The Jaws of the Beast

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.

Clan: Gangrel

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)

Prerequisite: Kerberos

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.


25 responses to “The Jaws of the Beast”

  1. Tom Avatar

    sounds quite intresting but one question (for clarification) though
    “Bloodline Bane” as combat is also nonreflexive does it also count there or only for social actions?

    1. machineiv Avatar

      Use your best judgment. I have been using it to reflect combat actions, and it’s been fine. It just means if you intend on fighting someone, you’ve got to Lash Out first.

      And if you don’t, it’s just 10-again. Not a huge penalty.

  2. Leliel Avatar

    Awesome, Aura masters and proof that Gangrel can be masterminds!

    Though, they do wonder why those weird Underworld shamans suddenly start walking away VERY QUICKLY whenever they’re around…

  3. wyrdhamster Avatar

    I love them! I want to play Requiem with character from Kerberos like right now! 🙂

  4. JoshMcNatt Avatar

    I’m guessing it’s merely lingual, but is there any connection to the Kerberoi of the Underworld?

    1. machineiv Avatar

      Probably not. But, it could be an interesting tie to make.

  5. Eric Crabtree Avatar
    Eric Crabtree

    What do you thin would happen if they ran into a pack of Blood Talons belonging to the Lodge of Cerberus?

  6. hoodedclaw Avatar

    Is it just me or is “Honing” exactly the same as the secondary part of the Hounds of Hell gift – i.e. they both add merit dots to the dicepool for lashing out with the chosen aspect? Is this an oversight, or a misreading on my part?

    1. Oliver Avatar

      Any vague, future plans about a new post-B&S book of bloodlines? I really like the way you’re making them.

    2. machineiv Avatar

      It is. It sets the foundation for the gift. Without the Merit, you don’t really get the gift. The first dot of the Merit gives you the first +1. That’s its advantage.

  7. devil bunny Avatar
    devil bunny

    One word: awesome

  8. Joe B. Avatar
    Joe B.

    Excellent! Could we have the bloodline symbol?

  9. Tadanori Oyama Avatar
    Tadanori Oyama

    I like this new direction for Bloodlines.

  10. Aspel Avatar

    I love the way Bloodlines work. I can only hope that the other *Chronicle books will be using such interesting systems.

    Although Rose, y u do dis? I saw your name and “Kerberos” and got excited for Geist things.

  11. Maskah Avatar

    I like the approach you guys are taking with bloodline powers. It is by far better than the approach of making them disciplines.

  12. WinterRat1 Avatar

    Took a closer look at this Bloodline, let me get this straight.

    1. They get a 4th Discipline (like all Bloodlines)
    2. They get a special Gift/Advantage
    3. They get their own special unique Style
    4. They pretty much can’t lose any Predatory Aura challenges ever
    5. They get a pseudo-Dominate
    6. They get around the multiple actions in a turn prohibition (normally people are limited to 1 Action/Turn)
    7. They get an Area-Of-Effect power/attack
    8: Their Disadvantage isn’t even a Disadvantage, because they’ll always have a Predatory Aura condition on someone thanks to their Style
    9. They pretty much can’t lose ANY Predatory Aura challenges EVER

    Can someone explain to me how this ever made it through development? Maybe I’m not familiar enough with all the nWOD Bloodlines, but that seems ridiculously overpowered to me. Especially the part about you know, not ever losing.

    And I was so proud of B&S for getting rid of all the random super-powered Bloodlines that was so common to previous versions of the game…

