Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood & 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 their 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 they 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, their Disciplines grow more powerful. In as little as a decade, a vampire might look out at humanity and wonder whether they ever truly understood it.
But there is a further price. As a vampire’s humanity falls and their supernatural powers come to the fore, so do their mythological weaknesses: being repelled by crucifixes, inability to enter a house without being invited, or difficulty crossing running water. The more monstrous the vampire and the stronger their vitae, the more severe their weaknesses: thus, Kindred elders tend to be more susceptible to banes than younger vampires. Canny neonates and vampire hunters can exploit these vulnerabilities to great advantage against otherwise more powerful foes.
One way or another, the Beast takes its toll.
“The greater a being’s power, the greater the constraints upon its power.”
Vampires naturally acquire banes as their vitae thickens and their humanity wanes. A newly-Embraced neonate is likely to have no banes besides their clan bane, while a monstrous elder may be riddled with curses and vulnerabilities. Banes are usually personally significant to a vampire in some way: for example, a vampire who prides themselves on keeping their word may suffer from Oathbound (and be unable to break promises without consequence), while a vampire who was physically abused in life might suffer from Beast’s Cowardice (and only be able to feed from non-resisting victims). Clever enemies may be able to guess a vampire’s banes through knowledge of their history and personality. This is another reason why many vampires lie about their mortal origins.
There’s no exact number for how many banes a vampire has. One per Blood Potency dot above one, and one per Humanity below seven, is a good rule of thumb. Some vampires may have more and some may have less. Severe versions of a bane count as two banes.
There are two widely believed methods to get rid of banes:
First, the vampire can perform redemptive actions in manner symbolically reflective of the bane. A vampire saves a virgin’s life with no thought of reward, and later finds that a virgin’s touch no longer burns him. A vampire breaks up a gang fight in her old neighborhood, and later realizes that she can finally walk across the bridge there without feeling ill.
Secondly, the vampire can discover supernatural remedies for banes. Countless rumors of how to get rid of banes abound among the All-Night Society. Some of them work and some of them don’t. Several sample ones are as follows:
• “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
Caroline: “Garlic? Silver? Crucifixes? Mirrors? Holy water?”
Maldonato: “Myths and superstitions, to the majority of us. Some individual Kindred are cursed with vulnerability to such apotropaics, but they are no more universal to our race than individual allergies and genetic disorders are universal among the kine.”
Caroline Malveaux-Devillers to Philip Maldonato
The thirteen Kindred clans each carry affinities for certain Disciplines. This gives each clan powers that other Kindred may not have access to. On the other hand, each clan also suffers from a unique curse. Noddist lore holds these curses were leveled by Caine in punishment for the Antediluvians’ murder of their sires. Many clans maintain their founder was favored by Caine, and that his supposed curse was actually a gift or some other reflection of the clan’s superiority. (The Nosferatu are a notable exception to this pattern: none of the sewer rats pretend their clan isn’t cursed.)
Unlike other banes, clan banes are universal. Every vampire suffers from their clan bane.
Assamites: The Twin Curses
The Banu Haqim suffer from two curses:
• The Judgeful Curse: The Banu Haqim are drawn to feed from those deserving punishment. This is especially true for vampire blood, the very essence of transgression. For centuries, this cure was suppressed by the Tremere blood curse (which made the blood of other vampires poisonous) until 2003. Now, having been forced to rely on alchemical blood potions for much of its modem history, the clan is addicted to the vitae of other vampires. Any time an Assamite drinks or even tastes Kindred blood, they risk frenzy. A frenzing Assamite will attack the other vampire and drain them into torpor if not stopped.
• The Darkening Curse: The Banu Haqim’s skin darkens as their blood thickens. For weaker-blooded Assamites, this is a minor inconvenience—after a century, most Caucasians will look vaguely well-tanned, most Arabs and Middle Easterners will look dusky, and most Africans will have ebony skin. After several or so centuries, the skin tone becomes distinctly unnatural. There are, after all, no ethnicities in the world whose skin tone is literally jet-black, which is common among Assamite elders. An Assamite elder who is more than five or so centuries old draws stares among mortals due to their unusually dark skin tone. An elder who is more than a thousand or so years old looks distinctly inhuman, though not as disturbing as the typical Nosferatu or Tzimisce.
Brujah: The Wrathful Curse
The same passions that inspire Brujah to greatness or depravity, left unchecked, can send them into incandescent rages. Their vitae simmers with barely contained fury, exploding at the slightest provocation. Brujah frenzy more easily (and frequently) than other vampires do, and the clan’s physical gifts can make these wrathful episodes devastating in their consequences.
Caitiff have no clan bane. However, Kindred society disdains them for their clanless blood. Caitiff are frequent targets of discrimination and have to work twice as hard for half the credit.
