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  • #46
    Welcome back, everyone!

    So, today we're starting our look into ghoul families with the Crassus. These excerpts will be a tad shorter than the others, as the ghouls don't cover nearly as much page count, but I'll try to include the really fun bits.

    The Crassus first appeared in Ghouls, way back in 2005, and are one of two Ventrue families; the Alley Men were Ventrue instead of Gangrel for reasons that are a bit beyond me, but they got updated in Half-Damned, so that's neither here nor there. The original version of the Crassus was... hm. You know what, I'm not gonna dress this up: they were boring. Imagine a Ventrue ghoul family, make them a bit gaudy, add in some edgy crap, and you'll have the Crassus in their original form. I really try not to be snitty about the older books, because it's way too easy to dunk on these things with 20/20 hindsight, but boy oh boy has Ghouls burned me every time I give it the benefit of the doubt. That's a discussion for another day, though.

    That said, the Crassus weren't all that objectionable. Mostly (we'll get to that). They were just a bit dull. They also presented a problem of having a really intrinsic Ancient Rome connection. Because Ghouls came out two years before Requiem for Rome, the Ventrue are assumed to have been running the show in the Camarilla. Rather than write around that problem, I decided to embrace it. The Crassus say the vampire who made them ghouls was a Ventrue, not a Julii, and their curse kinda backs them up. Part of the hook of the bloodline is how that all jives with the canon of the game; you'll even find a story seed about it.

    The other issue was what to do with their niche. When I say the original entry was dull, I mostly mean that they're generic. They're Ventrue ghouls who are wealthy and trashy. The original entry has some gross stuff about them being toys for vampires to play with, which, in addition to being very icky, isn't an interesting character to play. To put it another way, they were totally reactive. So, they needed a rebranding.

    I don't quite remember where I came up with luck manipulation, but I suspect it had to do with their logo. Their symbol resembles a wheel of fortune, and I think it must've got me wondering about how these trashy ghouls actually acquired their wealth back in Rome. I also had just finished some Malkavia drafts, and that might've influenced what's going on with them too.

    (Someone mentioned above that the entry doesn't bring up the Atariya, which seems like an obvious connection. In short, I didn't remember they existed! That said, after looking at Hurt Locker, I'm okay with not including that link; the Crassus are luck thieves, whereas the Atariya are "just" lucky. Plus I don't think every similar phenomena in the CofD has to know about each other.)

    The only other change I made was softening their connection to the Invictus. They probably are mostly Invictus ghouls considering what they do, but I wanted them to be a bit more open to the covenants. You can still treat them as Invictus-only without any trouble, though.

    At any rate, once I got past the old version, the Crassus were a lot of fun to write, so I hope you enjoy the excerpt! Tomorrow, I'll be introducing you to the DeRoses, who'd just love to talk to you. About anything, really...

    Crassus: The ones who play the odds

    "Call it."

    Where we came from

    Once upon a time in Ancient Rome, Quintus Crassus was an architect, a drunk, a gambler, and shit at all three. The last one in particular. Apparently he’d made it his life mission to squander a vast inheritance; when Quintus wasn’t reneging on a contract, he was dicking around the circuses, or anywhere else that would let him throw sesterces at a bad bet. He did have one talent, though, if you could call it that. As much as the dice mocked him, they reserved a greater spite for those who took him to the cleaners. Maybe the Fates saw poor sportsmanship in fleecing such a loser, but those who beat Quintus too badly suffered unexpected turns. One might break a finger on the marble table as she pulled in her winnings, or soil fine new clothes in horseshit as they crossed the road from the races. On one occasion, a centurion dropped a dagger through his crotch.

    Quintus had no control over these retributions, but he enjoyed the petty thrill of them, at least until they got him banned from every gambling house in the Eternal City. However, it also caught the attention of a vampire called Lysander. The elder had laired in Rome for almost as long as the Camarilla, but was not one of the Propinqui. The Crassus family chronicle speaks of some ill will he held for the Julii, though it’s vague on detail. Quintus’s bad luck intrigued Lysander, and he invited the fool to come gamble with him at the Circus Maximus. When a brazier fell and almost burned a hole through Lysander’s chest, right after he’d finished winning the mortal’s last copper, he knew he’d found an asset.

    As a ghoul, Quintus’s star rose. The Kindred blood in his veins put him on the straight and narrow, and he began to win his gambles. Or rather, others started losing them. Quintus never did improve his talent for playing the odds, but his opponents got a lot worse. Maybe the Vitae focused his fortune, or maybe the high just cleared his booze-addled brain enough to weaponize it — but Crassus never thought much about the cause. As long as he got his fix, anyone he touched fell to some random blight.

