The Shadow Over Seattle
Properties of the Damned
Tricks of the Damned
The Embrace comes with many drawbacks. However, it also comes with numerous advantages. Every vampire can use the following edges. Many of these advantages require Vitae. These expenditures are reflexive, and subject to the vampire’s Vitae per turn limit as determined by her Blood Potency.
Blush of Life
Normally, a vampire looks the part of a corpse. He’s pale. He registers no pulse. He exists at slightly below room temperature. Food and drink taste terrible, and immediately cause violent, bloody vomiting. However, with a bit of Vitae, he can fake life temporarily.
On Kindred bodies, bashing and lethal wounds look the way one might imagine the same injuries to a corpse. Gashes, contusions, and lacerations all still happen, but bruises appear blacker and blistered, cuts expose raw tissue but do not bleed. If the vampire invokes the blush of life (below), she bruises and bleeds like the living. Note that even with the blush of life, bleeding does not equate with a loss of Vitae. The lost blood is fully inert.
Those few terrible things that cause aggravated wounds to mortals cause only lethal harm to vampires. This mostly includes terrible harm from chemicals, certain supernatural punishment, and the skills of utmost masters in certain fighting styles meant to maximize debilitating bodily harm.
Few rare perversions of nature — Disciplines, Devotions, and sorceries — cause aggravated wounds to Kindred. Some masters of the Protean Discipline hone their claws and fangs
to such vicious ends; this breeds a healthy fear and respect of clan Gangrel within most courts.
Aggravated wounds look completely unnatural. They’re perversions of nature that tax the Masquerade. Each vampire wounds differently. Flesh may become brittle and burn like
paper. Tissue may bubble and stink. Blackened veins may streak across the victim’s body. Foamy pustules may taint the area around the injury. Whatever the method, aggravated
wounds appear as manifestations of the natural world violently eliminating something that does not belong.
Kindred exist in the dark. Not only can they see better than humans in the dark, their other senses are sharper to facilitate their predatory needs.
Kindred do not suffer normal vision penalties for being in the dark, and can compensate with hearing. In full darkness, they only suffer a –2 die penalty to rolls that require vision. If they encounter traces of blood, even if dried or hidden (in a carpet, for example), they immediately see even very small quantities.
Vampire hearing becomes similarly enhanced. They can hear heartbeats at three yards or meters per dot of Blood Potency. Upon Embrace, a vampire’s sense of smell attunes to the scent of blood. A vampire can smell the presence of blood from bout ten yards or meters per dot of Blood Potency without rolling. Multiply this range by her Auspex dots. If she’s tasted a particular human’s blood, she can add her Blood Potency to any rolls to track him by scent. Kindred blood does not offer this advantage, since it’s mostly old, dead, and its smell is a blend of all the vampire’s recent victims.
If any of her Kindred senses apply, add her Blood Potency to any rolls to detect hidden people or details by the traces of blood.
Vampire tales speak of creatures stronger and faster than anything human. With Vitae, any Kindred can accomplish massive bursts of physical prowess. By spending a point of Vitae, he may add two dice to rolls involving his choice of Strength, Dexterity, or Stamina for the turn. This does not increase traits derived from these Attributes. However, it will increase relevant resistances. For example, a Strength increase will reduce an opponent’s rolls to grapple him.
Kindred blood seeks to return a vampire to the state of her Embrace. Her hair and fingernails regrow as she sleeps. More importantly, Vitae can force her injured body to reconstruct, mending bones and knitting torn flesh in seconds. In dramatic instances, severed limbs regenerate or even simply reattach (if she’s able to heal the entire injury in a turn).
A single point of Vitae heals two points of bashing damage, or one point of lethal damage. A single aggravated wound requires five Vitae and a full day’s sleep. Aggravated damage is the only type of wound that leaves a scar on Kindred. The scar appears natural, unlike the original damage.
While Kindred sleep, they return to the time of their Embrace. Anything that wouldn’t constitute a Health level of damage heals automatically and returns to its original state. For this reason, many sires recommend their childer groom for the Embrace, as part of the ritual of entering the Danse.
If an injury would require Vitae to heal (represented by Health levels), the vampire will unconsciously heal it during daysleep. Sometimes, this means the vampire will not have the Vitae necessary to wake. As she falls to slumber, she may spend Willpower points to “preserve” wounds through her rest, to keep herself from healing them and spending excessive Vitae. This cost is once per wound, and covers the wound permanently.
Sometimes, Kindred force other marks to remain. For example, vampires often keep scars, tattoos, and piercings for spiritual reasons or just to fit in with the flock. Many Kindred remove long hair, in favor of wigs or cleaner, more modern styles. The vampire spends Willpower to fight the healing process while she sleeps. After a day’s rest, any damage heals as normal, but her body remains changed.
A Taste of Blood
In addition to being able to smell blood and to identify and track with blood, Kindred discern subtle cues from blood they taste.
Dice Pool: Wits + Composure
Dramatic Failure: The Storyteller gives two true statements about the blood, and one very
Failure: The blood offers no insight.
