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[V20] Vicissitude, Combination Disciplines, and Temporary Forms

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  • [V20] Vicissitude, Combination Disciplines, and Temporary Forms

    There's a lot of talk over on the V5 side about the Tzimisce gaining greater numbers in the Anarch Movement. Thereby raising questions over how their signature Discipline - Vicissitude - would function in that social context. (V5, obviously, subsumed Vicissitude into Protean, but that's neither here nor there). Even without V5, V20 already maintained that the Tzimisce maintained a presence among the Anarchs. Regardless of editions, the question of how it's used in the Anarchs must be addressed.

    In another thread, I proposed that Anarch Tzimisce would engage with their Discipline in a more subtle manner. Both for the practical effect of keeping the Masquerade, and as a means of minimizing the alienation from Humanity on a personal level that excessive fleshcrafting can lead to. Also, Vicissitude has inarguable utility. It can protect identities, install "natural" weapons, and is invaluable for those feeling their bodies are..."unsatisfying", personally, such as those with any permutation of Body Dysmorphia or Gender Dysphoria.

    For the Anarch Tzimisce, however, I think we can go further, if we take Combination Disciplines into account. One or two custom ones could be employed to gain the benefits of fleshcrafting, without the Tzimisce needing to "live" with the changes from night to night.

    The idea is to allow the user to fleshcraft a "template" into themselves, that is then subsumed into their being; they don't need to keep it around, they have it "saved". This "preset' is then "loaded", through the expenditure of blood, allowing for a transformation of some or all of the user's body, temporarily assuming the alternate form. Much like the Vicissitude 4 "War Form", the Tzimisce assumes the guise only when needed, allowing an Anarch Tzimisce (or Sabbat Tzimisce who wishes to be subtle) to be otherwise innocuous most of the time. The character is "normal", as far as a vampire can be, save whatever fleshcrafting they choose to maintain or discard on their "base" form. This, I think, would appeal greatly to Anarch Tzimisce, who may not be as comfortable looking like a flesh-sculpted abomination all the time. However, any Tzimisce can see the utility in having powers like this at the ready, to be whipped out on the fly; no one really likes having to stop in the middle of a fight to manually mold a bone spike on their arm.

    For the powers themselves, I can think of two:

    - Lesser Transformation (Vicissitude 3 + Protean 2): The user "saves" a single, discrete feature or closely linked set of alterations, such as an arm spike/blade, row of extra eyes, spiked tail, or extra mouth. Each "Lesser Transformation" is bought separately.

    -Greater Transformation (Vicissitude 4 + Protean 3): Not unlike the Horrid Form, except the appearance is custom-tailored to the Kindred's specifications. Instead of being a powerhouse, with flat bonuses to physical stats, the user has chosen any number of potent features, extending across the body. Again, each "Greater Transformation" is bought separately, to indicate a specific combination of physical features.

    However, these particular Discipline combinations are open to change. One Tzimisce might instead combine Vicissitude 4 with Auspex 2-3, to create a "War Form" that vastly increases their mental capacity, as their head swells and becomes covered in eyes.

  • #2
    May I suggest?...

    Deceptive Aura (Vicissitude 3+ Auspex 3) The Tzimisce spends a bloodpoint and rolls Manipulation+Occult, difficulty 8, to disguise a subject's aura with a brief touch. When this power is learned, a single aura is learned along with it. Most learn a calm, pleasant aura, such as Light Blue. More rueful users specialize in placing diablerie marks on their political rivals. The ruse lasts for a single scene.

    Intoxicate (Vicissitude 2+ Conjuring 1... that is, any path of sorcery which approximates the Path of Conjuring 1) The user spends a bloodpoint, briefly touches a mortal subject, and rolls Intelligence + Medicine, difficulty 6. For each success, the subject is heavily intoxicated with the drug of the user's choice for one hour. With five or more successes, a mortal subject can be killed outright by overdose.

