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Bloodline: Usiri

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  • Bloodline: Usiri

    The Crook and the Flail

    Usiri
    Parent Clan: Nosferatu
    Nickname: Judges
    Disciplines: Auspex, Nightmare, Obfuscate, Vigor

    You are hereby found guilty of treason and patricide before this court. For your crimes, there is only one punishment. You will live on. But your mind and soul shall be scoured of all that you are. Your name shall be forfeit, never to be spoken again. From this night onward, you shall cease to exist.

    In the days of the Great Covenant, the Cult of Osiris existed to watch over those who would succumb to the call of Duat and enter the sleep of ages. They maintained the various temples and shrines which served as resting places for Kindred in torpor, ensuring that they would not be harmed in body or soul. Those who awakened often found themselves being comforted by an attending priest, who would lead them through the steps of rejoining the world of the living.

    Usiri was initially the title given to the High Priest of Osiris. Kindred who worshipped this particular god became fascinated with stories of the Underworld and with assisting Ra, the Sun, in its nightly battle to rise again each morning. The Usiri bloodline - sired by a Nosferatu High Priest - adopted a similar role. Their duty was to protect the mind and tend to the body while the spirit waged war on the Underworld’s demons. And when their charges wake, this duty shifted to shepherding them back to the fold of the Great Covenant. For this, they were trusted among many ancient Egyptian Kindred (including followers from the Cults of Ra, Anubis and Horus, for example) and rejected by others (such as the Cults of Set and Thoth).

    Perhaps the latter were right to reject them.

    Background: Despite their reputation as both knowledgeable guides and steadfast protectors, the Usiri had a more sinister aspect to their duty. They were collectors of information, keepers of secrets, and (most of all) the unseen judges of the dead. Whereas the Khaibit existed to fight an external threat, the Usiri held vigil over the Kindred of the Black Land as their hidden judges. They watched for those who would dare sunder the Covenant from within, meting out punishment once they were brought into their temples. Most of the condemned end up meeting the Final Death upon the altar. The worst, though, were subjected to a more cruel fate, living on after their very identities were scourged.

    Though the dynasties of Egypt fell long ago, the Judges were among the bloodlines who survived that age. Since then, they have spread out from their original homeland, fulfilling their purpose in Kindred courts around the world.

    Within the Danse Macabre: In modern nights, many Usiri have found a niche as information gatherers, Kindred psychologists, and advisors to Princes who covet what they offer. Others assume more insidious vocations as inquisitors and enforcers, where their gifts serve them well in rooting out treasonous elements and subsequently crushing them. Regardless of their occupation, the bloodline is feared for the powers at their disposal, and its members use that fear as a tool to gain positions of power within various domains.

    The Usiri bring into question the entire notion of what is real and what isn't -- a vampire might ask, are the thoughts in my head my thoughts or were they placed there by someone else? As a bloodline who position themselves as both guardians and judges, they can be either invaluable allies and formidable enemies. Those who end up dealing with them as the latter exercise extreme caution. The Judges are more than capable of inflicting a fate far worse than the Final Death.

    Usiri can be found in every covenant, whispering to whoever will listen to them and accept their services. The majority, though, are found in either the Circle of the Crone or the Invictus. The former is chosen by those who still honor Osiris as their patron, and worship him alongside his sisters, Isis and Nephtys. The latter, meanwhile, attract the more secular of the bloodline, those who see the old gods as having no place in modern nights.

    Bloodline Gift: Hypnagogia
    Named after that brief state between consciousness and sleep, this gift of the Usiri bloodline can be used as a tool for gathering information or, ultimately, as a weapon to utterly destroy their enemies. Through Hypnagogia, a Sleeper can influence the memories and emotions of another on a level of proficiency matched only by skilled users of Dominate and Majesty.

    An Usiri gains access to a set of exclusive Devotions upon joining the bloodline, and receives the Shu Devotion for free.

    Bloodline Bane: The Sleeper's Curse
    The Usiri feel the pull of torpor more strongly than other Kindred, and must actively resist it. This mental and spiritual struggle eventually takes a toll, though, and only worsens until they finally fall into the sleep of ages. After they gain the Languid Condition, they lose one Willpower point every night until it is resolved. Furthermore, they require Vitae equal to half their Blood Potency, rounded up, to awaken from slumber or torpor.

    ---=---

    Bloodline Devotions

    Shu [Gained upon joining the Bloodline]
    The basic manifestation of Hypnagogia is the Void, a part of the Usiri’s own subconscious mind that she has compartmentalized and kept separate from her consciousness. This partition grants them greater mastery over their own thoughts and memories, granting them the following benefits.

