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Vampires in Umbra, aka Desperately Seeking Incarna

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  • Vampires in Umbra, aka Desperately Seeking Incarna

    In our campaign we have had a short-term crossover, making our way into the Umbra and fighting a Marauder. Now we are stuck there with no immediately accessible way back, but it occurred to one of our band that some of those mages and werewolves the Marauder was doing ..... things.... to might be our ticket back. We will be exploring that next session.

    Then it occurred to this stalwart that in return for rescuing these wayward souls, we might persuade the Garou to call a spirit for us in return. He's thinking of asking them to summon a Jaggling or Incarna of Vampires in hopes of securing a patron who can perhaps teach Disciplines, serve as a good mentor or ally, or similar ideas.

    I thought it was a pretty spankin' idea. The thought of a vampiric Incarna able to provide knowledge, advice, instruction and so forth to make you the best vampire you can be seems to obvious to me I can't believe it hadn't occurred to me. Who better to help you than a god of vampires? The idea is not to make a "vampire with garou tricks", but rather making one odd, scholarly cainite have a small selection of abilities that make them distinctive without jumping the shark. The ideas presented included learning to step sideways (to the Shadowlands, but one can wander off elsewhere from there), or perhaps a few Fire Snake gifts.

    I was wondering if others had encountered a similar idea. Share your enhancements, objections or cautions!

  • #2
    Originally posted by g3taso View Post
    In our campaign we have had a short-term crossover, making our way into the Umbra and fighting a Marauder. Now we are stuck there with no immediately accessible way back, but it occurred to one of our band that some of those mages and werewolves the Marauder was doing ..... things.... to might be our ticket back. We will be exploring that next session.

    Then it occurred to this stalwart that in return for rescuing these wayward souls, we might persuade the Garou to call a spirit for us in return. He's thinking of asking them to summon a Jaggling or Incarna of Vampires in hopes of securing a patron who can perhaps teach Disciplines, serve as a good mentor or ally, or similar ideas.
    Car before the horses dude, cart before the horses.... the vampires might have stopped the Marauder, but they still have to win over the mages & werewolves trust (not exactly an automatic thing depending on circunstances) and be actually useful in the "road back to prime material", otherwise taking everybody home (instead of leaving the PCs on their own in the Umbra) may count as favor repaid.

    Originally posted by g3taso View Post
    I thought it was a pretty spankin' idea. The thought of a vampiric Incarna able to provide knowledge, advice, instruction and so forth to make you the best vampire you can be seems to obvious to me I can't believe it hadn't occurred to me. Who better to help you than a god of vampires? The idea is not to make a "vampire with garou tricks", but rather making one odd, scholarly cainite have a small selection of abilities that make them distinctive without jumping the shark. The ideas presented included learning to step sideways (to the Shadowlands, but one can wander off elsewhere from there), or perhaps a few Fire Snake gifts.

    I was wondering if others had encountered a similar idea. Share your enhancements, objections or cautions!
    There's also the matter of what would be a "vampire Incarna" in the first place - one would have to map out what the heck exactly are vampires in Garou/Awakened cosmology, something never actually defined anywhere, afaik. The closest we ever got to this are the Garou (debatable) claims the kindred are some sort of wyrm-servant/fomori or the even more obscure rambling of a Tremere antitribu in Rite of Passage about the mysterious Narlthus (some very elusive plot device entity) being an apocryphal antediluvian. But then Narlthus could be anything, from Talon of the Wymr to Antediluvian, Earthbound, Ananasa or Jenova, for that matter.

    Another possibility might be the Ischin entity from the adventure "Quest Beyond Death" in the old Storyteller's Handbook of the Sabbat - something ancient identified as a possible Incarna, exiled outside the world in ages so long past no one beside it even remembers and chockful of disciplines. Might be worth a look for reference in relation to an alternative as "Vampire Incarna" outside of wyrm-stuff.

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    • #3
      I think the vampire would be lucky to even leave the Umbra intact. You may be able to get one of the prisoners you rescued to agree to send you back home out of a sense of obligation, but the most realistic response to a vampire asking for even more goodies is likely, "Don't push your luck, pal. And I don't ever want to see you on the other side."

