Dementation is the Discipline that allows a vampire to focus and channel madness into the minds of those around him. Though it’s the natural legacy of the Malkavians, practitioners of Dementation need not actually be mad to use the Discipline… but it helps.
Disturbingly, Dementation doesn’t actually make their victims mad, but rather it seems to break down the doors to the hidden darkness of the target’s mind, releasing into the open whatever is found there. The Malkavians claim that this is because insanity is the next logical step in mental evolution, a transhumanist advancement of what modern people consider consciousness. Other Kindred scoff that this reasoning is an outright justification for the chaos that Dementation brings. They don’t scoff too loudly, however, lest the Malkavian advance their consciousness next.
The vampire stirs his victim’s emotions, either heightening them to a fevered pitch or blunting them until the target is completely desensitized. The Cainite may not choose which emotion is affected; she may only amplify or dull emotions already present in the target. In this way, a vampire can inflame mild irritation into quivering rage or atrophy true love into casual interest.
System: The character talks to her victim, and the vampire’s player rolls Charisma + Empathy (difficulty equals the victim’s Humanity or Path rating). The number of successes determines the duration of the altered state of feeling. Effects of this power might include one- or two-point additions or subtractions to difficulties of frenzy rolls, Virtue rolls, rolls to resist Presence powers, etc.
|1 success||One turn|
|2 successes||One hour|
|3 successes||One night|
|4 successes||One week|
|5 successes||One month|
|6+ successes||Three months|
•• The Haunting
The vampire manipulates the sensory centers of his victim’s brain, flooding the victim’s senses with visions, sounds, scents, or feelings that aren’t really there. The images, regardless of the sense to which they appeal, are only fleeting “glimpses,” barely perceptible to the victim. The vampire using Dementation cannot control what the victim perceives, but may choose which sense is affected.
The “haunting” effects occur mainly when the victim is alone, and mostly at night. They may take the form of the subject’s repressed fears, guilty memories, or anything else that the Storyteller finds dramatically appropriate. The effects are never pleasant or unobtrusive, however. The Storyteller should let her imagination run wild when describing these sensory impressions; the victim may well feel as if she is going mad, or as if the world is.
System: After the vampire speaks to the victim, the player spends a blood point and rolls Manipulation + Subterfuge (difficulty of his victim’s Perception + Self-Control/Instinct). The number of successes determines the length of the sensory “visitations.” The precise effects are up to the Storyteller, though particularly eerie or harrowing apparitions can certainly reduce dice pools for a turn or two after the manifestation.
|1 success||One night|
|2 successes||Two nights|
|3 successes||One week|
|4 successes||One month|
|5 successes||Three months|
|6+ successes||One year|
••• Eyes of Chaos
This peculiar power allows the vampire to take advantage of the fleeting clarity hidden in insanity. She may scrutinize the “patterns” of a person’s soul, the convolutions of a vampire’s inner nature, or even random events in nature itself. The Kindred with this power can discern the most well-hidden psychoses, or gain insight into a person’s true self. Malkavians with this power often have (or claim to have) knowledge of the moves and countermoves of the great Jyhad, or the patterns of fate.
System: This power allows a vampire to determine a person’s true Nature, among other things. The vampire concentrates for a turn, then her player rolls Perception + Occult. The difficulty depends on the intricacy of the pattern. Discerning the Nature of a stranger would be difficulty 9, a casual acquaintance would be an 8, and an established ally a 6. The vampire could also read the message locked in a coded missive (difficulty 7), or even see the doings of an invisible hand in such events as the pattern of falling leaves (difficulty 6). Almost anything might contain some hidden insight, no matter how trivial or meaningless. The patterns are present in most things, but are often so intricate they can keep a vampire spellbound for hours while she tries to understand their message.
This is a potent power, subject to adjudication. Storytellers, this power is an effective way to introduce plot threads for a chronicle, reveal an overlooked clue, foreshadow important events, or communicate critical information a player seeks. Important to its use, though, is delivering the information properly. Secrets revealed via Eyes of Chaos are never simple facts; they’re tantalizing symbols adrift in a sea of madness. Describe the results of this power in terms of allegory: “The man before you appears as a crude marionette, with garish features painted in bright stage makeup, and strings vanishing up into the night sky.” Avoid stating plainly, “You learn that this ghoul is the minion of a powerful Methuselah.”
