Vicissitude

Vicissitude competes with the Madmens gift of Dementation for the title as the most harrowing power of the unliving. Cainites of Clan Tzimisce consider this Discipline their true gift, which allows them to reshape living or unliving flesh. Neonates might call attention to the similarities between Vicissitude and Protean, but ancillae and those who are familiar with both the Gangrel and Tzimisce recognize the truth.

Protean allows a Gangrel to manifest certain aspects of the Beast for the world to see. Vicissitude by contrast, allows the Tzimisce to visit his foulest perversions upon otherwise innocent victims and present them for the world to see. All Vicissitude powers require at least a moments physical contact. Some require considerably longer periods of time, in order to physically sculpt flesh and bone into the proper shapes. Vicissitude cannot be used to heal damage, though. That takes vitae, in the case of vampires, or time, in the case of mortals. And some of the reshaping that Tzimisce perform upon their victims takes time to heal into its new form, in the same way that a broken bone must reknit, and it might do so at an odd angle if it is setincorrectly.

Typically, changes made by Vicissitude are permanent, with a couple of caveats. First, a victim of lower generation than the Cainite using Vicissitude can heal any changes as though they were aggravated wounds. Second, Vicissitude can be used to undo changes wrought by that power but such a thing might take time and a great deal of work. Finally Vicissitude cannot permanently undo the horrid aspect of a Nosferatu, the deathly pallor of a Cappadocian, the inky blackness of an elder Assamites flesh or the animalistic features of a Gangrel who has frenzied overmuch. Those features are intrinsic aspects of the victims blood and return after a days rest. Vicissitude is part of Gods curse on Caine because it replaces the ability to create and nurture new living things with the hideous compulsion to reshape Gods creation in a twisted new image.

Those Cainites on the Road of Heaven rarely use this power, but it is popular among former butchers and peasants, as well as those who grew up in the shadow of Tzimisce holdings. Some Tzimisce fanatics follow a Road of Metamorphosis that uses Vicissitude as part of its holy (or unholy) sacraments. They are even said to worship in a horrific temple known as the Cathedral of Flesh.

Level 1: Malleable Visage


A Fiend with this power may alter his own bodily parameters: height, build, voice, facial features, hair and skin tone, among other things. Such changes are cosmetic and minor in scope no more than a foot of height can be gained or lost, for example. He must physically mold the alteration, literally shaping his flesh into the desired result.

System: The player must spend a blood point for each body part to be changed, then roll Intelligence + Body Crafts with a difficulty of 6. To duplicate another person requires a Perception + Body Crafts roll with a difficulty of 8 instead. Five successes are required for a flawless copy; fewer successes leave flaws ranging from minute to glaringly obvious. The player may increase his Cainites Appearance trait with Malleable Visage, but the difficulty of the Intelligence + Body Crafts Roll is 10, and a botch permanently decreases the Attribute.

For those who do not habitually flesh craft themselves, these changes in Appearance are permanent. To Tzimisce and other rare Vicissitude wielders, Appearance can vary wildly from sunset to dawn. It is limited only by the Cainites imagination and his generational trait limit.

Level 2: Transmogrify the Mortal Clay (Fleshcraft)


This power is similar to Malleable Visage, but it allows the Cainite to perform drastic, grotesque alterations on other creatures as well as himself. Only flesh (including muscles, fat and cartilage, but not bone) may be transformed. The power is permanent on mortals, but vampires may spend blood points to heal the transformation.

System: The vampire must grapple or restrain the intended victim, and the player make a successful Dexterity + Body Crafts roll (difficulty variable: 5 for a crude yank-and-tuck; up to 9 for precise transformations under stressful conditions). Increasing anothers appearance is done as described under Malleable Visage. Reducing the ttribute is considerably easier (difficulty 5) though truly inspired disfigurement may require careful work and a higher difficulty. In either case, each success increases or reduces the Attribute by one, though the transmogrifying Cainite may elect not to use all his successes.

Players who wish their vampires to heal their disfigurements must spend blood points equal to the total successes, regardless of the total Attribute loss or gain. A vampire may use this power to move clumps of skin, fat and muscle to provide additional padding where needed. For each success scored on a Dexterity + Body Crafts roll (difficulty 8), the vampire may increase the subjects dice pool for soaking attacks by one, at the expense of either a point of strength or a health level, at the vampires choice.

