middle class and the ready profit of bank- turies, still in place from when the other Clans hunted ing and Mediterranean trade (and the criminal enter- the usurping Necromancers (and to preserve their hard- prise that came with it). However, with the family’s won neutrality from the conflict between the Camarilla rise came hubris, as its paterfamilias sought ever and the Sabbat). Another part of it is the velvet more power, and with that hubris came horror. glove hiding the iron fist of their nature, remark- With his earthly power at its apex, Augustus able for forcing ghosts, minds, and bodies alike Giovanni turned to the arts of controlling to bow to their needs. To hear the Giovanni the dead, and in doing so, gained the Em- tell it, Princes and Archbishops alike owe brace from a forgotten Antediluvian. them favors, and anyone with something With a conclave of conspirators, the to offer may earn their patronage. Giovanni plunged a now-forgotten For the most part, the Giovan- Clan into oblivion and built their ni participate little in the Jyhad, own legacy on its corpse. pursuing their own agenda of Since those first nights, the Gio- cultivating wealth and building a vanni have accepted no limits on foundation of power in the lands their ambitions, despite opposition beyond the veil of death. Outsiders from Kindred outside their Clan rarely comprehend the goals of the and a well-deserved reputation as Necromancers, but only the most “Devil Kindred.” They studied for- trusted of the Giovanni know bidden arts, becoming formidable that the Clan wants to plunge in the nigrimancy that allowed the world into a state where the them power over the spirits of dead and the living commingle. the departed, and degeneracy And with their mastery of Nec- followed in the wake of unclean romancy, the Giovanni would ritual. To this night, the Gio- be positioned to rule it all. vanni are known for the insular Nickname: Necromancers nature of their Clan and the Appearance: Outwardly, Gio- incestuous practices by which vanni dress with subtlety and they populate it. A few outside taste. Much of the Clan comes families and factions fall under from the original mortal family, Giovanni auspices, but the vast and have not only olive Italian majority of the Clan comes from complexions, but some amount the debased mortal family. The of inherited family features. family remains successful despite Those outside the immediate all of their ghastly peccadilloes, family often appear “of a type,” and has amassed a vast wealth and in the traditional garb of through crime, politics, and the their regional family branch. secrets of the dead that keeps them in their position of de- Haven: The family wealth graded opulence. of the Giovanni is evident in 56 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS, their havens, which may take the form of villas or lavish ture is itself familial, with the added complications that estates. The Necromancers often have valuables invested degeneracy and vampirism offer. Incest, ancestor wor- in their havens as well, such as galleries of fine art or dis- ship, necrophilia, cults of guilt, and bizarre relationships plays of jewelry. Many Giovanni also maintain second- in which fathers and grandmothers are their own issue’s ary havens, where they may have elaborate necromantic childer make a mire of the Clan and family, and fracture crypts or just flats where they can lie low if necessary. many Giovanni long before they become Kindred. Background: Giovanni of the main family branch have usually spent some amount of time as a ghoul in a Stereotypes practice known as the Proxy Kiss. During this time, the Kindred-to-be learns about the treacherous and jealous Assamite: Beware, as all the money in the world reality of the vampire family. She learns ambition and an still cannot buy one passage back from the grave. unhealthy dose of duplicity, in addition to the family his- Brujah: Inexpensive allies or irascible enemies. tory and customs. Giovanni rarely see much of the outside world on their own terms during the Proxy Kiss period, Followers of Set: Dangerous relics deluded by a and often become insular and alienated, while at the same primitive grasp of what lies beyond the Shroud. time eager to stand out among the other family ghouls. Gangrel: Let them have their mud and misery. Character Creation: Giovanni vampires often have Lasombra: Like us, they stand with one foot in the outgoing, professional Demeanors that hide unpleasant temporal world and one foot in the occult. Natures warped in their upbringing. Social or Mental Attributes are usually primary, though some of the “sol- Malkavian: Once they crumble to dust, they don’t diers” of the family prefer Physical Attributes. Emphasis have to suffer their madness anymore. likewise usually falls on primary Knowledges or Talents, Nosferatu: Dead men do tell tales, and the Sewer depending on proclivity. A split in the Clan sees those Rats have so many tales to tell. who favor the practicality of Backgrounds (particularly those tied to wealth and exerting influence) diverge from Ravnos: The Kindred have forever to make of their those who prefer the forbidden puissance of Disciplines. fates what they will, and this is how they spend it? Few Giovanni could be described as well-rounded. Toreador: How tragic is the Kindred so desper- Clan Disciplines: Dominate, Necromancy, Potence ately afraid of what she truly is. Weaknesses: The Kiss of a Giovanni vampire causes Tremere: We don’t enshrine the history that made excruciating pain in mortal vessels who receive it. If us what we are, so why do they? the Giovanni isn’t careful, her vessel may die of shock and agony before being wholly exsanguinated. When a Tzimisce: The worm that feasts on its own flesh Giovanni feeds upon a mortal, she does twice as much must eventually starve. damage as the Kiss of another vampire would inflict. For Ventrue: They often forget that Machiavelli example, if a Giovanni takes one point of blood from a worked in the wake of the Borgias and the Medicis. mortal vessel, that victim would suffer two health lev- Caitiff: Without knowing their origins, what can els of damage. As a result, they tend to use blood banks they possibly amount to? and other means of feeding that don’t fight as much. Organization: Like few other Clans, the Necromancers Camarilla and Sabbat: Let them have their end- have a top-down organization where policy is made by a less war, for we grow rich by selling each side what (presumed) still-active Clan progenitor, Augustus. The it needs to continue the effort. family maintains an enormous palazzo known as the Mau- Anarchs: Until they build something of lasting soleum in Venice, where elders and fledglings alike dance import, they are the ugliest of the sisters. to the whims of their ancient puppetmasters. Clan struc- Quote: You misunderstand the situation if you think you’re important to me alive. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 57, To the mind of a Lasombra, it is better to reign in Their regard for such ideas as redemption and salvation hell than to serve in heaven. Fear, frenzy, the power are cynical at best, and much of the pomp that shaped to determine whether another lives or dies: these are the Clan’s pre-Sabbat outlook remains only with a at the root of the power that the Lasombra hold dear. sense of blackest irony or open mockery. The grandeur Whereas other vampires try vainly to hold the Beast at and rituals of the Church and aristocracy remain dear bay or give themselves wholly to it, the Lasombra beat to the Lasombra, however, and the Clan was instru- the Beast into submission, mental not only in establishing many of the rituals of invoking it when it the Sabbat, but in the institutions that keep it from suits them but leav- descending into chaos each night. ing it trapped inside Whether they see themselves as God’s instruments when they wish to or as outcasts from His creation, the Lasombra believe govern themselves. they have a duty (whether to Sect, Clan, pack, or even It is with these just themselves), and obligation to their responsibilities predilections that gives them a wicked sense of purpose. Even a Lasombra the Lasombra style shovelhead may consider himself a cut above the rest; a themselves a “dark surprising number of Lasombra mass Embraces survive, nobility,” an aristoc- perhaps owing to the intervention of their sires. racy of the night that While the night belongs to all Kindred, the Lasom- chose the supremacy bra are truly born to darkness, to the degree that their of the Cainites over very Clan name reveals their tie to shadow. Theirs is veneration of the the Discipline of Obtenebration, and it allows them Masquerade. to wield the stuff of shadow and darkness, and even reach beyond the darkness of the physical world into the abyss that lies beyond. Nickname: Keepers (as in “my brother’s…”) Sect: The Sabbat would be very different without the influence of the Lasombra, and they remain its most prominent Clan. Young Lasombra often make auspicious starts as Sabbat Ducti or Priests, leading their fellows by charging into the fray or demonstrat- ing mastery of the Beast. Appearance: The Lasombra are frequently attractive. Whether through the Spanish, Italian, and Moorish stock associated with the Clan, or due to more cosmo- politan modern backgrounds, the Keepers cut a strik- ing figure. Their dress is often conservative or religious, drawing on years of ceremony and faithful ritual. Rare is the Lasombra who cannot at least manipulate shad- ows to affect a dramatic entrance or enigmatic pose. Haven: The obligation of their leadership leads many young Lasombra to maintain communal havens with 58 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS, other members of their pack. Wealthier Keepers and those who predate the Sect often maintain their own Stereotypes havens, whether sinister penthouse suites or sprawling Old World villas. Assamite: They believe themselves lions but pos- sess only the ways of jackals. Background: Prospective sires of Clan Lasombra seek both erudition and ambition in their potential Brujah: Petulant whelps in a rage over their own childer. As such, many Lasombra come from profes- loss of rule from a self-fulfilling prophecy. sional backgrounds, and display outgoing and even Followers of Set: Peer too deeply into the dark- aggressive personalities. Merit in their sires’ eyes takes ness, serpent, and you shall find that it has the fledgling Lasombra far, and the Keepers do not hesitate means to smite. to cull their ranks of flawed, lazy, or boorish childer. Gangrel: Every society needs its beasts of burden. Character Creation: Lasombra often have disparate Natures and Demeanors. Mental or Social Attributes Giovanni: Their inner foulness manifests in their are equally likely to be primary. Attributes tend to be every action. narrow and specialized, showing individual expertise. Malkavian: The fool does not dine at the table Keepers cultivate Backgrounds of all types similarly with the lords. in (initially) low quantities, to better diversify them- selves. Nosferatu: They are martyrs, not monsters, and their faces are the stigmata they must bear. Clan Disciplines: Dominate, Obtenebration, Po- tence Ravnos: Filth, suitable only from which to make Weaknesses: Lasombra vampires cast no reflections. an example. Whether in a mirror, in a body of water, on a polished Toreador: A rose plucked from its garden remains surface, or in the rear-view of a taxicab, the image of lovely for only so long before it crumbles to dust. the Keeper does not reflect. Tremere: They revere only themselves, and they Organization: For the Lasombra, the nights of high will reap a just reward for the sacrilege they practice. aristocracy never faded, and the titles and offices a modern onlooker might associate with history still car- Tzimisce: Although we may share a common ry great weight among the Keepers. A complex system goal, a murder of crows is always an ill omen. of patronage, mentorship, and lineage characterizes Ventrue: Such a misguided effort, to use the scep- the Clan, similar to the courts and churches of cen- ter of kings only to hide oneself from his lessers. turies gone by. Childer benefit greatly from esteemed sires and vice versa, while acts that confer Sect or Clan Caitiff: Lords have ever sired bastards, and have status may also elevate a Lasombra’s peers, so long as ever hidden them as their marks of shame. she associates her success with her fellows. Camarilla: Who would wish to dwell in a castle that closes its gates for fear of unruly peasants? Sabbat: Imperfect, and thus in need of ever more investment. Anarchs: They must never be equals — it is enough that they think they are. Quote: Wielding the shadows is an extension of controlling the darkness into which we are all Embraced. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 59, Clan Malkavian is twice damned: once by the curse of being Kindred, and again by the turmoil that dis- turbs their hearts and minds. Upon the Embrace, ev- ery Malkavian is afflicted with an insurmountable insanity that fractures her outlook for every night thereafter, making her unlife one of madness. Some consider this a form of oracular insight, while others simply consider them dangerous. Make no mistake: Malkavian insanity is a painful, alienating phenomenon, but it occa- sionally provides the Lunatics with bursts of in- sight or heretofore unknown perspective. Madness for the Malkavians may take the form of any clinical form of insanity, or it may be a hyperacuity of senses others don’t know they have; a supernatural puppe- teer pulling the Malkavian’s strings, or a sense that the Malkavian is somehow ahead of evolutionary schedule. A Malkavian may believe herself to be an idea given physical form or an avatar of some concept the World of Darkness has yet to encounter. She may be a nonstop ravening psychopath, or may be a mostly lucid indi- vidual sometimes rendered catatonic by fear of an impending cosmic cataclysm. Their precarious stability makes it hard for other Kindred (or, indeed, any vessels with whom they may meet) to interact with Malkavians. The Clan some- Sect: In their moments of lucidity, the Malkavians of- times indulges in elaborate, terrifying, and dangerous fer their unorthodox perspectives and Devil’s advocacy to “pranks” which do little to endear them to other vam- the Camarilla, offering their visions and unique insights pires. These incidents are nominally meant to educate to cut through the webs of deceit. Princes and Primogen the target, but the lesson can often be lost between the tolerate the Lunatics to varying degrees, but the Clan as a vampire’s scramble for safety and the inability to parse whole has always been a supporter of the Ivory Tower. the Malkavian’s inner logic. Common pranks might be Appearance: While Malkavians can come from any to replace a vain Toreador’s haven door with a guillo- culture, the madness following the Embrace tends to tine or to redistribute a Brujah elder’s wealth while he’s lead them to extremes of self-presentation. Malkavians at Elysium, or it might take the form of giving a hunter may appear disheveled, injured, or simply dirty. They the location where the Nosferatu gather. Kindred both could still be wearing the same clothes from the night dread and resent the word “prank” almost as much as of their Embrace or they may have stolen clothes from they do the Lunatics themselves. a laundromat or a department store during a fit of con- Nickname: Lunatics fusion or fugue. Of course, Malkavians are just as likely 60 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS, to be meticulous and exacting in their appearance, try- night, each of them frenzies when they see one another, ing obsessively to appear as normal as possible. while the next night, they all converge at the same time Haven: Consistency is rare among Malkavians. at the Sheriff’s haven and accuse him of harboring Sabbat Quite simply, they establish havens where they think spies. Who can say how the “disease of information” or the to, where they can, and where they can recall. A sig- customs of the Clan travel among them? nificant number of Malkavians have literally no home, spending each night where exhaustion or the sun’s rays leave them. Others may permanently have the presi- Stereotypes dential suite in a posh hotel, a squat in the Barrens, Assamite: There’s something flattering in what the dispensary at a county jail, or a broom closet in a they’re doing. Like I’m a little piece of their God. historical landmark. Brujah: You can’t hide your horns, devil-man. Background: Malkavians Embrace with all the caprice one would assume from them. Lunatic childer come from Followers of Set: Walking westward, they should all economic and cultural strata, though most have meet the sun before it sinks. some sort of hard-luck story or black secret behind Gangrel: Pin the tail on the— OW, OW, OW, them that caused their sire to take note. Truly dam- FUCK! aged Malkavians who are unaware of the meanings of their actions may not even be aware that they Giovanni: Ashes, ashes, we all fall down, and get have sired childer, which makes for very difficult back up, and dance with ghosts. entry into Kindred society for these castoffs, many Lasombra: A hyena doesn’t ever choose to be a of whom end up among the Caitiff. hyena, I think. Character Creation: Loner, outsider, and deviant Nosferatu: I have dreamed what hunts them in concepts and archetypes prevail among the Malka- their dark, humid warrens, and it is what each of vians, as do Mental Attributes (with an occasional us can become, if we’re not careful. Social-primary madman or Physical-primary maniac hiding among the ranks). Talents and Knowledges Ravnos: It looks different depending on if I close are likely most popular among Malkavians. Backgrounds my left or my right eye. tend to be either broad and shallow or few and deep, rep- Toreador: Made up of the pieces of the people they’ve resenting the way the way the Malkavian caroms through harmed. Each time they feed they become a little less. unlife. Virtues, Humanity, and Paths often tumble quick- ly, usually in the wake of Willpower doing the same. Tremere: If you can rub those letters off their foreheads, they’ll stop in their tracks. Clan Disciplines: Auspex, Dementation, Obfuscate Tzimisce: I tried to sprinkle salt on one’s tail and Weaknesses: All members of Clan Malkavian suffer from he bit off my hand. a permanent, incurable derangement. They may acquire and recover from other derangements, and may spend Willpower Ventrue: I will make you a fine new waistcoat, to ameliorate the effects of the derangement for a scene, but my emperor. they can never recover from their original derangement. Caitiff: I didn’t do it. Organization: Rumor is more widespread than truth with regard to Malkavian organization, and any number of har- Camarilla: When all you do is look behind you, you rowing tales describe the function of the Clan. Some say never realize that the door in front of you is closed. the Lunatics all share a hive consciousness; others claim Sabbat: They have the answer, but they don’t that this is in fact the lingering consciousness of the Clan’s understand the riddle itself. progenitor Malkav. Still others claim that a network of madness puts all Malkavians in contact with one anoth- Anarchs: All they from Sheba shall come: they er and is the cause of their crippling insanity. If nothing shall bring gold and incense. else, the Malkavians prove inscrutable and uncanny. One Quote: I was trying to turn water into wine. Where the fuck did all this blood come from? Oh, well — waste not, want not. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 61, Those who doubt that the Embrace is a curse need mation-brokers of the Kindred, given their supernatu- look no further than the Nosferatu. Twisted by the ral acumen at stealth and the fact that many Kindred mark of Caine, members of Clan Nosferatu are warped would rather ignore them than acknowledge them. by the Embrace into hideous monsters. As such, they Savvy Nosferatu exploit this for all it’s worth, turning skulk and keep to the shadows, and they often rouse the the hypocrisy of other vampires to their own profit. ire and mockery of other Kindred for their nightmar- On the whole, the Nosferatu condition is lonely and ish appearances. Still others are so terrified or revolted alienating. How they react to the Curse of Caine var- by the Nosferatu that these warped Kindred have little ies with their outlook and mental stamina, but it’s hard social interaction at all. to be an object of utter revulsion and not let it shape To their credit, the Nosferatu come one’s disposition toward one’s “Kindred” in some way. to possess many of the whis- Some of the Sewer Rats are cruel, as blighted on the in- pered secrets of their reluc- side as they are on the outside, while others are tragic, tant fellows. The Sewer wretched creatures who have been cursed with eternal Rats enjoy a grudg- outsider status through no choice of their own. A few ing respect as of the Sewer Rats even position themselves as prophets the infor- or avatars of the Damned, physically embodying the haunting riddle, “A Beast I am, lest a Beast I become.” Nickname: Sewer Rats Sect: Clan Nosferatu belongs at least nominally to the Camarilla, though many of its members become Autarkis or support the Anarchs rather than navigat- ing the Ivory Tower’s vicious social labyrinth. Some even contend that the Nosferatu need the Camarilla, because without they have no buyers in their economy of secrets. Appearance: Physical horror is the lot of the Nosfer- atu, and their unsettling deformations are countless. No two Nosferatu share the exact same malforma- tion, and the Clan is a freakshow of snarled limbs, fanged protrusions, hellish countenances, serpen- tine spines, ruined faces, spasmodic appendages, and even features not usually seen on the mortal stock from which the Nosferatu are drawn. The Sewer Rats often hide these disfigurements under shape- less robes and rags, but some exult in the discomfort their presence causes, and don’t bother disguising them. They may even emphasize them. Haven: Nosferatu Kindred often make their havens far from the scorn and spite of other vampires. Whether 62 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS, they construct warrens in the sewers suggested by their nickname or they sculpt a sprawling nightmare-nest in Stereotypes the spire of a condemned church, Sewer Rats value se- crecy and distance from rivals in their havens. Nosfer- Assamite: Secrets for amnesty seems like a fair trade. atu of humbler means may well squat in an abandoned Brujah: Emits showers of sparks. Point away from tenement or a disused alley. So long as it’s away from face. Point at some other asshole instead. other Kindred, it’s a good haven. Background: The Sewer Rats mostly fit into one of Followers of Set: They want our souls — usually two categories. Some Nosferatu Embrace the damaged, until they understand the stench of a Nosferatu’s soul. flawed, outcast, or vile, feeling some degree of kinship Gangrel: We have some common ground in being with them. Other Embrace spitefully, dragging the outsiders, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be beautiful or privileged into an immortal hell of disfig- careful around them. urement and monstrosity. Giovanni: Down in the sewers we see a lot of shit, Character Creation: Many Nosferatu come from but never so much as when a Giovanni heads our loner and outsider concepts, Natures, and Demeanors. way. They favor Physical and Mental Attributes over So- cial, and they tend to be balanced in their regard for Lasombra: I try to keep to the shadows, but I’ll Talents, Skills, and Knowledges. Nosferatu prefer to hang out under the streetlights when I know one of specialize rather than generalize in Backgrounds, favor- these creeps has my number. ing those that carry favors and information like Allies, Malkavian: See my face? That’s what these ma- Contacts, Mentor, and even a bit of Influence. niacs’ minds look like. Except they’re still bleeding Clan Disciplines: Animalism, Obfuscate, Potence in there. Weaknesses: All Nosferatu have an Appearance Ravnos: Peddlers of lies, they make great patsies, score of zero, and they may never improve it. Cross it but they sure can bear a grudge. off the character sheet. Dice pools that use the Ap- Toreador: Sell them dirt on each other and they’ll pearance Trait are inherently difficult for these hideous scratch each other’s eyes out. It’s the only way to Kindred. come out ahead with them. Organization: Occasionally, a coterie of Nosferatu becomes a brood or cult, often based around a remote Tremere: They’re not even vampires, you know warren. These can sprawl into vast “kingdoms” of Sew- that? They did something way wrong back in the er Rats, who often exist without the knowledge of a do- day and now it’s stuck to them. main’s Prince or Archbishop. The Nosferatu are among Tzimisce: I look like this ‘cause I have to. These the Kindred most likely to share a communal haven, if fuckers choose to. That’s how nature says, “Stay only for protection in numbers. As well, Nosferatu share away.” information with each other via networks — whether digital, personal, occult, or something less definable — Ventrue: High and mighty, until they need you. that defy the comprehension of other Kindred. Charge them double when they come calling. They can afford it. Caitiff: “I never even knew my father!” Cry me a fucking river. Camarilla: I’ll be damned, they think their claims of domain extend into the sewers. Quote: Nobody down here but us boogeymen. Hey, whose Sabbat: Either monumentally gullible or Bible- head is this? grade wicked; either way, you’re better off when they’re somewhere else. Anarchs: Sure, I’ll buy what you’re selling. For tonight, at least. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 63, The Ravnos move like the rumors that surround The Ravnos practice a unique Discipline known as them. They are the thief in the night, the raksha Chimerstry that convinces their enemies that they see chased by the wind, the nightmare-dream too fearful things that do not exist. Chimerstry does much to con- to be real. Whether associated with the Romani folk vince Kindred that the Ravnos trade in lies and misdi- of Europe or the grave-robbing ghûl of Western Asia, rection, but it can also prove to be a Deceiver’s salva- Kindred society burdens the Ravnos with prejudices of tion and ease the vagaries of an outcast unlife. foulness, uncleanliness, and wickedness. Nickname: Deceivers With reputations like these, the Ravnos are con- Sect: Clan Ravnos often has a diffi- sidered outsiders even among those Kindred who cult time heeding the rigorous order do not ally themselves with Sects. Many young of many Camarilla cities, and has Ravnos tend toward nomadic unlives, mov- no inherent love for the violence of ing from one domain to the next or hiding the Sabbat. Thus, the Deceivers find on the fringes of established territories themselves independent for lack of a where they can escape if local Kindred more suitable option. sentiment turns against them. This ex- acerbates their reputations as tran- Appearance: Young Ravnos of- sients, gypsies, and vagrant ten come from Eastern European Romani scourges, but Ravnos stock, with a relative paucity of “non-gypsy” vampires adapt well, gadje in the ranks. What few elders of thriving in their the Clan may remain are presumed to marginalized role. In come from Indian or Middle Eastern fact, many choose to origins. Given that the Clan is widely make themselves into spread and holds no traditional central the ravening terrors domain, no consistent look can be said that other Kindred be- to be predominant, and any mendicant lieve them to be. Kindred might be of Ravnos origin. The more enlight- Haven: Many Ravnos take to the ened among the Ravnos road instead of establishing perma- follow a Clan ideology nent havens, dwelling temporar- inspired by the cycle of ily among itinerant communities, reincarnation espoused at roadside rest stops, or even in ve- by many Indian faiths. hicles. When a Deceiver does put Among some young and down roots in a domain, his per- unprincipled members of the manent haven is often away from Clan, however, this philoso- high-profile Kindred territories. phy becomes a penchant for Havens in ethnic ghettos, indus- capriciousness or an excuse trial outskirts, and isolated geog- for chaos. It is these latter raphy are safest and most easily Kindred who give so many cultivated for the Ravnos. Ravnos a bad name, but Background: The Ravnos are even the devout seem bi- scattered and suspicious, and those zarre to many vampires. childer who don’t have the ten- 64 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS, dency toward self-sufficiency don’t last long. In many cases, a Ravnos will either never sire, or sire for com- Stereotypes panionship or safety, with little concern for how well a childe will fare as a vampire. Ravnos rarely seek out Assamite: Half the time, I think we take a lot of childer actively, instead drawing from those whose shit because other vampires think, “All A-rabs look paths they cross on any given night. As such, the hard- alike” and confuse us with these assholes. luck drifter reputation tends to follow the Deceivers. Brujah: You can get into a lot of trouble if one of Character Creation: Outsider and selfish Natures these bloodsuckers imagines you did him some awful are common among the Clan. Physical and Social At- wrong when all you were doing was checking out his tributes predominate, as do Talents and Skills. Savvy girlfriend. Ravnos develop a breadth of Backgrounds that can Followers of Set: There’s no justice. People think give them an edge when they’re on the move or in a we’re the demons. tight spot, such as stashed Resources, defensible Do- main, and a few Allies or Contacts. Gangrel: They know how rough it is out there, and Clan Disciplines: Animalism, Chimerstry, Fortitude sometimes you can even convince them to give you a break. Weaknesses: A turbulent history makes the Ravnos slaves to their vices. Each Ravnos has a penchant for Giovanni: Gaudy, vain, and easy marks. Of some sort of vice — lying, cruelty, or theft, for example. course, they probably think that about us, too. When presented with the opportunity to engage in that Lasombra: Nobody cops that much attitude unless vice, the Ravnos must indulge it unless her player suc- he’s hiding something to be ashamed of. ceeds on a Self-Control or Instincts roll (difficulty 6). Malkavian: Be careful. You can either fool them or Organization: The Ravnos are a far-flung Clan, with you can’t, but they can’t decide which one it is until little to unite them and an open acknowledgement they either take the bait or go berserk. that each Deceiver looks after his own interests first. That said, Ravnos often like to make a great show of Nosferatu: Rat them out and you’ll have a chance. Clan camaraderie and cultural ritual, even though they Toreador: They love being lied to but hate it when know that promises made to one another are as fleet- someone tips them off that you’ve been lying. ing as whispers on a night wind. Deceivers have been known to ally against common enemies such as tyrant Tremere: Tread carefully or these pricks will drink Princes or Sabbat pogroms, but these alliances quickly your soul and blame you for it. fade once the threat no longer exists. Tzimisce: Nothing wrong with these guys that staking them in their coffins and setting them on fire wouldn’t solve. Ventrue: I think these cocksuckers actually enjoy being hated by everyone else. Who else would set themselves up in the line of fire all the time? Caitiff: Hard times make for desperate terms. Quote: What? Those aren’t Camarilla: All the fancy costumes in the world bones. They’re wind chimes. Every- don’t mean you’re not stealing or killing every time thing is going to be fine. Relax. you feed, you fucking hypocrites. Sabbat: I’ve seen this movie before, and the ending is shit. Anarchs: Not usually a problem unless they start asking you to vote or bend the knee. Once the revolution’s over and they’re declaring themselves emperors, time to hit the road. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 65, From the Toreador perspective, when the sun fades, “the next great thing” spread through the Clan, and darkness gives rise to an eternal and wondrous world. other Kindred often look to the Toreador to guide Everything is fraught with wonder and terror, low poli- them. The Degenerates know this, and many become tics and sensual glories, the profound and the profane, Harpies, Princes, and other key figures in vampiric so- and an undeniable undercurrent of the sanguinary. ciety. These Kindred are the Toreador, and they spend Nickname: Degenerates unlives ensconced in pleasure. Sect: The Camarilla would not have sur- Of course, for vampires of this disposition, vived in the nights following the Anarch it’s easy to become jaded and bitter. More Revolt without substantial participation than the other Clans, Toreador often from the Toreador, and they remain among succumb to ennui, or fight the eventual its most ardent supporters. boredom of unchanging immortality by playing at rivalries. An excess of Appearance: Almost to the last, they stimulation turns them into are attractive in some way, whether slaves to the sensations they the traditional beauty of a run- seek. The most debased way model or the dangerous al- Toreador can become true lure of something more predatory. monsters, sinking to The Degenerates augment their unimaginable levels of physical beauty with a sense of depravity in order to feel personal style, which may take anything at all. the form of expensive cou- ture, avant-garde street wear, The Kindred of Clan Toreador or classical fashions designed often involve themselves greatly in to emphasize their appeal- the world of mortals. They have ing qualities. This isn’t to say any number of reasons, whether that ugly Toreador don’t exist. enjoying proximity to the blush Indeed, those gifted with less of life, cultivating veritable cults physical beauty often go that of doting followers, or influencing much further with their choice and following the trends that their of accoutrements. own kind simultaneously mock and venerate. To hear the Toreador tell Haven: The Degenerates it, they are the Muses of a desperate spare no expense in appoint- mortal world, inspiring through their beau- ing their havens in luxury, ty or patronage. often with many original works of art. It is a point of Toreador culture is a mixture of syba- pride among Toreador to rites, dilettantes, and visionaries. Some have an unconventional Toreador, with echoes of mortal passion, (and thus memorable) Embrace lovers or “project” progeny who haven with modern seem to fly in the face of every Toreador comforts; thus, many custom. These either don’t last long or have striking lofts and rise to great prominence as subversives penthouses, while the and individualists. Ideas, trends, and bolder among them 66 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS, renovate or repurpose everything from abandoned and “poseur” when describing individual Toreador, aquariums or deconsecrated churches to rooftop gar- often derisively, to describe whether the Degenerate dens or converted warehouse-galleries in fashion-for- in question is one who is seen as creative or simply a ward neighborhoods. Share a communal haven? How follower of established trends, but these are certainly déclassé. informal distinctions. Background: Many Toreador hail from high-society or “bohemian” backgrounds. Indeed, many are them- Stereotypes selves artists or influential among local art scenes or Assamite: Blood-soaked barbarians. other subcultures. Actors, singers, musicians, sculptors, poets, playwrights, authors, and creative folk of any Brujah: A fire may be stoked, but if left unat- stripe may well find a home in the Clan, as do those tended, it may destroy what it once warmed. who serve as patrons to (or travel in the entourages of) Followers of Set: Worms breed in their vile those artistic types. footprints. Character Creation: Social attributes are almost al- Gangrel: Beauty and the Beast, only without the ways primary, with an even split among Talents, Skills, complication of Beauty. Pity them. and Knowledges depending on how the Toreador distinguishes herself. Toreador also love to cultivate Giovanni: Which is more unctuous: their smiles Backgrounds. Allies, Contacts, Resources, Domain, or their hair? Haven, Mentors, Resources, Retainers — all of these Lasombra: If I looked like they do, I’d hide in the have great value among Toreador. Wise Toreador may dark, too. choose to develop their Virtues, Humanity, Path, or Willpower, because with an unlife of degeneracy, they Malkavian: The tedium of it all. must frequently attend to the ugly business of bringing Nosferatu: They make a strong case for the the Beast to heel. Mark of Caine being a sickness. Clan Disciplines: Auspex, Celerity, Presence Ravnos: There are two types of these creatures: Weaknesses: When a Toreador experiences some- Awful, and absent. thing truly remarkable — a person, an objet d’art, a lovely sunrise — the player must make a Self-Control Tremere: Aren’t they supposed to turn back into or Instincts roll (difficulty 6). Failure means that the pumpkins at midnight? Kindred finds herself enthralled by the experience. The Tzimisce: It is a poor artist who blames his tools, dazzled Toreador cannot act for the duration of the but that’s the only conceivable answer here. scene aside from commenting on or continuing their involvement with whatever has captured their atten- Ventrue: Why are older brothers always such tion. If the experience no longer affects her (whether corpulent bullies? by moving, being destroyed, or whatever is appropri- Caitiff: The worst sort of fish is the one that ate to the situation), the captivation ends. Enraptured feeds from the bottom. Toreador may not even defend themselves if attacked, though being wounded allows them to make another Camarilla: This house needs a good cleaning. Self-Control or Instincts roll. Sabbat: Such marvelous passion wasted on such Organization: Clan Toreador is cliquish and paro- craven dementia. chial in its local domains, but very rarely on a level that Anarchs: Only a petty ruler acknowledges no affects Clan-wide custom. Certain Toreador (and a few greater purpose than himself. outside the Clan) sometimes use the terms “artiste” Quote: Long after you die, I will still be young, beautiful, and adored by everyone whose life I touch. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 67, In nights long lost to the passage of time, the Tremere sess too great an edge, with their flexible Discipline existed, though they were something else. Those early and protective Clan and chantry structure, and move Tremere then made a bargain — or wrought a spell, against them both secretly and overtly. or any number of other harrowing methods attributed Nickname: Warlocks to the Clan — that changed them from what they had been into the vampires they are tonight. Some claim Sect: Clan Tremere considers itself one of the pillars they stole the Curse of Caine from a torpid Antedi- of the Camarilla. It is rumored that they once performed luvian, or that they concocted the flawed immortal- a ritual that all but eradicated those of ity of the Kindred from the stolen vitae of other vam- the Clan not loyal to the Ivory pires. Such mysterious origins, which some describe as Tower (and thus the Tremere’s treacherous or even blasphemous, haunt the Tremere, pyramidal hierarchy). as the other Clans look upon them with mistrust and Appearance: Tremere often suspicion. The history — and, indeed, the modern have two distinct presenta- legacy — of the Tremere is one marked by Clan war, tions: a traditional and se- centuries-old grudges, and the stain of unwholesome vere public aspect and a mysteries long left unsolved. much more eldritch mien Tonight, Clan Tremere is a Clan shaped better suited to wielding their by its practice of blood sorcery. A flex- blood sorceries. When out ible Discipline, Thaumaturgy is heav- in public or at Kindred ily entrenched within the Tremere, events, the Tremere fa- and they maintain cultic havens vor conservative suits and known as chantries to study dresses and muted tones. its uses and share secrets When in their chantries among each other. To or convening with oth- the Tremere, blood is ers of their Clan, both sustenance and the they often pre- source of mystical power; fer robes they gather in their witch- deco- houses to further their understanding ofratedthe vitae that is such a focal point of their unlives. Beyond the practice of Thaumaturgy itself, the Warlocks are known for their close-knit hierar- chy. They hail from the Old World, with an estab- lished power base in Vienna to which all members of the Clan answer to some degree. Although they may be one of the youngest Clans — in the terms with subtle oc- with which deathless creatures like vampires measure cult symbols or garb time — they are as adept at the Jyhad as any Kindred. with various folds and Beset by enemies who call them usurpers and backed pockets for their bizarre by allies who may or may not defend the alliances they ritual ingredients. force, the Tremere have evolved to be self-sufficient. Indeed, many who eye them warily think they pos- 68 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS, Haven: Many Tremere rely on a central chantry the rogue Warlocks and a competitive environment of aca- Clan maintains in cities where it has a notable pres- demic occultism pits each acolyte against her peers to ence. More solitary Warlocks develop private havens, the greater accomplishment of the Clan. with all of the trappings one might expect from an oc- cult scholar, from libraries to alchemical laboratories to moonlit balcony observatories and even more sinister Stereotypes oubliettes where vivisected “research subjects” bleed Assamite: They show signs of being able to subvert according to experimental Tremere-controlled stimuli. our rituals, so the time to tolerate them has expired. Background: The Tremere draw from a fairly narrow pool of potential acolytes. Those who have an aware- Brujah: Hubris and a lack of self-discipline have ness of the supernatural, who are driven to succeed, laid low the Clan of warrior-poets. who seek answers that elude less inquisitive individu- Followers of Set: We pursue the secrets of the als, yet who also have the discipline to heed the edicts world and they pursue the secrets in its dark places. of the hierarchy make good Tremere. This isn’t to say When too many know, secrets are no longer secrets. that individualists don’t have room in the Clan; rather, Gangrel: Theirs is a simple but formidable power. those who go their own way may well find themselves Fortunately, their blood is as susceptible to mastery leading a chantry — or greeting the sun if their inter- as that of all Kindred. ests don’t align with those of the pyramid. Character Creation: Mental Attributes and Knowl- Giovanni: Their clumsy understanding of the edges are prominent among the Tremere. Many have secret ways will shackle them to empty ritual rather high Courage and Willpower, but are somewhat lacking than set them free to work their wills. in Conscience or Conviction. They often favor Back- Lasombra: A once-accomplished lineage dragged grounds that heighten their relationship to the Clan, like into the muck by foul associations. Mentor, Status, and Retainers (whom an accomplished Warlock may craft from otherwise inert components). Malkavian: Once we can synthesize their stochas- tic perception, the Kindred will no longer have to Clan Disciplines: Auspex, Dominate, Thaumaturgy brook their disruptive caprice. Weaknesses: Tremere dependency on blood is even Nosferatu: Those involuntarily placed outside the more pronounced than that of other Kindred. It takes system can prove fruitful allies or accomplices. only two draughts of another vampire’s blood for a Tremere to become blood bound instead of the normal Ravnos: Disorder sows its own punishments, yet I three — the first drink counts as if the Tremere had taken am happy to expedite those results. two drinks. (For more information on the blood bond, see Toreador: Form follows function, which makes the p. 286). The elders of the Clan are well aware of this, and ongoing prominence of these self-worshipers such a seek to impart loyalty to the Clan by forcing all neonate dispiriting enigma. Warlocks to drink of the (transubstantiated) blood of the seven Tremere elders soon after their Embrace. Tzimisce: Peel away the rot and idolatry and all Organization: The hallmark of Clan Tremere is “the that’s left is the carcass of outmoded mummery. pyramid,” the rigid hierarchy that governs the Clan Ventrue: Caesar shall have his due, and to our and makes it the most organized of all the Kindred benefit, his love of lucre blinds him to true power. lineages. With many levels of membership, internal factions, and circles of mystery, the Tremere hierarchy Caitiff: As Vesalius gathered his cadavers, so do we presents a unified face to those outside the Clan, and solicit volunteers in the understanding of our sciences. is almost as unified behind the scenes. Still, the pyra- Camarilla: A sundered house still offers shelter. mid inculcates more than its share of paranoia, as both Sabbat: They do not understand their own ends, and damn themselves thus. Quote: When the world refuses to give, he who makes himself a Anarchs: In the absence of structure, autarchy master of the world may still take. yields only the brutishness of lesser Kindred. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 69, A blood moon casts a crimson light over the land however they want, and they often want to provoke or beyond the forest and something fearsome howls its ag- frighten. Some prefer extreme modifications and experi- ony into the night. The Tzimisce call these lands their mentations with their bodies that leave them looking ancestral home. Since time out of mind the Fiends only vaguely humanoid. Others seek to redefine and even have been masters and lords of the domains of much of transcend the limits of their forms, rebuilding them- Eastern Europe. But theirs is a proud, selfish Clan for selves in the images of which tradition goes only so far despite their aristocrat- angels, monsters, ic origins. In fact, the Clan claims to have destroyednightmares, its Antediluvian, and in the wake of that momentous and things event, helped establish the foundations of the Sabbat. even less Tzimisce practice a strange Discipline known as Vicis- recog- situde that allows them to twist the skin and nizable. bone of their victims. In many cases, they Haven: refine their fleshly arts by practicing uponYoungthemselves, but they just as frequently use Tzimisce it upon their lackeys and retainers, turning are often their boyars and szlachta into monstrousSabbatthralls. Vicissitude itself is a much mis- Priests or understood Discipline, and debates overDucti, its origins occasionally plunge the Clan into vicious partisan rivalries. Clan Tzimisce is a Clan of extremes, and long, cold nights spent in remote castles have turned the Fiends’ perspectives both greatly inward and outward. Mystics of the Clan study a philosophy of metamorphosis, seeking to dis- cover what lies beyond the state of vampirism. An alien attitude of spiritual secularism character- izes many Tzimisce. Young members of the Clan often find themselves detached from the historical role of the Fiends as terrifying landed lords, and throw themselves wholly into a cause of their own choice, whether as Sabbat zealots, fleshcrafted horrors, or transcendental koldun sorcerers. Nickname: Fiends Sect: The Tzimisce are longtime but largely detached members of the Sabbat. They were in- strumental in the Sect’s nascence, and remain one of its most numerous Clans. Appearance: Given their ability to manipulate their physical appearance with Vicissitude, Tzimisce look 70 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS, and prefer to maintain communal havens with their sive, and thus they have to work at being Sabbat (though packs. They encourage the pack to live in fearsome loca- this is less difficult for younger Tzimisce of at least some- tions, such as beneath a hospital or morgue, or in the dank what modern outlooks). This is also a key reason so many recesses of a mausoleum. Elders of the Clan sometimes of them undertake Paths of Enlightenment: to give their have ancestral holdings in the Old World, and the image xenophobia purpose, but also to provide some common of the vampire on the craggy mountain in a crumbling point of reference with others on the Path. castle owes much to Tzimisce lords. Rarely are these an- cient holdings kept to any modern standards of comfort, but their lords are strangely hospitable to invited guests Stereotypes (and terribly intolerant of uninvited bores). Assamite: The fox convinces the hens to let him Background: Elder Tzimisce, particularly those of watch over their precious eggs — delightful! the still-landed nobility in hoary old domains, may Brujah: They plunged themselves into ruin millennia have family lines from which they Embrace, or they ago and continue to blame other for their own failures. may restrict their occasional siring to the terrified vil- lages suffering in thrall beneath their estates. New Followers of Set: Why worship dead gods when World and younger Tzimisce aren’t as discriminating one can become a god herself? and are more practical. Indeed, many Tzimisce fledg- Gangrel: They command fierce power, but wield it lings are little more than shock troops, Embraced and with little more than a primitive will. warped to the limits of their frames to cause revulsion and revel in bloodshed until put down. Giovanni: Muck out the stables, you slope- Character Creation: Few Tzimisce know modera- browed lummoxes. tion, and thus often favor Physical or Mental Attri- Lasombra: Competent. Mostly. butes, usually with one extraordinarily high Trait. Malkavian: Suitable for making lampshades from Knowledges are usually favored, though Skills are val- their remains. ued as well. Mentor, Allies, Domain, and Retainers are all quite appropriate to Tzimisce, as are narrow — al- Nosferatu: Ah, what marvelous paradoxes, redolent most overdeveloped — Disciplines. Their alien mind- of the slime yet possessed of the wisdom to adapt! sets often lead them to follow Paths of Enlightenment. Ravnos: I’ll take thirty, staked for the sun and The ghastliness to which many Tzimisce are often ex- placed on the ramparts. posed during their fledgling years sometimes results in complicated derangements. Toreador: Thou shalt not suffer a bitch to live. Clan Disciplines: Animalism, Auspex, Vicissitude Tremere: They are the gout of corruption that issues forth Weaknesses: The Tzimisce are inextricably tied to from a lanced boil, only they have none of its charisma. their domains of origin, and must rest in the proximity Ventrue: We have warred for so long that they are due of at least two handfuls of “native soil” — earth fromaagrudging respect before you snuff their heart’s fire. place important to her as a mortal, such as the soil from her birthplace or the graveyard where she underwent Caitiff: How droll! I always thought the term for her Embrace. Each night spent without this physical them was “spare parts.” connection to her land limits all of the Tzimisce’s dice Camarilla: When the serfs don’t believe their pools to one-half, cumulatively, until she has only a masters, the reich has lost the war. single die in her pool. The penalty remains until she rests for a full day amid her earth once more. Sabbat: We play the game with the pawns— er, pieces we are given. Organization: The Fiends are, on the whole, mistrust- ful of other Kindred, especially others of their own Clan. Anarchs: There is a misguided nobility in what they As such, Tzimisce organization, such as it is, has a high do, though they are too childish to succeed fully. regard for solitude. It is against their nature to be inclu- Quote: Why on earth would you think I wanted you to stop screaming? I find the results so much more melodious when you indulge your fear. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 71, Throughout history, while the other Clans have currencies. Elders may command armies or even whole skulked about their petty intrigues, the Ventrue have governments, while neonates conjure their assets from curried favor with Caesar, whispered into the ear of a website or smartphone app. But for all their wealth, Charlemagne, bankrolled the Age of Exploration, and their distinguished history, and their status among the even swayed policy in the Holy See. Theirs Damned, each and every Ventrue must still seek that is a legacy of rulership, from Ven- one resource that makes Kindred society egalitarian: true fledglings starting their precious blood. climb to the top to the mighti- Nickname: Blue Bloods est elders whose influence spans the world. Long have Sect: To hear the Ventrue tell it, the very idea they played kingmaker in the of the Camarilla originated with them. Every other shadows in the mortal world, and Clan realized what an invaluable proposition it was long have they been the Clan of and flocked to their banner. Kings among the Kindred. Appearance: The Ventrue favor conservative Other Clans, of course, find all this clothing and reserved presentation, unless insufferably pompous at best, they’re making a point about power punishably tedious at worst. or money. Ventrue Princes may Someone has to lead, well wear a circlet or carry a surely, but why does it scepter as symbols of office, always have to be some while young Blue Bloods long-winded, self-ag- display their own achieve- grandizing Ventrue? ment via suits, ties, dresses, The Blue Bloods try and accessories that are eas- to bear the criticism ily overlooked singularly of their lessers with but add up to a stunning to- a sense of noblesse tal effect. If a Ventrue has so oblige — ever much as a hair out of place, heavy hangs that it’s because he spent all night head that wears running down the Society of the crown — but Leopold and demanding the even the most mu- Sabbat menace retreat. nificent of Kindred Haven: A Ventrue’s haven leaders occasionally succumbs displays both her great power to tyranny and bloody rage. (read: wealth) and distinguished Tonight, the Ventrue are a tastes. Opulent, grandiose, even synthesis of the modern and baroque — these may all apply to the ancient, often in stark Ventrue havens. They shun the contrast within the Clan and gaudy displays of other Kindred, among one another. Theirs is and their style tends less to the money of old, from the vaults avant-garde than it does to the of Croesus, but their young manip- classical and traditional. To the ulate stock markets and influence Blue Bloods, a well-maintained 72 CHAPTER TWO: SECTS AND CLANS, haven is an extension of oneself, and for someone to see it in less than flawless state implies weakness, dis- Stereotypes traction, or even madness. Assamite: Useful only so long as they don’t be- Background: Anyone who has “made something of come a poison in our veins. herself” may attract the attention of the Ventrue, who judge their childer based on their prominence and suc- Brujah: Just admit you’re beaten and this will cess even before they start to groom them for the Em- become much more pleasant. brace. Socialites, moneyed family, corporate wunderkinds, Followers of Set: When you learn of them in your military leaders, and even untested newcomers who show domain, do not hesitate to introduce them to their great promise are keenly valued among the Blue Bloods. master, the sun. Character Creation: Ventrue usually have directorial Gangrel: Who would guess that Kindred so simple or outgoing personality archetypes. Members of Clan could be so groundlessly prideful? Ventrue favor Social and Mental Attributes, but any Ability category can be primary, reflecting a personal av- Giovanni: Our stillborn siblings, who never developed a enue of expertise. Backgrounds go both wide and deep sense of right and wrong or what not to stick your cock into. for the Ventrue, with almost every Blue Blood possessing Lasombra: Pretenders to our mantle of dignity and some amount of Resources, Status, and Herd (particular- honor, though they are formidable. ly the latter, given the Clan weakness). Elders in particu- lar cultivate enviable havens and sprawling Domains. Malkavian: When you find yourself making ex- Clan Disciplines: cuses for them, it is time for the purge to begin.Dominate, Fortitude, Presence Weaknesses: The Ventrue have rarified tastes, and Nosferatu: Surprisingly functional, should you be they find only one specific type of mortal blood palat- able to handle their odious personalities and over- able and vital for them. When a player creates a Ven- estimation of their own value. true character, he should decide with the Storyteller Ravnos: No kingdom survives by mingling with the what specific type of blood suits the character, and this conquered. choice is permanent. Blood of other types (even ani- mals) simply offers the vampire no blood pool increase, Toreador: For every king there is a queen, and no matter how much he consumes — he simply vomits there are a lot of queens among the ranks of the it back up. This refined palate may be very narrow or Rose Clan. very broad — say, the blood of younger sisters, or the Tremere: They can prove dauntless allies or blood of nude children. Vampiric blood is exempt from treacherous enemies, often both within the same this restriction. skin, so let them know who commands. Organization: The Clan-wide organization of the Tzimisce: What more do you need than their cloying Ventrue is localized and feudal, with various universal- scent of corruption to know that theirs is an ill presence? ly understood peerages, vassalages, oaths of fealty, and sworn boons taking the place of a rigid hierarchy. Many Caitiff: They are mongrels, barely worthy of Ventrue style themselves as secret masters of their do- names. You might as well care about your furniture. mains, consolidating power in longstanding networks Camarilla: It is our greatest triumph, but also our and forming conspiracies. The Ventrue greatly value greatest responsibility. propriety and honor, and use many forms of address and respect — their Laws of Decorum are complex Sabbat: The inmates run that asylum. and rigid, and could fill several volumes. Almost every Anarchs: There is something admirable in what Ventrue worth his status can recite his lineage at least they do, yet how they do it is entirely puerile. back to the elders, if not to the great Methuselahs. Quote: There is no shame to bending the knee to one such as myself, so pay your fucking tribute before I lose my temper. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 73, 74 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS,

BOOK TWO: THE BECOMING

Each created a Brood in order to claim the glory of Caine. Yet we did not have his wisdom or restraint. A great war was waged, the Elders against their Children, just as Uriel had said, and the Children slew their parents. They rose up used fire and wood swords and claws to destroy those who had created them. The rebels then built a new city. Out of the fallen Empire, they collected the Thirteen clans had been scattered by the Great War, and brought them all together. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 75, 76 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS,

Chapter Three: Character and Traits

"When first I tasted the fruit of the Trees, felt the seeds of Life and Knowledge burn within me, I swore that day that I would not turn back..." - From the Oath of Lilith As a player of Vampire, you create a character — an However, certain aspects of a character — his physi- alter ego through which you interact with the game cal prowess, his looks and his vampiric powers, for ex- world and take your part in the story. Like a charac- ample — are described in numerical terms and used in ter in a novel or movie, this character becomes a pro- conjunction with the systems of the game. These fea- tagonist in the stories you tell. Rather than making up tures are called Traits. Traits quantify your character’s a new character for each session, you create a single, particular strengths and weaknesses, guiding the char- richly-detailed character, then assume the role of that acter in his interactions with other players’ characters character every time you play. As your troupe tells its and the characters the Storyteller creates. For example, stories, you watch your character grow and develop. your character might have high Mental Traits, making Ultimately, the character you create becomes as real him invaluable when brains and cunning are required. and as timeless as one of the great protagonists (or an- However, he might have low Physical Traits, forcing tagonists) in a literary work. him to rely on a friend’s character when violence or This chapter describes how to create a vampire char- brute force is necessary. acter, beginning with a general concept and translating Traits are commonly described in numerical terms that concept into the Traits and statistics that are used with ratings from 1 to 5. (Humanity/Path ratings and in the game. Though the process is relatively simple, it Willpower are exceptions to this guideline, and some is best to create characters under the Storyteller’s su- particularly ancient and powerful vampires have oth- pervision, so that she can answer questions and guide er Traits exceeding 5.) These numbers represent the the creation process. quantity and quality of the character’s prowess with a given Trait. One dot is considered poor, while five dots

Traits indicate superiority. Think of Trait ratings as similar

Much of a character’s life comes from the way you to the stars with which restaurants and hotels are rated describe and roleplay him. For example, your vampire’s — one is barely adequate, while five is excellent. Trait general disposition and attitude toward feeding, as de- ratings become important when rolling dice to perform cided by you, might contribute to his role in the story. actions (see Chapter Five for specifics). VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 77,

Common Traits and Terms Nature: This is the “true” personality of your charac- Vampire characters are comprised of the following ter — who she is deep down. See p. 87. Traits: Demeanor: This is the personality your character Name: The character’s name — this may be any- presents to the world. More often than not, Nature and

thing from the character’s birth name to a pseudonym. Demeanor are different, especially given the devious-

Some ancient vampires are known by many names, ness of the vampire mind. See p. 87.

while others are no longer known by names at all. Concept: Your character’s concept is a brief “sketch”

Player: This is the of who your character

20THANNIVERSARY EDITION name of the player por- was prior to the Embrace traying the character in — anything from Crazed THE MASQUERADE question. Vigilante to Aging Porn Name: Nature: Clan: PNlaaymeer:: DNeamtueraen:or: GCelanner:ation: Star.

Chronicle: This is the CPhlraoyneric:le: CDoenmceepatn:or: SGireen:eration:Chronicle: Concept: Sire:

Attributes series of linked stories in Attributes Clan: Your character’s Physical Social Mental Strength_P_h_y_s_i_c_a_l_OOOOO Charisma_S_o_c_i_a_l_ Perception_M_e_n_ta_lOOOOO _OOOOO which the character par- DSterxetnergitth_ Clan defines her lineage y OOOOOOOOOO MCahnairpimulsaat_io_n_OOOOOOOOOO IPneterlcleigpetniocne_OOOOOOOOOO SDtaemxtienrait_y_OOOOOOOOOO AMpapneiapruanlacteio_n_OOOOOOOOOO WInittes_lli_g_e_n_ce_OOOOOOOOOO ticipates. Your Storyteller Stamina_OOOOO AppearanAceb_i_l_i_t_i_e_s_OOOOO Wits_OOOOO and her relationship to Talents AbSikliiltlsies Knowledges will provide you with the Alertness_T Caine, the progenitor _a_l_e_n_ts_OOOOO Animal Ken_S_k_il_ls_ KOOOOO Academics_n_o_w_l_e_d_g_esOOOOO AAtlhelrettnicess_s_OOOOOOOOOO CArnafimts_a_l _K_e_n_OOOOOOOOOO CAocmadpeumteirc_s_OOOOOOOOOO name of the chronicle AAwtharleetnicess_s _OOOOO DCrriavfet_s_OOOOO FCinoamnpceu_te_r_OOOOO vampire. Clan dictates OOOOO OOOOO OOOOOBArwawarl_en_e_s_s_OOOOOOOOOO EDtirqivuee_tt_e_OOOOOOOOOO IFnivneasnticgea_ti_o_n_OOOOOOOOOO (though he may need EBmrapwatl_h_y_OOOOOOOOOO FEirtieqaurmettse_OOOOOOOOOO LIanwve_s_ti_g_at_io_n_OOOOOOOOOO your character’s vampiric EExmprpeastshioyn_OOOOOOOOOO LFairrceeanrmy_s_OOOOOOOOOO MLaewdi_c_in_e_OOOOOOOOOO IEnxtipmreidssaitoino_n_OOOOOOOOOO MLaerlecee_n_y_OOOOOOOOOO OMcecduilct_in_e_OOOOOOOOOO your help in deciding!). LIenatdimeridation_ powers and weakness. ship_ _OOOOOOOOOO PMerefloerem_a_n_ce_OOOOOOOOOO POoclictuiclts_OOOOOOOOOO SLtreeaedtewrsishei_p_OOOOOOOOOO SPteearlftohr_m_a_n_c_e_OOOOOOOOOO SPcoielnitcices_OOOOOOOOOO SSutbreteetrwfuigsee_OOOOOOOOOO SSutrevailvthal_OOOOOOOOOO TSecciehnncoel_o_gy_OOOOOOOOOO The Clans start on p. 48. Attributes: Attributes _S_u_b_te_r_fu_g_e_OOOOOOOOOO _S_u_rv_i_v_al_OOOOOOOOOO _T_e_c_h_n_ol_o_g_y_OOOOOOOOOO_OOOOO _A_d_v_a_n_t_a_g_e_sOOOOO _OOOOO define your character’s A Generation: Closely Disciplines Bdacvkagnrotuangdess Virtues _D_is_c_i_p_linesinborn aptitudes and po- _OOOOO _ B_a_c_k_g_r_o_u_n_d_sOOOOO Conscience/CoVnivritcutioens_OOOOO related to Clan, your _OOOOOOOOOO _OOOOOOOOOO Conscience/Conviction_OOOOO _OOOOOOOOOO _OOOOOOOOOO Self-Control/Instinct_OOOOO tential. See p. 96. _OOOOOOOOOO _OOOOOOOOOO Self-Control/Instinct_OOOOO character’s Generation _OOOOOOOOOO _OOOOOOOOOO Courage_OOOOO _OOOOOOOOOO _OOOOOOOOOO Courage_OOOOO defines the potency of

Abilities: Abilities are _OOOOO _OOOOO

Merits & Flaws Humanity/Path Health her blood and how many those proficiencies your Merits & Flaws Humanity/Path HealthMerit Cost _ Bruised _M_e_ri_t________________C_os_t O_O_O_O_O_O_O_O_O_O_ HBururtised - 1 steps removed she is from character possesses intui- _ _ BOearOingO:_O_O_O_O_O_(O O ) HuBearing:_( ) Injurrted -11__WInojuunredded -21 Caine. See p. 28. tively or has learned. See__MWaouulendded -22__Willpower MauOOOWOilOlpOowOerOOOCripp lleedd -52__p. 100. OOOOCripOOOOOO Incappalecditated - 5 Health: Although a Flaw Cost Incapacitated _F_la_w_________________C_os_t Weakness__Weakness vampire is no longer

Advantages: A catch- ___Blood Pool

_ Blood Pool_ _ Experience Experience “alive,” her corpse-body all term for the numerous__Blood Per Turn:_____Attributes: 7/5/3 • Abilities:13/9/5 • DiscBiplolinodes :P3 e•r BTaucrkng:r_ou_n_ds_:5_ • Virtues:7 • Freebie Points:15 (7/5/2/1) may still suffer sufficient benefits a vampire has Attributes: 7/5/3 • Abilities:13/9/5 • Disciplines:3 • Backgrounds:5 • Virtues:7 • Freebie Points:15 (7/5/2/1) trauma to incapacitate over normal folk, her, and a sufficient

Advantages refers to a quantity of damage can even “kill” the

collection of three other Traits: vampire anew (forcing you to create

Disciplines (p. 127) refer to the a new character). The Health Trait

vampiric powers a character measures how much injury the char- possesses as a result of her Embrace. acter has suffered. See p. 121.

Backgrounds (p. 110) define the character’s Experience: Your character’s Experience

material assets and social network. Trait represents how much she has learned

Virtues (p. 119) show the character’s spiritual and since her Embrace. All characters begin the

moral fiber — or lack thereof. game with an Experience Trait of zero.

Experience is spent to purchase new Traits. Humanity/Path: These Traits define your charac- See p. 122.

ter’s outlook on unlife. A character has either a Hu- manity rating or a rating in a specific Path, never both Willpower: This Trait reflects your character’s (though a character may pretend). Humanity is the inner drive and desire to succeed at tasks she default Trait (see p. 311), but both Humanity and the undertakes. See p. 120.

Paths are presented in Chapter Seven. Blood Pool: Your character’s blood pool dictates how

well fed she is, or, conversely, how hungry. See p. 268. 78 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS,

Getting Started

The Vampire character-creation system is designed around five basic precepts. Keep these in mind while Advancing New Characters generating the persona you will assume in the World of Darkness. Storytellers may choose to allow players to create more experienced and knowledge- • You may create a character of any age, from any able characters. Indeed, players of Vampire: culture and from any nation, subject to the Storytell- The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition er’s approval. However, all characters are assumed to may prefer an “ancilla game” or an all-elders begin the game as neonate vampires who have only chronicle instead. recently left the safety of their sires’ protection with no more than 25 years of experience as Kindred. They In this case, we recommend first building a know relatively little of Kindred society, other than neonate character and then granting players a what their sires have told them. This allows charac- number of experience points that allows them ters to experience the World of Darkness as it unfolds to increase their characters’ Traits to levels before them in all its mystery, rather than having the suitable to the chronicle and the age of their lore of ages already under their belts. A character’s ap- vampires. As a basic rule of thumb, “idle” parent age is the age at which she was Embraced and Kindred should have a number of Discipline became one of the Kindred. dots equal to the square root of her age. • The character-creation system is intended more as Remember that players’ characters are rarely a persona development device than as a strict mechan- “idle” like Storyteller characters, so they’ll ical system. Who wants more rules at the expense of rapidly outpace this guideline. That’s fine; an interesting character or a good story? The character they’re out there in the world, having excit- cannot exist as mere dots on a page — roleplaying is ing encounters and earning more experience always more important than numbers. than passive Storyteller characters. Remem- ber that the cost for raising a Trait which • Players have a certain number of points to spend is already advanced can be very expensive. on Traits they would like their characters to have. See p. 124 for more information on spending Players also get “freebie points” at the end of character experience points. creation; they may spend these to round out their char- acters, add personality and further differentiate their characters from those of other players. Kindred Age Category Experience Points • A Trait rating of 1 is poor, while a rating of 5 is Neonate 0-35 excellent. Thus, a character with a single dot in a Trait is either not very good with that Trait or is a beginner. Ancilla 75-220 Don’t think that your character sucks because she’s Elder 250-600 only got one dot in Manipulation. The experience sys- tem presented on p. 122 allows characters to grow and Methuselahs 1000+ improve their Traits. Traits are rated according to a hu- man scale (except vampiric Traits like Advantages and blood pool, which are rated on a Kindred standard). • It is your responsibility to take on a role that’s not detrimental to the coterie. Vampires are solitary creatures, so there has to be some reason you’ve joined up with your Kindred companions (the other players’ characters). Despite the fact that the hostile World of Darkness forces coteries together, Kindred don’t just hang out for the hell of it. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 79,

Character Creation Process

• Step One: Sample Concepts • Criminal — jailbird, Mafioso, drug dealer, pimp,

Character Concept carjacker, thug, thief, fence

Choose concept, Clan, Nature, and Demeanor. • Drifter — bum, smuggler, prostitute, junkie, pil- grim, biker, gambler • Step Two: • Entertainer — musician, film star, artist, club kid,

Select Attributes model, web celebrity

• Intellectual — writer, student, scientist, philoso- Prioritize the three categories: Physical, Social, Men- pher, social critic tal (7/5/3). Your character automatically has one dot in each Attribute. • Investigator — detective, beat cop, government agent, private eye, witch-hunter Rate Physical Traits: Strength, Dexterity, Stamina. • Kid — child, runaway, outcast, urchin, gang- Rate Social Traits: Charisma, Manipulation, Ap- banger pearance. • Outsider — urban primitive, refugee, minority, Rate Mental Traits: Perception, Intelligence, Wits. conspiracy theorist, junkie • Step Three: • Politician — judge, public official, councilor, aide, speechwriter

Select Abilities • Professional — engineer, doctor, programmer,

Prioritize the three categories: Talents, Skills, Knowl- lawyer, industrialist edges (13/9/5). • Reporter — journalist, blogger, paparazzo, talk- Choose Talents, Skills, Knowledges. show host, media expert No Ability higher than 3 at this stage • Scenester — clubgoer, goth, skinhead, punk, bar- fly, hipster, substance abuser • Step Four: • Socialite — dilettante, host, playboy, sycophant,

Select Advantages trophy wife• Soldier — bodyguard, enforcer, soldier of fortune,

Choose Disciplines (3), Backgrounds (5), and rate killer-for-hire Virtues (7). Your character automatically has one dot • Worker — trucker, farmer, wage earner, manser- in each Virtue. vant, construction laborer • Step Five:

Finishing Touches Clans

Record Humanity (equal to Conscience + Self-Con- • Assamite — The righteous chosen of a blood cult, trol), Willpower (equal to Courage), and Blood Pool. the Assassins are masters of silent death and an arcane If your character is on a Path, see Chapter Seven in- tradition of wisdom. stead. • Brujah — The Rabble are rebels and insurgents, Spend freebie points (15). Optional: Choose Merits fighting passionately for their disparate causes. The and Flaws (max. 7 points). Brujah rage against tyranny — occasionally even their own. • Follower of Set — Guardians of the world’s black- est secrets, the Serpents are feared for what they pro- tect, and all too often seduced by it. 80 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS, • Gangrel — The nomadic Outlanders are feral and • Child — Won’t somebody be there for you? wild. These solitary wanderers are the source of much • Competitor — You must be the best. of the lore that likens vampires to dark beasts. • Conformist — You follow and assist. • Giovanni — Insular and incestuous, the Necro- mancers ply their trade in blood, money, and the souls • Conniver — Others exist for your benefit. of the dead. • Creep Show — Disgusting the straights makes you • Lasombra — The shadowy, wicked Keepers nomi- smile. nally lead the Sabbat. Clan Lasombra serves itself first • Curmudgeon — Everything has its flaws. and its inner darkness second. • Dabbler — It’s always about the next big thing. • Malkavian — Dangerously deranged, the Lunatics • Deviant — The status quo is for sheep. nonetheless possess uncanny insight. • Director — You oversee what must be done. • Nosferatu — Disfigured and skulking, the hideous • Enigma — Just when people think they’ve figured Sewer Rats find themselves shunned by Kindred society, you out, you change the game. but gather secrets from the darkness that hides them. • Eye of the Storm — Chaos and havoc follow you, • Ravnos — The Deceivers are adept with the craft but it never gets to you. of illusion and guile, and often come to embody the prejudices held against them. • Fanatic — The cause is all that matters. • Toreador — Lovers of the sensuous and the aes- • Gallant — You’re not the showstopper: you’re the thetic, the Degenerates are trapped in the stagnancy of show! undeath. • Guru — People find you spiritually compelling. • Tremere — A Clan of sorcerous blood magicians, • Idealist — You believe in something greater. the Warlocks are widely distrusted… and just as widely • Judge — Your judgment will improve things. feared. • Loner — You make your own way. • Tzimisce — A Clan of fallen nobles from Eastern • Martyr — You suffer for the greater good. Europe, the brilliant but monstrous Fiends now serve the Sabbat. • Masochist — Pain reminds you that you still exist. • Ventrue — The reluctant aristocracy of the Kin- • Monster — You’re Damned, so act like it! dred, the Blue Bloods atone for their damnation by en- • Pedagogue — You save others through knowledge. forcing the Traditions and the Masquerade. • Penitent — Unlife is a curse, and you must atone • Caitiff — Claiming no Clan at all, the Caitiff ex- for it. hibit no common characteristics, and often find them- • Perfectionist — You strive for an unattainable goal. selves outcast by vampires of distinct pedigree. • Rebel — You follow no one’s rules. • Rogue — It’s all about you.

Archetypes (Nature and Demeanor) • Sadist — You live to cause pain.

• Architect — You build something of lasting value. • Scientist — Everything is a puzzle to solve. • Autocrat — You need control. • Sociopath — The inferior must be destroyed. • Bon Vivant — Unlife is for pleasure. • Soldier — You follow orders, but in your own way. • Bravo — Might makes right. • Survivor — Nothing can keep you down. • Capitalist — Why give it away for free when you • Thrill-Seeker — The rush is all that matters. can sell it? • Traditionalist — As it has always been, so it must be. • Caregiver — Everyone needs nurturing. • Trickster — Laughter dims the pain. • Celebrant — Your cause brings you joy. • Visionary — Something exists beyond all this. • Chameleon — You manage to blend into any situ- ation. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 81,

Disciplines • Alternate Identity — A false identity, complete

• Animalism — Supernatural affinity with and con- with documentation. trol of animals. • Black Hand Membership (Sabbat) — The num- • Auspex — Extrasensory perception, awareness ber of Black Hand members you can call on. and premonitions. • Contacts — The information sources the charac- • Celerity — Supernatural quickness and reflexes. ter possesses. • Chimerstry — The ability to create illusions and • Domain — Feeding grounds acknowledged by hallucinations. Kindred society. • Dementation — The ability to inflict madness • Fame — How well-known the character is among upon a victim. mortals. • Dominate — Mind control practiced through the • Generation — How far removed from Caine the piercing gaze. character is. • Fortitude — Unearthly toughness, even to the • Herd — The vessels to which the character has point of resisting fire and sunlight. free and safe access. • Necromancy — The supernatural power to sum- • Influence — The character’s political power with- mon and control the dead. in mortal society. • Obfuscate — The ability to remain obscure and • Mentor — The Kindred patron who advises and unseen, even in crowds. supports the character. • Obtenebration — Unearthly control over shad- • Resources — Wealth, belongings, and income. ows. • Retainers — Followers, guards, and servants. • Potence — The Discipline of physical vigor and • Rituals (Sabbat) — How many ritae the Cainite strength. knows and can perform. • Presence — The ability to attract, sway and con- • Status — The character’s standing in undead so- trol crowds. ciety. • Protean — Shapechanging, from growing claws to melding with the earth. • Quietus — The art of assassination. Freebie Points • Serpentis — The Discipline of reptilian powers. Trait Cost • Thaumaturgy — The study and practice of blood Attribute 5 per dot sorcery. Ability 2 per dot • Vicissitude — The art of flesh-shaping. Discipline 7 per dot Background 1 per dot Virtue 2 per dot

Backgrounds

Humanity/Path 2 per dot • Allies — Mortal confederates, usually family or friends. Willpower 1 per dot 82 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS,

The Storyteller and Step One: Character Concept Character Creation Concept is the birthing chamber for who a charac-

The Storyteller may choose to guide the players ter will become. It only needs to be a general idea — through character generation individually, she may brute; slick mobster; manic Malkavian kidnapper — wish to run a troupe character creation storytelling but it should be enough to ignite your imagination. If session, or she may allow players to create characters you choose, a concept may be quite complex — “My at their own leisure before the chronicle begins. Each character is a streetwise Nosferatu, Embraced as a child method has its benefits. but with a precocious level of maturity. Being a Kin- Storytellers may choose to oversee character creation dred scares him, but he knows that the alternative is not only to ensure the players’ understanding of the Final Death and he’s not ready for that yet.” This stage process, but also to get a feel for the characters they’re involves the selection of the character’s concept, Clan, creating. Character creation can provide Storytellers Nature, and Demeanor. with some wonderful plot ideas — ones they would likely never have considered on their own. Likewise, Concept if the players are unfamiliar with the rules, the Story- A character’s concept generally refers to who the teller should use character generation as an introduc- character was before becoming a vampire. Many Kin- tion to the game as a whole, informing the troupe how dred cling desperately to any salvageable aspects of the rules work and giving them examples based on the their former selves — their self-image, their occupa- personas they’re creating. tion, how they lived, what was unique about them. In their new nocturnal world, echoes of their mortal lives As the Storyteller, start by printing a few character are all that stand between many Kindred and mad- sheets, copying them from the back of the book, or use ness. your own digital character-creation method like a wiki. Take the players on a “tour” of the sheet, explaining Concept is important because it helps a vampire what each section is for. Let players ask questions along relate to the world. It’s not a numerical Trait, and it the way, and help them through the process rather than has no mechanical effect on the game. Its benefit is letting them fend for themselves. that it allows you to formulate a personality for your character, and it provides an anchor for a vampire who After the players are familiar with the character wishes to preserve her dwindling Humanity — or to sheet, give them a few guidelines about what types of rail against it. characters will be appropriate for the chronicle. For example, Storytellers running games in Camarilla-held Some sample concepts are presented on p. 80. If you cities might forbid Sabbat or independent vampires don’t see a concept you like, make one up! Its sole pur- outright. Sometimes a player will attempt to portray pose is to help you express your character idea con- a character wholly unacceptable to your plotlines, and cisely. you should feel free to disallow this in favor of a char- Clan acter who won’t disrupt the game. For instance, if, as Storyteller, you want to position the Tremere as uni- A character’s Clan is her vampire “family,” the un- versal antagonists, you may wish to restrict the play- dead legacy into which she was Embraced. Vampires ers’ choice of Tremere. Alternatively, you may wish to are always of the same Clan as their sires, the vampires run the chronicle with Tremere characters, giving your who Embrace them. Go back to Chapter Two, look at players the chance to experience the dawning horror of the templates, and decide which Clan you’d like your the Clan that claims them. character to be. As previously mentioned, the Story- teller may disallow members of certain Clans based Storytellers are advised to spend an entire session on the Sect the chronicle involves. Many chronicles, simply creating characters and running preludes (see for example, allow only vampires from the Camarilla p. 352) with the players. Exceptionally complex char- Clans, while games run at conventions or by organized acters or secretive chronicles might even warrant an play clubs sometimes stipulate specific “venue appro- entire session for each individual player. Spending an priate” criteria. adequate amount of time on character generation en- sures that the players create realistic characters and not If a player wishes, she need not choose a Clan at all. simply lists of Traits. Many vampires in the modern nights have blood so diluted that they can truly claim no Clan. Unwanted VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 83, and scorned, these Clanless “Caitiff” are increasingly any scheme you please. Your character is a person first common. If you wish to play such a character, simply and a vampire second. write “Caitiff” under the Clan heading on the charac- All Vampire characters start with one dot in each ter sheet. Attribute, reflecting the basic capabilities of the mor-

Nature and Demeanor (Archetypes) tals from which they’re drawn. (There are exceptions,

such as the Nosferatu and the Samedi, who have zero After choosing concept and Clan, a player should dots in their Appearance Attribute.) A character’s choose her character’s Nature and Demeanor. These priorities determine how many dots the player may al- behavioral Traits, known as Archetypes, help players locate to that cluster of Attributes. A player may dis- understand their characters’ personalities. tribute seven additional dots to his character’s primary Demeanor is the way a character presents herself to group, five additional dots to the secondary group, and the outside world. It is the “mask” she wears to protect three dots to the tertiary group. For example, a tough, her inner self. A character’s Demeanor often differs athletic character will likely allocate seven dots to his from her Nature, though it might not. Also, Demeanor Physical category, while a clever, wise character will refers to the attitude a character adopts most often — place seven dots in her Mental category. people change Demeanors as often as they change their minds. Demeanor has no effect on any rules. Step Three: Select Abilities Nature is the character’s “real” self, the person she Abilities are also divided into three categories: Tal- truly is. The Archetype a player chooses reflects that ents, Skills, and Knowledges. Talents are intuitive character’s deep-rooted feelings about herself, others, Abilities that are inherent or learned by honing raw and the world. Nature should not be the only aspect of aptitude. Skills are Abilities learned through rigorous a character’s true personality, merely the most domi- training or determination. They may be improved nant. Nature is also used to determine a character’s with careful practice, but can also be studied or learned ability to regain Willpower points (see p. 267). through training. Knowledges are just that — book For a complete list of Archetypes from which to se- learning and the like. Knowledges are typically men- lect Nature and Demeanor, see pp. 87-96. tal pursuits or studies learned through schooling or re- search.

Step Two: Select Attributes Like Attributes, Ability groups are also prioritized

Players now assign dots to their sheets. The first step during character creation. Players should select pri- in determining a character’s numeric Traits is to pri- mary, secondary, and tertiary groups for their Abili- oritize his Attributes. Attributes are the natural abili- ties. The primary group receives 13 dots, the secondary ties and raw capabilities a character is made of. How group gets nine, and the tertiary group receives five. strong is a character? How attractive? How quick? How Note that, unlike Attributes, characters do not begin smart? Attributes take all these questions and more the game with automatic dots in any Ability. Further, into account. All Vampire characters have nine At- no Ability may be purchased above three dots during tributes, which are divided into three categories: Physi- this stage of character creation — even among the un- cal (Strength, Dexterity, Stamina), Social (Charisma, dead, experts in a field don’t grow on trees. You may Manipulation, Appearance), and Mental (Perception, raise Abilities higher with freebie points later. Intelligence, Wits). First, the player must select which group of At- Step Four: Select Advantages tributes is his character’s strong suit (primary). The Now comes the part of character generation during player then selects the group in which the character which the vampire truly becomes unique. Advantages is average (secondary). Finally, the remaining group are Traits that make the vampire a contender in the is designated as the character’s weak point (tertiary). hierarchy of the night. Advantages are not prioritized; Is your character tough but antisocial, or gorgeous but a set number of dots are allocated to each category. Al- a complete airhead? Character concept and Clan may though this number is fixed, additional Advantage dots suggest certain ranks for these priorities or obvious may be purchased with freebie points. ways to play against type, but feel free to decide upon 84 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS,

Disciplines

When vampires are Embraced, their sires pass on to them certain blood-based mystical powers, known as Disciplines. Each character begins with three dots of Disciplines, which may be allocated as the player chooses. For example, she may spend all three dots on one Discipline or spend a dot each on three Dis- ciplines. Disciplines purchased with Advantage dots must be from the three Clan Disciplines all Clans pos- sess. Each Clan description in Chapter Two lists the Disciplines practiced by that Clan (bloodline varia- tions to the Clans can be found in Chapter Ten). If the character is a Clanless Caitiff, she may purchase whatever Disciplines she wants, subject to Storyteller approval. (Note: Disciplines purchased with freebie points need not be Clan Disciplines.)

Backgrounds

A starting character has five dots worth of Back- grounds, which may be distributed at the player’s dis- cretion. Background Traits should fit the character concept — a destitute Gangrel street preacher isn’t likely to have Resources, for example — though the Storyteller may disallow or encourage players to take certain Backgrounds for their characters.

More Inhuman Vampires

Some vampires, such as those of the Sabbat, focus more on their vampiric nature than on the world around them. At the Storyteller’s discretion, a new character may start with four dots in Disciplines in lieu of taking any starting dots in Backgrounds.

Virtues

Virtues are very important to Vampire characters. They provide the moral backbone for characters and determine how readily they resist the temptations of the Beast. A character’s emotional responses are very closely tied to her Virtues; these Traits define how well the character resists frenzy and how keenly she feels re- morse. Virtues are essential in resisting the urges of the Beast and the Hunger, and most vampires lose points in their Virtues as they grow older and more callous. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 85, A Vampire character has three Virtues. Conscience Willpower governs a character’s sense of right and wrong, while A character’s beginning Willpower rating equals her Self-Control determines how readily she maintains her Courage dots, and thus ranges from 1 to 5. Players of- composure and contains her Hunger. Courage measures ten raise their starting Willpower with freebie points, the character’s gumption and ability to withstand the as the Trait is critical to dealing with a Kindred’s dan- proximity of fire, sunlight, and other things that vam- gerous emotional situations. Willpower is also used to pires dread. resist frenzy (p. 299), undertake especially daunting Given that Vampire is fundamentally about coming tasks, and power certain Discipline effects. to grips with one’s monstrous nature and, hopefully, overcoming it, Storytellers who want to emphasize Blood Pool Vampire’s core struggle of the Beast vs. Humanity can The next step in character creation is determining encourage their players to select the Virtues of Con- the vampire’s starting blood pool. This part is simple science and Self-Control for their characters. How- — roll a 10-sided die. The number is the number of ever, certain Kindred, particularly the vampires of the blood points a character has in his system at the begin- Sabbat, adhere to different ethical outlooks. For these ning of the game. This is the only die roll that is made vampires, the Virtues of Conviction and Instinct may during character creation. replace the Virtues of Conscience and Self-Control, respectively. (All vampires have the Courage Virtue.) Freebie Points Conviction and Instinct are presented on p. 314. If you The player may now spend 15 freebie points to pur- decide that your character is sufficiently inhuman to chase additional dots in Traits. These points may be warrant these Virtues, and if the Storyteller permits spent however the player chooses — thus the term you to take them, you may circle the appropriate Vir- “freebie” — though the Storyteller is the final arbiter tues on the character sheet. Be warned that in taking of what she chooses to allow in the chronicle. Each these Virtues, you have effectively designated your dot has a variable freebie-point cost based on which character a monster. type of Trait it is — consult the chart on p. 82 for free- Every character starts out with one dot in Conscience bie-point costs of Traits. Remember that Disciplines and Self-Control, and zero dots in Conviction and In- purchased with freebie points need not come from the stinct. The player may then distribute seven additional character’s Clan Disciplines (though purchase of some dots among the Virtues as she sees fit. These Virtues Disciplines may require explanation about how she ac- play instrumental roles in determining a character’s quired them, and the Storyteller may restrict access to starting Humanity (or Path) and Willpower levels, so certain Disciplines). be careful how you spend the points. Optionally, the Storyteller may allow the player to take up to seven points of Flaws to gain more freebie

Step Five: Last Touches points, or use freebie points to purchase Merits. Merits

and Flaws start on p. 479. At this stage, the player may spend 15 freebie points to personalize his character. First, however, a bit of Spark of Life bookkeeping needs to be done. If you go through the steps above, you will have a

Humanity character — at least in the purely technical sense. All

the dots are on the paper, all of your character’s capaci- A character’s starting Humanity rating equals the ties have their systems and values defined, and you can sum of her Conscience + Self-Control Traits, yielding roll all the right combinations of dice at the appropri- a score between 5 and 9. Players can also increase their ate times. Humanity with freebie points, as too low a rating indi- cates that the Beast lies in close proximity. At this point, the onus is on you to breathe a bit of life into the your character’s Traits. If she exists only in Note: Characters on Paths other than Humanity may game terms, your character’s not much more detailed use different Virtues to determine their initial Path rat- than a featureless piece on a gameboard. Take a good ings. Consult the section on Paths (starting on p. 313) long look at your Traits and numbers. Why are they to determine which Paths use which Virtues. 86 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS, there? How will they come across in the story? What just like all the other Brujah with Strength 4, Dexterity parts of the character don’t you know yet? Like a novel- 3, Stamina 3 — and believe us, there are a lot of such un- ist building a literary figure, decide on all the physical, distinguished characters out there. And that’s a shame, psychological, and background details that make your because characters — especially vampires — should be character one of a kind, even among the undead. unique, fascinating, passionate, and memorable. Sure, your character has an Appearance of 3 — but what does that mean? Does she have a winning smile, does she exude a challenging self-confidence, or does Personality Archetypes: she simply have a killer wardrobe? What color are her eyes and hair? If she’s skilled in Performance or Eti- Nature and Demeanor quette or Firearms, how did she acquire her skill? Did she always want to be a movie star? Is her polished ve- Everyone plays a role, often several, every day. Every neer a reaction against growing up in an economically individual displays multiple layers of personality, vary- depressed household? Did she just, for whatever bizarre ing from the contrived to the sincere. Each of these reason, walk onto a firing range and discover a natural roles defines how we interact with the people and plac- aptitude for plugging holes in targets? Is her Ally actu- es around us, and we choose which parts of ourselves ally her ex-lover, who works as an aide to some appall- we wish to show. ing governor and with whom she maintains an uneasy, It is the same with Kindred. The concept of Nature tension-laced friendship? Does he suspect what she’s and Demeanor corresponds directly to the different become, but helps her out for now because he thinks masks we wear when we interact. A Vampire charac- he still has a chance to make things right? ter’s Nature is her true self, her innermost being — the This last phase of character creation, while the least person she truly is. It is dangerous to show this, though, “necessary,” is nevertheless important. Otherwise, your as it lets others know who we are and what is important Brujah with Strength 4, Dexterity 3, Stamina 3 will be to us. Thus, characters also have Demeanors, faces they VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 87, show to the world. By choosing how we relate to the he may wish to be recognized as the leader of a cote- world, we are able to choose how it relates to us as well, rie. as we guide the responses others give us. — Regain a point of Willpower when you achieve Philosophy aside, personality also has an effect on control over a group or organization involving other the mechanics of Vampire. A character may regain individuals. her drive and sense of purpose by acting in accordance with her Nature. Every time a character fulfills the re- Bon Vivant quirement of her Nature Archetype (see below), that The Bon Vivant knows that life — and unlife — is character has the opportunity to regain a point of spent shallow and meaningless. As such, the Bon Vivant Willpower (see p. 267). If the Storyteller allows, the decides to enjoy her time on Earth. The Bon Vivant character regains the point. is not necessarily irresponsible. Rather, she is simply Archetypes allow players to build a sense of person- predisposed to having a good time along the way. Most ality for their characters, and to define a bit of what Bon Vivants have low Self-Control ratings, as they are makes the character tick. It is worth noting that Ar- so given to excess. Hedonists, sybarites, and dilettantes chetypes are not rigid; characters need not slavishly are all examples of the Bon Vivant Archetype. A Kin- devote themselves to their Natures and Demeanors. dred Bon Vivant may sire a brood of fawning childer, Rather, the character should act as the player reason- or he may spend his time gorging on the blood of drug ably or emotionally believes she would act in a given abusers for the contact high. situation. Players and Storytellers may wish to define — Regain a point of Willpower whenever you truly their own Archetypes that more closely exemplify how enjoy yourself and can fully express your exultation. At the character in question responds to her surroundings. the Storyteller’s option, a particularly fabulous revel After all, every character is an individual, and custom- may yield multiple Willpower points. ized Archetypes should be a logical outgrowth of a well-rounded character. Bravo The Bravo is a tough and a bully, and often takes per- Here are some example character Archetypes for a verse pleasure in tormenting the weak. To the Bravo’s wide variety of characters. Some Archetypes are better mind, might makes right. Power is what matters, and suited for certain Sects or Clans than others. only those with power should be respected. Naturally,

Architect physical power is the best kind, but any kind will do.