    Sheep's Clothing (Vicissitude 1+ Obfuscate 3) The user spends a bloodpoint, and rolls Manipulation+Performance, difficulty 8... difficulty 6, if the user is familiar with the community. The user is transformed into a physical form matching an average of the nearest 1000 mortals. (Gender at the whim of the user.) In this form, the user is entirely unremarkable and blends seamlessly into the community. Indeed, they seem vaguely familiar, and gain a +1 to Charisma dicepools among the community. The duration is one night for each success, or until the user voluntarily ends it.

    Sculpt the Mind (Vicissitude 3+ Dominate 3) By reaching into a subject's brain, they rebuild some of the basic wiring over a period of an hour. Roll Dexterity+Empathy, difficulty equal to the subject's permanent Willpower. For each success, the vampire's Nature is changed to one of the user's choice for a number of nights equal to the successes rolled. In mortals, the effect is permanent.

    Channel the Totem (Vicissitude 1+ Animalism 1) The user consumes an animal, and uses its spirit as a template for their own transformation. The user spends a bloodpoint and rolls Stamina+Occult, difficulty 10. If successful, the user becomes a humanoid version of that animal's species, gaining the species' natural communication "equipment" in the process. The user gains the Monstrous and Mute (for human speech) flaws, but is able to use Animalism 1 to speak with many animals of the same species at the same time. This effectively duplicates the Animalism 6 power, Species Speech. The effect lasts until the following sunset, and cannot be ended early. If the roll is botched, the Monstrous and Mute flaws becomes permanent... until reversed with further use of Vicissitude, of course.

    Tactile Generation Analysis (Vicissitude 2+ Auspex 1) The user touches another vampire. Even the slightest tap will suffice, though a handshake is most common. The user exerts the slightest possible use of Vicissitude, shifting only a few cells from side to side. In the process, they sense whether the subject is of more powerful blood. No roll is necessary for use of the power, though one might be warranted for a surreptitious touch.

    Solidity of Form (Vicissitude 3+ Fortitude 1) The user spends willpower while using their Vicissitude on a subject. For each Willpower spent the user's generation counts as one stronger for determining whether the subject can heal the alteration. The effect fades at the rate of one generation per week.

    Watery Blood (Vicissitude 1+ Obfuscate 2) The user's blood is transformed into a clear, flavorless, scentless liquid the consistency of distilled water. This blood can survive at room temperature for a few days if not exposed to sunlight, and frozen for months. If the blood is heated above 140 Fahrenheit (60 celsius) it is destroyed. Those who have learned this power find it a simple thing to surreptitiously ghoul a human.

    Circean Curse (Vicissitude 3+ Protean 3) While successfully grappling or when handling a prone subject, the user spends a number of bloodpoints equal to the subject's Stamina, and rolls Strength+Medicine, diff. 8, as an additional attack roll. If any damage is applied, after soaking, the subject is transformed into an animal of the user's choice. The animal must be of no less than 1/10th and no more than the victim's mass. The chosen animal may have physical stats as low as 1, though no increases can be made. It must also be of a species appropriate to the locale. (ie no turning someone into a fish, and drowning them on land) The victim retains their mental faculties, and is stuck in the form until the end of the scene.

    Medusa Glare (Vicissitude 3+ Presence 2) The user glares at a subject, and rolls Charisma+Intimidation, difficulty 6. Success greater than the target's current willpower paralyzes the victim. The subject's muscles and tendons tense up and tremble slightly, as if suffering a standing seizure. No actions which require physical movement, including speech, can occur until the effect ends. Vampires are released at the end of the scene, or by spending a willpower. The effect persists in mortals until they are well rested and healthy, meaning no current wounds and full willpower. This, of course, usually requires competent medical care.

    Coincidental Carnage (Vicissitude 3+ Obfuscate 2) Whenever the user makes an unarmed, hand-to-hand attack using Brawl against a mortal, they may choose to spend a bloodpoint. If the roll is successful, all damage appears to be the result of a natural disease process. The user does not choose the exact nature of the illness, rather, the body manifests symptoms of an illness to which the subject is prone. In this way, Tzimisce are able to remove (or, simply punish) disagreeable mortals without drawing the scrutiny of mortal authorities. If this power is used while feeding, the subject shows signs of some ailment, but their blood volume appears normal. (Though, supernaturally diluted.)

