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  • The Stygians (fan bloodline)

    The Stygians
    They told me it was a Gift from God. I’m not so sure anymore.



    The Stygians are an unusual bloodline and often considered eccentric by their peers. Not many understand their intimate connection with the dead and the Underworld. From the night they are inducted into the bloodline they won’t cease to feel the call of the great below. Every day the dead claws at their minds, and even at night the shades that linger grabs after their attention.

    Background: The earliest surviving text mentioning a bloodline of necromancers were found in an archive in modern day Caen and are dated to the early eleventh century, detailing their mass conversion and induction into the Lancea et Sanctum. Upon induction they were forbidden from practicing their blood sorcery and witchcraft. Another text, also found in Caen and dated roughly a 100 years later, is written by an Archbishop of the Lance ordering a necromancer to converse with a spirit of the dead on his behalf. Both texts are believed by the few who are allowed to read them to be the earliest mentions of the Stygians, but most people believe the true origin of the bloodline is lost to the ages. Others claim they have descended from pagan priests before the spread of Christianity in Europe, but most Sanctified Stygians puts those rumors down to Acolyte propaganda.

    From then the bloodline was considered to be loyal to the Lance to a man, until the schism in Ireland during the late 18th century. A faction of Stygians calling themselves the Disciples of Donn appeared in Dublin, claiming themselves to have come from a line who has never served the Sanctified, and that their true origin lies before the Christianization of Western and Northern Europe. The Disciples was swiftly crushed and scattered by the local Lance, but this schism coupled with the decline of the bloodline's population and the fact that they're more and more considered a curiosity rather than an asset led to many disillusioned Stygians losing patience. During the years since a sizeable part of the Stygians defected. Most sought themselves to the Circle of the Crone who are more appreciative, while others had come to see their connection to the dead as a curse rather than a price for their gift. Those often end up in the Ordo Dracul, seeking to hold their demons at bay through transcendence rather than faith and prayer.

    In the modern nights the Stygians are a dying bloodline. The interest in the dead (in contrast to the undead) is niche and even those with an interest have their reservations about the pull to the Underworld. The elder who ventures deep into the Underworld never to be seen again is a powerful deterrent for would-be recruits.

    The Becoming: While recruiting is rare, those who are inducted into the bloodline are often occultists and spiritual leaders. As such most Stygians favor both Mental and Social Attributes. Especially Resolve and Composure as those weak of will tend to buckle under their daily experiences. The most common Skills are Empathy, Investigation, Occult and Persuasion. Most Stygians are also mentored during the first time, helping them come to terms with their new experiences and learn how to fulfill their duties.

    In the Danse Macabre: The Stygians are experts when it comes to the dead. As such they are of little use to the Carthians and the Invictus, and in turn have often little interest in their earthly concerns. Due to their history with the Lancea et Sanctum a large portion of the members help the dead move on in service to the Sanctified. Many are specialists and scholars, but a few find their call leading both the unliving and the dead in congregations. Most of the remaining members are instead drawn towards the Circle of the Crone, seeking to reclaim their reputed pre-Christianized ways. They largely fulfill the same roles, but are more likely to use ghosts to their advantage rather than helping them pass on. In addition, many Stygian Acolytes know of rituals dealing with the dead or the Underworld, passed around from the remnants of the Disciples of Donn. The remaining members are more secular, choosing to either trade their services to anyone who has what they want, or become scholars in the Ordo Dracul where they paradoxically offer expertise of the dead while chasing mysteries that may help keep the dead at bay.

    Clan: Mekhet

    Nicknames: Necromancers, Goths (especially in Circle of the Crone)

    Bloodline Disciplines: Auspex, Majesty, Obfuscate, Vigor

    Bloodline Bane: The dead beckons at the Stygian's mind. During the daysleep and Torpor their minds flies from their bodies and they wander the caverns of the dead beyond the river Styx where friends, family and even enemies of the past are relentlessly begging, tempting and even threatening the Stygian to keep them company. In order to return to the world of the living they must either wake up at a place where the veil between the living and the dead is particularly thin, or pay a toll to return as described in the Condition Charon's Obol. To counter this weakness most Stygians elect to spend their days in haunted locations after they've reached an understanding with their would-be co-inhabitants. Others, who have learned Protean, often find themselves in the soil of graveyards while the sun's rays touch the grass above them.

