Sunday, 24 November 2019

The Kiasyd Bloodline for Vampire 5th Edition

This is all completely unofficial. I have no idea what WW plans to do with the Kiasyd for v5, or even if they'll make it into the game at all. However, they're one of my favourite bits of the VtM setting, so I thought I'd put together some homebrew for them.
The book detailing the discipline Oblivion has not yet been released from what I can tell, but you can find the discipline online with a little googling.
I don't think any of this is wildly unbalanced, but it's my first attempt brewing anything for v5. Feedback is useful.
I also have no idea what the actual legal situation with publishing 3rd party stuff for v5 is. I'd certainly be interested in making a zine-sized booklet for people who want to play my favourite weirdlings in v5, but I *also* don't want to get sued. If anybody knows what the situation is with selling fan stuff for v5 I'd be keen to hear from y'all.  

And with that preamble out of the way...



The Kiasyd
Also known as Maeghyr, Weirdlings, Broken Butterflies, Fair Folk, Moths, Greys 

The Kiasyd are an oddity among vampires. Not really a clan, but not clanless like the Caitiff or Thin-blooded. Something else. The vitae in their veins remains as potent as that as any kindred, but altered. They claim to be an offshoot of the shadowy clan Lasombra, to be fairies who were embraced, to be children of the abyss, to be the products of alchemy, to be a natural evolution of the vampiric form, to be nightmares crawled out into the waking world. They make all these claims at once, and say that all of them are equally true. 
What is known is that the bloodline are reclusive, scholarly and eccentric. They prefer their own company, but claim an old tradition prevents more than two - one master, one student - ever inhabiting a domain. They say that for the longest time, they were property of the Sabbat, but with that sect abandoning it's territorial struggles to pursue its own goals in the middle-east, the Kiasyd seem to have been left behind. And as vampire society falls apart, the weirdlings - now unhindered by sect or status - continue their strange studies. 

"You see, child, there's far more to the world than what they would have you believe. They tell you that our enemies are mortal inquisitors, but those are lies. Filthy lies! Things stir in the abyss, and the ripples move mortals like leaves on the surface of a pond."
"The abyss is our grandmother, you know. The grand maw, if you will. Lucien was in love with her, and he had Gratiano send him to her. He dwells within her still. Grandmaw and Lucien gave rise to the siblings Hrotsuitha and Marconius. And their union - incestuous though it might have been - is where we came from."
"Gratiano diablerized his sire, you say? Of course. What is Diablerie but an act of love? A uniting of souls. Again, the Camarilla will deny this, but they lie."
"Marconius was an alchemist. He took the blood of the things that crawl in the dark. Things whose nature defies categorising. We call them the Unseelie, the Neverborn, the Fomorians, the Thallain, the Nephwracks, the Lilim. Zeernebooch, too, whoever that is. He put all of that into an elixir, and his sister drank it, and in the dark of the grand maw, they gave birth to us."
"This is what the other vampires fail to understand. We aren't like them, not really. The resemblance is like that of cousins, not siblings. Wherever we came from, we sidestepped all this grand destiny of the Cainites nonsense. We have deeper mysteries to fathom." 
"Rest assured, things are changing. Marconius sits in Stratsbourg, vacant-eyed and gibbering. The shadows lengthen every night, and every dawn they creep back a little less. I spoke to a redcap, and he told me that the long winter is coming. I spoke to one of the Bahari, and she muttered prophecies of Gehenna. I spoke to a mortwight, and it said Grandmother stirs in her sleep. The name of Hrotsuitha is on everybody's lips. The inquisitors are just puppets, my child. They're clearing the way for what comes next."

