The Path of Asakku
No matter the ultimate origin of the Asakku state, the Storyteller may use the Path of the Asakku to represent a Kindred’s surrender to its spiritual pollution. Vampires set upon the Path when they grow obsessed with Vicissitude to the point of identifying with the Discipline itself. This is not always a voluntary journey; some unconsciously seek corruption after making contact with another victim of Asakku.
To qualify for the Path, the character must lower her current Humanity or Path rating to 3 or less and follow the rules set out in V20. The character may transfer from another Path of Enlightenment to the Path of Asakku. The character must attain at least four dots in Vicissitude and make contact with the Path by ingesting the blood of an Asakku, studying the lore of the Watchers, or performing another task set by the Storyteller.
Taking the first dot of this Path is an irrevocable choice. The character cannot switch Paths again, and if her rating drops to 0, she is lost to the Beast and falls under the Storyteller’s control. The Storyteller might make exceptions for mighty spells and obscure rituals, but if discovered, these permanently alter the chronicle, since the Elioud can now cure instead of destroy the Asakku.
Virtues: Conviction and Instinct
Bearing: Otherworldly. Followers adopt an alien demeanor. Most utilize their Vicissitude constantly. Even when they attempt to blend in, all but the cleverest make unusual mistakes, marking themselves as beings unfamiliar with the human world. They ignore social conventions and stare in odd directions. An Asakku’s bearing modifier applies to Awareness and Occult rolls to sense supernatural energies.
Basic Beliefs: Asakku followers are less an ideology than a state of being prompted by the obsessive study of Vicissitude and communion with the dark intelligences behind it. As members of an intuitive Path, the Corrupted only use common terminology after working together for some time, though advanced followers display a strange synchronicity at times. They may call the presence they summon forth a “shadow within” or a “Watcher,” or identify with one of the Qlippothic demons associated with Vicissitude.
Vicissitude is the focus of the Corrupted’s obsessions. It spreads this power through blood and instruction as widely as possible. They resent untainted Kindred who inherit Vicissitude through a Clan or bloodline, devoting special attention to converting or destroying them.
Common Abilities: Since their Path relies on acquiring raw supernatural power, Asakku grow obsessed with invisible forces, honing their Awareness and master the Occult Knowledge. Some Corrupted grow interested in the history of their kind or the measurable effects of their Disciplines, and study Academics and Science as well. They are well aware that they would be hunted for their disease and sometimes cultivate Stealth and Larceny to cover their tracks.
Preferred Disciplines: As noted, Corrupted favor Vicissitude, and indeed must have it. Other Disciplines are not disallowed, but often fall by the wayside in focus. However, some particularly devoted Asakku develop other Disciplines if only to create Combination Disciplines to broaden their Vicissitude’s scope.
The Ethics of the Path
• You are not a vampire. You are a Discipline personified: an emanation of a Watcher or a shadow within your Beast.
• You are no more an individual than a raptor’s feather on a wing or a single memory locked in a mind with a million memories.
• Master Vicissitude and it will unlock the secrets of the Ancients.
• Non-Asakku who inherit Vicissitude from a Clan or bloodline usurp power. Convert or destroy them.
• The voice within you cries for a presence on Earth. Share your power, blood, and Path to host it.
• Hide your nature from enemies. Prepare a place to dwell in advance of your ultimate transformation.
As a vampire on the Path of the Asakku increasingly surrenders to her Vicissitude, she attains special abilities. These Transmutations represent the Discipline’s will to expand into other Cainites and living things, and its ability to take firmer hold of the vampire’s consciousness. A follower of the Path gains Sinister Mastery at the first dot of the Path, and another Transmutation of the player’s choice at every even numbered dot thereafter. She can gain and lose power depending on her degree of harmony with the Discipline’s ruling entity. Once a Transmutation is selected, it is set — when the character returns from a Path rating drop and re-qualifies, she regains the prior Transmutation.
Sinister Mastery (Possessed by All Asakku): The Corrupted reduces her Vicissitude experience cost multiplier by 1. Combination Disciplines featuring Vicissitude are purchased at half cost, rounded up.
Blood Inception: The Corrupted can convert a fallen Cainite into an Asakku like herself. The victim must be placed in torpor and completely exsanguinated, after which the Corrupted must replace at least half of his blood pool with her own. Upon the following sunset the target awakens, converted to the Path of Asakku. If the victim does not possess Vicissitude, he acquires one dot, but loses another dot in his weakest Discipline. The converted character cannot rise above the first dot in the Path until he attains four dots in Vicissitude. Blood Inception counts as two steps toward the blood bond.
Inner Babble: The whispering Beast or Watcher within fills the vampire’s mind with a stream of dissonant sounds and impossible images. Unfathomable emotions ripple through her aura. Telepathy (wanted or not) fails against the wall of babble. Auspex and similar powers can no longer read the character’s aura except to note its strange, hazy appearance.
