True World Of Darkness
To embrace a new vampire you drain them of all of their blood then feed them a blood while their body is warm. A newly embraced vampire has all blood bonds shattered and is blood bound to the first degree to their sire. They are one (01) generation higher than their sire.
A single point of blood heals two (02) points of bashing damage, or one (01) point of lethal damage. A single aggravated wound requires five blood and a full day’s sleep. Aggravated damage is the only type of wound that leaves a scar on Kindred. The scar appears natural, unlike the original damage.
By spending a point of blood, Kindred may invoke the blush of life for a scene. This makes them functionally human. They become warm to the touch, with a full, hearty pulse. They produce natural bodily fluids. They function sexually in the way a human can, becoming physically aroused, erect, and lubricated. They can keep food and drink down, ejecting it later in the night. They’ll pass medical inspection while the blush remains active.
Vampire tales speak of creatures stronger and faster than anything human. With blood, any Kindred can accomplish massive bursts of physical prowess. By spending a point of blood, he may add two dice to rolls involving his choice of Dexterity, Stamina, or Strength for the turn. This does not increase traits derived from these Attributes. However, it will increase relevant resistances. For example, a Strength increase will reduce an opponent’s rolls to grapple him.
Without a Discipline or other ability to mask or suppress the predatory aura, Kindred perceive other vampires as their own kind. If they can smell the vampire, they know it’s a vampire. If they touch a vampire, they know it’s a vampire. Note that this is one-sided: One character may not notice the other. It’s not just the aura, it’s all the right cues. Kindred notice the shallow or nonexistent breathing of their kind. They notice the subtle, predatory tones in a voice. They smell multiple victims’ blood on another.
Further, a vampire can voluntarily intensify her predator aura to elicit a reaction. Against other Kindred, this escalates the encounter, forcing fight or flight instincts. Against mortals, this asserts power and cows the lesser creatures. Lashing out with the Beast takes an instant action, and against Kindred costs a point of Willpower. It’s free to use against a mortal.
Anything that wouldn’t constitute a Health level of damage heals automatically and returns to its original state. For this reason, many sires recommend their childer groom for the Embrace, as part of the ritual of entering the Danse.
If an injury would require blood to heal (represented by Health levels), the vampire will unconsciously heal it during day-sleep. Sometimes, this means the vampire will not have the blood necessary to wake. As she falls to slumber, she may spend Willpower points to “preserve” wounds through her rest, to keep herself from healing them and spending excessive blood. This cost is once per wound, and covers the wound permanently.
Sometimes, Kindred force other marks to remain. For example, vampires often keep scars, tattoos, and piercings for spiritual reasons or just to fit in with the flock. Many Kindred remove long hair, in favor of wigs or cleaner, more modern styles. The vampire spends Willpower to fight the healing process while she sleeps. After a day’s rest, any damage heals as normal, but her body remains changed.
They can hear heartbeats at three yards or meters per dot of Supernatural Defense.
Upon Embrace, a vampire’s sense of smell attunes to the scent of blood. A vampire can smell the presence of blood from about ten yards or meters per dot of Supernatural Defense without rolling. Multiply this range by her Auspex level. If she’s tasted a particular human’s blood, she can add her Supernatural Defense to any rolls to track him by scent. Kindred blood does not offer this advantage, since it’s mostly old, dead, and its smell is a blend of all the vampire’s recent victims.
In full darkness, they only suffer a –2 die penalty to rolls that require vision. If they encounter traces of blood, even if dried or hidden (in a carpet, for example), they immediately see even very small quantities.
If any of her Kindred senses apply, add her Supernatural Defense to any rolls to detect hidden people or details by the traces of blood.
A Kindred who sleeps during the day and who has no blood — but who is not truly in torpor — fails to rise. All blood in him has been exhausted, so he has none to spend to rise the next night. For every night that passes under these circumstances, the character suffers a point of lethal damage in lieu of spending blood. In this state, the character is incapable of functioning at all, yet is not in torpor. This is important because this vampire does not need exceptionally potent blood to be roused yet. At this point, any blood given to him allows him to rise as normal (fed only a few blood, the character probably rises in a hunger frenzy). Denied any blood from an outside source, a starving character continues to suffer one lethal wound a night until he slips into torpor.
For the most part Kindred suffer aggravated damage because of the special anathemas to the undead: sunlight and fire.
Fire presents an even greater danger to vampires than it does to mortals. Fire inflicts aggravated damage on Kindred. Only Resilience can shield a vampire from the flames, and that to a limited degree.
A fire’s size and heat determines how much damage a character endures per turn. A small, very hot fire can deliver as much damage as a large but cooler fire. The Storyteller decides how much damage a particular fire can inflict, based on these guidelines:
- Candle: 0.5 point of damage per turn of contact.
- Torch: 01 points of damage per turn of contact.
- Campfire: 1.5 points of damage per turn of contact.
- Bonfire (A burning car, a fire the size of a dumpster): 02 points of damage per turn of contact.
- Inferno (A burning house): 04 points of damage per turn of contact.
