Animalism

“Then, awakening myself further, I found […] the way to have dominion over beasts.”
—The Book of Nod

Animalism.jpg
It was like something out of a horror movie. I just saw this guy walking by himself, noticed he had a bulging wallet in his back pocket, and held him up. You know, as you do? It shoulda been a simple transaction. “Your money or your life,” as those old stories used to go. Well it got weird fucking quickly. The previously clear, still night filled with the baying howls and whines of I don’t know… two dozen dogs? This small black guy just stared at me. His face was changing, becoming less… or more… I don’t know. He looked like a rottweiler. He told me “Remember this. You fuck with a rat, you’d better learn to run.” I felt something in me breaking, and I was running.

I shouldn’t have looked behind me. I don’t know how many dogs were chasing me down the fucking high street, but loads of people saw it, as I screamed and spluttered and cried out for help. When those dogs brought me down and started biting me, I thought they’d eat me alive. But the weirdest thing… It’s like they knew when to stop. They just… They just fucked me up! Now look at me. No fingers. No toes. No fucking nose or ears. I still see that motherfucker’s staring eyes whenever I blink and I hear those fucking dogs whenever I sleep.

Clans: Gangrel, Nosferatu, Ravnos, Tzimisce
Nicknames: Bestiae sermo (archaic), doolittling (slang), taming (common)

Overview

Vampire the Masquerade (4th ed.)

The Beast resides within all creatures, from scuttling cockroaches to scabrous rats up through untamed wolves and even powerful Kindred elders. Animalism allows the vampire to amplify their intensely primordial nature. They can not only communicate with animals, but can also force their will upon them, directing such beasts to do as they command. As the vampire grows in power, they can even control the Beast within mortals and other supernaturals.

Beasts grow distinctly agitated in the presence of a vampire who lacks this Discipline, some to the point of attacking or running from the vampire. In contrast, vampires possessing Animalism exude a dominant vibe to lower creatures, which attracts them.

Storytelling Animals: It can be difficult for the GM to use animals as something more than a plot device whenever a character tries to communicate with them. It’s easy to fall back on monosyllabic speech and easily led creatures in order to get the story moving along. And indeed, animals are simpler than humans—they focus on the present and are directed by instincts instead of complex goals and elaborate schemes. However, simple doesn’t necessarily mean stupid; animals need cunning and perception to survive, and both can be of great use to a vampire master. Storytellers can make animals dynamic, interesting characters that bring a lot to the chronicle, or they can quickly gloss over the finer points of their characterization to get back to the more pressing conflicts in the chronicle.

Vampire the Requiem (1st ed.)

Although most look human, all the Kindred conceal within them a feral predator, a Beast that divides all others into only two categories: threat or prey. Some Kindred feel their affinity with the animals of the world, and their connection with their own animalistic nature to a greater degree than others. These Kindred often develop the Discipline of Animalism, which allows them to bond with the beasts—and the Beasts—around them. They can not only commune with lower creatures, but project their will upon them, forcing them to obey. As the Kindred gain power, some develop the ability to join with animals, or to influence the Beast lurking with their own souls or the souls of other vampires.

Most Kindred are repellent to animals. Lesser creatures grow agitated in the presence of the undead and normally flee the scene (or, in some cases, attack the vampire in question). Kindred who possess Animalism are a very different story. Animals are often attracted to such Kindred, and their presence is soothing even to restless beasts.

Other sentient, supernatural beings such as shapechangers who have animal form or who can assume animal form are not affected by Animalism. Their intelligence makes them the purview of the Dominate Discipline. Therefore, a Ventrue can try to ply their will on a werewolf—even a werewolf in wolf form—by using Dominate. Similarly, Animalism is useless on another vampire who assumes wolf or another bestial form. Animalism is of no avail to the vampire in regard to such intelligent beings.

Vampire the Requiem (2nd ed.)

