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The Damnation of Species [Random Vampire Thoughts]

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  • LostLight
    started a topic The Damnation of Species [Random Vampire Thoughts]

    The Damnation of Species [Random Vampire Thoughts]

    Some time ago, in a discussion about whatever relation there may exist between the really-they-are-dead-take-my-word-for-it Julii and the Ventrue, Yossarian said something which I just can't stop thinking about, which is his view of Dominate as a Discipline, quoted below:

    Dominate is an interesting Discipline. I've always felt like there's a bit of a hex on it, like it attaches itself to clans and then rings them out for all they're worth. Maybe that's confusing correlation and causation, but other "Dominate clans" have staked a claim in the All Night Society, and all seem to have suffered nasty ends. We know about the Dead Julii, obviously, and the Kindred of Central America remember a bloodline of tyrants who met their destruction at the hands of their slaves. European vampires tend to assume these tyrants were Lords doing Lord things, but they also assume that about the Julii.

    The Ventrue, of course, were active in other parts of the New World. Just ask the Tsihstekeri in Montreal. They say they're Ventrue. They say the Lords ruled the nights of Turtle Island long before the colonial period.

    They're right, of course. They are Ventrue.

    What they were, though? Never mind that. Vampires never tell the truth
    That kinda grasped my attention- which I have constantly thought about how the Blood grows and evolves through the years, adapts and changes, born from death and dies in the sun, how clans after clans fight each other in a cycle of ruin which leads to further evolution and decay, growth and ruin, until the Blood turns empty and null like water, I must admit I haven't much thought about Disciplines as entities. For me, Disciplines were always the faces of the Beast- the Clan Disciplines being the way that the Beast hunts, kills and devours. The Gangrel Beast is an ever changing predator, which binds itself to it territory and the world around it. The Nosferatu Beast is an unseen threat which creeps in the night and shatters your mind, terrifying you until you wish to die. The Mekhet Beast is a cunning predator that tries to learn as much about its prey, reading their minds and thoughts and memories and secrets until they are nothing more than an husk. The Daeva Beast is a passionate being which lures its prey towards it, binding them to it and itself to them. And the Ventrue Beast- this is the predator that demands others to sacrifice themselves to it, which apex predator which breaks the will of its prey and makes them its plaything.

    But what if that's not the whole picture?

    I mean, I don't say that a vampire is the sum of their disciplines- the nature of the Beast is strongly described by more than *just* which favored Discipline they have. Two clans can have the same Disciplines and favored attributes and still, technically, be different clans, because they have a different Bane. But what if the Disciplines are not as integral part of the Beast? What if, and it is a big "what if", Disciplines are, well, alive? That they are parasitic entities which cling themselves to clanless vampires in order to turn them into clans? That when a vampire spends Vitae to power their Disciplines, what they are actually doing is feeding those gods which sleep in the Blood, paying the price required the gain their blessings?

    Madness, I know. Doesn't make much sense, indeed. Sounds like a ripoff from the Asakku of Masquerade, perhaps...

    Terrifying? Definitely.

    So let's explore that thought a bit and see where it leads us, shall we?

    Currently, in Requiem, we have seven unique Disciplines- one of which is, unfortunately, not described as is left for fans to build on their own (I kinda hope that we may see its full writeup in Spilled Blood, and if not then that maybe the writer will publish their version in the STV). Those Disciplines are Auspex, Protean, Nightmare, Majesty, Dominate, Praestantia and Bereschligost. The idea about those Disciplines is that unlike the "common" Disciplines, are the "property" of the Clan- they define the Clan, and give them an edge unavailable to others. While it is easy to think that each of those Disciplines is governed by only one clan, the truth is, of course, much more complicated- Auspex is now the property of the Mekhet, but it was once also the unique Discipline of the Grettir, before they were absorbed by their southern cousins. The Xotoli of Mexico went extinct, but the Nosferatu hold the same powers of Nightmares and fear. Protean belongs to both the Gangrel and the Pijavicia. And Dominate- oh, Dominate, the great magic of the mind which was held by the kings of the night until they lost their heads again and again and again, from the Julii to the Ventrue, with maybe the Ceceya (which I tend to believe to be the old "tyrant clan of Mexico"). Only Majesty, Praestania and Bereschligost are not shared among Clans, but that is before Spilled Blood, and we still have a number of clans left undefined- like the Utukku of Ur, the breath drinking Lilitu or the lost clan of Cahokia which were bound to their burial mounds, or the Mexican variation of the priestly Xoxocti which are the Daeva, the watchful Costi or the isolated Pisti. Yeah, I'm aware that those are probably not the actual names of those clans during the pre-colonial times, but we work with what we have.

    And that without including the Wicked Dead.

    When we look on those stranger variations of the Blood, we see some exotic beings- the Cihuateteo, for example, have affinity towards Majesty, Obfuscate and their own form of dark magic. The Formosae has Majesty, Resilience and Continence. The ghuls, while lacking any special affinity of their own, are at least somewhat tuned towards Vigor, Majesty and Celerity- just like the Daeva. The Jiang Shi originally had Celerity, Resilience and Vigor, but that was replaced with Celerity, Animalism and Obfuscate in 2e- which just enhance how Celerity defines that Clan. The Penanggalen lacks a defining 3 favored Disciplines, even though they do present their own unique power of Mengilai. On the other hand, the Penanggalen lacks that most with the Kindred, and Chris Allen did hinted his thoughts about the "Flying Head Tribe" which is somewhat connected to vampires, but not really. The Empusa and the Lamia also lack a well defined Discipline spread, but we could reverse engineer a bit to see that the Empusa access Auspex, Majesty, Nightmare and Resilience, while the Lamia have Celerity, Dominate, Protean and Vigor- most of which are unique.

    So while many people favor the concept that clans are a product of certain circumstances instead of a direct lineage (that is, that there is not true "origin" for most clans- only a set of variables that if happen, cause a vampire with a certain set of power to rise from their grave), I prefer a different explanation for vampirism- that is, that the Blood evolves. While some clans are well known to rise spontaneously from their graves- the Nosferatu, for example- others seem to be well tied to their point of origin. Similar clans with similar traits eventually assimilate into one another- or that one devours the other. It's complicated. Each clan is a unique creation, birthed by death and blood...

    But what if some things tie them together?

    I mean, we have clearly seen that only clans with the same unique Disciplines could assimilate into one another- some Julii became Ventrue, but others, from the Licini became Nosferatu, due to their strange mixture of blood. The Tsihstekeri were not Ventrue, but they are now. The Clans of Mexico became ones with the Clans of Europe after the colonial period. The Grettir were devoured by the Mekhet, and even the modern Mekhet have replaced the older, stranger Hollows. The Blood Changes, the world changes- but some things stay the same, and while the common Disciplines express the Beast, they don't define it. That's the role of the unique Discipline- and while there may be no actual connection among two clans in terms of what spawned them, when they were spawned or where, and that each clan may have risen independently in terms of lineage continuity, the Blood knows, and the Blood remembers. Two clans with the same unique Disciplines do have more in common than they think, as they both express the same, root Beast. The same primordial, sleeping god. The same unique Discipline. The specific even which has brought those specific vampires into existence may decide things like favored attribute, the bane and the common Disciplines- all of which are important, no doubt about it- but the origin of all those clans come from a single point, like crimson streams rising from a fountain, a wound in the flesh of Earth. And that point, that wound, is the unique Discipline.