The Architect has a sense of purpose even greater The Bravo sees overt threats as a perfectly reasonable than herself. She is truly happy only when creating means of gaining cooperation. The Bravo is not inca- something of lasting value for others. People will al- pable of pity or kindness; he just prefers to do things his ways need things, and the Architect strives to provide way. Robbers, bigots, and thugs are all Bravo Arche- at least one necessity. Inventors, pioneers, town found- types. A Kindred Bravo may abuse authority the system ers, entrepreneurs, and the like are all Architect Ar- has granted him, or he may — violently or otherwise chetypes. A Kindred Architect might seek to create — force other Kindred out of his way to get what he new laws that affect her fellow undead, or she might wants. He’s almost certainly an asshole. aim to establish a new Anarch domain. — Regain a point of Willpower any time you achieve — Regain a point of Willpower whenever you estab- your agenda through brutishness or intimidation. This lish something of importance or lasting value. need not be physical, as many Bravos verbally or so- cially cow their victims.

Autocrat Capitalist

The Autocrat wants to be in charge. He seeks promi- nence for its own sake, not because he has an opera- You are the ultimate mercenary, realizing that there tion’s best interests at heart or because he has the best is always a market to be developed — anything can be a ideas (though he may certainly think so). He may gen- commodity. You have a keen understanding of how to uinely believe others are incompetent, but ultimately manipulate both kine and Cainites into thinking that he craves power and control. Dictators, gang leaders, they need specific goods or services. Appearance and bullies, corporate raiders, and their ilk are Autocrat influence are everything when it comes to the big sale, Archetypes. A Kindred Autocrat may crave a title, or though you’ll use anything to your advantage. Sales- 88 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS, men, soldiers of fortune, and bootlickers all adhere to — Regain a point of Willpower whenever you fool the Capitalist Archetype. someone into thinking you’re someone else for your — Regain a point of Willpower whenever you make own (or your pack or coterie‘s) benefit. a successful “sale” of any commodity. Commodities Child need not be physical items; they may be bits of infor- mation, favors, or other intangibles. The Child is still immature in personality and tem- perament. He wants what he wants now, and often pre-

Caregiver fers someone to give it to him. Although he can typi-

Everyone needs a shoulder to cry on. A Caregiver cally care for himself, he would rather have someone takes her comfort in consoling others, and people of- cater to his capricious desires. Some Child Archetypes ten come to her with their problems. Vampires with are actually innocent rather than immature, ignorant Caregiver Archetypes often attempt, as best they can, of the cold ways of the real world. Actual children, to protect the mortals on whom they feed. Nurses, spoiled individuals, and some drug abusers are Child doctors, and psychiatrists are examples of potential Archetypes. Kindred with the Child Archetype might Caregivers. Caregiver Kindred are often the type who have not yet fully reached an understanding of the — tragically — Embrace mortal loves they’ve left be- world and have some characteristic such as cruelty, en- hind in hopes of softening their loss, or even those who titlement, sympathy, or hunger that is out of balance create situations of grief in order to ease it and thus with their other personality aspects, as they haven’t yet validate themselves. reached the “rounded” state of adulthood. Note that a Child Archetype need not be a physical, literal child at — Regain a point of Willpower whenever you suc- the time of Embrace. Some people simply never grow cessfully protect or nurture someone else. up.

Celebrant — Regain a point of Willpower whenever you man-

The Celebrant takes joy in her cause. Whether the age to convince someone to help you with no gain to character’s passion is battle, religion, foiling her rivals, herself, or to nurture you. or reading fine literature, it gives the Celebrant the strength to withstand adversity. Given the chance, the Competitor Celebrant will indulge in her passion as deeply as pos- The Competitor takes great excitement in the pur- sible. Unlike the Fanatic (p. 91), the Celebrant pur- suit of victory. To the Competitor, every task is a new sues her cause not out of duty, but out of enthusiasm. challenge to meet and a new contest to win. Indeed, Crusaders, hippies, political activists, and art enthusi- the Competitor sees all interactions as some sort of op- asts are Celebrant Archetypes. Celebrant Kindred may portunity for her to be the best — the best leader, the cleave to mortal ideologies that are incongruous with most productive, the most valuable, or whatever. Cor- their new Damned conditions, or they may be the ad- porate raiders, professional athletes, and impassioned vocates of new trends and causes that move through researchers are all examples of Competitor Archetypes. undead society. Kindred Competitors have any number of resources and accomplishments over which to assert themselves, — Regain a point of Willpower whenever you pursue from mortal herds and creature comforts to titles and your cause or convert another character to the same prestige in Kindred society. passion. Conversely, lose a point of temporary Will- power whenever you are denied your passion or it is — Regain one point of Willpower whenever you badly lost to you. succeed at a test or challenge. Note that a test or chal- lenge is more than just a dice roll; it’s an entire dra-

Chameleon matic situation. Especially difficult victories may, at

Independent and self-reliant, you carefully study the Storyteller’s discretion, allow you to regain mul- the behavior and mannerisms of everyone you come tiple Willpower points. in contact with so you can pass yourself off as someone else later. You spend so much time altering your man- Conformist nerisms and appearance that your own sire may not The Conformist is a follower, taking another’s lead even recognize you. Spies, con artists, drag queens, and and finding security in the decisions of others. She pre- impostors best represent the Chameleon. fers not to take charge, instead seeking to throw in with the rest of the group and lend her own unique aid. The VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 89, Conformist is drawn to the most dynamic personality never more than half-full, though it may be damn near or the individual she perceives to be the “best.” Being empty when other people are involved. Many Inter- a Conformist is not necessarily a bad thing — every net junkies, pop-culture fans, and Generation Xers are group needs followers to lend stability to their causes. Curmudgeons. Kindred Curmudgeons see elder oppres- Groupies, party voters, and “the masses” are Conform- sion or spoiled neonates running amok behind every ist Archetypes. Conformist Kindred can take many development in undead society, and may or may not forms, from the ardent Sabbat pack member, to the rise beyond acerbic grumbling to change any problems Kindred who follows a Clan-first agenda, to the trusted they perceive. supporters of a titled vampire or rising star. — Regain a point of Willpower whenever someone — Regain a point of Willpower whenever the group does something specific and negative, just like you said or your supported leader achieves a goal due to your they would. You must predict and quantify this fail- support. ure aloud, such as by warning, “The Prince is going to fuck us on this one,” or “Just watch, that Malka-

Conniver vian’s ghoul is going to do something really reckless.”

Why work for something when you can trick some- You may simply whisper your prophecy of grief to the body else into getting it for you? The Conniver always Storyteller if you wish, instead of announcing it to the tries to find the easy way, the fast track to success and whole troupe. wealth. Some people call him a thief, a swindler, or less pleasant terms, but he knows that everybody in the Dabbler world would do unto him if they could. He just does The Dabbler is interested in everything but focuses it first, and better. Criminals, con artists, salespeople, on nothing. He flits from idea to idea, passion to pas- urchins, and entrepreneurs might be Connivers. Some sion, and project to project without actually finishing would argue that all Kindred are Connivers in some anything. Others may get swept up in the Dabbler’s sense, but those that have the Conniver archetype may enthusiasm, and be left high and dry when he moves be abusive to their childer and ghouls, or they may be on to something else without warning. Most Dabblers more persuasive in gaining support for their machina- have high Intelligence, Charisma, and Manipulation tions. ratings, but not much in the way of Wits or Stamina. — Regain a point of Willpower whenever you trick Toreador are often Dabblers, particularly those afflict- someone into doing something for you, or when you ed with the derisive sobriquet “Poseurs.” convince someone to help you against their own best — Regain Willpower whenever you find a new en- interests. thusiasm and drop your old one completely.

Creep Show Deviant

You strive to shock and disgust those around you with The Deviant is a freak, ostracized from society by gratuitous acts and ostentatiously “evil” mannerisms. unique tastes or beliefs that place her outside the main- You realize, of course, that it’s all show and merely a stream. Deviants are not indolent rebels or shiftless way to intimidate and control others. Outsiders, on the “unrecognized geniuses”; rather, they are independent other hand, think you are the Devil incarnate, and you thinkers who don’t quite fit in the status quo. Devi- revel in this image. Shock-rockers, rebellious teenag- ant Archetypes often feel that the world stands against ers, circus freaks, and the attention-starved exemplify them, and as such reject traditional morality. Some the Creep Show Archetype. have bizarre tastes, preferences, and ideologies. Ex- — Regain a point of Willpower whenever someone tremists, eccentric celebrities, and straight-up weirdoes recoils from you in horror or otherwise reacts in fear. are Deviant Archetypes. Kindred deviants may observe heretical or outlawed habits like diablerie or deference

Curmudgeon to elders, and they may well go Anarch or Autarkis

A Curmudgeon is bitter and cynical, finding flaws instead of having to constantly defend their subversion in everything and seeing little humor in life or unlife. of Traditions or Sect customs. He is often fatalistic or pessimistic, and has very little — Regain a point of Willpower any time you are able esteem for others. To the Curmudgeon, the glass is to flout social mores without retribution. 90 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS,

Director character to further. Revolutionaries, zealots, and sin-

To the Director, nothing is worse than chaos and cere firebrands are all examples of Fanatic Archetypes. disorder. The Director seeks to be in charge, adopt- Kindred Fanatics are often champions for or against ing a “my way or the highway” attitude on matters of a particular aspect of undead society, such as equality decision-making. The Director is more concerned with among all vampires, the extermination of Anarchs, or bringing order out of strife, however, and need not be stamping infernalism out of the Sword of Caine. truly “in control” of a group to guide it. Coaches, teach- — Regain a point of Willpower whenever you ac- ers, and many political figures exemplify the Director complish some task that directly relates to your cause. Archetype. Kindred Directors may be simple advocates of established codes, or they may prove instrumental in Gallant tearing down corrupt existing orders to make way for Gallants are flamboyant souls, always seeking atten- new leaders or factional movements. tion and the chance to be the brightest star. Gallants seek the company of others, if only to earn their adora- — Regain a point of Willpower when you influence tion. Attention drives the Gallant, and the chase is or aid a group or influential individual in the comple- often as important as its end. Nothing excites a Gal- tion of a difficult task. lant so much as a new audience to woo. Performers,

Enigma only children, and those with low self-esteem often

Your actions are bizarre, puzzling, and inexplicable embody the Gallant Archetype. Kindred Gallants may to everyone except yourself. Your strangeness may be a be Harpies, or they may have enormous herds of doting residual effect from your Embrace, or the most effective thralls. way for you to carry out your work. To the rest of the — Regain a Willpower point whenever you success- world, however, your erratic actions suggest that you’re fully impress another person. Ultimately, the Storytell- eccentric if not completely crazy. Conspiracy theorists, er is the arbiter of how much you dazzle someone, even deep-cover agents, and Jyhad fanatics all live up to the in the case of other players’ characters. Enigma Archetype Guru — Regain a point of Willpower whenever someone Your enlightenment draws others to you. You may is completely perplexed or baffled by one of your ac- be a mentor of a particular Path of Enlightenment, a tions that later turns out to be a fruitful endeavor. priest with the Church, or merely an idealist. Whatev-

Eye of the Storm er the case, your presence motivates and moves others

Despite your calm appearance, chaos and havoc to engage in spiritual or ideological pursuits. Your peers seems to follow you. From burning cities to emotional view you as calm, centered, and “with it,” even when upheaval, death and destruction circle you like alba- you are preaching violence as a means to an end. Cult trosses. For you, unlife is a never-ending trial with un- leaders, Zen masters, and Pack Priests are examples of certainty around every corner. Gang leaders, political Gurus. figures, and other influential individuals exemplify the — Regain a point of Willpower whenever someone Eye of the Storm Archetype. seeks out your help in spiritual matters and your guid- — Regain a point of Willpower whenever a ruckus, ance moves that individual to an enlightened action riot, or less violent but equally chaotic phenomenon that he normally would not have taken. Also, regain a occurs around you. point of Willpower whenever you achieve an epiphany that relates to your personal philosophy.

Fanatic Idealist

The Fanatic has a purpose, and that purpose con- sumes his existence. The Fanatic pours himself into The Idealist believes — truly, madly, deeply — in his cause, and he may even feel guilty for undertaking some higher goal or morality. The object of his ideal- any objective that deviates from his higher goal. To ism may be something as pragmatic as the Camarilla’s the Fanatic, the end justifies the means — the cause is eventual triumph or as amorphous as the ultimate more important than those who serve it. Players who good, but the belief is there. Idealists are frequently ei- choose Fanatic Archetypes must select a cause for their ther very new to the Blood or very old, and many seek VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 91, Golconda as the final expression of their idealism. In idealists, and outcasts are Martyr Archetypes. Kindred the meantime, an Idealist tries to reconcile his beliefs Martyrs are often associated with reform movements with the demands of vampiric existence, often acting among Kindred society, but rarely as figureheads — contrary to his self-interest in doing so. and they need not necessarily be on the pro-reform — Regain a point of Willpower any time an action side of the issue. in pursuit of your ideals furthers your goals and brings — Regain a point of Willpower when you suffer your ideal closer to fruition. some amount of damage or loss of a definable resource for your ideals or another’s immediate gain.

Judge

The Judge perpetually seeks to improve the system. Masochist A Judge takes pleasure in her rational nature and abil- The Masochist exists to test his limits, to see how ity to draw the right conclusion when presented with much pain he can tolerate before he collapses. He facts. The Judge respects justice, as it is the most effi- gains satisfaction in humiliation, suffering, denial, and cient model for resolving issues. Judges, while they pur- even physical pain. The Masochist defines who he is sue the “streamlining” of problems, are rarely visionary, by his capacity to feel discomfort — he rises each night as they prefer proven models to insight. Engineers, law- only to greet a new pain. Certain extreme athletes, ur- yers, and doctors are often Judge Archetypes. Kindred ban tribalists, and the clinically depressed exemplify Judges might gravitate toward enforcement roles in lo- the Masochist Archetype. Kindred Masochists might cal society, or they might be a voice of reason in an be overtly self-mortifying horrors who play to their otherwise radical coterie. Beast’s self-destructive whims, or they may be ambi- — Regain a point of Willpower whenever you cor- tious taskmasters, as with a coterie leader who refuses rectly solve a problem by considering the evidence to accept failure and pushes his own limits in his exact- presented, or when one of your arguments unites dis- ing schemes. senting parties. — Regain one point of Willpower when your own suffering leads to some tangible gain for you, and two

Loner points of Willpower whenever you experience pain in

Even in a crowd the Loner sticks out, because he a truly unique way. so obviously does not belong. Others view Loners as pariahs, remote, and isolated, but in truth the Loner Monster prefers his own company to that of others. For what- The Monster knows she is a creature of darkness ever reason, the Loner simply disdains others, and this and acts like it. Evil and suffering are the Monster’s feeling is often reciprocated. Criminals, radicals, and tools, and she uses them wherever she goes. No vil- free thinkers are all Loner Archetypes. Kindred Loners lainy is below her, no hurt goes uninflicted, and no lie often hail from one of the rugged individualist Clans remains untold. The Monster does not commit evil for like the Gangrel or Ravnos, and they have a procliv- its own sake, but rather as a means to understand what ity for ending up Autarkis by dint of not giving a shit she has become. Unstable individuals, those who have what some up-his-own-ass Prince or Archbishop says been greatly wronged or harmed, and those defined as is a law. sociopaths may come to display characteristics of the — Regain a point of Willpower when you accom- Monster Archetype. Kindred Monsters include many plish something by yourself, yet which still benefits the Sabbat, degenerate Kindred elders, and those who nev- coterie in some way. er adjust properly to what they have become after the Embrace.

Martyr — Malignant deeds reinforce the Monster’s sense

The Martyr suffers for his cause, enduring his trials of purpose. Monster characters should pick a specific out of the belief that his discomfort will ultimately im- atrocity, regaining Willpower whenever they indulge prove others’ lot. Some Martyrs simply want the at- that urge. For example, a tempter regains Willpower tention or sympathy their ordeals engender, while oth- for luring someone into wickedness, while an apostate ers are sincere in their cause, greeting their opposition earns back Willpower for causing another to doubt her with unfaltering faith. Many revolutionaries, staunch faith. Pick a destiny and fulfill it. Storytellers, be care- ful with how you reward this Archetype. For example, 92 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS, a player who chooses violence as an atrocity shouldn’t — Regain one point of Willpower whenever you see recoup Willpower in every combat, but perhaps only or learn of someone who has benefited from the wis- in those that involve wanton destruction, or even dom you shared with them. cause degeneration checks due to their gruesomeness. Monster is a difficult Archetype for which to offer re- Penitent wards, and those rewards should come as a result of the The Penitent exists to atone for the grave sin she com- character challenging his own descent into the Beast, mits simply by being who she is. Penitents have either not rampaging ungovernably because he gains an ever- low self-esteem or traumatic past experiences, and feel refreshing pool of bonus dice. compelled to “make up” for inflicting themselves upon the world. Penitent Archetypes are not always religious

Pedagogue in outlook; some truly want to scourge the world of the

The Pedagogue knows it all, and desperately wants to grief they bring to it. Repentant sinners, persons with inform others. Whether through a sense of purpose or low self-esteem, and remorseful criminals are examples a genuine desire to help others, the Pedagogue makes of the Penitent Archetype. Penitent Kindred include sure his message is heard — at length, if necessary. those who scourge themselves of the Beast like medieval Pedagogue Archetypes may range from well-meaning monks, vampires who stand up for the rights of mortals, mentors to verbose blowhards who love to hear them- and those who subsist entirely on the vitae of animals. selves talk. Instructors, the overeducated, and “veter- — Regain a point of Willpower whenever you feel ans of their field” are all examples of Pedagogue Ar- that you have achieved absolution for a given griev- chetypes. Kindred Pedagogues include watchdogs of ance. This redemption should be of the same magni- the Traditions, ideological Anarchs, and perhaps even tude as the transgression — the greater the crime, the that rare soul seeking Golconda who wants company greater the penance. The Storyteller is the ultimate ar- on the journey. biter of what constitutes a reasonable act of reparation. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 93,

Perfectionist they have no right to them. The Rogue is not neces-

Perfectionist Archetypes demand flawless execution. sarily a thug or bully, however. She simply refuses to A half-hearted job gives the Perfectionist no satisfac- succumb to the whims of others. Rogues almost univer- tion, and she expects the same degree of commitment sally possess a sense of self-sufficiency. They have their and attention to detail from others that she demands own best interests in mind at all times. Prostitutes, from herself. Although the Perfectionist may be exact- capitalists, and criminals all embody the Rogue Arche- ing, the achievement of the end goal drives her, and type. Kindred Rogues include diablerists, Autarkis, and often those for whom she is responsible. Prima don- a Primogen who puts his Clan’s opportunities before nas, artists, and architects exemplify the Perfectionist the supremacy of the Kindred as a whole. Archetype. A Perfectionist Kindred might be a zeal- — Regain a point of Willpower when your self-cen- ous Sabbat member who expects more than his pack tered disposition leads you to profit, materially or oth- can consistently deliver, or she may be a moralist who erwise. At the Storyteller’s discretion, accumulating sometimes applies her own high standards of Humanity gain without exposing your own weaknesses may let to others in her coterie. you regain two points of Willpower. As well, you may — Regain a point of Willpower whenever you ac- regain a point of Willpower when your efforts benefit complish your goal without any demonstrable flaw or the group to which you belong when that benefit comes impediment, and regain a Willpower point whenever at the expense of another group. you motivate another character to succeed as a result Sadist of your own shining example. You exist to inflict pain and suffering upon others.

Rebel Killing is too easy; torture is the best way to truly harm

The Rebel is a malcontent, never satisfied with the a person, and you seek the slowest, most painful means status quo or the system as it is. He hates the very idea to push others to the ultimate limits. Pain — others’ of authority and does everything in his power to chal- pain — gives you immense pleasure. Drill sergeants, lenge and undermine it. Perhaps the Rebel truly be- jilted ex-lovers, and some of the terminally deranged lieves in his ideals, but it is just as likely that he bears may all embody the Sadist Archetype at one time or authority figures some ill will over a “wrong” done to another; sadism is rare enough to appear only in aber- him in the past. A Rebel may hate institutions categor- rant cases, rather than reliably in any type or class of ically, or she may be consumed with opposition toward person. a single particular authority. Teenagers, insurrection- — Regain a point of Willpower whenever you inflict ists, and nonconformists all exemplify the Rebel Ar- pain upon someone for no reason other than your own chetype. Rebel Kindred certainly include the Sabbat, pleasure. Anarchs, and temperamental Brujah, but also have room for Tremere who chafe at the rigid Clan hierar- Scientist chy or neonates who deplore their sires. To a Scientist, existence is a puzzle which she can help to reassemble. A Scientist logically and methodi- — Regain a point of Willpower whenever your ac- cally examines her every situation and maneuver, look- tions adversely affect your chosen opposition. Rebels ing for logical outcomes and patterns. This is not to say may oppose the government, the Church, a vampire that the Scientist is always looking for a scientific or Prince, or any other holder of authority. The player rational explanation, but rather she examines her sur- should choose whom or what his character rebels roundings rigorously and with a critical eye. The sys- against when he adopts this Archetype. Storytellers tem a Scientist attempts to impose on the world may should take rebellion against “all authority” with a be completely ludicrous, but it is a system, and she grain of salt, and apply the Willpower reward for such sticks by it. a broad concept to only greater and greater actions of insurgency. — Regain Willpower any time a logical, systematic approach to a problem helps you solve it, or informa-

Rogue tion gathered logically is of use in another, similar situ-

Only one thing matters to the Rogue: herself. To ation. each his own, and if others cannot protect their claims, 94 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS,

Sociopath — Regain one point of Willpower whenever you sur-

All inferior beings both living and undead should vive a threatening situation through tenacity, or when be exterminated in order to bring about a harmoni- your counsel causes someone else to persist in spite of ous existence. You likely feel no remorse when you opposition. kill (depending upon your Humanity or Path). On Thrill-Seeker the contrary, you are doing a glorious deed for society. The Thrill-Seeker lives for the rush of danger. Un- Some vampires are critical of your violent nature, but like those of arguably saner disposition, the Thrill- you sometimes manage to sway them with arguments Seeker actively pursues hazardous and possibly deadly like, “Darwin would agree that I’m only helping nature situations. The Thrill-Seeker is not consciously sui- along!” and, “Only the strongest shall survive!” cidal or self-destructive — he simply seeks the stimula- — Regain Willpower whenever you are the greatest tion of imminent disaster. Gangbangers, petty thieves, contributor to a body count after everything has settled and exhibitionists are all examples of the Thrill-Seeker down. This count includes times when you are the only Archetype. Kindred Thrill-Seekers might habitually killer, and it needs not result from a massive combat — break the Masquerade just to see if they’ll get caught, like killing every member of a movie audience or gun- they might maintain contacts in a rival Clan or Sect, ning down defenseless patrons in a bank robbery. or they might actively plot a Prince’s overthrow just to

Soldier see if they can pull it off.

The Soldier is not a blindly loyal follower. While — Regain a point of Willpower any time you suc- she exists for orders, she does not adhere to them un- ceed at a dangerous task that you have deliberately un- questioningly. More independent than a Conformist dertaken. Thrill-Seekers are not stupid, however, and but too tied into the idea of command to be a Lon- the Storyteller may choose not to reward a player who er, the Soldier applies her own techniques to others’ heedlessly sends her character into danger for the sole goals. While she may seek command herself someday, intent of harvesting Willpower. her ambitions lie within the established hierarchy and Traditionalist structure. The Soldier has no compunctions about us- The orthodox ways satisfy the Traditionalist, who ing whatever means necessary to do what needs to be prefers to accomplish her goals with time-tested meth- done, so long as the orders to do so came from the right ods. Why vary your course when what has worked in place. the past is good enough? The Traditionalist finds the — Regain a point of Willpower when you achieve status quo acceptable, even preferable, to a change that your orders’ objectives. The more difficult the orders might yield unpredictable results. Conservatives, judg- are to fulfill, the better it feels to accomplish them. At es, and authority figures are all examples of Tradition- Storyteller discretion, pulling off a spectacular success alist Archetypes. Traditionalist Kindred unsurprisingly or fulfilling a lengthy mission may well be worth ad- look to the Traditions as a behavior model, though a ditional Willpower points. few Anarchs and elders may espouse a “traditionalism”

Survivor that predates both Camarilla and Sabbat.

No matter what happens, no matter the odds or op- — Regain a point of Willpower any time the proven position, the Survivor always manages to pull through. ways turn out to be the best. Also, regain a point of Whether alone or with a group, the Survivor’s utter Willpower any time you adhere to one of your pre- refusal to accept defeat often makes the difference be- viously espoused positions and it proves to be a wise tween success and failure. Survivors are frustrated by course of action. others’ acceptance of “what fate has in store” or will- Trickster ingness to withstand less than what they can achieve. The Trickster finds the absurd in everything. No mat- Outcasts, street folk, and idealists may well be Survivor ter how grim life (or unlife) may become, the Trickster Archetypes. A Kindred Survivor might be a renegade always uncovers a kernel of humor within it. Trick- under a Prince’s edict of Blood Hunt, an erstwhile sters cannot abide sorrow or pain, and so they strive to Bishop forced from power, or a lowly Nosferatu who lighten the spirits of those around them. Some Trick- finds himself kicked from hunting ground to hunting sters have even higher ideals, challenging static dogma ground with no acknowledged claim of domain. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 95, by exposing its failures in humorous ways. Comedians, satirists, and social critics are examples of Trickster Archetypes. Kindred Tricksters may call attention to the flaws in a leader’s policy, they may be glib-tongued Specialties devil’s advocates who question the Traditions or ritae of their Sect, or they may simply have an acute sense Some characters are especially good at of the ironies of a world that makes vampiric predator particular applications of their Traits. For and mortal prey almost indistinguishable physically. example, a mechanic might be particularly good with muscle cars, a thief might excel at — Regain a point of Willpower any time you manage breaking and entering, or a brawler might be to lift others’ spirits, especially if you are able to assuage infamous as a dirty fighter. To represent this, your own pain in the process. characters with ratings of 4 or higher in At-

Visionary tributes or Abilities may choose specialties for

those Traits. The Visionary is strong enough to look beyond the mundane and perceive the truly wondrous. Visionaries A specialty is a particular subcategory of an test accepted societal limits, and seek what few others Attribute or Ability — thus, a character with have the courage to imagine. The Visionary rarely finds a Strength 5 might choose to be especially satisfaction in what society has to offer; she prefers to adept in deadlifting, while a character with encourage society to offer what it could instead of what Performance 4 might be renowned for her it does. Typically, society responds poorly to Visionar- singing. Whenever a player makes a die roll ies, though it is they who are responsible for bringing involving an activity in which her character about progress and change. Philosophers, inventors, has specialized, she may count any die that and the most inspired artists often have Visionary comes up “10” as two successes instead of just Natures. Kindred Visionaries may want to plunge all one. mortals into vampiric thrall, they may adapt technolo- gies that other, more static Kindred fear or overlook, or they may have a “better way” to coexist with other vampires than all of this Prince-and-Regent nonsense. — Regain a point of Willpower each time you are Physical able to convince others to have faith in your dreams Physical Attributes define the condition of a char- and follow the course of action dictated by your vi- acter’s body. They indicate how strong, agile, and sion. Note that gaining support is the key to a Vision- resilient a character is. Physical Attributes should be ary regaining Willpower. Success need not come to a taken as the primary category for an action-oriented Visionary, at least not with every step in changing the character. structures in question. Her greatest successes may in- Vampires may use ingested blood to supernaturally deed come after her Final Death. augment their Physical (and only their Physical) At- tributes. For more on this, see p. 268.

Attributes Strength

Strength is the raw, brute power of a character. It Every Vampire character has Attributes. They repre- governs how much weight a character can lift, how sent the basic potential of every person in the world, as much he can physically push, and how hard he can well as most other living (and unliving) things. Most hit another character or object. The Strength Trait is people have Attribute ratings between 1 (poor) and added to a character’s damage dice pool when he hits 3 (good), though exceptionally gifted individuals may his opponent in hand-to-hand combat. It is also used have ratings of 4 (excellent) or even 5 (peak human when a character wishes to break, lift, or carry some- capacity). Some vampire elders have higher ratings thing, as well as when a character tries to jump a dis- still, while other Kindred, like the hideously ugly Nos- tance. feratu, may have ratings supernaturally lower than the human minimum. 96 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS, • Poor: You can lift 40 lbs (about 20 ••• Good: You are in good shape and kgs). rarely fall ill. •• Average: You can lift 100 lbs (close •••• Exceptional: You can run — and to 50 kgs). perhaps win — any marathon you ••• Good: You can lift 250 lbs (a little choose. over 100 kgs). ••••• Outstanding: Your constitution is •••• Exceptional: You can lift 400 lbs truly herculean. (close to 200 kgs). Specialties: Tireless, Determined, Tough as Nails, ••••• Outstanding: You can lift 650 lbs Vigorous (nearly 300 kgs) and crush skulls like grapes. Social Specialties: Never Lets Go, Powerful Arms, Reserves Despite their often lonely fates, Kindred use human of Strength, Vicious society like building blocks to advance their schemes. Social Attributes delineate a character’s appearance,

Dexterity charm, and ability to interact with society. These

The Dexterity Attribute measures a character’s gen- Traits are paramount in determining a character’s first eral physical prowess. It encompasses the character’s impressions, personal dynamics, and relations with speed, agility, and overall quickness, as well as indicat- other individuals. ing the character’s ability to manipulate objects with control and precision. Also included under Dexter- Charisma ity’s heading are hand-eye coordination, reflexes, and Charisma is a character’s ability to entice and please bodily grace. others through her personality. Charisma comes into • Poor: You are clumsy and awkward. question when a character tries to win another char- Put that gun down before you hurt acter’s sympathies or encourage others to trust her. yourself. Charisma reflects the power of a character’s charm and influence. It governs a character’s ability to convince •• Average: You’re no clod, but you’re others to see her point of view. This Attribute doesn’t no ballerina, either. necessarily indicate how the character is charismatic, ••• Good: You possess some degree of whether she’s a silver-tongued charmer or a grinning athletic potential. bully. (These should come across through roleplaying •••• Exceptional: You could be an acrobat and specialties.) if you wished. • Poor: There’s something a little ••••• Outstanding: Your movements are sketchy about you. liquid and hypnotic — almost •• Average: You are generally likable superhuman. and have several friends. Specialties: Precise, Swift, Feline Grace, Lightning ••• Good: People trust you implicitly. Reflexes •••• Exceptional: You have significant

Stamina personal magnetism.

The Stamina Trait reflects a character’s health, ••••• Outstanding: Entire cultures could toughness, and resilience. It indicates how long a char- follow your lead. acter can exert herself and how much punishment she Specialties: Graceful, Smooth Talker, Forceful, Ur- can withstand before suffering physical trauma. Stami- bane, Witty, Eloquent, Hustler na also includes a bit of psychic fortitude, indicating a character’s grit and tenacity. Manipulation • Poor: You bruise in a stiff wind. Manipulation measures a character’s ability for self- expression in the interests of getting others to share •• Average: You are moderately healthy her outlook or follow her whims. In short, it’s getting and can take a punch or two. others to do what she wants. Manipulation comes into VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 97, play when a character tries to influence or subtly guide another’s behavior. Manipulation is used to trick, bluff, fast-talk, and railroad other characters. Whether or not the characters in question actually like the manipula- tor is irrelevant (this is why Manipulation differs from Charisma). After all, a skilled motivator can even em- ploy the talents of people who hate her. Manipulation is a dangerous affair, though it is way many Kindred primarily affect the world around them. Failed attempts at manipulation often earn the ire of the would-be patsy. Botching a Manipulation roll may add a name to the character’s list of enemies. People are manipulated every day, and typically ig- nore it. (“Would you run to the store for me?”) If the fact is brought to their attention, however, many peo- ple become quite defensive. Manipulation can be the most powerful tool in a Kindred’s repertoire, but failure can be disastrous. Characters with high Manipulation ratings are often distrusted by those around them. • Poor: A person of few (often ineffec- tual) words. •• Average: You can fool some of the people some of the time, just like anybody else. ••• Good: You never pay full price. •••• Exceptional: You could be a politician or cult leader. ••••• Outstanding: “Of course I’ll tell the Prince I was the one who tried to stake him!” Specialties: Persuasive, Seductive, Well-Reasoned, Misdirection, Conjurer of “Facts”

Appearance

The Appearance Attribute is a measure of how well a character makes a first impression. This may be conventional “attractiveness,” but it can also be the effect of distinctive features, an exotic mien, an air of confidence, distinctive posture, a flair for dressing well — anything remarkable upon initial observation can contribute to a character’s Appearance. Indeed, Appearance is the amalgamation of many descriptive personal characteristics. Appearance is subconscious and instinctual — it appeals to the lower levels of the psyche, so it shapes first impressions and the nature of memories thereafter. This Trait is useful for getting potential vessels to heed your beckoning across a crowded dance floor. In 98 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS, situations in which first impressions are paramount, or •••• Exceptional: Almost nothing escapes that involve people who view Appearance as very im- your notice. portant, a character may have no more dice in a Social ••••• Outstanding: You instantly observe dice pool than her Appearance rating. Thus, it is criti- things almost imperceptible to human cally important to either look your best or get to know senses. people before you start trying to convince them to fire- bomb the Justicar’s haven. Specialties: Attentive, Insightful, Careful, Discern- ing, Tactical • Poor: Your clothes stink, you turn people off right away, or you’re just Intelligence damned ugly. The Intelligence Attribute refers to a character’s •• Average: You don’t stand out in a grasp of facts and knowledge. It also governs a char- crowd, for better or for worse. acter’s ability to reason, solve problems, and evaluate ••• Good: “Let me buy you a drink.” situations. Intelligence also includes critical thinking and flexibility of thought. •••• Exceptional: People go out of their way to make your acquaintance. Intelligence does not include savvy, wisdom, or com- mon sense, as those are properties of the character’s ••••• Outstanding: People never forget you. personality, not Traits. Even the smartest character Specialties: Unconventional Looks, Photogenic, may be too foolish to realize the thugs who want to Fashion Sense, Unforgettable Face, Memorable Pose “borrow” her car keys are up to no good. Characters with low Intelligence aren’t necessarily

Mental stupid (though they might be); they are just uneducat-

Mental Attributes define a character’s epistemic ed or simple thinkers. Likewise, characters with high capacities, including such aspects as memory, intelli- Intelligence aren’t all Einsteins; they may be better gence, awareness of one’s surroundings, and the ability at rote memorization or have particularly keen judg- to think, learn, and react. ment.

Perception • Poor: Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Perception measures a character’s ability to observe his environment. This may involve a conscious effort, •• Average: Smart enough to realize such as searching an area, but it is more often intui- you’re normal. tive, as the character’s keen senses notice something ••• Good: More enlightened than the out of the ordinary. Perception is a sensitivity to one’s masses. surroundings, and is seldom present in the cynical or •••• Exceptional: You’re not just bright, jaded (who have seen it all before). you’re downright brilliant. Perception is used to determine whether or not a ••••• Outstanding: Certified genius. character understands a given situation or detects an Specialties: Book Knowledge, Creative, Analytical, environmental stimulus. It can warn a character of am- Problem Solver, Subject Authority bushes, distinguish a clue from a pile of refuse, or un- cover any other hidden or overlookable detail, whether Wits physical or otherwise. The Wits Trait measures the character’s ability to • Poor: Perhaps you are absurdly self- think on her feet and react quickly to a certain situ- absorbed, perhaps merely an airhead. ation. It also reflects a character’s general cleverness. In any event, watch out for that car! Characters with low Wits ratings are thick and men- •• Average: The very subtle evades you, tally lethargic, or maybe gullible and unsophisticated. but you’re aware of the bigger picture. By contrast, characters with high Wits Traits almost always have a plan immediately and adapt to their sur- ••• Good: You perceive moods, textures, roundings with striking expedience. Characters with and small changes in your high Wits also manage to keep their cool in stressful environment. situations. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 99, • Poor: Pull my finger. that virtually everyone can execute them with some •• Average: You know when to bet or degree of capacity. fold in poker. Alertness ••• Good: You are seldom surprised or This is your basic knack for noticing things that go left speechless. on around you, even when you’re not actively looking •••• Exceptional: You’re one of the people for them. Alertness describes the attention you pay to who make others think, “Ooh, I the outside world, whether otherwise occupied or not. should have said...” the next day. This Talent is typically paired with Perception, and is ••••• Outstanding: You think and respond best used when sensing physical stimuli (as opposed to almost more quickly than you can act. moods or clues). Specialties: Getting the Jump on Others, Witty Bon • Novice: You’re no mindless drone. Mots, Changes in Strategy, Ambushes •• Practiced: Habitual eavesdropper ••• Competent: You keep a sharp eye on

Abilities your surroundings.•••• Expert: Whether from paranoia or

As mentioned before, Abilities are the Traits used good sense, you are rarely caught off- to describe what you know and what you’ve learned guard. to do. Whereas Attributes represent your raw poten- ••••• Master: Your senses are on par with tial, Abilities represent the ways you’ve learned to use those of a wild animal. that potential. You may not need anything but brute Possessed by: Hunters, Bodyguards, Security Per- strength to smash through a door — but if you’re trying sonnel, Journalists, Burglars to use sheer muscle power to force an engine part into Specialties: Noises, Eavesdropping, Fine Details, place without breaking anything, you’d better know Hidden Weapons, Crowds, Forests, Animals something about mechanics. When rolling dice, you’ll probably pair an Ability with an appropriate Attribute, Athletics in order to properly depict the combination of poten- This Talent represents your basic athletic ability, as tial and know-how that’s necessary for getting things well as any training you might have had in sports or done. other rigorous activities. Athletics concerns all forms There are 30 Abilities: 10 Talents, 10 Skills, and of running, jumping, throwing, swimming, sports, and 10 Knowledges. Each Ability typically covers a broad the like. However, Athletics doesn’t cover basic motor range of aptitudes. For certain Abilities (Expression, actions such as lifting weights, nor does it govern ath- Crafts, Performance, Academics, Law, Science, and letic feats covered by another Ability (such as Melee). Technology), it is best to pick a specialty (p. 96), even • Novice: You had an active childhood. if the character’s rating in the Ability is not yet 4 or higher. Thus, a character with the Crafts Skill is gen- •• Practiced: High-school athlete erally versed in handiwork of all sorts, but might be ••• Competent: Talented lifelong particularly adept at auto mechanics. amateur •••• Expert: Professional athlete

Talents ••••• Master: Olympic medalist

Talents describe what you intuitively know, what Possessed by: Athletes, Hobbyists, Park Rangers, you can do without coaching or instruction. The only Jocks, Kids way to improve your Talents is through direct experi- ence — with the exception of a very few cases (such as Specialties: Swimming, Rock Climbing, Acrobatics, studying a text on Jeet Kune Do to learn a single dot Dancing, Parkour, specific sports of Brawl), these things can’t be learned from a book or Awareness an Internet video. If you try an action involving a Tal- Awareness is an instinctual reaction to the presence ent your character doesn’t possess, there’s no penalty to of the supernatural. It differs from Alertness (which your basic Attribute dice pool. Talents are so intuitive measures sensitivity to mundane events) and Occult 100 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS, (which covers actual knowledge about the supernatu- • Novice: You were picked on as a kid. ral). Usually, only supernatural creatures have access •• Practiced: You’ve participated in the to this particular Talent, but some unique mortals have occasional barroom tussle. a sense that something is strange in the world (such as those with True Faith – see p. 372). ••• Competent: You’ve fought regularly and routinely, and generally walked Characters with Awareness sometimes get hunches, away in better shape than your chills, or sudden flashes of inspiration when they are opponents. near supernatural creatures, objects, or events. This insight is purely subconscious, and knowing that some- •••• Expert: You could be a serious thing’s wrong doesn’t mean that the character knows contender on the MMA circuit. what it is. To get more specific information, the Kin- ••••• Master: Somewhere on the Internet, dred will need to use Occult or a particular power – there’s a video of you taking down Awareness only makes the vampire more receptive to three men in four seconds. the presence of the unusual. Possessed by: Military, Police, Roughnecks, Thugs A vampire can use Awareness deliberately if he sus- Specialties: Dirty Fighting, Strikes, Throws, Submis- pects that something is supernatural, but more often sion Holds, specific martial arts or combat styles the Storyteller can ask for an Awareness roll to deter- mine whether a vampire notices a strange event that’s Empathy not immediately visible. You understand the emotions of others, and can sym- • Novice: Once in a while, you get the pathize with, feign sympathy for, or play on such emo- feeling that something isn’t right. tions as you see fit. You are adept at discerning motive, and might be able to discern when someone’s lying to •• Practiced: You sometimes get strange you. However, you may be so in tune with other peo- vibes from a particular direction or ple’s feelings that your own emotions are affected. vague area (like a building). • Novice: You lend the occasional ••• Competent: You can walk into a shoulder to cry on. room and know that something unusual is going on within. •• Practiced: You can sometimes literally feel someone else’s suffering. •••• Expert: If you concentrate, you can sense whether a someone in a group ••• Competent: You have a keen insight of people or a collection of objects is into other people’s motivations. supernatural. •••• Expert: It’s almost impossible to lie to ••••• Master: You instinctually know if you. something or someone is mundane or ••••• Master: The human soul conceals no supernatural. mysteries from you. Possessed by: Psychics, New Agers, Mystics, Para- Possessed by: Social Workers, Parents, Actors, normal Researchers Psychologists, Detectives, Seducers, Mediums, Best Specialties: Ghostly Activity, Mystical Objects, Friends Someone’s In My Head, Debunking Specialties: Emotions, Insight, Motives, Gaining Trust

Brawl Expression

The Brawl Talent represents how well you fight in This is your ability to get your point across clearly, tooth-and-nail situations. This Talent represents skill whether through conversation, poetry, or even in 140 in unarmed combat, whether from formal martial arts characters or fewer. Characters with high Expression training or simply from plenty of experience. Effec- can phrase their opinions or beliefs in a manner that tive brawlers are coordinated, resistant to pain, quick, cannot be ignored (even if their opinions are misin- strong, and mean. The willingness to do whatever it formed or worthless). They might also be talented ac- takes to hurt your opponent wins plenty of fights. tors, skilled at conveying moods or communicating emotion with every gesture. Additionally, this Talent VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 101, represents your ability for poetry, creative writing, or other literary art forms. For many elders, Expression is the subtle art of crafting a satirical epigram capable of socially crippling one’s longtime rival. For younger Kindred, Expression may well be the key to convinc- ing thirty stake-wielding Anarchs to converge on the Sheriff’s private hunting ground with the right text message. You can choose a specialty in Expression, even at less than 4 dots. • Novice: Your talent has matured past crude poetry on notebook paper. •• Practiced: You could lead a college debate team. ••• Competent: You could be a successful writer. •••• Expert: Your work is Pulitzer material. ••••• Master: Steve Jobs asks you for input on his next mobile device. Possessed by: Actors, Writers, Poets, Politicians, Journalists, Web Personalities, Rabble-Rousers Specialties: Acting, Poetry, Fiction, Impromptu, Conversation, Social Media

Intimidation

Intimidation takes many forms, from outright threats and physical violence to mere force of personality. It needn’t be course or callous, and a well-placed intimi- dating word under the right circumstances might well be called “diplomacy” in certain circles. You know the right method for each occasion, and can be very… per- suasive. • Novice: Shady teenager •• Practiced: Skinhead thug ••• Competent: Drill sergeant •••• Expert: Your air of authority cows casual passersby. ••••• Master: You can frighten off vicious animals. Possessed by: Bullies, Anonymous, Military Officers, Bouncers, Gangsters, Sabbat Specialties: Veiled Threats, Pulling Rank, Physical Coercion, Blackmail, Internet

Leadership

You are an example to others and can inspire them to do what you want. Leadership has less to do with ma- nipulating people’s desires than it does with presenting 102 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS, yourself as the sort of person they want to follow. Any- •• Practiced: Vampire one can lead a group into some sort of conflict; a good ••• Competent: Criminal lawyer leader can get them back out intact. This Talent is usu- ally paired with Charisma rather than Manipulation. •••• Expert: Deep-cover agent • Novice: Captain of your Little League ••••• Master: You’re the very last person team anyone would suspect. •• Practiced: Student body president Possessed by: Politicians, Lawyers, Vampires, Teen- agers, Con Men, Pick-up Artists ••• Competent: An effective CEO Specialties: Seduction, Impeccable Lies, Feigning •••• Expert: Presidential material Mortality, the Long Con ••••• Master: You could be beloved dictator of a nation. Hobby Talent Possessed by: Politicians, Princes, Managers, Execu- This category encompasses anything that the Sto- tives, Military Officers, Police ryteller deems to be mainly self-taught and is usually (though not always) more active than intellectual. Specialties: Oratory, Compelling, Friendly, Open, Storytellers should first examine the list of existing Noble, Military, Multimedia Talents to determine if a particular activity might

Streetwise fall under one of those (for example, Swimming and

Climbing would be specialties of Athletics). The streets can provide a lot of information or money to those who know the language. Streetwise allows you • Novice: You’ve dabbled. to blend in unobtrusively with the local scene, pick up •• Practiced: You’ve got a good grasp of gossip, understand slang, or even dabble in criminal your hobby’s basics. doings. ••• Competent: Other practitioners • Novice: You know who’s holding. regard you as fairly skilled and •• Practiced: You’re accorded respect on competent. the street. •••• Expert: You are familiar with the ••• Competent: You could head your own subtle nuances and applications of gang. your Talent. •••• Expert: You have little to fear in even ••••• Master: You could write a book on the worst neighborhoods. what you do. Perhaps you already have. ••••• Master: If you haven’t heard it, it hasn’t been said. Suggested Hobby Talents: Carousing, Diplomacy, Fortune Telling, Negotiation, Scrounging Possessed by: Criminals, Homeless People, Report- ers, Clubgoers, Savvy Detectives, Neonates Skills Specialties: Fencing, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Weap- ons, Free Wifi, Gangs, Being On the Guest List, Local Skills are Abilities learned through training, appren- Slang ticeships, or other instruction. If you try to perform an action involving a Skill in which you have no rating,

Subterfuge your difficulty is increased by one. An unskilled worker

You know how to conceal your own motives and proj- just isn’t as effective as someone who might have lower ect what you wish. Furthermore, if you can root out other Attributes but a better understanding of what the pro- people’s motives, you can then use those motives against cedure entails. them. This Talent defines your talent for intrigue, se- crets, and double-dealing. Mastery of Subterfuge can Animal Ken make you the ultimate seducer or a brilliant spy. You can understand animals’ behavior patterns. This Skill allows you to predict how an animal might react • Novice: You tell the occasional white in a given situation, train a domesticated creature, or lie. even try to calm or enrage animals. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 103, • Novice: You can get a domesticated • Novice: You know how to work an horse to let you pet it. automatic transmission. •• Practiced: You can housebreak a •• Practiced: You can drive a stick shift. puppy. ••• Competent: Professional trucker ••• Competent: You could train a seeing- •••• Expert: NASCAR daredevil or tank eye dog. pilot •••• Expert: Circus trainer ••••• Master: Whether it’s a Fiat or a ••••• Master: You can tame wild beasts Ferrari, you can make it sing. without benefit of supernatural Possessed by: Cabbies, Truckers, Race Car Drivers, powers. Automotive Show Hosts, Rebels Possessed by: Farmers, Animal Trainers, Zookeep- Specialties: Off-Road, Motorcycles, High Speed, ers, Veterinarians, Pet Owners, Domitors Heavy Traffic, Avoiding Traffic Cops Specialties: Dogs, Attack Training, Big Cats, Horses, Farm Animals, Falconry Etiquette You understand the nuances of proper behavior, in

Crafts both mortal society and Kindred culture. In many cas-

This Skill covers your ability to make or fix things es, knowing how to broach a topic is as important as with your hands. Crafts allows you to work in fields the discussion itself, and a person with poor etiquette such as carpentry, leatherworking, weaving, or even will never have an opportunity to make herself heard mechanical expertise such as car repair. You can even because she doesn’t know when or how to interject. create lasting works of art with this Skill, depending on This Skill is used during meetings, haggling, seduction, the number of successes you achieve. You must always dancing, dinner etiquette, and all forms of diplomacy. choose a specialization in Crafts, even though you re- • Novice: You know when to keep your tain some skill in multiple fields. mouth shut. • Novice: High school wood shop •• Practiced: You’ve been to a black-tie •• Practiced: You’re starting to develop event or two. your own style. ••• Competent: You know your way ••• Competent: You could start your own around even obscure silverware. shop. •••• Expert: Her Majesty would consider •••• Expert: You wrote instruction you charming. manuals on your field of ••••• Master: If the right people came to specialization. dinner, you could end wars — or start ••••• Master: Your craftsmanship and them. insight is virtually without peer. Possessed by: Diplomats, Travelers, High Society, Possessed by: Mechanics, Artisans, Artists, Design- Executives, Kindred of Status ers, Inventors, Back-to-the-Land Types Specialties: At Elysium, Business, High Society, Specialties: Pottery, Sewing, Home Repair, Carpen- Sabbat Protocol try, Appraisal, Carburetors

Firearms Drive Executing a mortal with a sword starts investigations.

You can drive a car, and maybe other vehicles as well. Clawing someone to ribbons tears the edges of the Mas- This Skill does not automatically entail familiarity with querade. So Cainites adapt, and many have devoted complicated vehicles such as tanks or 18-wheelers, and their energies to learning how to kill with guns. This difficulties may vary depending on your experience Skill represents familiarity with a range of firearms, with individual automobiles. After all, helming a sta- from holdout pistols to heavy machine guns. Further, tion wagon doesn’t prepare you for double-clutching a someone skilled in Firearms can clean, repair, recog- Maserati at 100 miles per hour. nize, and accurately fire most forms of small arms. This Skill is also used to unjam guns (Wits + Firearms). 104 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS, • Novice: You had a BB gun as a kid. sai or nunchaku. And, of course, there is always the •• Practiced: You while away the utility of the wooden stake.… occasional hour at the gun club. • Novice: You know the right way to ••• Competent: You’ve survived a hold a knife. firefight or two. •• Practiced: You may have been in the •••• Expert: You could pick off people for occasional street fight. a living. ••• Competent: You could make a college ••••• Master: You’ve been practicing since fencing team. the debut of the Winchester. •••• Expert: You could keep order in the Possessed by: Anarchs, Neonates, Policemen, Mili- Prince’s court. tary Personnel, Survivalists, Hunters ••••• Master: Your enemies would rather Specialties: Fast-Draw, Gunsmithing, Pistols, Marks- face a SWAT team than your blade. manship, Revolvers, Shotguns Possessed by: Assassins, Gang Members, Martial Artists, Police, Duelists

Larceny

Specialties: Knives, Swords, Improvised Weaponry, This Skill entails familiarity with the tools and tech- Riposte, Disarms niques for the sorts of physical manipulation typically associated with criminal activity. Picking locks, manual Performance forgery, safecracking, simple hotwiring, various forms The Performance Skill governs your ability to per- of breaking and entering, and even sleight-of-hand all form artistic endeavors such as singing, dancing, act- fall under the auspices of Larceny. Larceny is useful not ing, or playing a musical instrument. You are almost only for theft, but also for setting up “the unbeatable certainly specialized in one field, although true virtuo- system” or deducing where a thief broke in. This skill sos may be talented in many forms of performance. This does not confer any aptitude with advanced security or Skill represents not only technical know-how, but the anti-crime technologies such as video surveillance or ability to work an audience and enrapture them with alarm systems — those are covered by the Technology your show. As with Crafts, you must choose a specialty, Knowledge. even though this Skill also imparts a general sense for • Novice: You can pick a simple lock. watching and responding to your audience’s mood re- •• Practiced: You could run a shell game gardless of medium. hustle on the corner. • Novice: You could sing in the church ••• Competent: You can open a standard choir. locked window from the outside. •• Practiced: Your Internet videos have •••• Expert: You can “retool” a passport or over a hundred thousand views. ID card. ••• Competent: You almost always have a ••••• Master: You could get into (or out gig booked. of…) a multinational bank’s central •••• Expert: You have the talent to be a vault. national sensation. Possessed by: Burglars, Security Consultants, Po- ••••• Master: You are a virtuoso without licemen, Car Thieves, Street Magicians peer. Specialties: Safecracking, Misdirection, Lockpick- Possessed by: Musicians, College Students, Actors, ing, Hotwiring, Pickpocketing Ballerinas, Mimes

Melee Specialties: Dancing, Singing, Rock and Roll, Act-

ing, Guitar Solos, Drunken Karaoke As the Kindred maxim runs, “Guns mean nothing to a lifeless heart”. A blade is often worth far more, as Stealth is the skill to use it properly. Melee covers your ability This Skill is the ability to avoid being detected, to use hand-to-hand weapons of all forms, from swords whether you’re hiding or moving at the time. Stealth is and clubs to esoteric martial-arts paraphernalia such as VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 105, • Novice: You can hide in a darkened room. •• Practiced: You can shadow someone from streetlight to streetlight. ••• Competent: You have little difficulty finding prey from evening to evening. •••• Expert: You can move quietly over dry leaves. ••••• Master: Nosferatu elder often tested against someone else’s Perception + Alert- Possessed by: Burglars, Assassins, Kindred, Spies, ness. This Ability is, for obvious reasons, highly useful Reporters, Commandos in stalking prey. In many cases, Stealth is also used to conceal items, whether on one’s person or somewhere Specialties: Hiding, Silent Movement, Shadowing, in the environment. Crowds 106 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS,

Survival Suggested Professional Skills: Blacksmith, Cook-

Although vampires have little to fear from starva- ing, Fast-Draw, Forgery, Game Playing, Gunsmith, tion and exposure, the wilderness can still be danger- Navigation, Torture ous to a Cainite. This Skill allows you to find shelter, navigate your way to civilization, track prey, establish a Knowledges makeshift haven, and possibly even avoid supernatural Knowledges involve the application of the mind, not threats like werewolves that also prowl the World of the body. Consequently, Knowledge Abilities are most Darkness. Note that Survival need not be used only in often paired with Mental Traits. (It’s possible to roll areas considered “wilderness.” There’s plenty of Sur- Charisma + Academics, or even Stamina + Medicine, vival that goes into getting by in various parts of mod- but such things are pretty rare.) The following descrip- ern cities. tions speak of Knowledge levels in collegiate terms, • Novice: You can survive a night although formal schooling is just one way to improve spent outside. a Knowledge. Indeed, Knowledges can be self-taught, and the World of Darkness is home to any number of •• Practiced: You’ve “roughed it” on a autodidacts. regular basis. If you don’t have any dots in a Knowledge, you cannot ••• Competent: You can separate poison even attempt a roll involving it unless the Storyteller or spoilage from edible forage. gives explicit permission (such as where common trivia •••• Expert: You could live for months in is concerned). If you don’t know Spanish, you can’t try the challenging environment of your holding a conversation en español on your wits alone. choice. ••••• Master: You could get dropped naked Academics into the Andes and do all right for This catchall Knowledge covers the character’s eru- yourself. dition in the humanities: literature, history, art, phi- losophy, and other “liberal” arts and sciences. A char- Possessed by: Scouts, Soldiers, Outdoors Enthusi- acter with dots in Academics is generally well rounded asts, Survivalists, Hunters in these fields, and at high levels may be considered an Specialties: Tracking, Woodlands, Jungle, Street expert in one or more areas of study. Not only can this Life, Hunting, Urban Exploration Knowledge impress at salons and other Elysium func-

Professional Skill tions, but it can also offer valuable clues to certain past

— and future — movements in the Jyhad. If you like, This category encompasses anything that the Sto- you can choose a specialty for Academics even at less ryteller deems to be a taught Ability and is primarily than 4 dots. active in application. Storytellers should first examine the list of existing Skills to determine if a particular • Student: You’re aware that 1066 isn’t task might fall under one of those (e.g. Tracking would a Beverly Hills area code. be a specialty of Survival). •• College: You can quote from the • Novice: You’ve apprenticed. classics, identify major cultural movements, and expound on the •• Practiced: You have a handle on the difference between Ming and basics. Moghul. ••• Competent: You could make a living, ••• Masters: You could get a paper although not a fortune, doing what published in a scholarly journal. you do. •••• Doctorate: Professor emeritus •••• Expert: You know the more esoteric uses of your Skill, and are rarely at ••••• Scholar: Scholars worldwide a loss. acknowledge you as one of the foremost experts of your time. ••••• Master: You are an acknowledged authority in your chosen field of Possessed by: Professors, Literati, Topical Bloggers, endeavor. Elders VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 107, Specialties: Poststructuralism, Impressionist Paint- Specialties: Stock Market, Laundering, Appraisal, ing, Imperial Rome, Color Theory, Linguistics Foreign Currencies, Accounting, Fencing, Corpora- tions, Federal Bailouts

Computer

This Knowledge represents the ability to operate and Investigation program computers, including mobile devices. Most You’ve learned to notice details others might over- Computer use also imparts a degree of Internet aware- look, and might make an admirable detective. This ness (if not savvy). Knowledge represents not only a good eye for detail, • Student: You can navigate touch- but also an ability to do research and follow leads. Such screen and traditional point-and-click research may include Internet searches or more specific GUIs. research techniques like hitting the law books and pe- riodicals archives at the library. •• College: You know your way around various applications and the Internet. • Student: You can parse a broad Web search for clues. ••• Masters: You know what to do with a text command prompt. •• College: Police officer •••• Doctorate: You can make a very ••• Masters: Private detective comfortable living as a consultant. •••• Doctorate: Federal agent ••••• Scholar: You have all the SDKs and ••••• Scholar: Sherlock Holmes comprehend data structures for a Possessed by: Detectives, Mystery Buffs, Policemen, stunning variety of programming Stalkers languages. Specialties: Forensics, Shadowing, Search, Discolor- Possessed by: Hackers, Office Workers, Program- ations, Database Research mers, Data Processors, Students Specialties: “The YouTubes,” Computer Languages, Law Internet, Database Administration, HCI, Viruses, spe- The Law Knowledge represents a knowledge of both cific devices and programs legal statutes and proper procedures for enforcing them. Law can be useful for filing suits, avoiding law-

Finance suits, or getting out of jail. What’s more, the Kindred

You know the ins and outs of commerce, from eval- keep their own laws, and more than one vampire has uating an item’s relative worth to keeping up with saved his own unlife by deftly exploiting a loophole currency exchange rates. This Knowledge can be in- in one of the Traditions. The Law Knowledge has any valuable when brokering items, running numbers, or number of specialties, and a player may choose one for playing the stock market. Sufficiently high levels in her character when she takes this Ability, representing Finance allow you to raise your standards of living to a both her field of experience and a general sense for how very comfortable level. the legal system (especially in her locality) functions, • Student: You’ve taken a few business though this is not mandatory. classes. • Student: You’ve paid a traffic ticket •• College: You have some practical and know whether to plead guilty, experience and can keep your books not guilty, or nolo contendere next fairly neat. time. ••• Masters: You’d make a fine stockbroker. •• College: You’re either studying for or just passed the bar exam. •••• Doctorate: Corporations follow your financial lead. ••• Masters: You can make a living of the practice, and probably do. ••••• Scholar: You could turn a $20 bill into a fortune. •••• Doctorate: If you’re not partner yet, you will be soon. Possessed by: Executives, Upper Class, Stockbro- kers, Accountants, Fences, Drug Dealers, Smugglers ••••• Scholar: You could find the loopholes in the Devil’s contracts. 108 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS, Possessed by: Lawyers, Police, Judges, Detectives, •••• Doctorate: You can recognize Legislators blatantly false sources and make Specialties: Criminal, Suits, Courtroom Protocol, Con- educated guesses about the rest. tracts, Police Procedure, the Traditions, the Code of Milan ••••• Scholar: You know most of the basic truths about the hidden world.

Medicine

Possessed by: Occultists, The Superstitious, New You have an understanding of how the human body Agers, Tremere — and to a lesser extent the vampiric body — works. This Ability covers knowledge of medicines, ailments, Specialties: Kindred Lore, Rituals, Infernalism, first-aid procedures, and diagnosis or treatment of dis- Witches, Noddist Lore ease. Medicine is of great use to those Kindred with an Politics interest in repairing, damaging, or reworking the hu- man body. You are familiar with the politics of the moment, in- cluding the people in charge and how they got there. • Student: You’ve taken a CPR course. This Knowledge can aid you in dealing with or influ- •• College: Premed or paramedic encing mortal politicians, or even offer some insight ••• Masters: General practitioner into the local Cainite power structure. The Politics Knowledge includes the ability to practically navigate •••• Doctorate: You can perform various bureaucracies, as it assumes that certain orga- transplants. nizational structures and relationship currencies are ••••• Scholar: You are respected by the universal. world’s medical community as a • Student: Activist; you can pay a pioneer. speeding ticket online. Possessed by: Med Students, Doctors, Lifeguards, •• College: Political science major; Parents, Paramedics, Tzimisce you know how to file a request for Specialties: Organ Transplants, Emergency Care, information. Poison Treatments, Pathology, Pharmaceuticals, the ••• Masters: Campaign manager or talk- Kindred Condition radio host; the clerk will help you

Occult navigate the forms you need to

You are knowledgeable in occult areas such as mysti- complete and tell you who needs the cism, curses, magic, folklore, and particularly vampire duplicates. lore. Unlike most other Knowledges, Occult does not •••• Doctorate: Senator; “We’re not imply a command of hard facts. Much of what you supposed to show this to anyone know may well be rumor, myth, speculation, or hear- without press credentials, so don’t say. However, the secrets to be learned in this field are quote me.” worth centuries of sifting legend from fact. High levels ••••• Scholar: You could choose the next of Occult imply a deep understanding of vampire lore, President of the United States. “Sure, as well as a good grounding in other aspects of the oc- here are the keys to the file morgue. cult. At the very least, you can discern what is patently Turn off the light when you leave.” false. Possessed by: Activists, Politicians, Lawyers, vam- • Student: You’ve got a blog about the pires of all sorts eerie and the disturbing. Specialties: City, State, Federal, Bureaucracy, Dog- •• College: There seems to be some ma, Radical, Camarilla unsettling truth to some of the rumors you’ve heard. Science ••• Masters: You’ve heard a lot and You have at least a basic understanding of most of the actually seen a little for yourself. physical sciences, such as chemistry, biology, physics, and geology. This Knowledge can be put to all forms of practical use. In most cases, a player should select a VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 109, specialty to reflect a focus for her character’s scientific Expert Knowledge studies, but this isn’t strictly necessary. Like Hobby Talent and Professional Skill, this is a • Student: You know most of the high- catchall category. An Expert Knowledge is anything school basics. that is primarily intellectual or mental in nature and •• College: You’re familiar with the must be studied. Storytellers should first examine the major theories. list of existing Knowledges to determine if a particular ••• Masters: You could teach high-school field of expertise might fall under one of those (e.g. Fo- science. rensics would be a specialty of Investigation). •••• Doctorate: You’re fully capable of • Student: You’ve taken an advancing the knowledge in your field. undergraduate course or read a few books. ••••• Scholar: Your Nobel Prize is waiting for you. •• College: You may have minored in the field. Possessed by: Scientists, Students, Researchers, Teachers, Engineers, Technicians, Pilots ••• Masters: You might hold a degree and are well versed in what’s been Specialties: Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Physics, written. Astronomy •••• Doctorate: You are well-versed in

Technology what hasn’t been written.

The Technology Knowledge represents a broad acu- ••••• Scholar: You know the hidden men with electronics, computer hardware, and devices mysteries of your field and are a more elaborate than “machines,” which fall under the veritable font of information. Crafts Skill. If it has a processor, a transistor, or an inte- Suggested Expert Knowledges: Archaeology, Game grated circuit — if it’s electronic rather than electrical Theory, Military Science, Psychology — manipulating it uses the Technology Knowledge. This is the wide-ranging Ability used to build one’s own computer, install (or subvert) a security system, repair a mobile phone, or kitbash a shortwave radio. Backgrounds You must always choose a specialization in Technol- Backgrounds describe advantages of relationship, ogy, even though you possess some skill in multiple circumstance, and opportunity: material possessions, fields. social networks, and the like. Backgrounds are exter- • Student: You can perform simple nal, not internal, Traits, and you should always ratio- modifications or repairs. nalize how you came to possess them, as well as what •• College: You could make your living they represent. Who are your contacts? Why do your in assembly or repair. allies support you? Where did you meet your retainers? What investments do you possess that yield your four ••• Masters: You can design new dots in Resources? If you’ve put enough detail into your technologies from a set of objective character concept, selecting appropriate Backgrounds requirements. should be easy. •••• Doctorate: For you, it’s not, “Can Although it’s uncommon to make rolls involving this be done?” but “How can this be Background Traits, your Storyteller might have you done?” do so to see if you can obtain information, goods, or ••••• Scholar: A visionary in the field; you favors. For example, you might have to roll Wits + Re- shape how people interact with their sources to keep your stock portfolio healthy, or Ma- world through devices. nipulation + Contacts to wheedle that extra favor from Possessed by: Engineers, Scientists, Defense Con- your smuggler “associate.” tractors, the Cable Guy Certain Backgrounds may be “pooled” among char- Specialties: Telecom, Computers, Security, Commu- acters in a coterie. See “Pooling Backgrounds” on nications, Improvised Solutions, Industrial Espionage p. 118 for more information. 110 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS,

Allies individual while others believe you to be someone else entirely.

Allies are mortals who support and help you — fami- • You are new at this identity game. ly, friends, or even a mortal organization that owes you Sometimes you slip and forget your some loyalty. Although allies aid you willingly, with- other persona. out coaxing or coercion, they are not always available to offer assistance; they have their own concerns and •• You are well grounded in your can do only so much for the sake of your relationship. alternate identity. You are However, they might have some useful Background convincing enough to play the part Traits of their own, and could provide you with indi- of a doctor, lawyer, funeral salesman, rect access to their contacts, influence, or resources. drug-smuggler, or a capable spy. Allies are typically persons of influence and power ••• You have a fair reputation as your in your home city. They can be of almost any sort, de- alternate persona and get name- pending on what your Storyteller will allow. You may recognition in the area where you have friends in the precinct morgue, at a prominent have infiltrated. blog, among the high society of local celebrities, or at •••• Your alternate identity has respect a construction site. Your Allies might be a clan of no- and trust within your area of mads who move their mobile home camp around the infiltration. area, or they might be a family of generations of police ••••• You command respect in your area of officers. You may even count the mayor himself among infiltration, and you may even have your friends, depending on how many dots you spend accumulated a bit of influence. You on this Trait. Your Allies are generally trustworthy have the trust (or at least the (though they probably don’t know that you’re a vam- recognition) of many powerful pire, or even that vampires exist). However, nothing individuals within your area. comes for free. If you wind up drawing favors from your friend in the Cosa Nostra, he’ll probably ask you to do Black Hand Membership him a favor in kind in the future. This often leads to the beginning of a story.… This Background is for Sabbat characters only. Allies may be pooled among a coterie of characters. You are a member of the feared Black Hand, the body of soldiers and assassins that serves the Sabbat • One ally of moderate influence and fervently. Having this Background indicates that you power are a full-fledged member of the organization, and you •• Two allies, both of moderate power have all the responsibilities and benefits that accom- ••• Three allies, one of whom is quite pany membership. influential You may call upon members of the Black Hand to •••• Four allies, one of whom is very aid you, should you ever need it. Of course, this abil- influential ity is a two-way street, and other Hand members may ••••• Five allies, one of whom is extremely call upon you to aid them. Thus, you may find yourself influential assigned to perform assassinations, lend martial aid, or even further the political ends of the Hand as a diplo-

Alternate Identity mat or spy. You may also be required to attend crusades that take you away from your pack. All members of the

You maintain an alternate identity, complete with Black Hand must heed the call of another Hand mem- papers, birth certificates, or any other documentation ber, especially the superiors of the faction. you desire. Only a few may know your real name or Being a member of the Black Hand is a prestigious identity. Your alternate persona may be highly in- matter, and other members of the Sabbat respect the volved in organized crime, a member of the opposite organization. When dealing with other Sabbat, should Sect, a con artist who uses alternate identities for her you choose to reveal your affiliation with the Hand, game, or you may simply gather information about the you may add your rating in this Background to any enemy. Indeed, some vampires may know you as one Social dice pools, even after Status or other Abilities VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 111, have been taken into account. Most Hand members, office, while your minor contacts might include beat however, choose not to reveal their allegiance. The cops, DMV clerks, club bouncers, or members of an Black Hand is also remarkably adept at hunting down online social network. You don’t need to detail these Sabbat who claim membership in the Sect but do not various “passing acquaintances” before play. Instead, truly belong — liars, beware. to successfully get in touch with a minor contact, you • You are a grunt; you may call upon should roll your Contacts rating (difficulty 7). You can one Black Hand member once per reach one minor contact for each success. Of course, story. you still have to convince them to give you the infor- mation you need, assuming they can get it. •• You are known and respected in the Black Hand; you may call upon two Contacts may be pooled within the characters’ co- Black Hand members once per story. terie. ••• You are held in the Black Hand’s • One major contact regard; you may call upon five Black •• Two major contacts Hand members once per story. ••• Three major contacts •••• You are a hero among members of •••• Four major contacts the Black Hand; you may call upon seven Black Hand members twice per ••••• Five major contacts story (but you’d better have just cause — if it seems you’re becoming Domain soft, you may lose points in this Domain is physical territory (usually within the Background). You may also lead large chronicle’s central city) to which your character con- numbers of Hand members into action trols access for the purpose of feeding. Some Kindred should it ever become necessary. refer to their domain as hunting grounds, and most ••••• You are part of Black Hand legend; jealously guard their domains, even invoking the Tra- you may call upon 12 Black Hand dition of the same name to protect their claims. As members twice per story (but see the part of this Background, the character’s claim to the preceding caution). You may also lead domain is recognized by the Prince or some other Kin- large numbers of Hand members into dred authority in the city where it is located. action should it ever become The Kindred who claims the domain can’t keep the necessary. The Seraphim may even living inhabitants from going about their business, seek your counsel on matters of nor does she exercise any direct influence over them, import. but she can keep watch herself and mind their com- ings and goings. She can also have Allies or Retainers

Contacts specifically look for unfamiliar vampires and alert her

You know people all over the city. When you start when they find some. making phone calls around your network, the amount Domain refers specifically to the geography (in most of information you can dig up is impressive. Rather cases a neighborhood or street) and properties on it, than friends you can rely on to help you, like Allies, as opposed to the people who may dwell there (which Contacts are largely people whom you can bribe, ma- is the emphasis of Herd). Domain plays an important nipulate, or coerce into offering information. You also part in Kindred society — vampires who lack signifi- have a few major Contacts — associates who can give cant Domain seldom earn respect — but it isn’t an au- you accurate information in their fields of expertise. tomatic entitlement to status among the Damned. You should describe each major contact in some detail You may designate one or more dots in Domain to before the game begins. increase the security of your character’s territory rather In addition to your major contacts, you also have a than its size. Each dot so assigned to security provides number of minor contacts spread throughout the city. a +1 difficulty penalty to efforts to intrude into the do- Your major contact might be in the district attorney’s main by anyone your character hasn’t specifically al- 112 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS, lowed in, and a -1 difficulty bonus to efforts by your character to identify and track intruders in the domain. A Domain of one dot’s size and two dots’ security, for instance, is small but quite resistant to intrusion, as op- posed to a Domain rating of three dots’ size with no extraordinary security. Each level of Domain reduces the difficulty of hunt- ing checks by one for your character and those whom the character allows in. It also adds to your starting (not maximum) blood pool. If you use the domain security option, each dot of domain security raises the difficulty of hunting checks by one for uninvited vampires. See p. 259 for more information on hunting. Domain (both size and security) can be used with pooled Background points. • A single small building, such as a single-family home or a social establishment — enough for a basic haven. •• A church, factory, warehouse, mid-rise, or other large structure — a location with ready but easily controllable access to the outside world. ••• A high-rise, city block, or an important intersection — a location or area that offers areas for concealment as well as controlled access. •••• A sewer subsection, a network of service tunnels, the enclave of homes on a hill overlooking the city — a place with inherently protective features, such as an isolated mountain road, bridge-only access, or vigilant private security force. ••••• An entire neighborhood, an ethnic subdivision like “Chinatown” or “Little Italy,” or a whole suburb. As noted previously, characters in a coterie can share their domain resources for better results. Six to eight dots secure all of a small town or a distinct city region as a domain. Ten to 15 dots secure an important but not geographically huge city sector, such as “the docks,” or “Highland Park.” A large city itself might be a hundred-plus Domain points, as with Atlanta, Dallas, Geneva, or Baghdad. A city such as New York, London, Paris, Rome, Sao Paolo, or Shanghai would require many hundreds of Domain points. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 113,

Fame Generation

You enjoy widespread recognition in mortal society, This Background represents your Generation: the perhaps as an entertainer, writer, or athlete. People purity of your blood, and your proximity to the First may enjoy just being seen with you. This gives you all Vampire. A high Generation rating may represent manner of privileges when moving in mortal society, a powerful sire or a decidedly dangerous taste for di- but can also attract an unwanted amount of attention ablerie. If you don’t take any dots in this Trait, you now that you’re no longer alive. The greatest weapon begin play as a Thirteenth Generation vampire. See fame has to offer is the ability to sway public opin- p. 270 for further information. ion — as modern media constantly proves. Fame isn’t • Twelfth Generation: 11 blood pool, always tied to entertainment: A heinous criminal in can spend 1 blood point per turn a high-profile trial probably has a certain amount of fame, as do a lawmaker and a scientist who has made a •• Eleventh Generation: 12 blood pool, popularized discovery. can spend 1 blood point per turn This Background is obviously a mixed blessing. You ••• Tenth Generation: 13 blood pool, can certainly enjoy the privileges of your prestige — can spend 1 blood point per turn getting the best seats, being invited to events you’d •••• Ninth Generation: 14 blood pool, otherwise miss, getting appointments with the elite can spend 2 blood points per turn — but you’re sometimes recognized when you’d rather ••••• Eighth Generation: 15 blood pool, not be. However, your enemies can’t just make you dis- can spend 3 blood points per turn appear without causing an undue stir, and you find it much easier to hunt in populated areas as people flock Herd to you (reduce the difficulties of hunting rolls by one for each dot in Fame). Additionally, your Storyteller You have built a group of mortals from whom you can might permit you to reduce difficulties of certain Social feed without fear. A herd may take many forms, from rolls against particularly star-struck or impressionable circles of kinky clubgoers to actual cults built around people. you as a god-figure. In addition to providing nourish- ment, your herd might come in handy for minor tasks, • You’re known to a select subculture though they are typically not very controllable, closely — local club-goers, industry bloggers, connected to you, or particularly skilled (for more ef- or the Park Avenue set, for instance. fective pawns, purchase Allies or Retainers). Your •• Random people start to recognize Herd rating adds dice to your rolls for hunting; see your face; you’re a minor celebrity p. 259 for further details. such as a small-time criminal or a Players may purchase pooled Herd with Background local news anchor. points. ••• You have greater renown; perhaps • Three vessels you’re a senator or an entertainer who regularly gets hundreds of thousands •• Seven vessels of YouTube hits. ••• 15 vessels •••• A full-blown celebrity; your name is •••• 30 vessels often recognized by the average ••••• 60 vessels person on the street. ••••• You’re a household word. People Influence name their children after you. You have pull in the mortal community, whether through wealth, prestige, political office, blackmail, or supernatural manipulation. Kindred with high Influ- ence can sway, and in rare cases even control, the po- 114 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS, litical and social processes of human society. Influence age, which can lead to a number of interesting stories. represents the sum of your opinion- or policy-swaying A mentor typically remains aloof, giving you useful in- power in your community, particularly among the po- formation or advice out of camaraderie, but will aban- lice and bureaucracy. In some cases, cultivating Influ- don you without a thought if you prove an unworthy or ence is a path to generating Resources (see below). troublesome protégé. Some rolls may require you to use Influence in place • Mentor is an ancilla of little of an Ability, particularly when attempting to sway mi- influence, or a Ductus or Pack Priest. nor bureaucrats. It’s easier to institute sweeping chang- •• Mentor is respected: an elder or es on a local level than a worldwide scale (e.g., having highly-decorated veteran, an “abandoned” building demolished is relatively easy, for instance. while starting a war is a bit more difficult). ••• Mentor is heavily influential, such as Influence can be used with pooled Background a member of the Primogen or points. a Bishop. • Moderately influential; a factor in city •••• Mentor has a great deal of power over politics the city: a Prince or Archbishop, •• Well-connected; a force in state for example. politics ••••• Mentor is extraordinarily powerful, ••• Position of influence; a factor in perhaps even a Justicar or Cardinal. regional politics •••• Broad personal power; a force in Resources national politics Resources are valuable goods whose disposition your ••••• Vastly influential; a factor in global character controls. These assets may be actual cash, politics but as this Background increases, they’re more likely to be investments, property, or earning capital of some

Mentor sort — land, industrial assets, stocks and bonds, com-

mercial inventories, criminal infrastructure, contra- This Trait represents a Kindred or group of Kindred band, even taxes or tithes. Remember that vampires who looks out for you, offering guidance or aid once in don’t need to arrange for any food except blood and a while. A mentor may be powerful, but his power need their actual needs (as opposed to wants) for shelter are not be direct. Depending on the number of dots in this very easily accommodated. Resources for vampires go Background, your mentor might be nothing more than mostly to pay for luxuries and the associated expenses a vampire with a remarkable information network, or of developing and maintaining Status, Influence, and might be a centuries-old creature with tremendous in- other Backgrounds. A character with no dots in Re- fluence and supernatural power. He may offer advice, sources may have enough clothing and supplies to get speak to the Prince or Archbishop on your behalf, by, or she may be destitute and squatting in a refrigera- steer other elders clear of you, or warn you when you’re tor box under an overpass. walking into situations you don’t understand. You receive a basic allowance each month based on Most often your mentor is your sire, but it could well your rating, so be certain to detail exactly where this be any Cainite with an interest in your wellbeing. A money comes from, be it a job, trust fund or dividends. high Mentor rating could even represent a group of (Storytellers, decide for your locality and any relevant like-minded vampires, such as the elders of the city’s time period what an appropriate amount of cash this Tremere chantry or a Black Hand cell. monthly allowance is.) After all, a Kindred’s fortune Bear in mind that this Trait isn’t a “Get out of Jail may well run out over the course of the chronicle, de- Free” card. Your mentor won’t necessarily arrive like pending on how well he maintains it. You can also sell the cavalry whenever you’re endangered (and if she your less liquid resources if you need the cash, but this does, you’re likely to lose a dot or more in this Back- can take weeks or even months, depending on what ground after rousing her ire). What’s more, she might exactly you’re trying to sell. Art buyers don’t just pop occasionally expect something in return for her patron- out of the woodwork, after all. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 115, Players may purchase Resources for their characters of your modes of transportation. You with pooled Background points. have vast and widely distributed • Sufficient. You can maintain a typical assets, perhaps tied to the fates of residence in the style of the working nations, each with huge staffs and class with stability, even if spending connections to every level of sprees come seldom. society through a region. You travel with a minimum of three-dot •• Moderate. You can display yourself comforts, more with a little effort. as a member in good standing of the Corporations and governments middle class, with the occasional gift sometimes come to you to buy into and indulgence seemly for a person stocks or bond programs. of even higher station. You can maintain a servant or hire specific help as necessary. A fraction of your Retainers resources are available in cash, Not precisely Allies or Contacts, your retainers are ser- readily portable property (like jewelry vants, assistants, or other people who are your loyal and or furniture), and other valuables steadfast companions. Many vampires’ servants are ghouls (such as a car or modest home) that (p. 496) — their supernatural powers and blood bond-en- let you maintain a standard of living forced loyalty make them the servants of choice. Retainers at the one-dot level wherever you may also be people whom you’ve repeatedly Dominated happen to be, for up to six months. until they have no free will left, or followers so enthralled ••• Comfortable. You are a prominent with your Presence that their loyalty borders on blind fa- and established member of your naticism. Some vampires, particularly those with the Ani- community, with land and an owned malism Discipline, use animal ghouls as retainers. dwelling, and you have a reputation You must maintain some control over your retainers, that lets you draw on credit at very whether through a salary, the gift of your vitae, or the generous terms. You likely have more use of Disciplines. Retainers are never “blindly loyal no tied up in equity and property than matter what” — if you treat them poorly without exer- you do in ready cash. You can cising strict control, they might well turn on you. maintain a one-dot quality of Retainers may be useful, but they should never be existence wherever you are without flawless. A physically powerful ghoul might be rebel- difficulty, for as long as you choose. lious, inconveniently dull-witted, or lacking in practi- •••• Wealthy. You rarely touch cash, as cal skills. A loyal manservant might be physically weak most of your assets exist in tangible or possess no real personal initiative or creativity. This forms that are themselves more Background isn’t an excuse to craft an unstoppable valuable and stable than paper bodyguard or pet assassin — it’s a method to bring more money. You hold more wealth than fully-developed characters into the chronicle, as well many of your local peers (if they can as to reflect the followers for which the Kindred are be called such a thing). When notorious. Generally, retainers are more like Renfield earning your Resources doesn’t than Anita Blake. (If the player and Storyteller agree, enjoy your usual degree of attention, a player may create a more competent single Retainer you can maintain a three-dot by combining more points in this Background, putting existence for up to a year, and a two- more eggs in one basket, as the saying goes.) dot existence indefinitely. Players can spend pooled Background points on Re- ••••• Extremely Wealthy. You are the tainers. model to which others strive to • One retainer achieve, at least in the popular mind. •• Two retainers Television shows, magazine spreads, and gossip websites speculate about ••• Three retainers your clothing, the appointments of •••• Four retainers your numerous homes, and the luxury ••••• Five retainers 116 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS,

Rituals

This Background is for Sabbat characters only. You know the ritae and rituals of the Sabbat, and you can enact many of them. This Background is vital to be- ing a Pack Priest — without this Background, ritae will not function. This Background is actually a supernatural investment, drawing on the magic of the eldest Tzimisce sorcerers. Sabbat vampires who are not their pack‘s priests should have an outstanding reason for acquiring this Background, as Pack Priests are loath to share their secrets with more secular members of the Sect. Some example rituals include the Vaulderie (p. 288), as well as those presented in the Appendix (p. 507). • You know a few of the auctoritas ritae (your choice). •• You know some of the auctoritas ritae (your choice) and a few ignoblis ritae (your choice). ••• You know all of the auctoritas ritae and some ignoblis ritae (your choice). Also, you may create your own ignoblis ritae, given enough time (consult your Storyteller for development time and game effects). •••• You know all the auctoritas ritae and many ignoblis ritae (your choice). You may create your own ignoblis ritae, given enough time (consult your Storyteller for development time and game effects). You are also familiar with the functions of numerous regional and pack-specific ignoblis ritae, even if you cannot perform them. ••••• You know all the auctoritas ritae and dozens of ignoblis ritae (your choice). You may create your own ignoblis ritae, given enough time (consult your Storyteller for development time and game effects). You are also familiar with the functions of almost all regional and pack-specific ignoblis ritae, even if you cannot perform them; if it’s been written down or passed around in lore, you’ve heard of it. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 117,

Status No Background pool can have more dots assigned to it than the Anchor Background does at any time. If

You have something of a reputation and standing the Background is damaged by events during play or (earned or unearned) within the local community of between sessions, other assets drift away from the char- Kindred. Status among Camarilla society is as often acters’ control, and it takes effort to win them back. derived from your sire’s status and the respect due your Any character contributing to the pool may pull his particular bloodline as it is by personal achievement. stake out at any time. The dislocations guarantee some Among the Sabbat, status is more likely to stem from damage: The character gets back one dot less than he the reputation of your pack or the zeal of your outlook. put in. Elders are known for having little respect for their ju- niors; this Background can mitigate that somewhat. Example: The members of the Bloody Sunday coterie build their Background pool around Domain. The physical High status within the Camarilla does not transfer to territory of a ruined church and its economically depressed Sabbat society (and will most likely make you a notori- environs give them the opportunity to interact with down- ous target for your Sect’s rivals), and vice versa. Simi- and-out members of their squalid neighborhood and a ragged larly, Autarkis generally have zero Status, unless they group of mortals who fear the creepy squatters in the old have somehow garnered so much power and attention church. They put a total of four dots into the Domain pool. that they are considered forces to be reckoned with. Members of the coterie also spend three points on pooled You may have occasion to roll your Status in conjunc- Resources and three points on pooled Influence. tion with a Social Trait; this reflects the positive effects of your prestige. Then things go awry. A Sabbat incursion leads to the arrival of a trouble-shooting Archon, and in the city’s para- Note that Caitiff characters may not purchase Status noia, another coterie mistakes Bloody Sunday for a Sabbat during character creation. Caitiff are the lowest of the pack and sets the church on fire. The Domain rating drops low, and any respect they achieve must be earned dur- from 4 to 2. Nobody comes to a burned-down church to ing the course of the chronicle. score, so the coterie’s drug-related Resources also drops to • Known: a neonate/Pack Priest 2. With the church slated for demolition (after a particu- •• Respected: an ancilla/respected Ductus larly harrowing encounter, the coterie barely avoided the ••• Influential: an elder/Templar fire marshal discovering that they made their haven there), the coterie’s pooled Influence also falls from 3 to 2 as they •••• Powerful: a member of the Primogen/ fight the zoning and demolition permits through proxies. a Bishop Sustained effort by Bloody Sunday can repair the dam- ••••• Luminary: a Prince/Archbishop age. Many options are available, from having the church declared a local historical site and thus exempt from demoli-

Pooling Backgrounds tion “pending repairs” — to taking a tricky political path

Some Backgrounds lend themselves to joint owner- and trying to achieve satisfaction from the mistaken coterie ship. Specifically, the members of a coterie may choose (or overzealous Archon…). to pool their individual stores of Allies, Contacts, Do- As the Anchor Background rating rises again, so do main, Herd, Influence, Resources, and Retainers. the ratings of those anchored to it, as a result of sto- rytelling directed toward the goals of improving lost

The Anchor Backgrounds.