      I am not sure what exactly would be a "spirit of vampires", but it would definitely be a Bane of some kind. So even if a Garou was willing to provide additional help, it wouldn't likely be that. He'd refuse. And that is assuming 1) the Garou knows the appropriate rite to summon a spirit, and 2) the Garou is capable of summoning a spirit of that power level. Which is probably not the case, but maybe you are in that 10% chance where the Garou you find can do it.

      So let's now assume that somehow happens, what exactly is a vampire spirit? Is it simply a spirit of the Beast that is in the hearts of all vampires (a Bane of the Eater of Souls most likely in Garou terms)? Or maybe it is some kind of spirit of supernatural predation? There isn't a Spirit(s) of Humanity per se, but there are Ancestor spirits - so maybe there is no Spirit of Vampires either, but the Garou can contact some kind of equivalent? Whatever is summoned, it is probably not going to be a creature along the lines you described.

      If you want a spirit that can give you powers, that's easy. Infernalism rules have been in the game a long time even if you like to call your Investments "Disciplines" instead.
      Last edited by Black Fox; 03-05-2017, 12:17 AM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
        Another possibility might be the Ischin entity from the adventure "Quest Beyond Death" in the old Storyteller's Handbook of the Sabbat - something ancient identified as a possible Incarna, exiled outside the world in ages so long past no one beside it even remembers and chockful of disciplines. Might be worth a look for reference in relation to an alternative as "Vampire Incarna" outside of wyrm-stuff.
        That sounds neat. I don't have that book, but the White Wolf forums mention Ischin in reference to Samuel Haight.

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        • #5
          Kindred tend to be associated with the High Umbra (via Auspex), so the Middle Umbra is not the right place unless they want to sign up with the Wyrm (which has plenty of Incarna). Infernalism is fairly standard though.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by g3taso View Post

            That sounds neat. I don't have that book, but the White Wolf forums mention Ischin in reference to Samuel Haight.
            Yes, but truth be told, Haight's presence in the adventure is a footnote more than anything. One could completely cut him from the story and focus thing into
            the Tzimisce the entity mentally influences/dominates and run the adventure exactly the same. Here's the gist of the adventure anyway:

            Plot: The characters become involved in the schemes of a Tzimisce looking for the answers to the question: What lies beyond us in the spirit world?
            The Tzimisce plans to open a doorway to the spirit realms so he can discover the answer first hand. However, a powerful spirit guides his actions and seeks
            the doorway as a means of entering the physical world.

            Ischin - This powerful entity seeks entry onto the physical plane of Earth at any cost. One of Ischin's servants has taken possession of Dr. Hargett's vampiric body and mind, directing him to create a device both magical and technological, which will act as a door to Ischin's spirit realm. Ischin's spirit minions will possess the Sabbat and use their immortal bodies for their own evil schemes.
            For those who use Werewolf, consider Ischin an orphaned Incarna who has lost a great deal of power during the many millennia it has been orphaned. Being orphaned has also kept it from reentering this plane, where it could begin to rebuild its power. Now it has trapped a werewolf in its plane, and is using a magical item it stole from the Lupine to begin its return.

            Ischin's Physical Manifestation
            Physical: Strength 20, Dexterity 13, Stamina 17
            Social: Charisma 13, Manipulation 12, Appearance 8
            Mental: Perception 12, Intelligence 13, Wits 12
            Disciplines (equivalent): Auspex 10, Celerity 7, Dominate 9, Fortitude 8, Obfuscate 7, Presence 7, Thaumaturgy 6
            (Lure of the Flames 6, Movement of the Mind 6, Weather Control 6), anything else the Storyteller desires
            Humanity: 0, Willpower: 10
            Blood Pool (equivalent): 50/10
            All of that said, as previously stated, there's a bunch of bells & hoops for your group to go before even thinking of making such a proposal to some Garou mystic - and i'm going from a neutral standpoint that does not assume kindred to automatically of the Wyrm, something a bunch of players or STs might disagree with, as shown by Black Fox's commentaries on banes and the Eater of Souls, i guess.

            Whatever it is, it's obscure and elusive enough - supposing there's even one only "patron of vampires" and not multiple origins related to multiple strange forces, as implied by alternate myths such as those of the Ravnos, Setites and others in some books of the DA series, for example.
            Last edited by Baaldam; 02-24-2017, 01:33 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by g3taso View Post
              Then it occurred to this stalwart that in return for rescuing these wayward souls, we might persuade the Garou to call a spirit for us in return. He's thinking of asking them to summon a Jaggling or Incarna of Vampires in hopes of securing a patron who can perhaps teach Disciplines, serve as a good mentor or ally, or similar ideas.