    Idun's Apples (Vicissitude 2+ Fortitude 1) Originally developed by an Anarch Tzimisce from Beverly Glen, this power holds forth the promise of eternal youth. The user spends a bloodpoint, and makes a Dexterity+Crafts roll, difficulty 6. For each success, they can reduce a mortal's age by one year, to a minimum of 16. The mortal continues to age normally from there... unless ghouled or treated to this power again.


    • #3
      Golem Form: (Vicissitude 5 + Protean 3)

      You meld into the dirt, your essence subsumed like any typical earth melding, but then the soil that you've become one with springs to life as if you were in Blood Form, allowing you to rise and walk as a near impervious golem. Staking you is an impossibility and decapitation is a mere inconvenience at worst, but even better, you may now interact with physical objects unlike in Blood, Mist, or Tenebrous Form, and you may move through dirt as if it were nothing. A Masquerade breach to be sure, but sometimes it is better to appear like a different, difficult to describe monster than like your typical vampire. Sometimes you simply need a method to survive your attackers, such as other vampires, especially elders. Smother mortals to death and even blind vampires by flinging bits of yourself in their eyes.


      • #4
        I like to imagine that combining Vicissitude with any of the three basic disciplines of Potence, Fortitude and Celerity allows them to enhance the bodily functions without having to incorporate additional materials to do so. You can make bones denser, muscles stronger, that kind of thing; and you do it using the base materials you have to work with, instead of grafting some new parts into the design.

        Such combo disciplines would allow the user to bring out the subject's best physical qualities, without having to implement radical changes to their design.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
          I like to imagine that combining Vicissitude with any of the three basic disciplines of Potence, Fortitude and Celerity allows them to enhance the bodily functions without having to incorporate additional materials to do so. You can make bones denser, muscles stronger, that kind of thing; and you do it using the base materials you have to work with, instead of grafting some new parts into the design.

          Such combo disciplines would allow the user to bring out the subject's best physical qualities, without having to implement radical changes to their design.
          I considered that as well.

          A Vicissitude + Celerity power that allows for the rapid formation and reverting of some natural weapon, like a tendril, spike, bone-blade, or even just extending one's limb to hit farther. The power enacts the transformation for the duration of a single attack, before turning back to normal. You know, for when you want to do something Masquerade-breaking so quickly, no one can notice you did it.

          A Vicissitude + Fortitude power that can rearrange the vampire's internal organs, specifically the brain and heart. It's now far more difficult - if not impossible - for the vampire to be staked or to take lethal damage from a targeted attack (even from bullets).

          A Vicissitude + Potence power that allows the user to form and detach a bone spike with such force, it flies out at high speed, becoming a ranged attack.

          Another Vicissitude + Potence power that induces micro-fractures in an opponent when the vampire hits them with an unarmed attack. At the touch, the attack not only inflicts Bashing damage, but wreaks havoc on the bones and nerves of the target, which leads to considerable pain in excess of the raw damage, and for longer than the health levels themselves would suggest. Dice penalties incurred from that damage don't go away when healed, and can persist for days, weeks, or even months, as the victim is subjected to chronic pain. For vampires it will probably be healed like aggravated damage, but for mortals they'll probably need medical attention and even surgery to deal with the small but crucial damage to parts of the victim's body. That, or a Vicissitude user could probably repair them, turning it not only into a tool of torture but also as leverage to get mortals to do what the Tzimisce wants.

          The advantage of all these ideas is that they're more subtle applications of fleshcrafting. The kinds of powers that could be useful for Anarch Tzimisce, which is the actual point of this thread.
          Last edited by Bluecho; 08-17-2019, 01:52 AM.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
            I considered that as well.