    Hey, if mages can treat their Arcana as living entities, why can't vampires do the same? And also, why should only mages, mummies and demons have fun with non linear timelines? Let vampires join! Let clans and bloodlines be connected beyond time and space, all related and descendant from one another without any based causality. It could give a nice explanation for the Fog of Ages of 1e. Do you need to a destroy a city to do it? No problem- vampires have already sacrificed five of those in an orgy of blood. I think it qualifies.

    Anyway, back to the subject- clans, how they are related?

    The most "basic unite of vampirism" is, in essence, the Bloodline. Each bloodline comes from a very specific and well defined event, in which vampires from a certain clan got powers beyond their own. Not all vampires have Bloodline, however, and bloodlines have a very strange place in the Blood- but usually, when a vampire comes from a certain Bloodlines, you know from which clan that vampire came. Bloodlines are are the easiest to "steal" from other clans, like how the Norvegi were absorbed into Mekhet, or the Licini and Macellarius were assimilated by the Ventrue. Heck, some bloodlines may be spawned into clans by their own right- the Ventrue may be a rogue Gangrel bloodline, for example. In a way, bloodlines are not only the thinnest streams of the fountain, they are also places where streams merge together, and may perhaps grow into becoming fountains by their own right if the conditions fit. All of that just contributes to the strange, non causal way that vampiric origins interacts with each other.

    Above bloodlines we have clans- which are defined as a set of vampires with the same, basic three discipline spread, same favored attributes and same bane. While some clans may track their origin into a singular point, it feels like the most have a number of origins, which are all the same origin- the Nosferatu definitely seems to be that way, and the Gangrel are also a strong possibility for a clan with multiple origins, while the Mekhet, Daeva and Ventrue (not to mention the Julii and their like) are much more singular, though even they probably have been born a number of times. Again, it doesn't matter where and when a specific strain of the same clan was created, for they are all the beginning of the clan. It also has a physical justification- if you have two particles which are identical and indistinguishable, they are physically the same particle. The same is true for vampires- if you have two clans with the same basic properties, they are the same clan. That's a physical truth, which burns strongly in the Blood.

    Above clans we could have what can be called as "siblings"- clans which are very, very similar to one another, but differ by bit, such as having a different bane or attributes. After all, here we assume that Disciplines are the ones which create the vampire, and as such having a different bane and/or attributes are *just* a way to distinguish between the clans. That is, "siblings" are clans which are identical, yet distinguishable. While that may not seem like a lot, but it is enough. In that category we have the Mekhet and the Hollows, the Gangrel and the Pijavicia and the Daeva and the Ghuls. While the Mexican variations of the clans- or other unexplained lost clans, in fact- may also be "siblings" instead of more different clans we currently don't know it and have no way to prove it, so let's leave them outside of it in the meanwhile. What is important that "siblings" have, basically, the same Beast- it is just that they express it a bit different. Like having a cat with black fur versus one with white fur- neither of them is a dog. Sure, some of the curses are... quit exotic, but in the end, it does not matter for the Beast- it still hunts in the same way and with the same tools. The same Beast, but a bit different. Such "siblings" may have been created by different circumstances- and have, quit possibly, also been spawned a number of times- but there is enough change in their creation to allow you to distinguish between those vampires and those vampires. Not much, but still something.

    A greater level of difference would be "cousin clans"- that is, clans which share the same defining, unique Discipline. Those would be, for example, the Julii and the Ventrue. While we don't have the exact Discipline spread for them, the Grettir and the Mekhet, as well as the Ceceya and the Ventrue (if the Ceceya are the "tyrant clan"), are good candidates for "cousins". In the terms used beforehand, those will be clans which are no longer identical- and as such, require different circumstances to be created. They are very different from each other- but they still come from the same source. All of their Beasts have a common ancestor, yet they are, indeed, different species, each with its own hunt strategy, tactics and tools. You could still find traces of common ancestry, and their Blood still remembers the original entity which brought them into existence, which is why "cousins" can assimilate one another, even if not as easily as "siblings". The Beasts are similar enough to be "interbreed" with one another- which could be what we call diablerie- while still retaining their core features.

    And finally, at the highest ranking of separation, we have clans which sprout from different fountains- that is, clans which has no common unique Discipline. Those vampires are truly alien to one another, as the very power which brought them to unlike, the very dormant entity which sleeps in their Blood, is different. And, ironically, that level of separation between vampires is what we call "Kindred"- vampires which have no common Beast, no common Blood, practically nothing in common but the fact they are all dead bodies which keeps on walking and drink blood to exist. That's it- the eternal reminder that vampires do, in the end, have different origins.

    And what is beyond it? Well, again, bloodlines. Some bloodlines, after all, allow clans to meld together, share the gifts of their Blood and unite under a single entity. Bloodlines are weird, mutative things, from which clans sprouts and into which clans die, the liminal place where one clan ends and another begins. Bloodlines are the proof that after all of it, after all of the levels of separations and detachment, we are all still Kindred to one another.

    So, to sum it up, it seems that the process goes like this- we have the fountain (the unique Discipline) which is separates into different streams (cousin clans), which break into smaller streams (sibling clans) which goes into very, very thin streams (bloodlines) which are connected into the bigger streams (clans of other fountains). Or, in a more appropriate language, we have an heart, from which arteries spread, which turn into capillaries, which either return the blood to the heart through veins or, strangely, connect to the system of another heart. Creepy, sure, but since when vampires are not creepy?

    In that case, all which is left is identifying the number of hearts.

    I mean, sure, we have seven "hearts" described above, but who said those are all the hearts in existence? I mean, before half Damned, we only knew about six such hearts, and that is only from 1e. Looking on the Wicked Dead, there seems to be two new possible unique Disciplines- Continence and Mengilai. Sure, the Cihuateteo have their own "ritual magic" discipline, but I strongly feel like in 2e, they should instead just have Majesty or Auspex and another common Discipline to complete the set. The Formosae also have two seemingly unique Disciplines, which would mean that either Continence is not unique, or that in 2e, under the proposed paradigm in this post which is far from canon, they should replace Majesty with another Discipline. Now, the thing is that conceptually speaking, Continence shares a lot of conceptual with Bereschligost, in terms of containing/surviving without Vitae. That leads me to thing that in 2e, the two Disciplines should be the same. Mengilai, which is sound manipulation, may be unique enough to stand on its own, yet Penanggalens are outright stated to not be Kindred- which is why vampires can't learn that Discipline. But that was 1e. Maybe in a 2e presentation, and enough evolution of the Blood, they could join the family. Heck, maybe the Penanggalens are Aswangs which start to evolve to become more and more like Kindred, as the Blood assimilate them into itself. Something to ponder about.