A vampire’s Beast is not just a facet of their predatory nature, but a predator in and of itself—and it’s at the top of the food chain. A vampire can slip the leash of their Beast just a little to overpower weaker animals, forcing their will on such creatures. Most Animalism Devotions affect predators and scavenging animals. In a city, the Kindred can call on feral cats and dogs, pigeons and crows, foxes, and more rats than anyone wants to think about. Rural vampires can summon bats, wolves, mountain lions, and even bears—any animal that feasts on the flesh of another. Oft overlooked, however, is Animalism’s power over the Beast itself. Vampires are nothing if not animalistic creatures.

Vampire the Masquerade (5th ed.)

Perhaps the vampire has more in common with animal than human. A dangerous set of instincts drive them, and it takes a lot for them to withhold the urge to just lash out.. Much like a wild dog on a chain, a vampire’s Beast will never truly be tamed.

Some Kindred find a way of becoming one with their Beasts. Those who do are the masters of Animalism. Some accompany the use of this power with howls, snarls, and roars, or communicate with animals in the animal’s “language,” though this is an affectation and not a necessity.

The Animalism Discipline sees much use among vampires who struggle to fit in or have no taste for living among mortals. Often classed as one of Caine’s gifts of utility, allowing a vampire to thrive on unrefined blood or form companionship with non-sapient beings, it is also a devastating weapon against vampires who cling to their towers, and against inquisitors who suspect their enemies will only come on two legs. A swarm of blood-hungry rats invading a Kindred’s penthouse haven, the Animalism-proficient vampire who cows the sheriff’s Beast in Elysium, or the beady-eyed raven that spies on a Society of St. Leopold chapter all serve to strengthen Animalism practitioners, and weaken their foes.

Characteristics

By default, Animalism powers involving animals can only be used on vertebrates. Flies, spiders, jellyfish, tapeworms, etc. cannot be affected by the Discipline. Their thought processes are too alien.

Type: Social
Masquerade threat: Low to medium. While talking to animals might seem eccentric, only the most violent applications of the Discipline elicit more than a few raised eyebrows.
Blood Resonance: Animal blood, preferably feral.


Animalism • Devotions


Animalism.jpg


Common Devotions


Famulus

The vampire can issue telepathic commands to any ghouled animal under their control. The animal must be within sight or hearing of the vampire to receive their commands.
Cost: Free

Feral Menagerie

The vampire can keep a single extra ghoul without it counting towards their normal limit of (Domain + Herd) ghouls. This ghoul must be an animal.
Cost: Free

Feral Whispers

The vampire can talk with an animal to ask it questions or issue verbal commands. The animal can’t answer anything it doesn’t understand (many abstract human concepts are lost on animals), but an inquisitive vampire can still find out a lot. The animal will follow any reasonable command—it won’t throw itself into onrushing traffic to no purpose, but it could be commanded to attack the vampire’s enemies. Smarter animals may be able to answer more questions and execute more complex commands than less intelligent animals. Animals under another night-folk’s control (including ghouled aimals) are immune to this Devotion.
Cost: 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 0-1. Free at Blood Potency 2+.
Duration: One night

Mark Territory

The vampire can spill traces of blood along the borders of their domain, much like an animal using pheromones or urine to mark its territory. Any other vampire entering the domain can “smell” the vampire’s scent and knows the area is claimed by a rival predator. While many vampires use coded graffiti to mark their territory, this Devotion is entirely mystical and invisible to non-vampires, as well as obvious to vampires who don’t know what to look for.
Requirement: The vampire must have at least one dot in the Domain Background over the area they mark.
Cost: Free
Duration: For as long as long as the vampire holds onto the territory.