The Kindred fear sunlight even more than fire. After all, fire doesn’t suffuse half the world, making half of each diurnal cycle deadly for vampires. Even the weakest sunlight presents danger. Sunlight filtered through a heavy curtain can still burn. Only the Resilience Discipline can protect a vampire from the daystar’s rays, and then only against dim, faint exposure. Direct sunlight can sear even the mightiest Kindred to ash.
The amount of damage a Kindred suffers automatically from sunlight per turn depends on the intensity of the light and how much of the vampire’s body is exposed. The brighter and more direct the sunlight is, the more quickly a Kindred’s undead flesh burns. The more of a vampire’s body that is exposed to sunlight, the more extensive the damage is. (Mechanically, however, little practical difference exists between an arm completely burned off in a second and losing most of one’s skin from diffused exposure. Damage is damage.)
- Ultraviolet Light, Radiant: 0.5 damage per turn of contact.
- Ultraviolet Light, Focused: 01 damage per turn of contact.
- Faint, filtered sunlight (light through heavy, closed drapes; cloud cover; twilight): 1.5 points of damage per turn of exposure.
- Filtered or weak sunlight (light through thin drapes; outside on cloudy day; daylight through a window; reflection of sun in a mirror): 02 points of damage per turn of exposure.
- Direct Sunlight: 04 points of damage per turn of exposure.
Other Sources of Aggravated Damage
Certain weapons such as magically enhanced werewolf claws or those that Kindred can grow using the Protean Discipline inflict aggravated damage to vampires. Various rare Discipline powers, rituals and other magical effects might deal aggravated damage as well. Such special cases are explained in the description of the relevant power or ritual. Attacks that deal large quantities of lethal damage can also be “upgraded” to aggravated damage if they would destroy large chunks of a character’s body. For example, if a vampire throws himself on a hand grenade, the Storyteller has every right to declare that the character suffers aggravated damage from the explosion.
Remember that aggravated damage is also inflicted when all other Health boxes are filled with lethal injuries, and more harm of any kind is incurred; lethal wounds are upgraded to aggravated from left to right.
If a Kindred’s rightmost Health box is marked with aggravated damage — having suffered the harm either directly or by converting damage dealt to the torpid character — she suffers Final Death. Her body rots, dries and withers in minutes, and crumbles to dust within an hour. The longer a Kindred has spent undead, the more rapidly the final dissolution occurs.
Countering damage from sunlight and fire works differently than other sources of aggravated damage, in that fire and sunlight inflict automatic points of damage. The Resilience Discipline does offer some protection, allowing a character to downgrade this damage. Ultimately, though, even the oldest and toughest vampire has no chance to withstand extensive exposure to fire or sunlight. The Kindred have abundant reason to fear these phenomena more than anything else.
Torpo Due To Blood Deficiency
The ancients called sleep the brother of death. This is even more true for vampires than for mortals. Every day, the Kindred enter a sleep that mortal senses and science cannot distinguish from death. The Kindred experience it much as mortals experience sleep. The Kindred can also enter a deeper sleep, however, in which their souls come even closer to death. The Kindred call this state torpor. A vampire’s daily sleep lasts a few hours, but torpor can last for centuries.
Wounds sufficient to kill mortals send the Kindred into torpor, instead. If a vampire’s rightmost Health box is occupied by a lethal wound, they enter torpor instead of dying. The minimum duration of this torpor depends on the character’s Integrity and her Generation. A low generation extends the torpor’s duration; so does having a low Integrity. High-Integrity vampires spend much less time in torpor than Kindred who have given most of themselves to the Beast.
While in torpor, a wounded vampire can expend blood but can take no other action. There undead body still expends one blood per night as it tries to restore itself to its post-Embrace condition. The character can also expend blood to heal themselves — a good idea, since otherwise the blood just trickles away without doing anything useful. Any damage that the vampire cannot heal remains on the character’s withered body until he can rise and feed again.
Torpor via Staking
Finally, a vampire enters torpor when a wooden stake penetrates his heart. Only wood has this effect. Rods of metal, plastic or other substances can damage the vampire by piercing the heart, but only wood induces torpor. Kindred mystics offer a number of religious and occult theories for why wood has this power. Most Kindred simply accept it as a fact of unlife.
Driving a stake through a vampire’s heart is extraordinarily difficult. The feat requires a melee or ranged attack with the stake. In combat, the attacker suffers a -4 dice penalty to strike so precisely. Then the attacker must inflict at least three points of lethal damage for the stake to actually thrust through the vampire’s body and into the heart. The staked vampire immediately collapses into torpor, appearing stone dead for all that a mortal could tell.
A staked vampire remains in torpor indefinitely. The Kindred awakens only when someone or something removes the stake from his heart. An unwary mortal might remove the stake from what looks like a mummified corpse. A rat might gnaw at the stake enough to dislodge it, or termites might eat the stake away completely. Until something like this occurs, however, the vampire sleeps. Grim tales among the Kindred tell of vampires who work around Princely edicts forbidding murder and Integrity erosion by trapping their enemies with stakes through the heart and burying them in secure and secret crypts, there to sleep until the Gehenna.