Gangrel: The Bestial Curse
Gangrel relate to their Beast much as other Kindred relate to the Gangrel: suspicious partnership. Whenever a Gangrel frenzies, they gain an animalistic feature: a physical trait or behavioral tic that lasts until the next night, lingering like a hangover following debauchery. A patch of fur, owl’s eyes, bat-like ears, or skittishness around crowds—all of these may mar an outlander after frenzy. Over time, or in an exceptional situation, a particular animal feature may become permanent, with the next frenzy adding a new feature. Some elder Gangrel are barely recognizable as human.
Giovannini: Lamia’s Curse
Giovannini cause excruciating pain to mortals through their bite. They can’t hide what they are. If a Giovannini isn’t careful, their vessel may die of shock and before being wholly exsanguinated. As a result, they tend to use blood banks, drug their victims, and take other measures to ensure victims don’t fight as much.
Lasombra: The Hollow Curse
Lasombra cast no reflections. Whether in a mirror, in a body of water, on a polished surface, or in the rear-view of a taxicab, the image of the keeper does not reflect. Lasombra become agitated and snappish when unable to escape the sight of their absent reflections. Forcefully presented or unavoidable reflective surfaces can drive them to frenzy.
Malkavian: The Moonstruck Curse
All members of Clan Malkavian are permanently, incurably insane. Some Malkavians have multiple personalities; others suffer from schizophrenic hallucinations; some harbor paranoid delusions; there are as many flavors to a Malkavian’s madness as there are grains of sand upon a beach. Not all of these insanities are immediately obvious, and sometimes the most rational-seeming Malkavians are the maddest of all.
Nosferatu: The Lonely Curse
No clan wears its curse as openly as the Nosferatu. Every sewer rat is monstrously disfigured. No two Nosferatu share the exact same malformation, and the clan is a freakshow of snarled limbs, fanged protrusions, hellish countenances, serpentine spines, ruined faces, spasmodic appendages, and even features not usually seen on the mortal stock from which the Nosferatu are drawn. The sewer rats often hide these disfigurements under shapeless robes and rags, but some exult in the discomfort their presence causes, and don’t bother disguising them. They may even emphasize them. The Nosferatu are notably the only clan to never claim their founder was blessed by Caine.
Ravnos: The Iniquitous Curse
A turbulent history makes the Ravnos slaves to their vices. Each Ravnos has a penchant for some sort of vice, such as lying, theft, blackmail, voyeurism, or cleverly framed murder. When presented with the opportunity to engage in that vice, the Ravnos vampire finds it incredibly difficult to resist. Their vice is as addictive as any chemical dependency.
Setites: The Sunlit Curse
Given their origins in darkness, the serpents react negatively to bright light: they burn faster and hotter in sunlight than other vampires do, and treat their Humanity as if it were half its normal rating for such purposes (round down). Additionally, strong lights (such as police spotlights, stage lights, flares, etc.) can drive them to frenzy, and any light bright enough to make mortals squint can give them painful headaches.
Toreador: The Rapturous Curse
The Toreador are slaves to beauty. When a Toreador experiences something sufficiently beautiful—a person, an objet d’art, a lovely sunrise, they can become enthralled. They’ll ignore other things to the total exclusion of whatever drew their attention. They can also be talked into unwise courses of action, if that means they get to keep experiencing the beautiful thing.
Tremere: The Yielding Curse
Tremere are slaves to the Blood and treat their first drink of another vampire’s vitae as their second drink. Thus, it only requires two drinks to fully bond a Tremere. Additionally, all Tremere neonates are made to drink the (transubstantiated) blood of the Council of Seven after the Embrace, and are considered one step bound towards all stronger-blooded clanmates.
Tzimisce: The Hospitable Curse
Tzimisce are bound by their clan’s customs of hospitality and cannot enter private dwellings without invitation from one of its residents. If they do, they suffer harm as if the interior were sunlight: they can’t use Disciplines and immediately begin to hemorrhage blood through their pores from agonizing internal injuries. If the resident or the dwelling’s owner rescinds their invitation, the fiend immediately begins to suffer harm until they exit the building.
Ventrue: The Epicurean Curse
The blue bloods have rarefied tastes, and find only one specific type of mortal blood truly filling: younger sisters, police officers, Roman Catholics, widows, or some other subjective criteria. All other human blood nourishes them like animal blood. Elder Ventrue, unable to subsist upon such paltry fare, may bloodily vomit it back up. Vampiric blood is exempt from this restriction.
These banes affect a vampire’s behavior towards others.
You cannot feed on mortals who put up any fight at all, even to the point of saying “stop.”
Severe: You cannot do any kind of harm to mortals who put up a fight.
The sound of your mortal name enrages your Beast. Whenever someone address you by your name, you risk frenzy. Your mortal name includes any part of your old full name, as well as any nicknames you responded to.
Severe: You risk frenzy whenever you read or hear your mortal name, even if someone isn’t specifically addressing you by it. This can be very inconvenient if your old name is common.