Sense Beast

If the vampire knows someone is another night-folk, the vampire can tell at a glance how many Supernatural Tolerance dots they have. The vampire can also tell what another vampire’s Hunger is, what a ghoul’s Craving is, and what a werewolf’s Rage is. With a Rouse check, the vampire can ask questions about the victim’s Disciplines and Physical Attributes (e.g., how many dots they have in a specific one, what their highest or lowest dot rating is, etc.).
Cost: Free

Vomerosense

The vampire can sniff the air or taste their surroundings to instinctively sense whether another vampire claims domain over the area they’re in. The vampire can ask basic questions about the domain’s holder such as clan, Blood Potency, Domain dots (how spread out the other vampire is likely to be), blood sympathy towards another Kindred whose vitae the vampire has tasted, and so on. This Devotion can’t be used to gather intelligence about the other vampire’s movements, only basic information about what sort of predator lays claim to the area. Vampires with Obfuscate take a Clash of Wills to gather information about.
Cost: 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 0-1. Free at Blood Potency 2+.
Dice Pool: (Intelligence or Wits) + (applicable Skill) + Animalism
DC: 2. Every success lets the vampire ask one question.


Animalism •• Devotions


Animalism.jpg


Common Devotions


Animal Succulence

The vampire can gain deep nourishment from the blood of animals. They always treat their Blood Potency as if it were 1 for purposes of slaking Hunger from animals. (Vampires at Blood Potency 2-3 normally slake fewer Hunger, and ones at Blood Potency 4+ can slake none at all.)
Cost: Free

Beckoning

The vampire can spill their blood to telepathically summon every animal of a certain type (e.g., cats, rats, wolves) within the nearest few blocks or equivalent area. The vampire can choose not to summon some animals. The summoned animals can be asked questions or issued commands as per Feral Whispers.
Cost: 2 Rouse checks at Blood Potency 0-2. 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 3+.
Duration: Scene

Feral Menagerie

The vampire can keep two extra ghouls without them counting towards the vampire’s normal limit of (Domain + Herd) ghouls. These extra ghouls must be animals. This Devotion doesn’t stack with the lower-dot version of itself.
Prerequisite: Feral Menagerie •
Cost: Free

Feral Whispers

This Devotion functions as Feral Whispers •, except the vampire can communicate with all animals of a single type (e.g., cats, rats, wolves) rather than a single animal. The vampire no longer needs to make Rouse checks to communicate with the chosen type of animal.
Prerequisite: Feral Whispers •
Cost: 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 0-2. Free at Blood Potency 3+.
Duration: One night

Raise the Familiar

The vampire can raise a dead animal’s corpse into an undead servitor to do their bidding. The familiar has the same statistics and appearance that it did when it died, but is unimpaired by any premortem injuries. Most mortals don’t notice anything wrong about the familiar unless they examine it closely, but find something about it unnerving. Living animals react to the familiar with terror or aggression. The vampire can telepathically command the familiar over any distance, but can’t ask it questions. The familiar follows orders without regard for self-preservation. It’s already dead.
Cost: 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 0-2. Free at Blood Potency 3+.
Duration: One night The vampire can raise the same familiar more than once.

Taste of the Wild

The ghoul can turn animals into ghouls. This costs Rouse checks like normal. The ghoul can make a single one of these animals blood bound towards them (this takes three draughts over three nights as normal), but any animals in excess of this amount are bound to no one.
Cost: Free


Uncommon Devotions


Beast’s Vigor

(Fortitude •• amalgam)
The vampire can transfer their wounds to an animal by touching it. The vampire reduces their penalties from the Injured Condition by any amount and makes the animal suffer them in the vampire’s place. Animals smaller than human size may only be able to accept penalties up to a certain amount before dying. Larger than human animals may be able to survive penalties in excess of 5.
Cost: 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 0-2. Free at Blood Potency 3+.

Unspoken Missive

The vampire can encode a simple message (up to several sentences long) within an animal’s physical characteristics or mannerisms. Scent, body language, and vocalizations may hide an encrypted message that can only be deciphered by a recipient also versed in Animalism. Individuals other than the intended recipient can only decipher the message if they’re aware the creature is carrying a message and succeed on a Clash of Wills against the vampire.
Prerequisite: Feral Whispers •
Cost: 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 0-2. Free at Blood Potency 3+.
Duration: Until message is delivered.


