Vampire: The Requiem
From Edge of Darkness Wiki
Vampire: The Requiem is a role-playing game published by White Wolf, set in the World of Darkness, and the successor to the Vampire: The Masquerade line. It was first released in August 2004, together with a new core rule book for the World of Darkness. Although it is an entirely new game, rather than a continuation of the previous editions, it uses many elements from the old game in its construction, including some of the Clans and their powers. The game's title is a metaphor for the way vampires within the game view their life.
Although it can be considered a full game in itself, Vampire: The Requiem requires the World of Darkness Sourcebook for use.
The game takes place in modern-day earth where vampires form complex societies hidden from human awareness. Vampires that share common physical powers and qualities group themselves into "clans", but they also join "covenants" along religious, political or philosophical lines (generally, a player's covenant is generally more important to his character than his clan). These groups differ radically in purpose and outlook and are often in conflict, though one principle they agree upon is that they must hide their existence from humans.
Vampires are unliving humans created when a vampire drains a human dry of blood and then feeds the corpse a few drops of its own vampiric blood. This process is deliberate and draining for the sire, so vampires do not procreate often.
Vampires generally dwell in large cities, where they can find plenty of prey and easily remain inconspicuous. Vampires do not need to kill humans to steal blood; humans go into a trance when a vampire feeds on them and do not remember the moment, and a vampire can erase the bite marks it made by licking them. Every evening, their bodies consume a portion of their stored blood in order to rise from their daytime slumber - a vampire will enter an extended period of torpor if it does not have any blood.
Similar to the previous game, Kindred are brought into one of five Clans as part of their transformation into vampires. Each clan covers a broad range of vampiric archetypes:
- The Daeva, for instance, evoke the image of vampires as seductive, decadent, sexually transgressive predators who blur lust and hunger together, equating the act of feeding with sensual pleasure. Much like Lestat in Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles.
- The Gangrel embody the idea of vampires as predatory feral demons. An upper level in the feeding chain with little or no interest in humans as anything other than food, they represent vampirism as crude predation and evoke ideas of basic instinct, untamed ferocity and freedom that are commonly associated with predators.
- The Mekhet are mysterious conspiratorial occultists, obsessed with knowledge and information, who hide in the shadows and manipulate others from afar.
- Nosferatu vampires are the repulsive, yet fascinating, alien and hideous monsters of legend (such as Count Orlok of their movie namesake).
- Ventrue are regal vampires who value power and dominion to the point of obsession, self-styled "lords of the night" they represent vampirism as a metaphor for maddening power, like Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Within these clans are many sub-clans, known as bloodlines.
There are also many political or religious factions, known as Covenants. These include:
- The Carthian Movement works towards finding the best form of government for the Kindred, basing its experiments on mortal systems like Democracy, Fascism and the like. It is the only Covenant that elects leaders, and is the newest major Covenant. Members frequently argue over the best form of government and this Covenant is primarily secular in outlook and character.
- The Circle of the Crone is a collection of pagan and Neopagan cults and religions within the vampiric culture. Generally, these groups are structured around a belief in a generative cycle, though they often revere a particular representative goddess, and these shared associations give rise to their eponymous association with the Crone. They celebrate most of the major pagan holidays, such as the solstices and Yule, and practice the Blood Magic known as "Crúac". Despite many differences in belief and opinion between various circles and cities of the Covenant, they typically dislike the Lancea Sanctum.
- The Invictus (also known as the "First Estate") are mostly concerned with material gain and power and therefore heavily involved in city politics and business.
- The Lancea Sanctum is an organization which grew parallel to Christianity, therefore commonly being mistaken for a vampiric equivalent of it. They believe Kindred (the word vampires use for themselves) have a role in the Divine Providence: that of the ultimate predators. As vampires, they're to prey upon humans, thus unleashing God's Wrath upon the unworthy and representing tests for the pious. It is sometimes referred to as "The Second Estate".
- The Ordo Dracul is focused on understanding the vampiric condition, improving upon it and ultimately transcending its limitations. They learn a collection of powers known as The Coils of the Dragon which alter the practitioner, generally alleviating particular limitations of the vampiric condition. The members of the Ordo believe that this discipline was created by the founder of the covenant, the infamous Dracula.
- The Unaligned is simply a catch-all term for any Vampires that do not belong to a covenant.