    Beyond Mengilai, we could steal the concept of Oblivion from V5- we have a lot of Disciplines which deal with death and the dead, such as Carrefour, Cattiveria or Essentiaphagia. While we could break each of them into other Disciplines and Devotion, I do strongly think that there is a conceptual place to add an Oblivion style Discipline to Requiem. Speaking on bloodline Disciplines, the fact is that Cachexy is in 2e its own Discipline- which may mean that there is a clan based around it as a unique Discipline. Or maybe there was such a clan, and the Mekhet devoured it, leaving the Morbus as the only reminder. May explain why one can't find the exact origin of the bloodline- it was never a Mekhet bloodline, and the Shadows stole it from the original clan and then destroyed it. Some other former "bloodline Disciplines" could be used in a certain way- Abjurism, while being strongly Auspex in feeling, may have its own niche as "anti magic" kind of thing. Bhumisparsa enhances Armor like a physical Discipline, which makes it feel like it should be a unique thing. Similarly, Constance could do the same for Resolve. Serendipity may be styled as Auspex and Majesty devotions, but the ability to bend luck and fate makes sense as its own thing. As such, that would give us around 6 more "hearts", and and overall of 14 (unless I miscounted. I'm tired and it is late in here). Well, maybe blood manipulation could also be its own thing, even if it feels very Protean- and it also feels like something which goes along with Masquerade's Assamites. If we are already stealing things from Masquerade, maybe something like Obeah (that is, an healing/purity Discipline) could be a cool addition- could work with the proposed Abjurism, as well as many other healing Disciplines from Requiem.

    So we have defined the hierarchy of separation, and considered the number unique Discipline. Is there anything else that we have missed?

    As, yeah.

    The Jiangshi.

    Through this post, we considered that each clan has a single unique Discipline. We ruled out exceptions due to them being 1e and Wicked Dead, and claimed that as true vampires in 2e, which meant to be playable, they should only have a single defining Discipline. And then, we have the Jinagshi- which have the opposite problem. It is not that they have two Unique Disicplines- they have none. They are purely "commoner" vampires, with no special, defining Discipline, Worse, this is their canon 2e presentation- so we don't have any way to claim that a change in editions would have changed it. So what do we do with it?

    We return back to the original quote which triggered this whole thing.

    If we were to consider Disciplines as parasitic, unliving beings which host themselves in corpses of the dead, we have to ask ourselves a question- what came first- the Discipline entity or the vampire? That is, did the Discipline god beast created the vampires in its image, or did the vampires first awakened from their graves, having access only to common Disciplines, and only then the Discipline attached itself to them? In that case, maybe the Jiangshi are yet to go through their finale evolution- currently, they still lack any unique Discipline to attach itself into their souls. Maybe one day it will happen, and the Jinagshi would become true cousins to one of the other clans. Or maybe they would develop their own unique Discipline, bringing a new dead gods to the graveyard where the Blood flows. Perhaps one of the common Disciplines- such as Celerity- starts to gain sentience of its own, either developing into a variant which is unique, or becoming unique by itself? what consequences would it mean for those vampires which once had access to that Discipline, but no longer? What if all Disciplines has started as common, and has slowly "ascended" to become unique through the very well, crafted use of establishing clans around them? What if the power which will rise from Celerity already exists, and just waits to find a clan to cling its roots into?

    So in short- I must admit that I do like the thought about Disciplines as "sentient" thing. The question about whether or not a vampire clan (that is, a player option) should have access to two unique Disciplines is something which we should think about, as even if it does not break any power balance, it would mean that there is no longer any difference between common and unique Disciplines. If unique Disciplines are special, we should define how many of those actually exist (we may get a few new ones in Spilled Blood, as it details Wicked Dead and Lost Clans), as well as decide about whether "commoner clans" are a stable state, or perhaps an intermediate stage which ends with the creation of a new unique Discipline- for example, Protean may have been "born" from Animalism, while many of the mental Disciplines came from Obfuscate. Heck, maybe Praestantia was once a common Discipline, until it "ascended" into a unique form. In the end, what exactly makes a Discipline into "unique", other than making sure a clan could only have of its kin as favored, and have a number of clans spawned from it?

    And in the end, what we really need to ask ourselves is this- if Disciplines, or at least the unique ones, are sentient things, what in the name of Dis are they? Are they a collective memory of vampirism, transcending space and time? Are they dead deities which sleep in the blood of their clans? Are they the collective of Beasts which haunts the hearts of the dead? Or are they alien beings, creeping from beyond time to find grasp in the souls of mortals? After all, we know that the Mekhet have preceded humanity- perhaps Auspex, as well as its kin, were forsaken here, crushing from the skies with no way to return home, and have instead found solace in the corpses of the dead?...

    And stuff like that. That's the end of my rambling. Hope it somehow makes sense :P

  • LostLight
    replied
    So with the new Spilled Blood and Yossarian's variant Twice Cursed, while the Curse is what makes the Vampire as they say, I have (just for fun) decided to do a rough estimation of the number of ways, using all the current Clans, one could reach the same Discipline Spread for Twice Cursed, excluding strange cases of strong overlap (such as Gangrel/Ventrue, not to mention Gangrel/Pijavicia). The results are as the follows-

    Celerity/Vigor/Obfuscate- 9
    Celerity/Vigor/Resilience- 5
    Vigor/Resilience/Animalism- 5
    Resilience/Animalism/Obfuscate- 11
    Celerity/Resilience/Animalism- 5
    Vigor/Obfuscate/Animalism- 2
    Vigor/Resilience/Obfuscate- 2
    Celerity/Obfuscate/Resilience- 7
    Celerity/Obfuscate/Animalism- 3
    Celerity/Vigor/Animalism- 0

    It should be noted that my count is that Vigor/Celerity=2 (Daeva+Ghul), Animalism/Resilience=5 (Ventrue+Gangrel+Mikhailli+Hypolitan+Pijavicia) and Celerity+Obfuscate=3 (Mekhet+Akhud+Hollow). Clan Dukhan wasn't taken as a part of the statistics due to them having two unique Disciplines, which is weird all by its own. Clans of which we are yet to gain a full writeup (Grettir, Lilitu, Utukku, Ceceya and the Lost Cahokia Clan), fanmade Clans, and Wicked Dead clans with more than one unique Discipline (such as the Formosae) were also excluded. The outcomes of strong overlap Twice Cursed (Gangrel/Ventrue) or the total lack of overlap (Ventrue/Mekhet, for example) also were not included, as it is not trivial to predict those results. At any case, I think it would mean that Resilience/Animalism/Obfuscate should still be the most common result, while Celerity/Vigor/Animalism the least.

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  • wyrdhamster
    replied
    Dukhan, new Clan from 1001 Nightmares era from Dark Eras 2, is off-shoot of Mekhet that crossed their Blood with that of Begotten.

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  • Live Bait
    replied
    LostLight I think you’re wrong about Disciplines starting out common, I think they grow into being common in the same way the clans grew into being kindred. Deferent aspects of the vampire condition adapting to become something that can make itself at home in any vampire.
    Another thing that hasn’t been covered yet is how certain disciplines seem to stick together like animalism and resilience or celerity and obfuscate who share 3 clans each I think.

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  • Baaldam
    replied
    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
    Well, Wicked Dead is a late 1e product, so it does contain a lot of the concepts which later made their way into 2e. While some things are obsolete (like their version of the strix, Jiangshi and dhampirs, as well as the variation of ghost-claimed or larvals, which meant to fill the same niche as revenants in 2e), it still has a lot of cool stuff in it, like the Formosae or the Aswang, as well as all kinds of nasty parasites and strange monstrosities. The fact that many of the concepts in there made their way to 2e only shows that it could be very helpful for 2e, even if some mechanics needs to be updated.
    I would have no problem with some of the "obsoleteness" you mentioned - if kindred can change, deviate and mutate, why not the Birds?