            A Vicissitude + Celerity power that allows for the rapid formation and reverting of some natural weapon, like a tendril, spike, bone-blade, or even just extending one's limb to hit farther. The power enacts the transformation for the duration of a single attack, before turning back to normal. You know, for when you want to do something Masquerade-breaking so quickly, no one can notice you did it.
            Another option is to combine Vicissitude with Celerity to give yourself Werewolf levels of regeneration. Fully developed limbs and organs growing back in a matter of seconds, instead of over the course of several nights. Thus keeping in the theme of some Vicissitude users being practically indestructible!
            Last edited by Nyrufa; 08-17-2019, 07:04 AM.


            • #7
              A few further ideas...

              Assay of Form (Vicissitude 1+ Abombwe 1) The Tzimisce gains the ability to immediately detect if a person they observe is in an altered shape, as compared to their natural pattern. This will reveal, with a mere glance, whether subject has Vicissitude alterations, or magical shapeshifting of any sort. It will even reveal members of changing breeds not in their birth form, such as a Lupus in Homid form. No further details are given beyond a simple yes/no to the question, "has this person been magically altered?"

              Dull the Claws (Vicissitude 2+ Fortitude 4) Originating in Eastern Europe during a period of warfare with Clan Gangrel, this power causes any claws created using Protean 2 to retract as they strike the Tzimisce. As a result, damage from the claws is converted to bashing, and the user spontaneously retracts the claws. The attacker can, of course, reactivate their claws on the next turn, but this costs a point of blood and a full turn, as usual.

              Noahide Blessing (Vicissitude 2+ Animalism 1) The Tzimisce spends a bloodpoint and rolls Dexterity+Medicine, difficulty 8, to grant an animal the ability to speak in a human language. All the usual mental limitations of animals mentioned in Animalism 1 apply, of course. The resulting beast is rarely a sparkling conversationalist, but this power does make it a simpler matter for the Tzimisce's human-ghouls to communicate with their animal allies. The animal's use of purely physical speech also makes it possible for the Tzimisce to communicate with their animal minions with the same ease as ordering about humans, with none of that ridiculous "stare deeply into my eyes" nonsense.

              Darwin's Blessing (Vicissitude 3+ Animalism 4) Rather than placing the entirety of their spirit within a feral beast, the Tzimisce prepares a slurry made from a human brain, and injects this into the brain of a lesser creature. The creature acquires sentience, and a Nature identical to the human who "donated" their brain. Furthermore, the raised animal is permanently blood-bound to their creator. The Tzimisce rolls Intelligence+Medicine, difficulty 10. This is an extended roll, with each roll taking an hour of careful surgery. Five successes grants basic sentience. Every five successes thereafter grant an additional dot in a mental attribute, all of which start from a base of zero. Often used in conjunction with Noahide Blessing. (Depending on the user's path, there may be additional rolls due to the murder of the cerebral tissue "donor".)

              Avatar of the Naked Ape (Vicissitude 3+ Animalism 1) The Tzimisce performs all the usual preparations for Vicissitude 3 on an animal, but reshapes it into a nearly perfect copy of a human form. The resulting humanimal appears human in every way, though they begin with an Appearance of zero. This can later be raised through further Vicissitude modification. Though mute and no smarter than its original species, the creature can easily pass for a feral human among humans while remaining susceptible to Animalism powers. Most Tzimisce who use this power use Animalism 4 to ride the new creature to stride among the human masses. Some Tzimisce keep such creatures as pets and playthings for their human ghouls. Rumor has it, it is even possible to breed such creatures with humans, though more scientific-minded Tzimisce scoff at the idea.

