Blood and Bourbon
“Then there are things which so afflict him that he has no power, as the garlic that we know of; and as for things sacred, as this symbol, my crucifix, that was amongst us even now when we resolve, to them he is nothing, but in their presence he take his place far off and silent with respect. There are others, too, which I shall tell you of, lest in our seeking we may need them. The branch of wild rose on his coffin keep him that he move not from it; a sacred bullet fired into the coffin kill him so that he be true dead; and as for the stake through him, we know already of its peace; or the cut-off head that giveth rest. We have seen it with our eyes.”
“Thus when we find the habitation of this man-that-was, we can confine him to his coffin and destroy him, if we obey what we know.”
—Abraham van Helsing, Dracula
Vampires play at being human. It’s the central notion behind their storied Masquerade—they wear human personas like an actor in a commedia dell’arte troupe wears his mask. Vampires even adopt stock personas. The naïve club girl looking for her first taste of love. The suave, seductive man out for a fling. The “victim” trolling for muggers, or the helpful Samaritan searching for (or arranging) flat tires in the middle of the night. These are the masks that the vampire wears.
At first, the mask is nothing more than a memory of what the vampire once was, or perhaps an idealized version of what he wanted to be. But as time goes on, the mask grows heavier. The Man recedes, the Beast takes up more room in the Kindred’s heart and soul. And as this happens, the vampire’s blood grows thicker, his Disciplines grow more powerful. In as little as a decade, a vampire might look out at humanity and wonder whether he ever truly understood it. The banes system presented here takes this notion—that as Humanity falls, the vampire’s supernatural side comes to the fore—and presents an accompanying system.
Benefits of Banes
Banes work much like Conditions, and each one has a criteria that grants Beats. Thus, while vampires themselves might abhor laboring under additional curses, players are rewarded when their characters are inconvenienced by them.
Vampires can acquire banes in the following ways:
• Detachment: When a character does not achieve an exceptional success on a breaking point roll, the player rolls as if she had committed another breaking point at the same Humanity level. On a failure, she gains a bane. If the character botches the initial breaking point roll, she gains a bane automatically.
• Low Humanity: Whenever a character loses Humanity, she can choose to acquire a new bane. She thereafter becomes unable to lose Humanity from the breaking point that caused her Humanity loss.
• Blood Potency: When a character’s Blood Potency increases, the player rolls as if she’d faced a breaking point at her current Humanity level. On a failed roll, the character acquires a bane.
• Spontaneously: What if all of the vampires in the city just woke up one night and found that they couldn’t enter homes uninvited? What if the entirety of Clan Gangrel slowly succumbed to a condition that forced them to count grains of spilled rice? What if a handful of salt could eat away at the flesh of any vampire who had ever killed a person (which is most of them)? Banes can arise without antecedent from a particular character’s actions, but this kind of occurrence is thematically different from a bane afflicting a character following degeneration. That said, the vampiric condition (and mortal perception thereof) is mutable, and sometimes it’s good to shake things up.
The process for losing a bane is fairly simple. For every dot by which a character raises his Humanity, he sheds a single bane chosen by the player.
That isn’t easy, though. Raising Humanity requires that a vampire act in a humane fashion, that she spends the time and energy to relate to human beings and, more importantly, that she deny her bestial impulses. Once the Beast claws the Man down, the damage is difficult to reverse. As such, vampires who accumulate banes might search for a way to excise them that doesn’t require the steep climb toward Humanity.
A bane might be absolved by reconnecting with one’s Humanity on an immediate basis, rather than raising the trait. A character saves a mortal’s life with no thought of reward, and later finds that the sight of fresh cut flowers doesn’t bother him anymore. A vampire breaks up a gang fight using Majesty, and later realizes that he can finally walk across the bridge to his old neighborhood without feeling ill. This method only works, of course, if the player is willing to put some thought and consideration into what taking a humanitarian action means to the character. In any event, if the character doesn’t treat the fact that whatever he did lifted a supernatural curse with some reverence, that curse can reoccur the next time that vampire enters frenzy.
Finally, the character might discover supernatural remedies for banes. Certainly, in a chronicle in which banes are commonplace, rumors of how to get rid of them probably abound. Below are ten such rumors. It remains up to the Storyteller to determine whether any of them actually work.
• “Drink the blood of a sorcerer. No idea how you find one or what you do if he tries to use his magic on you, but if you drink his blood, you lose all your weaknesses. Sunlight, the hunger, and anything else you might have picked up. The big stuff comes back—sorry—but those annoying curses that just seem to happen? Those stay gone.”
• “Burn off your own hand in the sunlight. I know it’s extreme, but God accepts that sacrifice. If your right hand offends you, cut it off and cast it away, right? I don’t know if it works with eyes or not.”
• "You get these things when you drift too far away from humanity, become too far removed from the human understanding, right? So the way to cure them is to become famous. Ever notice that every year, there’s always a celebrity who doesn’t have any real talent? Usually attached to another celeb? I’m not naming names, but I’m just saying—some of them were Kindred with some heavy burdens to shed.”