    Wicked Dead's Jiangshi would be their "vanilla/grassroots/before some crazy f**kers in an university made a cult/community/clan of them" version. Will the 2e Jiangshi prosper and subsume their more limited/primal kin or be consumed as an ephemeral flowering of tthe ages leaving room for their "older" brethen? Time will tell, or not. As an aside, in my own games i toyed with the idea of a familial clan of Aswang socialites vaguely inspired in the Kardassians, with ties in Abbey Road and the Cheiron Group.

    Dhampirs i don't have much of an opinion on as i never used either version.

    ​Larvae i definitely keep around, as a sort of weird link to Draugr and zombie apocalypse style things.

    And speaking of things somewhere between wicked dead or lost kindred clan, i would point out - as i'm wont to do almost every time someone brings up wicked dead, strix, alternate clans and other related stuff, it seems - the Kanaima from pages 67-71 of Skinchangers.

    But let me drive it home a bit....

    Originally posted by Skinchangers, pg.69-70
    Carlos Rivera
    Quote: “Stay outta my way, man. I got things to do.”
    Background: Carlos Rivera grew up in a small town in Brazil. His friends and family knew him to be a clever and inquisitive child, and thanks to a number of U.S. aid programs, he was lucky enough to receive schooling in the United States. Here, he studied the history of his people and their interaction with foreign interests, and with some effort managed to reconcile the things he learned with the things he knew as a native of Brazil. Once he understood the true scope of the United States’ corporate interests in the Amazon basin, he became an advocate for native rights and corporate responsibility. Some corporations read his works with great interest, and used his ideas to develop more environmentally friendly approaches to making money in the region. Some, however, found Carlos to be an irritant, and arranged for an “accident” to get him out of their hair — permanently.
    All other things being equal, Carlos’ story should have ended there. He would become a half-remembered statistic, and that would be the end of it. As it happens, however, Carlos was not the sort of individual to die so easily. He no longer cared about his work; his life and his death had done their part for the world, and he was confident his writings would continue to influence corporations and environmentalists for some time to come. But what really annoyed him, and what he could not let go, was the fact that the people who had murdered him had gotten away with it. There was nothing the law could do to touch them, and his thirst for vengeance strengthened by the day.
    At this point, a spirit named Ghost Hunter came to him and made him a most unusual offer. “Show me your body,” it said, “and I will revive it. Together, we will claim the vengeance you seek.” Carlos never even considered turning down the spirit’s offer. Not even for a minute.

    Storytelling Hints: In life, Carlos’ passion was the environment and the protection of Brazil and its people from greedy corporate interests, but that passion died with his physical body. Now, Carlos wants nothing more than revenge on the people who killed him. That seems to suit his possessing spirit just fine.

    Attributes: Intelligence 3 (6), Wits 2 (5), Resolve 3 (5), Strength 2 (8), Dexterity 2 (5), Stamina 2 (7), Presence 2 (5), Manipulation 2 (5), Composure 3 (5)
    Skills: Academics (History, Research) 4, Crafts 1, Investigation 2, Athletics 2, Survival 2, Empathy 3, Expression (Journal Articles) 4, Persuasion 2, Socialize 2
    Merits: Inspiring, Language (English; Portuguese is native) ••, Language (Karib) •
    Willpower: 6 (10)
    Health: 7 (12)
    Initiative: 5 (10)
    Defense: 2 (5)
    Speed: 9 (18)
    Synthesis: 1
    Essence: 25 (maximum of 25)
    Aspects: Natural Weaponry, Shapeshift
    • Natural Weaponry: Carlos has the claws and teeth of a jaguar, but only in his jaguar form.
    When he wants to attack a target while in human form, he uses this Aspect. The claws inflict +1 lethal damage, and can be used as an aid in climbing checks (+2 to appropriate
    Athletics pools to climb).
    • Shapeshift: Carlos can take the form of a large jaguar as a standard action. This animal has the following trait modifiers: Strength +2, Dexterity +2, Stamina +1, Manipulation –3, Health + 1, Speed + 7
    The whole thing just screams Gangrel with a tweak here or there.

    But speaking of clans, spontaneous rising, subsuming and other stuff, i tend to think of things in a "por que no los dos" mindset.
    Sometimes a sort of hungry dead may rise from a combination of peculiar occult circunstances. Depending on particular combination they might manifest certain powers with more facility or dificulty beside other traits like bestial, predatory behaviour, human self-awareness & inteligence and so on. Sometimes all those things together, sometimes not. In certain cases they are not even undead, but living, breathing people that manifest a few of these powers/gifts/curses still.

    Certain of those beings are destroyed, by either competing monsters or mortals unwilling to be preyed upon. Some will "survive" and prosper or grow in power. If they are lucky, they might connect with other undying monsters, of their own or the kindred sort and through "damnation by association", that might involve almost human socialization, interaction of Beasts, exchange of vitae or maybe some combination of these and others, they change further. They adapt, replicate, evolve, transform in maybe, a (supposedly) more "streamlined" version of themselves, like the Mekhet went from desecrated mummies to hollows to the kindred clan we mostly know.

    One might say i see a kindred clan as an inherited symbiosis of discipline & bane in a particular corpse, much like a mother gives not only food but its own batch of antibodies & microorganisms by nurturing a newborn child with its milk.
    Last edited by Baaldam; 01-06-2020, 11:22 AM.

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  • LostLight
    replied
    So let's talk about evolution a bit.

    As we said before, the concept of "from which clan came which" is practically meaningless- in a world were Disciplines are actual entities, the potentiality for all clans already exist in the system before it was ever born- it doesn't matter if the Ventrue came from the Gangrel and/or the Gangrel from the Julii, etc etc. The point of where a clan was spawned into undeath means nothing. Once the circumstances for how a clan exists are established, it exists, always exists and always will exists.. unless it dies. There seems to be something really finite about lost clans, as they can no longer Embrace, and produce only revenant. The undead heart which brought the clan to life stops beating, and the Vitae goes sterile and thin. It happened to the Julii. It happened to the Pijavicia. It happened to the Utukku and and the Mikhailli. Having a clan lost is not only a matter killing every vampire of the clan in the world- for the circumstances still could happen, and the clan could sprout anew without warning. In order to kill a clan, you must cut it at the source- destroy the fountain of Blood from which the clan comes.

    It should be noted that it is only valid for killing a clan- the Pijavicia are dead (TYoN establish that their Methuselah can't Embrace, after all), but the Gangrel are still alive. That is, killing a clan is selective on the sibling level- killing an whole branch of siblings should require much, much more work. Killing whole cousins would require, practically, killing the Discipline which creates them. Perhaps that's why there is not vampire with Bereschligost in the world. The Discipline itself died with the Mikhailli, perhaps eaten by seven dead ghosts who desired vengeance for their death.. (not a subtle reference to my theory that the Betrayed were the "clan" sprouted by the lone Mikhailli which escaped).

    Anyway, what we understand from here that asking about the evolution of clans is meaningless- but the evolution of Disciplines is important.

    How Disciplines even come to life? What decides which part of the world could be represented as a Discipline and which is only an extension of it, in the form of Devotions? Other than the game designers, of course. If Disciplines are sentient beings, they may be the result of natural selection just as any other species does. How do Disciplines evolve? From where do they form?

    Nobody knows.

