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Vicissitude and Nosferatu

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  • Vicissitude and Nosferatu

    Two questions, two opposite approach to the same problem, Nosferatu ugliness.

    1- can Vicissitude change a Nosferatu from "loathsome inhuman" to "cool inhuman"? Because one thing is being Appearance 0 and look like a deformed corpse, another is Appearance 0 and look like a dragon or a pit fiend.

    2- can Vicissitude change a Nosferatu from inhuman to "extremely ugly human"? Like heavily scarred, disfigured , appearance 0 but still human.

    ---

    And since we are here, there are very realistic masks in lattice and silicon. Plus colored lenses.
    And since vampires have no need for perspiration, the whole body could be sealed in some kind of fake skin made of silicon to stop the stench from coming out.

    Could it work?
    Last edited by Solomon Draak; 12-19-2021, 09:30 AM.

  • #2
    As I see it Vicissitude wouldn't reliably work on a Nosferatu, so even the cool inhuman would be hard, but I don't think it is inherently impossible.

    But Appearance 1 already covers the "extremely ugly human". Part of the Clan Weakness is to be a walking Masquerade Breach, so the best you can achieve will still deform beyond recognition as human eventually.

    Now, is that actually how life works? YMMV, but I don't think so. To me the kind of thing you see out there irl is more than enough to have a Nosferatu be explained away without much of a problem, but as it stands in the game, that's how things work.

    Encasing a Nos in silicon fake skin would work to a degree, I don't see why not. And if I remember well, the stench isn't universal among them. But this will probably strain under movement and whatnot and rip sooner or later, so it is probably far more expensive than it's actually worth.


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    • #3
      I always stick with my 2nd Edition Fix.

      Vicissitude can fix a Nosferatu's appearance for one night but they go back to it by the next morning.

      Nosferatu who insist on doing this every night are considered sad and pathetic.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
        As I see it Vicissitude wouldn't reliably work on a Nosferatu, so even the cool inhuman would be hard, but I don't think it is inherently impossible.

        But Appearance 1 already covers the "extremely ugly human". Part of the Clan Weakness is to be a walking Masquerade Breach, so the best you can achieve will still deform beyond recognition as human eventually.

        Now, is that actually how life works? YMMV, but I don't think so. To me the kind of thing you see out there irl is more than enough to have a Nosferatu be explained away without much of a problem, but as it stands in the game, that's how things work.
        My understanding of the Nosferatu curse is that it defies attempts to mitigate it, because it's magic. Attempts to make a Nosferatu "cool", even in a grody way, fail because that's how the curse works.

        Even if you succeed in changing the face, it will simply shift into an uglier and less appealing form of that shape, probably in short order.

        That said, I like the idea that some Nosferatu naturally look like a "normal" brand of ugly. Like, their face breaks out into disfiguring pock-marks or develops a series of scars. Or parts of their face just kind of...slough off, and then heal back wrong.

        The curse is less that the Nosferatu is forever shown to be an inhuman monster (though plenty of them do), but more that they're so disturbing and wrong that they cannot blend into normal mortal society. Their face always elicits a gut reaction in those who see it, and not a good one.

        (EDIT: There's actually a 5 pt. Merit in V20: Lore of the Clans, called "Rugged Bad Looks". It's exactly what I described, where the Nos is still butt-ugly, but isn't a Masquerade breach.)

        Encasing a Nos in silicon fake skin would work to a degree, I don't see why not. And if I remember well, the stench isn't universal among them. But this will probably strain under movement and whatnot and rip sooner or later, so it is probably far more expensive than it's actually worth.
        Plus, even at its best, the silicon skin would probably fall into the Uncanny Valley, if it didn't mimic how human faces wrinkle and move perfectly.

        Which, in and of itself, would circle the Nosferatu back around to being hideous and off-putting in its own way.


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        • #5
          Another two questions.

