Protean allows the Kindred the mystical ability to manipulate his physical form. Some vampires believe the power stems from a heightened connection to the natural world, while others consider it to be a magnification of the mark of Caine. Whatever its basis may be, those that develop this Discipline can grow bestial claws, take on the forms of bats and wolves, turn themselves into mist, and even meld into the very earth itself.
Transformed Kindred can generally use other Disciplines — vampires in wolf form can still read auras and communicate with other animals, for example. However, the Storyteller may rule that certain Disciplines may not be used in specific situations. The Kindred’s clothes and personal possessions also change when he transforms (presumably absorbed within his very substance), although armor and the like do not provide any benefit while transformed.
Vampires cannot change or transform large objects or other beings; Protean is a personal expression of power. A Kindred who has been staked (thereby trapping his soul within his body) cannot transform. Some vampires believe that those who have mastered the highest levels of Protean can deny this limitation, however. The Gangrel Clan is well known for their mastery of Protean, although other Kindred have learned some of this Discipline’s secrets from these bestial Cainites.
• Eyes of the Beast Edit
The vampire sees perfectly well in pitch darkness, not requiring a light source to notice details in even the darkest basement or cave. The vampire’s Beast is evident in his red glowing eyes, a sight sure to disturb most mortals.
System: The character must declare his desire to call forth the Eyes. No roll is necessary, but the change requires a full turn to complete. While manifesting the Eyes, the character suffers a +1 difficulty to all Social rolls with mortals unless he takes steps to shield his eyes (sunglasses are the simplest solution). (A vampire without this power who is immersed in total darkness suffers blind-fighting penalties.
•• Feral Claws Edit
The vampire’s nails transform into long, bestial claws. These talons are wickedly sharp, able to rend flesh with ease and even carve stone and metal with little trouble. The Beast is prominent in the claws as well, making them fearsome weapons against other immortals. It’s rumored that some Gangrel have modified this power to change their vampiric fangs into vicious tusks.
System: The claws grow automatically in response to the character’s desire, and can grow from both hands and feet. The transformation requires the expenditure of a blood point, takes a single turn to complete, and lasts for a scene. The character attacks normally in combat, but the claws inflict Strength + 1 aggravated damage. Other supernaturals cannot normally soak this damage, although a power such as Fortitude may be used. Additionally, the difficulties of all climbing rolls are reduced by two.
••• Earth Meld Edit
One of the most prized powers within Protean, Earth Meld enables the vampire to become one with the earth. The immortal literally sinks into the bare ground, transmuting his substance to bond with the earth.
Though a vampire can immerse himself fully into the ground, he cannot move around within it. Further, it is impossible to meld into earth through another substance. Wood slats, blacktop, even artificial turf blocks Earth Meld’s effectiveness — then again, it’s a relatively simple matter for a vampire at this level of power to grow claws and rip apart enough of the flooring to expose the raw soil beneath.
By interring himself in the ground, the vampire gains full protection from daylight when outdoors. It is also the method of choice for those Kindred who wish to sleep away the centuries; these vampires lock themselves in the earth’s embrace, gaining strength and power as they rest. Superstitious and paranoid Kindred whisper that thousands of Ancients sleep within the ground and will awaken when Gehenna arrives. While so interred, the vampire is in a transitional state between flesh and earth. His physical presence exists between the physical world and the astral plane. As such, the vampire is difficult to sense, even through supernatural means. However, a disruption to the soil that the immortal occupies, or to his presence on the astral realm, returns him immediately to the physical world (and to full wakefulness), showering dirt outward as his body displaces the soil.
System: No roll is necessary, although the character must spend a blood point. Sinking into the earth is automatic and takes a turn to complete. The character falls into a state one step above torpor during this time, sensing his surroundings only distantly. The player must make a Humanity or Path roll (difficulty 6) for the character to rouse himself in response to danger prior to his desired time of emergence.