Success: You can discern basic details from the blood. These include blood type, clan, the presence of popular drugs, how long the blood has been out of the body, blood-borne diseases and poisons, if you’ve tasted that person’s blood before, and if the blood is human. It can also tell the number of steps removed a character is in blood sympathy to
another character who’s blood you’ve tasted (see Blood Sympathy, p. 98 of Blood & Smoke). If the donor is not human, your character detects what it is (if she’s tasted that type of creature’s blood before).
Exceptional Success: You can discern extensive details from the blood. These include whether the blood is from a ghoul and to what clan, infections, what the vessel ate recently, hormones in the bloodstream, diseases, some causes of death, and other fine details at Storyteller discretion.
Suggested Modifiers: Auspex active ( +2 ), bloodtied ( +2 ), currently hungry ( +2 ), hour-old blood (-1), day-old blood (-3), week or more old (-5)
Every step she takes, every corner she turns, a Kindred’s Beast stands ready to face threats, to defend territory, and most importantly, to feed. To the Beast, everything is a challenge, a potential conquest, a meal, or a combination of the three. To other predators, the Beast is a palpable thing, something that identifies another monster.
This presence, the predatory aura, builds a paradox in Kindred society. On one hand, it guarantees vampires will never truly be civil, as all remain one misstep away from each
other’s throats. On the other hand, it forces Kindred to hold tight to traditions and propriety, in order to keep the Beast at bay and force a modicum of nicety.
Without a Discipline or other ability to mask or suppress the predatory aura, Kindred perceive other vampires as their own kind. If they can smell the vampire, they know it’s a vampire. If they touch a vampire, they know it’s a vampire. Note that this is one-sided: One
character may not notice the other. It’s not just the aura, it’s all the right cues. Kindred notice the shallow or nonexistent breathing of their kind. They notice the subtle, predatory tones in a voice. They smell multiple victims’ blood on another.
Further, a vampire can voluntarily intensify her predatory aura to elicit a reaction. Against other Kindred, this escalates the encounter, forcing fight or flight instincts. Against mortals, this asserts power and cows the lesser creatures. Lashing out with the Beast takes an instant action, and against Kindred costs a point of Willpower. It’s free to use against a mortal.
The Bestial Triad
Every vampire can evoke three aspects of the Beast; the monstrous, the seductive, and the competitive. The aura chosen reflects the way the vampire approaches the confrontation. It
also determines the Conditions given during the clash.
The Monstrous Beast: This represents the Beast-As-Destroyer. Its every instinct is to rip asunder. The monstrous aura inspires a witness to fight or flee. It evokes the most primitive survival instincts in its victims, and causes the Bestial Condition (p. 301 of Blood & Smoke).
The Seductive Beast: This is the Beast-As-Tempter. It needs hot abandon, and a temporary escape from reality. It inspires the need for immediate, throwaway coupling. It evokes the primal need for instant gratification, and causes the Wanton Condition (p. 307 of Blood & Smoke).
The Competitive Beast: This is the Beast-As-Alpha. It needs to come out on top, to command, to control. It inspires power plays and dominance games. It evokes the need for a rigid hierarchy, a food chain, and causes the Competitive Condition (p. 302 of Blood & Smoke).
To lash out, the vampire must take a simple action appropriate to the aspect of predator used. A monstrous Beast growls, threatens, gnashes teeth, or calls to action. A seductive Beast sidles up to the prey, whispers beautiful lies, or gives a telling gaze from across the crowd. A competitive Beast draws a line in the sand, announces terms, or takes the role of mouse in a chase.
Roll Blood Potency, plus a Power Attribute. Use Strength for monstrous, Presence for seductive, and Intelligence for competitive. The modifiers below apply to all rolls for predatory aura. Both sides may use whatever modifiers apply. Note that Disciplines do not add to predatory aura rolls unless specifically mentioned. For example, Vigor does not add to the monstrous Beast, and Majesty does not add to the seductive Beast.
The opposition has two choices; fight or flight.
Fight: This represents a counter-challenge. One Beast flares, and is met with equal aggression. This requires a point of
Willpower if the responding character’s Blood Potency is lower than that of the vampire who lashed out.
Roll an appropriate Power Attribute + Blood Potency to contest. This does not have to be the same aspect of the Beast. For example, if a vampire confronts another with the seductive
Beast, the opposition may opt to respond with greater implied violence, and oppose with the monstrous Beast.
If the aggressor scores more successes, the victim gains the Condition associated with the aggressor’s Beast. As well, the aggressor gains a +2 die bonus on any rolls to pursue her aspect’s interests for the remainder of the scene.
If the opposition scores more successes, he turns the confrontation on the aggressor. The opposition imposes the Condition associated with his Beast, and gains a +2 die bonus
on any rolls to pursue his Beast’s compulsions for the remainder of the scene.
Mortals can fight the Beast, but they cannot impose a Condition on the vampire. They do gain the +2 die bonus to attack, flee, or otherwise neutralize the risk.
If both characters achieve the same number of successes, they both impose their Conditions, but neither gets the +2 die bonus.
Flight: This represents a stark withdrawal. It costs nothing, and allows for a reasonable out from the challenge. This usually means a convenient escape or excuse to pull away. It typically makes the character look inferior or foolish. The aggressor may pursue. The victim gains the Condition associated with the initiating vampire’s aspect of the Beast.