There is one thing that elder Kindred dread even more than fire or the light of the sun. This is the sin known as diablerie. Among Camarilla society, diablerie is the ultimate crime; those who practice it are subject to the harshest punishments imaginable. It is as loathed and feared as cannibalism is among mortal society. The vampires of the Sabbat are said to indulge in diablerie freely, which is yet another reason why Camarilla elders hate them so.
Quite simply, diablerie is the act of feeding on a vampire in the way that a vampire feeds on a mortal. In so doing, not only does the murderer consume the victim’s blood (and vampire blood is far, far sweeter than even the tastiest mortal’s), but the victim’s power as well. By stealing the life of a vampire closer to Caine, the vampire can permanently enrich his own vitae. In this manner even the youngest vampire can gain the power of the elders.
Elders know the crime as the Amaranth; in olden nights, it is said, an amaranth flower was presented to the victim a week before he was to be hunted. Kindred legend tells many dark tales of murderous childer betraying and cannibalizing their own sires, and it is for this reason more than any other that elder Kindred harbor such distrust for the neonates among them. Indeed, the great Jyhad itself may well have its roots in this eternal and savage struggle for power.
A vampire seeking to commit diablerie must drain all the blood from his Kindred victim. Following this act, the vampire must continue to suck, for (according to Kindred legend) the very soul is withdrawn from the victim’s body and taken into the diablerist’s. The effort involved in diablerie is monumental, for the vampiric soul is a greedy thing and clings tenaciously to unlife, hoping to regenerate its body and rise once again.
Once a vampire’s body has been drained of all blood, the true struggle begins. The diablerist’s player makes an extended Strength roll (difficulty 9). Each success inflicts one automatic health level on the victim (the victim cannot soak, and damage is considered aggravated). When all the victim’s health levels have been drained, the victim’s essence is taken into the attacker and the emptied body begins decaying immediately.
A vampire committing diablerie is quite vulnerable to attack. Total concentration goes into the struggle to draw forth the essence of the victim, and stopping for even a moment ruins the chance of capturing the spirit. All attacks against a vampire attempting diablerie are made versus a difficulty of 2.
The Rewards of Diablerie
Upon successful completion of diablerie, the diablerist is overwhelmed by euphoria, and a Self-Control/Instincts roll is necessary (difficulty 10 minus the character’s Humanity or Path rating) to avoid losing control. The sensation is akin to orgasm, but much more powerful — so powerful, in fact, that certain Kindred are addicted to the sensation. All other Kindred fear these vampires for their addiction to the pleasures of Amaranth makes them a threat to everyone. Even vampires too weak to provide additional power are devoured for the simple pleasure of the act.
The true benefit of diablerie becomes evident if the diablerist feeds on the vitae of a vampire of lower Generation (e.g., if a Ninth-Generation vampire commits diablerie on a Seventh-Generation vampire). The diablerist literally steals the power and potency of the victim’s own blood, and thus permanently lowers her own Generation by one, bringing her closer to the mythical power of Caine. All benefits of the lowered Generation — a larger and more potent blood pool, the ability to Dominate more Kindred and, in some cases, the ability to increase Traits above 5 — are bestowed upon the vampire.
If the victim was of far greater power (five or more Generation levels) than the diablerist, the Storyteller may rule that the predator lowers her Generation by more than one step. This is particularly likely if the victim was ancient (two millennia or more). It would not be unreasonable for a Twelfth-Generation neonate who drank the blood of a 3000-year-old member of the Fifth Generation to advance three or even more Generation steps. Ultimately, this decision rests in the Storyteller’s hands.
Moreover, drinking the vitae of elder vampires can induce a temporary increase in the diablerist’s Discipline levels (by one, two, or even more dots), as the potent blood augments the predator’s own mystic arts. If the elder vampire was several Generations removed from the diablerist’s own Generation, the effects can seem miraculous, even if they are short lived. These increased powers last for a single scene, unless the Storyteller decides otherwise.
To commit diablerie, the diablerist must take blood directly and immediately from the victim; the blood may not be stored and used later. Moreover, only one diablerist may commit the act on a given victim; a pack of neonates cannot swarm around an elder like hungry sharks, no matter how potent the victim’s blood.
The Perils of Diablerie
Committing diablerie seems like the perfect crime to many power-hungry neonates. There is no body left when the deed is done, as most vampires over a decade old quickly rot into unrecognizable mounds of carrion. Without solid evidence, it’s difficult for even the most despotic Prince to make an outright accusation of murder. But those who commit the atrocity soon learn that diablerists wear the evidence of their crime on their very souls. Vampires with the Auspex Discipline can detect a diablerist by using Aura Perception. The stolen energies of the victim mingle with the energies of the diablerist, leaving thick black marks running through the diablerist’s aura. These marks stand out as clearly as motor oil on a crystal-clear pond, covering the softer colors of the vampire’s own aura and betraying the crime.
