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  • looking for suggestions for an npc

    I have a powerful jiang shi in my chronicle who has a vampire bodyguard/assassin. I'd like to make the bodyguard/assassin something special, a clan or bloodline that would work well for her role but obscure enough to keep the players guessing as to what she is. I've been looking into asian clans and bloodlines, but there really doesn't seem to be much to choose from. Does anyone happen to have any suggestions?

  • #2
    What about the Jiang-Shi Clan in the VtR 2e core book, page 255?


    Bloodline: The Stygians
    Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
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    • #3
      Well, what kind of clan or bloodlines do you think would go well with the bodyguard/assassin in the first place? One good thing about bloodlines is that there's nothing to stop some individual whose name was lost to time to migrate from a region of origin to start a whole new independent brood that might "go native" to the point of its foreign roots becoming a thing of legend (like a "Ventrue" dharma in India, from Ancient Bloodlines, that is implied to actually be descended from a Julii survivor, for example).

      In one of my first chronicles i had the "Rongurini" or "Black Angels of Amakusa", a (mostly) extinct line of darkness-manipulating mystics associated with the Shimabara uprising, but behind the backstory were no more & no less than vanilla Khaibit with an obscure devotion (an Obtenebration + Theban Sorcery could that would infuse objects with shadows, and Obtenebration's capacity to perceive or interact with ephemeral beings) and a bunch of relics other kindred would dispute and trade for.

      (As an aside, being able to imbue some measure of vampiric power in objects - like masks of dead skin that let the user take on the appearance of the dead person, done through a Getsumei + Obfuscate devotion, or weapons of bone that revert to blood made by a Norvegi with Bloodworking + Fortitude, or Vitae Reliquary from Theban Sorcery, for examples - can go a long way toward making any branch of an existing bloodline look different or novel in individual games)

      So, while you can certainly use some of the bloodlines associated with southeast asia, you can just as well get whatever bloodline, covenant or blood cult strikes your fancy and then come up with a backstory of your own making tying either that individual and/or its lineage to Burma, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Phillipines, Thailand, Tibet, Vietnam or other country of your preference.

      Damn, you could even homebrew a bloodline whole cloth from bits & pieces in the books. I for one have toyed with making "dual clan bloodlines", like the Moroi from the Ordo Dracul book or the Sta-Au from Ancient Mysteries/Bloodlines, out of a number of official bloodlines whose discipline set deviates somewhat from the canon "base clan", like Daeva "Khaibit", Nosferatu "Norvegi" or Mekhet "Architects of the Monolith", among other things. In fact, there's nothing to stop you from creating even a brand new clan if the inspiration strikes you.


      But going back to your initial question, for a bodyguard/assassin vampire the first (far from obscure) clans that come to mind are Mekhet and Nosferatu, Mekhet with Auspex, Celerity & Obfuscate being probably more flexible in coming and going between roles, while the Nos would be more assassination/intimidation/stalking focused i'd guess, with their Nightmare, Obfuscate & Vigor discipline set. That said the Mekhet also have a considerable degree of overlap with the Jiangshi, one that may border on near redundancy might be said, when one accounts for Hollow Mekhet. If that is a good or bad thing in a minion/retainer, it's up to you.

      My thoughts and ramblings for the moment. Hope it helps with your own ideas at least.



      Edit: what kind of Jiangshi are we speaking of, the vampiric but not quite kindred that originally appeared in Night Horrors: Wicked Dead, or the more polished clan-like version from Requiem 2e?

      As an aside, Wicked Dead is a great source of terrible beings (mostly inspired by folklore) for a ST to adapt into obscure bloodlines or apocryphal clans with just a little tweaking or mixing of concepts - witchcraft/curses being a common theme would allow for combining penanggalan, aswang, cihuateteo, ghuls &/or jiang shi, with bonus tie-ins to the Formosae, or the Sons of Phobos from Blood Sorcery. The ghostly connection makes it quite feasible to relate Jiang Shi & Bhuta. And either of those things connect with some of the themes of the Strix - but owls are far from the only animals associated with ill-omen, witchcraft &/or death, so mischievous or malicious fox, cat or serpent spirits among others (death's head/Baykosh?) are certainly possible.