    The modern Crassus downplay this history, exaggerating their founder’s rise to wealth with tales of real canny estate deals and glad-handing with Julius Caesar. Nonetheless, Quintus’s many children bore the same luck-sapping touch, and it’s still their only real talent. As for Lysander? Never heard from again after the reign of Vespasian, but he got what he wanted. The night the Camarilla fell, Crassus courtesans passed among the Senex, offering their wrists to all who desired them.

    Who we are tonight

    Post-Rome, the Crassus rebranded and expanded. No longer just gamblers and luck vampires for hire, they built an empire on always being able to eke out a win or break even. The All Night Society employs Crassus ghouls as both hexes to throw at enemies and piggy banks for when the Danse Macabre proves a poor investment. With interest, of course.

    The Age of Discovery only added to the family’s coffers. The Crassus were early investors in the New World’s plunder, and one of their branches was fortunate enough to be on the right side of the Revolutionary War. These saloon owners watered and grifted Minutemen, set up gambling dens in the Dakotas, and made a small foothold in the early stock exchange with uncanny investments. Most modern Crassus descend from or were members of this group. Unbound from European class concerns, they embraced a corrosive American Dream, amassing vast riches without regard to taste or scruples.

    Kindred and mortal alike know not to cross the self-described Caesars, even if they do make tempting targets. The Crassus are forever nouveau riche, as if the reality of having a millennia-old fortune never quite sank in. Indeed, their modern nickname comes more from their Vegas interests than their imperial past. The Coolers are sleazy at best and social blights at worst, tacking their name to all manner of tacky projects, from Roman-themed resorts to American-style plutocracy. And yet, the cash keeps flowing upward. Consequences are poor people problems, and on the rare occasion fate comes knocking, weaseling out is just a matter of tapping the right shoulder.

    The Crassus do fear one thing, however: the Ventrue. The Caesars whore out to any vampire willing to give them a taste, but they’re bound to the Lords in a way few other Ventrue ghoul families are. The clan holds all the trumps, and (not for lack of trying) the Crassus have never found a way to cash out. The Lords only lend their blood, and if the Crassus displease them, they’re prepared to take it back.

    With interest, of course.

    Benefit: The Crassus are richer than Croesus, but not out of any business sense. They strip the luck from their rivals’ souls and know just enough to spend it in all the right places. At character creation, Coolers gain the Thief of Fate Merit (Chronicles of Darkness, p. 60). Ventrue Kindred are immune to this effect, as is any vampire with whom a Crassus ghoul shares a third-stage blood bond. Other family members are also immune. In addition, Caesars may purchase Dynasty Membership within their local branch, substituting their family Status for Clan Status.

    PS: Also, SomethingFishy's illustration for the Crassus character might be my favourite one in the book. He embodies the word douchebag.
    Last edited by Yossarian; 06-09-2021, 08:16 PM.



    Social justice vampire/freelancer | He/Him

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    • #47
      Hello! Late excerpt today, because I forgot I had a previous engagement smack dab in the middle of the day, so this will be fairly efficient!

      The DeRoses are one of two completely new ghoul families in the book, spies and informants who use their natural (or unnatural) good looks to manipulate their marks. What's fun about this family is that they press a little bit into what you might think of as a Daeva thematic space, but they do it with a Ventrue twist. The DeRoses aren't really interested in sexuality and performance; they only care about collecting more power. They focus on an erotic element, but it's almost entirely a front — or so they tell themselves. I also like that they muddy the water on what constitutes a biological ghoul family vs. a social one. I'm always a fan of breaking down and blurring these neat little categories the game uses as shorthands (clan, bloodline, ghoul family). Not everything fits together so cleanly in the All Night Society.

      The DeRoses changed very little in development, so apart from some more detail on their relationship with the vampires and Ventrue, they're pretty close to their first draft. The only big change was their weakness. Thematically it didn't change very much, but mechanically, they actually have what was originally the Crassus drawback, before I decided to play more into their fate thievery aspect.

      So, enjoy the excerpt. Tomorrow we'll be looking at the Omokage of Japan, and then we'll be moving on to the two Horrors. Also, if you haven't done so, please consider dropping us a review or a star rating if you've enjoyed the book! As I've said before, it's super helpful to getting eyes on our work. Also, make sure you have the most recent pdf. I've made a few corrections since the release. There's probably going to be one more in the near future, but I'll make sure to announce that here (these excerpts also help me notice typos). Anyway, here's the DeRoses:

      DeRose: The ones who say they love you

      "C’mon, you know you can tell me anything."

