The Vampire office has been a busy place lately. I’ve been developing our Dark Eras chapter, which takes place in Elizabethan London. I’ve also been hammering on the outlines for Secrets of the Covenants, for which I’m now mobilizing the writing team, and the next book after that, which we’ll be announcing soon.
Against that backdrop, I’d like to present our newest experimental bloodline, once again by David A. Hill, Jr.
Your line traces back to the Camarilla? You have the blood of a lost clan? Dear childe, I have the blood of Typhon running through my veins. I am a king among monsters. You may not have heard of me. But don’t worry your pretty little head — I’ve heard of you.
The Kerberos have mastered the Beast’s interactions with others, and use them to terrifying ends in social situations. They act as feral politicians, savage diplomats, and wild seducers. They refuse to sacrifice ferocity for acumen. They do not mince words. They crush opposition with the weight of their animalistic presence.
Adapt or die. This is a concept many Gangrel know all too well. The Kerberos have faced extinction time and again. Each time, they reinvent themselves. While this causes tradition and history to fade, the Kerberos remember why they came to be, and prefer relevance to righteousness.
Background: The Kerberos go back two thousand years, to the Greek isles. Their progenitor saw too many Embraces for the population. He petitioned the local tyrant for an official role as a gatekeeper, an arbiter for the Embrace. He claimed his sire was Typhon, the Father of Monsters. This afforded him the authority to judge, to determine who did or did not deserve the Embrace. A potential sire would go to him, presenting the childe-to-be.
Over time, the need for his intervention spread and grew. He could not keep his duties up with the swaths of population he needed to cover. He Embraced childer to task with his role elsewhere.
As the centuries passed, a growing number of vampires grew disgusted with him and his childer. They felt it was their own responsibility to choose and Embrace their scions, and none should limit their rights as such. They rose up and destroyed the bloodline founder, and many of his brood. The survivors spread to the winds, and abandoned their mission in their sire’s absence.
Their skill was always to test others and find how they handle the taint of the Beast. Coming to Byzantium in the sixth century, the line found a new role in the form of master interrogators for vampires of the nascent Lancea et Sanctum. They unleashed the Beast on victims, forcing them into submission and demanding obeisance.
This new purpose lasted a handful of centuries, before the New Rome movement painted them part of the pagan scourge looking to infiltrate and conquer the church. Again, they found themselves chased into the wilds, rejected and eschewed by their patrons.
They took on numerous other roles over the years. Each time, that purpose lasted for some time, before ending shamefully. Now, they’re looking for an identity once again. They need a new purpose. Some members of the line lobby to put themselves back in their historic role as judges for the Embrace. Of course, no covenant or rational city would allow such a thing, except from the deepest of shadows, murdering unworthy sires and investigating prospects for the Embrace.
Tonight, they act as social predators and urban monsters, cowing the competition with their fierce Beasts in back alleys and boardrooms.
The Becoming: Kerberos recruit based on social acumen and wise judgment. Even though their role as arbiters of the Embrace has long since faded, they choose with that heritage in mind. Mental and Social Attributes are often primary, with Intimidation, Investigation, and Subterfuge rounding out their most common Skills. They favor Power Attributes (Intelligence, Strength, and Presence) because of their Hound of Hell bloodline gift. Many keep Mentors in the forms of their sires or grandsires. Bloodline members only rarely keep elaborate havens, because of their history of being chased from city to city. Most rise rapidly in their respective Covenants. Consider Covenant Status to reflect this.
Interactions With the Danse: Many Gangrel act as enforcers, bodyguards, or hounds. Kerberos eschew their expected roles, and instead focus on dominating the political arena. They don’t tend to the top of the hierarchies in their respective cities; you won’t see many Kerberos Princes or Czars. But they tend to launch movements. Many take up roles as Senators, Primogen, or Councillors. They particularly shine in covenant leadership, where they intimidate and inspire their charges to compete. Kerberos favor the Carthian Movement because of their often brash dispositions, or the Circle of the Crone due to their affinity for older faiths, like the one that birthed them.
Nickname: Children of Typhon, Watchdogs
Bloodline Bane: Kerberos wield the Predatory Aura (see Blood & Smoke, p. 91) as if it’s second nature. Against any character not currently subject to a Predatory Aura Condition (Bestial, Competitive, Wanton), they lose the 10-again quality on all non-reflexive actions. This bane never applies to Predatory Aura rolls.
Bloodline Disciplines: Animalism, Majesty, Protean, Resilience
Bloodline Gift: The Three Heads of Kerberos
The gift of Kerberos is an attunement with the Beast, a Predatory Aura honed to a fine, hard edge. All Kerberos gain The Hound of Hell advantage, and can purchase three Merits, the Three Heads of Kerberos to reflect the three Aspects of the Beast: Competitive, Monstrous, Seductive.
The Hound of Hell
This advantage, this birthright, gives the Kerberos an edge in any interactions with the Beast. First off, instead of +2, she gains her Blood Potency as a bonus any time she’s pursuing her Beast’s aspect for the scene she’s used Predatory Aura. Secondly, she adds any relevant Three Heads of Kerberos Merit to her dice pool for lashing out.
Merit: The Three Heads of Kerberos (• to •••••; Style)
Your Kerberos character has honed one of her three Aspects of the Beast. Choose which this Merit reflects when purchasing this Merit. You may take this Merit multiple times, each reflecting a different Aspect.
Honing (•): Your character’s Beast comes out stronger when using the chosen Aspect. Add her dots in this Merit when lashing out with that Aspect.
Internalizing (••): Your character can draw the power of the Beast inward, letting herself know what she does to her victims. This gives her a deeper understanding of her capabilities, and the experience of letting the Beast out allows her to hone them. She can take the chosen Aspect’s Condition (Bestial for Monstrous, Competitive for Competitive, or Wanton for Seductive) at any time she’d like, in order to resolve it for Beats.
Cowing (•••): Your character’s Beast demands obeisance. When successfully applying the Predatory Aura, you can choose to forego the normal Condition afforded, and instead apply a variant of the Subservient Condition (see B&S, p. 306) that only applies to commands that would fit in with the Aspect in question.
Striking (••••): Your character infects with her Beast through other actions beyond lashing out. By spending a Willpower point, she can lash out reflexively, so long as she’s affecting the victim with something else simultaneously. Most commonly, this means slashing a victim with her claws while infecting them with the Beast. But it could mean using it while investigating them with Auspex, shooting them with a pistol, while entrancing them with Majesty, while feeding them her blood, while seductively touching them, feeding from them, or any other number of effects.
The Fires of Hell (•••••): Your character’s Beast spreads like a wildfire. Any time she lashes out, you may choose additional victims equal to her Blood Potency to feel the effects. They all must fight or flight against your successes rolled. Note that to use this with Striking, the catalyst action must be able to affect all desired victims.