Your mortal name makes your warped soul shudder and your Beast writhe. Whenever someone addresses you by your name, you’re stunned for several seconds.
Severe: You immediately fall into daysleep someone calls you by your old name. Alternatively, you’re stunned whenever you read or hear your mortal name, even if someone isn’t specifically addressing you by it. This can be very inconvenient if your old name is common.
You can only ever use your mortal name or an anagram of that name. If you ever use another name, you immediately fall into torpor. You can still use another name online, through writing, or in other nonpersonal interactions.
Severe: You can’t use another name in those instances.
Your mortal name carries power over you. Whenever someone calls you by your name, you can’t use Disciplines to harm or coerce them for the rest of the scene.
Severe: You can’t use Disciplines at all for the rest of the scene.
You cannot break a sworn oath or promise. If you do so, you immediately fall into torpor.
Severe: You fall into torpor even for breaking “non-serious” promises, such as saying you’ll meet someone in 10 minutes and showing up after 12.
Plague of Purity
You find the pure of heart to be utterly repulsive. Any touch by a mortal who fits your definition of purity sears your flesh with terrible burns. If you actually feed from such mortals, their blood is poison to you. 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.
Severe: Your Disciplines and undead powers fail against such mortals.
The proximity of other vampires agitates your Beast and drives it to establish dominance. Whenever you encounter an unfamiliar vampire, you risk frenzy if you don’t lash out with your predatory aura against them.
Severe: You risk frenzy when you don’t lash out against any other vampire, not just unfamiliar ones. You don’t have to lash out against a given vampire more than once per story arc. Nevertheless, many vampires with this bane find it too difficult to function within larger Kindred society and become autarkis.
You can’t ignore a true act of kindness. If someone does you a good turn with no expectation of reward, you cannot harm them or lie to them. This lasts until you do them a good turn. Doing a good deed with the express purpose of taking advantage of this bane negates the effect. Solicited good deeds are still affected by this bane (that is, you can ask for help), so long as the doer doesn’t expect to be rewarded for their efforts.
Bane: You cannot harm or lie to anyone who does you a good turn until they harm you or you discover they’ve lied to you.
You cannot lie to mortals. You can still speak the truth in misleading ways, omit information, or change the subject: you just can’t utter factually untrue statements. If you do so, you immediately fall into torpor. You can lie normally to other night-folk.
Severe: You cannot lie to other night-folk. Vampires with this bane have to be very creative to get ahead in the All-Night Society.
These banes affect a vampire’s feeding habits.
This also counts as a feeding bane.
Blood for Service
You require a taste of your victims’ blood before you can command their mind. You cannot use Dominate or Presence against them until you do.
Severe: You can’t use any Disciplines on such victims besides Celerity, Fortitude, and Potence.
Mortals you feed from evince signs of faux vampirism. They become pale, find light uncomfortable, develop a craving for meat, and shift to a nocturnal sleep cycle. This lasts for several nights after you last feed from them.
Severe: Such mortals lose their appetite for food and feel a compunction to drink human blood.
Face of Hunger
When you’re hungry, it shows on your face and skin. Your eyes grow red, your skin pulls tight over your visage, and you look every bit the corpse.
Choose a type of vessel, such as police officers, red-headed people, members of a family, or some other subjective criteria. Their blood is poison to you.
Severe: Tasting even a drop of such blood immediately plunges you into torpor.
Mortals you feed from still feel the ecstasy of your kiss, but you can’t lick the wound closed. If someone doesn’t dress and bandage the wound, your vessel risks infection and death.
Grip of the Damned
There is no ecstasy in your Embrace—only terror and pain. Living victims you feed from do not experience the kiss (that is, feelings of ecstasy and glazed-over recollections). They struggle and shriek and resist unless subdued. Giovannini cannot take this bane, as they already have a more severe version.
Normally, the Embrace takes a deliberate effort or unfortunate accident. Those unfortunate accidents becomes easy accidents for you. Any mortal who dies during a scene where you feed on them arises as a larva, a savage and mindless but weakling vampire. Any ghoul who dies with your blood in them also arises as a larva.
Your teeth change. They might become slender and snakelike, or your jaw might unhinge to reveal a lamprey-like mouth. Whenever you actively bite someone, you are clearly identifiable as an inhuman monster. This makes feeding a risk to the Masquerade unless you’re alone with the victim, as the effects of the kiss still glaze their memory. Even when your mouth is concealed, mortal unconsciously feel nervous in your presence.
Kiss of Death
Should you drain a living vessel of all blood, the corpse rises as a zombie minutes after their heart stops beating. These zombies are free-willed, hostile toward you, and cannot be directed without some sorcerous or necromantic means to command them. They lose all powers and intelligence they had in life. Most vampires with this bane burn or dismember their victims’ bodies. This bane is particularly common among Hecata and other Kindred necromancers.
