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V5 Tzimisce

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  • V5 Tzimisce

    I have worked up a homebrew version of Tzimisce for V5.

    Since this is meant as a temporary patch, I won't spend time exploring much fluff. It's easier (and more likely to maintain continuity when they are published in a canon book) to just refer back to V20 and earlier sources for that. It is intentionally brief, both to make it easier to use when an ST is in sudden need of a Tzimisce npc and to create as few continuity hiccups as possible.

    Tzimisce
    aka Fiends, Flesh-crafters

    Disciplines: Animalism, Auspex, Protean

    Weakness: The Tzimisce are inextricably tied to their domains of origin, and must rest in the proximity of at least two handfuls of “native soil” — earth from a place important to her as a mortal, such as the soil from her birthplace or the graveyard where she underwent her Embrace. Each night spent without this physical connection to her land increases all of the Tzimisce's difficulties by one, cumulatively, until the penalty is equal to her Blood Potency. This penalty is removed by sleeping with the Tzimisce's "native soil", undisturbed, for one full day.

    Clan Compulsion: The Tzimisce value their privacy. When the Compulsion becomes active, the Tzimisce must punish a trespasser in their holdings, even if the only transgressor available is a neighbor who plays their music too loud or a stranger who glances at the Tzimisce's haven while walking their dog. Punishing such rude effrontery satisfies the Compulsion. If no such victim is available, the Tzimisce must spend the scene strengthening their defenses. Any action not related to one of these goals is performed with a two die penalty.
    New Discipline Powers:

    Animalism:
    1. Master of Beasts
    Being the absolute rulers of their Domains, Tzimisce easily command simple animals, whether domestic or wild.
    Cost: None
    System: Add the user's Animalism score to all Animal Ken rolls, and other social rolls against mundane, non-human animals.
    Duration: Passive

    2. Baited Blood:
    The Tzimisce alters their blood to be a powerful attractant to a single animal species. A quantity of the blood is used to mark a small area of land, no more than an acre. The nearest animals of the targeted species are naturally drawn to the area, and will refuse to leave the area until sunrise.
    Dice pool: Resolve+Survival
    Cost: One Rouse Check.
    System: The user must mix some blood of the targeted species with their own and use this mixture to mark an outdoor area. The power attracts a number of animals of the chosen species equal to the successes scored. How long they take to arrive depends on how common they are in the area and how quickly they can get there. Deer are faster than turtles, after all, and a salmon is unlikely to arrive in a cornfield no matter how much they may wish to do so. This power works on any mundane species, though humans may make a Composure+Insight check to resist; even one success allows them to ignore the summons.
    Duration: Until sunrise.

    3. Blood Bridle:
    By feeding blood directly to the spirit of a mundane, non-human animal, the Tzimisce may bloodbond the creature with a single drink of blood, rather than the usual three draughts.
    Cost: One Rouse Check, in addition to the Rouse Check required to feed the ghoul.
    System: Whenever the user feeds their blood to a mundane, non-human animal, it is as if it were the third time on the third night for purposes of creating a ghoul and establishing the blood bond.
    Duration: Passive

    4. Niewolnik:
    Accepting little difference between beasts of the field and forests, and the lumpen humans from which they themselves were made, the Fiend can now take a human as a Famulus.
    Dice pool: Charisma+Leadership
    Cost: as Bond Famulus.
    System: as Bond Famulus.
    Duration: as Bond Famulus.