You and the other players choose one Background as Under normal circumstances, a coterie can’t change the anchor that holds the shared assets together. For its Anchor Background, nor can it acquire a new An- example, this Background might be Domain, with the chor Background. While it may choose to abandon a physical place the characters claim as their haven and certain Background asset over the course of a chronicle for hunting, which also acts as a meeting ground for the (and thus free itself of the limitations of the pooled mortals they deal with, a repository for their wealth, Backgrounds in question), the fact that Backgrounds and so on. Any of the poolable Backgrounds can serve change value only as a result of the story’s events in this role, however: Herd might be this coterie’s key means that the coterie must acquire new Backgrounds to sustenance and stability. in that manner, rather than through freebie or experi- ence points. 118 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS, In the end, most vampires end up following personal ally best for the Storyteller to impose a 10-dot limit on goals over the course of their unlives. Pooled Back- the Anchor Background (and thus on all others). grounds are a great way for young Kindred to gain an The Storyteller should also take into consideration initial advantage as neonates in the World of Dark- the scaling of Backgrounds, increasing their reliability ness, but they quickly become outdated or even liabili- rather than their quantitative value as the ratings es- ties as the Kindred formerly attached to them pursue calate among the coterie. For example, if an average their own, private agendas. player group of four players each contributes a single

Using Pooled Backgrounds dot or two to a shared Resources pool of 6, the effect

shouldn’t be that they’re collectively the world’s secret Pooled Backgrounds are shared resources; essentially Kindred billionaires, but rather that they’re of more the coterie’s communal property. Anyone who contrib- modest means, and that those means are more difficult utes to the pool (no matter how much he contributes) to wrest from them by other jealous vampires. This is has equal access to it. Even if the character donates to a question of balancing player expectations with ele- only one of the pool’s associated Backgrounds, he still ments of the story, so be sure to set some guidelines for has equal access to it. Not everyone can use the pool what the shared Backgrounds actually represent before simultaneously, though. A Herd pool of seven dots can the chronicle begins. grant access only to the same, finite number of vessels. Just how those points are split up depends on the cir- cumstances and agreements between the characters. Example: Virtues Four players decide that their characters are forming a Background pool. Their anchor is Resources (the The Virtue Traits define a character’s outlook on un- thriving blood doll trade among jaded elders), and they wish life — they shape a character’s ethical code and de- to get dots in Contacts (from the elders themselves), Do- scribe his commitment to his chosen morality. Virtues main (recognition of sovereign hunting grounds from the exist to help give a character a sense of being, not to elders for whom they’re providing fresh vessels), and Re- force players to portray their characters in a given way. tainers (a few lackeys who can move about by day). Jeff However, Kindred are passionate creatures, and some- contributes three dots of Resources; Michelle contributes times an act or situation may force a character to con- another two dots of Resources and two of Domain; Joe sider exactly how she should react to a given stimulus. contributes another two dots of Retainers, two to Contacts, Virtues come into play when a character faces an im- and one to Domain. Finally, Kelley — who is short on dots pending frenzy, does something ethically questionable — contributes only one dot of Retainers. This makes the (according to the character’s morality), or confronts pool Resources 5, Contacts 2, Domain 3, Retainers 3. All something that terrifies or disturbs her. the players can have their characters tap this pool equally, A vampire’s Virtues are determined by his Path, the even Kelley, who contributed only a single dot. particular code of ethics he follows. Most Camarilla At the Storyteller’s discretion, players can agree to Kindred maintain their mortal values and follow the place individual access limits on shared Backgrounds, Path of Humanity (referred to simply as “Humanity”), to reflect any agreements their characters have made but other vampires often subscribe to radically differ- with one another. Sometimes being the Kindred who ent philosophies. Humanity, Paths, and the alternate contributed fewer Backgrounds than the others comes Virtues are discussed in Chapter Seven. with its own considerations. At character creation, a character’s Humanity is

Upper Limits equal to his Conscience + Self-Control Virtues.

By pooling points, a coterie can get Backgrounds that Conscience surpass the normal five-dot limit. This arrangement is Conscience is a Trait that allows characters to evalu- normal, and it reflects the advantages of cooperation. ate their conduct with relation to what is “right” and A group can secure a larger domain or maintain a larg- “wrong.” A character’s moral judgment with Conscience er network of allies and contacts than a single vampire stems from her attitude and outlook. Conscience is can. There is no absolute upper limit on the level to what prevents a vampire from succumbing to the Beast, which a pooled Background can rise, but things can by defining the Beast’s urges as unacceptable. get downright ludicrous if you aren’t careful. It’s usu- VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 119, Conscience factors into the difficulty of many rolls to Kindred use the Courage Virtue when faced with cir- avoid committing a transgression. Additionally, Con- cumstances they endemically dread: fire, sunlight, True science determines whether or not a character loses Faith. See the section on Rötschreck (p. 299) for me- Humanity by committing acts that do not uphold her chanical systems dealing with character fear. moral code (see “Degeneration,” p. 309). A character • Timid with a high Conscience rating feels remorse for trans- gressions, while a character with a lower Conscience •• Normal may be more callous or ethically lax. ••• Bold Some vampires replace the Conscience Virtue with •••• Resolute the Virtue of Conviction (p. 314); unless your Story- ••••• Heroic teller tells you it’s OK to do this, assume Conscience is used. • Uncaring Willpower •• Normal Willpower measures a character’s inner drive and compe- ••• Ethical tence at overcoming unfavorable odds. Unlike other Traits, •••• Righteous Willpower has both a permanent rating and a temporary ••••• Remorseful pool of points. The rating is rolled or tested, while the pool is spent. When a player spends a point of a character’s

Self-Control Willpower, she should cross off the point from the Will-

Self-Control defines a character’s discipline and mas- power pool (the squares), not the Willpower rating (the tery over the Beast. Characters with high Self-Control circles). The rating stays constant — if a character needs rarely succumb to emotional urges, and are thus able to to roll Willpower for some reason, she bases the roll on the restrain their darker sides more readily than characters permanent rating. The pool is used up during the story. with low Self-Control. A character’s Willpower pool will likely fluctuate a great Self-Control comes into play when a character faces deal during the course of a story or chronicle. It decreases her Beast in the form of frenzy (p. 298). Self-Control by one point every time a player uses a Willpower point to allows the character to resist the frenzy. Note: A char- enable his character to do something extraordinary, like acter may never roll more dice to resist or control a maintain self-control or gain an automatic success. Eventu- frenzy than she has in her blood pool — it’s hard to ally, the character will have no Willpower left, and will no deny the Beast when one’s mind clouds with hunger. longer be able to exert the effort he once could. A character As with Conscience, Self-Control can be replaced, with no Willpower pool is exhausted mentally, physically, in this case by the Virtue of Instinct (p. 314). Again, and spiritually, and will have great difficulty doing anything, unless the Storyteller specifically says it’s all right to do as he can no longer muster the energy to undertake an ac- so, assume Self-Control is used. tion or cause. Willpower points can be regained during the course of a story, though players are advised to be frugal • Unstable with their characters’ Willpower pools. •• Normal The Willpower Trait is measured on a 1-10 scale rath- ••• Temperate er than a 1-5 scale. At character creation, a character’s •••• Hardened Willpower is equal to his Courage Virtue. ••••• Total self-mastery • Spineless •• Weak

Courage

••• Unassertive All characters have a Courage Trait, regardless of the Path they follow. Courage is the quality that allows •••• Diffident characters to stand in the face of fear or daunting ad- ••••• Certain versity. It is bravery, mettle, and stoicism combined. A ••••• • Confident character with high Courage meets her fears head-on, ••••• •• Determined while a character of lesser Courage may flee in terror. 120 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS, ••••• ••• Controlled A character at the Incapacitated health level is ut- ••••• •••• Iron-willed terly immobilized and can take no action of any kind except healing himself with blood points (if the char- ••••• ••••• Unshakable acter is a vampire or ghoul) or swallowing blood that More information on Willpower is available in Chap- is offered to him. A mortal who reaches this stage is a ter Six, under “Spending Willpower” on p. 266. breath away from death; if she takes any more damage, she dies. If a Kindred suffers an aggravated wound (see p. 285) after being Incapacitated, he dies the Final Death.

Blood Pool A vampire at the Incapacitated health level with no

more blood in his body immediately sinks into torpor. A character’s blood pool measures how much vitae the vampire has in his system. The blood pool comprises a number of individual blood points. Each blood point corresponds roughly to one- tenth of the blood in an average adult mortal (a pint or one-half liter outside of a human). The maximum number of blood points a vampire may ingest is dictated by his Generation, as is the num- ber of blood points he may spend in a single turn. A vam- pire with zero blood points in his system is ravenously hungry and likely in the throes of frenzy. More information on the blood pool is available in Chapter Six, under “Us- ing Blood Pool” on p. 268.

Health

The Health Trait measures a char- acter’s physical condition, from perfect Note health to Final Death. As characters are that dice wounded or otherwise impaired, they pool pen- lose health levels, then regain them as alties from they heal. A character’s Health Trait health level loss consists of seven different “health lev- apply only to ac- els,” and each level applies a different tions. They do not ap- dice pool penalty to any actions taken ply to purely reflexive by the person in question. A character dice pools, such as soak who is Hurt subtracts one die from her dice, most Virtue checks, or Willpower rolls action dice pools, while a Crippled charac- to abort to another action. If a character is ter subtracts five dice from her action dice Wounded and suffers more non-aggravated damage, he pools. If health level penalties leave a char- may still soak with his full Stamina (plus Fortitude, if he acter with no dice in a given dice pool, the character has it). The health level penalties do apply to damage cannot take that action. However, a point of Willpow- rolls for Strength-based attacks, but not for mechanical er can be spent to ignore wound penalties for one turn weapons like firearms. Ultimately, this rule must be ad- (see p. 282). judicated by the Storyteller and common sense. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 121,

Health Levels

Health Level Dice Pool Penalty Movement Penalty Bruised 0 Character is only bruised and suffers no dice pool penalties due to damage. Hurt -1 Character is superficially hurt and suffers no movement hindrance. Injured -1 Character suffers minor injuries and movement is mildly inhibited (halve maximum running speed). Wounded -2 Character suffers significant damage and may not run (though he may still walk). At this level, a character may only move or attack; he always loses dice when moving and attacking in the same turn. Mauled -2 Character is badly injured and may only hobble about (three yards or meters/turn). Crippled -5 Character is catastrophically injured and may only crawl (one yard or meter/turn). Incapacitated Character is incapable of movement and is likely unconscious. Incapacitated vampires with no blood in their bodies enter torpor. Torpor Character enters a deathlike trance. He may do nothing, not even spend blood, until a certain period of time has passed. Final Death Character dies again, this time forever.

Experience creased confidence and perspicacity. Learning to lock your car when you leave it in a public parking place

is simply common sense, not really a skill that can be During the course of a chronicle, characters — much purchased. Emotional transformations are roleplayed, like players over the course of their lives — learn from not bought. their mistakes and grow. Change is inevitable, even for the eternal undead. Over years and centuries, vampires Sometimes, though, characters improve themselves hone their Disciplines, learn (and forget) the ins and in skills magical or mundane. A system of rewards, outs of cultures and languages, and refine their skills at called experience points, is used to reflect these more the Jyhad. quantitative changes. Experience points reflect the Traits that a vampire hones as time passes. A great deal of what characters learn is beyond the scope of any game system to reflect. In many cases the At the end of each story, the Storyteller awards expe- more mundane aspects of growing older — and, one rience points to each character. The players then write would hope, wiser — are reflected in the players’ in- down how many experience points the character has 122 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS, earned. Between stories, players may spend their char- New Traits acters’ experience points to purchase or increase Traits. Increasing existing Traits can be done fairly read- Experience points can be used to improve Attributes, ily, so long as the character uses or practices the Trait to acquire new Abilities or enhance ones the charac- in question. Learning new Traits, however, is a little ter already has, to raise existing Disciplines or purchase more difficult. Even a vampire can’t simply pick up new ones, or to increase Virtues. Backgrounds may not a functioning legal knowledge or learn to fight if he be purchased through experience points, though they doesn’t know even the basics (to say nothing of learn- may be acquired through roleplaying if, for example, ing a new Discipline). Thus, learning an entirely new the character makes a new friend, acquires a windfall, Ability or Discipline requires some tutoring and study, or commits diablerie. The costs for all of these different in addition to the required experience-point expendi- changes vary greatly, as shown on the chart on p. 124. ture. This study can be simple (a night-school course The Storyteller is the final arbiter of how many to learn the basics of Computer) or brutally difficult experience points each character receives, as well as (months or even years of mind-bending rituals, formu- which Traits may be raised. Accordingly, the Storytell- las, and blood manipulation to learn the first dot in er should oversee where experience points are spent. Thaumaturgy), but it must always be accomplished. Players may wish to put points into areas that don’t Having the Mentor Background helps, but even a honestly reflect what the character has learned during mentor can teach only what she herself knows. the story or chronicle, in which case the Storyteller Storytellers: Do not allow players to neglect this re- can veto their actions. For example, if a character did quirement! Particularly for more esoteric arts such as not use his Dominate Discipline at all during a story, Disciplines, pursuit of new knowledge — and payment he could not have improved it, and thus the Storyteller for same — can lead to all manner of incredible stories. should not allow him to increase the number of dots in that Discipline. The same stands for improving Vir- Awarding Experience Points tues: A character who just killed three children and di- Awarding experience points is a double-edged sword. ablerized her sire has no logical grounds for increasing As a Storyteller, you can hurt your chronicle by giving her Humanity rating. Note that a character does not away too many as well as too few. If you give more to some have to use his Traits successfully to be eligible for an players than you do to others, you might seem as if you’re increase. We often learn more from failure than from playing favorites, and you also risk unbalancing the game. success, and the undead are no different. However, the characters who do the most, who take the As Storyteller, try to be fair about experience-point risks and learn from their mistakes instead of simply sit- expenditure, and never take things to the point at ting on the sidelines, deserve the experience points to re- which the player feels he has no control over the char- flect the changes they’re going through. The rules below acter any longer. Ask the players what they feel their should help you avoid most problems, but you should feel characters learned before awarding any points, and use free to experiment and fine-tune them to fit your needs. that as part of the basis for giving them experience End of Each Chapter points. These limitations are put forth to add a level of reality to the game. If the changes in the charac- At the end of each game session, or chapter, you ter are completely random, the impact is lost. Weave should award the characters between one and five ex- the changes into the course of events, and make the perience points. One point is awarded automatically, changes reflect what has occurred. simply because the character experienced the chapter’s events. Despite ourselves, we tend to learn from the Virtues increased by experience have no impact on follies of others as we do from our own. the character’s Humanity, Path, or Willpower. Once the character-creation process is finished, that’s the One Point — Automatic: Each player gets one point end of the matter. For example, a character who, dur- at the end of each chapter. ing a story, manages to act in spite of his fear of fire is One Point — Learning Curve: Ask the player what his eligible for a Courage increase, but increasing Courage character learned in the course of the night’s events. If you does not automatically increase Willpower. agree with the answer, give the player one experience point. No Trait may be increased by more than one point One Point — Roleplaying: The player carried out during the course of a story. Vast changes in Traits take the role of her character well, not only entertainingly time, and the game should reflect that limitation. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 123, but appropriately. The player performed as the char- Only a few points should be given this way, as they are acter should in the circumstances. Truly inspired role- effectively “bonus points” for a job well done. playing might merit two experience points. One Point — Success: The characters achieved all or One Point — Heroism: On rare occasions even part of the goals they set out to accomplish. Even minor vampires can truly behave as heroes, risking all to let victories can be rewarded if they pushed the game forward. friends or even strangers escape from disaster or death. One Point — Danger: The characters survived If a character acts heroically and manages to survive, against harsh odds and grave dangers. he should be rewarded. Some players might try to take advantage of this idea. Don’t let them. Stupidity and One Point — Wisdom: The player, and thus the suicidal behavior should not be mistaken for heroism. character, came up with a brilliant plan or even a spon- taneous strategy that enabled the coterie to survive

The End of the Story when it would likely have failed otherwise.

You might decide to give extra experience points at More points can be awarded if you decide they the end of a story, if the players have done their part should be, or if you want the characters to advance and the characters have faced down substantial trials. more quickly than they currently are.

Experience Costs

Trait Cost New Ability 3 New Discipline 10 New Path (Necromancy or Thaumaturgy) 7 Attribute current ratingx4Ability current ratingx2Clan Discipline current rating x 5* Other Discipline current rating x 7* Secondary Path (Necromancy or Thaumaturgy) current ratingx4Virtue current rating x 2** Humanity or Path of Enlightenment current ratingx2Willpower current rating * Caitiff have no Clan-based Disciplines, just as they have no Clan. For them, the cost of raising all Disciplines is the current rating x 6. This is both the curse and the blessing of being Clanless. ** Increasing a Virtue through experience does not increase Traits based on that Virtue (Humanity, Path, Willpower). 124 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS, VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 125, 126 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES,

Chapter Four: Disciplines

"When my energies first surged through me, I discovered how to move like lightning, how to borrow the strength of the earth, how to be as stone. These were like breathing once was to me." - The Book of Nod Disciplines are supernatural powers granted by the Embrace, which vampires cultivate to bring to bear against their foes and prey. These powers separate the Elder Discipline Powers (6+) Damned from mortals, providing an incomparable mys- tical edge over those who would stand against them. Discipline powers at a rating of 6 and higher With Disciplines, a vampire can exert the strength of sometimes feature multiple powers at various lev- a dozen men, force an enemy into thrall, ignite a fire els; in such cases, the vampire increasing in power with a glance, or take the mantle of a beast. Even the simply chooses which one she wants. Some Disci- youngest Kindred, with a few token powers at his com- plines have more options than others; usually, this mand, has an advantage over most threats, while the means there are more commonly known applica- elders, who have often mastered a fearsome breadth of tions of those Disciplines. If the character wants these potent gifts, can seem almost unassailable. to purchase the other option or options later, she The origin of Disciplines is a Kindred mystery. Are can spend additional experience as if buying the they a form of dark Biblical justice, bestowed upon same dot in the Discipline again to acquire it. Caine and his get as a damnation-scourge? Are they Storytellers may also allow players to create their the wiles of a twisted natural world, taught by Lilith, own elder Discipline powers, if they desire. the mother of monsters? Are they simply predatory It should be noted that 6-dot and higher advantages, intrinsic to the state of being Kindred? powers can be abused to stomp a well-crafted Whatever the answer, learning and honing these su- chronicle into tiny little pieces. These potent pernatural powers is paramount to being able to face abilities are often difficult (but not impossible) undeath on a vampire’s own terms. After all, the other to acquire, so Storytellers should consider the forces at play in the Jyhad will be cultivating theirs…. impact that high-level Disciplines might have Like other Traits, Disciplines are rated in progressive on their chronicles before allowing them at all. dots. A rating of one dot indicates that the Discipline VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 127, in question has barely been awakened, while a rating of six dots or higher indicates mastery beyond the capac- Animalism ity of most neonates and even ancillae. As a character increases her rating in a Discipline, she gains access The Beast resides within all creatures, from scut- to the powers listed next to the appropriate number tling cockroaches to scabrous rats up through untamed of dots, as well as retaining access to lesser powers. As wolves and even powerful Kindred elders. Animalism with other Traits, Discipline levels of higher than five allows the vampire to amplify his intensely primordial dots are available only to those Kindred of Generations nature. He can not only communicate with animals, seven and lower (see p. 270). but can also force his will upon them, directing such beasts to do as he commands. As the vampire grows in Note: Unless stated in the description, Disciplines power, he can even control the Beast within mortals cost no blood or Willpower points to activate. and other supernaturals. Beasts grow distinctly agitated in the presence of a vampire who lacks this Discipline or the Skill of Ani- mal Ken, often to the point of attacking or running from the vampire. In contrast, vampires possessing

Advancing Disciplines Animalism exude a dominant vibe to lower creatures,

Players begin the game with three dots to which attracts them. spend on their characters’ Clan Disciplines, Animalism is commonly found with vampires of the which are listed with each Clan description Gangrel and Nosferatu Clans. Manipulation and Cha- in Chapter Two. Caitiff may place their three risma are important for the use of Animalism powers; dots on any Disciplines they like, subject to the stronger the vampire’s personality, the more influ- the Storyteller’s discretion. Characters may ence he has over animals. also acquire Disciplines other than those commonly taught by their Clan, provided they spend the proper freebie or experience points and have access to a vampiric teacher Storytelling Animals (again, subject to the Storyteller’s discre- tion). Learning a new out-of-clan Discipline It can be difficult for the Storyteller to use requires that the teacher feeds the student a animals as something more than a plot device point of their blood before instruction begins, whenever a character tries to communicate to start the mystical tie to the Discipline be- with them. It’s easy to fall back on monosyl- ing taught. Improving knowledge of a Disci- labic speech and easily led creatures in order pline already known does not require such a to get the story moving along. And indeed, transfer (although some unscrupulous teach- animals are simpler than humans – they focus ers may claim that it’s still necessary). on the present and are directed by instincts instead of complex goals and elaborate Storytellers may decide that certain Disci- schemes. However, simple doesn’t necessar- plines are more or less difficult to acquire, de- ily mean stupid; animals need cunning and pending on their chronicle. For example, it’s perception to survive, and both can be of generally easier for a Kindred to learn a com- great use to a vampire master. Storytellers can mon power like Potence (which many Clans make animals dynamic, interesting characters share) rather than Thaumaturgy (which is that bring a lot to the chronicle, or they can generally the domain of the Tremere and a quickly gloss over the finer points of their few other bloodlines), but a chronicle set en- characterization to get back to the more press- tirely around the storming and acquisition of ing conflicts in the chronicle. a rogue Tremere chantry may find that Thau- maturgy is much easier to learn and acquire. Statistics for certain animals are found in Chapter Nine, p. 388. 128 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, • Feral Whispers pends on the type of creature. A Kindred can often bully This power is the basis from which all other Animal- smaller beasts into heeding commands, but he’s better ism abilities grow. The vampire creates an empathic off couching orders for large predators as requests. connection with a beast, thereby allowing him to com- If the vampire successfully uses the power, the ani- municate or issue simple commands. The Kindred locks mal performs the command to the best of its ability and eyes with the animal, transmitting his desires through intellect. Only the very brightest creatures understand sheer force of will. Although it isn’t necessary to actu- truly complex directives (orders dealing with con- ally “speak” in chirps, hisses, or barks, some vampires ditional situations or requiring abstract logic). Com- find that doing so helps strengthen the connection mands that the animal does understand remain deeply with the animal. Eye contact must be maintained the implanted, however, and guide its behavior for some entire time; if it’s broken, the Kindred must re-estab- time. lish contact to continue communication. System: No roll is necessary to talk with an ani- The simpler the creature, the more difficult it be- mal, but the character must establish eye contact (see comes to connect with the animal’s Beast. Mammals, p. 152) first. Issuing commands requires a Manipula- predatory birds, and larger reptiles are relatively easy tion + Animal Ken roll. The difficulty depends on the to communicate with. Insects, invertebrates, and most creature: Predatory mammals (wolves, cats, vampire fish are just too simple to connect with. bats) are difficulty 6, other mammals and predatory Feral Whispers provides no guarantees that an animal birds (rats, owls) are difficulty 7, and other birds and will want to deal with the vampire, nor does it ensure reptiles (pigeons, snakes) are difficulty 8. This difficulty that the animal will pursue any requests the vampire is reduced by one if the character speaks to the animal makes of it. Still, it does at least make the creature bet- in its “native tongue,” and can be adjusted further by ter disposed toward the Kindred. The manner in which circumstances and roleplaying skill (we highly recom- the vampire presents his desires to the animal often de- mend that all communication between characters and animals be roleplayed). VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 129, The number of successes the player achieves dictates hear the cry will respond. If the Storyteller decides no how strongly the character’s command affects the ani- animals of that type are within earshot, the summons mal. One success is sufficient to have a cat follow an goes unanswered. individual and lead the character to the same location, The call can be as specific as the player desires. A three successes are enough to have a raven spy on a character could call for all bats in the area, for only the target for weeks, and five successes ensure that a grizzly male bats nearby, or for only the albino bat with the ferociously guards the entrance to the character’s wil- notched ear he saw the other night. derness haven for some months. The character’s Nature plays a large part in how he Successes Result approaches these conversations. The character might 1 success A single animal responds. try intimidating, teasing, cajoling, or rationalizing. The 2 successes One-quarter of the animals within player should understand that he does not simply play earshot respond. his character in these situations, but the Beast Within 3 successes Half of the animals respond. as well. 4 successes Most of the animals respond. Using this power cannot force an animal to do some- thing against its nature, or to force a creature to risk 5 successes All of the animals respond. its life. While the aforementioned grizzly would stand guard to the vampire’s haven and even fight for it, it would not do so against obviously superior numbers or ••• Quell the Beast something overwhelmingly supernatural. A predatory As the supreme predators of the natural world, Kin- bird might be convinced to harry a target, but would dred are highly attuned to the bestial nature that dwells definitely not hold ground. A docile dog or skittish cat within every mortal heart. A vampire who develops would have no problem with reporting something it this power may assert his will over a mortal (animal or had seen, but it wouldn’t enter combat unless given no human) subject, subduing the Beast within her. This other option — though it would likely agree to stand quenches all powerful, strong emotions — hope, fury, and fight and then flee at the first opportunity, if a love, fear — within the target. The Kindred must ei- harsh Kindred demanded it. ther touch his subject or stare into her eyes to channel •• Beckoning his will effectively. The vampire’s connection to the Beast grows strong Mortals who lack the fire of their inner Beasts are enough that he may call out in the voice of a specific quite tractable, reacting to even stressful situations type of animal — howling like a wolf, shrilling like a with indifference. Even the most courageous or mad- raven, etc. This call mystically summons creatures of dened mortal becomes apathetic and listless, while an the chosen type. Since each type of animal has a dif- especially sensitive individual may suffer from a phobic ferent call, Beckoning works for only a single species derangement while under the power’s influence. at a time. Different Clans evoke this power in different ways, All such animals within earshot are summoned, and though the effect itself is identical. Tzimisce call it some percentage of them will heed the Beckoning if it Cowing the Beast, since they force the mortal’s weaker is successful. While the vampire has no further control spirit to shrivel in fear before the Kindred’s own inner over the beasts who answer, the animals who do are Beast. Nosferatu refer to it as Song of Serenity, since favorably disposed toward him and are at least willing they soothe the subject’s Beast into a state of utter to listen to the Kindred’s concerns. (The vampire can complacency, thus allowing them to feed freely. Gan- then use Feral Whispers on individual animals to com- grel know the power as Quell the Beast, and force the mand them, which may be at a decreased difficulty at mortal spirit into a state of fear or apathy as befits the Storyteller discretion.) individual vampire’s nature. System: The player rolls Charisma + Survival (dif- System: The player rolls Manipulation + Intimida- ficulty 6) to determine the response to the character’s tion if forcing down the Beast through fear, or Manipu- call; consult the table below. Only animals that can lation + Empathy if soothing it into complacency. The 130 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, difficulty of the roll is 7 in either case. This is an ex- Successes Result tended action requiring as many total successes as the 1 success Cannot use Disciplines target has Willpower. Failure indicates that the player 2 successes Can use Auspex and other sensory must start over from the beginning, while a botch in- powers dicates that the vampire may not affect that subject’s Beast for the remainder of the scene. 3 successes Can also use Presence and other powers of emotional manipulation When a mortal’s Beast is cowed or soothed, she can no longer use or regain Willpower. She ceases all strug- 4 successes Can also use Dementation, gles, whether mental or physical. She doesn’t even Dominate, and other powers of defend herself if assaulted, though the Storyteller may mental manipulation allow a Willpower roll if the mortal believes her life is 5 successes Can also use Chimerstry, truly threatened. To recover from this power, the mor- Necromancy, Thaumaturgy, and tal’s player rolls Willpower (difficulty 6) once per day other mystical powers until she accumulates enough successes to equal the vampire’s Willpower. Kindred cannot be affected by This power entwines the character’s consciousness this power. closely with the animal’s spirit, so much so that the Though a vampire’s Beast cannot be cowed with this character may continue to think and feel like that ani- ability, the Storyteller may allow characters to use the mal even after breaking the connection. This effect “soothing” variation of this power to pull a vampire out continues until the character spends a total of seven of frenzy. With three or more successes, the frenzying nights or three Willpower points to resist and finally vampire may roll again to pull herself out of frenzy, us- overcome the animal nature. This should be role- ing the same difficulty as the stimulus that caused the played, though the character will be affected to a lesser frenzy originally. degree if the player chooses to spend Willpower. •••• Subsume the Spirit At the end of any particularly exciting incident dur- By locking his gaze with that of an animal, the vam- ing possession, the player rolls Wits + Empathy (diffi- pire may mentally possess the creature. Some elders be- culty 8) for the character to retain his own mind. Fail- lieve that since animals don’t have souls but spirits, the ure indicates that the character’s mind returns to his vampire can move his own soul into the animal’s body. own body, but still thinks in purely animalistic terms. Many younger vampires think it a matter of transfer- A botch returns the character to his body, and also ring one’s consciousness into the animal’s mind. In ei- sends him into frenzy. ther case, it’s agreed that the beast’s weaker spirit (or The character may travel as far from his own physical mind) is pushed aside by the Kindred’s own conscious- body as he chooses while possessing the animal. The ness. The vampire’s body falls into a motionless state character retains no conscious connection with his akin to torpor while his mind takes control of the ani- vampire body during this time, though. The vampire mal’s actions, remaining this way until the Kindred’s may also venture out during the day, albeit in the ani- consciousness returns. mal’s body. However, the character’s own body must Some haughty Tzimisce eschew this power, consider- be awake to do so, requiring a successful roll to remain ing it debasing to enter the body of a lesser creature. awake (see p. 262). If the character leaves the animal’s When they do stoop to using it, they possess only pred- body (by choice, if his body falls asleep, or after sus- ators. Conversely, Gangrel revel in connecting to the taining significant injury), the vampire’s consciousness natural world in this way. They delight in sampling dif- returns to his physical form instantaneously. ferent animals’ natures. Although the vampire has no conscious link to his System: The player rolls Manipulation + Animal body while possessing the animal, he does form a sym- Ken (difficulty 8) as the character looks into the ani- pathetic bond. Anything the animal feels, the vampire mal’s eyes (see sidebar on p. 152). The number of suc- also experiences, from pleasure to pain. In fact, any cesses allows the character to employ some mental Dis- damage the animal’s body sustains is also applied to the ciplines while possessing the animal, as noted below. character’s body, though the Kindred body may soak as normal. If the animal dies before the vampire’s soul can flee from the body, the character’s body falls into VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 131, torpor. Presumably this is in sympathetic response to power curbs its duration or effects. The character is a the massive trauma of death, but some Kindred believe hapless victim to the terrible fury of his Beast, and may that the vampire’s soul is cast adrift during this time well hurl herself into a savage, flesh-rending rampage and must find its way back to the body. that leaves the Masquerade (and unfortunate nearby onlookers) in tatters. ••••• Drawing Out the Beast If the character leaves the target’s presence before At this level of Animalism, the Kindred has a keen the frenzy expends itself, the vampire loses his Beast, understanding of the Beast Within, and is able to re- perhaps permanently. While no longer vulnerable to lease his feral urges upon another mortal or vampire. frenzy, the character cannot use or regain Willpower The recipient of the vampire’s Beast is instantly over- and becomes increasingly lethargic. To recover the come by frenzy. This is an unnatural frenzy, however, Beast, he must find the person who now possesses it as the victim is channeling the Kindred’s own fury. As (who likely isn’t enjoying herself very much) and coax such, the vampire’s own behavior, expressions, and the Beast into its proper vessel. The most effective way even speech patterns are evident in the subject’s sav- to do so is to behave in ways that make the Beast want age actions. to return — however, this isn’t a guarantee that it will Gangrel and Tzimisce are especially fond of unleash- wish to do so. Alternatively, the character can simply ing their Beasts onto others. Gangrel do so to stir their kill the host (thus causing the Beast to return to the ghouls into inspired heights of savagery during combat. vampire immediately). Tzimisce care less about who receives their Beast than retaining their own composure. ••••• • Animal Succulence System: The player must announce his preferred tar- Most vampires find the blood of animals flat, taste- get (since it must be someone within sight, Drawing less, and lacking in nutritional value. Some Gangrel Out the Beast cannot be used if the vampire is alone), and Nosferatu, however, have refined their under- then roll Manipulation + Self-Control/Instinct (diffi- standing of the spirits of such “lesser prey” to the point culty 8). Refer to the table below for the results: that they are able to draw much more sustenance from beasts than normal Kindred can. This power does not Successes Result allow an elder to subsist solely on the blood of animals, 1 success The character transfers the Beast, but but it does allow him to go for extended periods of time unleashes it upon a random without taking vitae from humans or other Kindred. individual. System: No roll is needed; once learned, this power 2 successes The character is stunned by the effort is always in effect. Animal Succulence allows a charac- and may not act next turn, but ter to count each blood point drawn from an animal as transfers the Beast successfully. two in her blood pool. This does not increase the size Alternatively, the character may act of the vampire’s blood pool, just the nutritional value normally during the turn, but must of animal blood. spend a Willpower point or suffer a Animal Succulence does not allow a character to single level of lethal damage. completely ignore his craving for the blood of “higher” 3+ successes The character transfers the Beast prey; in fact, it heightens his desire for “real food.” Ev- successfully. ery three times (rounded down) the character drinks from an animal, a cumulative +1 difficulty is applied to the next Self-Control/Instinct roll the player makes If the attempt fails, the character himself immedi- when the character is confronted with the possibility ately enters frenzy. As the character relaxes in expecta- of dining on human or Kindred blood. tion of relieving his savage urges, the Beast takes that opportunity to dig deeper. In this case, the frenzy lasts Animal Succulence does not increase the blood twice as long as normal and is twice as difficult to shrug point value of the blood of other supernatural creatures off; its severity also increases exponentially. Botch- (Gangrel, werecreatures, and so on) who have taken ing this roll is even more catastrophic; the heightened animal forms, nor does it change the vampire’s feeding frenzy grows so extreme that not even expending Will- preferences (such as the Ventrue have). 132 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, ••••• • Shared Soul all of the boa constrictors, or all of the skinks, but she This power allows a character to probe the mind of could not simultaneously give orders to every reptile any one animal she touches. Shared Soul can be very or snake present. Species Speech functions much like disconcerting to both parties involved, as each par- Feral Whispers in all other respects. ticipant is completely immersed in the thoughts and Note: Players (and Storytellers) shouldn’t get too emotions of the other. With enough effort or time, wrapped up in species differences like northern dia- each participant can gain a complete understanding of mondback rattlesnakes and south-eastern diamondback the other’s mind. Shared Soul is most often used to rattlesnakes. At Storyteller discretion, the expenditure extract an animal’s memories of a specific event, but of an additional Willpower point allows the character’s some Gangrel use this power as a tool in the search commands to extend to members of a similar species to for enlightenment, feeling they come to a better un- the one initially commanded. derstanding of their own Beasts through rapport with true beasts. Too close of a bond, however, can leave ••••• •• Conquer the Beast the two souls entangled after the sharing ends, causing Masters of Animalism have a much greater under- the vampire to adopt mannerisms, behavior patterns, standing of both beasts in general and the Beast in or even ethics (or lack thereof) similar to those of the particular. Those who have developed this power can animal. master their own Beasts to a degree impossible for lesser Kindred to attain. Conquer the Beast allows the vam- System: The character touches the intended subject pire both to control her frenzies and to enter them at creature, and the player rolls Perception + Animal Ken will. Some elders say that the development of this pow- (difficulty 6). The player spends a Willpower point for er is one of the first steps on the road to Golconda. every turn past the first that contact is maintained. Lo- cating a specific memory takes six turns, minus one turn System: The character can enter frenzy at will. The for every success on the roll. A complete bond takes 10 player rolls Willpower (difficulty 7). Success sends the turns, minus one turn for every success on the roll. A character into a controlled frenzy. He can choose his botch on this roll may, at the Storyteller’s discretion, targets at will, but gains limited Dominate and wound send the vampire into a frenzy or give the character a penalty resistance and Rötschreck immunity as per the derangement related to the behavior patterns of the normal frenzy rules (p. 298). A botch on the roll sends animal (extreme cowardice if the vampire contacted the vampire into an uncontrolled frenzy which Con- the soul of mouse, bloodlust if the subject was a rabid quer the Beast may not be used to end. dog, and so forth). The player may also roll Willpower (difficulty 9) to enable the character to control an involuntary frenzy. ••••• • Species Speech In this case, a Willpower point must be spent for ev- The basic power Feral Whispers (Animalism 1) al- ery turn that the vampire remains in frenzy. The player lows character to communicate with only one animal may make Self-Control/Instinct rolls as normal to end a at a time. With Species Speech, a character can enter frenzy, but if the vampire runs out of Willpower points into psychic communion with all creatures of a certain before the frenzy ends, he drops into an uncontrolled species that are present. Species Speech is most often frenzy again. A botch on the Willpower roll raises the used after an application of The Beckoning (Animal- difficulty of the vampire’s Self-Control/Instinct rolls by ism 2), which can draw a crowd of likely subjects. two and renders Conquer the Beast unusable for the System: The player rolls Manipulation + Animal remainder of the night. Ken (difficulty 7) to establish contact with the tar- geted group of animals. Once the character estab- ••••• ••• Taunt the Caged Beast lishes contact, the player makes a second roll to issue Some Kindred are so attuned to the Beast that they commands. There is no practical upper limit on the can unleash it in another individual at will. Vampires number of animals that can be commanded with this who have developed this power are able to send ad- power, although all of the intended subjects must be in versaries into frenzy with a finger’s touch and the re- the vampire’s immediate vicinity. Only one species of sultant momentary contact with the victim’s Beast. animal can be commanded at a time; thus, if a charac- The physical contact allows the vampire’s own Beast ter is standing in the middle of the reptile house at the to reach out and awaken that of the victim, enraging it zoo, she could command all of the Komodo dragons, by threatening its territory. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 133, System: The character touches the target. The the character’s senses, making her oblivious to her sur- player spends a Willpower point and rolls Manipu- roundings for a turn or two. While the Malkavians and lation + Empathy (difficulty 7). The victim makes a Toreador are more prone to these kinds of distractions, Self-Control/Instinct roll (difficulty 5 + the number the Tremere and Tzimisce aren’t immune. of successes); failure results in an immediate frenzy. A Dots in Perception are very useful for using Auspex botch causes the character to unleash his own Beast powers, as more successes help the character gain more and frenzy instead. This power maybe used on those sensory information. individuals who are normally incapable of frenzy, send- ing ordinary humans into murderous rages worthy of • Heightened Senses the most bloodthirsty Brujah berserker. This power increases the acuity of all of the vam- ••••• •••• Unchain the Beast pire’s senses, effectively doubling the clarity and range of sight, hearing, and smell. While her senses of taste The self-destructive nature of Cainites can be turned and touch extend no farther than normal, they like- against them by an elder who possesses this formidable wise become far more distinct; the vampire could taste power. With a glance, the vampire can awaken the the hint of liquor in a victim’s blood or feel the give of Beasts of her enemies, causing physical injury and ex- the board concealing a hollow space in the floor. The cruciating agony as the victim’s own violent impulses Kindred may magnify her senses at will, sustaining this manifest in physical form to tear him apart from within. heightened focus for as long as she desires. At the Sto- A target of this power erupts into a fountain of blood ryteller’s option, this may make hunting easier. and gore as claw and bite wounds from an invisible source spontaneously tear his flesh asunder. Occasionally, this talent provides extrasensory or even precognitive insights. These brief, unfocused System: The character makes eye contact (see glimpses may be odd premonitions, flashes of empathy, p. 152) with the intended victim. The player spends or eerie feelings of foreboding. The vampire has no three blood points and rolls Manipulation + Intimida- control over these perceptions, but with practice can tion (difficulty of the victim’s Self-Control/Instinct + learn to interpret them with a fair degree of accuracy. 4). Each success inflicts one health level of aggravated damage, which can be soaked normally. A botch in- Expanded senses come at a price, however. Bright flicts one health level of lethal damage to the invoking lights, loud noises and strong smells present a hazard character for each “1” rolled. This damage can also be while the vampire uses this power. In addition to the soaked normally. possibility for distraction, an especially sudden or po- tent stimulus (like the glare of a spotlight or a clap of thunder) can blind or deafen the Kindred for an hour

Auspex or more.System: It takes a reflexive action to activate this

Auspex gives the vampire uncanny sensory abilities. ability, but no roll or other cost is required. In certain She starts with the capacity to heighten her natural circumstances, dice rolls associated with using the senses significantly, but as she grows in power, she can character’s sense (such as Perception + Alertness) de- perceive psychic auras and read the thoughts of another crease in difficulty by a number equal to the character’s being. Auspex can also pierce through mental illusions Auspex rating when the power is engaged. such as those created by Obfuscate — see the sidebar The Storyteller may also use this power to see if the “Seeing the Unseen” on p. 142 for more. character perceives a threat. In this case, the Story- However, a vampire with Auspex needs to be careful. teller privately rolls the character’s unmodified Auspex Her increased sensory sensitivity can cause her to be rating, applying whatever difficulty he feels best suits drawn in by beautiful things or stunned by loud nois- the circumstances. For example, sensing that a pistol is es or pungent smells. Sudden or dynamic events can pointed at the back of the character’s head may require disorient an Auspex-using character unless her player a roll of difficulty 5, while the sudden realization that makes a Willpower roll to block them out (difficulty of a rival for Primogen is planning her assassination may at least 4, although the more potent the source of dis- require a 9. Note that even this “precognition” comes traction, the higher the difficulty). Failure overwhelms only as a result of interpreting details the Kindred is 134 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, able to notice. It’s not an all-purpose insight or miracu- The colors change in sympathy with the subject’s lous revelation. emotional state, blending into new tones in a con- At the character’s discretion, she may selectively stantly dancing pattern. The stronger the emotions heighten one specific sense, rather than leaving them involved, the more intense the hues become. A skilled all on. In these cases, the difficulty to perceive stimu- vampire can learn much from her subject by reading li using that sense drops by one, but the difficulty to the nuances of color and brilliance in the aura’s flow. avoid distraction or temporary bedazzlement increases Aside from perceiving emotional states, vampires use by one. Aura Perception to detect supernatural beings. The This power does not let characters see in pitch dark- colors in Kindred auras, while intense, are quite pale; ness, as does Eyes of the Beast (p. 199), but it does re- mage halos often flare and crackle with arcane power; duce difficulty penalties to act in such darkness from the race of shapeshifters has strikingly bright, almost +2 to +1, and the character may make ranged attacks frantic, auras; ghosts have weak auras that flicker fit- in pitch darkness if she can hear, smell, or otherwise fully like a dying flame; and faerie creatures’ radiance is detect her foe. shot through with capricious rainbow hues. System: After the character stares at the subject for •• Aura Perception at least a few seconds, the player rolls Perception + Em- Using this power, the vampire can perceive the psy- pathy (difficulty 8); each success indicates how much chic “auras” that radiate from mortals and supernatural of the subject’s aura the character sees and understands beings alike. These halos comprise a shifting series of (see the table below). A failure indicates that the play colors that take practice to discern with clarity. Even of colors and patterns yields no prevailing impression. the simplest individual has many shifting hues within A botch indicates a false or erroneous interpretation. his aura; strong emotions predominate, while momen- The Storyteller may wish to make this roll, thus keep- tary impressions or deep secrets flash through in streaks ing the player in the dark as to the veracity of the char- and swirls. acter’s interpretation. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 135, Successes Result 1 success Can distinguish only the shade (pale or bright). Aura Colors 2 successes Can distinguish the main color. Condition Aura Colors 3 successes Can recognize the color patterns. Afraid Orange 4 successes Can detect subtle shifts. Aggressive Purple 5 successes Can identify mixtures of color and Angry Red pattern. Bitter Brown Calm Light Blue The Aura Colors chart offers some example ideas of common colors and the emotions they reflect that Compassionate Pink Storytellers can use. Note that it is nearly impossible Conservative Lavender to determine with certainty if a particular character is Depressed Gray lying or not with this power – vampires are inherently Desirous or Lustful Deep Red deceitful by nature, but even mortals might react with anxiety to questions while still being truthful. It is, Distrustful Light Green however, helpful in determine the target’s emotional Envious Dark Green state, which might lead the vampire to decide that a Excited Violet particular target is suspicious. Generous Rose A character may choose to perform a very cursory aura scan of a large area like a nightclub’s dance floor Happy Vermilion or the audience in a gallery. In this case, the player Hateful Black decides which characteristic of auras she’s looking for, Idealistic Yellow and that’s the only information she’s able to glean if Innocent White the roll is successful. (At the Storyteller’s discretion, on this general scan roll, more successes on the roll Lovestruck Blue may more quickly yield what the character seeks.) For Obsessed Green example, the player may specify, “Who’s the most ner- Sad Silver vous person in attendance?” or “Are there any vampiri- cally pale auras among the CEO’s entourage?” There- Spiritual Gold after, the player may narrow down her scrutiny of a Suspicious Dark Blue single individual, with an additional roll as normal. Anxious Auras appear scrambled The character may focus in on a particular subject’s like static or white noise aura only once per scene with any degree of clarity. Confused Mottled, shifting colors Any subsequent attempts that result in failure should Diablerist Black veins in aura be considered botches. It is very easy for the character to imagine seeing what she wants to see when judg- Daydreaming Sharp flickering colors ing someone’s intentions. After 24 hours, the character Frenzied Rapidly rippling colors may try again at no penalty. Psychotic Hypnotic, swirling colors It is possible, though difficult, to sense the aura of a Vampire Aura colors are pale being who is otherwise invisible to normal sight. Refer Ghoul Pale blotches in the aura to “Seeing the Unseen,” p. 142, for more information. Magic Use Myriad sparkles in aura ••• The Spirit’s Touch Werebeast Bright, vibrant aura When someone handles an object for any length Ghost Weak, intermittent aura of time, he leaves a psychic impression on the item. A vampire with this level of Auspex can “read” these Faerie Rainbow highlights in aura sensations, learning who handled the object, when he last held it, and what was done with it recently. (For 136 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, these purposes, a corpse counts as an “object” and can At the Storyteller’s discretion, some impressions be read accordingly.) These visions are seldom clear on objects may be so strong — a knife plunged into and detailed, registering more like a kind of “psychic Caesar’s breast, the tip of the Spear of Destiny, a fang snapshot.” Still, the Kindred can learn much even pulled from the maw of Dracula — that any use of this from such a glimpse. Although most visions concern power may be deemed a success. the last person to handle the item, a long-time owner leaves a stronger impression than someone who held •••• Telepathy the object briefly. The vampire projects a portion of her consciousness Gleaning information from the spiritual residue re- into a nearby mortal’s mind, creating a mental link quires the vampire to hold the object and enter a shal- through which she can communicate wordlessly or low trance. She is only marginally aware of her sur- even read the target’s deepest thoughts. The Kindred roundings while using The Spirit’s Touch, but a loud “hears” in her own mind the thoughts plucked from a noise or jarring physical sensation breaks the trance subject as if they were spoken to her. instantly. This is one of the most potent vampiric abilities, System: The player rolls Perception + Empathy. The since, given time, a Kindred can learn virtually any- difficulty is determined by the age of the impressions thing from a subject without him ever knowing. The and the mental and spiritual strength of the person or Tremere and Tzimisce in particular find this power es- event that left them. Sensing information from a pis- pecially useful in gleaning secrets from others, or for tol used for a murder hours ago may require a 4, while directing their mortal followers with silent precision. learning who owned a bloodstained puppet fashioned a System: The player rolls Intelligence + Subterfuge century ago might be a 9. (difficulty of the subject’s current Willpower points). The greater the individual’s emotional connection Projecting thoughts into the target’s mind requires one to the object, the stronger the impression he leaves success. The subject recognizes that the thoughts come on it — and the more information the Kindred can from somewhere other than his own consciousness, glean from it. Events involving strong emotions (a gift- though he cannot discern their actual origin without a giving, a torture, a long family history) likewise leave successful Perception + Awareness roll (difficulty equal stronger impressions than short or casual contact do. to the vampire’s Manipulation + Subterfuge). Assume that each success offers one piece of informa- To read minds, one success must be rolled for each tion, as per the chart below. item of information plucked or each layer of thought pierced. Deep secrets or buried memories are harder to Successes Information obtain than surface emotions or unspoken comments, Botch The character is overwhelmed by requiring five or more successes to access. psychic impressions for the next 30 Reading thoughts with Telepathy does not com- minutes and unable to act. monly work upon the undead mind. A character may Failure No information of value. expend a Willpower point to make the effort, mak- 1 success Very basic information: the last ing the roll normally afterward. Likewise, it is equally owner’s gender or hair color, difficult to read the thoughts of other supernatural for instance. creatures. However, the character may project her thoughts without expending a Willpower point. These 2 successes A second piece of basic information. thoughts, however, are still obviously intrusions into 3 successes More useful information about the the target’s mind, but the character may attempt to dis- last owner, such as age and state of guise her mental “voice” with a roll of Manipulation + mind the last time he used the item. Subterfuge (difficulty equals the target’s Perception + 4 successes The person’s name. Awareness) so the target doesn’t recognize her as the 5+ successes A wealth of information: nearly “speaker.” anything you want to know about the Storytellers are encouraged to describe thoughts as person’s relationship with that object flowing streams of impressions and images, rather than is available. as a sequence of prose (powers such as Telepathic Com- munication are of more use for that). Instead of making flat statements like “He’s planning on killing his former VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 137, lover’s new boyfriend,” say “You see a fleeting series damage), or hurtling toward the desired destination so of visions: A couple kissing passionately in a doorway, forcefully that the silver cord snaps. then the man walking alone at night; you suddenly see The player may spend a point of Willpower to acti- your hands, knuckles white, wrapped around a steer- vate this power, and an additional point of Willpower to ing wheel, with a figure crossing the street ahead; your gain the success necessary to perform the jaunt. This is heart, mortal now and hammering with panic as you an exception to the normal rule where a player may not hear the engine rev wildly; and above all, a blazing an- spend more than a single point of Willpower per turn. ger coupled with emotional agony and a panicked fear of loss.” Such descriptions not only add to the story, but Each scene in Psychic Projection requires another they also force the player to interpret for herself what point of Willpower and a new roll. Failure indicates her character gleans. After all, understanding minds — that the vampire has lost her way and must retrace the especially highly emotional or deranged minds — is a path of her silver cord. A botch at this stage means the difficult and often puzzling task. cord snaps, stranding the character’s psychic form in the mysterious astral plane. ••••• Psychic Projection An astral form may travel at great speeds (the Sto- The Kindred with this awesome ability projects her ryteller can use roughly 1000 miles per hour or 1500 senses out of her physical shell, stepping from her body kilometers per hour as a general guide) and carries no as an entity of pure thought. The vampire’s astral form clothing or material objects of any kind. Some artifacts is immune to physical damage or fatigue, and can “fly” are said to exist in the spirit world, and the character with blinding speed anywhere across the earth — or can try to use one of these tools if she finds one. The even underground — so long as she remains below the character cannot bring such relics to the physical world moon’s orbit. when she returns to her body, however. The Kindred’s material form lies in a torpid state Interaction with the physical world is impossible while her astral self is active, and the vampire isn’t while using Psychic Projection. At best, the character aware of anything that befalls her body until she returns may spend a Willpower point to manifest as a ghost- to it. An ephemeral silver cord connects the Kindred’s like shape. This apparition lasts one turn before fading psyche to her body. If this cord is severed, her conscious- away; while she can’t affect anything physically dur- ness becomes stranded in the astral plane (the realm of ing this time, the character can speak. Despite lacking ghosts, spirits, and shades). Attempting to return to the physical substance, an astral character can use Auspex vampire’s physical shell is a long and terrifying ordeal, normally. At the Storyteller’s discretion, such a char- especially since there is no guarantee that she will ac- acter may employ some or all Animalism, Dementa- complish the journey successfully. This significant dan- tion, Dominate, Necromancy, Obtenebration, Pres- ger keeps many Kindred from leaving their bodies for ence, Thaumaturgy, and similar non-corporeal powers long, but those who dare can learn much. she has, though this typically requires a minimum of System: Journeying in astral form requires the player three successes on the initial Psychic Projection roll. to expend a point of Willpower and make a Perception If two astral shapes encounter one another, they + Awareness roll. Difficulty varies depending on the dis- interact as if they were solid. They may talk, touch, tance and complexity of the intended trip; 5 is within and even fight as if both were in the material world. sight, 7 is nearby or to a familiar location, and 9 reflects a Since they have no physical bodies, astral characters trip far from familiar territory (a first journey from North seeking to interact “physically” substitute Mental and America to the Far East; trying to shortcut through the Social Traits for Physical ones (Wits replaces Dexter- earth). The greater the number of successes rolled, the ity, Manipulation supplants Strength, and Intelligence more focused the character’s astral presence is, and the replaces Stamina). Due to the lack of a material form, easier it is for her to reach her desired destination. the only real way to damage another psychic entity is Failure means the character is unable to separate to cut its silver cord. When fighting this way, consider her consciousness from her body, while a botch can Willpower points to be health levels; when a combat- have nasty consequences — flinging her astral form to ant loses all of her Willpower, the cord is severed. a random destination on Earth or in the spirit realm, Although an astrally projected character remains in arriving in a place where the sun is active (necessitat- the reflection of the mortal world, she may venture fur- ing a frenzy roll, although the sunlight doesn’t do any ther into the spirit realms, especially if she becomes 138 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, lost. Other beings with particular sensitivity to psychic begin their friends’ sentences. Prediction is a constant activity, such as ghosts, werewolves, and even some low-level telepathic scan of the minds of everyone the magi, travel the astral plane as well, and can interact character is in proximity to. While this power does not with a vampire’s psychic presence normally (although give the vampire the details of his neighbors’ conscious the astrally projected character is not considered a thoughts, it does provide a wealth of cues as to the sub- “ghost” for powers such as Necromancy). The observ- jects’ moods, suppressed reflexes, and attitudes toward ing character notices the astrally projecting vampire the topic of conversation. with a Perception + Awareness roll (difficulty 8), re- System: Whenever the character is in conversation quiring more successes than the Psychic Projection and either participant in the discussion makes a Social activation roll. Even those who do notice you won’t roll, the player may pre-empt the roll to spend a blood be able to identify you; you are merely an immaterial point and make a Perception + Empathy roll (diffi- shade hovering in the general area. Storytellers are en- culty of the target’s Manipulation + Subterfuge). Each couraged to make trips into the spirit world as bizarre, success is an additional die that can be applied to the mysterious, and dreamlike as possible. The world be- player’s Social roll or subtracted from the dice pool of yond is a vivid and fantastic place, where the true na- the Social roll being made against the character. ture of things is stronger and often strikingly different from their earthly appearances. ••••• • Telepathic Communication ••••• • Clairvoyance Telepathy (p. 137) allows a character to pick up only the surface thoughts of other individuals, and to speak By using Clairvoyance, a vampire can perceive dis- to one at a time. With Telepathic Communication, tant events without using Psychic Projection. By con- a character can form a more powerful link between centrating on a familiar person, place, or object, a his mind and that of other subjects, allowing them to character can observe the subject’s immediate vicinity converse in words, concepts, and sensory images at the while staying aware of her own surroundings. speed of thought (and without the need for Willpower System: The player rolls Perception + Empathy (dif- expenditure, unlike with Telepathy). Vampires with ficulty 6) and describes the target she’s trying to look this level of Auspex can act as “switchboard operators,” in on. If the roll is successful, the character can then creating a telepathic web that allows all participants to perceive the events and environment surrounding the share thoughts with some or all other members of the desired target for one turn per success. Other Auspex network as they choose. powers may be used on the scene being viewed; these are System: The player rolls Charisma + Empathy (dif- rolled normally. Clairvoyance does split the vampire’s ficulty equals the target’s current Willpower points) to perceptions between what she is viewing at a distance establish contact, although a willing subject may allow and what is taking place around her. As a result, while the vampire access and thus obviate the need for a roll. using this power, a character is at +3 difficulty on all rolls The maximum range at which a subject may be con- relating to actions that affect her physical surroundings. tacted and the maximum number of individuals who ••••• • Prediction may be linked simultaneously with this power depends on the Auspex rating of the vampire who initiates con- Some people are capable of finishing their friends’ tact (see sidebar). sentences. Elder vampires with Prediction sometimes Auspex Rating No. of Targets Approximate Range Auspex63subjects 500 miles/800 kilometers Auspex 7 Perception rating 1000 miles/1500 kilometers Auspex 8 Perception + Empathy 500 miles/800 kilometers per point of Intelligence Auspex 9 2x (Perception + Empathy) 1000 miles/1500 kilometers per point of Intelligence VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 139, ••••• •• Karmic Sight The power of Aura Perception (Auspex 2) allows a vampire to take a brief glimpse at the soul of a sub- ject. This power takes Aura Perception several steps forward, allowing a vampire who has mastered Auspex 2 to probe the inner workings of a subject’s mind and soul. System: The player rolls Perception + Empathy (dif- ficulty equals the subject’s current Willpower). The de- gree of success determines the information gained. Successes Result Botch The character gains a Derangement or Psychological/Mental/ Supernatural Flaw similar to one of the target’s for one night, at Storyteller discretion. 1 success As per five successes on an Aura Perception roll. 2 successes Subject’s Nature, Demeanor, and Humanity or Path can be determined. 3 successes Any outside influences on the subject’s mind or soul, such as Dominate or a demonic pact, can be detected. 4 successes Subject’s Willpower, Humanity or Path, and Virtue ratings can be determined. 5 successes The state of the subject’s karma may be determined. This is a highly abstract piece of information best left to Storyteller discretion, but should reveal the general balance between “good” and “bad” actions the subject has performed, both recently and over the course of his existence. If the plot merits it, the character may receive visions of one or more incidents in the subject’s past that radically altered his destiny. With this degree of success, some fate-related Merits and Flaws (e.g. Dark Fate) can be identified as well. 140 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, ••••• •• Mirror Reflex 2 successes The target is badly frightened. He This power was developed by a Toreador elder who loses three temporary Willpower made a fearsome reputation through her fencing prow- points and, if a vampire, must roll ess, acting as a hired champion in dozens of Ventrue Courage (difficulty of the attacker‘s duels. Mirror Reflex is similar to Prediction in that it is Auspex rating) to avoid Rötschreck. in essence a low-level telepathic scan of an opponent, 3 successes The target loses six temporary but this power taps into physical (rather than social) Willpower points and, if a vampire, reflexes, allowing the character to anticipate an en- must roll Courage as above. If this emy’s moves in personal combat. causes him to lose his last temporary System: The player spends a blood point and rolls Willpower point, he loses a Perception + the combat skill the opponent is using permanent Willpower point and (difficulty of the subject’s Manipulation + combat skill receives three health levels of bashing in use). Each success is an additional die that can he ap- damage (soaked normally). plied to the character’s dice pools during the next turn 4 successes The target loses all temporary of combat for any actions taken against the scanned op- Willpower points and half of his ponent. The use of Mirror Reflex does take one combat permanent Willpower points (round action, and the power has a maximum range in yards or down) and suffers three health levels meters equal to the character’s Willpower rating. of lethal damage (soaked normally). ••••• ••• Psychic Assault 5 successes The target must roll his permanent Willpower (difficulty 7). If he Psychic Assault is nothing less than a direct mind- succeeds, apply the effect of four to-mind attack which uses the sheer force of an elder’s successes, and is also rendered will to overpower his target. Victims of Psychic Assault unconscious for the rest of the night. show little outward sign of the attack, save for nose- If he fails, the Psychic Assault kills bleeds and expressions of intense agony; all injuries by him instantly. means of this psychic pressure inflicted are internal. A medical examination of a mortal victim of a Psychic Assault invariably shows the cause of death to be a heart attack or aneurysm, while vampires killed with ••••• •••• False Slumber this power decay to dust instantly, regardless of age. Possibly the source of many Malkavians’ conviction that their sire is alive and well on the astral plane, this System: The character must touch or make eye con- power allows a Methuselah‘s spirit to leave his body while tact with his target. The player spends three blood in torpor. While seemingly asleep, the vampire is able to points (and a Willpower point, if assaulting a vampire project astrally, think, and perceive events normally. or other supernatural being) and rolls Manipulation + Intimidation in a contested roll against the victim’s System: No roll is needed. This power is considered Willpower. The result depends on the number of net to be active whenever the vampire’s body is in torpor, successes the attacker rolls. and astral travels are handled as per the rules for Psy- chic Projection. The vampire is not able to awaken Successes Result physically at will, however — waking from torpor is Botch The target becomes immune to the handled per the normal rules for such an action (see attacker’s Psychic Assault for one p. 283). night per each “1” rolled. A vampire with this power whose silver cord is severed in Failure The target is unharmed and may astral combat loses all Willpower points, as per the rules for determine that a psychic assault is astral combat under Psychic Projection, but is not killed. taking place by succeeding on a Instead, he loses the use of this Auspex power and half of Perception + Awareness roll his permanent Willpower points. Both the Auspex 9 power (difficulty 6). and the Willpower must be bought back with experience points. The vampire’s soul slowly returns to his body over 1 success The target is shaken but unharmed. the course of a year and a day, during which time he may He loses a temporary Willpower not be awakened from torpor by any means. point. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 141,

Celerity Seeing the Unseen Not all vampires are slow, meticulous creatures.

When needed, some vampires can move fast — really Auspex enables Kindred to perceive many fast. Celerity allows Assamites, Brujah, and Toreadors things beyond the limits of lesser senses. to move with astonishing swiftness, becoming practi- Among its many uses, Auspex can detect cally a blur. The Assamites use their speed in conjunc- the presence of a supernatural being who is tion with stealth to strike quickly and viciously from hidden from normal sight (a vampire using the shadows before they are noticed. Brujah, on the Obfuscate, for example, or a ghost) or pierce other hand, simply like the edge that the power gives illusions created by the Discipline of Chim- them against overwhelming odds. The Toreador are erstry. Note: “Normal sight” includes regular, more inclined to use Celerity to provide an air of un- non-Auspex use of the Awareness skill. natural grace to live performances or for an extra push • Obfuscate: When a vampire tries to use her to complete a masterpiece on time, but they can be heightened perceptions to notice a Kindred as quick to draw blood as any assassin or punk when hidden with Obfuscate, she detects the sub- angered. ject’s presence if her Auspex rating is higher System: Each point of Celerity adds one die to every than his Obfuscate, and she succeeds at a Dexterity-related dice roll. In addition, the player can Perception + Awareness roll (difficulty equals spend one blood point to take an extra action up to the 7 minus the number of dots by which her number of dots he has in Celerity at the beginning of Auspex exceeds his Obfuscate). Conversely, the relevant turn; this expenditure can go beyond her if the target’s Obfuscate outranks her Auspex, normal Generation maximum. Any dots used for extra he remains undiscovered. If the two ratings actions, however, are no longer available for Dexteri- are equal, both characters make a resisted roll ty-related rolls during that turn. These additional ac- of Perception + Awareness (Auspex user) tions must be physical (e.g., the vampire cannot use a against Manipulation + Subterfuge (Obfuscate mental Discipline like Dominate multiple times in one user). The difficulty for both rolls is 7, and the turn), and extra actions occur at the end of the turn character with the most successes wins. (the vampire’s regular action still takes place per her • Chimerstry: Likewise, vampires with initiative roll). Auspex may seek to penetrate illusions cre- Normally, a character without Celerity must divide ated with Chimerstry. The Auspex-wielder their dice if she wants to take multiple actions in a must actively seek to pierce the illusion (i.e., single turn, as per p. 248. A character using Celerity the player must tell the Storyteller that his performs his extra actions (including full movement) character is trying to detect an illusion). without penalty, gaining a full dice pool for each sepa- The Auspex-user and Chimerstry-wielder rate action. Extra actions gained through Celerity may then compare relative ratings, per Obfuscate, not in turn be split into multiple actions, however. above. The process is otherwise identical to piercing Obfuscate. Celerity 6+ • Other Powers: Since the powers of beings Usually, elders progress in Celerity according to the like magi and wraiths function differently existing progression – more dots mean more dice and from vampiric Disciplines, a simple compari- potential actions a turn that are available, and levels son of relative ratings isn’t applicable. To keep 6 through 9 have those powers available at each level, things simple, both characters make a resisted as normal. Similar to other Disciplines at level 6 or roll. The vampire rolls Perception + Aware- higher, though, alternative powers exist. If the elder ness, while the subject rolls Manipulation + wants to purchase an alternative power instead of the Subterfuge. Again, the difficulty is 7, and the typical progression (as per the sidebar on p. 127), she character with the most successes wins. can, but she forfeits the capacity an extra Dexterity die and potential for an extra action to gain the special 142 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, power instead. She can go back later and purchase the three dots’ worth of speed into a knife he is throwing, “normal” dot of Celerity later, as desired. and use the other three dots as dice or potential extra Note that it isn’t possible to “skip” levels of progres- actions as per normal. Each dot of Celerity infused into sion for the normal Discipline – an elder with Celerity a thrown object becomes an automatic success to the 7 that buys Projective at level 6 needs to go back and attack’s damage roll, assuming the weapon or projectile buy the normal level 6 power before getting the access actually hits. to his level 7 power that grants the capacity for up to ••••• •• Flower of Death seven Dexterity dice or actions in a turn. In combat, speed kills. A proper application of Ce- ••••• • Projectile lerity in combat can turn even the meekest Cainite Despite the fact that a vampire with Celerity moves into a walking abattoir. How much more deadly, then, at incredible speeds, any bullets he fires or knives he is a vampire with the ability to utilize his preternatural throws while in this state don’t move any faster than speed to the utmost in combat? Flower of Death allows they normally would. Scientifically minded Kindred a vampire to take his Celerity and apply it in full to have been baffled by the phenomenon for centuries, each hand-to-hand or melee attack he makes. but more pragmatic ones have found a way to work System: Flower of Death costs four blood points, but around it. Projectile enables a vampire to take his pre- the spectacular effect is well worth it. Once the power ternatural speed and transfer it into something he has is in effect, the vampire’s bonus dice for Dexterity rolls thrown, fired, or launched. get added to every dice pool for attack the character System: Projectile requires the expenditure of a blood makes (even if the roll doesn’t use Dexterity) until the point. In addition, the player must decide how many end of the scene. Further, even if the Kindred uses some levels of his character’s Celerity he is putting into the of his Celerity dots for extra actions during the scene, speed of the launched object. Thus, a character with these extra dice are still available. The effect is limited Celerity 6 in addition to Projectile could decide to put to hand-to-hand or melee weapon attacks — firearms, VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 143, bows, and other ranged weapons are excluded — but dragons breathing fire or gravity working in reverse). does grant the attacker additional dice for damage rolls. Sometimes, frequent targets of Chimerstry end up at- Flower of Death is not cumulative — it is impossible tempting to disbelieve everything around them, lead- to “layer” uses of the power over one another to create ing to derangements (and, quite often, to the amuse- astronomical dice pools. ment of the Ravnos). ••••• ••• Zephyr • Ignis Fatuus Zephyr produces an effect vaguely similar to one of The vampire may conjure a minor, static mirage that the legendary comic book-style uses of enhanced speed, confounds one sense. For instance, he may evoke a sul- allowing its practitioner to run so fast he can run across furous stench, the appearance of stigmata, or the shat- water. Particularly successful applications of Zephyr al- ter of broken glass. Note that though tactile illusions low a vampire to go so far as to run up walls and, in at can be felt, they have no real substance; an invisible least one recorded instance, across a ceiling. but tactile wall cannot confine anyone, and invisible razor-wire causes no real damage. Similarly, the vam- System: Zephyr requires the expenditure of one point pire must know the characteristics of what he’s creat- of blood and one point of Willpower. Unfortunately, ing. While it’s easy enough to estimate what a knife Zephyr requires such extremes of concentration that it wound might look like, falsifying a person’s voice or a cannot be combined with any form of attack, or indeed, photograph of a childhood home requires knowledge with most any sort of action at all. If a character using of the details. Zephyr feels the need to do something else while mov- ing at such tremendous speeds, a Willpower roll (dif- System: The player spends a point of Willpower ficulty 8) is required. Needless to say, botches at Zephyr for the vampire to create this illusion. The volume of speed can be spectacular in all the wrong ways. smells, ambient lighting, smoke clouds, and the like are limited to roughly 20 cubic feet (half a cubic me- Most times, a vampire moving at such a rate of speed ter) per dot the vampire has in Chimerstry. The illu- is barely visible, appearing more as a vampire-shaped sion lasts until the vampire leaves its vicinity (such as blur than anything else. Observers must succeed on a stepping out of the room) or until another person sees Perception + Alertness roll (difficulty 7) to get a de- through it somehow. The Cainite may also end the il- cent look at a Kindred zooming past in this fashion. lusion at any time with no effort. •• Fata Morgana