Powers, abilities and weaknesses
A vampire's power is roughly measured by his Blood Potency. Regardless of his sire's power, all vampires start off at level 1. Blood Potency increases steadily with age, but can also be boosted by spending experience points or consuming the soul of another vampire (diablerie). As its Blood Potency increases, a vampire can store more blood points and access greater supernatural powers. However, his feeding needs became more stringent as well; the weakest vampires can live on animal blood, but the most powerful vampires can only live on the blood of other vampires. Such powerful vampires who cannot meet this need usually go into prolonged slumber to weaken themselves.
Kindred can use a variety of supernatural powers called Disciplines. These are special abilities associated with their curse which, like their undead bodies, are "fed" in a way by the living blood they take from mortals. Many of the Disciplines provide Kindred with preternatural means of ensuring their continued existence, or of easing the process of hunting and stealing blood from mortals.
Disciplines can be broken down into four categories: common (commonplace among the Kindred and more than one clan has an innate knack for them), uncommon (the proprietary abilities of each of the five clans), covenant (possessed only by a specific covenant and never shared with outsiders), and bloodline (known only to the members of a particular bloodline within a clan). However, each Kindred has the capability to, given a tutor and the proper amount of time (sometimes years for powerful disciplines), learn a discipline that is not natural to their clan or covenant. In game mechanics, the experience point cost for such disciplines is higher than that of a clan discipline innate to a specific Kindred, and given the amount of time in a given storyline necessary to successfully master an other-clan discipline, many players never get the chance to fully master such things.
- Celerity: the ability to move at faster-than-human speeds
- Resilience: the ability to withstand damaging attacks with comparatively minor injuries.
- Vigor: the ability to manifest supernatural strength above and beyond even a vampire's naturally superhuman capabilities.
- Animalism: the power to commune with and command animals.
- Obfuscate: the ability to prevent others from sensing one's self by clouding their minds.
- Auspex: preternatural sensitivity and awareness and the ability to foresee and know things seemingly unknowable.
- Dominate: allows a piercing stare that commands minds and the ability to break the will of others.
- Majesty: grants a seductive or commanding sway of emotions and the predatory manipulation of the weak.
- Nightmare: the power to evoke sheer terror by revealing one's primal nature.
- Protean: grants the ability to assume a variety of forms such as a wolf or a mist.
- Each Clan tends to specialize in one particular "uncommon discipline".
- Coils of the Dragon: Used to cheat the Curse, stripping away limitations and negative effects of the Unliving state (practiced by the Ordo Dracul).
- Cruac: Pagan blood sorcery (practiced by the Circle of the Crone).
- Theban Sorcery': Miraculous magic taught by, or in some interpretations stolen from, an "avatar of God" (practiced by the Lancea Sanctum).
Bloodline (Rare) disciplines
- The various Rare Disciplines are numerous and wildly diverse. While they are generally only available to their respective bloodlines, and highly specialized, there are a few which provide significant advantages in combat. Most bloodline disciplines cannot be learned by vampires outside of the associated bloodline.
Unlike many fictional portrayals, vampires in Requiem are not repelled by crucifixes, garlic or running water, and they can enter any private domain without invitation. A stake through the heart merely paralyzes them. Fire, sunlight and the claws and fangs of supernatural animals inflict terrible injuries that take a lot of time and blood to heal. During the daytime most vampires become catatonic and cannot operate, whether or not they are sheltered from sunlight.
Vampires have many enemies, most from within their own clans and covenants. There are some that stand out as being opposed to Vampire society as a whole, and some of the most prominent of these are vampires themselves. There are only two "enemy only" Covenants in the core rulebook:
A loose confederation of Satanists, demon-worshippers and overt miscreants. The Covenant claims that the Damned originate from Hell itself, and exalt in the spread of misery and pain.
They are intended to be more straightforward enemies than other antagonists that might be fought against in The Requiem, as their goals (spreading wanton misery and violence, heedless of whether or not they expose the existence of vampires) are antithetical to nearly any character.
A very mysterious organization, VII is dedicated to the destruction of their own species. They carry out attacks of sabotage and murder against other vampires for mysterious reasons.
In the game, they serve as the shadow antagonists - the monster's monsters. The Storyteller is encouraged to invent his own reasons for VII's agenda.