    5. Ofiara:
    Tzimisce understand that, at times, the spirit of the land grows hungry and demands to be fed. Being resolute rulers of the land, Fiends prefer to select the meal themselves. The Fiend marks the intended victim (known as the Ofiara) with a portion of vitae -some spit in the victim's face, some smear blood across the victim's forehead, some even tattoo the vitae into the Ofiara's very skin. This stain persists until dawn, cannot be scrubbed away, and marks the victim as a hated foe to all who encounter him, whether human or animal. Few Ofiara survive the experience.
    Dice pool: The user rolls Manipulation+Occult vs the victim's Resolve+Occult. If the victim is a vampire, add their Blood Potency to the victim's resistance pool.
    Cost: One Rouse Check.
    System: If the user is successful, for all mundane creatures who encounter the victim, there is a new Tenet in effect: "The Ofiara must be destroyed". The Desire "Kill the Ofiara" is impressed in the minds of all bystanders who encounter the victim. Prey animals treat the Ofiara as a deadly threat that has cornered them, while herd animals are likely to stampede the Ofiara. Worse, predators (including humans) will stop at nothing to kill... and likely eat... the Ofiara as quickly as possible.
    Duration: Until sunrise.

    Auspex

    1. Manorial Prerogative:
    Tzimisce have a well-earned reputation for defending their holdings with a mix of steely dedication and maniacal cruelty. In the moment a Tenet of the chronicle is broken, the user's mind instantly finds an argument to justify the action as a rightful and justified reaction to others' boorish behavior. This power allows them to justify nearly an act, no matter how conventionally "evil" in the name of their right to rule.
    Dice pool: None.
    Cost: None.
    System: Upon purchasing this power, the user acquires the Conviction "Defend Your Property", with either the Tzimisce's Haven or Domain as a Touchstone. Note that such holdings can be violated, damaged, or destroyed just as with a human Touchstone. If this happens, the user loses use of this power until a Domain or Haven is found to replace the old one, and it is properly bound with. (see V5, p240 for details)
    Duration: Passive.

    2. Numinous Lash of Dread:
    The servants of a Tzimisce are often a pitiful lot, living in constant terror of displeasing the Master. This is not just due to the Tzimisce flair for feudal organizational charts and preoccupation with torture. (Though, that certainly contributes.) No, some Fiends are capable of binding spirits and sending them to torment those ghouls who displease them. In such Tzimisce households, the words "yes, master" is always followed with an unspoken, "please, don't hurt me".
    Dice pool: Charisma+Intimidation
    Cost: None, though the power only works on ghouls blood-bound to the user, which carries its own cost in blood.
    System: The user rolls and inflicts an amount of Willpower damage up to the number of successes gained against any one of their ghouls. The damage is usually accompanied by intense pain of the Master's choice, though it is always clear the cause is the Master's ire. (Freezing, burning, needles, a hard slap, a sensation of falling, the bites of phantasmal beasts, etc. are all options) If the target succeeds on a Composure+Occult roll, the damage is superficial. If the roll is failed, it is aggravated. This power can be used at any distance.
    Duration: One attack.

    3. Rouse the Spirits:
    The Tzimisce briefly communes with local nature spirits, offering a simple deal. Grant the user an infusion of confidence and luck, and be paid in the rich vitae of the Tzimisce. This power gives rise to rumors of Tzimisce possessing inexhaustable wills.
    Dice pool: The user rolls Manipulation+Occult.
    Cost: One Rouse Check. This is often a gruesome process, as the Tzimisce scatters or smears blood in the area, in a ritual designed by the local spirits.
    System: Completing the ritual takes an hour and must be performed in the user's Domain, Haven, or in the location from which they dig their "native soil". The user heals a number of aggravated or superficial willpower points equal to the successes gained.

    4. Feast of Knowledge:
    It is said when Vampires feed, they absorb more than simple blood, they drink of the vessel's soul. This power allows the user to learn both facts and skills from their victims. Sadly, a new library is required each time, as such violation kills the victim.
    Dice pool: Intelligence+Insight.
    Cost: One Rouse Check.
    System: The user must fully drain the vessel, killing them. One success may be spent to learn basic biographical information about the victim, such as name, age, beliefs, occupation, and what skills they possess at what levels. Further successes increase the user's score in a skill known by the victim, as chosen by the user at the time the victim is drained. Each success allocated to increasing a skill increases the user's skill by one, but cannot raise the skill higher than the level known by the victim.
    Duration: Until sunrise. This can be extended by another 24 hours with an additional Rouse check.