Who Are The Kiasyd?
A few factors unite the weirdlings. All possess a connection to supernatural forces outside of vampire society, as well as an unhealthy curiosity and an eccentrically refined taste. They are antiquarians, gourmands, occultists and alchemists. They value those secrets that fall through the cracks of acceptable research. They collect - facts, artefacts, servants, texts, experiences - things that other vampires might overlook. 
Although no Kiasyd would embrace one with common taste, there is more to it than this. Something in their blood alters them, twisting their minds to become something weird and whimsical. They follow fairy-tale logic, abide by long-extinct superstitions, and are driven by odd fascinations. 
This effect is not purely psychological, either. The embrace alters a Kiasyd's form far more than that of most other Kindred, save perhaps the nosferatu. The precise changes vary from weirdling to weirdling, but there are common patterns. As a rule, the Kiasyd are tall, pale, delicate and androgynous. Some have their bodies stretched out to seven feet tall or more. Some find their skin becoming albino, or blue-tinted, or grey-violet. Their eyes often become pure black, or else oddly coloured. Their ears become subtly pointed, their fingers become spider-like, their skulls strangely narrow. Stranger features emerge sometimes, too. Extra digits, joints that don't bend the way they should, forked tongues, chicken claws.
A given Kiasyd's appearance falls somewhere on a scale between art-nouveau muse, elf, exsanguinated corpse and grey-alien. Some can pass themselves off as humans, if striking looking ones. Others must cover their particular alterations beneath concealing clothing, or wear heavy makeup in order to appear in public. The strangest of them would cause instant masquerade breaches, resembling the sort of creature rarely seen in the waking world.
This obvious strangeness, combined with the historical restrictions placed on their line, have led to the various traditions of their kind. They are highly reclusive, but unflinchingly polite and gracious hosts. They take pains to avoid gathering in greater numbers than a simple pair. The exception to this is their occasional conclaves - of which there have been less than a dozen in the line's entire history - at which they gather in great numbers to discuss academic and political matters.
Considering recent upheavals in vampire society, as well as the rumours that spread like wildfire among their kind that deeper, darker forces are at play, it seems that they will soon be meeting for another such conclave. 


Disciplines

Auspex
As scholars of the weird and forgotten, Auspex is invaluable to the Kiasyd. Auspex allows a weirdling to investigate and experiment in ways they otherwise couldn't, and most value the insights it grants them. In particular, the Kiasyd make great use of Auspex in detecting and studying the various other supernatural denizens of the world, including ghosts, fairies and mortal psychics.

Dominate
The Kiasyd are creatures of etiquette and tradition, even if those particular traditions are sometimes not recognised by those around them. The capacity to enforce their particular social mores is, therefore, rather useful to them. Furthermore, many Kiasyd are frankly bizarre looking or behave in ways that are distinctly inhuman. The capacity to adjust and alter the memories of mortals who encounter them allows them to preserve their privacy and avoid unwanted attention.

Oblivion
Every Kiasyd is, in some way, touched by inhuman forces. They characterise these things differently; some talk about the realm of nightmares, others the abyss, or the darkness from before creation, or the maw of oblivion. None the less, all know that there's something distinctly unnatural about them, even by the standards of vampires. Of course, being the unusual types they are, this connection to the weird is a point of pride for them, and many draw on Oblivion as an overt demonstration of their bizarre nature.

Bane
A Kiasyd's physique and psychology is odd, reflecting their unnatural origins. They must take two points of the flaws Folkloric Bane and Folkloric Block (either two banes, two blocks or one of each). Furthermore, they are affected more severely by these blocks & banes than other vampires. Increase the damage dealt by a Folkloric Bane by their Bane Severity. Likewise, they must spend extra Willpower (as many points as their Bane Severity) to overcome a Folkloric Block.
Their unusual physiology means that many Kiasyd also possess appearance-based merits and flaws, but like most things about the weirdlings, the specifics of a Kiasyd's appearance and how it's reflected mechanically vary wildly.

Clan Compulsion - Experimentation
Driven by the same strange forces that created them, the Kiasyd finds themselves with an urge to tinker, to take things apart to see how they work, to alter themselves or their subjects in weird and dramatic ways, to find new ways to do things. While driven by this compulsion, the Kiasyd takes a two dice penalty on any actions that are familiar, routine, or well understood. This penalty lasts until the Kiasyd's obsession with the novel and bizarre causes them to learn a new and better way of doing things, or to dramatically alter themselves or their surroundings.