Chimerstry The Cainite can now create illusions that appeal to

all the senses, though they remain static. For example, The Ravnos are known as masters of illusion, al- the vampire could make a filthy cellar appear as an opu- though the reason why is lost to history. Rumors lent ballroom, though she could not create a glittering abound of Ravnos ghûls, rakshasas, and shapeshifters, chandelier or a score of graceful dancers. Again, the but whatever its origins, Chimerstry remains a potent illusion has no solid presence, though it’s easy enough and powerful weapon for the Deceivers. The Discipline to fool an enraptured visitor with suggestions of what is, fundamentally, an art of conjuration that converts she might expect. A bucket of brackish water is as cool the vampire’s will into phantoms that confound the as chilled champagne, after all. senses and technology alike. Even vampires fall under the sway of the Ravnos’ illusory world, unless they have System: The player spends a Willpower point andaastrong enough grasp of Auspex (see p. 142). The Rav- blood point to create the illusion. These static images nos often use this power to swindle and seduce their remain until dispelled, in much the same way that an victims into acts that work out badly for the victim Ignis Fatuus illusion does. (but great for the Ravnos). ••• Apparition Illusions created by Chimerstry can be seen for what Not really a power unto itself, Apparition allows a they are by a victim who “proves” the illusion’s false- vampire to give motion to an illusion created with Ig- hood (e.g., a person who walks up to an illusory wall, nis Fatuus or Fata Morgana. Thus, the Cainite could expresses his disbelief in it, and puts his hand through create the illusion of a living being, running water, it effectively banishes the illusion), and explicitly in- fluttering drapes, or a roaring fire. credible illusions are seen as false immediately (e.g., 144 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, System: The creator spends one blood point to make victim’s Perception + Self-Control/Instinct). Each the illusion move in one significant way, or in any success inflicts one health level of lethal damage on number of subtle ways. For example, the vampire could the victim that cannot be soaked — the Cainite as- create the illusion of a lurking mugger lurching at her saults the victim’s mind and perceptions, not his body. victim, or she could create the illusion of a desolate If the player wishes to inflict less damage or change it street, down which a chill wind blows trash while a to bashing, he may announce a maximum amount of streetlamp flickers and hums. Taking complicated ac- damage before rolling the dice. Secondary effects (such tions besides maintaining the illusion — that is, any- as frenzy rolls for illusory fire) may also occur. thing that would require a dice roll — first requires suc- The victim heals all his damage instantaneously if cess on a Willpower roll, resulting in the dissolution of he can be convinced that the damage he took was il- the false construct if the roll fails. lusory, but convincing him may take some doing, such Once the creator stops concentrating on the illusion, as with at least two successes on a Charisma + Empathy it can continue in simple, repetitive motions – roughly roll (difficulty equal to the Manipulation + Subterfuge speaking, anything that can be described in a simple of the Cainite using Horrid Reality). The target must sentence, such as a guard walking back and forth in be convinced of the attack’s illusory nature within 24 front of a steel door. After that, the vampire cannot hours of its taking place, or it becomes too well estab- regain control over the illusion – she can either allow lished in his memory, and he will have to heal the dam- it to continue moving as ordered, or let it fade as de- age using blood (if a vampire) or over time (if mortal). scribed under Ignis Fatuus. This power cannot actually kill its victims (though a •••• Permanency target with a heart condition may well die from fright). A victim “killed” by an illusory attack loses conscious- This power, also used in conjunction with Ignis ness or enters torpor. Fatuus or Fata Morgana, allows a mirage to persist even when the vampire cannot see it. In this way, Ravnos ••••• • False Resonance often cloak their temporary havens in false trappings of Illusions of living or unliving beings are all well luxury, or ward off trespassers with illusory guard dogs. and good until someone decides to read the illusion’s System: The vampire need only spend a blood point, mind or its aura. The automatic failure to perceive any and the illusion becomes permanent until dissolved sense of the target’s thoughts or emotions will usually (including “programmed” illusions like those created be passed off as bad luck, lack of concentration, or by Apparition). whatever reason any Kindred might construct to ex- plain why he didn’t succeed in gleaning information ••••• Horrid Reality through supernatural means. A vampire can use False Rather than create simple illusions, the vampire Resonance to overlay auras and thoughts on illusions, can now project hallucinations directly into a victim’s as well as leave a trace that other emotionally resonant mind. The target of these illusions believes completely powers can detect later. that the images are real; a hallucinatory fire can burn System: This power automatically applies to any him, an imaginary noose can strangle him, and an il- other use of Chimerstry as the user wishes. In effect, lusory wall can block him. This power affects only one any attempt to use Auspex, the Dementation power person at a time; though others can see the illusion, it Eyes of Chaos, or similar sensory powers that generates doesn’t impact them in the same way. Other people five or fewer successes will detect an aura, thoughts, can try to convince the victim that his terrors are not Demeanor or whatever the power would normally de- real, but he won’t believe them. Note that targets with tect. Thoughts won’t be exceptionally complex, and enough dots in Auspex can still attempt to roll for See- will relate to whatever is going on around the illusion ing the Unseen (p. 142). in a mundane and simplistic way. Auras will consist System: A Horrid Realty illusion costs two Will- of colors related to specific emotions (anger, sadness, power points to set in motion and lasts for an entire hatred, love, and happiness) and will not show much scene (though its effects may last longer; see below). complexity beyond that. Spirit’s Touch can pick up the If the vampire is trying to injure his victim, his player same emotional resonance until the next sunrise. must roll Manipulation + Subterfuge (difficulty of the VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 145, ••••• • Fatuus Mastery 7 Visited three or more times A Ravnos with Fatuus Mastery has no restriction 8 Visited once; viewing on a live feed on how often she may use the first three levels (Ignis 9 Described in detail; seen it in a video Fatuus, Fata Morgana, and Apparition) and can main- or have a undoctored photo tain or control illusions with minimal concentration or fatigue. Kindred who rely on the high cost of Chim- erstry to limit a vampire’s ability to use illusions are in ••••• •• Suspension of Disbelief for a very rude surprise when they encounter a Cainite A Ravnos with this power can imbue her Chimerstry with this power. with a sense of reality that makes it easier for view- System: Fatuus Mastery negates the Willpower and ers to believe in the illusion. No matter how strange blood cost for using the first three levels of Chimerstry. or surreal the illusion is, an onlooker will accept it as In addition, the Kindred may direct movement for a real. If the illusion is wildly unrealistic (fire-breathing number of illusions equal to his Intelligence without dragons, a pack of aliens), once it is no longer in his intense concentration. Furthermore, the character can sight, the observer will question what he saw and even- maintain the illusion as long as it remains within his tually deny the event ever happened. A vampire can Willpower rating in miles (or about one and a half also use this power to make something appear unbe- times that in kilometers), although he may not make lievable, whether it’s real or not. In this case, observers it react to events around it if he has no way to perceive will write off what they’re seeing as some kind of trick those events. or hallucination. ••••• • Shared Nightmare System: The player rolls Manipulation + Subter- Even though Horrid Reality is visible to all onlook- fuge (difficulty 7). The number of successes determines ers, it can only inflict “damage” on one victim. With how many witnesses are affected. If the player uses the Shared Nightmare, a vampire can inflict her tormented power to make something look unbelievable, Auspex visions on a crowd. will show the thing in question to be an illusion unless the Auspex rating is not high enough to penetrate the System: To use this power, the player must spend Kindred’s Chimerstry. two Willpower points, plus one blood point per target. The player rolls Manipulation + Subterfuge once, but Successes Result compares the results against each target individually. 1 success Five people The difficulty is still each victim’s Perception + Self- Control/Instinct. 2 successes 10 people 3 successes 25 people ••••• •• Far Fatuus 4 successes 50 people This power allows a Kindred to project illusions to any area he can see or visualize. Under most circum- 5 successes Everyone who can see it stances, accomplishing this requires him to have vis- ited the location in question before he can project il- lusions there. Although more difficult, a vampire may ••••• ••• Synesthesia project illusions on the basis of a description, a photo, A Cainite who masters this power can shuffle oth- or a video clip. ers’ senses around to suit his preferences. He can se- System: The difficulty for using Far Fatuus depends lect one target and inflict a serious, disorienting, and on the user’s familiarity with the location. The player all-encompassing case of synesthesia upon her, mak- must roll Perception + Subterfuge to affect the loca- ing it impossible for her to interact meaningfully with tion. Once this roll is successful, the vampire may then the real world for the power’s duration. The vampire use any other Chimerstry power on that location. has complete control over how the target’s senses work and can manipulate them to suit. For example, he may Difficulty Familiarity decide that she smells all sounds as varieties of nauseat- 6 As familiar as one’s haven; currently ing stenches, or more subtly, he may exchange pain for viewing with Clairvoyance or Psychic pleasure. Used against a crowd, sensations are random- Projection ly shuffled, so one man will see what the woman next 146 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, to him sees, but hears what the man 15 feet behind him Successes Result hears and feels what the child a block away feels. The 1 success Render an object harmless (swords end result is extremely disorienting for all victims. won’t cut, firearms won’t shoot), System: When used against a single victim, the play- create a large volume of obscuring er must spend one Willpower point and roll Manipula- smoke tion + Intimidation (difficulty is victim’s current Will- 2 successes Change an object into another object power points). For use against crowds, the difficulty is (turn candles into tarantulas, etc.) 7, and the power affects everyone within the vampire’s 3 successes Render the object insubstantial, make line of sight and subtracts one point from Perception smoke solid per success rolled. Victims whose Perception has been reduced to zero can only sit down and wait for the dis- 4 successes Cause drastic changes (stone becomes orientation to end. Duration against a single victim is highly flammable) determined below. Against a crowd, the power persists 5 successes Cause the environment to behave until sunrise. illogically (gravity twists sideways, rivers stand still as hills flow upward) Successes Result 6+ successes Delete any offending material objects 1 success One week from existence. This effect is 2 successes One month permanent (to use this on conscious 3 successes Six months targets, follow the system described below). 4 successes One year 5 successes Permanent When using the power on conscious targets, consult the table above for alterations (such as forcing the vic- ••••• •••• Mayaparisatya tim into another form or transforming her into a differ-ent substance). If using the power to negate the victim’s This expression of Chimerstry allows the Cainite existence, the power inflicts two levels of unsoakable to directly alter or create real objects or creatures, al- aggravated damage per success. If the power doesn’t kill though such changes are of finite duration. A vampire the victim, subtract one dot of Strength and Stamina with this power can transform the air around a rival per success. The damage must be healed normally, but Kindred into fire or render a locked door insubstantial. the lost Attributes return at the end of the scene. Vic- A more harrowing use of this power enables the vam- tims of this power look hazy and insubstantial. Victims pire to force an object out of existence by transforming destroyed with this power simply vanish. it into nothing more than a wisp of its former reality. System: To use this power, the player must spend 10 blood points and one permanent Willpower point and Dementation roll Manipulation + Subterfuge. Difficulty for the roll is 6 for affecting inanimate objects, and the victim’s Dementation is the Discipline that allows a vampire Willpower rating for affecting characters. This power to focus and channel madness into the minds of those can affect anything within miles (kilometers) of the around him. Though it’s the natural legacy of the Mal- vampire, as long as the character is aware of the target kavians, practitioners of Dementation need not actu- in some way. If used with Far Fatuus, the effects are ally be mad to use the Discipline… but it helps. centered on the chosen location. This power can affect Disturbingly, Dementation doesn’t actually make a number of conscious targets equal to the Kindred’s their victims mad, but rather it seems to break down Willpower per use. the doors to the hidden darkness of the target’s mind, When dealing with inanimate objects, the number releasing into the open whatever is found there. The of successes determines how drastic the alteration may Malkavians claim that this is because insanity is the be. No matter how many successes the player rolls, the next logical step in mental evolution, a transhuman- duration is always a scene. This power can affect any ist advancement of what modern people consider con- objects of a type within the vampire’s targeted area. sciousness. Other Kindred scoff that this reasoning is an outright justification for the chaos that Dementa- VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 147, tion brings. They don’t scoff too loudly, however, lest System: After the vampire speaks to the victim, the the Malkavian advance their consciousness next. player spends a blood point and rolls Manipulation + Subterfuge (difficulty of his victim’s Perception + Self- • Passion Control/Instinct). The number of successes determines The vampire stirs his victim’s emotions, either the length of the sensory “visitations.” The precise ef- heightening them to a fevered pitch or blunting them fects are up to the Storyteller, though particularly ee- until the target is completely desensitized. The Cain- rie or harrowing apparitions can certainly reduce dice ite may not choose which emotion is affected; she may pools for a turn or two after the manifestation. only amplify or dull emotions already present in the target. In this way, a vampire can inflame mild irrita- Successes Result tion into quivering rage or atrophy true love into ca- 1 success One night sual interest. 2 successes Two nights System: The character talks to her victim, and 3 successes One week the vampire’s player rolls Charisma + Empathy (dif- ficulty equals the victim’s Humanity or Path rating). 4 successes One month The number of successes determines the duration of 5 successes Three months the altered state of feeling. Effects of this power might 6+ successes One year include one- or two-point additions or subtractions to difficulties of frenzy rolls, Virtue rolls, rolls to resist Presence powers, etc. ••• Eyes of Chaos Successes Result This peculiar power allows the vampire to take ad- 1 success One turn vantage of the fleeting clarity hidden in insanity. She may scrutinize the “patterns” of a person’s soul, the 2 successes One hour convolutions of a vampire’s inner nature, or even ran- 3 successes One night dom events in nature itself. The Kindred with this 4 successes One week power can discern the most well-hidden psychoses, or 5 successes One month gain insight into a person’s true self. Malkavians with this power often have (or claim to have) knowledge of 6+ successes Three months the moves and countermoves of the great Jyhad, or the patterns of fate. System: This power allows a vampire to determine a •• The Haunting person’s true Nature, among other things. The vampire The vampire manipulates the sensory centers of his concentrates for a turn, then her player rolls Perception victim’s brain, flooding the victim’s senses with visions, + Occult. The difficulty depends on the intricacy of the sounds, scents, or feelings that aren’t really there. The pattern. Discerning the Nature of a stranger would be images, regardless of the sense to which they appeal, difficulty 9, a casual acquaintance would be an 8, and are only fleeting “glimpses,” barely perceptible to the an established ally a 6. The vampire could also read victim. The vampire using Dementation cannot con- the message locked in a coded missive (difficulty 7), or trol what the victim perceives, but may choose which even see the doings of an invisible hand in such events sense is affected. as the pattern of falling leaves (difficulty 6). Almost The “haunting” effects occur mainly when the vic- anything might contain some hidden insight, no mat- tim is alone, and mostly at night. They may take the ter how trivial or meaningless. The patterns are pres- form of the subject’s repressed fears, guilty memories, ent in most things, but are often so intricate they can or anything else that the Storyteller finds dramatically keep a vampire spellbound for hours while she tries to appropriate. The effects are never pleasant or unobtru- understand their message. sive, however. The Storyteller should let her imagina- This is a potent power, subject to adjudication. Sto- tion run wild when describing these sensory impres- rytellers, this power is an effective way to introduce sions; the victim may well feel as if she is going mad, or plot threads for a chronicle, reveal an overlooked clue, as if the world is. foreshadow important events, or communicate critical 148 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, information a player seeks. Important to its use, though, is delivering the information properly. Secrets revealed via Eyes of Chaos are never simple facts; they’re tanta- lizing symbols adrift in a sea of madness. Describe the results of this power in terms of allegory: “The man before you appears as a crude marionette, with garish features painted in bright stage makeup, and strings vanishing up into the night sky.” Avoid stating plainly, “You learn that this ghoul is the minion of a powerful Methuselah.” •••• Voice of Madness By merely addressing his victims aloud, the Kindred 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 de- mons, and try to flee or destroy their hidden shames. Tragedy almost always follows in the wake of this pow- er’s use, though offending Malkavians often claim that they were merely encouraging people to act “according to their natures.” Unfortunately for the vampire con- cerned, 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 tar- get is affected per success, although all potential vic- tims must be listening to the vampire’s voice. Affected victims fly immediately into frenzy or a blind fear like Rötschreck. Kindred or other creatures capable of frenzy, such as Lupines, may make a frenzy check or Rötschreck 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, though vampires and Lupines may test as usual to snap out of it. The vampire using Voice of Madness must also test for frenzy or Rötschreck upon invoking this power, though his difficulty to resist is one lower than nor- mal. If the initial roll to invoke this power is a failure, however, the roll to resist the frenzy is one higher than normal. If the roll to invoke this power is a botch, the frenzy or Rötschreck response is automatic. ••••• Total Insanity The vampire coaxes the madness from the deepest recesses of her target’s mind, focusing it into an over- whelming wave of insanity. This power has driven countless victims, vampire and mortal alike, to unfor- tunate ends. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 149, System: The Kindred must gain her target’s undi- ••••• • Shattered Mirror vided attention for at least one full turn to enact this Although Dementation’s low-level effects are pri- power. The player spends a blood point and rolls Ma- marily to initiate or promote insanity rather than to nipulation + Intimidation (difficulty of her victim’s create it spontaneously, some of its more potent mani- current Willpower points). If the roll is successful, the festations are not as subtle. The wielder of this fear- victim is afflicted with five derangements of the Sto- some power can transfer her own deranged mindset ryteller’s choice (see p. 290). The number of successes into the psyche of a hapless victim, spreading her own determines the duration. brand of insanity like a virus. Successes Result System: The vampire must establish eye contact 1 success One turn (p. 152) with her intended victim to apply this power. 2 successes One night The player then rolls Charisma + Subterfuge (difficulty equal to the target’s current Willpower points) resisted 3 successes One week by the target’s Wits + Self-Control/Instinct (difficulty 4 successes One month equal to the Dementation user’s current Willpower 5+ successes One year points). If the aggressor wins, the target gains all of her derangements and Mental Flaws for a period of time determined by the number of net successes the aggres- On a botch… well, the Storyteller can decide what sor scored: a vampire inflicts upon herself by attempting to incite the primal hells lurking within the darkest recesses of Successes Result a victim’s mind. 1 success one hour The victim (or the target of a botch) can spenda2successes one night number of Willpower points equal to the successes 3 successes one week rolled to end the duration prematurely. The Storyteller decides when such Willpower points can be spent (such 4 successes one month as after a therapy session or after a friend has managed 5 successes six months to prove a particular delusion to be false). 6+ successes one year per success over 5 ••••• • Lingering Malaise While lesser Dementation powers allow a vampire to inflict temporary (though often long-lasting) madness ••••• •• Restructure upon a victim, elders of the Clan have developed the The elder with this fearsome power has the ability ability to infect the minds of their victims with per- to twist his victims’ psyches at their most basic levels, manent maladies. Lingering Malaise causes permanent warping their very beings. The subject of Restructure psychological shifts within the victim, making him, as retains her memories, but her outlook on life changes one Gangrel elder remarked, “an honorary Lunatic.” completely, as if she has undergone a sudden epiphany or religious conversion. This effect goes much deeper System: The character speaks to his victim for at than the implantation of a derangement; it actually least a minute, describing the derangement that Lin- performs a complete rewrite of the victim’s personal- gering Malaise will inflict. The player rolls Manipula- ity. tion + Empathy (difficulty equal to the victim’s current Willpower points); the victim resists with a Willpower System: As the description says, this power allows roll (using his permanent Willpower at difficulty 8). If the vampire to change his target’s Nature to one more the user of Lingering Malaise scores more successes, the suitable to his ends. To accomplish this, the character victim gains a permanent derangement chosen by the must make eye contact (p. 152) with his intended vic- individual who inflicts it. Lingering Malaise may only tim. The player rolls Manipulation + Subterfuge (diffi- be used to inflict one derangement per night on any culty equals the victim’s Wits + Subterfuge). If he rolls given victim, though multiple attempts may be made a number of successes equal to or greater than the tar- until the derangement takes hold. get’s Self-Control/Instinct, the target’s Nature changes to whatever the player using Restructure desires. This 150 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, effect is permanent and can be undone only by another 3 successes A large downtown area application of Restructure (though subtle differences 4 successes Several neighborhoods from the character’s original Nature may still remain, as it is impossible for such a fundamental change to oc- 5 successes An entire metropolitan area cur flawlessly). A botch on this roll changes the char- (approximately 30 miles or acter’s own Nature to that of his intended victim. 45 kilometers) 6+ successes An additional 10 miles or 15 ••••• ••• Personal Scourge kilometers for every success past 5 Similar to the Auspex power of Psychic Assault (p. 141), this fearsome ability allows the elder to turn the very strength of her victim’s mind against him, Within this area, all sentient creatures fall prey inflicting physical harm with the power of his own to their baser instincts. Mortals spontaneously riot, will. Victims of this self-powered attack spontaneously looting and burning between bouts of mass violence. erupt in lacerations and bruises, spraying blood in ev- Kindred enter hunger-induced frenzies, draining dry ery direction and howling in agony. Those who have as many vessels as they can sink their fangs into. An observed such an attack with Auspex note that the entire city can quite literally be driven temporarily in- victim’s aura swirls with violent psychosis and erupts sane by this power. Lunatic Eruption’s effects persist outward in writhing appendages — a sight that can until the next sunrise, and anyone entering its area of make even the most jaded Tzimisce quail. effect (centered on the site at which it was used, not on the character who applied it) falls under its spell. System: The vampire must touch or establish eye However, momentum may carry the violence spawned contact (p. 152) with her target. The player rolls Ma- by this power much farther — and keep it going much nipulation + Empathy (difficulty equal to the target’s longer — than the power itself can force. Stamina + Self-Control/Instinct) and spends two Will- power points. For a number of turns equal to the num- Victims of Lunatic Eruption may resist with Self- ber of successes rolled, the victim rolls his own perma- Control/Instinct rolls (difficulty equal to the Dementa- nent Willpower as lethal damage against himself. This tion user’s permanent Willpower rating); each success damage can be soaked with his own Humanity or Path provides one hour of lucidity, which most wise indi- of Enlightenment (difficulty 6); Fortitude does not add viduals use to leave the power’s area of effect (leav- to this soak dice pool, nor does body armor. He may ing the “blast radius” removes the power’s influence). take no actions during this time other than thrashing The source of Lunatic Eruption may be pinpointed if and gibbering; this includes spending blood to heal. a character is using Heightened Senses or an equiva- lent power at the time it is used; this is automatic and ••••• •••• Lunatic Eruption requires no roll. However, this grants no knowledge of This fearsome ability is only known to have been what actually happened — the observer simply “feels” applied a few times in recorded Kindred history, most a massive psychic shockwave explode from the charac- spectacularly during the final nights of the last battle of ter using the power. Carthage. It is effectively a psychic nuclear bomb, used to incite every intelligent being within several miles (kilometers) into an orgy of bloodlust and rage. It is Dominate suspected that the Malkavians have used the threat of this power as a bargaining chip in several key negotia- Dominate is one of the most dreaded of Disciplines. tions. It is a vampire’s ability to influence another person’s thoughts and actions through her own force of will. System: The player spends four Willpower points Dominate requires that the vampire capture her vic- and rolls Stamina + Intimidation (difficulty 8). The tim’s gaze (see p. 152); as such, it may be used against area of effect is determined by the number of successes only one subject at a time. Further, commands must be scored: issued verbally, although simple orders may be made with signs — for example, a pointed finger and force- Successes Result ful expression to indicate “Go!” However, the subject 1 success One city block won’t comply if he can’t understand the vampire, no 2 successes An entire neighborhood matter how powerful the Kindred’s will is. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 151, Perhaps unsurprisingly, vampires to which Dominate • Command comes naturally tend to be from willful, domineering The vampire locks eyes with the subject and speaks Clans. The Giovanni, Lasombra, Tremere, and Ven- a one-word command, which the subject must be obey true all consider an iron will to be a boon, and are ea- instantly. The order must be clear and straightforward: ger to impose that iron will on any who would move run, agree, fall, yawn, jump, laugh, surrender, stop, against them. scream, 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

Eye Contact like “die” is ineffective.

Many myths and stories exist about a vam- The command may be included in a sentence, there- pire’s mystical ability to put people under her by concealing the power’s use from others. This ef- spell by looking deeply into her victim’s eyes. fort at subtlety still requires the Kindred to make eye The persistence of such stories through the contact at the proper moment and stress the key word ages isn’t surprising, since a number of Kin- slightly. An alert bystander — or even the victim — dred Disciplines powers (most notably Domi- may notice the emphasis. Still, unless she’s conversant nate) require eye contact in order to work. with supernatural powers, the individual is likely to Other vampires, learning of this requirement, attribute the utterance and the subsequent action to have attempted everything from wearing mir- bizarre coincidence. rored sunglasses to gouging out their own eyes System: The player rolls Manipulation + Intimida- in order to prevent an elder from exerting his tion (difficulty equals the target’s current Willpower will upon them. points). More successes force the subject to act with But Kindred are not so easily thwarted. greater vigor or for a longer duration (continue run- ning for a number of turns, go off on a laughing jag, The need for eye contact stems from the ag- scream uncontrollably). gressor Kindred’s need to see his victim’s soul, Remember, too, that being commanded to against and the eyes are the traditionally known as one’s Nature confounds the use of this power. Being the windows to the soul. While the vampire told to “sleep!” in a dangerous situation or “attack!” needs to capture his target’s attention, the in police custody may not have the desired effect, or target’s eyes need not be present for such indeed, any effect at all. a power to work (although the arts of the Tzimisce make this somewhat challenging at •• Mesmerize times) — they only need to find the soul of With this power, a vampire can verbally implant a his victim laid bare. false thought or hypnotic suggestion in the subject’s A target trying to avoid eye contact can make subconscious mind. Both Kindred and target must be a Willpower roll against a difficulty equal to free from distraction, since Mesmerize requires intense Dominate user’s Manipulation + Intimida- concentration and precise wording to be effective. The tion (or other appropriate combination for vampire may activate the imposed thought immediate- other Disciplines or specific situations, at the ly or establish a stimulus that will trigger it later. The Storyteller’s discretion). The difficulty may be victim must be able to understand the vampire, though reduced for mitigating factors: -1 in the case the two need to maintain eye contact only as long as it of the target obscuring his eyes slightly (such takes to implant the idea. as closing her eyes or wearing dark sunglasses) Mesmerize allows for anything from simple, precise up to a -3 for the eyes being completely un- directives (handing over an item) to complex, highly seen (such as with a thick blindfold or having involved ones (taking notes of someone’s habits and her eyes torn out). Ultimately, however, it is relaying that information at an appointed time). It is up to the Storyteller to decide whether eye not useful for planting illusions or false memories (such contact is established in a particular case. as seeing a rabbit or believing yourself to be on fire). A subject can have only one suggestion implanted at any time. 152 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, System: The player rolls Manipulation + Leader- ••• The Forgetful Mind ship (difficulty equal to the target’s current Willpower After capturing the subject’s gaze, the vampire delves points). The number of successes determines how well into the subject’s memories, stealing or re-creating the suggestion takes hold in the victim’s subconscious. them at his whim. The Forgetful Mind does not allow If the vampire scores one or two successes, the subject for telepathic contact; the Kindred operates much like cannot be forced to do anything that seems strange to a hypnotist, asking directed questions and drawing out her (she might walk outside, but is unlikely to steal a answers from the subject. The degree of memory altera- car). At three or four successes, the command is effec- tion depends on what the vampire desires. He may al- tive unless following it endangers the subject. At five ter the subject’s mind only slightly (quite effective for successes or greater, the vampire can implant nearly eliminating memories of the victim meeting or even any sort of command. being fed upon by the vampire) or utterly undo the vic- No matter how strong the Kindred’s will, his com- tim’s memories of her past. mand cannot force the subject to harm herself directly The degree of detail used has a direct bearing on how or defy her innate Nature. So, while a vampire who strongly the new memories take hold, since the vic- scored five successes could make a 98-pound weakling tim’s subconscious mind resists the alteration. A sim- attack a 300-pound bouncer, he could not make the plistic or incomplete false memory (“You went to the mortal shoot herself in the head. movies last night”) crumbles much more quickly than If a vampire tries to Mesmerize a subject before the does one with more attention to detail (“You thought target fulfills a previously implanted directive, com- about texting your girlfriend while you were in line at pare the successes rolled to those gained during the im- the new movie theater, but you knew you’d have to planting of the first suggestion. Whichever roll had the turn your phone off once you got inside. You liked the greater number of successes is the command that now movie well enough, but the plot seemed weak. You governs in the target’s behavior; the other suggestion is were tired after it ended, so you went home, watched a wiped clean. If the successes rolled are equal, the newer little late-night television, and went to bed.”). command supplants the old one. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 153, Even in its simplest applications, The Forgetful Mind nal vampire’s permanent Willpower rating) and score requires tremendous skill and finesse. It’s a relatively more successes than his predecessor did. However, the simple matter to rifle through a victim’s psyche and rip Kindred cannot use The Forgetful Mind to restore his out the memories of the previous night without know- own memories if they were stolen in such a way. ing what the subject did that evening. Doing so leaves a gap in the victim’s mind, however — a hole that can •••• Conditioning give rise to further problems down the road. The Kin- Through sustained manipulation, the vampire can dred may describe new memories, but these recollec- make a subject more pliant to the Kindred’s will. Over tions seldom have the same degree of realism that the time, the victim becomes increasingly susceptible to subject’s original thoughts held. the vampire’s influence while simultaneously growing As such, this power isn’t always completely effective. more resistant to the corrupting efforts of other Kin- The victim may remember being bitten, but believe it dred. Gaining complete control over a subject’s mind to be an animal attack. Greater memories may return is no small task, taking weeks or even months to ac- in pieces as dreams, or through sensory triggers like complish. a familiar odor or spoken phrase. Even so, months or Kindred often fill their retainers’ heads with subtle years may pass before the subject regains enough of her whispers and veiled urges, thereby ensuring these mor- lost memories to make sense of the fragments. tals’ loyalty. Yet vampires must pay a high price for A vampire can also sense when a subject’s memories the minds they ensnare. Servants Dominated in this were altered through use of this power, and even restore way lose much of their passion and individuality. They them, as a hypnotist draws forth suppressed thoughts. follow the vampire’s orders quite literally, seldom tak- ing initiative or showing any imagination. In the end, System: The player states what sorts of alteration he such retainers become like automatons or the walking wants to perform, then rolls Wits + Subterfuge (dif- dead. ficulty equal to the target’s current Willpower points). Any success pacifies the victim for the amount of time System: The player rolls Charisma + Leadership (dif- it takes the vampire to perform the verbal alteration, ficulty equal to the target’s current Willpower points) provided the vampire does not act aggressively toward once per scene. Conditioning is an extended action, for her. The table below indicates the degree of modifica- which the Storyteller secretly determines the number tion possible to the subject’s memory. If the successes of successes required. It typically requires between five rolled don’t allow for the extent of change the charac- and 10 times the subject’s Self-Control/Instinct rat- ter desired, the Storyteller reduces the resulting impact ing. Targets with more empathic Natures may require on the victim’s mind. a lower number of successes, while those with willful Natures require a higher total. Only through roleplay- Successes Result ing may a character discern whether his subject is con- 1 success May remove a single memory; ditioned successfully. lasts one day. A target may become more tractable even before 2 successes May remove, but not alter, memory becoming fully conditioned. Once the vampire accu- permanently. mulates half the required number of successes, the Sto- ryteller may apply a lower difficulty to the vampire’s 3 successes May make slight changes to memory. subsequent uses of Dominate. After being conditioned, 4 successes May alter or remove entire scene the target falls so far under the vampire’s influence that from subject’s memory. the Kindred need not make eye contact or even be 5 successes May reconstruct entire periods of present to retain absolute control. The subject does ex- subject’s life. actly as she is told (including taking actions that would injure herself), as long as her master can communicate with her verbally. No command roll is necessary un- To restore removed memories or sense false ones less the subject is totally isolated from the vampire’s in a subject, the character’s Dominate rating must be presence (in a different room, over the phone). Even equal to or higher than that of the vampire who made if a command roll fails, the target will still likely carry the alteration. In that situation, the player must make out part of the orders given, simply because her master a Wits + Empathy roll (difficulty equal to the origi- wishes it. 154 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, After the subject is fully conditioned, other Kindred possessed in this way, although ghouls that have drunk find her more difficult to Dominate. Such conditioning from the vampire using Possession can. raises others’ difficulties by two (to a maximum of 10). System: The vampire must completely strip away the It is possible, though difficult, to shake Condition- target’s Willpower prior to possessing her. The player ing. The subject must be separated entirely from the spends a Willpower point, then rolls Charisma + In- vampire to whom she was in thrall. This period of timidation, while the subject rolls his Willpower in a separation varies depending on the individual, but resisted action (difficulty 7 for each). For each success the Storyteller may set it at six months, less a number the vampire obtains over the victim’s total, the target of weeks equal to the subject’s permanent Willpower loses a point of temporary Willpower. Only if the at- rating (so a person with 5 Willpower must stay away tacker botches can the subject escape her fate, since from the vampire for just under five months). The this makes the target immune to any further Dominate subject regains her personality slowly during this time, attempts by that vampire for the rest of the story. though she may still lapse into brief spells of listless- Once the target loses all her temporary Willpower, ness, despair, or even anger. If the vampire encounters her mind is open. The vampire rolls Manipulation + the target before that time passes, a single successful Intimidation (difficulty 7) to determine how fully he Charisma + Leadership roll (difficulty of the target’s assumes control of the mortal shell. Similar to the Ani- current Willpower points) on the part of the vampire malism power Subsume the Spirit, multiple successes completely reasserts the dominance. allow the character to utilize some mental Disciplines, If the subject makes it through the time period with- noted on the chart below. (Vampires possessing ghouls out intervention by her master, the target regains her can use the physical Disciplines the ghoul possesses, former individuality. Even so, the vampire may rees- but not the mental ones.) tablish conditioning more easily than the first time, since the subject is now predisposed to falling under Successes Result the Kindred’s mental control. New attempts require 1 success Cannot use Disciplines half the total number of successes than the last bout of 2 successes Can use Auspex and other sensory conditioning did (which means the subject reaches the powers threshold for reduced difficulties sooner, as well). 3 successes Can also use Presence and other ••••• Possession powers of emotional manipulation At this level of Dominate, the force of the Kindred’s 4 successes Can also use Dementation, psyche is such that it can utterly supplant the mind of Dominate, and other powers a mortal subject. Speaking isn’t required, but the vam- of mental manipulation pire must capture the victim’s gaze. During the psychic 5 successes Can also use Chimerstry, struggle, the contestants’ eyes are locked on one an- Necromancy, Thaumaturgy, other. and other mystical powers Once the Kindred overwhelms the subject’s mind, the vampire moves his consciousness into the victim’s The character may travel as far from his body as he is body and controls it as easily as he uses his own. The physically able while possessing the mortal. The vam- mortal falls into a mental fugue while under possession. pire may also venture out during the day in the mortal She is aware of events only in a distorted, dreamlike form. However, the vampire’s own body must be awake fashion. In turn, the vampire’s mind focuses entirely to do so, requiring a successful roll to remain awake on controlling his mortal subject. His own body lies (see p. 262). If the vampire leaves the mortal shell (by in a torpid state, defenseless against any actions made choice, if his body falls asleep, through supernatural ex- toward it. pulsion, after sustaining significant injury, etc.), his con- Vampires cannot possess one another in this fashion, sciousness returns to his physical form in an instant. as even the weakest Kindred’s mind is strong enough Once freed from possession, the mortal regains men- to resist such straightforward mental dominance. Only tal control of herself. This can happen in an instant, or through a blood bond can one vampire control another the victim may lie comatose for days while her psyche to this degree. Supernatural creatures also cannot be copes with the violation. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 155, The vampire experiences everything the mortal body ••••• • Obedience feels during possession, from pleasure to pain. In fact, While most Kindred must employ Dominate through any damage the victim’s body sustains is also applied eye contact, some powerful elders may command loy- to the character’s body (though the Kindred may soak alty with the lightest brush of a hand. as normal). If the mortal dies before the vampire’s soul can flee from the body, the character’s body falls into System: The character can employ all Dominate torpor. Presumably this is in sympathetic response to powers through touch instead of eye contact (although the massive trauma of death, though some Kindred be- eye contact still works). Skin contact is necessary — lieve that the vampire’s soul is cast adrift during this simply touching the target’s clothing or something she time and must find its way back to the body. is holding will not suffice. The touch does not have to be maintained for the full time it takes to issue a Domi- The Kindred can remain in the mortal’s body even if nate command, though repeated attempts to Dominate his own torpid form is destroyed, though such a pathetic a single target require the character to touch the sub- creature is not likely to exist for long. At each sunrise, ject again. the vampire must roll Courage (difficulty 8) or be ex- pelled from the body. If forced from the mortal body, the ••••• •• Mass Manipulation vampire tumbles into the astral plane, his soul perma- A truly skilled elder may command small crowds nently lost in the spirit world. A vampire trapped in a through the use of this power. By manipulating the mortal body may not be “re-Embraced.” If the Embrace strongest minds within a given group, a gathering may occurs to such a creature, he simply meets Final Death. be directed to the vampire’s will. ••••• • Chain the Psyche System: The player declares that he is using this Not content with merely commanding their subjects, power before rolling for the use of another Dominate some elders apply this power to ensure obedience from power. The difficulty of the roll is that which would be recalcitrant victims. Chain the Psyche is a Dominate required to Dominate the most resistant member of the technique that inflicts incapacitating pain on a target target group — if he cannot be Dominated, no one in who attempts to break the vampire’s commands. his immediate vicinity can. For every success past that needed to inflict the desired result on the first target, System: The player spends a blood point when her the player may choose one additional target to receive character applies Dominate to a subject. Any attempt the same effect in its entirety. The vampire needs to that the subject makes to act against the vampire’s make eye contact only with the initial target. implanted commands or to recover stolen memories causes intense pain. When such an attempt is made, ••••• •• Still the Mortal Flesh the Storyteller rolls the character‘s Manipulation + In- Despite its name, this power may be employed on timidation (difficulty equal to the subject’s Stamina + vampires as well as mortals, and it has left more than Empathy). Each success equals one turn that the vic- one unfortunate victim writhing in agony — or unable tim is unable to act, as she is wracked with agony. Each to do even that. A vampire who has developed this application of Chain the Psyche crushes a number of power is able to override her victim’s body as easily as resistance attempts equal to the character’s Manipula- his mind in order to cut off his senses or even stop his tion rating, after which the effect fades. heart. It is rumored that this power once came more ••••• • Loyalty easily to the Kindred, but modern medicine has made the bodies and spirits of mortals more resistant to such With this power in effect, the elder’s Dominate is so manipulations. strong that other vampires find it almost impossible to break with their own commands. Despite the name, System: The player rolls Manipulation + Medicine Loyalty instills no special feelings in the victim — the (difficulty equal to the target’s current Willpower vampire’s commands are simply implanted far more points + 2; a difficulty over 10 means that this power deeply than normal. cannot affect the target at all). The effect lasts for one turn per success. The player must choose what func- System: Any other vampire attempting to employ tion of the target’s body is being cut off before rolling. Dominate on a subject who has been Dominated by a She may affect any of the body’s involuntary functions; vampire with Loyalty has a +3 difficulty modifier to his breathing, circulation, perspiration, sight, and hearing rolls and must spend an additional Willpower point. are all viable targets. While Still the Mortal Flesh is in 156 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, effect, a vampire can either stop any one of those func- tions entirely or cause them to fluctuate erratically. The exact effects of any given bodily function being shut off are left to the Storyteller. Most mortals panic if suddenly struck blind, but only the shutdown of the heart will kill a target on the spot. Vampires are un- affected by loss of heartbeat or breathing, but may be rendered deaf and blind as easily as mortals. ••••• ••• Far Mastery This refinement of Obedience (though the character need not have learned Obedience first) allows the use of Dominate on any subject that the vampire is familiar with, at any time, over any distance. If the elder knows where his target is, he may issue commands as if he were standing face- to-face with his intended victim. System: The player spends a Willpower point and rolls Perception + Empathy (difficulty equal to the sub- ject’s Wits + Stealth) to establish contact. If this roll succeeds, Dominate may be used as if the character had established eye contact with the target. A second Will- power point must be spent in order for a vampire to use this power on another vampire or other supernatural being. half page art ••••• •••• Speak Through the Blood The power structures of Methuselahs extend across here continents and centuries. This power allows such an- cients to wield control over their descendants, even those far outside their geographic spheres of influence. Speak Through the Blood allows an elder to issue com- mands to every vampire whose lineage can be traced to her — even if the two have never met. Thus, en- tire broods act to further the goals of sleeping ancients whose existences they may be completely unaware of. The vampires affected by this power rarely act directly to pursue the command they were given, but over a decade or so, their priorities slowly shift until the ful- fillment of the Methuselah‘s command is among their long-term goals. Speak Through the Blood, because it takes effect so slowly, is rarely recognized as an outside influence, and its victims rationalize their behavior as “growing and changing,” or something to that effect. System: The player spends a permanent Willpower point and rolls Manipulation + Leadership. The dif- ficulty of this roll is equal to four plus the number of Generations to which the command is to be passed. Unless the character is aware of the location and pres- ent agenda of every descendant of his — a highly un- likely event — he may only issue general commands, VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 157, such as “work for the greater glory of Clan Malkavian” or “destroy all those who seek to extinguish the light (Caregiver, Child, Conformist), while those of knowledge.” Speak Through the Blood can be used whose Natures denote a great degree of inner by a vampire in torpor. Commands issued through this strength (Bravo, Director, Rebel) can be more power last for one decade per success on the roll. Dif- of a challenge. The Storyteller may reduce ficulties over 10 require one additional success for each the required difficulty or number of successes point past 10, making it that much more difficult to by one or two when the player rolls against issue long-lasting commands stretching down to the those subjects with “weaker” Natures, or ends of one’s lineage. raise them by a similar amount for “stronger” A vampire who has reached Golconda is not affected Natures. On the other hand, “strong” Na- by this power, and is completely unaware that it has tures might be more easiliy influenced to take been used. Her childer, however, are affected normally aggressive actions — for example, coaxing a unless they are also enlightened. Ghouls of the victims Rebel to denounce the Prince is likely easier of this power are also affected, but to a lesser extent. than goading a Conformist to do the same thing. Ultimately, the Storyteller must adjudi- cate. • Botches: If a Dominate roll botches, the

Resisting Dominate target is rendered immune to future attempts

by the same vampire for the rest of the story. Most victims cannot stand against the ef- fects of Dominate. Still, there are situations where this Discipline is powerless to sway the subject. • Mortals: Few mortals can hope to resist Fortitude Dominate, as their strength of will nothing compared to the supernatural magnetism Although all vampires have an unnatural constitution of a vampire. Still, there are extremely rare that make them much sturdier than mortals, Fortitude individuals who, due to strong religious bestows a resilience that would make an action movie faith, unique psychic talent, or extraordinary hero envious. Vampires with this Discipline can shrug mental resolve, can shrug off this Discipline’s off agonizing trauma and make the most bone-shatter- effects. Only a foolish vampire ignores the ing impact look like a flesh wound. The power even of- potential threat such human beings represent. fers protection against the traditional banes of vampires, (See p. 372 for more information about True such as sunlight and fire, and the Gangrel, Ravnos, and Faith, for example.) Ventrue all find that edge incredibly useful. • Vampires: It is impossible to Dominate System: A character’s rating in Fortitude adds to his another Kindred who is of stronger Blood. Stamina for the purposes of soaking normal damage The vampire must be of an equal or higher (bashing and lethal). A character with this Discipline Generation than the target for the powers to may also use his dots in Fortitude to soak aggravated be effective. Scholars of the Kindred condi- damage, though Kindred cannot normally soak things tion suspect that this is one of the protections like vampire bites, werewolf claws, magical effects, fire, Caine put in place to protect himself from sunlight, or massive physical trauma. See p. 272, for the whims of his willful childer. A faction of further details on soaking and damage. those who believe this theory also maintain that this implies that Caine himself employed Fortitude 6+ the Discipline of Dominate. Elder vampires progress in Fortitude in the same way • Nature: A character’s Nature can have a as Celerity (see p. 142). They can increase their basic distinct impact on how easily Dominate influ- mastery of the Discipline or to take an alternate power ences her. A vampire might easily control such as one of those detailed below. subjects with inherently empathic Natures 158 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, ••••• • Personal Armor Successes Duration Nobody likes to get hit, not even Cainites. The 1 One turn easiest way to ensure that one is not hit (or shot, or 2 One scene stabbed) repeatedly is to take the weapon with which 3 One hour one is assaulted away from one’s attacker and break it. 4 One night That’s where Personal Armor comes in. This applica- tion of Fortitude, derived from one popular in the 12th 5 One week century, causes anything that strikes a Kindred who 6 One month employs Personal Armor to shatter on impact. 7 One year System: With the expenditure of two blood points, a vampire can add preternatural hardness to his flesh. The target of this power need not be willing to ac- Every time an attack is made on the Kindred using Per- cept the benefit to receive it, and the bestowing vam- sonal Armor (one which he fails to dodge), his player pire can end the effect at any time for no cost. Particu- rolls Fortitude (difficulty 8). If the roll grants more suc- larly sadistic Kindred have come up with any number cesses than the attacker rolled, then the weapon used of ways in which a target’s “devil’s mark” and super- to make the attack shatters against the vampire’s flesh. natural endurance can be used to land him in a great (“Magical” weapons may be resistant to this effect, at deal of trouble. the Storyteller’s discretion.) The vampire still takes normal damage if the attack is successful, even if the A vampire can never bestow more levels of Fortitude weapon shatters in the process, though this damage than he himself possesses. may be soaked. If the attack roll botches, any normal ••••• ••• Adamantine weapon automatically shatters. Adamantine functions as a more potent version of A hand-to-hand attack causes the attacker equal Personal Armor. damage to that suffered by the defender when Personal Armor comes into play. If the attacker misses entirely, System: This power mimics the effects of Personal she still takes one level of bashing damage. Armor, save that the vampire who uses it takes no damage from attacks that shatter on her skin. The effects of this power last for the duration of the scene. ••••• •• Shared Strength Necromancy It’s one thing to laugh off bullets, rather another to Necromancy is both a Discipline and a school of watch the ricochets mow down everyone around you. blood magic devoted to the command of the souls of the Many Kindred have wished, at one time or another, dead. It’s similar to Thaumaturgy in that it has several that they could lend their monstrous vitality to those “paths” and accompanying “rituals” rather than a strict around them. Those few vampires who have mastered linear progression of powers. The study of Necromancy Shared Strength can — if only for a little while. is not widespread among the Kindred, and its practi- System: Shared Strength duplicates a portion of a tioners — primarily the Giovanni — are shunned and vampire’s Fortitude (one dot for every point of blood despised for their foul practices (until those practices the vampire spends) to another being. Activating the become useful, of course). power requires a Stamina + Survival roll (difficulty 8, Over the centuries, the various schools of vampiric increased to 9 if the target is not a normal mortal), and Necromancy have evolved and diversified from an ear- the expenditure of a point of Willpower. Furthermore, lier form of death magic, leaving several distinct paths the vampire must mark his target by pressing a drop of of necromantic magic available to Cainites. Nearly all his blood onto the target’s forehead. This stain remains modern necromancers learn the Sepulchre Path first visible as long as the power is in effect, the duration of before extending their studies to other paths. The pri- which is determined by the initial roll. mary Necromancy path increases automatically as the character increases her overall Necromancy rating. Other paths must be bought separately, using the expe- rience costs for secondary paths. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 159, Like Thaumaturgy, Necromancy has also spawned a series of rituals. While not nearly so immediate in ef- The Sepulchre Path fect as the basic powers of Necromancy, Necromantic Through the Sepulchre path, the vampire can wit- rituals can have impressive long-term effects. Unsur- ness, summon, and command the spirits of the dead. prisingly, the elements of Necromantic ritual are things At higher levels, the necromancer can force the ghost like long-buried corpses and hands from the cadavers to remain in a particular place or object, or even dam- of hanged men, so obtaining suitable materials can be age wraiths directly. Since many other areas of Nec- quite difficult. romancy involve dealing with ghosts, this is the most System: A Cainite necromancer must learn at least common path for necromancers to start with. three levels in his primary path before learning his first Note: If a Kindred uses a Sepulchre Path power in level in a secondary Necromancy path. He must then the presence of something of great importance to the master the primary path (all five levels) before acquir- ghost the power affects, the chances for success in the ing any knowledge of a third path. summoning increase dramatically (reduce the difficulty As with Thaumaturgy, advancement in the primary by 2). This might be the bathtub in which the ghost’s path costs the normal experience amount, while study mortal body was drowned, the rusted-out wreck of the of additional Necromantic paths incurs an additional car where the ghost’s physical body was trapped alive, experience-point cost (see p. 124). Because Necromancy or something unrelated to the ghost’s demise, such as a is not quite so rigid a study as Thaumaturgy is, the rolls favorite book or a child-ghost’s beloved nursery. required to use Necromantic powers can vary from path • Witness of Death to path and even within individual paths. The common- Before it is possible to control the dead, one must ly-learned Sepulchre Path is presented first, with the re- perceive them. This power allows just that, attuning maining paths presented in alphabetical order. a vampire’s unliving senses to the presence of the in- Statistics for ghosts may be found in Chapter Nine, corporeal. p. 385. 160 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, Under its effects, a necromancer sees ghosts as trans- System: The player spends one blood point and rolls lucent phantoms gliding among the living and hears Manipulation + Occult (difficulty equal to 7 or the their whispers and moans. She feels the spectral cold ghost’s Willpower, whichever is higher). The vampire of their touch and smells their musty hint of decay. Yet must know the name of the ghost and have on hand an one cannot mistake the dead for the living, as they lack object the ghost had contact with in life. Provided that true substance, and appear dimmer and less real than the target has died and become a ghost, success means creatures of flesh and blood. When a vampire uses this the shade appears before the necromancer as described power, her eyes flicker with pale blue fire that only the above. Not everyone becomes a ghost — it requires a dead can see. strong will to persevere in the face of death, and souls Ghosts resent being spied upon, and more powerful that have found peace pass on to their eternal rewards. shades may use their own powers to inflict their dis- Moreover, it is possible for the dead to suffer spiritual pleasure on the incautious. dissolution and destruction after they become ghosts. The Storyteller should consider all these factors when System: The player rolls Perception + Awareness deciding whether a particular ghost exists for a vampire (difficulty 5). Success allows the vampire to perceive to summon. ghosts as described for the rest of the scene (in the mortal world — seeing ghosts in the land of the dead Vampires know if their summons should have suc- requires Shroudsight, on p. 163). Failure has no special ceeded by a feeling of sudden, terrifying descent as they effect, but a botch means the vampire can see only the reach too far into the great Beyond, so this power can dead for the scene; everything else appears as shapeless, be used to determine whether a soul has endured be- dim shadows. While the vampire’s other senses remain yond death. While a failure means the vampire wastes attuned to the living, he is all but blind in this state blood, a botch calls a spirit other than the one sought and suffers a +3 difficulty to most vision-based Percep- — usually a malevolent ghost known as a Spectre (see tion rolls and attacks. Ghosts notice the glowing eyes p. 385). Such a fiend torments the one who summoned of a vampire using this power only with a successful it with every wicked power at its disposal. Perception + Alertness roll (difficulty 7). Once a ghost is summoned, it may not deliberately move out of sight of the vampire, though it can take •• Summon Soul any other actions, including direct attack. The vam- The power of Summon Soul allows a necromancer to pire’s player may spend a Willpower point to dismiss call a ghost back from the Underworld, for conversa- the ghost at any time (unless he rolled a botch). Other- tional purposes only. In order to perform this feat (and wise, at the end of the scene, shadows engulf the spirit indeed, most of the feats in this path), the vampire once more and return it to its original location. must meet certain conditions: • The necromancer must know the name of the ••• Compel Soul wraith in question, though an image of the wraith ob- With this power, a vampire can command a ghost to tained via Witness of Death (see above), Shroudsight do his bidding for a while. Compulsion of the soul is a (see p. 163), Auspex, or other supernatural perception perilous undertaking and, when used improperly, can will suffice. endanger vampire and wraith alike. • An object with which the wraith had some contact System: The vampire locates and approaches the in- in life must be in the vicinity, though it need not be tended ghost or calls it to his presence with Summon something of significant importance to the ghost’s liv- Soul. As with the previous power, he must have the ing consciousness. A piece of the ghost’s corpse works ghost’s name and an object it handled in life. His player well for this purpose (and even provides a -1 difficulty then spends one blood point and rolls Manipulation + modifier). Occult in a resisted roll against the ghost’s Willpower (difficulty 6 for both rolls). Certain types of ghosts cannot be summoned with this power. Vampires who achieved Golconda before If the vampire wins, the number of net successes de- their Final Deaths, or who were diablerized, are beyond termines the degree of control he has over the ghost the reach of this summons. Likewise, many ghosts of (as described below). Moreover, the vampire’s control the dead cannot be called — they are destroyed, un- keeps ghosts that have been called with Summon Soul able to return to the mortal plane, or lost in the eternal from returning to their original locations at the end of storm of the Underworld. the scene. If the ghost wins, the vampire loses a number VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 161, of Willpower points equal to the ghost’s net successes. a year and a day). It is possible for On a tie, the roll becomes an extended contest that ghosts to delay individual tasks, but continues each turn until one side wins. If the vampire not put off enslavement. botches at any point, the ghost is immune to any use 5+ successes The vampire may issue multiple of the vampire’s Necromancy for the rest of the scene. orders that have a sum complexity If the ghost botches, it must obey as if the vampire’s or danger of five successes’ worth. player had rolled five net successes. Instead, the vampire may order the ghost to perform any one action that Successes Result it is capable of executing within one 1 success The ghost must perform one simple month. Such a task can place the task for the vampire that does not ghost in immediate peril of place it in certain danger. It must destruction, or even force it to betray attend to this task immediately, and assault loved ones. It is not although it can delay the possible for ghosts to delay a task of compulsion and pursue its own this magnitude with Willpower — business at a cost of one Willpower they must obey. point per scene. The ghost may not attack the vampire until this task is complete. It is possible to issue the task of answering one question, in •••• Haunting which case the ghost must answer Haunting binds a summoned ghost to a particular truthfully and to the best of location or, in extreme cases, an object. The wraith its knowledge. cannot leave the area to which the necromancer binds 2 successes The vampire may issue two orders it without risking destruction. or ask two questions as outlined for System: The player spends one blood point while one success. Alternatively, the standing at the location for the haunting or touching vampire may demand a simple task the intended prison. She then has the ghost brought to with a real possibility of danger, as her by whatever means she desires, though Summon long as the danger is not certain. The Soul is quickest and most reliable. Her player then ghost may delay this compulsion with rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty is equal to the Willpower. target’s current Willpower points if resisted, to a mini- 3 successes The vampire may issue three orders mum of 4; otherwise it is 4). The difficulty rises by one as outlined for one success. if the vampire wishes to place the ghost in an object. Alternatively, he may demand the As usual, the difficulty decreases by one if the necro- ghost fulfill one difficult and mancer has a part of the spirit’s corpse in addition to dangerous task or a simple assignment knowing its name (minimum difficulty 3). that has an extended duration of up Each success binds the ghost within the location or to one month. The ghost may delay object for one night. This duration extends to one week such orders with Willpower. if the player spends a Willpower point or a year anda4successes The vampire may issue four orders, day for a dot of permanent Willpower. A wraith at- as outlined for one success, or tempting to leave the area of a haunting must make an assign two tasks, as for two successes. extended Willpower roll (difficulty 9, four cumulative Alternatively, the vampire may successes necessary in a single scene) or take a level of command the ghost to perform one aggravated damage for each roll. If the wraith runs out complex assignment that puts the of health levels, it is hurled deep into the Underworld ghost at extreme risk, or perform any to face destruction. number of non-threatening tasks ••••• Torment as the vampire’s slave for up to one It is through the use of this power that powerful nec- month (or, if the necromancer spends romancers convince bound ghosts to behave — or else. a permanent point of Willpower, for 162 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, Torment allows the vampire to strike a wraith as if he and can be attacked. Furthermore, the necromancer himself were in the lands of the dead, inflicting dam- can pick up ghostly items, scale ghostly architecture age on the wraith’s ectoplasmic form. The vampire (giving real-world bystanders the impression that he’s remains in the real world, however, so he cannot be climbing on air!), and generally exist in two worlds. struck in return. On the other hand, a necromancer using Dead Hand is System: The player rolls Stamina + Empathy (dif- quite solid to the residents of the Underworld — and ficulty equal to the wraith’s current Willpower points), to whatever hostilities they might have. and the vampire reaches out to strike the wraith. Each System: The player spends a point of Willpower and success inflicts a level of lethal damage on the wraith. makes a successful Wits + Occult roll (difficulty 7) to Should the wraith lose all health levels, it immediately activate Dead Hand for one scene. For each additional vanishes into what appears to be a doorway to some scene the vampire wishes to remain in contact with hideous nightmare realm. Ghosts “destroyed” thus can- the Underworld, he must spend a point of blood. not reappear in or near the real world for a month. •••• Ex Nihilo

The Ash Path Ex Nihilo allows a necromancer to enter the Un-

derworld physically. While in the lands of the dead, The Ash Path allows necromancers to peer into the the vampire is essentially a particularly solid ghost. He lands of the dead, and even affect things there. Of the maintains his normal number of health levels, but can paths of Necromancy, the Ash Path is the most peril- be hurt only by things that inflict aggravated damage ous to learn, because many of the path’s uses increase a on ghosts (weapons forged from souls, certain ghostly necromancer’s vulnerability to wraiths. powers, etc.). A vampire physically in the Underworld • Shroudsight can pass through solid objects in the real world (at the Shroudsight allows a necromancer to see through the cost of one health level) and remain “incorporeal” for Shroud, the mystical barrier that separates the living a number of turns equal to her Stamina rating. On the world from the Underworld. By using this power, the other hand, vampires present in the Underworld are vampire can spot ghostly buildings and items, the land- subject to all of the Underworld’s perils, including ulti- scape of the so-called Shadowlands, and even wraiths mate destruction. A vampire killed in the realm of the themselves. However, an observant wraith may notice dead is gone forever, beyond even the reach of other when a vampire suddenly starts staring at him, which necromancers. can lead to unpleasant consequences. System: Using Ex Nihilo takes a tremendous toll on System: A simple roll of Perception + Awareness the necromancer. To activate this power, the vampire (difficulty 7) allows a necromancer to utilize Shrouds- must first draw a doorway with chalk or blood on any ight. The effects last for a scene. available surface. (The vampire may draw doors ahead of time for exactly this purpose.) The player must then •• Lifeless Tongues expend two points of Willpower and two points of Where Shroudsight allows a necromancer to see blood before making a Stamina + Occult roll (difficul- ghosts, Lifeless Tongues allows her to converse with ty 8) as the vampire attempts to open the chalk door them effortlessly. Once Lifeless Tongues is employed, physically. If the roll succeeds, the door opens and the the vampire can carry on a conversation with the deni- vampire steps through into the Underworld. zens of the ghostly Underworld without spending blood When the vampire wishes to return to the real world, or causing the wraiths to expend any effort. he merely needs to concentrate (and the player spends System: To use Lifeless Tongues requires a roll of another Willpower point and rolls Stamina + Occult, Perception + Occult (difficulty 6) and the expenditure difficulty 6). At Storyteller discretion, a vampire who of a Willpower point. is too deeply immersed in the Underworld may need to journey to a place close to the lands of the living in ••• Dead Hand order to cross over. Vampires who wander too far into Similar to the Sepulchre Path power Torment, Dead the lands of the dead may be trapped there forever. Hand allows a necromancer to reach across the Shroud Vampires in the Underworld cannot feed upon and affect a ghostly object as if it were in the real world. ghosts without the use of another power; their only Ghosts are solid to necromancers using this power, sustenance is the blood they bring with them. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 163, ••••• Shroud Mastery Shroud Mastery offers the Kindred the ability to manipulate the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead. By doing so, a necromancer can make Zombie Statistics it easier for bound wraiths in his service to function, Corpses animated by a necromancer of the or make it nearly impossible for ghosts to contact the Bone Path have Strength 3, Dexterity 2, material world. Stamina 4, Brawl 2, and always act last in System: To exercise Shroud Mastery, the necro- a turn (unless there are mitigating circum- mancer expends two points of Willpower, then states stances). They have zero Willpower points to whether he is attempting to raise or lower the Shroud. spend, but resist attacks as if they have Will- The player then makes a Willpower roll (difficulty 9). power ratings of 10. All Mental and Social Each success on the roll raises or lowers the difficulties ratings are zero for a reanimated corpse, and of all nearby wraiths’ attempts to cross the Shroud in zombies never attempt to dodge. Zombies’ any way by one, to a maximum of 10 or a minimum of dice pools are not affected by damage, except 3. The Shroud reverts to its normal strength at a rate of that caused by fire or the claws and teeth of one point per hour thereafter. supernatural creatures. Most zombies have 10 health levels, but they are incapable of

The Bone Path healing any damage they suffer. They have

The Bone Path is concerned primarily with corpses no minds or personalities to affect, so they are and the methods by which dead souls can be restored immune to uses of powers such as Dominate to the living world — temporarily or otherwise. and Presence. Unless otherwise noted, they likewise cannot be usurped from the control • Tremens of the necromancer invoking them. Tremens allows a necromancer to make the flesh of a corpse shift once. An arm might suddenly flop forward, a cadaver might sit up, or dead eyes might abruptly open. This sort of thing tends to have an impressive impact on people who aren’t expecting a departed rela- dismemberment, flame, or something similar to destroy tive to roll over in his coffin. a corpse animated in this way. System: To use Tremens, the necromancer spends System: A roll of Wits + Occult (difficulty 7) and a single blood point, and the player must succeed on the expenditure of a point of both blood and Will- a Dexterity + Occult roll (difficulty 6). The more suc- power are all that is necessary to animate corpses with cesses that are achieved, the more complicated an ac- Apprentice’s Brooms. The number of corpses animated tion can be effected in the corpse. One success allows is equal to the number of successes achieved. The nec- for an instantaneous movement, such as a twitch, while romancer must then state the task to which he is set- five allow the vampire to set up specific conditions un- ting his zombies. The cadavers turn themselves to their der which the body animates (“The next time someone work until they finish the job (at which point they col- enters the room, I want the corpse to sit up and open lapse) or something (including time) destroys them. its eyes.”). Under no circumstances can Tremens cause Corpses animated in this way have no initiative of a dead body to attack or cause damage. their own, and are unable to make value judgments. •• Apprentice’s Brooms They respond to very literal instruction. Thus, a zom- bie could be told “sweep this room every day until all With Apprentice’s Brooms, the necromancer can the dust and cobwebs are gone” or “transcribe this make a dead body rise and perform a simple function. manuscript” with an expectation of reasonable results, For example, the corpse could be set to carrying heavy while a more open-ended command such as “fix this objects, digging, or just shambling from place to place. motorcycle” or “research this Necromantic ritual and The cadavers thus animated do not attack or defend write down the results” would be doomed to failure. themselves if interfered with, but instead attempt to carry out their given instructions until such time as Bodies energized by this power continue to decay, al- they’ve been rendered inanimate. Generally it takes beit at a much slower rate than normal. 164 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, ••• Shambling Hordes •••• Soul Stealing Shambling Hordes creates obvious results: reanimat- This power affects the living, not the dead. It does, ed corpses with the ability to attack, albeit neither very however, temporarily turn a living soul into a sort of well nor very quickly. Once primed by this power, the wraith, as it allows a necromancer to strip a soul from corpses wait — for years, if necessary — to fulfill the a living body. A mortal exiled from his body by this command given them. The orders might be to protect power becomes a wraith with a single tie to the real a certain site or simply to attack immediately, but they world: his now-empty body. will be carried out until every last one of the decom- System: The player spends a point of Willpower posing monsters is destroyed. and then makes a contested Willpower roll against System: The player spends a point of Willpower. the intended victim (difficulty 6). Successes indicate The player then must succeed on a Wits + Occult roll the number of hours during which the original soul is (difficulty 8). Each success allows the vampire to raise forced out of its housing. The body itself remains auto- another corpse from the grave, and costs one blood nomically alive but catatonic. point. If the player cannot or chooses not to pay the This power can be used to create suitable hosts for blood point cost of additional zombies past a certain Daemonic Possession. It has no effect on Kindred or number, the extra successes are simply lost. Each zom- other supernatural creatures (except ghouls) until such bie can follow one simple instruction, such as “Stay creatures are dead – in the case of vampires, this means here and guard this graveyard against any intruders,” Final Death. or “Kill them!” Note: Zombies created by Shambling Hordes will ••••• Daemonic Possession wait forever if need be to fulfill their functions. Long Daemonic Possession lets a vampire insert a soul into after the flesh has rotted off their mystically animated a freshly dead body. This does not turn the reanimated bones, the zombies will wait and wait and wait, still corpse into anything other than a reanimated corpse, able to perform their duties. one that will irrevocably decay after a week, but it does VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 165, give either a wraith or a free-floating soul (say, that of a ghost has exerted any sort of power on the subject, or a vampire using Psychic Projection) a temporary home even crossed nearby, to the duration detailed below. in the physical world. System: The body in question must be no more than Successes Result 30 minutes dead, and the new tenant must agree to in- 1 success Last turn; detect use of ghostly powers habit it — a ghost or astral form cannot be forced intoa2successes Last three turns; detect use of ghostly new shell. However, most ghosts would gladly seize the powers opportunity. Should the vampire, for whatever reason, 3 successes Last hour; detect ghost’s touch and wish to insert a soul into another vampire’s corpse (be- use of ghostly powers fore it crumbles to ash), the necromancer must achieve 4 successes Last day; detect ghost’s touch and use five successes on a resisted Willpower roll against the of ghostly powers original owner of the body. Otherwise, the interloper is denied entrance. 5 successes Last week; detect nearby passage of ghost, ghost’s touch, and use of Note: The soul can use whatever physical abilities ghostly powers (Athletics, Brawl, Potence) his new fleshy home pos- sesses, and whatever mental abilities (Computer, Law, Presence) he already possessed. He cannot use the On a failure, the necromancer receives no impres- physical abilities of his old form, or the mental abilities sions. A botch reveals a misleading answer (an object of his new one. may seem tinged with ghostly power when it’s not, or vice versa). Should the necromancer succeed in detec-

The Cenotaph Path tion while touching an object or person that a ghost

Practitioners of the Cenotaph Path are primarily is possessing, he immediately becomes aware that the concerned with discovering or forging links between ghost is still inside. The impression gained in such a the living world and the Shadowlands. It functions case is sufficient to count as an image of the spirit for on the principle that a Kindred, already a corpse, is purposes of the Sepulchre Path’s powers, so the Kin- an unnatural bridge between the living and the dead, dred may be able to (for example) immediately com- and the necromancer can use this to find other, similar mand a ghost to exit a person whom it possesses. linkages. The basic rudiments of the Cenotaph Path •• Reveal the Catene function easily enough once the Kindred learns to at- Necromantic compulsions function much more ef- tune himself to these connections. Advanced mastery fectively when the caster uses an object of significance of the path usually entails some brief ritual to forge ar- to the ghost in question. Such fetters tie the dead to tificial connections, either through focusing unsavory the living lands through their remembered importance passions or commanding this world and the Shadow- — a favored recliner for relaxing, a reviled piece of art lands together. foisted off by hated relatives, or some object of similarly • A Touch of Death intense emotion. Many necromancers can detect such Just as a necromancer may exert mastery over the catene through the use of rituals (see Ritual of the Un- Shadowlands, so too can some ghosts exert them- earthed Fetter, p. 181). With this power, though, the selves in the mortal world. Whereas obvious displays necromancer can determine a fetter with just a few mo- of ghostly power such as bleeding walls or disembodied ments of handling. The Kindred simply runs his hands moans certainly won’t be mistaken, some ghostly abili- over the object and concentrates on it. He quickly ties exert subtle effects that aren’t easily recognized. receives an impression of the item’s (or person’s) im- A necromancer sensitized to the residue of the dead, portance to wraiths, if any; should the wraith be one though, can feel whether an object has been touched known to the necromancer, he immediately recognizes by a ghost or sense the recent passage of a wraith. the object as a fetter to that (or those) ghost(s). Suc- cessful identification of a connected ghost is not exclu- System: The necromancer simply touches a person or sive; that is, if the vampire determines that the object object that he suspects is a victim of ghostly influence. is important to a given wraith, he can also determine if The player rolls Perception + Awareness (difficulty 6). there are other ghosts tied to the item, though he must If successful, the necromancer can determine whether use the power again to gain their identities. 166 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, Many necromancers use this power on objects al- A botch stuns the necromancer into inaction for a full ready identified with A Touch of Death, in order to turn and costs him a temporary Willpower point, as he determine whether the ghost is trying to attune a given is overcome by shivers and a sense of overwhelming fetter or simply toying with the world of the living. despair. System: The necromancer holds and examines the With three or more successes, the necromancer can object for at least three turns — if it’s an item, this determine whether the Shroud’s strength has been ar- means turning it over in his hands, running his fin- tificially altered in the area. gers along it, or otherwise giving it a critical eye; with a person, this may require a more… invasive… ex- •••• Death Knell amination. The player then spends a blood point and Not all who die go on to become ghosts — many rolls Perception + Occult (difficulty 7). If successful, lack the drive to hang on after death or simply have no the Kindred determines whether the object holds any overwhelming needs that compel them to stick around. significance to any ghost and, with three or more suc- Normally, even necromancers have no way to sort cesses, the identity of at least one such ghost (which those who might become ghosts from the masses who allows the Kindred to use the Sepulchre Path on that go on to whatever rewards await. Over time, though, a wraith, if desired). If the necromancer already knows necromancer can become sensitized to the pull that oc- any of the ghosts involved, their ties are revealed with curs when a soul escapes from a body only to hover in their identity — so, if the necromancer already knows wait, enslaved by its desires. The weight of desperation a wraith well enough to summon and compel it with becomes like a tangible tug, and some necromancers other powers, successful identification of a fetter tells savor this emotion even as they follow the sensation to whether the object is tied to that ghost, in addition to find the new ghost. any other impressions gained. Of course, actually discovering the new ghost can be If a botch is scored, the necromancer can never suc- problematic. The Kindred may need some means to see cessfully use this power on the item being examined. through the Shroud or may have to send other wraiths to look for the new unfortunate, especially if a large ••• Tread Upon the Grave accident or massacre leaves too many corpses for the The extended awareness granted with the Cenotaph necromancer to easily discern and test names. Path allows the necromancer to find locations where System: Whenever someone dies and becomes a the Shadowlands and the living world come close. ghost within a half-mile or kilometer of the necroman- Often, the necromancer experiences a chill or shiver cer, she automatically senses the demise (though many when stepping into an area where the Underworld lies choose to ignore this “always-on” power unless actively near the living one. With practice, the vampire can seeking someone). This power does not automatically tell exactly where such locations are. pinpoint the location of the new ghost or identify it, Experienced necromancers learn that certain loca- but the player may spend one Willpower point and roll tions are susceptible to ghostly influence; these haunt- Perception + Occult (difficulty 7) for the necromancer ed areas often become homes of a sort for ghosts. A to gain a vague sense of the distance and direction to knowledgeable vampire can thus discover places where the new wraith. With one success, the Kindred may the dead are likely to congregate, the better to snare sense a vague pull in a general direction; with three them with other Necromancy powers. successes, the necromancer can sense the direction and System: The player simply declares intent to sense guess distance to within a quarter-mile or half a kilo- the Shroud in an area and makes a Willpower roll meter. With five successes, the necromancer immedi- (difficulty 8). Success reveals whether the location is ately senses the location of the new ghost to within highly attuned to the Shadowlands, about average (not one foot or 30 cm. A failure carries no penalty but a particularly close to the world of the dead), or far re- botched attempt sends the necromancer scurrying off moved from the realm of death. A failing attempt at in the wrong direction. using the power has no adverse effect, though it may The Storyteller may rule that disturbances in the be attempted only once per scene (so the necromancer Underworld, intervening magic, or other similar phe- must either wait for a time or move to a different area nomena cloud this sensation, simply to prevent over- before attempting Tread Upon the Grave once more). burdening a chronicle with constant ghost-hunting and dice rolling. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 167, ••••• Ephemeral Binding The Corpse in the Monster The most puissant necromancers learn not only to This path enhances the necromantic understanding sense the ties between living and dead, but to forge of the unliving form and allows the user to fully experi- such ties themselves. The master of Ephemeral Bind- ence the corpse as a gateway between life and death. ing turns an otherwise mundane object or person into a The path lets the vampire apply some of a corpse’s depository for his own necromantic energy. The undy- traits to a vampire, and she can enhance or reduce ing Curse transforms the subject into a sort of linkage these traits at various levels of the power. between the living and dead. The necromancer smears his blood on the item in question, which mystically ab- sorbs the vitae and, in doing so, becomes a vessel to anchor a spirit. System: The necromancer must coat an object with Whither Mortis? his blood (a full blood point’s worth); if the subject is Lost Clans and bloodlines, such as the Cap- a person, then that individual must ingest the vitae. padocians and the Lamia, had access to an The player marks off the blood point, spends a point ancient Discipline known as Mortis. Some of Willpower, and rolls Manipulation + Occult (dif- Kindred scholars claim that Mortis and Nec- ficulty 8). If successful, the item temporarily becomes romancy are distinct Disciplines, but for ease a fetter to one wraith. If the Kindred already knows the three Mortis paths presented in this book the name of the wraith or has a strong psychic impres- are listed as Necromancy paths. The Cappa- sion, then the object can become a fetter at any range, docians (see p. 418) specialized in either the even to a ghost who normally does not come near the Corpse in the Monster or the Grave’s Decay, living world (so long as the ghost still exists). Other- while the Lamia (see p. 422) generally took wise, the necromancer must be able to see or sense the the Path of the Four Humors as their primary ghost (with Witness of Death, Shroudsight, or other path. Rumors are that the Harbingers of Skulls such means). (see p. 402) in the Sabbat have relearned the A fetter artificially created in this fashion functions Corpse in the Monster and the Grave’s Decay, for all necromantic and ghostly purposes as a normal claiming them collectively as the “Mortuus fetter: It can be detected with other Necromancy pow- Path,” but they still tend to follow most mod- ers, the vampire gains a bonus to Necromancy against ern necromancers and choose Sepulchre Path the wraith attuned to it, and the ghost similarly finds as their primary path before learning Grave’s exertion of its powers easier upon the subject (so the Decay or the Corpse in the Monster. vampire might turn an unwitting ghoul into a consort for a wraith familiar with possession…). The ghost can sink into the fetter to heal; conversely, if the fetter is destroyed, the wraith is banished to some inaccessible region of the Underworld, perhaps never to return. • Masque of Death A fetter created with Ephemeral Binding lasts for The character with this ability can assume a visage one night per success scored. The expenditure of an ad- of death or inflict that shape on another vampire. The ditional point of Willpower increases this duration to victim’s flesh becomes pallid and thin (if it is not al- a week per success, whereas spending a permanent dot ready), and skin pulls tight against bone. This ability of Willpower extends the duration to a year and a day. can be very useful, as it allows one to hide in plain sight Botching with this power not only causes failure but in a tomb or crypt at any time (though the character also makes the ghost immediately aware of what the remains as vulnerable to sunlight and fire as ever). necromancer was trying to do. Most ghosts do not take When a necromancer uses this power on another Kin- kindly to meddling Kindred trying to make artificial dred, the victim gains the same corpselike demeanor. chains for them. In this sense, the ability works as something of a minor curse. System: The player spends one blood point for the character to gain the form described. Those afflicted 168 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, with the Masque of Death lose two points of Dexter- corpselike nature and creating a false life to remind ity and Appearance (minimum of 1 in Dexterity and them of the worst things about being alive. Targets of 0 in Appearance) for the duration of the power. The this power regain only the unpleasant aspects of life, as player also gets two extra dice to his Intimidation dice culled from the memory of the Discipline’s user. This pool, should he wish to terrify any onlookers. Further, may include mundane hunger and thirst, sweat and if the character remains perfectly still, observers must other excretions, the need to urinate and defecate, a roll five successes on a Perception + Medicine roll (dif- decrease in sensory acuity, and a particular vulnerabil- ficulty 7) to distinguish the character from a normal ity to attacks that the character might normally shrug corpse. The player doesn’t need to roll anything to off. have the character stop moving — vampires have no System: The player spends one Willpower and rolls autonomic functions. Intelligence + Medicine (difficulty 8) to affect a target If the user inflicts Masque of Death on another vam- within line of sight and no farther than 20 yards or me- pire, he must spend a blood point, touch the target, and ters from the character. If the roll succeeds, the target then make a Stamina + Medicine roll (difficulty equal suffers the weaknesses of the living without gaining any to the target’s Stamina + 3). The Masque of Death lasts benefit from that state. He does not become immune until the next sunset, unless the character who created to sunlight or holy artifacts, for instance. However, he the masque wishes to extinguish its effects earlier. does become badly distracted by mundane needs, with the net result that his player suffers a +2 difficulty pen- •• Cold of the Grave alty to all rolls. He can ignore these distractions at the The dead feel no pain, though most undead do. With cost of one Willpower point per scene. Additionally, this ability, the character can temporarily take on the the victim cannot use blood to raise his Physical At- unfeeling semblance of the dead, in order to protect tributes while this power is in effect, and Willpower herself from physical and emotional harm. When as- cannot eliminate this penalty. The power remains in suming the Cold of the Grave, the vampire’s skin be- effect until the next sunset. comes unusually cold. When she speaks, her breath mists even in warm air — those with exceptional sens- •••• Gift of the Corpse es might even see a slight red tinge to the breath. This power, one of the most potent on the Corpse The power brings a sense of lethargy over the char- in the Monster path, enables a necromancer to ignore acter, as a mortal might feel under the influence of a most of her race’s inherent weaknesses for a short time. mildly unpleasant disease. It becomes difficult to rouse A dead body is not particularly vulnerable to sunlight, oneself to action, and very little seems important holy artifacts, frenzy, or being staked through the heart, enough to really worry about. A corpse has no worries, after all, and so it is with a vampire using the Gift of after all. the Corpse. As with the Cold of the Grave, above, the character using this power takes on an even more System: The player spends one Willpower point. deathlike mien. It lasts for less than a minute, typical- For the remainder of the scene, the character takes no ly, but that time may be enough to enable a character wound penalties, and the player gains an additional die to charge through a burning building without fearing to all dice pools that involve resisting emotional ma- frenzy or instant death. nipulation, such as Intimidation or Empathy. However, the player also loses a die from dice pools to emotion- System: The player spends one Willpower and rolls ally manipulate others. The character is a cold fish to Stamina + Occult (difficulty 8). For every success, the those she interacts with, and they do not respond read- character can spend one turn in a state in which he is ily to her. The Cold of the Grave does not protect the more akin to an animated corpse than a vampire. Holy character against the depredations of the Beast. She artifacts and sanctified ground have no effect, and the may be emotionally cold on the surface, but if others character is immune to frenzy and Rötschreck. Sun- taunt and anger her sufficiently, she is still subject to light does only bashing damage, and then only if bare frenzy as normal. skin is exposed on a clear day. Being staked through the heart is only as much of a danger as getting stabbed ••• Curse of Life through his dead spleen would be. Fire harms him only The Curse of Life inflicts some of the undesirable as it would a mortal — causing lethal damage instead traits of the living upon the undead, removing their of aggravated. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 169, Should the character end the power’s duration while exposed to any of the aforementioned harmful things, he immediately takes their full effect. If he is staked, he become immobilized; if he is on or near fire, he begins to take the damage a Cainite should take, and he must immediately roll against Rötschreck. ••••• Gift of Life With the Gift of Life, the character can experience the best and most positive things about being alive. The overwhelming hunger for blood temporarily abates, al- lowing the character to consume and enjoy food and drink. She can also enjoy sex as she wishes, and the sun does not burn her. The Gift of Life comes with a dark, terrible cost, however. Its use is almost sure to result in the death of a mortal, as the vampire must expend an enormous quantity of vitae in order to initiate it. The Discipline’s effects last until the midnight after the character uses the power, so it is in her best interests to use it just after midnight. System: The player spends 12 blood points, burning as much blood as possible each turn until she meets that level. She then rolls Stamina + Occult (difficulty 6) and needs only one success for the power to work. A botch has catastrophic effects. The character might be instantly killed or might inadvertently Embrace her victim, for example. If it takes longer than one turn to spend the necessary blood to enact this ability, it does not take effect until all 12 points have been spent. However, the blood must be spent continuously — the vampire cannot burn five, run off and feed, then burn seven more an hour later. On the other hand, she may feed as she activates the power — in one turn she might burn one blood point while drinking three. Since few Kindred above the Seventh Generation can easily ex- pend such an amount of blood, the most efficient way to activate this power is to have a human nearby who can be sacrificed to power the transformation. After her transformation, the character gains many traits of an ordinary human. She is largely immune to the scorching effects of the sun (Fortitude difficulties to soak damage from direct sunlight are halved, and she takes no damage if she is sufficiently covered), and she can experience and enjoy many of the fine things about human life. She retains a few of her vampiric benefits, however. Fortitude and Auspex abilities re- main in place if she has either of those Disciplines, and the Storyteller may allow her to retain other Disciplines as well if he deems them dramatically appropriate. She also retains a vampire’s benefits when it comes to han- dling bashing damage. However, she is still vulnerable 170 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, to holy artifacts, human faith, and being staked. Her •• Rigor Mortis blood remains vitae, not human blood. Use of this abil- One of the first changes that comes over a dead body ity — which creates a mockery of human life — may is rigidity; the corpse becomes stiff as a board, frozen interfere with a character’s Path advancement, at the in a single pose. The Cainite who wields Rigor Mortis Storyteller’s discretion. is able to push a living or undead body to that frozen The vampire is no more vulnerable to fire than any point using only his will and understanding of the forc- other mortal while in this half-alive state, but she still es of decay. She forces her target to become rigid and suffers somewhat from the Beast. Frenzy and Rötschreck unable to move without enormous effort of will, as his difficulties are halved (round up). She can remain ac- very muscles betray him. tive during the day without Humanity or Path-based System: The player spends a point of Willpower and dice pool caps, although she is certainly tired during rolls Intelligence + Medicine (difficulty 7). Each suc- the day, since that is not her usual time of activity. cess freezes the target in place for one turn. A failure Her Beast exacts a dangerous retribution when her simply indicates the loss of the Willpower point, while day of “life” is done. Although its influence is greatly a botch renders the target immune to powers in the suppressed during this power’s duration, the Beast has Grave’s Decay path for the next 24 hours. The target its way with the vampire for the next six nights, as all must be visible and within about 25 yards or meters for difficulties to resist frenzy increase by three. The wise this ability to take effect. A frozen target is treated as necromancer hides herself away somewhere during though he has been staked (see p. 280). With a Will- that period, but, depending on morality and tempera- power roll (difficulty 7) and two successes, the target ment, enforced isolation might drive her to frenzy on can break out of the rigor on her turn. Failure causes its own. her a level of bashing damage and means another turn wasted and frozen.