Since the character is in an in-between state, any attempts to locate him (catching his scent, scanning for his aura, traveling astrally, and so on) are made at +2 difficulty. Astral individuals cannot affect the vampire directly, instead meeting with a kind of spongy resistance as their hands pass through him. Similarly, digging in the material world encounters incredibly hardpacked earth, virtually as dense as stone. Attempts at violence upon the submerged vampire from either side return him to his physical nature, expelling the soil with which he bonded in a blinding spray (all Perception-based rolls are at +2 difficulty for the turn). The character himself subtracts two from his initiative for the first turn after his restoration, due to momentary disorientation. Once expelled from the earth, the vampire may act normally.
•••• Shape of the Beast Edit
This endows the vampire with the legendary ability to transform into a wolf or bat. A Kindred changed in this way is a particularly imposing representative of the animal kingdom. Indeed, he is far superior to normal animals, even ones possessed by Subsume the Spirit. He retains his own psyche and temperament, but can still call upon the abilities of the beast form — increased senses for the wolf and flight for the bat. Gangrel are reputed to change to other animal forms better suited to their environment — jackals in Africa, dholes in Asia, and even enormous rats in urban environments — a feat that other Clans learning Protean cannot seem to duplicate.
System: The character spends one blood point to assume the desired shape. The transformation requires three turns to complete (spending additional blood points reduces the time of transformation by one turn per point spent, to a minimum of one). The vampire remains in his beast form until the next dawn, unless he wishes to change back sooner.
While in the animal’s shape, the vampire can use any Discipline he possesses except Necromancy, Serpentis, Thaumaturgy, or Vicissitude (as well as any others the Storyteller deems unavailable). Furthermore, each form gives the character the abilities of that creature. In wolf form, the vampire’s teeth and claws inflict Strength + 1 aggravated damage, he can run at double speed, and the difficulties of all Perception rolls are reduced by two. In bat form, the vampire’s Strength is reduced to 1, but he can fly at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, difficulties for all hearing-based Perception rolls are reduced by three, and attacks made against him are at +2 difficulty due to his small size.
The Storyteller may allow Gangrel to assume a different animal shape, but should establish the natural abilities it grants the character.
••••• Mist Form Edit
This truly unsettling power enables the vampire to turn into mist. His physical shape disperses into a hazy cloud, but one still subject entirely to the immortal’s will. He floats at a brisk pace and may slip under doors, through screens, down pipes, and through other tiny openings. Although strong winds can blow the vampire from his chosen course, even hurricane-force winds cannot disperse his mist shape.
Some Kindred feel that this power is an expression of the vampire’s ultimate control over the material world, while others believe that it is the immortal’s soul made manifest (damned though it may be).
System: No roll is required, although a blood point must be spent. The transformation takes three turns to complete, although the character may reduce this time by one turn for each additional blood point spent (to a minimum of one turn). Strong winds may buffet the character, although Disciplines such as Potence may be used to resist them. Vampires in Mist Form can perceive their surroundings normally, although they cannot use powers that require eye contact. The vampire is immune to all mundane physical attacks while in mist form, although supernatural attacks affect him normally. Also, the vampire takes one fewer die of damage from fire and sunlight. The character may not attack others physically while in this state — this includes encountering another vampire in mist form. He may use Disciplines that do not require physical substance, however.
••••• • Blissful Summer Edit
Although most vampires must return to their normal physical form when they sleep, Gangrel who have mastered Protean to this extent may remain in Mist Form even while comatose during the day. This power offers great protection, though it is not invulnerable, and fire and sunlight can still injure the vampire. Further, a vampire sleeping in Blissful Summer is not roused by noise or activity in her area.
System: No roll is required to activate Blissful Summer, but the transformation requires the expenditure of five blood points. Once activated, the user remains in Mist Form until the next dawn, whereupon the vampire resumes physical form. Physical attacks cannot affect a vampire sleeping in Mist Form, though fire and sunlight can still harm her. The vampire cannot awaken before dusk unless her Mist Form is injured.
••••• • Earth Control Edit
An Earth Melded character with this power is no longer confined to the resting place she selected the night before. She can pass through the ground as if it were water, “swimming” through the earth itself. Some elders use this as a means of unobstructed and unobtrusive travel, while others find it a highly effective means of maneuvering in combat.