List of Banes
|Additional Clan Bane||You have acquired another clan’s bane.|
|Aura of Madness||Insane people are attracted to you.|
|Beacon of the Unholy||Hunters and clergy know you for what you are.|
|Beast’s Cowardice||You cannot prey upon strong-willed mortals.|
|Bells||Bells cause you intense pain.|
|Blinding Salt||Salt blinds you.|
|Blood for Service||You must taste a victim’s blood to command their mind.|
|Blood of the Unwilling||You have difficulty feeding from unwilling victims.|
|Can’t Cross Water||You are unable to cross running water.|
|Can’t Enter Churches||You are harmed within holy ground.|
|Cold Breeze||A chill wind follows wherever you go.|
|Counting||You are compelled to count small objects.|
|Crossroads||Crossroads confuse and weaken you.|
|Day of Rest||You cannot be roused from slumber on one day of the week.|
|Dead Blood||The blood of dead mortals is poison to you.|
|Deadly Birthrights||Your mortal descendants make effective vampire hunters.|
|Death of Day’s Sleep||It is very hard for you to rise during the day.|
|Debt of Lost Humanity||You must expend additional Vitae each night.|
|Eerie Presence||Mortals are disturbed by your presence.|
|Face of Hunger||You grow increasingly corpse-like when hungry.|
|Faded Visage||Your Lost Visage appears as an indistinct blur.|
|Fascinated by Dust||You are entranced by dust.|
|Forced Slumber||Special objects can stop you from rising from daysleep.|
|Grave Soil||You cannot sleep without earth from your place of death.|
|Grip of the Damned||Your Kiss is agonizing to mortals.|
|Haunting||You stand out to ghosts.|
|Harbinger of Death||Your presence harms the sick and the weak.|
|Harmed by Moonlight||Moonlight hurts you like the sun.|
|Holy Day||You are weakened on one day of the week.|
|Honesty for Kindness||Your character cannot lie to those who show her kindness.|
|Infectious||You can accidentally Embrace mortals you drink too deeply from.|
|Inhuman Maw||You are unmistakably recognizable as a monster when you feed.|
|Invitation||You cannot enter private dwellings uninvited.|
|Invitation, Severe||You are especially harmed by entering private dwellings uninvited.|
|Interference||Your presence disrupts technological devices.|
|Lethal Bindings||You can be bound and dismembered by certain materials.|
|Light Sensitive||Bright lights disorient you.|
|Light Sensitive, Severe||Bright lights disorient and harm you.|
|Lingering Wounds||You are particularly vulnerable to a damage source.|
|Lost in Fog||You cannot find your way in fog and mist.|
|Lunar Illumination||You glow in moonlight.|
|Maddening Vitae||Drinking your blood drives mortals insane.|
|Madness in Blood||You feel your victims’ pain.|
|Madness Sees Evil||The insane can see you for what you really are.|
|Mindless Hunger||You become increasingly bestial when hungry.|
|Mortal Before God||You lose your undead powers on holy ground.|
|Must Wear White||You are weakened whenever you don’t wear white.|
|No Reflection||You cast no reflection.|
|No Respiratory System||You have great difficulty speaking.|
|Oathbound||You cannot break sworn oaths and promises.|
|Occluded Voice||Electronic transmissions cannot carry your voice.|
|Offered Blood||You cannot refuse to imbibe freely offered blood.|
|Open Wounds||Your wounds stay open until you sleep.|
|Paralyzed by Metal||Metal can stake you.|
|Plague of Purity||You are harmed by the pure of heart.|
|Rain’s Refusal||Rain does not fall on you.|
|Rat King/Queen||Vermin are attracted to you.|
|Repulsion||You are repulsed by substances such as garlic or silver.|
|Revenge from Ashes||You are harmed by the ashes of dead mortals.|
|Rotting||Your flesh rots every night at sundown.|
|Shadow’s Shame||Shadows and reflections turn away from you.|
|Slowed by Bloodlust||The sight of blood makes you dazed and distracted.|
|Sun’s Terrifying Visage||The mere image of the sun terrifies you.|
|Tangling Briars||You become weak when faced with thickets and brambles.|
|Touch of Frost||Your presence leeches heat from your surroundings.|
|Uncontrolled Hunger||You are compelled to taste all blood you see.|
|Wanton||You become emotionally attached to mortals you feed on.|
|Weakened by Symbols||Holy symbols repel you.|
|Webs||Spiderwebs bind you fast.|
|Weight of the Grave||Grave soil saps your vitae.|
|Withering Presence||Your presence kills plants and insects.|
You have picked up another clan’s bane in addition to your own. You might have diablerized or frequently shared blood with a vampire from the clan, been a former ghoul to the clan, or be a Caitiff with some idea as to their sire’s identity. You might also simply spontaneously replicate the clan bane with no connection to your past or ancestry.
Beat: As per the clan bane.
Insane people find your character fascinating. Whenever your character meets someone who has a Mental Persistent Condition or is otherwise of less than sound mental health (GM discretion), roll Humanity. On a failure, they feel compelled to follow, watch or interact with your character. The nature of their madness plays into the reaction, so a character with the Fixation Condition becomes, as the name implies, fixated on your character, while a character with the Narcissism Condition might see your character as a threat to his interests or as someone who can finally understand his greatness. This bane is particularly common among Malkavians.
