Diablerie

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This article contains information and systems for Diablerie in World of Darkness: Gotham.

Contents

Diablerie Overview

Diablerie is the most heinous act Kindred can commit upon Kindred. It carries an intense stigma and taboo with it that can scarcely be imagined by regular human players and STs. The only thing that can come close to be compared to Diablerie is cannibalism among humans.

Players should understand that it is much much worse than cannibalism because the implications are profound. When a Kindred commits Diablerie he is not simply draining all the blood away from the victim, he is literally consuming the soul. This means that even in Final Death, the victim will find no peace. There is no chance for an afterlife. The life force is fused with that of the Diablerist and it simply ceases to be in the form it once was.

It’s for this reason that a Diablerie is a terrible thing to behold and is so taboo among Kindred. The souls of the victim and the Diablerist are locked in a battle of sheer strength of will and in the end the two will be forever transformed. One will become part of the other and so if the victim was of lower Generation than the Diablerist (or rogue), then the rogue will gain the permanent benefit of the stronger blood in the form of lowering his Generation. This is not some cool Highlander type deal. This is terrifying.

For the Diablerist there is a danger of becoming addicted to the behavior as the pleasurable feeling derived from the act is stronger than any orgasm a human can imagine. Some Diablerists engage in their activities habitually even when there is no benefit of lowering their Generation. These rogues are the biggest criminals in the Kindred world and are hunted down tenaciously by the Camarilla.

Because of the intense implications of the act of Diablerie and the dangerous precedent it sets, few sanctioned Diableries are ever permitted. That sort of punishment is reserved for only the most terrible of atrocities. However, in practice there are times where Princes look the other way – especially when it’s to their benefit. For example, a Prince would not openly condone the Diablerie of vampires at the fringes of his Domain, but if he was concerned about Sabbat activity – he may look the other way while a scourge reduces the threat by whatever means necessary.

Just like in human society, there are vampiric murderers and cannibals. In the nightly fight for territory among the younger Kindred, a lot of chaos ensues. There is confusion, a fog of war, and many layers of deception in the nightly games of Kindred. So it’s not surprising that while the practice of Diablerie is rarely sanctioned, this act of murder does happen on the sly. However the Kindred murderer is never safe from his crime and signs of it hang about his neck like an albatross.

These are all factors to consider while reviewing the Diablerie systems below.

Diablerie Systems

There is only one victim and one Diablerist involved in a Diablerie. There is no benefit gained from a group of Kindred draining the life force out of one victim – feeding like a pack of jackals.

After draining the victim of all her blood, the Diablerist rolls Strength + Potence at Difficulty 9. Each success does one Aggravated Damage level which cannot be soaked. Seven successes are required as all Health Levels need to be drained in this way. The Diablerist is in a fight against the soul of the victim at this point and not with the physical shell of the vampire in question. So no. You can't go turning your victim into a pin cushion and then suck just the last Health Level away and consider Diablerie a success. That goes against the spirit of the rule and is cheesy!

Potence does not give an auto success, it adds to the Strength pool. A failure at any time indicates that the Diablerie has failed and the soul of the victim escapes. A botch indicates that the Diablerist might mistakenly believe that he was successful and the victim may then have a chance to escape (if she is very lucky and conditions permit).

Diablerie takes all the rogue’s concentration and strength. His victim’s undead soul is a strong thing and will struggle until the bitter end. Therefore, any attacks against him will be at Difficulty 2. If he is interrupted, the Diablerie fails. At this point the victim may survive if she has a measure of soul intact. She will gain a derangement from the experience and be scarred for the rest of her unlife.

If the Diablerie is a failure, and the victim survives, she will be shocked by the experience. She will have to roll Courage vs. a Difficulty of 4 + the number of Health Levels drained. A failure means she gains one derangement related to the experience. A botch means that she gains two Derangements.

If the Diablerie is successful, the rogue must roll Self-Control Difficulty 10 – Humanity to avoid a Frenzy. This is brought on by the sheer ecstasy of the experience for the rogue.

Any witnessing vampires should roll Courage Difficulty 8 to avoid being repulsed and terrified by the act.

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Benefits of Diablerie

Besides the sheer pleasure, the act of Diablerie gives the rogue some major benefits. To some Kindred these rewards make all the risks and taboo surrounding the act, worthwhile.