System: This power is in effect whenever a character is Earth Melded, with no additional roll or expenditure necessary. While in the ground, a vampire can propel herself at half of her normal walking speed. She cannot see, but gains a supernatural awareness of her underground surroundings out to a range of 50 yards or meters. Water, rock, tree roots, and cement all effectively block her progress; she can only move through earth and substances of similar consistency, such as sand or fine gravel. If two or more vampires attempt to interact underground, only direct physical contact is possible. All damage dice pools in this case are halved, and dodge and parry attempts are at -2 difficulty. If an underground chase takes place, it is resolved with an extended, contested Strength + Athletics roll.
••••• • Flesh of Marble Edit
Tales have long spoken of the combat prowess of Gangrel elders and of their inhuman resilience. Poorly informed individuals believe the stories of swords shattering and bullets flattening against immortal skin to be exaggerated reports of the effects of Fortitude. Those with more reliable information know that such tales result from encounters with vampires who have developed Flesh of Marble. The skin of an elder with Flesh of Marble becomes in essence a sort of flexible stone, although it appears (and feels) no different than normal skin and muscle.
System: The player spends three blood points to activate Flesh of Marble, which goes into effect instantly. The effects of the power last for the remainder of the scene. While the power is functioning, the damage dice pools of all physical attacks made against the character are halved (round down). That includes assaults made with fists, claws, swords, firearms, and explosions, but not fire, sunlight, or supernatural powers (unless the effect in question is a direct physical attack, such as a rock hurled by means of Movement of the Mind). Additionally, while this power is in effect, a character can attempt to parry melee attacks with his bare hands as if he were holding some form of weapon.
••••• • Shape Mastery Edit
It is one thing to master your own flesh and shape your form, but it’s something else to force your will upon another, demanding that his or her physical form take the shape you command. Certain exceptional elder Gangrel have mastered this ability, and can use his or her blood to overcome another individual’s native command of shapeshifting. For this power to function, some portion of the Gangrel’s blood must have been ingested by or otherwise be in contact with the target’s flesh or worn clothing, whether unwillingly or willingly.
System: The Gangrel must first place her blood on the target. If the target has successfully attacked the Gangrel with natural weapons, or with a short weapon like a knife, it fulfills this requirement. Otherwise, the Gangrel must smear at least one blood point worth of her vitae on the target by making a successful attack or by making a small blood mark on an unsuspecting target. This may be done in advance, but the blood must still be wet (within a few minutes), and the subject must be in line of sight in order for this power to be viable. Thereafter, the Gangrel activates this power by spending an additional blood point and making a Perception + Survival roll (difficulty 7).
Two successes are required to force the target out of his shape-shifted form and into her native (original) shape.
While this power is active, the individual cannot assume any other form. This power persists for a full scene, or until the target removes the Gangrel’s vitae from his body (or clothing), whichever is sooner. The process of cleansing oneself of the Gangrel’s blood takes at least one full turn of action. If the target has actually consumed the Gangrel’s blood, then she cannot remove the blood so easily.
Use of this power will persist for the full scene, and Shape Mastery may be attempted again thereafter (this power does not consume the blood with its use), so long as the Gangrel still has line of sight. If the target chooses to resume his adapted form after this power ends, she must reactivate that power, incurring any associated costs, and performing any appropriate rolls.
This power is effective on the shapeshifted forms of Obtenebration, Protean, Serpentis, Thaumaturgy, and Vicissitude at levels equal to or lower than the vampire’s Protean. Further, it also confounds the native shapechanging abilities of other supernatural creatures, such as Lupines and Fae.
••••• • Smoke and Mirrors Edit
One of the most notable and fascinating powers of the Gangrel is the ability to turn to mist. Some elder Gangrel have found a way to harness this power and use it on instinct, converting themselves to mist in order to avoid the most threatening blows.