Beat: Being followed by a small entourage of unbalanced people causes a difficulty or inconvenience for you.
You radiate palpable evil. Whenever you encounter a mortal who is aware of the supernatural (such as hunters) or an individual with True Faith, roll Humanity contested by the mortal’s Wits + Empathy. If the mortal wins, they instinctively know that there is something horribly wrong with you, and react accordingly.
Variations: Followers of a certain religion or individuals who meet another criteria (children, the insane, virgins, etc.) can detect your wrongness instead.
Beat: A mortal who realizes what you are causes problems for you.
Your character cannot feed on vessels who put up any fight at all—even to the point of saying, “Stop.” Whenever your character would feed from an unwilling victim, roll Presence + Intimidation contested by the victim’s Resolve + Composure or Presence + Intimidation. If the victim wins, your character caps all dice pools by her Humanity for the remainder of the scene, and must spend a Willpower point every turn she wishes to remain in the victim’s presence or take hostile action against them. Victims who are incapacitated or enthralled through Disciplines do not count as unwilling.
Beat: You refuse to feed from a victim who puts up a fight.
GM’s Note: This bane was inspired by the vampire film The Addiction.
Your character cannot stand the sound of bells, and it causes intense pain. This only happens in the presence of actual bells; recordings will not cause pain. Each minute she’s exposed to the sound of bells, she takes (11 – Humanity) dice worth of bashing damage, and is provoked to frenzy. Some vampires manifest this bane in response to hymns instead of bells.
Beat: You take damage from bells.
A handful of salt flung at your character burns away his eyes, blinding him for the rest of the night. Aiming the salt properly requires a Dexterity + Athletics roll, penalized by your character’s Defense and a -3 modifier to hit the face and eyes. If the roll succeeds, your character’s eyes boil away to a harsh-smelling goo, and he gains the Blinded Condition until the next sunset. He can also resolve the Condition early by spending (11 – Humanity) Vitae.
Beat: Your character gains the Blinded Condition.
Your character requires a taste of the target’s blood before she is able to command a victim’s mind. All dice pools using the Dominate Discipline suffer her Humanity dots as a cap unless your character has previously tasted the victim’s blood.
Variations: This bane might affect Majesty, Nightmare or any similar Discipline. As a more severe version, it might affect all such Disciplines.
Beat: You fail a roll due to this bane.
Your character takes no sustenance from the blood of the unwilling or the unknowing. When feeding from an unwilling vessel, she gains no nourishment from the first few Vitae taken. This amount is equal to (11 – Humanity). Additionally, all hunting rolls suffer your character’s Humanity as a cap.
Ventrue who take this bane suffer a further -2 to hunting rolls.
Beat: You fail a hunting roll due to this Condition.
Your character is physically unable to cross running water under his own power. Even rainwater running through a gutter stops him in his tracks, and a river makes him shake with unnamable dread. He can ride in cars or other conveyances across running water, but if he falls into a body of water, he takes (11 – Humanity) bashing damage per turn he is submerged.
Beat: You take damage from water.
Your character treats the interiors of churches as if they were sunlight, but takes lethal damage instead of aggravated damage and bashing damage instead of lethal damage. If the church is a site of ambient True Faith, he does not downgrade this damage.
Beat: You take damage from entering a church.
A chill wind follows you everywhere you go. While it may make for dramatic entrances, this effect also discomfits mortals (-2 to all Social rolls except Intimidation) and marks you as obviously supernatural, granting hunters a bonus equal to (11 – Humanity) on rolls to follow or identify your character. Cold winds sweeping through executive offices or crowded nightclubs can raise all sorts of questions.
Beat: You break the Masquerade or a hunter tracks you down due to this bane.
Your character must stop to count things that are in disarray. Examples include rice, sticks, coins, and other collections. If your character does not spend a point of Willpower each turn when she is confronted by an opportunity to count small objects, all dice pools are capped by her Humanity for the remainder of the scene. This compulsion also fades if she leaves the area.
Beat: You ignore something important to count small objects.
Your character is confused when he knowingly passes through a crossroads. For the remainder of the scene, all his dice pools are capped by his Humanity dots.
Variation: The character must spend a Willpower point to find his way to any destination that he cannot walk to in a straight line, or he suffers his Humanity as a cap to all dice pools.
Beat: You fail a roll due to this bane.
Christian tradition holds Sunday as a day of rest, while Jewish custom keeps the Sabbath holy. Your character cannot resist the daysleep on whatever “day of rest” she holds as significant, and cannot awaken during that day or night unless her body suffers damage equal to (11 – Humanity). Even then, she is still at risk of falling asleep again, as described on page 98 of Vampire: The Requiem’s core rulebook.
Variation: Your character has difficulty feeding on this day of rest, and she gains no nourishment from the first few Vitae taken during any scene. This amount is equal to (11 – Humanity).
Beat: You gain no sustenance from feeding or being unable to resist daysleep causes a problem or inconvenience for your character.