Animalism ••• Devotions


Animalism.jpg


Common Devotions


Feral Menagerie

The vampire can keep three extra ghouls without them counting towards the vampire’s normal limit of (Domain + Herd) ghouls. These extra ghouls must be animals. This Devotion doesn’t stack with the lower-dot versions of itself.
Prerequisite: Feral Menagerie •, Feral Menagerie ••
Cost: Free

Feral Outburst

The vampire can incite one mortal, animal, or night-folk into a state of feral rage. They attack or try to destroy whatever the vampire directs them to. Affected vampires and werewolves succumb to frenzy.
Cost: 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 0-3. Free at Blood Potency 4+.
Dice Pool: (Charisma or Manipulation) + (applicable Skill) + + Animalism
DC: (1/2 victim’s Resolve + Composure + Supernatural Tolerance) + 1. Animals not controlled by other night-folk don’t require a roll.
Duration: Scene.

Feral Whispers

This Devotion functions as Feral Whispers •, except the vampire can communicate with all animals of any species, rather than a single animal.
Prerequisite: Feral Whispers •, Feral Whispers ••
Cost: 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 0-3. Free at Blood Potency 4+.
Duration: One night

Grow Beast

The vampire can transform a mundane animal into a more dangerous version of itself. House cats grow into tigers, panthers, or other great cats; dogs become slavering wolves; sparrows and parakeets become enormous birds of prey. Animals without a more “fearsome” form, such as rabbits or mice, gestate into a swarm and gnaw their way out of the original animal’s loins (even if it’s male) in a gory shower before dying at the end of the scene. Animals that are already dangerous predators, such as bears or sharks, fly into murderous rampages. The animal(s) obey any command from the vampire that isn’t obviously suicidal.
Cost: 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 0-3. Free at Blood Potency 4+.
Duration: Scene.

Summon the Hunt

The vampire can spill their blood to telepathically summon every animal within the nearest few blocks or equivalent area. The vampire can choose not to summon some animals. The animals can be asked questions or issued commands as per Feral Whispers.
Prerequisite: Feral Whispers •, Feral Whispers ••
Cost: 2 Rouse checks at Blood Potency 0-3. 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 4+.
Duration: One night


Uncommon Devotions


Quell Beast

By locking eyes with a target, the vampire cows their inner Beast into temporary slumber. Mortals and animals become incapacitated with lethargy and will only take physical actions to defend themselves or people they care about if attacked. Vampires cannot enter frenzy (and exit frenzy if currently frenzying), but also cannot make Rouse checks, use Disciplines, or make predatory aura rolls without spending 1 Story Point. Disciplines cost 1 Story Point per Devotion dot. The vampire also takes Advantage on Physical and Intimidation rolls against the target.
Cost: 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 0-3. Free at Blood Potency 4+.
Dice Pool: (Charisma or Manipulation) + (applicable Skill) + Animalism
DC: (1/2 victim’s Resolve + Composure + Supernatural Tolerance) + 1. Non-agitated mortals and animals don’t require a roll.
Duration: Scene.

Swarm Master

The vampire can use Animalism Devotions on insects.
• A moderate-sized swarm of insects counts as a single animal for purposes of Rouse costs, numbers of animals a Devotion can affect at once, etc.
• Insects are poor at following complex commands unless they’re already capable of doing so on their own (e.g., an ant colony). The most complex commands a fly can manage are “attack,” “stop,” “go there,” etc.
• Insects can’t ever communicate with the vampire or answer questions, making them useless as spies. Their thought processes are too simple and too alien.
• At the GM’s discretion, some Devotions may work differently. For example, a dead fly probably can’t be reanimated with Raise the Familiar.
Cost: Free


Animalism •••• Devotions


Animalism.jpg


Common Devotions


Animal Dominion

The vampire can command any number of animals within sight or hearing as if the animals were extensions of their own body. The animals follow any command, no matter how dangerous. They’ll lay down their lives by the dozens, even hundreds, to appease their master. Commanding animals already under another night-folk’s control takes a Clash of Wills.
Prerequisite: Feral Whispers •, Feral Whispers ••, Feral Whispers •••
Cost: 2 Rouse checks at Blood Potency 0-4. 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 5+.
Duration: Scene.