As your thirst and the Beast’s hold over you increases, the Man dies away. The hungrier you get, the stupider you become. When you’re hungry, you’re merely slow-witted. When you’re starving, you have the mental faculties of a toddler.
The full moon stirs something truly awful in your Beast. On those three nights every month, you awaken starving and ravenous with hunger, no matter how much you fed the last night. Many vampires with this bane stake or otherwise restrain themselves during full moons, but that doesn’t always work. This bane is most common among Gangrel, as well as the rare werewolf kinfolk to receive the Embrace.
Severe: All stages of the moon agitate your Beast. On new moons and crescent moons, you’re fine. During quarter moons, you always awaken hungry. During gibbious moons, you awaken starving.
You find it difficult refuse an offer of blood, even from fellow Kindred or in the middle of a group of mortals. You risk frenzy if you don’t immediately attempt to imbibe.
Severe: You immediately fall into torpor if you don’t imbibe.
You must enact some ritual, chosen when you take this bane, to gain sustenance from feeding. Rituals can be elaborate religious ceremonies, courtship and seduction routines, a requirement for a certain type of locale and mood, or anything else that seems appropriate.
Severe: When you don’t enact your ritual, the blood of your victims is poison to you.
Slowed by Bloodlust
The sight of blood makes you dizzied and distracted. You can’t think clearly whenever bleeding people are present, and it’s easy to distract or mislead you.
By some horrible quirk of fate, you were unaffected by the sundering of the Tremere curse in 2003. Worse, you still suffer from the Baali curse. You risk frenzy whenever you taste vampire blood, like a normal Bin Haqim, but it’s still poisonous to you. Additionally, you suffer all of the drawbacks and gain none of the benefits from diablerie.
Only Banu Haqim can take this bane.
You must taste any blood you see. Whether the blood is seeping from a diner’s steak in a restaurant or an open sore on a homeless man’s cheek, you cannot leave the area under your own power without just a taste. You don’t have to reach out and dip your finger in, but you must taste the blood before the scene is over. If you don’t, you risk frenzy.
You immerse yourself in the mortal world: it feeds and compels you, making you obsessed with your vessels. On your first feeding from a mortal, you’re fine. On second and further drinks, you develop a blood bond towards them as if they were vampires: thus, after four drinks, you’re three steps bound. Kindred with this bane tend toward either remarkable promiscuity, or they cultivate massive harems and herds.
These banes include traditional vampiric weaknesses and compunctions.
The sound of bells harms you as if it were filtered sunlight. Recordings of bells don’t count. Some vampires manifest this bane in response to hymns instead of bells.
Severe: You’re also affected by recordings.
A handful of flung salt in your eyes burns them away to harsh-smelling goo. You can’t regrow your eyes until the next night.
Can’t Cross Running Water
You can’t cross running water, even rainwater running through a gutter. Contact with such water harms you as if it were sunlight. You can ride in cars or other conveyances across water without inconvenience.
You cannot sleep outside a coffin, mausoleum, sepulcher, or similar object or structure designed for interning corpses. If you do so, you can’t use Disciplines until you sleep in a proper resting place. This bane is often combined with the Grave Soil bane.
Severe: You fall into torpor if you don’t sleep in a proper resting place.
You are compelled to count small things in disarray: rice, sticks, coins, etc. If someone puts such objects into disarray around you, even by accident, this distraction can buy them precious time to flee—or put a stake through your heart. You can shake off this compulsion if you’re attacked.
Severe: You can’t shake off this compulsion, even when attacked.
You fall into daysleep whenever you pass through a crossroads, knowingly or unknowingly. This manifests as a feeling of head-spinning vertigo.
Severe: You fall into torpor whenever you pass through a crossroads.
Variation: You fall into daysleep (or torpor) whenever you want to find your way to a destination you cannot walk to in a straight line.
Choose a special object or substance such as grave soil, a religious symbol (e.g., a crucifix), a rose, wooden nail, an image of a mortal loved one, etc. Touching or sprinkling you with this object or substance forces you into immediate daysleep. Slipping the object or substance into your pocket or a bag you carry or pick up (e.g., a purse, backpack, messenger bag, etc.) accomplishes this as well.
Severe: The object or substance forced you into torpor.
You are tied to the place of your death. If you don’t sleep with a handful of earth from this place, you can’t use Disciplines until you do.
Severe: You fall into torpor if you don’t sleep with your handful of earth.
Variation: You must sleep with earth from your place of birth, the specific graveyard in which you were laid to rest, or some other personally significant site.
You are grievously harmed by certain individuals or substances, and can’t regenerate injuries inflicted by them until your next daysleep. Substances and individuals can include:
• Wood (oak, rowan, ash, holly, aspen, hawthorn, blackthorn, juniper, linden, and mistletoe are all common)
• Weapons wielded by virgins, clergy, or “the pure of heart” (any person with True Faith)
• Attacks preceded by calling you by name
You cannot enter a private dwelling unless invited. If you do, you suffer harm as if the interior were sunlight (though you can still use Disciplines normally). This manifests as blood oozing from your pours in wracking pains. Tzimisce cannot take this bane, as they already have its severe version.