The blood of dead mortals is poisonous to your character. He gains no sustenance from such vitae and treats it as poison with a Toxicity rating equal to (11 – Humanity).
Beat: You take damage from a dead mortal’s blood.
Your character’s mortal relatives and descendants make deadly vampire hunters. Whenever your character uses Disciplines against her mortal relatives, she suffers her Humanity dots as a cap to her dice pools. Additionally, all damage inflicted on your character by her relatives is aggravated damage.
Relatives who have been Embraced or turned into ghouls do not enjoy any of these benefits.
Beat: You fail a roll due to this bane, or your character’s relatives inflict aggravated damage on her.
It is very hard for your character to wake during the day. Whenever your character would roll to resist daysleep or awaken during the day, she automatically fails the roll if she does not spend a point of Willpower and succeed on a Humanity roll.
Beat: You remain in daysleep at an inconvenient time.
Your character must expend (11 – Humanity) Vitae to rise each night instead of the usual one point. Of course, this means that your character must feed more frequently, which, in turn, increases the risk of further Humanity loss.
Beat: You expend more than one Vitae rising for the night.
Mortals have an unconscious awareness of your undead nature, which makes then anxious and ill at ease in your presence. Because of this, are Social dice pools against mortals (except Intimidation) are capped by your Humanity.
Beat: You fail a roll due to this bane.
When your character finds himself hungry, it shows on his face and on his skin. His eyes grow red, and his skin pulls tight over his visage. He looks every bit the corpse. When he has less than five Vitae, his Humanity dots act as a cap on all his Social actions. Humanity also caps all dice pools to resist frenzy inspired by hunger.
Beat: You fail a roll due to this bane.
Your character’s reflection appears as an indistinct blur in mirrors, photographs and other forms of media. This still obscures her identity, but is less subtle than the normal Lost Visage and stands out to vampire hunters. You may even be mistaken for a member of Clan Lasombra. Your character can spend a point of Willpower to appear normally in mirrors and photographs for one scene by spending a point of Willpower and rolling Humanity. On a failure, the Willpower point is wasted.
Lasombra cannot take this bane, as they already have a more severe version of it.
Beat: Your character’s faded reflection attracts attention from hunters or other enemies.
Your character cannot help but stare at clouds of dust. This might arise when she disturbs a room’s dust or if a knowledgeable foe blows a handful of dust in her face (requiring a Dexterity + Athletics roll – her Defense). In either case, your character must spend a Willpower point and roll Humanity in order to look away. If the roll fails, your character stands transfixed for a number of turns equal to (11 – Humanity). If your character is attacked, this effect ends.
Beat: You become distracted by dust at an inconvenient time.
Placing a cross, rose, wooden nail, or some other special object (choose one) on your character’s body causes her to immediately fall asleep as if it were day. This takes a Dexterity + Larceny roll if done covertly, or a grapple roll if done by force. Your character suffers her Humanity dots as cap on all dice pools to resist.
Beat: You fall asleep at an inconvenient time.
Your character is tied to the soil of her place of death. If she does not sleep with at least a handful of dirt from her region of death, all her dice pools are capped by her Humanity for the next night.
Beat: You fail a roll due to this bane.
There is no ecstasy in your Embrace—only terror and pain. Whenever you would use the Kiss on a mortal, roll Humanity. On a failure, you use the Assault. This makes the mortal struggle and shriek, requiring you to grapple with them for as long as you wish to take their blood. For vampires with high Humanity, this experience may require a Humanity roll at the GM’s discretion. Sangiovanni cannot take this bane, as they already possess it.
Beat: Your victim’s struggling causes a problem for you.
Your character’s presence is anathema to life. While healthy individuals can survive her touch, sick or weak people aren’t so lucky. Your character causes pregnant women in her proximity to miscarry and might claim dozens of lives when she strolls through an infirmary or nursing home. Whenever your character comes within (11 – Humanity) feet of a sick person, infant, or fetus, they take 1 point of bashing damage per minute. Your character can suppress this bane for a single scene by spending a point of Willpower and succeeding on a Humanity roll.
Beat: Hurting a sick or weak person causes problems for you.
Moonlight blisters your skin in a manner similar to the sun. It must shine directly on you, and you downgrade the damage (from lethal to bashing and aggravated lethal) and always treat your Blood Potency as if it were 1.
Beat: You take damage from moonlight.
Your character stands out to ghosts. Whenever she encounters one of the restless dead, roll Humanity. On a failure, the ghost takes an unhealthy interest in her. Ghosts respond differently to vampires based on their lingering passions. A vengeful ghost might follow your character hoping to do her harm, while a protective ghost might want to make sure your character doesn’t kill anyone. In any case, the ghost can spend a point of Essence per night to anchor himself to your character.
Beat: A ghost causes a problem or inconvenience for your character.
Your character holds one day of the week holy. Her undead powers are greatly weakened on this day, and all dice pools using Disciplines are capped by her Humanity dots.
Beat: You fail a roll due to this bane.