These benefits include:

  • If the victim was of lower Generation than the rogue, the rogue lowers his Generation by one. This is permanent and does not cost any EXP.
  • He increases the rating of his Disciplines for 2 weeks real time by 1.
  • He is able to learn Disciplines possessed by the victim if he was aware that they were in her blood or learns that they were in her blood. A Willpower (using Current WP) roll will be required to learn by this method at Difficulty 9. Any of the victim’s Disciplines must be bought with EXP before the 2 weeks are up and the victim’s blood and essence is completely fused with the rogue’s. Note that Disciplines like Thaumaturgy and Necromancy are considered courses of study rather than inherent in the Blood. Therefore they cannot be learned in this fashion.

Dangers of Diablerie

There are a number of drawbacks to being a Diablerist. The most immediate and pressing problem is how to get away with it. There are many ways to get caught. Here are some of them:

  • The mark of the crime stains the aura of the rogue with sick tar-like black veins that mar the other shades. This mark lasts for no less than 1 year. However the stain on the aura is more pronounced and takes longer to fade depending on how large the Generation gap was between the victim and the rogue. For every level difference between the Diablerist and the victim one year is added to the length of time the black veins appear in the aura. So if a 12th Generation Kindred eats a 9th Generation, the veins will last 3 years.
  • The rogue gives off an unsettling vibe that is easily picked up by sensitive Kindred who are still close to humanity. For 1 month per Generation removed from the victim, the rogue gives off this vibe. Kindred in his presence roll Perception vs a Difficulty of 12 – Humanity. A success indicates that the Kindred notice that there is just something that “doesn’t feel right” about the rogue. So if a 12th Generation Kindred eats a 9th Generation, the vibe will last 3 months.
  • Tremere with their blood magic specialize in coaxing deep secrets from samples of blood. They have rituals and paths to detect a Diablerist centuries after the crime has been committed.

In addition to possible discovery, the rogue also contends with the mental trauma and crisis of conscience associated with eating another being’s soul. Plus he also has to contend with the possibility of addiction to the sensation. These effects are as follows:

The Diabolist must roll Self-Control vs. Difficulty 15 – the victim’s Generation. Failure indicates that the rogue has become addicted to the sensation and will try again. A botch indicates that the Diabolist has a phobic terror of Diablerie and develops a derangement stemming from the paranoia of possibly falling to the same fate as his victim.

There is an automatic loss of no less than 1 Humanity. Plus the rogue must roll Conscience Difficulty 8 to determine if a further loss is warranted. See the chart below.

Diablerie Degeneration Chart
Roll Result
3 or more successes 1 Humanity lost.
2 successes 2 Humanity lost.
1 success 3 Humanity lost.
0 successes 3 Humanity and a Conscience lost.
Botch 3 Humanity, a Conscience lost, plus a derangement of some sort.

The victim and the rogue must face off to determine just how much of the victim’s soul is left intact within the rogue. To do this the victim rolls Willpower at a Difficulty of 6 (her Difficulty is lower because her soul is fighting for her very survival and will fight all the harder because of it). The rogue rolls Willpower Difficulty 8. The results of this opposed roll are scored as per the chart below.

Diablerie Rebirth Chart
Victim's Score Result
5 or more successes The victim’s demeanor and nature manifests permanently in the rogue and replaces his own. Plus the rogue gains a derangement to be assigned by the STs and the victim. Also the victim’s soul is along for the ride and can come bubbling to the surface from time to time in the form of delusions (another derangement). Essentially the victim haunts the rogue’s mind and if the victim was another player character, you both should have fun RPing a few hauntings here and there.
4 successes The victim’s demeanor and nature manifests permanently in the rogue and replaces his own. Plus the rogue gains a derangement to be assigned by the STs and the victim.
3 successes The victim’s demeanor and nature manifests permanently in the rogue and replaces his own.
2 successes The victim’s demeanor and nature manifests permanently in the rogue and should act as a dual demeanor and nature from time to time.
1 success The victim’s demeanor manifests permanently in the rogue and should act as a dual demeanor from time to time.
0 successes The rogue retains some faint memories and emotions for a number of months equal to the difference in Generation between he and the victim.
Botch or the Rogue's successes outnumber the victim's. No remnant of the victim remains at all.

Committing Diablerie on a PC

Do I Have to Ask Permission Before My Character Can Commit Diablerie On A PC?

No!

You don’t have to ask permission to commit Diablerie another player character. Diablerie is an attack - a heinous one at that. However, it’s still just another attack. If players can’t handle the heat and start whining OOC, just tell them to go play a game that they can handle like tic-tac-toe or something. Then take a screen shot, grab a ST, and we’ll take care of it.

On your end as a player of a Diablerist you have to worry about taking the heat for your character’s actions IC. Likely it will at some point be discovered and used against your character in some way. You best be prepared to not whine either in the event your character doesn’t get away with it.

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