Additional Options

New Predator Type - Cocktail Gourmet
You don't drink to live, but rather live to drink. Not for you, though, the crassness of glutting yourself on easy blood. No, your tastes are refined and exotic. You seek out new tastes, keep detailed notes on flavour, and combine them before imbibing. Where the common riff-raff are content to simply bite open a vein and drink directly from the vessel, that won't do for you. Rather, you extract the blood from multiple vessels, combine them carefully to balance the tastes, perhaps add seasoning or ice, and serve in a wineglass or silver goblet. It's rather an inconvenient, but the taste is exquisite. 
  • Add a Speciality: Craft (Bartending) or Medicine (Haematology) 
  • Gain one dot of Auspex of Dominate
  • Gain the feeding merit Bloodhound and the supernatural merit Eat Food
  • Gain 2 dots of herd.
  • Gain the feeding flaw Prey Exclusion (2 - unprepared blood) 
New Predator Type - Atrocity Host
You elevate feeding to an art-form. You are not satisfied by a careful sip here and there, nor do you let yourself be held back by ethical concerns. When you feed, it is an event. Your choice of location is carefully chosen, isolated and staked out ahead of time. The exits are secured, means of communication cut, and victims accounted for. Then, you and your guests feed. Perhaps your victims are flayed, so that you can lick the blood from their skinless bodies. Perhaps they're hung from the ceiling by hooks through their ankles, bled from the neck into silver chalices. Perhaps they're tied to chairs and have spigots driven into their chests, like tapping a keg. Every time, it's different, and you find new horrors to visit on your unfortunate victims before they die. Then, once the night's revelries are concluded, you clean up after yourselves, disguising the scene as a mundane tragedy, and move on, leaving nothing but corpses and grief behind.
  • Add a Speciality: Intimidate (torture) or Etiquette (parties)
  • Gain one dot of Dominate or Oblivion
  • Increase your Blood Potency by 1
  • Lose two dots of Humanity.
  • Gain the Dark Secret flaw (2 - committer of atrocities)
  • Gain the Enemy flaw (2 - escaped victim)
  
New Background - Marconian Alchemy
The Kiasyd are not like other vampires, and their blood is mutable. You've been trained by the elders of your line in the arts of blood alchemy, and have some ability to warp and mutate your own Vitae. Needless to say, this training gives you a great deal of prestige among your own kind, as well as unlocking the potential to evolve yourself even further. 
This background allows the Kiasyd to learn Thin-blood Alchemy despite not being thin-blooded themselves; the altered blood of the weirdlings is mutable enough to allow it. Your level of Thin-blood Alchemy is capped at your dots in Marconian Alchemy, and you must then buy Thin-blood Alchemy with experience points in the normal way. You can only use the Athanor Corporis distilation method for this.
Furthermore, the Kiasyd are not as adept at alchemy as the truly thin-blooded, and require further supernatural catalysts in order to make the process work. There is an additional cost of a blood sample from a non-vampiric supernatural being (or ichor, protoplasm, or whatever that being has in place of blood). It only needs to be a single drop, and it can come from all manner of beings (fairies, mortal psychics, werewolves, victims of possession, demons, zombies, or weirder creatures) but without it, the alchemy simply won't function.

Mytherceria - The Disciplines Powers Of The Kiasyd

Smelt Lies - Auspex 1
The Kiasyd has an ability to tell when they're being lied to, a sort of sixth sense that alerts them. How this manifests varies from Kiasyd to Kiasyd. Some find they taste lies as a bitterness in the air, others hear a hollow echo to the liars words or perceive a whispered correction in their ear. Needless to say, the ability to sift truth from deception in this way is invaluable to a line of scholars such as themselves.
Cost: One rouse check
System: When the Kiasyd suspects they're being lied to, they can rouse the blood in order to activate this power. The power succeeds automatically, with no rolls required. If whichever statement they're suspicious of was a lie, the Kiasyd senses it for certain; if they sense nothing, then the statement wasn't a lie.
This power detects deliberate lies. The Kiasyd can still be fooled by misleading (but technically accurate) wording, fast-talk or spin. Furthermore, if the speaker actually believes what they say to be true, then the Kiasyd doesn't sense anything. On the other hand, if the speaker doesn't know what's true, and just makes something up, the Kiasyd senses a lie.

Fey Sight - Auspex 2
The Kiasyd line has a connection to the stranger supernatural inhabitants of the world, and an ability to pinpoint weird magic and the beings that use it. With this ability, all the various creatures that hide in plain sight are laid bare to the Kiasyd, who instinctively senses their presence and feels when they use their magic.
Cost: Free
Pool: Intelligence plus Auspex
System: Whenever the Kiasyd encounters a supernatural being. they roll Intelligence plus Auspex reflexively, against a varying difficulty chosen by the ST - the more potent the being encountered, the lower the difficulty for a Kiasyd to sense it. If the roll fails, the Kiasyd only gets a sense that something is unusual, but no more.
If the roll succeeds, the Kiasyd knows instinctively that the creature it has encountered is supernatural, and gets a 'taste' for what sort of being it is. They might not know the name for what they've encountered, but they know if it tastes like similar creatures they've encountered previously. For example, all changelings the Kiasyd encounters share a common taste, however there are subtle distinctions between the taste of a redcap and a troll, and even subtler distinctions between the taste of of two different packs of redcaps.
Furthermore, if the creature encountered has a 'true' form that's hidden or shapeshifted out of, if the Kiasyd's roll succeeded, they percieve that true form superimposed on the being's normal appearance. For example, the Kiasyd would percieve a troll as both a normal mortal and an eight-foot hulking brute out of ancient mythology, simultaneously.
The power is likewise activated when the Kiasyd encounters a supernatural power in use, the after-effects of such a use, or when such a power is used in their presence. The roll is the same, and again if it fails the Kiasyd only gets a sense that something is unusual. If the roll succeeds, the Kiasyd tastes the sort of supernatural responsible, although they don't get any additional insight into what the power actually does.
This power has no capacity whatsoever to detect vampires, powers of vampiric blood, or vampire-created creatures such as ghouls and thinbloods.