    • The Usiri adds his Auspex dots to all Intelligence + Composure rolls made to remember anything.
    • The Usiri adds his Auspex dots to all resistance rolls against attempts at mental manipulation or memory modification.
    • Whenever the Usiri uses any of the first three powers of Auspex, he is immediately given a number of free insights on his target/s equal to his Auspex dots.


    Sheut [Auspex oo]
    The Usiri is able to overwrite a specific thought or image from his victim with one of his own choosing. She now believes that this new “memory” is her own and that she has personally experienced it at some point in her past.

    Cost: 1 Vitae
    Dice Pool: Manipulation + Persuasion + Auspex vs. Composure + Blood Potency
    Action: Instant and Contested (Resistance is Reflexive)

    Dramatic Failure: For the rest of the night, the attacker is unable to overwrite the victim’s memory. Furthermore, the target is aware that someone is attempting to manipulate her and recognizes both “memories,” including which one is real and which one is false.

    Failure: The character loses or ties the contested roll and is unable to overwrite the victim’s memory.

    Success: The character wins the contested roll. He is able to overwrite a memory with one of his own choosing. The victim believes that the new memory is, in fact, what really happened. She recalls the experience vaguely, as if it happened to someone else, but still believes it to be her own recollection.

    The overwritten memory cannot encompass more than a scene’s worth of time, and if the subject is ever confronted with direct evidence of the truth, the subject’s player rolls Intelligence + Composure. If this roll succeeds, the character’s original memory comes back. If it fails, he can try again the next time he is faced with proof of his true memories, but at an additional -1 penalty. This penalty is cumulative, and maxes out at -5.

    Exceptional Success: The character wins a contested roll with five or more successes. He is able to overwrite the memory as usual, but the alteration can last up to a number of nights equal to the Usiri's Auspex dots. He is also able to provide some supporting details, giving it a more “real” feel. The victim recalls the experience subjectively, as if she was an integral part of it. Hence, if confronted with direct evidence of the original memory, he suffers a -3 penalty to all rolls made to remember, which stacks with the cumulative -1 penalty from failed rolls.

    This Devotion costs 2 Experience to learn.


    Djed [Obfuscate oo]

    This power is the true definition of Hypnagogia. It allows the Usiri to project a feeling of bliss and perfection onto another individual, relaxing and smothering him in a state of euphoria. The Beast itself is completely denied and violent activity isn’t even a consideration. The victim is in a state of Hypnagogia and can remain in such as state until the end of the scene.

    Cost: 1 Vitae
    Dice Pool: Manipulation + Persuasion + Obfuscate vs. Composure + Blood Potency
    Action: Instant and contested (resistance is reflexive)

    Dramatic Failure: Rather than pacifying the Beast, the character unleashes it and the target must check for frenzy.

    Failure: The character loses or ties the contested roll. The attempt to pacify the Beast fails and the target is unaffected.

    Success: The character wins the contested roll. The target feels all his rage begin to dissolve. He finds himself feeling peaceful and content. The character suffers a -3 modifier to all violent or aggressive actions for the rest of the scene, and all rolls to resist frenzy and any powers meant to drive them to lash out receive a +3 modifier. Riding the wave requires seven successes, rather than five.

    This Devotion can also be used to placate mortals, and suppress similar conditions in other supernaturals such as a Werewolf's Death Rage or a Promethean's Torment. In both cases, they are affected similarly to Kindred targeted by Djed.

    Exceptional Success: The character wins a contested roll with five or more successes. As success above, except that the effect extends until the end of the night. The Beast is completely pacified and the subject may have no clear understanding of how it happened.

    This Devotion costs 2 Experience to learn.


    Henet [Auspex oooo, Obfuscate ooooo]
    This is arguably the most fearsome power an Usiri, or any Kindred for that matter, can summon forth. It has the capability of completely wiping the mind of the intended target clean, erasing all memories of who and what the Kindred has been and still is, essentially creating a blank slate to be molded by the caster’s will.

    The target is usually an unaware Kindred in torpor, but this can also be attempted against a waking target (willing or unwilling), provided the caster wishes to take the risk of destroying his own mind. This ability is invasive, to say the least, and must be performed within line of sight of the target. Few would ever willingly subject themselves to it, although one never knows what a paranoid Kindred might do to protect himself long-term.

    If a player decides to use this power against an unwilling target, he must make a successful detachment roll if his character’s Humanity is above 4.