The Grave’s Decay

••• Wither This path is derived from the observation of the working of time on all things mortal. Stone crumbles Reminiscent of some of the powers of Vicissitude, and the corpse rots away to nothing, a process of end- Wither allows a vampire to cripple an opponent’s limb. less fascination to the lost Cainites known as Cappa- Whether the foe is living or undead, muscle shrivels docians. Indeed, for the undying, the process of decay away, skin peels, and bone becomes brittle. The tar- is a fascinating disease that afflicts everyone and ev- get is unable to exert any noteworthy strength in the erything save them. Under this path, a practitioner of crippled limb. This injury lasts for far longer than most Necromancy channels that force. injuries trouble vampires, and in mortals it simply does not heal. • Destroy the Husk Wither doesn’t have to be used on a limb, although Cainites who kill their victims, rather than just feed- that is its usual purpose. It can also be used simply to ing upon them, frequently find themselves in need of a affect the target’s face and hair, making him appear far quick way to dispose of a corpse. While there are many older than his years. It could also be applied to a tar- ways to make sure that a corpse is not found — feed it get’s eye or ear, killing the sense in that organ (and to a pack of hounds or weigh it down and throw it in a thus requiring two uses to permanently blind or deaf- river — many of these methods do involve risk to the en). Wither cannot be used as an “instant-kill” power vampire and are not guaranteed to succeed. Destroy — necromancers cannot wither internal organs — but the Husk, by contrast, is foolproof. Use of this power it can inflict a wide variety of injuries on a foe. simply turns one human corpse to a pile of about 30 System: The player spends a Willpower point. The pounds (13 kilograms) of unremarkable dust, roughly character chooses a limb on the target and then touch- the size and shape of that body. es that limb. If the target is trying to avoid contact, the System: The player spends one blood point as the invoker’s player rolls Dexterity + Brawl to hit as nor- vampire drips her vitae onto the corpse. The player mal. If the character succeeds in touching the intended then rolls Intelligence + Medicine (difficulty 6). One limb, the target suffers two aggravated wounds. Unless success is all that is needed to render the corpse into the target soaks both wounds (such as with Fortitude), dust, although the process takes a number of turns the struck limb is crippled and unusable until both of equal to five minus the successes. those wounds have healed. Kindred heal the wounds as VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 171, they would any other aggravated wound (see p. 285). • The victim’s player must spend one additional Mortals are incapable of healing aggravated wounds, so blood point every evening for the vampire to rouse they suffer throughout their lives unless they are healed himself to consciousness. Mortals lose one health level through supernatural means. A withered limb does not per day instead. degenerate further, even on a mortal. The character • The victim’s player must roll Self-Control or In- may be crippled for life, but the limb won’t become stinct each time the character feeds (difficulty 8). On infected or gangrenous. a failure, the vampire cannot keep the blood he just The effects of the withering depend on the affected ingested inside his body, and he vomits it up in great limb. A crippled arm has a Strength of 0, cannot ben- horrifying gouts of gore, losing any benefit the blood efit from Potence, and cannot carry anything heavier might have provided. Humans vomit up food. than about half a pound (200 grams). A crippled leg Every evening at sunset, the victim has a chance to prevents the character from moving faster than a stut- throw off the plague. The victim’s player rolls Stamina, tering hop or dragging limp. The character suffers the with a difficulty equal to 10 minus the number of sun- effects of the Lame Flaw (see p. 482). A single withered sets since acquiring the plague. On a successful roll, the eye or ear imposes a +1 difficulty to relevant Perception character fights the disease to a standstill and begins rolls. Losing both eyes or both ears imposes the effects to recover. He instantly regains his ability to manage of the Blind or Deaf Flaws (see pp. 484 and 483). A blood, and he heals back one lost Attribute point per withered tongue imposes the effects of the Mute Flaw hour until all have returned. (p. 483), while a withered face reduces the target’s Ap- pearance by one for each aggravated wound suffered. ••••• Dissolve the Flesh •••• Corrupt the Undead Flesh This ability brings the Grave’s Decay path full circle, as it causes Destroy the Husk to apply to vampires. Dis- Corrupt the Undead Flesh blurs the line between life solve the Flesh allows a necromancer to attempt to and undeath, turning an undead creature into some- turn vampiric flesh to dust or ash, as though the target thing just living enough to carry and suffer from dis- had been burned or left out in the sun. ease. The disease inflicts the target, causing lethargy, dizziness, loss of strength, clumsiness, and the inabil- System: The player spends two blood points and a ity to keep blood in his system. This pernicious influ- Willpower point as the vampire extracts a quantity of ence is extremely virulent among mortals. They pick her vitae charged with the power of the grave. If she the disease up simply by spending a few hours near the drips it onto a single Kindred victim anytime within victim. Other vampires have a harder time acquiring the next few turns (most of the blood must reach the the disease. They must consume the victim’s blood to victim, so flinging a few drops is ineffective), it causes do so, but afterward, they suffer just as much as the whole chunks of the victim’s body to crumble to ash. original target — including passing the affliction on The player rolls Willpower against a difficulty of the to others. victim’s Stamina + 3. For every success, the target takes one aggravated wound. The disease fades after roughly a week. The undead flesh damaged by this power turns to System: The player chooses a target within her dust (gone for the time being), and it must be regen- character’s line of sight and no more than 20 yards or erated painstakingly by the victim, should he survive. meters away. She rolls Intelligence + Medicine (diffi- That dust doubtlessly has mystical properties that vari- culty 6) and spends a point of Willpower. The victim’s ous sorcerers might be able to take advantage of. Every player must roll Stamina (+ Fortitude, if appropriate) wound inflicted by this ability represents the loss of against a difficulty equal to the attacker’s Willpower. If about one-eighth of the target’s weight; the Storyteller the player scores more successes than the victim, he ac- chooses where the loss comes from. (It might also be quires a virulent disease immediately. The disease has shed from all over, leaving the victim a bit gaunter or the following effects: missing chunks of flesh.) • The victim’s Strength and Wits are halved (round Regenerating body parts occurs naturally while heal- down). ing aggravated wounds at the normal rate (see p. 285). • The victim loses one point of Dexterity. 172 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES,

Path of the Four Humors fore soak is calculated. This power does not affect the character’s ability to drain blood from the target, nor

Philosophically, the four humors represent different does it increase the amount of damage done by blood qualities, split along two axes: hot and cold, and wet loss. The necromancer’s bite remains potent until this and dry. Blood is hot and wet; phlegm is cold and wet; ability is discharged by a successful hit or she spends yellow bile is hot and dry; and black bile is cold and dry. one turn cleansing the dark blood from her mouth. Historically, when a mortal was out of sorts or ill, it was said that his humors were out of balance, and a philoso- ••• Dark Humors pher or physician would try to heal him by bringing his The vampire can exude a coat of a particular humor humors back into balance. Ancient necromancers be- onto her skin, causing all that touch it to experience lieved that in their undead forms, all four humors were the most intense form of that humor. After a necro- held in a mystical stasis, and that they could tap into all mancer has used this power, she generally feels the four of them instead of merely tapping into blood in the opposite of the sensation the humor usually conveys: form of vitae as other vampires did. Using blood leaves her depressed and pessimistic; using This antiquated path was primarily considered the yellow bile renders her calm and placid; using black knowledge of the Lamia bloodline, and certainly very bile leaves her optimistic; and using phlegm makes her few necromancers have learned this path without tu- aroused and angry. toring from a Lamia. Since the loss of the Lamia, elder System: The player spends two blood points. The necromancers have searched everywhere (both in this necromancer chooses which humor she wishes to ex- world and the next) for clues to its existence. crete. The humor can simply coat the skin — in which case touching the victim’s skin lets the humor take ef- • Whispers to the Soul fect — or it can act as a poison if placed in a bever- The necromancer with this ability can let slip a little age (or in vitae). The victim must make a Stamina roll of her own undead bilious humor as she speaks to an- (difficulty 8) to resist the effects of the humor: other being (whether mortal or Kindred). The wicked • Phlegm: Target becomes lethargic; all dice pools vapor slips into the target’s ear and whispers night- are reduced by two for the remainder of the scene. mares to the target throughout the day and night. The target has a harder time sleeping, and becomes irritable • Blood (vitae): Target becomes prone to excessive and distracted during his waking hours. bleeding, and any lethal or aggravated wounds he suf- fers deal an additional health level of damage on the System: The character must whisper the target’s turn after they originally occur. Vitae altered by Dark name (as she knows it) into his ear. The victim rolls Humors will not turn a human into a ghoul if ingested, Willpower (difficulty 8). If the roll fails, the victim suf- nor will it initiate a blood bond. fers from nightmares and hears mad, wicked mutter- ings while awake, for a number of full days equal to the • Black Bile: Target suffers a number of health levels necromancer’s Manipulation. The victim loses one die of damage equal to the necromancer’s Stamina. This from all dice pools while thus afflicted, and at the Sto- damage is considered lethal and can be soaked (if the ryteller’s discretion, the difficulty to resist Rötschreck victim is normally capable of soaking such damage), may be increased by one at the same time. though armor does not protect against it. • Yellow Bile: Target becomes melancholic and is •• Kiss of the Dark Mother plagued with visions of death. He cannot spend Will- Kiss of the Dark Mother allows the necromancer power for the remainder of the scene, and all Willpow- who uses it to mix her vitae with black bile, turning it er rolls receive a +2 difficulty. into a noxious poison. The necromancer forces it into her mouth as saliva might once have come; the vitae •••• Clutching the Shroud tastes acrid and bitter, as though it had been scorched. Blood, the sanguine humor, was regarded by philoso- Once the necromancer coats her teeth and lips with it, phers as being both hot and wet. Blood from a cold she can inflict terrible damage with her bite. corpse has been transubstantiated into a dead form — System: The player spends one blood point; activat- a cold incarnation of a hot, wet element. This trans- ing this power is a reflexive action, but it must be done formation of the living into death holds great power; before making a bite attack. If the bite hits, the aggra- the necromancer knows how to infuse her own being vated damage inflicted by a single bite is doubled be- with the blood of a cold corpse and transform herself VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 173, into something not wholly vampiric. Instead, the nec- (difficulty 8 for mortals, 7 for supernatural beings) and romancer edges closer to being an animated corpse in achieve more successes than the invoker did. Mortals fact as well as name. She grows distant and chill, as who fail in this actively attempt to kill themselves on though possessed by the spirit of Death itself; she has to their next turn. They do not attempt such ludicrous work to push her attention into the physical world. suicides as praying for a lightning bolt or holding their System: The character must drink, and then spend, breath; they use the most effective means at hand to five blood points from a cold corpse (one dead for 24 end their own lives. If prevented from suicide, they at- hours or more, but generally less than three days). It tempt it again as soon as an opportunity presents itself. will generally take at least two turns to consume that This impulse lasts for the rest of the scene, and the Sto- blood, and the power is not activated until the char- ryteller may impose flare-ups over the next day or so at acter can spend all of it. For example, if the character his discretion. Those who succeed on the Willpower is Twelfth Generation, Clutching the Shroud takes at roll still become enchanted with the prospect of death, least seven turns total to activate (two to consume the whether mortal or Kindred, and lose two dice from all blood and five to spend it). dice pools for the rest of the scene. After the power is active and for the rest of the scene, Kindred who fail the Willpower roll do not attempt the necromancer gains several benefits. First, she re- suicide; as they are already dead, the malign influences ceives two additional soak dice, which may be used to of undead humors do not have as strong an effect on soak any sort of damage, even if the character does not them. Instead, the affected vampire sinks into torpor. possess Fortitude. Second, she gains a mystic sense of The duration of this torpor is based on the vampire’s how far those in the area are from death — whether Humanity or Path rating, just as if lethal wounds had they are healthy or infirm, suffer from diseases, or are forced him into it. undead, ghouls, or mortals. Finally, a Manipulation + Occult roll lets her speak with ghosts freely. The dif- Vitreous Path ficulty for this roll depends on how attuned to death a The Vitreous Path allows a necromancer to control locale is; a cemetery would be difficulty 5, while a cozy and influence the energies pertaining to death. This apartment might be difficulty 7. However, this ability extremely rare path manipulates entropy, a force that makes the necromancer much more susceptible to the even most necromancers are uncomfortable harness- effects of powers used by ghosts, which means that she ing. A development of the Nagaraja bloodline (p. 406, must act carefully. although they sometimes call the path “Nihilistics”), ••••• Black Breath the Vitreous Path makes a formidable complement to the necromantic craft, and those obsessed with mas- A necromancer who has mastered this path can har- tery over death and souls — such as the Harbingers of ness the undead black bile that festers at the core of her Skulls — would certainly risk much to uncover this being; she pulls that melancholy to her lungs and lets it path’s secrets. mingle with her outgoing breath. She then exhales the dark mist, letting it engulf those nearby. The necro- Like most necromancers, Nagaraja generally learn mancer feels curiously lightheaded and optimistic after the Sepulchre Path before any others. The Vitreous using this power, as she has forced some of her most Path is usually their second focus of study. depressed nature out into the world; those caught in • Eyes of the Dead the black vapors grow despairing and hopeless. The necromancer employing the Eyes of the Dead System: The player spends one Willpower and one can see with the perceptions of the Restless Dead blood point, and rolls Stamina + Athletics (difficulty (called Deathsight). To such a manipulator of ghostly 7). Black Breath allows the character to exhale a dark energies, the auras of surrounding beings give off tell- cloud of vapor that is five yards or meters in diameter per tale hints as to their health and even their ultimate success rolled. Those caught in the mists may attempt fate; the necromancer can see the energies of death a Dexterity + Athletics roll to escape it if they have an flowing through everyone, just as ghosts can. By look- available action; otherwise, they may be overwhelmed ing at the entropic markings on a person’s body, the by depression to the point of suicide. Those who can- necromancer can gain rough knowledge of how far that not escape the mists must immediately roll Willpower person is from death, how soon that person is likely to die, and even what the cause of her death is likely to 174 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, be. The information thus gained is not exact by any Three End of scene means, but it gives the necromancer an edge over those Four Five turns she scrutinizes. Five One turn System: The player rolls Perception + Occult, dif- ficulty 6. One success lets a necromancer determine whether someone is injured, diseased, or dying, as well Note that since this power requires the expenditure as whether the individual labors under any sort of curse of blood points, a character cannot cause an Aura of or baleful magic. Decay while staked. Further, the vampire can divine the target’s eventual ••• Soul Feast demise, depending on the successes scored. One suc- Just as the necromancer can release entropic ener- cess means the character can guess how long the tar- gies from within, she may also pull them into herself get has to live to within a few weeks. Three successes as a source of power. Soul Feasting allows the caster means the character can estimate how long the target to either draw on the ambient death energies around has to live and what the probable source of death will her or to actively feed on a ghost, stealing the wraith’s be, as the entropic markings show the wounds that will substance and mystically transforming that energy into someday exist on that person. Five successes means the sustenance. character can actually see where and when the event will occur by interpreting the black marks on the tar- System: The player spends one Willpower point to get’s soul. allow the vampire to feed on the negative energies of the dead. If the character is drawing the energies from This ability lasts for one scene, though the necro- the atmosphere, she must be in a place where death has mancer may choose to end the power early. It can be occurred within the hour or in a place where death is used to read the fate of only one target at a time. Story- common, such as a cemetery, a morgue, or the scene of tellers should exercise judgment with this power, since a recent murder. Generally, the necromancer can draw the markings of death are typically unavoidable. He anywhere from one to four points of entropy from such may decide to roll the dice himself, so that the player a location, although the difficulty in using all Nec- has no way of knowing whether her insight is correct. romancy and similar deathly powers within the area •• Aura of Decay increases by an equal amount for a number of nights The necromancer can strengthen the feeling of en- equal to the points taken. The energies of such an area tropy around her to the point where it breaks down may only be drained once until the area’s entropy re- nonliving objects and machines. It can gnarl wood, plenishes. rust metal, crack silicon chips, and erode plastic, glass, In cases when the necromancer feeds on a ghost, the and dead organic material. This power has a range of vampire must actually attack the wraith as if feeding one yard or meter from the necromancer’s body, but all normally. Wraiths have up to 10 “blood points” that those in the presence of the vampire can feel her cor- may be taken from them, and they become less and ruption as an icy wind. less substantial as their spirit essence drains away. The System: No roll is required, but this power does cost character is vulnerable to any attack the ghost might at least one blood point. Objects subjected to this Aura make, even those that do not normally affect the phys- of Decay break down and become useless after being ical world; while feeding, the vampire is essentially in targeted. How the object gives out, as well as the exact a half-state, existing in both the living lands and the mechanism of failure, is up to the Storyteller. Corro- Underworld simultaneously. The wraith so attacked is sion, metal fatigue, or sheer brittleness are all suitably considered immobilized and cannot run or escape un- likely for any given item’s demise, but the in-game ef- less it can defeat the vampire in a resisted Willpower fect of using a doomed item is as if the owning charac- roll (difficulty 6 for both sides). This power may also ter rolled a botch. The speed at which an item breaks be used in conjunction with Ash Path Necromancy, down depends on how many blood points are spent. allowing the vampire to drain power (though not sus- tenance) from ghosts while traveling in the lands of Blood Spent Time to Breakdown the dead. One One week This soul energy may be used just like blood in ev- Two One day ery respect except for when the vampire rises for the VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 175, night. It can activate Disciplines, heal wounds, boost If the cloud is directed toward a particular target, the Attributes, etc. Botching this power renders the vam- necromancer must either touch the target or direct the pire unable to feed through the Shroud for the rest of stream of entropy using Dexterity + Occult (difficulty the night. However, she remains susceptible to the as- 7). A target laden with entropy suffers one (and only saults of ghosts and spirits for several turns (generally, one) level of aggravated damage; this generally mani- a number of turns equal to the amount of energy that fests as sudden illness or decay. The target’s social dif- could have been drawn from the area, or one turn if at- ficulties while interacting with those unfamiliar with tacking a ghost) as she hovers between worlds, unable the touch of death — most normal humans, as well as to function effectively in either. some supernatural creatures — increase by 2. Further- more, supernatural perceptions indicate the target is •••• Breath of Thanatos tainted with decay, which can be dangerous. This form The Breath of Thanatos allows the necromancer to of taint lasts until sunrise; a victim already plagued by draw out entropic energy and focus it upon an area this power cannot be affected again until the previous or person by taking a deep breath and then forcefully fog of entropy has dispersed. exhaling a fog of necromantic energy. This cloud of A botch on the roll to control this power indicates virulence is completely invisible to anyone without the that the vampire has turned the energy upon himself, ability to see the passing of entropy. The energy of this and suffers all the effects of the vitriolic breath. This cloud is like a beacon for Spectres, and they are drawn inflicts the usual injury and may subject the necroman- to the entropic force like moths to a flame. cer to the possibly dangerous attention of provoked Once the energy is pulled from the necromancer’s Spectres and other creatures from beyond the grave. body, she can either disperse it over a large area as a lure for Spectres, or use the mist for more sinister pur- ••••• Night Cry poses. Channeled into an object or person, the death- The breath of entropic energy becomes a scream of mist inflicts the subject with a debilitating, wasting ill- pure chaos. The necromancer can issue an unearthly cry ness. Furthermore, the focused energies are tainted and (heard both in the living world and in the Shadowlands). eerie, and though generally invisible (except to powers The howl pours icy oblivion into a target or group of such as Aura Perception), they tend to cause people targets — either sweeping away the inherent entropy or and animals to feel uncomfortable around the victim. collecting that destruction and unleashing it. System: The player spends one blood point and rolls System: The vampire chooses a number of targets Willpower (difficulty 8). Only one success is needed to within one yard or meter per dot of Necromancy and draw out the Breath of Thanatos. If dispersed to sum- invokes Night Cry with a terrible scream. The player mon Spectres, the energies cover roughly one-quarter spends a Willpower point and a blood point for each of a mile (400 meters) in radius, centered around the target beyond the first. (In other words, she spends necromancer. The range increases by an additional no blood if only going after one target, or one blood one-quarter mile or 400 meters for every additional for two targets. Generational blood limits apply, and blood point expended. the vampire may not “pre-spend” blood prior to using Spectres summoned with this power will ignore the Night Cry.) summoning necromancer for the duration of the pow- The player then chooses whether the vampire will aid er unless provoked, but may well go out of their way or harm the targets, and rolls Manipulation + Occult to wreak havoc on anyone else in the vicinity. The (difficulty 6). If she chooses to aid the target or targets, necromancer can then use other Necromancy powers each success gives each affected target a -2 difficulty (such as those in the Sepulchre Path) to manipulate modifier to all of his actions for one turn per success. If and affect these Spectres. Ghosts so targeted may then she instead chooses harm, each success causes an aggra- interact with the necromancer as normal, although the vated wound to each target. Targets may be any kind of other Spectres in the area will continue to ignore both living creature, including supernatural ones. the vampire and the targeted ghost. This energy dis- No matter the result, the Night Cry is heard on both perses after a scene, after which the Spectres leave to sides of the Shroud, attracting the attention of anyone find new prey. Mechanics for Spectres can be found on nearby. On a botch, the necromancy may summon un- p. 385. ruly ghosts or Spectres, similar to Breath of Thanatos 176 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, (although the ghosts are under no compulsion to ig- as normal as the vampire stares into the target’s eyes nore the necromancer…). for five minutes. The number of successes on the roll determines the clarity of the vision. A botch shows the

Necromantic Rituals necromancer his own Final Death, which can provoke

The rituals connected with Necromancy are a hodge- a Rötschreck roll (see p. 299). podge lot. Some have direct relations to the paths, while This power cannot be used on the corpses of vampires others seem to have been taught by ghosts themselves, who have reached Golconda, or on bodies in which for whatever twisted reason. All beginning necroman- both eyes are missing or advanced decomposition has cers gain one Level One ritual automatically, but any already occurred. others learned must be gained through in-game play. Necromantic rituals are otherwise identical to Thau- Successes Result maturgy rituals (pp. 230-240) and are learned in similar 1 success A basic sense of the subject’s death fashion, though the two are not at all compatible. 2 successes A clear image of the subject’s death System: Casting times for necromantic rituals vary and the seconds preceding it widely; see the description for particulars. The player 3 successes A clear image, with sound, of the rolls Intelligence + Occult (difficulty 3 + the level of minutes preceding death the ritual, maximum 9). Success indicates the ritual 4 successes A clear image, with sound, of the proceeds smoothly, failure produces no effect, and a half-hour before the subject’s demise botch indicates something has gone horribly wrong. 5 successes Full sensory perception of the hour

Level One Rituals leading up to the target’s death Call of the Hungry Dead

Call of the Hungry Dead takes only 10 minutes to Knowing Stone cast and requires a hair from the target’s head. The rit- By use of her own blood and the proper rituals, a ual climaxes with the burning of that hair in the flame necromancer can mark a person’s spirit, allowing the of a black candle, after which the victim becomes vampire to see where her subject is at any time, even able to hear snatches of conversation from across the after he has died. In this fashion many of the spirit- Shroud. If the target is not prepared, the voices come haunted vampires keep tabs on their close kin and as a confusing welter of howls and unearthly demands; their enemies. he is unable to make out anything intelligible, and may The necromancer cuts her skin or otherwise bleeds go briefly mad. herself, and then uses the vitae to paint the name of

Eldritch Beacon the target on a consecrated stone. If the ritual is suc-cessful, she can afterward learn the target’s current

Eldritch Beacon takes 15 minutes to cast. The mate- whereabouts by dancing around the stone in a trance rial component is a green candle, the melted wax from state until one of the spirits whispers the desired infor- which must be collected and molded into a half-inch mation into her ear. The stone loses its powers on the (1.5 cm) sphere. Whoever carries this sphere, whether night of All Saints Day unless the vampire spends a in his hand or in a pocket, is highlighted in the Shad- blood point. owlands with a sickly-glowing green-white aura. All ghostly powers affect this individual with greater ease Minestra di Morte and severity. The sphere retains its power for one hour The necromancer obtains a piece of a dead body and per success on the casting roll. simmers it in a pot with half a quart (or half a liter)

Insight of vampiric vitae. To this stew, the necromancer adds rosemary (for remembrance), basil (the funerary herb),

This ritual allows a necromancer to stare into the and salt (the alchemic principle of clarification). After eyes of a corpse and see reflected there the last thing bringing the concoction to a full boil, the necromancer the dead man witnessed. The vision appears only in eats it. the eyes of the cadaver and is visible to no one ex- cept the necromancer using Insight. The player rolls If the roll to activate this ritual is successful, the character discovers whether the subject of the grisly VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 177, rite became a wraith or Spectre after death, or if indeed use both at the same time. With Lifesight, the nec- she became either. Unfortunately, this information can romancer may read auras as if she had the level two be learned only about the person from whose body the Auspex power Aura Perception. Deathsight, on the “stew meat” was taken. other hand, grants the necromancer the ability to see The blood component is spent progressively through ghosts and the Shadowlands. It also shows the stain of the ritual: If the Necromancer takes the blood from oblivion on the living, as per Eyes of the Dead (p. 174). another Kindred, she doesn’t become partially bound At the Storyteller’s discretion, the Kindred may make from drinking it, nor does she add a point to her blood a similar study of an inanimate object’s flaws and how pool. Similarly, if she uses her own blood, her pool de- to repair them, if that object has a strong link to either creases by a point but does not increase when she con- life- or death-energies (such as a murderer’s knife or a sumes the soup. window box used to grow healing herbs). Necromantic vampires without the Eat Food Merit To perform the ritual, the necromancer grasps an ob- (see p. 480) can’t keep the soup down, but can still use sidian mirror that has had its edge sharpened so that it the ritual and gain the information. cuts the flesh of whoever takes hold of it. As the vitae flows onto the mirror’s surface, it allows the mirror’s re-

Ritual of the Smoking Mirror flective power to bridge the worlds of the living and the

This ritual allows the necromancer to use an obsidian dead, much as it allows the necromancer herself to do. mirror to see as ghosts do. By gazing into the mirror’s The player then rolls to activate the ritual as normal. ebony depths, the vampire may discover an object’s If successful, the Necromancer may view the world as flaws, assess the general health of mortals, or even read a ghost does via the reflective surface of the mirror, for a being’s aura. one scene. On a botch, the vampire may well invoke At the start of the ritual, the Kindred decides which the ire of the spirits upon whom she calls. of the ritual’s two aspects she will use — she may not 178 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES,

Level Two Rituals Spectre. The eye is ritually prepared in a process in-volving incense, the new moon, and a period of mid- Eyes of the Grave night chanting. The chanting climaxes when the nec-

This ritual, which takes two hours to cast, causes the romancer removes one of her own eyes and replaces it target to experience intermittent visions of her death with the one from the corpse (fresher is better). Kin- over the period of a week. The visions come without dred healing takes over at that point, sealing the eye warning and can last up to a minute. The caster of the within the socket. ritual has no idea what the visions contain, as only the If the ritual succeeds, the Necromancer permanently victim sees them. Each time a vision manifests, the tar- gains the Shroudsight ability (see p. 163). This ability get must roll Courage (difficulty 7) or be reduced to is always active and does not require a roll. quivering panic. The visions, which come randomly, Furthermore, if it was a Spectre’s corpse, the vampire can also interfere with activities such as driving, study- can hear the vague murmuring of any Spectres in the ing, shooting, and so on. area. This ability isn’t very precise; rather than mind Eyes of the Grave requires a pinch of soil from a fresh reading, it’s more like trying to overhear a low-voiced grave. conversation in the next room. With a Perception + Occult roll, the Necromancer can glean a very vague

The Hand of Glory impression of what nearby Spectres are up to. Botching

The Hand of Glory is a mummified hand used by the this roll may well earn the necromancer a new derange- necromancer to anesthetize a home’s residents and, ment (at the Storyteller’s discretion), as the whispers thereby, allow him free rein to do what he will in the creep into the caster’s subconscious. residence. To create one, the necromancer wraps the This ritual has some major drawbacks, the first being severed hand of a condemned murderer in a shroud, that its proper result is hideously ugly. Unless the vam- draws it tight to squeeze out any remaining blood, and pire wears sunglasses or finds some other way to con- preserves the hand in an earthenware jar with salt, salt- ceal her eye, her Appearance is reduced by one dot. peter, and long peppers. After a fortnight, the vampire removes the hand and dries it in an oven with vervain Also, dead or rotted tissue is not the best for normal and fern. At the end of this process, if the roll to ac- perception. Any mundane visual Perception rolls are at tivate the ritual garners any successes, the creation is +1 difficulty (possibly more if the corpse had bad eye- viable. sight in life). On the other hand, since the eye offers a window into a different soul than the necromancer, To use the Hand of Glory, the vampire first coats it offers some protection against powers requiring eye the fingertips of the mummified hand with a flammable contact. These Disciplines are used against the dead- substance derived from the fat of a hanged man and eyed necromancer at +1 difficulty. sets the fingers alight. The necromancer then recites the phrase, “Let all those who are asleep be asleep, and Most importantly, however, the ghost whose body let those who are awake be awake.” All mortals within was desecrated knows it, and very likely hates it. The a household who are affected fall into a deep sleep and ghost can find the necromancer possessing his eye any- cannot be roused (the hand has no effect on supernatu- where, and all ghostly powers used against the necro- ral creatures). For each unaffected occupant of a home, mancer by that particular ghost are at –1 difficulty. one finger of the hand will refuse to light. Botches may Puppet result in all of the fingers being lit but no one in the Used primarily to facilitate conversations with the home being asleep. The hand may be extinguished at recently departed, though also applied as a method of any time by the necromancer who created it. Anyone psychological torture, Puppet prepares a subject (will- else wishing to douse the hand must use milk to do so ing or unwilling) as a suitable receptacle for ghostly — nothing else works. Once made, the Hand of Glory possession. Over the course of one hour, the necroman- may be reused indefinitely. Effects last for one scene. cer smears grave soil across the subject’s eyes, lips, and

Occhio d’Uomo Morto forehead. For the remainder of the night, any wraith

To cast this ritual, the necromancer needs an eye attempting to take control of the subject gains two au- from a corpse whose absent soul became a ghost or tomatic successes. The ritual’s effects remain even if the soil is washed off. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 179,

The Ritual of Pochtli form this ritual for people in exchange for money or

This ritual cannot be cast by itself, but only in con- favors. junction with another Necromantic ritual, or with the The vampire must dance and chant for two hours, heavily ritualized use of a Necromantic path. The ac- calling forth the right spirit and entreating all other tion of the ritual is this: Two or more Kindred necro- ghosts to leave the area. While dancing, the vampire mancers restrain a mortal vessel and inflict incisions in pours colored sands and ocean salt on the ground in a the shape of blasphemous symbols (typically subverted precise pattern and then makes the link between the Egyptian hieroglyphs or Aztec symbols). They then living person and the deceased. If successful, the ghost drink from these injuries. Each participating Necro- “appears” within the necromancer’s sand-sigil and the mancer must make his own cut and drink from no oth- living person can communicate with her for one hour. er cut. Thereafter, the Necromantic power the Kindred Failure means the spirit could not be contacted. seek to employ gains the benefit of all the participants’ knowledge. This ritual makes it possible for Necroman- Divine Sign cers to create truly fearsome feats of death magic. Upon learning a person’s birth date, the necroman- cer’s player may roll to activate this ritual. If successful, The player rolls to activate this ritual as normal. If the Kindred may use this to predict the target’s next the roll succeeds, the Kindred who have participated course of action, allowing him to deal with it accord- in the ritual may work together on the path or ritual ingly. The effect on ghosts is quite different: Instead, the Ritual of Pochtli is intended to assist, and players the ritual imparts upon the necromancer so intimate share successes. Note that the primary application of an understanding of the wraith in question that it acts Necromancy requires its own roll, and that successes as a connection to the ghost, making it easier to invoke (and failures) garnered by the group are pooled. All other Necromancy effects on that spirit. For story pur- Kindred participating in the ritual must know the Rit- poses, it’s the equivalent to holding one of that wraith’s ual of Pochtli as well as the ritual or path power the fetters (see Ritual of the Unearthed Fetter, below). group seeks to enact. The downside of this power is that a single player’s Din of the Damned botch negates the successes of the entire group, result- This ritual is similar to the Level One Ritual Call ing in a horrific failure for all the ritual workers. of the Hungry Dead (see p. 177) in that it makes the sounds of the Underworld audible in the physical realm.

Two Centimes However, Din of the Damned is an area-effecting rit-

The necromancer ceremonially “kills” a mortal, lay- ual used to ward a room against eavesdropping. Over ing him out on a pallet and putting pennies on his eyes. the course of half an hour, the necromancer draws an The mortal’s soul journeys to the Underworld, which unbroken line of ash from a crematorium along the he perceives, initially at least, as a way-station. The room’s walls (this line may pass over doorframes to al- mortal can interact with the souls of the dead and trav- low entrance and egress). For the rest of the night, any el elsewhere in the Underworld, while also retaining attempt to listen in on events inside the room, whether the power to speak to the vampire and describe what simple (such as a glass to the wall), electronic (like a he’s experiencing. While in the Underworld, however, laser microphone), or mystic (including powers such as the subject’s soul cannot affect the environment. Al- Heightened Senses), requires the eavesdropper to score though he may talk to other spirits, he may not physi- more successes in a Perception + Occult roll (difficulty cally interact with them or their surroundings — he is 7) than the caster of the ritual scored. Failure to beat a “ghost among ghosts,” as it were. Minions may vol- this mark gives the listener an earful of ghostly wailing untarily undergo the ritual to assist necromancers, or and moaning and the sound of howling winds; a botch the vampire may use Two Centimes to terrify unwill- deafens him for the rest of the night. ing victims.

Nightmare Drums Level Three Rituals The necromancer using this ritual sends the dead to

haunt the dreams of an enemy, using the ghosts to drive

Blood Dance an opponent slowly insane. Once the ritual is cast, the

The Blood Dance allows a ghost to communicate vampire has no control over this power, except to stop with a living relative. Necromancers sometimes per- it from continuing. The shape of the nightmares and 180 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, the images that assault the target are not under the roll against difficulty 7 (if done outside of combat, the control of the necromancer; they are under the control difficulty is only 6). During the next combat turn, she of the ghosts who actually do the haunting. bites through her own lips (taking a level of bashing The necromancer uses his own blood and a personal damage) and spits (spending one blood point). Then possession of the target’s in this ritual. Once the item the normal ritual roll is made to see whether the power has been coated with blood, the vampire must burn the takes effect. item, sending a ghostly icon of it to the Shadowlands both as an identifying badge and as a reward to the Level Four Rituals ghosts who agree to haunt the target. While the item burns, the necromancer (and assistants, if available) Baleful Doll pound out a relentless beat on gigantic drums of hu- A baleful doll is a powerful figure that is linked di- man skin. The drums are inaudible in this realm but rectly to the spirit of the target. This doll must be hand- thunderous in the home of the dead. To silence the crafted, and is only finished when it has been painted deafening drums, the ghosts resignedly agree to negoti- with the blood of the necromancer and dressed in some ate with the necromancer. They promise to send night- article of clothing from the victim (which should be mares to the victim for as long as the vampire demands, unwashed for a better connection). Once the doll has in return for a favor. Their request normally runs along been cursed, the vampire can use it to cause physical the lines of passing a message to a living relative or ex- damage to the target. If the doll is injured (often with acting revenge against someone who slighted them. pins or other items), the victim takes six dice of bash- ing damage. If the doll is destroyed, the target suffers

Ritual of The Unearthed Fetter six dice of lethal damage.

This ritual requires that a necromancer have a fin- The necromancer must craft the doll, using ritual ger bone from the skeleton of the particular ghost he’s chants throughout the process. This normally takes interested in. When the ritual is cast, the finger bone four to five hours. The player rolls Stamina + Crafts becomes attuned to something vitally important to the (difficulty 8) to succeed in this part of the ritual — a wraith, the possession of which by the necromancer doll that does not resemble its victim is useless for the makes the casting of Necromantic powers against that purposes of this ritual, though some necromancers sell ghost much easier (see the Sepulchre Path, p. 160, for failures as “authentic voodoo dolls” to tourists. an example). Most necromancers take the attuned fin- ger bone and suspend it from a thread, allowing it to Bastone Diabolico act as a sort of supernatural compass and following it to Casting this ritual is tricky because it requires the the special item in question. removal of a leg bone from a living person. The donor Ritual of the Unearthed Fetter takes three hours to must survive the removal, at least for a little while. The cast properly. It requires both the name of the ghost bone is then submerged in molten lead. Once it cools, targeted and the finger bone already mentioned, as the thin lead coating is inscribed with various runes. well as a chip knocked off a gravestone or other marker The necromancer then uses this metal-shod bone (not necessarily the marker of the bone’s former own- to beat its donor to death while repeating a droning er). During the course of the ritual the stone crumbles Greek chant. to dust, which is then sprinkled over the finger bone. With a successful roll, this ritual produces a bastone diabolico or “devil stick.” The stick can be activated by

Tempesta Scudo anyone who holds it and expends a point of Willpower.

Unlike most rituals, Tempesta Scudo can be cast Activation lasts for a scene, and during that time any speedily. The necromancer performs a short and awk- ghost hit with the devil stick loses a point from its Pas- ward dance that ends with her biting through her own sion pool (see p. 385). In addition to its normal effects, lip and spitting the blood in a circle around her. All this club does an additional die of damage when used ghosts’ actions within the circle of blood are made at against the walking dead (not vampires), and such +2 difficulty. damage is aggravated. To cast this ritual successfully, the necromancer must Unfortunately for the necromancer, ghosts can sense spend one combat turn performing the dance. At the that the bastone diabolico is bad news, even if they don’t end of the turn, she makes a Dexterity + Performance know exactly what the thing does. They tend to stay VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 181, away from anybody carrying one, which means that all rolls for such a character to use powers that summon or attract ghosts occur at +1 difficulty.

Cadaver’s Touch

By chanting for three hours and melting a wax doll in the shape of the target, the necromancer turns a mortal target into a corpselike ruin. As the doll loses the last of its form, the target becomes cold and clammy. His pulse becomes weak and thready, and his flesh pale and chalky. For all intents and purposes, he becomes a rea- sonable facsimile of the walking dead. This can have some adverse effects in social situations (+2 difficulty on all Social rolls). The effects of the ritual wear off only when the wax of the doll is permitted to solidify. If the wax is allowed to boil off, the spell is broken.

Peek Past the Shroud

This hour-long ritual enchants a handful of ergot fungi mold to act as a catalyst for second sight. By eat- ing a pinch of the mold, a subject gains the benefits of Shroudsight (p. 163) for a number of hours equal to the necromancer’s Stamina score. Three doses of the en- chanted ergot are created for every success on the roll. Ergot is normally poisonous to some degree; this ritual removes its toxic properties. However, a botch renders the ergot highly and instantaneously toxic, inflicting eight dice of lethal damage on any subject who ingests it — including vampires.

Ritual of Xipe Totec

To perform the ritual, the Kindred removes his vic- tim’s top layer of skin with an obsidian dagger, tak- ing care to damage the skin as little as possible in the process. The victim must survive this process (though she may well die of blood loss shortly after the ritual if not seen to properly). He then drains the victim’s blood into a large ceremonial golden bowl. There the blood is mixed with octli, amaranth flower, and other ingredients. When imbibed by the necromancer, this mixture causes him to sweat a glistening sheen of blood (equal to one blood point). The Kindred then dons the skin of his victim, which on a successful roll absorbs the Kindred vitae and begins to heal, forming a second skin over the vampire’s own. The victim needs to be of similar stature — otherwise, the features become dis- torted and the disguise is rendered useless. This power also has no effect on supernatural creatures (although it can affect ghouls). Under normal visual scrutiny, the ruse is flawless. Of course, it imparts none of the victim’s knowledge or 182 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, mannerisms (and does nothing to mask the Kindred’s the rag. As the hand decomposes, so does the victim. own undead nature). Therefore, it works best for situ- His flesh bloats, turns gray and then green, then starts ations in which contact with friends and family may to slough off. The victim’s brain remains fresh until the be minimized. To preserve the skin’s condition, the very end, so he can see the maggots writhe in the pu- Kindred must bathe it in a blood point’s worth of vi- trescent rack of meat that once was his healthy body. tae nightly. When the necromancer removes the skin The necromancer makes the standard roll and spends (which causes one level of unsoakable lethal damage two blood points for each point of Stamina (and Forti- to the user and must be done with the same knife used tude) possessed by the victim. The victim loses health to flay the victim in the first place), it is ruined in the levels according to the timetable below. Only the re- process. moval of the rag from the hand can stop the process. If this happens, health levels return, also according to

Level Five Rituals the chart below. Chill of Oblivion Health Level Time Until Next Loss

Performed over the course of 12 hours (reduced by Bruised 12 hours one hour per success on the casting roll), this ritual Hurt 12 hours infuses the necromancer or a willing subject with the chill of the grave. The ritual’s material component is a Injured Six hours one-foot (half-meter) cube of ice, which is slowly melt- Wounded Three hours ed on the subject’s chest (inflicting three health levels Mauled One hour of bashing damage on mortal subjects). The subject Crippled 30 minutes must lie naked on bare earth for the entire duration of the ritual. Once the ritual is completed, its effects Incapacitated 12 hours remain for a number of nights equal to the caster’s Oc- cult rating. Mortal characters who suffer more than 12 hours of An individual affected by Chill of Oblivion treats incapacitation die, while Kindred who remain Inca- aggravated damage from fire and high temperatures as pacitated for more than 12 hours succumb to torpor. if it were lethal damage. Furthermore, he may attempt to extinguish any fire by rolling Willpower (difficulty Esilio 9); each success reduces the fire’s soak difficulty (see Like Tempesta Scudo, Esilio is a quick and dirty ritual. p. 297) by 1, and a fire with a soak difficulty of 2 dwin- The necromancer simply speaks five syllables. No one dles to glowing embers. can identify the casting language, but according to the However, this ritual has several drawbacks. First ritual’s oblique history, the language is what God gave and foremost, the subject’s aura is laced with writhing humankind before the confusion of Babel. The legend black veins that resemble those left by diablerie, and further states that while the particular meaning of the may well be mistaken for such by any observer who is words is lost, they are what Caine’s father said to him not familiar with this ritual. The subject also radiates a while exiling him to Nod. palpable aura of cold that extends to about arm’s length Regardless of the truth of the matter, the Words of from him; this can be extremely disconcerting to mor- Exile are not spoken lightly. When the ritual is cast tals, though it causes no damage, and its game effects successfully, it opens a hole within reality itself — a rip mirror those of the Flaws Touch of Frost (p. 494) and between the lands of the living and the darkest depths Eerie Presence (p. 495). Finally, the mystical nimbus of of the Underworld. This tear is invisible to normal vi- the ritual draws hostile ghosts to the subject, who may sion, but to Witness of Death or Shroudsight it looks plague him with unwholesome acts. like a black vortex opening within the vampire’s own body (the very few unfortunate enough to look into the

Dead Man’s Hand gap with high levels of Auspex are generally unwill-

The necromancer takes a rag stained in the blood, ing or unable to discuss it). Any ghost clutched to the sweat, or tears of the intended victim. She takes a Kindred’s chest is instantly torn to shreds. Grabbing a freshly severed human hand (which can come either ghost in this fashion requires a Clinch or Tackle ma- from a corpse or a living “donor”) and closes it around neuver. Destroyed spirits don’t come back for at least VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 183, a month, if ever. A wraith destroyed in this fashion so subtly that those nearby can’t actually recall the mo- tends to return as a Spectre, if it returns at all. ment at which she left. The necromancer may clutch and destroy a number Usually, few mortals or supernaturals (even those of spirits equal to the number of successes she rolled. trained in Awareness) can pierce through the fog of After that, the vortex closes. It closes at the end of the Obfuscate. Animals, who rely more on their instincts scene if it hasn’t already. than their normal senses, can sometime perceive (and Of course, using one’s body as a portal between our be frightened by) the vampire’s presence. Children and world and what some people might call Hell is neither those to whom deception is foreign may also be able simple nor healthy. For starters, it costs a blood point to pierce the illusion, at the Storyteller’s discretion. and a point of Willpower (which does not give an au- Finally, the Auspex Discipline enables Kindred to see tomatic success on the ritual roll). More importantly, through Obfuscate. Even that is not guaranteed, how- each success rolled inflicts a level of unsoakable lethal ever; refer to “Seeing the Unseen,” p. 142, for more damage on the necromancer. Most significantly, every details. (Storytellers needing a die roll for animals or use of Esilio permanently reduces the necromancer’s children can use this quick and dirty guideline: treat Humanity by one point if he follows that morality, and them as if they had Auspex 1 in terms of contesting may impact other Paths at the Storyteller’s discretion. Obfuscate. They do not have the Auspex 1 power, but are considered to have it when determining whether a

Grasp the Ghostly vampire is noticed.)

Requiring a full six hours of chanting, this ritual al- Since Obfuscate clouds the mind of the viewer, vam- lows a necromancer to bring an object from the Un- pires can’t use it to hide their presence from electronic derworld into the real world. It’s not simple, however or mechanical devices. Video and photo cameras, for — a wraith may object to having his possessions stolen example, capture the vampire’s image accurately. Even and fight back. Furthermore, the object taken must be so, the person using, say, her cell phone to record an replaced by a material item of roughly equal mass, oth- Obfuscated vampire will still have her mind impacted erwise the target of the ritual snaps back to its previous, by the power, and she won’t see the Kindred’s im- ghostly existence. age until she views the video at a later date (if even Objects taken from the Underworld tend to fade away then). after about a year. Only items recently destroyed in the Several Clans cultivate this power — the Assa- real world (called “relics” by ghosts) may be recaptured mites, Followers of Set, and Malkavians, for example in this manner. Artifacts created by wraiths themselves — but the Nosferatu are particularly known for this were never meant to exist outside the Underworld, and Discipline. Some elder Kindred believe that Caine, or vanish on contact with the living world. perhaps Lilith, bestowed the Clan with this Discipline to compensate for the hideous physical deformities its members suffer.

Obfuscate Most Obfuscate powers last for a scene, or until the

Obfuscate is the uncanny ability for Kindred to con- vampire ceases maintaining them. Once evoked, they ceal themselves from sight, sometimes even in full require very little mental effort to keep in place. view of a crowd. An Obfuscated vampire doesn’t actu- • Cloak of Shadows ally become invisible, however — rather, he is able to At this level, the vampire must rely on nearby shad- delude observers into believing that he has vanished. ows and cover to assist in hiding his presence. He steps Obfuscate also allows Kindred to change their features into an out-of-the-way, shadowed place and eases him- and conceal other people or objects. Typically vam- self from normal sight. The vampire remains unnoticed pires using Obfuscate must be within a short range of as long as he stays silent, still, under some degree of their witnesses (approximately five yards or meters per cover (such as a curtain, bush, door frame, lamppost, dot of Wits + Stealth) for their power to be effective. or alley), and out of direct lighting. The immortal’s Unless the Kindred chooses to make herself seen, concealment vanishes if he moves, attacks, or falls un- she can remain obscured for as long as she wills it. At der direct light. Furthermore, the vampire’s deception higher levels, the vampire can actually fade from sight cannot stand up to concentrated observation without fading. 184 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, System: No roll is required as long as the character the Kindred’s physical form does not change, any ob- fulfills the criteria described above. So long as he re- server who cannot sense the truth sees whomever the mains quiet and motionless, virtually no one but an- vampire wishes her to see. other Kindred with a high enough Auspex rating will The vampire must have a firm idea of the visage he see him. wishes to project. The primary decision is whether to •• Unseen Presence create an imaginary face or to superimpose the features of another person. Manufactured features are often With experience, the vampire can move around more difficult to compose in believable proportions, without being seen. Shadows seem to shift to cover but such a disguise is easier to maintain than having to him, and people automatically avert their gazes as he impersonate someone else. Of course, things get sim- passes by. Others move unconsciously to avoid contact pler if the Kindred borrows the face but doesn’t bother with the cloaked creature; those with weak wills may with the personality. even scurry away from the area in unacknowledged fear. The vampire remains ignored indefinitely unless System: The player rolls Manipulation + Perfor- someone deliberately seeks him out or he inadvertently mance (difficulty 7) to determine how well the disguise reveals himself. works. If the character tries to impersonate someone, he must get a good look at the subject before putting Since the vampire fully retains his physical sub- on the mask. The Storyteller may raise the difficulty if stance, he must be careful to avoid contact with any- the character catches only a glimpse. The chart below thing that may disclose his presence (knocking over a lists the degrees of success in manufacturing another vase, bumping into someone). Even a whispered word appearance. Vampires wishing to mask themselves as or the scuffing of a shoe against the floor can be enough a person more attractive than they are must pay ad- to disrupt the power. ditional blood points equal to the difference between System: No roll is necessary to use this power unless the vampire’s Appearance rating and the Appearance the character speaks, attacks, or otherwise draws atten- of the mask (which means that younger vampires may tion to himself. The Storyteller should call for a Wits + need to take longer in order to spend the blood neces- Stealth roll under any circumstances that might cause sary). the character to reveal himself. The difficulty of the roll depends on the situation; stepping on a squeaky Successes Result floorboard might be a 5, while walking through a pool 1 success The vampire retains the same height of water may require a 9. Other acts may require a cer- and build, with a few slight tain number of successes; speaking quietly without giv- alterations to his basic features. ing away one’s position, for instance, demands at least Nosferatu can appear as normal, three successes. Upon success, the vampire, all her albeit ugly, mortals. clothing, and objects that could fit into a pocket are 2 successes He looks unlike himself; people don’t concealed. easily recognize him or agree about Some things are beyond the power of Unseen Pres- his appearance. ence to conceal. Although the character is cloaked 3 successes He looks the way he wants to appear. from view while he smashes through a window, yells out, or throws someone across the room, the vampire 4 successes Complete transformation, including becomes visible to all in the aftermath. Bystanders snap gestures, mannerisms, appearance, out of the subtle fugue in which Obfuscate put them. and voice. Worse still, each viewer can make a Wits + Awareness 5 successes Profound alteration (appear as the roll (difficulty 7); if successful, the mental haze clears opposite sex, a vastly different age, completely, so those individuals recall every move the or an extreme change of size). character made up until then as if he had been visible the entire time. Actually posing as someone else carries its own prob- ••• Mask of a Thousand Faces lems. The character should know at least basic infor- The vampire can influence the perception of others, mation about the individual; especially difficult decep- causing them to see a face different from his. Although tions (fooling a lover or close friend) require at least some familiarity with the target in order to succeed. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 185, •••• Vanish from the Mind’s Eye vokes the power gives himself away, the cloak falls This potent expression of Obfuscate enables the from everyone. This power is particularly useful if the vampire to disappear from plain view. So profound is vampire needs to bring his retinue through a secure lo- this vanishing that the immortal can fade away even if cation without drawing the notice of others. he stands directly in front of someone. System: The character may conceal one extra indi- While the disappearance itself is quietly subtle, its vidual for each dot of Stealth he possesses. He may be- impact on those who see it is anything but. Most kine stow any single Obfuscate power at a given time to the panic and flee in the aftermath. Especially weak-willed group. While the power applies to everyone under the individuals wipe the memory of the Kindred from their character’s cloak, his player need only make a single minds. Although vampires are not shaken so easily, roll. Each individual must follow the requirements de- even Kindred may be momentarily surprised by a sud- scribed under the relevant Obfuscate power to remain den vanishing. under its effect; any person who fails to do so loses the cloak’s protection, but doesn’t expose the others. Only System: The player rolls Charisma + Stealth; the if the vampire himself errs does the power drop for ev- difficulty equals the target’s Wits + Alertness (use the eryone. highest total in the group if the character disappears in front of a crowd). With three or fewer successes, ••••• • Conceal the character fades but does not vanish, becoming an The vampire may mask an inanimate object up to indistinct, ghostlike figure. With more than three, he the size of a house (Obfuscate cannot be used to dis- disappears completely. If the player scores more suc- guise inanimate objects without the use of this power). cesses than an observer’s Willpower rating, that person If the object is hidden, so are all of its contents. While forgets that the vampire was there in the first place. Conceal is in effect, passersby walk around the con- Tracking the character accurately while he appears cealed object as if it were still visible, but refuse to ac- ghostlike requires a Perception + Alertness roll (dif- knowledge that they are making any kind of detour. ficulty 8). A successful roll means the individual can System: In order to activate this power, a character interact normally with the vampire (although the must be within about 30 feet (approximately 10 me- Kindred looks like a profoundly disturbing ghostly ters) of the object to be concealed and the item must shape). A failed roll results in a +2 difficulty modi- hold some personal significance for him. The Conceal fier (maximum 10) when attempting to act upon, or power functions as Unseen Presence for purposes of interact with, the vampire. The Storyteller may call detection, as well as the duration and durability of the for new observation checks if the vampire moves to an disguise. environment in which he’s difficult to see (heads into Conceal can be used on a vehicle in which the char- shadows, crosses behind an obstacle, proceeds through acter is traveling. In this instance, traffic patterns seem a crowd). When fully invisible, the vampire is handled to flow around the vehicle, and accidents are actually as described under Unseen Presence, above. less likely as other drivers subconsciously maneuver A person subject to the vanishing makes a Wits + away from the concealed auto. A police radar gun still Courage roll (mortals at difficulty 9, vampires at dif- registers a speeding car masked in this fashion, but the ficulty 5). A successful roll means the individual reacts officer behind the gun is disinclined to make a traffic immediately (although after the vampire performs his stop of the phantom blip. Using Conceal on aircraft action for that turn); failure means the person stands is problematic, as the power’s range generally doesn’t uncomprehending for two turns while her mind tries to extend far enough to cover air traffic controllers and make sense of what she just experienced. the like. ••••• Cloak the Gathering ••••• • Mind Blank At this degree of power, the vampire may extend A vampire with this power is able to shrug off tele- his concealing abilities to cover an area. The immor- pathic contact, easily withstanding invasive probes of tal may use any Obfuscate power upon those nearby as her mind. well as upon himself, if he wishes. System: Any attempt to read or probe the character’s Any protected person who compromises the cloak mind first requires a successful Perception + Empathy exposes himself to view. Further, if the one who in- roll (difficulty equal to the character’s Wits + Stealth). 186 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, Even if a potential intruder does succeed, his dice pool vampire to Obfuscate an unwilling victim, removing for the attempt is then limited to the number of suc- him from the notice of others. Some Nosferatu use this cesses he scored on the initial roll. power to teach a humbling lesson to individuals who take the presence and aid of others for granted, while ••••• • Soul Mask others utilize it to remove an essential member of a In addition to concealing her form, a vampire who group in the midst of a crisis. has developed Soul Mask is able to conceal her aura. System: The character must touch the victim to ac- She may display whatever combination of colors and tivate this power. The player spends a blood point and shades she wishes, or may appear to have no aura what- rolls Wits + Stealth (difficulty equals the victim’s Ap- soever. This power is of particular use to those of elder pearance + 3). If the roll is a success, the victim is sub- Generation who have reached such heights of power ject to the effects of Vanish From the Mind’s Eye for a through diablerie. length of time determined by the number of successes System: The use of this power allows the projec- the player rolls. tion of only one aura (or lack thereof) — the vampire chooses the precise colors to be displayed when she first Successes Result develops Soul Mask. If the character has no experience 1 success Three turns with the use of Aura Perception, she may not choose 2 successes One minute (20 turns) an alternate aura, as she has no idea what one would look like, though she can still choose to display no aura 3 successes 15 minutes whatsoever. Soul Mask can be bought multiple times, 4 successes One hour if desired, in order to give a vampire multiple alternate 5 successes One night auras from which to choose. Unless the player states otherwise, Soul Mask is al- The victim of Veil of Blissful Ignorance does not nec- ways in effect. If the character has bought Soul Mask essarily know that he is under the effect of this power. two or more times, her “default” aura displayed is the He is only aware that everyone around him has sud- first one she learned. denly begun acting as if he were not there. The victim ••••• •• Cache cannot break this effect, even with violence; if he at- Most Obfuscate powers require the individual using tacks someone, the target ascribes the act to the visible them to be within a short distance of the subjects of individual nearest to him. More than one fatal brawl the concealment. Cache extends this range consider- has been incited by this side-effect. The Veil persists ably, allowing an elder with this power to leave people even if the vampire who activated it leaves the area. or objects safely hidden while he goes about his busi- Curiously enough, Veil of Blissful Ignorance can ness elsewhere. never be used on anyone who is ready and willing to System: A character must be within the normal re- accept its effects. quired distance to initiate an Obfuscate power. Once ••••• ••• Old Friend this is done, the player spends a Willpower point, which Many elder Nosferatu have made reputations for om- activates Cache on top of the already functioning use niscience with the secrets they learn through creative of the Discipline. The concealment will now remain uses of this power. A variation of Mask of a Thousand in effect as long as the vampire is within a distance Faces, Old Friend allows a vampire to probe a subject’s equal to his Wits + Stealth in miles (or one and half subconscious and take the semblance of the individual times that in kilometers) from the object or person he whom that victim trusts over anyone else. Someone wishes to conceal. The enhanced concealment fades at using this power does not appear as someone who the the next sunrise, or breaks (as always) if the Obfuscate victim is frightened of or awed by, but rather someone subject reveals himself. to whom the victim feels comfortable revealing inti- ••••• •• Veil of Blissful Ignorance mate secrets. Old Friend doesn’t necessarily make its This power’s development is attributed to the Mal- user appear as someone who is still among the living; a kavians, but many Nosferatu have also found it to be long- dead friend or relative is just as likely, and in such highly useful. The Veil of Blissful Ignorance allows a cases the subject remembers the encounter as a dream or a ghostly visitation. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 187, System: The player rolls Manipulation + Subterfuge power gives control over the stuff of the vampire’s soul, (difficulty equal to the victim’s Perception + Alert- coaxing it tangibly outward. ness or Awareness, maximum 10). The more successes, Regardless, the effects of Obtenebration are terrify- the more convincing the impersonation. This power ing, as waves of darkness roil out from the Cainite, en- only affects one victim at a time; other observers see veloping those in their path like an infernal wave. As the vampire as she truly is, unless she also establishes Obtenebration is mostly known as a Sabbat Discipline, a Mask of a Thousand Faces in addition to using Old any Camarilla vampire caught using the power had Friend. better have a damned good explanation. ••••• •••• Create Name Note: Vampires using Obtenebration can see through Some Toreador call this power the ultimate develop- the darkness they control, though other vampires (even ment of method acting. Create Name allows a charac- those that also have Obtenebration) cannot. Dreadful ter to create a completely new identity; face, speech tales of rival Lasombra struggling to blind and smother pattern, aura, even thought processes are constructed each other with the same wisps of darkness circulate according to the vampire’s desired identity. The power among young members of the Clan, though no elders can be used to impersonate an existing individual, or have come forth to substantiate these claims. it can project the semblance of a completely fictional • Shadow Play identity with perfect accuracy. This power grants the vampire limited control over System: A vampire working with Create Name must shadows and other ambient darkness. Though the vam- spend three hours a night in relatively uninterrupted pire cannot truly “create” darkness, she can overlap and quiet to establish a new personality by means of this stretch existing shadows, creating patches of gloom. power. The player makes an extended roll of Intelli- This power also allows Kindred to separate shadows gence + Subterfuge (difficulty 8), one roll per night. A from their casting bodies and even shape darkness into total of 20 successes are necessary to construct a new the shadows of things that are not there. identity, while a botch removes five successes from the vampire’s total. Once a new identity has been success- Once a Kindred takes control of darkness or shadow, fully created, however, the character can step into it at it gains a mystical tangibility. By varying accounts cold any time without any sort of roll. Any outside observer or hellishly hot and cloying, the darkness may be used without Auspex 9 or the equivalent sees the artificial to aggravate or even smother victims. Certain callous identity. The character’s face, aura, Nature, Demeanor, Lasombra claim to have choked mortals to death with even thoughts and Psychological Merits and Flaws all their own shadows. appear to be those of the persona selected and crafted System: This power requires no roll, but a blood by the character. point must be spent to activate it. Shadow Play lasts for The only way to pierce this disguise, other than Aus- one scene and requires no active concentration. Kin- pex 9, is to notice any discrepancies between the as- dred cloaking themselves in shadow gain an extra die sumed identity and the Abilities it logically ought to in their Stealth dice pools and add one to the difficul- possess. A character with no dots in Medicine should ties of ranged weapon attacks against them. Vampires have a hard time pulling off a created identity as a neu- who use the darkness to make themselves more terrify- rosurgeon, for example. The Storyteller should make a ing add one die to Intimidation dice pools. Opponents secret roll of Perception + Alertness (difficulty 9) for plagued by flapping shadows and strangling darkness each character who should catch a slip made by the subtract one die from all Stamina dice pools (includ- impostor. ing soak). Mortals, ghouls, and other air-breathers re- duced to zero Stamina by strangling shadows begin to asphyxiate; vampires lose all appropriate dice but are

Obtenebration otherwise unaffected. Only one target or subject may be affected by this power at any given time, though

The signature power of the Lasombra, Obtenebra- some modicum of concealment is offered to a relatively tion grants the vampire power over darkness itself. The motionless group. nature of the darkness invoked by Obtenebration is The unnatural appearance of this power proves ex- a matter of intense debate among Kindred. Some be- tremely disconcerting to mortals and animals (and, at lieve it to be merely shadows, while others feel that the the Storyteller’s discretion, Kindred who have never 188 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, seen it before). Whenever this power is invoked within ••• Arms of the Abyss a mortal’s vicinity, that individual must make a Cour- Refining his control over darkness, the Kindred can age roll (difficulty 8) or suffer a one-die penalty to all create prehensile tentacles that emerge from patches of dice pools for the remainder of the scene, due to fear of dim lighting. These tentacles may grasp, restrain, and the monstrous shadows. constrict foes. •• Shroud of Night System: The player spends a blood point and makes The vampire can create a cloud of inky blackness. a simple (never extended) Manipulation + Occult roll The cloud completely obscures light and even sound (difficulty 7); each success enables the creation of a to some extent. Those who have been trapped within single tentacle. Each tentacle is six feet (two meters) it (and survived) describe the cloud as viscous and un- long and possesses Strength and Dexterity ratings equal nerving. This physical manifestation lends credence to to the invoking vampire’s Obtenebration Trait — Po- those Lasombra who claim that their darkness is some- tence and Celerity dots are added to these Strength and thing other than mere shadow. Dexterity ratings, respectively. If the vampire chooses, The tenebrous cloud may even move, if the creating she may spend a blood point either to increase a single Kindred wishes, though this requires complete concen- tentacle’s Strength or Dexterity by one or to extend its tration. length by another six feet or two meters. Each tentacle has four health levels, is affected by fire and sunlight System: The player rolls Manipulation + Occult as if it were a vampire, and soaks bashing and lethal (difficulty 7). Success on the roll generates darkness damage using the vampire’s Stamina + Fortitude. Ag- roughly 10 feet (three meters) in diameter, though gravated damage may not be soaked. the amorphous cloud constantly shifts and undulates, sometimes even extending shadowy tendrils. Each Tentacles may constrict foes, inflicting (Strength +1) additional success doubles the diameter of the cloud lethal damage per turn. Breaking the grasp of a ten- (though the vampire may voluntarily reduce the area tacle requires the victim to win a resisted Strength roll she wishes to cover). The cloud may be invoked at against the tentacle (difficulty 6 for each). However, a distance of up to 50 yards/meters, though creating tentacles cannot be used for any kind of manipulation, darkness outside the vampire’s line of sight adds two such as typing or driving. to the difficulty of the roll and requires a blood point’s All tentacles need not emanate from the same source expenditure. — so long as there are multiple patches of suitable The tarry mass actually extinguishes light sources it darkness, there are sources for the Arms of the Abyss. engulfs (with the exception of fire), and muffles sounds Controlling the tentacles does not require complete until they are indistinguishable. Those within the concentration; if the Kindred is not incapacitated or cloud lose all sense of sight and feel as though they’ve in torpor, she may control tentacles while carrying out been immersed in pitch. Sound also warps and distorts other actions. within the cloud, making it nearly impossible to ac- •••• Black Metamorphosis complish anything (+2 difficulty, as per Blind Fight- The Cainite calls upon his inner darkness and in- ing on p. 274). Even those possessed of Heightened fuses himself with it, becoming a monstrous hybrid of Senses, Eyes of the Beast, Tongue of the Asp, and simi- matter and shadow. His body becomes mottled with lar powers suffer the penalty for blindness due to the spots of tenebrous shade, and wispy tentacles extrude unnatural darkness. Additionally, being surrounded by from his torso and abdomen. Though still humanoid, the Shroud of Night reduces Stamina-based dice pools the vampire takes on an almost demonic appearance, by two dice, as the murk smothers and agitates the vic- as the darkness within him bubbles to the surface. tims. This effect is not cumulative with Shadow Play, although targets asphyxiate as per Shadow Play if they System: The player spends two blood points and reach 0 Stamina; more than one unfortunate mortal makes a Manipulation + Courage roll (difficulty 7) — has “drowned” in darkness. vampires of lower Generation may have to take two turns to make the transition. Failure indicates the vam- Mortals and animals surrounded by the Shroud pire cannot undergo the Black Metamorphosis (though of Night must make Courage rolls per Shadow Play, he spends the blood points nonetheless). A botch in- above, or panic and flee. flicts two unsoakable health levels of lethal damage on the vampire as darkness ravages his undead body. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 189, While under the effects of the Black Metamorphosis, cumb to a panic that amounts to Rötschreck (though the vampire possesses four tentacles similar to those it is inspired by the darkness rather than fire). Many evoked via Arms of the Abyss (though their Strength Kindred cultivate this devilish aspect, and the Black and Dexterity ratings are equal to the vampire’s own Metamorphosis adds three dice to the invoking Kin- Attributes, including dice from Celerity and Potence). dred’s Intimidation dice pools. These tentacles, combined with the bands of darkness all over the Kindred’s body, subtract two dice from the ••••• Tenebrous Form Stamina and soak dice pools of opponents physically At this level, the Kindred’s mastery of darkness is so touched in combat, for as long as the vampire remains extensive that she may physically become it. Upon ac- in contact with the victim. This is not cumulative tivation of this power, the vampire becomes an inky, with other powers in Obtenebration, although targets amoeboid patch of shadow. Vampires in this form are can asphyxiate at Stamina 0, as per Shadow Play. The practically invulnerable and may slither through cracks vampire may make an additional attack without pen- and crevices. In addition, the shadow-vampire gains alty by using the tentacles (for a total of two attacks, the ability to see in natural darkness. not one additional attack per tentacle). Additionally, System: The transformation costs three blood points the vampire can sense his surroundings fully even in (which may need to occur over three turns, depend- pitch darkness. ing on the vampire’s Generation). The vampire is im- The vampire’s head and extremities sometimes ap- mune to physical attacks while in the tenebrous form pear to fade away into nothingness, while at other (though she still takes aggravated damage from fire and times they seem swathed in otherworldly darkness. sunlight), but may not herself physically attack. She This, combined with the wriggling tentacles writhing may, however, envelop and ooze over others, affect- from his body, creates an unsettling sight. Mortals, ani- ing them in the same manner as a Shroud of Night, mals, and other creatures not accustomed to this sort in addition to using mental Disciplines. Vampires in of display must make Courage rolls (difficulty 8) or suc- Tenebrous Form may even slither up walls and across 190 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, ceilings or “drip” darkness upward — they have no from another shadow a short distance away (or next to mass and are thus unaffected by gravity. Rötschreck the barrier, if there is no shadow on the other side). difficulties from fire and sunlight do increase by one for System: The player rolls Dexterity + Occult, and on vampires in this form, as the light is even more painful a successful roll, the character may emerge from anoth- to their shadowy bodies. er shadow no more than 50 feet (or 15 meters) away. Mortals (and others not used to such displays) who Failing the roll means simply that the character cannot witness the vampire transform into unholy shadow re- step through the shadow-realm, while a botch signi- quire Courage rolls (difficulty 8) in order to avoid the de- fies the character has become trapped between shad- bilitating terror described under Black Metamorphosis. ows (which fiendish Storytellers should have a heyday with). Pulling another individual through the shadow ••••• • The Darkness Within requires a Strength + Occult roll, with consequences This power allows the Cainite to call forth the dark- for failure similar to failing by oneself. ness contained in her black soul. This enormous, turbu- lent shadow vomits from the vampire’s mouth, though ••••• •• Shadow Twin some vampires are said to cut themselves and let the The vampire’s control over darkness has progressed blackness seep from their veins. The shadow-cloud en- to such a degree that he may bestow upon it a lim- gulfs a chosen target, burning it with a soul-scarring ited degree of sentience. By animating his own shadow chill and siphoning its blood away in torrents. or that of another, the Cainite can actually “free” the System: The player makes a Willpower roll (difficul- shadow cast by light. While this power is active, the ty 6) and spends a blood point. The resulting shadow subject casts no shadow, as it has left to pursue the envelops the target and, though it does not physically vampire’s commands. harm the victim, it may strike terror into him. Indi- This power can unnerve mortals and even a few inex- viduals observing the Darkness Within, whether as tar- perienced vampires. The Kindred wielding Obtenebra- gets or onlookers, may suffer from the terror described tion commands the individual’s shadow; some vampires under Black Metamorphosis, unless they are already report having seen mortals literally scared to death, as familiar with the Kindred’s power. their shadows leapt away to taunt or menace them. Individuals touched by The Darkness Within lose one System: The player spends a blood point and makes point of blood per turn, though targets may resist this ef- a Willpower roll (difficulty 8). If the roll succeeds, the fect by succeeding on a Stamina roll (difficulty 6) each shadow springs to unholy freedom for one hour per turn the target remains in contact with the cloud. success (though it disappears at sunrise regardless of The Cainite invoking The Darkness Within must how many successes the vampire had). The Shadow devote all her attention to maintaining the cloud. If Twin has Attribute and Ability ratings equal to half the vampire is attacked, the darkness immediately re- those of its parent body; they won’t do much talking turns to her through whatever orifice it originated. The or thinking, so Mental and Social Traits don’t matter Cainite can summon the darkness back at any time, much, though Wits may come into play. Additionally, gaining a number of blood points equal to one-half the the Shadow Twin has an Obtenebration score equal number the shadow siphoned from its victims (round to one-half of that of the vampire who animated it up). Taking blood from another in this fashion is sim- (rounded down). Mortals and vampires unused to Ob- ilar to drinking from that vampire, and blood bonds tenebration require a Courage roll upon witnessing may result. Additionally, the Darkness Within may this, as per Shadow Play. take blood from only one individual per turn, though it The twin may separate itself from the parent and may be in contact with many. travel up to 50 feet or 15 meters away, crawling through crevices or sliding up walls. It may attack and ••••• • Shadowstep be attacked, though it takes and does only half dam- The vampire has such fine control over the darkness age (again, round down). Flame and supernatural at- that he may become it briefly and reform himself from tacks (such as vampire fangs, mystical powers, etc.) do other darkness close by. The vampire may Shadowstep full damage. If the Shadow Twin is killed, its parent through walls, floors, and even mystical barriers. The loses half her Willpower points and must roll to avoid Cainite simply steps “into” a shadow and re-emerges Rötschreck (difficulty 9). VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 191, ••••• ••• Oubliette By creating a “chamber” of pure darkness, the Cain- Potence ite may entrap or smother her enemies. No air exists Kindred endowed with Potence possess unnatu- in this shadow-trap, and mortals suffocate within its ral strength. This Discipline enables vampire to leap chilling void. Even vampires have little recourse once massive distances, lift tremendous weights, and strike trapped — they may leave only at their captor’s whim. opponents with brutal force. Even low ranks of this The Oubliette appears as a dense patch of shadow, un- power can give Kindred physical power beyond mor- affected by ambient light around it. tal bounds. More powerful Kindred can leap so far that System: The vampire spends a blood point, but no they appear to be flying, toss cars like soda cans, and roll is necessary to create the Oubliette. To actually punch through walls like cardboard. While the more create the Oubliette around someone requires a con- subtle mental Disciplines can be awe-inspiring, the tested Wits + Larceny roll against the target’s Dexterity brutal effectiveness of Potence is formidable in its own + Occult (difficulty 7 for both rolls). Mortals suffocate right. within a number of minutes equal to their Stamina The Brujah, Giovanni, Lasombra, and Nosferatu are (though the Lasombra may choose to leave their heads naturally gifted with this Discipline, but members of exposed or trap a quantity of air inside as well), while other Clans often make a point to find someone who vampires are simply suspended impotently in darkness can teach them the awesome power of Potence. and may not use Disciplines or take other actions. The System: Each dot that the vampire has in Potence Oubliette vanishes instantly when touched by sunlight adds one die to all Strength-related dice rolls. Further, — which has left more than one vampire exposed to the the player can spend one blood point and change his sun’s unforgiving rays — or when the Kindred chooses Potence dice into an equal number of automatic suc- to relax it. A vampire may maintain only one Oubliette cesses to all Strength-related rolls for the turn. In me- at a time (which can only contain one target at a time), lee and brawling combat, successes from Potence (ei- which leads some Cainite philosophers to argue that it ther rolled or automatic) are applied to the damage roll is a prison created from the vampire’s very soul. results. ••••• •••• Ahriman’s Demesne This power allows the vampire to summon a dark- Potence 6+ ness so oppressive that it extinguishes the light of life While flesh and blood have their limits, undead sin- — or unlife — of any victim trapped within it. Ahri- ews and vitae have a bit more latitude when it comes man’s Demesne creates a 50-foot (or 15-meter) radius to feats of strength. Vampires who are close to Caine in of void that issues from the Cainite’s hand and takes descent are sometimes capable of strength-based ma- away the bodies of those it claims when it vanishes. neuvers that awe even other vampires. A product of The overwhelming darkness destroys friend and foe blood and will as much as of muscle and bone, mastery alike, claiming anyone unfortunate enough to be with- of Potence gives a vampire the ability to do far more in its circumference. than just lift progressively heavier objects — if the System: The player spends two points of Willpower vampire himself is willing to learn an alternate way. and concentrates for three turns. During this time, the Advanced Potence powers can be purchased in the blackness billows out of the character’s hand, growing same fashion as advanced Celerity or Fortitude powers: to fill the area. At the end of the third turn, the player A character can choose to learn an alternate power in- rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty 6). Everyone stead of advancing along the Discipline’s normal pro- in the darkness’ area suffers that many health levels of gression, and can later go back and re-purchase what damage (aggravated, if the victims are vampires) out- he’s missed. right — six successes yield six levels of damage, not six dice of damage. After Ahriman’s Demesne does its ••••• • Imprint damage, it collapses, taking with it the bodies of any A vampire with extensive knowledge of Potence can who died when they came in contact with the dreadful squeeze very, very hard. As a matter of fact, she can shadow. squeeze (or press, or push) so hard that she can leave an imprint of her fingers or hand in any hard surface up to and including solid steel. A use of Imprint can 192 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, simply serve as a threat, or it can be used, for example, must also make some sort of gesture directing the blow. to dig handholds into sheer surfaces for purposes of What the gesture is remains up to the player — any- climbing. thing from a snap of the fingers to a blown kiss has System: Imprint requires a point of blood to activate. worked in the past. The power remains active for the duration of a scene. Flick‘s range is equal to the limit of the Kindred’s The depth of the imprint the vampire creates with Im- perception, and the blow struck does damage equal to print is up to the Storyteller — decisions should take a normal punch (including all bonuses). into account how much force the vampire can bring to bear, the toughness of the material, and its thickness. If the object the vampire grasps is thin enough, at the Presence Storyteller’s discretion, the vampire might simply be able to push through it (in the case of a wall) or tear it Presence is the Discipline of emotional manipula- off (in the case of a spear or pipe). tion. Vampires with this power can inspire passionate fervor or unreasoning terror in mortals and Kindred ••••• •• Earthshock alike. In addition, unlike most Disciplines, some of According to some pundits, Potence is merely the Presence’s powers can be used on entire crowds at one art of hitting something very hard. But what do you time. Presence can transcend race, religion, gender, do when your target is too far away to hit directly? The class, and (most importantly) supernatural nature. As answer is, if you’re sufficiently talented with the Dis- such, this subtle power is one of the most useful Disci- cipline, to employ Earthshock. On its simplest level, plines a vampire can possess. Earthshock is the ability to hit the ground at point A, Anyone can resist Presence for one scene by spend- and subsequently have the force of the blow emerge ing a Willpower point and succeeding on a Willpower from the ground at point B. roll (difficulty 8), but the affected individual must keep System: The use of Earthshock requires the expendi- spending points until he is no longer in the presence ture of two blood points, as well as a normal Dexterity of the vampire (or, in the case of Summon, until the + Brawl roll. The vampire punches or stamps on the effect wears off). Vampires three or more Generations ground, and, if the attack is a success, the force of the lower than the wielder need only spend a single Will- blow emerges from the ground as a geyser of stone and power to ignore the Presence for an entire night and earth directly underneath the target. The attack can be need not roll Willpower to do so. dodged at a +2 difficulty. The major drawback of Presence is that it controls Earthshock’s range is 10 feet or three meters for ev- only the emotions. It causes others to feel a certain ery level of Potence the vampire has, up to the limits way toward the vampire, but does not give her outright of visibility. A failure on the attack roll means that control over them. While people weigh strongly the the strike goes errant and is liable to explode anywhere orders that the vampire declares, their minds are still within range; a botch means that the vampire pulver- their own. Suicidal or ridiculous directives don’t sound izes the ground beneath him and may well bury himself any more sensible just because the person giving them in the process. is unusually fascinating. Still, inspired eloquence or significant wealth used in combination with this Dis- ••••• ••• Flick cipline can enable the vampire to urge others along a It is a truism that “the great ones always make it look desired course. easy.” In the case of Flick, that saying stops being a The Brujah, Followers of Set, Toreador, and Ventrue truism and becomes literal truth. With this power, a Clans are all adept in this Discipline. The Ventrue are master of Potence can make the slightest gesture — a arguably the most skilled with its application, however, wave, a snap of the fingers, the toss of a ball — and due to their ability to use Presence and Dominate in have it unleash the full, devastating impact of a dead- efficient combination. on strike. The attack can come without warning, limit- ing the target’s ability to dodge or anticipate; this makes • Awe Flick one of the most feared applications of Potence. Those near the vampire suddenly desire to be closer System: Flick costs a point of blood, and requires to her and become receptive to her point of view. Awe a Dexterity + Brawl roll (difficulty 6). The vampire is extremely useful for mass communication. It matters VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 193, 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 smit- ten 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 spends a blood point and rolls Charisma + Performance (difficulty 7). The number of successes rolled determines how many people are af- fected, as noted on the chart below. If there are more people present than the character can influence, Awe affects those with lower Willpower ratings first. The power stays in effect for the remainder of the scene or until the character chooses to drop it. Successes Result 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 ev- ery scene 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 night. •• 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 ter- ror in its victim, stupefying him into madness, immobil- ity, or reckless flight. Even the most stalwart individual will fall back from the vampire’s horrific visage. System: The player rolls Charisma + Intimidation (difficulty equal to the victim’s Wits + Courage). Suc- 194 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, cess indicates the victim is cowed, while failure means Successes Result the target is startled but not terrified by the sight. Three Botch Subject cannot be entranced or more successes means he runs away in abject fear; for the rest of the story. victims who have nowhere to run claw at the walls, Failure Subject cannot be entranced hoping to dig a way out rather than face the vampire. for the rest of the night. Moreover, each success subtracts one from the target’s action dice pools next turn. 1 success One hour The character may attempt Dread Gaze once per turn 2 successes One day against a single target, though she may also perform it 3 successes One week as an extended action, adding her successes in order to 4 successes One month subjugate the target completely. Once the target loses 5 successes One year 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 •••• Summon successes and can start over next turn, while the victim This impressive power enables the vampire to call to may act normally again. herself any person whom she has ever met. This call A botch at any time indicates the target is not at all can go to anyone, mortal or supernatural, across any impressed — perhaps even finding the vampire’s antics distance within the physical world. The subject of the comical — and remains immune to any further uses of Summons comes as fast as he is able, possibly without Presence by the character for the rest of the story. even knowing why. He knows intuitively how to find his Summoner — even if the vampire moves to a new ••• Entrancement location, the subject redirects his own course as soon This power bends others’ emotions, making them as he can. After all, he’s coming to the vampire herself, the vampire’s willing servants. Due to what these in- not to some predetermined site. dividuals see as true and enduring devotion, they heed Although this power allows the vampire to call some- the vampire’s every desire. Since this is done willingly, one across a staggering distance, it is most useful when instead of having their wills sapped, these servants re- used locally. Even if the desired person books the next tain their creativity and individuality. available flight, getting to Kyoto from Milwaukee can While these obedient minions are more personable still take far longer than the vampire needs. Obviously, and spirited than the mind-slaves created by Domi- the individual’s financial resources are a factor; if he nate, they’re also somewhat unpredictable. Further, doesn’t have the money to travel quickly, it will take since Entrancement is of a temporary duration, dealing him a far greater time to get there. with a lapsed servant can be troublesome. A wise Kin- The subject thinks mainly of reaching the vampire, dred either disposes of those she Entrances after they but does not neglect his own well-being. This is less serve their usefulness, or binds them more securely by a of a consideration if he only has to cross a room, un- blood bond (made much easier by the minion’s willing- less he must get through a gang of gun-wielding punks ness to serve). to do so. The individual retains his survival instincts, System: The player spends a blood point and rolls and while he won’t shirk physical violence to reach Appearance + Empathy (difficulty equal to the target’s the vampire’s side, he won’t subject himself to suicidal current Willpower points); the number of successes situations. determines how long the subject is Entranced, as per The Summoning dissipates at dawn. Unless the sub- the chart below. (Subjects can still spend Willpower to ject is trained to continue toward the vampire after the temporarily resist, like any other Presence power.) The first call, the immortal must Summon each night until Storyteller may wish to make the roll instead, since the the target arrives. Still, as long as the vampire is will- character is never certain of the strength of her hold ing and able, she is assured to greet her desired subject on the victim. The vampire may try to keep the subject some night — as long as nothing happens to him along under her thrall, but can do so only after the initial the way, of course. Entrancement wears off. Attempting this power while System: The player spends a blood point and rolls Entrancement is already in operation has no effect. Charisma + Subterfuge. The base difficulty is 5; this in- VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 195, creases to difficulty 7 if the subject was met only briefly. low before others loses his usefulness quickly, while a hu- If the character used Presence successfully on the target miliated Kindred has centuries to plan revenge. in the past, this difficulty drops to 4, but if the attempt System: No roll is required on the part of the vam- was unsuccessful, the difficulty rises to 8. pire, but she must spend a Willpower point. A subject The number of successes indicates the subject’s speed must make a Courage roll (difficulty equal to the vam- and attitude in responding: pire’s Charisma + Intimidation, to a maximum of 10) if he wishes to be rude or simply contrary to the vampire. Successes Result Success allows the individual to act normally for the Botch Subject cannot be Summoned by moment, although he feels the weight of the vampire’s that vampire for the rest of the story. displeasure crushing down on him. A subject who fails Failure Subject cannot be Summoned by that the roll aborts his intended action and even goes to vampire for the rest of the night. absurd lengths to humble himself before the vampire, 1 success Subject approaches slowly no matter who else is watching. The effects of Majesty and hesitantly. last for one scene. 2 successes Subject approaches reluctantly and ••••• • Love is easily thwarted by obstacles. The blood bond is one of the most powerful tools in 3 successes Subject approaches with an elder’s inventory. However, more and more childer reasonable speed. are aware of how to avoid being bound, so alterna- 4 successes Subject comes with haste, tives are needed. The Presence power called Love is overcoming any obstacles in one such alternative, as it simulates the effects of the his way. bond without any of the messy side effects. While not as sure a method of control as a true blood bond, nor 5 successes Subject rushes to the vampire, doing as long-lasting, Love is still an extremely potent means anything to get to her. of command. System: The player spends a blood point and rolls Charisma + Subterfuge (difficulty equal to the target’s ••••• Majesty current Willpower points). Success on the roll indi- At this stage, the vampire can augment her super- cates that the victim feels as attached to the character natural mien a thousandfold. The attractive become as if he were blood bound to her. Each success also re- paralyzingly beautiful; the homely become hideously duces the victim’s dice pool by one die for any Social twisted. Majesty inspires universal respect, devo- rolls to be made against the character. A botch makes tion, fear — or all those emotions at once — in those the target immune to all of the character’s Presence around the vampire. The weak scramble to obey her powers for the rest of the night. This power lasts for every whim, and even the most dauntless find it almost one scene and can be applied to the same victim over impossible to deny her. multiple scenes in the same night. People affected find the vampire so formidable that they dare not risk her displeasure. Raising their voices ••••• • Paralyzing Glance to her is difficult; raising a hand against her is unthink- Some elders have honed their mastery of Dread Gaze able. Those few who shake off the vampire’s potent to such a degree that they are said to be able to para- mystique enough to oppose her are shouted down by lyze with a look. The power‘s name is something of a the many under her thrall, before the immortal need misnomer, as victims of this power are not precisely even respond. paralyzed in a physical sense, but rather frozen with sheer terror. Under Majesty’s influence, hearts break, power trem- bles, and the bold shake. Wise Kindred use this power System: The character must make eye contact with caution against mortal and immortal alike. While (p. 152) with her intended victim. The player then Majesty can cow influential politicians and venerable Pri- rolls Manipulation + Intimidation (difficulty equal to mogen, the vampire must be careful that doing so doesn’t the target’s current Willpower points). Success renders come back to haunt her. After all, a dignitary brought the victim so terrified that he falls into a whimpering, catatonic state, unable to take any actions except curl- 196 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, ing into a fetal position and gibbering incoherently. The condition lasts for a length of time determined by the number of successes rolled. If the victim’s life is di- rectly threatened (by assault, impending sunrise, etc.), the poor wretch may attempt to break out of his paraly- sis with a Courage roll (difficulty equal to the charac- ter’s Intimidation + 3). One success ends the paralysis. A botch sends the victim into a continuous state of Rötschreck for the rest of the night. Successes Result 1 success Three turns 2 successes Five minutes 3 successes Remainder of the scene 4 successes One hour 5 successes Rest of the night 6+ successes A week (or more, at Storyteller discretion) ••••• • Spark of Rage A vampire possessing this power can shorten tem- pers and bring old grudges and irritations to the boiling point with a minimum of effort. Spark of Rage causes disagreements and fights, and can even send other vampires into frenzy. System: The player spends a blood point and rolls Manipulation + Subterfuge (difficulty 8). The num- ber of individuals affected is determined by how many successes are rolled. If this power is used in a crowd, those affected are the people in closest proximity to the character. A vampire affected by this power must spend a Willpower point or roll Self-Control/Instinct (difficulty equal to the character’s Manipulation + Subterfuge); failure sends the target into a frenzy. A botch by the vampire using Spark of Rage sends the invoking character into immediate frenzy. Successes Result 1 success Two people 2 successes Four people 3 successes Eight people 4 successes 20 people 5 successes Everyone in the character’s immediate vicinity VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 197, ••••• •• Cooperation sist the character’s Presence (for purposes of this power, Any elder knows that Kindred are the most difficult the definition of “mortal” does not include supernatu- beings in existence to force to work together. Peaceful rally active humans such as ghouls or those who possess coexistence is not a common tenet of vampiric society. True Faith). A supernatural being must roll Willpower With that in mind, this power can be used to nudge (difficulty of the character’s Willpower + 2; difficulties those affected by it into a fragile spirit of camaraderie. over 10 mean that the roll cannot even be attempted) Some cynical (or realistic) Ventrue claim that their the first time he attempts to spend a Willpower point Clan’s mastery of this Presence effect is the sole reason to overcome the character’s Presence. For the rest of that anything is ever accomplished in Camarilla con- the night, the maximum number of Willpower points claves. Ventrue who voice this opinion too loudly also he can spend to resist the vampire’s Presence powers tend to have numerous chances to test just how effec- is equal to the number of successes he rolled. A botch tive Cooperation is. doubles the character’s Presence dice pools against the hapless victim for the remainder of the night. System: To invoke Cooperation, the player spends a blood point and rolls Charisma + Leadership (difficulty ••••• •••• Pulse of the City 8). The number of individuals affected is determined by A vampire who has developed her Presence to this how many successes the player rolls. Cooperation lasts terrifying degree can control the emotional climate of for the remainder of the scene in which it is invoked, the entire region around her, up to the size of a large though particularly strong users of Presence may create city. This power is always in effect on a low level, at- longer-lasting feelings of non-aggression (at Storyteller tuning those who dwell in the area to the Kindred’s discretion) by spending Willpower. While this power mood, but it can also be used to project a specific emo- is in effect, all those under its influence are more favor- tion into the minds of every being in the area. Pulse ably disposed toward one another and are more willing of the City affects residents much more strongly than to extend trust or make cooperative plans. tourists, and also has a significant impact on those in- For the most part, players should simply roleplay Co- dividuals who might be elsewhere at the time but who operation’s effects, but there are some concrete ramifi- still have strong ties to the affected city. cations to the power‘s use. For example, Self-Control/ System: The character must be present in the city in Instinct difficulties to resist frenzy in response to insults question, and have at least a casual, personal knowl- from within the target group are decreased by three, edge of its streets and makeup (maps won’t help). The and certain Social Flaws may be decreased in impact player spends a Willpower point and rolls Charisma + for the duration of Cooperation. Streetwise (difficulty 9, though specializations or Sto- ryteller fiat may decrease this difficulty if the character Successes Result is intimately familiar with a particular city). The num- 1 success Two people ber of successes indicates how long mortal residents are 2 successes Four people affected by the particular emotion that the character 3 successes Eight people broadcasts; visitors with no ties to the area and super- natural beings are affected for a duration one success 4 successes 20 people step lower. The character can choose to terminate this 5 successes Everyone in the character’s effect at any time before it expires. immediate vicinity Successes Result 1 success One minute ••••• ••• Ironclad Command 2 successes 10 minutes Any individual can normally resist the powers of 3 successes One hour Presence for a brief time through an effort of will. Some elder Toreador and Ventrue have developed such force 4 successes One day of personality that their powers of Presence cannot be 5 successes One week resisted without truly heroic efforts. System: This power is always in effect once it has Pulse of the City can be used by a character in torpor. been learned. A mortal may not spend Willpower to re- 198 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES,

