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[2E] "Human" Diablerie?

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  • [2E] "Human" Diablerie?

    Hey guys,

    I'm currently preparing a new Chronicle with some new players and during the preparation one of them asked an interesting question: Since during Diablerie a vampire consumes another vampires soul, what prevents him from consuming a "normal", human soul? And if he does so, what are the consequences?

    This question sparked a lively discussion with the other players, during which some other, fundamental questions came up. What happens to the soul during the Embrace? How does that fit in with the concept of Posthumous Embraces? What are the differences between a human and a Kindred soul?
    In the end I (privately) settled on this: Left alone, a human soul is untainted, pure, no matter how "evil" the human is (unless he dabbles in something supernatural). Being fed from as well as dying during feeding taints the soul ever so slightly, just enough that the Embrace is possible, as well as a spontaneous Embrace, resulting in a Revenant. Being a Ghoul taints the soul more heavily, making a Posthumous Embrace possible.
    A tainted soul would be barred from whatever afterlife there is, but this taint heals over time. The heavier the taint, the more time is needed to heal.
    Now, for the differences: Well, that one is kinda obvious, I think. A Kindred soul is tied to the Beast.

    This difference led me to my first conclusion: during Diablerie, the Beast of the Diablerist absorbs the Beast of the victim, not unlike between Strix (supported by the strange connection between Kindred Beasts and the Owls). And since a human has no Beast, consuming a human soul would carry no benefits, but a modified version of the Tainted condition, which lasts twice as long (to compensate for the purity of the consumed soul) and substitutes the Diablerists Blood Potency for that of the victim. Also it would be a Humanity 0 Breaking Point, but that should be obvious.
    But then I came across Soul Bite, a Strix Vitae Power (V:TR, p 212) which describes exactly this circumstance, consuming a human soul. According to this, the soul can be bound to a phylactery, resulting in a talisman that produces one Vitae per night (and can be used for some very fun Voodoo Doll shenanigans). It's a bit unclear if this effect is possible without binding it to an object, but I would think so, at least while inhabiting a host.

    This, I think, can be applied to Kindred as well. They could consume a maximum of one soul for the benefits, all other would only carry the drawbacks (to put a hold on exploiting this effect), If they desire, the players could design a Crùac ritual, allowing them to create a phylactery as well, but knowing my players from other games, they'll have lots of ideas. And because I know them from other games I am sure sooner or later at least one of them will definetely try this, so I want to be prepared.

    What are your thoughts on this? I still am kind of unsatisfied with my solution considering how deep this question led me, so I'd be very thankful for any kind of input from more experienced players

  • #2
    Well, in 1000 Years of Night there are rules for consuming a human soul for a diablerist. I remember that mechanically the vampire gains a skill dot, and they had to be at least five or six humanity to actually pull it off. I forget some of the lore and fluff that occurs because of it, so I'd have to look it up.

    So it seems that when a vampire diablerizes someone they do consume the soul. However, there are differences between mortal and kindred souls, as proven by Half-Damned. When the Strix ghoul someone while they inhabit a Kindred body, said ghoul has no shadow. So there are some soul differences between Strix, Kindred, and Mortals, a lot of it can be really vague though.


    • #3
      I wish Chronicles never brought the idea of a soul over to second edition. Seems like things would have been a lot easier and a lot less contentious without basing the conceits of entire games around it. Especially since despite the supposed importance and uniqueness of the soul, it could easily be translated into other things.

      Cutting myself off before I get into an actual rant, human diablerie actually comes up a lot. First edition's Ordo Dracul had the Locust Sworn who interested in committing diablerie on humans and, thus, eating their souls. Depending on the ability of the vampire you could get three tiers of benefit, ranging from appearing 'aura-wise' as a mortal and having that mortal's reflection, 9-again on social actions made against people the victim knew in life (in second edition it would probably be 8-again or rote), and getting access to the person's knowledge.

      The Moulding Room, a group written up in the Mekhet Clanbook, also had access to the 'soul transplant,' where they could surgically remove people's souls and take them inside. They'd gain the Morality Rating of the soul, along with derangements gained through degeneration. They could also just eat the soul and get an extra dot of Willpower. Bodies that had their souls removed could be Embraced, but would always be a draugr, with no dots in Humanity.

      As Ever Professional points out, it even comes up in a Thousand Years of Night.

      Setting-wise, the Embrace seems to bring back the vampire's soul, but tainted by the Beast, providing it ever left. It says something that a part of the sire's Humanity is lost upon Embracing, I believe David Hill remarked that it was less of it being a aspect of losing Humanity as much as giving it (such as it is, also unsure about this quote). And I think Rose (maybe? I can't find the quote naturally) said something about the source of the strix that implied it had something to do with souls or the Beast. Regardless! I think we could at least agree that they work fundamentally on a different level than vampires, even if the method is the same. One's made of smoke and darkness, as if a tainted soul itself, the other is a walking corpse. So it stands that the strix would work with human souls a little bit differently than a vampire would. Cruac acting as a bridge between medium seems fine, though.

      If your players are really interested in these questions, you might suggest they play inquisitive types (like in the Ordo Dracul but other factions do it) who are out to find out the answers on their own.
      Last edited by nofather; 01-16-2018, 01:29 AM.


      • #4
        Thanks for the great responses! They sure help a lot and make it clear I have not read enough of the source materials I'll have a look into what you suggested. I like the idea of having the victims reflection.
        The variant from A Thousand Years Of Night is interesting, but since it reserves this option solely for elders I think I wont adapt it fully. My players will be neonates and I don't think they'll end up as elders, at least not anytime soon :P So I want an option that at least kind of rewards the players for risking something like that.
        I guess I'll actually make this a part of my Chronicle, not overly obvious, but if the players are interested in exploring that idea I'll be able to deliver. Judging by the interest they had previous to even starting the chronicle I think that might be fun.


        • #5
          There's an entry in Secrets of the Covenants where the writer (of the entry) is heavily implied to be a serial diablerist of humans. She (and her companion) speak of "voices" inside them and having to "fight" the voices down. They both started when they were relatively young (in the 1920s, with the letters being "modern"), so I don't think it's necessarily limited to elders. I'd have to re-read it for more. (it's in the Ordo Dracul section, and it's implied the side effects from their addiction were what drove them to the Dragons in the first place)


          • #6
            In the Vampire Requiem Second edition book, there's a history of a Diablerist who is diablerizing humans trying to shut up the soul of a vampire that he has diablerized. It's in the Three Traditions session of the book.

            So I think that you cannot be more canon than this.

            Check my homebrews:
            Vampire Bloodlines: Abhartach, Kiasyd, Melissidae
            Mage Legacies: Infernal Ones, Daoine


            • #7
              Originally posted by nofather View Post
              Setting-wise, the Embrace seems to bring back the vampire's soul, but tainted by the Beast, providing it ever left. It says something that a part of the sire's Humanity is lost upon Embracing, I believe Olivia Hill remarked that it was less of it being a aspect of losing Humanity as much as giving it (such as it is, also unsure about this quote).
              Fixed that for you.


              Backer #2010


              • #8
                Originally posted by ElvesofZion View Post

                Fixed that for you.
                The post you're replying too was made over a year ago, before Olivia changed her name. I'm not entirely sure we need to endeavor to adjust every single historical reference that predated that change...


                • #9
                  Oh wow, yeah I would have handled that differently if I had realized that. The Month and day parts of the date lined up so I didn't even realize it was from 2018.


                  Backer #2010