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Bloodline Conversion- Morbus

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  • Bloodline Conversion- Morbus

    Hi there, everybody! I had to take a bit of a break from posting bloodline conversions due to the start of the school year, and a couple weeks' worth of problems with scheduling classes. But those are all resolved, and I decided to start posting bloodline conversions again, so that I could start making headway and maybe branch out into doing some Lodge and Legacy conversions- and so that, once Secrets of the Covenants gets released, I can start putting out conversions for bloodlines from the covenant books without too much delay.

    This week, I'm presenting my conversion of the Morbus, a bloodline that I would consider to be pretty iconic, even getting one or two mentions in the 2e corebook. After the Burakumin and Malkavians, I was getting a little tired of just taking a bloodline discipline and converting it as a series of rituals or sequence of five devotions. So I decided to forego that with the Morbus and reinterpret Cachexy as two gifts- one to represent disease detection, which I based off of a similar gift I gave to the Erzsébet in my conversion for them, and one to represent Cachexy's disease spreading powers, and then I gave them a unique devotion to simulate Cachexy's "disease flare" powers. I'm pretty satisfied with the end result, and may inspire me for later conversions on how to handle unique disciplines. As always, leave your thoughts, comments, and suggestions.

    Bloodline Conversion- Morbus
    “Diseased” is a matter of perspective, my dear. True, I harbor within my body many maladies that most people consider consigned to history books. But what of the disease that we both share, my dear? The Curse we both bear, I longer than you have? Is not that a greater blight on humanity than any disease I carry?

    The Mekhet bloodline known as the Morbus has been known to the All-Night Society for millennia- and its existence has been a source of confusion and frustration for at least that long. Ancient bloodlines can be tricky things to trace, and Mekhet bloodlines are notorious for incubating like a virus- undetectable, silent, innocuous, and then bursting out into the open without prelude or obvious source. It is unlikely that the history of the Morbus will ever be truly known.

    Background: A popular rumor promoted by ambitious Morbus says that their bloodline dates back to Ancient Egypt, and that their founders were dedicated to Sekhmet, the goddess of disease, just as the Khaibit were dedicated to Set. If this is true, there is no evidence to support it. The earliest verifiable account of Mekhet who fed exclusively from the ill and could manipulate disease dates back to the fifth century BC, when Athens was suffering from a plague. The name “Morbus” was first used in the sixth century AD, during the time of the Justinian Plague. Still, the bloodline did not acquire its poor reputation until the time of the Black Death. In 1334, an Archbishop of the Lancea et Sanctum returned to his domain in the Balkans after participating in a minor Crusade. He found that his Kindred subjects had forsaken the Testament of Longinus in favor of the secular views of the Invictus, and had led the mortal inhabitants of the domain into debauchery and sin. Furious, the Archbishop unleashed a terrible epidemic upon the land, which killed every mortal within several miles, and the Kindred were gripped by a hideous affliction. To mortals, the incident seemed to be the work of the Black Death that was ravaging Europe at the time, but scholars of the Ordo Dracul recognize it as one of the deadliest displays of the Morbus’ powers.

    The Archbishop’s overzealous chastisement earned him harsh interrogation by Sanctified Inquisitors. No matter what the Inquisitors inflicted on him, the Archbishop insisted that his act had not been the result of some unknown piece of Theban Sorcery or an act of heathen blood sorcery, but an innate ability of his blood. The Archbishop’s sire was roused from Torpor and questioned in the same matter, but the sire echoed his childe’s story. Both Morbus were put to Final Death for heresy.

    Tonight, most Morbus are more concerned with the day-to-day trials of their Requiems than with retracing their bloodline’s footsteps through the centuries in the Danse Macabre. Once a Morbus realizes their nature or is educated by an older Morbus, she must make a choice to either conceal it and try to live as a normal Mekhet, or admit her true nature and try to carve a niche for herself, as the laws of the domain require or permit.

    The Becoming: Most Morbus who Embrace are not aware of their bloodline status until after the fact, and thus follow the same preferences and prejudices of other Mekhet. Morbus who are aware of their nature tend to Embrace doctors and nurses, dying vessels they have become attached to, or people who can influence public health officials. Morbus who conceal their identity tend to prioritize Social Attributes and Skills, while open Morbus often prioritize Mental Attributes and Skills. Physical Attributes and Skills may be secondary or tertiary according to history and occupation.

    In the Danse Macabre: The potential of even a single Morbus to create an epidemic and contaminate the food supply of an entire domain makes them unwelcome guests in some domains. Many Princes ban the presence of the bloodline within their domain, forcing Morbus to leave or exist incognito. Others are more tolerant, but force known Morbus to feeding grounds in hospitals and medical centers, where mortals are already well-suited to their unique palate. Some Morbus join the Circle of the Crone, taking comfort in the Acolytes’ accepting natures, or in hopes that Crúac can undo their bloodline’s curse. Others of a more scientific bent turn to the Ordo Dracul, the better to understand their bane and to try and use the Coils of the Dragon to grant them relief.