    5. Genius Loci
    Once this power is learned, the Tzimisce spiritually merges with their Domain, becoming both a vampire and a Genius Loci - the spirit of a place.
    Dice Pool: None to establish the bond.
    Cost: see below.
    System: The Genius Loci can shift her perceptions to any point within her Domain at will, seeing, hearing, smelling and so forth as if she were physically present. While doing so, she is unaware of her physical location. Once perceptions have been shifted, she may use certain disciplines as if she were physically present in the location. To do so, she must first make a Rouse roll in addition to any check required by the power. Then she can use Animalism, Auspex, Dominate, and Presence powers as if present, having eye contact, and physically touching a single person she chooses she can see in the Domain.
    Duration: Passive.

    Protean
    For Tzimisce, the body is nothing but the physical manifestation of the vampire's soul and mind. By twisting the soul into new shapes, they can do the same to the body. Some of these powers are usable on others, but are never effective on vampires with a higher blood potency. There have been rumors that this set of powers is in some way tainted by some sort of curse. Whatever the cause, many of them carry a high cost. The contorting of the vampire's soul necessary to use these powers inflicts Stains on that soul, and tends to erode empathy for others over time.

    Indeed a small group of Tzimisce dissidents refuse to learn any of these powers, fearing either the corruptive side-effects or out of personal distaste for being so concerned with one's physical form. These "Dracul" claim to have committed themselves to more spiritual pursuits, and in some twisted logic replace Protean with Dominate as an in-clan discipline. The main clan calls them greedy hypocrites who care more about accruing power in human society than perfecting their physical self.

    All the following powers require prolonged physical contact with the subject. In combat, this likely requires a grapple be achieved.

    1. Unnaturally Supple
    The Tzimisce's body becomes impossibly flexible, as if it were made of rubber or a thick gel. While able to comfortably perform all the usual functions of a body, like bearing weight or standing upright, their body is able to twist into bizarre shapes and squeeze through small openings.
    Dice Pool: See below.
    System: The power can be used at will. To squeeze through a small opening, roll Stamina+Athletics. With one success, the user can squeeze through an opening the size of their skull. Divide the smallest opening passable by total successes. (So, at three successes the user can squeeze through an opening 1/3 the size of his skull.) In addition, many minor tricks are possible, such as escaping handcuffs, sleeping the day away in a small container of at least the same volume of the vampire (average human volume=95 liters), and frightening the mundanes by spinning the vampire's head 180 degrees with ease.
    Duration: Passive. Any form contorted into can be held as easily as the vampire's "natural" form.

    1. Enhance the Form
    The user can make quick upgrades to their form with an hour or so of surgery on themselves.
    Dice Pool: Intelligence+Medicine
    Cost: One Rouse Check.
    System: If the user has experience points to spend they may do so immediately, with no training time needed. These xp can be spent on any physical attribute, physical skill, social skill, and even certain advantages at the st's discretion, such as Stunning or Iron Gullet.

    1. Torture
    The user can make miniscule changes to victims who are restrained, as part of their learning process in transforming others' forms. Though not significant enough to change the functionality of a subject's body, they are intensely painful and a deeply personal violation of the self.
    Dice Pool: Manipulation+Intimidation
    Cost: One Rouse Check, and One Stain.
    System: Each roll takes approximately ten minutes, and the user does a point of aggravated willpower damage for every success scored. In addition, the Tzimisce may choose to leave behind small scars and marks which increase the difficulty of all rolls that rely on beauty by 1.
    Duration: The pain is temporary, but the mental effects may be quite long-lasting. Small scars and marks heal once the willpower damage is healed.