Protean The Beast is prominent in the claws as well, making them fearsome weapons against other immortals. It’s

rumored that some Gangrel have modified this power Protean allows the Kindred the mystical ability to to change their vampiric fangs into vicious tusks. manipulate his physical form. Some vampires believe the power stems from a heightened connection to the System: The claws grow automatically in response to natural world, while others consider it to be a magni- the character’s desire, and can grow from both hands fication of the mark of Caine. Whatever its basis may and feet. The transformation requires the expenditure be, those that develop this Discipline can grow bestial of a blood point, takes a single turn to complete, and claws, take on the forms of bats and wolves, turn them- lasts for a scene. selves into mist, and even meld into the very earth it- The character attacks normally in combat, but the self. claws inflict Strength + 1 aggravated damage. Other Transformed Kindred can generally use other Disci- supernaturals cannot normally soak this damage, al- plines — vampires in wolf form can still read auras and though a power such as Fortitude may be used. Addi- communicate with other animals, for example. How- tionally, the difficulties of all climbing rolls are reduced ever, the Storyteller may rule that certain Disciplines by two. may not be used in specific situations. The Kindred’s ••• Earth Meld clothes and personal possessions also change when he transforms (presumably absorbed within his very sub- One of the most prized powers within Protean, stance), although armor and the like do not provide Earth Meld enables the vampire to become one with any benefit while transformed. the earth. The immortal literally sinks into the bare ground, transmuting his substance to bond with the Vampires cannot change or transform large objects or earth. other beings; Protean is a personal expression of power. A Kindred who has been staked (thereby trapping his Though a vampire can immerse himself fully into the soul within his body) cannot transform. Some vam- ground, he cannot move around within it. Further, it pires believe that those who have mastered the highest is impossible to meld into earth through another sub- levels of Protean can deny this limitation, however. stance. Wood slats, blacktop, even artificial turf blocks Earth Meld’s effectiveness — then again, it’s a rela- The Gangrel Clan is well known for their mastery of tively simple matter for a vampire at this level of power Protean, although other Kindred have learned some of to grow claws and rip apart enough of the flooring to this Discipline’s secrets from these bestial Cainites. expose the raw soil beneath. • Eyes of the Beast By interring himself in the ground, the vampire gains The vampire sees perfectly well in pitch darkness, full protection from daylight when outdoors. It is also not requiring a light source to notice details in even the method of choice for those Kindred who wish to the darkest basement or cave. The vampire’s Beast is sleep away the centuries; these vampires lock them- evident in his red glowing eyes, a sight sure to disturb selves in the earth’s embrace, gaining strength and most mortals. power as they rest. Superstitious and paranoid Kindred whisper that thousands of Ancients sleep within the System: The character must declare his desire to call ground and will awaken when Gehenna arrives. forth the Eyes. No roll is necessary, but the change re- quires a full turn to complete. While manifesting the While so interred, the vampire is in a transitional Eyes, the character suffers a +1 difficulty to all Social state between flesh and earth. His physical presence rolls with mortals unless he takes steps to shield his exists between the physical world and the astral plane. eyes (sunglasses are the simplest solution). (A vampire As such, the vampire is difficult to sense, even through without this power who is immersed in total darkness supernatural means. However, a disruption to the soil suffers blind-fighting penalties as per p. 274.) that the immortal occupies, or to his presence on the astral realm, returns him immediately to the physical •• Feral Claws world (and to full wakefulness), showering dirt out- The vampire’s nails transform into long, bestial claws. ward as his body displaces the soil. These talons are wickedly sharp, able to rend flesh with System: No roll is necessary, although the charac- ease and even carve stone and metal with little trouble. ter must spend a blood point. Sinking into the earth is VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 199, automatic and takes a turn to complete. The character Strength + 1 aggravated damage, he can run at double falls into a state one step above torpor during this time, speed, and the difficulties of all Perception rolls are re- sensing his surroundings only distantly. The player duced by two. In bat form, the vampire’s Strength is re- must make a Humanity or Path roll (difficulty 6) for duced to 1, but he can fly at speeds of up to 20 miles per the character to rouse himself in response to danger hour, difficulties for all hearing-based Perception rolls prior to his desired time of emergence. are reduced by three, and attacks made against him are Since the character is in an in-between state, any at- at +2 difficulty due to his small size. tempts to locate him (catching his scent, scanning for The Storyteller may allow Gangrel to assume a dif- his aura, traveling astrally, and so on) are made at +2 ferent animal shape, but should establish the natural difficulty. Astral individuals cannot affect the vampire abilities it grants the character. directly, instead meeting with a kind of spongy resis- tance as their hands pass through him. Similarly, dig- ••••• Mist Form ging in the material world encounters incredibly hard- This truly unsettling power enables the vampire to packed earth, virtually as dense as stone. turn into mist. His physical shape disperses into a hazy Attempts at violence upon the submerged vampire cloud, but one still subject entirely to the immortal’s from either side return him to his physical nature, ex- will. He floats at a brisk pace and may slip under doors, pelling the soil with which he bonded in a blinding through screens, down pipes, and through other tiny spray (all Perception-based rolls are at +2 difficulty for openings. Although strong winds can blow the vam- the turn). The character himself subtracts two from pire from his chosen course, even hurricane-force winds his initiative for the first turn after his restoration, due cannot disperse his mist shape. to momentary disorientation. Once expelled from the Some Kindred feel that this power is an expression of earth, the vampire may act normally. the vampire’s ultimate control over the material world, while others believe that it is the immortal’s soul made •••• Shape of the Beast manifest (damned though it may be). This endows the vampire with the legendary ability System: No roll is required, although a blood point to transform into a wolf or bat. A Kindred changed must be spent. The transformation takes three turns to in this way is a particularly imposing representative complete, although the character may reduce this time of the animal kingdom. Indeed, he is far superior to by one turn for each additional blood point spent (to normal animals, even ones possessed by Subsume the a minimum of one turn). Strong winds may buffet the Spirit. He retains his own psyche and temperament, character, although Disciplines such as Potence may but can still call upon the abilities of the beast form be used to resist them. Vampires in Mist Form can per- — increased senses for the wolf and flight for the bat. ceive their surroundings normally, although they can- Gangrel are reputed to change to other animal forms not use powers that require eye contact. better suited to their environment — jackals in Africa, dholes in Asia, and even enormous rats in urban envi- The vampire is immune to all mundane physical at- ronments — a feat that other Clans learning Protean tacks while in mist form, although supernatural attacks cannot seem to duplicate. affect him normally. Also, the vampire takes one fewer die of damage from fire and sunlight. The character may System: The character spends one blood point to as- not attack others physically while in this state — this sume the desired shape. The transformation requires includes encountering another vampire in mist form. three turns to complete (spending additional blood He may use Disciplines that do not require physical points reduces the time of transformation by one turn substance, however. per point spent, to a minimum of one). The vampire remains in his beast form until the next dawn, unless ••••• • Earth Control he wishes to change back sooner. An Earth Melded character with this power is no While in the animal’s shape, the vampire can use any longer confined to the resting place she selected the Discipline he possesses except Necromancy, Serpen- night before. She can pass through the ground as if it tis, Thaumaturgy, or Vicissitude (as well as any others were water, “swimming” through the earth itself. Some the Storyteller deems unavailable). Furthermore, each elders use this as a means of unobstructed and unobtru- form gives the character the abilities of that creature. sive travel, while others find it a highly effective means In wolf form, the vampire’s teeth and claws inflict of maneuvering in combat. 200 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, System: This power is in effect whenever a character is Earth Melded, with no additional roll or expenditure necessary. While in the ground, a vampire can propel herself at half of her normal walking speed. She cannot see, but gains a supernatural awareness of her under- ground surroundings out to a range of 50 yards or me- ters. Water, rock, tree roots, and cement all effectively block her progress; she can only move through earth and substances of similar consistency, such as sand or fine gravel. If two or more vampires attempt to inter- act underground, only direct physical contact is pos- sible. All damage dice pools in this case are halved, and dodge and parry attempts are at -2 difficulty. If an underground chase takes place, it is resolved with an extended, contested Strength + Athletics roll (see p. 261). ••••• • Flesh of Marble Tales have long spoken of the combat prowess of Gangrel elders and of their inhuman resilience. Poorly informed individuals believe the stories of swords shat- tering and bullets flattening against immortal skin to be exaggerated reports of the effects of Fortitude. Those with more reliable information know that such tales result from encounters with vampires who have developed Flesh of Marble. The skin of an elder with Flesh of Marble becomes in essence a sort of flexible stone, although it appears (and feels) no different than normal skin and muscle. System: The player spends three blood points to ac- tivate Flesh of Marble, which goes into effect instantly. The effects of the power last for the remainder of the scene. While the power is functioning, the damage dice pools of all physical attacks made against the character are halved (round down). That includes assaults made with fists, claws, swords, firearms, and explosions, but not fire, sunlight, or supernatural powers (unless the effect in question is a direct physical attack, such as a rock hurled by means of Movement of the Mind). Ad- ditionally, while this power is in effect, a character can attempt to parry melee attacks with his bare hands as if he were holding some form of weapon. ••••• •• Restore the Mortal Visage Cainites are of two opinions regarding this power. Those who are politically active, or who associate ex- tensively with mortals, view it as both necessary and acceptable. Those Kindred who embrace their more fe- ral sides, however, see it as a disgusting defiance of the very nature of vampirism. The schism comes because the power allows the elder who possesses it to tempo- VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 201, rarily return his appearance to what it was before the always the same once they are selected; a different al- Embrace, removing the bestial features he has accu- location requires that the character buy this power a mulated over the centuries. Restore the Mortal Visage second time and thus purchase another alternate form. has only been displayed by Gangrel; several Nosferatu Additionally, the character inflicts Strength + 2 dice elders have attempted to develop it, and it is whispered of aggravated damage with both bite and claw attacks that they met spontaneous, grotesque Final Deaths when in monstrous form. She also gains an extra Hurt when they attempted to take their mortal forms. health level, and doubles her normal running speed. System: The player spends three blood points and Finally, the character’s perceptions are also height- a Willpower point and rolls Willpower (difficulty 8). ened. She is assumed to have both the Auspex power Success restores the character’s appearance to what it Heightened Senses and the Protean power Eyes of the was just before he was first Embraced, erasing all physi- Beast after transformation, with all of the benefits and cal or social animalistic features gained from frenzies drawbacks of each. (see p. 55). The power also affects any of the charac- This form does carry two additional drawbacks. The ter‘s affected Traits relating to social interaction, re- first is a lack of communication ability. The character’s turning them to their original values (for example, lost Social Attributes all drop to 1, or to 0 if they already Appearance dots return, but Humanity points removed were 1 (except when making Intimidation rolls) when due to frenzy are not). A botched Willpower roll earns the transformation occurs. The second problem that the character another feature, as per the Gangrel Clan a character in this form encounters is the suddenly weakness. Once activated, Restore the Mortal Visage heightened power of her Beast. All difficulties of rolls lasts for the remainder of the scene. to resist frenzy are increased by two for the duration of the power’s effect, and the player may not spend Will- ••••• •• Shape of the Beast’s Wrath power points on such rolls. Users of this power are often mistaken for Tzimisce employing the Vicissitude power Horrid Form. A vam- ••••• •• Spectral Body pire employing this power shifts into a huge, monstrous This powerful variation on Mist Form allows a vam- form, gaining half her height again and tripling her pire to take a shape with most of the advantages of the weight. Her overall shape flows into an unholy amal- lesser power but fewer of the disadvantages. A vampire gamation of her own form and that of the animal she who assumes Spectral Form retains his normal appear- feels the closest kinship to (wolves, rats, and great cats ance, but becomes completely insubstantial. He walks are the most common manifestations, though ravens, through walls and bullets with equal ease, and can pass serpents, bats, and stranger beasts have been reported). through the floor on which he stands if he chooses to. The vampire’s new shape does bear some vague resem- Although his lungs are no longer solid, the vampire can blance to the war-forms of the werecreatures, but the still speak, a fact in which some elders of the Daughters difference quickly becomes apparent. of Cacophony bloodline have expressed great interest. System: The player spends three blood points, the System: The player spends three blood points. The expenditure of which triggers the change. The charac- transformation takes one turn to complete, and lasts ter’s transformation takes three turns (the player may for the rest of the night unless the character decides to spend additional blood points to reduce this time at a reverse it. When the power takes hold, the character cost of one point per turn of reduction). Once trans- becomes completely insubstantial, but remains fully formed, the character remains in this form until sunrise visible. Henceforth, he is unaffected by any physical or until she shifts back voluntarily. attacks, and he doubles his dice pool to soak damage The precise Traits of this form are determined when from fire and sunlight. The vampire may even ignore the character first learns this power, as is the animal gravity if he chooses to do so, rising and sinking through whose appearance the character takes on. The vam- solid objects if he does not wish to stand on them (al- pire’s new form adds a total of seven dots to the char- though he may move no faster than his normal walk- acter’s Physical Attributes. At least one dot must go ing speed while “flying” in this manner). While in this into each Physical Attribute, meaning that no more form, the character may also use any Disciplines that than five can go into any one (so a character could do not require physical contact or a physical body. On have +5 Strength, +1 Dexterity, and +1 Stamina, but the downside, while in Spectral Form, a vampire can not +2 Strength and +5 Dexterity). These bonuses are physically manipulate his environment only through the use of powers such as Movement of the Mind. 202 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, ••••• ••• Purify the Impaled Beast It may also be used in conjunction with Celerity, For- Camarilla records indicate that a disproportionately titude, and Potence, turning a vampire who has mas- small number of Gangrel elders were killed by mortals tered this power into a truly terrifying opponent. and Anarchs during the Inquisition and the Anarch Revolt. This power is one of the primary reasons for the survival of these Kindred. An elder with this Pro- Quietus tean power can expel foreign objects from her body The Discipline of silent death, Quietus is practiced with great force, even excising stakes that transfix her by those of Clan Assamite. Based on elements of heart. blood, poison, vitae control, and pestilence, Quietus System: The player spends three blood points and focuses on the destruction of a target through a variety rolls Willpower (difficulty 6, or 8 if the vampire is para- of means. This Discipline doesn’t always cause a quick lyzed by an object impaling her heart). One success is death, but the Assamites rely on its lethality to hide sufficient to remove all foreign objects and substances their involvement with their victims. from the character’s body. Dirt, bullets, and even stakes through the heart are instantly and violently removed. • Silence of Death The larger the object, the farther away it is hurled by Many Assamites claim never to have heard their this power. Objects expelled thus are considered to targets’ death screams. Silence of Death imbues the have an attack dice pool of three for any bystanders, vampire with a mystical silence that radiates from her and to have a dice pool of one to four (depending on body, muting all noise within a certain vicinity. No size) for damage. If the character wishes to leave an ob- sound occurs inside this zone, though sounds originat- ject in his body (such as a prosthetic limb) or partially ing outside the area of effect may be heard by anyone in (expelling a stake from his heart but leaving it stick- in it. Rumors abound of certain skilled Assamite viziers ing out of his breastbone as a ruse), the player must also who have the ability to silence a location rather than a spend a Willpower point when activating this power. circumference that follows them, but no proof of this has been forthcoming. ••••• •••• Inward Focus System: This power (which costs one blood point to This power has no outwardly visible effects what- activate) maintains a 20-foot (6-meter) radius of utter soever. Indeed, its very existence is unknown outside stillness around the Kindred for one hour. those Gangrel Methuselahs who have developed it. The internal effects of this razor-sharp honing of Pro- •• Scorpion’s Touch tean, however, are in some ways more dramatic than By changing the properties of her blood, a vampire any external manifestation. A vampire with this power may create powerful venom that strips her prey of his re- can heighten the efficiency of his undead body’s inter- silience. This power is greatly feared by other Kindred, nal workings to levels undreamed of by lesser Kindred, and all manner of hideous tales concerning methods of withstanding inconceivable amounts of injury and delivery circulate among trembling coteries. Kindred moving with blinding speed and shattering strength. with Quietus are known to deliver the poison by coat- System: The player spends four blood points to ac- ing their weapons with it, blighting their opponents tivate this power and an additional two blood points with a touch, or spitting it like a cobra. An apocryphal for every turn past the first that Inward Focus is main- account speaks of a proud Prince who discovered an tained. There are three effects of this power: First, the Assamite plotting her exsanguination and began to character gains a number of extra actions during each diablerize her would-be assassin. Halfway through the turn equal to his unmodified Dexterity score. Second, act, she learned that she had ingested a dire quantity of the damage of his physical attacks is increased by three tainted blood and was then unable to resist the weak- dice per dice pool. Finally, all damage inflicted on the ened hashashiyyin’s renewed attack. character is halved and rounded down after the soak System: To convert a bit of her blood to poison, the roll is made (so an attack that inflicts five health levels Kindred’s player spends at least one blood point and after soak is reduced to two health levels). rolls Willpower (difficulty 6). If this roll is successful, This power may be used in conjunction with other and the vampire successfully hits (but not necessarily Protean powers that modify the character‘s combat damages) her opponent, the target loses a number of abilities, such as Shape of the Beast’s Wrath (above). Stamina points equal to the number of blood points VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 203, converted into poison — vampires attempting to drink ••• Dagon’s Call the blood of the Kindred with Scorpion’s Touch are This terrible power allows a vampire to drown her automatically considered to be “successfully hit.” target in his own blood. By concentrating, the Kindred The victim may resist the poison with a Stamina + bursts her target’s blood vessels and fills his lungs with Fortitude roll (difficulty 6); successes achieved on the vitae that strangles him from within. The blood actu- resistance roll subtract from the vampire’s successes. ally constricts the target’s body from the inside as it The maximum number of blood points a Kindred may floods through his system; thus, it works even on un- convert at any one time is equal to her Stamina. The breathing Kindred. Until the target collapses in agony number of successes scored indicates the duration of or death throes, this power has no visible effect, and the Stamina loss. many Kindred like it because it leaves no trace of their presence. Successes Result 1 success One turn System: The vampire must touch her target prior to using Dagon’s Call. Within an hour thereafter, the 2 successes One hour vampire may issue the call, though she need not be in 3 successes One day the presence or even in the line of sight of her target. 4 successes One month Invoking the power costs one Willpower point. 5 successes Permanently (though Stamina may The Kindred’s player makes a contested Stamina roll be bought back up with experience) against the target’s Stamina; the difficulty of each roll is equal to the opponent’s permanent Willpower rat- ing. The number of successes the vampire using Da- If a mortal’s Stamina falls to zero through use of Scor- gon’s Call achieves is the amount of lethal damage, in pion’s Touch, she becomes terminally ill and loses any health levels, the victim suffers. For an additional point immunity to diseases, her body succumbing to sickness of Willpower spent in the next turn, the vampire may within the year unless she somehow manages to in- continue using Dagon’s Call by engaging in another crease her Stamina again. If a Kindred’s Stamina falls contested Stamina roll. So long as the Kindred’s player to zero, the vampire enters torpor and remains that way continues to spend Willpower, the character may con- until one of her Stamina points returns. If a Kindred is tinue rending her opponent from within. permanently reduced to zero Stamina, she may recover from torpor only through mystical means. •••• Baal’s Caress To afflict someone with the poison, the Cainite must The penultimate use of blood as a weapon (short of touch her target’s flesh or hit him with something that diablerie itself), Baal’s Caress allows the Kindred to carries the venom. Many Assamites lubricate their transmute her blood into a virulent ichor that destroys weapons with the excretion, while others pool the tox- any living or undead flesh it touches. In nights of yore, in in their hands (or fleck their lips with the poison, when Assamites led the charges of Saracen legions, the for a “kiss of death”) and press it to their opponents. Assassins were often seen licking their blades, slicing Weapons so envenomed must be of the melee variety open their tongues and lubricating their weapons with — arrows, sling stones, bullets, thrown weapons, and this foul secretion. the like cannot carry enough of the stuff to do damage, Baal’s Caress may be used to augment any bladed or it drips off in flight. Players whose vampires wish to weapon; everything from poisoned knives and swords spit at their targets must make a Stamina + Athlet- to tainted fingernails and claws has been reported. ics roll (difficulty 6). No more than two blood points’ System: Baal’s Caress does not increase the damage worth of poison may be expectorated, and a Kindred done by a given weapon, but that weapon inflicts ag- may spit a distance of 10 feet (3 meters) for each point gravated damage rather than normal. No roll is nec- of Strength (and Potence) the character possesses. essary to activate this power, but one blood point is Vampires with Quietus are immune to their own poi- consumed per hit. For example, if a Cainite poisons his son, but not the blood-venom of other Kindred with knife and strikes his opponent (even if he inflicts no this power. damage), one blood point’s worth of lubrication disap- pears. For this reason, many vampires choose to coat 204 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, their weapons with a significant quantity of blood. If the vampire misses, no tainted blood is consumed. ••••• Taste of Death A refinement of Baal’s Caress, Taste of Death allows the Cainite to spit caustic blood at her target. The blood coughed forth with this power burns flesh and corrodes bone; some vampires 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 (3 me- ters) for each dot of Strength and 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. ••••• • Blood Sweat Although vampires do not have functioning se- baceous glands, they are still capable of sweating at times of extreme stress. This “sweat” is actually a thin sheen of blood on the Cainite’s forehead and palms. Most Kindred see blood sweat as an admission of fear or guilt. The vampire who has mastered Blood Sweat is capable of inducing these feelings in a subject to a pre- ternatural degree. The victim experiences a torrential outpouring of vitae if he harbors the tiniest shred of remorse for any action he has ever undertaken. System: The character must be within line of sight of the subject and spend three turns concentrating. The player spends a Willpower point and rolls Manip- ulation + Intimidation (difficulty equal to the target’s current Willpower points). The target loses one blood point per success. Mortals sustain injury as if they had lost blood from being fed upon. The target actually “sweats out” the lost blood in a sudden rush of sangui- nary perspiration that soaks his clothes. Large amounts may even form puddles at his feet. Blood lost through this process is considered dead, inert mortal blood, and provides minimal nutrition (half normal) for Cainites desperate enough to lick it up from the floor or wring it out of towels. It provides no sustenance for the indi- vidual from whom it emerged. In addition to the blood loss, the victim is overcome by a sense of remorse and guilt for his past transgres- sions (if he has a strong conscience) or an overwhelm- ing compulsion to brag (if he is of sufficiently coarse moral character). The severity of this impulse depends VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 205, on the number of successes rolled: One success could ••••• • Ripples of the Heart cause a slight twinge of conscience, while five successes According to Assamite lore, this technique origi- may result in the subject breaking down and pouring nated with a Byzantine scholar who wanted to protect out a full confession of his crimes. This effect is more his herd from the thirst of other Cainites. Ripples of story-oriented than mechanical, and the Storyteller is the Heart allows a Cainite to leave emotions within the final authority on what the victim feels compelled the bloodstream of any mortal from whom he feeds. to confess or boast. Any other vampire who subsequently drinks from that Note that this power’s existence is not widely known. mortal experiences those emotions as if they were his Vampires and mortals alike tend to shrink away from own. someone who begins spontaneously sweating blood, System: The character drinks at least one blood and experiencing such an affliction may panic even the point from the subject mortal then spends a minute in staunchest individual. physical contact with the subject while concentrating ••••• • Selective Silence on the emotion he wishes to leave in her blood. The Although Silence of Death is an effective tool for player spends a point of Willpower and rolls Charisma the battlefield and the court alike, it is indiscriminate + Empathy (difficulty 7 under normal circumstances, in its effects. The assassin who uses it in preparation 5 if the subject is currently experiencing the intended for firing a shotgun also silences the radio over which emotion, 9 if he is currently experiencing a strong op- her comrades might warn her of an oncoming guard. posite emotion). The subject’s blood carries the weight The courtier who suppresses a room full of dissenting of the intended emotion for one lunar month per suc- voices is likewise unable to speak her own mind. Se- cess rolled. A mortal’s blood can only carry one emo- lective Silence allows the skilled Cainite to overcome tion at a time. Subsequent attempts to use Ripples of these limitations by silencing only those individuals or the Heart on the same individual have no effect until objects that she wants to silence. the previous application has worn off. When using this power, most individuals exhale a Any vampire who drinks from a vessel under the ef- thin mist of blood that clings to the selected subjects, fects of Ripples of the Heart must succeed in a Self- gradually evaporating as Selective Silence’s effects Control/Instinct roll (difficulty of the mortal’s current fade. Some vampires also use a similar technique when Willpower points) as soon as she swallows the first invoking Silence of Death, in which case the mist sur- blood point. If she fails this roll, the vitae-borne emo- rounds them and moves with them. tion immediately overtakes her. The strength of the emotion depends on how many blood points she drinks. System: The player spends two blood points and One blood point results in a momentary mood swing, rolls Stamina + Stealth (difficulty 7). Each success al- two causes a significant shift in demeanor, and three lows for one individual or object that the character can or more generates a complete change in emotional silence with this use of the power. Each subject must state. Depending on the circumstances and the precise be within 20 yards or meters of the character. Objects emotion, the effects of this may be spectacular or cata- larger than a man count as more than one subject: a strophic. A vampire overtaken by romantic passion heavy machine gun counts as two, a car as three, and may temporarily believe she is in love with the mortal a small aircraft as five. Objects larger than a private jet (or any other convenient bystander). One who drinks or creatures larger than an elephant cannot be silenced from a hate-infused vessel may rend her prey to shreds, through the use of this power. and one who takes a draught of a mortal touched with Each subject is completely silenced for a number of fear may run away screaming. The vampire remains minutes equal to the character’s permanent Willpower. subject to the emotion for a number of hours equal to Nothing it does generates sound, though the secondary the mortal’s permanent Willpower, though she is still effects of its actions will do so normally. For example, a subject to other feelings after the initial rush of sensa- gun silenced with this power will not produce an audi- tion. ble explosion when fired, but its bullets still make noise The mortal who is under the effects of Ripples of the as they break the sound barrier. A silenced victim can Heart is unaware of the power’s effects on him, though scream all he likes and not make a sound, but may be he is slightly predisposed toward the emotion in ques- able to summon help by smashing a window. tion while the power is in effect. The vampire who 206 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, used Ripples of the Heart on a mortal is immune to any it, eating away at the strongest metal in a minute or effects from that use. less. However, its effects on its victims are spectacular enough to make the loss of even the most treasured ••••• • Purification blades worthwhile. This power’s effects are of very lim- Although most mortal cultures affix negative con- ited duration, as the substance it creates will quickly notations to the spilling of blood, most Assamites evaporate away. — indeed, most vampires — have quite the opposite System: The character coats an edged weapon with reaction to it. For them, blood is an unlife-affirming her own blood, as per Baal’s Caress. The player spends and reinvigorating substance. Purification works on one or more blood points and rolls Willpower (difficul- this principle, using the power of vitae to cleanse and ty 7). The weapon now does aggravated damage. It also restore. Rather than purging foreign taints from the gains a number of additional damage dice equal to the body, Purification allows its wielder to cleanse other number of successes rolled plus the number of blood individuals’ minds and souls of stains, including those points spent. These extra dice fade at a rate of one per left by the mind control of other Kindred. The vampire turn as the poison dissipates, drips off, and reacts with using this power expels his own blood through his skin the weapon’s material. Once the extra damage dice and allows it to soak through his subject, slowly dissi- are all gone, the weapon’s base damage dice begin to pating. As it does so, it carries away spiritual impurities fade at the same rate. The weapon breaks if used when and outside influences. its base damage is reduced to the wielder’s Strength or System: The character touches the forehead of her less. The only weapons that can resist this corrosion intended subject, and both parties spend a minimum of are those created with a supernatural power of a level five minutes in deep concentration. The player spends equal to or greater than the character’s Quietus rating, a number of blood points equal to the subject’s perma- though even this is subject to the Storyteller’s discre- nent Willpower. The subject rolls Willpower once for tion. every external supernatural influence (a vampiric Dis- Baal’s Bloody Talons is subject to the same limita- cipline, usually) to which his mind has been subjected. tions as Baal’s Caress, except the limit on the num- The difficulty equals the level of the power in question ber of successful strikes that do aggravated damage. A +4 (or a difficulty of 7 if the power level is unknown, weapon affected by Baal’s Bloody Talons does aggra- such as one used by a different kind of supernatural vated damage with every successful attack until it is creature). A success nullifies that effect. destroyed. Purification has its limits. It can remove directly in- At the Storyteller’s discretion, the character may use trusive influences such as Dominate-implanted com- the venom this power produces for other purposes, such mands, Dementation-generated derangements, or the as burning through a padlock or destroying an incrimi- imperatives caused by elder vampires’ Presence. It can- nating tape. He may not, however, store this poison for not dispel influences that are transmitted by blood, in- later use — even if a container proves resistant to it, cluding a blood bond or the dispositions imparted by the substance becomes inert within a few minutes of one’s Clan or bloodline, nor can it erase those caused leaving its creator’s body. by purely mundane techniques such as persuasion, hypnosis, or brainwashing, or genuine emotional states ••••• •• Poison the Well of Life such as love and hate. It can remove mind-altering Beyond leaving emotional traces in a subject’s blood, blood magic effects, but either the character wield- the master of this Quietus power can now taint that ing Purification or the power’s beneficiary must have same vitae, making it into a deadly poison for any other a level of Thaumaturgy equal to or greater than that Cainite who drinks from that mortal. Some vampires with which the effect was placed. A character cannot use Poison the Well of Life to guard their own herds use Purification on herself. against “poachers” or to ward specific vessels against ••••• •• Baal’s Bloody Talons indiscriminate feeding. Others have been known to employ it as a subtle trap for other vampires, turning The toxin generated by Baal’s Caress is not enough to herds against their owners. significantly harm some truly fearsome foes. This pro- gressive development of that lesser technique allows its System: The character touches the mortal he wishes user to envenom his weapon with a blood-based poison to taint and smears a streak of his own vitae on the so potent that it corrodes the very weapon that bears victim’s skin. The player spends three blood points VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 207, and rolls Stamina + Occult (difficulty 7). For a num- Successes Result ber of months equal to the number of successes, any Botch The attacker enters a flashback other vampire who drinks that mortal’s blood sustains sequence in which he relives his last two health levels of aggravated damage for every blood feeding from the vessel’s point of point imbibed. This damage manifests as a combina- view. If the player rolled three or tion of acid burns and something akin to toxic shock. more “1”s, the character acquires a While a mortal is poisonous to vampires, his body’s permanent derangement related to alchemical balance is slightly altered toward toxicity. feeding. He gains two extra points of Stamina for the purposes Failure The target is unharmed and immune of resisting the effects and damage of poisons and acids. to this power for a number of nights However, his bodily excretions, especially his sweat, equal to his Willpower. are slightly more noxious than normal. He suffersa1success The target experiences a brief (10- one-die penalty to all Social dice pools if whomever second/3-turn) flashback sequence in he chooses to interact with has a particularly sensitive which he relives his last feeding from nose and is close enough to smell him. the vessel’s point of view. During this ••••• ••• Songs of Distant Vitae time, he is at +2 difficulty to all rolls. Blood magic practitioners and individuals skilled at 2 successes The target experiences a brief Auspex have long known that vitae can carry residual montage (15 seconds/5 turns) of impressions of emotion and personality. This power flashbacks during which his viewpoint invokes those impressions to overwhelm its victim flashes between various feedings from with “remembered” images and sensations drawn from the vessels’ points of view. During the vessels who held that blood before the vampire this time, he is at +3 difficulty to all fed from them. Particularly strong-willed or hardened rolls. Once the initial rush of subjects may shrug off these visions as daydreams, but sensation passes, he is unsettled and those who are less self-possessed can be permanently at +1 difficulty to all rolls until he changed by the experience. A side effect of the use of succeeds on a Self-Control/Instinct this power is the partial destruction of the vitae from roll (difficulty 8), which he may which the images are drawn. Some viziers theorize that attempt once per scene. this is the result of motes of the vessels’ consciousness 3 successes The target experiences a composite making an effort to escape their usurper. memory, assembled by his own System: The character touches his target and spends subconscious, of the terror that a turn in concentration. The player spends four blood various vessels felt while being points and rolls Wits + Intimidation in a contested stalked and fed upon. He must roll against the victim’s permanent Willpower (diffi- succeed in a Courage roll (difficulty culty 7). If the target has committed diablerie within a 8) or instantly enter Rötschreck. If number of nights equal to the character’s Perception, he succeeds in this roll, he is still at the attacker gains one automatic success. The result +3 difficulty on all actions for the depends on the number of net successes the attacker rest of the scene due to the rolls. Note that in all invocations of this power, the distraction that his visions impose. sensations that the subject relives are expressly nega- 4 successes The target is stunned and completely tive and terrifying — for example, he experiences none unable to act for a number of of the pleasure that would normally accompany the turns equal to 8 - his Self-Control/ Kiss when he flashes back to such an event. Instinct as he is bombarded by a In addition to the effects listed below, the subject of sequence of the most terrifying a successful attack loses a number of blood points equal memories of his various vessels. Once to the number of successes rolled. This vitae oozes from this initial onslaught subsides, he his body in warm red trickles that do no damage but are must roll Courage (difficulty 9) or certain to terrify onlookers. enter Rötschreck. If he fails this roll, he must roll Self-Control/ 208 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, Instinct (difficulty 8) or gain the Sanguinary Animism derangement. Serpentis 5 successes The target is thrown into a Serpentis is believed to be the legacy of Set himself, a nightmarish reenactment of the gift to his children. The Followers of Set are very care- greatest fears of every individual ful to guard this Discipline’s secrets, only teaching the upon whom he has ever fed. He must art to those who they deem worthy. Most vampires fear make a successful Self-Control/ the Setites because of the powers of Serpentis and its Instinct roll (difficulty 9) or fall into connection to snakes and reptiles; this Discipline can torpor for (10 - the target’s Stamina) evoke a primordial fear in others, particularly those nights, at the end of which he loses who recall the tale of Eden. half his permanent Willpower and gains the derangement Sanguinary • The Eyes of the Serpent Animism. If he succeeds on the This power grants the vampire the legendary hyp- Self-Control/Instinct roll, he enters notic gaze of the serpent. The Kindred’s eyes become Rötschreck for the rest of the night, gold with large black irises, and mortals in the char- during which time his greatest fear is acter’s vicinity find themselves strangely attracted to of his own image. At the end of the him. A mortal who meets the vampire’s beguiling gaze night, he must succeed at a is immobilized. Until the character takes his eyes off Willpower roll (difficulty 9) or lose a his victim, the person is frozen in place. permanent Willpower point and gain System: No roll is required, but this power can be the derangement Sanguinary avoided if the mortal takes care not to look into the Animism. vampire’s eyes. Vampires and other supernatural crea- tures can also be affected by this power if the Cainite’s player succeeds on a Willpower roll (difficulty 9). If at- ••••• •••• Condemn the Sins of tacked or otherwise harmed, supernatural creatures can the Father spend a point of Willpower to break the spell. Although the Second City’s judges recognized that Note: This is different than normal eye contact de- heritage does not equal guilt, they also encountered tailed on p. 152. The target must be able to see the many situations in which a vampire’s entire brood had vampire’s eyes for Eyes of the Serpent to work. committed the same crime. In such cases, the judges often decreed the same punishment for all transgres- •• The Tongue of the Asp sors. This technique, which modern viziers believe to The vampire may lengthen her tongue at will, split- have originated at that time, allows its wielder to ad- ting it into a fork like that of a serpent. The tongue minister such judgments. Through Condemn the Sins may reach 18 inches or half a meter, and makes a ter- of the Father, a Cainite can apply lesser Quietus pow- rifyingly effective weapon in close combat. ers to an entire lineage. System: The lash of the tongue’s razor fork causes ag- System: After successfully using any lesser Quietus gravated wounds (difficulty 6, Strength damage). If the power on another vampire, the player spends a perma- Kindred wounds her enemy, she may drink blood from nent Willpower point and 10 blood points and rolls the target on the next turn as though she had sunk her Stamina + Occult. The difficulty of this roll is equal fangs into the victim’s neck. Horrifying though it is, the to four plus the number of Generations of the original tongue’s caress is very like the Kiss, and strikes mortal target’s descendants that the player wants to affect, up victims helpless with fear and ecstasy. Additionally, to a maximum difficulty of 10. If the roll succeeds, ev- the tongue is highly sensitive to vibrations, enabling ery descendant of the original target within the speci- the vampire to function effectively in the darkness the fied range of Generations suffers the same effects that Clan prefers. By flicking his tongue in and out of his the original target experienced, resisting with his own mouth, the vampire can halve any penalties relating to relevant Traits. The player may exempt a number of darkness (p. 274). potential subjects from this effect equal to twice the character’s Wits, but the character must know their faces or have tasted their vitae. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 209, ••• The Skin of the Adder Form of the Cobra grants several advantages, including By calling upon her Blood, the vampire may trans- a venomous bite, the ability to slither through small form her skin into a mottled, scaly hide. A vampire in spaces, and a greatly enhanced sense of smell. The this form becomes more supple and flexible. character may use any Disciplines while in this form save those that require hands (such as Feral Claws). System: The vampire spends one blood point and one Willpower point. Her skin becomes scaly and System: The vampire spends one blood point; the mottled; this, combined with the character’s increased change is automatic, but takes three turns. Clothing flexibility, reduces soak difficulties to 5. The vampire and small personal possessions transform with the vam- may use her Stamina to soak aggravated damage from pire. The vampire remains in serpent form until the claws and fangs, but not from fire, sunlight, or other su- next dawn, unless he desires to change back sooner. pernatural energies. The vampire’s mouth widens and The Storyteller may allow the Setite bonus dice on all fangs lengthen, enabling her bite to inflict an extra die Perception rolls related to smell, but the difficulties for of damage. Finally, the vampire may slip through any all hearing rolls are increased by two. The cobra’s bite opening wide enough to fit her head through. inflicts damage equal to the vampire’s, but the vampire does not need to grapple his victim; furthermore, the The vampire’s Appearance drops to 1, and she is ob- poison delivered is fatal to mortals. viously inhuman if observed with any degree of care, though casual passersby might not notice, if the vam- ••••• The Heart of Darkness pire is in darkness or wearing heavy clothing. A Kindred with mastery of Serpentis may pull her •••• The Form of the Cobra heart from her body. She can even use this ability on other Cainites, although this requires several hours of The Cainite may change his form into that of a huge gruesome surgery. This power can only be invoked dur- black cobra. The serpent weighs as much as the vam- ing a new moon. If performed under any other moon, pire’s human form, stretches over 10 feet or three me- the rite fails. Upon removing her heart, the vampire ters long, and is about 20 inches (50 cm) around. The places it in a small clay urn, and then carefully hides or 210 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, buries the urn. While her heart is hidden, she cannot generally take the form of Set himself: a muscular man be staked by any wood that pierces her breast. More- with the head of the “Typhonic Beast,” an animal with over, because the heart is the seat of emotion, the dif- a long, narrow snout and upstanding, square-topped ficulties of all her rolls to resist frenzy are two lower ears. Less often, they take the form of the crocodile- while this power is in effect. headed god Sobek, whom the Egyptians often linked Cainites are careful to keep their hearts safe from to Set, or the wolf-headed war-god Wepwawet, often danger. If someone seizes her heart, the vampire is identified with Set’s son Anubis. Female vampires gen- completely at that person’s mercy. The heart can be erally assume the form of the cobra-headed goddess destroyed only by casting it into a fire or exposing it to Renenet, wife of Sobek, or the hippopotamus-goddess sunlight. If this happens, the Kindred dies where she Taweret, sometimes considered a consort of Set. Both stands, boiling away into a blistering heap of ash and were goddesses of pregnancy and childbirth. Setite blackened bone. Plunging a wooden stake into an ex- doctrine labels all four deities as Set’s eldest childer. posed heart drives the vampire into instant torpor. While assuming the Divine Image, the vampire be- A vampire may carry her heart with her, or have comes stronger, tougher, and more impressive. More several false hearts buried in different places. A smart importantly, perhaps, the vampire’s will becomes more Kindred often avoids her heart’s hiding place, to deter powerful as he identifies with a divine forebear. discovery. Those wise in Setite lore whisper that the System: The character expends three blood points corrupt elders of the Clan often hold their underlings’ and transforms into the Divine Image in one turn. In hearts as yet another method of control. the Divine Image, the vampire gains two dots each of System: This power requires no roll. Those who wit- Strength and Stamina and a dot each of Charisma and ness a vampire pull his heart from his breast (or cut Manipulation, but her Appearance drops to 1. These the heart from another vampire) must make Courage enhancements can push the vampire over his genera- rolls. Failure indicates anything from strong uneasiness tional limit. The character also gains two full dots of to complete revulsion, possibly even Rötschreck. Willpower (to a maximum of 10). The Cainite can stay in the Divine Image for a full scene. ••••• • Cobra Fangs A vampire has only one Divine Image form (unless A character using Form of the Cobra gains a venom- the player buys this power twice). The character does ous bite along with his serpentine form. Unfortunately, not know what Divine Image he will manifest until he huge black cobras tend to make people run away as fast invokes the power the first time, although the player as they can. This Serpentis power enables a vampire can freely choose the preferred form. to gain the deadly bite without the full-body transfor- mation, making it more useful for taking victims by ••••• ••• Heart Thief surprise. The police do ask questions when someone The Serpentis power Heart of Darkness normally dies from a cobra bite under unlikely circumstances, so takes hours to perform upon other vampires, and only Cobra Fangs still requires some discretion in its use. works at the dark of the moon. Some elders, however, System: The Kindred expends one blood point, and can pull the heart from another vampire’s chest with in one turn his fangs become hollow, more slender and a quick snatch. This does not destroy the victim, un- venomous. The vampire injects venom when he bites. less the attacker then destroys the stolen heart. Heart He must still grapple with the victim to deliver a bite Thief is not an easy power to use despite its speed, but attack, and the bite does the usual amount of damage; few Discipline effects can place one vampire in anoth- the venom, however, kills mortals within one minute. er’s power so suddenly and completely. Bitten vampires or other supernaturally resilient crea- System: The character must expend one Willpower tures suffer (10 – victim’s Stamina and Fortitude) levels point. Removing the heart of a reluctant vampire is a of aggravated damage over the course of five minutes. difficult feat, comparable to staking: the attacker must garner at least three successes on a Dexterity + Brawl ••••• •• Divine Image attack (difficulty 9). The victim may use Fortitude to Many of the low-Generation Setite elders no lon- “soak” the attacker’s successes, but mundane Stamina ger need the illusions of Obfuscate to appear as a god. has no effect against this magical attack. Through this Serpentis power, a vampire can physical- A vampire who loses his heart this way takes one ly metamorphose into the form of a god. Male Kindred unsoakable level of aggravated damage, and receives VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 211, all the benefits and drawbacks of the Heart of Darkness developed access to such mystical might. Nevertheless, power. Resisting frenzy becomes easier (-2 difficulty) the Tremere of the Camarilla remain this Discipline’s and he cannot be staked by wood that impales his masters. breast. On the other hand, thrusting a stake through Like Necromancy, the practice of Thaumaturgy is the removed heart will instantly force the vampire into divided into paths and rituals. Thaumaturgical paths torpor and exposing the heart to fire or sunlight will are applications of the vampire’s knowledge of blood bum the vampire to ash; even biting into the heart will magic, allowing her to create effects on a whim. Ritu- cause aggravated wounds to the vampire in question. als are more formulaic in nature, most akin to ancient ••••• •••• Shadow of Apep magical “spells.” Because so many different paths and rituals are available to the arcane Tremere, one never Only Set and Set’s own childer can perform this terri- knows what to expect when confronted with a practi- fying power. These ancient monsters can take the form tioner of this Discipline. of Set’s defeated enemy, Apep. The vampire becomes a giant serpent of fluid, glittering Darkness — not mere When a character first learns Thaumaturgy, the play- shadow, but anti-light, like the black force commanded er selects a path for the character. That path is consid- by Obtenebration. In this form, physical force cannot ered the character’s primary path, and she automati- harm the vampire: not claws or fangs, not bullets, not cally receives one dot in it, as well as one Level One explosions, nothing but fire, sunlight, or mystical pow- ritual. Thereafter, whenever the character increases ers. Physical barriers cannot easily stop the vampire, her level in Thaumaturgy, her rating in the primary whose shadowy form can seep through even the tiniest path increases by one as well. Additional rituals are crack. The vampire, however, can still exert physical learned separately, as part of a story; players need not and supernatural force quite freely. pay experience points for their characters to learn ritu- als up to the level equal to their overall rating in Thau- System: Taking the form of Apep costs a Willpower maturgy, though they must find someone to teach the point. The transformation takes three turns to com- rituals in question. Path ratings never exceed 5, though plete; once the vampire has transformed, her body re- the overall Thaumaturgy score may. If a character mains changed for one scene. In this form, the vampire reaches a rating of 5 in her primary path and increases takes no damage from any physical attack: fists, weap- her Thaumaturgy score afterward, she may allocate her ons, or falling buildings pass through the vampire as if “free” path dot to a different path. (Experience costs she were a shadow. Fire and sunlight inflict the nor- are covered on p. 124.) mal aggravated damage, however, and mystical pow- ers (such as Thaumaturgy) still affect the transformed Many Kindred fear crossing the practitioners of vampire. The vampire’s new body gains three dots in Thaumaturgy. It is a very potent and mutable Disci- each Physical Attribute. Ignore generational limits for pline, and almost anything the Kindred wishes may be this purpose. The transformed vampire can use her accomplished through its magic. Strength to make normal close combat attacks and can bite for Strength + 2 dice of damage. The vampire Thaumaturgical Paths can also employ any Discipline that does not require Paths define the types of magic a vampire can per- hands. form. A vampire typically learns his primary path from his sire, though it is not unknown for some vampires to study under many different tutors.

Thaumaturgy As mentioned before, the first path a character learns

Thaumaturgy encompasses blood magic and other is considered her primary path and increases automati- sorcerous arts available to Kindred. The Tremere Clan cally as the character advances in the Discipline itself. is best known for their possession (and jealous hoard- Secondary paths may be learned once the character ing) of this Discipline. The Tremere created Thauma- has acquired two or more dots in her primary path, and turgy by combining mortal wizardry with the power they must be raised separately with experience points. of vampiric vitae, and as a result it is a versatile and Furthermore, a character’s rating in her primary path powerful Discipline. Although there are whispers of must always be at least one dot higher than any of her the existence of Tremere antitribu in the Sabbat, other secondary paths until she has mastered her primary Clans in the Sword of Caine have also researched and path. Once the character has achieved the fifth level 212 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, of her primary path, secondary paths may be increased touch her subject for this power to work, though only to that level. the lightest contact is necessary. A vampire affected Each time the character invokes one of the powers by this power might feel a physical rush as the thau- of a Thaumaturgical path, the thaumaturge’s player maturge heightens his Physical Attributes, might find must spend a blood point and make a Willpower roll himself suddenly looking more human, or may even against a difficulty equal to the power’s level +3. Only find himself on the brink of frenzy as his stores of vitae one success is required to invoke a path’s effect — path are mystically depleted. levels, not successes, govern the power of blood magic. System: Each success forces the subject to spend one Failure on this roll indicates that the magic fails. A blood point immediately in the way the caster desires botch causes some kind of loss or catastrophic backfire, (which must go towards some logical expenditure the such as losing a Willpower point (or dot!), spontane- target vampire could make, such as increasing Physical ous combustion, or accidentally letting a living statue Attributes or powering Disciplines). Note that blood run rampant. Thaumaturgy is an unforgiving art. points forcibly spent in this manner may exceed the Various Sects and Clans have different access to each normal “per turn” maximum indicated by the victim’s path, but unless the Storyteller decides otherwise, it is Generation. Each success gained also increases the assumed the Tremere have some access to all of them. subject’s difficulty to resist frenzy by one. The thauma- (“Having access” does not mean the same thing as “eas- turge may not use Blood Rage on herself to circumvent ily gained,” especially within the Tremere power struc- generational limits. ture.) The paths start with one of the most common ••• Blood of Potency (The Path of Blood), and thereafter are presented in al- phabetical order. (The unusual “path” of Thaumaturgi- The thaumaturge gains such control over his own cal Countermagic is also presented, although it is con- blood that he may effectively “concentrate” it, mak- sidered a separate Discipline – see p. 228 for details.) ing it more powerful for a short time. In effect, he may temporarily lower his own Generation with this power.

The Path of Blood This power may be used only once per night.

System: One success on the Willpower roll allows Almost every Tremere studies the Path of Blood as the character to lower his Generation by one step for her primary path. It encompasses some of the most fun- one hour. Each additional success grants the Kindred damental principles of Thaumaturgy, based as it is on either one step down in Generation or one hour of ef- the manipulation of Kindred vitae. If a player wishes to fect. Successes earned must be spent both to decrease select another path as her character’s primary path, the the vampire’s Generation and to maintain the change Storyteller may require additional reasoning (though (this power cannot be activated again until the origi- choosing a different path is by no means unheard of). nal application wears off). If the vampire is diablerized • A Taste for Blood while this power is in effect, it wears off immediately This power was developed as a means of testing a and the diablerist gains power appropriate to the cast- foe’s might — an extremely important ability in the er’s actual Generation. Furthermore, any mortals Em- tumultuous early nights of Clan Tremere. By merely braced by the thaumaturge are born to the Generation touching the blood of his subject, the caster may de- appropriate to their sire’s original Generation (e.g., a termine how much vitae remains in the subject and, if Tenth-Generation Tremere who has reduced his ef- the subject is a vampire, how recently he has fed, his fective Generation to Eighth still produces Eleventh- approximate Generation and, with three or more suc- Generation childer). cesses, whether he has ever committed diablerie. Once the effect wears off, any blood over the char- System: The number of successes achieved on the acter’s blood pool maximum dilutes, leaving the char- roll determines how much information the thauma- acter at his regular blood pool maximum. Thus, if a turge gleans and how accurate it is. Twelfth-Generation Tremere (maximum blood pool of 11) decreased his Generation to Ninth (maximum •• Blood Rage blood pool 14), ingested 14 blood points, and had this This power allows a vampire to force another Kin- much vitae in his system when the power wore off, his dred to expend blood against his will. The caster must blood pool would immediately drop to 11. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 213, •••• Theft of Vitae and Stamina. The number of successes on the roll to A thaumaturge using this power siphons vitae from activate the power is the number of turns these dots her subject. She need never come in contact with the remain. The player may spend a Willpower point to subject — blood literally streams out in a physical tor- increase this duration by one turn. This power cannot rent from the subject to the Kindred (though it is often be “stacked” — one application must expire before the mystically absorbed and need not enter through the next can be made. mouth). •• Wooden Tongues System: The number of successes determines how A vampire may speak, albeit in limited fashion, with many blood points the caster transfers from the sub- the spirit of any inanimate object. The conversation ject. The subject must be visible to the thaumaturge may not be incredibly interesting, as most rocks and and within 50 feet (15 meters). Using this power pre- chairs have limited concern for what occurs around vents the caster from being blood-bound, but other- them, but the vampire can get at least a general im- wise counts as if the vampire ingested the blood her- pression of what the subject has “experienced.” Note self. This power is spectacularly obvious, and Camarilla that events which are significant to a vampire may not princes justifiably consider its public use a breach of be the same events that interest a lawn gnome. the Masquerade. System: The number of successes dictates the amount ••••• Cauldron of Blood and relevance of the information that the character re- A thaumaturge using this power boils her subject’s ceives. One success may yield a boulder’s memory of a blood in his veins like water on a stove. The Kindred forest fire, while three may indicate that it remembers must touch her subject, and it is this contact that sim- a shadowy figure running past, and five will cause the mers the subject’s blood. This power is always fatal to rock to relate a precise description of a local Gangrel. mortals, and causes great damage to even the mightiest ••• Animate the Unmoving vampires. Objects affected by this power move as the vampire System: The number of successes gained determines using it dictates. An object cannot take an action that how many blood points are brought to boil. The sub- would be completely inconceivable for something with ject suffers one health level of aggravated damage for its form — for instance, a door could not leap from each point boiled (individuals with Fortitude may soak its hinges and carry someone across a street. However, this damage using only their Fortitude dice). A single seemingly solid objects can become flexible within rea- success kills any mortal, though some ghouls with ac- son: Barstools can run with their legs, guns can twist cess to Fortitude are said to have survived after soaking out of their owners’ hands or fire while holstered, and all of the aggravated damage. humanoid statues can move like normal humans. System: This power requires the expenditure of a

Elemental Mastery Willpower point with less than four successes on the

This path allows a vampire limited control over and roll. Each use of this power animates one object no communion with inanimate objects. Elemental Mas- larger than human-sized; the caster may simultaneous- tery can only be used to affect the unliving — a vam- ly control a number of animate objects equal to his In- pire could not cause a tree to walk by using Animate telligence rating. Objects animated by this power stay the Unmoving, for instance. Thaumaturges who seek animated as long as they are within the caster’s line of mastery over living things generally study paths such sight or up to an hour, although the thaumaturge can as The Green Path (p. 215). take other actions during that time. • Elemental Strength •••• Elemental Form The vampire can draw upon the strength and resil- The vampire can take the shape of any inanimate ience of the earth, or of the objects around him, to in- object of a mass roughly equal to her own. A desk, a crease his physical prowess without the need for large statue, or a bicycle would be feasible, but a house or a amounts of blood. pen would be beyond this power’s capacity. System: The player allocates a total of three tem- System: The number of successes determines how porary bonus dots between the character’s Strength completely the character takes the shape she wishes to counterfeit. At least three successes are required for 214 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, the character to use her senses or Disciplines while in payment (determined by the her altered form. This power lasts for the remainder of Storyteller). the night, although the character may return to her 3 successes The elemental performs one service, normal form at will. within reason. ••••• Summon Elemental 4 successes The elemental performs any one task A vampire may summon one of the traditional spir- for the caster that does not jeopardize its of the elements: a salamander (fire), a sylph (air), its own existence. a gnome (earth), or an undine (water). Some thau- 5 successes The elemental performs any task that maturges claim to have contacted elemental spirits of the caster sets for it, even one that glass, electricity, blood, and even atomic energy, but may take several nights to complete such reports remain unconfirmed (even as their au- or that places its existence at risk. thors are summoned to Vienna for questioning). The caster may choose what type of elemental he wishes to The Green Path summon and command. The Green Path deals with the manipulation of System: The character must be near some quantity plant matter of all sorts. Anything more complex than of the classical element corresponding to the spirit an algae bloom can theoretically be controlled through he wishes to invoke. The spirit invoked may or may the appropriate application of this path. Ferns, roses, not actually follow the caster’s instructions once sum- dandelions, and even ancient redwoods are all valid moned, but generally will at least pay rough attention targets for this path’s powers, and living and dead plant to what it’s being told to do. The number of successes matter are equally affected. While not as immediately gained on the Willpower roll determines the power impressive as some other more widely practiced paths, level of the elemental. the Green Path (sometimes disparagingly referred to as The elemental has three dots in all Physical and “Botanical Mastery”) is as subtle and powerful as the Mental Attributes. One dot may be added to one of natural world which it affects. the elemental’s Physical Attributes for each success gained by the caster on the initial roll. The Storyteller • Herbal Wisdom should determine the elemental’s Abilities, attacks, With a touch, a vampire can commune with the and damage, and any special powers it has related to spirit of a plant. Conversations held in this manner are its element. often cryptic but rewarding — the wisdom and experi- ence of the spirits of some trees surpasses that of the Once the elemental has been summoned, the thau- oracles of legend. Crabgrass, on the other hand, rarely maturge must exert control over it. The more power- has much insight to offer, but might reveal the appear- ful the elemental, the more difficult a task this is. The ance of the last person who trod upon it. player rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty of the number of successes scored on the casting roll + 4), System: The number of successes rolled determines and the number of successes determines the degree of the amount of information that can be gained from the control: contact. Depending on the precise information that the vampire seeks, the Storyteller might require the Successes Result player to roll Intelligence + Occult in order to inter- Botch The elemental immediately attacks pret the results of the communication. the thaumaturge. Successes Result Failure The elemental goes free and may 1 success Fleeting cryptic impressions attack anyone or leave the scene at the Storyteller’s discretion. 2 successes One or two clear images 1 success The elemental does not attack its 3 successes A concise answer to a simple query summoner. 4 successes A detailed response to one or more 2 successes The elemental behaves favorably complex questions toward the summoner and may 5 successes The sum total of the plant-spirit’s perform a service in exchange for knowledge on a given subject VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 215, •• Speed the Season’s Passing opponents. Intruders should beware of Tremere work- This power allows a thaumaturge to accelerate a plant’s shops that harbor potted rowan saplings. growth, causing roses to bloom in a matter of minutes or System: Any total amount of vegetation with a mass trees to shoot up from saplings overnight. Alternately, less than or equal to the character’s own may be animat- she can speed a plant’s death and decay, withering grass ed through this power. The plants stay active for one turn and crumbling wooden stakes with but a touch. per success scored on the roll, and are under the complete System: The character touches the target plant. The control of the character. If used for combat purposes, the player rolls normally, and the number of successes de- plants have Strength and Dexterity ratings each equal termines the amount of growth or decay. One success to half the character’s Willpower (rounded down) and gives the plant a brief growth spurt or simulates the ef- Brawl ratings one lower than that of the character. fects of harsh weather, while three noticeably enlarge Dance of Vines cannot make plants uproot them- or wither it. With five successes, a full-grown plant selves and go stomping about. Even the most energetic springs from a seed or crumbles to dust in a few min- vegetation is incapable of pulling out of the soil and utes, and a tree sprouts fruit or begins decaying almost walking under the effect of this power. However, 200 instantaneously. If this power is used in combat, three pounds (100 kilograms) of kudzu can cover a consider- successes are needed to render a wooden weapon com- able area all by itself…. pletely useless. Two successes suffice to weaken it, while five cause it to disintegrate in the wielder’s hand. •••• Verdant Haven This power weaves a temporary shelter out of a sufficient ••• Dance of Vines amount of plant matter. In addition to providing physical The thaumaturge can animate a mass of vegetation protection from the elements (and even sunlight), the up to his own size, using it for utilitarian or combat pur- Verdant Haven also establishes a mystical barrier which poses with equal ease. Leaves can walk along a desktop, is nearly impassable to anyone the caster wishes to ex- ivy can act as a scribe, and jungle creepers can strangle clude. A Verdant Haven appears as a six-foot-tall (two- meter-tall) hemisphere of interlocked branches, leaves, 216 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, and vines with no discernible opening, and even to the managed to learn the secrets of this path over the cen- casual observer it appears to be an unnatural construc- turies. The Hands of Destruction has an infamous his- tion. Verdant Havens are rumored to have supernatural tory, and some Tremere refuse to practice it due to ru- healing properties, hut no Kindred have reported experi- mors that it is demonic in origin. encing such benefits from a stay in one. • Decay System: A character must be standing in a heavily vegetated area to use this power. The Verdant Haven This power accelerates the decrepitude of its target, springs up around the character over the course of three causing it to wither, rot, or otherwise break down. The turns. Once the haven is established, anyone wishing target must be inanimate, though dead organic matter to enter the haven without the caster’s permission can be affected. must achieve more than the caster’s original number of System: If the roll is successful, the inanimate ob- successes on a single roll of Wits + Survival (difficulty ject touched by the thaumaturge ages 10 years for every equal to the caster’s Willpower). The haven lasts until minute the Kindred touches it. If the vampire breaks the next sunset, or until the caster dispels or leaves it. physical contact and wishes to age the object again, If the caster scored four or more successes, the haven is another blood point must be spent and another roll impenetrable to sunlight unless physically breached. must be made. This power does not affect vampires. ••••• Awaken the Forest Giants •• Gnarl Wood Entire trees can be animated by a master of the This power warps and bends wooden objects. Green Path. Ancient oaks can be temporarily given Though the wood is otherwise undamaged, this power the gift of movement, pulling their roots from the soil often leaves the objects completely useless. This power and shaking the ground with their steps. While not as may also be used to swell or contract wood, in addi- versatile as elementals or other summoned spirits, trees tion to bending it into unwholesome shapes. Unlike brought to ponderous life via this power display awe- other powers of this path, Gnarl Wood requires merely some strength and resilience. a glance rather than physical contact. System: The character touches the tree to be ani- System: Fifty pounds or twenty-five kilograms of vis- mated. The player spends a blood point and rolls nor- ible wood may be gnarled for each blood point spent mally. If the roll succeeds, the player must spend a blood on this power (the thaumaturge may expend as much point for every success. The tree stays animated for one blood as she likes on this power, up to her per-turn turn per success rolled; once this time expires, the tree generational maximum). It is also possible to warp puts its roots down wherever it stands and cannot be multiple visible objects — like all the stakes a team of animated again until the next night. While animated, vampire-hunters wields. the tree follows the character’s verbal commands to the best of its ability. An animated tree has Strength ••• Acidic Touch and Stamina equal to the caster’s Thaumaturgy rating, The vampire secretes a bilious, acidic fluid from any Dexterity 2, and a Brawl rating equal to the caster’s portion of his body. The viscous acid corrodes metal, own. It is immune to bashing damage, and all lethal destroys wood, and causes horrendous chemical burns damage dice pools are halved due to its size. to living tissue. Once the animating energy leaves a tree, it puts System: The player spends one blood point to create down roots immediately, regardless of what it is cur- the acid — the blood literally transmutes into the vola- rently standing on. A tree re-establishing itself in the tile secretion. One blood point creates enough acid to soil can punch through concrete and asphalt to find burn through a quarter-inch or half a centimeter of steel nourishing dirt and water underneath, meaning that it plate or three inches (seven centimeters) of wood. The is entirely possible for a sycamore to root itself in the damage from an acid-augmented hand-to-hand attack middle of a road without any warning. is aggravated and costs one blood point per turn to use. A thaumaturge is immune to her own acidic touch.

Hands of Destruction •••• Atrophy

This Path is practiced most commonly by the various This power withers a victim’s limb, leaving only a desic- thaumaturges of the Sabbat. Though it is not widely cated, almost mummified husk of bone and skin. The effects seen outside that Sect, a few Camarilla Tremere have are instantaneous; in mortals, they are also irreversible. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 217, System: The victim may resist the effects of Atrophy cess is all that is necessary to conjure a flame in one’s by scoring three or more successes on a Stamina + Ath- hand, while five successes place a flame anywhere in letics roll (difficulty 8). Failure means the limb is per- the Kindred’s line of sight. Less successes mean that manently and completely crippled. Partial resistance the flame appears somewhere at the Storyteller’s dis- is possible: One success indicates that the difficulty of cretion — as a rough rule of thumb, the thaumaturge any roll involving the use of the arm increases by two, can accurately place a flame within 10 yards or meters though these effects are still permanent with regard to of themselves per success. mortals. Two successes signify that difficulties increase Individual descriptions are not provided for each by one. Vampires afflicted by this power may spend five level of this path — fire is fire, after all (including po- blood points to rejuvenate atrophied limbs. Mortals are tentially causing frenzy in other vampires witnessing permanently crippled. This power affects only limbs or it). The chart below describes the path level required parts of limbs (arms, legs, hands); it does not work on to generate a specific amount of flame. To soak the victims’ heads, torsos, etc. damage at all, a vampire must have the Fortitude Dis- ••••• Turn to Dust cipline. Fire under the caster’s control does not harm the vampire or cause him to frenzy, but fires started as This fearsome power accelerates decrepitude in its a result of the unnatural flame affect the thaumaturge victims. Mortals literally age at the mere touch of a normally. skilled thaumaturge, gaining decades in moments. • Candle (difficulty 3 to soak, one System: Each success on the roll ages the victim by health level of aggravated damage/ 10 years. A potential victim may resist with a Stami- turn) na + Courage roll (difficulty 8), but must accumulate more successes than the caster’s activation roll — it’s •• Palm of flame (difficulty 4 to soak, an all-or-nothing affair. If the victim succeeds, he does one health level of aggravated not age at all. If he does not acquire more successes damage/turn) than the thaumaturge, he ages the full amount. Obvi- ••• Campfire (difficulty 5 to soak, ously, this power, while it affects vampires, has no det- two health levels of aggravated rimental effect on them (they’re immortal). At most, a damage/turn) Kindred victim grows paler and withers slightly (-1 to •••• Bonfire (difficulty 7 to soak, two Appearance) for one night. health levels of aggravated damage/ turn)

The Lure of Flames ••••• Inferno (difficulty 9 to soak, three

This path grants the thaumaturge the ability to con- health levels of aggravated damage/ jure forth mystical flames — small fires at first, but turn) skilled magicians may create great conflagrations. Fire created by this path is not “natural.” In fact, many vam- Neptune’s Might pires believe the flames to be conjured from Hell itself. The Lure of Flames is greatly feared, as fire is one of the Vampires are rarely associated with the ocean in surest ways to bring Final Death upon a vampire. See most mythologies, and most Kindred have nothing “Fire” (p. 297) for more information on how vampires to do with water in large quantities simply because suffer from flame. they have no reason to do so. Nevertheless, Neptune’s Might has enjoyed a small, but devoted, following for Fire conjured by The Lure of Flames must be released centuries among Camarilla thaumaturges. This path is for it to have any effect. Thus, a “palm of flame” does based primarily around the manipulation of standing not burn the vampire’s hand and cause an aggravated water, although some of its more disturbing effects de- wound (nor does it cause the caster to frenzy) — it part from this principle. merely produces light. Once the flame has been re- leased, however, it burns normally and the character Once a character reaches the third level of Neptune’s has no control over it. Might, the player may choose to specialize in either fresh water or salt water. Such specialization lowers all System: The number of successes determines how Neptune’s Might difficulties by one when dealing with accurately the vampire places the flame in his desired the chosen medium but raises them by one when deal- location (declared before the roll is made). One suc- 218 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, ing with the opposite. Blood is considered neither fresh blood transforms to water, weakening vampires and nor salty for this purpose, and difficulties in manipulat- killing mortals in moments. ing it are unaffected. System: The character must touch her intended vic- • Eyes of the Sea tim. The player rolls Willpower normally. Each success converts one of the victim’s blood points to water. One The thaumaturge may peer into a body of water and success kills a mortal within minutes. Vampires who view events that have transpired on, in, or around it lose blood points to this power also suffer dice pool from the water’s perspective. Some older practitioners penalties as if they had received an equivalent number of this art claim that the vampire communes with the of health levels of injury. The water left in the target’s spirits of the waters when using this power; younger system by this attack evaporates out at a rate of one Kindred scoff at such claims. blood point’s worth per hour, but the lost blood does System: The number of successes rolled determines not return. how far into the past the character can look. At the Storyteller’s discretion, other liquids may be Successes Result turned to water with this power (the difficulty for such 1 success One day an action is reduced by one unless the substance is par- ticularly dangerous or magical in nature). The charac- 2 successes One week ter must still touch the substance or its container to use 3 successes One month this power. 4 successes One year •••• Flowing Wall 5 successes 10 years Tales of vampires’ inability to cross running water may have derived in part from garbled accounts of this The Storyteller may require a Perception + Occult power in action. The thaumaturge can animate water roll for the character to discern very small details in the to an even greater degree than is possible with the use transmitted images. This power can only he used on of Prison of Water, commanding it to rise up to form a standing water; lakes and puddles qualify, but oceans, barrier impassable to almost any being. rivers, sewers, and wine glasses do not. System: The character touches the surface of a standing body of water; the player spends three Will- •• Prison of Water power points and the normal required blood point and The thaumaturge can command a sufficiently large rolls normally. Successes are applied to both width and quantity of water to animate itself and imprison a sub- height of the wall; each success “buys” 10 feet/three ject. This power requires a significant amount of fluid meters in one dimension. The wall may be placed any- to be fully effective, although even a few gallons can be where within the character’s line of sight, and must be used to shape chains of animated water. formed in a straight line. The wall lasts until the next System: The number of successes scored on the roll sunrise. It cannot be climbed, though it can be flown is the number of successes the victim must score on a over. To pass through the barrier, any supernatural be- Strength roll (difficulty 8; Potence can add to this roll) ing (including beings trying to pass the wall on other to break free. A subject may be held in only one prison levels of existence, such as ghosts) must score at least at a time, although the caster is free to invoke multiple three successes on a single Willpower roll (difficulty uses of this power upon separate victims and may dis- 9). solve these prisons at will. If a sufficient quantity of water (at least a bathtub’s worth) is not present, the ••••• Dehydrate difficulty of the Willpower roll to activate this power At this level of mastery, the thaumaturge can direct- is raised by one. ly attack living and unliving targets by removing the water from their bodies. Victims killed by this power ••• Blood to Water leave behind hideous mummified corpses. This power The thaumaturge has now attained enough power can also be used for less aggressive purposes, such as over water that she can transmute other liquids to this drying out wet clothes — or evaporating puddles to basic element. The most commonly seen use of this keep other practitioners of this path from using them. power is as an assault; with but a touch, the victim’s VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 219, System: This power can be used on any target in the Once a Kindred reaches a rating of 3, she may levi- character’s line of sight. The player rolls normally; the tate herself and “fly” at approximately running speed, victim resists with a roll of Stamina + Fortitude (dif- no matter how much she weighs, though the weight ficulty 9). Each success gained by the caster translates restrictions apply if she manipulates other objects or into one health level of lethal damage inflicted on the subjects. Once a Kindred achieves 4, she may “throw” victim. This injury cannot be soaked (the resistance objects at a Strength equal to her level of mastery of roll replaces soak for this attack) but can be healed this path. normally. Vampires lose blood points instead of health • One pound/one-half kilogram levels, though if a vampire has no blood points this at- tack inflicts health level loss as it would against a mor- •• 20 pounds/10 kilograms tal. The victim of this attack must also roll Courage ••• 200 pounds/100 kilograms (difficulty equal to the number of successes scored by •••• 500 pounds/250 kilograms the caster + 3) to be able to act on the turn following ••••• 1000 pounds/500 kilograms the attack; failure means he is overcome with agony and can do nothing. The Path of Conjuring

Movement of the Mind Invoking objects “out of thin air” has been a staple

of occult and supernatural legend since long before the This path gives the thaumaturge the ability to move rise of the Tremere. This Thaumaturgical path enables objects telekinetically through the mystic power of powerful conjurations limited only by the mind of the blood. At higher levels, even flight is possible (but be practitioner. careful who sees you…). Objects under the character’s control may be manipulated as if she held them — they Objects summoned via this path bear two distinct may be lifted, spun, juggled, or even “thrown,” though characteristics. They are uniformly “generic” in that creating enough force to inflict actual damage requires each object summoned, if summoned again, would look mastery of at least the fourth level of this path. Some exactly as it did at first. For example, a knife would be casters skilled in this path even use it to guard their precisely the same knife if created twice; the two would havens, animating swords, axes, and firearms to ward be indistinguishable. Even a specific knife — the one a off intruders. This path may frighten and disconcert character’s father used to threaten her — would appear onlookers. identical every time it was conjured. A rat would have repeated “tiled” patterns over its fur, and a garbage can System: The number of successes indicates the dura- would have a completely uniform fluted texture over tion of the caster’s control over the object (or subject). its surface. Additionally, conjured objects bear no Each success allows one turn of manipulation, though flaws: Weapons have no dents or scratches, tools have the Kindred may attempt to maintain control after no distinguishing marks, and cellphones all look like this time by making a new roll (she need not spend they just came out of their packaging. additional blood to maintain control). If the roll is suc- cessful, control is maintained. If a thaumaturge loses or The limit on the size of conjured objects appears to relaxes control over an object and later manipulates it be that of the conjurer: nothing larger than the thau- again, her player must spend another blood point, as maturge can be created. The conjurer must also have a new attempt is being made. Five or more successes some degree of familiarity with the object he wishes on the initial roll means the vampire can control the to call forth. Simply working from a picture or imagi- object for duration of the scene. nation calls for a higher difficulty, while objects with which the character is intimately familiar (such as the If this power is used to manipulate a living being, the knife described above) may actually lower the difficul- subject may attempt to resist. In this case, the caster ty, at the Storyteller’s discretion. and the subject make opposed Willpower rolls each turn the control is exercised. When a player rolls to conjure something, the suc- cesses gained on the roll indicate the quality of the Like The Lure of Flames, individual power levels are summoned object. One success yields a shoddy, imper- not provided for this path — consult the chart below fect creation, while five successes garner the caster a to see how much weight a thaumaturge may control. nearly perfect replica. 220 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, • Summon the Simple Form System: The player spends 10 blood points. Imper- At this level of mastery, the conjurer may create fect and impermanent, creatures summoned via this simple, inanimate objects. The object cannot have any path are too complex to exist for long. Within a week moving parts and may not be made of multiple mate- after their conjuration, the simulacra vanish into in- rials. For example, the conjurer may summon a steel substantiality. baton, a lead pipe, a wooden stake, or a chunk of gran- ite. The Path of Corruption System: Each turn the conjurer wishes to keep the The origins of this path are hotly debated among object in existence, another Willpower point must be those who are familiar with its intricacies. One theory spent or the object vanishes. holds that its secrets were taught to the Tremere by de- mons and that use of it brings the practitioner danger- •• Permanency ously close to the infernal powers. A second opinion At this level, the conjurer no longer needs to pay has been advanced that the Path of Corruption is a Willpower costs to keep an object in existence. The holdover from the days when Clan Tremere was still object is permanent, though simple objects are still all mortal. The third theory, and the most disturbing to that may be created. the Tremere, is that the path originated with the Fol- System: The player must invest three blood points lowers of Set, and that knowledge of its workings was in an object to make it real. sold to the Tremere for an unspecified price. This last rumor is vehemently denied by the Tremere, which au- ••• Magic of the Smith tomatically makes it a favorite topic of discussion when The Kindred may now conjure complex objects of the matter comes up. multiple components and with moving parts. For ex- The Path of Corruption is primarily a mentally and ample, the thaumaturge can create guns, bicycles, spiritually oriented path centered on influencing the chainsaws, or cellphones. psyches of other individuals. It can be used neither to System: Objects created via Magic of the Smith are issue commands like Dominate nor to change emo- automatically permanent and cost five blood points tions in the moment like Presence. Rather, it produces to conjure. Particularly complex items often requireaagradual and subtle twisting of the subject’s actions, Knowledge roll (Crafts, Science, Technology, etc.) in morals, and thought processes. This path deals inti- addition to the basic roll. mately with deception and dark desires, and those who work through it must understand the hidden places •••• Reverse Conjuration of the heart. Accordingly, no character may have a This power allows the conjurer to “banish” into non- higher rating in the Path of Corruption than he has in existence any object previously called forth via this Subterfuge. path. • Contradict System: This is an extended success roll. The con- The vampire can interrupt a subject’s thought pro- jurer must accumulate as many successes as the original cesses, forcing the victim to reverse his current course caster received when creating the object in question. of action. An Archon may be caused to execute a pris- This can also be used by the thaumaturge to banish oner she was about to exonerate and release; a mortal object she created herself with this Path. lover might switch from gentle and caring to sadistic ••••• Power Over Life and demanding in the middle of an encounter. The re- This power cannot create true life, though it can sults of Contradict are never precisely known to the summon forth impressive simulacra. Creatures (and thaumaturge in advance, but they always take the form people) summoned with this power lack the free will of a more negative action than the subject had origi- to act on their own, mindlessly following the simple nally intended to perform. instructions of their conjurer instead. People created System: This power may be used on any subject in this way can be subject to the use of the Dominate within the character’s line of sight. The player rolls as power Possession (p. 155), if desired. per normal. The target rolls Perception + Subterfuge (difficulty equal to the number of successes scored by the caster + 2). Two successes allow the subject to real- VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 221, ize that she is being influenced by some outside source. Three successes let her pinpoint the source of the ef- fect. Four successes give her a moment of hesitation, neither performing her original action nor its inverse, while five allow her to carry through with the original action. The Storyteller dictates what the subject’s precise reaction to this power is. Contradict cannot be used in combat or to affect other actions (at the Storyteller’s discretion) that are mainly physical and reflexive. •• Subvert This power follows the same principle as does Con- tradict, the release of a subject’s dark, self-destructive side. However, Subvert’s effects are longer-lasting than the momentary flare of Contradiction. Under the in- fluence of this power, victims act on their own sup- pressed temptations, pursuing agendas that their mor- als or self-control would forbid them to follow under normal circumstances. System: This power requires the character to make eye contact (see p. 152) with the intended victim. The player rolls normally. The target resists with a roll of Perception + Subterfuge (difficulty equal to the target’s Manipulation + Subterfuge). If the thaumaturge scores more successes, the victim becomes inclined to follow a repressed, shameful desire for the length of time de- scribed below. Successes Result 1 success Five minutes 2 successes One hour 3 successes One night 4 successes Three nights 5 successes One week The Storyteller determines the precise desire or agenda that the victim follows. It should be in keep- ing with the Psychological Flaws that she possesses or with the negative aspects of her Nature (for example, a Loner desiring isolation to such an extent that she becomes violent if forced to attend a social function). The subject should not become fixated on following this new agenda at all times, but should occasionally be forced to spend a Willpower point if the opportunity to succumb arises and she wishes to resist the impulse. 222 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, ••• Dissociate touches his target. The player rolls normally; the vic- “Divide and conquer” is a maxim that is well-under- tim resists with a Self-Control/Instinct roll (difficulty stood by the Tremere, and Dissociate is a powerful tool equal to the number of successes scored by the caster with which to divide the Clan’s enemies. This power + 3). Failure gives the subject an instant addiction to is used to break the social ties of interpersonal rela- that object. tionships. Even the most passionate affair or the oldest An addicted character must get his fix at least once friendship can be cooled through use of Dissociate, and a night. Every night that he goes without satisfying his weaker personal ties can be destroyed altogether. desire imposes a cumulative penalty of one die on all of System: The character must touch the target. The his dice pools (to a minimum pool of one die). The vic- player rolls normally. The target resists with a Will- tim must roll Self-Control/Instinct (difficulty 8) every power roll (difficulty of the thaumaturge’s Manipula- time he is confronted with the object of his addiction tion + Empathy). The victim loses three dice from and wishes to keep from indulging. Addiction lasts for all Social rolls for a period of time determined by the a number of weeks equal to the thaumaturge’s Manipu- number of successes gained by the caster: lation score. An individual may try to break the effects of Addic- Successes Result tion. This requires an extended Self-Control/Instinct 1 success Five minutes roll (difficulty of the caster’s Manipulation + Subter- 2 successes One hour fuge), with one roll made per night. The addict must accumulate a number of successes equal to three times 3 successes One night the number of successes scored by the caster. The vic- 4 successes Three nights tim may not indulge in his addiction over the time 5 successes One week needed to accumulate these successes. If he does so, all accumulated successes are lost and he must begin anew on the next night. Note that the Self-Control/Instinct This penalty applies to all rolls that rely on Social dice pool is reduced every night that the victim goes Attributes, even those required for the use of Disci- without feeding his addiction. plines. If this power is used on a character who has participated in the Vaulderie or a similar ritual, that ••••• Dependence character’s Vinculum ratings are reduced by three for Many former pawns of Clan Tremere claim to have the duration of Dissociate’s effect. felt a strange sensation similar to depression when not Dissociate’s primary effect falls under roleplaying in the presence of their masters. This is usually attrib- rather than game mechanics. Victims of this power uted to the blood bond, but is sometimes the result of should be played as withdrawn, suspicious, and emo- the vampire’s mastery of Dependence. The final power tionally distant. The Storyteller should feel free to re- of the Path of Corruption enables the vampire to tie quire a Willpower point expenditure for a player who her victim’s soul to her own, engendering feelings of does not follow these guidelines. lethargy and helplessness when the victim is not in her presence or acting to further her desires. •••• Addiction System: The character engages the target in con- This power is a much stronger and more potentially versation. The player rolls normally. The victim rolls damaging form of Subvert. Addiction creates just that Self-Control/Instinct (difficulty equals the number of in the victim. By simply exposing the target to a par- successes scored by the caster + 3). Failure means that ticular sensation, substance, or action, the caster cre- the victim’s psyche has been subtly bonded to that of ates a powerful psychological dependence. Many thau- the thaumaturge for one night per success rolled by the maturges ensure that their victims become addicted to caster. substances or thrills that only the mystic can provide, thus creating both a source of income and potential A bonded victim is no less likely to attack his con- blackmail material. troller, and feels no particular positive emotions to- ward her. However, he is psychologically addicted to System: The subject must encounter or be exposed her presence, and suffers a one-die penalty to all rolls to the sensation, substance, or action to which the when he is not around her or performing tasks for her. character wants to addict him. The thaumaturge then VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 223, Additionally, he is much less resistant to her com- avoiding her enemies’ blows, moving out of their way mands, and his dice pools are halved when he attempts before the enemy has a chance to throw them. to resist her Dominate, Presence (or other mental or System: The player can dodge any number of attacks emotional control powers), or mundane Social rolls. with her full dice pool in a single turn. This advantage Finally, he is unable to regain Willpower when he is applies only to dodges — if the character wishes to at- not in the thaumaturge’s presence. tack and dodge, the player must still split her dice pool. This power lasts for one scene.