              Echo of the Wailing Sorrow of Zillah (Vicissitude 3+ Auspex 4+ Dominate 5) Tzimisce have a reputation for throwing away the lives of their ghoul servants like so many used tissues. A highly trained and loyal szlachta, however, is an invaluable asset. This power allows the user to resurrect a servant who has died to serve once again. If a ghoul of the user dies, the user takes a small sample of the deceased's body, and feeds it to a pregnant woman. The pregnancy and resulting childhood continue as usual. However, if the child should ever taste vampiric blood all vestiges of the child's soul and mind are wiped away, to be replaced with the consciousness of the lost ghoul. To the servant, it will seem as if they have died, and returned in a new body. Their physical traits and skills are those of the child, but all other traits match those of the returned ghoul. Tzimisce who have provided a demonstration of this power to their servants rarely require social disciplines or blood to gain loyalty. A promise of perpetual rebirth is far more effective. The operation itself requires a Wits+Occult roll, difficulty 10. Only one success is needed, though more may allow one physical skill per success to be remembered. (The notorious childe of Set, Kemintiri, has recently learned of the existence of this power and is busying herself with finding a practitioner. It seems it is reminiscent of certain ancient Egyptian rites in which she has interest.)

              Gift of Seth (Vicissitude 4+ Bardo 4) Only one vampire is known to possess this power, though it was more widely known when the Children of Osiris were at their peak. The user prays for their own redemption at the base of their Pillar of Osiris for a full night. At the arrival of dawn, the user is transformed into a normal human. They remain so until the following nightfall. There is no roll necessary, but each use costs a permanent dot of Willpower.

              Speed Fever (Vicissitude 2+ Celerity 1) The Tzimisce imparts some of their supernatural speed to a mortal victim with a touch. The target's metabolism is doubled. Heart rate, respiration, and digestion are all doubled. The victim suffers from a low grade fever, appearing flushed, sweaty, and jittery. Appetite increases, while food passes through their system in hours, with overall weight loss and dehydration. Sleep becomes impossible, and behavior becomes more erratic as the disease progresses. To most observers, the victim may seem to be highly intoxicated on a stimulant, or suffering from a prolonged panic attack. The Tzimisce rolls Wits+Brawl, difficulty of the target's current willpower. The sickness lasts for a number of sunrises equal to the successes rolled. Each sunrise that passes, the victim must roll their Stamina, at a difficulty 10, to avoid taking a level of Lethal damage. A Botch kills the victim.

              Fleshly Maya (Vicissitude 3+ Chimerstry 4) Known by Kartarirya, and perhaps a few descendants, this power allows a Tzimisce to interact with the stuff of which Changelings and Chimera are made. No roll is necessary, but the user's very blood is changed. Any damage done by them, or their ghouls, with weapons of their body (such as claws, teeth, punches, etc.) is applied to creatures of the fae as chimerical damage.

              Mirror of the Master (Vicissitude 1+ Daimonion 1) Tzimisce are uniquely talented at receiving investments from their diabolical masters. Those with this power can learn Daimonion 6 (Concordance) as a level five power, and may take it as many times as they choose. Each time must be a different version, of course, and must be a physically visible change.

              Ergot ala Mode (Vicissitude 2+ Dementation 2) The Tzimisce transforms a portion of meat, charging it with a substance that causes madness. The user rolls Intelligence+Crafts, difficulty 6, or higher for a gourmet meal. With one success the cook creates a meal for one. This number doubles with each additional success. Those who eat the meal suffer from the effects of Dementation 2, for a duration of one night per success. Leftovers can be stored for up to a week, or until struck by sunlight, before losing its power.

              Gift of Daedalus (Vicissitude 3+ Flight 1) The Tzimisce uses Vicissitude, with the usual mechanics of Vicissitude3, to grant a subject large wings, capable of supporting flight. Unfortunately, such flight is not natural to the recipient, and the wings are initially vestigial. Proper use of the wings must be learned over time. The recipient becomes capable of spending xp to learn Flight as an out-of-clan discipline. Ghouls so transformed are not subject the usual limit on discipline powers, and may learn Flight to the fifth level, though few have managed to do so.

