Vicissitude is the signature power of the Tzimisce, and is rarely shared outside the Clan (though it is known to some other Cainites of the Sabbat). Similar to Protean in some ways, Vicissitude allows vampires to shape and sculpt flesh and bone. When a Kindred uses Vicissitude to alter mortals, ghouls, and vampires of higher Generation, the effects of the power are permanent; vampires of equal or lower Generation can choose to heal the effects of Vicissitude as though they were aggravated wounds. A wielder of Vicissitude can always reshape her own flesh.
The wielder must establish skin-to-skin contact and must often manually sculpt the desired result for these powers to take effect. This also applies to the use of the power on oneself. Tzimisce skilled in Vicissitude are often inhumanly beautiful; those less skilled are simply inhuman.
There are rumors that Vicissitude is a disease rather than a “normal” Discipline, but only the Fiends know for sure, and they aren’t talking. Note: Nosferatu always “heal” Vicissitude alterations, at least the ones that make them better-looking. The ancient curse of the Clan may not be circumvented through Vicissitude. The same applies to physical deformities from the Gangrel Clan weakness.
|Vampires who wish to use Vicissitude well often specialize their knowledge of Medicine in an art known as Body Crafts. This specialization enables its possessor to make all manner of alterations to living and dead flesh and bone. It also gives insight into more mundane techniques; many Tzimisce are skilled at flaying, bone-carving, embalming, taxidermy, tattooing, and piercing.|
• Malleable Visage
A vampire with this power may alter her own bodily parameters: height, build, voice, facial features, and skin tone, among other things. Such changes are cosmetic and minor in scope — no more than a foot (30 cm) of height gained or lost, for example. She must physically mold the alteration, literally shaping her flesh into the desired result.
System: The player must spend a blood point for each body part to be changed, then roll Intelligence + Medicine (difficulty 6). To duplicate another person or voice requires a Perception + Medicine roll (difficulty 8), and five successes are required for a flawless copy; fewer successes leave minute (or not-so-minute) flaws. Increasing one’s Appearance Trait has a difficulty of 9, and the vampire must spend an additional blood point for each dot of Appearance increased beyond their natural total. A botch permanently reduces the Attribute by one.
This power is similar to Malleable Visage, above, but allows the vampire to perform drastic, grotesque alterations on other creatures. Tzimisce often use this power to transform their servitors into monstrous guards, the better to frighten foes. Only flesh (skin, muscle, fat, and cartilage, but not bone) may be transformed.
System: After spending a blood point, the vampire must grapple the intended victim. The player of the Flescrafting vampire makes a successful Dexterity + Medicine roll (difficulty variable: 5 for a crude yank-and-tuck, up to 9 for precise transformations). A vampire who wishes to increase another’s Appearance Trait does so as described under Malleable Visage; reducing the Attribute is considerably easier (difficulty 5), though truly inspired disfigurement may dictate a higher difficulty. In either case, each success increases or reduces the Attribute by one.
A vampire may use this power to move clumps of skin, fat, and muscle tissue, thus providing additional padding where needed. For each success scored on a Dexterity + Medicine roll (difficulty 8), the vampire may increase the subject’s soak dice pool by one, at the expense of either a point of Strength or a health level (vampire’s choice).
This terrible power allows a vampire to manipulate bone in the same manner that flesh is shaped. In conjunction with Fleshcraft, above, this power enables a Vicissitude practitioner to deform a victim (or herself) beyond recognition. This power should be used in conjunction with the flesh-shaping arts, unless the vampire wants to inflict injury on the victim (see below).
System: The vampire’s player must spend a blood point and make a Strength + Medicine roll (difficulties as above). Bonecraft may be used without the fleshshaping arts, as an offensive weapon. Each success scored on the Strength + Medicine roll (difficulty 7) inflicts one health level of lethal damage on the victim, as his bones rip, puncture, and slice their way out of his skin.The vampire may utilize this power (on herself or others) to form spikes or talons of bone, either on the knuckles as an offensive weapon or all over the body as defensive “quills.” If bone spikes are used, the vampire or victim takes one health level of lethal damage (the vampire’s comes from having the very sharp bone pierce through his skin — this weaponry doesn’t come cheaply). In the case of quills, the subject takes a number of health levels equal to five minus the number of successes (a botch kills the subject or sends the vampire into torpor). These health levels may be healed normally.
