Blood Bond

The Blood Bond

One of the most wondrous and terrible properties of Kindred vitae is its ability to enslave nearly any being who drinks of it three times. Each sip of a particular Kindred’s blood gives the Kindred in question a greater emotional hold over the drinker. If a being drinks three times, on three separate nights, from the same Kindred, she falls victim to a state known as the blood bond. A vampire who holds a blood bond over another being is said to be that victim’s regnant, while the being subordinate to the bond is called the thrall.

Put simply, the blood bond is one of the most potent emotional sensations known. A blood-bound victim is absolutely devoted to her regnant and will do nearly anything for him. Even the most potent uses of Dominate cannot overcome the thrall’s feelings for her regnant; only true love stands a chance against the bond, and even that is not a sure thing.

The blood bond is most commonly used to ensnare mortals and ghouls, but Kindred can bind each other as well. Such is the blood bond’s power that a mighty elder can be bound to a lowly neonate; in this respect, the blood of a fledgling is (presumably) as strong as that of Caine himself. As such, the blood bond forms an essential strategy in the Jyhad; some Ancients are said to hold dozens of influential Kindred in secret thrall.

First Drink

The drinker begins to experience intermittent but strong feelings about the vampire. She may dream of him, or find herself “coincidentally” frequenting places where he might show up. There is no mechanical effect at this stage, but it should be roleplayed. All childer have this level of bond toward their sires, for the Embrace itself forces one drink upon the childer; they may love their “parents,” hate them, or both, but are rarely indifferent toward them.

Second Drink

The drinker’s feelings grow strong enough to influence her behavior. Though she is by no means enslaved to the vampire, he is definitely an important figure in her life. She may act as she pleases, but might have to make a Willpower roll to take actions directly harmful to the vampire. The vampire’s influence is such that he can persuade or command her with little effort (Social rolls against the thrall have a +1 bonus).

Third Drink

Full-scale blood bond. At this level, the drinker is more or less completely bound to the vampire. He is the most important person in her life; lovers, relatives, and even children become secondary to her all-consuming passion.

At this level, a regnant may use the Dominate Discipline on a thrall, even without the benefit of eye contact. Merely hearing the regnant’s voice is enough. Additionally, should the thrall try to resist the Dominate (or similar mental control power) for some reason, the thrall takes a -2 penalty to the roll. Naturally, a higher generation vampire still cannot use Dominate on a lower-generation thrall.

The blood bond is true love, albeit a twisted and perverse version of it. Ultimately, we can’t reduce the vagaries of love down to a simple “yes/no” system. Some thralls will commit any act, including suicide or murder, for their beloved; other characters have certain core principles that they will not violate.

A full blood bond, once formed, is nearly inviolate. Once bound, a thrall is under the sway of her regnant and her regnant only. She cannot be bound again by another vampire unless the first blood bond wears away “naturally.” A vampire can experience lesser (one- and two-drink) bonds toward several individuals; indeed, many Kindred enjoy such bonds, as they create artificial passion in their dead hearts. Upon the formation of a full blood bond, though, all lesser sensations are wiped away. Vampire lovers occasionally enter into mutual blood bonds with each other; this is the closest thing the undead can feel to true love. Even this sensation can turn to disgust or hate over the centuries, though, and in any event few Kindred trust each other enough to initiate it.

A blood bond is a mighty force, but it is at its most potent when perpetually reinforced with further drinks. Feeding a thrall often reinforces the bond, while depriving a thrall of vitae may cause the bond to grow tepid over time. Like any other relationship, treatment and courtesy play a part in the dynamics of the bond. A thrall who is treated well and fed often will likely fall even more deeply in love, while a thrall who is degraded and humiliated may find resentment and anger eating away at the bond.

Regnants are the objects of their thralls’ love, artificial and unwilling though it may be. A regnant gains a +2 dice bonus on all Social rolls affecting her thrall. Further, thralls are subject to a Resolve + Composure roll at a -3 penalty any time they want to take an action (or engage in inaction) that might result in indirect harm to their regnants. For example, a ghoul thrall who tries not to run to her regnant when she sees obviously hostile Kindred breaking into his haven would be subject to this die roll. A thrall who directly tries to act against her regnant — say, the same ghoul trying to stake her regnant as he slept — is subject to the Resolve + Composure roll at a -5 penalty. Failing either of these rolls means the thrall cannot act against the regnant (or allow engage in the dangerous inaction). Dramatically failing either of these rolls means that the thrall isn’t even allowed to make such a roll again for the next month, meaning she’s unable to even consider allowing harm to befall her master.

Another, though somewhat less certain, way to be rid of the bond is to kill the regnant. Such a choice is extremely perilous on many levels, and makes no guarantees that everything will go smoothly. Those who have been released by such means claim the bond shatters like spun glass upon the moment of the regnant’s Final Death. The thrall’s nature may play a large part in whether the control is completely ended, though, and such aftermath is best left in the hands of the Storyteller.

Blood Bond

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