    2. Changeling
    Tzimisce with this power change their visage the way others change their hairstyle.
    Dice Pool: Resolve+Craft
    Cost: One Rouse Check.
    System: Each use of this power allows the user to change their physical appearance. The greater the number of successes, the more drastic the change and the more precisely their goals are attained. The main limits of this power are that it cannot change the user's total mass, and cannot be so extreme as to require a mechanical change to the character. If the user possesses a Looks-based flaw, it cannot be repaired... though the details of it's description can certainly change. So, a man who is Repulsive because of twisted limbs and horrific scars could become a woman who is Repulsive due to a severe skin infection and pus-filled eyes, but could not become a Stunning beauty. On the other hand, those with a Looks-based merit can voluntarily remove it. Though, once removed it is gone permanently, with a loss of the points as well. This power can be used to impersonate a specific person, with a Manipulation+Craft roll; each success increases the difficulty for observers to detect the imposter.
    Duration:Permanent. All changes persist until they are changed once again. Most users find it exceedingly difficult to revert to an earlier form. Doing so must be handled as an impersonation.

    2. Perfect the Form
    Part of learning the fleshcrafting arts of the Tzimisce is developing a healthy disdain for stable appearances, but none can deny that humans and many vampires value beauty. The correct appearance can greatly enhance the odds of attaining one's goals. The correct musculature can also make one a more effective warrior, or stealthier intruder.
    Dice Pool: Intelligence+Medicine, difficulty 5.
    Cost: One Rouse check.
    System: The user must select a physical or social skill to be enhanced, at the time the power is used. The user spends an hour physically molding their body into a form more useful for the skill. For example, they might acquire a general's strong jaw for Leadership, a dancer's elongated lines for Performance, or the hulking muscles of a thug to enhance Brawl. Regardless, they are still recognizable as themselves. If the roll is successful, the user may add their Protean score to all dice pools which use the chosen skill.
    Duration: Permanent, until they use this power again.

    2. Curse the Visage
    The Tzimisce has learned to change the forms of others, but not with much finesse beyond just grabbing some flesh and twisting it into a tumorous mass. Indeed, subjects of this power usually emerge as horrific monsters. Happily, this is sort of what Tzimisce with this power are going for.
    Dice Pool: Intelligence+Medicine or Dexterity+Medicine.
    Cost: One Rouse check, and One Stain.
    System: If the subject is restrained or willing, the user can strip away xp from social skills and advantages at the rate of one xp per success on an Intelligence+Medicine roll. Such a use takes one hour per roll. If used in combat, the user can simply grab and pull random flesh. The user rolls Dexterity+Medicine. Each success removes one xp worth of the Looks Advantage. With sufficient successes (nine), a victim who is Stunning could be reduced to Repulsive.
    Duration: Vampires will revert to their usual forms after sleeping a full day, as usual. Mortals are not so lucky, and can only restore lost traits by spending xp to replace those traits... likely requiring extensive surgery in the process.

    3. Doppelganger
    Changes to one's own visage now become instinctive. Simply by drinking a victim's blood, the Tzimisce can impersonate them.
    Dice Pool: Wits+Performance
    Cost: One Rouse Check, and One Stain.
    System: The user must drink the target's blood. The user then rolls Wits+Performance, and makes a Rouse Check. The user is wracked with pain as their body explodes and rebuilds itself in the shape of their target. Within a matter of moments, they transform into a duplicate of the subject.
    Duration: The transformation lasts for one night per success on the activation roll. If the user drains the victim completely, the change is permanent... until, of course, changed again.

    3. Reform the Self
    The user now becomes able to reduce themselves to a physical tabula rasa and rebuild themselves from the ground up. This allows tremendous versatility in one individual, with careful planning.
    Dice Pool: Resolve+Medicine.
    Cost: One Rouse Check per roll.
    System: Each roll takes a full night of planning, and the user emerges changed upon the next sunset. For each success rolled the user can strip away an equal number of xp from any of their physical attributes, physical skills, social skills, and certain advantages (such as Looks) at the ST's discretion. These can be banked in their own xp total. With a separate roll... and a separate night and day.... the user can freely spend a number of xp equal to their successes on the new roll on any eligible trait, as before.
    Duration: Permanent, until changed again.

