Ordo Dracul Merits and Mysteries: The Rites of the Dragon [Vampire: The Requiem]

Ordo Dracul symbol
The Ordo Dracul

The followers of Dracula hold tight to their hidden rites and secret truths. Their mysteries aren’t as flashy as sorcery, but that very clandestine nature increases their thrall over the imaginations of the dead.

Secrets of the Covenants presents new Merits for members of the Order and their allies, as well as little-known or heretical Mysteries that turn the curse upon itself. Tonight, we’re presenting the first draft for playtest.

As usual, please don’t copy and paste from this document, as changes are often made live in response to feedback on the blog and forums.

<Click here for Ordo Dracul Merits and Mysteries>

41 thoughts on “Ordo Dracul Merits and Mysteries: The Rites of the Dragon [Vampire: The Requiem]”

  1. The Impaled Merit looks neat, especially the third dot (I have this image in my head of an Impaled letting a hunter stab him trough with his longsword so he gets near enough to rip his throat open).

    There’s a minor errata referencing the user’s “Feng Shui” dots in the Fontal Nest Merit.

    It is looking awesome so far.

  2. So is Ordo Alchemy not making a return this edition, or at least not this book?

    And soul-eaters are something else entirely now, right?

    • Alchemy still exists, but isn’t in this book. There are some interesting new wrinkles to it in second edition.

      Yes, soul-eaters would be another thing entirely.

      • By soul eaters, they refer of course to the Way of the Locust. This turn of events is a little disappointing, but not unexpected. I mean, killing mortals in this game is a constant internal conflict, at least it should be at the start of the game, but putting the ability to consume those mortals’ souls the way they do other vampires’ in the hands of the players is kind of forcing a moral choice. I assume that there has been a greater push to keep obvious badness to a minimum going forward, while still allowing the players an opportunity to slide into depravity on their own terms. And it didn’t help that that Coil created lots of social problems for the Dragon pursuing it while returning benefits that could be acquired at less personal risk through other Coils and/or Disciplines.

  3. This preview is everything I wanted from the Ordo Dracul and more. Vampire books describe the Ordo as sorcerers and it discusses their use of Dragon’s Nests (now Wyrm Nests?) but there weren’t a lot of mechanics for them in B&S.

    I’m definitely going to have to pick up this book.

  4. Unless Laying on Hands is an extended action, and it doesn’t seem to say it is, it’s not consistent with the rest of the nWoD dice mechanic guidelines for the disease curing effect to require multiple successes. That should be a dice penalty instead.

  5. How does Embodied Potential works if Supernatural Merits are… Merits and ergo, would each instance cost 1 experience? say if you have 5 dots of supernatural merits you take back 4 experiences?

    • It refunds one experience per supernatural merit, not per dot. So, If you had 5 dots in one supernatural merit then you would get 1 Experience back, not 4. If you have 3 dots in one supernatural merit and 2 dots in another supernatural merit then you would get refunded 2 Experiences. If you had 1 dot each in five different supernatural merits then you would not get a refund, but you could essentially reach the third dot of the merits for only one more Experience each.

      At least that was how I read it.

    • Most supernatural merits are more than one dot, and merits are one experience per dot. A three dot merit costs three experiences, so Embodied Potential would make it cost two.

  6. The Coil of Zirnitra seems incredibly powerful, especially as we see more Supernatural Merits from other game lines in the future. Despite it being called ‘rare’ it will be very sought after by Players.

    Why not instead of a whole Coil, just make it a Scale? Model it after the Scale provided for Zirnitra, if they implant a piece of a mortal/supernatural with the Supernatural Merit (or something approximate to it, like say a Obrimos Mage to gain Psychokinesis or Telekinesis) they gain the right to purchase the Supernatural Merit they had as long as it exists as part of them.

    No fancy dramatic failures or Conditions always happening, they just purchase that Supernatural Merit as if they had it as a Mortal with all benefits and drawbacks as listed.

    Add the proviso you can perform the Scale again if you buy it again, and get another ‘piece’ to add to yourself.

    I suggest this approach because its more in theme of the Ordo being mad undead scientists that bypass or mutate aspects of Kindred conditions to produce mystical effects rather than harnessing powerful blood sorcerers like the Circle of the Crone or Lancea Sanctum.