Knuckle spikes inflict Strength +1 lethal damage. Defensive quills inflict a hand-to-hand attacker’s Strength in lethal damage unless the attacker scores three or more successes on the attack roll (in which case the attacker takes no damage); the defender still takes damage normally. Quills also enable the vampire or altered subject to add two to all damage inflicted via holds, clinches, or tackles.
A vampire who scores five or more successes on the Strength + Medicine roll may cause a rival vampire’s rib cage to curve inward and pierce the heart. While this does not send a vampire into torpor, it does cause the affected vampire to lose half his blood points, as the seat of his vitae ruptures in a shower of gore.
•••• Horrid Form
Kindred use this power to become hideous and deadly monsters. The vampire’s stature increases to a full eight feet (two and a half meters), the skin becomes a sickly greenish-gray or grayish-black chitin, the arms become apelike and ropy with ragged black nails, and the face warps into something out of a nightmare. A row of spines sprouts from the vertebrae, and the external carapace exudes a foul-smelling grease.
System: The Horrid Form costs two blood points to awaken. All Physical Attributes increase by three, but all Social Attributes drop to zero, except when dealing with others also in Horrid Form. However, a vampire in Horrid Form who is trying to intimidate someone may substitute Strength for a Social Attribute. Damage inflicted in brawling combat increases by one due to the jagged ridges and bony knobs creasing the creature’s hands.
A vampire with this power can physically transform all or part of her body into sentient vitae. This blood is in all respects identical to the vampire’s normal vitae; she can use it to nourish herself or others, create ghouls, or establish blood bonds. If all this blood is imbibed or otherwise destroyed, the vampire meets Final Death.
System: The vampire may transform all or part of herself as she deems fit. Each leg can turn into two blood points worth of vitae, as can the torso; each arm, the head, and the abdomen convert to one blood point each. The blood can be reconverted to the body part, provided it is in contact with the vampire. If the blood has been utilized or destroyed, the vampire must spend a number of blood points equal to what was originally created to regrow the missing body part.
A vampire entirely in this form may not be staked, cut, bludgeoned, or pierced, but can be burned or exposed to the sun. The vampire may ooze along, drip up walls, and flow through the narrowest cracks, as though she were in Tenebrous Form. Mental Disciplines may be used, provided no eye contact or vocal utterance is necessary, although the vampire can perceive her surroundings just fine (but the perceptions are always centered on the largest pool of blood). If a vampire in this form “washes” over a mortal or animal, that mortal must make a Courage roll (difficulty 8) or fly into a panic.
••••• • Chiropteran Marauder
Similar to Horrid Form, the Chiropteran Marauder is a terrifying, bipedal bat, bearing a wickedly fanged maw and veined, leathery wings. This power confers all of the benefits of the Horrid Form, in addition to a few others. The mere sight of the marauder is enough to make mortals or weak-willed vampires flee in horror. System: The vampire gains all the effects of the Horrid Form. Further, the Marauder’s fluted wings allow flight at 25 mph (40 kph), during which the vampire may carry, but not manipulate, objects no larger than it can hold in its hands. If the player chooses to, she may make a Strength + Medicine roll (difficulty 6) to extend bony claws at the ends of the vampire’s wings. These claws inflict Strength +2 aggravated damage. Also, the vampire subtracts two from all hearing-based Perception rolls (though he adds one to vision- based Wits and Perception rolls). Assuming the mantle of the Chiropteran Marauder costs three blood points.
••••• • Blood of Acid
At this level of mastery, the vampire has converted his blood to a viscous acid. Any blood he consumes likewise becomes acid, which is corrosive enough to burn human (and vampiric flesh) as well as wood. This effect is particularly potent when the vampire assumes the Bloodform. One of the side effects of this power is the complete inability to create new vampires and ghouls, or give blood to another vampire — the acid would corrode them as they drank it. The obvious benefit, however, is that would-be diablerists are likewise unable to devour the Cainite’s blood.
System: Each acidified blood point that comes in contact with something other than the vampire himself does five dice worth of aggravated damage. If the vampire is injured in combat, his blood may spatter on an opponent — foes must make Dexterity + Athletics rolls to avoid the blood, which must be accomplished by splitting their dice pools. (Unless an opponent knows the vampire has this power, she’s unlikely to split her dice pool on her first attack, which causes many Tzimisce to cackle with glee.)
••••• • Ecstatic Agony
Pain is transformative. Pain awakens primal potential in the tortured flesh. A Fiend with this ability delights in every slash of the blade and caress of bullet, transmogrifying agony into physical prowess and incredible displays of Caine’s Gifts.