      Where we came from

      The DeRose family originated somewhere around the Franco-Italian border in the late 19th century, though they’re not exactly a family in the traditional sense. DeRose was once a title granted to favored servants of an elite Ventrue brothel, many of whose owners had worked as courtesans and procurers in life. These Lords weren’t interested in the hunt, and their living talents in the sex trade taught them it’s a simple matter to get prey to come to you. Some Kindred keep a regular supply of consenting, eager blood bags — and if those bags can handle business during daylight hours? All the better.

      A common conceit among Flowers is that their origin story differs depending on how well the teller can hold their liquor. What’s known for certain is that a minor Lord among this group, one Guillaume Morceaux, took a liking to one of these DeRose servants, Madeline. She had a special knack for gaining people’s trust, and Guillaume recognized how useful that could be if he put her in his personal employ. At least, that’s how it started. If you were to ask a sober DeRose, she’d recount a tale of true love overcoming the tribulations of circumstance and global conflict. However, get one talking after a few dozen Dark ’n’ Stormies and you might instead hear about an overconfident regnant who didn’t know when he was being played, and the clever servant with a skill for feigning affection. Both versions have the couple fleeing to America to escape the Great War, and both end in Guillaume’s ever so tragic disappearance, not long after he and Madeline started to expand their little family.

      Regardless of the truth, a family name was born. Madeline DeRose became the House’s first matriarch, and her “children” inherited her unique talent for getting others to open up. Over time, the family spread to most major metropolitan centers to ply their particular craft. For those who know where to look among the darker corners of a city, the House of DeRose is always ready with acceptance and love. For a price.

      Who we are tonight

      If you know what to look for, it’s easy to recognize a Flower. Are they the sexiest person you’ve ever met? The one you and you alone have dreamed of all your miserable life? Does that feeling immediately fade away once you take your eyes off them? If the answer to these questions is yes, you’ve got yourself a DeRose.

      On the surface, the family’s business is sex work: high-end brothels, exclusive strip clubs, burlesque revues, and other hosting services. However, their primary purpose is intelligence. Each DeRose matriarch (a position that falls somewhere between den mother, casting director, madame, and spymaster) controls a nest of agents trained in the arts of seduction and snitching. For a hundred years, the DeRoses have made postcoital conversation into a whisper network empire.

      They don’t sell everything they hear, or even most of it — they never would’ve got where they are tonight if they were indiscriminate — but the dirt they do trade is always a cut above. The Flowers have brought down everything from small town mayors to state governors, and even a few princes. If you can pay, they don’t care who takes the fall.

      Most DeRose chapterhouses are a collection of runaways, vagabonds, deviants, and biological offspring… which isn’t to say they adopt just any stray who ends up on their doorstep. Prospective DeRoses go through a trial period where they take on the least glamorous jobs associated with running the hottest gentle*man’s club in town, usually in return for room and board. Once they prove themselves, they’re given a special audience with the chapter’s matriarch, wherein they’re officially inducted into the family with the blood of the chapter’s regnant. DeRose matriarchs look for a broad range of traits in their initiates. Determination, wit, and natural gravitas are sure to catch her attention, but the most important thing is ambition. Initiates need to show how badly they want in, and they need to do it by making themselves useful — and beautiful. The recruits who wash out first are always the ones who get complacent.

      Family members are quick to promise wavering initiates that it’s only a matter of time before their times come. In reality, it’s not uncommon for them to be led on for years, and if an initiate ever becomes more trouble than they’re worth, one day, they’ll just be gone. Whenever this happens, the family reassures anyone who asks that their erstwhile companion simply chose to leave of their own accord. Strangely enough, these disappearances are almost always followed by a visit from some influential Ventrue client. But that’s probably unrelated.

      Most chapterhouses are extensions of a local Lord’s holdings. They either serve as spies for her political interests or easy money to fill her coffers. Sex, secrets — whatever. It’s all the same when the credit card gets swiped. Some matriarchs make arrangements with members of other clans, and indeed, Daeva often covet these ghouls, though Flowers tend to see Serpents as the kind of fawning twits they pretend to be on the job (or maybe they don’t like what they see in the mirror). In the end, the House gets on best with the Lords. Romantic Flowers say it’s the memory of their dear departed Guillaume calling out to those of his blood, though the more cynical just note that cold bastards tend to work well with other cold bastards. All business; no sentiment. Game recognize game, as they say.