•••• Voice of Madness
By merely addressing his victims aloud, the Kindred can drive targets into fits of blind rage or fear, forcing them to abandon reason and higher thought. Victims are plagued by hallucinations of their subconscious demons, and try to flee or destroy their hidden shames.
Tragedy almost always follows in the wake of this power’s use, though offending Malkavians often claim that they were merely encouraging people to act “according to their natures.” Unfortunately for the vampire concerned, he runs a very real risk of falling prey to his own voice’s power.
System: The player spends a blood point and makes a Manipulation + Empathy roll (difficulty 7). One target is affected per success, although all potential victims must be listening to the vampire’s voice. Affected victims fly immediately into frenzy or a blind fear like Rötschreck. Kindred or other creatures capable of frenzy, such as Lupines, may make a frenzy check or Rötschreck test (Storyteller’s choice as to how they are affected) at +2 difficulty to resist the power. Mortals are automatically affected and don’t remember their actions while berserk. The frenzy or fear lasts for a scene, though vampires and Lupines may test as usual to snap out of it.
The vampire using Voice of Madness must also test for frenzy or Rötschreck upon invoking this power, though his difficulty to resist is one lower than normal. If the initial roll to invoke this power is a failure, however, the roll to resist the frenzy is one higher than normal. If the roll to invoke this power is a botch, the frenzy or Rötschreck response is automatic.
••••• Total Insanity
The vampire coaxes the madness from the deepest recesses of her target’s mind, focusing it into an overwhelming wave of insanity. This power has driven countless victims, vampire and mortal alike, to unfortunate ends.
System: The Kindred must gain her target’s undivided attention for at least one full turn to enact this power. The player spends a blood point and rolls Manipulation + Intimidation (difficulty of her victim’s current Willpower points). If the roll is successful, the victim is afflicted with five derangements of the Storyteller’s choice. The number of successes determines the duration.
|1 success||One turn|
|2 successes||One night|
|3 successes||One week|
|4 successes||One month|
|5+ successes||One year|
On a botch… well, the Storyteller can decide what a vampire inflicts upon herself by attempting to incite the primal hells lurking within the darkest recesses of a victim’s mind. The victim (or the target of a botch) can spend a number of Willpower points equal to the successes rolled to end the duration prematurely. The Storyteller decides when such Willpower points can be spent (such as after a therapy session or after a friend has managed to prove a particular delusion to be false).
(Auspex ••••• • or Dementation ••••• •) Babble
This power allows a Kindred to speak with multiple targets using telepathy. All of their minds are linked, but they must communicate with each other by speaking out loud. Furthermore, each person linked speaks as if the person he or she is talking to is standing right next to him or her. For example, if Alexandria and Mister E. are connected with Babble, Alexandria can murmur quietly and be heard since he’s in a movie theater, while Mister E. has to shout because she’s on the dance floor of the local dance club.
System: The vampire may link a number of targets equal to her permanent Willpower. Malkavians may push the number of people connected to Babble to her Willpower + Empathy, if all the subjects possess at least one derangement and don’t resist the Discipline. Kindred with the Malkavian Time Specialty may choose to use their Awareness instead.
••••• • Lingering Malaise
While lesser Dementation powers allow a vampire to inflict temporary (though often long-lasting) madness upon a victim, elders of the Clan have developed the ability to infect the minds of their victims with permanent maladies. Lingering Malaise causes permanent psychological shifts within the victim, making him, as one Gangrel elder remarked, “an honorary Lunatic.”
System: The character speaks to his victim for at least a minute, describing the derangement that Lingering Malaise will inflict. The player rolls Manipulation + Empathy (difficulty equal to the victim’s current Willpower points); the victim resists with a Willpower roll (using his permanent Willpower at difficulty 8). If the user of Lingering Malaise scores more successes, the victim gains a permanent derangement chosen by the individual who inflicts it. Lingering Malaise may only be used to inflict one derangement per night on any given victim, though multiple attempts may be made until the derangement takes hold.