    I mean, no one knows what the hell Disciplines are besides the fact that they are the powers that vampires can use. No one knows where they came from, or why. Vampirism is a wound, it was said again and again- but Disciplines are the Blood. They are the tool of murder, and act of violence, the thought behind the process. Disciplines guide the hand which stabs and whispers to the mind while it butchers. Disciplines give shape and form, take the otherwise messy mass of rot and defines it, transforms it into something which would make fucking sense. In scientific words, it reduces the entropy of vampirism, making it more advanced, more likely to survive. It limits some possibilities on the expanse of others, making a Beast out of the otherwise chaotic madness of the Embrace. Disciplines are the force which binds, the enthalpy which fights against the entropy, the god against the devil. Disciplines are the Gods of Blood, and each of them preforms work, which means they have a goal. Each clan has a goal- and perhaps when they do what they had to be done, they are left behind, forsaken by their gods and unable to transfer the Curse any longer.

    But not all gods are made equal- at each pantheon you have the Great Gods, which rule the world, and the Lesser Gods, who are nothing but local deities desperate for worship. There are, of course, all kinds of levels of godhood, from the very specific god of your home to the great god of all rain and lightning and storm. The same is true for the Gods of Blood- some of them are very weak, barely able to stand on their own. Others are extremely potent, with the power to topple worlds and birth whole clans around themselves. Some may even be so great that no single preview could describe them- they are not just the gods of fire or the gods of plague. They are the gods of healing, charity, fertility, chaos, night, life and death. They are gods so great, that you can't list all of their preview. Helios was the god of the sun- an important position indeed. Apollo was still better.

    So, in the case of the Gods of Blood, we have a few different ranks- the first would be Devotions. Sure, it may sound a bit weird, but think about it- a Devotion is either a combination of different Disciplines, but it could be said that it is a very, very small god which govern only one form of power, and which is the vassal of a greater god. The small god of Devotion is nothing but a single preview, a very specific and narrow practice of the Blood, which is fed only when a vampire uses that Devotion. Due to their specificity, it is clear that they are not as fed as Disciplines, which are used much more often- and not only that, as vassals to Disciplines they must "pay" some of the vitae to their higher ups, hence the Disciplines which are needed to produce the said Devotion. That brings the question- does a vampire finds new applications to the Blood and develop a new Devotion, and as such creating a new god, or does that god always existed, and just waits for the right vampire to bring it to the world so it could feed upon spilled Vitae? Again, like clans, I guess that once a Devotion exist it always exists, but who knows? This all theory is a nonsense I'm making up for no good reason :P

    Anyway, what is interesting that sometimes we have a couple of Devotions which are related to one another- that is, Bloodline Devotions. Sure, not all Bloodlines have Devotions- some have other Gifts, which seem to be more in lines of the Beast reshaping itself than whatever strange hierarchy which rules the Gods of Blood. At any case, the idea is that once a vassal starts growing in power, it starts developing more aspects to their preview, creating a collection of Devotions which are drain the blood to its hungry mouth. Bloodline Devotion gods are slightly more powerful than regular Devotion gods, as they have a more flexible preview- yet it is bound to the Discipline gods. Perhaps, one day they would evolve enough to become Bloodline Disciplines, and from there establishing a clan around themselves is only a matter of time. Perhaps that's how Cachexy has started. Heck, maybe that's how all Disciplines has started- a mass of hungry gods feeding upon one another, establishing authority, shaping themselves in order to make themselves a place in the Hierarchy of Blood. Maybe.

    As you may guess, above the Devotion gods there are the Discipline gods- the movers and shakers of the Hierarchy of Blood. As we all know, there are two main classifications for Disciplines- Common and Unique. Let's assume for a second that all Disciplines start as common- after all, it makes sense. After a Bloodline Devotion god has gathered enough power, they want to be used by as many vampires as possible. They want people spilling blood in their name, making sacrifices for them, feeding them with life stolen and death defiled. As we already know, Common Discipline gods can even have clans based around them- which is important if they want to rise in power. On the other hand, you have Unique Discipline gods- that is, powers which are not accessible to all vampires, but only to certain clans, and as such, making those clans special, unique, nothing like the commoner vampires who must fight for their place in the world.

    You may ask yourself "if Discipline gods just want to feed, and by being a common Discipline they have more access for Blood than by being unique Disciplines, then why oh why would Blood Gods want to reach that level"? In return, allow me to ask you this- if by having to spend as less resources as possible your chances for survival are higher, than why oh why does peacocks have all of those fancy feathers? Sometimes, in nature, it is better to be inhibited than to survive on the bare minimum. It means that you have status- that you have the luxury of limiting yourself, of specializing yourself, of having enough ways to gain sustenance and propagate yourself forward. Gods which would fulfill any request any person ask from them are desperate creatures. Gods which are sure enough of themselves and their ability to create new clans and propagate their Blood are proud, great gods. They have countless throats singing songs in their name, dancing before them, spilling blood to feed them. They are sure of their position, and have the means to solidify their place as the true rulers of the Hierarchy of Blood.

    Sometimes, of course, it ends up badly- probably like what happened to Bereschligost. Perhaps it put all of its chips on the Mikhailli, and when they died there was no one else to sing requiems for him, leaving it to starve and fall. Perhaps Chary is indeed the ghost of Bereschligost, and it became accessible to revenants only after the Discipline died. Heck, maybe it was always accessible- time is not linear for the dead gods of the Blood. Chary always existed, Bereschligost was always dead, it just had to happen. Maybe that's also why revenant are so that damn hungry- Bereschligost died and became the governing power over them, and it demands every bit of Blood from them in order to continue to exist, out of hope that one day, it would become a real god once more. Disciplines with enough power do not need to fear the fall of their favored clans- look at Dominate. The bastard seems to have some sadistic joy from killing and eating its own spawn.

    Anyway, so the hierarchy is clear- Devotions at the bottom, unique Disciplines at the top. Each time you spill blood you say a prayer to the gods. Unique Disciplines have the privilege to clam any clan which favors them as their worshiper, while common Disciplines has to fight over scraps and relay on numbers instead. That's it, right?

    Wrong.

    After all, what about blood magic?

    In Blood Sorcery: Sacraments and Blasphemies (a great book, by the way), we are introduced to the concept of Threnodies. The idea is that by giving a proper sacrifice, a vampire could draw an even greater power from their Discipline- that is, each Discipline could, in potential, be used to produce terrible blood magic. Threnodies are, on the other hand, very chaotic and dangerous, and weird, and, again, sacrificial- they require so much more than regular Discipline power, that one may wonder is the sacrifice was worth it. That's because the Discipline god can answer very desperate prayers- but the price to do so in enormous (vampires are parasites, after all).But once a Discipline god reaches an high enough level, they can do some very, very crazy shit- and for a very low price. Once they have enough followers, they can just break away from the Hierarchy, ruling over legions of the dead without needing to supervise a clan of their own. Any vampire can learn their secrets, any vampire can become theirs. They are the ultimate authority- the unquestionable Emperors of Blood, the Glories of the Most Bloodied.

    Sure, not every evolution is so nice and tidy- some Disciplines may become Blood Sorcery before they manage to detach themselves from their Blood- look at Lithopedia and Gilded Cage. Due to their large similarity, maybe they are both the two faces of the same form of Blood Sorcery, which tries to play a dangerous game for quick ascension (perhaps as the result of the theoretical Territory Discipline). Perhaps it is the result of a convergence evolution, where two different Beasts ends up way too similar for all the wrong reasons, and must now compete with each other over resources. Evolution is never a neat and tidy thing- mutations happen along the way, and in many cases, such defects in the process ends with the death of the contender, instead of its early success, being unable to rise in the ranks of Blood.