System: After spending two Willpower points, the character becomes empowered by pain. Add his wound penalties to all non-reflexive actions involving a Physical Attribute or use of a Discipline. As the character heals, this bonus wanes. Treat Incapacitated and Final Death normally. This power lasts for one scene.
••••• •• Blood of the Earth
The Tzimisce with this power has converted all of her blood into a dark viscous substance far more deadly than any regular vitae.
System: The Tzimisce’s blood is dark and oily. The gooey blood clings to surfaces and is hard to remove; to do so in a hurry requires an attack against whatever it is attached to with a sharp weapon of some sort. Because of its viscosity, it takes twice as long to feed from a vampire with Blood of the Earth (making it twice as deadly to diablerize such them as well). Most terrifyingly, when exposed to open air, this blood becomes highly flammable; if set ablaze, it will burn in a white-hot conflagration for one round per blood point, doing three dice aggravated damage each round until it burns itself out. The individual Tzimisce is immune to damage from its own blood, though other Tzimisce are not. Blood of the Earth is an automatic effect; once taken, all of the vampire’s blood and all blood they consume is affected.
••••• •• Cocoon
The Cainite can form an opaque cocoon from blood and other fluids excreted from her body. The cocoon hardens after a few moments, turning into a tough, white shell. This cocoon provides considerable protection to the vampire, even shielding her from sunlight and, to a limited degree, fire.
System: A vampire may only cocoon herself, and the process takes 10 minutes. Additionally, creating a cocoon costs three blood points. The cocoon offers complete protection from sunlight, and provides a number of dice of soak equal to twice the vampire’s unmodified Stamina against all damage, aggravated or otherwise. It lasts as long as the Cainite wishes, and she may dissolve it at her whim, emerging from a pulpy, bloody paste. A vampire contained within a cocoon may still use mental Disciplines that do not require eye contact or other conditions to be met.
••••• •• Kraken’s Kiss
The Fiend’s face erupts into a mass of tentacles, a foot in length and similar to that of a squid. These tentacles can be used to grasp and constrict a foe. Moreover, in place of a squid’s suckers are rows and rows of fanged, drooling mouths, permitting incredibly rapid blood drain.
System: The vampire spends a Willpower point and rolls Stamina + Medicine (difficulty 8). Success enables formation of the tentacles with no loss of sensory abilities. The tentacle mass can be used in melee (difficulty 5; Strength +2 lethal damage). A successful hit indicates a grab. Feeding begins on the same turn as the initial grab, and for each success scored on the attack roll, one additional blood point can be drained from the victim each turn, as dozens of mouths bite and suck. To break the grip, the victim must score three more successes than the vampire in an extended contest of Strength.
••••• ••• Breath of the Dragon
The vampire becomes like one of the terrible draculs of the Old World, able to exhale a deadly gout of flame. This flame does not hurt the vampire himself, though he may become trapped in flames if it engulfs flammable objects.
System: The flaming cloud affects a six-foot area, doing two dice of aggravated damage to anyone in the flames’ circumference. This fire may cause combustible items to ignite, and it may ignite victims who suffer fire damage as per the fire rules.
••••• ••• Oathbreaker
What greater oppression exists than the hated blood bond, so callously employed by the elders to bring their headstrong childer to heel? A symbol of the vast abuses of the War of Ages, blood bonds represent the ultimate tyranny: the subjugation of the self and the denial of freedom to make one’s own way.
An enterprising Tzimisce discovered — or perhaps rediscovered — the secrets of shattering the blood bond over eight centuries ago, which played no small part in touching off the Anarch Revolt. With but a word, the Tzimisce could release a vampire from the shackles of the blood bond. And given the strange properties of Tzimisce vitae, this potential sometimes passed on to Cainites who didn’t belong to the clan, especially after partaking of the Vaulderie cup with one of the fiends.
Needless to say, this is certainly a fool’s bargain, but it is important for two reasons. First, the power of Oathbreaker is so rare that tales of its duplicity (see below) exist, and in fact form some of the legendry of the Anarch Revolt itself. Second, some suspect that this power provided the basis for the ritus that became the Vaulderie. It is a historical curiosity, to be sure, but every now and then, some powerful Tzimisce or other Cainite afflicted with Vicissitude manages to dupe a reckless and desperate Lick into emancipating himself with tainted blood.
Better to have the fool bonded, even if imperfectly, to oneself than to the true lord of the dom.
System: The vampire spends a blood point and a Willpower point and imbues her blood with the ability to suborn blood bonds. Each blood point creates one draught’s worth of blood that can be consumed in this way, and it retains this property for one night before it becomes dead and inert. The vampire who consumes the blood feels an immediate cessation of any blood bond that exists.
