Hey, everyone. If you were in the US, I hope you had a good Thanksgiving. If you were in the northeast US, I hope you had manageable storms. If you were elsewhere in the world, as most of you were, I hope everything has been cozy and un-dramatic.
We’re still hard at work on the 2013 Vampire schedule. The anthology continues to come along, with most of the drafts being in and the process of selecting classic fiction underway. The blue book counterpart, The God-Machine Chronicle Anthology just came out. I can only hope the cover of ours is as excellent.
We’ve also been developing the exciting new Discipline rules that’ll debut in The Strix Chronicle or Sexmurder or Year Red or whatever you want to call it. This book will present a kickass upgrade to the core rules and a deep, broad setting to immerse your players in.
Which brings us to more open playtesting. This week, we’re debuting the first drafts of the remaining Ventrue Disciplines: Animalism and Dominate. One of our goals is to make powers within a Discipline more interconnected and organic. We’re very eager to hear how they work in your games.
- Feral Whispers •
You can communicate with and control animals, individually or in groups.
- Dice Pool: Manipulation + Animal Ken + Animalism – highest Composure in group
- You can communicate with an animal about anything within its usual range of perception. For purposes of fiction, we assume that animals have good memories of the present night.
- You can command an animal to do something. This thing must fall within the animal’s normal cognitive abilities.
- Used on an Animalism 2 familiar, this power is not resisted.
- Normally, no command may last longer than a night. However, see Animalism 3 for exceptions.
- Raise the Familiar ••
You raise a beast from the dead as a servant.
- Dice Pool: None
Cost: 1 Vitae
- Requirement: Feed 1 Vitae to the corpse. This Vitae is included in the cost.
- The animal rises for [Blood Potency * animal’s Stamina] nights.
- Feral Whispers may be used on the animal from any range, and is not resisted by the animal’s Composure.
- This effect may be renewed by feeding the undead animal more Vitae.
- (This is less cost-efficient in the long term than ghouling an animal, but is cheaper in the short term, and allows a greater degree of control.)
- Summon the Hunt •••
You summon predators and scavengers from the surrounding area.
- Dice Pool: Presence + Animal Ken + Animalism
Cost: 2 Vitae
- Requirement: Spill 1 Vitae upon the ground. This Vitae is included in the cost.
- You imbue the Vitae with a command, following the rules for Feral Whispers.
- All animals of the type within [successes] blocks (city) or [successes * 100] yards (country) respond to the call. Yes, this can mean a lot of rats.
- Summoned animals are compelled to taste the spilled Vitae, at which point they are infected with the command. The command lasts [successes] nights.
- Feral Infection ••••
By pushing your predatory aura outwards, you inflict the ravings of the Beast on others.
- Dice Pool: Presence + Intimidation + Animalism
Cost: 2 Vitae
- You specify a direction for the mob to go in or something to attack. (Only victims who can see the target are affected.)
- Predators and scavengers who can smell you cannot resist, and suffer anger frenzy.
- Mortals or supernatural beings who can smell the target suffer anger frenzy if their Resolve + Composure is lower than [successes]. (This does not apply to blood sensed with Kindred Senses.)
- Those in some stage of Vinculum to you, or who are in physical contact with your Vitae (for example, if they’re splattered or marked by it) count their Composure as three dots lower.
- A mortal or supernatural being may spend one Willpower point to resist your order. However, that character still enters frenzy.
- Lord of the Land •••••
You mark your territory in a ring of blood, claiming the land as your own and holding power over all who enter.
- Dice Pool: Presence + Survival + Animalism
Cost: Variable (1 to 3 Vitae)
- Requirements:The territory must be uninhabited by other supernatural entities. You cannot claim a building already infested by another coterie, nor can you take a forest championed by a pack of werewolves or a mansion haunted by a furious ghost. Current residents must be driven away, at least for long enough for you to make it your own.Second, the you must walk the border of the territory and mark it with Vitae. How you go about this is up to you. You could walk a stately pace, dripping blood from open wounds on both hands. You could run wild about the land, smearing streaks of blood, spit and feces on tree and stone. What matters is that you personally walk the border.