System: When attacked, you may spend four blood points to turn instantly to mist, as per Mist Form. The attack automatically misses you, and you revert to your physical form once the immediate danger is past. You may activate this power reflexively once damage is determined, but as soon as damage is marked down or the scene has moved on from damage determination, you may no longer use this power on that damage.
••••• •• Animal Swarm Edit
Upon activating this power, the Gangrel dissolves into a swarm of small creatures, such as rats, crows, or scorpions. The creatures remain under the Gangrel’s control, and he may direct them in unison or as individuals.
System: The Gangrel may disperse into as many creatures as he has blood points, with each creature carrying that one blood point; he may choose to form fewer creatures, in which case the blood points are divided as evenly as possible among them. The creatures may act in concert, or individually follow a simple plan such as “scatter and hide.” the Gangrel may pay close attention to only one component creature at a time. For example, he may listen in on a conversation using the body of one rat, while directing the dozen others to keep moving and avoid detection.
While using this power, each creature within the swarm of animals must remain within 300 yards/meters of one another; any animal that leaves this radius immediately dissolves into ash, and the vampire forfeits the blood carried by that creature. The vampire may reform from any of the creatures in the swarm, but when she reforms, all animals within 10 yards/meters are drawn back into her physical substance. Other animals (those who are too far away) dissolve into ash, and the vampire forfeits their blood.
This power takes one turn to take effect, and lasts until sunrise or until the Gangrel chooses to retake his humanoid form. At that time, all of the component creatures present are re-absorbed into the Gangrel’s body, along with the blood points that animal carried. If this leaves the vampire with less than three blood points, she must immediately check for frenzy. Creatures who do not rejoin the Gangrel’s body may be reabsorbed at any time, though if there is only one creature left in her swarm, the Gangrel immediately reverts to her natural physical form.
The vampire must reform at sunrise. She may choose which creature out of the swarm in which to re-incorporate. Any creatures not reabsorbed dissolve into small piles of ash and blood at dawn.
The vampire may use the following Disciplines while in Animal Swarm: Auspex, Celerity, Fortitude, Obfuscate, and Potence. The individual creature that is the tangible source of the power must fuel any Disciplines that require the expenditure of blood. Creatures reduced to zero blood points are immediately destroyed.
••••• •• Restore the Mortal Visage Edit
Cainites are of two opinions regarding this power. Those who are politically active, or who associate extensively with mortals, view it as both necessary and acceptable. Those Kindred who embrace their more feral sides, however, see it as a disgusting defiance of the very nature of vampirism. The schism comes because the power allows the elder who possesses it to tempo rarily return his appearance to what it was before the Embrace, removing the bestial features he has accumulated over the centuries. Restore the Mortal Visage has only been displayed by Gangrel; several Nosferatu elders have attempted to develop it, and it is whispered that they met spontaneous, grotesque Final Deaths when they attempted to take their mortal forms.
System: The player spends three blood points and a Willpower point and rolls Willpower (difficulty 8). Success restores the character’s appearance to what it was just before he was first Embraced, erasing all physical or social animalistic features gained from frenzies. The power also affects any of the character‘ s affected Traits relating to social interaction, returning them to their original values (for example, lost Appearance dots return, but Humanity points removed due to frenzy are not). A botched Willpower roll earns the character another feature, as per the Gangrel Clan weakness. Once activated, Restore the Mortal Visage lasts for the remainder of the scene.
••••• •• Shape of the Beast’s Wrath Edit
Users of this power are often mistaken for Tzimisce employing the Vicissitude power Horrid Form. A vampire employing this power shifts into a huge, monstrous form, gaining half her height again and tripling her weight. Her overall shape flows into an unholy amalgamation of her own form and that of the animal she feels the closest kinship to (wolves, rats, and great cats are the most common manifestations, though ravens, serpents, bats, and stranger beasts have been reported). The vampire’s new shape does bear some vague resemblance to the war-forms of the werecreatures, but the difference quickly becomes apparent.
System: The player spends three blood points, the expenditure of which triggers the change. The character’s transformation takes three turns (the player may spend additional blood points to reduce this time at a cost of one point per turn of reduction). Once transformed, the character remains in this form until sunrise or until she shifts back voluntarily.