Severe: You also can’t use Disciplines.
You can be bound and even dismembered by red string, prayer strips, or other seemingly harmless materials. You cannot cross such bindings if they bar your path, and if you attempt it (knowingly or accidentally) the binding remains taut and firm, even if it’s flimsy thread, and slices into your flesh like a scalpel. A doorway strung with the offending substance can dismember you in moments if you don’t back off.
Severe: You can’t use Disciplines while you’re bound with such substances, or surrounded by them in an uninterrupted line.
Lost in Fog
You become disoriented and cannot find your way in fog, steam or mist: it presents an inescapable maze. If you find a guide and accept their help, you must follow the guide until you escape the fog. If you neglect to, you immediately fall into torpor.
Severe: You must follow any guide you encounter, even if you don’t want to accept their help.
You cannot control your Beast on nights of the full moon. Whenever something would trigger frenzy, you automatically succumb. Such vampires often command servants to stake or lock them up on nights of the full moon, or else try to avoid leaving their havens.
Must Wear White
White is a mourning color in some cultures, and vampires occasionally develop a compulsion to wear white. If you do not visibly wear at least one white article of clothing, you cannot use Disciplines until you can dress appropriate. If the white article of clothing becomes soiled, you can’t use Disciplines until it can be cleaned or replaced.
Variation: Black, of course, is the color of mourning many cultures, but strangely, this doesn’t seem to become compulsory as often.
Severe: In addition to not using Disciplines, you immediately fall into daysleep.
This is also a folkloric bane.
Your reflection looks like a twisted version of yourself: a demonic monster, a rotting corpse, a slavering beast, or some other macabre and disturbing image. This stands out to hunters and other night-folk. Lasombra cannot take this bane, nor can vampires with No Reflection.
Your Beast rages just below the surface. Something in your face or your immediate disposition lets mortals know that you have nothing good in store for them. They respond accordingly. This bane is particularly common among Brujah.
You have no reflection. This stands out to hunters and other night-folk. Lasombra cannot take this bane, as they already have a more severe version.
Choose a common substance, such as garlic, salt, roses, or silver. You find this substance abhorrent and cannot approach closer than several feet of it. If someone places the substance in a circle or across a doorway, you cannot cross the substance and may take no action to disrupt it. If you’re restrained with bindings made from the substance, you become sick to your stomach can’t break them under your own power.
Severe: You can’t use Disciplines within several feet of the substance.
These banes share the theme of insanity.
Aura of Madness
Insane people find your presence magnetic and are drawn to you like moths to a flame. This interest is not beneficial: they may stalk you, attack you, or (and most often) simply cause a scene at inconvenient times. This bane is particularly common among Malkavians.
Other Kindred can drink your blood with only the usual unpleasant side effects (blood bonds). Mortals, however, grow unstable and obsessed when they drink your blood. While many ghouls already wind up unhealthily fixated on their domitors, your servants are something else. They might try to follow you around at all times, extolling your virtues to anyone in the area, and consuming insects and small animals in an attempt to become like you. While your ghouls are just as unlikely to deliberately betray you, they haughtily brag on your behalf to anyone who asks (including hunters).
Madness in the Blood
You absorb the madness in your victims’ blood, inheriting any insanities or mental disorders they suffer from. These last until your next daysleep. If you kill the victim by draining them to death, their madness stays until you purge all of the blood in your system.
Madness Sees Evil
People with altered perceptions, such as the insane and people under the influence of mind-altering chemicals, can see you for what you are. They might not understand what they see, but they know for sure that you’re not human and dangerous. That means that clubs and parties, which are normally good places to hunt, become risky places.
These banes make the vampire look more overtly monstrous.
A chill wind follows you everywhere you go. It makes for dramatic entrances, but marks you as obviously supernatural to hunters and other night-folk. You can suppress this bane for a scene at the cost of getting hungrier.
Mortals have an unconscious awareness of your undead nature, which makes then anxious and ill at ease in your presence.
Harbinger of Death
Your presence is anathema to life. While healthy individuals can survive your touch, sick or weak people aren’t so lucky. You cause pregnant women within several feet to miscarry and might claim dozens of lives when you stroll through an infirmary or nursing home. You can suppress this bane for a scene at the cost of getting hungrier.
Lord of the Night
In your presence lights dim, tiny flames extinguish, and shadows cling to you or languidly move about with a surreal unlife, making it impossible to pass as anything other than inhuman. You can suppress these effects for a scene at the cost of getting hungrier. This bane is particularly common among Lasombra and users of Blood Sorcery (Obtenebration).