      The DeRoses value their family above all else, but who they call family and who actually is family are two different things. A certain amount of deception is integral to the fantasy they sell. That’s why they’ve flourished. They know exactly what you want to hear. When they say it, you believe it — and if you don’t? There are always workarounds.
      Last edited by Yossarian; 06-08-2021, 08:24 PM.



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      • #48
        Alright, let's get right into the Omokage.

        This was another one that changed a lot in second drafts. The original iteration was basically what the final version claim they are: a celebrated order of servants who carry on a tradition that goes back for centuries. For various reasons, this wasn't really working. It was too obvious a take on a Ventrue ghoul family, and it also had way too much overlap with the Kobayashi from Better Feared.

        In redlines, I asked the author if he could turn this idea on its head: What if these elite retainers are hiding something? Or, what if they're the ones who are actually in charge? From that, he came up with the idea of turning their history into a fraud, something these ghouls use to trick naive neonates. Similar to the Warumono, the Omokage are criminals; unlike the Warumono, they keep that under a tight lid, and have no illusions about honour among thieves.

        One element that did survive redlines was the concept of Houses. It was retuned a bit for the final, but I really liked the idea of ghoul families with differing advantages based on certain social divisions, but a unifying drawback and Touchstone. That's something I might want to include in more families as we move on with this series.

        So, here's the Omokage. Tomorrow, would you all like to hear about the Faithful, the intelligent hellhounds, or the Mnemovores, originally from Night Horrors: The Wicked Dead?

        Omokage: The ones who take care of everything

        "Relax. I'll handle it."

        Where we came from

        The Omokage would like the rest of Tokyo to believe they’re the remnants of an ancient family of vassals, dating back to the time of Japan’s feuding nobility. Their humbleness and apparent refinement would seem to support this claim, as would the traditional trappings of their three Houses. In reality, however, the Omokage have existed for less than two decades, and were created almost by mistake, thanks to one young Ventrue’s reach exceeding his grasp.

        Hiro Yamaguchi thought he’d found a way to claim some power in Tokyo’s underworld, outside the grasp of the monolithic zaibatsu controlling most of the city. He attempted to bond a minor branch of a local yakuza group, Matsuba-kai, hoping to install himself as the gang’s leader and have them spread his influence.

        He could hardly have picked worse victims if he’d tried. The gangsters were already well-versed in confidence games and using addiction as a form of control; they didn’t need to know about Disciplines and Vincula to notice the same tactics. When confronted, Yamaguchi panicked and attacked, killing a pair of capos. In return, he was beaten and stabbed nearly to Final Death, then starved and interrogated by the furious Matsuba-kai. Eventually, the yakuza learned all about the Kindred and their unique relationship with the human businesses in Tokyo. The gang seized Yamaguchi’s assets and discovered the aspiring Lord was an avid collector of historic Japanese artifacts and literature.

        From their new knowledge and stolen wealth, a plan gradually emerged among the remaining Matsuba-kai, many of whom Yamaguchi had turned into ghouls in the course of his bid for control. Now that they knew about this world, they wanted a piece of it — but they couldn’t count on finding another useful idiot. However, they saw how static the Kindred power structure was, and how hungry younger vampires were for an edge, especially when dealing with the human-run Hototogisu. Remembering how Yamaguchi had underestimated them, the gang realized there was a way they could use Kindred money and power to their advantage. They just had to make certain the vampires thought they were still the ones in charge.

        Who we are tonight

        The gang chose the name Omokage (oh-moh-KAH-gay), a word for vestiges and fragments, to evoke an air of tragic mystery. Presenting themselves as an venerable family of Stewards seeking worthy masters, the former gangsters use Yamaguchi’s collection of artifacts, Internet research, and good old-fashioned hustling to build their reputation. With the Kindred’s reverence for tradition turned against them, the family has found fertile ground among the youngest Ventrue of Tokyo, who wouldn’t know an ancient lineage if it bit them.

        It’s not entirely a scam. The Omokage might not have any real centuries-old traditions, but they know Tokyo and its underworld intimately, and can bridge the gap between Kindred operators and Hototogisu affiliates like few others. The first deals they broker for a new client are always in the vampire’s favor, to build trust. The fact that these transactions also bring money into the family’s own illicit dealings isn’t a detail they “trouble” their regnants with.