Not all vampires know of diablerie or the stains it leaves behind. Many younger Kindred might simply question the odd discoloration on the vampire’s aura. Most elder vampires understand what the stains mean, though, and could well call for the diablerist’s immediate punishment or use the information as blackmail at a later date. These marks remain in evidence for a number of years equal to the difference between the victim’s Generation and the diablerist’s original Generation (mimimum one year, even if the victim was higher Generation). In example, if a Twelfth-Generation vampire drinks the blood of a Ninth-Generation vampire (becoming Eleventh Generation in the process), the evidence remains on his aura for three years. Additionally, practitioners of Thaumaturgy can use the Path of Blood to detect the diablerist’s sin, even centuries after the crime was committed. For that reason, in particular, practitioners of the Amaranth fear the Tremere.
Even those without special perceptions often sense a “taint” about the diablerist. For one month per Generation removed from the victim, a diablerist gives off a “vibe” that leaves more sensitive Kindred unsettled. The Kindred in question may not actually know what the diablerist did, but they’ll feel uncomfortable around him just the same. A player whose vampire comes in contact with a diablerist may make a Perception roll (difficulty of 12 minus the sensing vampire’s Humanity rating — vampires with high Humanity are more aware of such things) to notice that something about the diablerist just “doesn’t feel right.” Followers of alternate Paths of morality generally fail to notice the unusual sensation, as they are no longer attuned to their emotions in the same way. The Storyteller has final say in these matters.
A few rumors speak of diablerists displaying certain mannerisms of their late victims, particularly if the victims were of great psychic fortitude (Willpower 10) and of much stronger Blood than their murderers. If this is true, and the soul of a particularly mighty undead can manifest in the body of its killer, the implications are frightening, particularly in light of the Jyhad. Such is the horror of diablerie that, according to most elders, even a blood hunt is no grounds for its practice. Hunters may drink a victim’s blood, even to the last drop, but may not continue the process of diablerie once the victim is drained. Indeed, by decree of the Inner Circle, only a sire is permitted to diablerize her childe, and then only during a blood hunt. In practice, many younger Kindred take every opportunity a blood hunt’s chaos affords, and Princes may look the other way if the criminal was heinous enough.
Lastly, for Camarilla vampires and others who adhere to the way of Humanity, there is the loss of Humanity to consider. Diablerie is worse than murder: The Amaranth literally absorbs the victim’s soul, destroying any chance of the victim finding peace in the afterlife. Such a heinous crime strips a minimum of one Humanity dot from the character’s Humanity rating. Additionally, for extremely vicious attacks, the Storyteller might require a Conscience roll (difficulty 8). Failure means the loss of an additional Humanity point, while a botch could well mean the loss of even more.
After successfully completing the standard rules for diablerie (see above), the roll to avoid losing control to euphoria (found under “The Rewards of Diablerie”) instead determines whether or not the diablerist becomes permanently addicted to diablerie. If the roll is a failure, make the notation “Addicted to Diablerie” under Flaws on the character sheet. A character addicted to diablerie will indulge in drinking vampiric blood whenever possible. When she is given the opportunity to consume vampiric blood, the player must roll Self-Control or Instinct (difficulty 6). If this roll fails, the character frenzies, attacks the target, and drinks as much blood as she can. Regardless of success or failure on the addiction roll, the diablerist is lost in euphoria and numb to the external world for the remainder of the scene, ignoring wounds (though still sustaining damage), and any attempt to engage their attention fails until all of the following challenges have been met. Each challenge takes one turn to complete.
If the victim is of a lower Generation than the diablerist, the diablerist automatically lowers her Generation by one. Additionally, if the victim was two or more Generations lower than the diablerist, the diablerist rolls Stamina once per turn for each additional Generation after the first, until they fail a challenge or run out of rolls (difficulty 9). Each success lowers the diablerist’s Generation by one and permanently grants them all benefits attributed to the Generation achieved.
Next, compare the Disciplines of both vampires, ignoring blood sorcery powers (such as Thaumaturgy, Necromancy, Koldunism, and the line) and levels that exceed the diablerist’s newly-acquired Generational maximums. The diablerist gains half the total amount (rounded down) of Discipline dots, after the above deductions.
For example, if an eighth generation vampire with Celerity •••, Fortitude •••••, Potence ••••, and Thaumaturgy ••• commits diablerie against a sixth generation vampire with Celerity •••••, Fortitude •••, Potence •••••, and Thaumaturgy ••••• ••, the difference is three dot. Two come from Celerity, and one comes from Potence. The diablerist’s Fortitude is higher, and Thaumaturgy does not count, as it’s a sorcery power. Half that, rounding down, is one. The diablerist gains one Discipline dot.
The diablerist may purchase levels in any Disciplines possessed by the victim (though not blood sorcery powers) up to the maximum level the victim achieved in a Discipline, within the newly acquired Generational limits of the diablerist. If the diablerist acquires levels in an out-of-Clan Discipline, any future levels after diablerie are still purchased as out-of-Clan.
