The Path of the Feral Heart
Virtues: Conviction and Instinct
Bearing: Menace. Those in the presence of a Beast know that she is a true hunter, just as deer do when confronting a wolf. The bearing modifier applies to rolls aimed at terrifying or cowing an opponent.
Basic Beliefs: Vampires are the ultimate hunters — immortal and invulnerable. The Beast Within is merely the expression of the predator’s instinct. To deny one’s atavistic impulses is to go against the dictates of nature, or so this Path’s followers believe. A vampire can only survive by adhering to her inner character and accepting the monstrous drives that accompany the unliving state. Though the Beasts do not revel in their predations, neither do they avoid them. By learning to accept the role of hunter, thereby acknowledging the proper role of the unliving, a vampire becomes like an animal: feral, predatory, but ultimately in her proper place.
A follower of this Path feels that the Beast is a natural part of being a vampire and that its needs must be satiated. Still, the vampire is intelligent, and a cunning hunter is a more effective one. Therefore, it is important to strike a balance between Beast and Man — the feral cunning and vicious instincts of the vampire are excellent survival tools, tempered by the reasoning and insight of the mind. By satiating the Beast’s urges from time to time, the vampire ironically gains a greater degree of personal control.
Vampires on the Path of the Feral Heart (sometimes called the Path of the Beast) have little use for the trappings of civilization or education. Modern transportation and weaponry is unnecessary, for the unliving form provides the necessary tools to stalk and kill. Subterfuge and politics are trivial concerns; politicking does not bring blood to one’s throat. Vampires are made to hunt and kill, and the followers of this Path excel at both.
The Ethics of the Path
• Survival is your first concern.
• Politics or technology simply get in the way of the hunt.
• Learn to strike a balance with your Beast. Engage in the brutal actions necessary to survive, but retain your intelligence and cunning.
• The “natural world” is an illusion. All things must live according to their forms, and even civilization is natural because it is the form of humanity.
• Although fire can kill you, you must master your fear so that you can kill those who would use it against you.
• Whether running alone or with a pack, your loyalties must be absolute. You have no time for shifting allegiances.
The Path of the Feral Heart seems to have grown out of ancient codes by which vampiric berserkers accepted their animalistic nature. Espoused originally by the Gangrel, the Path spread to a few other vampires who learned to elevate their predatory ways. This Path was never a popular one, but its constituency remained constant throughout the ages. The Path has changed relatively little over the years. Beasts see no real need to “adapt” the Path to a more modern age.
Beasts have no real organization, and they rarely engage in any sort of concerted rituals or traditions. Some few nomads, though, exist as wandering hunters. When Beasts meet, they often indulge in the Gangrel practice of sharing stories or indulging in a little practice combat. Beasts also serve as frighteningly effective assassins; their loyalty, once given, is unquestionable.
Beasts who feel that a particular individual is a threat to themselves or their pack are relentless in hunting and destroying the opposition.
Description of Followers
Most Beasts care little for fashion or attire, instead choosing functional clothing that serves well while hunting. Some Beasts even disdain ornamentation and clothing completely, though these are rare. Followers of this Path often have a great attunement to their senses, and such individuals are often noted carefully listening to and watching their surroundings at all times, or even staying in constant slow motion and sniffing at the air so as to avoid hidden adversaries. Many Gangrel follow this Path, and they invariably have animalistic features that they do not bother to conceal.
Path of the Feral Heart Hierarchy of Sins
|10||Hunting with means other than your own vampiric powers||The perfect hunter needs no tools.|
|9||Engaging in politics||Political struggles do not yield sustenance.|
|8||Remaining in the presence of fire or sunlight, except to kill an enemy||There is no sense in courting Final Death.|
|7||Acting in an overly cruel manner||Death is natural; feeding is natural. Torture and cruelty are not.|
|6||Failing to hunt when hungry||The vampire’s purpose is to feed.|
|5||Failing to support your pack or allies||Support your family, and it will support you.|
|4||Killing without need||A dead vessel may not be fed from in the future.|
|3||Failing to follow one’s instincts||Instinct is the basis of predatory nature.|
|2||Killing a creature other than for survival||A kill’s purpose is sustenance.|
|1||Refusing to kill to survive||Vampires are hunters; everyone else is the hunted.|
Following the Path
Beasts must always recognize and indulge in their predatory natures. Followers of this Path therefore strive to develop their prowess as hunters. A Beast has little desire to use the trappings of technology, believing that the vampiric form provides him with all of the powers necessary to survive. Indulgence in politics is frowned upon, as there are more important matters to handle; force is a simpler and often more effective tool.
Mercy and compassion have no place in the predator’s heart, and enemies must be harshly destroyed while allies and packmates are protected, as they in turn protect the individual. Beasts do not kill whimsically, but when killing is necessary, there must be no hesitation.
Common Abilities: Not surprisingly, most Beasts are highly skilled trackers and hunters. Survival is paramount among these vampires, as well as Brawl and Athletics. Animal Ken is common, though a Beast is just as likely to feed upon an animal as to emulate it. Because they are in touch with their inner natures, many followers of this Path develop a great deal of Empathy — not that they feel any pity for their prey, but rather they intuitively understand the motives of their victims. Intimidation is also fairly common, for the simmering fury just below the surface of the Beast’s outward calm is truly terrifying.
Preferred Disciplines: Disciplines are a matter of survival for followers of this Path. Animalism is useful in learning from lesser predators and for feeding. Fortitude is valued, as Beasts must be rugged enough to survive any conditions. The natural weapons and hunting benefits of Protean are likewise considered valuable, and some Beasts learn Obfuscate or Celerity to become faster and cagier hunters.