    3. Transform Others
    The user learns to make the same changes they can make in themselves, with Changeling, in others.
    Dice Pool: as Changeling.
    Cost: as Changeling, plus One Stain.
    System: as Changeling.
    Duration: as Curse the Visage.

    4. Craft Szlachta
    The user takes the raw material of a person or animal and twists them to Fiend's whims, creating a loyal -if monstrous- servant.
    Dice Pool: Intelligence+Medicine. Each roll takes a full night of work.
    Cost: One Rouse Check per roll, when the process is finished, one dot of Humanity.
    System: The subject must be restrained, ghouled, and blood-bound to the Tzimisce. The Fiend can strip away xp and spend them elsewhere on the subject's character sheet, at the rate of one xp per success. In addition, by spending five successes the user can rewrite a Conviction, Ambition, or Goal through neuropsychiatric conditioning. Obviously, most Tzimisce choose Convictions like "Must Obey the Master" and "Defend the Master". This power cannot be used on vampires.
    Duration: Functionally permanent.

    4. Spawn the Revenant
    The user is able to create a half-vampire, half-ghoul servant. This is a project of decades, but well worth it in the end.
    Dice Pool: Intelligence+Medicine, each roll takes a full night.
    Cost: One Rouse Check per roll, and One Stain.
    System: The user restrains a pregnant woman, and performs unholy experiments upon her and her unborn child. Once ten total successes are accrued, the child is changed. They develop a latent infection with whatever alien contagion created the Tzimisce. The child is born and matures normally, though with a much higher incidence of mental instability, a tendency toward higher intelligence, and, often, a proclivity for perverse cruelty. The first time the child tastes vampire blood from any source, they will die and rise the next sunset as a thin-blooded vampire wholly bound to the Tzimisce who cursed them. The bond never fades, but the fledgling is in all other ways a normal thin-blood. if the child dies before tasting vampire blood, they simply die. Oddly, the latent infection the child carries is communicable. If they themselves have children before (or after!) the embrace, those children will also be latent thin-bloods.
    Duration: Permanent.

    5. Awaken the Zulo Form
    The user transforms themselves into a huge monster, with amphbious skin, large piscine eyes, and row upon row of shark-like teeth.
    Dice Pool: Taking the form is automatic. Returning to the usual form requires a Composure+Etiquette roll.
    Cost: No cost to transform, One Rouse Check to return to normal. Learning the power costs one dot of Humanity.
    System: The user add their Blood Potency to all their physical attributes and Brawl, and effectively acquire the equivalent of Potence 1, Lethal Body, due to their huge claws and fearsome fangs. Charisma and Manipulation drop to 1, and they acquire the Repulsive flaw. The user's Intimidation score doubles. Tzimisce with this power automatically take this form when in frenzy. No Remorse rolls can be made on any night when the monstrous form has been taken.
    Duration: Oddly, most users find themselves awakening in this form each night, having to consciously revert to their usual form. Most don't mind.

    5. Liquify
    The user transforms themselves into a thick gruel of blood, able to climb up walls, slide across ceilings, and through tiny cracks.
    Dice Pool: None, the transformation is automatic.
    Cost: One Rouse Check.
    System: The user may still move across any solid or liquid surface at their usual speed. They are immune to most forms of non-Aggravated damage.
    Duration: Until the next sunset.

  • #2
    Amazing! You really captured the feel of the clab

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    • #3
      I quite like this idea.
      But... I have an issue with the Stain cost on certain powers. I do not think its a good idea to inherently have a Stain based of activating the power, because that should come from the activity you're using the power for.


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      • #4
        Growls

        I skipped over a lot of fluff description for space purposes. (I know, I know, everyone roll their eyes that I edited this down, but I did.)

        Vicissitude has traditionally been described as a very gruesome discipline. The user thrusts their hands into another person and rearranges flesh and bone as desired.