    Cost: 3 Vitae + 1 Willpower
    Dice Pool:
    > Presence + Persuasion + Obfuscate versus Resolve + Blood Potency (willing subject or in torpor)
    > Manipulation + Intimidation + Obfuscate versus Resolve + Composure + Blood Potency (if the victim is awake and unwilling)
    Action: Instant and contested (regardless of whether the subject is in torpor, is willing or unwilling, as the mind does not easily give itself to a foreign presence; resistance is reflexive)

    Dramatic Failure: The vampire and the target are both subjected to surreal, terrifying nightmares. The attacker’s player must succeed on a Resolve + Composure roll, or else the Usiri gains a Condition (Delusional or Paranoia are good choices). In addition, the Usiri automatically loses a dot of Humanity.

    Failure: The target’s memories remain secure and intact. Further, the player of the Usiri must make a successful detachment roll for his character regardless of whether the victim was willing or unwilling.

    Success: The victim loses all of his memories from the present moment back to the beginning of the story. He gains the Amnesia Condition with regards to this. Additionally, all Skills and Disciplines learned since the start of the story are 'locked out'. They cannot be accessed until the Condition is resolved.

    Exceptional Success: The victim of Henet loses all memory of his identity. He is unaware of his Vampiric condition and knows nothing of who he is, where he is or what has happened to him. He is a true blank slate, in the most complete meaning of the term. In addition to the effects of a success, the victim gains the Amnesia Condition with regards to his lost memories.

    This Devotion costs 5 Experience to learn.
    Last edited by Deionscribe; 03-15-2017, 09:30 PM.


    "My Homebrew Hub"
    Age of Azar
    The Kingdom of Yamatai

  • #2
    I like that Hypnagogia was translated into Devotions like the Khaibit Discipline was, but I'm a little worried about how Henet actually removes Disciplines and Skills, instead of just suppressing them. Maybe a general success could apply a more limited Amnesia Condition, and suppresses all Disciplines and Skills purchased since the story began until the Condition can be resolved. What I'm really curious about is if anyone else would rule that these Devotions can be used on other Major Templates, not just Kindred.


    My Homebrew Hub

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
      I like that Hypnagogia was translated into Devotions like the Khaibit Discipline was, but I'm a little worried about how Henet actually removes Disciplines and Skills, instead of just suppressing them. Maybe a general success could apply a more limited Amnesia Condition, and suppresses all Disciplines and Skills purchased since the story began until the Condition can be resolved. What I'm really curious about is if anyone else would rule that these Devotions can be used on other Major Templates, not just Kindred.
      Admittedly, I feel the same way at the moment for Henet. I'll make the necessary adjustments for scoring a regular success. As for whether or not the Devotions would work on other major templates (much less mortals), that's something I'm taking the time to figure out and write down.

      EDIT:
      - Revised Henet, with regards to its success.
      Last edited by Deionscribe; 01-09-2016, 02:17 AM.


      "My Homebrew Hub"
      Age of Azar
      The Kingdom of Yamatai

      Comment


      • #4
        A tie-in to the fan-made open project known as Age of Azar.

        The Cannibal Hymn: Dusk of the Judges
        [TO BE WRITTEN]


        "My Homebrew Hub"
        Age of Azar
        The Kingdom of Yamatai

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        • #5
          That bloodline bane is brutal, though.

          Comment


          • #6
            It's practically unplayable unless the vampire has Humanity at least at 8, and not too high Blood Potency. Or keeps a higher Blood Potency vampire around to wake them once a week (thereby guaranteeing a stage 3 blood bond).


            Bloodline: The Stygians
            Ordo Dracul Mystery: Coil of Smoke

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            • #7
              Originally posted by RomulusGloriosus View Post
              That bloodline bane is brutal, though.
              Originally posted by Tessie View Post
              It's practically unplayable unless the vampire has Humanity at least at 8, and not too high Blood Potency. Or keeps a higher Blood Potency vampire around to wake them once a week (thereby guaranteeing a stage 3 blood bond).
              How about increasing the grace period from days to weeks? Not to mention emphasize that it resets whenever they go into torpor (voluntary or otherwise)?


              "My Homebrew Hub"
              Age of Azar
              The Kingdom of Yamatai

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              • #8
                The problem is that torpor takes months or years for most vampires. That will disrupt any game even if it happens just once or twice during a short to medium length campaign. I think the best way to go is to figure out a way to represent the lure of torpor without making torpor a necessity to handling that drawback.