The victim and diablerist now perform contested Willpower rolls against each other. The difficulty for each roll is equal to the permanent Willpower rating of the opponent. Each Generation the diablerist achieves adds +1 to the difficulty level of her rolls (maximum of 9), and lowers the difficulty level of rolls for the victim by 1 (minimum of 4). The first to achieve a total amount of successes equaling their opponent’s unadulterated, permanent Willpower rating wins. Botched rolls count as successes for the opponent.
Regardless of success or failure, diablerists gain a tainted aura marking them of their crime (see “The Perils of Diablerie”). Furthermore, the diablerist deducts an amount of temporary Willpower from their sheet equal to the permanent Willpower rating of the victim. This deduction cannot put them below 1 point of temporary Willpower.
Should the diablerist win, no further rolls are necessary, and they exit the blinding euphoria imposed upon them. Diablerists on Paths of Enlightenment that do not normally condone diablerie must make a test for moral degradation (difficulty at Storyteller’s discretion) if the act cannot be justified by the circumstances and motivation behind it.
If the victim wins, she possesses the diablerist’s body. The severity of possession depends upon the number of dots in Generation the diablerist gains. With three or more Generations, the character has the option to acquire the Dark Secret Flaw in order to retain the Social Merits and Flaws, as well as Backgrounds of the diablerist, while abandoning his own (even if exceeding maximum amounts for Merits and Flaws). Should the ruse be revealed, depending on who becomes aware and whether or not they care, the character regains the Social Merits and Flaws, as well as Backgrounds (save for Generation) of the victim, and loses those of the diablerist (save for Generation). If Scholar of Enemies or Scholar of Others are possessed by the victim, they are held regardless of the choice.
If the diablerist drops one Generation, the diablerist’s Nature and Supernatural Merits and Flaws are exchanged for those of the victim (and may exceed maximum point costs for Merits and Flaws). The diablerist acquires one new permanent derangement.
If the diablerist lowers his Generation by two, he suffers the same effects as gaining one dot in Generation, and additionally, half the character’s memories are replaced with the victim’s. The diablerist’s newly acquired permanent derangement is Multiple Personalities, and his secondary personality is that of the victim. On the character sheet, record the victim’s Demeanor, Mental Merits and Flaws, permanent Willpower rating, Morality Path, Virtues (and ratings), blood sorcery powers and Rituals, and mark a slash beside all Abilities, Charisma, Manipulation, and all Mental Attributes possessed by the diablerist. To the right of the slash mark, record the amount possessed by the victim in that Attribute or Ability (including Abilities not possessed by the diablerist), deducting amounts to levels proportionate to the newly acquired Generational maximums of the diablerist. When the secondary personality is triggered, all newly recorded notations change to those of the victim and become accessible to the character. The Storyteller then takes control of the character, while the primary personality blacks out and remembers nothing for the time that the secondary personality is in charge of the body.
If the diablerist lowers his Generation by three, he suffers all of the effects listed above. Additionally, the diablerist gains total and complete amnesia up until just exiting the euphoric state that accompanies diablerie. Add the Amnesia Flaw to the character’s sheet. The diablerist retains all information and experience, though he cannot recall how he knows what he knows. Their Demeanor switches to one assigned by the Storyteller. The character’s Path of Enlightenment reverts to Humanity (if on an alternate Path), and his Virtue scores and permanent Willpower reset. He receives one free dot in each Virtue and may spend 7 points amongst his Virtues as he sees fit. His Humanity rating equals his newly acquired Conscience + Self-Control Virtues, and his permanent Willpower is equal to his Courage Virtue.
If the diablerist lowers her Generation by four, the victim wholly consumes the diablerist’s soul. The victim retains none of the diablerist’s memories and continues play as the hybrid character. On the diablerist’s sheet, all Abilities, and the point totals for Charisma, Manipulation, and all Mental Attributes change to those of the victim, up to the newly acquired Generational maximum of the diablerist. Permanent Willpower rating, Nature, Demeanor, and derangements change to those of the victim. The entire victim’s previously acquired blood sorcery powers and rituals are transferred to the diablerist. Path of Enlightenment and Virtues changes to that of the victim at the victim’s full rating. Mental and Supernatural Merits and Flaws possessed by the diablerist are changed to those of the victim (and may exceed maximum amounts for Merits and Flaws).
If the diablerist lowers her Generation by five or more, the victim wholly consumes the diablerist’s soul. The victim retains all of the diablerist’s memories and continues play as the hybrid character. On the diablerist’s sheet, Nature and Demeanor change to those of the victim. The point value totals for Charisma, Manipulation, all Abilities, permanent Willpower rating, and all Mental Attributes take on the higher point value between the diablerist or the victim, up to the newly acquired Generational maximum of the diablerist. The entire victim’s previously acquired blood sorcery powers and rituals are transferred to the diablerist. Path of Enlightenment and Virtues changes to that of the victim at the victim’s full rating. For overlapping Virtues, take the higher score of the victim or diablerist.
Derangements, as well as Mental and Supernatural Merits and Flaws possessed by the victim, are added to the diablerist’s sheet (and may exceed maximum amounts for Merits and Flaws).