The precise Traits of this form are determined when the character first learns this power, as is the animal whose appearance the character takes on. The vampire’s new form adds a total of seven dots to the character’s Physical Attributes. At least one dot must go into each Physical Attribute, meaning that no more than five can go into any one (so a character could have +5 Strength, +1 Dexterity, and +1 Stamina, but not +2 Strength and +5 Dexterity). These bonuses are always the same once they are selected; a different allocation requires that the character buy this power a second time and thus purchase another alternate form. Additionally, the character inflicts Strength + 2 dice of aggravated damage with both bite and claw attacks when in monstrous form. She also gains an extra Hurt health level, and doubles her normal running speed. Finally, the character’s perceptions are also heightened. She is assumed to have both the Auspex power Heightened Senses and the Protean power Eyes of the Beast after transformation, with all of the benefits and drawbacks of each.
This form does carry two additional drawbacks. The first is a lack of communication ability. The character’s Social Attributes all drop to 1, or to 0 if they already were 1 (except when making Intimidation rolls) when the transformation occurs. The second problem that a character in this form encounters is the suddenly heightened power of her Beast. All difficulties of rolls to resist frenzy are increased by two for the duration of the power’s effect, and the player may not spend Willpower points on such rolls.
••••• •• Spectral Body Edit
This powerful variation on Mist Form allows a vampire to take a shape with most of the advantages of the lesser power but fewer of the disadvantages. A vampire who assumes Spectral Form retains his normal appearance, but becomes completely insubstantial. He walks through walls and bullets with equal ease, and can pass through the floor on which he stands if he chooses to. Although his lungs are no longer solid, the vampire can still speak, a fact in which some elders of the Daughters of Cacophony bloodline have expressed great interest.
System: The player spends three blood points. The transformation takes one turn to complete, and lasts for the rest of the night unless the character decides to reverse it. When the power takes hold, the character becomes completely insubstantial, but remains fully visible. Henceforth, he is unaffected by any physical attacks, and he doubles his dice pool to soak damage from fire and sunlight. The vampire may even ignore gravity if he chooses to do so, rising and sinking through solid objects if he does not wish to stand on them (although he may move no faster than his normal walking speed while “flying” in this manner). While in this form, the character may also use any Disciplines that do not require physical contact or a physical body. On the downside, while in Spectral Form, a vampire can physically manipulate his environment only through the use of powers such as Movement of the Mind.
••••• •• Turnabout Edit
Calling upon the shapeshifting powers of the Protean Discipline, the Anarch melds with the earth, only to emerge from it on the other side of a foe. This tactic was originally used by the Eastern European Gangrel and Tzimisce, and the Anarchs adapted it for use as a guerrilla tactic during the Anarch Revolt and the marauding nights of the early antitribu. Tonight, it is rarely seen, but a few ostentatious Anarch elders keep it in practice.
System: The player spends two blood points. On the turn after the character sinks into the ground, she emerges either behind or to either side of whichever enemies she left behind (her choice). Theoretically, there’s nothing stopping her from emerging in the same spot where she disappeared, but it rather defeats the purpose. If the character wishes, she may choose not to emerge immediately, in which case this power is little more than an expensive version of Earth Meld. The primary difference, however, is that the character may move through the earth that surrounds her, traveling as much as 50 feet in any direction in the single turn spent under the surface of the soil. Moving any further, however, regardless of time spent underground, is a different permutation of the Protean Discipline. Turnabout’s focus is diving into and emerging quickly from the ground.
••••• ••• Mythic Form Edit
Some ancient Gangrel have hunted long-forgotten monsters and stolen the skin of the creatures of legend — massive beasts whose existence has been lost to myth. Whispers of griffins, sphinxes, dragons, thunderbirds, and kirin are the tales of these old Gangrel that still wander, looking for prey that doesn’t exist.
In addition to the great size and terrifying form of these creatures, a Gangrel who takes Mythic Form also acquires some of the special abilities commonly attributed to the beast; a griffin, for example, would have the ability to fly and a devastating claw attack. Once a character’s mythic form has been chosen, it is set for the character’s existence.