The Kindred might be degraded and evil, but your character can’t ignore a true act of kindness. If someone does her a good turn with no expectation of reward, she cannot keep secrets or lie to that character for the remainder of the night. If she would do so, she must spend a Willpower point and suffers her Humanity as a cap to all dice pools. All questions must be answered completely honestly, and to your character’s highest truth—that is, she cannot conceal fact behind semantics. The good deed that your character enjoys doesn’t have to be unsolicited (that is, your character can ask for help), but if even a penny is given in recompense, your character can lie or cheat as she sees fit. Doing a good deed with the express purpose of taking advantage of this bane negates the effect.
Bane: Telling the truth causes a problem or inconvenience for you.
Normally, of course, for a vampire to Embrace a mortal takes will. With this bane, though, your character can create Larvae (although not full Kindred) simply by drinking her blood. In order for this to happen, a mortal must die during a scene in which your character feeds on her. Roll Humanity. If this roll fails, the victim rises the following night as a Larva.
Beat: You sire a Larva.
Your character’s teeth change. They might become slender and snakelike, or his jaw might unhinge to reveal a lamprey-like mouth. Whenever your character actively bites someone, she is clearly identifiable as an inhuman monster. Even when she isn’t, mortals feel unconsciously nervous in your character’s presence. Her Humanity is treated as if it were two points lower for purposes of Social penalties against mortals.
Beat: Your character’s monstrous appearance causes problems for her or she fails a roll due to this bane.
Most banes involve folk remedies, herbs and practices from older cultures, but new banes do emerge. One of them is the odd effect that some vampires have on radio waves and other such transmissions. When your character gets near a device that uses radio waves (older televisions, radios, cell phones), roll Humanity. On a failure, the device loses reception. Televisions lose picture and viewers see only “snow,” while cell phones drop calls and radios crackle and warble. This bane gives a hunter an excellent way to track your character—just watch for the stream of people cursing into their cell phones or wondering why they’ve lost a wireless Internet connection.
Beat: A hunter finds your character or she ruins an electronic device at an inconvenient time.
Your character cannot enter a private dwelling uninvited. If he does, he treats the interior as sunlight, but downgrades the damage by one step (aggravated to lethal and lethal to bashing). He cannot heal the damage as long as he remains inside.
Beat: You take damage from entering a private dwelling, or remaining outside causes a problem or inconvenience for you.
GM’s Note: To count as a “private dwelling”, a dwelling must be inhabited by an individual or clearly defined group of people who live on the premises. They can be either tenants or full owners of the building. Apartments, condos, dorm rooms, and houses (mortaged, rented, or fully owned) all count. Hotel rooms only count if the resident is a long-term resident (and thus subject to legal rights as a tenant rather than hotel guest; residency requirements are a month+ in most states).
Guests of the dwelling’s owner/tenant can also invite the vampire in, not just the latter.
Non-legal residents of a dwelling can also count. Many vampires don’t own their havens legally.
Finally, dwellings of ghouls and other vampires are not prohibited to vampires with the Invitation bane. They are prohibited to Tzimisce vampires, who suffer a more severe version of this bane.
As invitation, and your character also caps her dice pools by her Humanity dots for as long as he remains within the dwelling. She is also prohibited from entering the private dwellings of vampires and ghouls, not just mortals. Tzimisce vampires cannot take this bane, as they already suffer from it.
Beat: As invitation, or you fail a dice roll due to this bane.
Your character can be bound or even dismembered by red string, prayer strips, or other seemingly harmless materials. The character cannot cross such bindings if they bar his path (and, fortunately for him, he knows instinctively to avoid them). If he attempts it, the binding—even flimsy thread—remains taut and firm, but slices into your character’s flesh like a scalpel. Pushing against the material causes (11 – Humanity) bashing per turn for every limb or body part exposed. A doorway strung with the offending substance, then, can dismember a sufficiently monstrous vampire in seconds.
Beat: You take damage from a binding.
You are especially sensitive to sunlight and treat your Humanity as 2 points lower for purposes of determining how much damage you suffer. Bright lights also hurt your eyes, capping all dice pools by your Humanity for as long as you remain exposed. Followers of Set and related bloodlines cannot take this bane, as they already suffer from it.
Beat: You take extra damage from sunlight or fail a roll due to this bane.
As light sensitive, and your character takes damage from bright light as if it were sunlight, but downgrades the damage by one step (aggravated to lethal and lethal to bashing).
Beat: You take damage from bright lights.
Your character takes aggravated damage from a particular source of damage, such as:
• Ash, yew, or mistletoe wood
• Weapons wielded by virgins, clergy or “the pure of heart” (any character with True Faith)
• Attacks preceded by calling your character by name
Beat: Your character takes damage from the source of her bane.
Your character becomes disoriented and cannot find her way in fog, steam or mist. Her Defense is capped by her Humanity, and whenever she tries to leave the area, she must spend a point of Willpower and roll Humanity. On a failure, she remains hopelessly lost. If your character finds a guide and accepts his help, she must follow him until they escape the fog.
Beat: You become lost in fog or are hit by an attack due to this bane.
Your character glows slightly in moonlight. This isn’t too noticeable in a city environment, where your character is probably surrounded by artificial light, but in a rural locale, or even a suburban area with few streetlights, your character has an obvious nimbus of soft, pale light around her. This gives hunters a bonus equal to (11 – Humanity) on dice rolls to follow or identify your character.