  7. I see almost no point in Shedding the Beast’s Skin (The Coil of Ziva 5). This is almost the same as the Blush of Life (B&S p.90):”By spending a point of Vitae, Kindred may invoke the blush of life for a scene. This makes them functionally human. They become warm to the touch, with a full, hearty pulse. They produce natural bodily fluids. They function sexually in the way a human can, becoming physically aroused, erect, and lubricated. They can keep food and drink down, ejecting it later in the night. They’ll pass medical inspection while the blush remains active.”

    The Warm Face (Coil of the Ascendant 2; B&S p. 156) can even make the Blush of Life last 24 hours.

    What would make Shedding the Beast’s Skin interesting IMHO would be immunity to ALL vampire banes, not just the clan banes, i.e. no more damage from sunlight, no need for daysleep etc, not subject to frenzy.

  8. With Shedding the Beast’s Skin, during the eleven hours, does this mean that the temporarily former vampire can go out into the sun without burning up?

  9. Once again.. Independent Study. It gives very little Story wise (You could simply take a dot of Allies, to represent such a relationship) and that thing does NOT take up the space of five merits, as this seems to be reprinted in every single section of merits.
    Please at least condense it into “Dabbles into ” so some space is preserved for some proper merits.
    Even then, story wise, I’ve got no idea why such a dabbler get’s a head start in actual status. So from Covenants view it’s better if a dabbler joins them, instead of a true member?

    • I’m also curious about this Merit, mainly with how it would apply to other supernatural types in a multi-type game. If the intention is to open study to only other Kindred (who are not members or who are potential members), I think it should explicitly state that in the Merit text. If it is open to other supernaturals, text on that would be appreciated, too.

  10. Also, while I do love a lot of the Merits presented here, I would really want to see ones that represented the Ordo Dracul’s motto of discovering knowledge (occult knowledge especially) and exploiting it.

    How do the Ordo Dracul’s members exploit what we already know about lore wise?

    Do they know how to manufacture Draugr and a little on how to direct them? There’s a bit on this in Blood & Smoke with a Scale that will turn a Ghoul into one if it dies.

    Do they know how to use or exploit anchors or fettered items/beings? If so how?

    If they acquire an item of power, Fetish, Artifact, or other, how do they draw forth its power to exploit it?

    What kind of terrible things to they do to fellow Kindred, or other Supernaturals to better themselves and ascend their condition?

    These are the kinds of questions I would love mechanical Merit and Coil answers to. How do the Ordo acquire occult knowledge, and how do they use it to their their Covenants advantage?

    • Here’s an example of something I would like to see as an Ordo Dracul Kindred.

      Magnum Opus (•••)

      With the completion of this great work, the Kindred may purchase a Supernatural Merit (cannot be a Status Merit or a variant thereof) for which she does not have the Prerequisite for.

      The Kindred has worked hard and tirelessly to develop a way to connect her Blood, Curse or Beast to new Merit, she has accomplished something Kindred simply cannot do in a way uniquely developed by her. Discuss with the Storyteller how you obtained or acquired this new Supernatural Merit, the ramifications of obtaining it and any consequences for future story and Chronicle development.

      If there are any Costs to use the new Merit that cannot already be paid by the Kindred, she may substitute Vitae expenditure equal to the Cost to effectively pay it and activate its effects. This taints her work in some way, marking it as something touched or perverted by the Kindred Curse, Storytellers who believe it appropriate can impose a Condition for using this new Supernatural Merit if it runs in opposition with a Kindred’s nature.

      Additionally the Kindred gains a +3 to her next roll involving learning or working towards obtaining a new Coil. She has learned something very unique, and it has inspired her work to become something more than Kindred.

  11. Rites of the Impaled looks to be far too high powered for its requisites and cost at every level. The other merits look fine, though the Judge position might benefit from cutting the “effectively acts as a 5-dot mentor…” line; the “can always learn mysteries” part is clear enough, and it’s more than good enough for a 3-dot merit already.

    ” the penchant for developing mortal magics and psychic phenomena. ” – penchant is absolutely not the right word. Barriers to? difficulty in?

    The first coil and supernatural merits all look fun. The one-willpower version of Numbing Touch could maybe do with buffing up and clarifying how long the wound penalty effects last; a scene doesn’t seem unreasonable. Scales seem pretty reasonable.

