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California Xiao 2E (Sin Again: Daeva Preview)

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  • California Xiao 2E (Sin Again: Daeva Preview)

    Hello Requiem fans!

    It's time again to preview the next clan book before its release! I'm not going to make any called shots, but keep your eyes peeled around Sunday or Monday. It might be a little sooner, and it might be a little later, but next week is almost certain. I'm just waiting on a last piece of art, and the moment I have it, the book can go live!

    I haven't had a chance to talk a lot about Sin Again on the forums, so I thought I'd bring you a preview of one of our updated bloodlines: the California Xiao.

    Picking Daeva bloodlines for this book was a bit tricky, as we'd covered a lot of the more interesting ones, IMO, in Bloodlines: The Resurrected and Bloodlines: The Devoted. That includes the Tianpàn Xiao, who I always felt had a stronger concept than their California counterparts. So, part of my goal for this book was to glow up some of the 1E bloodlines I was a lukewarm on. The California Xiao were high up on that list. Their original incarnation wasn't bad, but what I liked about them was buried under a lot of backstory, and they had a Discipline that hadn't aged well. I also wanted us to go more into the Apostates, and to that end, we give them some powers of their own, completely separate from the Sect faction. This is the first time we've done alternate powers, so I'm eager to see what you all think of those. But, you'll have to wait for the book to see them...

    Anyway, this is all to say, I think you're going to really like our take on the California Xiao, who we're just calling the Xiao (we address the Tianpàn connection, don't worry). I'll talk more about this in a dev diary after the book drops, but for now, let the Xiao give you their pitch.

    Xiao: The ones who drain you

    Emotion is weakness. It’s a honeytrap that lures you in then drowns you before you realize you’ve been caught. Other Daeva claim to have conquered their hearts, but they’re liars. They may have discarded some of their softer feelings, but envy, spite, and rage can betray you just as easily as love or compassion. Only the Xiao are strong. Only the Xiao can wield emotion as a blade without being cut. And only they can teach you this strength; all you must do is submit.

    The Xiao are also liars. It’s true their emotions are pale shadows compared to those of even other Kindred, but it’s not a special technique or a twelve-step to a better you. The Parasites’ icy hearts are just a curse they market as a higher state of consciousness, Zen mindfulness, or whatever else gets people through the door on recruitment night.

    The Parasites operate within the Sect, a predatory cult founded by Xiao Jun Jie, a Kindred con man who immigrated to California from China in the mid-19th century. Like many cults, the Sect preys on lonely, desperate, and burnt-out people, offering all manner of solutions to their woes. In the Sect’s case, they claim the problem is emotion — too much of it. Let go of desire and disappointment, and one can live a contented life. Certainly the “Ascended” members who attend the cult’s free seminars seem content. Vampires all, they radiant confidence and power, and would love to see you again at the next meeting. All you have to do is sign up for the six-week course; don’t worry about the fine print, just fill in your credit card number right here…

    The Sect’s upper membership is entirely Kindred, with access to a variety of ways to twist the emotions of others. As such, the cult is hideously efficient at draining its lower ranks of time, money, and life. Parasites keep up their helpful façade as long as possible, offering housing in Sect-owned properties once their members can no longer afford rent, and giving them work in the cult when they can’t hold down a job anymore. The ultimate fate of most human cultists is to become smiling, vacant-eyed blood dolls who are so emotionally and physically addicted to the leadership that they barely remember the lives they’ve left behind.

    The Sect brings in both money and blood, but it also attracts another thing the Xiao desire: emotion. While most Parasites have drunk the Vitae Kool-Aid enough to believe their state of detachment is superior, that doesn’t mean they should be denied all feeling, all the time. Over the decades, Xiao Jun Jie learned to experience emotions again by taking them from others, developing this practice into what the Ascended call Kingjan. When a Parasite feeds, she can use Kingjan to drain her victim of feeling, lapping up fear and joy along with the blood. Xiao savor these stolen emotions like a sommelier sipping rare vintages, or a chronic case experiencing a potent high. The feelings they steal allow them to briefly remember what it was to be human and experience raw emotion again… until the effect wears off, and they return to their usual coldness.

    This makes the Ascended hypocrites of the highest order, but most are content to let the free-flowing blood and money soothe over that little moral quandary. Most, but not all. Some new Xiao, after they’ve paid their last dollar and been chosen for Ascension, are horrified at the true face of the Sect. They’re disgusted by the lies and hedonism at the heart of this thing that was supposed to give their deaths purpose, and they break away. Called Apostates by the rest of the bloodline, these independent Xiao are a varied bunch, finding their own way through their numb Requiems. Often loners, Apostates are ruthless by both nature and necessity, with a reputation for taking on tasks that even other Kindred balk at, their dull hearts making them inured to the wails of victims. Absent the resources of the Sect, Apostates have invented their own techniques in order to survive, and they turn what should be their weakness into a hideous strength.