    Still, most Blood Sorcery Discipline gods are far above the claims of a single Bloodline or Clan- they have actual churches under their command, praising their names and making sacrifices to them. They are the apex predators, the ones at the top of the chain, and as such, the most rare of the bunch. We have Theban Sorcery and Cruac as the most famous examples for such magics, with Cruac itself being three different versions of the same Blood Sorcery- Chaos, Fertility and Void. Maybe once all the three styles were three Disciplines, and as such, three gods, which have unified together to fight the terror of Theban Sorcery. Maybe one god devoured the two others, and their tells have remained in its flesh, in a form of divine Diablerie. And maybe Curac starts to diverge, propagating into three different Disciplines as it reaches the divine equivalent of high Blood Potency, and just like the strix it breaks itself apart, creating whole new Disciplines from its Blood. We also have other, lesser known form of Blood Sorcery- Merges Sorcery which deals with venom and hate, Ahranite Sorcery that is focused around diabolism and vengeance, Kigan that concerns itself with the spirit world and the arts of the world, Vodoun that works on the dead and the dying..

    And Veneficia, of course.

    Is Venefica dead? I mean, sure, the thought about something in the style of the Blood Emperor truly dying is terrifying- we are not talking about the death of a Clan. We are talking on the death of a principle, of a nation, of a being so complex that it express itself through countless different themes and thoughts. Blood Sorceries are no longer "just" a preview, or a vampiric power- they are infrastructures upon infrastructures, systems within systems of sacrifices meant to feed the gods of old. Killing a Blood Sorcery god is a terrible act which can barely be imagined- but we can't deny that possibility. Maybe Theban Sorcery has killed it, and afterwards Cruac came and devoured the body. Maybe Venefica is just in torpor, after Theban Sorcery and Cruac beat the crap out of it and took from it all that they could. Maybe it was also merged into Cruac, and now exists as a style in the bloody cauldron which is Cruac... and maybe it is still alive. I mean, a number of people (me included) have suspected that Veneficia represents the boundary between the Man and the Beast in the vampire soul, and that certain covenants which are found on the boundary between the two concepts may still express its themes. The Kataramenon are twice damned, plague bearers and seers of the god Apollo- and aren't those themes sounds way too similar to the ideas behind the augurs of Rome? No one ever said they use Theban Sorcery, after all. Look at the Fuil Beannaithe from Requiem to the Regina. They combine concepts from the old irish faith with the divinity of the Virgin Mother. Sure, they are pagan in the heart, but no one said they use the barbaric Cruac. Venefica may very well be still alive, just lowering its profile and losing much of its rituals to Cruac in order to survive the combined attack- until it would have enough power to bite back.

    So, let's sum up the evolutionary trail, shall we?

    Devotion --> Bloodline Devotions --> Bloodline Discipline --> Common Discipline --> Unique Discipline --> Blood Sorcery

    Mutations are not included, of course.

    So that's it, we are finished here.

    Oh, wait, we forgot something.

    The strix.

    The fucking strix.

    How do the fucking strix enter that complicate system of vampiric evolution? Unlike vampires, they powers over Vitae are much more complex and weird, taking the form of Dread Powers instead. On the other hand, they CAN learn Disciplines. Worse, they CAN learn BLOOD SORCERY. They claim Cruac as their birthright, even though they can't spill blood for it. They claim to be the Beast in the heart of every vampire, but they don;t belong to the Hierarchy of Blood. The strix just don't belong- but they still are. They are parasites, shadow monsters which lurk into the Blood and take over it from the inside, mutilating it to fit their needs. The Blood is their plaything- they are older than it, and they can toy with it as much as they wish. They may even birth Clans of their own, which are later bound to the Blood but come from the Shadow. Void Cruac? Yeah, that connects to the Owls. The strix are the darkness before the Blood- they are death, and all Disciplines must pay a due to Death. But the Disciplines didn't want to- they broke free from the claim of the Shadow, dead gods which refused to die. The owe a debt to the Shadow which they refuse to pay- and as such, the Shadow comes to collect it by force. The strix steal the what the Blood owed, with some extra for the effort. The strix are what every vampire is scared of- and the Shadow is what every Discipline is afraid of. It is their Death, the death which they escaped and which requires a payment in return. People say that the only two absolute things in life are death and taxes- who is to say they are not the same thing, in the form of a golden eyed owl?

    (yeah, I am aware of Rose's origin for the strix as the forsaken spirits of humanity- but as it is not actual canon, even if the thought the designers had in their mind- I chose to ignore it. I prefer the strix to be their own thing as monsters of the primordial darkness before humanity. Just not my cup of tea).

    Well, that's it, at least for now. Hope you liked it :P

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  • DubiousRuffian
    replied
    Maybe allow them to resist the roll. Number of successes equals number of hours/days the victim is displaced?

    I haven't read the Geist book, so can't comment there at all.

    Leave a comment:


  • Live Bait
    replied
    Part of the problem is that I haven’t read Sin Eater and I don’t want to add anything that contradicts the ghosts and the underworld game line so I haven’t finalised the discipline yet in case there’s something in Geist that I should use as precedent for how to do this. Allowing the banishing of non ghosts to the underworld creates a one shot weapon that doesn’t seem very CofD to me but I did think about a devotion that would permit it. I might end up adding a few things to the fifth dot to make it easier to deal with ghosts, lots of little add ons isn’t very fifth dot but it might be the best way to do this.
    Slightly more on topic it may be of interest that this discipline is intended to belong to the Sangiovanni ghoul family and the kindred embraced from them get to keep it in their bloodline rather than the vampire giving it to the ghoul.
    Last edited by Live Bait; 01-01-2020, 02:51 PM.

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  • DubiousRuffian
    replied
    I mean, maybe add in the ability to create gates? But you are right, being restricted to preexisting gates does make it feel less five-dotty.

    Like, I'm thinking that if you can expand it to something common (kind of like the strix Dread power), you'd be able to avoid any danger and remove anyone.
    Last edited by DubiousRuffian; 01-01-2020, 01:05 PM.

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  • Live Bait
    replied
    Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post

    I would switch 5 and 4.

    Being able to raise the dead/ghosts feels like an extension of the earlier necromancy powers, while being able to actually go into the underworld feels like it's a complete metamorphosis away from being a living-physical-thing. And if you do that, I might suggest basing it off of the Strix's shadow portal thing, just to juice it up a bit.
    Interesting, I saw being able to open pre existing gates to the underworld as being less powerful than summoning a ghost from the underworld to you.
    Thank you.

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  • DubiousRuffian
    replied
    Originally posted by Live Bait View Post
    I put together a necromancy discipline that both summons ghosts and makes zombies but it doesn’t have everything priced up because I wanted to wait until sin eaters was out before finalising it.


    Necromancy
    Dot oooo
    Can enter the underworld at appropriate places. Waiting for Sin Eaters before setting price but probably free for self.
    At this level you can identify such gateways and analysis their nature such as the key needed to open them.
    Dot ooooo
    Can summon ghosts from and banish to the underworld.
    At this point you can identify individuals within range of your Kindred Senses.
    This discipline can not distinguish between Kindred and Strix.