Occultation: The Asakku’s increasingly alien nature becomes something the very Earth seeks to abjure. Fate erases the Corrupted’s footsteps. Freak events erase records of her presence. This Transmutation may be selected multiple times. Each time it is selected, give the character one point of the Arcane Merit. This stacks with existing points of Arcane.
Potentiation: The Asakku acquires the power to exceed her Generation’s limit on Vicissitude mastery by one dot. The character may acquire this Transmutation up to three times. It can never allow her to exceed the ninth dot.
Seeding the Garden: Bleeding into living soil, the Asakku infects an area with the essence of his Vicissitude. Each blood point poisons the local ecosystem for one lunar month or until consumed by a large animal. The poison spreads over a contiguous area whose ultimate size is determined by the Storyteller, but which grows based on the strength of the Asakku’s Generation and Vicissitude dots. Plants take on a reddish hue and manifest elements of the Asakku’s Vicissitude, warping and twisting in alien fashion.
An animal that eats plants or drinks water from a seeded garden may indirectly ingest one point of the invested blood per month, becoming a ghoul with one dot of Potence and one dot in Vicissitude. If it is eaten in turn, the predator inherits the ghoul state. If the Corrupted possesses the Soul Whispers Transmutation, below, she may determine which creatures may benefit from her blood, if any.
Soul Whispers: The Asakku within the Corrupted attains the ability to reach out through the blood to creatures tainted by its vitae or Vicissitude. Soul Whispers may be used on the Asakku’s ghouls, other Corrupted it has incepted, and any being it has tainted with the Sinister Obsession derangement. If the player spends a blood point, the Corrupted may experience what her target senses, though not his thoughts. She may use the Auspex, Animalism, Dominate, and Vicissitude Disciplines through this connection as if she were touching him, and relay emotions and instincts, such as the sense that someone the target sees is an enemy (though not information explaining why this is so). If the target possesses at least a dot in Vicissitude, the Corrupted may utilize any rank of Vicissitude through the target, using it as a proxy. Getting the creature to perform any prerequisite actions, such as grasping flesh to use Vicissitude, may prove difficult unless the Corrupted can send coherent instructions.
Corrupted who do not enter the Path voluntarily fall to it when blood and supernatural power give a Watcher access to a Kindred’s soul. It whispers and prods her down the road to degeneration. This is normally a gradual process, though Asakku with the Blood Inception Transmutation can inflict it more rapidly upon captured, torpid prey.
Storyteller characters fall prey to the Asakku whenever you see fit, but as Storyteller, you may require specific guidelines. You might decide that the protagonists can never become Asakku, or you might discuss the possibility with a player outside of the session. If she wishes, her character can violate his former moral code and explore the Path without needing any special rules. She controls his descent, but in the story, he’s being lured in.
If you’d prefer a more structured method, you may instead decide that certain events make it possible for a character to acquire a new derangement: Sinister Obsession. It can only take hold in one of the following circumstances:
• The character drinks Asakku-infected blood.
• The character makes telepathic contact (via Auspex or another supernatural ability) with a member of the Path.
• A Corrupted uses Vicissitude on the character to great effect (Storyteller’s discretion, but five successes with a four dot or higher power should be sufficient.)
When any of these circumstances have been satisfied, the character will acquire Soul Infection as the next derangement earned out of moral degeneration (a botched Conscience or Conviction roll as per V20, p. 310).
The derangement has two effects. First, the character must succeed at a Willpower roll (difficulty 8) to act on any long-term goal other than improving Vicissitude. Voices and bizarre images flood her mind, encouraging her to pursue Vicissitude first. Second, each dot she possesses in Vicissitude strengthens its alien voice at the expense of her ethical resolve, adding one success to the minimum needed to avoid a future degeneration check. This hastens the character’s degeneration, but automatically makes the Path of Asakku available as a possible source of “salvation.”
Hierarchy of Sins against the Asakku
|10||Using or answering to your former name||You are not a vampire. You are one strand in a web of power.|
|9||Refusing to use Vicissitude at every opportunity||Become your power.|
|8||Failing to increase your command of Vicissitude to the greatest extent possible||You must apply all your efforts to identifying with the Watcher within.|
|7||Failing to commit Amaranth or convert a member of the Clan that practices Vicissitude||Take back the power they have stolen.|
|6||Refusing to teach Vicissitude||Let the Watcher see through a thousand eyes.|
|5||Allowing enemies to discover your true haven||Your lair belongs to the Watcher.|
|4||Betraying another of the Corrupted||We emanate from the same darkness and must claw our way into the world together.|
|3||Allowing enemies to discover your true nature||Let Caine’s bastards forget the origins of their gifts until we are ready to reclaim them openly.|
|2||Refusing to convert those under the blood bond to the Path||The Watcher requires followers to manifest more powerfully.|
|1||Failing to use Vicissitude nightly, unless in torpor||The murmuring shadow within must speak|