              I thought it was a pretty spankin' idea. The thought of a vampiric Incarna able to provide knowledge, advice, instruction and so forth to make you the best vampire you can be seems to obvious to me I can't believe it hadn't occurred to me. Who better to help you than a god of vampires?
              Vampires are predators, parasites, and most relevant of all here, competitors. Why would a hypothetical "vampire that epitomizes everything about vampires" be interested in empowering rather than killing/diablerizing other vampires? That's totally contrary to its nature.

              Conceptually, a "spirit of vampires" lacks real-world mythological basis anyway. Spirits should be tied to non-supernatural phenomena. Spirits of trees, mountains, and abstract concepts (ie, angels and demons) are a-okay, spirits of cities and technology are modern twists on an old concept, but vampire-spirits opens the door to spirits of every other supernatural splat. That gets pretty silly.

              Edit: I do like Black Fox's suggestion of an Eater-of-Souls-associated bane. That's probably the closest thing you're going to see to a "spirit of vampires."
              Last edited by False Epiphany; 02-24-2017, 06:34 AM.


              Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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              • #8
                You could have Lilith show up.

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                • #9
                  If he was outside the Labyrinth, I suppose perhaps the fallen Bat totem might work?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post

                    Vampires are predators, parasites, and most relevant of all here, competitors. Why would a hypothetical "vampire that epitomizes everything about vampires" be interested in empowering rather than killing/diablerizing other vampires? That's totally contrary to its nature.
                    They are people too - what is part of the predator, what is part of the human mind twisted by immortality and powers acting and talking? Let's be careful there with establishing what is "vampiric nature" or not, too much of a slippery slope there.

                    Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
                    Conceptually, a "spirit of vampires" lacks real-world mythological basis anyway. Spirits should be tied to non-supernatural phenomena. Spirits of trees, mountains, and abstract concepts (ie, angels and demons) are a-okay, spirits of cities and technology are modern twists on an old concept, but vampire-spirits opens the door to spirits of every other supernatural splat. That gets pretty silly.
                    Speaking of spirits... Camazotz, Hecate, Lilith, Lamia, Empusa, Kingu, Mictlantecuhtli, the Lords of Xibalba and a bunch of other beings across legends of a variety of cultures come to mind as possible candidates, so i find your "a spirit of vampires lacks real-world mythological basis" affirmation something quite off-putting to say the least.

                    And even if we had none such examples - not like Apocalypse or Ascension don't have lots of spirits with little to no bearing on any mythology whatsoever - the lack of awareness of such a being doesn't on itself preclude its existence, as one might be speaking of a spirit of something ancient and obscure that also happens to cover vampires among other things pertaining to its interests, a sort of distant/elusive to the point of hypothetical patron, somewhat like Queen Ananasa for her children (that also happen to drink blood, blood pool & all) for example.

                    Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
                    Edit: I do like Black Fox's suggestion of an Eater-of-Souls-associated bane. That's probably the closest thing you're going to see to a "spirit of vampires."
                    Uh, why exactly? i'm kind of curious as i don't remember enough garou mythos to see what would make it particularly resonant.
                    Last edited by Baaldam; 02-24-2017, 10:17 AM.

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                    • #11
                      It is the Wyrm reflection of the Weaver, representing corruption from stasis, though it would not probably not notice the attempt (it would be like the planet Jupiter noticing the Juno probe or a human noticing an individual bacteria). However, the Malfean Incarna might notice the plea and would probably be willing to deal with the Kindred through their servants.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                        It is the Wyrm reflection of the Weaver, representing corruption from stasis, though it would not probably not notice the attempt (it would be like the planet Jupiter noticing the Juno probe or a human noticing an individual bacteria). However, the Malfean Incarna might notice the plea and would probably be willing to deal with the Kindred through their servants.
                        You left out the most important part of the EoS: it represents the need to consume without end, to try to fill an infinite spiritual void felt by a being. Inevitably, no amount of consumption sates the Eater-of-Souls or those touched by it. Hence, why it's cited as a parallel to vampiric existence above the Beast-of-War (no points for guessing which part of vampiric existence that parallels).