Severe: Your shadow is a malicious entity with a will of its own. It tears at scenery and snarls at passersby. Whenever something especially agitates your shadow, it lashes out at whatever upsets it, as if you’d used Blood Sorcery (Obtenebration). You must have at least one dot in Blood Sorcery (Obtenebration) to take the severe version of this bane.
You glow slightly in moonlight. This isn’t too noticeable in most city environments, where you are probably surrounded by artificial light, but in a rural locale, or even a suburban area with few streetlights, you have an obvious nimbus of soft, pale light around you. This stands out to hunters and other night-folk.
Your hands look obviously unnatural. They might be skeletal, rotting, unnaturally long and thin, or covered in warts or deformities. They’re tipped with claw-like nails, unnatural bone growths, or simply outright claws. They look like the hands of a demon-corpse and break the Masquerade if seen. Invest in gloves.
This also counts as a monstrous bane.
Your respiratory system does not function, not even to the extent require to draw in a breath. You cannot speak above a strangled whisper, and even then only a few words at a time. At the cost of getting hungrier, you can force vitae into your lungs and throat to reactivate them.
This also counts as a monstrous bane.
Your fangs do not naturally retract. When you smile or open your mouth, your vampiric nature is plain to see. You can hide your fangs for a scene at the cost of getting hungrier.
Your ears end in sharp, obviously unnatural points. If you’re lucky, you might get mistaken for a cosplayer, but in most settings your ears stand out—especially to hunters. Most vampires with this bane wear hoods, hats, or scarves when out in public.
Rain, the bringer of life, refuses to touch you and simply falls around you. Even if you walk out in a monsoon, you come back completely dry. Water you’re immersed in (showers, river, swimming pools, etc.) doesn’t avoid you, but becomes brown and stagnant within seconds of contact. This stands out to vampire hunters.
You’re always surrounded by rats, flies, cockroaches, or other vermin. This causes discomfort and disgust in most mortals. You can send the vermin away for a scene at the cost of getting hungrier.
You flesh starts rotting every night at sundown, and heals over the course of the day as you sleep. This rot isn’t harmful, but 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. This is concealable after you first wake up, but by the end of the night you’re indistinguishable from a decayed, long-dead corpse.
Variation: You look like a corpse in proportion to how hungry you are. When you’re gorged, you look human. When you’re starving, you’re a long-dead corpse.
Your breath always smells of dried blood, rot, and death. This stands out to hunters and other night-folk, not to mention is off-putting to be around.
Your eyes look unnatural in dark areas or when you near frenzy. They might turn yellow and slitted like a cat’s or serpent’s, or they might glow a hellish red. Some Lasombra’s eyes turn solid black. This stands out to hunters and other night-folk.
Severe: Your eyes always look that way, even in lit areas. Invest in sunglasses or colored contacts.
Shadows, reflections and even televised images turn away from you. You might make the effort to remain visible on a security camera or in a photo, but people around you seem to turn their faces away. If you stand in front of a mirror, other people’s reflections avert their eyes. If you feed on someone “in view” of a reflection, the reflection screams, alerting anyone in the area. This stands out to hunters and endangers the Masquerade in its own right.
You cast no shadow, no matter how bright the light. This stands out to hunters and other night-folk.
Touch of Frost
Your skin is freezing cold. You leave icy fingerprints on glass, even after brief contact, and touching someone is a dead giveaway as to your true nature. You can suppress this bane for a scene at the cost of getting hungrier.
Severe: If you stay in an area for a few minutes or longer, frost accumulates on windows, plants, and other conductive surfaces. Temperatures drop and mortal breath becomes visible. This stands out to hunters and other night-folk.
Voice of the Devil
Your voice is deeply unsettling: a bestial growl, a corpse-dry whisper, a sibilant hiss (particularly common among Setites), etc. However it sounds, most mortals are unnerved to hear you speak aloud. You can suppress this bane for a scene at the cost of getting hungrier.
You exude an aura of death. It doesn’t harm most human beings, but small plants wither, insects fall dead, and food spoils. This stands out to hunters and other night-folk.
These banes alter a vampire’s physiology.
You are halfway drawn into the Abyss, operating on a different wavelength of reality than other vampires. You don’t have a normal Lost Visage: instead, your reflections and recordings distort, flicker, or become transparent (though this does not conceal your identity with any certainty), live or otherwise. Microphones have the same difficulty with your voice as cameras have with your image, and touch technology becomes unresponsive at best. Similarly, modern technology relying on other forms of direct interaction—such as use of a stylus—tends to glitch or simply act unresponsive, and electronic detection systems easily pick up the tell-tale signs of your passing. It’s as if you exist on a slightly different frequency to other beings, flickering in and out of light. This bane is common among Lasombra and other vampires who learn Blood Sorcery (Obtenebration).
Something about your vitae doesn’t always inspire feeling in others. Whenever someone drinks from you, there’s a 50% chance the bond doesn’t take hold. You have no way of directly knowing if it does or not. Can you even trust your own ghouls?
Variation: Your vitae can bond other people, but only up to a second stage bond.