Changeling Ward - Dominate 3
Amalgam with Oblivion 1
The Kiasyd can carve, paint, or tattoo warding patterns on things. Each such pattern is a densely-packed mess of symbols and marks that spiral in on themselves, exerting a dangerous hypnotic effect on anybody that observes it. Such victims find themselves caught in confused fascination, losing track of what they were doing before they encountered the ward. Most Kiasyd protect their havens heavily with such wards, creating overlapping layers of these defences that baffle and misdirect those not welcome. Some go so far as to inscribe such wards on their favourite possessions, thralls and even their own body; a Kiasyd who rips open her shirt to reveal such a ward carved into her chest can use the resulting confusion to great advantage.
Cost: One rouse check
Pool: Intelligence plus Dominate
System: When the Kiasyd creates their ward, they roll Intelligence plus Dominate to determine the potency of the ward.
Anybody who perceives the ward must then roll Resolve plus Awareness, with a difficulty of the number of successes achieved when the ward was created, to shake off the effect. If they get any successes, then they find themselves momentarily disoriented but otherwise able to continue acting as they intended; the more successes achieved, they more muted this disorientation.
If the roll is failed, then the ward takes full effect. The victim loses all track of what's going on for as many minutes as the full number of successes to create the ward. During this time, the victim's mind is totally overwhelmed, unable to process what's going on around them. They are only able to stare at the ward until the duration is completed. Direct and immediate danger (fire, violence, etc) snaps the victim out of this trance, and they instead flee the scene as if the trance duration had just ended.
Once this initial duration is complete, the victim stumbles or flees away from the ward in a state of bafflement, as if half-asleep. They have no memory of what they were doing, or why they were there, and seek only to return to somewhere familiar and safe. In this state, they are still able to defend themselves and talk, but their behaviour is extremely confused. After ten minutes per success to create the ward, or once the victim returns to wherever they consider home, then they come to their senses. They have no memory of seeing the ward, or events that occurred afterwards, but otherwise their memory is clear, and they're well aware of what they were doing right up until they encountered the ward.
If the victim encounters such a ward a second time (perhaps if they return to the same place again), they must roll to resist it as normal, whether or not they resisted it the first time.
If they victim is exposed to several wards all at once, then they will need to roll to resist each such ward individually. As soon as they fail to resist any ward, then they are affected as if by the most potent ward present only (even if it was one they'd already managed to resist); the effects of multiple wards don't stack.
A Kiasyd is totally immune to the effects of their own wards.

Riddle Phantastique - Oblivion 3
Amalgam with Dominate 3
The Kiasyd have a knack with puzzles, both in interpreting them and creating them. This power allows the Kiasyd to create a riddle that exerts hypnotic power over the listener, a memetic vacuum that draws in and devours intellect. In truth, such riddles are not mere wordplay; all Kiasyd possess a blood-borne link to the abyss beyond the wall of sleep, and this power expresses a fragment of that abyss's paradoxical nature. Exposure to such alien concepts causes the rational mind to shut down in self-defence if left unaddressed; the only way out is to find a loophole in the puzzle and banish it from the mind.
Cost: One rouse check and one Stain
Pool: Intelligence plus Oblivion
System: When the Kiasyd utters their riddle, they roll Intelligence plus Oblivion. Each round, the victim has a choice. They can either resist thinking about the riddle, or attempt to find a solution.
Resisting thinking about the riddle allows the victim to act normally for a round. However, doing so allows the abyss's influence to fester in the victim's subconscious mind, and they suffer as many Stains to their humanity track as the successes used to activate the power.
Attempting to find a solution requires a round be spent in contemplation. The victim rolls Resolve plus Occult each round they do so; once they've accumulated twice as many successes as the riddle's potency, a solution is found and the riddle no longer has any hold on their mind.