        In keeping with their pseudo-feudal trappings, the Omokage have divided their membership into Houses, each one specializing in a different service to the Kindred. Houses provide all manner of servants, from butlers to majordomos, but the following are their specialties.

        Crane House supplies bookies, money-launderers, and crooked lawyers acting as “scholars” who can expand a Lord’s financial holdings. The wealthy rarely handle their own money; they have people for that, and Crane House is happy to be those people for a cut.

        Fox House makes informants out of escorts and hosts. The sex trade in Tokyo is vast, ubiquitous, and mostly ignored by mortal law-enforcement. One of the main trappings of a successful vampire is being thronged by attractive humans to feed from, and so Fox is the most consistently popular of the three Houses.

        Tiger House trains bodyguards, cleaners, and legbreakers, supposedly to safeguard their masters’ Requiems. In reality, such muscle is almost never necessary, but the image of being flanked by goons in mirror-shades is one many young Lords crave. Arriving with protection implies you’re someone worth protecting.

        The Omokage have invented histories, founders, and rivalries for their Houses, all the better to make Kindred think they’re in on something privileged and secret. Marks are made to feel like the Houses are competing for their attention and favor, and that the highest prestige an Omokage can earn is being selected for service. In the beginning, it was just the best actors in the gang who would get themselves hired, the better to play the part of the humble, loyal servant. All the Houses would share resources to ensure the new ghoul would appear hyper-competent, as the division between the gang members was an illusion. However, in a case of life imitating art, in recent years the Houses have actually grown to more resemble the elite institutions they claim to be. With some Stewards having worked in their professions for years, and as various Disciplines becoming more prevalent among them, the three Houses are gaining some real bite to back up their bark. Their put-on rivalries, however, remain just that — at least for now.

        All this is to get their Kindred clients, usually neonate Ventrue, to trust the Omokage with their resources and decisions. As humans (mostly) there are places in Tokyo Stewards can access that vampires simply can’t. On the mortal side of things, having Kindred powers provides the family an edge dealing with rival criminal concerns. Their status as servants also means Stewards aren’t usually invited to the truly important Kindred-exclusive meetings, but that suits them fine. They want to avoid situations where they might have to interact with really old vampires, as such creatures could easily disprove their ancient lineage if they cared to look closely. However, if something does go wrong, the Omokage are more than willing to cut a deal to save themselves by selling out their clients.

        Ostensibly, the vampire is always in charge of the relationship, but as trust grows and a Steward ghoul gains more and more oversight over their master’s operation, well… what’s the difference between representing a vampire’s interests and actually just being in charge? Exactly.

        Stereotypes:
        • Daeva: Learn from them, but at a distance. They do our routine as naturally as they used to breathe.
        • Gangrel: Best avoided. The Savages think they don’t need help, and get testy when you imply otherwise.
        • Mekhet: Never give them a reason to look.
        • Nosferatu: Flattery doesn’t work. Sympathy, on the other hand…
        • Ventrue: Sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s hooked who, but as long as the blood keeps flowing, everybody’s happy.




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        • #49
          Hey all! I'm a little behind schedule on other things today, so just quick excerpt today!

          The Faithful are sapient, ghoul-like dogs who sometimes arise due to a combination of Animalism and Ventrue blood. A bit of a Lord's ambition rubs off on their loyal hounds, birthing something with a terrifying, all-too-human intelligence.

          This Horror didn't change too much in development, other than some mechanical edits. We also added their Hellhounds nickname because the word "Faithful" was beginning to lose all meaning. As a sidenote, the author took some inspiration from the Amaranthine cats in Night Horrors: Spilled Blood, so if you're looking to have a cat and dog alliance against the Kindred, look no further.

          Here's the Faithful. Tomorrow I'll be back with the Mnemovores, and I think that might be the last excerpt!(?)

          The Faithful: Biting the Hand That Feeds

          "Oh, a doggie. Good boy? OH GOD—"

          AKA: Hellhounds, Canis lupus dominorum

          Background

          The Faithful are products of centuries of selective breeding, Vitae, and exposure to Animalism. A portion of a Lord’s blood and intellect infuses a Hellhound with a new spark of life, and it becomes self-aware at the level of a human being. The resulting creature is cunning, strong, and either very useful or very dangerous to the vampire who created it.

          This awakening can be a painful, isolating process, leaving many of these animals broken-hearted or alone among the feral minds of other beasts. Desperate for connection, they seek comfort with other intelligent creatures, often forging a single-minded, obsessive bond with their chosen masters. Their heightened mental capacity lets them surpass any expectation, read subtle intentions, and react in a precise, strategic manner to threats, making them ideal guardians and companions.