Feral Infection

The vampire can incite any number of nearby humans, animals, and night-folk within the room into a state of feral rage. They attack or try to destroy whatever the vampire directs them to. Affected vampires and werewolves succumb to frenzy.
Prerequisite: Feral Outburst •••
Cost: 2 Rouse checks at Blood Potency 0-4. 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 5+.
Dice Pool: (Charisma or Manipulation) + (applicable Skill) + Animalism
DC: (1/2 victim’s Resolve + Composure + Supernatural Tolerance) + 1. Roll once and compare the result against every victim’s DC: some may succumb and some may resist. Animals not controlled by other night-folk don’t require a roll.
Duration: Scene.

Feral Menagerie

The vampire can keep four extra ghouls without them counting towards the vampire’s normal limit of (Domain + Herd) ghouls. These extra ghouls must be animals. This Devotion doesn’t stack with the lower-dot versions of itself.
Prerequisite: Feral Menagerie •, Feral Menagerie ••, Feral Menagerie •••
Cost: Free

Subsume Spirit

The vampire takes over an animal’s body and controls it as if it were their own. The vampire’s body falls into torpor. The vampire uses the animal’s Physical Attributes and their own Skills and non-Physical Attributes. The vampire can’t use Blood Sorcery or any Disciplines or supernatural powers that rely on speech, and can’t use any Disciplines during the day without spending 1 Story Point per Devotion dot. If the animal’s body dies while the vampire possesses it, accrue a Stain.
Requirement: The vampire can only take over a predatory, parasitic, scavenging, or plague-bearing animal. The Beast won’t inhabit the body of prey.
Cost: 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 0-4. Free at Blood Potency 5+.
Dice Pool: (Charisma or Manipulation) + (applicable Skill) + Animalism
DC: (1/2 victim’s Resolve + Composure + Supernatural Tolerance) + 1.
Duration: One night

Summon the Hunt

This Devotion functions like Summon the Hunt •••, except the vampire can summon animals out of thin air. The vampire can spill their blood in the middle of a corporate office room and summon packs of wolves or swarms of bats or rats. The animals can be any predatory, scavenging, parasitic, or plague-bearing species native to the region. The vampire can choose where the animals appear.
Prerequisite: Feral Whispers •, Feral Whispers ••, Summon the Hunt •••
Cost: 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 0-4. Free at Blood Potency 5+.
Duration: Scene. Any surviving animals vanish back from whence they came. Dead animals’ corpses remain where they are.


Uncommon Devotions


Reason’s Salon

Animalism can draw bestial behavior out of a person, but with this Devotion, it can also suppress those behaviors. By spreading their vitae about a building or gathering place, the vampire can keep Kindred from losing control and unleashing their Beasts for a short time. All rolls to resist frenzy, resist another vampire’s predatory aura, and calm other Kindred down from frenzy take Advantage. For this reason, it’s not always rare to see a Gangrel master of Elysium.
Cost: 2 Rouse checks at Blood Potency 0-4. 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 5+.
Duration: One night

Shared Soul

The vampire can view one scene’s worth of memories from any point in an animal’s past. Some Gangrel use this Devotion as a tool in the search for enlightenment, feeling they come to a better understanding of their own Beasts through rapport with true beasts.
Requirement: The vampire must be touching the animal.
Cost: 2 Rouse checks at Blood Potency 0-4. 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 5+.