Level 3: Rend the Osseous Frame (Bonecraft)


This terrible power allows a [Vampire|vampire]] to manipulate bone in the same manner that he shapes flesh. In conjunction with Transmogrify the Mortal Clay, this power enables the Cainite to warp a victim (or himself) beyond recognition. When used alone, it can inflict traumatic injury. Tzimisce often use this power to transform dogs and other beasts into slachta, monstrous war-ghouls used to guard havens or strike terror into foes on the battlefield.

System: When using this power in conjunction with Transmogrify the Mortal Clay, the player makes a Strength + Body Crafts roll (using the previously delineated difficulties). Cainite victims who wish to heal their disfigurements must do so as if they were aggravated wounds, even though no actual levels of damage were done. The Cainite may use Rend the Osseous Frame as a weapon, without the complementary flesh crafting arts.

Each success scored on the Strength + Body Crafts roll (difficulty 7) inflicts one level of lethal damage to the victim, as his bones rip, puncture, and slice their way out of his skin. Vampire victims may soak the lethal damage, but their bones are still warped and misaligned. This may cause problems with movement or sight for example, and putting the bones back is also treated as healing aggravated wounds. A vampire may use this power on himself or others to form spikes or talons of bone, either on the knuckles or feet as offensive weapons or all over the body as defensive quills. In the former case, the recipient takes one level of lethal damage. In the latter, the subject takes a number of levels of lethal damage equal to five minus the number of successes. (A botch kills a mortal subject, or sends a vampire into torpor.) This damage may be healed normally. Knuckle or foot spikes inflict Strength + 2 lethal damage in combat, while defensive quills inflict a hand-to-hand attackers strength in lethal damage unless the attacker scores three or more successes on the attack roll. (The quill-bearing defender still takes damage normally.) The quills also add two to all damage rolls for grapples or body slams.

The most fearsome attack possible with this power collapses the victims ribcage, piercing her heart with her own bones. While this does not send a vampire into torpor, it does cause the affected vampire to lose half her blood points, as the seat of her vitae ruptures in a shower of gore. Mortal victims die instantly. This attack must be declared before the attack is rolled, and it requires five successes on the [Strength]] + Body Crafts roll to succeed. The victim still loses the blood points if she soaks all the lethal damage.

Level 4: Awaken the Zulo Shape


The traditional war-form of the changeable Tzimisce voivodes is the zulo shape, a hideous monstrosity a full eight feet in height with sickly greenish-grey scaled skin and powerful arms tipped with jagged black nails. A row of spines sprouts from the zulos vertebrae, and the eternal carapace exudes a foul-smelling grease.

System: The zulo shape costs two blood points to awaken. All Physical Attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Stamina) increase by three, but all Social Attributes drop to zero, save when dealing with others also in the zulo shape. However, a vampire in zulo form trying to intimidate someone may substitute Strength for a Social Attribute. Damage inflicted in brawling combat increases by one due to the jagged ridges and bony knobs creasing the creatures hands.

Level 5: Ascendancy of the Sanguine Humor


A vampire with this power can physically transform all or part of his body into sentient vitae. This blood is identical to the vampires normal vitae in all respects. She can use it to nourish herself or others, create ghouls or establish blood oaths. If all this blood is imbibed or otherwise destroyed, the vampire meets Final Death.

System: The vampire may transform all or part of herself as she deems fit. Each leg can turn into two blood points worth of vitae, as can the torso; each arm, the head and the abdomen convert to one blood point. The blood can be reconverted to the body part, provided it is in contact with the vampire. If the blood has been utilized or destroyed, the vampire must spend a number of blood points equal to what was originally created to regrow the missing body part.

A vampire entirely in this form may not be staked, cut, bludgeoned or pierced, but he can be burned or exposed to the sun. The vampire may ooze along, drip up walls and flow through the narrowest cracks, as though she were in Tenebrous Avatar form. Mental Disciplines may be used, provided no eye contact or vocal utterance is necessary and if a vampire in this form washes over a mortal or animal, that mortal must make a Courage roll (difficulty 8) or fly into a panic.

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