    I would switch 5 and 4.

    Being able to raise the dead/ghosts feels like an extension of the earlier necromancy powers, while being able to actually go into the underworld feels like it's a complete metamorphosis away from being a living-physical-thing. And if you do that, I might suggest basing it off of the Strix's shadow portal thing, just to juice it up a bit.

    Leave a comment:


  • LostLight
    replied
    Yossarian thanks for answering! I always like to hear about the reasons behind the designs, so if you include such a section it would be really cool. Also, as far as I understand, your version of Gustus sounds very similar to what Continence does, which makes sense as the Formosae do share a thing or two with the Macellarius. This alone could be very useful to me, if I were to decide and flesh out the Beautiful Ones in 2e. Anyway, excited to see the product when it will be finished!

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  • Yossarian
    replied
    Originally posted by LostLight View Post

    well, you may say that your thoughts are infectious. Be careful not to start a contagion in here


    Argh, could you just take my money already and give me that book? I need it like a ghoul needs their vitae :P


    Sounds cool! As I said, Constance makes a lot of sense as its own Discipline and Mimetismo is a version of sound-manipulating Discipline like Mengilai so it will also be very helpful for me. I was very unsure whether or not to define Perfidy and Scourge as Disciplines, or whether they should be a collection of Devotions in 2e, so I would be interesting to see how you will work them out. Gustus is quit a surprise, actually- I feels very much like something which should be a collection of Devotions, perhaps of Continence and/or Bereschligost. Sure, we currently have no official 2e version for either of those Disciplines, but still kinda surprising. While it is a STV material and not an official version, if you could share your rational for why you have decided those Disciplines to remain Disciplines in 2e presentation, it would be very interesting to me (I understand if you prefer to release the product first, of course).
    So as not to derail your thread too much, here's the bullet point answer. And remember, these are just our versions. They might not work for everyone, and an official update would probably look different!
    • Gustus we threw out the window and started from scratch (we even renamed it, because it was successfully argued that the name "Gustus" is too twee by half). It's a physical Discipline now, based on increasing Size and Vitae capacity. Basically, we turned their old weakness into an advantage, and gave them a new bane. A lot of the old powers we did turn into Devotions, though, combined with Vigor and Resilience (our version of the Macellarius are a bit more Julii-like).
    • Scourge we also scrapped and started fresh. Again, it's more like a physical Discipline. You gain bonuses for pain, and you can inflict your pain on others. I considered making it a Resilience/Vigor effect, but I found that the physical Discipline "booster" format was a more elegant way to express the idea. I also thought about turning some powers into Theban Sorcery rituals, but honestly, the Blood Scourge Miracle thematically covers pretty much every old Scourge power.
    • The writer who did Perfidy made a very good case for it being a Discipline. It's just a different enough niche that I was okay with it being its own thing rather than a series of Dominate/Majesty devotions (which was my initial suggestion). It's probably the biggest edge case. At the low levels, it instills paranoia and alters relationships, and at the highest level you can actually steal relationships for a while
    • There were, however, lots we didn't keep as Disciplines. The Bohagande, Lynx, and Tismanu got Khaibit-style Devotion strings, while the Gorgons and the Vedma got Discipline enhancing Merits. The Sotoha and Libitinarius got their own Coils (the latter also share their power with the Agonistes).
    Long story short, some of these choices were made for convenience, while others were aesthetic or judgment calls. We're going to include a little dev notes document with the product, which will also go into some of these design choices.

    Leave a comment:


  • LostLight
    replied
    So some more musing about Disciplines and such-

    Currently, as was mentioned earlier, we have 5 common Disciplines and 8 unique Disciplines in 2e: Vigor, Resilience, Celerity, Animalism and Obfuscate, Majesty, Dominate, Auspex, Nightmare, Protean, Bereschligost, Praestantia and Cachexy. That gives us a total of 10 possible "commoner" clans (up to a cousins level, as siblings have an endless amount of variations), as well as 10 clans per unique Discipline- which is 80 more clans, giving us up to 90 possible clans- which is a lot, and that is if we follow the rule of only one unique Discipline per clan, or else we would easily have more than three digit possible combinations of clans. That only further enhance the feeling that we should focus around the Disciplines as the "heart of the Beast", for that should be the common thread which connected many disparate clans together.

    Now, that's only the number according to the official 2e Disciplines- the question which remains which other possible Disciplines, common or not, may exist in the setting.

    There are two main places to look for in search for such possibilities- bloodline Disciplines and attributes/skills. The reason for the former is obvious, as it is much easier to convert the hard work that someone did before us than making something new. The later is because many of the Disciplines could be seen as supernatural extensions of mundane properties: I'm not only talking about the physical Disciplines, which are directly tied to certain properties of the vampire body. What is Majesty if not magical Presence? Dominate is Manipulation enhanced with blood magic, and Auspex is the supernatural version of Wits. Even Animalism could be styled as enhanced Animal Ken, Obfuscate as Stealth, Bereschligost as Survival and Nightmare as Intimidation. Even Cachexy may be connected to Medicine. Only Protean does not seem to correlate strongly to a certain skill, unless you shape it into Size, but I think that having a body is enough property to design a Discipline around, so it makes sense.

    That may give us a certain direction towards which bloodline Discipline should be considered Discipline and which should be *just* a collection of devotions. For that reason, we could easily define Constance and Bhumisparsa as their own Disciplines- as each of them is revolved around a certain trait, be it Resolve or Armor. But that's it for the easy ones- beyond that, we are going to need to see all kinds of trends in the design, and decide whether or not a certain ability should be "special" enough to be its own Discipline.

    Now, while there are a few blood shaping Disciplines (such as Bloodworking and Sakti Pata), the truth is that if blood shaping should have been a Discipline, the Pijavicia would have had it. As they have Protean, it makes sense that such capabilities would be folded into Protean as well. When we look on things such as Abjurism, Eupraxia, Spiritus Sancti or even Zagovny, there is a trend for "non ritual sorcerous Discipline". It may even work with the Cihuateteo, who also favor their own brand of blood magic, and is well tied to the Occult skill. So while, of course, many of those "sorcery" Disciplines could be broken into Devotions, there may be a place for a Discipline meant to help the vampire to interact with otherworldly beings and powers.

    Speaking on otherworldly, we have our fair share of bloodlines which dead with death and the dead. Carrefour, Cattiveria, Essentiaphagia, Getsomei and Memento Mori all present powers which work on corpses, ghosts and whatever between them. That only enhance my feeling that a Requiem version of Oblivion could indeed have place in Requiem. Like Protean, I don't really see a strong correlation between powers over death and any skill or attribute. Perhaps the pre-modern Religion skill could be fitting?

    Many bloodlines also have a number of Disciplines related to control emotions- Kamen, Shihai and Tezcatl all touch the subject, and as such, may serve as a supernatural version of Composure. After all, Disciplines which represent a certain attribute don't need to directly tie to it, only have themes related to it, and emotional control is what Composure should represent after all. Perfidy may also be connected to composure, even though it seems to be more about destroying it in other than enhancing yours.