    Clan: Mekhet

    Nickname: Carriers, Plague Rats (impolite)

    Bloodline Bane: The Morbus’ link to disease grants them uncanny powers, but it also shackles them to those who are afflicted with disease. Morbus can only feed from mortals who are infected with a disease; the blood of healthy mortals turns to ash in them mouth. This does not prevent them from consuming Kindred Vitae, though. Additionally, a Morbus who drinks from a mortal contracts whatever disease they have, and can transmit it to others when they feed from others or give others their Vitae.

    Bloodline Disciplines: Auspex, Celerity, Protean, Resilience

    Bloodline Gift: Eyes of Sekhmet
    The Morbus, the masters of disease among the Kindred, are keenly sensitive of its presence. Whenever a Morbus uses Uncanny Perception (Auspex 2), she can always ask if the subject has a disease, and the question does not count towards the number of questions she can ask. On a dramatic failure, she believes that a healthy person is ill, or an ill person is healthy or is suffering from a disease they do not have. On a success, she learns what diseases, if any, the subject has. On an exceptional success, she learns the stage of the diseases the subject has (newly infected, dormant, in remission, etc.).

    Contaminate
    By spending a point of Vitae, a Morbus can use an instant action to infect an object small enough to fit in a hand, or an area one square foot in size, with a supernaturally enhanced version of the disease she possesses. Should a mortal or Kindred handle or ingest the object, or touch it with bare skin, they must roll Stamina + Resolve to see if they contract the disease. If they score an exceptional success, they cannot be infected with the disease again through Contaminate. Kindred are merely carriers for the disease, but anybody who contracts it can still transmit it. The disease can be spread by consuming an infected person’s blood, Vitae, or through skin-to-skin contact. The contaminated object or surface cannot be sterilized except through fire, but the disease disappears completely come dawn.

    Inflame (Auspex @@, Protean @@, Celerity @@)
    Inflame is the signature power of the Morbus. This is the power that has wiped out towns and soiled an entire bloodline’s reputation. With this Devotion, a Morbus can worsen the symptoms of a disease that she has identified through the Eyes of Sekhmet, or has transmitted through her Contaminate ability. First the Morbus examines and identifies the target’s disease. The Protean and Celerity pass through the psychic link, and act on the disease to quicken its effects.

    Cost: 1 Willpower
    Dice Pool: Wits + Medicine + Protean - target’s Stamina
    Action: Instant

    Roll Results
    Dramatic Failure: The Morbus accidentally sends one of the subject’s diseases into remission for the rest of the story. If the subject is not currently experiencing symptoms, the disease is purged from their system entirely.
    Failure: The Morbus fails to infect the subject on this turn.
    Success: The Morbus enhances the symptoms of a disease in a sudden burst, causing the target an amount of bashing damage equal to successes rolled, and suffers a -2 to all rolls for a number of turns equal to successes rolled.
    Exceptional Success: So sudden and terrible is the onslaught of symptoms that the target collapses to the ground from agony and discomfort. The target immediately falls to the ground and cannot take action for the rest of the turn, and may not stand until their next turn.

    This Devotion requires two Experiences to learn. An advanced version exists, which requires Auspex 2, Protean 4, and Celerity 3, and costs three Experiences to learn. With this version of the Devotion, a success deals lethal damage equal to successes rolled, and imposes a -4 to all rolls for a number of turns equal to successes rolled. An exceptional success still knocks the target to the ground. A Morbus can possess both versions of this Devotion, and can consciously choose which version to employ, but she must learn the normal version before she learns the advanced version.


    Haberdasher's Requiem Conversions and Homebrew

  • #2
    Honestly I think Morbis should join Malkavia as a kindred disease, it always seemed like a better fit for the Nosferatu in 1e to me anyway so allowing any clan to catch it works better thematically for me and is more scary.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Live Bait View Post
      Honestly I think Morbis should join Malkavia as a kindred disease, it always seemed like a better fit for the Nosferatu in 1e to me anyway so allowing any clan to catch it works better thematically for me and is more scary.
      We shall see come Dark Eras Companion.


      Onyx Path Forum Moderator

      My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

      Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Live Bait View Post
        Honestly I think Morbis should join Malkavia as a kindred disease, it always seemed like a better fit for the Nosferatu in 1e to me anyway so allowing any clan to catch it works better thematically for me and is more scary.
        I had never considered it, but I agree with Live Bait. Where Malkavia is the disease that causes mental disorder, Morbus is the physical affliction.

        It doesn't exactly discount the possibility that a bloodline exists. Just makes it likely this "Super Bug" virus spawned from them.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post

          We shall see come Dark Eras Companion.
          I'm intrigued. With the comments on here, I'm tempted to interpret the Morbus like I did the Malkavians- a bloodline that have control over a rare part of the Curse. Sort of like how I interpreted Malkavia as something any Kindred can get, but only Mekhet can truly exploit. I definitely agree that there's a sort of thematic duality with the Malkavians and Morbus. Yea or nay?