    Siphon the Soul looks nonsensical. Shedding the Beast’s Skin looks… like Blush of Life? But worse?

    • It’s a heretical coil about being close to humanity rather than becoming an uber predator. Its ultimate power lets you become human, rather than just faking it. That’s incredibly powerful and of huge benefit to Kindred who, y’know, want to be human/reject Kindred.

      That’s what’s good about Shedding the Skin. You’re free of the Beast and of the urges of Vampirism, at least temporarily. Siphon the Soul is weird, I agree.

      • In that case, it’s fine and cool – but really poorly worded. I didn’t read it as necessarily including losing the drawbacks of vampirism; it should be more specific.

    • You don’t lose the stats. You just lose your access to them, so once you’re back in kindred form, you can use them again. (just like torpor)

    • Well, it clearly says that something strange happens and that the baby still carries through in the undead body. I’d say that it’s exactly the way to get a Dhampyr child.

      That’s assuming that the Dhampyr will stay the children of vampires and mortals.

      • You seem to be forgetting that male vampires need not carry the child. They can just copulate after the coil is activated and boom, done.

        • You’re right, I only responded to the case of the vampire being female. As for male, I’d still go with Dhampyr, because that feels more appropriate 🙂

          • I’d say otherwise, the male vampire would not be under the vitae system that would be required to create a Dhampyr. He would be 100% human at that time, thus his progeny while in that state wouldn’t have the necessary mystical power infusion from the vitae.

  12. Numbing Touch might be too powerful for a mortal merit, esp. the second ability of draining Willpower and inflicting damage. When a Willpower point is spent for the “psychic weapon”, is that in addition to the previously mentioned Willpower point? How long does the psychic weapon last, or is the Willpower point spent per turn? How is it determined if the invisible weapon strikes? A regular brawl roll? Is there a contested roll? Is the additional point of Willpower to attack the target’s nervous system the second or third one spent?

    If Grafting the Unholy Flesh lets the vampire get powers from other splats, this could be the rebirth of Sam Haight, not a good thing in most people’s eyes. What roll would it use in that case? How would dterimental effects like paradox and compromise work?

  13. Rites of the Impaled disappoints me. I always thought of the Rite of Impaling as partially Chrysalis-preparation, especially for (perhaps) the Mystery of the Wyrm.

    However, the first dot is currently useless in frenzy (no wound penalties). The second dot is extremely similar to Eternal Frenzy, which is a 5th-tier Mystery – I’d prefer to see different mechanics here. It’s potentially overpowered for a 2-dot merit but can be useless if you have the 5th tier of the Coil it fits the best with thematically. The third dot is quite good for a vampire that boosts Resilience and Vigor, which imo are the “signature” Impaled disciplines. Really not sure why it has a Weaponry dot as a requirement, either.

    All in all I think the merit should be re-worked. I don’t like the lack of synergy with the Mystery it seems spiritually closest-to, even if the third dot is both flavorful and useful.

    Twilight Judge should additionally require the Sworn (Dying Light) merit, probably an additional Status dot, and at least one dot in the Politics skill. There should also be some method to resist or be immune to the status loss – what if the Judge is targeting a 5-dot Sworn?

    I don’t like the Chapterhouse or Perilous Nest merits. With Chapterhouse, it’s a flavor objection – the idea that the Chapterhouse is built on a Nest seems a bit weird when Nests move around. The mechanics are good though. A simple “mystically aligned space” type-descriptor would serve just as well. (Similar to “Occult Alignment” but for frenzy/violence rolls.)

    With Perilous Nest, the merit doesn’t work for me on core concept. Simply having one available for purchase turns down the drama and excitement of exploring them “in the wild” and in general play. Some sort of risk – to the owner of the nest – should necessarily be involved with being the Guardian of a Perilous nest. Right now it seems to represent the opposite – a sort of tamed nest that works as a mystical fortress for the owner of the merit. I’d honestly rather have high-occult characters represent that with something like a weird ghost retainer anchored to their haven or something.

    Worth noting: Per old Ordo Dracul policies, being possessed by a spirit, etc. was grounds for death by diablerie. I note this because of the flavor description of the Automatic Writing merit…


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