    Naturally, these two groups of Xiao despise each other, and when they meet, it almost always results in violence. It doesn’t help that most other Kindred can’t tell them apart, which aggravates both Ascended and Apostates all the more.

    Why you want to be us

    We’re always in control. Let others snivel about fairness and feelings; we don’t have time to listen. Justice is for people too weak to take what they want, and emotion should never get in the way of what’s important. Join us, and no one will ever hurt you again.

    Why you should fear us

    We are strong and you are weak — it’s as simple as that. Posture all you like, but we can reach into your quivering heart and shape it into whatever strikes our fancy. We’ll break you down, build you up, then discard you in the gutter as soon as you can’t live without us. We’ll destroy everything about you and never feel a pang of regret.

    Why we should fear ourselves

    We’re hollow. We sleep on piles of money surrounded by beautiful bodies and feel nothing. Nothing except the sips and nips we take from others, and those just taunt us with what we’ve lost. We have to pretend we love what we are, because otherwise the only thing left to fill the void in our souls is the Beast… and it feels everything.

    Parent Clan: Daeva

    Nicknames: Ascended (within the Sect) Apostates (outside the Sect), Parasites, California Xiao

    Bloodline Bane (The Detached Curse): Even for vampires, the Xiao have a difficult relationship with human emotions. All mundane Empathy and Socialize rolls to [REDACTED].

    Disciplines: Celerity, Majesty, Nightmare, Vigor

    New Merit: Kingjan (• to •••••)

    Prerequisites: Xiao, Mystery Cult Initiation (The Sect) •, Majesty or Nightmare ••

    Effect: Kingjan drains away human emotion as a Xiao feeds, delivering potent highs to vampire and victim alike. It never lasts long, though. The stolen feelings inevitably fade away, and the crash leaves the Ascended wanting more.

    Your character can only use Kingjan while feeding upon a mortal or ghoul experiencing strong emotions. Whether these are natural or induced by supernatural means doesn’t matter. At least one point of Vitae must be taken, but some effects require more, as noted below. Your character can pick and choose which level or levels of Kingjan to apply in a feeding.

    Thief of Smiles (•): The basic use of Kingjan is akin to a smash-and-grab mugging, as your character crudely drains away a victim’s feelings to experience them for himself. Once a night, he can gain the Inspired Condition from a feeding victim through a sudden explosion of emotion. Drawbacks: Unless he spends a Willpower, he also gains the Intoxicated Condition; resolving it does not grant a Beat. He cannot use this effect again until both Conditions are resolved.

    Gardener Plucks the Flowers (••): The intimate connection created with Kingjan allows your character to learn hidden truths about his victim. By spending a Willpower, for every point of Vitae he consumes from a vessel, he learns one of the following: If they’re under the effect of a blood bond, from whom that bond originates, how strong it is, if the victim is under the effects of an emotion-based Condition (Guilty, Spooked, Swooning, etc.), and the origin of that Condition.

    Tolled Bell’s Echo (•••): [REDACTED]

    Parched Throat Drains the Well (••••): [REDACTED]

    Kiss of Oblivion (•••••): [REDACTED]
    Last edited by Yossarian; 11-01-2021, 07:15 PM.



    Social justice vampire/freelancer | He/Him

    Actual Play: Vampire: The Requiem – Bloodlines
    Masquiem: Curses of Caine in Requiem 2nd
    Storytellers Vault: Author Page

  • #2
    “Sin Again”
    Ooh, catchy. I like it.


    MtAw Homebrew:
    Even more Legacies, updated to 2E
    New 2E Legacies, expanded

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    • #3
      I've been looking forward to this one. As a storyteller I love Daeva NPCs with crazy bloodlines, and any bloodline that mixes Majesty and Nightmare is an immediate win in my book.

      I'm a little bit confused about how exactly Kingjan works. Is it a merit?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Aurumae View Post
        I've been looking forward to this one. As a storyteller I love Daeva NPCs with crazy bloodlines, and any bloodline that mixes Majesty and Nightmare is an immediate win in my book.

        I'm a little bit confused about how exactly Kingjan works. Is it a merit?
        I think you'll be pleased in the weirdo bloodlines department! We actually three with Nightmare (much like we had three with Majesty in the Nosferatu book, interestingly enough), but they all approach it in very different ways. The Nelapsi had it in first edition, so that's not a change (though they now favour Resilience over Celerity), and the Children of Judas lose Majesty altogether(!) but gain Nightmare and Auspex in return.