Variations: Your character glows under artificial light instead of moonlight, or glows in pitch darkness (which probably also imposes a slight penalty to Stealth rolls).
Beat: Your character is inconvenienced by hunters due to this bane.
Other Kindred can drink your character’s blood with only the usual unpleasant side effects (blood addiction, blood bonds and the like). Mortals, however, grow steadily unstable when they drink the blood of your character afflicted with this bane. Every time a mortal imbibes from your character, even just a taste, the Storyteller rolls the mortal’s Resolve + Composure, with all the associated penalties for resisting blood bonds. Failure means that the mortal develops a Mental Persistent Condition that involves obsessing over your character somehow. While many ghouls wind up unhealthily fixated on their regnants, this vampire’s servants lose functionality in short order. The mortals become unable to cope with the world, following your character at all times, extolling his virtues to anyone in the area, and consuming insects and small animals in an attempt to become like their master. While the mortals never deliberately betray your character, they haughtily brag on your character’s behalf to anyone who asks (including hunters).
Malkavians already have a lesser version of this bane—imbibing their vitae invariably drives mortals insane.
Variations: The degradation isn’t mental, but physical. Your character’s slaves become mutated, hideous husks of their former selves.
Beat: Your character’s enthralled mortals cause a difficulty or inconvenience for him.
Your character absorbs the madness in his victims’ blood, inheriting any Mental Conditions that his victim has. These Conditions remain for one scene per point of Vitae taken from the victim. If your character kills the victim by draining him to death, the player must roll Humanity. If the roll fails, any Conditions from that victim become persistent.
Beat: You inherit a Condition from a victim.
Whenever your character encounters someone with an altered perception, roll Humanity. On a failure, they can see your character for what she is. That includes anyone under the influence of mind-altering chemicals, legal or otherwise, and might include anyone with the Unseen Sense Merit. The Storyteller is the final arbiter of whether a person’s perceptions are altered enough to see your character. Such witnesses don’t always understand what they are seeing, but know for certain that your character isn’t human and is dangerous. That means that clubs and parties, which are normally good places to hunt, become ready sources of mob violence against the Kindred.
Beat: Witnesses who know your character isn’t human cause a problem for her.
As your character’s Vitae pool falls, the Man dies away. The character’s ability to solve problems, recall facts and apply logic is directly linked to his blood pool. Your character’s Intelligence Attribute is limited by his Vitae pool. That is, if your character’s Intelligence rating is usually four dots, and he only has two Vitae in his pool, then he is functionally at Intelligence 2. If your character falls to zero Vitae, he enters a mindless frenzy, becoming no better than a wight until he feeds. Even then, feeding only allows your character to attempt to regain control. As soon as the mindless vampire sups on at least one point Vitae, the player rolls your character’s current Intelligence + Resolve. If the roll fails, the frenzy continues until your character feeds again (which might be as soon as the following turn). If the roll succeeds, the Kindred regains control of himself.
Variations: This bane can be applied to any Attribute, though the effect is different. If the bane is applied to a Social Attribute, your character gains the effects of the Hunger’s Visage bane in addition to the frenzy. If the affected Attribute is Physical, your character becomes sluggish and weak when the Attribute falls to zero. Any derived traits suffer, of course, but the Kindred also enters torpor at sunrise if he fails to feed before then.
Beat: You fail a roll due to this bane.
Your character loses all of his undead powers on consecrated ground. Whenever your character would use a Discipline or spend Vitae, roll Humanity with a penalty equal to the site’s True Faith rating (if any). On a failure, the Discipline does not activate and cannot be used for the remainder of the scene. Any spent Vitae is wasted to no effect. “Holy ground,” for purposes of this bane, might include any church or worship site, the sites sacred to a particular religion, or a site prepared with special herbs, symbols or rituals.
Beat: Your character wastes Vitae or fails to activate a Discipline.
White is a mourning color in some cultures, and vampires occasionally develop a compulsion to wear white. If your character does not visibly wear at least one white article of clothing, all dice pools are capped by his Humanity until he can dress appropriate. If the white article of clothing becomes soiled, this penalty applies until it can be cleaned or replaced.
Variations: Black, of course, is the color of mourning many cultures, but strangely, this doesn’t seem to become compulsory as often.
Beat: You fail a roll due to this bane.
Your character’s respiratory system does not function, not even to the extent require to draw in a breath. This means that she cannot speak above a strangled whisper, and even then only a few words at a time. This caps all Social dice pools by her Humanity and grants hunters a (11 – Humanity) bonus on rolls to follow or identify your character. If your character spends a point of Vitae and succeeds on a Humanity roll, she can negate this penalty and speak normally for a scene, forcing blood into the lungs and throat to reactivate them.
Beat: You fail a roll due to this bane or hunter tracks your character down.