The Path of Mars

•••• Fearless Heart Those rare Sabbat who have retained Thaumaturgical talents have turned their focus to the assistance of the The vampire temporarily augments his abilities as a Sect in times of war. This path has proven useful, turn- warrior. Through the mystical powers of blood magic, ing the tides of several confrontations with elder vam- the character becomes a potent fighting force. pires. The path adopts a very martial stance, whereas System: Fearless Heart grants the vampire an extra other blood magics tend to have subtler, less violent ef- point in each of the Physical Attributes (Strength, fects. It is rumored that some Camarilla Tremere have Dexterity, and Stamina). These Traits may not exceed learned this path, but very few of them have the right their generational maximums, though the player may temperament to wield this path effectively. use blood points to push the character’s Traits even higher. The effects last for one scene, and a character • War Cry may gain its benefits only once per scene. The vampire A vampire on the attack can focus his will, making must spend two hours in a calm and restful state fol- him less susceptible to battle fear or the powers of the lowing the use of Fearless Heart, or lose a blood point undead. The vampire shouts a primal scream to start the every 15 minutes until he rests. effect, though some thaumaturges have been known to paint their faces or cut themselves open instead. ••••• Comrades at Arms System: For the duration of one scene, the vampire This ability extends the power of the previous abili- adds one to his Courage Trait. Additionally, for the ties in the path. It allows any of the earlier effects to be purposes of hostile effects, his Willpower is considered applied to a group such as a pack or War Party. to be one higher (though this bonus applies only to the System: The player chooses one of the lower-level Trait itself, not the Willpower pool). A character may powers in the path, invoking it as normal. Afterward, only gain the benefits of War Cry once per scene. he touches another character and (if the roll for Com- rades at Arms is successful) bestows the benefit on her •• Strike True as well. The same power may be delivered to any num- The vampire makes a single attack, guided by the ber of packmates, as long as the rolls for Comrades at unholy power of her Blood. This attack strikes its foe Arms are successful and the thaumaturge pays the ap- infallibly. propriate blood costs. System: By invoking this power, the player need not roll to see if the vampire’s attack hits — it does, The Path of Technomancy automatically. Only Melee or Brawl attacks may be The newest path to be accepted by the Tremere made in this manner. These attacks are considered to hierarchy as part of the Clan’s official body of knowl- be one-success attacks; they offer no additional dam- edge, the Path of Technomancy is a relatively recent age dice. Also, they may be dodged, blocked, or parried innovation, developed in the latter half of the 20th normally, and the defender needs only one success (as century. The path focuses on the control of electronic the attacks’ number of success is assumed to be one). devices, from cellphones to laptops, and its proponents Strike True has no effect if attempted on multiple at- maintain that it is a prime example of the versatility of tacks (dice pool splits) in a single turn from one char- Thaumaturgy with regards to a changing world. More acter. conservative Tremere, however, state that mixing ••• Wind Dance Tremere magic with mortal science borders on treason or even blasphemy, and some European Regents have The thaumaturge invokes the power of the winds, gone so far as to declare knowledge of Technomancy moving in a blur. She gains a preternatural edge in 224 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, grounds for expulsion from their chantries. The Inner Successes Result Council did approve the introduction of the path into 1 success Momentary interruption of operation the Clan’s grimoires, but has yet to voice any opinion (one turn), but no permanent on the conservative opposition to Technomancy. damage. • Analyze 2 successes Significant loss of function; +1 difficulty to use using the device for Mortals are constantly developing new innovations, the rest of the scene. and any vampire who would work Technomancy must be able to understand that upon which he practices his 3 successes The device breaks and is inoperable magic. The most basic power of this path allows the until repaired. thaumaturge to project his perceptions into a device, 4 successes Even after repairs, the device’s granting him a temporary understanding of its purpose, capabilities are diminished the principles of its functioning, and its means of op- (permanent +1 difficulty to use). eration. This does not grant permanent knowledge, 5 successes The equipment is a total write-off; only a momentary flash of insight which fades within completely unsalvageable. minutes. System: A character must touch the device in order to apply this power. The number of successes rolled de- Large enough systems, such as a server cluster or termines how well the character understands this par- a passenger aircraft, impose a +2 to +4 difficulty (at ticular piece of equipment. One success allows a basic Storyteller discretion) to affect with this power. Ad- knowledge (on/off and simple functions), while three ditionally, some systems, such as military and banking successes grant competence in operating the device, networks, may be protected against power surges and and five successes show the character the full range of spikes, and thus possess one to five dice (Storyteller the device’s potential. The knowledge lasts for a num- discretion again) to roll to resist this power. Each suc- ber of minutes equal to the character’s Intelligence. cess on this roll (difficulty 6) takes away one success from the Thaumaturgy roll. This power can also be used to understand a non- physical technological innovation — generally a piece Burnout may be used to destroy electronic data stor- of software — at +2 difficulty. The character must age, in which case three successes destroy all informa- touch the computer on which the software is installed tion on the target item, and five erase it beyond any — simply holding the flash drive or CD-ROM is not hope of non-magical recovery. enough. Software applied remotely to a device (such ••• Encrypt/Decrypt as through an app store) also cannot be analyzed until Electronic security is a paramount concern of gov- it is installed. ernments and corporations alike. Those thaumaturges •• Burnout who are techno-savvy enough to understand the issues It is usually easier to destroy than to create, and sen- at stake have become quite enamored of this power, sitive electronics are no exception to this rule. Burnout which allows them to scramble a device’s controls mys- is used to cause a device’s power supply (either inter- tically, making it inaccessible to anyone else. Encrypt/ nal or external) to surge, damaging or destroying the Decrypt also works on electronic media; a DVD under target. Burnout cannot be used to directly injure an- the influence of this power displays just snow and static other individual, although the sudden destruction of if played back without the owner’s approval. Some ne- a pacemaker or a car’s fuel injection control chip can onates have taken to calling this power “DRM.” certainly create a health hazard. System: The character touches the device or data System: A character can use this power at a range container that he wishes to encrypt. The player rolls of up to 10 times her Willpower in yards or meters, normally. The number of successes scored is applied as although a +1 difficulty is applied if she is not touching a difficulty modifier for anyone who attempts to use the the target item. The number of successes determines protected equipment or access the scrambled informa- the extent of the damage: tion without the assistance of the character. The caster can dispel the effect at any time by touching the target item and spending a point of Willpower. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 225, This power may also be used to counter another Successes Result thaumaturge’s use of Encrypt/Decrypt. The player rolls 1 success 25 miles/40 kilometers at +1 difficulty; each success negates one of the “own- 2 successes 250 miles/400 kilometers er’s.” 3 successes 1000 miles/1500 kilometers The effects of Encrypt/Decrypt last for a number of weeks equal to the character’s permanent Willpower 4 successes 5000 miles/8000 kilometers rating. 5 successes Anywhere in the world •••• Remote Access With this power, a skilled thaumaturge can bypass While in the network, the character can apply any the need for physical contact to operate a device. This other Path of Technomancy power to any device or is not a form of telekinesis; the vampire does not ma- data with which she comes in contact. A loss of con- nipulate the item’s controls, but rather touches it di- nection, either through the destruction of a part of the rectly with the power of his mind. network or simply a loss of cell signal, hurls her con- sciousness back to her body and inflicts eight dice of System: This power may be used on any electronic bashing damage. device within the character’s line of sight. The num- ber of successes rolled is the maximum number of dice A character traveling through the Internet by means from any relevant Ability that the character may use of this power can use her Path of Technomancy powers while remotely controlling the device. (For instance, if at a normal difficulty. Using any other abilities or pow- Fritz has Technology 5 and scores three successes while ers while engaged thus is done at a +2 difficulty. using Remote Access on a keypad lock, he can only apply three dots of his Technology rating to any rolls The Path of the that he makes through any use of the power.) Remote Father’s Vengeance Access lasts for a number of turns equal to the number of successes rolled, and can only be used on one item This path, based loosely on a powerful thaumaturge’s at a time. interpretations of the Book of Nod, devotes itself to de- livering justice to the race of Cainites. Each power sup- If an item is destroyed while under the effects of Re- posedly has some precedent in the parables of the an- mote Access, the character takes five dice of bashing cient book, and focuses on teaching the lessons of Caine damage due to the shock of having his perceptions via the power of blood magic. Use of this path is hotly rudely shunted back into his own body. debated in the Sabbat, as some consider it tantamount ••••• Telecommute to claiming to hold Caine’s right over all vampires one- A progressive derivation of Remote Access, Tele- self. Camarilla vampires don’t have the same knowledge commute allows a thaumaturge to project her con- of the Book of Nod that the Sabbat do, but the path is sciousness into the Internet, sending her mind through not entirely unheard of in Tremere chantries. network connections as fast as they can transfer her. The power of this path comes not only from the While immersed in the network, she can use any other magic of blood, but also incantation of verses from the Technomancy power on the devices with which she Book of Nod. For any of these powers to take effect, makes contact. the caster must speak the actual condemnation. For ex- System: The character touches any form of commu- ample, to invoke the third-level power, the caster must nications device: a cellphone, 3G-equipped netbook, state plainly to his target that she may eat only ashes. Wi-Fi tablet, or anything else that is connected directly The subject must generally be able to hear the caster or indirectly to the Internet. The player rolls normally for these powers to take effect, though writing them and spends a Willpower point. Telecommute lasts for and showing them to the subject will do. five minutes per success rolled, and may be extended by These powers apply to vampires only. They do not af- 10 minutes with the expenditure of another Willpower fect mortals, ghouls, or any other supernatural creatures. point. The number of successes indicates the maximum range that the character can project her consciousness • Zillah’s Litany away from her body: Zillah, the wife of Caine, unknowingly drank from her husband and sire three times, thus becoming bond- 226 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, ed to him. This power reveals existing blood bonds and than a wretched scavenger, as he must consume literal Vinculi to the thaumaturge. ashes, though he gains little sustenance from them. System: If the subject has any blood bonds or Vin- System: The victim of this power can no longer con- culi to other vampires, this power reveals them to the sume blood, vomiting it up as he would mortal food or caster. Although the caster may not know the vam- drink. Instead, the victim can eat only ashes, and the pires in question, this power does reveal the names and “blood points” he gains from this may be used only to gives rough psychic impressions of the individuals in rise each night. Ashen “blood points” may not be used question. to power Disciplines, raise Attributes, or feed ghouls (though actual blood points in the character’s body at •• The Crone’s Pride the time this power is invoked may still be used for This power inflicts the curse of the crone, who bound such). One blood point’s worth of ash is roughly one Caine to her as he fled his wife’s spurning. Hideously pint or half-liter, and any ash will do — cigarette ash, ugly, the crone had to resort to trickery to get others to campfire leftovers, or vampire corpses destroyed by fire help or serve her. or sunlight. This power lasts for one week. System: This power reduces the target’s Appearance to zero. All Social rolls during this time generally fail, •••• Uriel’s Disfavor unless the character attempts to intimidate or brow- This power invokes the darkness of the Angel of beat the subject. This power lasts for one night. Death. All but the dimmest of light causes the subject excruciating pain, and some artificial forms of bright ••• Feast of Ashes light may even damage the vampire. Uriel delivered Primarily used against wanton or excessive vampires, God’s curse on Caine, shielding him in the blackness this power temporarily removes a vampire’s dependen- of his wings. cy on blood. While some would say this negates the System: The presence of any light makes the subject Curse of Caine, it reduces the vampire to little more uncomfortable, and bright light of any kind — flash- VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 227, lights, headlights, etc. — inflict one health level of ag- or ritual. The player spends a blood point and rolls the gravated damage on the character for every turn he re- number of dice indicated by the character’s Thauma- mains under its direct focus. Most vampires who suffer turgical Countermagic rating (difficulty equal to the this curse elect to sleep for the duration, hiding away in difficulty of the power in use). Each success cancels one the darkness of their havens until they can walk again of the opposing thaumaturge’s successes. among the living without pain. This power lasts for Thaumaturgical Countermagic is only at full effec- one week. tiveness when used against Thaumaturgy. It works with ••••• Valediction halved dice pools against Necromancy and other mys- tical Disciplines, and is completely ineffective against Many Sabbat rightfully fear this power, though very non-vampiric magics and powers. few have ever seen it used. It levies a punishment for breaking one of Caine’s greatest commandments — Thaumaturgical Countermagic can be learned by the ban against diablerie. As most Sabbat attain their characters who are unable to learn Thaumaturgy (e.g., power and station through some measure of diablerie, those with the Merit Magic Resistance). Any non- they must reconcile their beliefs with the admonitions Tremere character with a rating in this power automat- of Caine, and this power engenders a great sense of hu- ically gains the Flaw Clan Enmity (Tremere), receiv- mility. ing no freebie points for it. This power cannot be taken during character creation and cannot be spontaneously System: When this power takes effect, the subject developed. Whether the character has Thaumaturgy as immediately reverts to her original Generation. This an in-Clan power or not, it costs the same as any other change may entail losing points in certain Traits due to non-Clan Discipline to learn. generational maximums. This power lasts for one week, after which any Traits reduced to higher-Generation • Two dice of countermagic. The maximums return to normal. It takes three turns to speak character can attempt to cancel only the full verse that implements this power’s effects. those powers and rituals that directly affect him, his garments, and objects

Thaumaturgical on his person.

•• Four dice of countermagic.

Countermagic ••• Six dice of countermagic. The

This is less of a path than it is a separate Discipline, character can attempt to cancel a as the power to resist Thaumaturgy can be taught inde- Thaumaturgy power that affects pendently of Thaumaturgy, even to those Kindred who anyone or anything in physical are incapable of mastering the simplest ritual. Though contact with him. the techniques of Thaumaturgical Countermagic are •••• Eight dice of countermagic. not officially taught outside Clan Tremere, unofficial methods are likely to exist. Any non-Tremere who ••••• Ten dice of countermagic. The displays the ability to resist Thaumaturgy quickly be- character can now attempt to cancel comes the subject of potentially fatal scrutiny from the a power or ritual that targets anything entirety of Clan Tremere. within a radius equal to his Willpower in yards or meters, or one System: Thaumaturgical Countermagic is treated as that is being used or performed within a separate Discipline, although it uses the usual rules that same radius. for Thaumaturgy (including experience costs and the fact that it is limited to only five levels). It cannot be taken as a character’s primary path, and a rating in it Weather Control does not allow the character to perform rituals. Command over the weather has long been a staple The use of Thaumaturgical Countermagic is treated power of wizards both mortal and immortal, and this as a free action in combat and does not require a split path is said to predate the Tremere by millennia. The dice pool. To oppose a Thaumaturgy power or ritual, a proliferation of usage of this path outside the Clan tends character must have a Thaumaturgical Countermagic to confirm this theory; Weather Control is quite com- rating equal to or greater than the rating of that power mon outside the Tremere, and even outside the Cama- 228 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, rilla. Lower levels of this path allow subtle manipula- Instead, the strongest weather phenomenon possible at tions, while higher stages of mastery allow a vampire to each level is listed. call up raging storms. The area affected by this power is • Fog: Vision is slightly impaired and usually rather small, no more than three or four miles sounds are muffled; a +1 difficulty is (five to six kilometers) in diameter, and the changes imposed on all Perception rolls that the power wreaks are not always immediate. involve sight and hearing, and the System: The number of successes rolled indicates effective range of all ranged attacks how long it takes the weather magic to take effect. are halved. One success indicates an entire day may pass before the Light breeze: A +1 difficulty is weather changes to the thaumaturge’s liking, while a imposed on all Perception rolls that roll with five successes brings an almost instant effect. involve smell. The difficulty of the Willpower roll necessary to in- Minor temperature change: It is voke this power may change depending on the current possible to raise or lower the local local weather conditions and the weather the charac- temperature by up to 10 degrees ter is attempting to create. The Storyteller should im- Fahrenheit or 5 degrees Celsius. pose a bonus (-1 or -2 difficulty) for relatively minor shifts, such as clearing away a light drizzle or calling •• Rain or snow: As Fog, but lightning when a severe thunderstorm is already rag- Perception rolls are impaired to a ing. Conversely, a penalty (+1 or +2 difficulty) should much greater extent; the difficulty be applied when the desired change is at odds with the modifier for all such rolls rises to +2. current conditions, such as summoning the same light In addition, the difficulty on all Drive drizzle in the middle of the Sahara Desert or calling rolls increases by two. down lightning from a cloudless sky. ••• High Winds: The wind speed If the character tries to strike a specific target with rises to around 30 miles per hour or lightning, the player must roll Perception + Occult 50 kilometers per hour, with gusts of (difficulty 6 if the target is standing in open terrain, up to twice that. Ranged attacks 8 if he is under shelter, or 10 if he is inside but near a are much more difficult: + 1 to window) in addition to the base roll to use Thauma- firearm attacks and +2 to thrown turgy. Otherwise the bolt goes astray, with the relative weapons and archery. In addition, degree of failure of the roll determining where exactly during fierce gusts, Dexterity rolls the lightning strikes. (difficulty 6) may be required to keep characters from being knocked Effects of the power default to the maximum area over by the winds. When gale-force available unless the caster states that he’s attempting winds are in effect, papers go flying, to affect a smaller area. At Storyteller discretion, an objects get picked up by the winds additional Willpower roll (difficulty 6) may be required and hurled with abandon, and other to keep the change in the weather under control. suitably cinematic effects are likely. Weather Control is not the sort of power that lends Moderate temperature change: The itself well to indoor application. While certain of local temperature can be raised or the path’s uses (changes of temperature, high winds, lowered by up to 20 degrees and possibly even fog) do make a certain amount of Fahrenheit or 10 degrees Celsius. sense in interior settings, others (precipitation of any sort, lightning) don’t. The difficulty for all rolls to use •••• Storm: This has the effects of both Weather Control indoors is at +2, and the Storyteller Rain and High Winds. should feel free to disallow any proposed uses that don’t ••••• Lightning Strike: This attack inflicts make sense. 10 dice of lethal damage. Body armor Individual power descriptions are not provided for does not add to the target’s dice pool this path, as the general principle is fairly consistent. to soak this attack. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 229,

Rituals for the lack of cohesive opposition to their expansion. Bind the Accusing Tongue lays a compulsion upon

Rituals are Thaumaturgical formulas, meticulously the subject that prevents him from speaking ill of the researched and prepared, that create powerful magical caster, allowing the thaumaturge to commit literally effects. Rituals are less versatile than paths, as their ef- unspeakable acts without fear of reprisal. fects are singular and straightforward, but they are bet- System: The caster must have a picture or other im- ter suited to specific ends. age or effigy of the ritual’s target, a lock of the target‘s All thaumaturges have the ability to use rituals, hair, and a black silken cord. The caster winds the cord though each individual ritual must be learned sepa- around the hair and image while intoning the ritual’s rately. By acquainting herself with the arcane practice vocal component. Once the ritual is complete, the tar- of blood magic, the caster gains the capacity to ma- get must score more successes on a Willpower roll (dif- nipulate these focused effects. ficulty of the caster‘s Thaumaturgy rating + 3) than the Thaumaturgical rituals are rated from 1 to 5, each caster scored in order to say anything negative about level corresponding to both the level of mastery of the caster. The ritual lasts until the target succeeds at Thaumaturgy the would-be caster must possess and the this roll or the silk cord is unwound, at which point the relative power of the ritual itself. Unless stated other- image and the lock of hair crumble to dust. wise, a ritual requires five minutes per level to cast. Blood Rush Casting rituals requires a successful Intelligence This ritual allows the vampire to create the sensation + Occult roll, for which the difficulty equals 3 + the of drinking blood in himself without actually feeding. level of the ritual (maximum 9). Only one success is The ritual can be used for pleasure, but it is more of- required for a ritual to work, though certain spells may ten used to prevent frenzy when confronted with fresh require more successes or have variable effects based blood. The vampire must carry the fang of a predatory on how well the caster’s roll goes. Should a roll to ac- animal on his person for this ritual to work. tivate a ritual fail, the Storyteller is encouraged to cre- ate strange occurrences or side effects, or even make it System: Performance of the ritual results in the appear that the ritual was successful, only to reveal its Beast being kept in check automatically. Blood Rush failure at a later time. A botched ritual roll may even allows the vampire to resist hunger-based frenzy for up indicate a catastrophic failure or summon an ill-tem- to one hour, at which point the Cainite feels hungry pered demon. again (assuming he did before). This ritual takes only one turn to enact. Rituals sometimes require special ingredients or re- agents to work — these are noted in each ritual’s de- Communicate with Kindred Sire scription. Common components include herbs, animal By enacting this ritual, the caster may join minds bones, ceremonial items, feathers, eye of newt, tongue with her sire, speaking telepathically with him over of toad, etc. Acquiring magical components for a pow- any distance. The communication may continue until erful ritual may form the basis for an entire story. the ritual expires or until either party ends the conver- At the first level of Thaumaturgy, the vampire au- sation. The caster must possess an item once owned by tomatically gains a single Level One ritual. To learn her sire for the ritual to work. further rituals, the thaumaturge must find someone System: The caster must meditate for 30 minutes to teach him, or learn the ritual from a scroll, tome, to create the connection. Conversation may be main- or other archive. Learning a new ritual can take any- tained for 10 minutes per success on the activation where from a few nights (Level One ritual) to months roll. or years (Level Five ritual). Some mystics have studied individual rituals for decades, or even centuries. Defense of the Sacred Haven This ritual prevents sunlight from entering an area

Level One Rituals within 20 feet (six meters) of this ritual’s casting. A

mystical darkness blankets the area, keeping the bale-

Bind the Accusing Tongue ful light at bay. Sunlight reflects off windows or magi-

This ancient ritual is said to have been one of the cally fails to pass through doors or other portals. To first developed by the Tremere and a primary reason invoke this ritual’s protection, the caster draws sigils in 230 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, her own blood on all the affected windows and doors. System: Using this ritual adds one die to the caster’s The ritual lasts as long as the thaumaturge stays within dice pools when attempting to pass as human. Un- the 20-foot (6-meter) radius. less onlookers are especially wary, the Domino of Life System: This ritual requires one hour to perform, should fool them into thinking the caster is mortal — during which the caster recites incantations and in- not that they should have any reason to suspect oth- scribes glyphs. One blood point is required for this erwise. ritual to work. Engaging the Vessel of Transference

Deflection of Wooden Doom This ritual enchants a container to fill itself with

This ritual protects the caster from being staked, blood from any living or unliving being who holds it, whether she is resting or active. While this ritual is in replacing the volume of blood taken with an equal effect, the first stake that would pierce the vampire’s amount previously held inside the container. When heart disintegrates in the attacker’s hand. A stake the ritual is enacted, the vessel (which must be between merely held near the caster is unaffected; for this ritual the size of a small cup and a one-gallon/four-liter jug) is to work, the stake must actively be used in an attempt sealed full of the caster’s blood and inscribed with the to impale the vampire. Hermetic sigil which empowers the ritual. Whenever an individual touches the container with his bare skin, System: The caster must surround herself with a cir- he feels a slight chill against his flesh but no further cle of wood for a full hour. Any wood will work: furni- discomfort. The container continues to exchange the ture, sawdust, raw timber, 2’ x 4’s, whatever. The circle blood it contains until it is opened. The two most com- must remain unbroken, however. At the end of the mon uses of this ritual are to covertly create a blood hour, the vampire places a wooden splinter under her bond and to obtain a sample of a subject’s blood for tongue. If this splinter is removed, the ritual is nulli- ritual or experimental purposes. fied. This ritual lasts until the following dawn or dusk. System: This ritual takes three hours to enact (re-

Devil’s Touch duced by 15 minutes for each success on the casting

Thaumaturges use this ritual to place curses upon roll) and requires one blood point (although not nec- mortals who earn their ire. Using this ritual marks an essarily the caster’s blood), which is sealed inside the individual invisibly, causing all those who come in container. The ritual only switches blood between it- contact with him to receive him poorly. The mortal is self and a subject if it is touched with bare skin — even treated as the most loathsome individual conceivable, thin cotton gloves keep it from activating. and all who deal with him do everything in their power Individuals with at least four dots in Occult recog- to make him miserable. Even bums spit at an afflicted nize the Hermetic sigil with two successes on an Intel- individual, and children taunt him and barrage him ligence + Occult roll (difficulty 8). with vulgarities. System: The effects of this ritual last one night, dis- Illuminate the Trail of Prey appearing as the sun rises. The mortal (it doesn’t work This ritual causes the path of the subject’s passing on vampires) must be present when the ritual is in- to glow in a manner that only the vampire can see. voked, and a penny must be placed somewhere on his The tracks shine distinctly, but only to the eyes of the person (in a pocket, shoe, etc.). caster. Even airplane trajectories and animal tracks shine with unhealthy light. The ritual is nullified if the

Domino of Life target wades through or immerses himself in water, or

A vampire wanting or needing to simulate a human if he reaches the destination of his journey. The caster characteristic can do so once Domino of Life is cast. For must burn a length of white satin ribbon that has been one entire night, the vampire can eat, breathe, main- in her possession for at least 24 hours for this ritual to tain a normal body temperature, assume a human flesh take effect. tone, or display some other single trait of humankind System: The thaumaturge must have a mental pic- she desires. Note that only one trait can be replicated ture of or know the name of her prey. The individual’s in this fashion. The vampire must have a vial of fresh wake glows with a level of brightness dependent on human blood on his person to maintain this ritual. how long it has been since he passed that way — old tracks burn less brightly, while fresh tracks blaze. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 231,

Incantation of the Shepherd Widow’s Spite

This ritual enables the caster to mystically locate all This ritual causes a pain, itch, or other significant members of his herd. While intoning the ritual’s vocal (but not deadly) sensation in the subject. Similar in component, he spins in a slow circle with a glass object effect to legendary “voodoo doll” effects, this ritual is of some sort held to each of his eyes. At the end of the used more out of scorn or malice than actual enmity. In ritual, he has a subliminal sense of the direction and fact, it requires a wax or cloth doll that resembles the distance to each of his regular vessels. target, which bleeds when the power takes effect. System: This ritual gives the character the location System: The ceremonial doll must resemble, how- (relative to him) of every member of his Herd. If he ever rudely, the victim of the ritual. It produces no me- does not have the Herd Background, Incantation of the chanical effect, other than a simple physical stimulus. Shepherd locates the closest three mortals from whom The caster may determine where on the subject’s body the caster has fed at least three times each. This ritual the pain or itch appears. has a maximum range of 10 miles or 15 kilometers times the character’s Herd Background, or five miles (eight Level Two Rituals kilometers) if he has no points in that Background.

Blood Walk Purity of Flesh A thaumaturge casts this ritual on a blood sample

The caster cleanses her body of all foreign mate- from another vampire. Blood Walk is used to trace the rial with this ritual. To perform it, she meditates on subject’s Kindred lineage and the blood bonds in which bare earth or stone while surrounded by a circle of 13 the subject is involved. sharp stones. Over the course of the ritual, the caster System: This ritual requires three hours to cast, re- is slowly purged of all physical impurities: dirt, alcohol, duced by 15 minutes for each success on the roll. It drugs, poison, bullets lodged in the flesh, and tattoo requires one blood point from the subject. Each success ink are equally affected, slowly rising to the surface of allows the caster to “see back” one Generation (to a the caster’s skin and flaking away as a gritty gray film limit of the Fourth Generation — the Third Genera- that settles within the circle. Any jewelry, makeup, or tion do not give up their secrets so easily), giving the clothes that the caster is wearing are also dissolved. caster both the true name of the ancestor and an image System: The player spends one blood point before of his face. The caster also learns the Generation and rolling. Purity of Flesh removes all physical items from Clan or bloodline from which the subject is descended. the caster’s body, but does not remove enchantments, With three successes, the caster also learns the identi- mind control, or diseases of the blood. ties of all parties with whom the subject shares a blood

Wake with Evening’s Freshness bond, either as regnant or thrall.

This ritual allows a vampire to awaken at any sign Burning Blade of danger, especially during the day. If any potentially Developed during Clan Tremere’s troubled incep- harmful circumstances arise, the caster immediately tion, Burning Blade allows a caster to temporarily en- rises, ready to face the problem. This ritual requires the chant a melee weapon to inflict unhealable wounds on ashes of burned feathers to be spread over the area in supernatural creatures. While this ritual is in effect, the which the Kindred wishes to sleep. weapon flickers with an unholy greenish flame. System: This ritual must be performed immediately System: This ritual can only be cast on melee weap- before the vampire goes to sleep for the day. Any inter- ons. The caster must cut the palm of her weapon hand ruption to the ceremonial casting renders the ritual in- during the ritual — with the weapon if it is edged, oth- effective. If danger arises, the caster awakens and may erwise with a sharp stone. This inflicts a single health ignore the Humanity/Path dice pool limit rule for the level of lethal damage, which cannot be soaked but first two turns of consciousness. Thereafter, the penalty may be healed normally. The player spends three blood takes effect, but the thaumaturge will have already ris- points, which are absorbed by the weapon. Once the en and will be able to address problematic situations. ritual is cast, the weapon inflicts aggravated damage on all supernatural creatures for the next few successful at- tacks, one per success rolled. Multiple castings of Burn- ing Blade cannot be “stacked” for longer durations. 232 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, Furthermore, the wielder of the weapon cannot choose chosen must be a predatory bird, and the vampire must to do normal damage and “save up” aggravated strikes touch it when initiating this ritual. At the end of this — each successful attack uses one aggravated strike ritual, the caster must put out the bird’s eyes, or suffer until there are none left, at which point the weapon blindness herself. reverts to inflicting normal damage. System: The vampire is able to mentally control

Donning the Mask of Shadows where the bird travels for the duration of the ritual.

The bird will not necessarily perform any other action This ritual renders its subject translucent; her form than flight — the caster cannot command it to fight, appears dark and smoky, and the sounds of her foot- pick up and return an object, or scratch a target. The steps are muffled. While it does not create true invis- bird returns to the vampire after finishing its flight. If ibility, the Mask of Shadows makes the subject much the vampire does not put out the bird’s eyes, she suffers less likely to be detected by sight or hearing. a three-night period of blindness. This ritual ceases ef- System: This ritual may be simultaneously cast on a fect at sunrise. number of subjects equal to the caster’s Occult rating; each individual past the first adds five minutes to the Machine Blitz base casting time. Individuals under the Mask of Shad- Machines go haywire when this ritual is cast. It ows can only be detected if the observer possesses a takes effect instantly and lasts as long as the vampire power (such as Auspex) sufficient to penetrate Obfus- concentrates on it. This ritual may be used to kill car cate 3. The Mask of Shadows lasts a number of hours engines, erase flash drives, drain the battery of a cell- equal to the number of successes rolled when it is cast phone, stop life-support machines, et cetera. Essen- or until the caster voluntarily lowers it. tially, Machine Blitz stops any machine more complex than a rope-and-pulley. The thaumaturge must have a

Eyes of the Night Hawk scrap of rusted metal in her possession for this ritual to

This ritual allows the vampire to see through the work, though some vampires use a variant that requires eyes of a bird, and to hear through its ears. The bird a knot steeped in human saliva to be untied. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 233, System: This ritual only stops machines; it does not This ritual wards only one object — if inscribed on grant any control over them. The effects of this ritual the side of a car, the ward affects only that door or are invisible and appear to be coincidental. fender, not the whole car. Wards may be placed on weapons, even bullets, though this usually works best

Principal Focus of Vitae Infusion on small-caliber weapons. Bullets often warp upon fir-

This ritual imbues a quantity of blood within an ing, however, and for a ward to remain intact on a fired object small enough for the vampire to carry in both round, the player needs five successes on the Firearms hands. (The object may not be any larger than this, roll. though it may be as small as a dime.) After the ritual is conducted, the object takes on a reddish hue and Warding Circle versus Ghouls becomes slick to the touch. At a mental command, the This ritual is enacted in a manner similar to that of caster may release the object from its enchantment, Ward versus Ghouls, but creates a circle centered on causing it to break down into a pool of blood. This the caster into which a ghoul cannot pass without be- blood may serve whatever purpose the vampire desires; ing burned. The circle can be made as large and as per- many thaumaturges wear enchanted baubles to ensure manent as the caster desires, as long as she is willing to they have emergency supplies of vitae. pay the necessary price. Many Tremere chantries and System: An object may store only one blood point of havens are protected by this and other Warding Circle vitae. If a Kindred wishes to make an infused focus for rituals. an ally, she may do so, but the blood contained within System: The ritual requires three blood points of must be her own. (If the ally then drinks the blood, he mortal blood. The caster determines the size of the is one step closer to the blood bond). The ally must be warding circle when it is cast; the default radius is 10 present at the creation of the focus. feet/3 meters, and every 10-foot/3-meter increase raises the difficulty by one, to a maximum of 9 (one addition-

Recure of the Homeland al success is required for every increase past the number

The vampire calls on the power of the earth to heal necessary to raise the difficulty to 9). The player spends grave wounds she may have received. The thaumaturge one blood point for every 10 feet/3 meters of radius and must use at least a handful of dirt from the city or town rolls. The ritual takes the normal casting time if it is to of her mortal birth and recite a litany of her mortal be short-term (lasting for the rest of the night) or one family tree as she casts this ritual. night if it is to be long-term (lasting a year and a day). System: The Cainite must mix the earth with two Once the warding circle is established, any ghoul points of her own blood to make a healing paste. One who attempts to cross its boundary feels a tingle on his handful will heal one aggravated wound, and only one handful can be used per night. This ritual can only be used on the vampire who knows it.

Ward Versus Ghouls Other Warding Circle Rituals

Wary Tremere created this ritual to protect them- selves from the minions of vengeful rivals. By invoking The Tremere have access to several other this ritual, the caster creates a glyph that causes great Warding Circle rituals: Warding Circle versus pain to any ghouls who come in contact with it. The Lupines (Level Three), Warding Circle versus Kindred pours a point’s worth of blood over the ob- Kindred (Level Four), and Warding Circles ject he wishes to ward (a piece of parchment, a coin, versus Spirits, Ghosts, and Demons (Level a doorknob, etc.), and recites the incantation, which Five). Each Warding Circle ritual must be takes 10 minutes. In 10 hours, the magical ward is com- learned separately. The material components plete, and will inflict excruciating pain on any ghoul required for each warding circle are the same unfortunate enough to touch the warded object. as those needed for the corresponding ward, but in larger amounts. The effects against the System: Ghouls who touch warded objects suffer targeted beings are the same as for Warding three dice of lethal damage. This damage occurs again Circle versus Ghouls. if the ghoul touches the object further; indeed, a ghoul who consciously wishes to touch a warded object must spend a point of Willpower to do so. 234 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, skin and a slight breeze on his face — a successful In- telligence + Occult roll (difficulty 8) identifies this as a warding circle. If the ghoul attempts to press on, he must roll more successes on a Willpower roll (difficulty of the caster’s Thaumaturgy rating + 3) than the caster rolled when establishing the ward. Failure indicates that the ward blocks his passage and inflicts three dice of bashing damage, and his next roll to attempt to en- ter the circle is at +1 difficulty. If the ghoul leaves the circle and attempts to enter it again, he must repeat the roll. Attempts to leave the circle are not blocked.

Level Three Rituals Clinging of the Insect

This ritual allows the caster to cling to walls or ceil- ings, as would a spider. She may even crawl along these surfaces (as long as they can support her). Use of this power seriously discomfits mortal onlookers. The char- acter must place a live spider under her tongue for the duration of the ritual (though the spider may die while in the thaumaturge’s mouth without canceling the power). System: The character may move at half her nor- mal rate while climbing walls or ceilings. This power lasts for one scene, or until the vampire spits out the spider.

Flesh of Fiery Touch

This defensive ritual inflicts painful burns on anyone who deliberately touches the subject’s skin. It requires the subject to swallow a small glowing ember, which does put off some vampires with low pain thresholds. Some vain thaumaturges use this ritual purely for its subsidiary effect of darkening the subject’s skin to a healthy sun-bronzed hue. System: Flesh of Fiery Touch takes two hours to cast (reduced by 10 minutes per success). It requires a small piece of wood, coal, or other common fuel source, which ignites and is swallowed at the end of the ritual. The subject who swallows the red-hot ember receives a single aggravated health level of damage (difficulty 6 to soak with Fortitude). Until the next sunset, anyone who touches the subject’s flesh receives a burn that in- flicts a single aggravated health level of damage (again, difficulty 6 to soak with Fortitude). The victim must voluntarily touch the subject; this damage is not in- flicted if the victim is touched or accidentally comes in contact with the subject. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 235, This ritual darkens the subject’s skin to that which ritual feels the fear herself; a vampire summoning the would be obtained by long-term exposure to the sun in caster is instead drawn to the thaumaturge’s location. a mortal. The tone is slightly unnatural and metallic, This ritual is an unbroken secret among the Tremere, and is clearly artificial to any observer who succeeds in and the Warlocks maintain that its use is unknown a Perception + Medicine roll (difficulty 8). outside their Clan. The magical component for this ritual is a length of blue silken cord, which must be

Incorporeal Passage worn around the caster’s neck.

Use of this ritual allows the thaumaturge to make System: This ritual lasts against a number of effects herself insubstantial. The caster becomes completely equal to the successes rolled, or until the sunrise af- immaterial and thus is able to walk through walls, pass ter it is enacted. Note that the Presence Discipline through closed doors, escape manacles, etc. The caster power must actually succeed before being reversed by also becomes invulnerable to physical attacks for the the ritual. As such, only powers that specifically target duration of the ritual. The caster must follow a straight the caster (and thus, require a roll to succeed) can be path through any physical objects, and may not draw reversed — “passive” powers such as Majesty are not back. Thus, a Kindred may walk through a solid wall, affected. but may not walk down through the earth (as it would be impossible to reach the other side before the ritual Sanguine Assistant lapsed). This ritual requires that the caster carry a shard Thaumaturges often need laboratory assistants whom from a shattered mirror to hold her image. they can trust implicitly. This ritual allows the intrepid System: This ritual lasts a number of hours equal to vampire to conjure a temporary servant. To cast the the number of successes scored on a Wits + Survival ritual, the thaumaturge slices open his arm and bleeds roll (difficulty 6). The caster may prematurely end the into a specially prepared earthen bowl. The ritual sucks ritual (and, thus, her incorporeality) by turning the in and animates whatever random unimportant items mirror shard away so that it no longer reflects her im- the wizard happens to have lying around his workshop age. — glass beakers, dissection tools, pencils, crumpled pa- pers, semiprecious stones — and binds the materials

Mirror of Second Sight together into a small humanoid form animated by the

This object is an oval mirror no less than four inches power of the ritual and the blood. Oddly enough, this (10 cm) wide and no more than 18 inches (45 cm) in ritual almost never takes in any tool that the caster length. It looks like a normal mirror, but once created, finds himself needing during the assistant’s lifespan, the vampire can use it to see the supernatural: It re- nor does it take the physical components of any other flects the true form of Lupines and faeries, and enables ritual nor any living thing. The servant has no per- the owner to see ghosts as they move though the Un- sonality to speak of at first, but gradually adopts the derworld. The caster creates the mirror by bathing an mannerisms and thought processes that the thauma- ordinary mirror in a quantity of her own blood while turge desires in an ideal servant. Sanguine Assistants reciting a ritual incantation. are temporary creations, but some vampires become System: The ritual requires one point of the vam- fond of their tiny accomplices and create the same one pire’s blood. Thereafter, the mirror reflects images of whenever the need arises. other supernatural creatures’ true forms — werewolves System: The player spends five blood points and appear in their hulking man-wolf shapes, magi glow in rolls. The servant created by the ritual stands a foot a scintillating nimbus, ghosts become visible (in the (30 cm) high and appears as a roughly humanoid shape mirror), and so on. Sometimes, the mirror also reveals composed of whatever the ritual sucked in for its own those possessed of True Faith in clouds of golden light. use. It lasts for one night per success rolled. At the end

Pavis of Foul Presence of the last night, the assistant crawls into the bowl used for its creation and falls apart. The assistant can be re-

The Tremere joke privately that this is their “ritual animated through another application of this ritual; if for the Ventrue.” Kindred who invoke the Presence the caster so desires, it re-forms from the same materi- Discipline on the subject of this ritual find the effects of als with the same memories and personality. their Discipline reversed, as if they had used the power on themselves. For example, a vampire using Presence A Sanguine Assistant has Strength and Stamina of to instill fear in a Kindred under the influence of this 1, and Dexterity and Mental Attributes equal to those 236 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, of the caster. It begins with no Social Attributes to vampire cutting off their arm) may stop the tip’s prog- speak of, but gains one dot per night in Charisma and ress, depending on the number of successes acquired Manipulation until its ratings are equal to those of the and the Storyteller’s discretion. When the shaft accu- caster. It has all of the caster’s Abilities at one dot low- mulates a total of 15 successes, it reaches the victim’s er than his own. A Sanguine Assistant is a naturally heart. This paralyzes Kindred and is instantly fatal to timid creature and flees if attacked, though it will try to mortals and ghouls. defend its master’s life at the cost of its own. It has no Attempts to surgically remove the tip of the shaft Disciplines of its own, but has a full understanding of can be made with an extended Dexterity + Medicine all of its master’s Thaumaturgical knowledge and can roll made once per hour (difficulty 7 for Kindred and 8 instruct others if so commanded. A Sanguine Assistant for mortals). The surgeon must accumulate a number is impervious to any mind-controlling Disciplines or of successes equal to those currently held by the shaft magic, so completely is it bound to its creator’s will. in order to remove the tip. Once surgery begins, how-

Shaft of Belated Quiescence ever, the shaft begins actively evading the surgeon’s

probes, and its rolls are made once every 30 minutes for This ritual turns an ordinary stake of rowan wood the duration of the surgery attempt. Each individual into a particularly vicious weapon. When the stake surgery roll that scores less than three successes inflicts penetrates a vampire’s body, the tip breaks off and be- an additional unsoakable level of lethal damage on the gins working its way through the victim’s flesh to his patient. heart. The trip may take several minutes or several nights, depending on where the stake struck. The stake Shaft of Belated Quiescence may be performed on eludes attempts to dig it out, burrowing farther into the other wooden impaling weapons, such as spears, ar- victim’s body to escape surgery. The only Kindred who rows, practice swords, and pool cues, provided that are immune to this internal attack are those who have they are made of rowan wood. It may not, however, had their hearts removed by Serpentis. create a Bullet of Belated Quiescence. System: The ritual takes five hours to enact, minus Ward versus Lupines 30 minutes per success. The stake must be carved of This wards an object in a manner identical to that of rowan wood, coated with three blood points of the the Level Two ritual Ward Versus Ghouls, except that caster’s blood, and blackened in an oak-wood fire. it affects werewolves. When the ritual is complete, the stake is enchanted to act as described above. System: Ward versus Lupines behaves exactly as does Ward versus Ghouls, but it affects werewolves rather An attack with a Shaft of Belated Quiescence is per- than ghouls. The ritual requires a handful of silver dust formed as with a normal stake: a Dexterity + Melee rather than a blood point. roll (difficulty 6, modified as per the normal combat rules; the attack does not need to specifically target the Level Four Rituals heart) with a lethal damage rating of Strength + 1. If at least one health level of damage is inflicted after the Bone of Lies target rolls to soak, the tip of the stake breaks off and This ritual enchants a mortal bone so that anyone begins burrowing. If not, the stake may be used to make who holds it must tell the truth. The bone in question subsequent attacks until it strikes deep enough to ac- is often a skull, though any part of the skeleton will tivate. do — some casters use strings of teeth, necklaces of Once the tip of the stake is in the victim’s body, the finger joints, or wands fashioned from ribs or arms. The Storyteller begins an extended roll of the caster’s Thau- bone grows blacker as it compels its holder to tell the maturgy rating (difficulty 9), rolling once per hour of truth, until it has turned completely ebony and has no game time. Successes on this roll are added to the suc- magic left. cesses scored in the initial attack. This represents the This ritual binds the spirit of the individual to whom tip’s progress toward the victim’s heart. A botch indi- the bone belonged in life; it is this spirit who wrests cates that the tip has struck a bone and all accumulated the truth from the potential liar. The spirit absorbs successes are lost (including those from the initial at- the lies intended to be told by the bone’s holder, and tack roll). Removing the part of the body where the tip as it compels more truth, it becomes more and more impacted (such as a Tzimisce turning into blood or a corrupt. If summoned forth, this spirit reflects the sins VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 237, it has siphoned from the defeated liar (in addition to At the end of the ritual, the caster’s heart hardens anger over its unwilling servitude). For this reason, to stone. The caster gains a number of additional dice anonymous bones are often used in the ritual, and the equal to twice his Thaumaturgy rating to soak any at- bone is commonly buried after it has been used to its tack that aims for his heart and is completely impervi- full extent. A specific bone may never be used twice ous to the effects of a Shaft of Belated Quiescence (see for this ritual, though different bones from the same p. 237). Additionally, the difficulty to use all Presence corpse can. or other emotionally manipulative powers on him is System: The bone imbued with this magical power increased by three due to his emotional isolation. The must be at least 200 years old and must absorb 10 blood drawbacks are as follows: the caster’s Conscience/Con- points on the night that the ritual is cast. Each lie viction and Empathy scores drop to 1 (or to 0 if they the holder wishes to tell consumes one of these blood already were at 1) and all dice pools for Social rolls ex- points, and the holder must speak the truth immedi- cept those involving Intimidation are halved (includ- ately thereafter. When all 10 blood points have been ing those required to use Disciplines). All Merits that consumed, the bone’s magic ceases to work. the character has pertaining to positive social interac- tion are neutralized. Heart of Stone lasts as long as the

Firewalker caster wishes it to.

This ritual imbues the vampire with an unnatural re- sistance to fire. Only a foolish vampire would actually Splinter Servant attempt to walk on or through fire, but this ritual does Another ritual designed to enchant a stake, Splinter grant an advanced tolerance to flame. Some Sabbat use Servant is a progressive development of Shaft of Be- this ritual to show off, while other thaumaturges use lated Quiescence. (The two rituals, however, are mu- it only for martial concerns. To enact the ritual, the tually exclusive.) A Splinter Servant consists of a stake caster must cut off the end of one of his fingers and carved from a tree which has nourished itself on the burn it in a Thaumaturgical circle. dead. The stake must be bound in wax-sealed night- shade twine. When the binding is torn off, the Splin- System: Cutting off one’s finger does not do any ter Servant leaps to life, animating itself and attacking health levels of damage, but it hurts like hell and re- whomever the wielder commands — or the wielder, if quires a Willpower roll to perform. This ritual may be she is too slow in assigning a target. The servant splits cast on other vampires (at the expense of the caster’s itself into a roughly humanoid form and begins single- fingertips...). If the subject has no Fortitude, he may mindedly trying to impale the target’s heart. Its exer- soak fire with his Stamina for the duration of this ritu- tions tear it apart within a few minutes, but if it pierces al. If the vampire has Fortitude, he may soak fire with its victim’s heart before it destroys itself, it is remark- his Stamina + Fortitude for the duration of the ritual. ably difficult to remove, as pieces tend to remain be- This ritual lasts one hour. hind if the main portion is yanked out.

Heart of Stone System: The ritual requires 12 hours to cast, mi-

A vampire under the effect of this ritual experiences nus one per success, and the servant must be created the transformation suggested by the ritual’s name: his as described above. When the binding is torn off, the heart is completely transmuted to solid rock, render- character who holds it must point the servant at its ing him virtually impervious to staking. The subsidiary target and verbally command it to attack during the effects of the transformation, however, seem to follow same turn. If this command is not given, the servant the Hermetic laws of sympathetic magic: The vam- attacks the closest living or unliving being, usually the pire’s emotional capacity becomes almost nonexistent, unfortunate individual who currently carries it. and his ability to relate to others suffers as well. A Splinter Servant always aims for the heart. It has System: This ritual requires nine hours (reduced by an attack dice pool of the caster’s Wits + Occult, a one hour for every success). It can only be cast on one- damage dice pool of the caster’s Thaumaturgy rating, self. The caster lies naked on a flat stone surface and and a maximum movement rate of 30 yards or meters places a bare candle over his heart. The candle burns per turn. Note that these values are those of the caster down to nothing over the course of the ritual, causing who created the servant, not the individual who acti- one aggravated health level of damage (difficulty 5 to vates it. A Splinter Servant cannot fly, but can leap soak with Fortitude). its full movement rating every turn. Every action it takes is to attack or move toward its target; it cannot 238 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, dodge or split its dice pool to perform multiple attacks. Talisman allows the caster to enchant a personal magi- The servant makes normal stake attacks that aim for cal item (the fabled wizard’s staff) to act as an amplifier the heart (difficulty 9), and its success is judged as per for her will and thaumaturgical might. Many talismans the rules for a normal staking (see p. 280). A Splinter are laden with additional rituals (such as every ward Servant has three health levels, and attacks directed known to the caster). The physical appearance of a against it are made at +3 difficulty due to its small size talisman varies, but it must be a rigid object close to and erratic movement patterns. a yard or a meter long. Swords and walking sticks are A Splinter Servant has an effective life of five com- the most common talismans, but some innovative or bat turns per success rolled in its creation. If it has not eccentric thaumaturges have enchanted violins, shot- impaled its victim by the last turn of its life, the servant guns, pool cues, and classroom pointers. collapses into a pile of ordinary, inanimate splinters. System: This ritual requires six hours per night for Three successes on a Dexterity roll (difficulty 8) are one complete cycle of the moon, beginning and ending required to remove a Splinter Servant from a victim’s on the new moon. Over this time, the vampire care- heart without leaving behind shards of the stake. fully prepares her talisman, carving it with Hermetic runes that signify her true name and the sum total of

Ward versus Kindred her thaumaturgical knowledge. The player spends one

This warding ritual functions exactly as do Ward blood point per night and makes an extended roll of versus Ghouls and Ward versus Lupines, but it inflicts Intelligence + Occult (difficulty 8), one roll per week. injury upon Cainites. If a night’s work is missed or if the four rolls do not System: Ward versus Kindred behaves exactly as accumulate at least 20 net successes, the talisman is does Ward versus Ghouls, but it affects vampires rather ruined and the process must be begun again. than ghouls. The ritual requires a blood point of the A completed talisman gives the caster several advan- caster’s own blood and does not affect the caster. tages. When the character is holding the talisman, the difficulty of all magic that targets her is increased by

Level Five Rituals one. The player receives two extra dice when rolling

for uses of the character’s primary path and one extra

Blood Contract die when rolling for the character’s ritual castings. If

This ritual creates an unbreakable agreement be- the talisman is used as a weapon, it gives the player tween the two parties who sign it. The contract must an additional die to roll to hit. If the thaumaturge is be written in the caster’s blood and signed in the blood separated from her talisman, a successful Perception + of whoever applies their name to the document. This Occult roll (difficulty 7) gives her its location. ritual takes three nights to enact fully, after which both If a talisman is in the possession of another individu- parties are compelled to fulfill the terms of the con- al, it gives that individual three additional dice to roll tract. when using any form of magic against the talisman’s System: This ritual is best handled by the Storytell- owner. At the Storyteller’s discretion, rituals that tar- er, who may bring those who sign the blood contract get the caster and use her talisman as a physical com- into compliance by whatever means necessary (it is ponent may have greatly increased effects. not unknown for demons to materialize and enforce A thaumaturge may only have one talisman at a adherence to certain blood contracts). The only way time. Ownership of a talisman may not be transferred to terminate the ritual is to complete the terms of the — each individual must create her own. contract or to burn the document itself — attempts to add a clause forbidding burning the contract have re- Escape to a True Friend sulted in the contract spontaneously combusting upon Escape to a True Friend allows the caster to travel to completion of the ritual. One blood point is consumed the person whose friendship and trust she most values. in the creation of the document, and an additional The ritual has a physical component of a yard-wide/ blood point is consumed by those who sign it. meter-wide circle charred into the bare ground or

Enchant Talisman floor. The caster may step into the circle at any time

and speak the true name of her friend. She is instantly This ritual is the first taught to most Tremere once transported to that individual, wherever he may be at they have attained mastery of their first path. Create the moment. She does not appear directly in front of VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 239, him, but materializes in a location within a few min- utes’ walk that is out of sight of any observer. The circle may be reused indefinitely, as long as it is unmarred. System: This ritual takes six hours a night for six nights to cast, reduced by one night for every two suc- cesses. Each night requires the sacrifice of three of the caster’s own blood points, which are poured into the circle. Once the circle is complete, the transport may be attempted at any time. The caster may take one other individual with her when she travels, or a maxi- mum amount of “cargo” equal to her own weight.

Paper Flesh

This dreadful ritual enfeebles the subject, making her skin brittle and weak. Humors rise to the surface and flesh tightens around bones and scales away at the slightest touch. Used against physically tough oppo- nents, this ritual strips away the inherent resilience of the vampiric body, leaving it a fragile, dry husk. The thaumaturge must inscribe his subject’s true name (which is much harder to discern for elders than it is for young vampires) on a piece of paper, which he uses to cut himself and then burns to cinders. System: This ritual causes the subject’s Stamina and Fortitude (if any) to drop to 1 each. For every Genera- tion below Eighth, the subject retains one extra point of Stamina or Fortitude (keeping Fortitude first, though she may not exceed her original scores). For example, a vampire of the Fourth Generation with Fortitude tar- geted by Paper Flesh would drop to a Stamina + For- titude score of 6 (assuming the score was 6 or more to begin with). This ritual lasts one night.

Ward versus Spirits

This warding ritual functions exactly as Ward versus Ghouls, but it inflicts injury upon spirits. Several other versions of this ward exist, each geared toward a par- ticular type of non-physical being. System: Ward versus Spirits behaves exactly as does Ward versus Ghouls, but it affects spirits (including those summoned or given physical form by Thaumaturgy Paths such as Elemental Mastery). The material component for Ward versus Spirits is a handful of pure sea salt. The other versions of this ward, also Level Five ritu- als, are Ward versus Ghosts and Ward versus Demons. Each of these three Level Five wards affects its respec- tive target on both the physical and spiritual planes. Ward versus Ghosts requires a handful of powdered marble from a tombstone, while Ward versus Demons requires a vial of holy water. 240 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES,

Vicissitude metic and minor in scope — no more than a foot (30 cm) of height gained or lost, for example. She must

physically mold the alteration, literally shaping her Vicissitude is the signature power of the Tzimisce, flesh into the desired result. and is rarely shared outside the Clan (though it is known to some other Cainites of the Sabbat). Similar System: The player must spend a blood point for to Protean in some ways, Vicissitude allows vampires each body part to be changed, then roll Intelligence + to shape and sculpt flesh and bone. When a Kindred Medicine (difficulty 6). To duplicate another person or uses Vicissitude to alter mortals, ghouls, and vampires voice requires a Perception + Medicine roll (difficulty of higher Generation, the effects of the power are per- 8), and five successes are required for a flawless copy; manent; vampires of equal or lower Generation can fewer successes leave minute (or not-so-minute) flaws. choose to heal the effects of Vicissitude as though they Increasing one’s Appearance Trait has a difficulty of 9, were aggravated wounds. A wielder of Vicissitude can and the vampire must spend an additional blood point always reshape her own flesh. for each dot of Appearance increased beyond their nat- ural total. A botch permanently reduces the Attribute The wielder must establish skin-to-skin contact and by one. must often manually sculpt the desired result for these powers to take effect. This also applies to the use of the •• Fleshcraft power on oneself. Tzimisce skilled in Vicissitude are This power is similar to Malleable Visage, above, but often inhumanly beautiful; those less skilled are simply allows the vampire to perform drastic, grotesque altera- inhuman. tions on other creatures. Tzimisce often use this power There are rumors that Vicissitude is a disease rather to transform their servitors into monstrous guards, the than a “normal” Discipline, but only the Fiends know better to frighten foes. Only flesh (skin, muscle, fat, for sure, and they aren’t talking. and cartilage, but not bone) may be transformed. Note: Nosferatu always “heal” Vicissitude altera- System: After spending a blood point, the vam- tions, at least the ones that make them better-looking. pire must grapple the intended victim. The player of The ancient curse of the Clan may not be circumvent- the Flescrafting vampire makes a successful Dexter- ed through Vicissitude. The same applies to physical ity + Medicine roll (difficulty variable: 5 for a crude deformities from the Gangrel Clan weakness. yank-and-tuck, up to 9 for precise transformations). A vampire who wishes to increase another’s Appearance Trait does so as described under Malleable Visage; re- ducing the Attribute is considerably easier (difficulty

Body Crafts 5), though truly inspired disfigurement may dictate a higher difficulty. In either case, each success increases

Vampires who wish to use Vicissitude well or reduces the Attribute by one. often specialize their knowledge of Medicine A vampire may use this power to move clumps of in an art known as Body Crafts. This spe- skin, fat, and muscle tissue, thus providing additional cialization enables its possessor to make all padding where needed. For each success scored on a manner of alterations to living and dead flesh Dexterity + Medicine roll (difficulty 8), the vampire and bone. It also gives insight into more mun- may increase the subject’s soak dice pool by one, at the dane techniques; many Tzimisce are skilled at expense of either a point of Strength or a health level flaying, bone-carving, embalming, taxidermy, (vampire’s choice). tattooing, and piercing. ••• Bonecraft This terrible power allows a vampire to manipulate bone in the same manner that flesh is shaped. In con- • Malleable Visage junction with Fleshcraft, above, this power enablesaAvampire with this power may alter her own bodily Vicissitude practitioner to deform a victim (or herself) parameters: height, build, voice, facial features, and beyond recognition. This power should be used in con- skin tone, among other things. Such changes are cos- junction with the flesh-shaping arts, unless the vam- pire wants to inflict injury on the victim (see below). VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 241, System: The vampire’s player must spend a blood to the jagged ridges and bony knobs creasing the crea- point and make a Strength + Medicine roll (difficulties ture’s hands. as above). Bonecraft may be used without the flesh- shaping arts, as an offensive weapon. Each success ••••• Bloodform scored on the Strength + Medicine roll (difficulty 7) A vampire with this power can physically transform inflicts one health level of lethal damage on the vic- all or part of her body into sentient vitae. This blood tim, as his bones rip, puncture, and slice their way out is in all respects identical to the vampire’s normal vi- of his skin. tae; she can use it to nourish herself or others, create The vampire may utilize this power (on herself or ghouls, or establish blood bonds. If all this blood is im- others) to form spikes or talons of bone, either on the bibed or otherwise destroyed, the vampire meets Final knuckles as an offensive weapon or all over the body Death. as defensive “quills.” If bone spikes are used, the vam- System: The vampire may transform all or part of pire or victim takes one health level of lethal damage herself as she deems fit. Each leg can turn into two (the vampire’s comes from having the very sharp bone blood points worth of vitae, as can the torso; each arm, pierce through his skin — this weaponry doesn’t come the head, and the abdomen convert to one blood point cheaply). In the case of quills, the subject takes a num- each. The blood can be reconverted to the body part, ber of health levels equal to five minus the number of provided it is in contact with the vampire. If the blood successes (a botch kills the subject or sends the vampire has been utilized or destroyed, the vampire must spend into torpor). These health levels may be healed nor- a number of blood points equal to what was originally mally. Knuckle spikes inflict Strength +1 lethal dam- created to regrow the missing body part. age. Defensive quills inflict a hand-to-hand attacker’s A vampire entirely in this form may not be staked, Strength in lethal damage unless the attacker scores cut, bludgeoned, or pierced, but can be burned or ex- three or more successes on the attack roll (in which posed to the sun. The vampire may ooze along, drip up case the attacker takes no damage); the defender still walls, and flow through the narrowest cracks, as though takes damage normally. Quills also enable the vampire she were in Tenebrous Form (p. 190). or altered subject to add two to all damage inflicted via Mental Disciplines may be used, provided no eye holds, clinches, or tackles. contact or vocal utterance is necessary, although the A vampire who scores five or more successes on the vampire can perceive her surroundings just fine (but Strength + Medicine roll may cause a rival vampire’s the perceptions are always centered on the largest pool rib cage to curve inward and pierce the heart. While of blood). If a vampire in this form “washes” over a this does not send a vampire into torpor, it does cause mortal or animal, that mortal must make a Courage the affected vampire to lose half his blood points, as roll (difficulty 8) or fly into a panic. the seat of his vitae ruptures in a shower of gore. ••••• • Chiropteran Marauder •••• Horrid Form Similar to Horrid Form, the Chiropteran Marauder Kindred use this power to become hideous and dead- is a terrifying, bipedal bat, bearing a wickedly fanged ly monsters. The vampire’s stature increases to a full maw and veined, leathery wings. This power confers all eight feet (two and a half meters), the skin becomes a of the benefits of the Horrid Form, in addition to a few sickly greenish-gray or grayish-black chitin, the arms others. The mere sight of the marauder is enough to become apelike and ropy with ragged black nails, and make mortals or weak-willed vampires flee in horror. the face warps into something out of a nightmare. A System: The vampire gains all the effects of the Hor- row of spines sprouts from the vertebrae, and the exter- rid Form. Further, the Marauder’s fluted wings allow nal carapace exudes a foul-smelling grease. flight at 25 mph (40 kph), during which the vampire System: The Horrid Form costs two blood points to may carry, but not manipulate, objects no larger than awaken. All Physical Attributes increase by three, but it can hold in its hands. If the player chooses to, she all Social Attributes drop to zero, except when dealing may make a Strength + Medicine roll (difficulty 6) to with others also in Horrid Form. However, a vampire extend bony claws at the ends of the vampire’s wings. in Horrid Form who is trying to intimidate someone These claws inflict Strength +2 aggravated damage. may substitute Strength for a Social Attribute. Dam- Also, the vampire subtracts two from all hearing-based age inflicted in brawling combat increases by one due Perception rolls (though he adds one to vision- based 242 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCIPLINES, Wits and Perception rolls). Assuming the mantle of It lasts as long as the Cainite wishes, and she may dis- the Chiropteran Marauder costs three blood points. solve it at her whim, emerging from a pulpy, bloody paste. A vampire contained within a cocoon may still ••••• • Blood of Acid use mental Disciplines that do not require eye contact At this level of mastery, the vampire has converted or other conditions to be met. his blood to a viscous acid. Any blood he consumes likewise becomes acid, which is corrosive enough to ••••• ••• Breath of the Dragon burn human (and vampiric flesh) as well as wood. This The vampire becomes like one of the terrible draculs effect is particularly potent when the vampire assumes of the Old World, able to exhale a deadly gout of flame. the Bloodform. One of the side effects of this power This flame does not hurt the vampire himself, though is the complete inability to create new vampires and he may become trapped in flames if it engulfs flamma- ghouls, or give blood to another vampire — the acid ble objects. would corrode them as they drank it. The obvious ben- System: The flaming cloud affects a six-foot area, do- efit, however, is that would-be diablerists are likewise ing two dice of aggravated damage to anyone in the unable to devour the Cainite’s blood. flames’ circumference. This fire may cause combustible System: Each acidified blood point that comes in items to ignite, and it may ignite victims who suffer fire contact with something other than the vampire him- damage as per the fire rules on page 297. self does five dice worth of aggravated damage. If the vampire is injured in combat, his blood may spatter on ••••• •••• Earth’s Vast Haven an opponent — foes must make Dexterity + Athletics This power, developed in the nights when the Tzi- rolls to avoid the blood, which must be accomplished by misce were the terrible masters of Eastern Europe, splitting their dice pools. (Unless an opponent knows allows the vampire to sink into and disperse himself the vampire has this power, she’s unlikely to split her through the ground. Unlike the Protean power of Earth dice pool on her first attack, which causes many Tzi- Meld, however, the vampire actually dissolves his body misce to cackle with glee.) into the ground; nothing short of a wide-area explo- sion can affect him, and he may not be dug up bodily. ••••• •• Cocoon In addition, from sunset to sunrise, the vampire may The Cainite can form an opaque cocoon from blood see and hear everything happening in his environment and other fluids excreted from her body. The cocoon through his mystical connection to the land. The mere hardens after a few moments, turning into a tough, fact that this power exists terrifies many Tzimisce, who white shell. This cocoon provides considerable protec- are secretly unsure of whether or not the diablerie of tion to the vampire, even shielding her from sunlight their Antediluvian was successful. and, to a limited degree, fire. System: This power costs six blood points to acti- System: A vampire may only cocoon herself, and the vate, and it lasts as long as the vampire wishes to re- process takes 10 minutes. Additionally, creating a co- main contained within the soil. As per the Cocoon, coon costs three blood points. The cocoon offers com- the vampire may use mental Disciplines that do not plete protection from sunlight, and provides a number require physical solvency or eye contact. He may com- of dice of soak equal to twice the vampire’s unmodified municate mentally with anyone who wanders into the Stamina against all damage, aggravated or otherwise. area under which he rests. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 243, 244 CHAPTER FIVE: RULES,

Chapter Five: Rules

"For surely it is better to rule in the darkness than to humble myself falsely in the light." - The Erciyes Fragments It may seem odd for a “storytelling game” to have a specific set of rules that govern how the story plays out, The Golden Rule but remember that the “game” portion of the hobby shares equal billing with the “storytelling” aspect. After twenty years, this is still the most important rule of all, and the only real rule worth following: The Game rules exist to impart a sense of fairness among rules are what you make of them. You should fashion this the story participants. When two players attempt to have game into whatever you need it to be. Whether you’re an interaction with the world, they know they’re doing running a nearly diceless chronicle of in-character so- it with the same opportunity, if not the same chances of cialization or a long-running tactical campaign with success. They may have different dice pools, for example, each player controlling a small coterie of vampires, if or different modifiers affecting what they’re trying to ac- the rules in this book interfere with your enjoyment complish, but ultimately, they’re interacting with the of the game, change them. The world is far too big — world on consistent terms they know will be consistent. it can’t be reflected accurately in any set of inflexible The dice, then, are the agents of fate, not an arbi- rules. This book is nothing more than a collection of trary rules system that changes depending on who’s guidelines, suggested but not mandatory ways of cap- adjudicating the action. Dramatic fear and uncertainty turing the World of Darkness in the format of a game. come from using the rules wisely in conjunction with You’re the arbiter of what works best in your game — the situations created by the Storyteller. mutually determined in play with the Storyteller and Luckily, Vampire uses only a few basic rules to get things other players — and you’re free to use, alter, abuse, done, but these rules can have countless permutations in or ignore these rules at your leisure. Besides, there are the context of the game. This chapter covers the very scores of fan communities online that delight in tin- basics, such as rolling dice; more specific, detail-oriented kering with the rules to get just the experience they rules can be found throughout the book. Don’t worry about want, and the exact rule you’re looking for may be just mastering all the permutations at once — learn these basic a Google search away. rules first, and then everything else will come naturally. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 245,

Rolling Dice The characters engage in combat with a Storyteller character: This is perhaps the archetypal example of

using dice to generate a situation of chance and ten- Vampire uses 10-sided dice. You can find these in sion. Here, the outcome isn’t pre-ordained, nor is it most game stores or through online retailers, or use a paced at the sole outcome of the Storyteller’s choice. number of software options (including quite a few apps Combat (and, indeed, most forms of conflict) occur at for smartphones). The Storyteller may need a num- the whim of the dice so the players feel risk. They don’t ber of dice; players need plenty as well, but can share have story immunity guaranteeing their success or sur- among themselves. Ten dice are all that a beginning vival. They may ace the engagement — or they may character will need at a given time. end up staked, bound, and in the cellar of the Tremere You roll dice whenever the outcome of an action is diablerist. in doubt or the Storyteller thinks there’s a chance your A character conducts occult research into a nec- character might fail. Your character’s strengths and romantic ritual: This is an example of what would weaknesses affect the number of dice you roll, and thus almost certainly be an extended action (see p. 251). directly affect your chances of success. While the dice The role of the dice here determines, as is the function are present to give a sense of chance or destiny to a of the extended action rules, how long the occult re- situation that calls for a roll, they do so objectively for search actually takes. Does the occultist have a burst of everyone, so that every player has a fair shake to suc- insight and complete his blasphemous ritual in a single ceed at her character’s actions, or to fail interestingly. month? Or do his grisly depredations take half a year to That last bit is important. If the potential for fail- yield their ghastly results? ure isn’t interesting, the Storyteller should question whether a roll is even necessary. Calling for a roll slows down the pace of the game session. Moderating the Actions pace of the story can be one of the Storyteller’s best techniques, but Storytellers shouldn’t toss a dice roll Over the course of a game, a character will do many into the proceedings just to alter the tempo. If a roll things. Some of these tasks are considered actions, of the dice doesn’t create multiple possible interesting while others aren’t. Actions are anything that might outcomes, there’s not much benefit in calling for one. produce an interesting outcome to the direction the At the Storyteller’s discretion, a situation might not story takes. Trying to use a Discipline on the Prince, need a roll to proceed with a reasonable outcome. hiding in the shadows to ambush a rival pack, scaling Consider the use of dice rolls in the following ex- a cemetery wall, attempting to forge a damning note amples: from the Toreador Primogen, rending one’s claws through the guts of a frenzied Tzimisce — these are The characters find themselves in the back room all examples of actions. One action typically takes one of a nightclub where an unmarked envelope contains turn to complete. (See p. 254 for more information on a clue critical to the plot. Initially, this seems like a increments of game time.) situation that would require, say, a Wits + Investiga- tion roll, but with further consideration, the characters In most cases, speaking and conversations aren’t should probably ultimately find the envelope without considered actions. Although interesting develop- the Storyteller necessitating a dice roll. If the charac- ments may certainly arise from things the Kindred say ters don’t find the critical clue, after all, the story can’t to one another or to the other residents of the World progress. Does the Storyteller really want to trust the of Darkness, talking is typically free in terms of game entire future of the storyline to whether or not the dice mechanics. The Storyteller may rule otherwise, such as turn up in the players’ favor? In fact, with a little dif- whether a vampire manages to scream out the location ferent planning, the Storyteller could probably have where the Methuselah has the ghouls trapped before avoided this situation altogether, perhaps rewarding the sunlight burns him to ash, but for the most part, the players’ characters with the envelope at the conclu- the game places as few limitations as possible on com- sion of some other challenge — say, among the belong- munication among players and characters. ings of a ghoul they overpower or in the library of the It’s easy enough to attempt an action — just tell Primogen while they’re snooping around her haven. the Storyteller what your character’s trying to do and how she plans to go about it. Most actions — cross- 246 CHAPTER FIVE: RULES, ing the street or loading a pistol, for instance — are abilities. Each Trait is described by a “dot” rating of 1 easy enough to be considered automatically success- to 5 (usually); a 1 in a Trait is barely competent, while ful. However, if you’re trying to cross a four-lane high- a 5 is the pinnacle of human achievement. Most peo- way full of speeding trucks, or trying to reload while ple’s Traits range from 1 to 3; a 4 in a Trait indicates an you’re hanging from a fire escape by one hand, there’s exceptional person, whilea5is nearly incomparable a chance you might fail. So when there’s reasonable — among humans, at any rate. Think of this as similar doubt whether an action will succeed or not, you may to the “star” rating system of movie reviews and restau- have to roll dice to determine the results. rants — a 1 is barely passable whilea5is superb. It’s If you need only one success to accomplish an action, also possible to have a zero in a Trait, which usually the action in question is called a simple action. Actions represents a skill that the character never learned, but that require more successes or longer periods of time some exceptions (such as the hideous Nosferatu’s lack to complete are called extended actions. See p. 251 for of an Appearance Trait) do occur. more information on extended actions. x Abysmal • Poor

Reflexive Actions •• Average

In some cases, taking a particular significant action ••• Good doesn’t actually take any appreciable amount of time. These actions often come as a result of or are triggered •••• Exceptional by other actions. In game terms, these are called re- ••••• Superb flexive actions, and performing one may break the nor- mal sequence of play and action resolution. A reflexive Dice Pools action doesn’t require “taking an action” as described Whenever you roll dice, you roll one die for every dot above to accomplish. Your character can perform one your character possesses in the appropriate Trait. For whenever the opportunity arises, and may also take his instance, if your character is trying to find something normal action, without any penalty. and he has three dots in Perception, you would roll For instance, spending a blood point to increase an three dice. However, you almost never simply roll the Attribute is considered to take less than a second of number of dice you have in an Attribute. Raw poten- game time — no dice are rolled, and your character tial is modified by skill, after all, and so the most com- can do this while doing something else. Soaking — mon rolls in the game involve adding the dice gained withstanding the damage from an attack — is likewise from an Attribute to the dice gained from an Ability. a reflexive action. Making a Humanity roll is a reflex- For instance, if your character were trying to trick ive action, though it may well lead to other, standard the Nosferatu elder’s ghoul into revealing her master’s actions. location, the Storyteller might have you roll Manipu- In most cases, the only prerequisite for performing lation + Subterfuge: an Attribute plus an Ability. In a reflexive action is that the character be conscious this case, you might take three dice for your Manipula- (or otherwise capable of choosing to take the action, tion of 3, plus as many dice as your character has in in the case of dream sequences or other deviations Subterfuge — say, two — so you get two more dice from consciousness that still allow choice) in order to from that. Thus, you roll a total of five dice to deter- choose to do so. Unless otherwise specified, a character mine your character’s success or failure at confound- may perform any number of reflexive actions, and they ing the ghoul. These dice are called the dice pool: the don’t get in the way of anything else she may want to total number of dice you roll for a single action. Most do in a turn. often, you’ll calculate a dice pool for only one action at a time, though you can modify it to be able to per- form multiple tasks in a turn (for more information, see

Ratings “Multiple Actions,” below).