        And yes, Kingjan is indeed a Merit, I just forgot to copy over a header.



        Social justice vampire/freelancer | He/Him

        Actual Play: Vampire: The Requiem – Bloodlines
        Masquiem: Curses of Caine in Requiem 2nd
        Storytellers Vault: Author Page

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
          “Sin Again”
          Ooh, catchy. I like it.
          You know how they say "sin no more?" Well, the Daeva have a rebuttal.




          Social justice vampire/freelancer | He/Him

          Actual Play: Vampire: The Requiem – Bloodlines
          Masquiem: Curses of Caine in Requiem 2nd
          Storytellers Vault: Author Page

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Yossarian View Post
            The Parasites operate within the Sect, a predatory cult founded by Xiao Jun Jie, a Kindred con man who immigrated to California from China in the mid-18th century. Like many cults, the Sect preys on lonely, desperate, and burnt-out people, offering all manner of solutions to their woes. In the Sect’s case, they claim the problem is emotion — too much of it. Let go of desire and disappointment, and one can live a contented life. Certainly the “Ascended” members who attend the cult’s free seminars seem content. Vampires all, they radiant confidence and power, and would love to see you again at the next meeting. All you have to do is sign up for the six-week course; don’t worry about the fine print, just fill in your credit card number right here…

            Little nitpick. AFAIK, the chinese migration to California happened in the mid-19th century.

            Mid-18th century would be the 1700s, a period the 13 colonies were still fighting the british crown for independence.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Baaldam View Post

              Little nitpick. AFAIK, the chinese migration to California happened in the mid-19th century.

              Mid-18th century would be the 1700s, a period the 13 colonies were still fighting the british crown for independence.
              Oops, I'll fix that! Thanks; I didn't notice it in my last edit pass (the write up even mentions him fleeing the Taiping Rebellion, which is firmly in the 1800s.)



              Social justice vampire/freelancer | He/Him

              Actual Play: Vampire: The Requiem – Bloodlines
              Masquiem: Curses of Caine in Requiem 2nd
              Storytellers Vault: Author Page

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              • #8
                This sounds really cool. I bought the first three I’ll probably buy this one too.

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                • #9
                  As I generally enjoy the antagonists and special mechanics parts of those books, I am eager to see what you are cooking up this time

                  Also, for some reason I misread "Tolled Bell's Echo" as "Taco Bell Echo" and then as "Trolled Bell's Echo", which made me amusingly confused :P


                  Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

                  "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

                  I now blog in here

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                    As I generally enjoy the antagonists and special mechanics parts of those books, I am eager to see what you are cooking up this time
                    Well, I wasn't planning on previewing them before the book drops, as they require a little too much context, but I'll tease the name list for that antagonist chapter (it's the biggest one we've had):

                    Brigman
                    Children of Nirriti
                    Histrions
                    The Tribute Society
                    The Nemites
                    Alu
                    Flowers of Inanna
                    The Scorned
                    Solace
                    V.L.A.D.

                    Edit: Oh, and the "special mechanics" chapter (like Shadow Cults, Malkavia, and Necropoli) is called Blowouts. Make of that what you will.

                    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                    Also, for some reason I misread "Tolled Bell's Echo" as "Taco Bell Echo" and then as "Trolled Bell's Echo", which made me amusingly confused :P
                    If the Xiao thought a Taco Bell tie-in would help recruitment, they'd be out on the streets with trucks.
                    Last edited by Yossarian; 11-03-2021, 08:09 PM.



                    Social justice vampire/freelancer | He/Him

                    Actual Play: Vampire: The Requiem – Bloodlines
                    Masquiem: Curses of Caine in Requiem 2nd
                    Storytellers Vault: Author Page

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                    • #11
                      Wait... the Nemites, the Alu and Solace are there?! That's awesome! Come, diablerie demons, it's time for a new Babylon! :P


                      Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

                      "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

                      I now blog in here

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                        Wait... the Nemites, the Alu and Solace are there?! That's awesome! Come, diablerie demons, it's time for a new Babylon! :P
                        They're all here, and they're just...dying...to meet you!

                        (The Alu/En are probably my favourite antagonist/horror/whatever, and I think they manage to honor the original while being their own thing, one that I think fits a lot better in the setting. Our standard practices says we have to turn one bloodline into not-a-bloodline once per book, and this was hitting our quota.)



                        Social justice vampire/freelancer | He/Him

                        Actual Play: Vampire: The Requiem – Bloodlines
                        Masquiem: Curses of Caine in Requiem 2nd
                        Storytellers Vault: Author Page

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