    1. Styx Avatar

      1. That means not needing a tutor and a 5xp cost reduction max.
      2. It seams gifts is the new thing as all new bloodlines lack unique disciplines now. :/
      3. Styles cost 15xp to max.. That’s as much as an in-clan discipline to 5 dots. Also three styles to be precise.
      4.Predatory aura costs 1 WP to initiate or 1 WP if you reply to someone with a higher BP. Also anyone who has resolved one of the aspect conditions is immune to that type for a month. A BP(1) Kerberos with the style at 5 has a whooping 2 die advantage over somebody who sunk those 15xp into BP(4). Plus conditional modifiers.
      5. The pseudo dominate costs 3xp and has 3xp of pre-requisites and is severely limited in what commands can be given, can be resisted with WP and doesn’t affect memory. Although I am interested if it’s a temporary variant or lasts the whole week like p.306 describes. :S
      6.Nothing prohibits multiple actions, only multiple attacks. You have always been able to use reflexive actions alongside instant actions.
      7. AoE power… they get Majesty. Also what happens when the Kerberos loses the AoE predatory aura. :/
      8. It’s a disadvantage in any situation where your chosen form of domination is inappropriate or situations where stealth and subtlety is required. Also against everybody they are unable to cow like: elders, people they can’t interact face to face with, large organisations or anything that isn’t social interaction like researcher, investigation or tracking prey.
      9. They lose less often, in their chosen way. Any other situation, they suck.

      -Not a developer

      1. Unahim Avatar

        You seem to have misunderstood merit prices. Each dot costs 1xp. it’s not 1xp + 2xp + 3xp, etc… that’s how it worked in the previous rules, but not anymore. Everything has a flat cost. Disciplines also arent 3xp * new dot rating anymore, but 3xp per level, flat. (in clan, ofc)

      2. Maskah Avatar

        This pretty much sums up why this bloodline is not OP. Even though the XP cost are off for the new system, the idea of how much XP you have to sink in is still there. Same with having to specialize into something in order to be better at it than others.

  13. WinterRat1 Avatar

    Wow,. post an honest critique/questions and it gets deleted by a mod. Clearly this board only wants people who will fawn all over how awesome its products are.

    Yes it’s their right as owners of the board to decide how to administer the comments, but no one should make the mistake of thinking they’re trying to put out the best possible product for the consumer.

    1. IanW Avatar

      Nothing was deleted. All new posters have to have their first comments approved by a mod, so your first comment was held back for approval. In fact, you should have seen a notice similar to “this comment is awaiting moderation” after posting.

  14. WinterRat1 Avatar

    Thank you for the clarification! I apologize for my earlier grumpiness. I saw a ‘this comment is awaiting moderation’ notification in place of the time/date stamp of my first post, but when went I went back to check this thread later my post was gone, so I thought it had gotten deleted, which lead to my second post.

    I apologize to the mods and the forum for not giving them the benefit of the doubt.

    Thanks to IanW for explaining about new posters needing to have their first comments approved.

  15. Maskah Avatar

    The bonus for pursing your aspect is actually a weakness if you are BP 1 and meaningless if you are BP2. You would have a +1 (which is lower than the normal +2) and a +2 (which is exactly the same as the normal +2).

    It would be better if it was +2 +BP or +1+BP.

    So at BP 1 in the first case it would be +3 in the second case it would be +2.

    Which ever is the most balanced while still providing a benefit and not acting as an additional weakness (or simply being meaningless) at low BP.

  16. Maskah Avatar

    The two dot for The Three Heads of Kerberos Internalizing makes sense. You may want to get the bonus of pursuing your aspect, but you also do not want to lash out at anyone to get the bonus. Targeting yourself may actually be more subtle.

    Another benefit to this merit is that you can inoculate yourself in a controlled environment against these conditions, since you can only ever have them once a month. This make sense since this bloodline is going to lash out more than any other kindred, they themselves are going to be contested with an opposing beast, in which case there is a potential to lose the challenge and be subjected to their beast.

    For Kerberos they are much closer to their beast and they use it to gain a better understanding of themselves and their beast, whereas any other vampire is simply weakened by it. Considering the drawbacks of the conditions, players who use that merit are going to have to really put in work to resolve the associated condition since they are not easy to actively resolve given the penalties. A good storyteller will make a player using that merit actually earn the beats while making the process being engaging. A bad or lazy ST will simply hand out the beats. In any case considering how hard it is to actually resolve these conditions they are more likely to fail than anything.

    You can technically think about it as having 1 to 3 additional aspirations.

    With that in mind, the merit is balanced and adds to creative play. This merit should stay the way it is written.

    1. Maskah Avatar

      I misinterpreted some of what I read regarding the second dot. I have since made a corrections in the forums.