          Sometimes Lords are wise enough to see what they have in front of them, breeding entire bloodlines of Hellhounds. However, this can create unforeseen dangers, as hidden within each of these beasts is a hunger for the sticky-sweet Vitae within a vampire’s veins. Even the most intelligent dog is still a beast, and sometimes, good dogs go bad.

          Bloodhounds

          As Faithful age, time takes its toll on their bodies, and the only thing that slows this is the consumption of Vitae. It begins slowly — hunting animals, then mortals, then a less favored ghoul. Perhaps the Hellhound tries stalking one of its master’s blood dolls to see it craves the taste or the hunt. Step by step, the dog tests the limits until it grows bold and hungry enough to hunt Kindred. Once that step is complete, the Faithful is empowered to continue its predation in secret, loyally serving its master all the while. But, if no one’s left to feed from save their Lords, loyalty may not be enough.

          It almost sounds funny: A dog raised by monsters turns on its masters. The reality is less amusing. Hellhounds are thinking, intelligent beasts. They’ve paid dutiful attention, and know the Kindred better than they know themselves. Some gain a hunger for a particular type of Vitae, or turn on abusive masters, murdering them and swearing bloody vengeance on the clan that birthed them. Others are left alone through the vicissitudes of fate, and others still remain at the sides of powerful elders capable of feeding their inhuman appetites.

          As such, patterns start to form. There are three distinct “breeds” of Faithful:

          The Unleashed are rogue Hellhounds whose masters have cast them away. The tenacious old dog that survives euthanasia; the abandoned puppy who’s grown too hungry for a young Lord to feed; the mother about to bring a litter of monsters into the world. The Unleashed survive and take revenge on their masters by targeting their mortal families, ghouls, or childer, before finally taking a bite out of their betrayers.

          The Strays were once proud servants whose loyalty survived the Final Death or torpor of their owners. The dutiful watcher at the master’s grave; the black dog following the descendant home from school each day; the former lapdog living matted and filthy in a dingy alley. Without a regular food source, these Hellhounds survive on their wits and prey on anything with Vitae to prolong their lives. Some are lucky enough to become the companions of other Kindred, but most starve to death or die on the hunt.

          The Companions are the most unsettling breed. These rare creatures have achieved symbiosis with masters who can provide them with the vast quantities of Vitae needed to keep them alive. The sleek, growling shadow at the Lord’s side; the hunting dog with a knack for finding escapees; the massive bear-dog bred to hunt down draugr — these are pets worthy of a king. Such creatures are nightmare beasts to their masters’ enemies, but remain true so long as their bowl is full of warm, sweet blood. But as their hunger grows, how long can even a powerful Lord keep them fed?

          Rumors

          “The Faithful? Yes, I know of them. My bloodline has raised them for thousands of years. Since the nights of the pharaohs, in fact. They have an uncanny ability to obey our commands and find specific quarry — ours have been trained to hunt Kindred whose eyes flash yellow in the darkness. Just like your friend there. Good boy.”

          The Faithful can be trained to prey on things that aren’t Kindred. An ancient bloodline of Shadows known as the Khaibit bred a lineage of Hellhounds for the specific purpose of hunting down the Strix. This particular line has been all but exterminated through unusual accidents, but a handful survive in Spain, Morocco, and Portugal, where, coincidentally, there are very few sightings of the Owls.
          Last edited by Yossarian; 06-10-2021, 06:26 PM.



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          • #50
            Originally posted by Yossarian View Post

            The Strays were once proud servants whose loyalty survived the Final Death or torpor of their owners. The dutiful watcher at the master’s grave; the black dog following the descendant home from school each day; the former lapdog living matted and filthy in a dingy alley. Without a regular food source, these Hellhounds survive on their wits and prey on anything with Vitae to prolong their lives. Some are lucky enough to become the companions of other Kindred, but most starve to death or die on the hunt.
            This strain in particular makes me remember Tinhoso, a two-headed calf raised to bull in a Gangrel's freakshow until a debacle with (dead) federal agents in the 40s forced him to disband the whole thing in the middle of Pantanal, only to find out much to his surprise 60+ years later that the beast not only managed to survive on its own but eventually tracked him through saving his youngest childe (that it somehow recognized through vitae scent/sympathy it seems).