Your character has no reflection. After every thirty minutes of interaction with her, characters make a reflexive Perception roll contested by (11 – Humanity) dice to notice her missing reflection. To hunters, it’s a dead giveaway as to her nature. Other vampires may mistake her for a Lasombra. Most mortals subconsciously choose to ignore this oddity but are nevertheless unnerved by it, causing your character to suffer her Humanity dots as a cap on all Social dice pools except Intimidation.
Lasombra cannot take this bane, as they already suffer a more severe version of it.
Beat: You fail a roll or suffer some other inconvenience due to this bane.
Once your character gives his word, he cannot break it. Maybe the Beast latches onto some odd notion of loyalty or honor, or maybe your character just fixates on the oath as sacrosanct. In any case, violating a sworn oath (even accidentally) is a breaking point at Humanity 1 for your character. Your character can be forced into swearing oaths, but can also leave loopholes in the language of the oaths—as long as he doesn’t violate the letter of the law, he can do as he pleases.
Beat: Your character fulfills his oath when it is inconvenient for him.
Electronic transmissions refuse to carry or record your character’s voice. That means that talking on a telephone with your character is impossible; the phone transmits only static. It also means that the character cannot be recorded. The character can overcome this limitation for one scene by spending a point of Willpower (for telephone or other communication devices), or leave a recording in place for a number of days equal to (11 – Humanity).
Beat: Not being able to talk on the phone or leave a permanent recording causes a problem for your character.
Your character cannot refuse an offer of blood, even from fellow Kindred or in the middle of a group of mortals. If anyone asks (for whatever reason) if your character wants blood, she must answer “yes,” and immediately imbibe. If she answers “no,” or if the offer is made but no blood is actually put forth, your character must roll to avoid frenzy. Her dice pool is capped by her Humanity dots.
Beat: Answering “yes” to another character’s offer of blood causes a problem for you.
Your character’s wounds stay open until she sleeps. She can heal damage with Vitae, but the wounds do not close until she’s undergone daysleep. All Social dice pools except Intimidation suffer her Humanity or current Health (whichever is worse) as a cap.
Beat: You fail a roll due to this bane.
In addition to a wooden stake, a metal shaft such as a sword or a spike can paralyze your character. The system for impaling your character remains unchanged, except that the attack need only inflict an amount of damage equal to (character’s Humanity or 5, whichever is lower).
Beat: Your character is staked by a metal shaft.
Your character finds the pure of heart to be utterly repulsive. Any touch by a mortal who fits her definition of purity sears her flesh, causing (11 – Humanity) bashing damage per turn. Actually feeding on such humans inflicts aggravated damage equal to the number of Vitae ingested.
Definitions of purity can include: virgins, children, any mortal with True Faith, a member of a particular religion, any mortal who has never raised a hand in violence, etc.
Beat: Your character takes damage from the pure of heart.
Rain, the bringer of life, refuses to touch your character. The rain simply falls around him. Even if he walks out in a monsoon, he comes back completely dry. Water from other sources (showers, rivers, etc.) does not avoid your character, but it becomes brown and stagnant within seconds of your character immersing himself. This stands out to vampire hunters. If your character drinks water, willingly or otherwise, he treats it as poison with a toxicity rating equal to (11 – Humanity).
Beat: Your character attracts inconvenient attention or takes damage from drinking water.
Your character attracts vermin. She’s always surrounded by rats, flies, cockroaches, or other creatures of plague. This causes discomfort and disgust in most mortals, causing her to fail any Social roll not related to the Intimidation Skill. She can send the vermin away for a number of minutes equal to her Humanity score with a Willpower point.
Beat: You fail a roll due to this bane.
Your character finds a certain substance abhorrent. Choose this when taking the bane, but it should be something that is likely to appear in many homes. For example, garlic, salt, roses, or silver are all valid repulsions. She must spend a point of Willpower and succeed on a Humanity roll if she wishes to come closer than (11 – Humanity) feet from the item. As well, if the object of repulsion enters a wound, it causes (11 – Humanity) dice of bashing damage.
Beat: You take damage from your objection of repulsion or inconvenience yourself staying away from it.
GM’s Note: Actually, it doesn’t need to be a common substance. That neat thing about banes is that they’re self-balancing. If you pick some crazily rare substance like “holy water blessed by five Catholic bishops on the feast days of five separate saints”, you simply won’t get to earn as many Beats.
The cremated remains of a human being burn and sear your character’s flesh. Such ashes inflict (11 – Humanity) bashing damage per turn of contact. Coating your character in such ashes (requiring a successful grapple roll) probably dooms him to the worst minute of his unlife as his flesh drops away and his bones sizzle and crack. If he can manage to get to water and wash the ashes away, he might survive.
If the ashes belong to a mortal personally killed by your character, this damage is lethal instead of bashing.
Beat: You take damage from human ashes.
Your character’s flesh starts rotting every night at sundown, and heals over the course of the day as she sleeps. This rot does not inflict any damage on your character, but it looks and smells repulsive, and seems to afflict the extremities first. The nose and lips rot off, the flesh around the fingertips blackens, and the feet develop blisters that ooze foul-smelling, clotted blood. Only by expending one point of Vitae and succeeding on a Humanity roll every scene (as though activating the Blush of Life) can your character avoid this fate, and even then the scent is faintly present, causing her to treat her Humanity as if it were 2 points lower for purposes of Social penalties.