    Another concept is healing Discipline, such as Crochan and Enbrocatim- or Requiem's version for Obeah. While Resilience is connected towards Stamina, and as such Health, Speed is also related to Strength and Dexterity, so it having a separate "Health" Discipline does make sense. Sound manipulation also has two featuring Disciplines in the form of Mengilai and Mimetism. Due to the conceptual meaning of "sound", I could see them as representing Expression as a skill. Sure, the analogy is not perfect, but as it was not the intention of the designers it feels like "good enough" kind of fit.

    Territory manipulation is also a recurring theme- Tenure, Nuburu and Domus all represent different ways to control one's territory. While I personally tend towards making them into Devotions of Dominate and Protean, the fact that we have a number of such representations seems to hint towards a common Discipline. On the other hand, we do have blood sorceries such as Lithopedia and Gilded Cage which represent the control of a vampire over their territory, which covers that theme, and as I consider Ritual Disciplines to be their own thing (perhaps more about it in a future post in this thread), I tend to fold them all under those magics instead of having an whole territory based Discipline. On the other hand, perhaps Gilded Cage and Lithopedia are practically Devotions which combine Theban Sorcery or Cruac with the said territory Discipline... Something to think about.

    Fate and time manipulation has also been somewhat explored in Requiem. Praetantia touch that subject a bit, but Serendipity and Sunnikuse have a better representation of that concept. While we could fold all three into Praestantia, with Serendipity being its Majesty Devotions (similar to what falco and Yossarian did) and Sunnikuse being, perhaps, it Dominate or Auspex Devotions (or maybe the potential Occult Discipline Devotions), it may be it own thing. On the other hand, I may be a bit impartial, as the Zelani and Bohagande are among my favorite bloodlines (I especially liked the idea that the Zelani's founder may want to try and replace the Daeva clan with her own creation, even though, again, having Praetantia does not mean the hook can't be used.. argh, decisions decisions).

    Finally, we have a few Disciplines which may not have a recurring theme, but feel unique enough to stand as their own thing. Yossirian has mentioned that they and falco are working on Scourge, which could be said to represent Weaponry as a skill, perhaps, or even just the concept of damage. Insomnium has a unique concept of dream manipulation, even if I'm not sure it can't be broken into Auspex and Nightmare Devotions.. I mean, dream manipulation feels like something vampires should have, and as such I tend to treat it as its own thing, but again, not sure. The more I think about it, the more I believe Continence should remain separated from Bereschligost, as while they both involve vitae, they do it in two very different ways, which are unique enough IMO. Breath Drinking was mentioned a number of times as a Discipline, and the Lilitu are described as having access to that Discipline as well as their own "sorcery" Discipline. Finally, if we may steal it from that half forgotten book of Masquerade, Kineticism could be an interesting Discipline- maybe it could be connected to that territory Discipline, where the vampire can control the movement of objects around them. May be interesting thing to explore, IMO.

    Now, that's the first part of the job. Let's go to the more difficult one.

    Traits.

    Among the attributes, the only one who is painfully missing is an Intelligence Discipline- all others are covered. There are a few Disciplines which cover memory manipulations, and the ability to draw and utilize information, such as memories, could maybe cover that theme. Now, skills are more of an headache, as there is much more from them and their themes somewhat overlap with those of attribute Disciplines. Like, How and Athletics Discipline could be different from Vigor? Investigation and Auspex share way too much with each other. What is the difference in an Archery, Firearms and Weaponry Disciplines other than the tool for the act? Academics could easily be folded into our theoretical Intelligence Discipline. As such, let's try and focus around those skills which are unique enough to stand by themselves, instead of covering them all.

    Computer, for example. The concept of a Discipline meant to work with machineries could be cool, especially for a newly created clan. Crafts makes me think again about blood shaping Discipline, or perhaps fleshcraft- both being a part of Protean.. hey, I think we found which skill is connected to Protean! Politics is a bit weird, as while it is not about being a politician, it feels like something which is already covered by Dominate. Science is a difficult one- perhaps that Kineticism Discipline could work for it? Brawl is practically part of Vigor, or a part of that Weaponry-Archery-Firearms thing which could be tied to Scourge. Drive/Riding is.. interesting. Maybe it could be its own thing. Larceny may also be a cool concept for an "escape artist" kind of Discipline. Empathy could be cool, and we do have a number of Disciplines which involve emotions.. perhaps Perfidy is the Empathy Discipline instead of the Composure Discipline, which gives a dark, vampiric twist on the concept. Streetwise could easily be the Territory Discipline. While I haven't mentioned a Chimerstry equivalent for Requiem as I think that Nightmare somewhat covers it, perhaps it could work as the Subterfuge Discipline, together with the dream manipulation thing which Insomnium does. Warfare may be its own Discipline, but it kinda falls into Majesty's alley so not really. Finally, Enigmas is more or less Auspex- so maybe Investigation could be its own thing? Maybe? And maybe as Computers replaced Enigmas as a skill, maybe the rising Computer Discipline rises to usurp Auspex? Maybe?..

    Anyway, let's sum the list, for both canon and potential Disciplines and their association:

    Resilience- Stamina
    Vigor- Strength
    Celerity- Speed
    Obfuscate- Stealth
    Animalism- Animal Ken
    Majesty- Presence
    Dominate- Manipulation
    Nightmare- Intimidation
    Protean- Crafts
    Auspex- Wits(?)/Enigmas
    Praestantia- Dexterity
    Bereschligost- Survival
    Cachexy- Medicine
    Constance- Resolve
    Bhumisparsa- Armor
    Abjurism- Occult
    Oblivion- Religion(?)
    Kamen- Composure
    Perfidy- Empathy
    Obeah- Health
    Mimetism- Expression
    Territory- Streetwise
    Scourge- Weaponary
    Insomnium- Subterfuge
    Continence- Vitae
    Breath Drinking- ???
    Kineticism- Science
    Meminisse- Intelligence
    ???- Computer
    ???- Drive
    ???- Larceny

    So, that gives us 31 different Disciplines to work with. Now, we could assume that any Discipline which is not among the "common five" is common, but I doubt that with so many Disciplines, all are unique, especially those which feel like they should be common. Continence, for example, feel to me like a common Discipline, and could easily fix the Formosae's spread. Breath Drinking, while weird, is also not presented as clan specific, and would allow the Lilitu to have their own Abjurism (temp name, of course) as their unique Discipline. So, while it is far from a finale list, here is how I will more or less divide the list-

    Common- Animalism, Vigor, Resilience, Obfuscate, Celerity, Territory, Continence, Breath Drinking, [Larceny], [Drive]

    Unique- Majesty, Auspex, Dominate, Protean, Nightmare, Praestantia, Bereschligost, Cachexy, Constance, Bhumisparsa, Abjurism, Oblivion, Perfidy, Obeah, Mimetism, Scourge, Insomnium, Kineticism, Meminisse, [Computers], Kamen

    Again, just a very, very early and rough division. I would just like to note, again, the difference between common and unique Disciplines in this paradigm of vampirism- common Disciplines are natural abilities of vampires as a species, something which is common to all life draining monsters of the night. Unique Disciplines, however, are strange, semi sentient things which hold the dead hearts of their spawn and attach themselves to those clans for their own, strange reasons, like eldritch terrors from bellow the world or dead gods who sleep in their spilled blood.

    Feel free to suggest other possible Disciplines or divisions for the common and unique Disciplines :P

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  • Penelope
    replied
    Thanks. I think I’m just gonna wait for Spilled Blood to come out.

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