          First, is Vicissitude always painful? Can't a "patient" just be pumped with morphine ( if living ) or morphine-laced blood? And the one who performs Vicissitude can't at least reduce the pain - devitalize / avoid nerves ecc?

          Second, can Vicissitude be enhanced by mundane - but advanced - surgical skills?

          - - -

          Hideous cool:





          Hideous uncool:


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          • #6
            I don't know, I think the second image still looks pretty cool to me.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Solomon Draak View Post
              Another two questions.

              First, is Vicissitude always painful? Can't a "patient" just be pumped with morphine ( if living ) or morphine-laced blood? And the one who performs Vicissitude can't at least reduce the pain - devitalize / avoid nerves ecc?

              Second, can Vicissitude be enhanced by mundane - but advanced - surgical skills?
              Firs, I'm not sure, I don't know even if it is painful by default. Certainly not enough to merit a mechanical effect, so I don't think it is much painful to begin with, certainly not beyond even weaker painkillers than morphine (seriously, Americans default too much to morphine).

              Second, probably, but there would be little to actually improve. Vicissitude already works by bypassing limitations and risks a surgeon have to navigate, most of the skill consists in how not to kill the patient, and Vicissitude simply won't. But a deep knowledge of anatomy and mundane surgical skill may at least help the vampire to develop Fleshcraft.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by Solomon Draak View Post
                1- can Vicissitude change a Nosferatu from "loathsome inhuman" to "cool inhuman"? Because one thing is being Appearance 0 and look like a deformed corpse, another is Appearance 0 and look like a dragon or a pit fiend.
                Something you have to consider here is whether or not, in fact, a "typical" dragon or pit fiend would/could qualify as Appearance 0. Remember that it's fairly often brought up that Vicissitude use among the Tzimisce often results in an appearance that is extremely inhuman but can still be hauntingly beautiful. Inhuman =/= off-putting. Which means that it's not just a question of your Nosferatu being made to look like a dragon or pit fiend, but a dragon or pit fiend that is intensely ugly even by the standards of those species.

                Appearance 0 is the face that even a mother is going to put a paper bag over. Even if you manage to end up with a look that is "cool" it should still be grotesque. And I'd be inclined to agree with CTPhipps that the Nosferatu Curse would twist any attempt to alter its effects through Vicissitude during the day-sleep, if not before; not necessarily converting you back to the way you were before, but certainly finding some way to "mess it up."

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                • #9
                  I kinda half-steal the the idea from Requiem that the Nosferatu’s ugliness is almost more spiritual than physical. I’ve been around severe burn victims; people whose entire heads are burn scars, lacking noses and ears to the severity of it. They’re disfigured, but I can’t see them as Appearance 0 because there’s too much human spirit in people who survive that sort of trauma; that ineffable humanity allows others to look past the scars.

                  In game mechanic terms, even those disfigured burn victims can succeed on social checks that require appearance. It may be harder, but it’s not impossible.

                  It IS impossible for the Nosferatu. Appearance 0 means automatic failure on all such checks. They are disturbing in a way beyond ugliness to the point that only those who can look past all appearances can stand to be in their presence.

                  So I would say, sure, let Vicissitude increase a Nosferatu’s appearance to what should be a 5, but because of the curse it will still be so profoundly disturbing to look at for some ineffable reason; some supernatural wrongness; that it’s still actually Appearance 0.

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                  • #10
                    The idea wasn't to look "inhumanly beautiful" but a form that look mighty, strong, and not a diseased wreck.
                    Skin scaly and stony, instead of warts and irregular body hair.
                    Hypertrophic muscles bulging grotesquely instead of a wrecked hunchback body.

                    A little like a Gargoyle.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                      I always stick with my 2nd Edition Fix.

                      Vicissitude can fix a Nosferatu's appearance for one night but they go back to it by the next morning.