            Mnemovores i have also toyed with in that same game - connecting them indirectly to the "Second Death/Deep Torpor Realm" from Mythologies, Mnemovores being what results when a diablerist or vampire with the wrong soul is hollowed out by one of the Psychocomps that watch over the domain.
            Last edited by Baaldam; 06-10-2021, 06:20 PM.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Yossarian
              and I think that might be the last excerpt!(?)
              ...is it a Mnemevore joke? Or is it because you got memory eaten by one?


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              • #52
                Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                ...is it a Mnemevore joke? Or is it because you got memory eaten by one?
                If only I were that clever. But then, how would I know if my memories had been eaten? Hmmm...

                Basically, I might have some more dev notes if I can think of them, but this'll be the last true excerpt. I may also pop some cut content on the thread though!

                So, the Mnemovores. Originally, they weren't going to be in the book. The author had a concept about memory eating spirits who attack Kindred in torpor, and who created Mnemovores. However, this idea required the use of the ephemeral beings system, which I always find fits into Vampire like a square peg in a round hole (it's partly why the Strix are so simple compared to other ephemera, for example). I also felt like they were just regular spirits with a twist. As I often say, why reinvent the wheel? Mnemovores make more compelling antagonists; they were once Kindred, and therefore, once human.

                The Mnemovores aren't too different from their original form in Wicked Dead. We did fiddle around with the mechanics, but it's a fairly straightforward conversion. Aside from recontextualizing all the stuff about the fog of ages, the big difference is in altering how they spend memories. That was a very late development choice: Basically, spending Skill dots to do things sounds cool on paper, but in practice, it's a bookkeeping nightmare for the ST, and it's not very meaningful for antagonist characters. We'd already changed their feeding mechanics to be more abstract, so they weren't taking dots directly from victims anyway. Instead, I reskinned their fuel-stat as Memoriae, making it more like Vitae points. Mnemovores still lose their Skill dots over time, but the Storyteller isn't forced to constantly readjust dots on the page for the character.

                Here are the Mnemovores. I'll think about what I want to post on Monday, but until then, have a great weekend, and enjoy OPP Con!

                Mnemovores: In Search of Lost Time

                Why am I here? Do you know? Please, God, tell me why I’m here! Why do you keep calling me “prince?”'

                AKA: Mind Eaters

                Vampires are powerful creatures, with eternal bodies and withered, monstrous souls that (theoretically) last forever. Yet despite their power, their minds remain human, finite, and fragile. Their bodies become predators; their minds remain prey.

                Some Kindred adapt to the times, reinventing themselves as the ages turn and discarding who they once were. Others go into long torpors and wake different, changed in the sleep of ages to prepare for a new world. But some aren’t so lucky. Sometimes the weight of the Requiem breaks a vampire, collapsing her mind under the weight of more memories than the human brain was ever meant to bear.

                From this terrible fracturing, a hungry thing emerges from the wreckage, a being with an insatiable hunger for the lives of others.

                Background

                Throughout history, these creatures have been called many names — Glawackus, Baku, and even Mind Flayers — but they’re most often referred to as Mnemovores, or just Mind Eaters. They do exactly what that name suggests.

                Where they come from is unclear. Most evidence suggests the Mnemovores are the result of torpors gone wrong, but how this happens is unknown. Most rumors say a vampire’s mind becomes detached from the body if she doesn’t prepare for the sleep of ages well enough. However, a few say the Mnemovores are the result of Dominate abuse, and that when a Lord pushes too hard, or edits a mind one-too-many times, something breaks, destroying the original personality and creating a hungry vacuum.

                Mnemovores store memories like water in a sinking boat, and must expend their minds just to keep going. To this end, like the Kindred they once were, they thirst. However, instead of blood, they hunger for the raw, untouched, and eternal memories of immortal minds, which are far more succulent than the mercurial brains of mortals. In order to feed their needs, the Mnemovores seek out Kindred in daysleep and torpor, and then dismantle them, stripping away their memories until nothing remains but a hollowed-out husk.

                These insidious creatures look like ordinary vampires at a distance, but up close, the differences become horrifically clear. Their skin is papery and dry, their eyes are foggy and dull, and their bodies are frail and hollow. Once fed, these creatures return to a semblance of their former lives and appearances, their minds now muddied and mingled with the stolen memories they’re in the process of digesting.

                The Forgetful Mind

                If you haven’t heard of the Mnemovores before, it wouldn’t be surprising. Such stories are rare due to their potent defense mechanism, an aura of amnesia that affects anyone who witnesses their feeding. Only the most resolute can resist forgetting whole encounters with these creatures once they’re out of sight. After all, how can you hunt what you can’t remember?