••••• • Shattered Mirror
Although Dementation’s low-level effects are primarily to initiate or promote insanity rather than to create it spontaneously, some of its more potent manifestations are not as subtle. The wielder of this fearsome power can transfer her own deranged mindset into the psyche of a hapless victim, spreading her own brand of insanity like a virus.
System: The vampire must establish eye contact with her intended victim to apply this power. The player then rolls Charisma + Subterfuge (difficulty equal to the target’s current Willpower points) resisted by the target’s Wits + Self-Control/Instinct (difficulty equal to the Dementation user’s current Willpower points). If the aggressor wins, the target gains all of her derangements and Mental Flaws for a period of time determined by the number of net successes the aggressor scored:
|1 success||One hour|
|2 successes||One night|
|3 successes||One week|
|4 successes||One month|
|5 successes||Six months|
|6+ successes||One year per success over 5|
••••• • The Call
Malkavians say that Malkav speaks to them. Unlike the reasoning from Eyes of Chaos, this isn’t without justification. Malkavians are linked on the subconscious level, somehow, by their shared blood. Even without a shared language or differing Derangements, Malkavians can often come to a mutual understanding with frightening rapidity. The exact nature of this link is hotly debated, the secret closely guarded. In nights hence, savvy Seers will call this the Madness Network.
Those with of low Generation can directly call upon this link, communicating with and or summoning their lesser. The ancient Iktomi uses this to call from a land unknown to all contemporary Malkavians, save a few raving madmen in the old Danelaw.
System: To Call, a Malkavian (and only a Malkavian) names another Malkavian of equal or lesser Generation, then rolls Perception + Empathy (difficulty 6). Success within the allotted range establishes a pseudo-telepathic communication with the named target, so long as she is in range. The catch is that the communication must be verbal, carried on as if the participants are standing next to one another. A Malkavian in a quiet chamber room must loudly shout to talk to the Malkavian on the battlefield, while the latter need only whisper to be heard. The vampire using Fire Voice must also test for Rötschreck upon invoking this power, though his difficulty to resist is one lower than normal. If the initial roll to invoke this power is a failure, however, the difficulty of the roll to resist the frenzy increases by one instead. If the roll to invoke this power is a botch, the Rötschreck response is automatic.
If no target is named, this power instead sends out a general pulse to those in range, carrying with it a one-word feeling of intent. This can be a call to convocation (these nights, that’s tantamount to invitation for battle with the Brujah) or a beacon of distress. Other clan members hear and attend if they so choose. The Call merely conveys an impression, and a feeling of a place and time. The Call is instinctive, such that an Iberian Malkavian visiting London would be able to follow his impressions and visions to the gathering place as readily as any native Cassandra.
|1 success||Malkavians in 1 mile/ 1.5 km radius|
|2 successes||3 miles/ 5km|
|3 successes||10 miles/ 15 km|
|4 successes||A city|
|5 successes||A city-state|
|6 successes||300 leagues (or the Astral)|
|7 successes||A continent (or the Underworld)|
|8 successes||The Known World|
|9 successes||The Unknown World|
••••• •• Cobble the Road
The Dionysian walked many Roads in his long unlife before coming to rest in Sin. He developed this power millennia ago to facilitate changes in himself, but elder Malkavians are easily capable of replicating his feat. This power rends at the deep-seated aspects of a vampire’s morality, altering personality on the deepest level — a victim’s memories remain intact, but her outlook on life fundamentally changes in response to a crisis of faith.
System: The Malkavian must lock eyes with the target. The player rolls Manipulation + Subterfuge, difficulty equal to the target’s Wits + Subterfuge. If the user can achieve success equal to or greater than the target’s Instincts/Self-Control, he may alter one of the target’s Virtues to whatever he desires, potentially prompting an incompatibility with the victim’s current Road. The victim cannot raise her Road rating and faces a degeneration check every night; the degeneration stops at a Road rating of 3, allowing the victim to change her Virtue back by studying with a tutor and questing to reaffirm their commitment to their Road. In this case, she rapidly restores her lost Road rating. Otherwise, this effect is permanent and can only be reversed with another application of Change the Soul, Brother’s Gift, or with the Healer Valeren power Unburden the Bestial Soul. A botch alters one of the vampire’s Virtues, though he may use this power on himself willingly.