Severe: Your vitae is incapable of blood bonding other people. No matter how much they drink, they won’t feel any differently towards you. Beyond removing a potent tool in the Jyhad, this bane also means your ghouls aren’t bound to you—and that elders incapable of subsisting off human blood will consider you the perfect vessel…
Debt of Blood
You cannot use Disciplines whenever you awaken from daysleep you feed. Your own vitae doesn’t count. Neither does stored blood. It has to be fresh from a vessel.
Severe: You can’t use Disciplines until you kill a vessel. Vampires with this bane often become hunted by the Camarilla for the trail of inconvenient corpses they leave.
It is extremely difficult to rouse you during the day. Treat your humanity score as half of what it is (round down) for purposes of determining what wakes you up.
Severe: Treat your Humanity as if it were 0.
Enemy of Light
Bright light is like a miniature sun for you, punishing your Beast and the dead flesh that enwraps it for daring to step out of the dark. You’re harmed by bright light as if it were sunlight (though you can still use Disciplines normally). This bane is often paired with Light Sensitive.
Severe: You’re harmed by any light bright enough for mortals to see in as if it were sunlight. You must spend your unlife in darkness.
Your reflection appears as an indistinct blur in mirrors, photographs and other forms of media. This still obscures your identity, but is less subtle than the normal Lost Visage and stands out to hunters. You can appear normally in mirrors and photographs for one scene at the cost of getting hungrier. Lasombra cannot take this bane, as they already have a more severe version.
Harmed by Moonlight
Moonlight blisters your skin. It won’t kill you, but it’s painful and causes unsightly rashes.
Variation: You can’t use Disciplines while exposed to moonlight.
Severe: You’re harmed by moonlight as if it were sunlight. This bane is most common among Nosferatu who spend their Requiems underground.
You can only sustain a single ghoul, who must be created with a ritual (its exact form can vary) involving a deliberate effort of will. Mortals in excess of this number can still become addicted to your blood, but don’t become ghouls. If you perform the ritual to create a new ghoul when you already have a ghoul, your previous ghoul immediately loses their powers.
Severe: You cannot maintain any ghouls.
Your Embrace doesn’t always work. You have a 50% chance of killing any mortal you try to turn into a vampire. Players with no interest in Embracing a childe should not take this bane.
Severe: You are incapable of Embracing. No matter how much blood you feed your would-be childe, all it leaves you with is an inconvenient corpse.
When you get near a device that uses radio waves (older televisions, radios, phones), the device loses reception. Television screens turn into “snow,” while cell phones drop calls and radios crackle and warble. This bane gives a hunter an excellent way to track you—just watch for the stream of people cursing into their phones or wondering why they’ve lost a wi-fi connection.
Bright lights hurt your eyes and cause you debilitating headaches for as long as you remain exposed. Sudden lights also startle your Beast and drive you to fear frenzy. Setites cannot take this bane, as they already have a more severe version.
Severe: You can’t use Disciplines while exposed to bright light.
Phones, recordings, and other electronic transmissions refuse to properly carry or record your voice and garble over with static. Eavesdroppers and people who mean you harm can still hear you normally, making this bane useless at avoiding surveillance.
You only retain your youth for as long as your Beast is sated. When you’re hungry, you’re several decades older. When you’re starving, you’re a decrepit crone or graybeard. You are still recognizable as yourself, making this bane useless as a disguise.
Severe: You awaken as a decrepit crone or graybeard every night, no matter how well-fed you were going to sleep. Only feeding can restore your youth, and only temporarily.
Being staked sends you into daysleep than paralyzing you. You’re blind and deaf for as long as it’s in your chest. Pulling the stake out revives you.
Severe: Being staked sends you into torpor. Pulling it out does not revive you.
You are sensitive not only to natural sunlight, but to intense ultraviolet radiation such as sunlamps. Treat strong UV light as sunlight, though you can still use Disciplines while exposed to it.
Severe: You can’t use Disciplines.
These banes share a religious theme.
Beacon of the Unholy
You radiate palpable evil. Whenever a hunter or individual with True Faith encounters you, they instinctively know something is horribly wrong and react accordingly.
Variation: Followers of a certain religion or individuals who meet another criteria (children, parents, virgins, etc.) can detect your wrongness instead.
Can’t Enter Churches
Entering churches harms you as if the interior were sunlight, though you can still use Disciplines normally. If the church is also a site of True Faith, you burn even hotter and faster: treat your Humanity as one dot lower per church’s True Faith dot.
Day of Rest
Christian tradition holds Sunday as a day of rest, while Jewish custom keeps the Sabbath holy. You’re affected by daysleep the night of whatever “day of rest” you hold significant.
Severe: Treat your Humanity as if it were zero on this day. You’re impossible to wake.
You hold one day of the week holy. Your undead powers are greatly weakened on this day: you can’t use any Disciplines.