                The rare few Kindred who escape a Mind Eater’s attack with their memories intact become targets of ridicule, their accounts dismissed out of hand as delusions or lies. However, as technology advances, the Mind Eaters are facing new threats. While even vampiric memory is pliant, those of digital devices are immune to their fog. Their powers of amnesia still affect those viewing the recorded media, but each watch offers another chance to overcome the creature’s influence.

                And once you remember, you’ll never forget again.

                Nightmare Makers

                Let it never be said that the Mnemovores only take. Sometimes, when the conditions are right, one of these entities takes a perverse shine or enmity to one of its victims, choosing to seed them with its pilfered memories or fragments of stolen minds.

                And sometimes, when a Mind Eater drinks a bit too greedily or regularly from a Kindred victim, he succumbs, dies, and rises as fresh Mnemovore. However, the Beast is tenacious, and in very rare cases, strong-willed vampires can cling onto the broken pieces of their minds and exist in a torturous and liminal state, not wholly Kindred or Mnemovore, and doubly damned until they can restore their minds.





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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Yossarian View Post
                  PS: Also, SomethingFishy's illustration for the Crassus character might be my favourite one in the book. He embodies the word douchebag.
                  Well, you gave me a lot of great reference material!

                  Actually, after I send my finals in, I realized I had a pdf of Ghouls and could have, like, referenced the old Crassus the entire time. Kinda glad I didn't, but it really is incredible how wealthy business degree douchebag aesthetic has simultaneously come so far and not changed much since that book was published.


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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by SomethingFishy View Post

                    Well, you gave me a lot of great reference material!

                    Actually, after I send my finals in, I realized I had a pdf of Ghouls and could have, like, referenced the old Crassus the entire time. Kinda glad I didn't, but it really is incredible how wealthy business degree douchebag aesthetic has simultaneously come so far and not changed much since that book was published.
                    It's so funny about the old Crassus image compared to yours. I was looking through Ghouls the other day and thought, "Wow, here's another one we accidentally referenced!"



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                    Actual Play: Vampire: The Requiem – Bloodlines
                    Masquiem: Curses of Caine in Requiem 2nd
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                    • #55
                      Hey all! Sorry for a bit of radio silence; I'm looking at posting some cut content, but I want to make sure it's usable if you actually want to include it in a chronicle.

                      Also, I just uploaded the final version of the book (for now at least; sometimes I fix typos), so update your files accordingly.



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                      Actual Play: Vampire: The Requiem – Bloodlines
                      Masquiem: Curses of Caine in Requiem 2nd
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                      • #56
                        Hi again everyone!

                        Just thought I'd shamelessly plug mention that DTRPG is having its Christmas in July Sale, and pretty much everything from NMD is available at a great discount right now. If you haven't picked up False Gods, now is a great time to do so!

                        https://www.storytellersvault.com/pr...e-Gods-Ventrue

                        The rest of the catalogue, more or less: https://www.storytellersvault.com/br...or=Sam%20Young



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                        Actual Play: Vampire: The Requiem – Bloodlines
                        Masquiem: Curses of Caine in Requiem 2nd
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                        • #57
                          wouldnt Eternal predator have been better for the gangrel? Their more likely to need to eke out sustenance.


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                          • #58
                            This may seem like an edge case, but how does the Adrestoi bloodline bane work if there is no kindred of equal or higher status? If an Adrestoi becomes Prince are they just doomed to waste the first few vitae when feeding?

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Minty View Post
                              This may seem like an edge case, but how does the Adrestoi bloodline bane work if there is no kindred of equal or higher status? If an Adrestoi becomes Prince are they just doomed to waste the first few vitae when feeding?
                              Oh, good question!

                              I agree it's an edge case, but I think it could be a fun one, at least for an NPC. By the rules, a Pack Master trumps all other Status factors, so in theory, a Status-5 prince could arrange for another Adrestoi to create a new pack for him, regardless of whether that Adrestoi is of any significant status (though they'd have to have Blood Tether 5, which is maybe a tall order). Maybe he sires a childe and forces them to go through rigorous training in order to have someone who can give him what he needs.

                              An Adrestoi prince also doesn't have to be limited to City Status. Not all princes have max Status in their clans or covenants (I'd even argue that most don't) despite holding the most power in general, so they could potentially ask a clanmate or a covenant-mate. Plus, a prince could have primogen who are of equal status; City Status 5 doesn't necessarily mean you're the only one who has it.



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