••••• •• Restructure
The elder with this fearsome power has the ability to twist his victims’ psyches at their most basic levels, warping their very beings. The subject of Restructure retains her memories, but her outlook on life changes completely, as if she has undergone a sudden epiphany or religious conversion. This effect goes much deeper than the implantation of a derangement; it actually performs a complete rewrite of the victim’s personality.
System: As the description says, this power allows the vampire to change his target’s Nature to one more suitable to his ends. To accomplish this, the character must make eye contact with his intended victim. The player rolls Manipulation + Subterfuge (difficulty equals the victim’s Wits + Subterfuge). If he rolls a number of successes equal to or greater than the target’s Self-Control/Instinct, the target’s Nature changes to whatever the player using Restructure desires. This effect is permanent and can be undone only by another application of Restructure (though subtle differences from the character’s original Nature may still remain, as it is impossible for such a fundamental change to occur flawlessly). A botch on this roll changes the character’s own Nature to that of his intended victim.
••••• •• The Sword of Malkav
With this terrifying Discipline, the Malkavian wrecks a victim’s very sense of reality. She changes one fundamental truth for the victim, and the victim cannot fathom a world in which that false reality is challenged or untrue.
System: The Sword of Malkav requires eye contact and a point of Willpower. The Malkavian must speak one truth she knows the victim believes. She then warps that truth and speaks a replacement. Roll Intelligence + Intimidation at a difficulty equal to the victim’s current Willpower points.
If successful, the victim’s belief, perceptions, and understanding shift in order to facilitate the falsehood. He believes the false truth before all; it becomes a piece of his very being while the power lasts. If he hears solid evidence that the truth is false, he suffers one health level of unsoakable aggravated damage per turn as every ounce of his identity fights the “falsehood”. If the victim is a Cainite, revelation that this truth is false becomes a frenzy provocation, at +3 difficulty to resist. Acting against that false truth becomes a level one sin against his Road.
|1 success||One turn|
|2 successes||One scene|
|3 successes||One day|
|4 successes||One week|
|5 successes||One month|
|6+ successes||One year|
••••• ••• Personal Scourge
Similar to the Auspex power of Psychic Assault, this fearsome ability allows the elder to turn the very strength of her victim’s mind against him, inflicting physical harm with the power of his own will. Victims of this self-powered attack spontaneously erupt in lacerations and bruises, spraying blood in every direction and howling in agony. Those who have observed such an attack with Auspex note that the victim’s aura swirls with violent psychosis and erupts outward in writhing appendages — a sight that can make even the most jaded Tzimisce quail.
System: The vampire must touch or establish eye contact with her target. The player rolls Manipulation + Empathy (difficulty equal to the target’s Stamina + Self-Control/Instinct) and spends two Willpower points. For a number of turns equal to the number of successes rolled, the victim rolls his own permanent Willpower as lethal damage against himself. This damage can be soaked with his own Humanity or Path of Enlightenment (difficulty 6); Fortitude does not add to this soak dice pool, nor does body armor. He may take no actions during this time other than thrashing and gibbering; this includes spending blood to heal.
••••• ••• Prison of the Mind
Insanity is the root of inspiration. Some Derangements trap the afflicted in a world of their own mind. While Malkavians so touched rarely last long, the powerful amongst them share a deep sympathy. The elder can create a small patch inside their subconscious clan link and trap the victim there, creating realistic yet delusional environment for the victims’ mind.
