Vampire: The Requiem
Your Requiem Begins Here.
Like most people, you’ve probably had the sense — at least once — that things were not right with the world and that not everything was as it seemed. You’ve felt that sinister truths hid behind a façade of normality, veiled partially by the rational, orderly “natural laws” we call science. And when night falls, when the shadows grow long and the wind whistles through the trees, you shudder and remember the truths of your ancestors, who were right to fear the
You’ve just entered the World of Darkness, a world very much like our own, save that the shadows hide very real monsters (though most people fool themselves into believing it isn’t so).
In Vampire: The Requiem, the first Storytelling game set in the World of Darkness, you and your friends tell the story of some of these monsters,namely those mortal men and women who find themselves transformed into vampires (or Kindred, as they call themselves). Neither truly alive nor dead, the Kindred survive on the blood of mortals. They can shrug off terrible injuries, they never grow old, and they have a variety of inhuman abilities. Nevertheless,
the Kindred fear many things, from the burning touch of sunlight or fire, to the widespread exposure of their kind before their mortal prey. Most of all, they fear the Beast, that savage aspect of their damned souls that hungers for blood and violence and can drive them into uncontrolled rage or acts of sheer depravity.
Their origin is lost to time, but many Kindred think that the curse comes from God Himself as punishment for terrible sins. Kindred society has existed in some form for the last two millennia. Tonight, the most powerful vampire in a domain usually goes by the title of Prince and rules over a feudal hierarchy of smaller domains and hunting grounds. The Kindred divide themselves both by blood (into five large extended families known as clans, which are traced from sire to childe) and by association (into several powerful covenants, political groupings of like beliefs and outlooks). Personal rivalries, alliances and other distinctions complicate even these simple divisions. Ultimately, every Kindred must make her way alone through the endless night.
• Blood Potency represents the inherent power of the character’s vampiric nature.
• Vitae: This is the amount of blood currently in a vampire’s system. You spend Vitae to activate different vampiric powers.
• Disciplines are special vampiric powers, which are explained in the character’s description.
• Humanity is a measure of your character’s morality, of how far he has succumbed to the Beast. Your character can lose Humanity over the course of play. Humanity is ranked from 1 to 10, unlike most of other traits.
Effects of Vampirism
Part of the scenario in this booklet deals explicitly with the characters discovering that they are Kindred, but it can be useful to have some of the basic game effects of that transformation all in one place.
• Blood Consumption: Kindred have a trait called Vitae, which represents the amount of blood
in their system. They automatically spend one point of Vitae to rise every night, so eventually they must feed from the living. They also spend Vitae for other effects. Most young vampires can only spend one Vitae per turn and hold at most 10 Vitae. A vampire without any Vitae left suffers a lethal wound when she rises (when she would normally spend a point of
Vitae). Any other effects that require Vitae expenditure fail if the character has none to spend.
• Reduced Damage: The Kindred anatomy is animated by a supernatural curse, not the functioning
of delicate organs, so it takes a lot to inflict serious damage upon them. Firearms inflict bashing damage to Kindred instead of lethal damage. Blades and arrows still inflict lethal damage, however. In addition, a vampire does not fall unconscious if all her Health boxes are marked off due to bashing damage. She remains able to act but still suffers a -3 wound
penalty. Additional damage upgrades existing wounds as normal. If all a Kindred’s Health boxes
are marked off due to lethal damage, she enters a coma-like state called torpor. A vampire loses all of her Health points to aggravated damage is destroyed.
• Healing: Kindred do not heal like mortals. Instead they must spend Vitae to do so. One point of Vitae heals two points of bashing damage or one point of lethal damage. The vampire can take other action in the same turn as healing bashing or lethal damage. Aggravated damage is much harder to heal. It takes five points of Vitae and two full nights per point of aggravated damage to heal.
• Physical Augmentation: Vampires can boost their Physical Attributes (Dexterity, Strength,
Stamina) for a moment by spending Vitae. Each point will add two dice to dice pools using one of these Attributes for the current turn (the vampire can take a regular action that same turn at no penalty). Certain Disciplines allow for more efficient use of this ability.
• Fire and Sunlight: Vampires suffer terrible damage from exposure to fire or sunlight. Both anathema cause a number of automatic points of aggravated damage per turn, depending on their intensity and the amount of exposure. A cigarette lighter held to one’s skin or a hand held in sunlight that is filtered through heavy drapes would inflict only one point per turn. Being tossed in a wood fire or looking out a window on an overcast day would inflict three points per turn. Being caught in a chemical fire or fully exposed under direct sunlight would inflict
five (or more) points per turn. (Note that Kindred of Clan Mekhet suffer one extra point of aggravated damage per turn from fire and sunlight.)
• Daytime Slumber: Vampires are overcome by a crushing fatigue upon the rising of the sun and remain immobile (and to all appearances truly dead) until sunset. If they are attacked during the day, they can rise, but it is extremely difficult: the player rolls a dice pool made up of his character’s Wits Attribute alone, a success meaning the character notices the disturbance. The player then spends one point of Vitae and rolls the character’s Humanity as a dice pool. The character rises for a single turn per success on the Humanity roll.