- The cost of this process is determined by the size of the territory, one Vitae for small spaces like a single home. Two for larger areas like warehouses or about a city block. Three for huge areas like castles and public parks. Theoretically, it would be possible to spend more Vitae to cover a larger area, but doing so in a single night would be impractical, and is left to Storyteller discretion.
- Once marked, the territory has the following qualities:Wild beasts and animals will not willingly enter the territory, and will fight to escape if forced inside. Mortals and other supernatural beings may enter with a successful Composure + Blood Potency or equivalent roll. However, unless they scored an Exceptional Success, they take a -3 penalty to all actions while inside. Kindred also suffer an additional -2 penalty to rolls to resist frenzy while within, and anger frenzies are typically redirected into fear frenzies that encourage the vampire to leave the territory. People and animals you invite (using Feral Whispers or Summon the Hunt in the case of animals) need not roll and suffer no penalties.
- So long as you are within the territory you also gain the following bonuses:
- You can feel the presence of any entity that crosses the border, and knows immediately the general location and Blood Potency of invaders. (This only applies to Blood Potency, not other supernatural equivalents. We recommend the Storyteller communicate this information in general terms.) You maintain a constant general knowledge of the location of all creatures within his domain. [Dev note: supernatural stealth and hiding powers can contest this. And, uh, “creatures” probably doesn’t apply to bacteria and stuff. We need to find a better way to phrase that.]
- Feral Whispers duration becomes indefinite for creatures within the territory. Moreover, you may perceive through the senses of all familiars within the territory, and use Feral Whispers through them to direct the actions of other animals.
- All animals, as well as any creature in frenzy (or a similar state) while within the territory may not attack you, nor may they spend Willpower to resist compulsions issued via Feral Infection.
- The territory remains empowered for [successes] weeks, and even then it will only end when you exit its border. Therefore if the you are in torpor your territory could remain protected until you wake and exit, or are destroyed. (Of course, most benefits can’t be used while you slumber.)
- Mesmerize •
You meet the victim’s eye, lulling them into a trance.
- Cost: None
Dice Pool: Intelligence + Expression + Dominate vs Target’s Resolve + Power Stat
Action: Contested, resistance is Reflexive
- The victim becomes muted and repressed, as if hypnotized or sleepwalking. In this state the subject is extremely vulnerable to suggestion and manipulation.
- You may do either of the following at a rate of one per action:
- Issue a brief command, no more than two or three words. This command must be a single, discrete action, with no room for creativity or interpretation. (“Drop that gun”, “Repeat after me…”, and “Follow me” work. “Submit” and “Do my bidding” are too subjective.)
- Alter one memory of the current scene. (“I was never here”, “You hurt this man.”)
- The victim remains in the trance until they leave your presence, the scene ends, or something shakes them out of it. Actions that would endanger the target’s life or force a degeneration roll usually shake them free, as does taking damage. Sufficiently traumatic stimuli may also suffice, at the Storyteller’s discretion. Used in combat, which is generally both dangerous and traumatic, Mesmerize almost always fails. Afterwards, the victim wakes with almost no memory of what took place while they were mesmerized. Attempts to Mesmerize a character who has already resisted or broken free within the scene are made at a -2 penalty, cumulative with each previous failed attempt.
- Iron Edict ••
Your Mesmerism becomes stronger and more insidious.
- Cost: 1 Vitae
Dice Pool: None (enhances Mesmerize)
Action: None (enhances Mesmerize)
- Iron Edict can be evoked whenever you issue a command via Mesmerize. This costs 1 Vitae, unless the victim is currently in any stage of Vinculum with you, and enhances the command in the following ways:
- Commands issued may be much longer, two or three sentences as opposed to a few words, and can include a successive series of actions to perform.
- Commands last one full night, and may persist outside your immediate presence.
- It becomes much harder to break the victim from their trance. Only extreme trauma, such as receiving their Stamina in damage or being knocked unconscious will suffice to break them free. Similarly, actions which would cause the target to make a degeneration roll do not automatically fail. Instead the target makes the degeneration roll. Failure means they carry through with the action, though do not actually lose Humanity or the equivalent. Success breaks them of the compulsion. (This occurs at the moment of the act, not when the order is given)
- Issuing commands with this power takes time, about two turns per sentence, and requires the victim already be Mesmerized for that duration. Victims carry out commands the moment they are issued, and continue to follow the order until the task it done or the time limit has expired. As with Mesmerize they emerge from the trance with no clear memory of their actions.