System: The Malkavian must touch the subject with a bit of her vitae — feeding works best, but a smear will do (a Brawl attack). She then makes eye contact and concentrates completely on the victim for a full turn. The player rolls Charisma + Intimidation in a resisted roll against the subject’s Wits + Courage (difficulty 8). Success indicates that the victim no longer senses the real world, and interacts entirely with phantom people and illusionary events within his own soul, trapped in the shared cobweb of Malkav’s brood. As long as the target’s mind is locked in this cell, his body ceases all but the most rudimentary functions in order to maintain life (Cainites enters torpor). The length of time spent in the mental prison is determined by the successes obtained:
|1 success||1 week|
|2 successes||1 month|
|3 successes||6 months|
|4 successes||1 year|
|5 successes||1 decade|
|+1 success||+1 decade|
Vampires with Eyes of Chaos can always sense a victim afflicted by this power; an Auspex 4/Dementation 3 Combination Discipline can insert the vampire into the victim’s dream world, allowing them to interact with a semblance of normality (and find a way out, at the Storyteller’s discretion — though if that’s the case, the elder who afflicted the victim is immediately Called to the location of the meddling vampire).
••••• •••• Brother’s Gift
This power baffles those few who’ve heard of it, for it seems totally at odds with Dementation. Brother’s Gift frees the subject from all Derangements, granting total lucidity. The ancients Malkavians know the truth; Brother’s Gift was a trick Malkav himself learned while studying with his brother Saulot. Malkav could not heal his own pain like Saulot could, but he could shunt it elsewhere, a task that became easier as his brood grew. Malkav poured his madness into the blood, which now carries his madness in the veins of all Malkavians.
System: The Malkavian places her hand upon the face of the target, and the player spends a Willpower point. Brother’s Gift then washes away any and all Derangements and anything else influencing the target’s mind at that time. The target immediately regains all temporary Willpower, and for the next week, she has one additional die to all Mental dice pools. The Blood Oath, Dominate or Presence influences, psychotropic drugs — all vanish into the infinite madness of Malkav, saved to afflict some future recipient of the blood. When a new Malkavian is Embraced and suffers the target’s Derangement, the elder feels it as if the neonate Called them.
Alternately, the vampire may bury the victim’s Derangements until a set time (specified by the vampire), at which point they come roaring back in full force. Thereafter, the victim may never be allowed a moment of lucidity. Brother’s Gift cannot cure a Malkavian’s clan Derangement. It can alleviate it, though—an application of this power to a Malkavian grants them a small boon, permitting them to shunt their own madness into their blood (allowing them to benefit from a moment of lucidity by spending Willpower).
••••• •••• Lunatic Eruption
This fearsome ability is only known to have been applied a few times in recorded Kindred history, most spectacularly during the final nights of the last battle of Carthage. It is effectively a psychic nuclear bomb, used to incite every intelligent being within several miles (kilometers) into an orgy of bloodlust and rage. It is suspected that the Malkavians have used the threat of this power as a bargaining chip in several key negotiations.
System: The player spends four Willpower points and rolls Stamina + Intimidation (difficulty 8). The area of effect is determined by the number of successes scored:
|1 success||One city block|
|2 successes||An entire neighborhood|
|3 successes||A large downtown area|
|4 successes||Several neighborhoods|
|5 successes||An entire metropolitan area (approximately 30 miles or 45 kilometers)|
|6+ successes||An additional 10 miles or 15 kilometers for every success past 5|
Within this area, all sentient creatures fall prey to their baser instincts. Mortals spontaneously riot, looting and burning between bouts of mass violence. Kindred enter hunger-induced frenzies, draining dry as many vessels as they can sink their fangs into. An entire city can quite literally be driven temporarily insane by this power. Lunatic Eruption’s effects persist until the next sunrise, and anyone entering its area of effect (centered on the site at which it was used, not on the character who applied it) falls under its spell. However, momentum may carry the violence spawned by this power much farther — and keep it going much longer — than the power itself can force. Victims of Lunatic Eruption may resist with Self-Control/Instinct rolls (difficulty equal to the Dementation user’s permanent Willpower rating); each success provides one hour of lucidity, which most wise individuals use to leave the power’s area of effect (leaving the “blast radius” removes the power’s influence).
The source of Lunatic Eruption may be pinpointed if a character is using Heightened Senses or an equivalent power at the time it is used; this is automatic and requires no roll. However, this grants no knowledge of what actually happened — the observer simply “feels” a massive psychic shockwave explode from the character using the power.