New Loresheet - Disciple of Hrotsuitha
Many things are concealed in the depths of the abyss. Things that have been forgotten, things thought dead, things that never existed in this iteration of reality, things that should never exist but which want to anyway. Here, things are uncertain, mutable. Like a dark womb, the abyss of sleep allows things to heal, mutate and grow unfettered by the limits of the waking world.
It is known that Marconius and Hrotsuitha descended into the abyss to create the Kiasyd, but only Marconius resurfaced. What of Hrotsuitha? Was she sacrificed to create their great work? Diablerized by her brother-sire? Or did she merely choose to remain while Marconius fled back to the waking world?
In the abyss, all these things might be true at once.
Among the Kiasyd, the signs begin to multiply. The edge of the abyss, the divide between wakefulness and sleep, is like the surface of a deep, dark lake. The kiasyd see ripples on the water. They see, in the stygian depths, huge things move. Half-glimpsed, they see a shadowy form swimming for the surface.
The portents are uncertain. So much in these modern nights is. Bit by bit, though, the signs reveal themselves. Rumours spread like wildfire among the Kiasyd. Marconius, the idiot-prince, sits on his throne in Strasbourg and shifts uneasily. Illustrious members of the bloodline make preparations for another grand conclave to discuss the coming storm. On every weirdling's lips is the same name; Hrotsuitha, the mother of their kind, is returning. So they say.
This is, however, a lie. Hrotsuitha is returned already. Not in the flesh, she's moved beyond such things. She reveals herself in dreams, whispering to her disciples in their slumber. She has such beautiful plans.

• The Echoes and Reverberations 
You know the story of your bloodline's creation. Several such stories, in fact, some of them contradictory, all of them true. For a given value of true. You see underlying patterns, and how those patterns have propagated forward through time. You know what came before, and what is coming. Once per story, you can ask the storyteller a question about your bloodline's creation, history or likely future, and get an accurate and useful (if perhaps not totally literal) answer.

• Beyond the Wall of Sleep
Hrotsuitha murmurs to you. At least, you're fairly sure she does. Either way, some nights you wake from your slumber knowing things you didn't when you retired the previous morning. It's hard to be sure. Once per story, if you retire to day-sleep partway through an investigation, Hrotsuitha might mumbler something useful to you, and when you awaken you get plus two dice to your pool to complete the investigation.

• The Whisperer in the Darkness
You have the means to contact your patron, and she can speak directly back to you. To make contact with Hrotsuitha, you must be in absolute darkness, alone save for a sleeping mortal. Whisper your questions, and Hrotsuitha will use the sleeping mortal to whisper back. Count Hrotsuitha's patronage as a three point Mawla. You can also purchase Contacts among the various strange supernatural beings Hrotsuitha might introduce you to, ranging from ghosts, to dark fey, to creatures of the abyss.

• Herald of Nightmares
You are one of Hrotsuitha's vessels, a dark portal through which she extends her grasp into the waking world. Whenever you use the disciplines of Auspex, Dominate or Oblivion in absolute darkness, you can draw on Hrotsuitha's presence for strength. Take as many stains to your humanity track as you want, and get that many extra free successes to use the power.

 The Stygian Chrysalis
You know the truth of Hrotsuitha's plans for your bloodline, and gladly follow them. The Kiasyd are to become something more than vampiric, something less than real. A grand work of alchemy, creating beings that are equal parts blood and waking nightmare.
You can diablerize other supernatural beings beside vampires; fairies, werewolves, mortal magicians, even ghosts if you can work out how to get your fangs in them. While such beings don't have Blood Potency like a vampire, the Storyteller will assign them an equivalent value for your diablerie attempt. Likewise, the supernatural abilities of the being you're consuming will be reflected in the disciplines you're able to gain by diablerizing them. At the Storyteller's discretion, you may even be able to acquire abilities not found among existing disciplines. Your aura is permanently altered by this act, but not with black veins. Rather, it mutates to reflect your nature as something no longer wholly vampiric.

3 comments:

  1. Apologies for posting off-topic Emmy but I'm not savvy of other methods of contacting you...just wondering if Esoteric Enterprises ('full' version) is still on track for November release. I'm hopping from foot to foot for this one - want to get it in print as well as PDF - can you share that it is still a 'go' for November release? Where will a stateside gamer be able to get it? (DriveThru? Exalted Funeral? etc.) Thanks! - your fan in Massachusetts, Brian C.

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  2. what do you think of the latest Vampire ruleset? C: Nice post!

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