          Haberdasher's Requiem Conversions and Homebrew

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          • #6
            If I was awake I might try and throw together some rules for it, probably have the powers it gives you be symptoms that you may be able to shape a roll and have the disease gain potency. All powers use the disease severity/potency plus Blood Potency as a dice pool should it be needed and each power Morbus gives you (presumably called Cachexy) adds a symptom that helps it spread. The disease should have the potential to kill the infected kindred so as to keep it as something that vampires have an incentive to fight but that could survive for a long time.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Live Bait View Post
              If I was awake I might try and throw together some rules for it, probably have the powers it gives you be symptoms that you may be able to shape a roll and have the disease gain potency. All powers use the disease severity/potency plus Blood Potency as a dice pool should it be needed and each power Morbus gives you (presumably called Cachexy) adds a symptom that helps it spread. The disease should have the potential to kill the infected kindred so as to keep it as something that vampires have an incentive to fight but that could survive for a long time.
              I wouldn't mind collaborating with you on that, if you don't mind.


              Haberdasher's Requiem Conversions and Homebrew

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              • #8
                (Apologies if this is not relevant to the thread)

                One of the things i love most about bloodlines (to the point of it being a thought experiment i like to do) is that you can take a single concept, in this case say Diseases, and pass through each of the clans archetype, to create 5 different bloodlines. So you could have a ''Morbus'' as mekhet or a ''Morbus'' as nosferatu bloodline and they would end up being very different.


                Currently running: Scion 2nd Edition. Les Légendes
                Currently playing: Being a dad for a 1year old daughter and a newborn son.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Maitrecorbo View Post
                  (Apologies if this is not relevant to the thread)

                  One of the things i love most about bloodlines (to the point of it being a thought experiment i like to do) is that you can take a single concept, in this case say Diseases, and pass through each of the clans archetype, to create 5 different bloodlines. So you could have a ''Morbus'' as mekhet or a ''Morbus'' as nosferatu bloodline and they would end up being very different.
                  Personally, I think that a disease-focused Nossie bloodline would focus on the grotesquery and horror of disease, whereas the Morbus ideally represent disease as the invisible, untraceable thing that moves like wildfire, simultaneously everywhere and nowhere.


                  Haberdasher's Requiem Conversions and Homebrew

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Haberdasher View Post

                    I wouldn't mind collaborating with you on that, if you don't mind.
                    Sure, the only 2e book I have is Blood and Smoke so any rules about diseases in CofD not covered on page 183 of B&S I will need explained to me.
                    As I said I should get to sleep, the days 27 minutes old and my pho needs recharging.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Haberdasher View Post
                      I'm intrigued. With the comments on here, I'm tempted to interpret the Morbus like I did the Malkavians- a bloodline that have control over a rare part of the Curse. Sort of like how I interpreted Malkavia as something any Kindred can get, but only Mekhet can truly exploit. I definitely agree that there's a sort of thematic duality with the Malkavians and Morbus. Yea or nay?
                      That would definitely be a cool take! Personally, I'm content to wait for Dark Eras Companion, as we have it on good authority that the black plague era will include an official Morbus update.


                      Onyx Path Forum Moderator

                      My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

                      Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                        That would definitely be a cool take! Personally, I'm content to wait for Dark Eras Companion, as we have it on good authority that the black plague era will include an official Morbus update.
                        Well, in the meantime... *gestures to my conversion* I've got this to hold us over. And I haven't been able to pick up Dark Eras yet.


                        Haberdasher's Requiem Conversions and Homebrew

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                        • #13
                          Ok spitballing ideas to see what works.
                          Infection: upon catching Morbus/Cachexy vampires gain the potency of the infection to any roll to locate or identify diseases using Kindred Senses however any attempt to feed results in less Vitae than normal, deduct the severity (the penalty on the Stamina Resolve roll to prevent the disease from doing damage) of any diseases the pray is suffering from from the potency of the vampires own infection and reduces the Vitae received by that amount. Much like vampire Blood Potency as the potency of the infection increases it further restricts who the vampire can feed on allowing a narrower choice of victims or demanding more severe disease.
                          So Haberdasher and anyone else what do you think so far? The next step should probably be to put together the structure for how the increases in potency leads to tighter restrictions and gives access to plague powers and decide terminology (call the disease Morbus and the powers Cachexy?).
                          I would like the cost of any powers Morbus gives you to be offset by the symptoms rather than costing xp as this means that the drawbacks can truly be nasty and getting cured is not going to require all the xp spent to be returned.

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                          • #14
                            Live Bait: That sounds pretty decent. I like the idea of Cachexy having growing side effects. I don't necessarily think we have to stick with it, but maybe we could model it like Blood Potency: low severity doesn't have an effect, medium severity imposes a penalty to feeding from the healthy, and high severity is the full-blown Morbus bloodline bane.


                            Haberdasher's Requiem Conversions and Homebrew

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                            • #15
                              As I said I'm just coughing up ideas to see if any of them are catches on (I better stop now, if the pun making becomes infective we'll soon sick of them) until something works. How do you see this working?

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