        This is a traumatic experience for nearly anyone. Surgeons and soldiers spend a good chunk of their training developing a professional distance from the bodies they interact with. More than a few people who aspire to these professions find themselves looking for a less gruesome area of practice.

        There's a reason doctors, veterinarians, and military veterans all share such a high suicide rate.

        I used to be a tattoo artist, and got used to working on people who might be screaming, or passing out, or some other foolishness, with the paradoxical recipe all caregivers rely on: detachment and empathy. I only saw one percent of what someone who goes deeper into a person than a millimeter or two does, but it was sometimes a lot of responsibility to deal with. (Not why I quit. Long story.)

        The detachment that makes surgery possible, though, is the exact opposite of what a vampire needs to maintain Humanity.

        To explain the stresses, I've whipped up a quick piece of fiction to illustrate.

        Possibly NSFW. Those of you in the first few rows may get squicked.

        Imagine if, in real life, you were trapped on a desert island with someone suffering appendicitis.

        Help is hours away. The doctor on the satellite phone says you have to operate now, or the patient will die.

        An hour later, as the doctor talks you through it, you find yourself elbow deep in the abdominal cavity, while your best friend holds down the patient. You use a small steak knife to cut away swollen tissue you've tied off with some dental floss. You fumble with a blood encrusted Bic lighter to cauterize the wounds as you go. The patient bellows and raves in the delirium of pain. What you thought might be a lung turns out to be the stomach when it twists and squirms as the patient throws up. You pause a moment to let your friend clear the airway. The heart, visible to your left, flutters like a shivering puppy, and the bowels, a slimy snake that feels like a bag of shit, lays heavily across your legs. The patient shrieks, begging for death when you wash out the abdomen with filtered sea-water. Barely controlling your blind panic, you gently stuff guts back into the body. You try to realign the layers of muscle, fat, and skin, like a puzzle from the bowels of hell. You methodically sew each layer shut.

        You realize you can drop the stoic face and begin crying, as the patient finally... finally... loses consciousness and stops screaming.

        As you sit back up, a haze comes over you. You can't think of words for the things you see. Those tall things with leaves might be called trees. That blue thing above you, brushed with wisps of white, might be called a sky. Hand. Yes that thing you have managed to hold up and flex is called a hand. It's covered in blood and chunks of something.

        You sit there on the beach, shivering. No, wait, you're nothing but a shiver. A primal curling sensation fills your body and doubles you over. You pant and breathe like every creature that has ever made it through to the other side of something. How? How are you done? That's when it hits you. You were inside. You cupped a life in your hands. You look over the blood and shit and bile that poured and sprayed and sloshed out onto the sand.

        The heat overcomes you. You turn and vomit in the surf.

        As the bile of your empty stomach washes away, you straighten up and blow viscera out of your nose. How does that seem like a normal thing to do? You realize in an off-hand way that every night, for the rest of your life, you will relive this moment as you fall asleep. Whether the patient lives or dies, your life has taken a new shape.

        The rivers of blood have eroded a new course in your mind. At some point you'll need to figure out where it leads.

        You breathe deep and nearly get sick again from the smell of rotting flesh around you. You try to pull yourself together enough to check on the patient.

        After all, she looks to be regaining consciousness, and she's only nine.
        That's what Vicissitude is every time it is used. Even if the outcome is an improvement in the subject, it still is difficult to process the ephemeral solidity of a human body.

        Vicissitude doesn't need to carry an alien parasite to break your soul. Using it, you'll do it to yourself.

        So, yeah, I think in V5 getting a single Stain is a good starting point. It's likely getting off easy.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
          Growls
          -snip-
          So, yeah, I think in V5 getting a single Stain is a good starting point. It's likely getting off easy.
          You know, after reading the mechanics for Oblivion? I think that you might be right.
          Give them a stain if they roll a 1 or a 10 on the Rouse check.


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