    New Condition: Charon's Obol
    Your character has not spent daysleep at a place that resonates with the Underworld. When her mind was forced back into her body, it was through a thick shroud between the realms. Now, her mind pays the toll. She gets a –1 die penalty to any Mental rolls not relating to Death and its mysteries, as well as any Social rolls to understand and empathize with the living. Until she sheds this Condition, each time she rests in a location devoid of deathly resonances, the penalty increases by one. For example, after three daysleeps at unfitting locations, note this Condition as “Charon's Obol -3” on your character sheet.
    Possible Sources: As a member of the Stygian bloodline, not spending daysleep at a suitable location.
    Resolution: Spend daysleep at a suitable location of sufficient deathly resonances. For example, near an Anchor tagged to an entity with Rank equal or higher than half your character's Blood Potency rounded up, at a Haunt with dot rating equal or higher than half your character's Blood Potency rounded up, near an Avernian Gate that has not been closed for more than 11 minus the character's Blood Potency days, in the Underworld, or at any other death related location at the Storyteller's discretion.
    Beat: n/a

    Bloodline Gift: Donum Mortis
    The attunement to death that all Stygians share makes them experts at dealing with the incorporeal dead. This manifests in a series of devotions. All Stygians immediately gain access to the first devotion, Deathly Resonance, when joining the bloodline as their very being becomes inexorably and metaphysically linked to the Underworld. The other devotions costs 2 Experiences each and have prerequisites as normal. They are the expressions of a Stygian marrying her vampiric Disciplines with the energies of death itself.

    Deathly Resonance (working title)
    The Stygians are highly attuned to ghosts and ghostly ephemera. Whenever they are in proximity to a ghost or other related phenomena they can feel their own dead bodies resonate with the energies, despite the lack of natural bodily responses in the vampiric state. It appears differently for different Stygians. One will feel the hair on his arms stand on end when a ghost draws past him. Another might feel a cold chill throughout her body when standing in front of an Avernian Gate. A third could feel his stomach churn because of the residual ectoplasm in the room next door. These involuntary responses gets stronger when in closer proximity, allowing the Stygians to roughly estimate the location of the phenomenon.
    This gift detects all ghostly phenomena within five times the Stygian’s Blood Potency dots yards unless they are hidden through supernatural means. Crafty ghosts may attempt to disguise their presence from the vampire through a Finesse roll, similar to how they may conceal their Rank. Additionally, the Stygian is able to recognize relevant Manifestation Conditions with a reflexive Wits + Occult roll.

    Death Sight (working title)
    (Auspex ••)
    The Stygian is so closely attuned to deathly ephemera that he need only focus. By spending a point of Vitae the he can see and hear all ghosts as well as other entities and instances made out of the same type of ephemera. The ghosts are just as visible as the living (and the material undead). Additionally, any supernatural means of hiding ghosts, other entities and objects made out of the same type of ephemera leads to a Clash of Wills against the Stygian’s Auspex + Blood Potency.

    Binding the Dead (working title)
    (Majesty ••)
    The Stygian’s very presence resonates with the dead, and can be used to disrupt or bind restless spirits. By carrying out a personal ritual, often in the form of a small prayer, and spending Vitae, he is able to grant or suppress a ghost’s Manifestation Conditions until sunrise.
    Cost: 1 Vitae per Condition affected
    Dice Pool: Presence + Occult + Majesty vs. Resistance
    Action: Instant
    Duration: Until sunrise
    When granting Conditions he must also create any prerequisite Conditions if not already present, and spend one point of Vitae per Condition created. The entity immediately enters the Manifestation of the Stygian’s choice. When suppressing Conditions he must suppress them in order, starting with the most recent.
    Attempts to suppress or cancel any created Conditions, or to recreate any suppressed Conditions are subject to a Clash of Wills against the Stygian’s Majesty + Blood Potency.

    Don the Shroud (working title)
    (Obfuscate ••)
    The Stygian’s body is so infused with deathly essence that she can bring those energies forth and become ephemeral himself. By spending two points of Vitae and taking an instant action she enters the mystical state of Twilight that is home to the echoes of the dead. She is now intangible and invisible as the ghosts around her, until the end of the scene. Only her own Banes and those capable of interacting with ghosts in Twilight Form are physical to her presence. More rules about the state of Twilight are found on pages 124-125 in Chronicles of Darkness, however she retains her previous stats and does not use the ephemeral traits of rules of ghosts.

    Touch of the Grave (working title)
    (Vigor ••)
    The Stygian’s body reverberates with the energies of the dead, but she can direct those energies and forcefully interact with the immaterial. By spending one point of Vitae and taking an instant action the Stygian will, for all intents and purposes, become a universal Bane to all ghosts and similar entities as well as all entities that occupies the ghostly state of Twilight until the end of the scene. In addition to the rules on Banes on page 128 in Chronicles of Darkness, the vampire also adds her Blood Potency to her damage rating should she attack a ghost. She may also ignore any Durability ratings of any ghostly objects in the state of Twilight that she intends to damage or destroy. This power extends to both clothes and objects on the Stygian’s person, including weapons, but may not be extended to other people or entities. Additionally, this power can’t be used in conjunction with the gift Don the Shroud since both affect the Stygian’s body in diametrically opposed ways. Attempts to activate either gift will automatically cancel the other.


    Crúac Rites
    These are the rituals used and taught by the scattered survivors of the Disciples of Donn, but variants of these rituals have been found in other domains as well. As such the rituals are written without the specific trappings. However, the variations that are used by the Disciples and those who have sought their mentorship, all features hymns dedicated to unspecified gods.