System: A character must spend three blood points to transform into Mythic Form. The transformation requires three turns (spending additional blood will not speed the change, but the Gangrel may continue to act normally as the transformation occurs). Mythic Form lasts until the next sunrise, or until the vampire returns to her natural form. The type of creature, and its specific mechanics, must be determined when the vampire first learns this ability, and may not be changed thereafter.
When you purchase this power, divide 9 points as bonuses to Strength, Dexterity, and Stamina. In addition, choose one defensive bonus, one offensive bonus, one movement bonus, and one special power (listed below). Non-standard bonuses are possible, but require Storyteller approval.
Defensive Bonus (Choose 1)
• Armor Plating: You have 4 points of armor while in this form.
• Invulnerability: You are invulnerable to (take no damage from) one of the following sources: fire, acid, electricity, or poison.
• Quick: Your dodge based defense pools increase by +2.
Offensive Bonus (Choose 1)
• Deadly: Your bite and/or claw attacks receive a +3 bonus to damage.
• Grappling: When you hit a target with a normal attack, you are also considered to have grappled her. Attempts to break your grapples suffer a -2 penalty.
• Multi-Attack: When making brawling attacks, you receive two dice that can only be used when you split your attacks (the dice apply to each attack).
Movement Bonus (Choose 1)
• Aquatic: You can swim at twice your normal movement speed.
• Fast: On the ground, you can move at twice your normal movement speed.
• Flight: You can fly at your normal movement speed. Special Power
Choose any Discipline power at 5 dots or lower. While in Mythic Form, you may use that power as though you had purchased it. You are not required to purchase the power’s prerequisites (i.e., the lower level powers in that Discipline tree). If your chosen power is based on Thaumaturgy or Necromancy, you do not need to speak or gesture to activate the power while in this form.
••••• ••• Purify the Impaled Beast Edit
Camarilla records indicate that a disproportionately small number of Gangrel elders were killed by mortals and Anarchs during the Inquisition and the Anarch Revolt. This power is one of the primary reasons for the survival of these Kindred. An elder with this Protean power can expel foreign objects from her body with great force, even excising stakes that transfix her heart.
System: The player spends three blood points and rolls Willpower (difficulty 6, or 8 if the vampire is paralyzed by an object impaling her heart). One success is sufficient to remove all foreign objects and substances from the character’s body. Dirt, bullets, and even stakes through the heart are instantly and violently removed. The larger the object, the farther away it is hurled by this power. Objects expelled thus are considered to have an attack dice pool of three for any bystanders, and to have a dice pool of one to four (depending on size) for damage. If the character wishes to leave an object in his body (such as a prosthetic limb) or partially in (expelling a stake from his heart but leaving it sticking out of his breastbone as a ruse), the player must also spend a Willpower point when activating this power.
••••• •••• Inward Focus Edit
This power has no outwardly visible effects whatsoever. Indeed, its very existence is unknown outside those Gangrel Methuselahs who have developed it. The internal effects of this razor-sharp honing of Protean, however, are in some ways more dramatic than any external manifestation. A vampire with this power can heighten the efficiency of his undead body’s internal workings to levels undreamed of by lesser Kindred, withstanding inconceivable amounts of injury and moving with blinding speed and shattering strength.
System: The player spends four blood points to activate this power and an additional two blood points for every turn past the first that Inward Focus is maintained. There are three effects of this power: First, the character gains a number of extra actions during each turn equal to his unmodified Dexterity score. Second, the damage of his physical attacks is increased by three dice per dice pool. Finally, all damage inflicted on the character is halved and rounded down after the soak roll is made (so an attack that inflicts five health levels after soak is reduced to two health levels). This power may be used in conjunction with other Protean powers that modify the character‘s combat abilities, such as Shape of the Beast’s Wrath (above). It may also be used in conjunction with Celerity, Fortitude, and Potence, turning a vampire who has mastered this power into a truly terrifying opponent.