              Vigil of the Patriarch (Vicissitude 1+ Fortitude 1) Most useful to those Tzimisce who choose to be male, this power allows them to sire children in the mortal manner. The Tzimisce enters a period of self-mortification: lashing, slashing, and rending their own flesh and bones. Each night they make a Stamina+Occult roll, difficulty 10, as an extended roll, with each roll requiring a full night of mortification, allowing for only brief breaks for feeding and healing. For every ten successes accrued, their generation is weakened by one. Once they have achieved the status of fifteenth generation, they gain (in addition to the other traits common to such weaklings) their prize: the ability to impregnate mortal women. They remain of this lowered generation for one night, but they are highly virile and potent. Most arrange for coupling with multiple women. Roll Stamina+Empathy, difficulty 6. The number of successes is the maximum number of women who can be impregnated that night. At sunset the following evening, the user of this power returns to their normal generation. In nine months, the mothers will bear infant dhampir. Known users of this power include Tzimisce with names such as "Grimaldi", "Zantosa", and "Bratovitch".

              Merest Whiff of Impropriety (Vicissitude 2+ Kai 3) Few Tzimisce reside in East Asia, but at least one does, as evidenced by the existence of this power. The user's blood carries with it knowledge of proper relationships and etiquette. Any mortal or ghoul with the user's blood in their system will smell a pungent odor, like rotting lemons, when about to perform an action which the master would deem improper. The subject must spend a willpower to proceed with the action.

              Bookbinder's Craft (Vicissitude 3+ Mytherceria 4) Making a book of sentient flesh is harder than it looks if you wish your creation to remain aware. The user rolls Intelligence+Craft, difficulty 8, while using Vicissitude 3 on a willing or subdued victim. The attempt takes a full week of effort, but the end result is a book made of a sentient being in which all manner of things can be written. If the creator wishes, the book can be given a mouth with which to read aloud the contents of the book... or, simply to moan at their pitiful condition. On the other hand, being chosen to serve the Dracon in such a manner for eternity was considered the loftiest ambition for some scholarly Obertus.

              Soulworking (Vicissitude 2+ Necromancy 1) Tzimisce who learn this deceptively simple power come to understand that all flesh is merely a manifestation of the soul within, a soul which might survive seeming death. Those with this power are permitted to learn the ghostly Arcanoi of Moliate as an in-clan discipline. Finding test subjects willing to remain still long enough for experimentation is, of course, an entirely different matter.

              Fetter Fluxuation (Vicissitude 3+ Necromancy 1) Users of this power can change a fetter which is made of living or once-living material into another form of roughly the same mass as the original, without severing the bond between wraith and fetter. The new form must also be made of organic materials. Thus, a human to whom a wraith is bound might be turned into a wooden statue. A bridal bouquet might become a carved ivory figurine. A wraith bound to such an object will still recognize it, but the physical manifestation of the fetter in the skinlands can thus be made much more (or less) durable. Spend a blood and roll Intelligence+Crafts, difficulty 6. A single success will suffice if the fetter is unable to resist. Otherwise, successes must exceed the subject's Stamina.

              Reconstruction (Vicissitude 3+ Obeah 2) Not all uses of Vicissitude need be destructive. The user spends a bloodpoint and rolls Wits+Medicine, difficulty 6. Each success heals a health level of lethal damage in a mortal. One success can heal all damage, if it is superficial.

              Milda's Mercy (Vicissitude 3+ Presence 1) Users of this power work with their subject, rather than against them to improve their (small a-) appearance. The user rolls normally for Vicissitude 3, if successful, and if the subject has experience points to spend, the recipient can spend those xp to purchase merits which enhance their appearance. (Each xp is spent as a freebie point, on a one-to-one basis. The subject can spend a maximum of one xp per success.) Common choices include Friendly Face, Blush of Health, and Enchanting Voice. The recipient may also spend xp to remove physical, cosmetic flaws. Clan flaws, being the result of Caine's own wrath, are more resistant. Gangrel flaws resulting from frenzy can be removed at the cost of one xp for each flaw which has been removed. So, the first flaw removed costs one xp, the second two xp, the third three xp, and so forth. The Nosferatu flaw cannot be removed, though the merit Rugged Bad Looks can be purchased.