- Entombed Command •••
You hide a command in your prey’s subconscious.
- Cost: None
Dice Pool: Intelligence + Subterfuge + Dominate – victim’s Resolve
Action: None (activated in conjunction with other Dominate powers)
- Entombed Command is activated in conjunction with other Dominate powers. Doing so hides the effects within the subject’s subconscious, dormant until certain trigger conditions are met. You may add up to [successes] triggers, events or stimuli that will cause the compulsion to emerge. For example, when the victim hears the word “turtledove”, when the clock strikes midnight, when the victim sees his brother, etc.
- Powers are modified in the following ways:
- Mesmerize: The subject immediately enters a trance when the conditions are met, if the Vampire is not physically present the trance only lasts for about two to three turns.
- Iron Edict: When the trigger is met the subject immediately falls into a trance and follows the subconscious order. The trance endures until the task is complete or a scene has passed, at which point is falls dormant once again.
- The Lying Mind: The trigger functions as an on-off switch for memory alterations. Different triggers can serve different functions. One could cause false memories to emerge, while another hides them again.
- Suggestions can lie dormant for up to [successes] weeks, or [successes] months if the target is in any stage of Vinculum towards you. During this time the effects of the power will reemerge as many times as the trigger conditions are met. Adding the Conditioning feature to a power is reflexive, but delivering the conditions takes time, about two turns per sentence. As with Command this requires the target be Mesmerized while the conditions are described. If they are distracted part way through the conditioning will not take.
- The Lying Mind ••••
You can make more drastic alterations to a victim’s memories.
- Cost: 2 Vitae
Dice Pool: None (enhances Mesmerize)
Action: None (enhances Mesmerize)
- The Lying Mind can be applied whenever you attempt to alter a Mesmerized victim’s memories. To do so, the victim must first be marked with a small amount of Vitae, included in the cost. This Vitae must either be consumed or dripped onto the forehead. Doing so allows you to make much more drastic changes to the subject’s memories, extending back well before the current scene. You may:
- Affect memories from any point in the subject’s life.
- Create new memories or add new elements to existing ones.
- Erase an existing memories or alter their context, substituting events, people, and locations.
- Modifications should be able to be summed up in about three or four sentences, though multiple invocations of this power may be user to create more elaborate alterations. Inflicting these changes requires a long period of uninterrupted interaction with the Mesmerized target (at least a full minute, preferably much more), during which time you explain the alterations in detail. The rewrites should focus on the factual, not the perceived. You can dictate what the character experienced, but not what they thought or felt about it. Should the victim be exposed to very compelling evidence of the falsification (family picture, video of the event), they may roll [Resolve + Blood Potency or equivalent]. If they score more successes than the original activation roll, the alterations are undone and their original memories return. Otherwise this power lasts indefinitely.
- Possession •••••
You extend your mind fully into that of another, supplanting their will and taking complete control of their body.
- Cost: 1 Vitae and 1 Willpower
Dice Pool: Intelligence + Intimidation + Dominate – victim’s Resolve
Action: Contested and Reflexive, resistance is reflexive
- Requirement: The victim must be Mesmerized.
- You use the victim’s physical Skills and Attributes, but maintain your own social and mental Skills and Attributes. Likewise, physical Merits are maintained while mental ones are suppressed.
- While in a mortal body, you may remain awake all day for the cost of 1 Willpower, spent at dawn.
- You may maintain control for [successes] nights.
- You may not use Disciplines or rituals through the victim, nor may you access supernatural powers that they possess, but you are otherwise in total control of their actions.
- Degeneration rolls do not risk freeing the target. However, should the Vampire deliberately attempt to commit suicide in the body, the victim gets a second Resolve + Blood Potency or equivalent roll to end possession.
- Possession overrules all existing compulsions or commands the subject is experiencing, ending them immediately. Conditioned commands can still be re-triggered once the possession ends, and persistent alterations (like those from The Lying Mind) also endure.