This freedom graces the vampire for one month and one night, whereupon the Kindred who activated the power may spend a Willpower point and replace the suborned (but true) blood bond with an illusory blood bond to herself. This replacement blood bond lasts for one night. Alternatively, she may spend ten Willpower in a single scene and sustain the illusory bond for one year and a night.
If the vampire replacing the bond chooses not to spend the Willpower point at the point when it would normally be renewed, the original blood bond returns, and the false one ceases immediately.
••••• ••• Sublimation of the Larval Flesh
A Ventrue ghoul tells of a battlefield he once encountered deep within the Carpathian rim. There, soldiers from both sides lay dead, their flesh stripped cleanly from their glistening bodies. More disturbing were the strange flesh-colored sacs that hung pregnantly from tree branches above, some pulsing with inner life. He slashed at one within easy reach of his sword and what fell out was the most hideous sort of monstrosity, some half-formed melding of man and beast writhing in a pool of ichor and goo. Its soft, painful mewling brought about a seething response from the other cocoons. He left before seeing what might emerge.
System: The Tzimisce can, with a successful Strength + Body Crafts roll (difficulty 6, five successes required), jerk the living flesh from a subject’s body, immediately dropping him to Incapacitated as he collapses into shock (all health levels lost due to this power are considered lethal damage). The vampire then spends a round shaping the flesh into a cocoon-sac in which she wraps the victim; this requires a Dexterity + Body Crafts roll (difficulty 7). The Tzimisce finishes by imagining a form she’d like the creature within to take (it must be a form the Tzimisce is actually capable of imparting upon the subject) and sealing the cocoon with blood (one blood point’s worth).
The cocooned subject will heal normally inside, but remain Incapacitated until at full health. Once he regains all health levels, he may fight his way out the cocoon; when he emerges, the cocoon will have twisted him into the shape the Tzimisce desired for him. In this manner, the Tzimisce can create servants en masse without the need for hours of labor to perfect any single individual. The Tzimisce may use this upon herself; when she does, the cocoon need not be constructed from her own flesh, and she may emerge at any time and in any form she chooses.
••••• •••• Earth’s Vast Haven
This power, developed in the nights when the Tzimisce were the terrible masters of Eastern Europe, allows the vampire to sink into and disperse himself through the ground. Unlike the Protean power of Earth Meld, however, the vampire actually dissolves his body into the ground; nothing short of a wide-area explosion can affect him, and he may not be dug up bodily. In addition, from sunset to sunrise, the vampire may see and hear everything happening in his environment through his mystical connection to the land. The mere fact that this power exists terrifies many Tzimisce, who are secretly unsure of whether or not the diablerie of their Antediluvian was successful.
System: This power costs six blood points to activate, and it lasts as long as the vampire wishes to remain contained within the soil. As per the Cocoon, the vampire may use mental Disciplines that do not require physical solvency or eye contact. He may communicate mentally with anyone who wanders into the area under which he rests.
••••• •••• The Last Dracul
The most fearsome of the Tzimisce’s monstrous forms, this power allows the Dragons to assume the shape from which their ancient nickname is derived.
System: By expending six blood points, the Tzimisce grows in size and girth, its flesh sloughs off reveal gleaming scales, wings sprout from its back, and its head becomes crocodilian. Its Strength and Stamina doubles, its scaly hide becomes the equivalent of 4 Armor, it gains five additional “Bruised” health levels, and difficulties to hit it are decreased by one because of its huge size. Its enormous wings function in the same way as the Chiropteran Marauder’s. The dragon uses Strength with the Intimidation Ability and its mere presence triggers an Intimidation check each turn; this is a free action that happens automatically unless the Tzimisce deliberately suppresses it. While in dragon form, the vampire’s blood immediately bursts into flame when exposed to open air, doing damage as described for Blood of the Earth. Those who manage to damage the dragon must take a dodge action to avoid being splashed with one blood point’s worth of dragon’s blood; those who have never fought a dragon before will not likely know to save actions for this eventuality. Even worse for its opponents, the dragon can spit any amount of its blood at its foes as a one-round action, even splitting blood points up among closely clustered opponents. This fiery vitae does damage as described for Blood of the Earth. The dragon cannot consume blood in the normal fashion due to its size, but can supplement its diet by consuming fresh human corpses. Consuming a corpse requires an entire turn’s action and grants the Tzimisce blood points equal to however many blood points remain in the corpse’s veins.