Mortal Before God
Your undead powers fail you on consecrated ground. You can’t use Disciplines or other undead powers. “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.
Severe: Any site containing a religious fixture, such as a picture of Jesus, counts as holy ground.
Weakened by Symbols
You’re weakened by the presence of holy symbols. You can’t bring yourself to deface a symbol or attack someone brandishing a symbol. If you’re touched by a symbol, you suffer terrible burns that can only be healed during daysleep. You 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 you practiced in life.
Note that mortals with True Faith can repel (and burn) all vampires with holy symbols. This bane just makes you vulnerable to any mortal with a crucifix, no matter how strong or weak their faith is.
Severe: Anything that resembles a holy symbol counts as one. Two crossed candlesticks, for example, count as a crucifix.
Vulnerable to Faith
You’re even more susceptible to devout faith than other vampires. Your undead powers fail you. You can’t use Disciplines to harm or influence people or objects with True Faith, or in any site with True Faith.
Severe: You can’t use Disciplines at all in the presence of people or objects with True Faith.
These banes fall into none of the other categories.
Additional Clan Bane
You have another clan’s bane. You might have diablerized or frequently shared blood with a vampire from the clan, been a former ghoul to one of the clan’s members, or be a Caitiff with some idea as to your sire’s lineage. Some vampires also spontaneously manifest another clan’s bane with no clear rhyme or reason.
Your mortal relatives and descendants make deadly vampire hunters—or at least, deadly ones to you. You can’t heal any wounds they inflict except during daysleep. Relatives who’ve been Embraced don’t enjoy this benefit.
Variation: You can’t use Disciplines on your mortal relatives.
Severe: You can’t use Disciplines against your relatives, nor can you normally heal injuries they inflict.
Fascinated by Dust
You can’t help but stare at clouds of dust. This might arise when you disturb a room’s dust or if a knowledgeable foe blows a handful of dust in your face. In either case, you can’t do anything besides stand in dumb transfixion. If you’re attacked, this effect ends.
Severe: This effect doesn’t end if you’re attacked.
You stand out to ghosts. Whenever you encounter one of the restless dead, they may take an unhealthy interest in you. Ghosts respond differently to vampires based on their lingering passions. A vengeful ghost might follow you hoping to do harm, while a protective ghost might want to make sure you don’t kill anyone.
Your undead powers are tied to your family’s life-force. If they’re slightly hurt, you can’t use your mightiest Disciplines until they recover. If they’re badly hurt, you can’t use Disciplines at all. If one of your family members is ever killed, you immediately fall into torpor. Embraced family members don’t count for purposes of this bane—they’re dead—although ghouled ones still do.
You lose your undead powers when return to places of significance to you as a mortal—anywhere that you were attached to or felt at home, such as an old house, the workplace of a job you liked, or a favorite bar or restaurant. If you enter the borders of such a place, you can’t use Disciplines until you leave.
Severe: You’re harmed by such places as if they were sunlight.
Choose a type of mortal, such as virgins, clergy, police officers, or some other subjective criteria. You cannot use Disciplines to harm or coerce these people.
Severe: If you act to harm these people in any way, you immediately fall into torpor.
Revenge from Ashes
Cremated human remains burn and sear your flesh like corrosive acid. Contact is painful. Actually coating you in ashes probably dooms you to the worst minute of your unlife as your flesh drops away and your bones sizzle and crack. If you can manage to get to water and wash the ashes away, you might survive. If the ashes belong to a mortal you killed, you can’t use Disciplines while you’re in contact with them.
Severe: You can’t use Disciplines for the rest of the night after contact with ashes.
Severe Clan Bane
You have an especially crippling version of your clan’s bane. Giovannini can’t use Disciplines, drugs, or other means to hide their agonizing kiss. Nosferatu can’t use Obfuscate to hide their cursed visages. Tzimisce who enter private dwellings uninvited fall into torpor. Some clans may not be eligible for this bane.
Sun’s Terrifying Visage
You fear the image of the sun as much as the sun itself. Whenever you see a picture of the sun, you risk frenzy. How much varies by how realistic the picture is. A child’s crayon drawing of the sun might be easily resisted, while a video of the sun at high noon sends your Beast fleeing in unholy terror.
Severe: You’re harmed by such images as if they were actual sunlight (though you can still use Disciplines normally). Cruder images are treated as weaker or filtered sunlight.
You become weak as a child when faced with thickets, briars or brambles. If touch plants, you’re physically crippled for the rest of the scene, and can’t use the Celerity, Fortitude, or Potence Disciplines.
Severe: You can’t use any Disciplines after you touch plants.
Spiderwebs cause you great problems. Once you touch a web, you stop dead in your tracks. You can eventually untangle yourself, but breaking free is as difficult as pulling yourself from superglue. Celerity and Potence doesn’t help.
Severe: You can’t untangle yourself or use Disciplines after you touch a web. You’re helpless until someone frees you.