Protean

While other Cainites huddled in caves and villages with mortal populations, the Gangrel stomped about for thousands of years conquering the world as they knew it. They adopted mortal tribes and migrated with the herd and harvest, following their human prey from grassland to grassland. Gangrel nomads benefited from their own Discipline of Protean, a secret of the Blood that meant they did not have to keep within half-a-night's run from the shelter of a hut or cave. For millenia, the Gangrel kept this Discipline secret and private so that members of no other Clan could learn it. Gangrel legends say that the other Clans believed them to be gods of the steppe, immune to the sun's scorching rays.

In thses nights, the secret of Protean is no longer entirely the property of the Gangrel. Other Clans have unearthed the Discipline's secrets and passed them from Sire to Childe, but no bloodline has the flair for it that the Gangrel do. Protean allows a Cainite to change his body's form to aid in his nightly hunting, and in escaping his enemies (both physical and spiritual). The ability is a reflection of God's curse on vampires because it peels away the layer of protection and civility provided by a vampire's human shape. It displays the Beast in the vampire using it and keeps him from denying it or hiding from it.

As a character's shape changes, the use of certain Disciplines may become impossible. A Cainite in mist form cannot use Dominate, as it depends on eye contact, for instance. While general guidelines are provided, the final decisions in this matter rest with the Storyteller.

Level 1: Witness of Darkness


The vampire with this ability can see normally in ordinary darkness - even a cloudy, moonless night is as bright as an overcast day to the character. However, the Discipline does cause the character's eyes to glow a visible red, which unnerves most mortals who see it.

System: Activating the Discipline is a free action, but it takes a full turn to take effect. While Witness of Darkness is in effect, the character suffers no dice pool penalties based on ordinary darkness. It is impossible to disguise one's inhuman nature while using this ability. However, while the Discipline is active, the player adds one die to Intimidation dice pools against mortals who are not acquainted with the supernatural.

Level 2: Talons of the Beast


A Cainite with Talons of the Beast can extrude wicked claws a few inches long from each fingertip. Despite the power's name, the claws are far more dangerous than those of a mere wolf or bear. They can tear through chain armor and still dig deep into flesh. Wounds inflincted upon mortals by Talons of the Beast never quite heal; Cainites find that vitae alone is insufficient to heal them. Some vampires exhibit other minor changes when activating this power. Eyes might turn a chalky white, blood might seep from the palms, or the character might be unable to keep their fangs retracted.

System: Activating the Discipline is a free action, but it takes a full turn to take effect, and the player must spend one blood point. Wounds inflicted by the Talons of the Beast do Strength + 1 dice of Aggravated damage.

Level 3: Interred in the Earth


Many Gangrel claim to be descended from an ancient warrior-goddess called Ennoia, and some even purport to be pagan subterranean gods themselves. This ability is one of the reasons they can do such a thing. The vampire usuing it takes advantage of the Cainite affinity for the grave by sliding their body into the earth itself, as though stepping into a tomb for the day. The Gangrel cannot move around once he is entombed in the earth; in fact, he cannot even be dug up. He is immaterial and merged with the soil around him. Any attempt to dig him up will eventually fail, as the roughly man-sized blob of earth cannot be moved or pierced without powerful magic. However, the ground above their resting place is disturbed and overturned, as though a mortal were considering planting a garden there, so those who are knowledgable in such things can uncover the place of entombment.

The vampire must have direct contact with the ground itself in order to use this power. A wooden or stone floor blocks their melding into the dirt. They also cannot use this power while standing on a large piece of rock. They can inter themselves in earth, not stone. The power provides perfect protection against the sun's rays, and the heat of ordinary fire above. The character can be considered to be six feet under the earth for such purposes. The Animal may chose to remain conscious while interred, though when the sun rises this becomes more difficult, as always.

The very existence of this power sets paranoid Cainites to thinking. If powerful vampires remain in Torpor for centuries, and many of the eldest Cainites are assumed to be able to inter themselves, then there could be hundreds of elders buried in the earth, and they could emerge from Torpor nearly anywhere at any time. Surely the emergence of a multitude of such creatures would be a harbinger of Gehenna. The ancient masters of the Roman nights are said to have known a ritual to lock such slumbering ancients in their earthly prisons. This secret apparently involved salting the earth with a special mixture of alchemical powders. It was used to greatest effect after the destruction of Carthage, when Brujah and other elders were locked under the soil of North Africa.

System: The player spends one blood point, and the character concentrates for a full turn, taking no other action. Once activated, the character is essentially immune to all attacks. The character can use Auspex and other purely mental abilities while interred, but they may not activate any Discipline with a physical effect.

Level 4: Form of the Beast


A vampire with this ability can turn himself into a wolf or a bat through the magic in his blood. Rumor has it that some Gangrel can transform themselves into quite different wild forms, but most Cainites are limited to these two forms. While wearing a different shape, the character retains his own mind and will, but his physical characteristics change, and he cannot invoke all of his Disciplines. His sense increase in acuity when he is a wolf, however, and he can fly at 25 miles per hour when he is a bat.

System: The player spends one blood point for the character to transform over three turns (during which he can take no other actions). At the Storyteller's discretion, the player may spend three blood points (instead of just one) to have the character transform in a single turn. The vampire's physical Attributes, Manipulation, Appearance and Perception change to match those of the animal's. The character also gains any attacks or special abilities (such as flight). The character activate only those Disciplines whose manifestations do not depend on him having human features. (Most Thaumaturgy and Mortis powers are out, for instance). Transforming back into the vampire's natural form costs nothing, but it takes three turns.

Level 5: Body of Spirit


Most vampires who can use this power or have seen it in use believe that the character who invokes it, turning himself into mist, is abandoning his humanoid form for one composed entirely of spiritstuff. This impression is consistent whether the Cainite is christian or pagan. The mist body the character wears is seen as the truest expression of his innermost nature. However, the mist is physical rather then some kind of ghostly spirit form. The character's perceptions expand through the mist, and every gust of wind ripples through his being. His vision is focused on the center of the mist (that is where his eyes seem to be, to him), but with brief concentration, he can see or hear from any part of his mist form.

The character becomes a small cloud of mist, perhaps four feet in diameter. He can move about at the equivalent of his walking pace. He can fit anywhere that a misty cloud might go, and she can pass through most cloth, up a chimney or through a crack under a door. As a cloud of mist, the character is less vulnerable to the depredations of the sun, though it still burn him. Even the strongest winds cannot disperse his form. They can and do push him around, however, if he cannot find a barrier behind which to hide.

System: The player spends one blood point, and the character takes three turns to transform his body into mist. As with Form of the Beast, the player may spend three blood points to have the vampire transform in a single turn. To resist the buffeting effects of strong wind, the player rolls Potence (not the characters natural Strength), with a difficulty ranging from 6 (mild breeze) to 10 (gale-force winds). Each turn, he may have to roll again to have the character move against the direction in which the wind pushes him. On a calm night, the mist may move about at the character's regular walking or jogging speed.

Sunlight and fire do burn the vampire in mist form, but they cause one less level of damage and it's much easier to find shelter in mist form. The character's perceptions are normal except as described, and sufficiently stimulating experiences can lead her into Frenzy and Rotschreck. The character is immune to normal physical attack (except for fire and sunlight), and he cannot affect anything physical in the world about him while he is in mist form. He can use Disciplines that do not require a physical component, however.

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