As I mentioned last time, we’ve been experimenting with different ways to design bloodlines, based on the new mechanics and design patterns employed in Blood and Smoke. The first in the series was an all-new line, the Neglatu. The second updates an old favorite from Bloodlines: The Hidden. Here are David Hill’s Khaibit.
You say you know the darkness. You know it like a child that’s read a fairy tale. I know it, because it’s part of me. It’s in my blood. My eyes. My seed. My spit. Unless you know me, you don’t know the darkness. And nobody knows me. Nobody still standing, at least.
The Khaibit are an ancient line, drawn from Egyptian stock. They come from a Mekhet cult that all but died off centuries ago. Their role was initially to serve Set, and to do his will in forcing back some greater, unknown darkness. While the specifics of their role have been lost to the ages, they now have a different calling; they’re the best known line of defense against the Strix.
To fight the darkness, they became the darkness. Set endowed their blood with a darkness beyond the simple absence of light. The blood in Khaibit veins mutates, and becomes an inky blackness they can call forth as a weapon against the unnatural.
Background: The Khaibit stand as one of the oldest known bloodlines. Most that know of them know they come from Egypt, their name meaning “shadows”. In recent history, the Khaibit rose to prominence as a reaction to Strix attacks in South America and the Mediterranean. As cities fell victim to the Owls, a few Khaibit took up the task of fighting them back. While they’re not widely known, they’re a rumor on numerous tongues.
For more on the Khaibit, you can read a thorough history in Bloodlines: The Hidden, and other information in Fall of the Camarilla.
The Becoming: Khaibit are chosen for their will and integrity, and often their ability to fight. However, while the first two are of the utmost importance, the third can be taught. Khaibit often Embrace their prospects directly into the lineage. When outside Mekhet are brought into the line, it’s because of a specific need. Often, recruits are inducted to fill a highly specialized role. For example, a Khaibit may need an infiltrator that knows computer-based intrusion techniques. While they could Embrace a mortal with those skills, it’s impractical to find a good fit that both has the desired skills, and can learn what they need in the time frame necessary.
In the Danse Macabre: Khaibit act as sentinels and bodyguards. While the details of their calling are lost to all but the most scholarly, their abilities have an obvious application in fighting off the Strix. This gives them a protected status in besieged domains, where courts with known Khaibit will overlook most minor crimes they commit. After all, the Khaibit represent their clearest weapon against the Parliament of Owls However, this sometimes goes to extremes. Powerful Kindred will bribe or coerce a Khaibit into Embracing their bodyguards, or acting as an Avus to their associates in order to proliferate further defenses.
Individually, many Khaibit sell their services to the highest bidder. A bodyguard who can stand against not only other Kindred but the yellow-eyed monsters under the bed is a valuable asset. Khaibit are also masters of intrusion and stealth, and can escape situations too sticky for their Kindred.
When Khaibit join the All Night Society, they tend toward the Circle of the Crone as a way of exploring and understanding their spiritual heritage. Some more knightly members join the Invictus.
Bloodline Bane: Khaibit blood is so attuned to the darkness that they suffer in immense light. In any light bright enough to inhibit normal vision, the Khaibit suffers the Blinded Tilt and lose access to their Udjat gift for the scene.
Bloodline Disciplines: Auspex, Celerity, Obfuscate, Vigor
The Khaibit gift of Obtenebration expresses their affinity for the darkness within their blood. In addition to the ability to control and shape shadows, Khabit can temporarily become darkness and travel through the darkness. Lastly, they can wield the shadows as a weapon against otherworldly forces. This makes them invaluable against the Strix.
All Khaibit gain the first Devotion, the Udjat, upon joining the bloodline. Additional Devotions have prerequisites as normal, and cost 2 Experiences each. For those that have never seen Obtenebration, it can inspire deep, instinctive fear. The first time a character experiences a clear manifestation of Obtenebration, he must succeed at a Resolve + Composure roll or suffer the Shaken Condition.
This most basic gift of Khaibit heritage gives them perfect sight in even the utmost darkness. Khaibit never suffer penalties from darkness, and see subtle shifts in heat and movement where others would be blind. They are unaffected by blindness induced by injury or supernatural forces.
By focusing her attention and spending a point of Vitae, a Khaibit can attune her senses to the unseen. This allows her to see spirits, Strix, angels, and other immaterial beings for the scene. This includes beings in Twilight. While she has her senses so enhanced, she’s immune to the Strix’s possession.
By opening a vein, the Khaibit can release the darkness within her blood as an instant action, blanketing the area in darkness. With the expenditure of a single Vitae, the cloud of shadow extends out from the wound in a radius a number of yards (or meters) equal to the vampire’s Blood Potency. The Khaibit can expend more Vitae to expand the cloud further from its center. Alternatively, the Khaibit can expel the cloud from her mouth instead of an open wound.
Shadows touching those the Khaibit has created with the Tyet become hers to shape. She can manipulate their forms, absorb them into the cloud, and otherwise mold them to her liking. While the shadows have no physical presence, they can be used to divert, trick, and distract.
Prerequisite: Vigor 2
This signature gift of the Khaibit allows her to draw the shadows into a palpable form with the expenditure of one or more Vitae and an instant action. She can use this to coat simple tools or weapons. Weapons so coated cause 1 additional lethal damage to physical targets (including Kindred), but cause her Blood Potency in lethal damage to noncorporeal entities, including spirits and Strix. Coated objects add her Blood Potency as Durability, and the number of Vitae spent as Structure. If she possesses Tyet as well, she can manipulate the item coated with Pseshkf as if she were touching it with her hands.
Prerequisite: Vigor 2
Khaibit can draw shadow to themselves, and become one with the darkness. To use the Ba, the Khaibit must be touching a shadow at least as big as herself (this could include her own shadow in many cases, or shadow created by the Tyet). She spends three points of Vitae, and at least one instant action, or more if her Blood Potency means she cannot spend the entirety in a turn. Once she’s become shadow, she’s immune to anything short of fire, sunlight, the Pseshkf, or things that specifically hurt ephemeral entities. Other ephemera can affect her normally. She is immune to abjuration.
In this form, she cannot directly affect her environment. However, she can activate the Pseshkf if she possesses it, and can assail spirits and other ephemeral creatures. While in this form, fire, sunlight, and other forms of harm cause her two additional levels of damage. She travels at half her Speed, and must travel along solid objects. However, she’s not constrained by anything that wouldn’t stop light.
Prerequisite: Obfuscate 2
With this gift, the Khaibit can travel rapidly through shadows. She dissolves into one part of the shadow, and emerges anywhere along the same patch of shade. This can be shadow created by the Tyet. Spend a Vitae reflexively, and the character fades into and out of the shadow instantly. If using this as part of a Dodge action, roll her Dodge with the rote quality once per scene.
Prerequisite: Celerity 2