    Converse with the Dead (•)
    Target number of successes: 2
    The target of the ritual, who must be present at the casting, becomes able to speak with all ghosts until dawn. The ritual doesn’t make the target able to see or otherwise interact with ghosts, but it does allow her to talk to and hear the ghost even if it’s currently in a state of Twilight. In addition, she makes herself understood by ghosts even if they don’t speak the same languages as her.

    Unholy Command (••)
    Target number of successes: 5
    Resisted: by Resistance
    The ritualist curses a ghost or other ghostly entity within a mile away with an additional Ban of his own choice. The ghost is immediately aware of the new Ban as it is a part of its fundamental nature. Discuss with your Storyteller to come up with a Ban that is not too restrictive for the ghost, and a fitting consequence should the ghost not fulfill its new Ban.

    Opening the Black Gate (•••)
    Target number of successes: 4 or 8
    A Graveyard Gate (requiring 4 successes) or an Avernian gate (requiring 8 successes), which must be present at the casting, is forced open for a number of hours equal to the ritual’s Potency.

    This is something I started working on a sleepless night. I don't quite feel like the text is finished so I welcome any constructive criticism, both literary, lore-wise, and mechanics-wise. I also accept suggestions on new names for the bloodline gifts. It's been difficult to come up with good names and I'm still not satisfied. Speaking of which, shout out to Seidmadr who managed to come up with two great names for the bloodline within five minutes of being asked.
    Last edited by Tessie; 08-26-2017, 01:03 PM.


    Bloodline: The Stygians
    Ordo Dracul Mystery: Coil of Smoke

  • #2
    I hope it's not bad form to bump a thread like this. I've reworked the bloodline bane extensively. The Condition got a bit wordy, but I think it's mechanically much better than before.
    I didn't quite get the responses I had hoped for. I get if people don't want to spend too much time, but just writing "I liked this part" or "Interesting, but I didn't like this part" would go a long way for me.


    Bloodline: The Stygians
    Ordo Dracul Mystery: Coil of Smoke

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    • #3
      I like it. I would make Deathly Resonance require Auspex 2, but that's mostly because I prefer most of my bloodline specific devotions to require two dots rather than 1 or 5 - it makes it so that you have to put a bit of effort to learning that aspect (rather than having it on the periphery), but also that you don't have to specialize or be an elder in order to get

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Jakondite View Post
        I like it. I would make Deathly Resonance require Auspex 2, but that's mostly because I prefer most of my bloodline specific devotions to require two dots rather than 1 or 5 - it makes it so that you have to put a bit of effort to learning that aspect (rather than having it on the periphery), but also that you don't have to specialize or be an elder in order to get
        I assume you mean Death Sight. I agree. When writing down the idea I was comparing to Khaibit's Udjat (since I was using the text format of Khaibit and Hounds of Kerberos) which is both free and allows them to see way more stuff (in addition to being immune to Strix possession), so it didn't feel very powerful. But when I wrote down the text to the bloodline powers I added the part of automatically Clashing against any supernatural means of hiding so it feels a bit better even if Udjat still is by far the greater power.
        So, thanks. Gonna change it.


        Bloodline: The Stygians
        Ordo Dracul Mystery: Coil of Smoke

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        • #5
          Yeah I meant Death Sight X_X

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          • #6
            Seems a lot like the Sangiovanni but thumbs up for the effort

            I'd recommend writing an origin story and detailing a founder, it could individualize the Bloodline from other similar ones

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Shawarbaaz View Post
              Seems a lot like the Sangiovanni but thumbs up for the effort

              I'd recommend writing an origin story and detailing a founder, it could individualize the Bloodline from other similar ones
              I knew about Sangiovanni, but I hadn't read about them in Bloodlines: The Chosen. For some reason I thought they were a Ventrue bloodline, and I did not know of their ties to Lancea et Sanctum. I do agree there's quite a lot of overlap, but at least their powers are about reanimation and ectoplasm instead of interaction with ghosts.

              As for origin and founder; I do have an idea about how they started, but I'm not sure how to add that. I tried to follow the format for the bloodlines published online and I'm already above that wordcount even if ignoring the Crúac rites. Perhaps writing up an NPC who claim to have known the founder could work?


              Bloodline: The Stygians
              Ordo Dracul Mystery: Coil of Smoke

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Tessie View Post

                I knew about Sangiovanni, but I hadn't read about them in Bloodlines: The Chosen. For some reason I thought they were a Ventrue bloodline, and I did not know of their ties to Lancea et Sanctum. I do agree there's quite a lot of overlap, but at least their powers are about reanimation and ectoplasm instead of interaction with ghosts.

                As for origin and founder; I do have an idea about how they started, but I'm not sure how to add that. I tried to follow the format for the bloodlines published online and I'm already above that wordcount even if ignoring the Crúac rites. Perhaps writing up an NPC who claim to have known the founder could work?

                That's also a good idea, if you want the founder to remain anonymous at least confirm his (or her) existence.

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