Beat: You fail a roll due to this bane or your rotted appearance causes problems for you.
Shadows, reflections and even televised images turn away from your character. Your character might make the effort to remain visible on a security camera or in a photo, but people around your character seem to turn their faces away. Likewise, if your character stands with several people in front of a mirror, the reflections of the people avert their eyes from the Kindred. Mortals can notice this with a reflexive Perception roll contested by (your Humanity) dice. If your character feeds on someone “in view” of the reflection, the reflection screams, automatically alerting anyone in the area. This grants hunters a bonus equal to (11 – Humanity) on rolls to follow or identify your character, and endangers the Masquerade in its own right.
Beat: You break the Masquerade or a hunter tracks you down due to this bane.
The sight of blood makes a vampire dizzied and distracted, to the point that he has difficulty fighting foes who are obviously bleeding. Your character caps her Defense by her Humanity dots against opponents who are visibly bleeding. If the opponent is simply bloodstained, your character receives his Defense normally—the opponent actually has to be losing blood. If your character’s Vitae pool is completely full, this bane does not apply.
Beat: You are hit by an attack due to this bane.
Your character fears the image of the sun as much as the sun itself. Whenever she sees a picture of the sun, your character must roll to avoid frenzy with a variable penalty based on how realistic the image is. A child’s crayon drawing of the sun might apply a +3 to the roll, while a video of the sun at high noon might impose a -5 modifier.
Beat: N/A. Frenzying already grants a Beat.
Your character becomes weak as a child when faced with thickets, briars or brambles. All Strength-based dice pools are capped by your character’s Humanity if more than one of her limbs are touching such plants.
Variations: This bane also extends to restraints made from brambles or briars.
Beat: Your character fails a roll due to this bane.
If your character remains stationary for (11 – Humanity) minutes or more, frost accumulates on windows, plants and any other surface that holds it. Your character leaves icy fingerprints on glass, even after a brief touch. This grants hunters a (11 – Humanity) bonus on rolls to follow or identify your character. You can suppress this bane for a scene by spending a Willpower point and succeeding on a Humanity roll.
Beat: A hunter tracks your character down.
Your character must taste any blood he sees. Whether the blood is seeping from a diner’s steak in a restaurant or an open sore on a homeless man’s cheek, your character cannot leave the area under his own power without just a taste. Your character doesn’t have to reach out and dip his finger in, but he must taste the blood before the scene is over. If he does not do so, he immediately loses (11 – Humanity) Vitae as his Beast spitefully burns through his blood reserve.
Beat: Your character tastes blood in an inappropriate setting.
Your character immerse himself in the mortal world; it not only feeds him, it compels him. When he chooses vessels, he becomes obsessed. When he drinks from a mortal once, he’s fine. On his second and further drinks from the same source, roll Humanity. Failure causes the Persistent Dependent Condition toward the mortal (see p.302). The Condition only goes away with the mortal’s death. For this reason, vampires with this bane tend toward either remarkable promiscuity, or they cultivate massive harems and herds.
Your character feels weak in the presence of holy symbols. Anyone who spends an instant action to brandish such a symbol can roll Presence + Resolve + True Faith, contested by your character’s Humanity dots as a dice pool. If the person brandishing the symbol wins, your character takes the Repelled Condition.
You have been repelled by a holy symbol. If you attempt to approach, touch, or directly attack the character brandishing the symbol, you must spend a point of Willpower and suffer your Humanity dots as a dice pool cap for the remainder of the scene.
If the character brandishing the symbol spends another instant action and wins the contested roll, they can press the symbol to your body and inflict (11 – your Humanity) bashing damage.
This Condition naturally fades without resolving at the end of a scene.
Beat: You take damage from a holy symbol or fail a roll due to this Condition.
Your character also automatically suffers the Repelled Condition if she attempts to touch or deface a holy symbol. She might be vulnerable to all symbols, the symbols from a particular religion or subset of religions (all Christian symbols, all Abrahamic religious symbols, etc.), or only the religion that your character practiced in life.
A spider’s webs cause your character great problems. Even a web from a small spider stops her in her tracks. Once she touches a web, breaking free requires breaking the web, which is treated as an item with Durability equal to (11 – Humanity).
Beat: Your character has to break free of a spiderweb at an already inconvenient time.
A handful of grave soil sprinkled on your character forces her to immediately expend (11 – Humanity) Vitae. Grave soil slipped into her pocket or purse can accomplish this as well. Sprinkling grave soil on a character in combat takes a Dexterity + Athletics – (character’s Defense) roll.
Beat: Your character expends Vitae due to this bane.
Your character exudes an aura of death. This isn’t strong enough to harm or even bother human beings, but plants wither and insects fall dead when your character is within (11 – Humanity) feet or so. The effect isn’t strong enough to kill large and sturdy plants, but household plants, and flowers die noticeably quickly. This grants hunters a (11 – Humanity) bonus to rolls to follow or identify your character. You can suppress this bane for a scene by spending a Willpower point and succeeding on a Humanity roll.
Beat: A hunter tracks your character down.