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                        • #13
                          I had never considered meeting direct avatars of a given supernatural... I think a 'vampire incarna' sounds kinda silly though. Garou don't go out and deal with one big personification of their own species, why should a vampire? Seems more nuanced to deal with other spirits that share themes with vampires without them actually being straight-up vampire spirits.

                          Unless I am badly mistaken, undead don't reflect in the umbra. Their passing might be marked by swarms of lesser banes that snap up the crumbs of misery and torment a vampire leaves in their wake, but I doubt a spiritually dead thing has any direct effect across the Gauntlet.
                          Originally posted by Baaldam View Post

                          Uh, why exactly? i'm kind of curious as i don't remember enough garou mythos to see what would make it particularly resonant.
                          It has to be a Bane to be willing to truck with vampires. This is addressed with abominations- the only spirits that aid them are Banes. I see no reason why a walking corpse with even less connection to Gaia is going to be helped by any other denizen of the umbra. The Eater is the indirect spirit-patron of vampires, so it makes sense.

                          If you wanted the Bane incarna to be called Lillith or assume that identity, go for it... but that could just as easily be a mask used to make it more relatable to the Kindred.
                          Last edited by The Laughing Stranger; 02-24-2017, 04:58 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                            They are people too - what is part of the predator, what is part of the human mind twisted by immortality and powers acting and talking? Let's be careful there with establishing what is "vampiric nature" or not, too much of a slippery slope there.
                            Any ST who wanted to include a "spirit that epitomizes being a vampire" in their games would have to make that call. Mine would be a savage and all-consumptive Bane with no interest in empowering others. If you prefer to have spirits that represent vampires' inner struggles rather than their undiluted nature, or if you see vampires as something other than predators, cool beans, but that take isn't my cup of tea.

                            Speaking of spirits... Camazotz, Hecate, Lilith, Lamia, Empusa, Kingu, Mictlantecuhtli, the Lords of Xibalba and a bunch of other beings across legends of a variety of cultures come to mind as possible candidates, so i find your "a spirit of vampires lacks real-world mythological basis" affirmation something quite off-putting to say the least.
                            You're taking real-world mythological entities and fitting them to vampires. Taking vampires and saying "there's a spirit of them, thus it wants to help vampires be the best vampires they can be" is a gamist construct with no basis in anything but the WoD's own spirit lore. Drop any of those beings into a game, have a vampire approach them seeking power, and you can probably give them more nuanced motives than "they'll turn vampires into better vampires because better vampires are good."


                            Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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                            • #15
                              I disagree with most of the people here. Why CAN'T there be a spiritual reflection of vampires? Or, more appropriate to the PCs' needs, the reflection of the perception of vampires? A spirit that embodies all the Mythic Threads built up over millennia about blood-drinking monsters. The Umbra has never shied away from populating itself with beings that exist for the sole reason that humans (and others) believe they do.

                              I'm imagining a manifestation of Dracula, the most known figure in mortal vampire lore. Obviously not the actual Vlad Tepes, Son of Dracul, who is a being in WoD with his own baggage. But the platonic ideal of "Dracula", the hoary old aristocrat living in a gothic castle in the middle of bleak Transylvania (or an Umbral manifestation of that view). We'll call him "The Count", and his personal power is somewhere between Stoker and Castlevania (if it's an Incarna, more on the Castlevania end, where he had legions of monsters and even Death himself at his command, along with frightening magical power). The Count might alternate between raw, predatory savagery, and cold, refined dark nobility. And if the vampire PCs can catch him in the latter mood, they might convince the Count to deal.

                              Contrary to what others may think, a Vampire Incarna isn't necessarily incapable of giving aid...so long as he gets something in return. One of the more obvious deals he would make is for a tithe in blood. The PCs would need to agree to tithe a certain amount of blood to The Count, whether it's a flat payment every month, a portion of every successful feeding, or an extra blood point appended to every use of Discipline powers they learned from their new Patron. Like any competent Vampire, The Count will use these leeches from the material realm as pawns, vassels paying tribute to him through blood, the currency of the soul.

                              That is, assuming the PCs can find the Count and convince him to negotiate. Although, if the characters make it to the Astral Umbra, they might be able to find him simply by wanting it hard enough. Moreover, this assumes they can afford to dick around in the Umbra, when they could easily starve.


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