Serpentis

The Followers of Set do not consider themselves cursed by God, or even vampires in the sense that the other Children of Caine are. Serpentis, their Discipline, was granted to them by the god Set himself. The nature of the clans relationship with Set prevents them from sharing their secrets with other vampires. Only on very rare occasions do they deign to teach its nuances to so-called Cainites, and such students are invariably initiates of the Setite cult. Followers of Set laugh off the suggestion that Serpentis might represent a curse from God. The most they will admit to is that they represent the serpent in the Garden and are a curse on humanity, rather than being cursed themselves. More often, the Followers of Set say that Serpentis allows its users to assume a semblance of godhood. Perfection of Serpentis bring the Setites closer to the metaphorical serpent shape that they identify with their founder/god. Astute scholars note the many similarities between this ability and the Protean power of the Gangrel and wonder to themselves what the relationship between the two clans founders might have been.

The Eyes of the Serpent
Myths of the cobra and asp as well as the Greek Medusa ascribe hypnotic ability to them, and Set's first gift to his childer is a facsimile of that power. Should the character catch the gaze of a mortal or Cainite, he can beguile them with his gaze and render them immobile. He cannot give them commands or instructions this is the province of Dominate but they cannot move, nor speak above a whisper. The target remains immobilized until the character looks away even so much as a glance breaks the trance.

System: Initial getting the targets attention requires the player to make a Manipulation + Etiquette roll (difficulty 4). If the target is already looking at the vampire, however, (they are engaged in conversation, for instance) no roll is necessary.

The ability works automatically on mortals.

To use it on a vampire of any generation, the player engages in a contest of Willpower (difficulty 7). Both parties roll, and if the Setite's player wins, the target is immobilized. If a potential victim knows not to look at the Serpent, no force in the world can make her do so, except for distraction. A successful Manipulation + Etiquette roll (difficulty 10) can allow the vampire to catch the targets attention for long enough to entrance her, but a failure or botch on this roll gives his intentions away and ensures that the victim avoids his gaze for the rest of the scene.

Tongue of the Asp
Sets next gift enables his get to turn their tongues into weapons reminiscent of a snakes forked tongue. It extends in length by more than a foot, making it a viable weapon fro close-in fighting, and the more so since it becomes sharp, wickedly barbed and tainted by the vampires unholy blood. Wounds caused by the Tongue of the Asp do not heal normally.

System: No roll or blood expenditure is required, and although the power takes a full turn to activate, the character may do other things while it does so. The tongue does Strength damage in close combat, but the wounds it causes are aggravated. The player rolls Dexterity + Brawl to strike with the tongue as normal. Should the vampire inflict one or more health levels on the target, she may feed from him on the next turn as though she had bitten him with her fangs.

A strike from the Tongue of the Asp does not necessarily immobilize a foe, but the target is caught in the pleasure/pain of the Kiss as soon as the vampire begins to drink her blood.

Skin of the Adder
Every new power of the Discipline of Serpentis brings the vampire closer to the god-form of Set himself. The Skin of the Adder brings this blessing to the vampires undead skin, using vitae to strengthen it and thicken it. His form also becomes more snakelike, though it is still obviously humanoid.

System: No roll is required, but the change takes three turns and costs one blood point. If the player spends three blood points at once, he can reduce this time to one turn. While wearing the Skin of the Adder, the character is scaly, mottled and clearly monstrous.

This power reduces soak difficulties for all damage to 5. In addition, the player can use Stamina to soak aggravated damage from claws and fangs (though not from fire or sunlight) even if the character does not have Fortitude.

Additionally, the vampire is more limber and his joints become capable of dislocating without damage. He can fit through any opening large enough to admit his head, and he can dislocate his jaw to allow one more blood point to be consumed per turn of feeding.

Form of the Cobra
Some Cainite myths describe Set's true form as that of a gigantic cobra, hundreds of feet long and as thick around as a great whale. This ability lets one of Sets childer echo his founders nature by transforming himself into a huge cobra, eight feet long and nearly a foot thick, weighing as much as the character ordinarily does. The cobra is strong and swift, and it has a sense of smell better than any mortals.

Additionally, its bite carries a poison that is fatal to humans and animals (but which has no effect on Cainites). The character looses the ability to speak while in this form, but he can communicate with others in the same form. For the Followers of Set, the Form of the Cobra is a sacred state, one akin to apotheosis. Many of the most devout of the clan those elevated on the secret Road of the Serpent use this form in dark rituals to Set.

Set teaches that law is a lie; a deception of the tyrant-god Osiris, and in the Form of the Cobra, his follower is free to experience the savage truth. In dealing with outsiders, Followers of Set reserve the Form of the Cobra for mortal combat only. Letting the profane see the sacred form of their god is not something to undertake lightly. Those Serpents less inculcated with traditional beliefs are somewhat less restricted in their use of the form, but not greatly.

System: The player spends one blood point, and the transformation takes three turns. As with Skin of the Adder, that time can be decreased to one turn if the player spends three blood points at once.

The vampires Attributes remain identical, but the player gains two dice to any dice pool involving scent and loses two dice pools involving hearing. She also gains a similar two-dice bonus to Dodge and climbing dice pools. As a creature roughly a foot in diameter, the vampire has an easier time moving around in tight spaces, and he can escape from many prisons that are meant to hold a mortal or vampire.

Activating this transformation in a single turn gives her a free chance to escape from a grapple, as her form writhes and contorts unexpectedly. The vampires bite does the same damage as it would in human form, but she does not have to grapple her target before biting. The venom does seven levels of aggravated damage to any mortal the vampire bites, but no special damage to Cainites. Unless the vampire decides to reverse it earlier, the transformation lasts until dawn.