• The Masquerade: One of the Kindred’s firmest traditions is the Masquerade, an edict that they hide their existence from mortals (and thus act as mortals would when in their company). This law is more than a social edict, however. It reflects an inherent part of the vampiric nature. A Kindred’s reflection (and any photographs or video) appears slightly blurred or grainy. This is not enough to stand out at first glance (viewers often assume there’s a flaw in, or dirt on a lens or mirror) but it is enough to make identifying individuals and their features very difficult. Kindred can suppress this effect for a scene if the player spends a point of Willpower.
• Frenzy: The Beast within all Kindred is violent and savage, and it can overwhelm the conscious mind with overwhelming anger, fear or hunger. Regardless of the type of frenzy, the process is the essentially same: The player rolls Resolve + Composure. Success means that the character resists the frenzy for a single turn per success and can roll again at the end of those turns (hoping to accumulate more successes). If the player manages to accumulate a total
of three successes, the frenzy subsides. If, however the player fails one of these rolls, the character immediately enters frenzy. (Note that rolls to resist frenzy count as reflexive actions.) Hunger frenzies are triggered only when the character has four or fewer Vitae in his system. Anger frenzies are triggered by especially infuriating circumstances (public humiliation, the triumph of a rival, being assaulted) or the Predator’s Taint. Fear frenzies
are triggered by being near fire or sunlight or by the Predator’s Taint. The Storyteller can increase or decrease the number of successes needed for a frenzy to subside depending on the intensity of the trigger. A vampire in frenzy attacks, runs or feeds (as appropriate)
at the exclusion of all else. These vampires can’t do anything complex, but the Beast’s savagery does give them some advantages. They ignore all wound penalties, they gain a +1 bonus to dice pools for physical actions, and any attempts to affect their minds (with Disciplines such as Majesty or Dominate) suffer a -2 penalty. The frenzy usually subsides once the thing that triggered it is either destroyed or out of sight.
• Predator’s Taint: Vampires know each other on sight because their Beasts rise to the challenge of another predator’s presence. Normally this reaction feels like nothing more than a simple undercurrent of tension. When Kindred meet for the very first time, though, this tension is so acute that it can cause frenzy. The nature of the frenzy (anger or fear) is
determined by the relative Blood Potency of the vampires. Vampires with lower Blood Potency than those they face must resist fear frenzy; vampires with equal or greater Blood Potency must resist anger frenzy. This risk of frenzy can be decreased or eliminated by circumstances that make meeting other Kindred less traumatic, such as when the newcomer makes an
immediate offer to help or the meeting occurs in a place where the characters both feel safe. In general, a single success is needed to resist frenzy caused by the Predator’s Taint.
• Losing Humanity: A Kindred’s worst fear is giving in completely to the Beast. The more heinous sins they commit, the stronger the Beast grows and their Humanity trait falls. At Humanity 7 (where all characters start), theft or any worse misdeed can cause moral degeneration (a loss of Humanity). When the character commits such an act, the player
rolls a number of dice based on the severity of the sin. The worse the sin is, the fewer dice are rolled. (Petty theft is four dice, manslaughter or massive property damage is three dice, murder is two dice.) If the roll fails, the character loses a point of Humanity. (Willpower can’t be spent on this roll.) Characters with reduced Humanity justify their sin to themselves instead of repenting, and they become that much more callous. It will now take a worse sin to cause another roll to degenerate. At Humanity 6, only grand theft or worse can spark such a
roll. At Humanity 5, it takes intentional mass property damage or worse. At Humanity 4, it takes an impassioned crime such as manslaughter. Characters who do lose Humanity also risk becoming unhinged mentally. If a player fails a degeneration roll, he should immediately roll his character’s reduced Humanity as a dice pool. If he fails that roll, the character gains a derangement. This can be any form of minor but pervasive mental disorder, such as depression or a phobia. The player should roleplay this new character quirk, but it has no mechanical
• Dealing with Mortals: Kindred are no longer truly human, and as they degenerate, they tend to lose the instinctive understanding of social cues among the living. When dealing socially with the living, a Kindred’s Humanity trait serves as her maximum dice pool for any actions involving Social Attributes or Skills. Therefore, a vampire with Humanity 5, Wits 3 and Empathy 4, would roll seven dice (Wits + Empathy) to read a fellow Kindred’s body language, but only five dice (Humanity) to read a mortal’s.
There are five clans in VTR, as well as a number of related sub-clans, known as bloodlines. A vampire’s clan is determined by the clan of his sire.
Daeva: Vampires as seductive predators (Interview with the Vampire).
Gangrel: Vampires as animalistic wanderers (Near Dark).
Mekhet: Vampires as shadowy, skulking hunters (Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story).
Nosferatu: Vampires as deformed monsters (Nosferatu).
Ventrue: Vampires as deranged overlords (Dracula).
Each clan covers a broad range of vampiric archetypes. The Daeva, for instance, are both seductive and predatorial, evoking the image of vampires who glide through society as debonair hunters, much like Lestat in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. The Gangrel encompass the theme of the lone, savage and brutal hunters, much like the vampires of the Blade series. The Mekhet are conspiratorial occultists, vampires who hide in the shadows gathering lore and knowledge while manipulating others from afar. Nosferatu vampires are the alienated or disfigured monsters of legend (such as Count Orlok of their movie namesake), while the Ventrue represent vampires possessed of an aristocratic, lords of the night sensibility, like Bram Stoker’s Dracula.