Uproot Beast

The vampire can project their Beast at the moment of frenzy, transferring it into a nearby subject, either mortal or vampire. That person immediately experiences the frenzy instead, going on a merciless rampage or fleeing in terror depending on the trigger.
Prerequisite: Quell Beast •••
Cost: 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 0-4. Free at Blood Potency 5+.
Dice Pool: (Charisma or Manipulation) + (applicable Skill) + Animalism
DC: (1/2 victim’s Resolve + Composure + Supernatural Tolerance) + 1.
Duration: As frenzy.


Animalism ••••• Devotions


Animalism.jpg


Common Devotions


Animal Sovereignty

The vampire exercises absolute knowledge and control over every animal within a city block. The vampire can command them to do anything, no matter how dangerous or suicidal. By concentrating, the vampire can perceive through the senses of any one animal, and can speak through the animal in their own voice. By making a Rouse check, the vampire can use any Discipline they know through the animal besides Blood Sorcery. This kills the animfal after the Discipline activates (if it has an instantaneous effect) or its duration expires. Commanding animals already under another night-folk’s control takes a Clash of Wills.
Prerequisite: Feral Whispers •, Feral Whispers ••, Feral Whispers •••, Animal Dominion ••••
Cost: 2 Rouse checks at Blood Potency 0-5. 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 6+.
Duration: Scene.

Devil’s Claws

The vampire’s power over their Beast is near-perfect. The vampire can enter frenzy at will and choose their Beast’s impulse, wielding frenzy like a weapon to draw and sheath as they need. Since frenzying vampires are immune to mental coercion, the vampire can use this Devotion to effectively nullify Disciplines like Dominate and Presence. However, the vampire must succeed on a Clash of Wills.
Cost: 2 Rouse checks at Blood Potency 0-5. 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 6+.

Feral Menagerie

The vampire can keep five extra ghouls without them counting towards the vampire’s normal limit of (Domain + Herd) ghouls. These extra ghouls must be animals. This Devotion doesn’t stack with the lower-dot versions of itself.
Prerequisite: Feral Menagerie •, Feral Menagerie ••, Feral Menagerie •••, Feral Menagerie ••••
Cost: Free

Lord of the Land

The vampire spills their blood over an area where other night-folk don’t reside, marking it as their territory. Animals not controlled by the vampire won’t enter and fight to escape if forced inside. Mortals and night-folk stay away or try to leave if the vampire’s Charisma + Animalism beats a DC of (1/2 Resolve + Composure + Supernatural Tolerance) + 1. The vampire instinctively senses when an animal, mortal, or night-folk enters their territory, and what their Supernatural Tolerance is. Entering characters can conceal their presence with Obfuscate or another applicable power if the vampire fails a Clash of Wills. By concentrating, the vampire can perceive through the senses of any animal in their territory. Any lesser Animalism Devotions the vampire uses on animals within their territory are permanent until dismissed or the animal leaves.
Cost: 3 Rouse checks for a small house, 6 Rouse checks for a city block, 9 Rouse checks for a castle or skyscraper. Reduce these costs by 1 at Blood Potency 6+. PCs who acquire this Discipline before play begins or during downtime are assumed to have paid the costs to use this Devotion once already.
Duration: Permanent until the vampire abandons their territory. The vampire can only claim one area at once.

Uproot Beast

This Devotion functions like Uproot Beast ••••, except the vampire can also transfer the Beasts of other vampires or werewolves into different subjects, causing those subjects to experience the frenzy instead.
Prerequisite: Quell Beast •••, Uproot Beast ••••
Cost: 1 Rouse check at Blood Potency 0-5. Free at Blood Potency 6+.
Dice Pool: (Charisma or Manipulation) + (applicable Skill) + Animalism
DC: (1/2 victim’s Resolve + Composure + Supernatural Tolerance) + 1.
Duration: As frenzy.


Disciplines Portal


Malism
Auspex
Sorcery
Celerity
Dom
Animalism
Auspex
Blood
Sorcery
Celerity
Dominate
Fort
Obf
Pote
Pres
Prot
Fortitude
Obfuscate
Potence
Presence
Protean

Animalism

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