Humanity and Degeneration
From WoD Gotham
See Also: Vampire 101
For more information on Humanity See VtM Core Revised pp. 134-136
As it is made abundantly clear in VtM Core, Humanity is not the measure by which a Kindred remains tethered to one's mortality. Once a Kindred is Embraced, she is transformed into a supernatural predator. Humanity only gifts them with the ability to pretend that they are not. It's a charade that they must play if they are to protect themselves from slipping completely to the Beast.
Note: In the same breath from the same pages in VtM Core White Wolf contradicts themselves as their description of what Humanity is and its effects differ. Under Effects of Humanity (pg 134 VtM Revised) the text states that "A Kindred's Humanity score reflects how much of a character's mortal nature remains despite the curse of Caine." This is in direct contradiction to "Vampires are predators by nature, and Humanity only gifts them with the ability to pretend they’re not. It is an internal charade that protects a Kindred from herself, much as the Masquerade protects vampires from the mortals outside." (also pg. 134 VtM Revised). In WoDG, we go by the core description rather than the subtext. Although Humanity still is a measure of how closely a vampire may pass for mortal and resist some debilitating effects characteristic of the undead.
Social Pool and Mortals
Kindred may never have more social dice to roll against a mortal than their Humanity rating. Starting at Humanity 6 they begin to make humans feel uneasy and awkward as humans find their lack of true connection inherently disturbing. This is an instinctive feeling as kindred just are always a bit "off" at Humanity 6 to down right creepy and alien at the lower levels.
This adjustment does not apply to supernatural types who are not affected by their lack of connection to mortals.
Below please find information on how to RP one's Humanity rating.
Kindred with Humanity ratings this high are, ironically, more human than human. Vampires who maintain high ratings in Humanity are rare, as every Kindred must kill sooner or later. Vampires with high Humanity are almost unbearable by their peers, who find frustration in their perceived naiveté and self-righteousness; most Kindred prefer to suffer through unlife without kicking themselves. High Humanity ratings indicate aversion to killing and even distaste for taking more vitae than is necessary. Though not necessarily passive or preachy, Kindred with high Humanity uphold excruciatingly exacting standards, and often have very clearly defined concepts of moral right and wrong.
Most human beings have Humanity ratings of 7 or so, so vampires at this level of Humanity can usually manage to pass for mortals. Vampires with 7 Humanity typically subscribe to “normal” social mores — it’s not acceptable to hurt or kill another person, it’s wrong to steal something that another person owns, but sometimes the speed limit is just too damn slow. The vampire is still concerned with the natural rights of others at this stage of morality, though more than a little selfishness shines through.
People die. Stuff breaks. A vampire below the cultural human norm has little difficulty with the fact that she needs blood to survive, and she does what needs to be done to get it. Though she won’t necessarily go out of her way to destroy property or end a victim’s life, she accepts that sometimes that’s what fate has in store for some folks. Though not constantly horrid, Kindred at this stage of Humanity are certainly at least mildly unpleasant to be around. Their laissez-faire attitudes toward others’ rights offend many more moral individuals.
The vampire begins an inevitable slide into urge indulgence. A Humanity of 4 indicates that killing is acceptable to this Kindred, so long as his victim is “deserving.” Many vampire elders hover around this level of Humanity. Destruction, theft, injury — these are all tools, rather than taboos, for a vampire with Humanity 4. The vampire’s own agenda becomes paramount at this point, and screw whoever gets in the way.
The lives and property of others are irrelevant to a Kindred this far gone. The vampire likely indulges twisted pleasures and aberrant whims, which may include any manner of atrocity. Perversion, callous murder, mutilation of victims, and wickedness for its own sake are the hallmarks of a Kindred with very low Humanity. Few vampires maintain ratings this low and lower for very long — their damnation is all but certain at this point. Physical changes show up at this stage; while not hideous in the sense of the Nosferatu or certain Gangrel, the vampire acquires a pallid, corpselike, and noticeably unwholesome aspect.
Only nominally sentient, Kindred with Humanity 1 teeter on the edge of oblivion. Little matters to vampires this far gone, even their own desires outside of sustenance and rest. There is literally nothing a vampire with Humanity 1 won’t do, and only a few tattered shreds of ego stand between him and complete devolution. Many who attain this stage find themselves no longer capable of coherent speech, and spend their nights gibbering blasphemy in their gore-spattered havens.
|Humanity Hierarchy of Sins|
| Humanity|| Moral Guideline|
| 10|| Selfish thoughts|
| 9|| Minor selfish acts|
| 8|| Injury to another (accidental or otherwise)|
| 7|| Theft|
| 6|| Accidental violation (drinking a vessel dry out of starvation)|
| 5|| Intentional property damage|
| 4|| Impassioned violation (manslaughter, killing a vessel in frenzy)|
| 3|| Planned violation (outright murder, savored exsanguination)|
| 2|| Casual violation (thoughtless killing, feeding past satiation)|
| 1|| Utter perversion or heinous acts|
"Monsters we are; lest monsters we become"
Willfully or otherwise a vampire occasionally commits an atrocity and risks losing his Humanity to the Beast, especially in Frenzy. If the character feels remorse for a wrongful act, he knows his Humanity is still intact. If not, his Humanity is waning. The struggle between the Beast and Humanity is one of the most important themes of Vampire: The Masquerade. Humanity isn't some offhand thing that just happens to be dots on your Character Sheet. When a character loses all Humanity, it succumbs completely to the Beast and is no longer playable. It’s essentially the Kindred equivalent of a rabid dog.
Whenever a player character does something that is morally questionable according to his Humanity rating, then the STs will call for a Degeneration or Humanity check (Conscience, diff 8). Willpower may not be spent for an auto success because any ego a character has will not protect him from guilt. If the player character succeeds he feels enough remorse to justify his transgression. If he fails, he feels little remorse and loses a point of Humanity. If he botches, he loses a point of Humanity, a point of conscience, and gains a derangement.
Role-playing Degeneration is a challenge for any vampire player and one of the more rewarding aspects of character development as players are forced to dig deeply into the core of what it means to be Kindred. Imagine yourself as your young new Neonate. You are thrust into a world where not only must you drink blood to survive, you crave it. It is at the forefront of all your urges and you must suppress those urges as best you can to survive. It starts slowly at first...an accidental slaying of a hapless Kine you fed upon...another innocent bystander was caught in the cross fire of your turf battles for prime hunting grounds...before you know it your sins have become your diversion your entertainment and little by little you grow callous to the pleadings of your victims. This is how easy it is to give in to the Beast. Over time, a Kindred will have committed so many sins that the little ones go unnoticed and they have graduated to being a monster indeed. One's own Beast, other Kindred, the Jyhad, the thirst for Blood -- all of these things put together make the clinging to Humanity a futile cause for the Kindred. In the World of Darkness, it is the tug of war between clawing your way to the top and retaining some vestige of Humanity that consumes the Kindred of the Camarilla.
For more information on Degeneration See VtM Core Revised pg. 221