It costs no blood to reverse, but it takes three turns to revert to human shape.
Cheat the Scales of Anubis/Heart of the Darkness
Cheat the Scales of Anubis (Dark Ages)
Egyptian legend has it that the god Anubis weighs the hearts of the deceased on his great scale. If the heart is not in perfect balance with the feather placed on the other plate, it is considered to be weighted down by sin, and the soul of the deceased is fed to the Devourer and destroyed.

Setite faith sees this story as a corruption of the dark truth: Anubis acts as a gatekeeper for the tyrannical Osiris, who rules the afterlife. Those who have proven their souls strength by being willing to reject the laws that made them slaves (hence those who have sinned) are destroyed before they can enter the afterlife and overthrow the tyrant-god. If Set and his followers are ever to reverse this state of affairs, there must be a way for the strong to get around Anubis' scales.

This power allows a master of Serpentis to do just that by removing his heart (as well as his other vital organs) from his body entirely and wrapping his flesh in a protective cocoon. The power, more akin to a ritual, can only be performed in the dark of night either after the moon has set, before it has risen, or during the new moon and only on oneself. It takes a few hours to complete. Once the Setite has removed his heart and other vital organs, he must place them in specially prepared clay urns (called Canopic jars). After that, servants can bury or hide them away.

After the vampire has removed all his major organs, his vitae and undead flesh combine to wrap him in a dry, scaly shroud that is nearly impenetrable. Only a small opening over his mouth remains in the shroud. The character then falls into a sort of torpor. Only feeding him his removed internal organs can awaken the character. Once that is complete, it takes about one minute for the cocoon around the Setite to crumble to dust.

The enshrouded vampire is virtually impossible to harm no known direct force from inferno to high-afternoon sunlight, can do him damage while so wrapped.

However, the extracted organs are vulnerable, most especially the heart. Exposing it to fire or sunlight causes the vampires instant and terrible immolation, destroying him. Although terrible, this destruction is actually part of the ritual in which the vampires followers burn his organs before a statue of Set. By meeting the Final Death in this way, a Follower of Set reaches Anubis without a heart and hence able to pass him by without ever undertaking the test of the scales, entering the afterlife as a powerful agent of his god.

It is possible to undertake this ritual only part way, something usually done for one of two reasons. The first is to assume the fully enshrouded form for protections sake, which some Setites do when they are traveling. Their ghouls carry them as cargo in a ship or caravan and then feed their master his organs when they arrive at their destination. The other option is to stop the ritual with the removal of the heart. The vampire is perfectly able to move about without his heart, but he becomes immune to standard staking or diablerie. However, if an enemy gets hold of the Canopic jar containing the extracted organ, the vampire is in serious trouble. Not only does it provide a powerful ritual connection to the vampire, but a simple flame or glint of sunlight can destroy the vampire outright, and driving a stake through the organ drives the Setite into torpor.

System: To undertake this ritual power, the vampire must have time to herself (assisted by acolytes, perhaps) and be acting on a moonless night. The power fails at any other time. The player makes an extended Dexterity + Medicine roll (difficulty 7) for the character to undertake the ritual.

Each roll means an hour of activity, and the ritual ends in failure if the moon or sun rises before the player achieves the necessary successes (five to remove a heart, 12 to achieve the mummified form). A failure on this roll has no effect other than to extend the process another hour. A botch entails a catastrophic failure that ends the ritual and causes two levels of aggravated damage to the vampire. Any vampire who witnesses the process is subject to Rotschreck (difficulty 6).

The enshrouded body of a Setite is completely immune to harm. No source of injury save perhaps the might of a Methuselah or Antediluvian can do direct physical damage. The organs, however are extremely vulnerable, and even the slightest sunlight or flame destroys them outright. The jars are opaque, but easily broken open. Except for the heart, destroying an organ causes an unsoakable level of aggravated damage to the vampire. Destroying the heart destroys the vampire outright. The removed organs are rich with vitae. Most contain one blood points worth (which reduces the vampires overall blood pool), and that blood remains fresh indefinitely in the withered organ-meat. A ghoul or vampire who consumes a Setites removed organ takes one step toward the blood oath as normal. The heart contains two blood points and a vampire consuming it is attempting diablerie against the Setite. Once the two blood points are drained from the heart, the attacker passes straight to the hearts blood and her player must make a strength roll as normal, save that the difficulty is 7. Staking the heart, stakes the Setite if he is still active.

Heart of the Darkness (Modern Nights)
The Setite with mastery of Serpentis may pull her heart from her body. She can even use this ability on other Cainites, although this requires several hours of gruesome surgery. Only the new moon, the invisible moon, may grant this power success. If performed under any other moon, the rite fails. Upon removing her heart, the Setite places it in a small clay urn, and then carefully hides or buries the urn. She cannot be staked by any wood that pierces her breast, and finds it easier to resist frenzy. The heart is the seat of emotion, after all, and so the difficulties of all rolls to resist frenzy are two lower.

Setites are careful to keep their hearts safe from danger. If someone seizes her heart, the Setite is completely at that person's mercy. The Setite heart can be destroyed only by casting it into a fire or exposing it to sunlight. If this happens, however, the Setite dies where she stands, boiling away into a blistering heap of ash and blackened bone. Plunging a wooden stake into an exposed heart drives the Setite into instant torpor.

A Setite may carry her heart with her, or have several false hearts buried in different places. A Setite often avoids her heart's hiding place, to deter discovery. Those wise in Setite lore whisper that the corrupt elders of the clan often hold their underlings' hearts, the better to control the errant hatchlings.

System: This power requires no roll. Those who witness a Setite pull his heart from his breast (or cut the heart from another vampire) must make Courage rolls. Failure indicates anything from strong uneasiness to complete revulsion, possibly even Rotschreck.

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