                Bloodline: The Stygians
                Ordo Dracul Mystery: Coil of Smoke

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                • #9
                  Two suggestions I would make -

                  1) Count torpor length as 1 lower than their current humanity. This is still pretty brutal, but it plays with the trope of the long sleep of mummies. Also, it makes avoiding torpor all the more imperative.

                  2) Apply the rules to stay awake during the day...at night. You can spend a willpower dot to avoid this until dawn, and you receive the dot back when you finally give in and sleep. This effectively reduces your willpower pool by one if you don't want to be struggling to keep your eyes open all night.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                    The problem is that torpor takes months or years for most vampires. That will disrupt any game even if it happens just once or twice during a short to medium length campaign. I think the best way to go is to figure out a way to represent the lure of torpor without making torpor a necessity to handling that drawback.
                    Originally posted by RomulusGloriosus View Post
                    Two suggestions I would make -

                    1) Count torpor length as 1 lower than their current humanity. This is still pretty brutal, but it plays with the trope of the long sleep of mummies. Also, it makes avoiding torpor all the more imperative.

                    2) Apply the rules to stay awake during the day...at night. You can spend a willpower dot to avoid this until dawn, and you receive the dot back when you finally give in and sleep. This effectively reduces your willpower pool by one if you don't want to be struggling to keep your eyes open all night.
                    How about something like this?

                    -=-

                    The Sleeper's Curse
                    The Usiri feel the pull of torpor more strongly than other Kindred, and must actively resist it. This mental and spiritual struggle eventually takes a toll, though, and only worsens until they finally fall into the sleep of ages. After they gain the Languid Condition, they lose one Willpower point every night until it is resolved.


                    "My Homebrew Hub"
                    Age of Azar
                    The Kingdom of Yamatai

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post



                      How about something like this?

                      -=-

                      The Sleeper's Curse
                      The Usiri feel the pull of torpor more strongly than other Kindred, and must actively resist it. This mental and spiritual struggle eventually takes a toll, though, and only worsens until they finally fall into the sleep of ages. After they gain the Languid Condition, they lose one Willpower point every night until it is resolved.

                      Oooh. So just taking the Languid condition (which you will inevitably get, given Touchstones) and making it more brutal, when it happens.

                      I like it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RomulusGloriosus View Post
                        Oooh. So just taking the Languid condition (which you will inevitably get, given Touchstones) and making it more brutal, when it happens.

                        I like it.
                        Yep. I'll be sure to revise the Bane as such on the main post.


                        "My Homebrew Hub"
                        Age of Azar
                        The Kingdom of Yamatai

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I fear that becomes too lenient. The Languid Condition is pretty rare. Has never come up in play in my game, at least.

                          My proposal (that kinda deviates from torpor so I totally get if you don't want to use it):

                          The orthodox members of this bloodline knows for a fact that their spirits journey to the Underworld and battles demons in the name of their patron during the daysleep. More secular Usiri believes that their gift simply comes with an ironic but fitting price. Regardless of how they justify it all Usiri requires peculiar sleeping arrangements. All Judges has to spend their daysleep in a dedicated sleeping quarter decorated after their individual needs. Some models their dwellings after the ancient tombs in Egypt while others collect replicas of their favorite artist's paintings. One particularly narcissistic Judge has covered all four walls with mirrors.
                          Every day the Usiri fails to spend daysleep in this dedicated dwelling levies a cumulative -1 penalty to all actions. Only a proper day's rest removes this penalty. When relocating her residence an Usiri needs to spend a number of days equal to 10 - Humanity in her new dwelling before it can provide the rest she requires.


                          Bloodline: The Stygians
                          Ordo Dracul Mystery: Coil of Smoke

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                            I fear that becomes too lenient. The Languid Condition is pretty rare. Has never come up in play in my game, at least.
                            What if I add that an Usiri needs to spend an extra point of Vitae to awaken? Or, if you want to be more punishing, they could spend Vitae equal to half their Blood Potency, rounded up, instead.


                            "My Homebrew Hub"
                            Age of Azar
                            The Kingdom of Yamatai

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I do like the themes of preparing the death chamber. It all but requires members of this bloodline to take the Haven merit, though, which feels a little weird.

                              I still like the Languid punishment, as it actually has come up quite a bit in my games. Granted, I had been running Touchstones wrong. I would be down for the extra vitae expenditure too - I like the Half the Blood Potency (rounded up) punishment, as it all bit bypasses low BP Kindred...and you keep a low BP by going into torpor....

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