Not every roll requires an Ability to be added to an Although your character’s personality is limited only Attribute. For example, lifting an object is a pure ap- by your imagination, his capabilities are defined by his plication of Strength alone, while a Humanity roll to Traits — all of his innate and learned aptitudes and VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 247, test for moral degradation obviously draws its dice pool solely from the Humanity Trait. If your dice pool involves a Trait whose maximum rating is 10 (such as Humanity, Path, or Willpower), you can’t add any other Traits to your dice pool. It’s ef- fectively impossible for a normal human being to have more than 10 dice in a dice pool. Elder vampires, on the other hand.…

Multiple Actions

Occasionally, a player will want her character to per- form more than one action in a turn. For example, a character may be trying to search through a notebook to find a password while creeping stealthily through a hallway, or might be trying to sidestep an incoming attack while firing a pistol into her assailant’s gut. In such situations, the player can attempt actions nor- mally, though all actions become more difficult as the character’s attention is split among them. The player declares the total number of actions he wishes his character to attempt and determines which of those dice pools is the smallest. He may then allo- cate that number dice among the actions as he sees fit. Example: You want your character to hang a sharp right turn in a stolen taxi cab while simultaneously scream- ing at the surprised cabbie in the passenger seat to calm the hell down or you’ll tear him in half. This is a Dexterity + Drive roll (for which your character has seven dice) and a Charisma + Intimidation roll (for which your character has five dice). Five dice is the smaller dice pool, and you may thus divide five dice among the number of actions you want to take. That is, you may allocate these five dice as you see fit between the driving maneuver and intimidating the cabbie. At the Storyteller’s discretion, certain action combi- nations that are wildly disparate may incur a difficulty increase (see below) on top of the split dice pool limi- tations. Composing a stirring poem while showering an enemy with a hail of bullets is a task not lightly under- taken. As well, at the Storyteller’s discretion, splitting dice pools to a certain degree may well just be plain impossible. Vampires with the Discipline of Celerity (p. 142) may take multiple actions without subtracting dice from their dice pools. These extra actions may not themselves be divided into multiple actions. 248 CHAPTER FIVE: RULES,

Difficulties

There’s no point in rolling dice unless you know what Degrees of Success results you’re looking for. Whenever you try to perform One Success Marginal (getting a an action, the Storyteller will decide on an appropriate broken refrigerator to difficulty number and tell you her decision. A difficulty keep running until the is always a number between 2 and 10 (but generally repairman arrives) between 3 and 9). Each time you score that number or higher on one of your dice, you’re considered to have Two Successes Moderate (making a gained a success. For example, if an action’s difficulty is handicraft that’s ugly buta6and you roll a 3, 3, 8, 7 and 10, then you’ve scored useful) three successes. The more you get, the better you do. Three Complete (fixing You need only one success to perform most actions suc- something so that it’s cessfully, but that’s considered a marginal success. If good as new) you score three or more, you succeed completely. Also, a result of a 10 is always a success, no matter the dif- Four Exceptional (increasing ficulty number. your car’s efficiency in the process of repairing The following charts should give you a good idea of it) how to combine difficulties and degrees of success. Five or More Phenomenal (creating a masterwork)

Difficulties

Three Trivial (scanning a small crowd The Storyteller is the final authority on how difficult for a familiar face) attempted actions are — if the task seems impossible, he’ll make the difficulty appropriately high, while if the Four Easy (following a trail of blood) task seems routinely easy, the difficulty will be low (if Five Straightforward (seducing some the Storyteller decides you even have to roll at all). A one who’s already “in the mood”) difficulty 3 task is so easy that it probably doesn’t merit a die roll, but a fluke failure or extraordinary success Six Standard (firing a gun) might sometimes make it worth the chance. Seven Challenging (locating where At difficulty 10, the results curve becomes very anoma- those agonized whispers are lous – indeed, there are a few dice pools for which the coming from) likelihood of botching actually increases over having a Eight Difficult (convincing a cop that smaller (and thus theoretically “worse”) dice pool. Be care- this isn’t your cocaine) ful when assigning such a high difficulty to an action. Nine Extremely difficult (walking a tightrope) Failure If you score no successes on a roll, your character fails his attempted action: He misses his punch. The file is encrypted too well. The Prince doesn’t believe Naturally, the lower the difficulty, the easier it is to her alibi. Failure, while usually disappointing, is not so score successes, and vice versa. Six is the default dif- catastrophic as a botch (below). ficulty, indicating actions neither exceptionally tricky Example: Your character is attempting to eavesdrop on nor exceptionally easy to accomplish. If the Storyteller the greasy-looking guy with a bag of pills who’s talking to or rulebook ever calls for you to make a roll, but doesn’t the blonde in the corner of the bar, and is trying to look give you a specific difficulty number, assume the task is nonchalant by the pool table. The Storyteller tells you to difficulty 6. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 249, roll your character’s Wits + Subterfuge (difficulty 7). You Storyteller character alike, one botch “free” — in oth- roll and the dice turn up 2, 5, 6, 6, 4, 3 — no successes. er words, the first botched roll of the session doesn’t The Storyteller rules that the greasy guy notices you mak- count. This rule tends to make unlife a little easier on ing an awkward show of pretending to chalk your cue the players — but then again, there’s less chance of and stops talking to the girl, staring your character down their enemies suffering a run of bad luck as well.… instead. He doesn’t draw a weapon or bolt for the back Example: Your character is desperately fleeing from the door, but whatever this deal is isn’t going any further…. Archbishop’s most zealous Paladins, and all that’s stand- Storytellers, bear in mind that failure is simply that: ing between him and the safety of his haven is a freight failure. All it means is that the attempt didn’t produce elevator that leads up to the service docks of the meatpack- the desired result. Judge the narrative accordingly, but ing plant. You roll your character’s Stamina + Athletics a failure probably doesn’t in itself result in any harm (difficulty 8), hoping to outpace your pursuers to the to the character unless the circumstances would dic- elevator and get 9, 1, 1, 8, 1. The 1s outnumber the suc- tate such. A failed attempt to jump the gap between cesses, but because you rolled any successes at all to begin two buildings probably doesn’t result in a breakneck with, the action simply fails. The Storyteller rules that you plummet, but perhaps the character lands clumsily on make it to the elevator — but it’s two floors up. a fire escape below the intended rooftop, or maybe she You dash toward the staircase, but you’re not so lucky as knocks the wind out of herself and is desperately hang- the chase continues. The Stamina + Athletics dice come up ing onto the ledge. 1, 3, 4, 3, 7. This time, not only did a “1” occur, but no successes were scored at all, so the action is a botch. The

Botches Storyteller rules that the Sabbat thought you might try to

Bad luck can ruin anything. One more basic of a roll run away like a punk bitch, and backed a forklift into the is a “botch.” Whenever one of the dice comes up as a stairwell, blocking it entirely. No choice but to turn around 1, it cancels out a success. Completely. Take the die and face them... showing 1 and one of the dice showing a success and Botching is a place where some creativity on the set them aside. In this manner, an otherwise successful part of the Storyteller goes a long way. There’s noth- action may be reduced to failure. ing wrong with having a botch signify a dropped gun Occasionally, truly bad fortune strikes. If none of or stalling out a car in a chase, but a botch might also your dice comes up a success, and one or more dice are be an odd fluke that happens at an incongruous time dice showing 1, the roll is a botch. If you score at least or a butterfly effect that may haunt the chronicle at one success, even if that success is canceled out and a later point. Instead of dropping the gun, maybe a additional 1s remain, it’s just a simple failure. botched firearms roll signifies that the gun went off to A botch is much worse than a normal failure — it’s close to the shooter’s face, blinding or deafening her. dramatic misfortune. For instance, rolling a botch Maybe the botched Drive roll suggests that, as the car when trying to fast-talk the Sheriff might make him fishtailed around the corner, the captive Toreador in think you’d better go see the Prince to explain yourself. the back seat made a break for it or the manila enve- Botching a Stealth roll when breaking into an apart- lope full of the incriminating photos fell out the open ment makes so much racket the neighbor calls the po- window. Botches should create a new dramatic twist to lice. Botching an Animal Ken roll enrages the animal. the scene in which they occur. They don’t have to be Botching an Athletics roll means you gauged the width reliable pratfalls. of the gap between the two buildings incorrectly... and look at all that chain-link fence and razor wire rising up to meet you. The Storyteller decides exactly what goes Automatic Success wrong; a botch may produce a minor inconvenience or Sometimes rolling dice is unnecessary, particularly might result in wholesale catastrophe. when the task is a relatively simple one for a character, Of course, some Storytellers may find that botches or when there’s not much at dramatic stake to neces- are cropping up a little too frequently in their chron- sitate determining how well a character succeeds or icles (the laws of probability often warp around dice, fails. Remember, anything that streamlines play and as any veteran roleplayer can attest). In that case, it’s reduces distractions is a good thing. Vampire employs the Storyteller’s privilege to give everyone, player and a simple system for automatic successes, allowing you 250 CHAPTER FIVE: RULES, to skip rolling for tasks that your character would find Example: Your character has been “asked” to do a frankly mundane. little bit of liaising between an up-and-coming Ventrue Simply put, if the number of dice in your dice pool is and a pack of Gangrel who claim the domain the Ven- equal to or greater than the task’s difficulty, your char- true wants as her own. You’re meeting the pack’s bigshot acter automatically succeeds. No dice roll is necessary. behind a coffee shop in an ethnic ghetto, and things aren’t Mind you, this does not work for all tasks, and never going well. You try to put a positive spin on the Ventrue’s works in combat or other stressful situations. Further- interest in the Gangrel domain, so the Storyteller suggests more, an automatic success is considered marginal, just that you roll Wits + Streetwise (difficulty 6) to gracefully as if you’d gotten only one success on the roll. If quality describe the Gangrel domain as a liability they’d be better is an issue — the dramatic necessity mentioned ear- off letting go. You roll the dice, but your effort fails, and lier — you might want to roll the dice pool anyway to the Gangrel leader objects to your characterization of his try for more successes (although you still risk potential domain as a shit-stained urban blight. You try to make failure). But for simple and often-repeated actions, this amends, but this time the Storyteller tells you the difficulty system works just fine. is 7. Your character has some backpedaling to do, but you can’t backpedal so far that you make the Gangrel want to There’s another way to get an automatic success on stay. Good luck. a roll: Simply spend a Willpower point (p. 267). You can do this only once per turn, and since you have a limited supply of Willpower you can’t do this too often, but it can certainly help when you’re under pressure to Complications succeed. The preceding rules should be enough to get you going, and for chronicles that favor storytelling over

Trying It Again dice-rolling, they might be all you ever need. However,

Failure often produces stress, which often leads to they don’t necessarily cover all instances — for exam- further failure. If a character fails an action, he may ple, what if you’re trying to do something while a Sto- usually try it again (after all, failing to pick a lock does ryteller character is actively trying to stop you? What if not mean the character may never try to pick the lock a fellow Tremere tries to help you uncover a ritual? again). In such cases, though, the Storyteller should The various ways to complicate matters below are increase the difficulty number of the second attempt by intended to bring extra color to games. You don’t have one. (Note that the Storyteller may choose not to in- to use them, but they might add more realism and sus- crease this difficulty, at her discretion.) If the attempt is pense to your game. failed yet again, the difficulty of a third attempt should The following complications are relatively simple and increase by two, and so on. Eventually, the difficulty generic, usable to describe a wide variety of actions. For will be so high that the character has no chance of suc- situation-specific complications, see Chapter Six. ceeding: The lock is simply beyond her ability to pick and she’s frustrated with the whole affair. Extended Actions Examples of when to use this rule are: climbing a fence, searching a computer archive, or interrogating Sometimes completing a task takes longer than the a prisoner. After all, if you couldn’t find a handhold, increment of time in which the Storyteller chooses to discern the proper file name, or get the prisoner to talk conduct the scene. When you need multiple successes the first time, there’s a reasonable chance you might to score even a marginal success, you’re undertaking not be able to do it at all. an extended action. For example, a Nosferatu might spend all night listening in on a conversation between Sometimes the Storyteller shouldn’t invoke this rule. to scheming Kindred, or a Gangrel might be engaged For example, failing to shoot somebody with a gun, de- in fleeing (or pursuing…) mortal police for a prolonged tect an ambush, or keep on another driver’s tail are period of time. to be expected in stressful situations. Such failure does not automatically lead to frustration and failed future In an extended action, you roll your dice pool over attempts. The intent with the Trying It Again rules is and over at subsequent intervals, trying to collect to increase the likelihood of either success or interest- enough successes to succeed. For example, your char- ing failure. acter is trying to dig a temporary haven in the forest VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 251, floor, using only his bare hands. The Storyteller tells Veronica has Wits 3 and Finance 4, so Lynn rolls seven you that you need 15 successes to hollow out a den dice each night. She gets three successes on her first roll — that provides sufficient protection from the sun. You’ll things are opening up nicely. On her second roll, she gets eventually succeed, but the longer you go, the more two successes, for a total of five. Unfortunately, luck isn’t chance there is of you botching and collapsing the with her on the third roll. She gets 3, 4, 1, 6, 4, 1, 6 — a tunnel. What’s more, if you have only so many turns botch! The Storyteller rules that one of Veronica’s brokers before dawn, the speed with which you finish your task has gone sour, and she’s actually lost money on the transac- becomes doubly important. The Storyteller in all cases tion. But the efforts of three nights’ work have been neatly is the final authority on which tasks are extended ac- condensed into five minutes or so of real time. As the game tions and which aren’t. continues, Veronica is left with a tighter budget for a while, You can usually take as many turns as you want to and the choice of trying again (and running the risk of at- finish an extended action (but situations being what tracting the Justice Department’s attention) or abandoning they are in Vampire, you won’t always have that lux- her grandiose plot.… ury). If you botch a roll, however, you probably have to start over again from scratch, and likely have some Resisted Actions other resultant catastrophe to worry about. Depending A simple difficulty number might not be enough to on what you’re trying to do, the Storyteller may even represent a struggle between characters. For instance, rule that you can’t start over again at all; you’ve failed you may try to batter down a door while a charac- and that’s that. ter on the other side tries to hold it closed. In such Because extended actions are often quite apropos a case, you’d make a resisted roll — each of you rolls for describing certain feats, they’re used frequently in dice against a difficulty (often determined by one of Chapter Six. However, because of the amount of dice- your opponent’s Traits), and the person who scores the rolling involved, extended actions should probably be most successes wins. kept out of the more intense sessions of roleplaying. However, you’re considered to score only as many Note that the interval for a roll in an extended action successes as the amount by which you exceed your oppo- need not be only a turn. It can be any segment of game nent’s successes. In other words, the opponent’s success- time as determined by the Storyteller. For example, a es eliminate your own, just as 1s do. If, for example, you Giovanni searching tombs for corpses with special qual- score four successes and your opponent scores three, ities might roll once to determine the progress made you’re considered to have only one success: a marginal in a night’s grave robbing. A Ventrue might attempt a accomplishment. It’s difficult to achieve an outstand- long-term seduction of a rival’s mortal daughter. Many ing success on a resisted action simply because some- protracted Discipline powers (like Conditioning) in- one else is working to prevent you from achieving your voke extended actions that take place over a long pe- objective. Even if your opponent can’t beat you, he can riod of time. For more information on time intervals still diminish the effect of your efforts. and how they relate to game systems, see p. 254. Some actions (debating an opponent in front of an Example: Veronica Abbey-Roth is trying to drum up assembled Elysium, a cat-and-mouse pursuit) may be a large portion of capital for a certain upcoming project both extended and resisted. In such cases, one or the of hers. Even though she has Resources 4, the Storyteller other of the opponents must achieve a certain number rules that she’d have to liquidate much of her belongings of successes to succeed. Each success above the rival’s to get the money she wants. So Veronica decides to play total number in a given turn is added to a running tally. fast and dirty with her money, running a number of illegal The first to achieve the designated number of successes operations and playing a very intricate game with the wins the contest. stock market to raise the money she needs. The Storyteller Example: Veronica, prowling for trouble at the latest decides that for Veronica to reach her goal, Lynn will have Camarilla soiree, has determined by night’s end to spite to score 18 successes on an extended Wits + Finance roll her rival, a Ventrue by the name of Giselle. Giselle ar- (difficulty 7 — this is an intrinsically tricky way to earn rived at the fête with her latest childe in tow: Tony, a money). What’s more, since this sort of thing takes time, talented and delicious young man with a medical license she can make only one roll per night of game time. and a much-vaunted pedigree. Veronica decides that there would be nothing more amusing than stealing Giselle’s 252 CHAPTER FIVE: RULES, childe away from her for the evening — of course, that’ll Teamwork can be effective in many situations — re- take some doing, as Giselle will be watching him like a straining the frenzied Gangrel, gathering some physical hawk. resource, or doing research in the library, for instance. Lynn (Veronica’s player) and the Storyteller roleplay However, it can actually prove to be a hindrance in out much of the initial three-way conversation (as well as certain situations (including most social interaction the covert knife-edged glances) between Veronica, Giselle, such as fast-talking or seducing a subject, where too and Tony. Finally, the Storyteller has Lynn roll Veronica’s many people can overwhelm a single subject). As well, Manipulation (3) + Subterfuge (3), resisted by Giselle’s one person’s botch can bollix the whole attempt. Manipulation (3) + Subterfuge (4). Lynn rolls six dice ver- sus a difficulty of 7 (Giselle’s Manipulation + Subterfuge). Using the Storyteller Dice The Storyteller rolls Giselle’s seven dice versus difficulty 6 (Veronica’s Manipulation + Subterfuge). Lynn manages Pool System to score four successes, while Giselle remarkably manages One of the greatest strengths of the Storyteller sys- only three. Giselle’s successes subtract from Lynn’s, leav- tem is its flexibility. Storytellers should keep the ver- ing Lynn with one success. Tony opts to make the rounds satile nature of the core dice pool rule system in mind with Veronica, although her marginal success means he when establishing challenges and resolving conflict. A casts a few longing glances Giselle’s way.… given situation might have multiple possible resolu- tions under the dice pool system. For example, a car

Teamwork chase might be resolved using the contested action

system, or it might be resolved with extended actions, You don’t always have to go it alone. If the situa- with each participant in the chase “racing” to accumu- tion warrants (usually during an extended action such late a number of successes before the other. as staking out a suspected Sabbat or decoding an Ara- maic inscription), characters can work together to col- The best advice to Storytellers here is to use what lect successes. If the Storyteller decides that teamwork best suits the pacing and objectives of the story. If the is possible for the task in question, two or more char- players are getting antsy, let them roll some dice. If acters can make rolls separately and add their successes they’re more interested in the interpersonal relations together. Their players do this by each rolling their of the session, use a simpler resolution with less atten- own character’s appropriate dice pool (they do not tion to dice rolls. combine their Traits into one dice pool). With a few examples aside (remember, rules exist to let every player know that the playing field is equal), Action Example Description Simple Dodging a sinkhole, sensing an ambush Task is completed with one roll. The Storyteller announces the difficulty and the players roll dice. Automatic success is possible. Extended Mountain climbing, research Task is completed when a given number of successes are obtained, which may require more than one roll (which provides more chances of botching). Resisted Shadowing A contest of skill between two individuals. They compare their number of successes; the character with the most successes wins. Extended Arm wrestling As a resisted action; the contest requires a given and Resisted number of successes and may take more than one turn to complete. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 253, there’s no “right” way to resolve a dramatic situation. of any number of scenes interconnected by downtime Go with what feels right, what emphasizes your troupe’s (see below); essentially, like a chapter in a novel or an tastes for narrative or gameplay, and what gets the best act in a play. response from everyone at the table. The system isn’t • Story — A full tale, complete with introduction, a blunt instrument to be wielded by the Storyteller rising action, and climax. Some stories can take sev- against the players at the table; it’s the tool that you eral chapters to complete. Others can be finished in mutually employ to tell a thrilling story. one. Some short stories are effectively vignettes that are nothing more than a single scene.

Time • Chronicle — A series of stories connected by the characters themselves and their ongoing narrative, pos-

Over the course of the game, time is presumed to sibly even by a common theme or overarching plot. pass as it would in the normal world — Tuesday fol- • Downtime — Time that is “glossed over” with de- lows Monday, month after month, and so on. Howev- scription rather than played out turn by turn or scene er, there’s no need to devote attention to every second by scene. If the Storyteller says, “You wait in the foy- ticking away. There’s a huge difference between the er for four hours before the Prince’s ghoul summons speeds at which time in the game world and real time you,” rather than actually letting the characters play pass. Over a four-hour game session, a week, month, or out their wait, the Storyteller is considered to be in- even year might pass in the setting of the game — or voking downtime. Downtime allows trivial or tedious the entire session might be spent detailing the events passages of time to be played through quickly. If the of an action-packed half-hour. You can play out a com- Storyteller allows it, players may conduct simple, un- bat turn by turn, taking it in three-second increments, challenged activities during downtime — “You stop by or you can let months pass away in a few minutes of your haven to pick up the Inquisitor’s rosary before you real time. In the Storyteller system, the passage of time arrive at the Prince’s manor.” Alternatively, a situation without players taking any real actions is called “down- that begins as downtime might become a turn, scene, time,” and learning to use this little trick can help the or even story if the players decide to undertake some- pacing of a Storyteller’s chronicle immensely. thing dramatic in what the Storyteller thought would To help maintain a general sense of the passage of be glossed-over time. Finally, such bursts of downtime time without resorting to tedious charts and the like, might be explored by players outside the troupe — see Vampire uses six basic units to describe game time: p. 361 for more. • Turn — The amount of time you need to take a fairly simple action. This can range anywhere from three seconds to three minutes, depending on the pace Examples of Rolls of a given scene. The Storyteller rules system is designed with flex- • Scene — Like the basic division of plays and mov- ibility in mind, and as a result, there are about 270 ies, a scene is a compact period of action and interac- combinations of Attributes and Abilities. This daunt- tion that takes place in a single location. This could be ing number is just the beginning, too — you can cer- the storming of a Tremere chantry, or a moonlit con- tainly use Hobby Talent, Professional Skill, and Expert versation on a park bench. There are exactly as many Knowledge (see Chapter Three) to devise more Abili- turns in a scene as the scene requires — there might ties if you think there’s need. In this manner, you have not even be any turns if the scene consists of nothing a huge variety of rolls to simulate actions — whatever but dialogue and character interaction. As well, the you think is most appropriate. The following examples length of a turn can vary from one scene to the next in of rolls are meant to give you some idea of the possibili- a chronicle. A combat scene might have frenzied ac- ties that might come up in a game. tion with short turns, while a suspenseful scene might • You want to conduct yourself flawlessly at the gov- have a slower pace in which the turns culminate in a ernor’s formal dinner (and you can’t actually eat any- burst of revelation. thing). Roll Dexterity + Etiquette (difficulty 8). • Chapter — An independent part of a story, virtu- ally always played out in one game session. It consists 254 CHAPTER FIVE: RULES, • You’re miles from your haven, and the sun will • Did she just threaten you? Roll Perception + In- be up soon. Roll Wits + Survival (difficulty 7) to find timidation (difficulty 5) to figure out what that Lick shelter for the day. meant by that comment. • You try to distract the bodyguard with your left • You try to get his attention by driving your knife hand while surreptitiously slipping your knife back into through his hand and into the oak bar. Roll Strength + your belt with your right. Roll Dexterity + Subterfuge Melee (difficulty 6). (difficulty of the bodyguard’s Perception + Alertness). • You try to pull alongside the fleeing Mercedes so • You lock gazes with the gang leader, trying to cow your friends can leap aboard. Make an extended Dex- him into submission before his gang — and he wants to terity + Drive roll, resisted by the Mercedes driver’s do the same to you. Make a Charisma + Intimidation Wits + Drive. If you accumulate five total successes roll, resisted by his Charisma + Intimidation. more than his total successes, you’re in position. If he • The ritual requires three days of nonstop chanting. accumulates a total of five more successes than you get, Can you stay awake even through the daylight hours to he escapes. finish it? Roll Stamina + Occult (difficulty 9). • The new gang in town’s been awfully good at • You need to board up the door to your haven in picking out Kindred-run operations to take over. Roll record speed — and it needs to be durable, too. Roll Charisma + Streetwise (difficulty 8) to see what people Wits + Crafts (difficulty 7). know about them. The more successes you get, the more information you receive, but the legwork will • You’ve got access to the chantry library for exact- take an entire night regardless. ly one night — you’d better find the name you want quickly, but there are a lot of books here. Roll Wits + • What sort of alarm system does this place have? Occult (difficulty 8) every hour; you need to achieve Roll Perception + Larceny (difficulty 6). 15 successes. • Whose story will the Prince believe — yours or • It’s not the message of the song, but it’s how good your enemy’s? Roll Manipulation + Expression, resist- you look singing it. Roll Appearance + Performance ed by your rival’s Manipulation + Expression. (difficulty 6) to have your choice of groupies. • You try convincing the clerk of the court that • How long can you remain motionless in the bushes you’re an IRS auditor and that you need to see the while the guards chat about the football game? Roll court records. Roll Manipulation + Finance (difficulty Stamina + Stealth (difficulty 7). Each success allows 8). you to hold still for one hour. • Can you read the German edition of The Book of • It would be foolish to threaten your rival openly Nod without losing something in the translation? Roll while in the confines of Elysium. Roll Manipulation + Intelligence + Academics (difficulty 8). Intimidation (difficulty 8) to properly veil your threat • You have to keep running if you’re going to out- without leaving her in doubt as to your intentions. distance your pursuers. Make an extended Stamina + • Suddenly, a man pushes a crate out of the van Athletics roll (difficulty 7); if you collect 15 successes, you’ve been chasing — roll Wits + Drive (difficulty 6) you’ve outlasted them. to swerve out of the way in time. • You need to convince the judge to release you be- • Can you distract the guard dogs while you slip in? fore the sun rises. Roll Charisma + Law (difficulty 8) to Roll Manipulation + Animal Ken (difficulty 8). make a plea eloquent enough. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 255, 256 CHAPTER SIX: SYSTEMS AND DRAMA,

Chapter Six: Systems

and Drama “Mortals thought they were fighting their own wars, but it is for us that they spilt their blood.” -The Book of Nod While Vampire’s focus is on roleplaying and charac- characters — both player and Storyteller personalities ter interaction, dramatic scenes often involve some ele- — may attempt numerous diverse and complicated ac- ment of dice rolling. As Chapter Five shows, the basic tivities. The Storyteller is responsible for keeping all Storyteller rules are designed to streamline this process of this action organized while determining success or as much as possible, allowing you to pay attention to failure for all characters. the story. To assist you and the Storyteller further, this Dramatic systems simplify the Storyteller’s job by chapter covers more specific dice mechanics, including supplying rules for a number of common activities. general dramatic systems, combat, injury, and recovery. Generally, a character attempting to accomplish a task If, in your chronicles, you come up with a resolution adds together an Attribute and an Ability. If a task falls system you like better, by all means use it, as discussed within a character’s specialty (p. 96), that character on p. 245 (“The Golden Rule”). Also — particularly gains two successes in place instead of one for each when dealing with social actions like seductions and “10” the player achieves on his roll. diplomacy — the dice should never get in the way of Storytellers should, and will undoubtedly have to, roleplaying. If a player has his character make a par- invent their own dramatic systems for new situations. ticularly inspired (or painful) speech, deliver a particu- The list of systems below is in no way exhaustive, but larly smooth (or cheesy) opening line, or come up with provides a solid foundation on which to base events. a brilliant (or laughable) alibi, feel free to let the char- Bear in mind that for rolls involving Talents and Skills, acter succeed (or fail) automatically, regardless of what characters lacking a specific Ability may default to the the dice and Traits say. Attribute on which the Ability is based (albeit at +1 difficulty for Skill-based actions).

Dramatic Systems Most of these systems involve taking one or more actions (p. 246) over one or more turns (p. 254). A

The only things limiting your actions are your imagi- number of these systems may be tried again if the first nation and your character’s skill. During a game session, attempt is unsuccessful. Subsequent efforts may suffer VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 257, a difficulty penalty, at the Storyteller’s discretion (see same turn, the player must reduce his dice pool (see “Trying It Again,” p. 251). “Multiple Actions,” p. 248) and roll Dexterity + Melee or Firearms (difficulty 4) for the readying attempt.

Automatic Feats • Starting a Car: This takes an action, but requires

Automatic feats require the character to take an no roll. action, but don’t involve a dice pool roll under most • Yielding: The character allows the character with circumstances. The following are common automatic the next-highest initiative (p. 271) to act. She may feats. Storytellers may decide that other feats are auto- still act at the end of the turn. If all characters (player matic, at their discretion. and Storyteller) yield during a turn, no one does any- • Blood Use (Healing, Augmenting Attributes, thing that turn. etc.): Vampire characters may spend blood to heal themselves. To do so, the character must concentrate Physical Feats and do nothing else for one full turn. A character may These systems cover actions involving the three attempt to heal while performing other actions, but Physical Attributes (Strength, Dexterity, and Stami- this requires success on a Stamina + Survival reflexive na). These feats typically require a roll. Remember that roll (difficulty 8). Failing this roll means the vampire Celerity, Fortitude, and Potence add dice to Physical loses all expended blood points with no effect, while Attributes when making many of these rolls. a botch causes the vampire to lose both an additional blood point and an additional health level. Spending • Climbing [Dexterity + Athletics]: When your blood to raise Physical Attributes or power Disciplines character climbs an inclined surface (rocky slope, side may be done automatically, without the need for con- of building), roll Dexterity + Athletics. Climbing is centration. A character may spend an amount of vitae typically an extended roll. For an average climb with equal to her per-turn rating, as dictated by her Genera- available handholds and nominal complications, your tion (p. 270). character moves 10 feet (three meters) for every suc- cess. The Storyteller adjusts this distance based on the • Getting to Your Feet: Characters may rise from climb’s difficulty (easier: 15 feet/five meters per suc- the ground in one turn without making a roll. If a char- cess; more difficult: five feet/two meters per success). acter wishes to get to her feet while doing something The number of handholds, smoothness of the surface, else in the same turn, she must take a multiple action and environmental factors can all affect rate of travel. (see “Multiple Actions,” p. 248) with a Dexterity + A short, difficult climb may have the same difficulty Athletics roll (difficulty 4) to rise successfully. as a long, easy climb. The extended action lasts until • Movement: Characters may choose to walk, jog, you’ve accumulated enough successes to reach the de- or run. If walking, a character moves at seven yards/ sired height. Botching a climbing roll can be bad: Your meters per turn. If jogging, a character moves at (12 + character may only slip or get stuck, or she may fall. Dexterity) yards/meters per turn. If all-out running, a If the character activates the Protean power of Feral character moves at (20 + [3 x Dexterity]) yards/meters Claws, constructs bone spurs with the Vicissitude pow- per turn. er of Bonecraft, or uses a similar power to assist them, Characters may move at up to half maximum run- all climbing difficulties are reduced by two. ning speed, then subsequently attack or perform an- • Driving [Dexterity/Wits + Drive]: A Drive roll other action; see p. 274 for particulars. Characters may isn’t needed to steer a vehicle under normal circum- also wish to move while taking another action. This is stances, assuming your character has at least one dot possible, but each yard or meter moved subtracts one in the Drive Skill. That said, bad weather, the ve- from the other action’s dice pool. hicle’s speed, obstacles, and complex maneuvers can Note that injured characters (p. 282) cannot move challenge even the most competent drivers. Specific at maximum speed. difficulties based on these circumstances are up to the • Readying a Weapon: This can involve drawing Storyteller, but should increase as the conditions be- a weapon or reloading a gun with a prepared clip. In come more hazardous. most cases, no roll is required, so long as the character For example, driving in heavy rain is +1 difficulty, takes no other action that turn. If the character wishes but going fast while also trying to lose pursuers increas- to ready a weapon while doing something else in the es the difficulty to +3. Similarly, maneuvering in heavy 258 CHAPTER SIX: SYSTEMS AND DRAMA, traffic is +1, but doing so at a breakneck pace while miles or 15 kilometers per hour over the safe driving avoiding pursuit bumps the difficulty to +3. A failed speed of a vehicle, the difficulty of any maneuver is roll indicates trouble, requiring an additional roll to increased by one. Exceedingly challenging stunts and avoid crashing or losing control. Characters in control bad road conditions should also increase the difficulty of a vehicle, and who have no dots in the Drive Skill, accordingly. The maximum number of dice a driver can need a roll for almost every change in course or proce- have in her dice pool when driving is equal to the ma- dure. On a botch, the vehicle may spin out of control neuver rating of the vehicle. Simply put, even the best or worse. driver will have more trouble with a dump truck than Because different cars handle differently — some are she will with a Ferrari. designed for speed and handling while others are de- • Carrying Capacity [Strength]: A character can signed for safety — the following chart helps calculate carry 25 lbs/10 kg per point of Strength without pen- the difficulty for any maneuver. Generally, for every 10 alty. Should a character exceed this total, every action Vehicle Safe Speed (mph/kph) Max Speed (mph/kph) Maneuver 6-Wheel Truck 60/95 90/145 3 Tank (modern) 60/95 100/160 4 Tank (WWII) 30/50 40/65 3 Bus 60/95 100/160 3 18-Wheeler 70/110 110/175 4 Sedan 70/110 120/195 5 Minivan 70/110 120/195 6 Compact 70/110 130/210 6 Sporty Compact 100/160 140/225 7 Sport Coupe 110/175 150/240 8 Sports Car 110/175 160/255 8 Exotic Car 130/210 190+/305+ 9 Luxury Sedan 85/135 155/250 7 Sport Sedan 85/135 165/265 8 Midsize 75/120 125/200 6 SUV/ Crossover 70/110 115/185 6 Formula One Racer 140/225 240/385 10 involving physical skills incurs an automatic +1 dif- ing for human prey, allow the player to make a roll ficulty due to the added weight. Also, every 25 lbs/10 against a difficulty based on the area in which the vam- kg over the limit halves the character’s base movement pire hunts. The Attribute and Ability combination (see “Movement,” p. 258). A character bearing a total used should correspond to the method by which the weight of double her Strength allocation can’t move. player describes the character’s hunting technique. For This system is a guideline, intended to reflect being example, Appearance + Subterfuge might represent a laden by bulk and weight, so the Storyteller should not lusty tryst at a nightclub that ends in one of the lov- call for an inventory accounting every time your char- ers slaking her thirst, Stamina + Athletics would sug- acter picks up a pen. gest a harrowing chase across a swath of city parkland, • Hunting [Various]: It is the nature of the vam- and Wits + Streetwise might be interpreted as a deadly pire to hunt. For each hour the vampire spends search- game of cat-and-mouse. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 259, Area Difficulty security devices, picking locks, cracking safes — and Slum neighborhood/The Rack 4 preventing others from doing the same. When bypass- Lower-income/bohemian 5 ing active security, your roll must succeed on the first at- tempt, and failure activates any alarms present (opening Downtown business district 6 manual locks may be attempted multiple times, though). Warehouse district 6 Intrusion rolls can range from 5 (standard locks) to 9 Suburb 7 (Fort Knox), depending on a security system’s complex- Heavily patrolled area 8 ity (the Storyteller decides the actual difficulty). Certain tasks might require a minimum level of Larceny Skill for the character to have any chance of succeeding (e.g., Success on this roll indicates that the vampire has Larceny 1 might let you pick a simple lock, but not crack found and subdued prey, in a manner appropriate to a safe). Bear in mind that most intrusion tasks require her methods and the area. She may now ingest as many lockpicks or other appropriate tools. On a botch, the blood points as she wishes to take from the victim (or, character’s clumsy break-in attempt goes horribly awry. if the Storyteller prefers, a single die’s worth of blood Setting up security measures is a standard action, but points). Failure indicates that the hour is spent look- multiple successes achieved in the effort increase the ing fruitlessly, while a botch indicates a complication system’s quality (essentially adding to the difficulty for (perhaps the character accidentally kills a vessel, picks it to be breached). up a disease, enters the domain of a rival vampire, or suffers assault from a street gang). If a botch does occur, Note, here, that the Larceny Skill comes into ques- the Storyteller should quickly set up the scene and let tion when evading the physical, mechanical aspects of the character try to work her way out of trouble. Story- the intrusion effort. Dealing with the technology be- tellers and players should both be creative in proposing hind the systems themselves involves the Technology and describing the hunt to make it dramatic and ex- Knowledge. The intrusion example is an example of citing. After all, finding prey isn’t necessarily the hard getting into or out of somewhere, not rewiring alarm part — it’s holding on to one’s Humanity or preserving systems or confounding surveillance camera feeds. the Masquerade when the Beast hungers. • Jumping [Strength, or Strength + Athletics for a If the character catches prey, but currently has fewer running jump]: Typically, jump rolls are made versus a blood points in her body than [7 minus Self-Control or difficulty of 3. Each success on a jump roll launches your Instincts], the character is considered to be hungry and character two feet/50 cm vertically or three feet/one me- a frenzy check (p. 298) is necessary — Self-Control to ter horizontally. To jump successfully, a character must see if the character frenzies, or Instincts to see if the clear more distance than the distance between her and character can control her frenzy while feeding. If the her destination. On a failure, the character fails to clear player fails this roll, the character continues to gorge the required distance, but the player may make a Dexter- on the vessel until she is completely sated (at full blood ity + Athletics roll (typically versus difficulty 6) to allow pool), the victim dies from blood loss, or she somehow the character to grab onto a ledge or other safety as she manages to regain control of herself. falls. On a botch, your character may slip on the preci- pice, leap right into a wall, or fall to her doom. The Fame and Domain Backgrounds reduce difficul- ties of hunting rolls by one per dot (to a minimum of If the player makes a Perception + Athletics roll (dif- 3), while the Herd Background adds one die per dot ficulty 6, three successes required) before attempting a in the Background (so long as one’s herd could con- jump, he may gauge exactly how many successes are ceivably be in the area). However, Storytellers may needed to make the leap. increase hunting difficulties for particularly inhuman • Lifting/Breaking [Strength]: The following chart vampires (Nosferatu, some Gangrel, vampires with provides the minimum Strength needed to deadlift Humanity ratings of 4 or below, or who are on Paths various weights or break objects without a die roll. of Enlightenment), as such monsters find it difficult to Characters of lower Strength may roll to affect heavier blend in with a crowd. weights than their Strength ratings allow for. The roll For more information on hunting scenes, see p. 365. is made not with Strength, but with Willpower, and is difficulty 9. Each success advances the character by one • Intrusion [Dexterity/Perception + Larceny]: In- level on the chart. trusion covers breaking and entering, evading simple 260 CHAPTER SIX: SYSTEMS AND DRAMA, Strength Feats Lift (lbs/kg) 1 Crush a beer can 40/20 2 Break a wooden chair 100/45 3 Break down a wooden door 250/115 4 Break a wooden plank 400/180 5 Break open a metal fire door 650/295 6 Throw a motorcycle 800/360 7 Flip over a small car 900/410 8 Break a lead pipe 1000/455 9 Punch through a cement wall 1200/545 10 Rip open a steel drum 1500/680 11 Punch through 1”/2.5 cm thick sheet metal 2000/910 12 Break a metal lamp post 3000/1360 13 Throw a station wagon 4000/1815 14 Throw a van 5000/2265 15 Throw a truck 6000/2720 Characters can work together to lift an object. This than another, the faster party catches or evades the is a “teamwork roll” for which the individual players slower party eventually. However, dramatic situations roll separately and combine any resulting successes. may occur if two characters are of equal or nearly equal Lifting is all or nothing — if you fail the roll, nothing speeds, or if one character is slower but might lose the happens. At the Storyteller’s discretion, your charac- faster character or make it to safety before she catches ter’s effective Strength may be raised if all she wants him. In these cases, use the system below. to do is drag something a short distance instead of pick Basic pursuit is an extended action. The target starts it up. On a botch, your character may pull a muscle or with a number of free extra successes based on his dis- drop the object on her own foot. tance from the pursuer. This breaks down as follows: • Opening/Closing [Strength]: Opening a door with on foot, one for every two yards/meters ahead of pursu- brute force calls for a Strength roll (difficulty 6 to 8, ers; in vehicles, one for every 10 yards/meters ahead of depending on the material of the door). A standard in- pursuers. For chases involving vampires and mortals, terior door requires only one success to bash open or remember that mortals tire, but the undead do not. slam shut. A reinforced door generally takes five suc- The target and pursuers make the appropriate roll cesses. A vault door might take 10 or more successes. (depending on the type of pursuit) each turn, adding These successes may be handled as an extended action. new successes to any successes rolled in previous turns. While teamwork is possible (and recommended), a When the pursuer accumulates more total successes door can still be forced open through a single individu- than the target has, she catches up and may take fur- al’s repeated hammering. A botch causes a health level ther actions to stop the chase. As the target accumu- of lethal damage to your character’s shoulder. lates successes, he gains distance from his pursuers and Certain doors (metal vault doors and the like) may may use that lead to lose his opponents. Each success require a Strength minimum just to make an attempt. that the quarry accumulates beyond the pursuer’s total acts as a +1 difficulty to any Perception roll a pursuer • Pursuit [Dexterity + Athletics/Drive]: Vampires must make to remain on the target’s tail. The Story- must often pursue their terrified prey, and sometimes teller may call for the pursuer to make a Perception roll they themselves must flee. Generally, pursuit can be at any time (though not more than once each turn). resolved automatically by using the formulas for calcu- If the pursuer fails this roll, her target is considered to lating movement (p. 258); if one party is clearly faster VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 261, have slipped away (into the crowd, into a side street). Vampires caught in shallow water during the day will On a botch, the pursuer loses her quarry immediately. take damage from sunlight (assume that a submerged If the quarry botches, he stumbles or ends up at a dead vampire has protection equivalent to being under end. cloud cover). • Shadowing [Dexterity + Stealth/Drive]: Shadow- • Throwing [Dexterity + Athletics]: Objects (Mo- ing someone requires that your character keep tabs on lotov cocktails, knives, beer bottles) with a mass of two the target without necessarily catching her — without pounds/one kilogram or less can be thrown a distance being noticed. At the Storyteller’s discretion, or if the of Strengthx5yards/meters. For every additional two target suspects she’s being pursued, the target’s player pounds/one kilogram of weight that an object has, this can roll Perception + Alertness whenever she has a distance decreases by five yards/meters (particularly chance to spot her tail (the Storyteller decides when heavy objects don’t go very far). As long as the ob- such an opportunity arises). The pursuer’s player op- ject’s mass doesn’t reduce throwing distance to zero, poses this with a Dexterity + Stealth roll (or Dexterity your character can pick up and throw it. If an object + Drive, if the shadower is in a vehicle). The difficulty can be lifted, but its mass reduces throwing distance for both rolls is typically 6, but can be modified by con- to zero, the object can be hurled aside at best — about ditions (heavy crowds, empty streets, etc.). The target one yard or meter of distance. Obviously, if an object must score at least one more success than her shadow can’t be lifted, it can’t be thrown at all (refer instead to does to spot the tail; if she does, she may act accord- “Lifting/Breaking,” p. 260). ingly. The Storyteller may reduce throwing distances for Shadowers who have trained together can combine particularly unwieldy objects or increase them for aero- their separate rolls into one success total. dynamic ones. Throwing an object with any degree of • Sneaking [Dexterity + Stealth]: A sneaking accuracy requires a Dexterity + Athletics roll versus dif- character uses Dexterity + Stealth as a resisted action ficulty 6 (to half maximum range) or 7 (half maximum against Perception + Alertness rolls from anyone able to maximum range). This difficulty can be adjusted for to detect her passing. The difficulty of both rolls is typi- wind conditions and other variables at the Storyteller’s cally 6. Unless observers score more successes than the discretion. On a botch, your character may drop the sneaking character does, she passes undetected. Noise, object or strike a companion with it, or she might toss unsecured gear, lack of cover, or large groups of ob- something that wasn’t what she intended to throw, af- servers can increase Stealth difficulty. Security devices, ter all…. scanners, or superior vantage points may add dice to Perception + Alertness rolls. On a botch, the character Mental Feats stumbles into one of the people she’s avoiding, acci- These systems cover tasks involving the three Men- dentally walks into the open, or performs some other tal Attributes (Perception, Intelligence, and Wits), as act that compromises her. well as tasks using the Virtues, Humanity and Paths, Note that vampires using the Obfuscate Discipline and Willpower. Mental tests can provide you with in- (p. 184) may not have to make rolls at all. formation about things your character knows but you, • Swimming [Stamina + Athletics]: Assuming your the player, don’t. Still, you should depend on your cre- character can swim at all (being able to do so requires ativity when solving problems — not on dice rolls. one dot of Athletics), long-distance or long-duration • Awakening [Perception, Humanity/Path]: Vam- swimming requires successful swimming rolls versus a pires are nocturnal creatures and find it difficult to difficulty determined by water conditions. After all, awaken during the day. A vampire disturbed in his ha- although vampires can’t drown, they are corpses and ven while the sun is in the sky may roll Perception (+ thus have little buoyancy. The first roll is necessary Auspex rating, if the vampire has it) versus difficulty only after the first hour of sustained activity, and only 8 to notice the disturbance. Upon stirring, the vam- one success is needed. If a roll fails, the character loses pire must make a Humanity or Path roll (difficulty 8). ground — perhaps pulled out of her way by a current. Each success allows the vampire to act for one turn. If a roll botches, she starts to sink, or might even be hit Five successes mean the vampire is completely awake by a heedless motorboat. for the entire scene. Failure indicates the vampire slips back into slumber, but may make the Perception roll 262 CHAPTER SIX: SYSTEMS AND DRAMA, to reawaken if circumstances allow. A botch means the the quality of the creation: With one success, the char- vampire falls into deep sleep and will not awaken until acter creates a mediocre, uninspired, but not terrible sundown. work, while with five successes the character creates While active during the day, the vampire may have a literary or artistic masterpiece. Some works (novels, no more dice in any dice pool than his Humanity or large sculptures, vast murals) might require extended Path rating. success rolls. On a botch, the character creates what she knows is the greatest work ever known to Kindred • Creation [variable]: Some vampires were artists, or kine (while everyone else who sees it immediately musicians, writers, or other creative types in life. Oth- realizes what crap it actually is), or perhaps she embar- ers spend centuries trying to rekindle the spark of pas- rasses a patron, leaves out a pivotal figure, or goes off sion that undeath has taken from them. Certainly, the on a tangent that neglects her original intent and is society of the Damned has gazed upon many wondrous thus unsuitable for her original purposes. (and horrific) works of art never seen by human eyes. At the Storyteller’s discretion, a vampire who creates When trying to create something, a variety of rolls a particularly inspired masterwork might be eligible for a can be used, depending on what it is the character rise in Humanity or certain Paths, via experience points. wishes to create. Perception (to come up with a sub- Likewise, a creative epiphany may be suitable for work- ject worthy of expression) + Expression or Crafts (to ing through and curing a derangement (see p. 290). capture the feeling in an artistic medium) is a common roll. In all cases, the player must decide the general pa- • Computer Use [Intelligence/Wits + Computer]: rameters of what she wants her character to create — a Most business and political transactions involve the haiku about roses, a portrait of the Prince, an epigram use of computers, which can give neonates a surprising for the Archbishop’s sermon, etc. advantage in the Jyhad. In times when almost everyone carries some sort of computer, the edge truly belongs to The difficulty is variable, depending on the nature those who can collect information as it is needed, as of the creation (it’s easier to write a limerick than a well as quickly disseminating it. Haughty elders may Petrarchan sonnet). The number of successes governs VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 263, sneer at fledglings hunched over their smartphones in- gen’s haven and marking it as in foreclosure. Resolve stead of dispensing bon mots at Elysium, but if those these situations in the same way as information-driven fledglings are using social media to coordinate an am- hacking, for the sake of simplicity. bush on one of those hated elders once court comes to A would-be hacker’s player rolls Intelligence or Wits a close, it’s undeniable that a little computer savvy can + Computer versus a variable difficulty (6 for standard even the odds that formerly favored the elders greatly. systems, up to 9 for complicated situations like corpo- Generally, Computer rolls are those that collect, dis- rate server clusters, old government mainframes, and play, or transfer information. Creating physical results the like). Successes indicate the number of dice (up (like remotely turning off a security system or activat- to the normal dice pool) that can be rolled to interact ing a restricted elevator) is usually the purview of the with the system once it’s been breached. Technology Knowledge. Of course, a single end result Actively blocking a hacker is a resisted action; the can sometimes be achieved by multiple methods. opponent with the most successes wins. On a botch, Using computers typically falls under two distinct the character may alert security to her presence or types of behavior. even reveal her identity to the system she’s trying to The first type is comparatively benign or personal use. breach. Tasks such as performing research, writing software, Remember, too, that hacking is almost always an ex- building a website, or participating in social networks tended action. Storytellers, set the number of successes can involve Computer in their dice pools if using the for extended actions via hacking high — it’s all too computer is the primary component of the action. For tempting for players to use this as the “do anything I example, performing search-engine research on a topic want because, you know, computers” Ability. It should might invoke an Intelligence + Computers roll to yield take far more than a single success to evict a Kindred facts, while a botch would turn up completely mislead- from her haven or to delete one’s own birth records, ing information. In most cases, these won’t see much for example. stressful dice-pool action unless performed in bizarre • Investigation [Perception + Investigation]: Any circumstances or with devices the user isn’t familiar search for clues, evidence, or hidden contraband in- with. Additionally, what constitutes a computer can volves Investigation. The Storyteller may add to the vary wildly, from a netbook in a cafe to a smartphone difficulty of investigations involving obscure clues or on the go to a traditional desktop machine. particularly well-concealed objects. One success re- Storytellers, life in a modern world inherently in- veals basic details, while multiple successes provide volves a certain quantity of computer use, so ask if it’s detailed information and may even allow deductions really necessary to have a player roll to check his email based on physical evidence. On a botch, obvious clues unless there are interesting dramatic outcomes of fail- are missed or even destroyed accidentally. ure. Note, too, that in some cases, even though the • Repair [Dexterity/Perception + Crafts]: Depend- character is using a computer, the Computer Knowl- ing on the precise specialty, the Crafts Skill allows for edge might not be the relevant Ability. For example, a repairs of everything from pottery to automobile en- player trying to join an online community of vampire gines (though not computers). Before repairing a de- hunters is probably using Wits + Subterfuge or Cha- vice that’s on the fritz, your character must identify its risma + Expression, even though she’s at a keyboard. problems (accomplished as a standard research roll; see The second type of behavior is generally referred to as below). Then, if repair is required, the Storyteller sets “hacking.” In game terms, hacking is subverting com- the difficulty of the repair roll. This difficulty depends puter security to obtain information that someone has on the problem’s severity, whether the proper tools or made secure in order to control that information. Even any replacement parts are on hand, and if adverse con- more broadly, hacking can also describe turning a de- ditions exist. An inspired research roll may offset these vice or computer program against or beyond its original factors somewhat. A simple tire change is difficulty 4, intent. Often, the result of this latter type of hacking is while rebuilding an entire engine might be difficulty also to gain information, but in some cases, the hacker 9. Basic repairs take at least a few turns to complete. seeks to create a specific result. He might display a mes- More complex repairs are extended actions that last sage on a screen that wouldn’t normally receive it or 10 minutes for each success needed. On a botch, your create a nonexistent mortgage on the Ventrue Primo- character may simply waste time and a new part, or may make the problem worse. 264 CHAPTER SIX: SYSTEMS AND DRAMA, • Research [Intelligence + Academics/Occult/Sci- lation when perpetrating a scam or with Perception ence]: Research is performed when searching computer when trying to detect one (a scam can range from im- databases for historical facts, when looking for obscure personating the authorities to using forged papers). All references in ancient documents, or when trying to parties involved, whether detecting the lie or telling it, learn the true name of a Methuselah. In all cases, the make an appropriate roll (typically difficulty 7). The number of successes achieved determines the amount scam’s “marks” must roll higher than the perpetrator to of information discovered; one success gives you at detect any deception. False credentials and other con- least basic information, while extra successes provide vincing props may add to the difficulty of uncovering more details. The Storyteller may assign a high diffi- the dupe, while teamwork may help reveal the scam. culty for particularly obscure data. On a botch, your Hacking and/or intrusion rolls may be called for to pull character may not find anything at all or may uncover off an inspired scam successfully. On a botch, the en- completely erroneous information. tire plan falls apart. • Tracking [Perception + Survival]: Unlike shad- • Fast-Talk [Manipulation + Subterfuge]: When owing, tracking requires you to follow physical evi- there’s no time for subtlety, baffle them with nonsense. dence to find a target. Discovering footprints, broken The target can be overwhelmed with a rapid succession twigs, blood trails, or other physical signs leads the of almost-believable half-truths. Hopefully, the subject tracker right to the subject. Following such a trail is believes anything she hears just to get away from the a standard action; multiple successes provide extra in- babble — or becomes so annoyed that she ignores your formation (subject’s rate of speed, estimated weight, character completely. This is a resisted action — your number of people followed). The quarry can cover her character’s Manipulation + Subterfuge against the tar- tracks through a successful Wits + Survival roll. Each get’s Willpower. The difficulty of both rolls is typically success on this roll adds one to the difficulty of track- 6, and whoever scores more successes wins. On a tie, ing her. Abnormal weather, poor tracking conditions more babbling is needed. On a botch, your character (city streets, Elysium), and a shortage of time also add goes too far, angering the target and rambling without to tracking difficulty. On a botch, your character not effect. only loses the trail, but destroys the quarry’s signs of • Interrogation [Manipulation + Empathy/Intimi- passage. dation]: Anyone can ask questions. With interroga- tion, you ask questions and have leverage. Interrogat-

Social Feats ing someone peacefully (Manipulation + Empathy)

These systems cover tasks involving the three Social involves asking strategic questions designed to reveal Attributes (Charisma, Manipulation, and Appear- specific facts. This method is a resisted action between ance). Roleplaying usually supersedes any Social skill your character’s Manipulation + Empathy and the roll, for better or worse. Storytellers may ignore the So- subject’s Willpower. Both actions are typically made cial systems when a player exhibits particularly good, against a difficulty of 6. Rolls are made at key points or excruciatingly bad, roleplaying. during questioning, probably every few minutes or at • Carousing [Charisma + Empathy]: You influence the end of an interrogation session. others (particularly potential vessels) to relax and have Violent interrogation (Manipulation + Intimidation) fun. This might include showing a potential ally a good involves torturing the victim’s mind and/or body until time, loosening an informant’s tongue, or making in- she reveals what she knows. This is a resisted action stant drinking buddies who come to your aid when a between your character’s Manipulation + Intimidation brawl starts. The difficulty is typically 6 (most people and the target’s Stamina + 3 or Willpower (whichever can be persuaded to loosen up, regardless of intellect is higher). Rolls are made every minute or turn, de- or will), though it might be higher in the case of large pending on the type of torture used. The subject loses (or surly) groups. Certain Natures (Bon Vivant, Cur- a health level for every turn of physical torture, or one mudgeon) can also influence the roll’s difficulty. On a temporary Willpower point per turn of mental torture. botch, your character comes off as an obnoxious boor, The combined effect of physical and mental torture or people begin to question why your character hasn’t has devastating results. A botched roll can destroy the touched her own food and drink.… subject’s body or mind. • Credibility [Manipulation/Perception + Subter- Two or more interrogators can work together, com- fuge]: The Subterfuge Talent is used with Manipu- bining successes; this works even if one interrogator VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 265, is using Empathy while another is using Intimidation • Performance [Charisma + Performance]: Vam- (the classic “good cop/bad cop” ploy). pires are certainly egotistical creatures, and some among Whatever the interrogation method used, if you roll their number are actors, poets, musicians, or other sorts more successes in the resisted action, the target divulg- of entertainers. When a character performs live before es additional information for each extra success rolled. an audience, roll Charisma + Performance (difficulty If your extra successes exceed the victim’s permanent 7). As with oration, the audience’s mood can increase Willpower rating, she folds completely and reveals ev- the difficulty, as can the performance’s complexity. erything she knows. The extent and relevance of shared One success indicates an enjoyable, if uninspired, ef- information are up to the Storyteller (details are often fort, while additional successes make the performance skewed to reflect what the subject knows or by what a truly memorable event to even the surliest crowd. On she thinks her interrogator wants to hear). a botch, your character forgets lines, hits the wrong chord, or otherwise flubs. • Intimidation [Strength/Manipulation + Intimida- tion]: Intimidation has two effects. Intimidation’s pas- • Seduction [variable]: Vampires are master seduc- sive effect doesn’t involve a roll; it simply gives your ers, for their very sustenance often depends on coaxing character plenty of space — whether on a bus or in a potential prey into an intimate liaison. The particular bar. The higher your Intimidation rating, the wider the situation and style of the seduction determine which berth that others give him. Ability is used. Intimidation’s active application works through sub- Seduction is an involved process involving several tlety or outright threat. Subtlety is based on a perceived different rolls and Abilities: threat (losing one’s job, being arrested, pain and agony • First roll (approach/opening remarks): The player later in life). Roll Manipulation + Intimidation in a re- rolls Appearance + Subterfuge versus a difficulty equal sisted action against the subject’s Willpower (difficulty to the subject’s Wits + 3. Each success beyond the first 6 for both rolls); the target must get more successes or adds one die to the vampire’s dice pool for the second be effectively cowed. roll. A failure means the subject expresses his disinter- The blatant form of intimidation involves direct est; a botch means the subject might grow disgusted or physical threat. In this case, you may roll Strength angry. + Intimidation in a resisted roll (difficulty 6) against • Second roll (witty repartee): The player rolls Wits either the subject’s Willpower or her Strength + In- + Subterfuge versus a difficulty equal to the subject’s timidation (whichever is higher). On a botch, your Intelligence + 3. Again, each success beyond the ini- character looks patently ridiculous and doesn’t impress tial one adds one die to the dice pool for the final roll. anyone in attendance for the rest of the scene. If the roll fails, the subject breaks off the contact, but • Oration [Charisma + Leadership]: From a gener- might prove receptive at a later date (after all, the first al’s rousing speeches to a politician’s slick double-talk, impression was good). the capacity to sway the masses creates and destroys • Third roll (suggestive/intimate conversation): The empires. When your character speaks to an audience, player rolls Charisma + Empathy versus a difficulty of from a small board meeting to a large crowd, roll Cha- the subject’s Perception + 3. If the third roll succeeds, risma + Leadership. Difficulty is typically 6; the Sto- the subject is enamored with the character and agrees ryteller may increase the difficulty for a huge, cynical, to accompany her to a private spot. What happens dispassionate, or openly hostile audience. Oration is next is best handled with roleplaying. hit or miss — your character either succeeds or fails. On a botch, the vampire likely ends up with a drink On a botch, your character may damage her reputation in her face. or even be assaulted by the audience. If the character has time to prepare a speech before- hand, the Storyteller may roll the character’s Intelli- Spending Willpower gence + Expression (difficulty 7). Success on this roll reduces the subsequent Charisma + Leadership diffi- Willpower is one of the most active and important culty by one. Failure has no effect, while a botch actu- Traits in Vampire. Because there are so many ways to ally increases the Charisma + Leadership difficulty (the expend, regain, and use Willpower, it fluctuates more character inserts a gaffe into the speech). than any other Trait (besides blood pool) in the game. 266 CHAPTER SIX: SYSTEMS AND DRAMA, Willpower is a very versatile Trait, so make sure you or more of Willpower, though a character’s Willpow- understand how to use it. er pool may never exceed her Willpower rating. The • A player may spend one of her character’s Will- only way to increase a character’s Willpower rating is power points to gain an automatic success on a single through experience-point expenditure. action. Only one point of Willpower may be used in Generally, a character’s Willpower pool may be re- a single turn in this manner, but the success is guar- plenished whenever the character fulfills a goal or has anteed and may not be canceled, even by botches. By an opportunity to restore her self-confidence. Ulti- using Willpower in this way, it is possible to succeed at mately, specific instances of Willpower restoration are a given action simply by concentrating. For extended up to the Storyteller. For this reason, Storytellers are rolls, these extra successes may make the critical differ- advised to be prudent in allowing characters to regain ence between accomplishment and failure. Willpower; it is a powerful and versatile Trait, and per- Note: You must declare that you are spending a mitting players to rely on it too much strips much of Willpower point before you make an actual roll for the challenge from a story. a character’s action; you can’t retroactively cancel a • Characters’ Willpower pools replenish fully at the botch by spending a Willpower point at the last min- end of a given story (and that’s story, not session). The ute. Also, the Storyteller may declare that a Willpower Storyteller may restrict this by requiring that the char- point may not be spent on a given action (such as at- acters achieve (or partially achieve) a goal or otherwise tacking in combat). boost their self-esteem. For example, if the characters • Sometimes, the Storyteller may rule that a charac- didn’t destroy a powerful and corrupt elder but did ter automatically takes some action based on instinct manage to obstruct his immediate plans, allow them to or urge — for example, stepping back from a chasm or replenish their Willpower pools. leaping away from a patch of sunlight filtering through • (Storyteller’s Option) Characters regain one Will- a window. The Storyteller may allow a player to spend power point each night when they first rise. This is a Willpower point and avoid taking this reactive ma- easy on the bookkeeping, and allows a steady stream neuver. It should be noted that the impulse may re- of Willpower replenishment (not to mention the fact turn at the Storyteller’s discretion; a player may need that players are already writing on that part of the to spend multiple Willpower points over the course of character sheet when they mark off their nightly blood a few turns to stay on task. Sometimes the urge may be consumption). overcome by the force of the character’s will; at other • (Storyteller’s Option) If a character attains some times, the character has no choice but to follow his in- extraordinary goal or fulfills an outstanding objective, stinct (i.e., the character runs out of Willpower points the Storyteller may reward her with a point of Will- or no longer wishes to expend them). power. For example, if a character manages to deter • A Willpower point may be spent to prevent a de- a team of vampire-hunters from her sire’s haven, the rangement from manifesting, with the Storyteller’s Storyteller may award a Willpower point to that char- permission. Eventually, if enough Willpower points are acter. spent (as determined by the Storyteller), the derange- • (Storyteller’s Option) If a character behaves in a ment may be overcome and eliminated, as enough manner that fulfills her Nature Archetype, the Story- denial of the derangement remedies the aberration. teller may reward the character with one to three Will- Malkavians may never overcome their initial derange- power points (as stated in the Archetype descriptions). ment, though Willpower may be spent to deny it for a For example, if a Rebel character rabidly opposes a short period of time. powerful elder, and that elder is later revealed to be • By spending a Willpower point, wound penalties a Sabbat spy, that character may be given a point of can be ignored for one turn. This allows a character to Willpower. override pain and injury in order to take one last-ditch Storytellers are encouraged to create their own sys- action. However, an incapacitated or torpored charac- tems or modify our systems to suit their troupe’s style ter may not spend Willpower in this manner. of play. Indeed, the manner in which a Storyteller al-

Regaining Willpower lows, or refuses to allow, Willpower replenishment can

determine the overall mood of the chronicle. Willpower may be recovered as well as spent. The following situations earn the character back a point VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 267,

Using Blood Pool

Vampires must subtract one blood point from their blood pools every night, whether they rise for the eve- ning or not, as the unnatural magics animating their dead bodies consume the vitae they have taken from their prey. Blood points may also be spent in a variety of ways, and may be replenished only by consuming blood. Blood pool also affects Self-Control (or Instinct) rolls, which come into play when a character’s frenzy becomes imminent. A player may never roll more dice for a Self-Control or Instinct roll than the character has blood pool. For example, if a character has only two blood points left, her player may roll only two dice for a Self-Control roll, even if the character’s Self- Control rating is 4. Voracious vampires just don’t fight the Beast very well.

Spending Blood Pool

As previously mentioned, every vampire expends one blood point each night when she awakens, wheth- er or not she actually goes out and about. Characters may also use blood points in a variety of other ways. A vampire may spend only a certain number of blood points per turn; this number is dependent on the vam- pire’s Generation. See the Generation chart (p. 270) to determine this number. • A vampire may spend one blood point to heal one normal (bashing or lethal) health level of dam- age. Characters must be resting and relatively inactive for this healing to take place, though this recovery is rapid: One blood point per turn may be spent to heal one health level, though vampires of lower Genera- tions may heal as many health levels per turn as they can spend blood points. Note that blood expenditure is the only way that vampires can heal wounds. Just as their immortality prevents the Kindred from aging and dying naturally, so it also inhibits the recuperative processes natural to a living body. • A player may spend one blood point to increase a single Physical Attribute (Strength, Dexterity, Stami- na) by one dot for the duration of the scene. The player must announce at the beginning of the turn that he is doing this. A player may spend as many blood points on increasing Physical Attributes as the vampire may use in a turn (based upon Generation), but may only freely increase these Traits up to one higher than their gen- 268 CHAPTER SIX: SYSTEMS AND DRAMA, erational maximum (i.e., a Tenth-Generation vampire • Blood may be spent to fuel certain vampiric Dis- may increase Traits to a maximum of 6). With effort, a ciplines. Consult Chapter Four or Chapter Ten to see character may increase a Physical Attribute to above which individual powers require blood expenditure. this limit, but each dot above the limit lasts for only three turns after the character stops spending blood. Earning Blood Pool This enables vampires to perform truly amazing physi- Vampires replenish blood pool by taking it from oth- cal feats, such as throwing cars, moving preternaturally ers. “Others” need not be human, though a vampire quickly, and withstanding blows that would fell trees. who is too squeamish to take sustenance from the kine Note: No character may increase Physical Attributes is often ridiculed by his peers — vampires are preda- above 10. tors, after all, no matter how unnatural. • A vampire may give a number of blood points to Drinking blood is a risky proposition. As vampires another Kindred, thereby enabling the recipient to use gorge on the vitae of their victims, there is always the the blood as if it were her own. This is often a grisly chance that they may take too much. Unhygienic prospect, as the “donor” must open his own vein and vampires may communicate disease by exposing a ves- physically deliver the blood to the needy Kindred. Of sel to bacteria and viruses carried in other blood that course, if a vampire is ever in a situation in which she still stains their fangs. A vampire may take only 20 per- needs blood, she’s likely all out of it herself, and may cent of a vessel’s blood (2 blood points for a normal frenzy and take too much from the donor. Blood gifts human) and leave it relatively safe. Taking half of a should be given with care. vessel’s blood necessitates hospitalization for that ves- sel. Taking all a vessel’s blood will kill it. If a vampire (or mortal) partakes of another Kin- dred’s blood three times, she becomes bound to that A vampire may take up to three blood points from a vampire through the mystical properties of vitae. This given vessel in a turn. The shorter the turn, the more is known as the blood bond. For more on blood bonds, forcefully the Kindred steals the vitae. It is generally see p. 286. impossible to take more than three blood points from a vessel in three seconds (the shortest a turn gets), though • A vampire may gift a mortal or animal with a dose some Nosferatu with hideously distended mouths are of his vitae, allowing the mortal in question to inject or able to take more through sheer surface area bleed. ingest it. For so long as the mortal retains the Kindred Most vampires drink their victim’s blood slowly, so as vitae in her system, she is considered a ghoul (see the to savor the luscious fluid and draw as much pleasure as Appendix, p. 496, for more on ghouls). possible out of the experience. • Though most vampires (with the exception of Once the Kindred breaks her vessel’s skin with her Nosferatu) appear much as they did in life, they still fangs, that vessel no longer resists the vampire (if he display certain corpselike features; for example, their did in the first place). Indeed, the ecstasy caused by skin is unnaturally cold and grows more ashen with the vampire’s bite is called the Kiss, and it engenders age, and they do not breathe. By spending a variable as much exquisite, subtly painful pleasure in vampires number of blood points, a vampire may will himself as it does in mortals. Exceptionally strong-willed mor- to appear more human for a scene: flushing his skin, tals (9+ Willpower) may continue to resist, but even drawing breath, even becoming capable of engaging in these vessels eventually succumb to the pleasure. Some sexual intercourse (this last, while helpful in certain Kindred and kine even develop lusts for the Kiss and types of feeding, in no way means that the vampire actively seek out those who will drink their blood. may inseminate a mortal or become pregnant; a corpse is still a corpse, after all). Performing these actions for Note: While Kindred find the Kiss pleasurable, they a scene requires an expenditure of blood points equal may resist it more readily than mortals can. Any Kin- to (8 minus Humanity); thus, Kindred with Humanity dred, regardless of Willpower, may make a Self-Con- ratings of 8 or higher may accomplish these feats auto- trol/Instincts roll (difficulty 8) to avoid succumbing matically, while vampires with low Humanity find the to the Kiss. This enables vampiric victims of diablerie process exceedingly arduous. (p. 293) to have a chance at fighting back. Only vampires with Humanity may use blood in this Wounded characters typically have less blood than manner; vampires on a Path have forsaken their hu- healthy characters. Assume that a normal-sized human man sides entirely. has one fewer blood point in his system for each health level of damage he currently suffers. Mortals regain one VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 269, blood point per day (unless, of course, they are infused elder blood, though such prized vitae is rarely available with vitae from some other source). Vampires do not to neonates or even ancillae. Essentially, elders have lose blood points to wounds in this manner, though greater blood pools not because they are bodily larger they often spend blood to heal wounds they have suf- than younger vampires, but because the blood they in- fered. gest is more concentrated in their ancient veins. Were- The blood of animals is not as nourishing as the blood wolf blood is similarly potent. of humans. Though an animal may physically have a greater volume of blood than a man, vampires draw less Vessel Blood Pool sustenance from it. Hence, animals have fewer blood Vampire 10+ points, even if they have more blood. Werewolf 20 Old blood is never as nourishing as fresh blood. In Average human 10 fact, many vampires refuse to drink old blood, whether Child 5 it comes from human corpses, blood banks, or a vam- Cow 5 pire’s private reserve. However, the blood of other vam- pires, particularly elders, is quite potent. When drink- Dog 2 ing from elder vampires, each blood point taken may Cat 1 be so concentrated that it is actually worth two — or Plasma bag 1 more! — normal blood points in use. Thus it is possible to obtain a vast amount of blood points by partaking of Bird 1/2 Bat/Rat 1/4 Generation Max. Trait Rating Blood Pool Max. Blood Points/Turn Third 10 ??? ??? Fourth 9 50 10 Fifth 8 40 8 Sixth 7 30 6 Seventh 6 20 4 Eighth 5 15 3 Ninth 5 14 2 Tenth 5 13 1 Eleventh 5 12 1 Twelfth 5 11 1 Thirteenth + 5 10 1 Max Trait Rating: This indicates the highest permanent Trait rating (excluding Humanity/Path rat- ings and Willpower ratings) a vampire of the given Generation can have. This is especially important with regard to Disciplines and Attributes. Blood Pool Max: The maximum number of blood points a vampire may keep in her system. Remem- ber that elder vampires concentrate their blood — while the volume of blood in their bodies is no greater than any other vampire’s, each pint of blood is worth more than one point. Blood Points/Turn: This indicates how many blood points a vampire can spend in a single turn. 270 CHAPTER SIX: SYSTEMS AND DRAMA,

Combat Systems

Combat in Vampire attempts to capture the drama of violent conflict without downplaying its grim reality. Describing the Scene Every effort has been made to create a system has the Before each turn, the Storyteller should feeling of dynamic, vicious combat while still leaving describe the scene from each character’s room for the unique (and often spectacular) elements perspective. Sometimes this will be a wrap-up that vampires bring to it. of the last turn, making what occurred clear The Storyteller should be flexible when arbitrating to all players. This constant description is es- combat situations; no rules can fully reflect the vari- sential to avoid confusion. ety of situations encountered in warfare. If these sys- This is the Storyteller’s chance to organize tems slow the game or cause bickering, don’t use them. and arrange events so that all goes smoothly Combat systems are meant to add depth to the game, when the players interact with the environ- not create conflict between the players and the Story- ment she has created. The Storyteller should teller. make her descriptions as interesting as pos-

Types of Combat sible, leaving open all sorts of possibilities for

There are two types of combat, each involving the characters’ actions. same basic system with minor differences: • Close Combat: This covers unarmed combat (Dexterity + Brawl) and melee (Dexterity + Melee). Unarmed combat can involve a down-and-dirty bar Wits); the character with the highest result acts first, brawl or an honorable test of skill. Opponents must be with the remaining characters acting in decreasing or- within touching distance (one yard/meter) to engage der of result. (Storytellers looking for a slightly faster in unarmed combat. Melee involves handheld weap- or more predictable system can choose to use Dexter- ons, from broken bottles to swords. Opponents must ity + Wits + 6 for each character’s initiative, forgo- be within two yards/meters of each other to engage in ing the die roll.) If two characters get the same total, melee. the one with the higher initiative rating goes first. If • Ranged Combat: Armed combat using projectile initiative ratings are also the same, the two characters weapons — pistols, rifles, shotguns, etc. Opponents act simultaneously. Wound penalties subtract directly must normally be within sight (and weapon range) of from a character’s initiative rating, while Celerity dots each other to engage in a firefight. that aren’t being used for extra actions add to it (see Celerity, p. 142).

Combat Turns Although you declare your character’s action now

In combat, many things happen at virtually the same (including stating that your character delays her ac- time. Since this can make things a bit sticky in a game, tion to see what someone else does), you wait un- combat is divided into a series of three-second turns. til the attack stage to implement that action. At this Each combat turn has three stages — Initiative, At- time, you must also state if any multiple actions will tack, and Resolution — to make it easier to keep track be performed, if Disciplines will be activated, and/or if of things. Willpower points will be spent. Characters declare in reverse order of initiative, thus giving faster characters

Stage One: Initiative the opportunity to react to slower characters’ actions.

This stage organizes the turn and is when you declare All of your character’s actions are staged at her rank your character’s action. Various actions are possible in the order of initiative. There are three exceptions to — anything from leaping behind a wall to shouting a this rule: The first is if your character delays her action, warning. You must declare what your character does, in which case her maneuvers happen when she finally in as much detail as the Storyteller requires. takes action. Your character may act at any time after Everyone, player and Storyteller character alike, rolls her designated order in the initiative, even to inter- one die and adds it to their initiative rating (Dexterity + rupt another, slower character’s action. If two charac- VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 271, ters both delay their actions, and both finally act at the happens in the story, and it’s important to maintain same time, the one with the higher initiative rating for the narrative of combat even as you make the die roll. the turn acts first. Normally, additional successes gained on a Trait roll The second breach of the initiative order occurs in simply mean that you do exceptionally well. In com- the case of a defensive action (see “Aborting Actions” bat, each extra success you get on an attack roll equals and “Defensive Maneuvers,” both on p. 274), which an additional die you add automatically to your dam- your character may perform at any time as long as she age dice pool. This creates cinematic and often fatal has an action left. combat. Finally, all additional actions that turn (including Damage Types actions gained through Celerity) occur at the end of the turn. If two or more characters take multiple ac- All attacks have specific damage ratings, indicat- tions, the actions occur in order of initiative rating. An ing the number of dice to roll for the attack’s damage exception is made for defensive multiple actions, such (called the damage dice pool). Some damage dice pools as multiple dodges, which happen when they need to are based on the attacker’s Strength, while others are happen in order to avert attack. based on the weapon used. Damage dice rolls are made versus difficulty 6. Each success on the damage roll in-

Stage Two: Attack flicts one health level of damage on the target. How-

Attacks are the meat of the combat turn. An action’s ever, the damage applied may be one of three types: success or failure and potential impact on the target are • Bashing: Bashing damage comprises punches and determined at this stage. You use a certain Attribute/ other blunt trauma that are less likely to kill a victim Ability combination depending on the type of combat (especially a vampire) instantly. All characters use in which your character is engaged: their full Stamina ratings to resist bashing effects, and • Close Combat: Use Dexterity + Brawl (unarmed) the damage heals fairly quickly. Bashing damage is ap- or Dexterity + Melee (armed). plied to the Health boxes on your character sheet with a “/.” • Ranged Combat: Use Dexterity + Firearms (guns) or Dexterity + Athletics (thrown weapons). • Lethal: Attacks meant to cause immediate and fa- tal injury to the target. Mortals may not use Stamina to Remember, if your character doesn’t have points in resist lethal effects, and the damage takes quite a while the necessary Ability, simply default to the Attribute to heal. Vampires may resist lethal damage with their on which it’s based (in most cases, Dexterity). Stamina. Lethal damage is applied to the Health boxes In ranged combat, your weapon may modify your dice on your vampire’s character sheet with a “X.” pool or difficulty (due to rate of fire, a targeting scope, • Aggravated: Certain types of attacks are deadly etc.); check the weapon’s statistics for details. even to the undead. Fire, sunlight, and the teeth and Most attacks are made versus difficulty 6. This can be claws of vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural adjusted for situational modifiers (long range, cramped beings are considered aggravated damage. Aggravated quarters), but the default attack roll is versus 6. If you damage cannot be soaked except with Fortitude, and it get no successes, the character fails her attack and in- takes quite a while to heal. Aggravated damage is ap- flicts no damage. If you botch, not only does the attack plied to the Health boxes on your character sheet with fail, but something nasty happens: The weapon jams or an asterisk (“*”). explodes, the blade breaks, an ally is hit, and so on. Damage dice pools can never be reduced to lower

Stage Three: Resolution than one die; any attack that strikes its target has at

During this stage, you determine the damage inflicted least a small chance of inflicting damage before a soak by your character’s attack, and the Storyteller describes roll is made. Moreover, damage effect rolls cannot what occurs in the turn. Resolution is a mixture of botch; a botched roll simply means the attack glances game and story; it’s more interesting for players to hear harmlessly off the target. Specifics on applying damage “Your claws rip through his bowels; he screams in pain, effects are described on pp. 284-285. dropping his gun as he clutches his bloody abdomen” Soak than simply “Uh, he loses four health levels.” Attack Characters can resist a certain degree of physical and damage rolls are merely ways of describing what punishment; this is called soaking damage. Your char- 272 CHAPTER SIX: SYSTEMS AND DRAMA, acter’s soak dice pool is equal to her Stamina. A nor- mal human can soak only bashing damage (this reflects the body’s natural resilience to such attacks). A vam- pire (or other supernatural being) is tougher, and can thus use soak dice against lethal damage. Aggravated damage may be soaked only with the Discipline of For- titude. Fortitude also adds to the defender’s soak rating against bashing or lethal damage (so a character with Stamina 3 and Fortitude 2 has five soak dice against bashing and lethal damage, but only two soak dice against aggravated damage).

Combat Summary Chart

Stage One: Initiative • Roll initiative (or add 6 to the initiative rating). Everyone declares their actions. The character with the highest initiative performs her action first. Actions can be delayed to any time later in the order of initiative. • Declare any multiple actions, reducing dice pools accordingly. Declare Discipline activa- tion and Willpower expenditure. Stage Two: Attack • For unarmed close-combat attacks, roll Dexterity + Brawl. • For armed close-combat attacks, roll Dex- terity + Melee. • For ranged combat, roll Dexterity + Fire- arms (guns) or Dexterity + Athletics (thrown weapons). • A character can abort to a defensive action (block, dodge, parry) at any time before her action is performed, as long as you make a successful Willpower roll (or a Willpower point is spent). Stage Three: Resolution • Determine total damage effect (weapon type or maneuver), adding any extra dice gained from successes on the attack roll. • Targets may attempt to soak damage, if possible. VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 273, After an attack hits and inflicts damage, the defender then adds any extra successes from the resisted roll to may make a soak roll to resist. This is considered a re- her attack dice pool. On a tie, the attacker still attacks flexive action; characters need not take an action or first, although the target may perform a defensive ma- split a dice pool to soak. Unless otherwise stated, soak neuver. If the defender gets more successes, he spots rolls are made versus difficulty 6. Each soak success sub- the ambush, and both parties determine initiative nor- tracts one die from the total damage inflicted. As with mally. Targets already involved in combat cannot be damage rolls, soak rolls may not botch, only fail. ambushed.

Armor • Blind Fighting/Fire: Staging attacks while blind

(or in pitch darkness) usually incurs a +2 difficulty, and Armor adds to your character’s soak. The armor’s rat- ranged attacks cannot be accurately made at all. Pow- ing combines with your base soak for purposes of re- ers such as Heightened Senses (p. 134) and Eyes of the ducing damage. Light armor offers a small amount of Beast (p. 199) mitigate this penalty. protection, but doesn’t greatly hinder mobility. Heavy armor provides a lot of protection, but can restrict flex- • Flank and Rear Attacks: Characters attacking ibility. targets from the flank gain an additional attack die. Characters attacking from the rear gain two additional Armor protects against bashing, lethal, and aggra- attack dice. vated damage from teeth and claws; it does not protect against fire or sunlight. Armor is not indestructible. If • Movement: A character may move half of her run- the damage rolled in a single attack equals twice the ning distance (see “Movement,” p. 258) and still take armor’s rating, the armor is destroyed. an action in a turn. Other maneuvers such as leaping or tumbling may be considered separate actions, de- Armor types, their ratings, and other specifics are de- pending on their complexity. scribed on p. 280. • Multiple Actions: If you declare multiple actions, declare the total number of actions you wish to attempt

Combat Maneuvers and determine which of the dice pools is the smallest. Then, divide that number of dice between all of your

These maneuvers give you a variety of choices in actions. If a character performs only defensive actions combat. Roleplaying combat is more entertaining if in a turn, use the appropriate block, dodge, or parry sys- you can visualize your character’s moves instead of tem. See Chapter Five, p. 248 for more information. simply rolling dice. Most of these maneuvers take one • Targeting: Aiming for a specific location incurs action to execute. an added difficulty, but can bypass armor or cover, or

General Maneuvers can result in an increased damage effect. The Story-teller should consider special results beyond a simple

• Aborting Actions: You can abandon your char- increase in damage, depending on the attack and the acter’s declared action in favor of a defensive action target. as long as your character hasn’t acted in the turn. Ac- tions that can take the place of a previously declared Target Size Difficulty Damage action include block, dodge, and parry. A successful Medium +1 No modifier Willpower roll versus difficulty 6 (or the expenditure of (limb, briefcase) a Willpower point) is required for a character to abort Small +2 +1 an action and perform a defensive one instead. When (hand, head, cellphone) spending Willpower for an abort maneuver, a charac- ter may declare the Willpower expenditure at the time Precise +3 +2 of the abort. A Willpower roll to abort is considered a (eye, heart, lock) reflexive action. (See “Defensive Maneuvers,” below, for descriptions of block, dodge, and parry.) • Ambush: Ambushes involve surprising a target to Defensive Maneuvers get in a decisive first strike. The attacker rolls Dexter- It’s a given that your character tries to avoid being hit ity + Stealth in a resisted action against the target’s in combat — that’s why everyone makes attack rolls to Perception + Alertness. If the attacker scores more suc- try to hit you. Sometimes, though, all your character cesses, she can stage one free attack on the target; she wants to do is avoid attacks. You may announce a de- 274 CHAPTER SIX: SYSTEMS AND DRAMA, defender’s maneuver can still reduce the effectiveness of the attack, even if the maneuver can’t counteract it completely.

Maneuver Characteristics • Block: A Dexterity + Brawl maneuver using your

Maneuvers are typically performed versus character’s own body to deflect a hand-to-hand bash- difficulty 6. Maneuvers with specific combat ing attack. Lethal and aggravated attacks cannot be effects may modify your attack roll, difficulty, blocked unless the defender has Fortitude or is wearing or damage dice pool. armor. Traits: The Trait combination used for the • Dodge: A Dexterity + Athletics maneuver use- action taken. If your character doesn’t have ful for avoiding attacks of all types. Your character a rating in the needed Ability, default to its bobs and weaves to avoid Melee or Brawl attacks (if base Attribute. there’s no room to maneuver, she must block or parry instead). In gunfights, your character moves at least Accuracy: The dice added to the roll to hit one yard/meter and ends up behind cover (if there’s no an opponent. A “+3” adds three dice to the room to maneuver or no cover available, she can drop dice pool for that attack. to the ground). If your character remains under cover Difficulty: Any additions or subtractions to or prone, cover rules apply against further Firearms at- an attack’s difficulty (which is most often 6). tacks (see “Cover,” p. 278). A “+2” means the difficulty of an attack, if • Parry: A Dexterity + Melee maneuver using a initially 6, is increased to 8. weapon to block a Brawl or Melee attack. If a charac- Damage: The damage dice pool used. ter makes a Brawl attack and the defender parries with a weapon that normally causes lethal damage, the at- tacker can actually be hurt by a successful parry. If the defender rolls more successes than the attacker does fensive action at any time before your character’s op- in the resisted action, the defender rolls the weapon’s ponent makes an attack roll, as long as your character base damage plus the parry’s extra successes as a dam- has an action left to perform. You can declare a defen- age dice pool against the attacker. sive action on your character’s turn in the initiative, Block, dodge, and parry can be performed as part of or can even abort to a defensive maneuver. You must a multiple action in your character’s turn (punching make a successful Willpower roll (or may simply spend then blocking, shooting then dodging, parrying then one point of Willpower) to abort. If the Willpower roll striking). Using a multiple action to act and defend is fails, your character must carry out the action that you advantageous because your character can still accom- declared originally. plish something in a turn besides avoiding attacks. There are three types of defensive actions: block, Rather than having to divide your dice pool among dodge, and parry. Your character can defend against multiple defensive actions, you may declare that your virtually any kind of attack with these three maneu- character spends an entire turn defending. The normal vers. However, your character may not be able to multiple-action rules are not used in this case. Instead, avoid every single attack that’s directed at her. She you have a full dice pool for the first defensive action, can’t dodge when there’s no room to maneuver, and but lose one die, cumulatively, for each subsequent de- she can’t block or parry if she doesn’t know an attack fense action made in the same turn. It is still difficult is coming. to avoid several incoming attacks, but not as difficult as Each defensive maneuver uses the same basic system: trying to attempt multiple things at once. The defensive action is a resisted roll against the oppo- Remember that any actions, including defensive nent’s attack roll. Unless the attacker gets more total ones, versus multiple attackers still suffer difficulty successes, he misses. If the attacker gets more success- penalties (see “Multiple Opponents,” p. 276). es, those that he achieves in excess of the defender’s successes, if any, are used to hit (the attacker doesn’t Close Combat Maneuvers necessarily use all the successes he rolled). So if the de- This is simply a listing of the common maneuvers fender has fewer successes than the attacker does, the used in close combat; feel free to develop your own VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION 275, moves (with the Storyteller’s approval). All hand-to- a clinch, make a resisted Strength + Brawl roll against hand attacks inflict bashing damage unless stated oth- the opponent. If the escaping character has more suc- erwise. The damage inflicted by melee attacks depends cesses, she brea