      Just remembered, the old bluebook Antagonists, has an older iteration of the Aswang, one with a beauty/monstrosity duality that might overlap or mix in interesting with the Formosae (that i did a little linguistic joke tie-in with in a game) or Galloi.
      Last edited by Baaldam; 11-12-2020, 08:49 AM.

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      • #4
        The jiang-shi I'm using are the clan version from Requiem 2e. The one in my chronicle (set in Toronto) started out just wanting to help asian vampires settle into the city. He found the best way to do that (and the only way the local kindred allowed him to do it) was through criminal organizations. Now he leads one of the largest organized crime groups in Chinatown, if not all of Toronto. The bodyguard is meant to be the small quiet kind that could probably kick the ass of any elder in the city if she wanted to. My intent is to keep the "kindred 5" mostly a western thing and give asia it's own set of native clans and bloodlines. However, reskinning a clan or bloodline could work.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Shadowdragon View Post
          The jiang-shi I'm using are the clan version from Requiem 2e. The one in my chronicle (set in Toronto) started out just wanting to help asian vampires settle into the city. He found the best way to do that (and the only way the local kindred allowed him to do it) was through criminal organizations. Now he leads one of the largest organized crime groups in Chinatown, if not all of Toronto. The bodyguard is meant to be the small quiet kind that could probably kick the ass of any elder in the city if she wanted to. My intent is to keep the "kindred 5" mostly a western thing and give asia it's own set of native clans and bloodlines. However, reskinning a clan or bloodline could work.

          Well, the nature of the clans themselves is questionable and loose in a number of ways - how many Mekhet are the "real" thing descended of "defective" egyptian mummies and how many descended of Grettir or other groups of shadowy/ghostly (that might also include the Jiangshi, that have a lot in common with Hollow Mekhet, depending on how one looks at things) kindred independently spawned?

          Nosferatu are a conflation of roman Vermes, greek Nosophoros, aztec Xolotl, indian Rakshasa (that might not descend of the asuras as they claim, but from risen hungry corpses like the Larvae from Wicked Dead) and who knows what else that might be considered as one clan or four different but kind of similar monsters.

          Ventrue....need i speak of the "dead" Julii that came before then, the greek Gorgons that came even before both - and then you have the mesopotamian Annunaki, older than all of these together, mixing qualities of Ventrue and Gangrel, bloodline & (defunct) covenant, while also being an active part of the Invictus in modern nights, what the heck?!

          Seriously, the character of the clans is a mess and even in what passes for canon for Requiem, more of a convenient polite fiction fabricated by the Invictus (possibly along with the L+S) to give all the intriguing undead predators some common ground to build their social rules, etiquette and culture upon than fact.

          As an aside, both the Galloi & Formosae cite the Cult of Cybele as source of their "from grotesque to alien beauty" themes and powers, what on itself makes a pretty good hook for making them branches of a clan their own. In my own games i exploited this in my homebrew "Fairest" clan, with Aswang, Formosae & Galloi as bloodlines, Izanami or similar figures in place of Cybele and made Taiwan (isla formosa) into a major center of theirs.

          Anyway, reskins are simple and effective. One of my Requiem games had a whole clan of iberian roots that was accidentally spawned by roman misdeeds during their conquest of the peninsula, though 90% of the kindred (even their members themselves) would mistakenly identify them as Mekhet or Khaibit out of sheer ignorance about that clan's true story or existence - outside of a number of packs & covens in Belial's Brood, that is.

          Make the bodyguard/assassin however you like - male, female, neither, both, has freaky (un)natural ability to switch between them - give it a bag of tricks, mundane, supernatural & other, of your preference, then come up with a personality/backstory to fill in any entertaining details.

          But more importantly - will the PCs interact with either of them and in what terms? Backstory is good, but try to focus in things that are somehow actionable or might be investigated by the players. For them to learn of the bodyguard's peculiar origins will require them engaging it in a context that is not combat. Or as witnesses to combat, either seeing it in action or indirectly through a "psychic flashback" by use of Auspex or somesuch.
          Last edited by Baaldam; 11-12-2020, 09:00 AM.