                      Nosferatu who insist on doing this every night are considered sad and pathetic.
                      Had this come up in a game once. We ended up deciding that if a Nosferatu tries this tactic, over a long period time, years and years of trying to use Vicissitude to escape their curse every night, then their curse will slowly grow worse and worse. They'll get more and more horrific. At some point their Curse will start extend to the other senses. They'll begin to smell foul. Then the stench grows so thick anyone nearby will be able to taste how nasty they are. Their body continues to twist and contort until it begins to make unnatural sounds they walk. Eventually they grow so freakish and horrific that even other Nosferatu don't really want anything to do with them.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Solomon Draak View Post
                        The idea wasn't to look "inhumanly beautiful" but a form that look mighty, strong, and not a diseased wreck.
                        Despite that being a common default, the Nosferatu doesn't have to look like a diseased wreck.

                        Yet, bear in mind that "like a gargoyle" still has two problem. The first that such a concept is already covered by other clans (Gargoyles and, through work, Tzimisce). Second and most important, though, that those qualities still make for good looks in some sense. Indeed, this is exactly the reason you want them.

                        The Muscular freak isn't beautiful, but is imposing. The scaly human-crocodile is fearsome. They command respect through their appearance, and looking at them may have its appeal. As you put it, they're cool!

                        But talking about the Nosferatu, we're not talking about mere ugliness. We're talking a curse of being abhorrent. An appearance that no one can really like to be around, except maybe people with really strange tastes. Not merely teenager strange, not merely "I want to be a dragon" strange.

                        Nosferatu don't look like a person you don't want to kiss. They look like a thing you don't want to look at, period.

                        Caveats do exist, though. This is the general idea, but by RAW nothing enforces it, they never went through the trouble. You can have a Nosferatu that's already "cool ugly" even without intervention, and nothing stops your plan of just working as long as the result is still an Appearance 0 Masquerade Breaching thing. Which is strange considering that some actual people with either deformities or heavy body modifications are freakier than most Nosferatu images, but it is what it is.

                        If a player of mine wanted to make a cool Nosferatu I wouldn't be giddy of happiness, but I would let it be, because this is not important enough for me and in general I value player comfort with a character's description. But that's it.

                        ​My personal preference here is the same as Chris24601 in that I prefer how Requiem handles this. It is more like the original book of Jekyll and Hyde, where no one could point out what exactly was wrong with Hyde's appearance, but just had a gut reaction to it anyway. But this is not Requiem and if you're not willing to deviate from canon, this is how their ugliness works.


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                        • #13
                          Understood... you have a point, Monteparnas. Actually more than one. Nosferatu's curse is something meant to inspire misery rather than dread, since dread could also inspire awe.

                          Last question: the monstrous flaw says " Your physical form was twisted during the Embrace, and now reflects the Beast that rages inside you. Characters with this Flaw appear to be savage monsters and have Appearance ratings of zero. Even Nosferatu have difficulty interacting with such individuals. "

                          I have some problems wrapping my head around that concept. What can be so ugly to put off even a Nosferatu? And why?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Solomon Draak View Post
                            I have some problems wrapping my head around that concept. What can be so ugly to put off even a Nosferatu? And why?
                            It is less about ugly and more about terror, and a poorly worded final statement.

                            This flaw refers precisely to an appearance that inspires dread instead of misery. Instead of revulsion, you feel this person is a monster, a ravenous and inhuman thing. You have a hard time interacting because it is like interacting with a tiger or a crocodile, while interacting with a Nosferatu is like interacting with a pool of vomit. Tigers are more pleasant, but given the choice I would rather clean the vomit.


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                            • #15
                              My view is that Nos can be transformed by viciss, but will be inexplicably hideous anyway. There will be something uncanny valley about a nos made to look like a supermodel, something you can't put your finger on but the result is absolutely repulsive, like the "Polar Express" version of a supermodel, but a million times worse.
                              Last edited by CajunKhan; 12-21-2021, 02:47 AM.

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