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          • #6
            Looking through the 3 bloodline books from 1e I’ve had a few thoughts. From Hidden we have the Bohagande with their luck manipulation, the Khaibit who are a bit obvious, an Oberlochs hiding from the rest of the “family” or a Rakshasa playing to their role as a warrior cast. From Legendary there’s the Bron who got a 2e write up in one of the Dark Ages books, the Gulikan who would have a few odd behaviours for your players to notice and the Players who would probably be very happy to be working for an important Kindred. From Chosen we have Nockuku who basically have Protean, the Rotgrafen, the Sangiovanni ether there as part of a pact with the family or hiding from them, finally a member of the Taifa might enjoy a job where she’s always around another Kindred. That any help?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Live Bait View Post
              Looking through the 3 bloodline books from 1e I’ve had a few thoughts. From Hidden we have the Bohagande with their luck manipulation, the Khaibit who are a bit obvious, an Oberlochs hiding from the rest of the “family” or a Rakshasa playing to their role as a warrior cast. From Legendary there’s the Bron who got a 2e write up in one of the Dark Ages books, the Gulikan who would have a few odd behaviours for your players to notice and the Players who would probably be very happy to be working for an important Kindred. From Chosen we have Nockuku who basically have Protean, the Rotgrafen, the Sangiovanni ether there as part of a pact with the family or hiding from them, finally a member of the Taifa might enjoy a job where she’s always around another Kindred. That any help?

              I could be incorrect on that, but it's my impression from the post that Live Bait's suggestions revolve around the bloodlines as written, instead of reskins/reworks in the way i suggested. But let me throw some thoughts on this anyway.

              - Bohagande: Japan at least has its own raven/crow-based supernatural creature, the Tengu, who might allow for a straight port of the Bohagande's mythology with little to no hiccups. Maybe. I'll be the first to admit i'm no specialist in japanese folklore to say for sure how well or not do tengu fit the "shapechanging trickster" bill.

              - Khaibit: probably the number one bloodline for the bodyguard/assassin niche in Requiem. Buddhism is full of "demons who turn into righteous - but still scary & vicious - protectors of the pious" figures who might serve as alternate sources for Set as patron.

              - Oberloch: It has been possibly a decade since i last read them, but i'd say their "backwards/incestuous/isolationist family" background can go well in pretty much any culture of the planet with little to no effort.

              - Rakshasa: One of the first asian lines in the game along with the Burakumin from 1e corebook. Nothing to add here really.

              - Gulikan: Never been really familiar with them, but can see how their "bloodhound" powerset could help with the role. No suggestions on backstory exactly because i'm not really familiar with them, but i'd say relocating their origin tale to another city strongly associated with the perfume industry, if one somehow feels Istanbul is not asian/eastern enough, i guess.

              - Players: Same as for the Oberlochs, people pitifully lost in pop culture-fueled fantasies are pretty much universal. In fact i'd say that due to strong signs of westernization, an asian Player might be perceived as even more pathetic by its compatriots.

              - Noctuku: Honestly Phagia makes me think more of the Macellarius' Gustus discipline (what opens some interesting doors on itself - maybe some Licinii trying to fight their cursed messed with things better left untouched?) than Protean, but i can see what you mean, specially for 2e. That said, making Phagia into Protean devotions opens space for the option of the Noctuku as a splinter branch of the Rakshasa, atavisms harkening to their "bestial hungry dead" roots, their equivalent of the Hollow, so to speak.

              - Rotgrafen: I would point out to Bugis people and some interesting folk etymology for some adaptation potential.

              - Sangiovanni: Good potential there for using them as a basis to bring KotE's Bone Flowers dharma into Requiem. Also kind of tempting to mesh them with the Burakumin, to make a Mekhet-Nosferatu duo in the vein of the Sta-Au. Weird supernatural quasi-realm of their own optional.

              Hope this exercise at alternate origins helps or at least entertains a little. See ya.
              Last edited by Baaldam; 11-12-2020, 09:14 AM.

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              • #8
                My suggestion was pretty much go read these Bloodlines and see if any of them spark ideas but I tend to assume as written yes. Didn’t Tengu migrate to America to fight the Power Rangers? Could explain their presence 🤔

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